Monday, April 29, 2013

My Teenagers Are....

I really wanted to title this post My Teenagers are Jerks, but all the literature on the subject, suggests that might harm my hooligans precious psyche ....

I have to admit I am finding parenting older teenagers, so far out of my comfort zone, I want to cry (which I do often) I have zero idea what I am doing, and I am pretty sure they know it...Just a few of the questions that have crossed my lips in the last week....

Alright which one of you pyros was lighting tp on fire in the down stairs bathroom sink?

Kay, which one of you hockey stick wheedling maniacs took out my tulips in the back yard?

Which one of you eternal shower takers, left the obstacle course in the bathroom, causing your matriarch to trip on clothes, hip check the drawer and pee her pants in a move worthy of swan lake?

Which one of you kleptos, keep stealing all of my Dr Pepper and dunkaroos (don't judge me),what's the matter with Superman's Coke zero?

Which  one of you delinquents skipped chemistry and pre-calculus, tried to pay off younger sibling, but forgot to hack in to my email and delete the auto-fire email from SD 71?

Why is there root beer ( I'm just guessing) all over the kitchen ceiling?

Why am I the only one who turns on the dishwasher, off the 37 light switches, and can actually smells the pile of dog poop in the laundry room?

Oh teenagers!!! I love you, no really I do :)

It feels so odd to have 5 teenagers, two of which are considered  adults (I use that term loosely) and not even be in our forties yet. Most of our friends still have babies and young children and I feel out of place, even a loner, more often than I really admit. I seem to be the old (not-so wise) one, on young end...but the young inexperienced one the older end.

I am in a parenting no mans land of sorts, as a young parent with old kids....I miss the days of little kids and "little" worries. Who knew they would grow up faster than me.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Can I Say It In Whale?

Family prayer last night: {It had been a few days, okay maybe a week}...

Grant asks Maddie to say it.

"Can I say it in "whale"?" Maddie says with a certain spark in her eye....

{our kids think its a contest to make some on laugh during prayer and have been known to rhyme the prayer, add random words like waffle, etc. , wrong, but funny}

I have no idea what she means and then Maddie does her spot on impression of the following....

Maddie that's irreverent!!! We say, unable to hide our laughter...(honestly tears were rolling down our cheeks)

"Maybe you should say it in pig Latin?!", Alex interrupts and then shows her nearly fluent ability (didn't know she was multilingual)....

Dallyn not wanting to be left out adds "I heard the best pick up line today!"(I have never figured out how that boys brain works).... But before he can speak...Alex says an unrepeatable pick up Madison adds a few unrepeatable ones of her own (dang public school)....

Dallyn finally intercedes:"All I was going to say is Do you have a Band-Aid? Cause I scrapped my knee falling for you."


Since all semblance of order had left the room and I am pretty sure the house...and because he is the only one not laughing...Grant finally says the prayer when there is a brief intermission in the mayhem.

I heart my family!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Of Value

It was just a number....but it made me cry and that reaction caught me completely off guard, more so  considering Superman and I were sitting in Wendy's for lunch.

{"Have you read the email about your Dad's house?"...shaking my head, Grant handed me his phone to read the email....Scrolling through an appraisal for my Dad's house, 20 plus pages of numbers, check marks and pictures...there at the bottom...was the approximate market value of my Dad's house as of April 15th...}

A number, I had to enlarge the print to see...

I hand back the phone and blink back my tears. Grant looks at the email and then at me...completely perplexed..."Are you happy or sad?" I shake my head and at that moment my Superman recognizes the grief I am unable to hide (dang it)...

Why grief? At that moment I didn't quite understand it myself....

Estate stuff has always overwhelmed me....and I hate anything remotely related to the following question...

"Soooo how much do you think you'll get from your Dad (estate)?" Yes this is the world's tackiest question (don't do it, trust me on this one) and yes  I have been asked it on more than one occasion, by more than one person, about more than one parent. I used to be polite, now I'm not. {None of your dam% business}I'm the only one allowed to wonder, I guess? But the thought of equating a life to a financial sum just seems plain wrong

But whether I like it or not, we are required to determine the value of my Dad's estate, his worth...

Now I know it's only a financial number, but to me it's sad money...

And at first, that was what I thought my tears were about...but then I realized that I had instantly been taught a lesson on value.

Six months ago when I walked back in that home, after 20 years, I (we) were met with an overwhelming disaster. Garbage, rodents, filth brought us to our knees. What my Dad had left behind felt like a daunting burden, rather than a gift.  Through a miracle of many hands and tender mercies and hard work we were able to clear the house. But as we left I could see very little value in the structure that had been our childhood home.

With court approval this month, we finally have permission to prepare the house for sale, thus the appraisal...

For something that we had thought had little or no value, considering the filth and deplorable conditions my parents chose (to some degree) live in, the number at the bottom of the email proved us completely wrong...

It's value was just hidden underneath the years of neglect...a value that even with that neglect had only increased...

Tears came as I thought of that house....

and then more tears came as I thought of the last picture of my Dad before we took him out of that house....

 Just like his house had value I couldn't see or understand, because of all the clutter...That man who had been ravaged by the effects of dementia and alcohol, the man I barely recognized and was forced to say goodbye to, was still my father.

My father weighed down by this life was still of great worth and the value of his love had not been lost.

That's what the tears were about, not the email and not the number, but a remembering of what true value was.

A lesson in value, I really needed.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sew Addict

Okay I admit it, somebody needs to take my sewing machine away and my cable news subscription, so I will make dinner again  (like that will happen) pay attention to my family (that is probably more realistic). In the last like 24 hours all while watching CNN (so sad) I've made two baby blankets....
and a maxi skit....
I think I found the easiest sewing project ever. A friend dropped off a bag of unwanted fabric last night and there was a bunch of stretchy knit fabric, so I made my first skit (I love YouTube tutorials) took thirty minutes tops...and is beyond comfortable.
sewing counts as being productive, right????

oh yeah, I almost forgot...
burp rags...
Seven, yes 7 of my friends are expecting between now and November, so I'm getting a jump start on gifts :) see it's not avoiding my family, it's serving my friends, yes that sounds better! :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fix It!

I have a new kids ARE NOT supposed to touch my new computer. That's why I got a new computer, so they couldn't mess with my stuff....I was met by this, this morning....
Oh are going to get it.
The thing is my new computer has windows 8, and I have NO idea how to use it...and they know it. The rug rats take great delight in not helping me. I'm like a monkey doing a math problem and they sit back watching me like a sleepy cat on YouTube, laughing their heads off...
I hate my new computer...and where on earth did my kids learn to be soooo obnoxious!!!!
and she didn't act alone...

 now fix it!!!!
I mean it!!!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fishes and Sunbeams

The last day or two between probate stuff and teenage stuff , there has been lots to think about. Nothing earth shattering and nothing to do but ride the wave through...But in an effort to keep from going crazy crazier, I turned to crafting, causing drinking is highly frowned upon ;)...
Monday's creation:
 Magnetic go-fish game...I plan on using this in music time. (magnets are sewn in the fishes noses and in the worm, and it actually works :))

Tuesday's creation:
We have a bunch of new Sunbeams (3 year olds) in primary and this month we are working on the song Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam. Every time we sing sunbeam (7x) they shine their lights :) works in my head so we will see Sunday.

Not crazy yet, but we'll see what tomorrow brings :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Crazy Cleaning Lady

No I haven't hired help...I NEED help...I am the cleaning lady and I. Am. Crazy...

We got an email on Monday from our property manager asking if they could do an inspection/ walk through with the home owners this Friday, I knew it was coming...This is an annual occurrence, since we began renting in Courtenay 4 years ago.

They are totally accommodating and super nice about it ....But it honestly makes me turn into a CRAZY lady for the days leading up to their intrusion ...For some reason I am always worried about being judged by those who enter my house. The anxiety is even worse if I don't know the people well. It's ridiculous really, I keep a pretty clean house most of the time, even though the rug rats feel it a constant completion to see how quickly they can undo my tidy organization....

Their are maybe five friends I would let in if I consider our house a if you have seen my house messy, you know we are tight...

I am driving my family nuts..."Mom they are not looking in the closets or couches so why do they have to be spotless?" They aren't even looking at cleanliness, they just want to see what repairs and up keep are needed...Regardless... I have been on a three-day cleaning frenzy. So if they look under the stove or on top of the kitchen cabinets. We are safe.

I know where it all comes from. I grow up with relentless hoarders. We could never have anyone over, ever. I hated the chaos of living in a disaster. It wasn't just the mess I remember it was also the smell. That smell is permanently burned into my memory. I have spent my adult life trying to erase that smell....My family thinks my super sonic sense of smell is beyond ridiculous..."you smell things no one else can ". Having to return to my dad's home recently and clean out his hoard sent me over the edge. After twenty years the smell had not changed...It is a mission of mine to never smell that smell again...especially in my home.

I know its NUTS.

Last week when we bought Grant's permanent CPAP breathing machine for sleeping...The sleep tech took the air filter out of the trial machine we had for a month and a half. And said "Man you must live in a clean house." Really how can you tell..."The air filter is spotless" It was music to my ears...I almost asked if I could get that in writing...I'm crazy. I know.

It's weird because other peoples messy houses don't bother me at all. I don't really notice. I am not a germ-a-phobe  either and have never minded helping other people clean...But it's something about my own place that makes me turn into a crazy lady.

I don't ever want to leave the legacy of hoarding my parents did, for my children...But I think I have gone a little too far the other way, this week for sure.

So family I am Saturday I should be back to my only slightly crazy self...Until then it is your best interest to ignore me :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Knee-Jerk Nuptials

Wow! Twenty years of wedded BLISS.....MMMMMM...What can I say? Not one person thought we'd make it six weeks :) I don't really blame them...There are no pictures of the actual day our nuptials...Why? Well... you could say our wedding was a shotgun one and nobody thought to bring a camera and we were teenagers (in H.S.) and we put more thought into what we had for dinner the night before and what we wore that morning, than we did our actual wedding or the lifetime ahead of us.....
Our wedding...hhhhmmmm
an over-reaction (for sure)
a high pressure sale (kinda)
young live birds jumping the gun (mmm mmhh)
knee-jerk nuptials...yup that's what you would call our wedding.
And it goes something like this...
Teenagers in LOVE.
Teenagers trying to make things right.
Mom: "You HAVE TO get married!"
Me/Grant: "But Mom ?!?!" 
Grant to Me:" So like do you want to get married?"
Me: "Sure, I guess"
Mom finds a justice of the peace.
Mom pays for and takes us to get a marriage license.
Mom buys our wedding rings at the mall (without us).
Grant and I exchange vows in the JP's living room.
My mom and sister are the only ones there.
No one knew we got married.
I phone my Dad, he is shocked!
Grant phones his parents...shocked!!!
Yup superman and I were married on a school night, we didn't even wait for a weekend.
Feb 1993...a few weeks before our wedding...But these are the exact clothes we wore for the big day.
I had no idea how to cook (or anything matronly), he didn't know how to share the TV.
I still wore Mickey Mouse jeans, he still played Nintendo.
I was still in high school, he didn't even own a car.
we were just kids... 
So how did we manage to not wreck a marriage that started without a foundation?
At first we sucked at the marriage thing, we were just teenagers...but then Holly came along and it was the whole fake it, until you make it thing...
We were a family, so we acted like a family.

Feb 1995 - Bailey's Blessing Day
 We have had plenty of challenges, frustration and heartaches but we managed to love our way through each one.
There are days I still feel like I have no idea what we are doing...and really I don't. But I do know what works for us...
Summer 1995-Port Alberni, Yes I'm tired, I am already pregnant with Madison :)
August 2001-Holly's baptism-Port Alberni
H-8, B-7, M-6, A-3, D-2

No secrets.
Don't take life too seriously.
Find people who believed in both of you and ignored the ones who do not.
Listen, even if you don't want to hear it.
Laugh more than you cry. (well, maybe not Grant ;) )
Don't give up at the same time.
Problems in our marriage stay in our marriage.
Good therapy.
Date night. Date night. Date night.
Let the other be their true self.
Our children do not come first. (I make no apologies for this)
Forget expectations.
Be fast forgivers.
and enjoy the ride....
Oct 2012 (Dallyn is hiding behind me)
Stubbornness, luck, determination..... Sure but mostly a lot of hard work and even greater faith, that is why we are still standing twenty years after our knee-jerk nuptials.
I am married to my dearest friend, eternal companion and greatest ally. My life is a blessed one.
I love you Grant Edward Kramer and I would do it all over again...but maybe we should have call the in-laws and find a camera, this time :)  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Year

A year of Valentine's, Halloween, Saint Patrick's Day without the question "So..Do you celebrate that in Canada?"
A year without phone calls.
A year without his I love you too
A year without a father....

I simply miss him.

Kramers and Conference

This is parenting genius...okay probably not....But how do the Kramer parentals get their teenagers to watch the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference, without the use of cash....
The general conference drinking commandments were broken here, I promise. We sprung for the fancy Dads root beer and each picked a word...

Superman: blessings
Me: courage
Alex: prophets
Bailey: charity

(the rest are working)

Alex won hands down!!!!

Slightly irreverent, maybe, but they out grew conference bingo last year so I had to get creative :) And they indeed did watch the entire session with only one slight brawl so I

And just in case you were thought the BYU choir needed a few more members...


Yup our family is headed to heaven for sure ;)

Proof we really did listen....

I loved the talk by the seventy, that grew up an Idaho farm you want me to sugar coat things or to be direct....he shared how so many times while serving in a stake presidency families would ask what is the best ward to move into only once was he asked What ward could use a good family....

It is more important the kind of home our children come from than the neighbourhood in which they are raise.

I think conference is amazing and I really am humbled by many answered questions today.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Finding My Father

The last few days I have been sorting through dusty old pictures and paperwork of my Dad's and Mom's....It's only taken nine years for me to get around to tackling Mom's boxes....
I have turfed more than half of what I've been carting around for years. Its therapeutic to save just the basic and most important things from their lives, things that tell the story of who they were....Boxes and boxes down to just a few now...kind of strange really...
But my parents lives never really fit in a boxes anyways...
Dad was funny, profound, inappropriate, tender-hearted and spoke his mind...a bit of a renegade, I guess...
Today I found an old date book were Dad recorded thoughts, feelings, quotes and anything that struck his fancy over about a ten year period.... Most I can't post, mainly because of my Dad's propensity to use swear words beginning with the letter F.{ I think that was his favourite key as well ;)}
Dad could be funny, profound and inappropriate, sometimes all at the same time.... 

"The greatest force for good is imagination"
"I'm in love for the last time in my life"
 Dad always struggled to understand love...I don't know if he ever truly found it.

"We can't choose our loved ones by their taste in music"
 I distinctively remember the day that he told me he would disown  me if I ever listened to Rap music :)
"Les is the only one I know who's marriage outlasted his marriage"
Marriage: 20 years
Car: 28 years
VW Bug for the win :)
"People say, "You're looking good" But as mother used to say, "That isn't where it HURTS""
 My Grandma Beena was a wise sage....Our faces almost always hide the true extent of our heartache. If we could only see inside to each other's heart.

"An educated man is aware of what he doesn't know-An uneducated man is not aware of what he doesn't know."
"A wine cooler to me is like plastic flowers"
 Yeah well the wine didn't really treat your brain or your liver that much better either...just saying :)
"It is a shame to waste food on this AS*****."
 Oh he wrote the full word ;) My Dad had a way of saying what everyone else was thinking, only he seemed to get away with it.
"Man has made two major mistakes-
1. He invented gun powder
2. He went to Church"
 Dad had a hatred for guns...
And when it came to Church...well it was not for him. But he respected his daughters decision to go....
"A real intellectual is one who can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger
 Not my Dad's words but...I think my Dad would qualify as a real intellectual
"Why is it that when we loose something and then find it-
we are happier than if we had never lost it at all"
This was Dad's last entry in this book.
Words scribbled on a page a few at a time. A lifetime of who, how and what my Dad was. My father :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Splurging After Twenty

We have survived 20 years of marriage.... (No we can't believe it and neither can anyone who ever lived next door to us ;)). So two decades of living the dream deserves some kind of reward. So we hit the West Coast this weekend and splurged on the Black Rock Resort and loved every minute of being called Mr. &Mrs. Kramer.
I wanted to do two things pedicures and whale watching....
Superman was thrilled about the whale watching, but looked forward to the pedicure with all the excitement of a prostate exam :). He sulked into the spa for his "sports pedicure" but melted like butter the minute his feet hit the jetted water. :) Superman probably won't admit it, but is a total pedicure convert now :)
Considering Friday was socked in fog all day...we woke up to sunshine and couldn't of asked for a more beautiful day on the water....

And what we paid the big bucks for.....
WHALES (gray ones)


 These guys just lumber along and its more of the sound and mass thing, that photos simply can't totally capture. We were close enough to feel the spray.
I love, love, love the ocean! It was only cold when the zodiac was at full speed.
 Calmest day on the ocean. I have never seen the west coast of the Pacific this calm, ever.
Long Beach ...we have honeymoon pictures on this same beach and every single one of them has either my mom or my mom in law in them ;) So we had to go back...for old time sake :)


Wickaninnish Beach..... 
And nothing beats watching the sun drop into the Pacific.......

A great weekend with my awesome Superhero.
I sure do love my Superman!