Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mashed Madness

Mashed madness...
AKA Bailey's Open House :)......

Either Mormons are suckers for free food.... or everybody loves Bailey! I will go with the latter :) After writing down everyone we remember coming through our house, we had 113+ people here. Crazy and Awesome....

Sunday morning I had said a quick prayer that everything would go well and we would have enough food...

We had planned for 60 -70 people....and had a true loves and fishes experience.

 We needed a food that you could eat walking around (Casa de Kramer is not a large house) and the Mashed Potato bar worked amazingly well!

It was crazy enough that we didn't get a single picture....but here's the idea :)....

Mashed Potatoes
{1 lbs raw potatoes = 2 cups mashed, 2/3 c per serving)
We mashed 40 lbs of potatoes,(+ 1 lbs butter + 1 L  sour cream + milk,) filling 2 plug in turkey roasters.
And this was the best investment...long handle masher....

($5.90, Jemco Restaurant Supply in Lantzville. That store has everything for the kitchen at unbelievably cheap prices)
Sour Cream
(used 2 L)
(used 1 lb)
(made 24 cups, could have used double that)
(used 2 bags bacon bits from Costco)
Crispy Onions
(used 1 bag, Costco)
Chopped Green Onion
(used 8 bunches, need twice that)
Grated Cheese
(used 2 bags Mozza cheddar blend, Costco)
We also severed...
Two large, Veggie and Dip Trays
(snap peas, carrots, peppers, celery, broccoli, cucumbers and 2L dip)
Two large, Fruit and Dip Trays
(strawberries, grapes, honeydew, cantaloupe, pine apple and 2L lemon yogurt)
We just kept reloading the trays, until we ran out. 
I ordered a 1/2 slab of cake....
It was devoured in about 5 minutes, I should have gone with the full slab.
We just served water with lemon out of my 3 gallon standing jug(if you don't own one, buy one, they are less than twenty bucks and we have used ours to death)...
(4 lemons, 1 bag of Ice)
We found plastic disposable margarita glasses at Dollarama (10 for $3)
 (but you could use any type of cup)
Went through 40 plastic spoons and 80 plastic forks and 80 napkins and 80+ paper
Everyone ate......
We had nothing left over...
And clean up took less than an hour...
It was a wonderful success!!!
Thank you to all for sharing this day with us and to those who travelled. We felt loved, supported and it was a privilege to fed y'all.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Bailey's Farewell Talk

Bailey spoke in Sacrament meeting yesterday.....
It was such a sweet awesome crazy day, shared with so many and we felt so loved!!!! 
I will post about the mashed potato madness  later :)

For now I will share Bailey's talk and the song sung for Bailey by Sister Anderson  (love her!). 


Bailey was so nervous, but spoke with a sweet quiet confidence....

{if you want the Cliff Notes version, read the bold type ;)}
After his resurrection the lord commanded his disciples to "go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the holy ghost" In fulfillment of this command, able young men and women  in the church have a duty to prepare spiritually, physically, and emotionally  to serve as full time missionaries.

many of you may wonder how i came to the decision to serve a full time mission for me i never had a ah-ha  moment or a big event happen that made me want to serve. the truth is i never really thought about serving a mission til one sunday my dad and i were walking home and out of the blue he said that if i served a full time mission it would change our family. At the time i just pushed it aside thinking my dads just being my dad. But after i couldn't stop thinking about it. about a week late i found myself  in my parents room and at that time i still hadn't made the decision for myself to go but i found my self saying it "mom dad i am going on a mission " after i was still very unsure  but my mom being who she is jumped right on board  and soon i was getting my wisdom teeth pulled and my forms completed even then it still didn't feel real...soon i met with my bishop and stake president and my forms were sent then began the waiting that had to be the worst part  knowing that anyday i would get my call it wasnt till dec. 30th that my call came. even then i was very unsure. for me knowing that serving a mission was what i needed to do didnt hit me til just a few weeks ago when i went through the temple. the temple gave me the opportunity to leave all my worries and doubt about a mission behind and focus on the importance of serving a mission. it gave of the peace that i needed to realize that serving  a mission wont only benefit me but also my family.

so what is a missionary?
Missionaries generally begin serving when they are from 19 to 21 years old. Many retired seniors, men, women, and married couples also serve missions. Missionaries serve from 18 months to 2 years. Missions are voluntary, and missionaries are not paid for their service. Missionaries come from around the world, and they serve wherever the Church calls them. While serving full-time, missionaries are official representatives of the Church.
After over a month of waiting and checking the mail box everyday my call finally came...
(read mission call)
even reading my call now i still get the same feelings i had feelings of excitement and joy and an overwhelming feeling of  "oh my goodness this is actually happening" i was shocked they were sending me to Halifax its the farthest from home i could be while still staying in my country. but over all i was comforted knowing that i was able and worthy enough to get the mission call.
 from Richard G. Scotts talk from the april 2014 conference and he says... “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”1
We best serve our Father in Heaven by righteously influencing others and serving them.5 The greatest example who ever walked the earth is our Savior, Jesus Christ. His mortal ministry was filled with teaching, serving, and loving others. He sat down with individuals who were judged to be unworthy of His companionship. He loved each of them. He discerned their needs and taught them His gospel. He invites us to follow His perfect example. end quote Jesus Christ really is the perfect example of missionary work he devoted his whole life to teaching and bringing souls to his father's gospel. even knowing all the pains and struggles he would have to endure knowing that it was for us it was enough for him because he loves us unconditionally.   one of the best missionary tools that Jesus Christ showed us is to love one another Richard G. Scott says...  We must be sure to sincerely love those we want to help in righteousness so they can begin to develop confidence in God’s love. For so many in the world, the first challenge in accepting the gospel is to develop faith in a Father in Heaven, who loves them perfectly. It is easier to develop that faith when they have friends or family members who love them in a similar way.

Giving them confidence in your love can help them develop faith in God’s love. Then through your loving, thoughtful communication, their lives will be blessed by your sharing lessons you have learned, experiences you have had, and principles you have followed to find solutions to your own struggles. Show your sincere interest in their well-being; then share your testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. he goes on to say... Keep your sharing of the gospel simple.Your personal testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is a powerful tool. . Accompanying resources are prayer, the Book of Mormon and the other scriptures, and your commitment to priesthood ordinances. All of these will facilitate the direction of the Spirit, which is so crucially important for you to rely upon. End quote  to many when they think about missionary work they say they never have the opportunity or  the time or that it is only for the missionary but missionary work is for everyone and it becomes easier to share the gospel when you live it doing your prayer study your book of Mormon and committing to those priesthood ordinances and promises  will as Elder Scott said directed the spirit. to those people that you will share the gospel with. i know that just your testimony can make people want to know more. And when sharing the gospel don't ever  be afraid that people might ask questions that you may not know the answer to because i know of 4 young people in that ward that would love to answer their questions. we should never be afraid  of what people might think if we share the gospel with them because we should all be a beacon to others i know that when we project that light of the gospel people will want to know more they will want to feel what you feel when you live the gospel.
i know that for myself following  Jesus Christ's example and giving up 18months of my live to serving my father in heaven wont only bless the lives of the people i will teach but it will greatly bless my life it will help my faith and testimony grow greatly! and help me continue my missionary work after i come home.
i say these things in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Bailey, we are so excited to see this journey unfold for you.

Thank you to all for share this day with us, in spirit or person. We love you!!!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mamma's a Mess

The future Missionary leaves in.....

And suddenly I'm a mess.

It just hit me this week that she is actually leaving....and I'm suddenly turning into one of those mothers I totally made fun of...
The one that sobbed when they dropped off their kindergartener for the first day. (while I gleefully dropped and ran like a fugitive.)

Suddenly I'm THAT mom. 

(Thanks Karma)

Good byes are not a strong point. I hate them. I don't like the ugly awkward cry in public, (yeah Superman, its embarrassing)

What do you call it when you are...

Happy-sad-excited-worried-grateful-anxious-hopeful ???

(WebMD suggests a psychiatrist ;) )

I am so excited for Bailey....but surprised at how sad I feel to say a short goodbye.

Come on Robin...keep it together....would you :)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Because of Him

This Easter season has brought with it hope and gratitude....

Going to the temple, preparing to send Bailey and needing a quiet miracle has brought some sweet and tender mercies in the last few days. I love the fresh start of Easter....
I know He lives. It's that simple...
Through the struggles, I have come to know His love, His care and His ability to comfort and carry. I have never been left to walk the path alone. He loves each of us and wants us to feel of that love...

Because of Him (if you haven't watch it...do it)


I know He lives and...
Because of Him...I can live again too.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Basket Case

The Easter Bunny got her craft on early....

Easter baskets fit for my sugar addicts. You. Are. Welcome. :) yes I know I'm a horrible parent.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


I clearly had too much time on my hands, yesterday.....

I felt like doing something Eastery, even though I came to the sad realization, it's been years since matching Easter dresses, willing Easter egg hunts and bunny pictures...I almost miss those years!

Easter weekend now means youth conference and working teenagers and maybe chocolate, if I get to Walmart before it's all cleared out....

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Last week they got caught red handed....

A child you shall remain nameless, but from this point forward be referred to only as SKIPPY, thought because their parents were away, congratulating themselves for surviving under the same roof for 21 years, would not discover that SKIPPY was skipping school...

20 minutes into SKIPPY's not too well thought out plan....

"Did you know that your kid, is with my kid???" said the concerned mother on the other end of the phone. (Why do they think that parents don't stick together????)

"No...she is supposed to be in school...thanks for the heads up." I stutter.

So I text SKIPPY's call phone....

"Why are you with______?"

"Ignoring me ain't helping your cause?!?!?"

"I'm calling the school..."

After 15 minutes of ignored texts and calls....I call the school and confirm that SKIPPY is indeed skipping Pre Calculus...

I have a good laugh with the secretary about how "smart" dumb teenagers are and then when she asks "Do you want the school to impose consequences???"  

"Absolutely, I am not about to stand in the way of natural consequences...."

{Detention and a chat with the Principal and a deduction in marks on an assignment}

It takes me another hour to hear back from SKIPPY...not a smooth move!

"There are consequences SKIPPY (I may or may not have lost my sanity for a second or two)_____ _____ ______ ______ ______!!!!!!"

I then have a day to conger up creative consequences, before Superman and I return from our night away....

That evening Superman and I are discussing the best consequences....

(taking stuff away is NOT effective and only punishes me  and making an OCD child clean is a reward so....)

hmmmm.....Service for someone else....I think I'll call the RS president and see if there is someone who needs SKIPPY's help....

SKIPPY and I finally meet face to face....

Excuses...a lack-luster apology....and angry tears

I inform SKIPPY that she will need to call Sister C and arrange 3 hours of service....just as the Future Missionary saunters  through the kitchen "You should just make SKIPPY go out with the missionaries"

Ahhh yes! PREFECT!!!!

SKIPPY has been ignoring the missionaries invitation for weeks....


"Can't you just take away the car or my phone, like normal parents???" SKIPPY says defeated.

Nope, some time with the missionaries will do you good, and it has to be done it the next two days or I'm adding service hours too..."

SKIPPY realises there is no way out....and texts the missionaries.

Two days later....

SKIPPY: "Going out with the missionaries was actually not as bad as I thought"

I love you SKIPPY and by the way you didn't have a chance, both your parents have master degrees in the art of SKIPPING....(Dad use to call the school and pretend to be my father....) Armature ;) 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Perfect Day

Bailey leaves to serve her mission in 20 days...

This last weekend we took her to the temple, one more step in her journey.

It was a simply perfect day. 

Last week was busy, crazy and even discouraging...Grant and I entered the temple with heavy hearts and a world of worry on our minds....the temple brought peace and clarity and courage. 

Grateful to share the day with a dear friend who has been at the crossroads of our lives for years now, shared our joys, shed tears in our sorrows and never once left us to walk our journey alone. 

Seeing Bailey prepare to serve a mission has been a sweet and tender experience for our family. There are joys in the struggle, light in the uncertainty and hope in the future...oh how we need that.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Grateful Things

Last minute, we scurried away overnight for our anniversary...(not sure the kids even knew we had left)

{Dolphins Resort is 10 little cabins over looking Discovery Passage (between the East coast of Vancouver Island and Quadra Island) about 45 minutes north of where we live.}

It's such a beautiful and peaceful place...the hum of humming birds, catching the first nectar of spring...the lap of waves against the rocks as the occasional  fishing boat moseys by...the distinctive squawk of an eagle not far off...watching the sunlight dance across the water....sea side therapy

"Can you believe, with everything.... we've made it 21 years???" Is how the conversation started...

"You know, even with all the struggles...we sure live a BLESSED life, Robin." Superman's sincerity surprised me, some.

"We've always managed to be in the right place...with the right people to help us through the challenges...." "That is not just by chance...our family is a blessed one, Robin."

Pure  grateful clarity.

Elder Uchtdorf's talk (which Grant missed this weekend) rang in my ears...."Be grateful in all things"
   -accept with courage your current circumstances...

   -gratitude is independent of those current circumstances

  -gratitude is an act of faith and hope...we may not understand right now, but trust that one day we will.

  -look past disappointing endings in mortality to eternity

  -Endings are not our destiny

We sure do live a BLESSED life...thanks for the reminder Superman...here's to the next 21 years eternity, my friend :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Twenty. One. Years!

Superman and I tied the knot, 21 years ago (Apr 8)...
Our knee jerk wedding, turned into a marriage full of miracles and mayhem and medication. :)
Nobody knew we would make it, except us.
So glad we found each other early, so we could love each other longer....
21 not so fascinating facts, for 21 not so fantastic years ;)

1. We were married on a school night,in high school.
2. Our first pet was a cat named Jezebel.
3. We didn't have our own car, until we had ben married a year and a half. A 1978 olds omega.
4. My mom accompanied us on our honeymoon, not even joking.
5. We have moved 13 times in 21 years.
6. Our wedding reception and my high school grad were held the same weekend, we attended both.
7. Our first tv was my parents first tv from 1971, you had to hit the top to stop the screen from rolling and put tin foil on the rabbit ears to get reception
8. I spent 45 months pregnant, in the first 79 months of our marriage.
9. Our wedding colours were green and gold, same as LCI's, also my mothers idea.
10. My Dad didn't know I got married until after it happened.
11. We have called Lethbridge, Raymond, Port Alberni and Courtenay home.
12. My mother insisted on sewing Holly and I matching dresses, I was 8 months pregnant...green velveteen...need I say more.
13. Grant got kicked out of a Church basketball game, for swearing at the ref, we had been married less than a month.
14. Our wedding song..."A Whole New World" from Aladin, Disney...we were so mature.
15. I only knew how to make Hamburger Helper and Pancakes when we married.
16. My moms wedding gift, was a special book?!?!...(Kelli I added this solely for your benefit)
17. Our first apartment, was a basement suite, with wood panelling and one tiny window.
18. Our favourite store was ToysRUs, even before we had kids.
19. Grant shot his hand with a framing nailer, not long after our wedding...first time taking him to the ER...far from the last 
20. Our first fight, Grant wanted to watch Star Trek, I. Did. Not.
21. Marriage was the wackiest, nuttiest and best decision we have ever made.

I love you Superman! Forever and a day, eh? <3

Bailey's Farewell

We put Bailey on the plane 4 weeks from today...
The last four months have flown by and we are getting excited to see what this next chapter in Bailey's life brings.
To celebrate we are having an open house in her honour. Sunday April 27th. We invite all to join use for this special day....

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Missing Les

Two years today we said good bye. A good bye on a Good Friday...
 Two years hasn't done much to make my heart hurt any less...
I simply miss him.

We buried him in Nephi, my sister wanted him close to her. That was such a wise choice.
{Mom was buried 1,300 km from my home and 1,300 km from Kelli's home and sadly we have never returned to her grave}
Today, Kelli took her young children to pay their respects to Grandpa Les....
Thank you Zach and Mya for doing what I couldn't today.
Dad I love you! Thanks for teaching me how to swear, love Jazz harmonies and to be myself regardless of the situation. 

Friday, April 4, 2014


If this crazy life has taught me nothing else...it is that all we really need is to feel LOVED. It is really that simple....

We have had some of the sweetest experiences...

On Sunday, one of the kids Bailey teaches in Primary, got up to bear his testimony and with the help of his sister and with a purity that only 5 year old can have....He told Bailey that he loved her and he was happy that she could serve a mission, that he was really, really going to miss her, and missing her was ok because she was helping Heavenly Father and that Heaven Father would help him...

That sweet boy melted our hearts. It was one of my most favourite moments.


Tonight as I conducted the music at a baptism, I fought back tears...

Its been so rough lately, so deeply private and personal....We sang "Love Is Spoken"

....Mine is a home where ev'ry hour is blessed by the strength of priesthood pow'r...

It's been easy to focus on all the things that have changed for Superman and our family as we have struggled over the last few years...

But as we sang that song I was reminded of all the blessings we still do have, that Superman has not lost the most important things and that we are loved, blessed and watched over...ev'ry hour. I needed to feel that tonight!


Grant showed me an email that meant so much to him....

 .....I know times are tough right now, but wanted you to know that you are loved, thought of, and prayed for.....
We are loved.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


I sat in a leadership meeting,  many years ago...The topic was Employment Resource Services and the thought of a meeting on finding a job and resume writing seemed daunting at best...

A sister from LDS Social Services was the guest speaker...and we weren't talking about resumes or job searches, but how to meet the spiritual and temporal needs of all the members we had stewardship over...and a daunting meeting became one of the most humbling and thought provoking I've ever attended....

Still now, the things this sister shared resonate in my heart and mind, as I have grown in serving in the Church....

"The poor are always needy, but the needy are not always poor..."

She told us to be seeking out the needy among us and then said this, pointing behind her at the leadership on the stand "If you are not also looking on the stand (for those in need) you are missing many who need you."

{light bulb}

Until that very moment, I had never even thought about that....That those in leadership also struggle....I had had  no experience in leadership yet and never really knew others in leadership, personally anyway...By the time you're that old serving there of course you have your stuff ALL TOGETHER and all the resources you need to sail through life...(cut me some slack, I wasn't out of my twenties yet)

Well much has happened since that meeting of many years ago and as it turns out that Sister was bang on.

Superman serves in leadership and sometimes even sits on the stand and instead of our family and especially him receiving a reprieve from the struggles and challenges, they have just intensified...an illness rages on and yet he still willingly serves...

The association, love and understanding from those he serves with is a life line and a manifestation of our Heavenly Father has for him and that his is intimately aware of his needs...

Still he is NEEDY... We are all NEEDY...Yet admitting that, is often intimidating and difficult...

I worry that if I am honest about our struggles and especially his illness, someone will discredit or judge him the next time he attends a meeting or we speak in their Sacrament meeting...Mental Illness has not affected his testimony or his ability to share it...but our struggles are often misunderstood and asking for what we need can be risky...

There is no end insight, for our struggle...we are  learning to accept that, but asking for what this needy family really needs, that isn't so easy...