Monday, August 31, 2009

Disgusting!

I couldn't figure out why we had so many flies in the house. Ram has been using the flyswatter like crazy. Ram even hung a plastic baggie with water and coins in the basement from internet advice. They were worst in the basement. I wondered if someone left the door open or what happened.
Tonight I finally got around to washing the dirty diapers that had been sitting there for about a week. There were a bunch of dead flies on the top of the diapers. Then, as I got to the bottom of the pail, I realized why we had so many flies in the house! Gross! Gross!
The fly larvae or maggots or whatever they are, won't flush down the toilet-they are too light or whatever. So now I have a bunch of dead fly larvae in the basement toilet and a bunch of live flies all over my house.
Thankfully the diapers are all in the washer with lots of soap and baking soda. I think I got all the flies off of them before I put them in the washer-hoping to avoid the toilet problem in the washer.
The ironic thing is that I've been cleaning the house a room at a time and I've been so busy on that, that I got behind on laundry including the cloth diapers. When I cleaned the living room I took the diaper pail downstairs planning to wash the diapers and give the diaper pail a good scrub.
I've learned my lesson and I won't procrastinate on washing the diapers again-especially not in the summer.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mini Vacation Day 2

We went to Como Park Zoo and Conservatory on Friday. This zoo is free, they just ask for donations. We got in traffic because it was near the MN State Fair, but we had a great day. They had a special butterfly exhibit that was really cool to walk through. We saw the animals and even saw the Sparky the sea lion show. This was a good size zoo for the Lambs at their ages. Lamb 2 and 3 on a tortoise
They had a "play room" that was perfect for the Lambs. Lamb 1 constantly asks me what foods different animals eat. They had play food for the Lambs to feed the animals. Lamb 2 and 3 are feeding the tiger some steaks and bones. At the zoo we saw they feed the big cats horse heads!

Lamb 3 (with assistance from Papa) feeding grass to the zebra.

Lamb 2 wasn't quite tall enough to play in the water area (I don't know why they designed it that way!) but he was determined. The water area showed how/why it rains.

Lamb 3 enjoyed the play room even though he couldn't reach everything his big brothers could. He crawled through the tunnel and here he is watering the plants.

Lamb 1 planted a pretend flower garden and watered it.

Ewe with her 3 Lambs. Lamb 1 is holding his new animals from the gift shop. He claims the only part of the day he enjoyed was getting some new animals at the gift shop. We are in the gardens in this photo. After we saw the zoo then we played in the play room and finally we went to the gardens. The conservatory was fascinating and Ram and I would have liked to have spent longer there, especially in the room with spice plants and trees. The Lambs were done by that point so we were only able to do a quick walk through the gardens.

We rode the carousel. This carousel used to be down the street at the state fairgrounds. It is over 100 years old. Lamb 3 was tired and didn't enjoy the loud carousel.

Lamb 1 was old enough to ride by himself on the outside row of the carousel. Lamb 2 rode with Ram next to him. Ewe held Lamb 3.
After we were done at the zoo, we missed an interstate connection. We don't know if we just missed it or if it was because of construction or what. It's difficult in an unfamilar part of the city. So we went way out of our way. We finally stopped for lunch and by then all 3 Lambs had fallen asleep. We drove back a more familiar way and made it to my Looper friend Lissa's house. Her girls are teenagers, but the Lambs enjoyed playing on her swingset while we chatted.

Ewe with Lissa
After a short visit with Lissa we went to Costco. We needed to stock up on rice milk and bought some other goodies including some gingerbread biscotti. We got take out from Panera Bread and headed home. We still got home very late, but we were able to do the zoo, visit with Lissa, and some shopping. It was nice to get away for a few days.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mini Vacation Day 1

We received a flyer in the mail that we could have one free night at a Best Western in the Twin Cities area. I don't know how we got on their mailing list. Usually I just pitch stuff like that, but something caught my eye. The deal needed to be used before Labor Day. We were surprised that we could get a room for the first night we asked for. It really was completely free, not even pay tax. They had renovated recently and wanted people to know about their "new" hotel.
We left Thursday afternoon and drove to the Twin Cities. Lamb 1 complained most of the trip there and home that it was too long of a drive and he didn't want to go. Office Depot and Target had some sales so we went there first.
We ate supper at Don Pablos. All 3 Lambs ate really well. Lamb 3 really surprised me. He ate all my rice and cornbread and several of Lamb 2's chicken strips. Usually if a food is new to him he will refuse it until we basically force him to try it and he likes it. This time he begged for the food! He kept hinting that he wanted taco (he loves Ram's tacos) but I was afraid it would be too spicy for him. We rewarded the Lambs with a bowl of ice cream to share. All 3 found room for that!
We were surprised that the hotel didn't have a pool. The Lambs were disappointed to not go swimming. We ate a nice continental breakfast at the hotel and then headed to the zoo. We didn't realize that the zoo was very close to the state fair so we got in a lot of traffic both going and leaving the zoo. I'll blog about our trip to the zoo tomorrow. This was a real treat for us to go do something fun in the Twin Cities where there is so much to do. With a 4 hour drive to the Twin Cities, even if we get up early and get home late, there is usually just time to go shopping at a few stores and if Ram needs to visit someone do that. But with the free hotel room we were able to do both the zoo and shopping.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lamb 2 makes me smile!

Conversation tonight while reading a book to Lamb 2:
Ewe reads: What is your favorite part of your church family?
Lamb 2: Everything!
Ewe presses for an answer: I'm glad you like everything, but can you think of one specific thing?
Lamb 2: Going up to communion to get blessing.

I was surprised that he didn't answer Sunday School or visiting with his friends (both children and adults). This is the Lamb that I have the most trouble with in church, including while we go up to the communion rail. Can you imagine when Lamb 2 is old enough to receive communion instead of just a blessing? It makes me so happy when we are all up at the communion rail with all the company of heaven. I think of all our relatives that are in heaven (many that Lamb 2 never met on earth). I get teary-eyed just thinking about it!

Holy, holy, holy Lord, Lord God of power and might: Heaven and earth are full of Your glory. Hosanna. Hosanna. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest. (Sanctus)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Family update

*Our babysitter, Graceann, was able to come babysit today. The last time she babysat was around Christmas time. I was very thankful for her help, especially when she took all 3 Lambs to the park. They did play doh for a long time too. They haven't done play doh for a very long time. She is homeschooled (high school) so it looks like she may be able to come back more regularly now. This is Ram's long day visiting people so I was thankful for another person over age 5 to talk with for the afternoon too. Lamb 3 seemed to do ok with her too. I was afraid he might not remember her and get scared. It helps that I stay home while she is here. Hopefully I can get lots accomplished while she is here.

*When I taught in IN, I had laminated prayers for my classroom. I found the mealtime prayers (from the catechism) but I have looked everywhere I can think of without finding the morning prayer. I finally gave up and I needed to type up the evening prayer any way so I typed them both (without laminating) and hung them up. I hate it when I can't find something I want. Then I want to drop everything and clean out things until I find that thing I'm missing. Life doesn't work that way for a mom though.

*Tonight we are going to a wrap up for a visit your local park program. We will take a picnic supper. I made a photo book with photos from the parks. This was not required for the program, but it will be a nice memory for the boys when we are in the middle of a MN winter. It was a great idea-free to go to your local parks. I had no idea the small town 7 miles away had 7 parks. It was a good thing they gave us a map or we never would have found a few of the parks. The Lambs enjoyed going to the parks. Lamb 3 even cried when we left the last park. We had a slow start because I sprained my foot early this summer and then we were gone a lot in June and July, but we were able to go to all the parks before the deadline tonight. The weather has been cool and it will be nice for tonight even though it is very humid.

*Ram and I listened (we didn't call in) along with 10,000 other Minnesotans to Senator Klobachar's tele-town hall meeting about health care last Sunday. If you care to listen it is on her website here. One of the several things that she said that I didn't like is that "her" plan would save us 50 billion dollars. She has no concept of how much debt this country is in. 50 billion is about half a percent of 9 trillion. Plus she kept saying that Medicare was important to her because her parents are on Medicare. So what? Is she volunteering to have the same health care plan as us? When I tried to call her and leave a message, her voice mailbox was full. I'm in the process of writing her a letter. In the letter I am going to encourage her to read every word in whatever health care bill the Senate comes up with plus read every word in the Constitution.

*Ram turned in our boxes we put together for LLL Global Care Packages today. I volunteered when we moved here to be the chairperson for our tri-parish for this program. They have changed the directions several times for this program. Some years we put together boxes for new mothers. Most years we did boxes for school children. I remember even helping with this program when I was teaching in IN. So I have been involved several years. They recently announced they are no longer doing this program. In a way I'm thankful to reclaim a part of my room that kept the supplies while they were gathered from the churches. I'm also thankful because I don't have to figure out new rules each year. But I'm sad after so many years and what I thought was a great program. Lamb 1 helped as soon as he could walk. Our church needs programs like this to make it helping people in other countries more personal. I know there is a lack of funds and personnel, but it's too bad. I hope and pray that they can do this program again.

*This morning I wrote out a schedule for Lamb 1 with clocks (Target $1 find). As I read the schedule to Lamb 1, he had a question for everything. Why do we have to do school? Why math? Why schedule? It would drive a teacher crazy. I'm preparing him for a schedule because there will be a few things that he has to do without Lamb 2 like handwriting. He hates to do activities without Lamb 2. Many will stay the same as they have been for years at our house like 3pm snack time. I'm trying to prepare him mentally for a schedule even if we don't follow it exactly each day. Thank goodness he is going to be homeschooled, he would hate a school schedule and drive the teacher crazy. At least if he drives me crazy, I'm already half way there because of raising him the last 5 years!

*I have thought about a lot of blog topics recently but freezing corn, canning beets, making zucchini cupcakes etc. has taken priority. Hopefully I can post photos from our park program wrap up tonight soon.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I caught the Lambs...

Tonight we were late getting to bed after a long afternoon at the county fair, making supper, and taking baths. The Lambs were upset with me because there was no time to read books. Their bedtime is 8pm and they didn't get to bed until 9:30pm. I sent them to do one more thing to get ready for bed. They didn't do it. I caught Lamb 1 "reading" the best he could to Lamb 2. They were so cute sitting in my chair just like I read to them. But they were told to do one more thing and then go to bed. Since they didn't do that, they were in trouble. I hate being a mean mom when they do something like this and are so cute!
We have had a busy weekend. Yesterday evening we finished going to the rest of the parks for that program that ends on Tuesday. Today we went to the county fair and Lamb 1 participated in his first tractor pull, Lamb 3 looked like he was going to win the diaper derby but another girl beat him, and everyone enjoyed petting the animals and all the other fun at the fair. Tomorrow we have church, a parade to watch in the afternoon, and at 7pm one of our senators is calling for a tele-conference about health care reform. Plus we were given a huge bag of corn yesterday and somehow I have to find time to deal with that. Finally, I have to try to get our photos together and make up books for the boys for the park program by Tuesday. The Lambs have all had a lot of fun and lots of fresh air, but too many late nights. I'm already dreading tomorrow morning to get up for church.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Our family schedule

When we visited some friends that homeschool earlier this month, we saw their schedule in the kitchen. She basically wrote down from the time the children woke up until bedtime what their routine was including which child had school and which child had computer time etc. I thought this was a great idea. Lamb 1 loves routine and I think homeschooling him will go better if we have a schedule. It was important to me to schedule in time for MY things. Here's what I came up with. It's pretty detailed. I know that we won't follow this schedule every day, but here is the goal for days that we are home. This will be the schedule Monday-Saturday so we are free to take a day off each week to travel with Ram to visit someone or go shopping out of town, etc.

8-8:30 Ewe read, Lambs play
8:30-9 Morning prayer, calendar, breakfast, get dressed
9-9:30 Math
9:30-10 Five in a Row story and activity, read aloud one My Book House story
10-10:30 Lamb 1 Handwriting (probably won't take the whole 1/2 hour)
10:30-11 Ewe computer time (FINALLY!), Lambs play
11-11:30 Go to post office, outside time if weather ok
11:30-12:30 Make lunch, family devotions, eat lunch, vitamins and cod liver oil for Lambs, clean up
12:30-? Lamb 3 nap
12:30-1 Reading/Phonics
1-1:30 Memory (Bible, Catechism, hymn), Bible story
1:30-2 Lamb chore time, Ewe housework, Lambs get ready for rest time
2-3 Lamb 2 rest time, Lamb 1 quiet time and listen to books on CD, Ewe declutter house time
3-3:30 Snack, Latin
3:30-4 M,W,F Music, T,R Art
4-5 Lambs play, Ewe nap?
5-6 Make supper, eat, clean up
6-6:30 Lambs play, Ewe housework
6:30-7 Clean up
7-7:30 Story-one their choice, MWF one Science, TR one History
7:30-8 Get ready for bed, T,Sat bath, prayers
8-9 Lambs in bed, Ewe correspondence time (pay bills, write letters, etc.)
9-10 Ewe computer time
10-11 Ram and Ewe Compline and Together Time
11PM-8AM Everyone sleeps!

I've already started to follow parts of this schedule. I will try harder to stick to the schedule once we begin homeschooling Lamb 1 in Kindergarten in September. Getting Lamb 3 closer to this schedule has really helped both of us sleep better. Ram and I have enjoyed doing Compline together. We haven't spent the whole hour together every night, but having it scheduled makes it easier for us to both take a break from computer or work or whatever. Some nights we have had wine and cheese or other snacks. Most nights it's just nice to take a break and talk to each other. I wish I would have thought of Together Time a long time ago! I haven't followed my computer times strictly, but this will also help that Ram will know when I want the computer plus I won't waste ALL day on e-mail and blogs! And I haven't made it to bed at 11pm every night yet, but that will be better to get to bed earlier and get up earlier too. I'm sure we'll make changes as we try it, but overall I'm very happy with my plan.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Getting organized

On Tuesday we went shopping and much of what we bought was to help me get "stuff" organized (tubs, plastic drawer carts, etc.). I am trying very hard to clean out things and get organized as much as possible in August. Whatever I get done now will make life much easier when we start homeschooling Lamb 1 in September. I have several bags organized (for where it goes- Seminary, Goodwill, to my parents, to Ram's parents, etc.) and filled ready to give away. I am just getting stuff organized now and I hope to go through all this again next summer and give more away then.

Here's some of what I've accomplished organizing in the last few weeks:
*videos and DVDs according to these categories-Ram's, Ewe's, Lambs, Misc., and family camcorded.
*Lamb puzzles
*1/2 way done organizing desk/computer area-still have my huge stash of cards/stationary to go through
*Lamb book box in living room and 2 Lamb bookshelves in their closet
*Lamb 1 and 2 toy box
*Lamb 3 toy box
*Lamb games
*Lamb little parts (like Fisher Price people) that Lamb 3 isn't allowed to have
*All 3 Lamb clothes that currently fit them (with the exception of pajamas-haven't done those yet)
*Several tubs of clothes that all 3 Lambs have outgrown, a few tubs of clothes that are clothes for the Lambs to grow into
*2 tubs of toys that were either mine when I was little or toys that the Lambs will grow into but aren't ready for them yet
*baby blankets
* Thoroughly cleaned small bathroom and organized cupboard in there
*Started organizing recipe books and recipes-never finished-probably won't finish it before I die!
*My skirts and dresses
*plastic 3 drawer cart with homeschool books and supplies-one drawer each for Lamb 1 and 2, and Ewe

I still have tons more that I want to organize and then I want to clean the rooms really well too. I also made a schedule for our family and one thing I put in the schedule for me is 1 hour of declutter time each day. I have lots more to organize in the main bathroom cupboards, kitchen, and my clothes. Lamb 1 LOVES to clean and organize. He wishes he could skip rest time every day and help me. He is annoyed when I do some of the organizing without him. He decided to clean out his Matchbox cars the other day because he was running out of room in his car case. He choose about 6 cars to give away and organized all the rest.

It is clear to me that we have far too much stuff in every area of the house! This is the first step for me, to organize it. The next step will be to go through it more thoroughly and give away more. Part of this is a blessing. Ram's mom and the church members are very generous to us especially for Lamb toys and clothes and books. We don't buy the Lambs hardly any of that. That's a blessing. But when it gets out of control and not organized we either can't find things or don't use what we have because we have so much. Since Lamb 1 was born 5 years ago it has become way out of control. So that's why I'm working on organizing it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Advice to read the package

When the package of something you're giving to your child says "Not for children under 14 years old", you should read the package BEFORE you give it to your 3 year old child. You should do this to prevent a visit to the ER.

Ram's mom gave the Lambs some seashells with a note attached that said, "Is it time for this yet?" We learned the hard way that it was not time yet.

Lamb 3 was taking a nap (and he took a long nap after shots yesterday) so when Lamb 1 and 2 asked to play with the seashells that Ram's mom sent, I let them because Lamb 3 wouldn't get into them. Lamb 1 and 2 were having a great time playing "beach" in our living room. Lamb 1 was sorting the shells by color and kind before he spread them out-that logical thinker! They were spreading out the shells on the floor and then they picked them up and put them in their buckets.

I was in the kitchen pickling beets and Lamb 1 came to me.
Lamb 1: "Mama, Lamb 2 is putting shells up his nose."
Ewe: "We need to pick up all the shells then and Lamb 2 won't be allowed to play with them."
At this point Lamb 1 had a fit because he was treating the shells the correct way. After he calmed down a little bit-
Ewe:"Lamb 2 do you have all the shells out of your nose?"
Lamb 2: sheepishly "No"
Ewe:"Take them out NOW and finish picking up the shells."
Lamb 2: even more sheepishly "I can't."

So I used a flashlight and sure enough, a tiny snail shell was stuck up his nose. I didn't want to interrupt Lamb 3's nap so Ram took Lamb 2 to the emergency room* by himself. I thought about trying to get it out with a tweezers but I was afraid I might lodge it up there more. The doctor had Lamb 2 try to blow his nose without success. Then he used an alligator forceps and successfully got the shell out. The doctor gave the shell back to Lamb 2! I'm not sure if I should put it in the scrapbook.

*Our doctor just resigned and is moving so we are going to have to search for a new doctor. We decided it made more sense to go to a doctor 7 miles away instead of 15 miles away. So we are currently in the process of switching doctors. If we would have known the doctor we would have just taken him to the office instead of the emergency room. Plus it was over the lunch hour so I wasn't sure if the clinic was open.

After they left for the hospital I noticed on the caution note on the package. The Lambs have played with tiny shells that they picked up at the beach in CA several times, even before Lamb 2 turned 3 years old. I guess it was just too tempting to stick new shells up his nose?

I'm sure you moms with lots of boys are laughing at me right now. Please remember that I don't have any brothers. So far Lamb 1 has broken his leg, but we haven't had any incidents with Lamb 2 or 3. Ram was proud of me that I didn't freak out about this, I calmly said that Ram and Lamb 2 needed to go to the hospital.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ram's new blog

Ram just started a blog. Today he posted our recipe for Macaroni and Cheese. I've been meaning to post it for awhile and Ram beat me to it! You can check out his blog and his recipe here. Ram does most of the cooking for our family. I do most of the baking for our family.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Excitement at our house

Yesterday: We picked our first ripe tomatoes! Not too bad since we didn't weed the garden very much and we have had a really cold summer until recently.

Today: The Lambs and I were all down in the basement. I was cleaning out the freezer and doing my best to keep Lamb 3 from taking the frozen items and placing them other places in the basement, where they would thaw out and be wasted.
Lamb 1: "Mama, Lamb 2 says there is a snake under our play car."
Ewe: "Why do you have your play snakes down in the basement?"
Lamb 2: "No Mama, it's REAL."

So we all hurried over to check it out. It was small and not moving so I really thought it was one of their play ones at first. Then I noticed it was the same colors as the snakes in our town and in our garden. I was thankful Ram was home to take care of it. He went to get a shovel and was going to kill it. I wouldn't let him kill it. I got a box and he scooped up the snake in the shovel and put it in the box. He took the box outside. Lamb 3 didn't pay much attention, but Lamb 1 and 2 enjoyed the excitement! This is the first snake we saw in our basement in the 6 years we have lived here. Last summer we did a major clean up of the basement and I'm surprised we didn't see one then. I know it's a harmless garter snake, but I want it in my garden, not in my house!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yesterday

Ram is actually 6'3. The photo in Wordless Wednesday from yesterday was taken at a playground at a public school in Long Prairie, MN. It makes me real confident in the public schools that the children are playing by a sign with incorrect heights!
We didn't intend to make yesterday Ram's day off but that's what happened. Our bank had a swimming night. We still had to pay ($19-yikes-a donation to the local pool!) but their mascot was there and they had a snack for the kids. So we thought we would go swimming early and if we were still there when the bank people came, fine, if not then we didn't miss much. Unfortunately the pool is closed during the supper hour and we didn't know that. We got there just as they were closing.
We were supposed to do this park program this summer-going to 7 local parks and doing activities at each one. I took the Lambs to 1 park so far this summer. Between spraining my foot at the beginning of the summer and all our vacations, we just didn't get to the parks. So we decided to go to the pool and then to one park. We changed our plans when the pool was closed. We went to a park, then we went and ordered a pizza, then we went to a park while we waited for the pizza, then we went to a third park and ate the pizza. So now we have completed the activities at 4 out of the 7 parks. We have a little less than 2 weeks to finish the program. They will have a party then and the Lambs will get prizes if they finish the program. The bad part about this lack of planning was I had not worn the right shoes, just old sandals for the pool. But we survived even walking some trails.
Then we went to the pool. None of the Lambs were scared of the mascot like they have been other times. I was amazed at how much easier this trip to the pool was compared to last year. We just stayed in the baby pool, but none of the Lambs needed much help. This is compared to last year when a nice lady held Lamb 3, Lamb 1 needed constant attention, and Lamb 2 almost drowned in the baby pool when we were right next to him. After tonight, I might even be brave enough to take the Lambs swimming next week on the free night without Ram. Then the bank gave out peanut butter cracker snacks that were a great hit with all the Lambs, especially Lamb 3.
I told the Lambs a few months ago that today was the local swimming day this summer. I was afraid after I told them that it might be too cold or rainy. We were blessed to have the perfect day to go swimming-95 degrees. In fact it was a few degrees warmer here, than in SC where my sister lives!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ram's gift for me

Ram knows that I don't have to be given flowers or jewelry. Yesterday he watched the Lambs so I could go to the chiropractor and library book sale by myself. We have had trouble with Lamb 1 and 2 at the chiropractor recently so it was nice to get an adjustment without having the lights turned off! Very relaxing. Then I headed over to SD to the town 15 miles away to their used library book sale. I was able to be there the first day of the sale. I came home with a pile of books. Other years there were great finds there, but yesterday there wasn't a whole lot. I did pick up 7 Nancy Drew books for my sister. She was thrilled that she didn't have 6 of those. She has a lot of N.D. so that was impressive that I chose ones she didn't have. I picked up some other books for the Lambs too.
Every once and awhile I take just one Lamb with me for errands, but this is the first time that I remember going by myself. It was a nice break.
Then last night, Ram and I did Compline before we went to bed. When we were engaged we did Compline over the phone several times a week while he was gone on vicarage. We even ended our wedding reception with Compline. I don't know why stopped doing it. We are going to try to get back in the habit of Compline again. Nice end of the day.
After my "day off", now it's back to canning beets and freezing zucchini today.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dear President Obama

Esther pointed out this blog post by Amy to me. I told you in this post that I was gathering my thoughts to write to my congress people. Amy makes some great points here. I hope she really sends a copy to the White House and her congress people. I think we should all should all write letters to the White House and our congress people like this one. I finally have both my senators so I know to whom to write! Writing my letters is on my to do list this week. Please put it on your list this week too.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Ewe's Mom and Dad!


40 Years

August 9, 1969

Thank you for a wonderful example of marriage!

I know you've been through a lot in 40 years.

I don't know the exact statistic, but I know that it is becoming rare for marriages to last 40 years. By God's grace, you've made it to 40 years! May the Lord bless you and keep you together for many more years.






I really wanted to go celebrate 40 years with my parents in Fort Wayne, but it just didn't work for us to go home this summer. Plus, they did not want to have a party. I put their photo in the Fort Wayne Lutheran newspaper and they enjoyed that. The FWL newspaper had never had anyone "advertise" like that before. Maybe I started something...?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Looper visit

Yesterday we went to visit one of the Looper families that we knew before I was a Looper. We knew them from Seminary. They used to live up on the Canadian border, but last winter they moved a little more than 2 hours away from us. We drove over and spent the afternoon with them. First, the Lambs and their children got out nearly all their toys and played with them in the living room. Then we headed over to a nearby park and tried to get rid of some energy with the kids. They showed us their church with beautiful stained glass windows. Then we ordered pizza and had ice cream too. Finally we took a few photos before heading home.
The Girls-Emma, Jenny H., and Ewe

Lamb 3 with one of his godfathers, Pastor H.

All the kids-Thanks Jenny for the photo! Lamb 3 enjoyed walking on the windowsill.

Kids by age
Lamb 3 (1), Lamb 2 (3), Emma (almost 4), Lamb 1 (5), Christopher (6)
Most people wouldn't believe that we drove 2 hours each way to visit friends-and that those are our closest (in distance) friends. The Lambs enjoyed playing. We don't have many kids at our church or neighborhood so it was nice to have a "play date". Jenny kept it simple-just play and simple munchies for supper with the pizza. It's nice that you don't have to spend a lot of money or go somewhere to have a nice afternoon. It was also nice for us to get a day away without visiting members or shopping.
Ram came home to an answering machine message that a member died. They didn't call the cell phone or he would have known earlier. They wanted to wait to do some funeral planning until Sunday afternoon so Ram didn't have to get up early today and start planning. This man has been expected to die for a few months and he was the oldest member of this congregation. Even when it's expected, it's still difficult. This will be a busy week adding in a funeral.




Friday, August 7, 2009

Roasted Garbanzos

Ram found this recipe somewhere on the internet (I think on the MSN site) and I would give credit if I knew where he got it!
We buy a lot of cans of garbanzo beans. Last time we were at Costco we stocked up again. We use them for salads, hummus, and MckMama's tuna salad. A few days ago Ram tried roasting garbanzos in the oven. They were delicious!

Drain garbanzos in a shallow roasting pan.
Drizzle with olive oil and seasoning of your choice (salt, garlic salt, lemon pepper, etc.).
Shake to coat.
Roast at 400 for 25 minutes.
Check after about 10 minutes to be sure the garbanzos aren't burning. Shake the pan half way through cooking so they get evenly browned.
Let cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature.

We used garlic salt and served them warm. All 3 Lambs gobbled them up. Lamb 3 loved a snack that he could eat too. (Sometimes we have nuts or something he would choke on that he can't have.) We ended up making 2 cans so everyone could have plenty. I highly recommend roasted garbanzos as a healthy snack. I can imagine eating this while watching a movie at home.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Julie Stiegemeyer books

I don't know if we have all of Julie Stiegemeyer's books from CPH, but we have a lot of them. We bought the church books (Things I Hear in Church, Things I See in Church, Etc.) when I was pregnant with Lamb 1. A child we know referred to the Lord's Supper as "cup and plate" after reading these books. The Lambs have worn out these church books and they have been repaired several times. They are excellent for little ones. I have bought them as baby gifts for a few people. We also read her St. Nicholas book every year on St. Nicholas Day. I think we have all of her children's books except the Arch books she has written. (See my post yesterday about Arch books.)

Our school district is involved in Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program. Each child receives a free book each month until they turn 5 years old. Lamb 1 was able to receive a few books when our community started this program before he turned 5. The first book they receive is "The Little Engine That Could". The last book they receive is, "Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come". I signed the Lambs up but didn't expect much. I never expected to receive such nice quality picture books. They are usually hardcover too. And the Lambs enjoy getting a new book in the mail each month with their name on it. Imagine my surprise when a few months ago, Lamb 2's book that he received in the mail, was written by Julie Stiegemeyer!

Gobble Gobble Crash! is a really cute counting book set in a barnyard. We have read it several times since we received it a few months ago.

I have met Julie Stiegemeyer and even had her sign one of our books, but I don't know her. I e-mailed her and thanked her for Gobble Gobble Crash. She wasn't even aware that her book was part of the program. She was thankful that I told her about it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Obama's "helpers"

My friend Darin told me this was on the official Obama website. This is a direct quote.

"There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov."

I was just getting ready to post some of my thoughts about Obama's health insurance reform on my blog. I'm still processing my thoughts.

Arch Books

When I was young, my parents purchased every Arch book that was in print then. We read through the whole set several times and some favorites hundreds of times. Since our children are the only grandchildren so far, my parents gave the whole set to us.
Over a year ago, Gina mentioned on her blog that she was reading some Arch books by Erik Rottmann to her son. I recognized that name. I taught at Zion Lutheran Academy in Fort Wayne with Erik's wife, Kelly. My dad bought 5 Arch books for us at that time that were published by Erik. We have read those books several times. We keep them in our box of books for the Lambs to choose from each night for bedtime stories. I don't like the new Arch books as well as the "classics" that I grew up with. But Erik does a nice job of including baptism and the Lord's Supper in his Arch books. I was glad we purchased Erik's Arch books.
Just recently, Kelly joined a CCLE e-mail group with me. I e-mailed her and mentioned that we were enjoying her husband's books. She mentioned that her husband had a new book called Rahab's Red Thread. This book was her husband's idea, not CPH's idea. I'm going to have my dad get us that one. I look forward to reading it.
Esther will enjoy this comment. Kelly has seen Arch books in her local Dollar General Store for $1 each-including one written by Erik. Now I'm going to look there, just out of curiosity. What a different kind of market for Arch books to be in!
I looked at the CPH website and it wasn't the easiest to find Erik's books-partly because his last name has 2 "n"s. (I wouldn't know any other names like that-my maiden name!) But here's the list of Arch books that Erik has written that I could find.
*Deborah Saves the Day
*Rahab's Red Thread
*The Easter Victory
*Barabbas Goes Free
*His Name is John
*Timothy Joins Paul
*Jesus My Good Shepherd
*A Meal for Many
*The Parable of the Prodigal Son

The way that CPH does it, they pay Erik one lump sum, so he isn't making anything now if you buy his Arch books. But they little money he has been paid has been nice for their one income family. I would encourage you to look for these Arch books!

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Giveaway

The Meanest Mom is having an awesome Portrait package giveaway--check it out here!

We have had most of the Lambs photos taken at Sears. We get their photos taken often when they are little because Sears is not that expensive.

HT: Esther

I wish I was...

This is where I wish I was this week. I haven't been home to Fort Wayne since June of 2008. We have no plans to go to Fort Wayne soon. We have a huge amount of credit at Hyde Brothers. I want to eat here or here. I want to take the Lambs to see the new African exhibit at the zoo. I want to worship with other Loopers, hear the great speakers, and have time to chat with my friends-both Loopers and other friends. I want to celebrate with my parents that they have been married 40 years.
We traveled a lot this summer and we just couldn't ask the Lambs to drive that far again. Ram couldn't get another Sunday off. We just paid our credit cards for the trips we took in June and July. As much as I wanted to go to Fort Wayne, it just didn't work this year. I hope that they have a great retreat and that there is enough interest to do it next year. Hopefully we will be able to attend if they have another retreat. I hope that my Looper friends that were able to attend talk about the retreat on their blogs.
Ram spent the day visiting people and had a meeting. I spent the day cleaning out the closet in the Lamb's room. I also started to clean out my desk. I had about 30 rolls of Scotch tape buried in there. Last week I bought some Scotch tape because I didn't know I had a lifetime worth of tape in my desk! Things have piled up both on the desk and in the cupboards of the desk since we moved here 6 years ago. I took several loads to our recycling bin. I have a lot more to go. It feels good to get a little more organized. But I still wish I was in Fort Wayne instead of cleaning out things today.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

16 months

Happy 16 month birthday, Lamb 3! Thank you for FINALLY sleeping through the night! (We won't mention the previous 8 months that you didn't!) Here's your current facts:
-Size 2 diaper (when not wearing cloth)
-Mostly size 12 month clothes
-Size 4 1/2 shoe
-6 teeth (4 on top)
-19 lbs
-still in infant car seat facing backwards
-walked at 11 months, ran and climbed on furniture a few days later, completely steady on your feet now
-recently learned how to go both up AND down steps
-favorite foods-bananas, homemade yogurt, peanut butter sandwiches, and Indian food (dal)

We Love you, Lamb 3!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bible Song

Rev. Harrison posted his Bible song on his blog. I don't remember ever hearing this before, but I taught lower grades and he used it in confirmation class. He also posted the words to the song in a later post. Lamb 1 and 2 enjoyed it because both of their names are in it!

Ewe's CA trip observations

1. I was surprised how much I disliked the city life. A few years ago, I would have been thrilled to have a chance to go to Target multiple times in one week and having everything so close. This time I hated the traffic (and I wasn't even driving!) and I really hated how everyone is in such a hurry. When we went to the park, the Lambs didn't want to play because they aren't used to so many kids at the park. In fact, at our small park in our town, our Lambs are the ONLY children at the park. I was also so thankful to be home in my own bed where it is quiet with the exception of the train that I don't notice. The BART was next to our hotel and I really noticed it. If we move out of this small town, it will take a little while for the Lambs and me to get used to city life.
2. I was a little surprised with conversations with Ram's aunts and uncles. I tried to talk about our churches, what Ram does as pastor out here, and where we live. Their questions were not quite what I expected. For example, when I said we were starting homeschooling Lamb 1 this fall, they didn't have questions about curriculum or state requirements, etc. One question was, "What are you going to do with Lamb 2 and 3 while you teach Lamb 1?" And when I talked about our churches, their question was, "Do the people really love Jesus (and attend church because they want to?) or do they just go to church as a social activity of the week?" First of all, none of Ram's relatives are Lutheran, so they don't have that perspective. Second, I think they have lived in CA for so long that they just can't imagine rural life. Anyway, the conversations on this trip were really different than the conversations with my relatives (who all live in the Midwest) at the wedding I went to in CO.
3. Maybe I didn't look at the right place in their yard, but I was surprised that Hal and Marie didn't have a small garden. Perhaps this year was an exception with all the wedding planning. And they do have a beautiful and peaceful place to sit on the patio with the water fall put in. But here in the Midwest, we have small gardens and dream of having a longer growing season to have larger gardens. Perhaps since produce is so inexpensive there compared to here, it's not worth the trouble of a garden. But I was surprised they didn't even have a few tomato plants. I would love to go out my back door and get produce almost all year. I also had to remember that the San Francisco area has much different weather than where Ram's grandparents live near LA. Perhaps their growing season isn't as good as I'm dreaming of?
4. Finally, I'll finish the story of our trip home.
We survived going through security and flying home. When we called for our hotel shuttle we had to wait a really long time. Turns out another hotel guest had just got back from Alaska with huge boxes of fish and several suitcases. The van driver decided to take them back to the hotel and then come get us. He was afraid there wouldn't be room for all of us and all our luggage. The Lambs were exhausted and it was past their bedtime and they were hungry. So it seemed even longer to wait. We were so glad to get back to our hotel, which meant we were back to our minivan. We loaded everyone up and went in search of a restaurant. By then everything like Applebees was closed (well we found one restaurant that was open for drinks only). We finally found a pizza place and ordered take out. We went back to the hotel and ate in our room and unloaded a few things at our hotel for that night. It was after midnight when we finally were able to go to sleep.
We all slept in the next morning. We had to search for a Starbucks because the hotel was done serving breakfast! I had a coupon for Half Price Books so we HAD to take advantage of that. I hit their kids clearance section pretty hard and Ram also had a few good finds too. Then we went to an Indian restaurant and we just barely made it to their lunch buffet. Lamb 3 loved it! Lamb 1 also ate well and Lamb 2 liked it, but didn't eat so well. It was great to try everything on the buffet-especially to get some ideas if we go at a time when there is not a buffet, what would we like to order. I choked a little bit that we had to pay adult price for both Lamb 1 and 2, but at least Lamb 3 was free and he ate more than Lamb 1 or 2. I don't think many children eat at the Indian buffet! It wasn't a cheap lunch, but it was a nice treat. Then we shopped for the basics at Costco and headed home. We had traveled so much the past few weeks that the Lambs were thrilled to get home to play with their own toys-both inside and outside toys.