Monday, September 29, 2014

FORTY, thanks!

{I'm still not sure how we survived the 80's, much less made it in one piece to forty?}

Forty eh?
I used to think forty was ancient, like beyond OLD...
But now here I am, enjoying the lasts few hours of my thirties and I'm not feeling THAT old...although I'm positive the rug rats would beg to differ, 

Madison just sauntered through the room..." Oh my gosh mom! Your like more than double my age!?!?! 
Ummm thanks?!?!

Thanks A lot .....

1. Thanks Mr. Rodger's for teaching me that comfortable shoes solve nearly everything.
2. Thanks Dr. Ewald, for fixing my feet when I was 10. 
3. Thanks Grandma Beena for the best parenting advice ever "Raise those kids so other people can stand them."
4. Thanks Barney, I wouldn't have survived parenting in the 90's without you.
5. Thanks Dad for pulling me out of that river, in Yosemite, when I was 3.

6. Thanks Beth-Ann in 3rd grade for teasing me relentlessly, it taught me one never needs to be purposefully unkind or mean.
7.Thanks Cookie Monster for teaching me it's ok to eat a damn cookie.
8. Thanks, who ever brought call display to the masses, and helping me avoid people I don't like to talk to.
9. Thanks Sister Hyde, for trying to help my mom, instead of judging her, my eight-year-old self has never forgotten your kindness when you showed up on our doorstep mop bucket in hand.
10. Thanks Kelli, for never telling mom about the time we found moms year supply of matches and nearly caught the neighbour's car on fire.

11. Thanks spell check, for making me appear much smarter than I am.
12. Thanks Mom for bringing me home to Canada
13. Thanks Grandad for letting two teenagers and their troubled mom move in and giving them the stability they couldn't find on their own
14. Thanks Aunt Alice for teaching me how to fold a fitted sheet.
15. Thanks lazy eyes, for making it occasionally awkward in public {yes I can tell when you can't figure out what eye to look at } and helping me develop a talent for remembering names.

16. Thanks Dad / Mom for dragging us to every musical ever written, and for my ability to break into song simply to annoy the offspring.
17. Thanks Dad for teaching me not to clap between movements.
18. Thanks frozen pizza and KD I'm almost positive my family would have starved to death without you.
19. Thanks public education system, for giving me, "ME" time since 1999
20. Thanks my friends for never letting me walk this road alone.

21. Thanks mom, for always taking us to Church.
22. Thanks Dad for teaching me that the F-word can be endearing.
23. Thanks to my nurses at Children's Hospital of Orange County who let me drink all the HawaiianPunch I ever wanted 
24 Thanks Vancouver Island for making us a healthier family by switching to real butter and whole wheat bread. Yay us!
25. Thanks Bailey for being a missionary.

26. Thanks Superman for letting me do whatever I want, cause you know I'm going to do that anyways.
27. Thanks rug rats for signing all your permission slips and school forms for me.
28. Thanks Superman for always remembering to buy the tampons.
29. Thanks Dr Pepper, you and I have become tight these last few years.
30. Thanks Grandad for not yelling at me when I broke your tv, cause Kelli wouldn't turn it off when I was trying to sleep.

31. Thanks Mrs. Long , my 3rd grade teacher, for telling me I was funny and smart and could do anything I set my mind to, and giving me a safe place to be me.
32. Thanks Little House on the Prairie for making me think I was born a century too late.
33. Thanks for the knowledge  that I am a daughter of God
34. Thanks Heavenly Father for knowing that I couldn't have survived childhood alone and giving me a twin sister.
35. Thanks mint chocolate chip ice cream, you never let me down.

36. Thanks super smart professionals that make living with illness possible
37. Thanks Vans shoes for special making my shoes when I was a kid, and couldn't buy shoes off the shelf, I was cool before my time.
38. Thanks Dad for always making me notice the pretty fall colors.
39. Thanks reality tv for making me realize it could always be worse.
40. Thanks Superman for being my chauffeur and  never expecting dinner on the table.

Sister Kramer: Hello Sydney

Glad to know Bailey made it safely to her new area, Sydney, Nova Scotia :)

And no Bailey, we are not replacing you with pets. :)

And yes Elder Holland's talk Like A Broken Vessel is one of my favorites. :)

tucker is the cutes thing ever! i love that you a replacing me with animals haha :) but i dont think anything will fill the void of not having your favourite daughter around ;) your turning into those parents that have a kid when they have a child out on a mission.
my new companion is sister c she is from southern alberta. super sweet girl she has been out for 9 months now
the trip went smooth we got on the plane on wendesday ( so not a fan of flying!!) and stayed in halifax over night then drove to triro at 530 in the morning then drove with my new companion to sydney.
i have a talk that i think you should read it is called a broken vessel by elder holland i love it and i hope you like it to :) 
sorry that it is so short to day but i have interview with the president today so i promise to send you a long one with pictures next week

Saturday, September 27, 2014

It's a {blue-eyed} BOY!

 So apparently we acquire pets the same way we acquired children....NO planning, minimal discussion and in rapid succession :)

TUCKER (because it rhymes with me favorite curse word what 4 yr-old Dallyn wanted to be when he grew up :) )  joined our family Thursday. Could you say NO to those eyes? 

So maybe a month ago Superman says, "You know if we ever find Jack Russell puppies again, we might get one."

We never see JR puppies, like I never gave it a second thought.

Then a friend stopped by Wednesday and after seeing Tater, said "Oh you should see the cute JR puppies,(her son's) friend has??"....

Wednesday night, after Superman walked in the door from Church meetings...."I say there are JR puppies in Black Creek."

16 hours later TUCKER was home.

{see just like we had children}

He's so tiny and is too cute for words...

Tater tolerates him, Charlie is SURPRISINGLY kind and has not laid one claw on him and the rug rats simply LOVE him....

And that's it NO MORE pets!!!! I mean it this time!!!! (not like when we had kids ;) )

Welcome home TUCKER!!!!

And no we are NOT replacing our departing children with pets, no normal person does that. But Grant did veto naming TUCKER, Bailey ;)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sister Kramer: Farewell NFLD

{Scripture Study on the Beach}
so i guess your going to have to take st. johns of your weather app they are finally kicking me off the rock and sending me to...(drum roll!!!) Sidney nova Scotia!!!! i will be leaving on Wednesday :) these last few days have been really great it was the newfoundland conference its like stake conference but we dont have enough members to call it that...president leavitt came up on saturday to give us a training and the saturday session of conference then after we had a branch corn roast and a talent show my companions and i took the word to man in the mirror and changed them to missionary one and throw in a bit of newfie and all the missionaries sang it. it was a hit everyone loved it there is a video on my wall of it if you want to hear it :) After the night was over president leavitt took us missionaries out for icecream it was awesome :)

its been a crazy few days trying to get everything to fit in two suit cases but i think the change will be good it is a little bitter sweet to leave the people you have come to know so well but it is exciting to start the next chapter of my mission 

do you think that you could send me the book "the power of everyday missionaries" president has added it to the books we can read and i would love to have it thanks :)

love you guys hope you are doing well :)

{Saying a sad farewell to a Senior Couple who had finished their mission}

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Unsolicited Advice, Stop it.

Ok I might be a wee bit frustrated consider yourself warned....and please don't call the 1-800 number  and report me ;)

I went to a Sunday School  class today, only slightly against my will. The Sister missionaries needed another female in the room and since I have one of those missionaries out now, I want to support the sweet sisters in our ward.

I sat and even participated...(yay me do I get a sticker now??)

The teacher was well prepared and the class well taught.

The topic was the Word of Wisdom, which always makes me cringe some, just because there seems to be a vast range of interpretation of the text.

I am not a scriptorium and never intend to be such...I'm from the "if it feels right, then I don't care why, I'll just do it" school of thought.

We discussed all the don'ts and then all the dos and all the blessings that come from being obedient to the Word of Wisdom....many personal experiences very specific to diet, were shared and after a few , I felt I had to say something....

That something was, something like the following....

"You know even if we follow the word of wisdom, some of us, through no fault of our own can still suffer from difficult health challenges and sometimes a "word of wisdom miracle doesn't come. And the "if you were just more obedient to the word of wisdom" attitude, intended or not, can hurt. We may go to church together, but that does not mean we fully understand each others trials and decisions in how to cope with those trials. (medical or otherwise) "

I then talked very briefly about Grant's struggles and said "despite all we've done, he still struggles"


After our Sunday siesta Grant walks in the living room, phone in hand....

"What the HELL's this, Robin??" "What did you say in Sunday School???

This, was an email from a ward member, neither of us knows, other than by name....

"After your comments in Sunday School....have you heard of "True Hope"

I stammered trying to explain myself to my angry sweetheart....


Just because our struggle is "new news" to you, does not mean it is NEW to us, unless FIFTEEN years is new?....

We've tried it ALL in an effort to fix my super hero.....

Diets, vitamins, CPAP machines, exercise, EVERY psychiatric medication more than once...and yes even True Hope, now called EMpower plus ( the Tupperware approach to mental health)...oh and even the "living the gospel, more fully" approach

And you know what ??? Grant still struggles every day with an illness that refuses to relent for long....

A competent psychiatrist and compassionate clinical counsellor, that is what keeps Grant's illness from becoming life threatening at the moment. (that is no exaggeration)

 We spend much time in prayer, pleading for understanding, direction and acceptance. And have had many sacred experiences that help us know the choices we have made are the right ones, for him and us.... 

So please stop it. Attitudes and assumptions and advice even with no malice intent, still cause hurt and heartache unnecessarily.

Yes I am sensitive, something I stopped apologizing for that years ago. The only question that is safe "How can I help your family???"

So if you don't know the middle names of at least three rug rats, why I hate Bacel margarine, or the story of my Mom in Moxie's with a T-bone steak...

Then I probably won't take any stock in your two-cent's, so don't waste the email.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Where We Stand

It was in a sacred moment this week, that I realized how far we've really come as we've faced the trials of the last few years....

For a moment I was brought back to the first few days and weeks after my Superman's illness relapsed...

The fear of the unknown...
The overwhelming worry...
The loneliness...
The fear of misunderstanding and judgement...
The hope against hope that something would just make him better...
The wishing we could be anywhere, but where we were standing...

In that moment, I also realized that we are standing in a far different place now.

The illness is still here. There is still fear and worry and bad days and tears and hoping and wishing...

But now there is also acceptance.

I never imagined we would be OK with a difficult and unpredictable illness. But today we stand in an OK place and we are ok.

In that sacred moment I remembered this...

"the path of salvation has always led one way or another through Gethsemane."

I had to look up which talk that came from..... Lessons From Liberty Jail by Elder Jeffrey R Holland

The healing miracle has yet to come for us... but acceptance is no less a miracle. And today I am ok with that. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our Wall of Death :)

It was a few years back, I was in my sister's living room, in the righteous state of Utah, admiring the pictures on her fire place mantle....

"Oh, how do you like our mantle of DEATH??? My brother in law, says behind, me

"What???"  It was only then that I realized that all the picture placed the were of the departed. My Mom, a few grandparents, Jason's Dad,  Kelli and Jason's first cat.

"Yup, Kelli call's it the memorial mantle, but I think the mantle of DEATH, is better"

We all laughed, when you've had our heartaches, sometimes you laugh at odd things....

But I honestly LOVED the idea, and made a mental note. Never to be out done by my twin, I figured we needed a "wall of death" at our new house....

My mom in the mid 60's, with their cats Stinky and Silly Mamma, leaning on my Dad's bug.

The CA license plate from my Mom's '64 Mustang 

My Dad, young and cool.

Ollie Jean (my Dad's only sister) and my Uncle Bill, in 1924, Ollie Jean died as a young teen, of a sudden illness. My Dad was born a year later, my Grandma Beena's heart never healed.

Grant's Grandma and Grandpa Kramer.

The MERRILL sign that hung by my Dad's front door.

My new favourite sign " if you met my family, you would understand " :)

My Grandma Beena as a young girl, she was/ is the most amazing woman.

1954 Merrill Family Christmas photo, shows my Great Grandma Ash, a hand cart pioneer and my Dad and his brothers

Beena and Wendell, my paternal Grandma and Grandpa (he died before I was born)

The hood ornament from dad's '62 VW Bug

Grandad and Grandma Hamilton, my material grand parents

The help me always remember that I stand today on their sacrifices and to honour them :)

The Temple...families can be forever :)

I realize as I've begun decorating this new house, that everything we have on our walls has meaning and isnt just there for the Esthetics.... 

Even the mantle (not of death)...

A picture of Jesus...I'm more spiritual than I let on ;)

An old clock from the Yorba Linda house, the chime tone is so cool.

Face clock, the last birthday gift from my mom.

K...duh Kramer starts with K :) any other letter would just be weird 

The fan, I'm not sure it's age (at least 100) but it was always on the table in the living room, in Grandad's home, my mom thought we'd chop our fingers off, so she cut the power cord off, when we moved in, we were 14 years old when she did that???? The fan makes me laugh.

Grant and I and the kids in front of the Handcart pioneer monument....always remember their sacrifices  :)
  The iron from the late 1800's.

So if you still think I'm normal, here's proof I'm not... Our book shelf...

Yes that's a bed pan, from the Gualt Hospital in Lethbridge, I saved it from the dumpster as we cleaned out mom's house...


I thought it was funny, see my sister and I have been through a lot of sh...crap. That bed pan reminds me that yes there have been many really crappy times, but we have survived and thrived...because and  inspite  of that :). 
I refuse to have pictures of my parents, where I can see their illnesses and vices, those are times one can't forget, but I wish to seenthem in young happier times, I believe that is a truer reflection of who they are.

I'm crazy, but my walls make me happy :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sister Kramer: That's A LOT of people.

So Bailey's email is as short as usual, but I can't complain, Grant and I each got a hand written letter Friday....She even apologized to me for being a horrid teenager (I must have a bad memory ;))....

the living room looks great! you should send me more pictures of the house i would love to see what it looks like :)....
this week has been good not a lot to report but we did beat the whole mission in how many people you talk to in a day the record was 402 people and we talked to 419 people! so that was pretty cool. 
yes it is cold here now! not sure if i need anything from home...its better to get things out here.

Ok, I don't think I've talked to, 419 strangers in my life time, so doing that in a day...way to go Bailey!
I miss my missionary...

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Cat's an A%#.

The Superman and I had a grad idea, with us being new homeowners and all...We need a cat, a big fluffy orange one..... and let's be, responsible and all, let's not get any cat, let's get a rescue....

So last week Alex and Grant headed to the shelter....{Shelters make me sad, so I won't go to them, I'd bring them all home...see I'm one teenager stunt away from instantly becoming the craziest cat lady that ever was....}

Grant and Alex weren't gone long before I get texted this picture....

His name's Chili and we LOVE him.

OK go for it.

Within the hour...Chili was home.

It's instant purring and affection....Until...

Chili notices Tater (our resident Jack Russell), just watching him from the opposite corner of the family room.

Before Grant or I can react Chili pounces on Tater and the next 15 seconds look like an old Looney Tunes cartoon....fur flying...

We finally pull Chili off Tater and proceed to pick claws out of Tater's head...

For the next three days Charlie (renamed about an hour after he came, because there was nothing CHILL about him) did nothing but stalk Tater....Pouncing at every opportunity.  I've never met a more aggressive assertive Cat in my life. Tater hid in his kennel most of the time as the cat walked by and hissed and swiped at him....

We wondered what we had done... as we looked in the paper work Charlie came with...we see, stray, attacking other cats...something the shelter never mentioned...

So Carlie's always been an A#%., great.

But we weren't willing to give up....mostly because he was so affectionate with us.

So we went and bought a fancy cat tree, cat nip, toys, a bed., his favourite treats...(we've brought babies home with less equipment) ad just prayed things would calm down.....

So each day gotten a little better and now Charlie is "tolerating" a distance. Tater being a JR with above average intelligence, gives Charlie a WIDE birth...There is only a slight brawl each Morning when Charlie realises Tater still lives here....but definite progress ....Charlie will probably always be an A#%, but he's here to stay and we LOVE him.

Yup, our Cat's an A#% and we LOVE him. Welcome home Charlie.

Remembering Them

My Mom and Dad are on my mind today....
Its Mom's birthday, she would have been 73, that's 11 birthdays in heaven, I think.
And today is the funeral of one of my Dad's dear friends....Dad and Mel were Logan (Utah) boys, a place that seems to fortify friendships like no other. City kids, but only in the 1950, Utah definition...raised on fresh air and home cooking and pioneer fortitude and the occasional adult beverage, snuck from Skanky's Market.  These guys were friends since grade school and  never missed an opportunity to get together since.  I can't imagine the trouble they're causing in heaven....(I'm pretty sure it's heaven ;))
 Birthdays in heaven always bring some sadness. But I am grateful to know that they are at peace.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sister Kramer: Everything Will Be OK :)

Such a sweet email this morning....

thanks it took a while to draw that up...why on earth do you have a cat now i thought you were never going to get one? we cover st. johns and conception bay for this transfer. yeah t took some money out to get some winter stuff. not sure if i need any thing right now. how is madison and holly doing havent heard from them  in a few weeks?? 

the baptism was amazing we had only been teaching her for about 2 months. it never felt that we were teaching her or that we were getting her ready for baptism. it was the holy ghost teaching through us...when you give you whole heart, might, mind, and strength to the Lord each day you serve amazing things come about.

so during church yesterday a lady got up and talk about how she was a nurse and she sad "when a child comes into the ER with broken bones or skin that needs to be stitched up, they are in so much pain and thier parents are always with them: even thought the parents cant take away the pain and there bones need to be set and skin stitched thier parents never leave them, they stay close by the child's side to say " dont worry everything will be okay" "i am right here im not going to leave you dont worry" those parents are like our Heavenly Father we still have to go through pain but he will never leave us he is always there.

Love you,

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Miracle, Maybe Not.

For a few days last week I watch a masterpiece being built...Superman's talents shined as he almost effortlessly built my mantle, skills learned from other masters, never forgotten...I loved watching the process. My superman is so talented. Life for those days almost felt normal....

My heart began to hope, am I witnessing a miracle?? Is he healed?? Even though I knew I was just seeing the ebb and flow of an illness, there is that little part of me that always hopes we will wake up one morning and it will all be gone....

"I didn't know you could do that?!?!"

"That's amazing!!!"

" Grant you are so talented!"

The praise and attention for my sweetheart was good, really good...Often people don't know what to say to Grant, so his beautiful mantle was a great facilitator for conversation. Attention he needs even when there is no masterpiece.

My mantle was a tender mercy, but not the beginning of miraculous healing. If I am honest, I was sad as I watched the fall the days after my masterpiece was finished.... not to scary depths, but evidence that Grant still faces an Everest.

It is discouraging when a reprieve doesn't last....{I have to believe that its because Heavenly Father has greater blessings in mind for us} ok, sometimes it down right SUCKS.... and it takes a lot of prayers and bargaining to find my hope again...

So, my mantle was not a miracle, but still evidence that even with immense challenges, we can accomplish amazing things.



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sister Kramer: Minion's Plan of Salvation :)

So this gem crawled across my newsfeed this morning and I've been smiling ever since....
Bailey's take on the Plan of Salvation / Plan of Happiness (Minion style)...
{click on the picture}

Bailey it's awesome and perfect and hilarious and so you.
Man I miss her!
Thanks for the smile.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Surviving My Scholars

So after this stellar dinner conversation the other night....
 { Me: So what are things y'all want to learn about???? Dallyn: Sex. Alex: Hitler}

My two brilliant scholars continued the conversation and Alex handed me this Newberry material.....

Oh. My. Heavens!!!! Where have I gone wrong???? (don't write the list, I already know...too much red Kool-Aid and Kraft dinner....not breastfed....babysat by Barney....)
Well I guess they just handed me my "lesson plan " for the next few days/weeks/????....
1. Sex....a review  and discussion of the Sexual Purity section of "For The Strength of Youth
2. Schindler's List, research and discuss the Holocaust
3. Origami.....I still remember being taught how to make a paper balloon in 4th grade....they will need to teach me a few new ones.
4. Clarinet (my most hated instrument!!!)....the history of the woodwinds and how to read the clarinet part on a symphony score. (you are welcome Dad)
5. Perogie Casserole...(my epic culinary failure the family won't let me live down) how to make real perogies from scratch.
6. Their Phones....the history of the telephone, how to use a rotary phone and pay phone...essays entitled  "Why I will not become an entitled teenager"....the dangers of texting and driving.
7. Dance (not like BeyoncĂ©)....the Waltz...the Foxtrot...the Cha Cha...all those years Mom sent us to Etiquette School (I know you can totally tell, I am the epitome of grace and elegance ) finally paying off.
8. Getting kick out of Walmart....??? Fill out an ACTUAL job application.
9. Good Jokes: Watch an afternoon of Brian Regan.   
10. Pinterest...First I am NOT a Pinterest junkie. (ok maybe I am)...pick an education experiment on Pinterest and do it. (as long as it doesn't involve glitter or explosives)
11. Splits... go out with the Sister missionaries....split firewood...
12. Make of ALL the General Conference talks I can find on sexual purity.
13. $100...donate $100 (that they earn by working for me) to a charity they choose.
14. Milk...research how milk is processed
Field Trips
1. East Hastings....take blessing bags to the soup kitchen
2. The Graveyard....get to know a dead relative through, find a name to take to the Temple.
3. McDonalds....we will take you you can get a JOB!!!!
4. Cat shopping...did that already...find out what courses you need to take to become a cat psychologist. Become a cat psychologist.
HELP.....they are slowly plotting my next diagnosis and admittance to the nearest mental institution.  I'm seriously not meant to parent full time in any month with an R in it.
Nope... I'm really not surviving my scholars.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

NOT Back to School

Today was supposed to be the first day of school for the youngest two Kramers....but our Teachers and provincial government are, shall we say, not getting the STRIKE that started two weeks before the end of last school year, continues....
I am NOT impressed and neither are the rug rats....Like really NOT.
  I'm one of those selfish mothers who loves public education. Honestly I like my ME time. And I know I'd be terrible at homeschooling.  Consistency is not a strength and I have little desire to develop it. Plus, I come from a long line of public educators and I am positive my parents would haunt my house if I homeschooled. {scary thought}

We have no idea when school will open....The mediator walked out of talks last week saying, the two sides are too far apart to come together ... so the rug rats public education is on hold...

So now I am figuring out what to do to keep these two busy....letters to the Ms. Clark, novels of my choosing,  painting, and some service projects....

Wish us luck, this is the Sumer that just won't end.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sister Kramer: Pictures!

 {Get off the cannon}

{That's too close...}

things are going well we have a baptism on saturday! :)
we are studying alot on faith right know alma 32
i have two companions right now sister m and sister d they are both from utah.
 if you could get dallyn to email that would be great! i would like to hear from the kid. and i dont think that there is anything i need right now but thanks :)
i hope everything is going well and the fireplace looks great can you send me more pictures of the house i would love to see what it looks like :) 
love you