Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Well Visit Checkups

Yesterday we took the Lambs for their yearly checkups at their doctor 1 1/2 hours away. We had scheduled and rescheduled these appointments for several months before it worked for both our family and the doctor to not be on call or on vacation.
Lamb 1: Almost 6 1/2 years old
46 1/2 inches
about 50th percentile for height
42.6 lbs
about 20th percentile for weight
Lamb 2: 4 years old
42 inches
about 75th percentile for height
37.2 lbs
about 50th percentile for weight
Lamb 3: 2 years old
33 3/4 inches
about 10th percentile for height
22 lbs 14 oz
not on chart for weight

We discussed all this with the doctor. He is not concerned because all 3 Lambs continue to grow, just not as fast as other children. We will go back in one year for Lamb 2 and 3 and two years for Lamb 1. Lamb 2 will get immunizations next year. No Lambs needed any immunizations this year.
Lamb 1 does the best eating. He often eats as much as Ram. Lamb 2 loves milk (both rice and cow's milk) and usually does pretty well eating. Lamb 3 is really picky, but he will eat a whole bowl of black bean dip all by himself. It took awhile to explain Lamb 3's eating habits to the doctor.
Ram and I discussed their weights on the way home. Our family eats healthy overall with a few treats. We only eat out on days like yesterday. We don't ever eat frozen pizza or pick up a pizza on the way home. Our boys don't eat school lunches. Ram and I were both very thin as children. We aren't concerned about any of them, not even Lamb 3 who isn't on the chart.
After the doctor we did a little shopping and had gyros for lunch. Then the Lambs had their photos taken at Sears. Then we did grocery shopping and headed home to have homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Because their doctor appointments were at 9:30am, we were able to do everything and start home by 3:30pm. It was nice to get everything accomplished but also be home for dinner instead of eating out twice. The Lambs were in bed before 8pm. I was able to put all the groceries away before I went to bed.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Ram had some more medical tests last Friday. He had to eat a low fiber diet for two days and a liquid diet the day before his test. We thought that after his test he would be able to eat everything again, but he had to continue the low fiber diet for 1-2 days after his tests.
I didn't realize how much fiber we normally eat until this last week. We bought some plain white bread (yuk!) because we always eat homemade whole wheat. I decided to make French toast with the last 1/2 of loaf while he had his tests. Then he got home and had no bread to eat for the next day.
This was probably the worst time of year for him to have to eat a low fiber diet. We had been given some sweet corn, still had a few blueberries left in the fridge, and have yellow squash and tomatoes growing like crazy in our garden and picked daily. I had also bought a watermelon. I felt bad because the boys and I did eat some of the full of fiber foods in front of Ram because I didn't want to waste them. The Lambs kept asking questions and couldn't understand Ram's diet.
He decided to make homemade macaroni and cheese and we had a very small box of plain white pasta but all the other pasta was whole wheat pasta. He ended up making two batches-one for him and one for us. We cooked a small smoked turkey that was given to us, but he really wanted a big turkey sandwich with homemade bread and tomatoes-not allowed. I thought about making smoothies or milkshakes, but he likes his with lots of fruit-not allowed.
He survived and is back to a regular full of fiber diet again. This experience makes me so thankful for the wide variety of fruits and veggies that God created. Ram told me to get ready to have these same tests done in about 15 years. I'm already dreading that. It motivates me to eat lots of fiber so they don't find anything wrong during these tests!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Olivia and other children's books

I read this article over at Concordia Sisters. When I first skimmed the article I thought they were bashing Lilly by Kevin Henkes. I printed the article out to read it closely when I had more time. I hate to read articles on the computer screen.
First, I have been exposed to a lot of modern picture books both when I was in college and working in the children's section at the public library and when I taught 1st and 2nd grade. So I was familiar with many of the books mentioned in this article. But I had also never heard of many of the books/authors in this article. It's scary what has been published in the last 7 years.
When I was pregnant with Lamb 1 I purchased Olivia because my midwife practiced in the town of Olivia. Ram's mom also gave us a copy of Olivia. I gave one away and kept one. It went on the shelf until Lamb 1 would be older and I forgot about it. I remember skimming the book when I first bought it and I wasn't too happy that Olivia painted her wall after seeing contemporary art in the museum. I should have given it away just from that.  I already have enough problems with Lambs writing/coloring on walls! After reading this article I pulled my copy out. I agree with the author that Olivia typically ends up with the upper hand with her mom. Ram and I discussed it and decided it was definitely on the give away pile.
I also agree with the author that classics like Curious George and the Frances books by Hoban are so much better. One of my first grade students, his mom wrote me a note that the Frances books were her favorite when she was little. Books that remain classics for parents to enjoy reading with their children are fantastic. I was glad to read that the author of this article thinks that the Lilly books by Kevin Henkes are some of the best contemporary picture books. I love Lilly books and own several of them and even own a little stuffed Lilly and Owen. I read them to my students every year in the classroom. I haven't read them to the Lambs yet, but after reading this article they will be read to them soon!
When Ram and I were discussing this article and Olivia, we also discussed the Llama series by Dewedney. I went back and reread the Concordia Sisters comments on this post and saw that the commenters approve of the Llama series too. I especially like the Llama series because it is age appropriate for all 3 of the Lambs to really "get it".
I'm glad I read this article because in a few weeks we are going shopping at a used bookstore where we have quite a bit of credit. I can try to get rid of my copy of Olivia and stay away from certain authors mentioned in this article and perhaps expand our collection of Hoban books too.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dumbing Down Kiddie Lit

My mother-in-law sent me a link to this article. I'm sure it caught her attention because she has sent us so many Enid Blyton's books. I will admit that I have had to look up (or ask our walking dictionary, Ram) a few words to answer the Lambs questions as we read Blyton's books. I don't know all the British vocabulary. We don't own The Adventures of the Wishing Chair that was mentioned in this article, but we have made it through all of the Blyton books that we have read without any problems more than looking a few words up.

I don't know what this author's problem is because I loved reading the Chronicles of Narnia and I can't wait to read it to the Lambs. I haven't read Swallows and Amazons yet, but it is highly recommended by Loopers. When I taught at a classical Lutheran school I learned the value of reading the real classics like Bambi and Little Mermaid instead of the Disney versions.

Beatrix Potter and also Enid Blyton are classics that no one should tamper with the way they wrote it. These are classics that show the time period they were written in. Part of the beauty of these classics is to learn more about the time period these books were written in. If you have a problem with it, DON'T READ IT. It's that simple. If they change Blyton's books, what other classic children's literature will be next? People don't want to increase their vocabulary. They want everything handed to them as easy as watching a movie. The Lambs love Beatrix Potter and the vocabulary doesn't bother them. I read real Beatrix Potter to them, not an adaptation. I just went through our library and gave away all the adaptations as I wanted them to read real Beatrix Potter and real Washington Irving when they are old enough.

As for the little girl's character name mentioned in the end of this article, I probably never would have thought of that if I hadn't read this article. I guess I'm too naive that I would have just thought about that being her name. Now that I've read this article I'll have a difficult time reading this book without laughing. Big sigh from Ewe here.

The article mentioned that Enid Blyton wrote about 800 titles. We probably own about 30. Lamb 1 and 2 enjoy them and I do too. We've probably read about 1/3 of those that we own. We'll continue to read the original versions, not the updated ones here at Agnus Dei Lutheran Academy.

Friday, August 27, 2010

On the Banks of Plum Creek Part 3

I went on a bus trip to Walnut Grove, MN by myself on Monday. I had asked some friends, even asked a friend if her little girl could go with me, but no one was able to go that day. I knew our Lambs would have not enjoyed the day for several reasons. It was hot, a long bus ride for them, and it wouldn't have been interesting to them because we haven't read the Little House books yet. When I first had 3 boys I planned to only read one or two Little House volumes to our boys. Other Loopers have told me that their boys enjoyed all the Little House books and I should read them all to my boys. I may end up reading some and leaving some out for them to read if they want to. I can still remember where on the shelf at our small public library the Little House books were at. I reread the Little House series this spring. I was glad I did this so the info was fresh in my mind for Monday.
I really enjoyed the day away and I'm so thankful that Ram babysat for me. I read most of The Story Girl by Montgomery on the bus on the way there. I ended up having one of only two empty seats by me on the bus. I had room to spread out. It was so nice to not have anyone to "help" on the bus, at lunch, and actually have time to read the information at the museum. I ended up going my own pace and being towards the end of the group. At lunch time we had time to shop at the local stores and I spent a long time in a scrapbook store. Lunch contained a candy stick that Lamb 1 wouldn't have been able to have because of his caps on his teeth. On the way home I took a nap most of the way. When we got back I stopped at DQ for a treat for myself. It was a wonderful day away.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Beets me!

I was beat when I finally tumbled into bed last night. Here is what I accomplished.

Washed and hung to dry all of the Lambs bedding
Washed a load of diapers
Hung all that on the line to dry
Hurried to take all that off the line so grass didn't get on the clothes when the lawn was mowed
Sorted what was dry and folded it and what had to be put in the dryer because it wasn't dry
Folded the load from the dryer
Remade all 3 Lamb beds

Wrote a blog post about Laura Ingalls Wilder part 2
Couldn't figure out the new blogger editor so deleted the first part 2 blog post and rewrote it
Wrote this blog post

Supervised Lamb 1 cleaning out his paperwork (important to him!) for 1/2 hour

Cleaned the spots on the Lambs carpet
Set up a fan and opened all the windows in the house because of the carpet cleaning

Cooked and got ready to freeze about 10 lbs of beets-11 bags with 2 cups each
Wiped down the counters and mopped the floor from beet juice spots
Cleaned the stove top from beet juice
Mopped the floor again because stove top cleaning made a mess

Loaded and unloaded the dishwasher twice
Hand washed dishes twice-including those that wouldn't fit in the dishwasher at the end of the day
Washed all the water bottles (the Lambs each have one for bedtime and one at the table for daily use)

Cooked lunch for Lamb 1, 3, and myself while Lamb 2 and Ram were at the cafe
Helped Ram cook supper with allowed foods for his medical test on Friday (cooked/warmed up smoked turkey, mashed potatoes without skin, warmed up macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob for the rest of us)
Fixed Ram a snack before he is on an all liquid diet today

Talked to my sister on the phone
Opened a box of goodies from Ram's mom
Helped Lamb 1 try on his new fireman uniform from Grandma
Made a shopping list
Wrote a to do list for today

Did Compline with Ram

I did not accomplish these items on my to do list yesterday so they are on today's list.
Help/supervise Lamb 1 do a math lesson
Supervise the Lambs cleaning up their toys in the basement

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On the Banks of Plum Creek Part 2

On Monday I went on a bus tour to Walnut Creek, MN. I will try to post more about our trip later this week. When we arrived we first went to the site of Laura's dugout home. Then we saw/heard "Pa's bell". Then we had a long lunch hour so we could eat and also shop at some of the local stores in Walnut Grove. Then we toured the museum before heading home.

Lunch was provided in these lunch pails that we were able to keep. Ham sandwich (with white bread),  chips. applesauce (with HFCS), sugar cookie (yum!), and candy stick. There were also special water bottles from the museum.
At the museum was this china shepherdess that Ma treasured. I wasn't clear if this was a reproduction or the actual china shepherdess, but my guess is it is a reproduction. Thanks to the illustrator, Garth Williams, and Laura's description, this is what I pictured it to look like.
I was surprised how small the covered wagon was. I didn't picture having to put all your belongings on a covered wagon this small. I did realize from my study of history what kinds of things they took on the wagon, and that it was small, but not this small.
The museum built a reproduction of a dugout. It is basically a basement turned upside down for the museum. Putting this together with the site at the actual dugout site, helps to put it all together in my imagination.
Look at how small the dugout was! This is the reproduction dugout at the museum. This was "home" for 5 people for the almost 2 years that Laura's family lived there. Imagine the insects and critters that lived there with them. No wonder why Ma hated this home and was glad when they moved on. She was glad to move here though so the girls could go to school at a real school and not be homeschooled.
This is the fireplace from the set from the TV show. There was a whole room at the museum about the TV show, but I wasn't as interested in that as I was the history of the Ingalls family.

Pa's Bell

Pa went to town to buy new boots. He ran into the pastor who was taking donations for a bell for their church. Pa donated his $3 for the church bell instead of getting new boots. Records show that he gave over $25 to that church bell. We know he did not have that kind of money, so he must have taken donations from others for the bell. The congregational church that the family went to was torn down in the 1950's. The bell was moved to this ELCA church. The bell is only played on Sundays, weddings, funerals, and for bus tours. We were fortunate to hear the bell and imagine what it was like for Laura to hear the bell from her dugout. I wish I was better at technology so I could have recorded the bell for you to hear here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On the Banks of Plum Creek Part 1

Laura remembered a Big Rock. The rock was across the creek behind the dugout. The only large rock on the farm today is this one, which is nearly submerged. This rock once protruded above the ground, but the surrounding banks rose with silt deposits from each spring flood until it is now nearly covered. Unfortunately efforts in the late 1970s to raise this rock failed. This rock is 8x10x10 and about 70 tons.
Laura's Dugout Home was located where that sign is.
You can see how it was located on the banks of the
Plum Creek in this photo.
Laura's dugout home was located here.
Can you see the plums? I wish I would have visited a few weeks later when the plums were ripe. The plums are wild plums so I probably wouldn't want to eat them anyway.

I apologize for the formatting on this post. I just can not get used to this new Blogger format! If you like Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, stop back often this week. This week I plan to post lots of photos and info that I learned on my bus trip to Walnut Grove, MN yesterday.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ram's statement

"I can't wait until winter!"

I have frozen blueberries, corn, peaches, and tomatoes. I still plan to freeze summer squash and perhaps beets if I can buy them. We picked the blueberries. The corn was given to us. We bought the peaches. The tomatoes and summer squash are from our garden. We didn't have any beets grow-perhaps the rabbits got them. We have eaten a lot of all of these fresh and also eaten radishes and turnips from our garden. We are doing a good job eating in season and freezing what we can't eat fresh.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fair Day

First, I'm trying the new format of Blogger, so please be patient if there are problems with this post.

Yesterday we spent almost the whole day at fairs. In the morning Ram sat at our Early Childhood Initiative booth for 2 hours at one local town festival. I took the Lambs to the events for children while he sat at the booth. First there was a parade where children were invited to wear costumes. Lamb 1 was Thomas the train. He wanted to be Eeyore but the costume was too little for him. Lamb 2 was Eeyore. Lamb 3 was a police man. Lamb 2 got second place. I think it was a sympathy vote because he was so hot. He won $10. We are going to have him split the money with Lamb 1 because Lamb 1 really wanted to be Eeyore. Next, they had a music entertainer and Lamb 2 was the best at singing along, volunteering to play instruments up front, and especially doing the actions with the musician. Lamb 1 was too shy and it was a little above Lamb 3. We walked around a little looking at everything and then let them play at the new playground a little bit. I was so glad to see a booth for Orphan Grain Train giving free lemonade and cookies. Ram was finished with his shift so we gladly got out of the heat and went home for lunch.
After a short break at home then we went to the next county over from us to their fair. Ram had to sit for 2 hours at the LLL booth. We missed the deadline to give our coloring pictures to earn a free ride at the fair. So I paid to let each Lamb ride one ride. We walked around getting lots of free items and looking at different exhibits.
The fair has a nice building for the children to see several animals and pet puppies and chicks etc. As we started towards the building Lamb 1 noticed there was a dog by the entrance. Lamb 1 ran off so I talked to a boy there and asked him to hold the dog while we went in the building. Lamb 1 wasn't about to go in that building when there was a dog there. So I took Lamb 2 and 3 in and left Lamb 1 right outside the building.. We weren't in there very long. Lamb 1 was crying and someone thought he was lost-they didn't understand that he was afraid of the dog. When we came out of the building to meet Lamb 1, the lady didn't believe me at first that he was my child. We finally calmed Lamb 1 down and went to take a break in the cooler building where Ram sat at a booth. We really didn't do very much at the fair today in 90 degrees plus humidity. We ate at one of the Lutheran church booths and headed home.
We let the Lambs play in the sprinkler when we got home. They were a muddy mess so baths were first when they came inside. I made non-alcoholic watermelon drinks and it was bedtime for the Lambs. Lamb 2 and Ewe both got a little too much sun yesterday and everyone has lots of mosquito bites (from summer, not just yesterday). Yesterday was a fun day and we look forward to a local parade today.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Spelling with Lamb 1

Lamb 1 has been begging me to help him learn how to spell. For the past few weeks he asked me about 3 times every day. First I tried the excuse of wait until after Labor Day when the kids are back in school.... After a couple of weeks I asked him what he wanted to know how to spell. We didn't have time to really work on it then. In the car a few days ago he asked to be taught to spell again. These are the words he wanted to know how to spell-in the order that he wanted to know how to spell them-


So I sounded them out for him and helped him with the silent letters and he learned how to spell these words.

Then I decided to teach him words with a pattern like this...

at bat cat hat mat sat...
all ball call hall mall small tall...
big dig jig pig...
bad dad had mad sad...

Then we reviewed how to spell all the names in our family and got going on these variations...
mama mom mommy...
dada papa dad daddy pop...

Lamb 2 was at the back of the minivan and Lamb 1 was in the middle and Ram and I were up front. Lamb 2 was practicing his counting during this spelling lesson with Lamb 1. Sometimes it was difficult for Lamb 1 to hear us. Overall Lamb 1 did really well during this spelling lesson. I think all our work with Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading is starting to pay off. He is also very good with patterns so that part of spelling is easy for him. He is motivated to learn to spell because Aunt Hannah gave him a blank book to write in. He can't wait to write his own book.

I still plan to start Writing Road to Reading with Lamb 1 in September. This informal spelling lesson in the car right before they fell asleep showed me a lot about what Lamb 1 knows and doesn't know about spelling. The next day after this spelling lesson Lamb 1 got out his alphabet magnets and practiced the words we had practiced in the car. He really wants to remember decoration. Lamb 1 has also shown much improvement reading his Dick and Jane books this summer.

I think we made a good decision to take a summer break from homeschooling. It gave Lamb 1 time to play and he learned a lot during his summer break too.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Baby Gear

*No, I'm NOT pregnant with a title like that for this post.

Earlier this summer I cleaned out and decided to sell/give away some baby items. I advertised them on the radio and we had a garage sale.

Stroller-we used this stroller a lot for Lamb 1, but with each baby we used it less and less. We actually had 3 strollers. We still use the umbrella stroller some times for Lamb 3. We decided to sell this one and keep the other two. We gave it to someone that needed it and they may eventually pay us, but if they don't that's ok because they needed it.

Double stroller-we bought this used for $10 when I was pregnant with Lamb 2. I was told it would be a necessity when I had a toddler and a newborn. We never used it-not even once. Lamb 1 wanted to walk when we went places and if he got tired then we put Lamb 1 in the stroller and carried Lamb 2 in the sling. Same thing happened when we had 3 Lambs. I was glad I only paid $10. It was just too bulky to take with us on trips. After we tried to sell it at the garage sale, I told a lady that works with Birthright that I had it available. We were happy to give it to someone that needed it.*

Outside swing-we didn't really have any good trees to mount this in so when Lamb 1 was little we put it on the clothesline post . With each baby I was less likely to put it there as I was afraid an older Lamb would break it. We actually sold this one item at our garage sale.

Baby swing-I was told that a baby swing was a necessity for a fussy baby. None of our Lambs liked it. They just wanted to be held or hang out in the bouncy chair or lay on a blanket on the floor. They didn't like to swing. I would like to sell ours to make space in our basement again. It is too big to transport very far to give away/sell at a consignment shop. I'm not sure what we are going to do with it. I told the Birthright lady that we also had that available and she hasn't found anyone that needs it yet.

Mobile-When Lamb 1 was hospitalized with MSPI, he was the right age that he loved the hospital mobile. I put it on my wish list when I was pregnant with Lamb 2. The one we got went on the crib and our babies hardly ever slept in the crib at the right age for the mobile. I was too sleep deprived to try to figure out another way to mount the mobile. No one wanted the mobile so we'll donate it some place soon.

High chair-I didn't have time to clean this yet, but I plan to donate it to one of our churches. When there are dinners at church, they could always use another high chair. I hated our high chair because it was so difficult to clean and so bulky. If we have another child then I will buy a high chair that is more like a booster seat-that attaches to a regular chair. I never fed my Lambs solids early enough to use the feature where you lean them back in the high chair. I wish I would have asked friends for advice before I bought this high chair. I had no idea before I fed Lamb 1 in it that a high chair could be so complicated.

It makes me upset that money was spent on all these items that I was told were necessities and we really didn't need any of them. Now I'm spending time dealing with getting rid of them. Thankfully someone told me not to buy a special diaper pail so I didn't waste my money on that. A regular trash can is fine. Thankfully I didn't waste my money on a changing table. We usually changed them on a towel on the floor.

I'm sure people saw our garage sale and thought we are done having children. If they could only see how much I kept-cradle, crib, co-sleeper, pack-n-play, 2 strollers, 2 slings, car seat cover, infant car seat, bouncy seat (a necessity to me), baby bathtub, many (but not all) baby clothes and baby toys, etc. We really don't know what God has planned for our family. I don't want to regret giving away some things. Yes, I know the wive's tale that if you give away baby clothes then you get pregnant. Yes, I know that every one else is trying to get rid of their baby gear too so it wouldn't be too hard to replace some items. But we'll hang on to some things for a little while until we see what God's plans are. In the mean time we're enjoying a little more space by getting rid of these items that we didn't need. I still have a lot in the Lambs room and in the basement to go through, but this was a good start.

*Note that Birthright can not give away baby furniture for legal reasons, only donated baby clothes. But the lady from Birthright helped me connect with someone that could use our double stroller. I donated the double stroller to this person, not to Birthright.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Busy and still here

I have a lot of blog posts and photos of our family in August to post here, but we've been extremely busy. If anyone is still reading my blog, please be patient. I'll try to start posting regularly again soon.
I'm dealing with lots of tomatoes from our garden and some sweet corn that was given to us. We've had lots of yummy meals from our garden including homemade tomato soup. The Lambs (especially Lamb 3) love homemade tomato juice.
I'm also trying to plan our fall vacation. I have a lot of people to contact and plans to make in order to use our vacation time wisely to see a lot of people in a little time.
We've taken a few short one day trips recently that I want to post about. I've talked to some friends on the phone and seen a few friends from college recently too. I don't have enough time to talk to adults besides Ram very often (more than "hi" and small talk) so I appreciate that these conversations get my brain thinking about some new ideas. I hope to post some of these ideas from these conversations.
Last Thursday we drove to Ladies Aid in hail and a bad storm. When we arrived the tornado siren was going off. I heard later that there were tornadoes very near us. Thankfully as far as I heard no one was hurt or any serious damage in our area.
We've had very mild August weather. After a big electric bill in July, I'm thankful for this. The Lambs want to go swimming and I don't know when we will fit that in before school starts that it will be warm enough and not raining.
Someone commented and asked about my teaching history and science to the Lambs. I hope to have more posts about homeschooling soon.
I know I still haven't finished posting photos from our trip to CA in May.
Please continue to keep Ram in your prayers. We still do not have any results from his medical tests. He will have more tests later this month. If the doctor is correct with what he thinks is wrong with Ram, Ram will take medication for the rest of his life. I have more appreciation for people with medical problems with this experience. I know this is very minor compared to other health problems, but it is emotionally and physically exhausting for everyone in the family, especially the family member with the health problem, to wait for phone calls from doctors, follow the directions for the tests, get the tests, wait for results, and answer all the questions from everyone about the health problem. It is unexpected to have health problems at age 35. We never expected this when he had his regular physical in June.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Agnus Dei Lutheran Academy 2010-2011 Schedule

We made a few changes from our schedule last year. I hope to post more about our homeschool plans soon.

8-8:30am Ewe read/Lambs play
8:30-9 Morning prayer, Bible verse, poem, calendar, breakfast, get dressed
9-9:30am Bible story, hymn, catechism, Latin, geography song, math song
9:30-10 Math
10-10:30 Writing road to reading/handwriting
10:30-11 Ordinary parents guide to teaching reading/read aloud/Lamb 1 read
11-11:30 Post office/outside time
11:30-12:30 Make lunch, devotions, eat lunch, vitamins, cod liver oil, clean up
12:30-1:30 Chores, Ewe housework, Lambs get ready for rest time, Lambs play if extra time
1:30-2 Board game or card game
2-? Lamb 3 nap
2-3 Lamb 1 and 2 rest time (either educational movie or nap), Ewe nap?
3-3:30 Tea time/Music
3:30-4 Art Tuesday and Thursday, other days play
4-5 Lambs play, Ewe declutter time
5-6 Make supper, eat, clean up
6-6:30 Ewe housework, Lambs play
6:30-7 Clean up toys
7-7:30 Story time-one their choice, MWF one science, TR one history
7:30-8 Get ready for bed, bath, prayers
8-9 Ewe correspondence time/Lambs in bed-MWF listen to story on CD, TRS listen to music
9-10 Ewe computer time
10-11 Ram and Ewe Compline and Together Time
11pm-8am Sleep

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mini Family Update

I'm still here, we've just been very busy recently.

On Sunday and Monday we visited two of my college roommates (Stacy and Buffy) and Stacy's family. It was a short visit but it was so good to get together. I hadn't seen Stacy since her wedding 9 years ago. It was a wild visit with 5 boys ages 6 and under-and none of them play with other children very often. I'll post more about our visit later.

I've been trying to catch up on sleep after staying up too late on Sunday and getting home late on Monday. I've also done some more decluttering-working in the main bathroom mainly. We have a big closet in the bathroom that opens into the hallway. I don't think I have ever cleaned it out since we moved here 7 years ago. Not only did I have items like medicine that you usually have in your bathroom, but batteries (to check and see if they are any good), spare change (to get together to take to the bank), and candles. I have done 2 shelves. It is good to get organized and see what we really have-I don't think I ever need to buy shampoo again in my whole lifetime. I threw out a lot of old makeup (I never wear makeup any more) and a lot of expired stuff too.

I also have been working on a schedule for homeschooling. We aren't getting back to all subjects until after Labor Day, but I need to do a little planning. Most of this has been done in my head and I'm finally getting some of my ideas down on paper. Since Lamb 1 is 6, I don't have a lot of planning to do, but I need to do some. My style, especially after teaching in a classroom, it makes me feel so good to have it planned.

Today Ram had a medical test done. Please keep him in your prayers that the doctors can find what (if anything) is wrong and how to help him.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Photo Contest

I entered this photo of the Lambs in a contest.
If you are a local reader, please go to Java Jules in Ortonville and vote for my photo! Judges will judge the entries at the end of August, but voting will continue through September. There were over 30 entries. The best part of this contest was they printed and framed the photo and after the contest I get to keep it for a very small fee. I requested that they frame a second photo for me and I already picked that one up. So I will have the two nice framed photos to keep! This is a reason I love living in a small town.
The Lambs look so little here in this photo that was taken less than a year ago. They are growing up quickly!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

MCCL Booth at the fair

This year was the first time in 6 years that we didn't have a baby in the "Adorable Baby" contest at the county fair. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life sponsors this for babies up to age 2. I was asked to sit at the booth at the fair to take people's ballots for the baby contest and hand out pro-life literature. I gladly accepted and sat for 3 hours on Friday.
There wasn't a lot of activity in the afternoon, but a few people stopped by the booth. One was involved with Birthright and was full of information of how important the pro-life work is. I would have loved to have talked to her more.
One had just moved here from Vermont. He was shocked that there was a need for a petition to stop sex-selection abortions in MN. His response, "That happens in China, not in America!"
The most shocking for me was two girls (and I want to stress girls) that stopped by the booth with one boy. The boy asked which model showed a baby at 18 weeks. I showed him and he pointed out to the first girl what her baby looked like. He started bragging about his baby then. Then he teased the girl about having to deliver that baby if it was that big at 18 weeks. I had been quiet until then, but I spoke up and told him that if he was the father, he better be there to help her in the delivery room. Then the second girl spoke up and asked how her 12 week old baby looked. The first girl was obviously pregnant, the second one I wouldn't have known she was pregnant if she hadn't said anything. I am so thankful these girls kept their babies, but I can't imagine what they are going through now. Ram and I were a team when I was pregnant-especially when I was so sick with Lamb 1 and in the delivery room for all 3 Lambs. I can't imagine being pregnant without the support of a husband. These girls are in my prayers.
Several people stopped by the booth to express their support of pro-life even if they didn't vote for a baby or pick up any literature. There was only one that stopped by to make a point to tell me that he didn't agree with pro-life work. I tried to think quickly to have a response for him, but all I could think of was that he should be thankful that his mom didn't abort him. His response- "Maybe the world would be a better place if that would have happened."
This happened at our small county fair in just 3 hours-and it wasn't even busy at the booth. When my shift at the booth was done, I thought, "Lord Have Mercy".

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Minister's Wife

Recently I went to a few events in the communities by our three churches. Every time I ran into people that said something like, "I know you, you're that minister's wife, right?"

It took five years for some members to stop calling me the last pastor's wife's name, Janet. The last pastor's last name and our last name begin with the same first letter, but Ewe isn't even close to Janet. I can see how members would get our last names mixed up, but not our first names.

Doctors are the only profession that I can think of that might have the same thing happen as pastor's wives-there's Dr. ________'s spouse-at least I can see that happening in a small town.

I noticed in the minutes of the voter's meetings from years ago that all women were referred to as Mrs. ______, not by their first name. Some of our older members refer to the ladies as Mrs. ______, not their first name.

It would be nice to be called by my first name after living here 7 years, but it's also nice that Ram is respected and known in the community as a pastor. Perhaps they will also seek him out for spiritual care.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Lambs stunt

Last Saturday one Lamb locked the basement bathroom and closed the door. After they went to bed Ram had quite a time removing the doorknob and unlocking the door. Finally I stuck a screwdriver in and pushed hard and the door opened. We decided to leave the door knob off.

Sunday morning we went to early service and then we worked on cleaning out the basement some more. After a few hours I went upstairs to make lunch and the Lambs stayed downstairs and played. Lamb 2 came upstairs a little later and said Lamb 3 was locked in the bathroom. We had made the mistake to leave part of the doorknob in the door, including the lock.

I tried the same trick as the day before with no luck. Finally the Lambs went over to a neighbor's house and asked for help. I called Ram but he was still at third service. The neighbor came over and got Lamb 3 out. The neighbor expected Lamb 3 to be crying and upset. Lamb 3 sat back from the door like I asked him to. When the neighbor got him out, he just walked out and continued to play. The neighbor took the rest of the lock out of the door so it wouldn't happen again. I called Ram and told him we got Lamb 3 out and not to worry.

Ram got home and had no idea what we were talking about-he never listened to any of the phone messages! I'm thankful for nice neighbors!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Shoes for the Lambs

Lamb 1 has complained all summer when he was required to wear tennis shoes (not his sandals) that his shoes are too loose. Sometimes I would try to tighten the velcro, but he still complained.
On Monday, we went to the Cities and one stop I wanted to make was Stride Rite and get all the boys' feet measured. I have tried other stores including stores like Payless and department stores and some of the other few shoe stores we have in our area (and our area is defined in a 3 hour radius), but I have never found any place besides Stride Rite that can get measuring the Lambs' feet correct.
Our Lambs have a lot of shoes. We try to have one pair each of sandals, church shoes, tennis shoes, boots, and slippers for each Lamb. I want them to have shoes that are easy to put on for every day, but shoes with ties for church. Last fall we had a terrible time finding church shoes with ties for Lamb 2. Several stores told me that they didn't make those in smaller than size 12. We finally bought Lamb 1 and 2 church shoes on sale from Lands End. They had a terrible time getting them on each Sunday morning and they weren't that comfortable.
On Monday we had an excellent sales woman at Stride Rite. She explained that Lamb 1 had small feet for his age plus narrow feet. She recommended shoes that tied for him for all the time. So we're going to be working on learning to tie shoes.
They had brown shoes that tied in size 11 and size 13 for Lamb 1 and 2. They look really comfortable-like brown tennis shoes. Plus they were buy one get one half price so it wasn't so terrible like Stride Rite prices usually are! This style even went down to size 8 1/2 so it won't be long before Lamb 3 can also have a pair of these nice shoes.
I have to look at our stash of shoes to see if any are acceptable (not totally worn out) for Lamb 3 before we purchase shoes for him. The sales lady reminded me that children should not wear hand-me-down shoes. In our family, we hand down church shoes, but usually their tennis shoes are thrown out when they outgrow them-sometimes even before they outgrow them they need another pair. I can tell this is going to be a problem in our family because Lamb 1 has such narrow feet that he may not be able to pass down his church shoes to Lamb 2. We'll deal with that problem if it continues, but I was thrilled with our find after such problems last year.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Why were there no SPRING jackets on any of the racks at Target or Walmart or many other stores we looked at in the correct size for Lamb 1, until AUGUST 2? We finally found one at Goodwill early this summer and it was more expensive than I would have liked to pay for a used jacket, but it fit him and part of it was yellow, his favorite color. The bonus was it had something in the pocket for a Looper's daughter. We looked at every store we could think of last spring! Sometimes I want to scream about buying boys clothes. I think it would be so much easier to dress a daughter, but then I remember I would want her to be dressed modestly and I'll stick to my problems with finding boys clothes.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Last Wednesday

We had a busy but fun day last Wednesday. First it was the last program for the summer reading program. The Lambs got ice cream bars (I think that was a first for Lamb 3), watched a movie, listened to a story, did a craft and got prizes. Lamb 2 won tickets to the rides at Storybook Land so we'll have to find time to go before the season ends at Labor Day. Lamb 1 won a book. Lamb 2 won a small stuffed raccoon. They got points for time reading and they used their points to "buy" a little. They combined their points to get a play doh set and also got some small fish that will be great in the bathtub. Lamb 2 used a lot of points to get small animals-he got reptiles and ocean animals. Lamb 1 got a hermit crab that grew in the water. Lamb 3 can't wait to be old enough to get prizes. I'm thankful the library has this program in the summer and for the "treats". It makes the summer interesting to have something to go to once a week.

In the evening, we went to a picnic sponsored by the LLL (Lutheran men's group). It was held at a park about 45 minutes away. They provided hot dogs and lemonade and we all brought a dish. There was a lot of food!
The LLL had this picnic 2 years ago and we went. We didn't know that this park had a sprinkler pad. Lamb 3 was a baby so I left him in his stroller. I let Lamb 1 go in just his shorts and Lamb 2 in just his diaper. We hadn't brought any towels or swim trunks. Lamb 2 loved it. Lamb 1 was too scared to go in the sprinkler at all.
What a difference 2 years makes! This time we were prepared and brought swim trunks and towels. The Lambs couldn't wait until we were done eating so they could go to the sprinkler pad. The ladies at the picnic couldn't believe I was going to let them go when it was only 75 degrees.

They started to get cold when the LLL meeting was ending so we finished the same time as Ram. They had a great time and wished we lived closer to the sprinkler park. The Lambs were the only ones at the sprinkler pad.

I had forgotten a diaper pin for Lamb 3's swim trunks which are too big for him. So I told him he could wear just his shorts. I showed him that he had clean clothes to change into after he got wet. He didn't want to go in the sprinkler at all! I'm not sure if he was just like Lamb 1 was 2 years ago or if he was bothered by no swim trunks. I thought he was going to spend the whole time on this bench this far away from the sprinkler.

Then he decided he could walk/run around the outside of the sprinkler pad. He never went near the water, but he loved to walk around the circle. He stopped each time he went by me and got a kiss. He was disappointed when the Lambs were done in the sprinkler pad and he had to stop his walking around the circle. And we wonder why we can see his ribs? It was a fun evening for the whole family. I remember the night we were here 2 years ago like it was yesterday. Evenings like this make memories for everyone in the family.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Weekly Update

We had wanted to go to the Twin Cities last week, but it just didn't work out. We stayed here and got some tasks done around home. Ram had a long day on Tuesday visiting people in 3 different towns in 3 different directions. He went 92 miles that day! Wednesday was the last summer reading program at the library. It took over 2 hours to get treats, do a craft, award prizes, etc. On Wednesday the LLL hosted a picnic in the town 45 miles away. It was held at a park that has a sprinkler pad. I'll post more about what we did on Wednesday later. Thursday our babysitter came and we went to the refuge that I posted about. Friday we went to the town 1 1/2 hours away to do some grocery shopping and it ended up being a most of the day trip. Saturday was hot and humid and we stayed home and rested from the week.
In there some where I tried to keep up with dishes and laundry and succeeded some days. I also cleaned the laundry room and organized in there. The spiders love that room and I had quite a job. Thankfully Lamb 1 thought that job was fun and I ended up being a supervisor. I also began cleaning up some things we have stored in the basement-especially old boxes. I didn't finish, but we took a lot out to trash and recycling last week. I also vacuumed and cleaned out our minivan. I began cleaning out our board games and getting some to donate and organizing the rest. Lamb 1 continued to work on his math and do some reading too. My cleaning/organizing the whole house project is going slow but well.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

2 Disappointed Lambs

The Lambs were scheduled to learn to play soccer this week. It was my kind of sport for the Lambs-they were the correct age (4-6) and it was only a 1 week commitment. I could take both Lambs at once and it wouldn't be that difficult to take Lamb 3 along if Ram couldn't babysit. After 2 weeks of swim lessons, I didn't want to commit to something all summer like t-ball. The Lambs were excited, although Lamb 1 was a little hesitant to learn something new.
We received a letter last week that soccer was canceled because they couldn't find anyone to coach it. I'm surprised there wasn't a college student that wanted to earn a little extra money for a week of work in the evening.
We had wanted to go to Fort Wayne to the family retreat, but I had already signed the boys up for soccer and I didn't want them to miss it. It is too late to go to that this year for us-too many details would need to be taken care of before a vacation. So I'm disappointed too. Hopefully they will find someone to coach next year. Plus we had an extremely busy week scheduled, and it will be nice to have time to work on the peaches I bought on sale and do some other tasks at home.