Friday, April 24, 2015

Dear Lamb 1,

Dear Lamb 1,
I owe you an apology. We have been so busy recently that I'm sure you don't think we care about what is important to you. I really thought that when Lamb 2 graduated from all his therapy our schedule would be better. But we are still busy with church, homeschool, Papa's job, Mama's volunteering at church, piano lessons, track practice and meets, and your Cub Scouts.

Cub Scouts assigned a lot of homework the past few months. Plus you had to go help with community events such as unwrapping trees at the park in the spring time. You also had to help build the stands for the cars for the Pinewood Derby. You went to everything you were supposed to and completed all your homework too.

The one thing that got left behind during this busy season was making your Pinewood Derby car. First we missed the Pack meeting where they gave out kits when you were sick. Then your leader kept forgetting to bring it to you. When you finally got it, Papa was too busy to even look at the rules for the event.

It came down to crunch time and you and Papa were going to work on it the day before it was due. Except I was running errands when Papa figured out he needed a new saw blade so you could trim the wood. I finally got home and Papa made a fast trip to the hardware store so you could begin. You quickly painted the car so it could dry overnight.  Then in the morning you had to quickly finish your car before weigh-in time.

Papa was supposed to teach confirmation class when the Pinewood Derby was supposed to begin. So the plan was I would take you boys to the Pinewood Derby and when Papa was finished with class he would come over and join us. At that point we would decide if I would take your brothers home or if we would stay for the whole event.

Then we were surprised to find out that Papa's class was canceled. He was going to be able to take you to Pinewood Derby! Then you asked if our whole family could go and cheer for your car. You didn't want only Papa to be there to cheer for you.

I'll be honest that I really wished to stay home that night since I didn't have to go. But I listened to your request. Then when I heard there were 78 heats in that hot room, I wished I had stayed at home. I'm so sorry for my bad attitude.

If I hadn't gone I wouldn't have seen how well your car raced. I wouldn't have seen you win your award for best "I made it myself" car. I wouldn't have seen that all that homework paid off and you now have Scholar, Craftsman, and Family Member pins. The Pinewood Derby was really cool and I was impressed with how well your Pack ran the night. If I hadn't gone, Papa wouldn't have been able to describe it to me the same as seeing it myself.

I am thrilled that you won best "I made it myself" car. I think out of all the awards that was the best one you could have won. It means more to me than if you would have won the fastest car.

Thank you for being patient with Papa and Mama through this busy spring. Thank you for taking the initiative to do a lot of your Cub Scout homework by yourself. Thank you for insisting that our whole family goes to Pinewood Derby and making it a family event. We love you and we are very proud of you.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

2015 Pinewood Derby

I took lots of pictures because I thought Grandpa would enjoy seeing them. 
Lamb 1's den made the stands for the cars. Thank you to all the parents and Cub Scout leaders that worked so hard for one Cub Scout evening. Thank you to Les Schwab Tires for sponsoring the evening.

I was quite impressed with how high tech this Cub Scout event was. I'm sure they didn't do as many heats before computers to track everything. Awards were very fair with racing each car so many times and computers scoring. 
It was well run and they did 78 heats for the Cub Scouts in about an hour. The dads that helped got a good workout last night! Then they had open division where parents and siblings could race cars they made. After all that it was finally award time.

After each heat placings, time, and MPH were shown for a few seconds on the screen. Unfortunately I wasn't fast enough to get a photo of Lamb 1's best time.

They also had a camera so you could see close up with all the people there. At about heat 65 the monitors shut off and scared everyone that we possibly lost all that work. A dad that was helping told us with a loud voice that we didn't lose any data, we just lost the monitor. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief at that news.

This dad works for the same company as Grandpa. He was a tremendous help for Pinewood Derby, both getting ready for it and helping the day of the derby. He had the job to transport all the cars back to the pit after they raced. He is using a camera on this race because his son's car was in this heat, he didn't sit there with a camera for each heat. 

Lamb 1 watched every heat with interest. Some of the boys used phones to record their own heats. 

I was so surprised that Lamb 1 won an award that I didn't even have my camera ready. This is not the best shot of him accepting his award.

A Boy Scout troop came to be the judges for design. The leaders told them how many awards they could give out and to feel free to come up with their own awards. They were so creative with their awards. They gave out awards for best game theme, is this really a car?, etc. The Cub Scouts also voted for their favorite cars too and awards were given for that. There were also lots of awards for the fastest cars and one for the safest driver award for the slowest car.

Lamb 1 won the Boy Scout design award for Best "I made it myself".  Our neighbor told us that the Pinewood Derby is really the parents make the cars and the boys watch and do a little work. Ram replied that Lamb 1 was 11 and he could make his own car, Ram would watch and give advice, but Ram was not doing his project for him. We were so proud that the Boy Scouts doing the judging noticed that. His car was not fancy, but it raced just fine and even more important it followed all the strict rules such as weight.

Lamb 1 wearing his pit pass and holding his car. 
We were so happy that Lamb 1 won an award with a trophy. Lamb 1 is part of a large Pack. This was his first Pinewood Derby and he lacked the experience of the other boys in his den. This will also be has last Pinewood Derby because his den will go on to Boy Scouts next year. Ram and I noticed that they gave out lots of awards- some medals, and some trophies, but every boy in the Troop did not get an award.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Old and New Glasses

Shortly before Ram had his major surgery in 2010 I got new glasses. I was debating if I should get them as I could drive legally without them. When he had his surgery I was so glad to have them for driving in an unfamiliar city to get between the hospital and the hotel. At that time I just replaced the lenses but kept my old frames. I'm not even sure how old my frames were, probably from the late 90's. They didn't really fit any more, but I wore them so rarely that I didn't mind. Just replacing the lenses was over $100 which I couldn't figure out because I have such a mild prescription.

Ram needed new glasses shortly after we moved to MN, probably about 2004. He got new frames and lenses and everything, also replaced the lenses in his old pair so he could have a spare pair. He has a strong prescription and it cost about $500 for all that.
Here we are in our old glasses. We put them on just for a photo comparison.
Last summer Ram suggested that I replace my glasses that didn't really fit and he could also use a new pair as his were getting scratched up and wearing out. Neither of us had much of a change in our prescription. I was dreading the cost, but knew it was time.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that our vision insurance covered a lot of the cost of new glasses. My complete glasses (frames and lenses) for my mild prescription cost $25. Ram's complete glasses (frames, lenses, anti-glare, anti-scratch, lighter weight) for his strong prescription cost a little less than $150.

We were so glad that we got them replaced last October and it didn't really cost that much. This summer we are considering getting Ram prescription sunglasses since we spent so much less than we expected to spend on our glasses.
Here we are in our new glasses. I think Ram's look like they are from the 70's but the employee at the eye doctor insisted they are very popular now. I do like them more now than I did when he was trying them on in the eye doctor's office.

(We got our new glasses in October, but I finally had our picture taken in March and I'm finally posting this in April!)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lamb 1's Day

The local pizza place has a name of the day where people with that name can make their own small pizza for free. They have chosen Ewe, Lamb 2, and Lamb 3 names and we participated. As far as we know, they have not chosen Lamb 1's name in the past few years. They do not have gluten free pizza so Ram does not want to participate even if they have his name day.

When they had Lamb 3's name day I told them that Lamb 1 was disappointed they have never chosen his name. The employee said they do have birthday of the month days and we could let Lamb 1 participate in that. The March birthday day was on March 4, one day before Lamb 1's birthday. Here are a few pictures of his fun day. It was busy, but not as busy as I expected since all March birthdays were allowed to participate.

Lamb 1 was happy to make his own pizza without cheese!

Thank you, Flying Pie Pizzaria!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April Update

1. I did make it through all the tubs of outgrown clothes, toys, and books. Ram commented on how much better that area of our garage looks. I also made it through the books in the playroom. (Most of those books are about Star Wars or Legos.) We discovered several duplicates there once it was organized! We have a huge give away pile. I hope to sort that all out and either deliver it this week or organize it to deliver for our vacation.
2. I am just at the beginning of planning our summer vacation.  Since I don't do Facebook it is a little more involved to e-mail or (gasp!) even make phone calls to make sure we get together with everyone we want to. I am excited, but poor Ram will have to work and not get much of a vacation. My parents are downsizing so helping them I may not get much of a vacation either. But it will be more fun to declutter at their house than it is to declutter at my house.
3. I am also planning for the Lambs summer. With all Lamb 2's therapy last year we did not do much. This year it looks like Lamb 1 will do basketball camp, Lamb 2 will do tennis camp and a science camp, and all 3 Lambs will do VBS and swim lessons. Add in our vacation and the summer is going to fly by.
4. I finished the church library project and boxed up all the give away stuff today. Another lady from church volunteered to deliver it to a local mission. They are excited to not only get Bibles, but also our old hymnals and several various other Christian books. I am excited that they want our books that we no longer use.
5. In January I attended a planning meeting for an event our church is hosting this week. It's hard to believe the date is already here. This week will be a busy week ironing tablecloths, baking, preparing to speak to the ladies for a few minutes, and finishing up other last minute details. Thankfully we only have to host this every 6 or 7 years!
6. I tried a new Paleo chocolate cake recipe before making it for this event. I liked the cake, but not the frosting. Does anyone have a good chocolate frosting recipe to share? I would love for it to be dairy free, but I'll settle for gluten free that tastes good.
7. Lamb 1 has had a lot of homework for Cub Scouts recently. He can barely keep up with practicing piano and Cub Scout homework even though he is homeschooled. Last weekend he was doing other Cub Scout homework so he didn't even begin his pinewood derby car until Friday night. Weigh-in was Saturday so he quickly painted it before he went to bed. He finished it in the morning before he turned it in. That was cutting it too close for me. We look forward to the Pinewood Derby this week.
8. Lamb 1 has another orthodontist appointment this week. His front teeth are finally coming in so I'm hoping this is the end of his orthodontist appointments. It might not be, this might be just the beginning of orthodontist treatments!
9. Last night we went to an informal get together with a few of our neighbors. It was so strange to be making s'mores and kids running wild outside in April. We did need sweatshirts because it was evening.
10. The last library book club book was Little Town on the Prairie. The librarian invited some fiddle players and a fiddle maker to book club. It was interesting. I took some Shutterfly books I made of our trips to DeSmet, SD and Walnut Grove, MN. It was fun to share that with others.
11. Ram mowed the lawn on Friday for the first time. It wasn't in desperate need of mowing yet, but he wanted to try out his new lawnmower. The lawn looks a lot better after he mowed so perhaps it needed to be mowed more than I realized. I owned a house before I met Ram and this is my/our second lawnmower so I guess it was time to get a new one.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ewe's Recent Projects

1. Our home library is organized in Dewey Decimal system. I organized/weeded through/typed up a list of what we have in the 300s. This includes education books (which I have a lot of from teaching in the classroom and homeschooling), nursery rhymes, and fairy tales. It also includes political science and economics which Ram has a lot. The section was a mess. This was a huge project to haul the books downstairs from one end of the house to the other, decide what to keep and type it up, and then haul it back upstairs to reshelve what we were keeping. (I couldn't use our laptop because Ram uses it during the day so I had to use the computer in our schoolroom.) The give away pile has a lot of education books that we didn't need any more. I would love to go through our whole library this way, but that will have to wait until next fall as other projects are now more important. I also worked on our fiction section-not the picture books, just the chapter books and the adult fiction. There were lots of books that Ram purchased at library book sales that were not on my list. It is good to have that updated so we know what we have for future book store shopping. I did complete the fiction and 300 sections.
2. I just began going through the tubs of baby stuff. We still don't know what the future holds for our family, but I hung on to too much. When we moved we got rid of the crib and other baby "furniture" but a lot of other stuff went in plastic tubs and has sat in my garage since then. There were a few years with miscarriages that I couldn't handle even looking at baby clothes, toys, books, and other supplies. Add in that Ram's mom also had 3 boys and gave us a lot of that when Lamb 1 was born, and we have a ton. The most difficult for me to go through is the baby books. Many of the books have specific memories for each Lamb. Lamb 3 loved the Gingerbread Man. Lamb 1 loved this book about lions. One of the first words he said was "mane" from that book. I have so many memories of reading classics like Goodnight Moon. I have a feeling this is going to be like a few years ago-go through and get rid of some stuff this time, pack up the rest to go through again another time. You would think with my youngest being 7 now it would be easier, but it's not. Sigh. I give myself some forgiveness on this since it is difficult to do emotionally. I also try to remind myself that it would be better to give it to people that could use it instead of just sitting in a tub in my garage.
3. Ram and I weeded through the church library and decided to get rid of a lot. A church member volunteered to take a bunch of Bibles to a local mission. We separated old Bibles and hymnals that were worn out to burn so they are taken care of respectfully. I boxed up our old hymnals and not sure what to do with those. We have a whole table of books to give away. We are allowing our members to see if they want any of these books and then I will box up the rest to either donate to the thrift shop or if they are good Lutheran books we'll take them to the Seminary when we go to Fort Wayne for our summer vacation. We reduced about 8 bookshelves to just 1 bookshelf of books we really want in our library.
4. The next project will be to organize all this give away stuff from church and the books from our library and baby items. Pack up what we are taking to deliver on our vacation, make trips to the local thrift store, try to resale some stuff at the local used kids store, etc. I keep thinking about how nice it will be when these projects are completed instead of getting overwhelmed with what I want to accomplish in the next few weeks!