Christmas Jams Christmas Eve Ada Rudolph Hair Ada reindeer Mickey'sFriends –

Here we are on the eve of the New Year, filled with possibility and renewed hopes and dreams – heck; why not throw in a pinch of peace of earth and a group hug while we’re at it!

To be fair, my holiday spirit was fairly stunted this year, mostly from the overwhelming school challenges E faced this autumn, which sort of catapulted me into one of those “crap, I truly don’t know if we’re making the right call, maybe I really don’t know how to do this parenting thing, teenagers & ASD don’t mix well, my life is nothing like what I envisioned & what the heck do I do now?” phases this holiday season.

Even holiday cards were overwhelming me.  I finally penned a holiday letter, which was less than my best effort, and it just sat there for over a week as I didn’t have enough holiday spirit to complete the process.  But, as it turns out, who needs holiday spirit when E man is on the job!  He took the holiday card project and made it his own, and just like everything else E, he put his unique twist on it.

His excitement and over-zealousness for leading this project had some unexpected results.  Crazy things like not marking down who he had sent cards to, or forgetting to enclose cards and letters.  One evening, I had that uncomfortable feeling something was not as it should be, so after E retreated to bed, Tom went to the mail box to retrieve the cards E had placed there.  We soon learned that E was not using my holiday card list at all, but had decided to send holiday cards to a variety of staff members from his schools, classmates who don’t particularly adore him, and some names we didn’t recognize at all.  While we were able to rescue these fine folks from receiving our less-than-traditional holiday greeting, who knows what other recipients did receive E greetings?

I do know I have a lot of left over cards and letters, so this project will continue to need a bit of refinement and clearly a pinch more oversight next year, but as with everything, live and learn, right?

So, as we bid adieu to 2014, sip coffee on the red couch before Henry and Ada awaken and we venture off to winter camp to retrieve the E man just in time for our traditional disco bowling/fondue NYE sort-of-extravaganza, here’s hoping 2015 treats you well!  And just in case you got a blank envelope from us or were scratched from the list so that E could greet one of his favorite CVS employees, following is our holiday letter and a few snapshots from our little corner of the world.


December 2014


Family & Friends –

I’m just going to lay it out there – my jingle bells are not ringing this year, and let’s just say the world is a better place because we don’t have an Elf on a Shelf (can you even imagine!).  While we truly wish everyone a whole bunch of holiday peace, love and all that jazz, I daresay we’ve had a good deal of reindeer excrement sprinkled throughout our 2014 and my holiday spirit is a bit stunted. That said, it’s all about spin, and even the ugly stuff has an element of good – you just have to sift through the broken candy canes to find it sometimes.  Here is our humble attempt to do just that:

The Minnesota weather was so miserable last winter that we decided driving to Arizona for spring break was a good idea.  Yes, we had some moments lacking in family unity (TX is severely lacking in rest stops!), and the boys started wearing deodorant immediately upon our return, but it really was a pretty awesome adventure.  We took turns posing with each new state sign, and the trio got to see a lot of the USA up close and personal.  Sure, E didn’t need to argue with a grandmother in Oklahoma about who had the biggest accent, but our offspring got to check some lifelong goals off their list.  Ada got to touch a cactus, Elliott got to see the Rocky Mountains, and Henry got to go to In & Out Burger.  Best of all, we got to hang with the Kramer family in AZ, and replenish our vitamin D before heading home to the tundra.   Definite 2014 highlight!

Tom Kramer’s pancreas decided to go rogue, and gave him an unexpected week long summer hospital staycation!  Oh sure, a majority of those diagnosed with pancreatitis consume the equivalent of a liter of vodka a day, but even with his staunch Packer fan status, he couldn’t compare!  Lots of creative “lifestyle” questions from the variety of healthcare professionals we got to meet, but in the end, after a week of morphine and a subsequent gallbladder removal, all is right with the world.  Soon, I’ll have to show him some of the text messages he sent during the early days of heavy-duty painkillers – while not quite IRS line-dancing video caliber, they would make the Grinch smile!

Some days we have 3 offspring, and some days we have Elliott, Ada and a boy with the voice of a 30-year-old man.  Ah yes, puberty is in full swing in Eagan, and while it’s true that no one deserves to put up with me as their Mom when the hormones are practically dripping off of them, Henry takes it all in stride.  He’s an introverted middle school guy with a cracking voice, pimples, and a sensitive soul.  Thankfully, he’s learned to use coconut oil (great for skin) and still makes time to watch “Dateline” with his Mom and ask “why is it always the husband?”  Why indeed . . .

Ada loves Goldy Gopher, wearing anything leopard, watching football with her Dad, and being a big 2nd grader!  She advocated for attending our neighborhood school, and despite my anxiety (it’s a Mom thing – I’m on meds) it’s been a rousing success!  She loves her school, adores her teacher and is connecting with some kids in our neighborhood.  She’s still a sassy pants, but with two middle school brothers, well, you might be too!

We started the school year with 3 kids in 3 different schools, but now we have 3 kids in 4 schools.  If you know Elliott, you know he always dares to be different!  In all honesty, this has been a challenging time for our family, but thankfully with the help of a large and caring “village” the E man is already moving in the right direction!  He’s got a bright smile, a zest for life, a passion for Target and a terrific BFF (MN Gov. Mark Dayton).  The E man keeps us on our toes and ensures that our lives are never dull, but no matter what the adventure, he’s up for it!  I dig his charisma.

Our cat, Garfunkel, has the most amazing digestive system on the planet!  Last week, he ate a needle & thread that Henry left out after sewing Goldy’s arm on for Ada, and while surgery looked eminent, he managed to let things pass in a more natural way.  If that’s not a Christmas miracle, well, I don’t know what is!  Simon and Garfunkel are now reunited, fighting about the warm spot in front of the fire.

So there you have it – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Wow – that wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it would be.  Heck, I might just break out the jingle bells, and drag the family out caroling – we can even alter our song catalog depending on which voice Henry uses!

Holiday peace and love all around!

Tom, Kammy, Elliott, Henry and Ada

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