Saturday, November 28, 2009

Trimming the tree by the light of the full moon

I never intended this blog to be a chronicle of inappropriate nudity but how could I resist posting this shot?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Random Pictures

My dad is my most loyal blog follower and he let me know today that I need to post more often. Here is a post to keep my fan happy. Enjoy dad....

When Grandpa comes over, Abe can't get enough of him. Its no secret that Abe is my dad's favorite grandchild. He loves all of his grandkids but these two have a special bond. Its precious.

I walked in the other day to find Ham like this. There is nothing like watching cartoons in the nude.

Yet another incident of nudity in precarious places.
I love this picture of my handsome boys. I swear Abe wears clothes occasionally, even if I don't have any photographic evidence of this claim.

This is a sample of Jack's sidewalk chalk drawings. Can you tell that he is the son of a police officer? His drawings usually involve bad guys getting busted by cops. He reads Highlights Magazine and he really wants to have one of his drawings published in the section where kids send in artwork. I encouraged him to draw something and promised I'd send it in. Lets just say that unless Highlights magazine gets taken over by the National Rifle Association, his drawing will probably not make the cut.
This is one of Jack's favorite pastimes. This is probably as close as any of my children will ever come to having a tan.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Amazing Marolyn

I want to take a minute to brag. I have the coolest mom in all the history of moms. I am not exaggerating to make her feel loved on her 63rd birthday, I am simply stating the facts. If you know Marolyn then you know that she is in fact one of the most amazing people on the face of the planet. If you don't have to good fortune of knowing her then let me give you a brief overview of this spectacular human being.

She is incredibly smart. She has a doctorate degree in Education and a Masters in counseling. She knows pretty much everything there is to know about child development and child discipline. I have an expert (literally) a phone call away when ever I need any advice about anything. She manages to always give helpful advice without being intrusive or making you feel judged, and she is always tactful and loving. We are best friends and I can talk to her about anything. She does paid public speaking gigs where she imparts her life wisdom to hundreds of people at a time, yet I have her at my disposal 24 hours a day. She is there for me whenever I need her. This is such a huge comfort to me. She is my rock.

Marolyn is the most devoted grandmother I have ever seen. She gets on the floor and wrestles with the boys and she spend hours playing dolls with the girls. She can always be counted on to bring presents and to read books. She connects with each child and takes the time to really know them. She is full of games and fun but she is also no pushover. Emma used to call her "Grandma time-out" because no matter how fun she is, she doesn't let those little ones get away with anything. She has an endless attention span for kid stuff and each of her grand kids know they are deeply loved.

My mom is a spiritual giant. She took four children to church every Sunday our entire life all by herself. I am only now beginning to understand how hard she worked. At the time it seemed so effortless but now I can appreciate what hard work goes into raising kids. Her testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ never wavered. She set an example of spiritual living that was real and accessible. I never felt preached to, it was just obvious that mom's strength and peace came from being anchored in Christ and as a result none of her children ever wanted to go another way. All four of us are married in the temple and three of us are returned missionaries. Instead of telling us "Don't smoke and drink." She would have long meaningful discussions with us about the freedom that is inherently found in righteousness and that our bodies are precious and the commandments are to protect us. She made the Gospel make sense and she never underestimated our ability to grasp doctrine. She is humble and real.

My mom gives without measure. 42 years of marriage, four children, fifteen grandchildren, a full time job, church callings, charity work, you name it. There is nothing this woman can't do. Last year she traveled to India to train teachers in leper colonies. This year she went to Argentina as part of an exchange program after winning the very prestigious Fulbright Award. The year before that it was Mexico. She has been selected as Teacher of the Year twice. Once for the State of Arizona and once for her school district. She wrote a book. The woman has a resume you wouldn't believe. It gets so ridiculous that it sounds like I'm making this stuff up.

My mom wrote me a letter every day of my entire mission. She literally never missed a day. ever. They weren't just postcards either. She wrote a long single-spaced typed letter every single day. Other missionaries would go months without a letter from their families but I never had an empty mailbox even once. Her letters were legendary. She never missed a day on my sister Stephanie's mission either. I have never questioned my mom's unconditional love for me.

She accomplishes feats of service that others only dream about. I will give you an example. The other day I was at her house and saw big bags of stuff in the garage. When I asked what was in there she showed me how she had single-handedly organized more than 1000 hygiene, newborn and school supply kits to send to impoverished nations as a humanitarian project. She told me about it in passing as if it was no biggie. Keep in mind that she accomplishes all of this while holding a very demanding full time job as an assistant principal at a K-8 school with over 1000 students. Serving others is second nature to her. This year alone she has extracted over 300,000 names to the family history center of the church and she teaches primary every Sunday to boot. In addition to this impressive resume her house is always clean and she is always dressed cute with accessories matching he outfit and her makeup done. She is hilarious too. Always optimistic and easy to entertain. I could go on for hours.

The most spectacular part about her is that she pulls it all off and still manages to be completely likable and approachable. You can't help but get sucked into her orbit because she has an uncanny ability to put people at ease and make them feel important. In high school I had friends who would come over to my house even when I wasn't there because they wanted to hang out with my mom. I dream about being this kind of mother to my boys.

I marvel at how lucky I am to have a mother like this. I am so proud to be her daughter and so grateful that my children have such an amazing grandma. I amazed that a person can be so wonderful yet so unpretentious and down-to-earth. I want to be just like her in every way when I grow up.

I love you, Mom. Thank you for being my perfect example of womanhood. Strength, courage, beauty, intelligence, faith, humor, and humility. I am so happy to be your daughter. Happy Birthday from your #1 fan.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween chez les Kramers

I was pretty excited for Halloween this year since it would be Abe's first Halloween where he is old enough to grasp the concept of going door to door for free candy. Turns out I jumped the gun a little in my excitement. His attention span for this tradition lasted exactly one house. He enjoyed the unhindered knocking and he liked the dogs that came to the door, but he absolutely refused to accept candy from a stranger. Perhaps he was afraid of contracting swine flu, or it might have been that he was too busy offering open mouthed kisses to two Terriers. I should also note that he was dressed in a heavily padded dragon getup and that right before we began he took the liberty of stepping into the shower fully costumed. He was sloshing around in the cold night air leaving wet tracks everywhere he walked. It made him a little bit cranky but I'm hoping he will think twice about sneaking showers next time.

Jack made a haul of candy. Every year in our house we get a visit from the Candy Fairy. If you leave all of your Halloween candy on the back patio, the Candy Fairy will come and take it and leave you money. Jack gets to go to the store and buy a toy and we don't have to have tons of sugar hanging around the house for weeks. I have heard that the Fairy takes it and puts it in the break room at the Police Department. We don't care what she does with it, we just want it gone. If you read our Halloween blog post last year, you might remember that the Candy Fairy left a twenty dollar bill. This year she spent all of her money on sod for the backyard and was forced to leave considerably less, with most of it in quarters. She may have borrowed these quarters from Jack's piggy bank because by the time Jack left the candy out it was way too late to run to an ATM, but we know the Candy Fairy is good for a loan.

I love passing out candy to Trick-or-Treaters. I love making a big fuss over every cute costume and I love to make snide comments to the teenagers who come by without a costume on "Is it politically correct to dress up as a retarded person? You are brave! Here's an extra treat for realism!"

My kids love passing out candy too. Jack got so involved with the customer service of it all. He waited by the door to open it before they knocked "so that it would be easier for them". Then he moved his set-up to the driveway "so they wouldn't have to come all the way to the door". Eventually he was on the sidewalk "so they could just get the candy while they passed by". He also gave away his own candy after we ran out because he couldn't bear to turn a customer away. His generosity may have been motivated by the above mentioned fact that he was going to sell it all anyway, but I was still impressed with his sweetness.
Free access to the root beer dispenser was pretty much the greatest thing that has ever happened to Abe. Isn't he a cute little dragon!

Kramer Boys

Kramer Boys