Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Reformation Day

I'm sorry this is so late being posted. We have had a busy weekend and we still have Sunday yet! I wanted to post more, but this will have to do at this point. We sang this often at the church school that I taught at. I love this powerful hymn.

Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word;
Curb those who by deceit or sword
Would wrest the kingdom from Your Son
And bring to naught all He has done.

Lord Jesus Christ, Your power make known,
For you are Lord of lords alone;
Defend Your holy Church that we
May sing Your praise eternally.

O Comforter of priceless worth,
Send peace and unity on earth;
Support us in our final strife
And lead us out of death to life.
Amen. (LSB 655)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God-Part 6

"Christian faith opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adored with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. A wife...should regard her duties in the same light, as she suckles the child, rocks and bathes it, and cares for it in other ways: and as she busies herself with other duties and renders help and obedience to her husband. These are truly golden and noble works." Martin Luther
This is another quote that I think I am going to post where I will see it frequently.

"Sleep is important, and we should welcome opportunities for rest, but sometimes God has not allowed for us to have as much sleep as we think we need. If you are the tired mom without any outside help, the faithful mother who is teetering under the weight of sleepless nights and a challenging schedule, be encouraged! Pray and trust God, knowing that He is in control. Be assured that neither your efforts nor your tears have gone unnoticed by our wise, good, and powerful God; plead for His strength and mercy. He will give you the rest needed to accomplish His will, as He promises." (PHDfG page 56)
I need to remember this when I am sick of Lamb 2 waking me up for the 3rd time in one night to "put my blanket on me".
I won't comment on the rest of these quotes. They seem to not need any explanation. They are all very good reminders for us.
"Your burdens will seem lighter as you allow Him to carry you. The hours of sleep may not always be the number you would choose, but they will be enough-He always gives us enough. Give thanks to God for His provision, for the life He has given you, and for the family He has entrusted to your care.
Remember, this season of caring for little ones is fleeting. When we are in the midst of diapers, minimal sleep, and challenging days of training, it sure doesn't seem like it, but it's true! Relish these precious moments-remembering this too shall pass." (PHDfG page 57)
"Use good judgement in managing your activities and your resting time. Often we have grandiose aspirations for all we think a mother should be accomplishing. You don't need to accomplish it all this week-or even this year." (PHDfG page 61)
I will try to post more from PHDfG next week.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just before All Saints Day...

Paul Manz, a great composer, organist, and church musician passed away on October 29. He was 90 years old. He died surrounded by his family while they sang his famous motet "E'en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come." I think this You Tube is a beautiful recording!

Advice wanted

Ram's grandma likes to buy us Christmas presents. She likes to go to one store for everything. So the past few years we have given her a wish list for Barnes and Noble. The last few weeks she has been bugging me for our list so that she can buy it and send it here by Christmas.
It took me a long time to come up with something for her to buy for each of the Lambs. She doesn't want to "just" get them books. For the past few years we had her get Thomas the train pieces because they sell them at B&N. I think the Lambs have far too much Thomas the train and I don't want them to get tons more. I finally came up with a couple of books and a movie that she can get them. I'm not sure if she will like buying "just" books and a movie, but I know they are things the Lambs will like. I did also notice that B&N has a huge toy section this year, but they seemed overpriced and not really what the Lambs would want.
Ram had no trouble coming up with a book he wanted to put on his wish list. So now, I'm the one that is having trouble. Here's my dilemma. I would like either a classic or a book for homekeeping that I will use for a long time, and remember that Grandpa and Grandma gave it to me each time I look at it. Ram says I shouldn't think about it so much and just pick something. I've been hoping I would look at a blog and they would recommend a book, but that hasn't happened. So, do you have any good books to recommend for my wish list?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

These photos were all taken from approximately the same spot in our back yard. They were taken on different days this month.










Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This point in my mothering career

On Sunday we went to eat at a restaurant where we have gotten to know the owners a little bit. They have a girl about Lamb 1's age and they now have a 2 month old boy. The mom works at a nursing home that Ram often visited our church members. Plus they own this restaurant. On Sunday I asked her about her baby because the last time I saw her she was due soon, but I hadn't seen her since she had her baby. She offered to bring the baby downstairs so we could meet him.
As I talked to her, it was clear that we live two very different lives. I told her I couldn't imagine working at the nursing home and owning the restaurant (which means she often helps out there too) and having children to take care of. She said it's not too bad, she "only" works 4 days a week at the nursing home now and she doesn't really do that much with the restaurant. Plus during the winter, the restaurant is only open Thursday-Sunday. She told me she couldn't imagine having 3 children-and they are BOYS too. She really couldn't imagine homeschooling. It was clear from our conversation that neither one of us was envious of the other's lifestyle.
I've also been thinking a lot recently about the point that I am at in my mothering career. I cleaned out the diaper bag recently and I took out the Hooter Hider because Lamb 3 only nurses before bedtime now. He's not even nursing before nap time any more. I also took out Lamb 2's diapers. Lamb 2 only wears diapers to bed now and we also ask him to wear them on long trips-just in case. When we are going on long trips I always take an extra diaper bag with extra clothes-just in case so I can pack diapers for Lamb 2 then. We no longer need to carry diapers for Lamb 2 for every day. It has been since May of 2006 that I only had one in diapers and for several months we had 3 in diapers! I'm not pregnant (nor are we "trying" although I know that is a loaded word) nor am I breastfeeding very much (I think Lamb 3 just likes to get in the cozy position and I doubt there is very much milk in there any more). I felt "free" to have an Irish creme coffee on Sunday night with both caffeine and alcohol. Except for a couple of months, it has been since June of 2003 that I was at this point of not being pregnant or nursing more than once a day. Church went well on Sunday too. Lamb 1 was content to write on the church calendar during the sermon and only asked me a few times how to spell something. Lamb 2 looked at his Busy Bible during the sermon and was pretty quiet. Lamb 3 played with the new crayons (didn't actually color) and was pretty quiet. I don't think church has been that "easy" (without any Lambs asking me for something every 30 seconds of the sermon) since before Lamb 1 was born! And meals-Lamb 1 rarely asks for help, Lamb 2 asks for help towards the end of his meal to get the last few bites on his spoon etc. and Lamb 1 sometimes helps his brothers at this point, and often Lamb 3 can feed himself the whole meal. Lamb 3 is the only one that we have to cut foods extra small for him to not choke now.
On Saturday I got caught up on Lamb 3's scrapbook. I have a lot to do to catch up on Lamb 1 and 2's, but it was nice to catch up on one scrapbook.
This is a long post to explain my thoughts on both being a SAHM and as my Lambs get older. It is strange after 5 1/2 years with Lamb 1 to be at this point. As "nice" as it is, I'm trying not to get too comfortable in this point in my career as we pray that we are blessed with more Lambs and then the cycle will start all over! I can only imagine how my friend Pam feels now. Her boys are all in school now and she is pregnant with twin girls now. She probably feels like I do, but more extreme as her boys are all in school. May God bless us with patience and strength to continue to be good mothers no matter what point in our career we are at.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Finally out of the house!

After nearly a month being stuck in the house because of sickness and really stuck in the house because they are also working on our town sewer system so I can't let the Lambs outside with all the machines out there, we finally took a day off of school and went to Sioux Falls on Friday. Ram drove the car across our yard and parked in the alley so we could get in. As we were putting our coats on, I noticed a front loader driving by our minivan. I told the Lambs to hurry to get their coats on and run to our car so we could get out of the construction zone without getting our car hit by a truck! We ate lunch at Cracker Barrel. We rarely go to a town with Cracker Barrel so that was a special treat. The Lambs ate all their food. We did some shopping at the mall, measured the Lambs for shoes, I did some sticker shopping at the scrapbook store, also Target and Walmart. Walmart was really busy and completely out of canned pumpkin. Have any of you had trouble buying canned pumpkin this year? The news warned of this. I have several recipes for pumpkin this time of year plus I have to bring 2 pies to serve to the nursing home in a few weeks, so I was upset about this. We ate supper at Qdoba and the Lambs ate their tacos. At 9pm the Lambs were not asleep yet and they heard me say I was a little hungry. Lamb 1 spoke right up and suggested that we go to Jimmy Johns. So at 9pm we went to JJ and had sub sandwiches. By this time Lamb 3 had fallen asleep but as we were leaving JJ he woke up and ate some of Lamb 2's bread. We are in trouble if the Lambs eat that much in one day and they are ages 5, 3, and 1! The Lambs fell asleep and I always enjoy that time to talk to Ram without interruptions on the 2 1/2 hour drive home. It was a fun day even though we weren't successful at finding dress shoes for the older Lambs.
I bought myself a pair of khaki pants. They are ok, but not fabulous. This was the first pair of pants besides jeans that I bought myself since before I was pregnant with Lamb 1. I think it was about time! I'm going to force myself to try on some more and hopefully find a pair that I like better. I hate trying on clothes and buying clothes for myself. The Lambs were happy to play at the play place at the mall so I didn't feel rushed.
On Sunday we had another busy day. The other family that goes to Sunday School with us was finally healthy too so it was the first time in over a month that the teacher had her whole class. Then we went to the brunch in town that raises money for different organizations. Today was the EMTs turn and it was very crowded because of people wanting to support them. It took forever and the Lambs were very impatient. All the Lambs spilled their OJ while they were waiting. We finally got our food and ate. Then while we were eating I ordered food to go for Ram because he was doing the last church service. It took another 1/2 hour to get his food. The Lambs were more impatient then because they had already waited a long time and they had eaten by then. As I was buckling everyone in their seatbelts, Ram came. Since I don't have a cell phone and he leaves during the last hymn on communion Sundays and we hadn't decided our plans for sure ahead of time, he didn't know where I was or what I was doing. We were glad to get home and take naps after all that.
Sunday night we decided to go to the restaurant we like over the border in SD. Ram had 1/2 price off his meal because it was his 1/2 birthday and the Lambs are free on Sundays and the Lambs got free ice cream sundaes too. All the Lambs ate really well because they wanted a sundae! We had a nice meal and Ram even ordered me a chocolate cake with raspberry sauce dessert that I really like. We'll be "forced" to go back in November when I get my meal free because of my birthday.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Seventh Week of School Report

Here's what we accomplished this week:
Math: Worked on MUS lesson 4. The concept here is adding 0 to a number. Math is gradually getting more difficult for Lamb 1-not impossible, but he was surprised that he had to (gasp!) think this week!
Handwriting: Lamb 1 practiced writing his first and last name some more. He is improving.
Phonics: We reviewed vowels and the consonants we did before. We learned the consonants h, j, k, and l.
Religion: Memorized John 14:3 (for Sunday School), worked on memorizing the third and fourth commandments and the hymn A Mighty Fortress is Our God. We were excited to sing A Mighty Fortress in church on Sunday. The Lambs did a very nice job singing this hymn in church. I was afraid they would act silly or act like they didn't know it, but they sang nice and loud! We did a little Bible stories about Abraham, but not very much this week.
Science: We read more science books on fall topics like leaves and pumpkins. We also read some science books about our bodies (heart, lungs, etc.)
Reading: We finished How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. Read a few stories from My Book House and a few poems, recited Time to Rise by R.L. Stevenson daily.
Latin: Worked on Lesson 3 and 4 from Prima Latina.
Art: Play doh with babysitter on Tuesday.
On Tuesday our babysitter came and we had ECFE so we didn't do school. The ECFE theme was colors. I think the Lambs favorite part of ECFE was the snack had fruit loops and they rarely get sugar cereal like that. We got out the Halloween costumes this week. I was glad their costumes from last year fit them and I had a costume for Lamb 3 that fits him too. Lamb 1 and 2 are the same as last year (Eeyore and Pooh) and I'm excited that Lamb 3 is going to be Roo. I got these costumes at Once Upon a Child and have collected them over the years. I was so glad the costumes still fit the Lambs! We made fall cut out cookies this week too (apples, pumpkins, turkeys, and leaves). They continue to work on the sewer system in our town so the Lambs have not had nearly enough time outside to satisfy them. The Lambs played with Lincoln Logs a lot this week. They were never really interested in them before this. Lamb 1 has become quite good at building with them. Lamb 2 and 3 try to build with them and it is successful if no one knocks down another Lamb's buildings! On Friday we took a day off of school and went shopping in Sioux Falls. I think I'll save what we did on Friday for another blog post. We didn't quite fit in as much school as I would have liked, but they also learned by watching the construction in our town and making cookies with me. We're going to try to fit a lot of school in early in the week because on Friday and Saturday we will be busy going to an open house at the veterinarian's new office building and trick or treating activities in the neighboring town. I can't believe October is almost over. The days just fly by!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Buying boy clothes

Ram's mom blesses us with most of the clothes for the Lambs. We do buy shoes and a few items for them to finish out their wardrobe. Lamb 1 is always getting holes in the knees of his pants-especially his jeans, but also his dress pants. My mom has patched some of his pants. I realized how many she has done when I got out the size 3T for Lamb 2! But it is a lot of work and I don't have time for that. If I'm going to sew I want to sew something fun, not patch Lamb 1's pants!

Sears has a program that if kid clothes wear out they will replace them. They do this with all of their brand (Toughskins) and if you have a receipt they will do it with other kid clothes. Last spring I bought Lamb 1 some jeans at Sears. They are good jeans with double knees. A few weeks ago Lamb 1 got a hole in those jeans. I couldn't believe it because he only wore them a few weeks last spring and then he wore shorts all summer and then after a few weeks this fall, they had a hole. Ram took them back and they replaced them for free. They happened to be out of blue jeans in his size (slim) so Ram got black jeans for him. We had to talk him into black jeans, but he finally accepted them. I would highly recommend buying pants for boys at Sears now. I don't think it is necessary to buy other items there, but Lamb 1 will get his money's worth out of pants bought there. We live 3 hours away from Sears, but we go to a town with a Sears often enough to replace or buy pants there if we need to.

On Friday, we took the Lambs to a shoe store and got their feet measured. I tried several Payless stores to get dress shoes with shoestrings for Lamb 2. I think velcro on dress shoes looks stupid. Lamb 2 wears size 9 1/2. By the 3rd shoe store and the second town, a clerk told me that they don't make dress shoes with ties until size 10 1/2. So then we tried Stride Rite. I was willing to pay the money for a nice pair of dress shoes for Lamb 2 to wear to church. They didn't have any either. Lamb 3 has dress shoes with ties. My theory is that they make them with ties and cute for the babies and then parents don't want to mess with tying the toddlers. Then perhaps they start making them in Lamb 1's size because children learn how to tie their own shoes then and maybe also because they need them for First Communion? Anyway, a project on my to do list is to now look online and see if I can find them. Hopefully I can find them at a place that has free shipping both ways. I couldn't believe that we went shopping in the "big city" with no luck with dress shoes for Lamb 2. After all the shoe store shopping with nothing, we bought Lamb 1 and 2 new tennis shoes from Walmart. Lamb 1 was complaining that he had to get measured and neither one of them got new shoes. It wasn't dress shoes like I wanted, but it made them happy. Do you have any ideas where I can get dress shoes for Lamb 2? Also, Lamb 3 got new shoes yesterday-hand me downs from the older Lambs, but new to him. He pointed at his shoes and smiled all day. He was so happy to get new shoes!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blogs to read this week

I have so many blog posts floating around in my head and I'm too busy to post them. Some of my friends have posted similar topics so I thought I would share them here.
1. Ram posted about going to Houston next summer. I think I'm going to ask my parents to come visit while he is gone. Are any of your husbands going to convention next summer? Ram is prepared to receive tons of mail. See my sidebar for who I think Ram should vote for!
2. I'm an old fart at age 35 too. I posted a long comment on Elephant's Child blog. I would like to add that I refuse to do Facebook, I don't have a cell phone, nor do I have anything like a Blackberry or IPod. I'm happy to remain and old fart at age 35 (well-at least for a few more weeks until I'm an old fart at age 36!)
3. I have been meaning to post about my canning and freezing this year. Maybe I will still get to posting it, but I Shouldn't Be Doing This did a wonderful job posting what she accomplished this year. It is impressive how much she did (with her mom's help with some of it!) I left a long comment here too telling what I did.
4. I have been thinking a lot about Lamb 3 after my recent miscarriage. By this point both Lamb 1 and 2 were weaned because the next Lamb was on their way. I'm thankful Lamb 3 "gets" to be my baby a little longer. Melrose had a beautiful post on October 18 talking about being pregnant with number 3. I can't figure out how to link to that specific post-sorry. I also left a long comment here talking about Lamb 3.
5. Where we live, there aren't homeschooling co-ops or young families for the Lambs to do activities with. We drive 20 miles one way to the country church in our tri-parish because they have one family with children our age to go to Sunday School with. Sometimes I feel guilty that we aren't able to give them more opportunities, especially at church. Elephant's Child wrote a nice post on this topic. After reading this, I don't feel so bad. The Lambs have spent the last few days playing lots of Lincoln Logs. Lamb 1 has become quite good at them even though he rarely played with them before this week. The Lambs put pillows around my dining room table and pretended to be groundhogs (why in October? I don't know.) I like that all of their play Lamb 1 and 2 do together and often Lamb 3 joins in (like when they were groundhogs). Lamb 1 and 2 have also been playing more board games together. I can't imagine if Lamb 1 was in school that they would have time to use their imaginations like this.
6. Indiana Jane wrote the post that inspired Elephant's Child to write her post that I talked about in #5 of this list. Indiana Jane said, "I can't have those lovely bygone days back when all I had to do was cook, clean, and hang out with my kids". This really struck me, that those of us with young kids complain that all we do is cook and clean and take care of toddlers. Here, Indiana Jane is wishing to be back in that situation again. Thanks, Jane for giving us that perspective.
7. I tried MckMama's recipe for Texas caviar and it is delicious! We have had it a couple of times now and I plan on making it again soon to use up some more tomatoes we have waiting to get ripe in our house after the first freeze.
8. The last blog is not one that I was thinking about, but Susan has a recipe for carmel dip that sounds wonderful. Lamb 1 has caps on his teeth so he can't have sticky foods. We haven't had carmel dip for several years because of this. We bought some wonderful apples this year and I was wishing we could have carmel dip. I haven't tried Susan's recipe yet, but it sounds delicious!

Thank you to all of the friends who posted on their blogs this week that I mentioned in this post. I may be an old fart, but I do enjoy reading my friends blogs! Some of them I have never met in real life (Elephant's Child, Melrose, MckMama), but I consider them friends because I have read their blog so often!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God-Part 5

I am finally blogging about what I found to be the most useful part of this book.
"Moms of little ones need their sleep! We can certainly discipline ourselves to go to bed early enough so that we can wake up with our little ones (or our husband), but to beat ourselves up over our failure to create a worship time that resembles someone else's isn't necessary and can sometimes be detrimental." (PHDfG page 51)
I had a great start to morning reading and personal reading Bible time in August. Then we all got sick in September and I haven't gotten back to that. I do plan to get back to it soon. I really enjoyed my own time to read my Bible. But I chose to do it while the Lambs were playing quietly around me-I didn't get up before they did. I knew that would never work because Lamb 2 wakes up the earliest of any of us. I would have to get up several hours earlier in order to get up before him. He hears someone up and he gets up no matter what time it is or how tired he is.
"Too many women are in bondage to the man-made myth that everyone should pray in one great big gush early each morning. But rather than praying a river at an appointed time every day, I would suggest a more reasonable and feasible option for a busy mother: pray in "droplets" throughout the day. Not only is this achievable, it is biblical. We are instructed to "pray without ceasing" and to let our souls follow close behind Him as His right hand holds us up.
What better way to follow close behind Him than to read snippets of Scripture and pray in droplets throughout the day? As you care for your children, interact with neighbors, and chat with store clerks, 'let your tongue speak of His righteousness and of His praise all the day long'. God is your refuge-make clinging to Him every moment become a disciplined habit, even as others look on:"(PHDfG page 52)
"I have become as a wonder to many, But You are my strong refuge. Let my mouth be filled with your praise and with Your glory all the day." (Psalm 71:7-8)
"When all your children are small, it can be nearly impossible to even go to the bathroom alone, much less enjoy a half-hour of prayer and contemplation in heavenly, uninterrupted bliss; so get creative! Copy chapters of Scripture or buy small pocket Bibles and place them around your house-in the bathroom, in the laundry room, next to the chair where you nurse the baby-wherever you might have a moment where you're standing (or sitting) still. You'll find yourself rising above your trials by God's sustaining hand when you make His Word a continuous presence in your day.
If you have little ones, accept that this is your "noisy season" of life. You'll have moments for "quiet" time later. Pray in droplets during the day as well as when you're awakened at night:" (PHDfG pages 52-53)
Ram is very good at this. One of the first things he did when we moved here was to place a Bible in the bathroom. He never "wastes" time in the bathroom with his Bible there. He also remembers to recite his catechism to himself while he is in the shower. I haven't done this yet, but I plan to post Bible verses around the house-where I do dishes, where I get ready in the morning, etc. Our college dorms did this-put Bible verses in each of the bathroom stalls, etc. It's amazing how fast you can memorize a Bible verse when you read it several times a day.
"Yet the Lord will command his loving kindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life." (Psalm 42:8)
"Pray with your children, pray when you're bathing the baby, and pray in the shower-but pray!" (PHDfG page 53)
"It took me a long time to realize that I needed to serve God right where He had placed me-and I didn't have to be in seclusion to spend quality time with Him. I was in His presence with every diaper I changed, every Bible story I told my children, every meal I prepared, every toilet I cleaned, and every math paper I graded. I learned to gather my little ones around me to pray the Lord's Prayer, for my good as well as theirs.
Besides our time of family worship led by my husband in the mornings, my children and I prayed together, sang together, and studied God's Word together in our homeschool during the day. These times were not any less important or spiritually fulfilling than a quiet time alone. If this is your season of little ones, find ways to include them in your spiritual life." (PHDfG page 54)
I know I will continually work on this, but I have done better in this area since we began homeschooling Lamb 1 a few months ago. We say Luther's Morning Prayer to begin our day. We practice memorizing a Bible verse then too. Ram leads family devotions at lunch. In the afternoon we practice memorizing a part of the catechism and a hymn. We also read a Bible story then too. Finally at bedtime we say Luther's Evening prayer, Lord's Prayer, Creed, and sing two hymns. By making a homeschool schedule, it forced me to schedule it myself. Plus Ram and I do Compline together at the end of the day.
I found the idea to pray in "droplets" to be the most useful part of this book. I'm not sure how much more I will blog on this book, but I do have some more quotes from the book marked and I will share more in the coming weeks.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Yesterday and Camera Advice Wanted

(Sorry, I meant to post this tomorrow (Monday), but I forgot to set it for tomorrow! When the post says yesterday, it means Sunday!)
We were blessed with a beautiful sunny day in the 60's yesterday. The Lambs were well enough to go to church and Sunday School. We had a meltdown because I wouldn't allow them to shake hands at the door with all the sickness going around. I had warned of that on the way to church, but I guess we didn't listen. It was good to be back at church after missing two of the past 3 Sundays. In the afternoon we went to a birthday party for a church member that was 80. They brought leftover cake over for us afterwards. The Lambs are looking forward to more cake! Ram took Lamb 1 and 3 outside for a little with the beautiful weather. They brought the tomato cages inside. We still have a little more yard work tasks to do so I hope we are blessed with a few more nice days. Snow is predicted for later this week, so we'll see.

I need advice for purchasing a digital camera. Ram's dad bought us our first digital camera when I was pregnant with Lamb 1. It broke a few days after Lamb 2 was born. Then we bought a Canon Powershot. I was happy with this camera until recently. We went to a wedding this summer and the lady that I asked to take pictures said it was really slow reaction time. I thought it just needed new batteries (it did). But since June I have noticed that she was right, it has a slower and slower reaction time even with new batteries. Having a slow reaction time when you have little Lambs is not a good thing. Especially when you want to take a picture of all 3 Lambs! I think the camera is slowly dying.
We are not rushing out to buy a new camera since ours still works, but we are beginning shopping for one. One thing I do not want is a slim camera-I would rather have a fatter camera to have something for stability without a tripod. Canon Rebels have been highly recommended but I'm not sure I'm ready to spend that much money. I've never had a camera with different lenses and I'm kind of hesitant as an amateur photographer. I'm just looking for a camera that will take nice photos of our Lambs, I don't want to be a professional photographer! I hope you readers can help us in our camera search with some advice about what you have and what you like about your camera! So here's my questions:
1. What kind of a camera do you have and would you recommend it? Does it fit my criteria to not be too slim?
2. If you have a Canon Rebel, is it worth the money?
3. Where did you purchase your camera-especially online sites that you would recommend?
TIA!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sixth Week of School Report

We actually got quite a bit of school accomplished this week. The Lambs were sick with colds-runny noses and mild fevers. Thankfully Ram and I never got it. They are also working on our town sewer system so at the beginning of the week we had lots of interruptions to watch the workers cut down our tree in our back yard and lots of trucks, excavators, and other equipment. The boys loved all the excitement. They would run from window to window in our house and there was activity out all the windows. It was a nightmare for me-most of the trucks say "beep beep" when they back up. Once I decided to count how many times I heard "beep beep" in one minute, but I got mixed up between imagining I heard it and actually hearing it because I heard it so often. Plus every time the excavator picked up a load of dirt and dropped it there was a big noise and sometimes it even shook the house. They started at 7am (we usually get up at 8am) and worked with lights until 8pm. We got quite a bit of rain on Wednesday and they continued working through it. Finally on Thursday there was too much water so they quit working. Now we are left with quiet (hooray!) but a big pile of dirt behind our driveway and water standing in the street behind our driveway. I haven't left the house since Thursday so I'm not quite sure what we will have to deal with when we do leave. Because they were sick and they couldn't go outside and once the activity outside quieted down, we accomplished a lot of school. They felt well enough for our babysitter to come on Friday so we didn't do any school then. But we did school all the rest of the days and had complete school days doing all the subjects then too. Ram went to St. Cloud on Saturday but we stayed home and did school. Here's what we did accomplish:
Math: Finished MUS lesson 3.
Handwriting: Lamb 1 practiced writing October. We have lots to do in handwriting with him!
Phonics: We did quite a bit of phonics this week. We are finally off to a good start. We reviewed vowels, did the consonants b,c,d,f,g.
Religion: Memorized Philippians 4:6 and 1 Kings 18:39(for Sunday School), worked on memorizing the second and third commandments and the hymn A Mighty Fortress is Our God, Did the Bible stories of Noah, God calls Abram, and Abram rescues Lot.
Science: We read several science books on fall topics like leaves and pumpkins.
Reading: We did quite a bit of reading aloud this week. Finished Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel. Continued How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. Read a few stories from My Book House and a few poems, recited Whole Duty of Children by R.L. Stevenson daily.
Latin: Worked on Lesson 2 and 3 from Prima Latina. Lamb 2 is getting really good at answering questions about Latin vocabulary words we have studied. This bugs Lamb 1 so he is paying more attention in Latin. I now know competition is really working to motivate our boy Lambs!
Art: Painted trees with the babysitter as recommended by Five in a Row with the story Mike Mulligan. Did other painting and got paint in our hair too!
Lamb 1 has been asking about having music in our curriculum. I guess I need to get organized and at least do some music appreciation with them.
Tea Time: My friend Heather said that they have tea time daily. I thought this was a brilliant idea and I don't know why I never thought of it before. It sounds so much better than saying snack time! So this week we added tea time into our schedule. I had the Lambs look at some of their children's cookbooks to come up with tea time snacks for a few days. One day we had ants on a log and one day we had moose lips (apples, peanut butter, and mini marshmallows) from this. Every day we had tea (Ram's mom loves tea and has given us a lot. One year we were in the tea of the month club. When they traveled to India they went to a tea plantation and gave us lots of tea from there.). One day we had peanut butter crackers and one day we had apple pie. I found that after tea time is a great time to do Latin and Bible story. We are all gathered together and it's a great time to finish up the few little things we didn't accomplish before lunch. After tea time (and finishing school) they are free to play until supper. We have all started to look forward to tea time. Ram was here for tea time some days and some days we did it by ourselves. It reminded Ram of having tea time while he was at Westfield House at Cambridge University in England. I like it because I have my together time with Ram before bed and now I have time with my boys in the afternoon too.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My paid "job" on Thursday

Last time I was at WIC, I got a phone number to call. It was called the Land Stewardship Project. They had a meeting on Thursday night. Ram watched the Lambs while I went to the meeting. I had to hurry home so he could go to a Ladies Aid meeting. When I told the Lambs that I was going, Lamb 1 said "Mamas don't go to meetings, just Papas!"
I really didn't know what to expect out of this meeting. They served chicken noodle soup and some really good bread to us from a cafe about 45 minutes away. There was plenty so I brought a bowl home for Ram. I was paid $15 plus $5 to spend in the local health food store. I shopped at this health food store once about 5 years ago. The leader said they have beans really really cheap so I'll probably go spend my $5 there on dried beans.
There were 4 of us moms plus 2 of the workers leading the program. They asked a bunch of questions about where we buy our food, what kind of food we buy, etc. The participants were interesting. 1-had a baby who she feeds organic Gerber type baby food, 2-a divorced mother with a 30 year old still at home, seemed very poor from her comments, both her son and herself kind of fend for themselves, 3-a mother with two children who runs a daycare out of her home. She said she is required to measure out the children's food so they eat very healthy for lunch while the daycare kids are there and she drives 1 1/2 hours to shop at Walmart once a month to get food for all these kids cheaper.
Then there was me-talking about how we eat steel cut oats done in the crockpot overnight, telling that we drive to a farm about 20 miles away to get our eggs when we run out of the ones that WIC provides us, telling how we cook and bake homemade. I didn't quite fit in with the other ones. But I think that I was exactly the kind of person they were looking for at this meeting.
They were kind of secretive about who they were until the end of the meeting because they didn't want to have us answer what we thought they wanted to hear. At the end of the meeting, they revealed that Blue Cross Blue Shield had given them a grant to survey people in the area. The goal is to get people to eat healthier by eating locally grown foods. The idea is that foods grown far away lose some nutritional value by the time they get to this rural area. Plus they wonder how many people in this rural area don't eat enough fresh fruits and veggies because it is a transportation issue-it is 1 1/2 hours to a big grocery store. They also wonder if my generation doesn't know how to have a garden or can or freeze garden produce. I was unique to the participants because we have a small garden (hopefully we can do better next year), our church members give us lots of produce, and we eat fresh when it is available and then eat lots of canned or frozen that I made when it is not.
One of the participants said that the local meat market gets their steaks and good beef from Mexico. I don't know if this is true or just a rumor. But if it is, I'm horrified. We are given lots of meat from our church members. We buy a little meat and most of our hamburger at that local meat market. Here we thought we were helping out a local business and buying local, and we could be buying it from Mexico, not even from another part of the United States! We have been thinking about buying beef from one of the Loopers whose family does that. I guess when we run out of hamburger we'll be making a trip to Iowa!
I did also get some sources for raw milk at this meeting. I'll have to do some more checking but at least I have some names to start. Before this I had no idea where to get raw milk.
It was interesting and fun to get out of the house and do something different. I did give them my e-mail address and I'm going to contact a few friends in the area to get their chance to get paid. But I'm not going to get any more involved. I joked with Ram that I had to "go to work" on Thursday. $20 for an hour's work where I was eating delicious soup while I worked wasn't too bad!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day

Yesterday was pregnancy and infant loss day. I knew this, but it wasn't until I read a blog yesterday that I remembered it.
When I was pregnant with Lamb 2, it was my third pregnancy because I had a miscarriage between Lamb 1 and 2. It really hit me when I went for my first ultrasound with Lamb 2. One of the first questions the ultrasound technician asked was what number pregnancy this was. I didn't, but I felt like explaining to the technician right there that number two was a miscarriage, not an abortion. The ultrasound should be a very exciting time and I imagine for some women it is very painful. Imagine if you had several miscarriages. Imagine if you had an abortion. It was even sad for me to mention when I had just had one miscarriage. I had lots of ultrasounds with both Lamb 2 and Lamb 3. They thought Lamb 2 had Down's Syndrome and I didn't get very big during pregnancy with Lamb 3 so I had so many ultrasounds that I lost count. If we are blessed to get pregnant with another Lamb, I will have to answer the ultrasound technician that I was pregnant five times after my recent miscarriage. With my history of Lamb 2 and 3, it may be several ultrasounds and several times answering that question.
So yesterday I said extra prayers for women with fertility problems, women who have had a miscarriage, women who had a stillbirth, women who have had a baby who died from SIDS, women who had an infant die, and women who have had an abortion. I also prayed for their families as husbands, siblings, and grandparents of the infant are also affected. I said more prayers for my friends that I know personally that have gone through this.
Also, after my most recent miscarriage, I had two people make comments that I want to share with you here.
1. A LCMS pastor from our circuit said a beautiful prayer with me that mentioned that our baby was baptized in the waters of my womb.
2. I don't know where this quote is from, but a friend shared this with me. She said that Louis Brighton said that we will have that baby waiting for us in heaven where we can raise him in a perfect place. We do not have him here and now but we will have him forever in heaven.
I will end with those two beautiful, comforting thoughts.
HT: MckMama

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God-Part 4

Before I continue with my quotes that I liked from the book, I want to address a few topics. Many of you have left comments that after I have written this series of blog posts that you want to make sure to read the book now. While I highly recommend it, I want to talk about a few things.
1. This book was an eye opener to me about feminism. I was protected from this kind of feminist view before I read this book. My mom's mom only worked because she was a widow when her children were still at home. After she returned home from work, she worked extremely hard at home to maintain a household as a single parent. She didn't have much money so she had to have a garden, can and freeze the garden produce, and sew. Both my mother-in-law and my mom were SAHMs. While we were growing up, neither of our families had very much money. My parents did not send me to preschool because they wanted me to be home as long as possible. Ram was homeschooled some of his grade school.
I say all this background about my family, because from the time I was little, it was fine to "just" be a housewife. That is what my mom did. My mom was always busy doing both the tasks that needed to be done and tasks that she wanted to do to help save money and also doing some activities that she enjoyed occasionally. So before I read this book, I never even considered being bored as a housewife.
Add in that I joke that I "retired" from teaching school in a classroom-being a SAHM is my second career. I pray that finances continue so I can be a SAHM until all our Lambs are at least in high school. Plus I feel that I don't have enough time to scrapbook and read. Whenever the Lambs are old enough to not be as needy as they are now, I will have plenty of scrapbooking and reading to catch up on. I haven't touched my sewing machine since we moved here 6 1/2 years ago. I will never be bored as a housewife!
So, the parts of the book about feminism were not something that I learned from or that I necessarily needed to hear. Before I read this book, I knew about feminism, it just wasn't presented in such a bold way. But it was good for me to see this view point of feminism because I know "the rest of the world" thinks that way.
2. There are some great quotes in this book from Martin Luther, but obviously since it is not written by a Lutheran, it is lacking some Lutheran theology, especially about the Sacraments. It was based on a Biblical view which I liked, but I could see a few Bible quotes being taken out of context. I'm just warning my Lutheran friends of this before they read it.
3. Some of my SAHM friends that are pastor's wives too, complain that the congregation expects them to do so much extra because they "just stay at home", as if they don't have anything to do while they are at home. I am blessed that I haven't had this problem. I do the church calendar for the tri-parish once a month. I serve at Ladies Aid once a year for two of the churches. Maybe I'm blessed because my boys are all so young that they can see I have my hands full. Maybe they will expect more when my boys are older. This book was a good reminder of what my priorities should be-to be wife and mother.


I will finish this blog post with a few quotes. Next week I will get to my favorite idea from the book.
"Centuries applaud the great works of the masters. Brilliant artists like Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Vermeer sometimes labored years to create a single masterpiece. So, too, it takes years to build a masterpiece in the home.
So, as women, we must ... embrace the magnificent feminine artistry of godly womanhood. We must daily sculpt our children into Kingdom treasures and use the culture-building palate of the home to create a breathtaking masterpiece that spans generations.
The profound impact that a solid marriage, familial love, and godly order has on the children in a Christian home is dramatic. It can mean the difference between life and death, godliness and wickedness, barrenness and the continuance of a godly heritage. As we train up our children in the way they should go-when we rise up and when we lie down, their souls are being nurtured and shaped for His glory.
Submitting to our husbands, loving our families, keeping our homes, walking in sobriety and wisdom, and caring for the everyday needs of others, all within the realm of God's divine order, communicates Christ-and this celebration of family, hospitality, and children causes the world to look upward. By living out our lives in a way that truly glorifies Him, and unbelieving world will be able to say, 'Where does that kind of love come from? What kind of God do you serve?' And we can answer in truth, 'We serve a mighty and powerful God!' God's name should be exalted in the way we live out our lives-however simple or mundane it may seem." (PHDfG pages 46-47 without Bible references)
This quote is a good reminder to me that the toddler years with all the extra work of that age will pass by quickly, but I will continue to work on my "masterpiece" daily and it will impact generations. I really liked the comparison to the great artist works.
This quote reminds me of some of my friends whose parents got divorced after they had graduated from college. When they talk about their childhood, I can't even imagine. Coming from a Christian home really was the difference between godliness and wickedness. And from the outside, their homes looked Christian, but they really weren't. To start with we had family devotions daily. That was a priority for my parents. I am so thankful that my parents (and Ram's parents too) with help from the Holy Spirit, trained me this way.
I addressed the last part of this quote in my last PHDfG blog post. I really do think that the world is watching us-whether they are women that work or another SAHM, whether they are friends or acquaintances, whether they are Christian or not, whether they are husbands of a woman that works or doesn't, and even if they are children with a mom that is a SAHM or isn't. It may just all seem mundane to us, or even have become second nature to us so we don't even think about it, but they are watching. It could be as simple as taking the Lambs to the local grocery store and the people thinking and sometimes even commenting-you have 3 boys age 5 and under? no girls? you are a SAHM? Lamb 1 is homeschooled? And they watch even more as I deal with shopping with 3 boys-how I talk to them, what we buy (and don't buy), how I discipline the Lambs if they need it, and how I "educate" them while we are in the grocery store. I probably won't take every opportunity to witness to the world this way. I know as a sinner that I will totally blow my witness this way opportunities some times-like when I lose my patience (and sometimes my temper too!) in the store with 3 boys while I'm trying to also get some shopping done. But I think it is our overall attitude and lifestyle as SAHM that makes a difference to the world.

HT: Some recent e-mail conversations with my SAHM friend Heather helped me think of some of these thoughts in this post.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ram's Mom!

Lamb 1 with Grandma (March 2004)
Today is Ram's mom's birthday. This is one of my favorite photos of her. She was so nice to come out and help me when Lamb 1 was born. With all his MSPI problems, I don't know how I would have survived without her here to let me take naps. Best of all she cleaned my whole house and it was really bad from bugs the previous fall when I had terrible morning sickness and I never cleaned it before she came.
Ram's mom is very generous with gifts for all of us. Ram and I had similar backgrounds with SAHMs and Christian parents. It has been great having a mother-in-law with similar parenting ideas as I was brought up with and we are trying to raise our boys with. She raised 3 boys so I appreciate her ideas for our boys. She breastfed her boys, used cloth diapers, had a terrible time potty training her boys and homeschooled Ram and his brothers. I appreciate a sympathetic ear with these topics. I have friends with a mother-in-law that they don't get along with. This makes problems that I can't even imagine.
So all this is to say, that I feel blessed to have Ram's mom as a mother-in-law. Have a great birthday and enjoy the end of your trip!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Parsonage Inspection

If you aren't a pastor's wife living in a parsonage, you might want to skip reading this post. If you are, I'm sure you'll understand.

Ram had a very busy day on Thursday. He had a funeral, visited a member in the nursing home, attended an Early Childhood Initiative meeting, quickly came home for supper, and then went to a Ladies Aid meeting at night. After the Ladies Aid meeting, when he got home, he told me that the chairman of our congregation and an insurance appraiser (who is a member of a neighboring LCMS congregation) were coming in the morning to look at the church and the parsonage. They had told him that afternoon at the funeral and he honestly didn't have time to tell me before that. My brain started thinking/panicking at that point. Thankfully the Lambs had completely cleaned up the living room that evening. I had no idea where in the parsonage they were looking. I know as men they really don't care what the house looks like, but I didn't want a report to get back to the congregation that we have trashed the house. We haven't trashed the house, but 3 Lambs have toys all over. This past July my mom washed a couple of walls in the kitchen. The first day after it was clean, Lamb 2 wrote on it. I know I need to get out the magic eraser and clean it (well, first have Lamb 2 try to clean it because he did it and then finish the job). I've felt this is pointless because it will just get dirty again. So there is writing on the kitchen wall.
So Friday morning, Lamb 1 was motivated to clean up the basement toys when I warned him that the men might need to get in the basement and they might step and break his toys if they were out. I quickly did a few loads of laundry and cleaned up the kitchen. I picked up, but I didn't actually clean. In my mind, the house was presentable.
Next, I made sure all the Lambs were dressed and out of their pajamas and that they were all wearing pants. Lamb 2 doesn't keep his pants on very long after he made it through potty training. It's just too much work for him to wear pants! I didn't want the report that the Lambs weren't even wearing pants on this cool fall day to get back to the congregation!
Next, around the time they were to come, I made sure it looked like Lamb 1 was doing school. The next report that I didn't want to get back to the congregation was that we weren't schooling Lamb 1. People that don't homeschool don't understand that they can learn without sitting at a desk. So I had him sit at his desk and do math and handwriting. When he finished that then we sat together and read stories.
They ended up only needing to go in the basement and outside of the house. They asked Ram where the fire extinguishers were. The insurance appraiser said often church secretaries have no idea and they are the one that is there when he does his work. We had purchased two extinguishers and mounted one in the kitchen closet and put one by the dryer. The church's extinguishers were too old and needed to be replaced. I was glad that we had done this small thing to improve the parsonage.
So on Friday, we survived our "inspection", did a little school, and baked some more for the fall festival.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fifth Week of School Report

On Tuesday I had a WIC appointment, the babysitter came, and we had ECFE, so we didn't do much school. The theme of ECFE was shapes. Lamb 1 knew his shapes the best. I would hope so since he is 5 1/2 and the average age of the class is 2 1/2. We had school on Thursday and Friday, but it was a shortened schedule as we baked for the second church fall festival. Ram also had a funeral on Thursday afternoon. I had planned on doing school on Saturday afternoon after the fall festival, but Lamb 2 didn't feel well. I also put some beets in the freezer and canned some applesauce. I still have more applesauce to make this week.
This is Sunday and all the Lambs have a cold and a minor fever. Ewe has a fever, but thanks to using a Neti Pot, doesn't have a cold. We stayed home from church today. The Lambs were disappointed to miss Sunday School again. I'm tired of being sick again!
Here's what we did complete in school this week:
Math: Finished MUS lesson 2. We'll begin lesson 3 tomorrow.
Handwriting: Lamb 1 practiced writing his first and last name several times. He has improved this week, but I want him to continue to work on this. We also practiced writing the numbers from 0-12 and he really improved on this last week. He had a difficult time with 2 and 8 before last week. 8 is still difficult for him.
Phonics: Reviewed vowels, didn't start anything new. We'll begin consonants tomorrow.
Religion: Memorized Psalm 73:28 (for Sunday School), worked on memorizing the first and second commandments and the hymn A Mighty Fortress is Our God, Did the Bible story of Cain and Abel (which made interesting discussions about the 5th commandment while they were playing later this week). They often start singing Jesus Lead Thou On while they are playing too. We'll do the Sunday School lesson they missed this afternoon.
Science: Finished the Berenstain Bears science book. The Lambs enjoyed this book and learned a lot too. Read a few other science books about the digestive system and pumpkins-from seed to plant.
Reading: We did quite a bit of reading aloud this week. Finished Madeline. Continued Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel. The Lambs love this book! Began How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. I taught this book when I was teaching at the Lutheran school. It may take us a little longer to do this book as I want them to map out all the places on the map. Read a few stories from My Book House (including The Gingerbread Man) and a few poems, recited Whole Duty of Children by R.L. Stevenson daily. Began reading What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry. Some of this is in the Richard Scarry movies they have. This is an excellent book for preschoolers. This was just for fun, not a Five in a Row book.
Latin: Worked on Lesson one and two from Prima Latina. We will start lesson 3 tomorrow.
Lamb 1 did a little better in Latin this week.
Art: Play doh on Tuesday.

Ram's parents called us and they did make it to Washington D.C. for the second part of their trip on business. This time Ram's dad has a conference there. They have already had time to do some sightseeing. We can't wait to see photos of their big trip.
If we can get healthy, this is a pretty calm week on the calendar. Ram is going to St. Cloud for a conference on Saturday, but we're staying home. We just went the end of September. It is difficult for us on Saturday to do a day trip and get home late and then get up early for church. We also have a birthday party for a 95 year old church member that day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

These photos were taken today-I'm not kidding!

Lamb 1 and 2 in our back yard in the SNOW that fell last night. Yes, the snow fell on OCTOBER 9. Lamb 1 really asked when we were getting out our Christmas tree. His next question was if there would be snow on Christmas.

Lamb 3 with the ONE green pepper (and a small one too) that we grew in our garden. We planted about 2 dozen pepper plants. We planned to have red, yellow, purple, and green peppers. Crazy weather this spring, summer, and fall didn't help. My sprained foot in May meant that we didn't get out there and weed or do anything in our garden until the middle of June. Then we were off for vacation and didn't take care of it. Oh well, we'll try again next year.


We planted cherry and Roma tomatoes this year. We picked a couple dozen Romas and about a dozen cherry ones when they were red. We picked these before the first frost. I know it will take awhile, but they really will turn red. We should have had hundreds more than this for the amount of plants we had. Crazy weather-we'll try again next year.

Lamb 2 was the first one up this morning. He came running in our room. "Mama, there's SNOW on the garden!" I had to ask him to repeat the word garden several times before I understood him. Yes, these are our poor tomato plants after last night. I'm glad we picked what we did in the previous photo.

This is the tree in our back yard that is going to be cut down because our small town is putting in a new sewer system. This was a nice tree because the leaves stayed green and on the tree longer than the other trees in our yard. Earlier this year, the church members helped us remove another tree that was dead and rotten. With the loss of two trees in our back yard, I'm expecting much more standing water. Lovely thought. The town is in desperate need of a new sewer system, but this is no fun to go through. We've been warned that we won't have water for six hours at a time while they are working on this. Most families don't work from home or homeschool like us. It's going to be so much fun to put all the winter clothes on the boys to take them downtown to go to the city hall to go to the bathroom while they work on our system. Since we live on an alley, we're not sure where we are going to park while they work on our yard. Every day this week the machines have woke me up much earlier than I want to be up. And the best news was this is just the beginning. They are hoping the weather stays nice so they can complete the majority of work yet this year and finish up next spring. I'm not counting on that happening since it snowed today! If I knew when they were working on our house I would take a vacation-even if it was just a few hours away to a Looper friend's house. But we have no idea when they will get to our yard other than guessing that we will probably be one of the first ones because they began the major work across the street from us. The Lambs have enjoyed watching all the trucks and machinery so I try not to be negative in front of them. It's all an adventure to them!

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God-Part 3

This is part of a quote from a mother named Janet. I am just including a small part of her whole quote.
"So working outside the home would have been more fulfilling? How could having a boss (other than my husband who loves, appreciates, and respects me, who know my strengths and encourages my talents) have been better? There is nothing more satisfying than working with my husband to raise our children to love and glorify God. I have seen the fruit of my labors in the homes of our married children-as they, too, invest their lives raising their children to love and glorify the Lord." (PHDfG page 40)
For some reason this quote struck me. When I was teaching or in my other jobs in high school and college, I tried hard to please the boss or our headmaster. I would much rather use that effort to try to please my beloved.
"While children today are considered an expense and a burden, God's Word calls them a reward-a heritage. They are probably the only gift that we no longer desire in abundance. Furthermore, under the leadership of a godly man, children are considered "arrows" aimed against ungodliness." (PHDfG pages 41-42)
"Imagine the blow to the enemy if all Christian families were to embrace the sanctified reward that is theirs and welcome more children into their families-faithfully training them up for His glory-multiplying godly families who 'Declare his glory among the heathen: his marvelous works among all nations' " (PHDfG page 42)
"If we are faithful in bearing and training up our children, by God's grace, over the next few generations, we will see a growing army for Christ-an army that will take dominion of the godless nations of the earth for the glory of God!"
Maybe I've been reading too many blogs that promote "quiverful Lutherans" so this quote struck me. I also have many friends that are infertile and I don't want to hurt their feelings with this quote. I want to make it clear that I am not speaking about infertile couples here. I also have friends that have good reasons for only having one or two children (example the mother's health). I am not speaking to them either. But the majority of couples are not in either of those situations. Most people assume that because we have 3 children, we are done. Some people make an exception because we don't have any girl Lambs. But Ram and I have decided that we aren't done until God says we are done. It wouldn't matter if we already had a girl to make that statement. I do agree with the author if Christians would let God determine the size of their family and then raise those children in homes where God's Word is read daily and those children attend church to receive God's sacraments, it would be a HUGE blow to the devil. And in a few generations all those children and grandchildren would be out in society living their life as Christians. Wow! Think of how that would impact society.
"Though the husband is the leader in setting the direction of the home, it is his wife who is called to transcribe his wishes onto the family canvas. Where it is the way she adorns the walls and furniture, creates pockets of beauty throughout each room, speaks words of kindness to her little ones, or fills the air with glorious music-day by day, a woman helps form the aesthetics and character of the home through the fruit of her labors.
Building a rich and vibrant family culture takes time. It takes initiative and perseverance. There will be season when a wife's 'culture-building' activities will be dominated by a steady stream of diapers and dirty laundry. yet we must not miss the significance of these menial tasks-for they can be compared to the broad brush strokes upon a grand masterpiece.
The home is a place where memories are made, meals are shared, truths are learned, stories are told, and lives are formed and defined. It is a place of industry and usefulness; a place where thousands of cultural expressions are conveyed and where a family's unique flavor and character are cultivated." (PHDfG pages 45-46)
This is an area that I'm trying to work on as a wife and mother. Yes, I'm in that season of life with toddlers, diapers, and young children. But that doesn't mean that our home can't be filled with beautiful things. I'm thankful that I was able to "decorate" our house after we moved here before we had children because I doubt any pictures would be hanging on the wall now if that wasn't done before the Lambs arrived! As a mother, I need to continually work on being patient and speaking kindly to the Lambs-even when they are driving me crazy. After we gave up TV, I usually want it quiet and prefer to not play anything, but Ram prefers some kind of music. I should try to have nice music playing while I'm working in the kitchen or doing paperwork. I have fond memories of baking with my mom often and I don't remember my mom ever yelling at me because I spilled something or tried to sneak some of the ingredients. I don't bake with the Lambs enough and when I do, I usually lose my patience at least once and end up banning one of them from the kitchen and making them take turns baking with me. I am working on this and I'm proud to report that I succeeded in this area last week while we baked several things for the fall festival. I attempted to have flowers in big pots in front of our house this summer for the first time. I wanted to have a little beauty-more than the weeds and dandelions that the Lambs pick for me daily. This quote is a good reminder to me that I'm in a certain season of life now and things will get better in this area. I need to continually be conscience of this and attempt to cultivate the flavor and character of our home and family.

Friday, October 9, 2009

WIC

Ram's mom listened to a NPR show a few years ago and told us that WIC was drastically changing their program soon to include fresh fruits and veggies. Then I thought I'll believe it when I see it. My friends in Wisconsin told me they get vouchers to go to the farmer's market. When I talked to our WIC office at that time, they said we are a long way away from farmer's market, but fresh fruits and veggies were coming, but they didn't know when.
Then I heard that the changes were finally here in August. The problem was that we had just received our vouchers and didn't have an appointment until October. Some of our friends had their appointments and talked about how wonderful the program was now. I finally had our appointment this week and got my new vouchers.
Lamb 1 has outgrown WIC. It goes from pregnant until age 5. Lamb 2 and 3 are both on WIC and even though Lamb 3 still breastfeeds at night, he has outgrown the breastfeeding benefits. When you pick up your WIC vouchers you meet with them and they talk about nutrition. Then you have some choices like would you like peanut butter or dried beans? With the changes in the program I had a lot more choices to make today. Because I have two children, I was able to choose a lot more. There are very specific directions about what brands/kinds of the foods you are allowed to get. Infants and breastfeeding mothers get a lot more benefits that aren't shown in our Lambs vouchers.

Here is what we used to get for Lamb 2 and 3 each month before the new program:
(This is the total amount we get for both of them together.)
8 lbs of cheese
6 juice (either frozen or bottled)
2 dozen eggs
4 gallons milk
2 peanut butter
36 oz+36 oz cereal

This what we get for Lamb 2 and 3 each month with the new program:
(This is the total amount we get for both of them together. This shows what choices I made-another person in WIC may have made totally different choices so their vouchers may look very different. For example, they may have chose all peanut butter and no beans. Obviously because we have two children in WIC, we get more than a person with only one child.)
7 gallons milk
1 package corn or whole grain tortillas
1 package dry beans, peas, or lentils
36 oz+ 36 oz cereal
4 refrigerated or frozen juice
3 packages brown rice or oatmeal
2 dozen eggs
12 dollars fresh fruits or veggies (or frozen or canned ones that are allowed)
1 lb cheese
4 canned beans


My biggest complaint with the WIC before the changes was you were not allowed to get plain oatmeal, only instant. We use a lot of oatmeal for eating for breakfast, meatloaf, cookies, etc. I still think the new program gives far too much milk, but other than that, I can tell it is much improved in the new program to eat healthier. We actually cook from scratch and use these ingredients in our cooking a lot-canned beans, fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, brown rice, oatmeal, dried beans, dried peas, dried lentils, and tortillas. We will really use the new items in the program. I'm not sure the average person on WIC would use all these items, but maybe if they get them free they will try a new recipe?
We are so thankful to be part of WIC and we know that it saves us a lot of money on groceries. I also like to be part of a program that the government is supporting mothers and children. It is a positive to me that the mothers didn't abort the babies and the government supports that. It is another positive to me that if you have a large family, you get more support for all those children age 5 and under. There aren't very many government programs like that.
After reading this post by Pam, Ram has a new goal to get me pregnant so we get even more WIC! If you don't know-I'll be 36 in November, I eat healthy, I'm 5'10, and we have 3 Lambs.
It will take us a few months to get used to shopping with the new program. With the old program, Ram pretty much had memorized what to get. He would go get the WIC while I did the regular shopping. Whoever was done first (it was usually Ram) would meet the other and help them finish shopping and then we would check out together. It won't be so clear cut now as many of the new WIC items are on our regular grocery list. We may need to shop together for a few months until we get used to the program. If it saves us money, it is worth that extra time to learn the program.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Can you smell...

the cinnamon rolls? The rule in the house is one a day. I will say, "Not Me" (aka Ewe) ate a lot more than the rule. Lamb 1 asked for walnuts and raisins. Lamb 2 asked for just raisins. They were all delicious! Ram even said they tasted better than my mom's! I think that is because we used walnuts AND raisins AND Costco cinnamon (nice quality and huge enough container that we put plenty of cinnamon on them!). My mom makes great cinnamon rolls. All the ones that we took to the fall festival sold right away.
For your info: Lamb 2 has on underwear under his apron. I don't know what happened to his pants! Probably he took them off after playing outside and they never got put back on. I noticed Lamb 1 has outgrown those sweatpants-time to get out the next size! We were so busy baking that I didn't notice this until I looked at the photos!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fourth Week of School Report

It's hard to believe that we have completed 4 weeks of school. This week we were with Ram at a pastor conference so we didn't have school on Monday and we had a field trip on Tuesday to the history museum. On Saturday one of our churches had a fall festival so we did baking for that on Thursday and Friday and were busy with the fall festival on Saturday. Here's what we did complete:
Math: Continued working on MUS lesson 2. Lamb 1 finished the extra little math workbook he was working on. MUS lesson 2 practices counting to 20 including saying the teens like one ty one=11, one ty two=12 etc.
Handwriting: Lamb 1 practiced writing his first and last name several times. He seemed to pick up a few bad habits that may be difficult to break. I'll have him continue this week on his name in an attempt to break those bad habits.
Phonics: Reviewed vowels, didn't start anything new
Religion: Memorized Proverbs 2:6 (for Sunday School), worked on memorizing the first and second commandments and the hymn A Mighty Fortress is Our God, Did the Bible stories of Adam and Eve created and the first sin.
Science: Read from Berenstain Bears science book
Reading: Continued Madeline. Began Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel. Read a few stories from My Book House and a few poems, recited Happy Thought by R.L. Stevenson daily.
Latin: Worked on Lesson one and two from Prima Latina. We were reading a science magazine and Lamb 2 recognized luna in luna moth! For some reason Lamb 1 decided he hates Latin and refuses to participate. Lamb 2 loves it. I'm going to have to schedule Latin carefully that Lamb 1 will be rewarded with free time or bake with me or something he really wants to do immediately after Latin.


In some ways we accomplished a lot this week, beginning new topics, and in other ways we didn't accomplish much because we only had school 3 days after going to the conference. Ram has two very ill members and it is very likely that he will have a funeral this week. I'm ok with this because I've had a little notice. Plus we plan to just continue school as normal this week with the exception of the day the funeral is on.
Ram's parents made it to France and will be there for Ram's dad on business and hopefully have time to do a little sightseeing too.
Another one of our churches has a bazaar on Saturday so I'll be baking again on Thursday and Friday and busy on Saturday. Thankfully only 2 out of our 3 churches have a fall festival!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Happy #89

Lamb 3 with Ram's Grandpa-October 2008
We are so blessed to still be sharing birthdays with Ram's paternal Grandpa and that the Lambs know their Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma. My grandparents are all in heaven so it is extra special to be a granddaughter-in-law. Due to macular degeneration Ram's grandparents can't see very well. They are still in their home and doing well. Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God-Part 2

This is a long quote from homemaker and former attorney, Cheryl Mendelson.
"So many people imagine housekeeping to be boring, frustrating, repetitive, unintelligent drudgery. I cannot agree. In fact, having kept house, practiced law, taught, and done many other sorts of work, low and high-paid, I can assure you that it is actually lawyers who are most familiar with the experience of unintelligent drudgery...Seen from the outside, housework can look like a Sisyphean task that gives you no sense of reward or completion. Yet housekeeping actually offers more opportunities for savoring achievement than almost any other work I can think of. Each of its regular routines brings satisfaction when it is completed...You get satisfaction not only from the sense of order, cleanliness, freshness, peace and plenty restored, but from the knowledge that you yourself and those you care about are going to enjoy those benefits.
Often we don't view our daily activities biblically. We wrongly believe that the more mundane the task, the less significant it is to God. As difficult as it may be to believe, the hands that tenderly bathe your baby at night are no less holy than the hands that serve you communion on Sunday. Every small act of love to your family-every diaper you change, every meal you prepare, every toilet you scrub, every errand you run, every fever you tend to, each tooth you pull, every moment of undefiled intimacy with your husband-each one is a holy act when it's done as unto the Lord.
Over the years, I have learned that so much depends on my being home-my being available to the needs of my husband and my children. Our older children are wonderful helpers, but they are not "Mom". Our little ones need my attention, training, correction, teaching, reassurance, and boo-boo kissing. Our older children still need me for many of those things as well. But they require Mom's attention in other ways too. They need challenging conversation, scriptural counsel, intimate friendship, and advanced home-training.
My husband needs me to be available in a myriad of ways. I may return phone calls for him, write letters, edit e-mails, make purchases, run errands, pay bills, counsel and pray with him, and yes-even kiss a boo-boo or two! Husbands need attention, and being available to your husband is crucial to your relationship with him." (PHDfG pages 36-37)
1. One blessing that I see as a SAHM is that I can choose what I do when. No one tells me if I have to do laundry or dishes first. If the Lambs need me, I can stop what I'm doing to read a story or take time for a teachable moment. There are a few things that have deadlines like paying the taxes on time, but the majority of my work has no deadline. If I'm tired I go to bed and know that I have a chance to do that item on my to-do list the next day. Even meals don't have to be on time, although we try to eat about noon, no one is upset if lunch is a little late because I was doing another task.
2. Often it is depressing that what I do accomplish just has to be done again later in the day or the next day. Examples: dishes and laundry! I think if I tried to take this attitude of this quote more often it wouldn't be so depressing. And maybe I would be more motivated to clean the toilets-on second thought, probably not that one!
3. What she says about older children really hit me. I was so blessed that my mom didn't return to work until I was in high school and then much of it was just part time. I think it is really important to be home when your children are middle school age. Often women return to work as soon as all their children are all in school. I wish they could wait until at least their children are all in high school. When children are in middle school, they really need those challenging conversations and spiritual counsel with their parents as they try to sort out their world view. I pray that I'm able to still be a SAHM when our Lambs get to that point.
4. I can't make the shut in calls or write the sermon for Ram, but I do a lot behind the scenes to give him time to do his work as a pastor. He does most of the cooking, and we mostly share kitchen clean up. But when I provide clean clothes for him or pay the bills or write the thank you notes or the other multiple things I do each day, that is all helping Ram to have time to be a pastor and father. It would be the same even if Ram wasn't a pastor. The work that I do behind the scenes would help him do whatever job he had.
Any thoughts about this quote? Any other comments about PHDfG?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pastor conference day 2

On Tuesday, Ram got a ride from another pastor so we slept in a little. Our hotel had a nice breakfast. We were the last ones to eat so the breakfast lady made a little gift bag with muffins, candy, and cookies for the Lambs.
Even with our late start the mall wasn't open yet so I decided to try out the history museum. I choked a little on the price of $12.50 adult admission, but all the Lambs were free. Yea for 5 and under! The reason for the admission was they had a T-Rex exhibit on loan from the Field Museum in Chicago. Normal admission is $5 for adults. The Lambs have just started to get interested in dinosaurs. I know this is abnormal for boys. About a month ago they got some plastic dinos from the Target $1 section and a few books too. Since then they have had dino temporary tattoos and other dino stickers. There was a "grandpa" working at the museum that enjoyed giving us a personal tour. He took us straight to the T-Rex. After we saw the T-Rex then we looked at their other permanent exhibits a little, but it was above our young Lambs. Then they had a very nice play area and the Lambs played for a long time. They had a play store, kitchen, trains, and puppets area. The play kitchen had similar appliances to our Lambs so Lamb 3 was the only one interested in that. The Lambs played a very short time with the trains and I think they thought they had better trains. But they spent a long time in the play store. One shopped and one worked the cash register. Lamb 3 had a basket of eggs and enjoyed dumping them and picking them up. He even said "egg" to me several times. Then they played veterinarian with the puppets. The play area was stocked with really nice quality toys. If the T-Rex exhibit wasn't there, it would be worth the admission price, especially in the winter, for the Lambs to have a play place. One other boy came in while we were there and mostly played with the trains. They said over the weekend the play area was very busy. It was nice that we homeschool and could go on a Tuesday. We shopped a little in the gift shop and I bought the Lambs small dino keychains. They tried to talk me into expensive plastic dinosaurs with no success.
After a few hours at the museum then we went to the mall. Lamb 1 wanted Chinese and Lamb 2 wanted pizza. Lamb 1 shared with me. Lamb 2 and 3 shared.
I parked far away from the play place on purpose. With the flu going around that was the last place I wanted the Lambs to be. We window shopped a little more and even survived going to Macy's to the housewares section to print off a bridal registry. When Lamb 2 picked up some china while it was printing, we left Macy's and we'll have to order the gift online or get it later. Then I took the Lambs to Payless shoes. Lamb 3 was sleeping so we couldn't measure his feet. They didn't have any of Lamb 2's size. While we were there Ram called the cell phone that he was done. So I avoided Lamb 1 being upset that I didn't buy him any shoes. We had a long walk through the mall to get back to our car.
We picked up Ram and I ran into the card store. Then since I hadn't had very much lunch-Lamb 1 ate most of the huge plate of noodles and chicken-we went to Five Guys. The Lambs didn't eat very much. After a quick Starbucks run then we went to Willmar. We got the Lambs Culvers frozen custard as a treat. Then Ram took the Lambs to the park because the day was really beautiful weather compared to the day before while I shopped at Walmart.
I had cleaned out the coat closet and taken all our coats (the ones that aren't machine washable) and a few other items to the drycleaners. I was shocked that the dryclean bill was almost $100! But we got a lot drycleaned at once instead of taking in one item at a time.
Then we all did the grocery shopping. Lamb 3 was difficult and I couldn't figure out what he wanted. Finally I figured out he wanted to push the cart! Things went a little better then. But I was glad when Ram finished shopping for the WIC and he came and watched Lamb 3 while I finished the other shopping. I had a big list which meant we spent a lot of money. But I'm so glad when we can get there to shop because they have a nice health food section which we buy a lot from.
After a few other errands then we got Arbys for supper. The Lambs all fell asleep on the way home. We didn't even get home that late for everything we did-about 9pm. The Lambs went back to sleep and Ram and I put the groceries away.
It helped that the Lambs and I did a lot of errands and shopping while Ram was at the conference. This is part of living in a rural area-that when we get to the city we have lots of shopping to do while we have the chance. The Lambs are slowly learning this and we try to make it fun.
Ram's mom suggested that we take a little schoolwork to do in the car like she used to do with Ram and his brothers. She suggested this because I'm so frustrated that September is over and we haven't done much homeschooling due to having the flu etc. I chose to just take a vacation and have a fresh start when we returned home. The museum ended up being a great field trip. We had a great homeschool day on Wednesday. So now that we are home, I think I made the right decision to take a two day homeschool break and come back ready to work after our little break.
I don't think the Lambs had ever been to a museum before this. Today they played museum. They set up their plastic dinosaurs, some matchbox cars, and some other plastic animals. One of their prizes was a Big Bird stamper. Lamb 1 earned that stamper today and had to stamp our hands to enter the museum. Lamb 2 got out their play camera and took pictures. They had quite the set up.