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?!?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Siesta

Some days I just wonder what goes through my man child's head....more than thirteen years and I have yet to figure out how his brain works (or doesn't).

So we are on our way home from Nanaimo....

"So like what are we doing when we get home???" Dallyn pipes up from the backseat.

"Mom and I are taking a long siesta." Grant responds,yawning

"Ewww I don't want to hear your SIESTA, Da-aad," Dallyn groans

"Wait...what do you think SIESTA means, Dallyn?!?" I say looking to the back seat.

"You know...si-ESTA," Dallyn says while doing some kind of  dance with "air" maracas in his seat...

"Wait, What?!?"

"You know Mom.... hanky panky!" Dallyn says, rather frustrated....

The van erupts in laughter....

"Ummm...NO Dallyn, that's not what SIESTA means!" I sputter before I could stop laughing....NAP...Dallyn...SIESTA...means NAP.

"Oh!!!"

Oh son, lets hope you never get lost in a Spanish speaking country :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Clean Sweep :)



{Warning: According to Grant this post will bore you to death, like he's an authority on housework :)}

Much to the great annoyance of my family, I've been on a cleaning, organizing, de-junking kick the last week or so....

First it was our yard....

Monday came with bright sunshine and 3 teenagers at home (at the same time) , WOW...That never happens anymore.... so at the unrighteous hour of 8:30 am, I rousted our brood out of bed......."It's Clean Up the Yard Day!!!!" {They've been more willing to go to a fifth Sunday meeting on food storage :)} Sometimes being the mom is AWESOME, and their defiant moans and groans were met with my annoying over the top cheerfulness :)

We cleaned out and organized the shed, cleaned out under the deck, scrubbed the deck, cleaned off the drive way, took ten bags to the thrift store and took two loads to the dump. And there was never a mutiny, weird.

It felt awesome!!!!

The next day I tacked the mountain of paperwork on top of my filing cabinet and actually found all of my IRS documents, my marriage certificate and no unpaid bills...even better :)

I realized the our overflowing deep freeze, had iced up to the point the lid no longer shut tight....so I unloaded it and then took a sledge hammer to the ice...which was way more therapeutic than it should have been....I even found a package of Eggos the kids had missed {no I didn't share}. And now its all back in and organized, with enough room for a months worth of crock pot freezer meals...NOT, like that will ever happen ;) Its ice cream and more Eggos.

I even caught up on all the laundry...well almost.

Yay me.

But seriously I love my clean and organized house :) Too bad my offspring and Superman don't share in my neuroses.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Just Words.

It totally caught me off guard and has sent me for an (emotional) loop for days...

They were just words. Words meant to show compassion and concern and support, even...So why did I feel like someone had just knocked the wind out of me???

Just the day before we had had a great visit, {our visitor} hadn't seen my superman in months, but it was good to see a friendly face and catch up. 

Totally fluke, I run into {our visitor}the very next afternoon as I am picking up a few things for turkey dinner....

"Hey thanks for the visit yesterday, it meant a lot."

"Oh Robin, I am so worried about him...he is not doing well at all...you can see it in his eyes...it's just devastating...it makes me so sad..."

"Oh but he's come a long way..." I say caught quite off guard.

I bite my lip hard as the pleasantries continue.

I hide my tears until I am alone in the juice aisle.

I must be crazy...

No I'm na├»ve...

No I am in denial...

That's it denial....Maybe they are right, this is devastating. Maybe things are never going to improve, get better, and I just refuse to see it. It's not hope, it's denial. I am so stupid.... I could not turn my brain off....I have mauled it over and over, for days. Eternally optimistic me felt devastated....

Why had I allowed {their} words to discount and dismiss how far we have come...

You should have seen where we were three months ago.

Okay so maybe we haven't won the war yet...but we have won countless battles over the last three months. Deeply private ones. And you know what, we are still fighting, there has to be something in that, alone.

{They}simply don't know my Superman's spirit like I do. His illness does not diminish his spirit or who he is. That's not denial...that's reality. And we believe in miracles. If can't see it, that's not our problem :)


 Believe in miracles. I have seen so many of them come when every other indication would say that hope was lost. Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior’s own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead.5


-Like a Broken Vessel, by Jeffrey R. Holland 

 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Thankful, I Think?!

Maddie and Alex insisted on sharing what they had done in YW today, before we dove into turkey....

One (surprisingly) took this as a serious assignment.....
 
 
One (not surprisingly) did not....SIGH




I would have launched into a lecture, if I hadn't been laughing so hard....
This is when passing the sarcastic gene done a generation comes back to bite ya :)

Really Alex??? Do I need to find you a therapist??? ( 'cause you know we totally have connections)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Parenting Stupidy

I am convinced that something happens to our dear sweet, innocent twelve year olds on the eve of their thirteenth birthday...Their brains, they take a decade long hiatus...trust me.

Teenagers can't find any thing, I swear they need seeing eye dogs...  Except sugar and cash, that they find that nanoseconds ...The kid that misplaces my sewing scissors, seconds before, can find a chocolate bar I hid in the bottom left corner of the freezer before I remember I put it there and the other kid who hasn't seen his band instrument in 17 days, finds the $6.50 in change I left in my pants pocket two weeks ago....

The last week has proven that there is a very fine blurry line, between teenager stupidity and insanity...

I had to ask, demand that my brilliant teenagers remove an inappropriate video on vines...I would have never imagined gummy bears could be inappropriate, but I have apparently underestimated the skills of my stupid teenage daughters....{How'd I find it...same kids downloaded the app on my phone and favourited their handy work}awesome

So this conversation happened last week....

M: We are going to be late...
Me: Why?
M: Alex got detention
Me: Say what? (positive I had miss heard)
M: Alex got detention!
Me: The perfect one?!?! The one who has never gotten in trouble at school before?
M: Yup that's the one!
Me: What'd she do???
M: Left her 'artwork' on her desk...
Me: You let graffiti artist know, there will be consequences when she gets home! I say laughing, cause I find great humour in princess getting knocked own a notch or two


Then Grant and I get in OUR van after a few days of letting Race car Madison drive it to school...with the implicit instructions that it is NOT to leave the school parking lot during school time....Grant and I can't even see the floor thru all the Starbucks cups, Timmies bags and McDonalds wrappers...

'You aren't allowed to take OUR van any where but school!!!'

'I don't!!!!'

'Really?!?....Ever heard of a garbage bag, darling????'

'Oh aaa sorry!'

I love my teenagers!!! Their stupidity not so much!





Saturday, October 5, 2013

Conference Answers

A rough road continues...Superman and I sat in the doctors office, this week, trying to figure out what to do next...There are no quick fixes and no guarantees...Time will tell... The honesty appreciated but so difficult to hear...

I hid my tears until we got to the van, but the life long reality it hard...While we had just gained deeper understanding of what we are facing, and could not deny our doctor's honesty...my heart again ached at the thought....

Two days later....

I turned on General Conference this afternoon completely out of obligation, rather than desire...The Ipad sitting on the table as I sewed, I caught only bits and pieces above the drone of my sewing machine...I heard them announce Elder Jeffery R Holland as a speaker..."Oooo I wonder what topic he will tackle today", I thought as I continued piecing together my quilt...

Elder Holland started his talk ..."I wish to speak to those who suffer from some form of mental illness..."

What???

I stopped dead and grabbed the Ipad...

There have been many articles and lessons on Mental Illness but this was the first time I remember it being directly addressed in General Conference.

As I listened intently, I realized I was sobbing...

I felt so many different emotions...acknowledged...loved...understood...

There was so much power, in just acknowledging the challenge that mental illness is. A challenge our family and Superman has face for decades...and not always with the compassion and understanding Elder Holland lovingly and powerfully shared.

This last week was so hard and  I instantly knew my Heavenly Father was fully aware of our struggles and how much my heart was hurting...



.....Be merciful, non-judgemental and kind....

I bear witness of that one day when loved ones that we knew to have disabilities in mortality, will stand before us glorified and grand, breathtakingly perfect, in body and mind. What a thrilling moment that will be. I don't know whether we will be happier for our selves for witnessing such a miracle, or happier for them that they are fully perfect and finally free at last....


I could barely read my friends text, through my tears, immediately following Holland's amen....

"Did you just watch Holland's talk?"...<3 em="">


We are not alone in our struggles. How grateful I am for the hope the gospel brings. And for General Conference...
Elder Holland's talk...

http://www.lds.org/general-conference/watch/2013/10?lang=eng&vid=2722351290001&cid=10

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Twin Sisters




Not one single, disagreement, unkind word or fight in more than twenty years...

For sisters who by all definitions hated each other in high school. We have never had an argument since. Why? We needed each other.

We faced the rapid decline and tragic death of our Mom in our twenties and the deja vu of sorts as we watched our Dad's decent into dementia and subsequent death in our thirties.

We made medical decisions, planned funerals, sorted through paperwork and houses and settled affairs, without a single disagreement.

 I remember Moms funeral director commenting, "Wow for sisters you sure get along."

We were well aware that family did not always behave well in these circumstances...We had had a front row seat not that many years prior. And I think we realized then that relationships had a greater value than nick nacs or furniture.

Kelli and I made a choice and kept a promise.

I will be forever grateful that my sister stepped in and cared for my Dad, when I couldn't leave, her circumstances not that much better than mine...She showed no animosity, just complete understanding..."You will come when you can..."

Recently the lawyer helping with my Dads affairs "Congratulated Kelli and I on being able to get along and trust each" (does that mean we get a discount? ;)) He shared that that isn't the norm...

Yeah we know :)

Relationships simply have a greater value.

How grateful I am for a sister like mine. We have shared everything in this life (except boyfriends, ewww) Birthdays, triumphs and heartaches...always together, the way it was intended.

She is my greatest blessing and dearest friend.

Happy Birthday, Kelli. I love you.