Wednesday, September 26, 2012

California Courage

I should be folding laundry, packing bags, vacuuming and cleaning out the fridge....But Ì just finished a dress for my niece and now I`m blogging...You know when you get to that point that there is so much to do your brain just shuts down....Well that happened months ago. :)

25 hours of driving (one way)....It will be the longest road trip these Krazy Kramers have ever taken and we leave in 36 hours. YIKES!!  I' m returning to clean out my childhood home. But this doesn't feel like going home at all...Home is here, I like it here.

From the moment Dad died, I knew this trip was coming...Just like with mom, it was now our responsibility to clean out a house. Dreading it was an understatement. First I pretended like its years away...Then I thought up ways of avoiding it all together {going crazy myself, praying for an alien invasion, the house being struck by a meteor, real stuff !?!?}.. Then I pouted, you know the, life isn't fair, why me, this sucks, party...

Then just a few days ago I started to pray for courage...Courage to face my fears and that house.

Here what happened....nothing...I'm kidding...

Instead of all of the things that were flooding my mind with fear, I was able to focus on some of the great things...

We get see my sister and her family for the second time in six months...

We get to meet out niece Ava for the first time...

Cousins will finally meet cousins...

My sister and I get to spend our birthdays together for the first time in twenty years..

My kids will get to see my old stomping grounds...

Disney (at least Grant and the kids are excited)...

We are able to move forward from here....

Things have fallen together for this trip, most worries have been easily solved. I know for certain that we are watched over and blessed, especially this year, especially now. Now cleaning out this house will still be difficult, I live in la la land sometimes (its fun there ) But not now, sometimes we are expected to do really hard things. Cleaning out a parents house is a very hard thing  but there is something about an entire family coming together to do it. The blessing in that is not lost on me.

I am grateful for my family.

I am grateful for the courage to face fears and the courage to go to California.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Carpool Geniuses

So the Superman and I had the pure pleasure of driving the rug rats across town to school this morning...The usual 10 minute drive is now more than  20 minutes  (what happens when you shut the 5th St Bridge down). So we had an extra ten minutes to reaffirm why I could never home school. Between Grant or I telling them to stop touching each other, put back on their seat belt and telling Dallyn that his band instrument has to actually leave the band room if he wants me to sign his practise sheets... Here are just a handful of the comments/discussions we had the pleasure of over hearing...

"I'm not getting married "til I'm eighty-five, Cause then I never have to buy my wife tampons"

"If the van has stow and go (we are renting a Dodge Caravan to take to California) where did all the parts of the car go??"

My little genius changing every swear word they know by one letter....Trying to explain that changing one letter on a swear word, is still swearing..."So I can say the real thing?!?" Yup my point exactly (eye roll)

A mind numbing discussion between Madison and Dallyn on how to do the least amount possible in school, with the easiest classes and still graduate followed by Dallyn saying "So if I just take shop over and over again , I'll still graduate?!? Yup just geniuses.

So when the Superman say "GET OUT!!!", in unison, in the parking lot. What we really mean is: "We'll miss you! We love you. Have a wonderful day, darlings!"

Friday, September 21, 2012

Talking Too Much

I got told this week that I'm way too open...And this person doesn't even read this blog or follow me on Facebook. Gosh they don't know nothing. "You talk about stuff I would never..." All righty then....

I make absolutely no apologies here. I am who I am. My life is my life. What you see is what you get....

I grew up in a Capital D dysfunctional home, my mom was mentally ill, and there were times we ate popcorn for dinner 'cause 9 year olds aren't really good at cooking....And we weren't aloud to talk about it.

I had/have mild cerebral palsy spent most of my childhood in some combination of casts, therapies, and or orthodic devices  The fact that I took the short bus and peed my pants(often) made nothing obvious at all..But most of all we were never aloud to talk about it.

When mom was finally diagnosed, when I was 21. Nobody knew she was bi polar. It was an a private nightmare we weren't allowed to talk about, ever.

When my Superman dealt with addiction and mental illness, I was too scared and embarrassed to talk about it, reactions from some made me become even more silent.

When I dealt with post pardom, I was so afraid of being labeled a bad mother so I said little, if not nothing...

Nobody knew...

Then Mom died and my heart couldn't bare the burden in silence anymore. We had recently returned to Port, and I was in a safe place surrounded by friends who just listened and loved. Talking was the start of healing and the thing I realized most was...I was not the only one. Other people had dysfunctional homes, mentally ill loved ones and struggling spouses...

There was courage, strength and hope for me and my family, I had examples all around me.

Then this last year the rug was pulled out from under us...Illness, tragedy, death, moving, teenagers...But this time I was never silent. I needed help and support and prayers and most  of all I needed to know where people around us stood. My attitude quickly became, show empathy and understanding or just shut your mouth and get out of my way. I mean that in a nice way.

Don't worry I do have limits I will not talk about politics, foot ball, NY  fashion or breastfeeding :) how much the Superman snores...

What I want people to know is that real people with real lives can still be happy, funny and moving foreword...And I do it by never shuting up :)

Oh, Bother! :)

Uncle Nolan's Coming ! Uncle Nolan's Coming!!! My teen aged rug rats turned into 4 year olds on Christmas morning from the moment they heard of the impending visit...The fact that we were meeting Aunt Maggie for the first time (only Holly was able to go  to their Wedding last year) only added to every one's
Nolan is the definition of genuine, unassuming and kind, with all the qualities of a rock star. It took less than 5 minutes to realize that Aunt Maggie is cut out of the same cloth. We love her!!! The rug rats said, the minute they left the first night...She's AWESOME! Yes, yes she is.

What warmed my heart the most was to see how genuinely happy and content they are together. Maggie makes Nolan shine, really shine. It's contagious.

Brotherly love....

 Proof that you can launch chickens, shoot each other with b b guns, blow each other up, dig snake pits and still grow into fine men, who love each other dearly. Brothers with hearts of gold. It's genetic.

Nolan and Maggie we absolutely LOVE you. Thanks for the visit.
This captures the " Krazy Kramers" perfectly :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Why Not, Nebraska?

Nebraska?...why couldn't  Dad have lived in Nebraska? Then, when I say we're headed to Nebraska in 10 days...NOBODY would say..."Oh you must be so excited to go to Nebraska" Then I wouldn't have to explain to anyone ,that, for me, there is no excitement, the trip and the task ahead is daunting. And other than needing a passport does not resemble a vacation, anymore than an appointment with the gynecologist resembles a day at the spa.

But no,  50 years ago my parents decided to chase their California dream. So it's not Nebraska it's California. The land of botox and dreaming.

And I think I'm the only one one the planet, who would rather go to Nebraska.

"Well at least you get to go to Disneyland?"

Losing another parent and cleaning out another house... sure, Disneyland seems like a adequate consolation prize. I know that's not what people mean. But its where my heart and head are right now.

I left California for the last time 20 years ago, never intending to return. I did my best to put California and my childhood home behind me. The chaos and heartache of that place is something only my Sister and I understand.

I moved foreword and have a family and home that in no way resemble the home of my childhood. I know am so BLESSED.

But accepting the reality that I must return to California and that home still is a hard one.

The only consolation...This will be the first time in more than six years that our families will be together. The very first time cousins will meet cousins. The task at hand is daunting ....but it will be daunting together. I just wish it was in Nebraska.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Done Good

For the second year, we participated as a family and as a ward in the BC Thanksgiving Food Drive....
What an AWESOME way to spend a Saturday.

Over 4300 lbs of food was collected in the Comox Valley....70,000 lbs of food in our stake.

Yes, that's wine...funny part it was the Sister missionaries who collected it. My kids thought THAT was hilarious.

Unloading the truck at the food bank, I was shocked how bare their shelves were... The donations will provide much relief. Love these teaching moments for my teenagers.
Can't wait to do it again!

Friday, September 14, 2012

How Was YOUR Morning??

5:00 am: The newspaper delivery truck wakes me up as it pulls into the driveway

5:20 am Alex opens my door to tell me she's leaving to deliver her papers

5:45 am: I make sure Dallyn is up

5:50 am: I'm up, I might as well clean the kitchen

5:55 am : Dallyn mopes out of the house to deliver his papers

6:00 am : Superman's alarm goes off...

6:03 am : Super hands me his shirt on his way to the shower

6:08 am: While ironing, Alex comes in the door "Mom half my papers are soaked!" "What?, How?" "I left my cart outside at the nursing home...And the sprinkler came on"

6:09 am: I'm helping Alex lay out her papers to dry on the my house coat (you. are. welcome. neighbours!)

6:10 am: Finish ironing, I can only find one black sock.

6:15 am : Alex jockeys her way into the bathroom and showers

6:23 am: Super kisses me good bye

6:31 am: Holly is banging on the bathroom door as Alex is STILL in the shower

6:32 am: "GET OUT!" "I'm going to be late for work!" Holly informs entire neighbourhood.

6:33 am: I step in to keep a homicide from happening as Alex emerges from the bathroom, "what?!?!"

6:45 am: Dallyn returns from papers.

6:48 am: He's now banging on the bathroom door....

6:53 am: Holly's searching for her keys, bag, not really sure...and leaves the house in a huff

6:54 am: Seminary student #1 stumbles out of bed and is banging on the bathroom door...

6:56 am: I intervene with the "GET OUT KNOW!

7:03 am: Seminary student #2 emerges and is now banging on the bathroom door

7:09 am: Dallyn informs me he can't find the mouth piece for his Saxophone (he had it ONE day)

7:10 am: I go ballistic , start to explain that he will pay to replace it and explain to his teacher why he is so careless....

7:13 am: Alex finds the mouth piece in the bottom of Dallyn's case

7:14 am: I muster an apology

7:16 am: My sweet seminary students are destroying my perfectly clean make the perfect breakfast....

7:18 am: I retreat to my room as to prevent me from being carted off to the looney bin

7:27 am: Seminary students saunter out the door, stuffing their faces full of banana bread

7:31 am: I tell Dallyn and Alex to unload the dishwasher....

7:50 am: They leave

7:52 am: I'm unloading the dishwasher, In my house coat....

Us, Stay at Home moms really do have it ALL, don't we

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It's my fault....again!?! :)

Kramer Dinner Table: TMI warning

Some how it comes up that Alex was the only one I breast feed (if four days counts)....
(yes, there is something wrong with us)
Alex: No wonder I get straight A's
Madison: So... It's your fault I suck at math
Dallyn: So that's why....I'm (self-diagnosed ) ADHD

A few minutes later, I give Madison heck, for eating with her hands?!

Alex, not missing a beat, says "She can't help it mom, she wasn't breastfed". Sigh. So it's nice to know....

It's all my fault ..... again  ;)

I love my kids...even though I didn't feed them proper ;)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A House Fell On Us (TWICE)

I think I know what the Wicked Witch felt like in the Wizard of OZ, When the house fell on her.... We have the weight of Dad's house on our shoulders right now....I saw the pictures again yesterday and I just cried. I looked again this morning and I got in the shower and cried....
I don't know what to think....
This is the SECOND house Kelli and I will clean out. Mom's eight years ago and now Dad's.
Honestly, it's hard to see beyond this legacy and that my parents were not THIS.
THIS is what their mental illness and their dementia did to their houses.
Mom's house was way, WAY worse.
So I know that we will conquer this.
We have 5 days and I believe in miracles.
But it's hard not to feel like the Wicked Witch right now.

This used to be a well manicured yard with a patio, lawn and play house...(believe the landscaper has removed some of the piles, but we are prepared to get dirty)

Not Neighbourly RANT

***Warning: so I might swear, once maybe twice in this post. Don't read  my blog if you're perfect, I wouldn't want to corupt you :) ****

It's a good thing Kelli is on the front line with all of my Dad's affairs....She is much more diplomatic than I, but today she got an email from one of my Dad's new neighbours that actually chapped her hide.... It just p****** me off. (Kelli's has more heavenly qualities, there's a shocker)

Reason # 5879 I would NEVER live in Orange County again.

Facts: We are headed to California in two weeks to clean out our fathers home and prepare it for sale. My parents bought the home, brand new well over 40 years ago. Both or one or the other have lived there ever since. My sister sent emails to all the neighbours on the Cul-de-sac (Dad's house is at the very end). Explaining that the first week of Oct there would be dumpsters, a moving truck and activity at the house.... 'cause she's courteous that way

Since Dad's passing we have paid much to clean up the yard, deal with pest control, allowed neighbours to park in the drive way and use Dad's garbage bins....All of the neighbours have been very kind and accommodating....Until....

The NEW next door neighbour , today.....

I guess , This neighbour moved in less than a year ago......

I am your dad's next door neighbor.
First, I am so sorry for your loss.

It's nice to hear upcoming process for cleaning your dad's home from you.

It sounds good.

Another my big concern is about the pine trees in your dad's front and back yard.

There are always many pine leaves in my yard.

Even though my family clean these almost every day, my yard doesn't look clean.

A lot of leaves are on my roof, too. And, my other neighbor said it may cause some problems like

leaking in my roof so I worry about this.

Also, my main sewer line backed up one month ago and I found clogged roots in the sewer line.

My husband called a repair man and cleared the roots in my sewer line.

I think the roots probably were from the pine trees because there is no trees around my house.

I hope you have any plan to deal with these pine trees.

Thank you."

First please don't say "Sorry For Your Loss", in the same email you bitch about pine needles....{Those words, in that context only add to our pain and frankly piss me off}

Second, Unless you are legally blind and/ or your realtor has magical powers. Those fifty year old pine trees and the 100's of other mature trees surrounding the neighbourhood were completely visible at the time of your purchase....(Our Dad has spent $20,000 in the last five years to care for those trees) And maybe I've lived on the "Island" to long....But if I wanted to remove healthy 50 year old trees, I would end up on the evening news and receive hate mail....If you don't like pine trees, Why did buy a house in a neighbour hood full of them???

Third, If you don't want to deal with fifty year old sewer lines, Don't buy a FIFTY YEAR OLD house, just saying....

Fourth, I have 100 foot fir trees in my back yard. Two of them, we even had a wind storm last night, The trees dropped branches and pine cones all over the ground (its a gravity, science thing). Funny,  not one of my five or so neighbours called to complain. CAUSE that's what trees do. So glad I live in a beautiful rain forest. Were people like trees.

That's what my response would have been. See that's why Kelli's in charge.

I just want this house part to be over, do you blame me????


Monday, September 10, 2012


The stick figure family means I have accomplished all my maternal goals and my life nothing but bliss as I dance around in my skirt and aporon...making things out of nutella and mason jars....Yeah,RIGHT?!?!
The back to school adjustment this year has felt more chaotic and crazy than usual...I really don't get it, they are a year older {maturity?} and we have 4, instead 5 public school students (that's less right?). It should be easier???
They are just louder and more opinionated....and bedtime, well with all teenagers, it's apparently just a suggestion =/. Some mornings I feel like I've run a marathon before I even watch The View. I feel like I've just been a referee last week, sending them to their perspective corners....So the louder you yell, stomp up the stairs or slam the door, the righter you are. (Teenage (ill) Logic)
Seminary started this morning, dark and early and it is a lifesaver honestly....It splits up my brood...the older ones are out of the house before the younger ones get up AND and, it makes my angels dead tired and asleep before 9 pm.
I'm hoping things settle as we get used to a routine (maybe)....
And just in case you think we have the perfect life....This is my house, this morning AFTER the kids SAID they "cleaned up"...
They SWITCHED the laundry (stopped the dryer, pulled out their still damp jeans and walk away, to them the dryer door only opens)

They DID the dishes (if I cram all the dirty dishes in the sink and stack the pans, they will magically do themselves)
They CLEANED the bathroom (just shoving all the laundry in the overflowing hamper and jamming the lid shut, yup it's clean).
No they have never understood the definition of "MOM CLEAN"
The mess is now waiting for them to walk through the door :).... 
Gotta love my BLISSFUL life.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Church Mice

So I'm kinda a ( sewing) nerd....
After church and my {much deserved} nap coma. I was surfing primary music blogs....Yes, there are even more laminating obsessed people out there, they're worse than me me.....
 I saw the idea for Church Mice a few weeks ago, but could find the post again. They are about the size of  shoe box and are really heavy....Their purpose is to remind kids who have a hard time with the wiggles, to sit still and be quiet...I have no idea if they will work, but I thought they were adorable...
So instead of doing anything really productive, I made my own pattern by cutting a large triangle, and used a large cup to make the ears, there are made out of denim scraps, so they will be durable. Each has a long rick-rack tail
I filled them with about 3 lbs of rice each and add stuffing on top.

They were simple and took about half an hour each. if they don't work...they'll make great door stops :)
Spider Alert:

Oh and meet our spider friend the rug rats found behind the deep freeze last night....lets just say more than one of them screams like a girl :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Primary-ly Kindness

I've been doing the music in primary for just over a month now and....
I absolutely LOVE it!
The kids are funny, unassuming and honest.
I noticed a few things right away....
The kids noticed my lazy eyes. It's hard for them to tell who I'm looking and its been quite funny really. I had a very young child stand a foot from me and just stare at the eye that wasn't looking at them, trying desperately to figure it out. They meant absolutely no harm. It just made me smile. Always calling the kids by their names solves most of the issue.
The other thing was that the kids are loving, kind and accepting of each other MOST of the time...But sometimes through not understanding one another can show frustration or be unkind....
With most of them heading back to school I thought last Sunday was a perfect time to talk about differences and kindness.... 
I asked if any of them had ever been made fun of?  and how it mad them feel??I then showed them this picture (my entire life of photos is the definition of AWKWARD)
I told them a little bit about me...My twin sister and I were born early, my muscles don't work the same way theirs do (cp), spent my entire childhood in physical therapy to work on balance and walking, I spent most of Kindergarten and all of Grade 4 in casts and a wheelchair and rode a special bus to school....{And that was why my eyes didn't work together}
 I talked about how sad it made me feel when other kids made fun of me or were unkind. But that I always knew my Heavenly Father loved me. 
I then taught them (some already knew it) one of my favourite primary song.....

I'll Walk With You
If you don’t walk as most people do,
Some people walk away from you,
But I won’t! I won’t!
If you don’t talk as most people do,
Some people talk and laugh at you,
But I won’t! I won’t!
I’ll walk with you. I’ll talk with you.
That’s how I’ll show my love for you.
Jesus walked away from none.
He gave his love to ev’ryone.
So I will! I will!
Jesus blessed all he could see,
Then turned and said, “Come, follow me.”
And I will! I will!
I will! I will!
I’ll walk with you. I’ll talk with you.
That’s how I’ll show my love for you

You never know if the message really sinks in....but they were all singing and that's all I needed :)
A few other things I have found works well...

Instruments, they love to make noise. It works well on "Choose the Right" the can make noise every time they sing the phrase "choose the right" ....they actually project more.

Rainbow wands (totally stole the idea)....sitting still is hard, so when I found this idea, I thought it was perfect....Picture way toned down rhythmic gymnastics in primary....Works well for "When I Am Baptized", Although movements with the ribbons could be figured out for many different songs....Helps with rhythm and melody.
1. I like to look for rainbows (arch above head)
 whenever there is rain (squiggle ribbon down)
And ponder on the beauty of (wave beside head)
 an earth made clean again.(big circle in front of body)
2. I know when I am baptized (arch down at feet)
 my wrongs are washed away,(figure eights to each side)
And I can be forgiven (circle at feet)
 and improve myself each day.(slow squiggle up)
I want my life to be as clean (figure eights in front)
 as earth right after rain.(big circle in fr5ont of body)
I want to be the best I can (shoot wand in air)
  and live with God again (circle above head)
Needs a little find tuning and we need to discuss proper use and when we are done , the wands go immediately under their chairs etc...But well worth the effort to make....
Dollarama is my knew best Friend!
Wood dowels (10 in a pack) the thinker the better ($1)
5 or 6 colours of ribbon (1-1 1/2 inch) ($2 each)
Double-sided tape
-cut ribbon to two foot lengths
-staple together
-place a 2 inch strip at stapled top of ribbon bunch
-wrap ribbon sticky side in 2 or 3 thimes around dowel
I spent $13 and made 30 wands...but have enough ribbon to make 30-50 more.
Primary music is SO MUCH FUN!!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

My Bad Mother, Top 10

I consider popcorn a vegetable

I haven't sorted laundry since 1998

I don't really care how much artificial food colouring the kids have, unless they stain the carpet

Stay at Home moms make Dinner??? (shhhh, Don't tell Superman)

Heck ya, I yell at my kids....I shut the windows as not to annoy the neighbours, I'm considerate that way.

I will sign blank Band Practice Sheets, in exchange for cleaning the kitchen (sorry Mr K) {a trumpet and a sax, do not make sweet music together, picture geese dying}

I have openly faked illness to avoid band concerts, PAC meetings, student award ceremonies.

I have never cut my kids food into animal shapes, or written love notes on their bananas.

I make the most annoying child of the day, clean my room.

I will totally show up at the school in my pj's,  if my kids get in trouble or forget something, and they KNOW IT!

It's going to be an AWESOME school year! Right kids??

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Burning Question???

A person that means the world to me, recently asked me this question...

"If there is a loving God (Heavenly Father), How do you explain all the suffering in the world? Why do terrible things happen to good, innocent people?"

The question was not asked as a challenge, just a wondering heart??

I wasn't sure how to answer?? In all honesty it's a question I've struggled with? Why did my Mom suffer so much? Why did my Dad's passing have to redefine my definition of true suffering? Hadn't the heartache the first time taught me enough??

I said something to the affect that "I believed there was a special place in Heaven for those who have suffered greatly in this life and that we will all be compensated for our heartache in this life, in the next.....

But over the last few weeks the question has lingered....

I asked Superman...Who with a certain gleam in his eye, said "Why don't you search the scriptures?" (Silly boy ;) Kay Scripture Study is something I've always struggled with...(It keeps me from being translated ;) )

I then asked the missionaries, who quickly flipped open their scriptures (see I'm no dumby)....

But none of the answers had the simplicity I was looking for...

I asked a friend (someone who actually paid attention in Seminary) He gave me a few ideas but a few days later sent me another message and said I should watch this  Mormon Message on Forgiveness...It might help....I had seen it several times before....and wasn't sure it contained the answer.....

"I'm grateful that God allows tragedies and trails to occur in our lives- not because they're easy or because they're desired, but because they help us love."

Tragedies and trials do help us love. LOVE is the simplistic answer I was looking for.

Saying goodbye to one parent with mental illness and another with dementia long before their deaths has taught me much about love.

The tragedies and trials we have faced in no way reflect the magnitude of other families, but I realize our trials and heartache have opened my heart to love in a way, nothing else could have....

I love my husband and children in a much deeper way than I would have....

I do not take time or the people in my life for granted...

I feel a deeper gratitude for the kindness and love shown to my family by others...

I also loved what the man's stake president said....

"There is Jesus's way to resolve problems, to address situations, to handle sorrow, and then there's some other way...."

After my mom's death I was angry, hurt and bitter....I hated her illness and never understood the manner of her death (falling in the nursing home) Why her? Why Me? Why this?? If things had only been different?

I wanted to blame someone...the nurses, the facility, God....

Blame got me nowhere and only added to my heartache and clouded my journey.

It was years later...It was time to let the anger go. For the first time I prayed for my heart to heal. It was so hard to even say the words. Peace did come. I had no idea how much I would need the room in my heart.

Only months later we started and ended the journey with Dad. Again overwhelming heartache but not the blame or anger.

I do not know why ??  I don't ask that question anymore. But I know that the answer to heartache is love.

Sad.... yes of coarse...But I now know to always leave a place for love.