Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Week

1. It is so odd to be a homeschool parent vs. a classroom teacher. The beginning of December we were very busy, but last week we had almost no extra events. This is the complete opposite of when I taught in a classroom. As a classroom teacher I stayed up way too late finishing making ornaments for my students and doing tasks like that right before Christmas vacation. We also were really busy preparing for the church Christmas Eve service, the church Advent service, and our fun day before Christmas vacation program. Plus we made presents for the parents and had extra field trips to see gingerbread houses and go to the Nutcracker ballet.
2. I am so thankful that we homeschool during this busy time of year. As much fun as it would be to see Lamb 1 in a school program, I think he would freak out and/or not participate. I was talking to a parent that was worried about what to do with her baby while she went to her older children's programs. She wanted her baby in bed long before the programs started. We would have the same problem with Lamb 3 if Lamb 1 was in school. Our schedule and routine has been really different this whole month. I can't imagine trying to get Lamb 1 up early the next morning after church or other events. He would be so upset if he missed some events because he had school. Our whole family went Christmas caroling at the nursing home on a Thursday night and the residents loved to see our boys. We wouldn't be able to do that if Lamb 1 was in school. We have skipped school a few days this month because of other activities, but overall we have done quite a bit of school in December. I know we did more in homeschool than I did when I was teaching in a classroom.
3. This post talked about what I bring when we travel on day trips. Angie commented that she doesn't take that much and she has twice as many kids. That post was an exception because we also had photos taken at Sears. But I usually take a lot. Last year weather caused us to get stuck overnight at my Looper friend Melanie's after what was supposed to be a day trip. Ram and I didn't have any extra clothes for ourselves, but I had plenty of diapers and clothes for the Lambs in what I had packed in the diaper bag. Lamb 2 still has potty accidents so I take extra extra clothes for him, but I take extra clothes for Lamb 1 and 3 too. Plus I often take pajamas and change the boys before we start driving home. Then we just have to transfer them from the car to bed. Ram's mom gave me that tip.
One thing I feel guilty about sometimes is that on our day trips once or twice a month we usually eat out both meals. I think that I should pack a lunch for one of those times to save money and eat healthier. But then I remember that we rarely eat out besides our day trips. And I'm packing so much else that I don't want to mess with making a lunch too. Plus I think about how much we accomplish in one or two days a month. (usually doctor or dentist appointment, sometimes Ram visit someone in the hospital, all our grocery and other shopping, sometimes Sears photos)
4. The doctor couldn't tell from my x-rays if my fingertip was fractured or not. So I basically wasted my time and money going to the doctor last Wednesday. I knew that either my fingertip was broken or it wasn't before I even went to the doctor! But she gave me a splint that has helped a lot and my finger feels a little better every day. The doctor did warn me to take the splint off several times a day so my finger doesn't get stiff. This has been easy to take it off to do dishes etc. and give it a little break.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy My Blog First Anniversary!

Today is my blogaversary! Not very many people read it when I began. I thought I would post the reason why I chose the title for my blog again today. I love the title of my blog. I have seen a similar blog title, Day by Glorious Day. I like my title because most of my posts are about our family either when we were away or at home plus it is from my favorite childhood hymn.

It has been interesting the connections of who reads my blog. Several are women that I've never met. The best man in our wedding-I've never met his wife, but she reads my blog. One of the best man's sisters who I either met once when I was engaged or never met also reads my blog. Many are Loopers that I've met. Some are Loopers that I've never met. Many are homeschoolers. Many are pastor's wives. I originally started it for our family to read. My parents both read it regularly. My sister only reads it when I insist it is something she wants to read-probably less than once a month since she doesn't have internet access at home. Ram's mom reads it often, but not regularly. Ram's dad is so busy with work that he doesn't read it very often. So it's funny that many of the people that I originally wrote it for don't read it regularly!

I never have a problem coming up with blog posts, my problem is having time to sit down and post all my millions of ideas. We have started taking more pictures because we HAVE to post them on the blog. My other problem is that my posts are often way too long. But with Ram as the only adult that I talk to most days, I "talk" to you on my blog!

Would you please leave a comment on this post so I can see who all reads my blog? I know many of you have left an occasional comment, but I would like to see many of you all at once!

Friday, December 18, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

Some of my blog friends have done 7 quick takes Friday several times. Here is my first try.
1. I finished wrapping and mailed the last of our Christmas gifts to our family early this week. I finished even with a hurt finger. It felt good to send the last box off. The last photos I ordered for our Christmas cards arrived this week. I plan to write our Christmas letter early next week and hopefully send the cards near Christmas.
2.The Christmas presents from Ram's parents arrived yesterday. We plan to put our tree up on Monday. We put them in our guest bedroom since we don't have a tree up yet. We are not procrastinating-we like to celebrate Advent before Christmas. We will leave our tree up until January 9 this year as we are hosting an Epiphany party for the area pastors on January 8. I've been working with the Lambs to try to clean up clutter so we have room for the tree and decorations!
3. Lamb 3 is getting more teeth. I don't remember Lamb 1 and 2 having such a tough time with teeth. His bottom is always bright red when he gets teeth too. So both his teeth and his bottom hurt. I don't think he's been sleeping well and he looked sleepy all day yesterday.
4. Ram and I will celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary on Dec. 29. His schedule is pretty free for a few days then so we're trying to decide what we want to do. Our plans include bringing the boys along-no family to babysit. We will probably go 3 hours away and stay at a hotel one night, go out to eat a few times, and fit some shopping in too.
5. I went to the doctor on Wednesday for my finger. Of course nothing is easy for me. X-ray showed it's not obviously broken, but there could be a small chip off the bone that my doctor couldn't see. My doctor is waiting for another doctor 1 1/2 hours away to look at it. In the meantime she gave me a splint with the idea that it would be a reminder not to overdo it with my finger (she also has small children so knew I couldn't go without using a finger until it healed). It actually has been the opposite-I am able to do a lot more with my splint that was too painful without the splint. Typing is much easier! It is still not completely healed, but it is a lot better than earlier this week. The doctor reminded me that being stuck in a garage door was traumatic for the finger and it will take awhile to heal.
6. Our babysitter is coming today. We've taken turns being sick so she hasn't been here for a few weeks. I'm looking forward to getting some projects done and the boys are looking forward to playing.
7. Sunday will be busy for us. Sunday School, church, Christmas Eve program practice, potluck with birthday cake for Jesus, home for a short time, Christmas program at second church, and then second potluck. Last year weather canceled all that year's events. Snow is predicted Saturday night. We are hoping we don't repeat last year. I'll be busy on Saturday making food for 2 potlucks. Hopefully the weather won't cancel the potlucks after I make the food!
Wow, 7 goes fast! Be sure to check out to see more 7 quick takes.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Keeping the post office open

A few years ago there was some talk of closing our local post office. Thankfully that has not happened yet. We would have a difficult time because we get so much mail for both us and the church that it often doesn't fit in a regular post office box. If the post office closed they would still not deliver our mail. If it didn't fit in the post office box we would have to drive 7 miles to pick up our mail. This is so different than the delivery to my house that I grew up with in a large town.
In order to try to save our local post office, I always buy stamps there and always ship packages from there. It is also more convenient than driving 7 miles to UPS or 1 1/2 hours to Fed Ex.

Here's what I shipped in the last week:
1 huge Christmas box to my parents and sister
1 small Christmas box to Ram's parents and grandparents
1 small package to my sister
1 small Christmas present to a Looper friend
1 wedding present
1 box to Thailand to a missionary friend
9 baby presents-It seems like all my friends and Loopers had babies this year! 1 of these went to Canada.

I also bought 200 stamps to send Christmas cards and to use for our own postage. I ordered the present for our family Christmas exchange and for my goddaughter online and had them sent to them directly or I would have mailed those too.

I know people have been complaining about how expensive it is to ship things now. I am amazed that I can walk two blocks and send something from my small post office and in a few weeks it will get to Thailand for what is not really a lot of money. Same thing for even mailing to Ram's grandparents in CA-they often get mail 1 or 2 days after I send it. There is no way that I can spend Christmas with the people I sent gifts. I probably won't see any of the people I sent baby presents to in the next year. I'll gladly spend a few dollars to get the gifts there. We are blessed to live in a country that we can ship items safely and relatively cheaply and they are guaranteed to arrive.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Not Quite Wordless Wednesday

What I pack to go 1 1/2 hours away for a day-not overnight:
*coats, hats, mittens, shoes for everyone
*1 school bag-last Monday we didn't end up doing school in the car
*1 purse (including shopping list and coupons)
*2 diaper bags (including Tylenol for shots 2 Lambs got)
*1 bag clothes in case of potty accidents
*1 bag clothes for photos at Sears
*1 scrapbook to show the manager at Sears-she ended up leaving work before I showed her
*3 bags toys and books (Lambs packed themselves)
*1 bag rice milk and water
Not pictured:
*1 bag ice for cooler for groceries to get home

Last Sunday there was an event at an area church. One of the ladies from our church was trying to talk me into going with her. I told her I would love to go, but I just didn't see how it was possible with our trip the next day. She couldn't figure out why I couldn't go to something that day when I was going "just to the town 1 1/2 hours away" the following day. Not only did I have to pack all this up-but I had to pack when no one was sleeping or napping in the boy's room where most of this was.
This has been my life for the last 6 1/2 years. After living in the second largest town in Indiana, I never imagined I would live so far away from a big grocery store, doctor, Walmart, Target, Menards, and Sears photo. Nor that I have to go 3-4 hours to go to more stores than that or to a mall. I continually have a shopping list going because I never know when I will be able to get to a big town. Our pantry is usually overflowing because we are not able to make a quick run to a store to get one more ingredient. There is a small grocery store that is 7 miles away. We do try to shop local, but we do the majority of our shopping at a bigger town or online.
I have found it nice to get the shopping done in 1 or 2 days a month. I don't know if we ever move to a bigger town if I will continue shopping this way or shop more often. It would be nice to go shopping without the Lambs some time though!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


A few years ago a family friend got divorced. They were younger than my parents and I was about kindergarten age when they got married. Their children were almost out of the nest when they got divorced. I don't know how long they were married, but probably about 20 years. It troubled me to read a Christmas card with the news of their divorce.
Both my bridesmaids (thankfully not my sister-the maid of honor), had their parents get divorced after they had graduated from high school and their siblings were out of the nest or almost out of the nest.
In the past few years a pastor we are friends with has become separated and may get divorced. The children are upper elementary-middle school age. That is a tricky situation when the children are old enough to choose who to live with but not out of the nest yet.
Recently I heard of someone else that was married over 20 years with all the children out of the nest that is separated.
Out of these 5 couples- 3 are Lutheran, 1 is Mormon, and 1 is Christian. Except for 1 couple, they all separated or got divorced when the children were all out of the nest or nearly out of the nest. Even that one couple had children that were older-not toddlers. I don't know all the details of their dating and early marriage, but it makes me wonder, did they marry their high school sweetheart? Did they date very long before they got married? etc. It seems as if they were so focused on their children that when they grew up and moved out, they had nothing left of their marriage. Maybe they tried to hold the marriage together for the sake of the children but after they moved out there wasn't any reason to work at holding the marriage together. In my opinion this is even worse for their children because they got divorced right at the time their children were near getting married themselves. Their children wonder if it is worth getting married if their own parents got divorced after several years of marriage.
I have been thinking about this post for awhile. Ram and I will celebrate our 8th anniversary in two weeks. I have many friends that got married while I was in college or right after college that have been married 13, 14, or 15 years. I was going to post that thankfully all of those friends are still married. I was going to write that all of my high school and college friends that got married are still married. But I didn't get around to posting that statement in time. One thing about reading Christmas cards is you hear both the good and the bad news of families. Yesterday I heard that one of my high school friends is getting divorced after 4 children and 14 years of marriage. She was one of my first friends to get married. Even though it was quite a drive, I went to her wedding. She happened to be home at Christmas so she was able to come to my wedding. I even remember what I gave her and she gave me as wedding presents. I don't know any details and I hope that she can work things out, but I'm afraid that she won't.
I know that there are two sides to each divorce and that some times there are very good reasons for divorce. But sometimes it seems as if people get divorced just because they don't want to work at marriage any more. My parents celebrated their 40th anniversary this year and they can tell you they have been through a lot in their marriage. Marriage is hard work. Sometimes people get divorced because the "grass is greener" at another place. I can't imagine it really is greener when you have to start over completely. I've only been married 8 years and I definitely do not want to start over completely at this point!
Since Ram and I both come from families with our parents still married, I can't even imagine what the holidays are like when your parents are divorced. This time of year has to be so difficult to work out who gets the kids for which holiday etc. And it has to be difficult if the kids are grown up-where do they go home? Ram and I are very blessed to have parents that are still married and the Lambs are very blessed to have grandparents that are still married.
I don't have all the answers, but I know that Christians are not immune to divorce. Sometimes I think the devil makes it so we Christians have to work even harder on our marriages than non-Christians. All this bad news about our friends getting divorced recently has been a good reminder to pray for all my friends and families that are married. And I need to pray for my single friends-both the ones that never married and the ones that are divorced now. It is also a good reminder to not let your marriage go while you have kids. Yes, there are seasons in your life and the kids take a lot of time and attention, especially when they are little. But that doesn't mean that you can ignore your spouse until the children are grown. May God help all of us so we can be with our spouse until death parts us.

Monday, December 14, 2009

12th Week of School Report

On Monday we traveled 1 1/2 hours for Lamb 2 and 3 to have their well visit checkups and also for the 3 Lambs to have photos taken at Sears. It was a busy day and I took our school books along but we didn't find time to do school that day. On Tuesday we traveled about 1 hour for Lamb 2 to have a hearing test. We did some school in the car that day. Wednesday-Friday we did school. Saturday we had another busy day and only did a little school. After the transition from classroom to homeschool, I am learning to "go with the flow" some days, and especially in December. I know that we are doing more school now than I did with my students when I was in the classroom. We don't have any Christmas program practice, we aren't having a Christmas party, we aren't making Christmas presents, and we aren't going on any field trips to see gingerbread houses or see the Nutcracker. Nor are the Lambs all hyper about Christmas and unable to concentrate on school this time of year.
Math: Lamb 1 continued the same lesson of adding 2.
Handwriting: Lamb 1 continues to practice his letters-one upper and lower case letter a day. I am seeing small improvements when we concentrate on them one at a time.
Reading: We finished My Book House volume 2. It was fun to read The Night Before Christmas and stories about The Nutcracker and other Christmas stories at this time of year. We began volume 1. We will be able to go through volume 1 quickly as we have done it before. We are taking a break from Five in a Row. We finished another book of poetry that we were reading so we will also take a break from that. Lamb 1 has Psalm 23 memorized and Lamb 2 almost has it memorized. We called Ewe's parents and they recited it over the phone to them.
Phonics: Lamb 1 is doing very well in The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. He is reading the 2 or 3 letter words well.
Religion: We did more Bible stories of Zechariah and Elizabeth and baby Jesus. We began practicing singing Christmas carols. At Ladies Aid, the ladies were impressed that the Lambs favorite Christmas carol was Hark the Harold Angels Sing and they knew all the words. We worked on memorizing the 9th commandment.
Latin: We continue Prima Latina. I like to do it when we are in the car, on days that we are at home we don't always get it done. My dad suggested that we make Latin a priority to keep Lamb 1 challenged. I think my dad is right so I'm going to make more of an effort to do Latin at home. Without giving specifics, I suspect that math is too easy for Lamb 1 sometimes. Memorizing Latin vocabulary is more difficult for Lamb 1 than it is for Lamb 2. Lamb 1 is better at applying Latin than Lamb 2. Plus Ram reminded me of the importance of doing math and Latin daily to learn it well.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

If I wasn't...

a pastor's wife of a tri-parish in the frozen north, I...

*wouldn't be typing this with purple smashed finger.
*wouldn't have to continually hear "but we've always done it that way"
*wouldn't have to deal with members of one church that forget the pastor has two other churches
*wouldn't have to bundle the boys up and start the car in the cold all by myself.
*wouldn't have to discipline 3 boys all the way to church, during church, and all the way home all by myself.

This was a very bad morning for me. Our garage door won't open automatically when it gets too cold. As I closed it manually, I pinched my finger in it. I panicked because the boys were already all buckled in the car and my finger was stuck in the door. I was able to lift the door with my other hand and get my finger out. It is still extremely painful over 8 hours later.
This morning the one other family with kids at our church was sick with the stomach flu. That meant that my Lambs were without any one or anything to do during Christmas practice. I was without another mom to help watch the Lambs. I almost had a heart attack when I caught all 3 Lambs up in the balcony and Lamb 3 was leaning over it. I had to do my best to listen to the directions for the Christmas program and also watch the Lambs by myself because Ram was leading the 3rd service while we had practice.
This is the 7th Christmas we have been here. During Christmas practice I got in an argument with the few members that actually were there for practice today. The argument boiled down to "that's not the way that we've always done it". Ram is stuck because either the first church or the second church (or both) is going to be upset with him on Christmas Eve. They want the pastor's family involved in their Christmas Eve program but they forget there is another Christmas Eve service. All this means that Ram is going to have lots to bring up at the next voter's meeting and the next tri-parish council meeting.
Winter just began and thankfully we are able to park in our garage again, but I'm already sick of winter and especially times that I have to take the Lambs some where by myself like going to church.
My bad morning was ended with Lamb 1 in tears because we didn't have a dress rehearsal or practice our lines in front of the church this morning like he expected. He doesn't want to wait until next Sunday.

I'm thankful because...
*we did have communion this morning (for the first time since Nov. 22).
*I'm not the pastor (Ram) that has to make the phone calls to try to "fix" the mess that I made this morning.
*there is only one Christmas Eve every year.
*the winter weather doesn't last all year.
*I hurt a finger on my left hand instead of my right.
*they don't ask me to be the chairman of the Christmas Eve program.
*the Lambs all survived the practice this morning and none got hurt.
*the Christmas Eve program isn't the REAL meaning of CHRISTmas.

Hopefully my finger will feel better and I'll be in a better mood to post our school weekly report tomorrow. We did accomplish quite a bit last week.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

About Ewe

I received this by e-mail from my friend that had a brain tumor. I was happy to start receiving e-mails from her again after a few years that she wasn't able to use the computer very much. I decided to do this on my blog instead of e-mail her back. I removed a few personal questions because this is on my blog. I am writing this Thursday night even though I'm not posting it until Saturday.

Were you named after anyone? My middle name (which I'm not telling on my blog) was both my maternal and paternal grandmother's first name. I even have my paternal grandmother's TLH hymnal with her name imprinted on the front. My first name is just because my parents wanted a Biblical name. They knew almost no one with my first name when they named me. Then my high school gym class had 6 of us with the same first name.

When was the last time you cried? Thanksgiving Eve.

Do like your handwriting? No. Especially not cursive. I wish I would have been taught a beautiful one like they used to teach in schools.

Do you have kids? Yes, 3 Lambs plus 2 miscarried Lambs in heaven.

Do you use sarcasm a lot? Yes, but not a lot. Ram does a lot.

Do you still have your tonsils? No. I had them removed when I was a freshman in high school.

Would you bungee jump? No. I've never wanted to and doubt I ever will want to.

What is your favorite Food? Recently, Texas Caviar-thanks to MckMama for the recipe! Probably also grilled cheese-with Lamb 1's dairy problems we haven't had very much grilled cheese since he was born, but I've always liked it.

Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? No. I don't untie the Lambs either.

Do you think you are strong? No, but strong enough to lift 2 Lambs at once when I need to (like over a muddy alley).

Favorite ice cream? Schwans Rocky Road. Bryers Neapolitan. Other kinds butter pecan. Dairy Queen peanut buster parfait. Can you tell I like ice cream?

What is the first thing you notice about people? I really am not very observant about people. I often don't notice when someone gets a hair cut or something like that. This drove my college roommates crazy!

Red or Pink? Neither. My sister has rubbed off to hate pink and red is too flashy. Plus I live in a house full of boys so pink won't work. My sister taught the Lambs when they were very young to say "Yea purple. Boo pink."

What is your least favorite thing about yourself? Some days my figure after 3 Lambs-other days I'm glad I have 3 Lambs and don't care about my figure.

Who do you miss the most? My maternal grandmother. Ram's younger brother-mostly that I never got to know Ram's younger brother very well. (I never met his older brother or he would also be on the list.) Also my maternal grandmother's sisters-they were also like grandmas to me. Also my mom because she lives so far away.

What are you wearing? My khaki pants that are too big, warm slippers (-2 with wind chill -17 as I write this), Christmas shirt. We had a Ladies Aid Christmas party tonight as I write this. I'm getting ready to put on my long underwear that I wear for pajamas and go to bed.

What was the last thing you ate? Lots of Christmas cookies at the party tonight. Also some of the dip that I made for the party tonight with chips.

What are you listening to right now? Lamb 2 humming in his bed as he is the only one still awake besides me.

If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Yellow-it is Lamb 1 and 2's favorite color so I would be picked often by them. Or black because Lamb 3 often picks black.

What is your favorite smell? Ram's cologne, but not when I'm pregnant, then I hate it.

The last person you talked to on the phone? Ram on his cell phone today. He called to tell me that our family is hosting the area pastors for an Epiphany party.

Do you like the person that sent this to you? Of course.

Favorite sport to watch? High school basketball, but just to watch, not to participate in any sports!

What is your hair color? Blond. When I was little it was almost white it was so light-like Lamb 1's. It has darkened but it is still my blond color.

Eye color? Hazel. I'm the only one without blue eyes in this family. If I wear blue they look blue, if I wear green they look green.

Do you wear contacts? No.

Favorite dessert? Almost all of them. Pie, cookies, cheesecake, ice cream, candy, some kinds of cake, homemade pudding,... I do like sweets!

Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings

Last movie you watched? Some of Peanuts Thanksgiving movie while the Lambs were watching it. It's been a long time since I've watched a movie.

What color shirt are you wearing? white sweatshirt with baby Jesus in a manger

Summer or Winter? Winter if it doesn't have to be here in the frozen north. I would prefer winter in Indiana. There they get snow and have 4 seasons but it's not so extreme cold as here.

Hugs or kisses? Both from Ram and the Lambs.

What book are you reading now? Reading for myself-what's that? With the Lambs we are almost done with My Book House volume 2. We've also been reading Christmas stories.

What's on your mouse pad? I don't have one.

What did you watch on TV last night? We don't have TV.

Favorite sound? Ram getting up in the morning so he can take care of the Lambs and I can go back to sleep for a little longer.

Rolling Stones or Beatles? Neither.

What is the farthest you have been from home? Israel

Do you have a special talent? No

Feel free to answer these questions on your blog. I hope you learned a few new things about me here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Feminine Product Advertising

Normally I wouldn't blog about something so personal, but my sister doesn't use Always and my MIL and mom are both thankful to be done with using feminine products so I don't know who else to "talk" about this with besides you blog readers.

When it was close to when each of my boys were born, I stocked up on feminine products. We live too far away from shopping and I didn't want to bother Ram with buying that when we had a newborn (even though it wouldn't bother him to buy them). With nursing I still haven't gone through my stash I bought before Lamb 3 was born. Maybe what I noticed today has been in these packages for a few years and I just noticed it. Plus we don't have TV any more so I don't see advertisements like this any more.

When I opened up a new package of Always today, the tab you remove by the sticky part said in both English and in French, "Have a happy period."

I can only imagine how painful it must be for women to read that statement that are trying to get pregnant and/or having a miscarriage. I'm thankful I opened up that package today instead of a couple months ago.

I'm really close to buying cloth feminine products after this.

UPDATE: I e-mailed Always and they responded and to my surprise it was not a form letter. It basically said they were sorry I was offended by this statement and they would let their marketing team know what I said.

After thinking about this for a day, maybe I did take it a little too personally. But every woman who is using this product is going to have major hormones and take everything too personally at the time of the month that they would read this statement!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Lamb 1 loves calendars. He also loves clocks but that is another post. Ram's aunt e-mailed that Ram's cousin would like birthday cards for her birthday. His aunt accidentally typed the wrong date for her birthday. Right away, when I told Lamb 1 that her birthday was on Monday, Dec. 18, Lamb 1 corrected me that Monday was December 14. Ram's aunt had to e-mail all the family again with Joshua's correction.
Ram picked up a free pocket calendar a few days ago for Lamb 1. He has had the most fun filling out his calendar with important dates for him. He already has memorized the days of the week our family birthdays are next year. He was so excited because his new calendar has December 2009, all 2010, and it even has January 2011! He is set for the next year. He has written everyone in our family (including grandparents) birthdays and other holidays.
Lamb 1 pointed out to me that Lamb 3's birthday is on Good Friday next year. He's only 2 so he won't know if we celebrate on a different day. We normally just celebrate birthdays as a family, the Lambs have never had a kid birthday party. So it won't really matter this time. With Ram being a pastor, we won't have time for a birthday party until after Easter.
Of course Lamb 1 also pointed out that his baptism birthday is on Easter next year. Lamb 1 said, "I'm so excited that my baptism birthday is on a Sunday and Easter too!"
Lamb 1's love of calendars has been very good for homeschooling. Every morning we write on the calendar the weather (5 degrees F this morning) and major events for the day (today it says school, Papa pastor meeting, Ladies Aid Christmas Party). In Lamb 1's new calendar he wrote nearly all our family names and the holidays only asking how to spell a few words. When I was teaching we had a math meeting every morning and talked about the date, weather, etc. Lamb 1 has done this on his own with his own calendar. He also studied the calendar for each month and how many days that month had. I tried teaching him 30 days hath September...he stopped me and said he already knew how many days were in all the months!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

For our friends in the South

Father Hollywood wrote this post on Saturday so I couldn't resist taking a photo of this. I had never seen this before we moved here to the frozen north.
Yes, yesterday we got a car wash when it was 18 degrees above zero. The receipt says "Car wash may be closed when temperature drops below 10 degrees F. " Notice the word MAY be closed? We were happy it was warm enough to get all the mud washed off our minivan from the work they did here in town. We probably missed our chance to get Ram's car washed for awhile now with current weather predictions.

On this Tuesday evening it is currently 7 above but it feels like -25. It is supposed to get down to -4 and feel like -31. What a difference a day makes. We received a little snow today and a little more is predicted. It is never a good sign for me when the weather forecast has the word frigid in it!

I noticed at the post office today that all the women walking to the post office had on light jackets and no hats or gloves. For true northerners, it's not that cold yet. The weather didn't stop us from making a trip about an hour away to get Lamb 2's hearing tested and for Ram to visit a member in the hospital there. The roads had snow blowing over them and it was on the route to the hospital where we had Lamb 1 so it reminded me of that trip which was also a snow storm.

When we got home we turned the heat up a little and the Lambs put their swim trunks on and spread blankets out on the floor and pretended to go swimming. This was their entertainment because we wouldn't allow them to go outside and play in the snow. Our family rule is no playing outside when the wind chill is below 0. They just played outside the other day when it was in the low 20s.

It's cold enough now that we have to be prepared to open our garage door manually-when it gets too cold it won't open with the garage door opener. We also have to be prepared to wait to get hot water out of the faucet. When it gets super cold we have to look outside by our water meter-if a red light is on then there won't be hot water. When Lamb 1 was a baby, I went to give him a bath and thought our water heater was broken. When we called the parsonage trustee he said it was cold and to wait. I didn't understand that statement until it happened a few times.

After growing up in Indiana, I will always prefer weather like I grew up with. This northern weather is too cold for me. But I do like a little snow and a change of seasons like Indiana. But after 6 1/2 years here, I have learned to live with the cold. I'm just glad I'm married and I have someone else to shovel and except for Sunday mornings to start the car and scrape the car when it is needed! I'm looking forward to a few years more when the Lambs can start helping with those tasks too.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Honest Side

My dad read my post from Saturday and said it is wonderful for me to give that good attitude to Ram and the Lambs. Pam left a comment about my Advent post. So I thought that I should share this side of me in a post today.

The night before Thanksgiving I totally lost it after the Lambs went to bed. We didn't plan enough time to get everyone dressed and over the alley. If Ram didn't speed, we would have been late to church (never a good thing for the pastor). I foolishly let all 3 Lambs outside in their church shoes and thought if we carried them over the alley, they wouldn't get muddy. All 3 Lambs had mud all over their shoes. We had wiped our shoes on the sidewalk each time we went across the alley, and they walked in that as they walked down the sidewalk. I tried to hurry to clean Lamb 3's shoes before church and made Lamb 1 and 2 wear just their socks for church. When the one other mom with kids our age came in while I was cleaning the shoes, she heard an earful from me about our town situation. When we went upstairs, Lamb 1 lost it because he didn't want to wear no shoes-why did I clean Lamb 3's but not his? Ram's parents were barely on time to church-they had spent their "rest time" cleaning their shoes!
I had Ram's parents to help me during church so the Lambs did well after I calmed Lamb 1 down. Afterwards we had a yummy potluck. But then we had to get everyone's coats and muddy shoes on again. I lost my patience and temper several times before everyone was out to the car. After all that Lamb 2 took his shoes off in the car and I yelled at him. Then I was the mean mama that made them go to bed without one more minute of play time-straight to bed when we got home.
We then received the answering machine message that our friends were going to be able to join us for Thanksgiving. I was glad they were coming, but frustrated that they would have to go through the mud to come.
After the boys went to bed, I cried to Ram. How much longer are they going to be working? It's getting cold-I want to park in my garage. Lamb 1, 2, and Ewe all have pretty new shoes that are ruined by the mud. I'm sick of vacuuming the carpet and it's still muddy and a few minutes later it's muddy again. I would have liked to have gone to church on Thanksgiving Day, but it was too complicated to get the Lambs over the mud. We hadn't started to get the turkey ready to put in the oven yet. I was a mean mama and lost my temper and patience too many times with the Lambs because of the mud. And I continued...
Ram calmed me down and told me it didn't matter if we had to buy new shoes or shampoo the carpet. He didn't mind if he went to church by himself on Thursday. After I was done crying he would get the turkey ready. Every mama loses their temper once and awhile. And he continued to calm me down...
After spending a little time with Ram, I went back to vacuuming the carpet and tried to get to bed early. I decided at that point to try to do better about the whole mud situation. So it was hard to contain my excitement when they really were back to working in front of our house. And when they dumped gravel it was really joyous.
So there is the rest of the story. I'm human and I lose my temper too!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy St. Nick Day! and Weekly School Report

The Lambs awoke to this after we read Saint Nicholas before bed the last two nights. We taught the Lambs that St. Nick was real. When the boys see Santa on Christmas lights or in pictures, they call him St. Nick. We have never talked about Santa Claus in our house. If people in church ask the boys about Santa, I usually tell the boys they are talking about St. Nick. The past few years we have gotten the boys one present for each of them from us for St. Nick Day. Ram's mom gives them so much for Christmas that we don't give them anything then. But this year we decided to just do the chocolate coins like the book talked about, and save their present from us for Epiphany.

I believe this is our 11th week of school. We did all of school except for math and handwriting on Monday on the way to the Twin Cities. It works well to do Latin and catechism CDs while we drive. We also read aloud and did poetry and phonics. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we were busy with Christmas activities already and didn't have school. Friday and Saturday we had complete days of school. Here's what we did accomplish this week:
Math: Lamb 1 was presented with a totally new concept for him-adding twos. It was difficult for him at first. But as we continued to work on it, he blew me away with his thinking. The problem was 5+2= what? Lamb 1 placed a 3 block and a 4 block. Instead of just placing a 7 block, he was making up more math problems! We worked on this lesson adding twos all week and will continue next week.
Also, Lamb 1 taught himself to tell time quite a while ago. When we were in the Cities he begged us to buy him a mantle clock for his room. It was only $3.99 so we bought it for him. It is cheap and probably won't last long-especially considering his brothers. He has been so happy to check the time in his room-almost every minute.
Reading: We are taking off December from Five in a Row. We will continue in January. We read several My Book House stories. We are almost done with volume 2, just reading one story a day. The end of the book has several Christmas poems and stories so we seemed to time it right! We have continued reading poems daily and memorizing Psalm 23.
Religion: We have done well listening to the catechism CD either in the car or at home daily. We have worked on the first 8 commandments. We did the Bible stories of Zechariah and the angel coming to Mary. For memory we did Psalm 91:11 for Sunday School.
Phonics: We continue to review the vowels and consonants. Lamb 1 is doing really well reading the simple sentences like Dan can pat the cat. Lamb 2 is not reading yet, but I'm happy if he continues to review the vowels and consonants and will expect more of him next year.
Outside time: Lamb 1 and 2 have enjoyed playing in the snow when it wasn't too cold. We haven't had much snow but it's enough to make them happy.
Art: We made a Christmas tree out of paper, glitter, and all kinds of art supplies at the ECFE Christmas party.
Latin: We continue Prima Latina and the Lambs are doing really well with their vocabulary words. We have worked on the first 5 lessons.
History: We read quite a few books about the first Thanksgiving the week before last.
Handwriting: I have been working with Lamb 1 to slowly review each of the letters, but upper and lowercase. We have done letters Aa-Dd this way. He is improving even if we are taking it slow.

I couldn't believe how busy last week was with so many Christmas activities already. This coming week also looks to be quite busy! I am so thankful that we can homeschool so Lamb 1 didn't have to miss an afternoon Christmas party while the rest of us went to one on Thursday. We also have had quite the routine and schedule change between the grandparents visiting, our day trips for shopping and errands, and Christmas activities starting already. I can't imagine trying to get Lamb 1 up for school after several late nights or skipping events like church for Advent services so he could get enough sleep before school. The only day that I wake the Lambs up is on Sunday-they sleep until they are ready to get up the rest of the days. 3 days of last week we were unable to have school with all the other activities. We still had school 3 days last week. I don't know when I would fit in my busy schedule last week to take Lamb 1 to school (or at least to the bus stop) and to pick him up. And with the work in our town that would have been a major pain twice a day! All this added up makes me realize how blessed we are to homeschool. In January when we don't want to go outside, perhaps we'll do a few extra lessons to make up for December.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wonderful day yesterday

First, one of my birthday presents came in the mail. Ram's parents said I could buy something I needed. I chose the warmest rated coat that Land's End sold. The catalog said it was sold out in this green pattern, but on the internet it was available. I hit a sale (they have them all the time!) with 25% off and free shipping. Thank you, Ram's parents!

Next, I wore my new coat to the chiropractor and the receptionist said my coat was cute. Plus, I love to go to the chiropractor all by myself. I love the almost an hour to drive there and listen to talk radio instead of kids music, get my treatment in peace and quiet, and drive home.

For supper we made homemade pizza and the Lambs love to make pizza. I have to have the only children that 2 out of 3 Lambs didn't like supper. Lamb 3 wouldn't take one bite. Lamb 2 loved it but only ate half of his. Lamb 1 hated it but ate it all because he was hungry and knew nothing else would be offered.

We had a little talk before clean up time last night and it went better than it has gone for a long time. We have had trouble with Lamb 2 helping recently. But yesterday, after the talk, with some kids music on, everyone helped and the huge mess was cleaned up fairly quickly. We ended the day with the Lambs by reading a book about St. Nicholas to get ready for Sunday.

But here is a photo of the best part of yesterday!

See the gravel in front of our garage? They went a little beyond our garage with gravel. We will be able to park in our garage soon after 2 months of being unable to. I baked cookies and had Ram take them out to the workers. On Thursday they had put some fresh dirt down. I was so happy they were attempting to make the roads drivable that I gave them cookies. A little while after the cookies then they delivered gravel. I know that was coincidence, but I'm almost willing to give them more cookies so they work some more in our town.
I know I have blogged about this a little, but it was so frustrating to not be able to park in our garage. It seemed like the few times I drove by myself were the ones that 2 Lambs would fall asleep on the drive home and I couldn't carry 2 Lambs by myself, nor could I leave 1 Lamb in the car by himself when he was a block away from our house. We only went major shopping a few times in the last month, but it was no fun to carry all the Costco shopping when we couldn't park in the garage. I am so tired of needing 2 or 3 pairs of shoes for each of us every time we leave the house (muddy and not muddy). And don't even get me started about the mud in our house-even though we took our shoes off as soon as we got inside, we still will have to shampoo our carpets after 2 months of this. There is no place by our back door to change shoes so everyone loses their temper every time we go someplace and then again when we get home. I recently bought myself and Lamb 1 and 2 new shoes from Lands End and they are so muddy that I don't know if it is possible to get them completely clean.
Anyway, the workers on our road were a joyous site for us. We may really be at the end of this mess in our town. It is wonderful to not have to wait until spring! We didn't move our cars so they are still out in 12 degrees, but hopefully we can move them back to their homes in the garage soon.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Sometimes I joke that I have been a week behind on everything since Lamb 1 was born a week early. We still haven't got out any of our Advent things-not the calendar, wreath, or books. We wait until very close to Christmas Eve to decorate our tree, so getting out the Advent things is a big deal. The Lambs love to do the Advent calendar. We have done different things each year. One year we decorated a small tree with a small ornament every day. One year we put a magnet on the refrigerator each day to make the nativity scene. One year we used a box that opened each day with a trinket. The boys can't wait until all of us are awake to do the Advent activity and see what it is.
December 1 the boys already had a Christmas party for ECFE. We sang songs like Here Comes Santa Claus. I baked Christmas cookies to serve at the Advent supper on Wednesday. Yesterday was our first Ladies Aid Christmas party (we have 3 churches). We sang Christmas carols and ate Christmas desserts. Some of the ladies began giving the Lambs their presents from them at the Ladies Aid party-they know they would appreciate something to open while we each open our gifts for the exchange, plus they get to watch the Lambs open their gifts. So yesterday, each of them opened 3 gifts.
The "last straw" for me was last night when Ram was playing some music and he chose "Once in Royal David's City." I had a fit and made him turn it off. We haven't even finished the first week of Advent for goodness sake!
On today's agenda is to finally get out our Advent stuff. I'm fighting an unending battle to try to do Advent in our home before Christmas. The one comfort I do have is the more of these extra activities that we do at the beginning of the month, the less there is to do closer to Christmas. The week of Christmas we can focus on the important part of CHRIST MASS, when we go to church as a family and especially when we are up at the Holy Communion table together.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Biaggis salads

On Monday we splurged and ate lunch at Biaggis. A Biaggis opened when we lived in Indiana. While Ram was at the Seminary we tried to split a meal to save money. The portions are huge and it was plenty for me-but not for Ram. On Monday we discovered that at lunch we could get 1/2 portion of salad and 1/2 portion of pasta or other combinations of 1/2 portions including sandwiches and soup too. Lamb 1 and 2 split a kids meal and it was pretty large for a kids meal. Lamb 3 was content with bread and water from a straw. Ram and I each had 1/2 portion of pasta and salad. I was stuffed and didn't each much supper, especially after Costco samples. Ram was starving by the time supper came. Perhaps next time I will again get the 1/2 portions but I think Ram will get the whole portions! I love their iced tea and their bread.
Since I first started going to Biaggis, I have always liked their spinach salad. Last time we went we discovered their beet salad was very good too. This time I decided to write down what was in these salads. Since we only get to a town with a Biaggis a few times a year and we decide to splurge at Biaggis even less than that, I thought it might be good to make similar salads at home. I know that at home they won't be exactly like Biaggis, especially because there are a few expensive ingredients, but I'll try next summer when we have fresh greens from our garden. I'll still make sure to order one of these when I go to Biaggis!

Beet Salad
Beets, honey balsamic marinade, arugula, avocado, sun dried cherries, and spicy walnut crusted Montchevre goat cheese.

Spinach Salad
Spinach, sun dried tomato bacon dressing, Gorgonzola cheese, red onion, and hard boiled egg.

*The menu is posted on their website if you want more details than my notes from Monday! It also explains the 1/2 portions if you want more details on that.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

NOT Wordless Wednesday-Costco Run

This summer when we were meeting with friends in WI, they asked what products we like to buy at Costco. Off the top of my head I couldn't think of everything we buy, especially because we only go a few times a year. We live 4 hours away from our nearest Costco and the next nearest Costco to our west is at least 10 hours (more with children!), to the north 6 1/2 hours, to the south 5 hours. We only shop at Costco a few times a year-mainly on the rare occasions that Ram has to visit someone in the hospital there or when we are coming back from vacation (either drive or fly). On Monday, we did our first ever Costco run-we drove 4 hours to "JUST" go shopping at Costco. When we were checking out the receipt checker caught a mistake on our receipt so while Ram was getting a refund, I made small talk with the receipt checkers. They could not believe that we drove that far with 3 children to just go shopping at Costco.
We feel it is worth our Costco membership even though we just go a few times a year. We also buy online from Costco a few times a year too. The nearest Sam's Club is 3 hours (and there are several 3 hours in all directions). We would rather drive an hour more and go to Costco. When we do go we really stock up-we spent close to $400 on Monday. But unless Ram has to go to visit someone in the hospital, we probably won't be going back to Costco until next summer-unless we do another Costco run like Monday. We also have an American Express Card from Costco. We charge everything everywhere that takes American Express all year and our once a year rebate for Costco is usually around $150. (We pay it off each month, but enjoy the rewards!) We use this rebate to pay for our membership plus get a nice rebate (it has to be used at Costco, but we have no problem spending our rebate check there!)
We went on Monday for a few reasons.
1. The weather was good enough to travel and we can't depend on that again until next spring.
2. Ram was free to go on Monday before Advent and Christmas activities really got going.
3. We hadn't been to Costco since August. We weren't running out of our supplies, but we couldn't make it until next spring.
4. We were out of rice milk and they have the best price I have seen. It was worth the gas money to go to Costco just for the savings of rice milk.
5. It is the most fun to go to Costco around the holidays, even if we just window shop-they have items now that they don't have other times of the year.
Here is a picture of what we bought on Monday. A few items we would have bought more, but Ram's parents had just visited us and left treats. I forgot one box of rice milk for the photo! There are a few items that we didn't buy because we weren't out of them from August so this isn't a complete list of what we normally buy at Costco.

Toilet paper
water bottles
pretzels (this is the one junk food our boys eat often, especially Lamb 3 loves them and they have big tubs!)
freeze dried strawberries (we usually buy dried fruit but the Lambs convinced us to try these-they like them but I don't know if we will buy them again)
sour cream (I began only buying Daisy because it is natural and this was a huge tub-will be good for holiday dips etc.)
vanilla beans (I'm going to start making my own vanilla!)
avocados (we only buy avocados at Costco-they are huge and so yummy-I hate the times of the year that we don't get to Costco because we can't get avocados like that anywhere else)
mango salsa (in the refrigerated section-our favorite kind)
mini sweet peppers (we only started buying these this summer-they are so good to eat like apples or to use in recipes or salads)
brown sugar (huge bag-ready to make cinnamon rolls again!)
fresh tomatoes (I did make an exception and buy out of season because our garden tomatoes are gone-just this once and then I'll have to wait until next summer)
pomegranate juice (WIC is no longer giving us very much juice so if we are going to buy juice I want it to be better juice. We aren't drinking as much juice as we used to and we water the juice down too.)
honey (it is cheaper than buying from our town but I feel guilty-most of the time we buy from our town)
olive oil (cheapest place is Costco)
canned clams (to make Susan's recipe!)
cinnamon (we think Costco's really tastes better and we eat a lot of cinnamon-lowers your blood sugar)
canned turkey (fast suppers during busy time of year)
mayo (first time we ever bought at Costco-we've been trying to use yogurt in place of mayo in some recipes so we may not buy Costco size again)
almond butter (WIC no longer gives us as much peanut butter so we've been using almond butter-Costco is so much cheaper for this)
vitamin C
canned salmon (we have been trying to use more fish in our diet)
flax seed pills
apples (I was sick when they were available locally and although I made applesauce, our family did not have our fill of apples this year. They are so huge we have cut them in fourths and given 1/4 to each of us except Lamb 3.)
pecans (getting low after making pecan pies for fall festivals and Thanksgiving)
walnuts (we try to eat a lot of walnuts in our diet-for a snack we eat walnuts, dried blueberries, and dark chocolate chunks mix)
black beans (I wanted garbanzo but they didn't have any)
lemon juice
peanut butter (mainly for recipes like peanut butter cookies, we're trying to eat almond butter)
biscotti (so yummy-a splurge)
6 dozen rice milk (probably should have bought more)

You will notice that we didn't buy anything frozen and only a few refrigerated items. In the summer I wouldn't even buy refrigerated items-it is too difficult to get it home. We only bought a few items that weren't food. We have to be unusual because we didn't buy any electronics, Christmas presents, books, movies, or clothes. Everything we bought was on our list-we didn't impulse buy. Spending $400 wasn't so bad when you consider it will last us several months. Just like Sam's Club-you do have to consider each item, will you really use it before it goes bad? For example, I never buy Bisquick at Costco because we would never use that huge of a box before it expires-instead I buy a very small box at the grocery to use when we are in a hurry for a fast supper instead of making it from scratch. Also, we have 3 churches so I am asked to bring a lot this time of year to different activities-some of our purchases were for baking for this. Another item that we buy at Costco that we didn't buy this time is whole wheat pasta. Many of the items that we buy are organic and better quality and healthier foods.
The Lambs love to get samples at Costco and if we lived closer it would be worth shopping there for the samples for them!
We love Costco and we are jealous of those of you that live closer to one!