Kramer Day 2018

If you’re a long time blog reader you know our family wasn’t big into Christmas.  Kramer and I didn’t want to burden the kids and their families with “another Christmas”.  With some traveling and Buck having a snow removal job and kids who get sick at that time of year we often had to cancel or change dates.  It was all too much.  Besides for our family, Christmas was more about the church aspect of the holiday.  So instead we started something we called “Kramer Day”.

Kramer day was always held in July on some weekend close to our anniversary that everyone could make it on.  It would have been today.  Here is a picture of Kramer and I with the kids one year ago.

My times have changed.

On the far left is Karl.  He was leaving to move to Texas.  We had our day earlier in the month as he was leaving within hours to go teach in Texas.  It was a long year with him gone, but now, he’s back.

Next to him is Kelli.  She had her leg in a boot from a cyst surgery that wouldn’t heal.  She was within days of finding out she was pregnant.

Next is Kayla.  She was sad as she was dealing with infertility and hoped to be pregnant and now she is.

Buck is in the middle.  He was juggling a couple jobs, a new baby, and life with a young family.  He’s doing more job juggling but both are in completely different capacities.  They are building a house now too.

Kalissa is sitting by me.  She has a new baby and is working to manage home and two little ones…and Gannon is doing really well.  She’s applied for another job.

Next is me with Kramer.  He’s not here and I’m a widow now.

WOW…what a difference a year can make.  At the time Kalissa had just told us that she was pregnant.  Other than that, we had no idea what the next year would bring to our family.  We were so young.  We were so naive.

I think I was the most naive.

Kramer likely had a tumor growing at this very time.  AH!!!  If we had only known.  If we had only known.

I’ll admit, my first inclination after seeing the picture of our family was to look at picture from right to left.  I looked first at Kramer sitting on the right.  See Kramer on the right…bigger than life!

If I looked at the picture that way, the sadness could easily overtake all the joy that happened over the past year.  I’d have missed the new grandbabies…I’d have missed the new one coming.  I’d have missed my joy in having Karl back in the state.  I’d have missed how far Buck has come over the last year.  As much as I miss Kramer….it’s so much more important that I look at the picture starting at the left, not the right.  I need to focus and be reminded of the good first.

More than anything, through all of this last year, I’ve learned these things:
-appreciate the good
-tell or do kindnesses as often as possible
-celebrate that little things
-take time and MAKE time
-set priorities, make sure they are good ones
-live in the moment, it can be stolen away
-fences can be mended

There’s more I’ve learned and there is still more to learn.  Right now, this saying has been pretty near and dear to me.
I have made EVERY effort I can to do for others what the firemen and first responders did for Kramer when they came shortly before he passed away as I never know when it might be the last time I have the opportunity.  I write more notes.  I send more letters.  I do more kindnesses.  I tell my kids and childcare parents that I can see they are working hard.  I sincerely thank people for visiting me.  I be as bright and cheery as I can to the person at the drive up window at McDonalds.

It would be so easy to wallow, focusing on all we will miss with Kramer’s passing but, why??  We all can still miss him yet still go out and be a smile in someone’s day.  I’ve found that the more I do good for others…the easier it is to not focus on missing Kramer.

If you look at the family picture…seriously, look at the photo from left to right…when you do, you’ll see our family, even though in pain, has had MUCH good happen in the past year…for that, we are thankful.




Movie Review: Secret Life of Pets II

Some friends of mine stopped by and after visiting asked me if I’d like to go to the movies with them.  I asked what was playing and they said, “The Secret Life of Pets II”.  It’s not a movie that was on my “bucket list” but it was a movie I wouldn’t mind seeing.  I’m learning that I love my family and childcare families dearly but some interaction with others is definitely appreciated….best is “safe” people that I don’t have to explain EVERYTHING to.  My friends who came fit that category perfectly.

Image result for the secret life of pets 2
We have a little theater in a neighboring town, Sumner Iowa that has 99 cent movies.  The movies aren’t typically there when they are first released but if we’re patient they come in a month or so like this one did.  The concession stand is about as reasonably priced as we get for a movie theater.

If I have an itch to go to a movie, here is always the very first place I look to see what is showing.

So about the movie…CUTE.  Very cute.

If you have a kiddo in your life, this is a great movie to take them to.  The story is age old…someone needs to be rescued and someone does the rescuing.  There is someone “bad” and the good guys triumph.  We all love those stories don’t we??

I will admit to having to wipe a tear away when this was said, “You never know what life is going to throw at you. And you have two choices, run from it, or run at it. It’s a big day, and from this point on, nothing is going to be the same. But I’m going to be brave. And I’m going to help Liam be brave, because he’s my kid, and I want him to see the world. The big scary incredible world.”

I’ve had some of the very same feeling as of late…making a decision to be brave.  I think the character in the movie is right.  We, as people, have to decide to brave…it’s not always something that comes natural to us.  So I wiped my tear and went on with the movie and concentrated on the friends I went to the movie with.

If you get a chance, give the show a watch.  It’s fun and super cute and filled with lots of quotes that might go over the kids’ heads but mean something to you…king of like the “brave” quote did for me.  Isn’t that great about kids’ movies nowadays..there is something for everyone in them.  This one is no exception.

A big thanks to Kelli and Sophie for taking me.  You are the best company!!  I’ve thought a million times, if I could adopt you, I sure would!!




Plans for Karl

I’ve gotten a few question from blog readers about Karl.

-is he staying in iowa
-did he find a job
-where is he living

Here’s the scoop.  Karl has decided to stay in Iowa.  (YES, I was cheering over that decision).  It’s so hard as a mom.  You want your kids to do what they want but you want them to prioritize family and being close.  You want them to be happy doing whatever they do but you wish it was at least in the same state you live in.  You want them to be happy…but you’re happy where you are wish they could be happy there too….but mostly…you know have to put your wants aside and simply support them in whatever they choose.  (It doesn’t mean you don’t have your fingers crossed behind your back though.)

Anyway…my fingers were crossed and he did pick IOWA.

Kramer’s passing was hard for him being so far away…plus those little nieces and nephews of his are enticing..plus Kayla’s new one is coming…plus, he still has a lot of good friends in the area.  (Well within 3 hours driving distance-he figures that to be close).

So next up…JOB.  That was a harder decision.  He didn’t know for sure what he was interested in.  His year teaching in Houston was tough.  The school system there is not what he was familiar with growing up here in Iowa.  He was in a tough part of town and didn’t feel super supported by administration.  He wasn’t completely soured to teaching…but not admittedly nervous.  Would other schools be that way?  He hated the paperwork side of things too.  Well…so does he look for a teaching job.  Hmm.

He ended up finding a job that was open in the teaching profession.  He also heard from a large local pig producer that was looking for a translator.  He also had a desire to work at the local brewery Toppling Goliath….

This is how it went:
He applied for a 3rd grade teaching job west of here about 80 minutes away.  While he was in that interview, an entirely different school called him.  They saw his information on the Teach Iowa website.  Even though Karl never applied there, they asked him if he’d interview for a 2nd grade position.  He said yes.  That town is 2 1/2 hours from here.

A couple days later he was on his way to the interview with the new school when the brewery called him and asked him to come for an interview.  The school interview went great.  He set up the interview with the brewery and before that could happen, he got an interview at the pig producers.  The interview at the pig producers went well.

So…..
The next day the school that was hiring for 2nd grade called and said they were excited about Karl but was checking references.

It was the weekend.

The following Tuesday he interviewed with the brewery.  That went well.

The next day the pig producers called and gave him a job offer….AH…what to do.  The brewery job sounded promising…the teaching job sounded promising.

Karl asked that the pig producer give him a couple days…He was on the road at the time headed to Texas to clean our his apartment.  He said he’d call them in a couple days to give them his answer.

The brewery called back for a second interview.

Karl thought about it and took the job with the pig producer.  The place is actually HUGE…one of if not the biggest pork producers in Iowa.  They have MANY employees-Somewhere around 300.  Karl will be working with the hispanic population that works there.  He’ll be doing some translating…some bookwork type things-working with VISAs too.  If he likes it..he’ll stay and give up teaching.  If he doesn’t, he’ll get his reading endorsement and look for a school closer in the area.

I’m not chiseling anything into stone, but I think he’s wanting to stay in the area…I want him to be happy and go where ever he needs to go to do that..but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was thrilled.

Now where’s he living:
Here, at my house, with me.  We worked out an agreement and are happy.  We’re a lot more like housemates and a lot less like mom and son.  I don’t mind…he doesn’t mind.  He can pay off his student loans.  I have someone to help with the stuff around here.  It’s a win-win for us both.

So…for now, I have my boy back.  I don’t know how long he’ll stay in Iowa or how long he’ll stay at my house, but for now, I think we’re both happy.




What I’m Reading: Catching the Wind

I was hunting for a good book.  I’ve cancelled the renewal of my Audible subscription.  It’s one way I can trim the budget.  I have a few credits left but have been saving them for “THE BEST BOOK EVER”.  So far the cancelling hasn’t been something I regret.  I’ve been working harder to find books through other free online sources like Hoopla Digital.

I found this book there.

It’s Catching the Wind by Melanie Dobson.

So did I like the book???
YES!!  It’s likely under the genre of christian fiction.  I don’t mind christian fiction as long as it isn’t super preachy.  This one isn’t at all.  It mentions it here and there but it isn’t the main focus of the story.  It’s more like how many live their day to day life.

The book is a WWII book.  It is a story of lost and found on several fronts.  The story goes from WWII times to present day.  I love that.  I think it gives the reader a bit of a break for when things on either front get a little heavy and there’s a need to escape the hard part of the story.

Here’s what Amazon had to say:
What happened to Brigitte Berthold?

That question has haunted Daniel Knight since he was thirteen, when he and ten-year-old Brigitte escaped the Gestapo agents who arrested both their parents. They survived a harrowing journey from Germany to England, only to be separated upon their arrival. Daniel vowed to find Brigitte after the war, a promise he has fought to fulfill for more than seventy years.

Now a wealthy old man, Daniel’s final hope in finding Brigitte rests with Quenby Vaughn, an American journalist working in London. He believes Quenby’s tenacity to find missing people and her personal investment in a related WWII espionage story will help her succeed where previous investigators have failed. Though Quenby is wrestling her own demons―and wary at the idea of teaming up with Daniel’s lawyer, Lucas Hough―the lure of Brigitte’s story is too much to resist. Together, Quenby and Lucas delve deep into the past, following a trail of deception, sacrifice, and healing that could change all of their futures.”

I liked the book and was happy to see that Amazon readers did too.  They gave it 4.8 stars.  For me the book did have a lot of characters and listening to it as an audiobook when I was busy gardening had me needing to stop and replay to catch which character did what.  I don’t think I would have had the problem if I was concentrating more on the audio or reading it.  I very much liked the book and will be listening to another book of hers, Hidden Among the Stars.