Friday, July 24, 2015

Family Update

1. Lamb 2 took a science class this week. I will blog more about his class later. The location ended up changing from where it was supposed to be. That meant a longer drive to chauffeur him than I planned. Ram did a couple of pick ups but it was a 22 mile round trip in traffic. I was so glad when the week was over and we were done with all that driving. He loved his class so it was worth it. The other Lambs weren't interested in doing a science class this year.
2. We received some information on our health plan changes for next year. I spent much of the week researching it online and also e-mailing some fellow pastor wives about what their church plans to do about health insurance for next year. I still have a lot more research to do in order to recommend to the board of directors what I think is the best way for both the church and for our family. I know no one on the board of directors has time to research this. Nor do they have as much interest in this as I do for my health care costs for my family. I misread the information at first and was panicking about the changes. Thankfully I misread it and it is not as bad as I first thought. Health insurance and doctor billing is so drastically different than when I was born. I don't know what the answer is for this whole situation, especially for small LCMS churches. I do know that God will continue to provide for our family even if it is not in the way that we expect or would choose.
3. I listened to most of the Higher Things broadcasts of church services from Grand Rapids online this week. It was a little tricky because of the time change. I needed to get up to get ready to take Lamb 2 to his class anyway so I was able to listen to Matins. It was time to go get him during most of the Vespers so I was only able to listen to about half of those. I prepared supper during most of the Evening Prayers. I could totally get used to all those services live streamed every day and I would never get tired of them. Ram picked up Lamb 2 from class today and when he got home I was bawling because they had just finished singing Behold a Host Arrayed in White and For All the Saints. Thank you so much to Higher Things for the Live Stream. Lamb 1 is excited about going to Higher Things next year. We already have a meeting at church planned for next Sunday to start fundraising and planning!
4. Ram and I both had dentist appointments today. I was shocked when he got home and said he had his first cavity. Just like Lamb 3, they have been watching this tooth for awhile and he finally needed a filling. Because of Lamb 2 breaking his tooth, Ewe's root canal, and Lamb 3's first filling, we have met our dental deductible this year. After I asked Ram a bunch of questions about his cavity, that was my first thought- if he is going to need a filling this is the perfect time to need it since we have met our deductible! I still can't believe he was 40 before he ever had a cavity. The dentist apologized to me again for needing to do 2 root canals. He said that is so rare that he never expected I would need two until he tested my teeth.
5. The Lambs begin two weeks of swim lessons next week. I'm looking forward to seeing how Lamb 2 does this year after his nose surgery last year.
6. I'm going to pick blackberries on Monday so plan on lots of time in the kitchen next week making jam and preparing blackberries for the freezer.
7. I cleaned out my scrapbook closet this week and got things more organized. I'm not done but it looks tons better than before.
8. I went to my naturopath chiropractor today for the first time this calendar year. I was generally not feeling well since we returned from our vacation and I already feel better. I don't understand how naturopath works and perhaps it is all in my head, but I feel it is worth every penny because I feel so much better after I go. He started me on three supplements and I am to let him know in three weeks if they help. I may not need to return to him, we'll see then. I was pleasantly surprised that he only charges $70 an office visit since we have not met our deductible. That is worth it to me.
9. Ram had a funeral last week that was physically and emotionally draining for him and also totally unexpected for everyone in our congregation. We both received a lot of phone calls from members that wanted to talk about it. We have nothing on the calendar tomorrow and we plan to sleep in and relax after a tough week. Funerals were common in MN but Ram has only done a couple of funerals of active members since we arrived in ID. We were both out of practice of the whole funeral interrupt your schedule completely. I don't think most people realize how much work LCMS pastors put into deathbed calls and funerals. This family was shocked how soon Ram arrived at the hospital and he spent a lot of hours after that. We know that is what this saint would have wanted and I was happy to share Ram with her family and he was happy to help them even though it was exhausting.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Broken record

Lamb 3 needed a filling today so he broke his record of no cavities. Now Ram is the only one that never had a cavity in our family. Thankfully Lamb 3's was on a baby tooth. When they got in there they discovered a cavity on the tooth next to the one they saw at his last cleaning. So he had two fillings today. He did great and ate lots of ice cream this afternoon.

Tonight the Lambs talked about the commercial that advertises children's mouthwash and how it claims to prevent cavities. They think the commercial lies because they use that mouthwash daily and Lamb 3 still needed fillings today. I told them that I do think the mouthwash prevents some cavities because only Lamb 3 needed fillings today and also the dentist has been watching this tooth for Lamb 3 for the last couple of years and it finally needed a filling.

By the third child I'm not so upset about fillings, especially on baby teeth. We do continue to faithfully brush, floss, and use mouthwash daily. I can't help that they inherited my  teeth instead of Ram's teeth. We just do the best we can do. And we're thankful for dental insurance to keep the cost down when dental work is necessary.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Technology Changes

I brought home 8 trays of approximately 80 slides in each plus a bunch of misc. slides from my parents. I began trying to figure out what was in each tray to make a priority of making them digital. I think my parents want their wedding and honeymoon pictures digital, I know they don't care about a Seminary presentation that my dad made 40 years ago.

I began by using a flashlight and the process was taking a long time. I took a break from identifying those slides and cleaned out my scrapbook closet. I dug out a few more boxes of slides that my mom gave me several years ago that I never even checked what was on them. I dug out all the negatives that I could find from my pre-digital camera days. I am determined to get all this organized instead of waiting 20 more years like my parents did. I also brought home the negatives from our wedding-the photographer took 700 pictures.

At this point I decided to buy a slide scanner but my F-I-L told me not to. I don't know if he is going to let me borrow one or plans to buy me one for a present or thinks I should just take these to Costco or what his reason is. But I'm obeying and holding off on buying a slide scanner for now.

Today I got the brilliant idea to use the old overhead projector from church to look at the slides. It sped up the process a lot-I placed about 25 slides on at a time and with the light could see the slides much better. I'm finished identifying most of the slides now. My next step is to make a priority list and number the slides to see exactly how many there are. My F-I-L asked how many I had and I really have no idea other than more than 650.

I'm excited to get some of these digital and share with my cousin John and cousin Dawn to begin with. They are both older than me and there are pictures of them as toddlers. There were quite a few of myself as a baby and toddler. After that my parents quit making slides and there are none of my sister. I grew up in Southern IN and a whole tray of slides was pictures of our town. My sister was born there but I'm sure she doesn't remember any of those pictures. I remembered most of the buildings including the school where I went to kindergarten. Out of all the slides those town pictures are the ones that mean the most to me.

I had no idea that my parents had all these slides. I never remember pulling the slide projector out and having a home movie show. Yes, we pulled it out for me to do a few presentations in high school. (Yes, I'm that old!-In my defense the teacher that made us use slides was also my dad's teacher and he retired a few years after I graduated.) Yes, we pulled it out to show slides of my trip to Israel. But showing and talking about pictures of trips my parents took before I was born never happened. I'm excited to get these digital and see what memories they bring back for my parents to talk about.

It's so ironic to me that because we couldn't find the cord for my dad's slide projector I used an overhead projector to help identify the slides. I have no idea what to do with my negatives I took with my first camera that are a disc shape. And I'm not even going to think about what to do with the rest of the VHS tapes of home movies... thankfully I already took several of those to Costco and did that project about 10 years ago, but there are more to do. It's a full time job to keep up with technology changes and decide what is worth keeping and what to let go with the filmstrip projector.

So all this is to say, if you are cleaning out your parent's house or a closet at church and you come across a power cord for a slide projector or light bulbs for an overhead projector, I'll gladly pay postage to you if you send it to me!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Trip home from IN continued

June 19: My cousin's family was in bed by the time we arrived the night before except he stayed up to greet us. In the morning we stayed and visited for a little while. My cousin is Lamb 2's godfather. The Lambs were getting a little wild so they went over to the school playground and for a walk. We were so glad to meet their two year old daughter, Alice. She is named after my grandma's youngest sister, her great-grandma. We had a short visit but we were glad we got to see them. We brought her some play food for her play kitchen that the Lambs had outgrown. In this picture she is holding play food oatmeal.

We stopped at Menards and stocked up on Sprecher root beer since we couldn't get the Lakefront Brewery root beer. We can get Sprecher here but it costs twice as much as Menards. We don't have Menards here. We ate at Cracker Barrel. As we were driving that afternoon a car maintenance light came on. We expected that it was because we had gone over 5000 miles since the last service, but we thought we better have it checked out in case it was more serious. I was using Ram's phone to try to figure out if we could arrive in Cheyenne with the time change before the Toyota there would close on a Friday evening. While I was doing that Ram noticed a Toyota right off the interstate in North Platte, NE. We decided to go to the next exit and turn around and go back to that Toyota. The problem was that the next exit was 40 miles away! U-turns on the interstate are not allowed. So 80 miles later we arrived back at the North Platte Toyota. Sure enough, the problem was just that we needed an oil change when we arrived home. But we felt much better after hearing  there was nothing more serious. While there we decided the 80 miles out of the way was worthy of a Dunkin Donuts trip. It was actually the first Dunkin Donut that Ram had ever eaten. We had planned to not eat until we got to Cheyenne, but we decided to get food from Qdoba while we were there.

The whole North Platte stop took a long time and was totally unplanned. That meant that it was too late to see our friends in Cheyenne. We had planned a stop to see them and let the kids play for an hour and then going to a hotel in Cheyenne.

Since we weren't stopping to see our friends, we decided to drive to Laramie instead of Cheyenne to make the next day less of a drive. We didn't have hotel reservations and the first couple we tried were full. We did find one but it was more expensive than we are used to. It was late and by that point we all just wanted to go to sleep and I didn't mind paying a little extra for a hotel room.

June 20: The Lambs were shocked that this more expensive hotel didn't serve free breakfast, you had to pay for breakfast in their restaurant. We decided to pick up breakfast on our own. We stopped at a Mexican restaurant and got huge breakfast burritos. Some of the Lambs loved that breakfast, others wished we would have stayed at a different hotel.

The rest of the day was spent driving and stopping when necessary. We were hoping that by staying in Laramie we wouldn't get home too late. In the morning I predicted we wouldn't be home until 10pm. Ram was hoping I would not be correct but I was. There was construction and that trip just takes a long time. The late nights before meant we didn't get up super early and get on the road. When we got home we completely unloaded the car and everyone was in bed by midnight. Yes, we all got up and made it to 10am church the next morning! And VBS began on Monday after that and we all made it on time to that too.

This completes my blog posts about our trip to IN. I just barely completed the blog posts before a month after our trip! Next week I'll begin to blog about what has happened since our trip.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Trip home from Indiana continued

June 18: We got up at our hotel and had a bit of breakfast. I had hoped to get up early enough to pop down and say "hi" to friends at CCA, but the late night before meant that sessions already began by the time we would have gone down there. Our first stop was to CUW to see Lamb 1's godmother that works in the library there. We stopped in and saw her, a Looper that works there, and there was one library employee that still worked there that I knew from my time working in the library from college. We gave ourselves a fast tour of the campus to see what has changed since we were there a few years ago.

Lamb 1's godmother said that his godfather was really hoping that we would go downtown Milwaukee and see where he works. He runs the shipping for Lakefront Brewery so we got a tour and he gave us some of their root beer. He had presents for the Lambs including some icons that survived their house fire several years ago. The Lambs had no idea who was on these icons, but they will learn. Lamb 1's godfather was so happy to see the Lambs and show them where he works.

We had not planned on this stop to tour the Brewery shipping and I don't think the Lambs really appreciated a Brewery tour, but they did enjoy the root beer! We got on the road much later than we had planned, early afternoon. We stopped at Target for a few snacks for the road. We stopped at a grocery store hoping to buy the Lambs more Lakefront Brewery root beer but they didn't have it. They did have Lakefront Brewery beer so Ram bought a case for himself ('s not Paleo!). We stopped for supper at Chick-fil-A and other than necessary stops the rest of the day was spent driving. We arrived at my cousin's house in NE at about midnight.

To be continued...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Trip Home from Indiana

June 17: My dad teaches a Wednesday morning Bible class. The location has changed over the years, but they go to a cafe where everyone orders what they want and my dad teaches class while they eat breakfast. The first week we were there Lamb 1 attended and impressed the class with his willingness to read out loud and answer questions. The second week both Lamb 1 and 2 attended. The day we left Fort Wayne no Lambs attended Bible class, but Ram gave my dad a ride home after Bible class as my mom had a doctor appointment.

Ram took Lamb 1 and 2 to basketball camp and then went to pick up my dad. He picked up bagels and yogurt for our drive when he picked up my dad. We spent the morning finishing up packing and finishing a few tasks to help my parents. We shipped home our 6 boxes. We picked up the Lambs and said goodbye to the coaches. This took a little longer than I would have liked and we weren't on the road until almost 12:30pm.

Our plans here were a little crazy. We hadn't been to WI for a few years and I really wanted to see a few friends. My mom thought it was absolutely crazy to go home to ID by way of WI. But I really wanted to go. Our plans were to stop and see my friend Jennifer for about an hour or two and then attend Divine Service at Peace, Sussex, WI. We weren't able to attend the entire catechism symposium (CCA), but we thought it would be worth going to Divine Service and seeing everyone afterwards. I really thought this would be possible with the time change gaining an hour for us.

Traffic was terrible and it took us much longer to get through Chicago than I had planned. My friend, Jennifer, had moved and it took us longer to find her new house than I planned. All 3 Lambs were sitting in the same row of the minivan which made a few more arguments than normal which meant a couple more stops to make everyone happy. We pulled into Jennifer's driveway about the same time as we would have needed to leave for Divine Service. We made the quick decision to just visit Jennifer and cancel our plans to go to church. I hadn't had time to contact very many people and the few that I did contact said they weren't going to be able to attend CCA this year.

The last time I heard from Jennifer I heard that she had a baby boy and he was in NICU for several days after he was born but after that he was fine. That baby boy is now 3 years old. We were so overdue for a visit!

I was so glad we were able to stop and see Jennifer's new house and the Lambs were able to see their animals. Jennifer had prepared supper for us, chicken that was butchered the day before from their farm, potatoes, and vegetables. It was so good, especially after eating too much fast food on our trip. When Jennifer's husband got home he was shocked that we were there as that was not the original plan. Then he joined the conversation and the kids played and the adults talked until 11pm. Dan and Ram shared a bottle of wine that Dan had received as a gift. They joked that we should spend the night there at that point, but we had reserved a hotel close to the church we had planned to go to. We got to our hotel at midnight.

Jennifer shared a kombucha mushroom with me before we left. She has 10 batches of kombucha going at once! I came home and got two batches going. I changed locations for my kombucha at my house and so far the kombucha looks really healthy. It has been nice to freely share kombucha with everyone and not ration it because it is so expensive at the store. Plus I think mine tastes better than store bought! We'll see how long I can keep up two batches at once...

To be continued...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Last days of Indiana vacation

June 16: This was our last full day in Fort Wayne. In the morning Ram did some handyman jobs for my parents. He hung new hooks by the back door. He removed all the screws and nails from all the walls of the house. I rushed to finish packing what we would take home.

Lamb 1 and 2 went to basketball camp in the morning and we all went to pick them up. We went to Lunchbox Cafe for lunch since Ram couldn't go the week before. Both times we got the last piece of vinegar pie and had to share it with all of us. We stopped by All Saints bookstore and Ram bought a few things, but we didn't let the Lambs buy any more crucifix necklaces. I also bought Advent candles and we put them in the cooler for the drive home. I had Advent candles on my list to replace so I was glad to check that off my to do list.

We ran a few errands in the afternoon-Costco for a few supplies for the trip and gas, bought mulch for my parents, bought more bubble wrap for packing, Half Price Books to trade in a few more books and give Ram a chance to look there even though he didn't buy anything.

I did laundry and finished packing what we were taking home. We mostly loaded the car, just leaving out our clothes and sleeping bags for the Lambs.

We had planned to get a trailer hitch installed by Toyota and rent a trailer to take stuff home. Toyota had a glitch during June and hitches installed by them would not be legal to drive. They assured us this was temporary, but we needed it done in June. I had considered taking a dresser home when I thought we would have a trailer. When it was clear a trailer was not going to work plus it would have been really expensive we went to plan B. Plan B was to not take any furniture home and ship books home that did not fit. We had all 3 Lambs sit in the same row and put the back seats in the minivan down. We actually had quite a bit of room behind the Lambs. We ended up shipping 6 boxes home. 5 of those boxes were media mail so not expensive. All the boxes arrived one week after we shipped them which was only a few days after we arrived home. I hadn't even finished unpacking what we had brought home in the minivan when they arrived. After Ram shipped the boxes I realized we should have squeezed that 6th box that didn't have books in the minivan to save money. I don't regret shipping boxes home because we were able to bring all the books that we wanted home. We also brought home my grandma's scrapbooks and lots of pictures. After the Lambs went to bed we addressed and wrapped in packing tape the boxes that we were shipping home. That took a long time to wrap all sides of 6 boxes in packing tape. We went to bed ready to start going home the next day.

To be continued...