Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Birth-Valentines-Hump Day Package

So I finally got around to putting Bailey's Birthday-Valentines-Hump Day care package together...and I'd just like to thank her for allowing me to kill three birds with one stone :)

I had to wait an extra week for her Guess what day it is? Camel t-shirt to arrive :) I think these flip shirts are hilarious.....

I can't believe we are almost halfway through her mission and she is turning twenty?!?! 

Having her serve a mission has been such an amazing experience for our family and her...

Now looking at the weather in PEI, I'm wondering how my cold-hating island girl is loving her east coast winter :)

Yeah I don't think I'll mention the mild winter we've had and that my tulips are popping up, cause that would just be cruel :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Photo Snooper.

Alex started digging through all the old photos in the filing cabinet...
She found a bunch of those little wallet school pics, you know the ones we gave to all our friends, when we went to High School in the stone age, before Istagram and Snapchat... Yes those little gems that we wrote ridiculously corny things back of, that we probably wouldn't want our teenage daughter reading...Yeah those...she found all of them...AWKWARD.
After reading several in her best romantic rendition, I told her to SERIOUSLY, not. another. word. ....
I was then interrogated with some pretty fantastic questions...
So how come Dad had WAY more girlfriends than you had boyfriends???
So like did you guys REALLY think you were popular??
With THAT hair, I doubt it?!?!
Man those teenage daughters sure know how to keep your ego in check, don't they. :)
Alex then found the next two pictures....
This one, from one of my favourite days ever. The day we were sealed as a family. We had worked so hard to get there and it was so worth it.
And then this one...Its SIX years later.....Multiply and replenish the earth, CHECK. 
I took at the picture from the day we were sealed and I realize we were blissfully unaware of the mountains that lay ahead....
I look at the picture of me at twenty five, with five kids. Man oh man, how am I even sane standing. I was really just a bouncer, counting down the hours till bedtime and trying not to be eaten by the mountain of laundry...
And yet we have made it here, fifteen more years down that road...
How'd we do it...
Curse Words
Naps, lots of naps
The only thing I'd change...
I'd burn those little wallet size pictures of our high school years :)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Going Home

Where's home?

I've always had trouble answering that question. Not from a geographic standpoint. That's easy. Yorba Linda, then Lethbridge, then Port Alberni, then Lethbridge, then Raymond, then Port Alberni, now Courtenay.

It's more the where's your home town question that I've never been able to answer on Facebook.

Technically Yorba Linda, California is my home town. But going home there isn't really possible for me. There is no childhood home left. No relatives and it barely resembles the memories of my childhood. I guess the same could be said for Lethbridge, unless you count gravesites.

But yesterday I went home. Grant and I attended the Port Alberni ward conference and as we walked in the chapel I realized I had come home. Grant was raised in Port and its the place we first grew our young family and our testimonies.  And the first time I learned  what a family could really be like. I had so many pieces missing when I moved there. But these people became my mothers, my helpers, my friends and quickly my family....and put those pieces back in place.

Once you've lived in Port, your heart never really leaves there and to this day many of dear friends have some connection that place.

Yesterday our buckets were filled as we visited our family. It was so good to go home.

Sister Kramer: Her Next Area Is???

so i am packing up and shipping out to SUMMERSIDE P.E.I. :D i will be finishing my new companions training so thats a little scary but i am excited to go...i am just going to serve my whole mission on islands haha

everything is frozen here i have never seen so much ice
sorry my email is so short but i have so much to do before i leave on wednesday
love you all take care

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Handshake, Times Two.

It was the simplest gesture really , but it hasn't left my mind since...a handshake, a hug and and an I love you, times two.

We had the new missionaries over for dinner, along with dear friends...

A meal for twelve,  that involved spaghetti and salad and six teenagers and not one Kramer or Avery  started a food fight. I know, impressive :) 

Even Madison showed up and kept the shenanigans to a minimum (maybe she was really I tune with the spirit  or sedated?) 

They listened to the Elders quick message giving  the classic pray, read your scriptures and Jesus answers , when asked...whatever nobody said anything inappropriate (it's a Kramer miracle)...

The Elders stood to say goodbye...we stood to shake their hands...then they got to our dear friend....
Our friend got a handshake, a hug and an I love you from each Elder. Something not too common among  young men.

{Our friend  would be out serving a mission along side these Elders, but his mission these last three years has been to recover from an injury that nearly took his life and is one awesome young man}

The elders acted not from pity or sorrow or obligation, but from a place of camaraderie, friendship and love.

It was such a privileged to witness a tender moment among these three amazing young men. I couldn't help but think, of the stripling warriors and the phrase "they have been taught by their mothers". all three Mommas, your boys have done you proud! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


So considering I'm that kid who never read a book in high school ( for sure and probably junior high) I guess I deserved that 59% in English 30 (12)...
I've started to read, like a lot....weird I know...and I actually really like reading, even weirder ....
So in the last few weeks I've riffled through 7 books, none of which had pictures ;)

Still Alice was heartbreaking and made me think of the road we walked with my Dad and that I never want to lose the ability to remember ...

The Rosie Project, who new looking for a wife could be so scientific and difficult?....

The Center Cannot Hold is a wonderful insight on the realities of schizophrenia.....couldn't put it down.

My Secret Sister....The unraveling of so many family secrets, and the powerful bond of sisters, took a bit to get into.....

I probably should go back to school, I love neuroscience, psychiatry, and anything that helps me understand why people do what they do...The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog...was a fascinating read... 

Unbroken, simply amazing. A testament to the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity....

I just downloaded The Rent Collecter so my reading streak continues. :)

Monday, January 19, 2015


Note:  you will have wanted to read the previous blog post entitled, Sadness vs. Depression, before you read this in order to reference certain analogies.

     I have been thinking long and hard on this particular post.  It may have even been a precursor thought to the previous blog post and might have spurred it into being.  As I have made the disclaimer in the past, I risk repeating it here.  I don not write to give a clinical report on mental illness, rather a sharing of deeply personal experiences to help illustrate a point.  Please be sensitive and kind.

    "We do not need to understand or even quantify all aspects of another's struggle in order to have compassion.  Compassion is love with out judgment or understanding."

     Lets start with a little background.  It was about fifteen years.  I don't recall the exact date, and maybe that is due in part to my wanting but inability to push this experience completely from memory.  It is Haunting to me!   Fifteen years seems a good place to start. 

    I had experienced a fall at work.  It did not seem very serious to start but this particular injury would begin a very frightful journey.  I fell and what started as a minor injury quickly accelerated into a very painful experience.  You see I had fractured my T7 vertebrea and that little jewel of knowledge would not be discovered for another six months following the fall.  So what should have been a quick recovery became a tormented, painful journey.  To risk skimming over points I would suffice to say that the actually recovery would take me on a dark path that even the very brave would hesitate to go.

     Addiction: To the pain killers given to help through the pain of a yet undiscovered injury.  No income for our fledgling family of seven and the ominous feeling of complete and utter failure on the part of an otherwise strong provider, Me.  Its funny really in a ominous sort of way really.  It started so innocently and slowly progressed over the coming months to a spiraling, drain circiling sort of existence.  Life seemed unbearable existence.  The sort of self loathing depressive state.  The fight with workers comp, and other government agencies to try to explain an injury, they concluded did not exist, became beyond exhausting.  And so the combination of these factors and the ever present "disappointment", as described before, put me into a free fall of which I should never return. Or as it was thought.

     Needless to say that the depression that was felt was unlike anything I could have ever prepared for.  It was swift and enveloped me to a degree that I could not even see the light of day if I had been standing under the noon sky in summer.  I was a ghost of my former self passing through life as if a shadow when it passes in the sun.  There really are no words.  It is something that I had never experienced and hope I never do again.

    So it was that fifteen years ago I found myself in a fight for my very life and I was losing.  I don't know to this day if it was a plan that slowly arose in the despair or it was a sudden decision to end my life.  I had touched the bottom of that great abyss and found myself void of the desire to live.  It was with some alarm and dismay, or even a suttle realization that my life was not worth anything to anyone.  I found my self late one night alone in the bathroom with a very large kitchen knife.  It is interesting that as I have tried to block this moment out of all thought, it is at that moment it becomes so clear.  I found, however that I suddenly was at odds with myself and a sudden desire to live welled up.  But it was to late. 

      I put the knife to flesh and even as I did, I found myself pleading with God for relief, from the despair or maybe it was the fear of the act I.  I began I real pleading.  There was no miracle, or so I thought.  There was no great delivery on me personally.  The heavens did not open, there was no concourse of angels bent on delivery.  There was no still small voice of hope.  There was the ever present thump of my heart in my ears as my eyes filled with the last tears of my life and I set to my task.  Little did I know that there was a miracle in the works.

     In the other room Robin suddenly found herself awake.  She would later describe it as an overwhelming concern for where I was.  It was as if a voice had roused her and plainly but clearly asked to question, "Where is your Husband?"  I don't what she expected to find in her moment of alarm, but I am sure the was no preparation adequate for what she found.  She rescued me.  I don't recall what was said or how it happened exactly but I am still alive and for that I have become forever grateful.  Grateful for a wife who listened and acted.  Grateful              for her endless ability to love and comfort me through what must have been the singular most frightening moment of her life.

     I found myself at the hospital, relieved in some way but still without hope.  There, the years of treatment for mental illness would begin in my life.  It has been a long and rocky journey, but she has stood beside me.  I can only guess that in the moment she found me in the "act", that at that moment she made a promise.  Let him live and I will love him forever.  It is the only logical explanation to me as to why she has stayed and patiently helped me through all of this.

      I have fallen into that abyss many times over the years but I have been saved from that "Moment", time and time again.  I am grateful to have come to the knowledge that there was a miracle for me, that in some way I was and continue to be cared for by the graces of heaven.  I am grateful for Temple promises that stretch beyond this life and give us hope in a life after with the ones we love most.  Most of all I am grateful for my Rescue!

Sister Kramer: Moving?

hey dad i knew it was you when i saw kiddo :) 
this week was good i got to go to cole harbour(halifax) for a few days to do exchanges with our sister training leaders which was fun.
i dont have a favourite scripture this week but i do have a favourite talk it is from last general conference "come and see" by David A. Bednar it talks about how when we as latter day saints feel the joy and happiness that the gospel has brought to our ive it  is our natural reaction to want to share that with the rest of the world :)
transfers will be next week so make sure mom doesnt send anything until i know where i am going because i have a feeling that they wil be moving me.
it is so weird to think that i will be 20 soon it is cool that i get to spend half my mission 19 and the other half 20. the thing that is even stranger is that i will get home before the the age that sisters could go out!
christmas was great it is something very different on your mission but it was amazing  :)
so you shoud get madison to snd me that letter and alex and dallyn to email me because it has been over 2 months since i have heard from them.


this is from a while back all us missionaries got to go to I's birthday ....his mom is the missionaries mom out here in sydney they are a great family :)
love you all!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pop Tarts and Testimonies

So the last time I took snacks or toys to church for my kids was the Sunday in Raymond,  Bailey and Holly got in a fist fight over the Fruitloops, neither kid could have been more than five....nothing like handing the baby off and dragging two toddlers out still swinging at each other.

So snacks and toys have been banned for nearly a decade and a half....

But that has never stopped the rugrats from trying to sneak contraband in to Sacrament meeting like inmates at Alcatraz....

Today's hall...PopTarts.
And they were about as subtle as a freight train about it too.

Sacrament was barely over and I hear the crinkle, pop, of the wrappers, times three...


I'm surprised it wasn't bowls, a box of cereal and the gallon milk...heck if the pew was anywhere near an outlet, they'd a brought the toaster...

Ready to confiscate said Pop Tarts, I realize my hands are already full of confiscated cell phones (cause my rugs rats LOVE to follow rules) and give up. I had already used up my publicly parenting skills like three sacrament meetings ago. And they knew it as they smugly ate their cookies and cream confections.

At least they're in the building.

And you know it wasn't that long ago I was that pop tart eating teenager...only it wasn't pop tarts...but it was popping skittles, while playing mean game of "testimony bingo" (it's exactly as it sounds, and when you get Bingo you have to get up and bear your testimony and work the word Bingo into it)

See I was just as obnoxious as my Pop Tart eating teenagers and somewhere between testimony bingo and adulthood I actually gained a testimony. A pretty solid one, mostly because I was loved in spite of my obnoxiousness.

So I hope that somewhere between pop tarts and confiscated cell phones they will realize whose the are and how much their Heavenly Father loves them, just like I did. :) 

Sadness vs. Depression By Grant

     So I don't often garner a guest spot on the Blog but I have been thinking about this subject for sometime and this felt like a good medium to offer my thoughts on the subject.  First let me say that this is not going to be a clinical explanation of the subject but rather a very personal look into my journey through a tough and often misunderstood illness.  This post, I hope, will not be as long as it seems in my mind.  I hope you will stick with it and maybe receive some insight that may have eluded you in the past  I also ask for some care as these thoughts can be deeply personal to me and therefore very sensitive to my well being. 

      First let me say that I do not suffer from depression, I am Bipolar.  Why the distinction.  People that suffer from Bipolar often suffer depression, however the depression that a Bipolar person suffers and that of someone who is clinically depressed are very different.  While the depressive episodes can seem the same from the outside the reasons and triggers can be vastly different  Thus they are treated clinically in different ways.  So what is sadness and how does it relate to depression  or does it?

     Lets try an analogy of sorts.  Do you or someone you know suffer from migraines?  These are in their root a headache of sorts but the result can often be entirely debilitating to the one that suffers.  So with that in mind a person that suffers from chronic migraines is often faced with others who make the same claim.   In your heart you know that as they describe their "migraine"  that they really don't have any idea what a true migraine feels like.  They just like the use of the word for various reasons.(Maybe to get more sympathy?)  Anyway the term "migraine" becomes interchangeable in regards to just a bad headache.  So it is with sadness and depression. This needs to stop or we will never be able to grasp an understanding for those who suffer the greater "migraine" or "depression".

     Sadness: affected by unhappiness or grief; sorrowful or mournful:  This definition gives light to a feeling that we have all experienced at some point in our lives.  Some of the major influences may be things like the loss of a job or maybe the devastating tragic loss of a loved one to expected or unexpected death.  The key to understanding sadness verses depression is that sadness has a root cause with an eventual or gradual recovery from the cause.  At some point the sadness may feel overwhelming but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Eventually we begin to return to a state of equilibrium, if you please, in which we can begin to experience normal life.  This gradual return is different for all and may vary due to the circumstance but it does come back eventually un aided.  We begin to get back to a normal routine of life.

     Depression:  sad and gloomy; dejected or downcast.  While this may be the definition in the dictionary is scarcely does it justice.  I guess the part that has to be defined and understood most is that there is no physical outward cause of clinical depression.  This concept becomes instrumental in our understanding of clinical depression or even Bipolar.  There is NO outward or environmental cause they just are.  This is due to a chemical inbalance in the brain.  The lack of production of certain chemicals with in the brain allow the brain to become "stuck"!  This is hard to describe for those that have not experienced it personally.  I will share some personal experience to help illustrate my point.

     First let me try to describe to you the three sensations that I experience as part of my depressive episodes.  They are Despair, Anxiety, and Pain.  To begin you must understand that these sensations and episodes come from a very illogical and unreasonable sense of ones self.  They can not be quantified or reasoned with through conventional understanding.

     So lets start with despair.  I will start by stating that I have never felt that there is or has ever been an adequate way to express this feeling in words, but I will try.  I will begin by describing some train of thought that I experience in dealing with the ups and downs of my Bipolar.  Remember though that although these thoughts are present they are not in themselves the cause of the illness they are in fact bi products of an illness, the chemical imbalance described earlier.  So it is with my depressive episodes it starts with a very irrational thought process that begins the fall into an irrational, overwhelming sense of despair.  Let me explain.  Imagine yourself lying on your back in the center of a great black abyss.  While you float effortlessly on your back you are turned upwards towards the sun and an ever apparent blue and beautiful blue sky.  You are content even happy.  But imagine that for no fault of your own you begin to sink back into that abyss.  You are helpless to stop it.  It just starts.  So you fall uncontrollably until the light at the top is but a pin point of light in some far off distant memory.  The fall is different each time, it may be quick and sudden or gradual.  Either way the feeling of falling becomes so intense a great anxiety starts to arise.  Even though you grope in the dark for a ledge or handle to stop yourself you can't.  The singular thought begins to surface, that if you should reach the bottom the abyss will suck away your very will to live.

     The anxiety can only be described in this way to me.  Imagine yourself cave diving.  You know those crazy people that not only like to explore caves but they have to do it while underwater as well.  Crazy, I know.  But imagine yourself if you can being in one of these caves exploring.  You come upon a tunnel so tight that you have to remove you oxygen tanks and put them before you as you squeeze your body through the small opening.  If you are not experiencing an overwhelming sense of terror or panic just imagine then you are stuck.  There is no hope of freedom, there is only the sound of your breathing into a scuba regulator and the stark reality that soon you will run out of air and there is nothing you can do but breathe your last breath.  So imagine that feeling and then multiply it and you will get the sense of what it is like to fall from rational, reasonable thought into that abyss as described. Again knowing that the only exit that seems reasonable, as all the light in you life is snuffed out, is the very end of life itself.  Many that have been "touched" by the bottom bare the scares both physically and emotionally of both successful and unsuccessful suicide.

    Lets talk for a minute about the pain.. Many don't realize that there is a very physical manifestation of depression in the form of intense pain.  This is where words become inadequate to describe the intensity of such pain.  The only thing I can say is that it is all consuming.  It hurts deep down in the very marrow of the bone.  There is no escape.  There is no respite in pain killers or other forms of treatment.  It simply exists as if to torment both body and mind.  It is forever consuming that it serves to help in blocking out the light.

     Now remember there is no outward cause.  There is no logical explanation or reason for it, it just starts the fall.  It is to be said thought for those that have experienced this depth of despair, anxiety and pain, that they become more sensitive or even aware of some of the irrational thought patterns that are associated with the fall.  For me it is easy, however painfully obvious how it starts at times. 

     Disappointment.  As I often experience the ups and downs of my Bipolar, I become painfully aware of my weakness in the instability of the illness.  Remember there is no reasonable explanation.  These moments of instability are there due to the internal imbalance.  There is no cure just treatment.  So where does disappointment come from?  It begins in the deep recesses of my mind, as I become aware that things seem hopelessly out of my control.  For some seemingly rational reason to me I become disappointed in myself.  This is the seed of my fall.  This self deluding thought then lays seed to the idea that if disappointment comes from inside it must come from others as well.  I start to see in others their deep, disapproving disappointment in me.  It becomes all consuming.  I even begin to feel that there is no place for me in the lives of others, that there is nothing of worth to give or attribute.  So you reseed into the abyss willingly, that you become numb to the anxiety and pain of the fall that you even welcome it.  Thus you simple exist, somewhere in the depth you just are.

     So why has the reason for this post suddenly become important to me.  It is because I have felt a slip.  An ever apparent slip into the void of depression.  It was there and it terrifies me.  I become withdrawn and with out word to describe the feeling or even why I begin to feel as I do.  It is just there, drawing closer.  I don't know what will become of it.  How far will it go this time?  Is it just a moment that will pass or am I "stuck" in my hole breathing the last of my oxygen.  It is the unknown that terrifies me the most.

Grant Kramer

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Locked Up.

So Monday while Superman and I were fighting, I mean looking for a new stove in Home Depot...Madison texts us as says there are a bunch of cop cars at the neighbours. Odd we live on a really quiet street...and we never gave it another thought....

The next day an RCMP officer knocks on the door...
"Just wanted to let you know that yesterday a man in a foot pursuit with us, attempted to BREAK AND ENTER into your house, trying to get away from us...he didn't get in and we apprehended him"

How dare he!

Superman and I head across town to run errands...

I think we need new dead bolts for every door, superman says before we are out of the driveway....

Yes we do! I didn't need convincing...back to Home Depot we head...

Lots of well spent money later....

Every door now has secure knobs and dead bolts.
Casa de Kramer is now a fortress. :) Take that bad guy! Sometimes I don't like the world we live in!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Funeral Potatoes

We turned the corner and see the white hearse and two white sedans parked on the road in front our chapel....

It is only then that I realize what I've been dreading most about my nutty week leading up to an elderly gentleman's funeral and me being asked to coordinate the large luncheon that followed his service...the funeral.

My eyes fill with tears as Grant pulls into the Church parking lot and I am instantly back a decade ago, when Kelli and I climbed in white sedans and followed the white hearse carrying my mom's casket to the cemetery. That chilly, windy  February day in Lethbridge was a horrible one and one I hadn't thought of in forever....

Get your crap together woman, I kept telling myself as I unloaded equipment, center pieces and dinner buns from the back of our van, more than an hour before the funeral...

I quickly retrieve tables from the empty Relief Society room, only to realize the casket is in the corner....

I retreat to the kitchen and say a silent prayer that I can face this funeral and do what I've been asked to do.

A few deep breaths and I focus on the task at hand....
 (the same meal served at BOTH my parents funerals and yes according to the internet, Mormon's actually invented funeral potatoes, Yay, Mormons ;))
I had TONS of help, all were fed, and all went well...
But I never quite shook the memories of the day we buried my Mom as I watched another family say goodbye to their Dad..
Funerals will always be hard.
And kids, please take notice...if any of you serve ham or funeral potatoes at my funeral, I will HAUNT you for the rest of your days, you hear me!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sister Kramer: COLD

-they have these everywhere for the snow.

So our Darling missionary is once again trying to win the award for the worlds shortest email...maybe its that she is so cold her fingers can't type?!?!....

Its been cold here and snowing alot i dont know why i live somewhere where the air hurts my face! i dont do the cold mom.

not alot is happened this week things have been pretty slow.
love you all

Friday, January 9, 2015

It's The Plague

So let's pretend for a sec, that I'm married to a guy that has the plague, instead of what he actually has, bipolar. Cause, you know the plague is WAY more socially acceptable than being um...mentally ill.

And of course if my sweet superman had the plague and not bipolar I'd be able to tell you how scary it is and how worried we are, sometimes , and you'd say "oh my gosh! I can't even imagine how worried you must feel, your sweetheart has the plague, that must be so hard and uncertain.

And if he had a bad experience with yet another plague drug and it's taken weeks to recover from those side effects, only to discover the need to increase another plague drug and pray, hope, and cross your fingers, it can hold him from the most devastating symptoms of the plague .... I could tell you that.

I'd take pictures of of my husband fighting the plague and post them on Instagram and you would tell him what a fighter he is and how much you are praying for him...

If he had the plague I could tell you about doctors appointments that are a lot to take in, with big words and scary meds, and even scary treatment options, if the last plague drug doesn't work...

I'd tell you about the effects of living with plague, everyday... How heartbreaking it is to witness the struggle of your sweetheart and be unable to take the plague away....

But it's not the plague, so Its just so hard to say....

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sister Kramer: Our future is bright.


we didnt do anything for new years 
winter finally came it has been -13 most days and snowing like crazy but we still go to play street hockey which was great :)

something that stood out to me this week is the scriptures in luke 17:32 "remember Lots wife"
in Genesis 19 it give the story of Lots wife. 
they are commanded to leave sodom and gomorrah before it is destroyed with strict instructions,          "Look not behind thee",  but what does Lots wife do? she looks behind her and is turned into a pillar of salt. why did she look behind her? did she already miss what sodom and gomorrah had to offer her ?did she want to go back even though the cities were being destroyed? or was she not thinking that her future held more promise then the past. did she not trust that the Lord would bless her is she listened to him?
it made me think of the new year, how we make goals and new years resolutions to make this year better the the last. so for me this year my goal is to "look not behind thee" to trust in the Lord. that as long as i follow him in all that i do he will make my future bright :)

love you all
sister kramer  



Sunday, January 4, 2015

No Way, Jose.

December started with grand intentions....
Elf on the shelf , which my kids appreciate with all the fervour of fruitcake...
Random acts of kindness...
I planned on doing it all. It's tradition, you know and us Kramers fake, I mean LOVE Christmas, well.

Then came a surprise trip, with my favourite super hero, to the doctor (those are my favourite) ...
Followed by a few wonky weeks (also my favourite) and all my grand intentions fell by the way side.

Priorities people.

Yup and not one person noticed.

Jose didn't move for two weeks...

The only random act of kindness that happened, was when I hiked over the mountain of dirty clothes in Alex's room, to shut her window (it's winter out child) and instead of screaming at her to "clean her disgusting room" , I simply shut her door. Yup that's kindness right there.

And all the jars of cinnamon rock candy, for the neighbours and church people and such are still sitting on my counter. Because I totally rock! Any body still want candy?

And you know what? Christmas still happened. 
(also surprising, but we know understand the right definition of "surprise " right, sweetie? )

And Christmas was great.

 So I've learned, not everything has to happen every year, tradition or not. 

And I have to say, the whole elf on the shelf thing is STUPID, LAME and CREEPY, sorry Jose...but I'm sure we'll see him next year. Aren't you excited kids? I sure am. :)

Just Listen.

I put this note in my phone several months ago....I think its from a talk in Sacrament Meeting or maybe a lesson, but I'm not really sure...

Our RS (Relief Society)  lesson today was on our Stake RS  theme for the year..."You are His.", our RS president added "You are His...hands" and we talked mostly of our service of others...

She shared this story from Pres. Uchtdorf talk, "You Are My Hands" April 2010....

A story is told that during the bombing of a city in World War II, a large statue of Jesus Christ was severely damaged. When the townspeople found the statue among the rubble, they mourned because it had been a beloved symbol of their faith and of God’s presence in their lives.
Experts were able to repair most of the statue, but its hands had been damaged so severely that they could not be restored. Some suggested that they hire a sculptor to make new hands, but others wanted to leave it as it was—a permanent reminder of the tragedy of war. Ultimately, the statue remained without hands. However, the people of the city added on the base of the statue of Jesus Christ a sign with these words: “You are my hands.”
{It was an AWESOME lesson}
I thought of all the times our family has been helped by the kindness of others and then remembered, the note in my phone...
Be grateful you were listening...and Heavenly Father didn't give the experience to someone else.
Some of the sweetest experiences I've had in this life have been when I have "listened" or others have "listened" and help our family.
We never need to understand the trouble or trial to understand the need for compassion.
I hope I am always "listening" so I can be there for those who need me, just like others have done for us, over and over and over...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Chasing Christmas.

Another year chasing Christmas....its a hard time for year for both of us, albeit for very different reasons...

So Superman "surprised" me (told me a few hours before we left) with a trip to Yahk, Christmas Eve, taking everybody to his parents for a few days....something I never would have agreed to before hand.....I won't tell you my reaction or what I said, but I will tell you I would have been more excited to get in the van and go to the dentist and the gynecologist at the SAME TIME. Not even lying....

I don't know what it is about the van, but the minute Superman and I go any where we fight like little girls. Add traffic and even the slight possibility of icy, snowy roads and it turns into some sad reality show in no time....

Realizing that there was no getting out of it I was a big girl and got in the Van, in tears, and rode the whole way in the backseat ....

Grant decided to do down through Washington and skip the 9 mountain passes in BC, its longer in distance but way shorter in time, being 4-lane divided freeway most of the way....

We left the Island on the 5:45 pm boat and pulled into Yahk at 7 am Christmas morning....

I will admit now that it was a GREAT Christmas....

Skyping with Bailey with the entire family, in Grandma and Grandpa's cabin was the best Christmas moment ever.

Then it decided to snow....the kids LOVED it.....

But when we woke up to almost a foot of snow the morning we had to leave, I DREADED the trip home....
The highway to the boarder the morning...
(we had snow tires and Grant's an awesome winter driver) ...but I HATE snowy roads....
Thank Heavens, the roads were only snowy for the first 100 miles and two hours from YAHK it was clear....

We had a wonderful Christmas and I forgave Superman by the time we got home, SAFELY....But next time the SURPRISE better be "We're going to Mexico" or "I found a $100 bill in my pocket!"


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Fresh Courage Take

All over social media there are shouts of goals and resolutions and mottos for a New Year....

Stellar ambitions really, but we are the Kramers and who am I  kidding. I can't even consistently feed our blue goldfish...sorry Flipper. And the kids haven't independently remembered garbage day since...well ever...goals really intimidate me...

In all honesty, 2015 intimidates me...What if its another really hard year? I can't do another one...

Fresh courage take...Robin... was the answer that hit me hard this morning.

Fresh courage take.... a line from the hymn "Come, Come Ye Saints", first sung by our pioneers....

Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake.
And soon we'll have this tale to tell-
All is well! All is well!

So I actually looked up what "Gird up your loins", meant,  'cause I never paid attention  in Seminary, Sunday school, Church
"To prepare and strengthen oneself for what is to come."

Well that makes more sense than I thought it would...

So us Kramers have no new goals or resolutions, but we do have a family motto for 2015{because I'm the mom and I said so}

"Fresh Courage Take" - that's the only thing we need to do this year :)