Sunday, February 28, 2010

21st Week of School Report

The local schools canceled at least one day each week since Christmas because of weather. We didn't have any school cancellations because of weather at our homeschool! Our homeschool has sure had a lot of sickness cancellations though! This week the Lambs were sick with colds and grouchy along with sick. I didn't push school on them. We tried to have a little school, but we didn't do much. We didn't have school on Monday or Tuesday because Lamb 1 was sick. We had school on Wednesday and Thursday but we didn't go to church Wednesday night because Lamb 1 was still sick. Friday we did haircuts and shopping and didn't fit any school in. I know we could have done some school in the car, but we didn't. Saturday we did school and our babysitter came. Saturday Lamb 2 didn't feel well and HE decided to take a nap while our babysitter was here. We didn't go to church today because Lamb 2 was still sick with a cold. Here's what we did accomplish this week.
Math: Finished lesson 13 in MUS.
Reading: We read volume 3 of My Book House. We are still memorizing Bed in Summer by R. L. Stevenson.
Phonics: Lamb 1 continues to do well in Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading.
Religion: Memorized John 14:6 for Sunday School.
Music: We took a field trip to a music store 45 miles away from us on Thursday. The Lambs were too excited by everything in the store (especially the $1000 drum set) and couldn't concentrate to tell me the names of the instruments displayed (guitars and trombone). They did identify a trumpet during their excitement. We bought a child's cymbal set and let them have those when we got home. The clerk was surprised that what I was really looking for was a cabaca. She agreed to sell us a cabaca for 25% off. She sold us a nice cabaca like a band would use. She kept talking about how it would be a good instrument for quality to stand up to our boys. I think she was shocked to sell a cabaca to a 5 year old and especially that he knew the name of it. Lamb 1 knows we bought it for him but we are saving it for his birthday. We rarely buy birthday gifts-Grandma buys enough-so this is a special treat. The cabaca was expensive compared to other child's instruments like small drums and tambourines. I feel good that we shopped local and I didn't have to mess with searching the internet for a cabaca. We have it and don't have to wait for it to be shipped in time for his birthday.
We didn't get to much Latin, art, science, or history to talk about here.
Handwriting: Lamb 2 continues on his worksheets from and he does a little better every day. Lamb 1 was so grouchy this week that I didn't work on handwriting with him!
Lamb 1 also has been working a little day to get through his pile of papers to choose what to keep and what to throw away. We also turned the calendar page to March!

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I have to get all our information together, but then we send our taxes to a wonderful tax preparer that specializes in church workers in Fort Wayne, IN. We could probably do them ourselves to save money, but it is nice to send them to her and get them done. While I was gathering receipts I realized, there is much in these receipts that tells about our family. Here's some of what I noticed/remembered about 2009 for our family when I got the tax information together.

Medical: *We drove 2236 miles to doctors and dentists.
*Our portion of the copayments and other payments after deductibles was $1884.22.
*Lamb 1 had his hearing tested in January 2009. After several years of borderline not being able to hear the low registers of sounds, he passed the tests completely this time!
*Ewe sprained her foot in May.
*In June, the Lambs got a rash right before our vacation. We just had to wait for the rash to go away. They were grouchy the whole drive to CO. Ewe's poor parents had to put up with this.
*Lamb 2 had to go to the ER in August when he got a snail shell stuck in his nose.
*We had a miscarriage in September.
*Ewe had a sinus infection in September.
*Lamb 2 had a seizure when we had the regular flu in November. Sometimes children get seizures when they are ill. Dr. was not worried about this one time event even though it scared Ewe!
*Ewe had an ear infection and was sick with the regular flu in November.
*Ewe got her finger stuck in the garage door in December.
*Lamb 2 had his hearing tested in December and passed the tests.
*Even with all this, we were pretty healthy in 2009. We try to go to the chiropractor once a month, but we rarely go to the doctor besides well-child checkups and the injuries I mentioned.

Ram as a pastor: *Ram did 8 funerals in 2009.
*Ram drove 11214 miles for church. This does not include going to conferences. This is just visiting members, going to church services, and going to meetings.
*Ram got a new cell phone in 2009.
*Ram went to a few conferences in MN by himself. We all went along to WI for a retreat and we were able to attend the Divine Service one night at CCA even though we weren't able to stay for CCA this year. This was the first year that Ram did so little for conferences-he didn't go to Symposium in Fort Wayne or stay for CCA. It was also the first year that we didn't go along to any of the conferences in MN.

Our home: *Lamb 2 moved out of the crib onto a mattress on the floor in 2009.
*Rams parents brought us their old kitchen table in March.
*We gave up TV in January 2009.

I think it would be interesting to blog what you can see about our family from our taxes each year!

Friday, February 26, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. Today is my dad's 70th birthday! Happy Birthday Dad! We sent him a box last week with a few treats. I'm anxious to hear if he liked his gifts and how his day went. My mom was going to surprise him with a little trip/date and then they were going to go out to eat at a Mexican restaurant that gives free meals on birthdays.
2. We had a busy day today so I'm just posting this at 11pm! First Lamb 1 and Ram took the car in for an oil change. Then Lamb 2 and Ewe went grocery shopping locally. They had some really good sales plus I had my coupons. My bill was $50 and I saved $32. I don't think I have ever done that well grocery shopping. I bought a lot of canned goods and flour and items that we will use and could stock up on.
3. Next we headed across the border to SD and all the boys got their hair cut. Lamb 3 screamed through his first haircut and he was very quiet today, but he let her cut his hair. All the boys really needed a haircut. The hairdresser didn't realize how long Lamb 2 and 3's hair was until she started cutting it. Ram had hoped to get his haircut in CA when he went to the funeral but he never had time. Lamb 2 requested me to make oatmeal cake. I had never made it before. I followed the recipe in Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. It was really good! We shared the cake and the hairdresser made cookies. The Lambs like to go play with her children even though they are older than our Lambs. The hairdresser is LCMS and they homeschool. We always enjoy the afternoon of haircuts and spending time with their family.
4. Then we continued on to Watertown, SD. We did shopping at Target, Menards, and Walmart. We ate supper at Jimmy Johns and hit Starbucks on the way out of town. We also had some more liquor rebates so we went to the liquor store. I have a nice supply of vodka for cleaning now!
5. We were rushed to try to make it home in time to meet the Schwan man. He usually comes between 8-9pm and we returned home at 9pm. We tried to get Rocky Road ice cream for my sister that is coming to visit next week and ice cream that Lamb 1 requested for his birthday. Since we didn't make it home in time, my sister won't have Rocky Road. We'll go into town and get another brand of the ice cream that Lamb 1 wanted for his birthday.
6. Lamb 1 and Ram had colds this week. On Monday and Tuesday, Lamb 1 didn't feel well enough to have school. Today we were busy all day and didn't fit school in. I don't feel like it is Friday because we didn't have much school this week. My sister comes to visit next week and I know we won't fit all the school in. We'll have to do better after Aunt Hannah goes home!
7. Lamb 1 is a pack rat with the papers he draws and cuts. I have been telling him to put it on his dresser in his room instead of being all over my living room. His dresser was so piled with bits of paper that he couldn't find his watch on Sunday. After tears that he couldn't wear his watch to church, I declared he would have to clean the mess up after church. I told him he could only keep what he could fit in a shoebox. He worked a little on it every day this week and his shoebox is almost full. He still has a diaper box full of papers to go through. He won't have much time to work on the project until Aunt Hannah goes home. I don't know where he inherited the pack rat trait!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday lunch

Ewe: "We're having leftovers for lunch. Which would you like clam sauce spaghetti or tacos?"
Lamb 1: "Both."
Ewe: "You may only have one."
Lamb 1: "How do you expect me to choose when they are both so yummy?"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Warning: If you are at an emotional point in your life right now-Do not read this depressing post! I'm so thankful that Ram is home now to help me at this point in my grief. Here are a few things I have been thinking about.

*After our babies outgrow the cradle, we use it as a toybox for the youngest Lamb. They can easily reach their toys there. For several months when we had a newborn we put the toys in a different place so we could use the cradle. Then we use the cradle as a toybox. We have never boxed up the toys and stored them because by the time the youngest Lamb outgrew the baby toys, another Lamb was always on the way. Same thing with baby blankets. Lamb 3 turns 2 the beginning of April. I am dreading this organization project (clean out cradle and blankets) that needs to be done to make room for things for the Lambs.

*I was supposed to go to the midwife today but Ram has a busy schedule today and I really wanted him to go with me to this appointment. I am dreading talking to the midwife even though I know much of what she is going to say. I had a terrible time getting my appointment changed. I finally got it changed to Thursday. Ram and the Lambs will go along and afterwards we can go out to lunch. That helps to make this appointment not so bad.

*I have been working on getting our tax information together and I just realized how expensive the doctor bills for the miscarriage in September were. Our insurance changed and we have a higher deductible now, but the church gave Ram a raise to help pay for this. The September miscarriage was very early and I didn't have any ultrasounds done. This recent miscarriage I have had 2 ultrasounds and I think I need at least one more. Thankfully we have the medical cost money from the church. But it's so depressing to me that our medical money is being spent this way and we don't get to take a baby home after spending all this money. I have a lot of sympathy for parents that have a stillborn child or lose a child after time in the hospital.

*On Sunday something came up in the conversation and someone asked me if I was pregnant. We have not told our church members about the pregnancy or miscarriage. I was not expecting this question at all and I responded quicker than I should have with, "No, I'm NOT."

*When I get pregnant, I usually don't get very big and show. I've been told I was the skinniest pregnant woman ever! But certain "parts" get big quite fast. I've never been concerned about my weight because I have 3 wonderful Lambs to show for it. But this time it's depressing to me that certain "parts" are going to take awhile to shrink and I don't even have a Lamb to show for it.

*I am at a really strange point right now that we still want more Lambs but we don't know if we will be able to have more. I'm jealous of friends that know for sure (because of age or health or whatever reason) that unless they have an "accident" that they are done. I don't know if I should give away baby clothes and other baby items. I don't know if I should give away my maternity clothes. I'm jealous of those friends that can concentrate on the next stage in their children's lives because we really don't know if we are done with the baby stage. It's a difficult point to be at.

I know I need to just take it one day at a time. I know I need to take some time to heal from this.
"Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

Monday, February 22, 2010

Our new camera

Last week when I was visiting with a friend, she reminded me that I never blogged about our new camera. Our computer was down when we received it and I never got back to blogging about it.
Ram's parents had some money from when Ram's mom's parents died and from when Ram's younger brother died. They wanted to do something for us that would be a nice memory with some of this money.
When Ram's parents were here at Thanksgiving, I asked if I could practice taking photos with Ram's dad's camera to see if I liked it for us to purchase a similar one. Ram's dad joked that maybe he needed to upgrade and give us his camera. After thinking about it some more, he decided he didn't want to upgrade, he liked his camera. Oh well, we just had to shop some more for a camera. We were still at the thinking about buying a camera stage, not actually at the shopping stage.
Ram's dad is extremely busy at work and travels a lot. He worked a long time online shopping for a camera for us using some of the money I mentioned. He did this all between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As you can see from the photo, he thought of everything that we could need! He bought us a huge camera bag. Our anniversary is December 29 and the camera arrived on our anniversary day. He bought us a camera that was perfect for us a new photographers-can take great photos but not so complicated that we can't figure it out!
He bought us a Canon EOS Rebel T1i. He bought a nice book to go with it. I have tried to read a few pages a day with the camera around my neck and try out different settings as I read about it. I did really well when we first got the camera, but recently I haven't made time to play with my camera.
We had a terrible time getting the CD that came with the camera to load onto our computer. We gave up for several weeks. I had taken a lot of photos, but we couldn't download them onto our computer. I gave up taking photos with the new camera for a few weeks when we couldn't download them. Finally we tried again and it worked!
I have a lot to learn as I never had a nice camera in my life. Before Lamb 1 was born, I think the most I ever paid for a camera was $25! I am looking forward to summer and being able to take the Lambs to a local park and taking lots of photos.
Of course, Ram's parents only requirement to give us this camera was to make sure we share photos with them! I'm a few months behind on going through photos, deleting the awful ones, getting rid of red eye on the ones that need it, and sending the good ones to Snapfish. That project will have to wait until I'm done getting our tax information ready for our tax preparer.
We are so thankful to Ram's parents for this anniversary gift. It meant even more to me (as someone who knows nothing about buying cameras) that Ram's dad took time out of his very busy schedule at work to order everything we need for this camera (bag, cleaning supplies, nice manual, and the camera and lens).
Next, I think I'm going to ask for this for my birthday!
We have been keeping the camera in Ram's office. A few weeks ago, Lamb 3 came to me and brought me the new camera. I just about had a heart attack and carefully put it away. I guess we need to look for a new place for the camera now that Lamb 3 knows how to open the sliding door in the living room to get to Ram's office!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

20th week of school report

Emotionally I was a wreck last week, especially at the beginning of the week. It helped me to have school daily and then set the Lambs free to play the rest of the day. We had school every day last week except for Tuesday. On Tuesday I went to the doctor and our babysitter came along with her mom and brother that is a few weeks older than Lamb 3. The Lambs enjoyed their morning of play. When I got home from the Dr. her mom and I sat around and chatted for a long time. I am so thankful for this family and the help they gave me while Ram was gone last week. ECFE was canceled because of the weather. We didn't do a lot of extras, just the basics of school while Ram was gone. Here's what we accomplished last week:
Math: Finished lesson 12 in MUS and began lesson 13. These are really easy lessons for Lamb 1 and if we hadn't had all the other stuff going on last week, I would have asked him to do more than one worksheet a day.
Reading: We recently began volume 3 of My Book House. So far the stories are longer and don't have my interest yet and definitely are too long for Lamb 2, sometimes too long for Lamb 1. We keep plugging along a little each day, but we don't have the joy that we had with volume 1 and 2. I'm going to attempt to keep with it until we finish volume 3 and then take a break for awhile from My Book House. We did volume 1 twice and volume 2 once. Finished reading Who Owns the Sun? We just read it several times and discussed it, didn't do any FIAR activities with it. I'm starting to run out of FIAR books that we own so I guess it's time to go to the library soon for this. We are still memorizing Bed in Summer by R. L. Stevenson.
Phonics: Lamb 1 continues to do well in Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading.
Religion: I finally got out the next set of posters, but we didn't actually read any of them. Hopefully now that they are out we will get to that this week! We also reviewed the commandments some more. After several weeks church canceled because of weather, we finally had Sunday School today so we have a new Bible verse to memorize now.
Latin: Continue to review in Prima Latina.
Music: We finished learning the names of the musical instruments in the first book that we used. I am amazed that both Lamb 1 and 2 know almost all of the names of the instruments when they see the photo of the instrument. I didn't know the names of some of those instruments until I was in high school band! Next we plan to listen to music from each musical instrument. Lamb 1 wants to ask for some of the musical instruments for his birthday. We own a triangle, recorder, drums, tambourines, maracas, etc. I'm not sure how many more instruments are sold for children. He really wants a cabaca. I guess I'll be searching for one of those the next few weeks! Each new instrument that we learned-the Lambs are typical boys and always asked how LOUD the instrument we were learning was!
We didn't get to much art or science or history to talk about here.
Handwriting: Lamb 2 continues on his worksheets from and he does a little better every day. Lamb 1 continued to review writing the whole alphabet correctly. I'm thinking about what to do with Lamb 1 next, he still needs review and does not make all his letters correctly. We have been through the entire alphabet and numbers working one letter or number a day-we did this twice. I think we need to do this several more times. I'm trying to figure out how to make it more fun than just the daily basic handwriting sheet.

I also cleaned our guest room to make room for my sister who is coming to visit in a few weeks. We had a lot of stuff ready to be given away piled up in there that I organized. Now I'm waiting for my parents to come visit and get a lot of this stuff for the Seminary and other places. I washed all the sheets and blankets and actually dusted and vacuumed too. I began getting everything together to send to our tax preparer. I hope to finish my work on taxes and send it to her this week.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lamb 3's present from his godfather

One of Lamb 3's godfathers surprised us with this gift for him. CPH has a special deal on the
Essential Lutheran Library. His godfather decided to get it for him around Christmas time. CPH has had such a high demand for their products that they just got to Lamb 3's order now. One item, The Lutheran Study Bible is still back ordered. Here's what Lamb 3 did receive now.

Lutheran Service Book
Luther's Catechism
Treasury of Daily Prayer
The Lutheran Book of Prayer
Reading the Psalms with Luther
Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions

Almost all of the items are imprinted with Lamb 3's name. We had purchased a couple of these books for our Lambs when they were on sale, but they weren't imprinted. Ram didn't even own all these books. Ram was slightly jealous when he saw Lamb 3's books! His godfather said that he knew this was a little strange gift for a less than 2 year old, but he couldn't resist the sale price. He wants us to give Lamb 3 a book at a time when we think he is ready for it, as a Christmas or birthday gift, until he has all the books in the set. The Lambs were jealous that their brother received such a big box and they didn't get anything. We showed them that they already owned a hymnal and they weren't so jealous when the only "treat" in the box was books! Ram looked at the prices and decided to complete the set for the other 2 Lambs now. So now all 3 Lambs have the complete set waiting for them to learn how to read. Of course Ram had to complete a set for himself while he was at it! We have tried to tell all the Lambs' godparents that it is not about the gifts, that we just want them to pray for our Lambs. We think Lamb 3's godfather gave him a wonderful gift! Lamb 3's other godfather was an editor for Treasury of Daily Prayer, so this gift was from him too. Choosing godparents was not something that we took lightly. We are thankful for all our Lambs' godparents.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ram's home!

I had an idea of a post today, but Ram came home very late last night and he offered a massage tonight and I had to try our new bottle of Southern Comfort (Susan recommended to use a rebate!)... I think I'll go to bed and post tomorrow.
I am so glad that Ram's home though! Neither of us do well when we are apart.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lamb 2

Conversation in the car yesterday on the way to the babysitter-I did not expect him to say this!
Lamb 2: "Mama."
Ewe: "Yes, Lamb 2."
Lamb 2: "When I go up for blessing (at communion) and I SEE Jesus, Great-Grandpa is with me."
Ewe: "Are you asking if that is true?"
Lamb 2: "No, I know it. I'm just telling you."
Ewe: "Thanks for reminding me. You're right."

3 1/2 years old and he's paid attention when Ram and I have talked to him! We also had a conversation about Great-Grandpa's body was at the funeral, but his soul is in heaven. Lamb 1 asked questions about where you go if you don't go to heaven, where heaven and hell are at, and who goes to hell. Several hours after that conversation he asked if Great-Grandpa believed in Jesus. I'm thankful that I was able to answer all their questions so far this week. I'm even more thankful that both sides of our family are Christians so I don't have even more difficult questions to answer.
We attended church at an area LCMS church last night. Even though I had to explain to multiple people what we were doing there, every one was very welcoming and tried to help me with the Lambs. Lamb 2 had a potty accident last Sunday so he was afraid of that happening again so he left about 20 times to go to the bathroom last night. Other than that the Lambs did really well, especially considering we were at a different church without Papa as the pastor. They had a really nice soup supper with homemade chicken noodle soup. It was nice to not have to cook and to have adults to talk to while we ate one night while Ram was gone. We did not get ashes but we did have communion. I asked one of the members that doesn't live too far from us (not a next door neighbor, but close) to just check that I had lights on that I got home ok. I was really glad that I took the Lambs out for the evening and didn't miss church. The boys had made a mess of their room while they were getting ready for church so I made them clean that up and then I let them pick a prize out of the prize bag to reward them for cooperating to go into town, go to a strange church, and drive home.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

In memory of Roy Lee P.-October 3, 1920-February 10, 2010
Lamb 2 with Great-Grandpa-October 2006
Great-Grandpa's funeral is today. It seems strange to me as a Lutheran that the graveside committal is first and the funeral is second. That's just how things worked out this time at their church. I think I will always think of his funeral on Ash Wednesday now, even though the date changes for Ash Wednesday.
"During the forty days of Lent, God's baptized people cleanse their hearts through the discipline of Lent; repentance, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Lent is a time in which God's people prepare with joy for the Paschal Feast (Easter). It is a time in which God renews His people's zeal in faith and life. It is a time in which we pray that we may be given the fullness of grace that belongs to the children of God." TDP page 26
I am going to try to read Rev. Harrison's book on Joy during Lent this year. I was excited to receive our copy in the mail! I am also going to try to get back to Compline with Ram every night. We got away from that recently.
We have had a strange year this year. All church services were canceled on Christmas because of the weather. Ram had to cancel Ash Wednesday service because he had to go to the funeral. Schools in this area were canceled again yesterday. I'm thinking that Ash Wednesday service would probably be canceled because of the weather even if Ram hadn't canceled because of the funeral. It was scheduled at our country church (the tri-parish rotates Lent services). There are very few times (if any) in my life that I missed Ash Wednesday or Christmas services. I'm really hoping that weather doesn't cancel our Easter services! But I wouldn't be surprised in MN in early April either.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February-classroom vs. homeschool

When I taught in the classroom, many of the teachers complained about February being too long and too long until spring. I never felt that way while I was in the classroom. February seemed to fly by while we were doing fun activities! We did extra activities for African American month, of course Valentine's art projects and a small Valentine's party. Sometimes school got canceled a few days because of weather. Plus it only had 28 or 29 days. Add in teaching about President's Day and trying to get regular school subjects in and I didn't complain about February in the classroom. Before I knew it, it was time to do March activities.
I've only begun this homeschool adventure with our oldest in kindergarten this year, but it seems to be opposite in homeschool for me. Yes, we made Valentine's to send to our relatives and we made cut out Valentine cookies and decorated them. But we didn't have a Valentine's Day party and because of weather we were unable to do anything extra for Valentine's Day. I would probably make cookies with the Lambs on a Saturday if they were in school. We aren't doing anything for African American month in our homeschool. School isn't getting canceled for weather. We've had the most snow since we moved here 7 years ago. That means Lamb 1 and Ram have been busy shoveling almost every day. The Lambs haven't been able to play in the snow because it is too deep and they get lost in the snow! We were busy cleaning the house at the beginning of the month, finishing writing thank you notes in the middle of the month, (it's not as bad as it sounds-most of our church members gave us our Christmas presents way after Christmas because church was canceled on Christmas) and I'm hoping to work on taxes and get everything together to send to our tax lady before the end of the month. The month is flying by, but not with what I would call fun activities!
Homeschooling has taken some adjustment for me after teaching in the classroom. I think in some ways it is more difficult for me to make this adjustment than if I had never taught in the classroom like some homeschool parents that I know. In the end it is worth it because homeschooling works so well for our family!
When I was teaching, our school was not in favor of spending educational time on Valentine's parties. We were allowed to have a very small party instead of recess. I sent home notes and expected my first and second grade students to make a Valentine for each student in the class-writing the student's names on the Valentine and signing them. I had anywhere from 8-18 children in my class. Much of the party was spent passing out Valentine's to the correct students. As a parent, I realized how much this was asking for the parents to supervise all that writing-especially for the first graders! The Lambs worked together to make homemade Valentine's and then I asked Lamb 1 to sign his own name on all of them. We had to do a few at a time and take a break and then do some more. We only made about 15 Valentines and all he had to do was sign his first name. I realize he is only in kindergarten, but it seemed like a lot of work to him. Thankfully with homeschool we were able to take breaks and we finally got them all in the mail on Saturday. I realized that if he was in school there would have been pressure to finish them before the party at school. Plus, the ones that we sent Valentine's to will appreciate them. I think most of my students ended up putting their Valentine's in the trash a few days later.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lamb 3

Lamb 3 does this when he gets excited. He makes a fist with both hands, clenches his jaw, and shakes. He often does this instead of verbally answering "yes". While we were at communion yesterday, Lamb 3 started to do this when Ram got close to us. He got really excited while Ram gave him a blessing. I can only imagine how excited Lamb 3 will be when he gets to receive Christ's body and blood too.

Crazy advertisement

Our local newspaper had an advertisement for lunches being sold for a special local celebration week (Winterfest) next week.
"Includes: Choice of Club with cherry pie, chicken salad with chocolate pie, or seafood salad with coconut cream pie honoring Ash Wednesday. Also chips, fruit salad, and cookie. Plus delivery and a flower."
Does it seem strange to you that you would have a special lunch including pie and cookie on Ash Wednesday? I think they should have had this lunch on Fat Tuesday!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

19th Week of school report

Considering the circumstances of last week, we did pretty well on school. Our babysitter came on Tuesday and we also had ECFE so we didn't have school. We didn't have school on Wednesday because I went to the midwife. Thursday and Friday we had school but it was such a struggle to get Lamb 1 to cooperate, especially for math, that we took Saturday off. We'll try school this week while Papa is gone, but again I'm not expecting to accomplish a lot while Ram is gone. The Lambs are definitely into routine and Saturday was a struggle for behavior all day. I'm thinking that we should do school this week even if it is a struggle because not doing school is worse! I'm so thankful that we homeschool and I don't have to take Lamb 1 down to the cold bus stop this week while Ram is gone! Here's what we worked on this week:
Math: Continued working on lesson 12.
Reading: Finished volume 1 and 2 of My Book House. Began volume 3 this week. Volume 3 has longer stories like Goldilocks and the Three Bears that Lamb 1 is looking forward to. Read Who Owns the Sun? Had a nice discussion about slavery after reading this book. It is on the FIAR list and I should have read the book before reading it to the Lambs! Very well written book. We didn't do any FIAR activities with it, just read it. Still memorizing Bed in Summer by R. L. Stevenson.
Phonics: Lamb 1 continues to do well in Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading.
Religion: Didn't start anything new this week.
Latin: Continue to review in Prima Latina.
Music: Continue to learn the names of musical instruments. Listened to some John Philip Sousa march music.
We didn't get to much science or history to talk about here.
Art: Made Valentine cut out cookies and decorated them, and made homemade Valentines and mailed to relatives. ECFE theme was Valentine's Day and did some art projects for that. Even Lamb 3 tried to do the art at ECFE this week.
Handwriting: Lamb 2 continues on his worksheets from and he does a little better every day. Lamb 1 continued to review making his numbers correctly. Lamb 1 also worked on writing his name neatly on his Valentines. Ewe cared about this a lot more than Lamb 1 did!
This morning we got up and went to early church which was a good thing because the other two churches canceled because of weather. This is the most snow we have had since we moved here 7 years ago. Lamb 1 is quite good at shoveling now. We are ready for spring!
Happy Valentine's Day! We didn't have any plans for today, but we wouldn't be able to go anywhere even if we wanted to.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Washing Cloth Diapers

The first diapers I bought were Mother-ease. The directions say pre-rinse with warm water and detergent. Use the detergent you use for the rest of your laundry (without bleach). Wash diapers in full cycle at highest water level using hot water and household detergent without bleach. Should you have a tough stain you can use a detergent such as Biz with non- chlorine bleach. Use cleaning agents like this only on an as required basis. Add a final cup of vinegar to the final rinse cycle of your wash to prevent diaper rash.
Recently I purchased BumGenius diapers. The directions say to use a specific detergent or it may ruin the diapers. Wash cold with correct detergent. Wash hot with correct detergent. Follow with a second rinse to remove detergent residue. Use only detergent and water. Once per month use up to 1/4 cup bleach in the hot wash cycle. Always use additive free detergent (no perfumes, dyes, whiteners, brighteners, softeners, enzymes, or other fabric enhancers). Do not use laundry additives including vinegar, baking soda, and fabric softeners.
The whole time I have used cloth diapers I have washed on hot and done 2 rinses. The first cycle I used a small amount of fragrance free detergent and baking soda. The second cycle I added vinegar. I have always figured it was better to do too many rinses than not enough.
I want to wash all my diapers together. With only one in diapers now, I don't want to do more than one load of diapers every few days. So which way is correct to wash the diapers if I want to wash them all at once? Using baking soda and vinegar or not? My cousin sent me directions of how she washed her diapers, but that made another way to wash them different than either Mother-ease or BumGenius recommended. If you wash cloth diapers, please leave a comment and let me know how you would recommend I do it. I'm currently planning on keeping my original system of detergent, baking soda, and vinegar because I have mostly Mother-ease and just a few BumGenius-unless you leave comments that recommend that I don't.
Also, the whole reason we are using cloth diapers is because Lamb 3 was allergic to disposables and is very sensitive. I have noticed a difference when I forgot to put vinegar in the last rinse on Lamb 3. I think Lamb 3 needs the vinegar or he will get worse diaper rash and he is too sensitive to not use it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Imaginary Winter Sports

We had some bitter cold days in January. The Lambs, especially Lamb 1, are way too active to stay inside and not do some kind of activity. I am always amazed at their creativity.

Lamb 1 and 2 ice skating and playing broom stick hockey

Lamb 2 ice skating and Lamb 3 learning how to sled

Lamb 3 sledding-having a grand time!
(He's smiling for the camera here.)

Lamb 3 being cute
I am thankful that we have my grandma's old sofa with cushions that I don't care about if they play rough with them. No Lambs were injured during our imaginary winter sports. I won't talk about Lamb 2 pretending to be a dog and getting his lips and tongue stuck on the porch rail last Tuesday because that is a day that they really went outside. That was an imaginary dog but real outside day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Yesterday was a whirlwind and a blur of a day to me. It began with about an hour drive to the midwife with two ultrasounds (regular and vaginal). The midwife told me the news that our baby that we expected in September stopped growing last Friday and there was no heart beat yesterday. I'm still processing this news because on Feb. 1 the baby was fine and I saw a heartbeat. We originally weren't going to announce that we were pregnant yet but everything was fine on Feb. 1 so we announced earlier than we thought we would. I've done it both ways and I don't know if it is easier to talk about a miscarriage if you have announced you are pregnant or not. After seeing the midwife, getting a shot, and getting blood drawn, I came home.
I wasn't home for very long before we received the news that Ram's grandpa died yesterday morning. He hadn't been feeling well and he didn't wake up in the car when they got to the doctor. Thankfully their son had taken them to the doctor so Grandma wasn't alone.
My own grandpas died before I was born and I only saw Ram's mom's dad a few times after we were married. But we visited Ram's dad's dad several times and talked on the phone to him almost every Sunday night. The Lambs know this Great Grandpa.
Yesterday was spent making phone calls and arrangements. Ram is going to the funeral alone because it is just too complicated for the Lambs and me to fly out at this point. Ram and I have only been apart a handful of nights since we have been married and most of those I have been with my parents to help watch the Lambs. Ram had 2 trips in January (1 funeral and 1 for church) and I hate being apart from my beloved and hate being a single parent for almost a week. Ram had to cancel church on Ash Wednesday to go to the funeral.
Please pray for Ram to have a safe trip, for me to be a good single parent while he is gone, for me to complete my miscarriage without complications before he leaves, and for our family as we grieve.
It is comforting to me to know that our Good Shepherd is holding our 3 miscarried Lambs and Great Grandpa met them, and even our little Lamb that we hadn't told him about yet.

I don't have time to figure out how to turn off comments for this post, but I would appreciate no comments on this post. Everyone grieves differently and by the 3rd miscarriage, I would appreciate not having to read a bunch of comments. It is enough for me to know that you are keeping me in your prayers.

My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. Psalm 139:15-16
In memory of Great Grandpa and his 89 years/4 months on earth and alive in Christ forever and our little Lamb alive in my womb for 8 weeks/4 days and alive in Christ forever.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday-Photos from our new camera

I plan to do a post about my new camera soon. We had extreme technical difficulties and we finally figured out how to download photos from our camera. Here's some of the first photos I took with the new camera. It will take me awhile to finish reading the manual and learn about the features of my camera. I love this camera and I am so grateful to Ram's parents for giving it to us as an anniversary present. It will take me awhile to get caught up posting photos from both cameras!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A funny thing happened on the way to...

I was baking cut out heart cookies last night and I was reminded of this story. I'm not sure if any of my high school friends read my blog. This story would be even more funny to them.

My senior year of high school the National Honor Society members decided to do a service project and throw a Valentine's party at the Boys and Girls Club. Somehow my best friend and I got talked into bringing several hundred heart cut out cookies and then we brought frosting and sprinkles and let the kids each decorate a few to eat or take home. We also organized games and I can't remember what else, but my friend Stephanie and I were in charge of the cookie project. I was right on time for leaving to drive across Fort Wayne from the north end where I lived to the south end of town where the party was. I was going to pick up my friend with her cookies and we would drive across town. After opening the garage door I started to back out of the garage. I was about half way out of the garage when the cable (or whatever it is called) broke on the garage door and the door fell onto the car! I stopped where I was and got out just stunned that the door fell on my car the exact moment the car was half way out of the garage. My mom was on the phone and she heard the noise and she said to whomever she was talking to, "Ewe just backed out of the garage and she forgot to open the garage door first!" It took me a few minutes to explain to her what happened and tell her that I really DID open the garage door before I backed out. I was panicking because we had to be at this party across town and we had the cookies which were half of the activities for this party. Stephanie lived just two doors down so I ran down and told her what happened. She talked her parents into letting her borrow the car. (I'm sure it wasn't easy because she came from a family of 5 kids.) We went to the party and were just a little late. It was interesting explaining why we were late! My dad got home from work and had to figure out how to get the garage door off of the car. They have a 2 car-1 door garage and it is not a light garage door. By the time I got home the door was off the car and they got it repaired professionally quickly. I missed all that excitement while I was at the party. It was another story to explain to our insurance man. The car wasn't damaged but the garage door was totaled if I remember correctly.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The blessings of where we live

Sometimes I complain about living in such a rural area that we drive 1 1/2 hours to go major grocery shopping or go to the doctor. There are no groups like MOPS and no one that I know to invite over to play with my boys and chat with a mom every once and awhile. There is no La Leche League group within 1 1/2 hours. One of my friends said she couldn't make it without a mom's group. I complain about Costco being 4 hours away.

I think it's because I'm pregnant and many of these have contacted me recently, but I'm reminded that we are blessed where we live. Here's a few wonderful people/places that I can think of.

*chiropractor (7 miles)

*midwife that does water births (45 miles-I hope we have all our children before we move from here or she doesn't work there)

*WIC office (7 miles-they really support breastfeeding and even let me borrow LLL books for as long as I want them-I know this is not true of all WIC offices-plus give us free car seats)

*ECFE (7 miles-as far as I know MN is the only state that has ECFE)

*regular dr. (7 miles-we just began going to her last year and we really like her)

*pediatrician (1 1/2 hours but has been wonderful as we worked with Lamb 1 with MSPI and our other Lambs have always been at the bottom of the chart-most pediatricians would not be as understanding)

*Ewe's thyroid dr. (3 hours-much better than the dr. that I went to in Fort Wayne-really knows what she is doing and concerned about me, especially when I'm pregnant)

*dentist (15 miles)

*Lambs dentist (3 hours-Lamb 1 had dental work done when he was 3)

*eye dr. (7 miles)

*Early Childhood Initiative (7 miles-our town was one of a handful in the state to get a huge grant to work on teaching/educational opportunities for ages 0-5 years-also part of Dolly Parton's program that sends a free book to children each month from age 0-5)

*Sears portrait studio (1 1/2 hours-do a great job and with coupons not that expensive)

*Schwan man (I love having delivery because we live too far from the grocery to get ice cream home in the summer without it melting!)

*church treasurer (does a great job, especially being in charge of tri-parish expenses-taxes would be a pain if our treasurer didn't do his job right)

*local bank (7 miles-has savings program with rewards for the Lambs-small towns are the only ones that have something like this)

*parsonage (we have 4 bedrooms, full basement-plenty of room for the Lambs to play in the winter-I would be surprised if we ever live in a house this large again)

As much as I complain about where we live, we are blessed where we live by all this. Sometimes I need to make lists like this to remind myself of my blessings instead of just complaining. If Ram were to get a Call and we had to move, I would be sad to leave all these people and especially to have to find brand new doctors. Thank you, Jesus, for blessing us with this.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

18th Week of School Report

This week we had school every day but Tuesday and Friday. On Tuesday our babysitter came and we had ECFE. The theme at ECFE was groundhogs. On Friday I had a dentist appointment in the morning and we had a few pastors and their wives over for an Epiphany party that evening. The Lambs were a big help getting ready for the party. Lamb 1 shoveled the sidewalks several times this week all by himself (Lamb 2 was outside with him but didn't help him). The Lambs vacuumed and dusted and did other cleaning. The Lambs vacuumed the whole living room by themselves. They set the tables with napkins and silverware. They served dessert to everyone and without being asked they picked up the dirty dishes from everyone. They were quite good hosts for the party. We are so proud of them. We were glad we finally were able to have the Epiphany party before Lent! The weather wasn't the greatest but we still had 2 couples come. We ate, did an activity-can't really call it a game, and had dessert before they thought they should get on the road before too much snow. It was an enjoyable evening. We were light on school this week while we were getting ready for the party, but this is what we accomplished this week.
Math: Finished lesson 11. Began lesson 12-the concept is teaching adding doubles (0+0, 1+1, 2+2...).
Reading: Read more My Book House stories. Read Harold and the Purple Crayon. We didn't do any FIAR activities with it, just read it. Still memorizing Bed in Summer by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Phonics: Lamb 1 continues to do well in Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading.
Religion: We were working on other subjects this week and we reviewed, but didn't start anything new. We'll have to do better this week! We did read some Arch books.
Latin: Continue to review in Prima Latina.
Music: Continue to learn the names of musical instruments. Listened to Tubby the Tuba CD/book.
We just didn't get to much science or history to talk about here.
Art: Play doh with babysitter, groundhog craft project at ECFE.
Handwriting: Lamb 2 continues on his worksheets from and he does a little better every day. Lamb 1 continued to review making his numbers correctly. Now if I could just get him to write his numbers correctly on his math paper like he does on his handwriting papers!
We don't have TV so we won't be watching it, but GO COLTS! (My Hoosier roots couldn't resist adding that!)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Family Size

I have been thinking a lot about the comment from the wives of Ram's dad's business contacts that were shocked when Ram's mom said we were pregnant with #4. I'm wondering if it is a generational idea that #4 is a huge family today. My uncle was shocked when I commented to him once that we were hoping that we weren't done at 3. I thought about our married friends-mostly my college friends and Ram's friends. I'm going to list them by the mom's initials in order to be kind of anonymous but I'm sure you can figure out some of these and perhaps you will even be listed. I am not listing Loopers, just other friends. These are mostly college and seminary friends, with a few others listed too.
Mother's first and last initial/number of children
K.R. 5
J.T. 5 (including 1 adopted)
R.K.-#4 due in June
S.W. 2 (not sure if done yet)
L.W. wants children but unable to have any yet
J.H. working on adopting #2
S.G. 3 (I think done for health reasons, but not sure)
S.K. 2 (done for health reasons)
J.H. 2 (done for health reasons)
H.G. 3 (done for health reasons)
K.B. 3 (done for health reasons)
B.F. 2 (done for health reasons)
R.H. 9 (if I counted right!) (I couldn't resist listing her.)
H.P. 4 (done for health reasons)
S.T. 2 (not sure if done yet)
A.U. 4 (I think)
E.B. 3 (done for health reasons)
You will see from this list that 3 seems to be the average but 4 and 5 aren't unusual. Many of those with 2 or 3 would like more but can't. The other interesting thing is all but 2 of these that I listed are full time SAHM (a few have jobs like scrapbook consultant, but don't work outside the home in a 9-5 job). Perhaps the wives of Ram's dad's business contacts are in the generation that expected to have 2 children and work full time and not stay at home? Perhaps I'm reading into this too much because maybe they just expected our family to be like Ram's family and have 3. But after thinking about this for a few days, I don't think 4 or even 5 is unusual. I do still think 6 is a large family-perhaps because they won't all fit in the minivan! What do you think? Do most of your friends have 3 or more children?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Birthdays and Clothes

Ram, his dad, and all 3 Lambs have spring birthdays. Ewe, Ewe's mom, Ram's mom, and Lamb 4 all have fall birthdays. It would be nice if Lamb 4 was a girl to keep our pattern of boys=spring birthdays and girls=fall birthdays.
I think I'm going to have to buy some maternity clothes. I don't get very big when I'm pregnant (well, at least not for the first 3 Lambs!), but big enough that my clothes don't fit. I made do with just a few pairs of pants and a few dresses for when I go out of the house and wore pajamas around the house. Ram's mom got me a few really nice maternity dresses when I was pregnant with Lamb 1. They are all long sleeved and/or winter colors. This time when I'm big enough to need maternity clothes it is going to be late spring/summer. My current maternity clothes won't do.
I know many of you will not understand this, but I have some maternity clothes that still have the tags on them because I never got big enough to wear them. Pam said I was the skinniest pregnant woman she ever met. But it truly was a problem in my previous pregnancies that my regular clothes didn't fit but some maternity clothes were too big.
I'm being careful what I wish for because I don't want to go to the other extreme and be so big that most maternity clothes don't fit, but it would be really nice to have a "normal" pregnancy and not have to continually go to ultrasounds the whole pregnancy because I'm not getting big enough even though the baby is just fine.
I've also been thinking that if this is a boy we'll probably have to get new clothes for him because all the newborn clothes are spring/summer type and that pattern continues for the first year of baby clothes. I really hope this is a girl so if we have to buy new clothes we at least get to buy some girl clothes!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

About yesterday's Wordless Wednesday

1. We called Ewe's sister and told her the news on Monday night. She always thinks that we're pregnant-even when I just had a Lamb! I guess she gave up on guessing that we were pregnant because it took a long time to finally tell her on Monday. She was planning on going to Korea to teach English so we told her first so that she might have a chance to come to Lamb 4's baptism before she goes to Korea. We'll see how that all works out.
2. We called Ram's parents on Tuesday night. Ram's dad was in AZ on business and Ram's mom went along. We rarely call their cell phone so Ram's dad took the call expecting some kind of bad news. He wasn't quite speechless, but we did surprise him. His first question was if we were done after Lamb 4. He told us Ram's mom would call us later.
Ram's mom finally called back on Wednesday night. She has been busy with the other wives on this business trip. She wanted to know the due date. We didn't have time to talk long so we're going to try to talk more soon. She said she told the other wives that we were expecting #4 and they were shocked about #4. I answered Ram's dad's question because it hadn't been answered. If we have a boy then we'll try again for a girl. If we have a girl we'll try again to give her a sister. Before we got married Ram wanted 6 (just like the Bakers) and I wanted 4. I think we'll end up compromising and having 5, but Ram is still hoping for 6. I was hoping for 2 girls and 2 boys in my original hope for 4. So I think it would be wonderful to have that 2 girls and 2 boys plus 1 more boy. We'll see what God has planned. I really don't care if this is a boy or a girl because we are used to boys and if we have another boy Lamb 3 would have a brother close to his age. Although I'll be honest and tell that we really want a girl too.
3. We did not tell Ewe's parents-we let them find out on the blog. They were shocked. My mom saw it first and was surprised that my dad didn't see it first. At first my mom didn't believe it. They called us and were really surprised.
4. Ram won't let me find out the gender so we'll all be surprised in September.
5. I went to the midwife last Thursday and she tried to use a portable ultrasound but it was just too early to see any detail. On Monday I went for a real ultrasound and again it is very early so they couldn't tell much. But I was thrilled to hear the heartbeat and also to hear there is just one. Pam had me convinced that I had a good chance of having twins! The Wordless Wednesday was the ultrasound from Monday but I removed all the personal information. I am due the middle of September and the midwife was pleased that the ultrasound date was very close to her date.
6. Pam, yes, I have a supply of Preggie Drops here, I like to give them to my pregnant friends but usually by the time they announce they are pretty much over morning sickness.
7. The end of December and the beginning of January I just felt blah-couldn't really describe what was wrong. I was considering going to the chiropractor but what was he going to do for my symptom of being blah? I finally got the idea to take a pregnancy test and it showed up right away-very different from my last pregnancy where I took several pregnancy tests before one showed up positive. Ram got back from his trip to the Cities and he smelled like garlic to me. He told me he didn't have any garlic for lunch. I wasn't convinced. He smelled like garlic to me for 3 days! (Not very romantic when he just got back from a trip!) On the second day Lamb 1 also smelled like garlic. I never had this problem in pregnancy before. Have any of you ever smelled imaginary smells when you are pregnant?
8. I felt fine until a few days ago. The morning sickness is starting. I was hospitalized with Lamb 1 with morning sickness. Each Lamb I have learned to cope a little better. Soon I'll be surviving with Preggie Drops and ginger ale (preferably from Menards-but any ginger ale). I also have been really really hungry and I don't remember that from previous pregnancies either.
9. I recently read a book titled Changing the World One Diaper at a Time and the author said she doesn't know how people keep pregnancy a secret for 3 or 4 months because she (and her husband) had to tell within the week that they found out they were pregnant. We've told at different times for different Lambs. I think we waited the longest to tell when I was pregnant the second time and I had a miscarriage the day after we told our congregations. So this time we've told our family (with the exception of Ram's grandparents) and my blog, and we're going to send our Christmas cards soon and tell there too. We have not told the Lambs though because we have not told the congregations yet and we don't want them to have to keep that big of a secret. I'm not sure when we will tell the congregations and then we'll be able to tell the Lambs. I don't get very big when I'm pregnant so we could probably wait awhile to tell the congregations. We'll see.
10. The photo of Lamb 3 was actually taken last fall when we were going to announce before we had a miscarriage. Lamb 3 has been terrible about getting his photo taken recently so I decided to use that old photo. Currently he needs a haircut but he doesn't look much different than that photo.
11. We have had a girl name picked for over 6 years and never been able to use it, but we are starting to run out of boy names. We like a Bible name for the first name and a family name for the middle name. So Ram and I will be discussing a boy name for the next few months!
12. Thanks for all the comments yesterday. Please keep Lamb 4 and me in your prayers.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

ECFE Parent Discussion

After most of December and all January off of ECFE, we resumed class today. The theme today was groundhogs. The story, song, art project, and even their play time was all about groundhogs. Then the parents meet while the children play. The children, especially Lamb 3, but other children too, seemed to have forgotten the routine and didn't want to leave their parents for the meeting. I'm hoping to get back to the routine soon where all the Lambs play while I go to the meeting.
At this first session, we brainstormed topics for the next 7 weeks for parents to talk about. It has been the same parents for the last few years so we've already done most of the normal topics of potty training, bedtime routine, discipline, etc. We decided to repeat discipline because we can always learn more about that.
The leader had a few interesting ideas for topics.
1. What do we want to teach our children to be prepared for the future? Some ideas given were-be respectful, keep their priorities straight, not give in to peer pressure, etc. When I discussed this with Ram, he said we want to train up a child in the way he should go... (Proverbs 22:6) and nothing else is as important as that. He also said we want to teach our Lambs to do problem solving and do simple math etc. in their heads and not rely on technology. I agree with the parent that said teaching them to keep their priorities straight is so important. Anyway, I'm going to be thinking more about this question as I think it is important.
2. The next topic she suggested was teaching your child to use technology wisely. She gave the example of college students giving up their cell phones for one week and they thought they were going to die. Another example was 4 out of 5 students don't watch the basketball game-they text during it. How ridiculous to go to a basketball game and not watch it! Last, sadly many couples sit in the same room and text each other instead of talking to each other. I can't even relate since I don't own a cell phone, or a laptop, or a mp3 player! I have never sent a text message on a cell phone. But I did really miss our computer when it was down for 18 days! I think this is a good topic and I look forward to our discussion.
3. One mom suggested how to talk about the birds and the bees with your child on an age appropriate level. I kept my mouth shut but I was so tempted to say that she should get pregnant as it is much easier to talk about this with your children when you are pregnant and when you have a new baby-Mama's breasts are for nursing, etc. After the meeting she stood up and she is obviously pregnant-and she told us then that she is expecting twins! Problem solved!

I'll be thinking more about topics for us to discuss. I try to take the Lambs every week so I may as well have an interesting topic that I would learn something from.