Sunday, April 20, 2014

Christ is risen!

"He has risen," the angel announces to the woman. "He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him." (Matthew 28:6-7) But the Lord decided not to make them wait. He appears to them on the way and tells them to rejoice and not be afraid. He doesn't make you wait either. He meets you today in His Divine Service, chasing away your fears and filling you with His resurrection peace. 

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

(From CPH April 20, 2014 Bulletin Cover)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Moments to ponder in my heart

We have had some trouble with Lamb 1 recently. Everyone I've talked to with older boys has told me if he just turned 10 then this is nothing compared to what will happen in a few years. I won't spend too long on my blog about this, but I will mention that in the last few weeks he lost a new sweatshirt and his bike helmet at the neighbor girl's back yard. Both times it was an extreme crisis until he found it the next time he went over there. Ram was not surprised by this at all, he replied that he probably would have done the same thing when he was Lamb 1's age. (Unless it was a book-he never would have forgotten a book!) This is so difficult for me after growing up with no brothers.

He found the sweatshirt tonight and I tried to give the Lambs as long as possible to play with their friends. That was my mistake-I should have called them in earlier than I did to change their clothes for church. I had a lot of complaints about needing to hurry to change clothes and why they needed to change clothes instead of wearing shorts and t-shirts and even why we needed to go to church tonight.

We made it to church and took our seats at exactly 7pm. The congregation began singing the first hymn. We were smaller in numbers tonight than we are on Sunday mornings. But Lamb 1 sang loudly for the first hymn. It made me smile after the rush to get to church. Moments like this help me keep at this parenting of boys. Because this is really what matters.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ewe with Lamb 1

I came across this photo while I was recently organizing photos. I'm often not in our family photos because I'm taking the pictures. My Grandma gave me the advice to give the firstborn extra TLC. This picture makes me smile with my firstborn. This picture was taken while we visited Ram's parents for New Year's and Lamb 1 and Lamb 2 gave a small piano recital for us. Lamb 1 loves to play hymns out of the hymnal!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Our 2013 Family taxes

When I was in 8th grade I was scheduled to babysit for a family. When I arrived the couple was not even close to ready to go. They had been working on taxes that afternoon and needed to mail them on the way on their evening out. I had to entertain the kids for several hours before they finally left for their date.
When we moved to the big city when I was in high school, I was amazed to watch the postal workers stand at the curb taking mail until midnight on April 15. My senior year I had an important scholarship application that needed to be postmarked on April 15 so I waited in the drive up line to hand it to the postal worker.
Boy have things ever changed. I don't know if any one still postpones their plans if they don't have their taxes done by April 15 like when I babysat for that family. I doubt even in big cities there are lines at the drop box at the post office. E-filing has really changed our lives, even for those that don't e-file. It was strange to mail one thin envelope only containing a voucher and check because everything else was e-filed for both federal and state. And it was a pleasant surprise to wake up one morning a few weeks ago and check my bank account and see that state refund deposited in the account. Those that get refunds don't even need to go to the bank to deposit their refund any more.

I do find looking at what we submit for taxes an interesting glimpse in our personal lives. I have blogged about this before. I will list some of what our 2013 taxes showed about our family.

* Ram did not attend any conferences out of state which meant he spent very little money on theology books because he didn't stop and shop at the booths. We did not travel out of state for vacation with the exception of Ewe attending the HRTB Retreat in St. Louis.
* Ram did 1 funeral and 2 baptisms at our church.
* Ram and Ewe participated in the Be Well Serve Well Program and were rewarded
* Ewe had 2 miscarriages and had her first mammogram
* Lamb 2 saw a lot of doctors in the fall until we discovered he needed vision therapy
* Lamb 2 began occupational therapy in the fall
* Lamb 3 began private speech after speech at the public school ended for him
* Lamb 3 attended and graduated from preschool
* We got a drinking and water softener system for our house
* We did a few home improvement projects that we wanted to do-put in a few ceiling fans, hung a few wall mirrors in some bedrooms, planted flower bulbs in the yard
* We bought a new refrigerator for the first time

This year we did much better estimating our taxes so only owed a small amount for federal and got a refund from state. Thankfully it is not like last year where we owed a bunch for the previous year taxes plus had to pay a bunch for estimated taxes for the next year. I do think we really realize what we are paying in taxes since Ram is self employed and we pay quarterly taxes instead of having it withdrawn from each paycheck like most Americans.
I miss living in MN at tax time. The refund from state is because there is sales tax on groceries here. I really doubt the refund covers the sales tax our family pays for food. In MN there was no sales tax on food, clothes, or shoes. But we are gradually getting used to paying high taxes here and also learning that because ID is a smaller state than MN there are also not as many benefits for our family (like the Lambs being allowed to have speech therapy at the public school). Thankfully there are other benefits to living in ID besides public services so we like living here!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hair Trim

The last time I had my hair cut was on our summer 2012 vacation when my friend Gloria cut it and I donated it. Since I have long hair I rarely take the time to get it trimmed as it isn't as noticeable as when you have short hair and need it shaped again.

I had never had my hair cut in ID and wasn't sure where to go. I do have a friend that had her ear cut when she had a hair cut at one of the chain shops and now I'm very cautious where I walk in. My friend, Joelle, told me where she went but I never made the effort to make an appointment.

I noticed there was a Barber College near where the Lambs have piano lessons. When I was in high school I often went to a Beauty College for perms. I decided to go there for  a trim. The ends of my hair were really bad after almost 2 years. I wasn't quite sure about  going to a Barber College for a women's hair cut but decided it couldn't be too bad since I just needed the ends trimmed.

I was so glad I went there because with a coupon it was just $5 to get hair washed, trimmed, and styled. Since it was just a trim I wasn't willing to pay much more. I didn't need an appointment so I went when I was ready on Friday afternoon.

The student did a great job and her instructor checked her work. The instructor found one spot that wasn't even but that usually happens when I get my hair cut since it is so long. Both of them remarked how thick my hair is. She said I should come in once a month for trims-I'm not sure I will go that often but I will go every couple of months. She was surprised how long my hair is. I told her this was too short for me to get it cut to donate.

After reading the book Curly Girl I was a little overwhelmed at all the products she put in my hair. When I go back I'm going to ask if she can just put conditioner, not shampoo in my hair. I'm not sure if that is allowed there, but I'll ask. And after I get it cut I'm going to ask to not have it styled. All those products not only smell bad but I know they aren't good for my hair.

For styling she braided my hair and it was cute but the braid fell apart while I slept so I had to wash my hair Saturday morning. On Sunday the woman that sat behind me in church remarked on how nice my hair looked. I guess I really did need the ends trimmed.

After so many miscarriages I usually treat myself to a Starbucks or similar price treat after I go to the doctor now. Even just routine doctor visits are complicated now that I have to tell them when my last miscarriage was. After I got my hair trimmed I stopped at Starbucks. Although going to the Barber College wasn't like going to the doctor, I was proud of myself for being brave and trying it. I figure I still came out ahead since the trim was just $5.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Productive Days

Yesterday I did school with the Lambs and then we worked to clean up their play room. We are trying to keep up with it and really clean it often so it is not so bad when they do clean up. They had cleaned it themselves a few weeks ago so Grandpa could see where to build a train table when he visited. It needed an adult to help reach the high parts of the closet etc. to get it completely cleaned up. I also encouraged them to throw some things out and put some toys they had outgrown in the donate pile. The Lambs practiced piano and Lamb 3 did his speech homework. While we cleaned up the playroom Ram ran a few errands. Then I ran errands all afternoon.
While I was gone Ram and the Lambs cleaned out the car-taking out toys and coats and mittens that had fallen under seats-throwing away trash, and even vacuuming out the car. They also did a little organize the garage and sweep the patio work.
In the afternoon I got my hair trimmed. That is a whole different post about finally getting my hair trimmed. I did go to Starbucks to reward myself for finally doing that. I went to two grocery stores. I had lots of coupons to use at Target. I had coupons to use at Kohls. I had taken clothes the Lambs had outgrown to two different used children's stores so had credit to use at both stores. I spent all my credit. Some of what I bought is too big for Lamb 1 but I know he will grow in to it. They often grow in to clothes before I expect them to and I like to be prepared with a few clothes in the next size. I went to Hallmark for a few cards-it's overwhelming how many family birthdays and holidays are coming up-I'm glad I have many cards in stock thanks to my crafty sister, but I needed some specific ones.
Ram made hamburgers on the grill for supper and we ate on the clean patio. Since the play room was cleaned up the Lambs decided to put their sleeping bags in there and camp out in the playroom last night. They were up talking until very late and tonight we had some tired and grouchy Lambs.

Today I was up early to get to Barnes and Noble for their teacher days. I love that they let homeschoolers participate. If you went this morning you got a free drink from their cafe. I bought some books for Ram with my discount and his birthday money that his Grandma just sent. I stopped at Joann to browse some fabric for some projects I have in mind but decided to wait until I have a better coupon and more time to get those projects going. Then I went to church to help them set up. Our ladies had a get together with a delicious lunch, exchanged prayer pal names, and one lady gave a presentation of flowers in the Bible.
While I was gone Ram took the Lambs to an event at Toys R Us where they received a small Lego set to build a car from the Lego movie. Ram made sure to get them there early because it was a while supplies last event. They were so glad because shortly after the start time they started to run out. I don't know why they started early but the Lambs were glad to get free Legos. They have built and rebuilt them a few times today.
I took a nap and Ram made supper-a new recipe for us with sausage and potatoes. The Lambs surprised me and they all liked it and asked us to make it again. Then Ram helped the Lambs move their caterpillars into their butterfly habitat. I gave all the Lambs and Ram hair cuts. After showers the Lambs laid their clothes out for tomorrow.
After the Lambs went to bed Ram decided to tackle a project in our entry way that I've wanted to do for awhile. First he sent all the winter coats and hats and gloves to the laundry room to be washed and put away. Then he washed the cubbies and even used Magic Eraser on the bad spots. Then he put the hats and shoes etc. in yellow fabric bins that I bought. Then he swept the whole area because it is that time of year to get ants again if we don't sweep regularly. I love to see the organized area and the cheery bright yellow bins. It's even better because I didn't have to do that project!

Tomorrow the Sunday School kids sing in church and there is also confirmation. It will be a busy but joyful day at church. If we are not too tired after that Ram may borrow a mower as our lawn really needs to be mowed but our lawnmower is in the shop for 3 weeks for service. Note to self-don't wait until spring to get your mower serviced.

This past week the Lambs had a break from track and I wish the break was this week as it is Holy Week. Next week we are back to regular schedule of therapy, track, and add in Holy Week services and it will be a very busy week. Easter Monday Ram will do a funeral and we will help with the funeral dinner. I don't think our schedule will really let up until track is done this year.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dr. Seuss Day

We attended an event for Dr. Seuss Day at Barnes and Noble. We actually stumbled into the fun activities-we had no idea this was scheduled. There were so many activities and I was busy helping the Lambs at each station that I didn't take photos. One of their favorites was these elephant ears from Horton Hears a Who. I had no trouble getting them to take photos when we got home. It was such a simple idea-made out of felt and stapled together-I can't imagine how many hundreds they made that day. Thank you to St. Luke's Children's Hospital and Barnes and Noble for a fun day! We will plan to attend again next year.

Lamb 1

Lamb 3

Lamb 2-I love this photo with his new front teeth!

Note: These photos were taken at this event over a month ago. This is one of the many fun things we have done this spring. I downloaded pictures yesterday and realized I am very behind on my blog. With Holy Week next week I don't expect to get caught up soon, but I will post when I am able.