Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Rockin' Mommyhood

Motherhood began for me, twenty years ago today...on a New Year's Eve, long before Superman and I were ready. We were still very much a kids ourselves and it's a good thing Holly was one of the indestructible variety, that knew how to use her lungs until her inexperienced parents could figure out caring for a baby was very different than a puppy:)
 
This picture makes me laugh out loud, every single time I see it....
My 19 year old self...Five months into motherhood...
Dressed in MICKEY MOUSE overall shorts...
Rockin' the bowl cut...
with Hi tops...
 
That's Holly in the stroller in her MINNIE MOUSE sleeper (yes we matched, which I probably planned, sigh)...
And if my math still serves me, I'm already pregnant with Bailey....
 
 
 
Motherhood came fast and furious for me, but mothering did not come naturally. I struggled and struggled to find my place in a world of loving, nurturing, natural mothers, that seemed to radiate the joys of motherhood. I felt like I would never quite measure up or fit in with all the SUPERWOMEN around me. I felt like a fraud and a fake and that at any moment I would be discovered...
I was a struggling young mother.
 
Well, I was never discovered...and eventually learned that I was way closer to normal than I first thought....I just had to find the right kind of Superwomen.
 
Motherhood, my struggle, turned into to my greatest blessing...
 
And yes my kids even survived Kool-Aid straight from the bottle....{ I'm sure there is a 1-800 number you can call} That maybe could explain a few things....
 
Motherhood began two decades ago and here's proof that there is always HOPE...They all survived their Kool-Aid giving, Mickey mouse wearing, curse word saying mother...and I survived them :)
 
 
Happy Birthday Holly!!! Thank you for being the best, most tolerant, starter child this crazy mother could ask for...(I promise your therapy fund is the largest ;)) Being this handful's mother is just plain awesome, so glad they were patient enough to let me figure that out.
 
 

Monday, December 30, 2013

You Are Hereby Called to Serve....

Bailey's mission call came today....



This has been in the works for months, but we wanted to keep this process quiet, for many reasons. Mostly because we just wanted it to be her decision, no outside influences good or bad. It's been wonderful to see the journey and we are just so happy for Bailey and her decision to serve a mission.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ten Christmas Confessions

So I guess I need to admit a few things...
 
1.So like yeah...this picture was totally staged...
I paid man child $10 to do it and he eventually agreed :) (I'm a funny bad parent and he's a great actor)
2. Jose was never stolen by the kids...I lost him...forgot where I put him...and totally blamed it on the kids.( I think I need a new diagnosis...)
 
3. I totally bailed on Alex and Dallyn's Christmas concert and felt really bad when I realised I missed Alex's percussion solo....(Stupid parent moment.)
 
4. I made cookies for like 3 dozen families and never made a single cookie for my kids.
 
5. I was secretly grateful for no one extra for Christmas this year, just our kids home was absolutely perfect.  (Man I love them.)
 
6. Face book made me cringe on Christmas morning...Not the pictures of happy families...no, It was the photos of ADULTS bragging about what they got for Christmas I think it's totally tacky to do so  if you are over 12 (unless you got Lego or awesome jammies)
 
7. If I ever have my way, I will eliminate turkey dinner all together, well except stuffing. (Does a Thatsabowl full of stuffing, alone, in the center of the table, count as turkey dinner?)
 
8. Wrapping presents is absolutely pointless. (In Robinworld we would all wait til midnight and shove the Walmart bags haphazardly under the tree)
 
9. Candy canes are lame. Why do I even buy them??? Most of the rug rats hate them and the other one leaves them eternally adhered to my sofa.
 
10. I could not get the tree down fast enough this year, I even got up early this morning and had it all down and put away before the creatures even stirred...so there would be no protests.
 
 

Friday, December 27, 2013

40 Letters :)


It was hard to figure out what to get the Superman for his big birthday...He didn't need anything (physical anyway)... And he didn't want to do anything to celebrate, landing on the day after Christmas (every year) doesn't help either....so I felt a little stuck...Then I thought...
Forty Letters...
 
(If I get 40 of our friends to write nice things (made up or not :)) for his birthday it would be kinda of like a party, just less overwhelming and no cake fights) SMART, I know!
So I sent out a quick note, just days before and got an amazing response and way more than forty letters...
He spent more than an hour reading all of them....
 
 
Most of them are too personal to share ...But this one from Dallyn melted my heart...
(he wrote it entirely himself and only asked me how to spell cease)
 
Dad there is no way I could ever thank you enough for everything you have done from me since the first time we met in the hospital. Somehow you never cease to amaze me, and you’re always finding new ways to make me love you even more. Dad I love you and everything you have always done for me.

Dad you’re my hero

Love Dallyn
 
Such a tender hearted guy, just like his Dad...I can't decide which I am ore impressed over...The proper use of the word cease or the correct use of you're :)
Grant was so touched.
Robin gets another gift right, Awesome. Yay me and thank you all for helping me pull off the perfect gift.
 
 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Remarkable Kindness

A simple thank you is all that we can do, but some how even that seems beyond inadequate for the remarkable act of kindness our family received yesterday...

We still can't completely wrap our heads around this unexpected generosity. And I realised something else...That there is much more to gift giving than the gift itself. Realising that our family had not been forgotten through this year of very private heartache, meant even more than that remarkable gift. Knowing that my Superman is still loved and respected and prayed for, means the world to him and to our family.

So, It is with very humble hearts we say, THANK YOU. We love you all.




Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hub Caps

 
An unnamed child needed new tires for their car...We as parents worried about unnamed child driving winter roads, with old tires....We thought tires were both a brilliant and practical Christmas/ Birthday gift for unnamed child...
 
Yesterday new tires were installed on unnamed child's car....
 
We pull into the parking lot to pick up unnamed child's car with unnamed child...
 
But Dad??? The tires don't look ANY different???
 
Yes they do???
 
But why are the HUB CAPS still the same???
 
I think we have bigger worries than TIRES.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

An Exhausted Forgiver

If you don't like honesty, don't read this.....

Do you know what its like to fast and pray and hope, then regardless, still stare up the same big mountain?
 
Do you know what it's like to do everything you are asked to do medically and still suffer from an illness that will not give in?
 
Do you know what its like to work and strive and achieve and then have to let go of those accomplishments for an unknown future?
 
Do you know what its like to feel misunderstood, harshly judged and blamed for an illness that is not your  fault?  
 
My SUPERMAN does. I do. And now so do our children.
 
I have intentionally over this last few months said next to nothing about Grant's deeply personal battle with bipolar disorder, even as that struggle intensified. I was trying to honor his privacy, give us time and avoiding judgment....
 
But that judgment still happened and in a way I never imagined.
 
He more than anyone is brutally aware of the costs of being mentally ill and unless you have walked his road you might not understand, we would never ask you to. But we do expect you to be kind.
 
You looked at him and you only saw your insecurities.
 
Weight gain.
Laziness.
Fear.
 
And then assuming that what YOU SAW was the result of our unawareness and inattention and lack of care....your actions caused deep unnecessary hurt.
 
Grant's rapid weight gain is a direct result of the medication he is required to take to maintain stability. Not because he ate a chocolate bar. His weight is the least of our worries and his blood work consistently proves that.
 
What you assume as laziness is actually a deficit that occurs after a mixed state episode, it takes TIME for the brain to heal and recover when it breaks.
 
Fear, well that's all yours.
 
What you missed is the fact that Grant has not lost a battle at all, he is actually winning it. Each day he continues to try he wins. It is amazing really . Think about it...you know that you will have to climb this EVEREST the rest of your life, and instead of giving in, he just climbs higher. Pretty amazing.
 
If you can't help him, at least don't him.
 
Grant has been hurt so many times ...and I am humbled as I watch my spiritual giant forgive...again and again. But has his wife and dear friend and the one who has stood by his side I wonder....Will he have the strength to forgive again? I know how exhausted this forgiver is.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Music's Power

I went to sing carols at the nursing home last night. I hate nursing homes. They make me sad and they make me miss my Mom and Dad and they smell funny. But I felt a teeny obligated to go with the rest of the Relief Society, cause I'm a good Mormon I needed to prove that I could. (is there a word for nursing home phobia?)

As we sang all the standards, I started watching one particular grandma in a wheel chair at the very back of the room. At first I wasn't even sure she was aware of her surroundings. Her face was emotionless as she barely looked up.

As our music continued a few minutes more, she seemed to brighten some, but it was still difficult to tell if she even knew we were there...

Then she began to mouth a few words of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, She is there I thought, smiling.

 Near the end of our time there, came a beautiful flute solo, Oh Holy Night. And I watched the grandma in the back row. There a few bars in was an instant recognition and the light returned, as she looked directly at us. Then she began to sing and clap quietly along, she knew every single word.

I was so touched as I witnessed the power of music in the grandma in the back row.

 And then I thought of my Dad...he didn't always know us, but he never forgot his favourite composers or symphonies or jazz harmonies.

Music will always have a beautiful power.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Elf Antics

The elf antics continue, much to the chagrin of the unappreciative offspring....
 
The Elfie....
 Hot tub party... (Jose IS machine washable)
 
 The make up stealer.....(again washable, but don't use a grease based pencil, it took an hour to get that off)

 This was fun...there was only 2 coins of each, but Dallyn and Alex looked forever :).....
And the Bungee Jumper.....
I woke up this morning to this....My kids think they're hilarious...
Bad offspring, very bad offspring!....Mistreatment of said elf, will not be tolerated!!!! I expect hand written apologises to Jose by morning. 
 
Jose has been revived and the tradition continues...
 
Sorry Jose, they are evil!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Struggle

Nothing bad ever happened on Christmas when we were little....

 Kelli and I were over indulged from our first...

I remember one Christmas morning, Santa brought a new bike and new roller skates and a life size Snoopy dog and a Mickey Mouse watch, just for me...We were seven or eight. We weren't really surprised we got every thing on our lists, every single year...

My really musical parents started the Christmas carols as soon as Halloween was over...

I remember Mom practicing piano or organ endlessly for Handel's Messiah and my Dad playing carols on his guitar, Silent Night was his favourite. He made sure we knew every carol before we were in kindergarten.

Christmas was a happy time, even after my parents split up. Things were different, but still happy at Christmas...and we would soak up all the season had to offer.

Hating Struggling with Christmas is a new thing for me....

I was asked last week, why I don't like Christmas?

"Well it's not that I don't like the baby Jesus part of  Christmas.....It's that..."

And then I stammered to explain myself with a bunch of half excuses, not entirely sure myself....

Well then I found IT....

IT.... being a NEVER USED, 10 year old, obsolete camcorder....IT was at the bottom of our "electronics" bucket, that has moved with us at least 6 times...I thought IT was long gone but there IT was..IT....the last Christmas gift my Mom gave us.

A Camcorder was a generous gift at the time, especially considering her means....We were surprised when we got the unexpected package in the mail. Inside the box was a card, and in her shaky nearly illegible handwriting.....

I guess this is the only way I will ever see my grandchildren again.

Her anger and illness burned through those scribbled words. She still had not forgiven us for moving  back to the Island just  few months prior. I felt her anger, with  little understanding of her illness then. Those words hurt and so did her gift.  Mom spent that Christmas in care with out her daughters, alone.

Mom never saw her grandchildren again. That would be her last Christmas, she died weeks later and I never used that camcorder.

Even years later as I looked at that long lost camcorder, I cried and promptly threw it in the garbage can outside, grateful for garbage day.

Sadly we were not there for my dad's last Christmas either....

My sister had desperately tried, but Dad refused to get on his flight to Utah just hours before it took off. We were angry at him too, not knowing that we were seeing the final stages of dementia and not just his addictions...Dad spent his last Christmas in squalor, alone. The depth of which we would not understand till after his passing.

Struggling with Christmas ever since...

Something about this time of year makes me miss them more. Maybe its that I can hear my Dad's guitar every time I hear Silent Night...or Mom on the organ when I stand for the Alleluia Chorus...Or maybe its that we don't have the big family gatherings to go to, others do....

This time of year also brings some guilt...Guilt that we maybe could have made it different for my parents. If we had understood mom's mental health better or Dad's dementia maybe we could have done more...Why did we put up walls of protection instead of opening arms of understanding???

The only solace I have found (especially this crazy December) is helping those now, with the compassion and understanding, struggling with my parents has taught me. I could not change it for my Mom and Dad, but maybe, I can make a difference for someone here and now....with the lessons my parents have taught me.


































Monday, December 2, 2013

Mommy Got An Elf :)

 
So last week I brought home Elf on the Self....
Yes I know my kids are teenagers....
Yes I think he is creepy ...
Yes this is purely for my own amusement and....
Yes, I am getting help. :)....
 
Within hours the ELF, went missing from his package...and this was where we found him....
 
Bailey A child who shall remain nameless pipes up..."I thought he needed a "wreaking ball"....AWESOME and so wrong....
 
On Sunday, while we were planning our ABC's of Christmas kindness and drawing our name, for our family's version of Secret Santa....
 
I pipe up with..."We have to name the ELF too!"
 
So after much eye rolling, every one writes down a name or two and after removing all the inappropriate ones (bad Kramers)...
The ELF was christened....
 
JOSE
FITZ
HERBERT
 
And so a new family tradition begins....
 
DAY ONE
 
 

 DAY TWO


Yay!!! This crazy mother has found yet another creative outlet and who cares if the rug rats don't even notice :)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cheap Shots

So I had this idea, since everybody was home Sunday... A straight forward simple idea really....Let's get a picture....Just a quick shot...Ya know for that awesome Christmas Brag Letter I'm probably going to write...Is it really too much for this dear sweet crazy mother to ask for??? {YES, yes it is.}
 
All you have to do is sit on the steps and smile at. the. same. time.
 
58 shots and 15 minutes later and threats of bodily harm no wi-fi... This is the best we could get....
 
 


 
 
AWESOME young ins , just awesome....
(they really do get funnier the more you look at them)
 
That will do donkeys....that will do (minus Madison)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Birthday {baby} Girl

So our baby girl....
 
Turned FIFTEEN!?!?! on Sunday.....WOW!!!!

 
Please note of Madison's face (such a supportive sister) and  that this awesome mom forgot to buy candles....{And note to self: remember to take the ice cream cake out of the freezer like an hour before, IF you want to cut it on the same day as the intended birthday}
 
Alex is the funniest fifteen year old I know! The master of the selfie and slipping under the radar. And a bright light. We love you Ally Jo! Happy Birthday my baby girl!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bingo!

So my irreverent sense of humour...{people either get me or are boring don't.}

It's not that I can't take things seriously ...I can, with supervision...It's just that I have lived life long enough that I know it feels better to laugh than to cry.... So, I will always choose to laugh and I can find the funny in anything....

Today I felt like crying... happy tears mostly but some sad ones too....being this Kramer wife and mother is awesome and hard.

By the third hour of Church I was feeling a little punchy  (it might have been the dozen packages of rockets I had slammed in the first hour, whatever)....


Today's lesson started off with a list of challenges we may face....

.... We might have lost a loved one; a child might have strayed; we might have received a troubling medical diagnosis; we might have employment challenges and be burdened by doubts or fears; or we might feel alone or unloved.

As I listened I was like...

Check.
Check.
Check.
Check.
Check.
Check.

{And then here's where mind went}

BINGO!!!!!

So if I like got them all (in 18 months),  does that count as a BINGO....that should totally count as a BINGO...hey I got BINGO....wouldn't it be hilarious if I actually yelled BINGO in RS :)

BINGO....bingo....BINGO....bingo....funny, funny, funny

I seriously laughed to myself for like the next fifteen minutes....while paying attention of course....

The thought of all our trials could have easily brought tears...but instead my brain instantly found something funny.....

Irreverent...maybe....

But being able to laugh is the only reason I have survived this crazy life of mine. Somebody knew I would need a sense of humour...(thank you)

BINGO!




Saturday, November 23, 2013

Faking Christmas

So I'm still not feeling it.... but I've decided on the fake it, til you make it (AKA grit your teeth, and bulldoze, thru it) approach to this most WONDERFUL time of the year...

We put up the tree Monday, breaking with tradition of waiting until Alex's birthday. I felt like we needed an update and dejunking of our decorations...So I started by throwing out anything broken, lame or things I never liked ( I even turfed a few lame school ornaments, don't report me)....Man, we have collected a lot of stuff in twenty plus Christmas'....

I then only put up stuff we had room for...and only put about half the ornaments on the tree. I was only a teeny sad, as I set aside all of  Holly's ornaments her Grandma has made since her first Christmas...She'll have her own tree this year....It's not a bad thing, just different....

I then started making stuff (it's the only thing that keeps me sorta not crazy)... using materials I already had....I want to eventually have a more rustic/simple look to our Christmas ....

A banner...(for some reason I have only been able to find Dallyn's stocking??? oh well...I guess Christmas could be considerable cheaper this year ;)....
A table runner...I think it still needs something...maybe stamped or embroidered snowflakes....

A tree skirt...our other one had finally fallen apart...I'll probably change the trees some (next year)
Fabric scrap garland...it was super simple, used up a ton of my scraps, didn't take that long and was next to nothing to make (one half this size on Etsy was $42, are you crazy?)....
 
And this is a total pinterest hack, we wrapped plastic candy canes from the dollar store in fabric and added a twine bow....supper quick, although Bailey and I don't have finger prints left (hot melt glue guns are deadly)....
 

Not bad considering we are not even in December yet :) I still struggle with Christmas, but no one can accuse me of not trying, this year :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Be Kind or Be Quiet

 
Do you know what its like to be picked last or left out all together....just because you are DIFFERENT????
 
Well I still have an involuntary twitch any time there is even a slight reference to dodge ball, four square or nation ball (do they even play that in Canada?).... It's those flash backs to those class rooms of my elementary years in California and being lined up against the chalkboard, while the two most popular kids pick teams....I ended up on a team out of mathematical default....with the usually "Well Robin, I guess you are the B team"....
 
Beyond helpful for ones budding self esteem?!
 
 
Between cerebral palsy, my GIANT corrective shoes and glasses and that dear mother of mine's issues with providing us with clean laundry and properly fitting clothes...well...can anyone say TARGET?! (and I don't mean the retailer)
 
I was tormented (and so was my sister). Bullied before they made t shirts for it....
 
I was even screamed at and punished by my fourth grade teacher because my wheelchair (I spent most of that year in non walking casts and a chair after corrective surgery) was in the WAY and shouldn't be allowed in a "normal" classroom...
 
good times.
 
I was different...I knew it and there was very little, to nothing I could to change it at the time....
 
But it didn't make me bitter...
 
It made me funny and more importantly, it made me very aware of the power of kindness.....
 
 
 
 
 
Sadly I watched someone recently excluded another....
The exclusion because someone was different...
That difference was not the excluded's fault, nor did the excluded have any power to really change the difference...
Even bringing the difference to the excluded's attention had the power to humiliate and harm further....
 
When questioned the excluder only became bolder in their justification of their exclusion.....
 
It made my heart SAD.
 
They didn't understand the power of kindness that being beaned in the head with a dodgeball had taught me...
 
 
 
 
There always seems to be need to justify our exclusion, mistreatment or judgement of others...
 
Have you ever had to justify your desire to...
Include, Love, and
Understand another?
 
Kindness needs no justifacation.
It's just the right thing to do.
 
Kindness isn't about our comfort it is about giving comfort to another.
 
When our Saviour walked this earth, Did he exclude, ignore or turn away from those who were different???
No, He searched them out and showed love, healing and kindness...
 
SO...
 
Please be KIND...
There are more last picked underdogs like me, than you think.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Report Card Remorse

Madison, Alex and Dallyn just threw their report cards at me, on their way out the door to DQ (the only thing close to resembling Family Home Evening, lately...judge away.)

To say the Kramer clan have become colossal  under achievers is a wee understatement.

Okay so none of them are actually failing but...but I think the have forgotten that grades are in alphabetical order and there are TWO possible levels of achievement ABOVE a C.

I always thought I'd be one of those parents that would pressure and punish my kids into achievement, but I am almost afraid to admit I have turned into the near opposite....

Maybe its that of my five, not one is a similar student to the other, report cards and marks don't usually represent their actual applied effort and so we have down played grades, since the beginning...

But I think we have a problem....

Its not their grades I'm concerned about, it's their obvious lack of effort...in completes, late assignments, not participating in class...not okay my rug rats.

I can't understand why you all are channeling Bart Simpson, but stop it, would ya???

Where is my handbook for having too many  all teenagers??? Is there a chapter called "Lazy and Loosing it???"

Darling rug rats, I guess its time for some creative parenting...driving privileges, social lives, screen time, so many possibilities....What shall I remove first, to rock your world???



Sunday, November 17, 2013

Baby Fix

There is finally more hope for the Kramer name and the carrying on of which, no longer lands on my Dallyn's shoulders alone...(thank HEAVENS!)
Last weekend Nolan, Dallyn's ROCK STAR uncle and his DARLING wife Maggie welcomed AUGUSTUS to the Kramer clan and this weekend we got to meet him....
Dallyn was thrilled with his new BOY cousin and didn't even drop him....considering this was Dallyn's first gig holding a baby, we are both shocked and impressed. ;)
 
I don't think there could be a more wanted or loved baby boy in the world....
 
I can't decide what melted my heart more, snuggling this little boy or watching his parents gush over him, seeing my BIL and SIL as Gus' Mommy and Daddy...
 
There is something about a new baby, that instantly reminds you of all that is right in this world.
Gus is perfect.
 
Welcome to the family, Gus!
Congratulations Uncle Nolan and Auntie Maggie, you guys sure make awesome little humans!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Christmas...Come. On.

I know the calender says its six weeks away...but I feel like I am still somewhere in September. Didn't school just start???

 Oh Christmas why do you do this to me every. single. year.
Some with Christmas trees already up and cookies in the freezer and I'm over here wanting it all to go away. Can't we just skip to January?

I guess I'm the Ebenezer of the Kramer clan. It's not that I hate Christmas all together, the honoring  of the birth of the Baby in a manger with it's reminder to be a little kinder...That's awesome.

It's the expectation and exhaustion that come with the Christmas chaos that makes me want to curl up in the fetal position for the next month.

I know simplify, simplify, simplify and for years we have done that in our home...we draw names and only buy one gift each, Santa just fills stockings and we stick to a budget and don't go into debt. Blah, blah, blah....but between school, social and church events there isn't a week between now and then that isn't chalk full of obligations. Add birthdays and appointments and paperwork and my head already feels like one of those tacky blow up, snow globe lawn ornaments.

Medical, work decisions, estate stuff also come knocking on my wreath-clad door during this festive season and even with all my faked positive Christmas joy.... I'm just not sure how it will all play out.

Christmas is a weird time for our family and I think I just need to accept that...Maybe next year will feel better...but I've said that for years... So while you're decking your halls remember...for some Christmas is hard.

Christmas, is it too much to ask... please go easy on this family this year....

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A {Mentally ill} AMEN

 Someone said something in Relief Society today that I could have jumped up  and said AMEN. AMEN. AMEN to....

A reminder to be kind and cautious with those who are going through really hard things.

It's somthing that has needed to be said for a long time and made me istantly think of a line from a favourite hymn....

"In the quiet heart is hidden, sorrow that the eye can't see"

We all struggle, some thngs we can hide and somethings we can't....and our hearts all feel sorrow diferently, even in the same trial. Here's what I know...Hard is hard and we need not compare or try to measure our heartache against anothers. Heartache is heartache and hard is hard. We can either help heal each other or we can hurt each other....

We face mental illness...but it could be any heartache really.

So please, I'm begging you....

DON'T  tell me I ROCK or deserve a medal for putting up with my husband's illness....
-He did not choose to get sick. To assume that he chooses this illness, just shows your judgement. Would you tell the wife of a diabetic the same thing???


DON'T give me medical/psychiatric advice unless we ask you....
We have AWESOME professionals on our side...and unless you can play scrabble with the letters behind your name, I won't listen any way.


DON'T ask personal questions about health, work/financial status or medications in a public gathering...
Would you ask "so how's that vaginal bleeding going?" to the person ahead of you at the check out, buying tampons??? (The right answer is NO) Then please don't do it to me, my husband or our kids

DON'T quote scripture or give me cliche sayings....
-Look I can google/pinterest like the rest of y'all, I know you're not meaning too, but it feels like you are implying that my testimony is weak or that I lack understanding of gospel principles.

DON'T tell me about your aunt's sisters neighbours cousins friends experience with being down in the dumps for a few weeks when they lost their teddy bear ....
-I know you re trying to show sympathy, but it only shows you don't understand how serious what we are facing is.

DON'T tell me what YOU would do...
-Chances are if you don't know at least two of my kids middle names AND have seen me in a bathrobe AND/OR been in my house when its a complete pig sty..your opinion means NOTHING to me.

DON'T expect me to tell you everything....
-There are just a few I am COMPLETELY honest with, they are dear friends who's friendships came long before our current struggles.

DON'T tell me about this CRAZY bipolar person you once knew, who did something awful.....
-You are just adding to the stigma we face everyday.

DON'T tell me you could NOT handle what I go through....
-Yes you could...Most of us have little to no choice in the trials we face. We handle what we are thrown because there is no other way around but straight through. You find the depth of your strength in the struggle, not in avoiding it.

DON'T assume it's all GOOD when you see us with our Sunday faces on....
-"Well he looks fine to me." If you had an idea that is taking all the strength in the world, just to pull the public face off.

DO tell him/ me you LOVE us OFTEN
-No one hears this enough, mental illness plays havoc with self image, esteem and perception, So remind us often.

DO educate yourself.
-Google is your friend! We can handle the illness, its dealing with non understanding, uneducated people that sucks the life out of us.

DO include us.
-Sadly we have been excluded and lost a few friends through this journey (yes their loss...but). The illness itself is isolating enough and we want what everyone does...to feel loved, accepted and included

DO pray for us.
-Prayer works miracles...it also acknowledges our struggle in a profound way. If you don't know how to help us, pray for guidance

DO hug us.
-I can't tell you how many times a hug has said more than words could...and given us strength to continue.

DO listen.
-It's not that I need you to fix it, I just need a chance to get it off my chest....

DO treat us like we are "normal"
-My Superman is not crazy and is perectly aware of what is happening...the chemical imbalance  in his brain effects the way he feels, copes with and responds to emotions. It has not affected is spirit or his ability to love and help others.

DO let me say NO
-if I say NO... I can't, we can't do something or go somewhere...give me that out, without guilt. I have become much more aware and accepting that there are limits.

DO ask often.
-It's so hard when some one who should know what's happening, chooses not ask how we are. So ask us how we are, often.

OK, I just fell off my soap box, vent over :)

Please let's help heal one another. kay :)








Friday, November 8, 2013

Oopps...

So like yeah, I bought the wrong panty hose....high waist AWESOME....
Picture a robber with pantyhose over their face....
That's pretty much how my stomach and derriere feel at the moment!
And no I don't even look like that picture.
Pantyhose are plain evil and I must say this new version is its own special little Hello.
And we wonder why women get grouchy...we can't breathe??? 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Eat D@#$ It!



I made dinner last night AND tonight and neither meal involved anything from Costco...and if it happens tomorrow we will have a record....

I HATE making dinner! Why?(I could write a novel)  Because I can never please everyone to start....

I hate beans! Madison proclaims seconds after I add a can to tonight's taco pie..."Since when???" "Since I was like six and if you were a god mom you'd know that!" she says not totally kidding.

Nice! I guess you're starving then....

Dallyn and Super both say "What the heck did you make now!?" nearly in unison..."Taco Pie" I say my back to them....
Now I am not really certain but there was some sort of gagging noise and dramatization of such,  that neither one of them are owning up to...But Madison and Alex are now in hysterics ...

"Well at least its not perogie casserole!!!" Grant says, as I now glare at my ungrateful clan. (referring to my epic culinary failure of 2009)

Nice guys, Just. eat d@#$ it!!!!

Part of my cooking dinner dislike....Dinner comes at the worst time of day ever....I'm a great acceptable parent from about 9 am to 3 pm (yes while they are in school) but by 4:30-5 pm I have reached the limits of my Dr Pepper patience. All of a sudden they all want/need/have to go....

Alex broke the mouth piece to her sax and HAS to have one by morning...
Unnamed child failed a mid term and I have to decide between stern lecture and sympathetic you'll do better next time....
The dog did {unmentionable and disgusting} something....
I can't get the computer to upload the document that HAS to uploaded....
Two want to hang out with friends and NEED an answer NOW!
I'm shooing Dallyn off the ipad he's not supposed to be on.....

AND....

You want me to make a nutritious, delicious DINNER from scratch????

"You should plan ahead...." Yeah, you do not live in the Kramer house, do you??? Its been a fly by the seat of your pants couple of years. ;)
That's it, I'm hiring a COOK....we won't be able to afford food or shelter or clothes...
whatever?!?

Me making dinner is just another opportunity for those ungrateful house mates of mine to make fun of my lack-luster culinary skills...

Stay at home motherhood ROCKS!!! I know I almost forgot too ;)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Given Time

Sometimes the cynical me has to dig deep to find things to be grateful for. I know I have a wonderful family, kids, husband blah, blah, blah. Those blessings, roll their eyes at me and yell sometimes and break things....Making it hard to be that cookie- baking-apron-wearing Mother. Gliding-around-the-house-with-a-feather-duster-and-a-smile-permanent-plastered-on-my-face.

  Its easy to see all the things we want or don't have or wish would hurry up and go away.... Especially when we are standing in a place we don't want to be for too long.....

We have watched a few weeks turn into months and now push past two years. If we had known what we were facing at the beginning we might not have had the courage to keep going.

In a digging deep moment the other day (yes I do have a soul :)), the thought came "Do you know what a gift TIME is?.....even in the middle of turmoil, TIME is a gift."

I had never thought of TIME as a gift before...

Often, I silently tell my Heavenly Father... I'm finished, that He doesn't care, that this isn't fair, its too hard, how angry I am... that I  just want to give up...and I don't want to hurt  or watch others hurt anymore.

In all those moments I just want to skip, fast-forward or erase all together....

 I, we are given TIME. I just never saw it as a gift before.

TIME to learn, to grow

TIME to love, to hope, to pray

TIME for goodbyes, to grieve, to comfort

TIME to wonder, to be angry

TIME to accept, to heal, to understand.

TIME to become strong.


And the trials still come. But I can't deny the answered prayers and tender mercies and that today we stand today stronger than before.... this TIME is a gift.








Saturday, November 2, 2013

Halloween Hijinks

So let me be clear...I still hate, despise, think Halloween is LAME!!!! If I ruled the world I'd cancel it all together.... Go ahead report me. :)
{you spend good money to dress your kids up in costumes for two hours, to walk around in a freezing blizzard or pouring rain so they can collect $5 worth of candy, from complete strangers, while they  cry about how cold/ wet and tired they just so you can go home and raid all the peanut butter cups after they are in bed are....It doesn't make sense to me}
 
Well I  ALMOST had everyone convinced that Halloween was canceled this year....
Then there was a mutiny....you know the "you're ruining my childhood, Mom!" kind....
Dallyn announced the night before that he HAD to trick or treat.
"What kind of mother won't buy pumpkins?" Maddie guilted as she walked out the door that morning.
Superman even pointed out that we were the only ones on the street without decorations....
 
FINE!
So when Holly showed up to witness the aftermath of Bailey's wisdom teeth removal...Her and I pulled Halloween out of our....umm, never mind :)
We ran to the dollar store...and this is what $10 does....
 Martha Stewart  um.....I was proud...note the hanging ghosts, totally my idea :)
 
Madison dressed up as Willie (duck dynasty)....and with her friends won her grade's best group costume...
 
Dallyn had no choice and was a ninja, because it was the last $7 costume in Walmart that would fit him....

Its the 2013 version of the vinyl suit, plastic mask superhero costume of my 1970's child hood, although way less flammable :)
 
We picked up pumpkins from the bottom of the crate at QF. This is Holly's.... 

 {at least its spelled right ;)}
And this is Madison's....
{Up sided own on purpose}
Two pumpkins, five kids, its totally fair?....I still hate the spell of pumpkin guts!!!!
 
See I even got in the spirit of things (only because it embarrassed the kids and Superman)...

Yay!!! Halloween is over!!!!
 
Next year I am buy a case of chocolate bars just for me and calling it good!
You hear me rug rats???? I mean it this time!!!! :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Chipmunk


(Zombie chipmunks refuse to have their pictures taken)




So I was the "worst mother ever" for scheduling Bailey's wisdom tooth removal on Halloween. But in my defense it was then or months down the road and plus she wouldn't need a costume :) (If zombie chipmunk is what she was going for)...

The procedure was completely uneventful and short...When I went back to talk to the nurse Bailey yells "Mom, why? You are so embarrassing!!!!" responding to my Thing 1 get up...

"She had enough meds, she should still be out..." the nurse says smiling, considering she worked all night and had not been to bed.

Bailey had never had any kind of sedation before and instead of groggy after effects, she was a giddy, wound up, hysterical drunk person...

She was laughing uncontrollably as we left the dental surgeons. Stumbling to the car she looks at Holly (who had made a special trip to witness this) and says "Nice jeans Holly....what are you a {expletive}????" We put her in the van before she shames herself further.

As we leave the parking lot and Bailey whips her head around "Whoa, whoa why are we going so FAST!!!!" Grants not even doing 20 km.

She mumbles and laughs the rest of the way....

It was odd because Bailey did not settle all day and  never slept until late last night...weird...

Today she is tired and swollen but otherwise fine. And I love that the surgeons office has phoned twice to (last night, this morning) to check on her.

Bailey you're fine, now go clean my kitchen ;) Just kidding. {I'm a bad parent, but not that bad :)}


Monday, October 28, 2013

Don't Define Me.

I felt my face go red and tried disappearing into my chair, with little luck.

I had not invited the spotlight of the moment, I wasn't even listening until I heard my name and realized all eyes in the room were on me. I listened as the teacher continued talking of a family. My family.  My face burned hot. Embarrassment, frustration, surprise...I'm not really sure.

I felt the need to defend and explain, but the words simply wouldn't come. I wanted to run, but that would only add to the overwhelming awkwardness. So there I sat, silent, wondering if my face would actually catch fire.

Nothing shared was necessarily untrue...just not how I would define my situation, my marriage or my family. We are not the poster family for challenges and struggles. We are just the Kramers, climbing our mountains like the rest of you.

And the things some seem to assume as our biggest challenges are the things we consider our biggest blessings because of what they have taught us. That is why I will always be better at explaining my life than someone else.

 If you want to share my story, simply ask me too. Y'all know, I'm not shy :) and my life has taught me some beautiful things worth sharing.



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Table for Seven

For years I wondered if I'd ever sleep through the night, or use the bathroom alone, again. Will they ever tie their shoes or stop watching Barney or not spill the milk, or go to bed? Then time seemed to move at a snail's pace and I wondered if they would ever make it to kindergarten or I'd ever make it to thirty....
 
I was warned time flies, I just never believed it....until now....
 
We are a family of SEVEN and I just could never picture a time when any one would leave home, not that I never wanted them to, it just always seemed an eternity away...
 
Then just like that we were loading bedroom furniture into a truck, watching our oldest (confident, capable and love struck) starter child fly the coup.(last summer)
 
time flies.
 
She is well and happy, but I had no idea how much I'd miss her...
 
Its the dinner table that I notice it the most, seven plates have become six and it simply its the same. I know its not supposed to be, but their are moments I wish I could flash back to February 2000, when we first became that family of seven. Only for a moment to tell my tired overwhelmed, 25 year old  self, how awesome it would be and to just slow down and enjoy the ride.
 
 
Today I came home from Church....
 
'Holly's coming for dinner!!!'
 
I don't know who was more excited us, or the siblings.
 
 We had our table of seven back for a few hours and loved every moment....the laughing, the squabbling, the flying mash potatoes...
 
My heart was overflowing as I sat there dodging airborne side dishes... Superman and I continue to be so blessed by these happy, crazy, wonderful, funny amazing people, who miraculously have survived our parenting and are turning into awesome adults.


Our table will always be a sacred place (even with the food fights) where these crazy kids and who ever joins them, will always be loved and welcomed, no matter where their journey leads them.

We are so blessed.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Screwed {or Not}

So YESTERDAY we did the most responsible grown up thing we have ever done....
We put brand new winter tires on the van BEFORE winter hit...Yay for being adults!!!!
 
This afternoon we drop 3 eager girls off at the ferry to head to Priest Laurel Conference ...at the terminal I say to Grant "It sounds like that tire is hissing...." Grant leans down for a second, " I swear you're hearing things..."
 
We stop for lunch and I can still hear the hissing....He still thinks I'm nuts...
 
We head home and a km later the low tire sensor comes on....{Who's crazy know}...
 
Superman pulls into Kal-Tire, fumbles for the tire gage.... as he leans down, we see this....
 
 
 

Our brand new tire had been screwed!!!
 
 I swear I should  keep a notebook entitled "Crap I Was Correct About" :)
 
Kal Tire told us it would be 3 hours until they could look at, but had it in and fixed in an hour and did it at NO CHARGE, even though we had not bought the tires at a Kal Tire...Pretty darn AWESOME!
 
Go ahead, say it...."You were RIGHT dear."
 
Superman, trust that wife of yours and her super sonic hearing :)

Will We Be Ok?

I think people that show up at Church (any church) are searching. Whether you've gone all your life or its the first time you've set foot in a chapel, you are there seeking answers.....Why? How? When?

I'm a lifelong Mormon, 7th generation, if you look at the pedigree. As a child, teen and young adult, I followed the traditions of my ancestors, not sure yet if it was really the way....

Twenty years and a lifetime later our Church, has become a lighthouse, a beacon in the craziness of life. Something to guide me through our storms.

 I have sat in a chapel nearly every Sunday of my life, and I still go with my {hand made Relief Society} bag full of questions...searching and seeking help and hope...


We attended our Stake Conference this weekend and because of the two full days in Nanaimo we decided to stay in a hotel, the same one as the waffle catastrophe of 6 months ago. They allowed us back, I'm surprised too. Great idea, but sharing one room with all our teens, not so smart. Saturday morning we realized the visiting General Authorizes were staying at our same hotel, so I didn't set foot near the waffle maker :)

They were there to release our Stake presidency and calling a new one. Grant had the opportunity to meet these two General Authorities, which was such a special experience for him...

I showed up for the conference sessions with my {homemade RS} bag, weighted down with more questions than usual...

"Will we be ok?"

 If you were to boil all my questions down...That would be it in simplest form...Will {my kids, my superman, me, my family, my friends} be {good, happy, courageous positive, hopeful}???



Notes:

"We are not has powerless as we think."

"Do it {service} whether we think we are making a difference or not"

"Do. Not. Judge. Point them to me {Christ}

"It is about salvation NOT damnation."

"Love them.... love them..... love them."

"Bad things become blessings when the are handled right."




It is not just the words said, but more it is  the spirit felt. It was the spirit at conference that spoke to me the most. The thanking of one Stake President for his service and love and sustaining another with the same love and faith was a confirming that this God's church and that God is well aware of the questions of y heart.

And the answer to my will we be ok? is a resounding....

YES
 
 
.....because that is what my I know in my heart. Conference was wonderful and I look to future, full of faith and hope and questions.

"Be the best we can be, not the best imitation of someone else"...President Weckesser

 
 
 
 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mama's Seat

This is what teenagers and dogs do to office chairs, we've replaced six in 4 years.....
 
The bones are still good on this one, so I thought give it a chance at rebirth....(it was either sew or going all crazytown on the rug rats)
 
A measuring tape and some guessing and voila...  

Mama's got a brand new seat.

 
I like it.
Dallyn: Mom, maybe the chair didn't want to be a girl?!?