Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Reformation Day!

With might of ours can naught be done,
Soon were our loss effected;
But for us fights the Valiant One,
Whom God Himself elected.
Ask ye, Who is this?
Jesus Christ it is,
Of Sabaoth Lord,
And there's none other God;
He holds the field forever.

(TLH 262:2)


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall Vacation Day 8 (September 12)

I do have a little more to blog about the LCMS installation service, but I wanted to go on about our vacation. Ram was at home on September 12. He was back to work as a pastor leading 3 services on Sunday morning.
We went to Zion Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne to church. Many of our friends had gone to the installation service and were not back at church on Sunday morning. At least I saw them at the installation service. We saw a few friends that were not able to go to the installation service so I was glad to see them at church on Sunday morning. After church we visited for a little while but I was with the Lambs alone and they were very anxious to do something, not just stand around listening to Mama talk.
So I took the Lambs on a tour of the school where I taught. It was a good time because it was unlocked for Sunday School. A few years ago Zion combined with Unity and Bethlehem and they no longer have classes in the building next to the church. The building is up for sale or lease but so far nothing has happened. It was strange to go through the school-it looked like summer, not September. The classrooms were all pretty much the same as when I taught there. There were many student and one teacher desks in each classroom. There just weren't decorated bulletin boards or other personal items in the classrooms. Even the library looked pretty similar to when I taught there-it looked like they took some books to the new school but the majority were still on the shelves in the library. If they do sell or lease the building they are going to have a lot of work to clean out years worth of school items. Perhaps they will sell most of it with the building or have an auction. I don't know. The tour took a lot of explaining to the Lambs since they are homeschooled-I had to explain what a typical school day was like, where we ate lunch, where recess was, what the gym was for, etc. I can only imagine how difficult the last days of school in that building were for the teachers. It was bittersweet to tour the building-yes that time of my life is done teaching in that school building, but I have lots of good memories there. Even just walking up the several steps and going straight to my classroom like I did for 6 1/2 years for countless times brought memories. Stepping into my classroom made even more memories. I understand times change and the building was very old and expensive to heat and no A/C. I also think of the hundreds of students that were taught in that building-many of them for 8 or 9 years.
I have lots of photos of my students (especially group shots of the whole class), but I had very few photos of the church and school. I also taught before I owned a digital camera. I wish I would have taken more photos of my classroom and the school while I taught there. I did snap a few photos on September 12, but the Lambs wanted to explore the whole building and I couldn't stop and take too many photos or who knows what they would have gotten into unsupervised. Here's the photos that I took-
This stained glass window was at the main entrance of the school between the secretary and headmaster's offices, above the steps where the students waited for their rides each day at the end of school. I think I remember that it was installed while I taught there, but I don't remember that for sure. I liked that your attention was focused up there.

This was the gym. We sat in these old chairs with not enough leg room for someone tall like me to watch basketball games and watch plays. My favorite memories here were every year on the last day of school before Christmas break each class performed something for the rest of the school.  The other side of the gym had a big stage where we tried to have a play or musical each year. The gym was on the 3rd floor, my classroom was on the second floor, and other classrooms were on the first floor (basement). Sometimes it was quite loud to be teaching right under the gym.

This plaque was before they became Zion Lutheran Academy. It was in the entrance.

A view of the side of the church. A few years ago they added a beautiful addition with restrooms, offices, nice area for fellowship after church, kitchen and big meeting room, etc.

After the tour then we stopped over at Bethany Lutheran Church where Ram did his field work to see if we knew anyone. Most of the people we knew did not stay for Bible class that day. I was still glad we stopped by to see the pastor and show the Lambs where Ram was a field worker.

Then we ate a fast lunch and got ready to go over to see some of my high school friends. Mike and Katrina have one girl and one boy that are both a little older than Lamb 1. We also invited our friend Chellie from high school. The combined children at Mike and Katrina's house from the 3 families were 8 boys and 1 girl. Katrina was really brave to invite ALL of us to her house. We had planned to go to a splash pad but it was too cold. Mike grilled out brats, Chellie and I brought a few things to add to the menu, and we had a nice meal. Mike and Katrina have 3 big dogs. They were very understanding that Lamb 1 was afraid. They did a great job keeping the dogs in their kennels for most of the time we were there, warning Lamb 1 when they were going to let the dogs go outside for a little bit so the Lambs could come inside, and warning the Lambs when the dogs would come back inside. The dogs were very well trained. The adults spent most of the afternoon there just chatting and eating. The Lambs played outside most of the time we were there or came and sat by me. The other kids did a combination of playing video games in the basement and playing outside.

Lamb 3 was exhausted after the trip to Saint Louis. Mike was excited when Lamb 3 fell asleep and he could have a chance to hold a "baby". It had been a few years since he held his own children while they slept! Mike's allergies were bad that day so he was a little "drugged up" in this photo. Lamb 3 missed Ram already the first day apart and he wouldn't admit it, but I think he liked another dad holding him. If you would have told me 20 years ago that I would have a photo like this I would have thought you were crazy-both that Mike would be holding one of my children and that I would have 3 boys!

Chellie, Katrina, Ewe
Chellie and Katrina were a year ahead of me in school, but I'm still taller! Sorry for the bad photo-this is the only one where no children were coming in or out of the front door behind us. We did briefly discuss that they will have their 20th class reunion next spring, but I get to wait another year before it is my 20th! All 3 of us look very similar to what we looked like in high school-you wouldn't know that we are moms of 9 children all together nor that it has been almost 20 years!
The Lambs had a great time even though they were scared to go because of the dogs. They had an area in the front yard just for digging in the dirt with shovels and dump trucks. The Lambs loved this and didn't want to go home when it was time. When we went home the first thing was to give them baths! We wished that Ram could have been with us but we had a fun day.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

LCMS Installation Day Part 2

After the 2 1/2 hour service then there was a reception at the Seminary. We could smell the brats they cooked when we stopped by the Seminary the night before. They planned it very well that one area had a booth sponsored by CPH that gave away bookmarks, one tent gave out brats and potato chips, and one tent had condiments for the brats. Then another area had a few pop/beer tents and the band. We stayed up by the brat tent to eat because it had rained the night before and down by the band it was very muddy. It ended up being a nice spot for us because lots of people we knew went to get their brats and stopped to see us then. I met Pastor Weeden and his wife then. We were there such a short time that we saw more people by being there. Ram and my dad went and brought drinks back for us. We stopped by the band area to talk to a few people and then we had to take Ram to the airport. We weren't able to stay long, but we were glad we were there. Here's the photos that I did get at the reception.

This photo isn't very good, but here is the Lambs with Ram and my dad eating brats and chips. Lamb 3 refused to eat anything-I think he was tired after the service even though he slept during the service.

Ewe with Michael and Sarah Hollman. Michael is the organist at Zion, Fort Wayne and also played for the installation service. They didn't stay at the reception long because they had to get back so he could play organ in the morning. He did a great job playing the organ at the service-especially timing playing music for communion correctly which is hard to do with that many people being served. Sarah turned pages for him and she waved at me from the balcony. Michael played for our wedding and we loved his suggestions for music for our wedding. I think of him every time we sing the processional for our wedding (Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven LSB 793) at church.

Ram with Rev. Jim Gier, one of Ram's Seminary classmates.

Elephant's Child with Ewe-we met in person this day.

My favorite photo of the day! Ewe with Rev. Harrison's oldest son. "Little" Matthew Harrison is not so little any more. I will always think of him as my first grade student though. He was kind enough to let me have a photo taken with him while he talked to his friend about his first grade memories. He left in the middle of his first grade year to go to Saint Louis so his dad could begin work at LCMS World Relief. It's hard to believe that was 10 years ago. He said to that was a rough time for him to move in the middle of the year. He carried the cross in the processional for the service.

Ewe with Cheryl Magness-we met in person on this day.

Much better photos of the band were on the LCMS website. I wasn't able to get closer to take a better picture because the Lambs were with me, it was muddy, and we had to get Ram to the airport. But I did want to put my photo on the blog to show that I was there! Rev. Harrison had a great time playing.

We needed to go and I had not seen Kathy Harrison yet. I put the Lambs in the car with Ram and my dad and I decided to go look one more time. I found Rev. Harrison and asked him where she was at and he had no idea. He said the last time he saw her was at the chapel and we had already eaten and visited with several people so quite a bit of time had passed since she was at the chapel. I finally found her off to the side watching the band. She was having a great time. It looked to me that she was just soaking in the day-visiting with people and listening to her husband play in the band and taking photos with her own camera. She will have many happy memories of this day. She was so glad the weather cooperated after rain the night before. I'm am so happy that she is our new "first lady of the LCMS". I only visited with her for a few minutes, but I was glad I found her before we left. I don't think I had seen her since they moved to Saint Louis. I am keeping the Harrison family (Pastor, Kathy, Matthew, and Mark) in my prayers.
We then took Ram to the airport and my dad and the Lambs and I drove back to Fort Wayne. We got back late. Ram drove home from the Twin Cities airport. I'll post more about the rest of our vacation later.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fall Vacation Day 7 (September 11)

I have so much to post about the LCMS installation service that I will begin posting today and continue posting tomorrow.
We ate breakfast at the hotel and then headed over to the Seminary. We had arranged with Lamb 2's godfather, Jonathan, and his wife Megan to both try to get there early and whomever got there first would save seats for the other. I thought Jonathan would get there first, but we were there a little before them. Most of the pews were blocked off reserved and there weren't many seats not taken already in the pews that weren't reserved. On both sides of the pews there were chairs set up. I chose chairs on the left side (as looking from the back). The first two rows of chairs were reserved for "Lutheran Witness Press". We took the two rows after that. Right before the service started a woman came and asked if she could sit in Lamb 3's seat and I told her yes. On the LCMS website in the photo from the back of the chapel, you can see Megan in a light blue shirt and you can see me holding Lamb 1 to the far left of the photo in the row ahead of Megan. I ended up regretting picking the chairs because when the Lambs fell asleep (or wanted to sleep) there was no where for them to lie down like if we had been in a pew. I now appreciate that all 3 of our churches have pews instead of chairs!
I was very impressed with how well planned and run the whole installation service and the whole day was.

We had been concerned about parking, but we shouldn't have been. We drove up here and told them that Ram and my dad planned to process in. We were sent to a specific parking lot by where the pastors met.
We had to save our seats until Jonathan and Megan came so we just stayed close to our seats. Before Jonathan arrived, Rev. Harrison came into the chapel. He made a point to come over and give me a hug and talk to myself and the Lambs then. He said to the Lambs, "Do you know that your Mama was my son's teacher?" The Lambs looked at him with a look that said, "Who cares? She's our teacher too!". I was glad to have a chance to see him then because that was my only chance to talk to him.
Jonathan and Megan came soon after that and they stayed by our seats so I could walk around with the Lambs. I saw a lot of people before the service. I was unable to take photos then because I was watching the 3 Lambs by myself. Here's some of the people that I talked with before the service:
Dr. Leo Sanchez-a college classmate, now at the Saint Louis Seminary.
Deaconess Pam Nielsen-I taught her oldest daughter my first year of teaching, now an editor for CPH.
Elephant's Child and her family-we were e-mail buddies but I had never met her before this day.
Phil and Cheryl Magness-also we were e-mail buddies but I had never met her before this day.
There were about 20 members of Zion, Fort Wayne there and I saw and talked to several of them before the service.
Lois C.-former church secretary at Zion, Fort Wayne, now a pastor's wife in Arkansas.
Anne Z. and Cornelia S.-Fort Wayne Seminary professor wives and also Zion, Fort Wayne members.
The Lambs needed to run off some energy so I was unable to talk to anyone very long. Lamb 2 wet his pants so we had a whole deal to get clean clothes out of the car and change. I was glad it happened then instead of during the service. It was finally close enough to the beginning of the service that we went back and sat in our seats.
I really wanted a photo of my dad and Ram together, but they weren't in their vestments yet when I headed over to the chapel and after the service they changed right away before I met up with them. Rev. Weeden did post this photo of Ram on his blog. I don't think he would mind if I posted it here too.

Megan, Lamb 2, and Jonathan
Lamb 3 and Lamb 1 before the installation service
Many have already blogged their thoughts so I won't comment much about the actual service. I expected the service to be about 2 hours, but I had forgotten about Holy Communion, so it was 2 1/2 hours. I expected the singing to be good when there were that many Lutherans gathered and it was. I wasn't surprised that they sang "This is the Feast" and the hymns well. But what surprised me was the Offertory-"What Shall I Render to the Lord", how beautiful that was when that many were singing it. It was very different from our churches of about 30 per Sunday singing it! I was so thankful that they used traditional liturgy in the installation service for both my sake and for the Lambs. I had my hands full with 3 Lambs during a 2 1/2 hour service. The Lambs appreciated knowing what was coming next when the service was that long. Lamb 1 had the idea to count the pastors as they came in, but they came down 3 different aisles and not in single file so he quickly lost count and had a tantrum during the processional. I did not notice any other toddlers besides our Lambs-I saw babies and elementary age children, but not young children like Lamb 2 and 3. (I did see a young girl in the front row that I assumed was related to Rev. Harrison or someone being installed because of where they were sitting and she had to be taken out during the service.) It is possible I missed seeing other young children because of where I was sitting, but I don't think there were very many. Lamb 2 and 3 both slept through parts of the service, but Lamb 1 didn't and kept saying the service was too long. I was able to stay at the entire service and not take any Lambs out.
Jonathan and Megan were brave enough to take on Lamb 2 for the service and he is always the Lamb that keeps me on my toes at church. Before he fell asleep Jonathan took many things away from Lamb 2 (his tie, his crucifix, crayons, paper, etc.). Lamb 2 fell asleep and Megan held him for about 1/2 of the service. They went to communion first and I stayed with the Lambs. Then they came back and stayed with Lamb 2 and I took the other Lambs with me up to communion. Lamb 2 slept through all that. Lamb 2 did like sitting with his godfather and getting extra attention for the service. I couldn't have attended if Jonathan and Megan hadn't sat by me and helped me. I'm so thankful that they both saved seats for us and helped during the service.
My dad said that Rev. Harrison shook all the pastors hands and spoke to them individually before they processed in. He said that 160 RSVPed and there were about 15 that didn't have seats so there were probably 175 pastors that processed in. It meant a lot to my dad that Rev. Harrison took time to do that.
It was a beautiful service and I was so glad that we were able to attend. After the service it was party time! I'll post photos of the party tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

About our trip to Saint Louis

Before I post about the LCMS installation service on September 11, I thought I better explain how our vacation went from our house to Fort Wayne to Saint Louis all in the same week.
We hadn't been to Fort Wayne to my parent's house since June 2008. Lamb 3 was a few months old when we went last time. My parents had come to visit us, but we hadn't been there. I was getting homesick for Fort Wayne and our friends there. I can handle living 16 hours away from my parents if I get home every year or two. We planned to make sure to see a few family and friends plus go to the used bookstore there. We planned a trip in the fall to Fort Wayne, but hadn't set a date.
My sister was getting ready to go to South Korea for a year and she will be unable to come back to the USA for that whole year. We wanted to time our trip that we could visit with her before she left but not be in the way while she was packing and doing her final tasks.
Ram didn't have a lot of vacation time because we had already spent a week in CA in May with his family.  The tri-parish understands if he has to miss a Sunday, but it is really hard to find a substitute because he does 3 services each Sunday morning. We really try to time vacations to miss one or no Sundays in a year. Add to this that he was a Synodical Convention delegate. That wasn't vacation, but he did miss two Sundays this year for that.
We were trying to figure out if Ram would fly one way and I would drive the Lambs one way where he should fly to. Should he fly to Indianapolis and make a day of it and see my friend Kristy and go to the Children's Museum there? Or fly to Fort Wayne but that is more expensive? About the same time we heard that everyone was invited to the installation service. My dad really wanted to go to the service and process in as a pastor. Rev. Harrison was my former pastor at Fort Wayne so I really wanted to go to the service too. I got the idea that we could drive to Fort Wayne first, then drive to Saint Louis and attend the installation service, and Ram could fly home from Saint Louis. A ticket from Saint Louis was about half the price of a ticket from Indy or Fort Wayne. There actually was a flight in the afternoon that he could take home from Saint Louis and then drive back to our house and be back to do church on Sunday morning. This was my idea and I'm the one that really wanted to do all this in one week and Ram agreed to it.
So we bought a ticket and did that. We drove to Minneapolis in two cars the first Sunday and left his car at the airport. We drove our minivan to Fort Wayne on Monday. We drove to Saint Louis on Friday. We went to the installation service and then dropped off Ram at the airport. My dad and I drove back to Fort Wayne with the Lambs for a few more days of vacation. Then I drove the Lambs home stopping to see friends on the way home.
The crazy part about this was at the time we thought Ram had a rare anemia and thought he would be exhausted with this schedule for a vacation. Because of this, I did more driving than I usually do on vacations even while he was with us. We did this vacation and then he took a nap on Sunday afternoon and slept in on Monday morning and he was ready to go back to work as a pastor. Later that week that he came back from vacation he had the CT Scan where they found the tumor on his kidney. We are so thankful that he came back before us and had that scan which started the process towards going to Mayo for his surgery.
Were we tired after this vacation? Yes. Was it worth being tired? Yes.
We didn't know that Ram would need surgery when we went on our vacation. I am so thankful that we went on our vacation when we did. We were able to spend a week with my sister before she left. If we would have waited until later in the fall then Ram would be recovering and we would be unable to go. Perhaps we would feel like we couldn't afford a trip after medical bills or afford more time away from the church. But I REALLY needed a vacation "home". We had a great time as a family even though it was a busy week and we did so much during the week. Sometimes pastors and their families just have to get away. Helping Ram and being a single parent while he recovers has been easier since I had my vacation. Plus I'm really glad we were there for the installation service. I'll post about the installation soon.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall Vacation Day 6 (September 10)

This was a driving/short visits day. When my dad saw our schedule for this Friday, he thought it was too much for one day, especially for the Lambs. We managed to do everything on our schedule. Our family plus my dad went on this trip. First, we drove to Indianapolis and stopped to see my friend from high school, Kristy. Kristy was one of my bridesmaids. I hadn't seen her since our last trip to IN, 2 years ago. Kristy had a little boy named Joshua that was about 6 months old when we visited. We met at Josh's daycare and brought her food for lunch and ate it outside. Kristy is doing a great job being a mom, working full time, and also making strides to promote breastfeeding in her office. The daycare is across the street from her office.

This photo is of our oldest boys, who were both born the first week of March. Lamb 1 did not want his photo taken and Josh was more interested in his fingers than the camera.

The photo of the moms with their "babies" went a little better. There was still something more fascinating than the camera to Lamb 3 and Josh though.

After our lunch visit with Kristy, then we drove to Saint Louis. Our first stop was to my college friends, the Roeglin family. Baby Daniel was just 11 days old when we visited. We just stopped in for a quick visit, but Karla's family (parents, one sister and her kids) were also just arriving for the weekend because Daniel was baptized that Sunday. It was crazy between all those kids, and we didn't have much time, but I was so glad to see Karla and her family. I don't do Facebook so I had only received a couple of photos so it was great to see and hold Daniel. It was also fun to see Karla's older sister, because she had taught at the same school when I student taught. It was great to see her oldest daughter that was a baby that year that I student taught, that was now FIFTEEN.

The last time I saw Karla was when her 5th child and Lamb 2 were both babies, about 4 years ago. The last time I saw Karla she said that they were probably done with their family now that they had 5 children. I'm so happy for her that she had #6! She said her biggest problem was that there were 5 older siblings but only 1 baby for them to hold. Daniel was adorable. My babies were so tiny compared to Daniel (2-3 lbs less) that I did not feel like I was holding an 11 old day baby.

This was our attempt at a 2 family photo. Matt and Karla, their 2 girls and 4 boys, Ewe and the 3 Lambs.

I couldn't resist taking a photo of Lamb 3 with Daniel's Charlie Brown doll since Lamb 3 was dressed as Charlie Brown.

After a short visit with the Roeglin family, then we met Lamb 2's godfather and his wife for dinner at a restaurant like Panera Bread. Jonathan and Megan have been married about a year. Jonathan is my cousin. We hadn't seen them since their wedding. Jonathan is a 4th year seminarian at Saint Louis. It was great to see them and to have help to know where to go at the Seminary. I had been to the Seminary one time several years ago and my dad had never been there before. Lamb 2 enjoyed the attention from his godfather. This visit was much too short too.

After dinner then we had a terrible time getting to our hotel that we had reserved. We could see the hotel from the road, but we couldn't figure out where the frontage road was to get into it. We finally found it and got a little sleep before we had to get up early in the morning.

Saturday was a very big day. I'm going to have to think through what to post about the day and I'm sure it will be more than a one day post. Everyone else posted shortly after that day, but I'm just getting to post to it now.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week 2 and 3 School Report

We accomplished enough school that I'm willing to say that we did 2 weeks of school so far in October. Here's what we accomplished these two weeks:
Bible: Memorized 1 Timothy 1:15, Did Bible stories Moses and the Burning Bush; Moses and the Plaques; The Passover; Crossing the Red Sea; and God Provides Manna, Water, and Quail.
Reading: We read several Enid Blyton stories aloud. We are almost finished reading all the Blyton that we own.
Handwriting: Lamb 1 began a review of his uppercase letters in a Kumon book. It is too easy for him, but I want him to review and make sure he knows the correct way to make all the letters. We're thankful Grandma gave us so many Kumon books! Lamb 1 also did a lot of his own "very important" writing. He asked to spell several words for his own writing. Lamb 1 also did a little spelling.
Lamb 2 finished his first tracing book. He was much improved in holding a pencil and staying on the line by the end of the book as compared to the beginning. He began a Kumon Numbers book which is mainly learning to write the numbers. He couldn't have done this Kumon Numbers book a few months ago, the tracing book paid off to help him with numbers now.
Science: Read Under One Rock-Bugs, Slugs and other Ughs, current National Geographic Little Kids, began current National Geographic Kids, current Wild Animal Baby, and began a Jungle Sticker Book (put stickers in book and read about jungle animals)
Music: Listened to Beethoven, more Bach, and Tchaikovsky.
Art: We made some crafty thank you notes.
Math: Lamb 1 finished MUS lesson 27 and began lesson 28.
Lamb 2 finished his 1-10 dot to dot book and began a 1-20 dot to dot book.
Other: While the weather was nice they played outside a lot, especially while I hung a lot of clothes out to dry and I was outside with them then too. Grandpa helped them fly a kite one day. The Lambs did a lot of chores especially cleaning up their toys and taking out the trash/recycling without help. I did a lot of baking (muffins, cookies, etc.) and cooking and they often helped. We read a book from the Sheriff that we received a few weeks ago and talked about some safety things like 911. We still need to work on memorizing our address and phone number, but that's difficult because there aren't any street signs and if you say you live in our town everyone knows where you live.

We aren't accomplishing all the school subjects while Ram is recovering. I am in "survival mode" right now doing what is necessary and not extras. They miss art and Latin and our other subjects. This week I hope to do some study of Reformation and also carve pumpkins and make cut out cookies and other fun fall activities. We'll see what we can accomplish this week. I think of everything I did in the classroom in October and I would love to do all that with my Lambs. Last year we were sick in the fall and this year Ram is recovering. Maybe next year...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fall Vacation Day 5 (September 9)

In the morning Ram stayed at my parent's house with the Lambs while my sister and I went shopping. Our mission was to find something for me to wear on Saturday when we went to Saint Louis. I knew it was expected to be warm on Saturday and I had lots of appropriate winter and spring clothes, but nothing for a church service in September. I had brought a few tops and skirts along and my sister didn't approve of wearing anything that I brought (at least not a top and a bottom together). We found a nice white blouse that I ended up wearing and you will see in lots of photos when I get that far blogging. We also went to Target and the mall and did a little more necessary shopping. It was nice to go with my sister without the Lambs.
After lunch Ram and I took the Lambs to the Seminary. We had heard they had a new playground. The boys enjoyed some play time at the playground while Ram bought a few books at the bookstore. This was the best picture-trust me I took a ton of photos at the playground that day. They just wanted to play, not stop for photos!

Each year when I was teaching I took my students to the Seminary for a field trip. I always took a photo of my students by the Martin Luther statue. I had to get a photo of the Lambs and Ram there too.

We took a walk through the woods on my classroom field trips. We always took another photo of the class on this bridge. So I had to get a photo of the Lambs and Ram here too. They got tired of these photos that "Mama had to have".

On the walk through the woods, Lamb 1 said they should mow the paths. They didn't get the concept of walking through the WOODS. We weren't dressed appropriately for a walk through the woods (especially sandals didn't work well).  It was a short walk but the Lambs still found a few "treasures". Their pinecones and other treasures were in the car for weeks after this nature walk.

After our walk through the woods Ram took the Lambs home to my parent's house and I went to visit my friend Sharon. Sharon was the school secretary when I taught at Zion. Sharon has had many treatments for brain cancer. She was doing well the day I visited and we had a nice chat. I'm sorry I didn't take any photos with Sharon.

After my visit with Sharon, then my friend from high school, Laura, came over to my parent's house. I just had to say that my parents still lived in the same house and she didn't need any directions. We have tried to get together each time I went back to IN since I moved to MN and it had never worked out before this time. I think the last time I saw her for more than a few minutes (or a wave to each other at an event in Fort Wayne) was at my wedding, and you know that you can't really talk to someone at your own wedding. It was so good to spend an afternoon together catching up. My sister made sweet tea and her yummy spinach dip for us to snack while we chatted. Ram and my parents tried to watch the Lambs so we could chat. Laura and I got to know each other for 3 years of French class in high school. No, I don't remember any French now, but Laura might.

After Laura went home, Ram went and got take out from Casa (Italian) for supper for us. Then I had to pack for our trip to Saint Louis. Our week in Fort Wayne went by way too quickly, but we saw a lot of family and friends.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall Vacation Day 4 (September 8)

Before we were interrupted with Ram's medical problems, I started to blog about our vacation to IN. I'll try to get back to blogging about our vacation. I know that I will be interrupted so it won't be a daily report until I'm finished, but I do hope to finish about our vacation. Here is what we did on a very full day on September 8.

We arose early in the morning to go to "Grandpa's cafe". The Lambs take turns at home going to our town cafe with Ram. Grandpa teaches a Bible class every Wednesday morning near his house. We arrived just as they were finishing and a kind lady in the group paid for our breakfast. Grandpa and Grandma had eaten first so they helped with the Lambs so we could eat.

Grandpa and Grandma and Aunt Hannah babysat the Lambs and we went on a date. Lamb 3 was not happy that we left, but Lamb 1 and 2 loved the time to play games and go to the park. Lamb 1 and 2 played a Pooh board game that Grandma had in the closet. I don't remember ever playing that game and I can't believe I didn't know my mom had something that was Pooh related.

Our first stop on the date was to our favorite used book store. We put the books in the car seat for the way home. When my parents visit we usually send a box of books home with them to take to this bookstore. We had over $200 credit because we had not been back to Fort Wayne for over 2 years. Besides seeing family, using our credit at Hyde Brothers was one of the biggest reasons we went on this trip.  I cleaned out their shelf of Gene Stratton Porter books. Ram found a few treasures too. We didn't even spend all of our credit, we left when we still had $9 credit. We will enjoy spending that credit and hopefully add to it before we go again.

Our next stop on our date was to the restaurant we had our first date at. (Can anyone that lived in Fort Wayne guess which restaurant?) We even sat at the same booth as our first date. It was almost exactly 10 years ago. The difference was we went to lunch on this date, and we went right before they closed on a Sunday night for our first date. It was so nice to have a meal without any Lambs!

 When we got home after our date, this is the mess the Lambs made while we were gone. My mom got out some tiles (think 2 dimensional Legos) and Lamb 1 did a great job building with them. The other Lambs just made a mess of them. My parents only had girls, and we didn't own Legos, so they weren't quite prepared for this big of a mess!
 After our date we picked up the Lambs and my sister, and we went to visit my last living great-uncle. Uncle Carl had called and said that he had good days and bad days and we better not come visit in case it was a bad day. He can't hear well on the phone so instead of calling him back, we just showed up at his apartment. He was a little upset that we came, but I think he was also glad that we took the time to visit him. This was the first time I had been back to Fort Wayne since his wife died, so it was a little difficult to go visit him without sweet Aunt Alice. Perhaps that is also why he didn't want us to visit. When it was time to go, he said, "I had planned to write you a letter, but since you came, now I don't have to." I know his letter would have been a sweet well thought letter. I'm a little disappointed to not receive a letter now, but glad that we had a little time to visit him in person.
 Then we went to the public library downtown. They have a play room in the children's section and our Lambs loved it! Here's Lamb 1 being a butterfly. My sister babysat the Lambs in the playroom while I went shopping at the used bookstore at the library. We purchased 9 books at the library book store. We also bought the Lambs Dunkin Donuts at the library. When I was in high school I worked at Dunkin Donuts but the location that I worked at closed. So this was as close as the Lambs could have donuts from "Mama's store." I couldn't believe how fast the Lambs ate a bag of donut holes-they lasted much longer when I brought them home from work when I was in high school!

Lamb 3 in the library play room.

The books that we bought at Hyde Brothers. (Click on the photo to see the books better.)

We also went to Half Price Books this afternoon but we only bought 2 books there.

Finally we went to dinner at Cebollas (Mexican) with one of Lamb 3's godfathers. Darin is engaged, but it was impossible to get together with his fiancee between their two work schedules and the limited time we were there. After dinner we came back to my parents house and talked for awhile and he played with Lamb 3 a little too. We were disappointed not to meet his fiancee, but we are hoping to go to their wedding next summer.

It was a fun day. We got to spend time alone without the Lambs, with my sister, and with our friend Darin. The Lambs got to do and see some fun things in Fort Wayne and also spend time with my parents. We also accomplished a lot of book store shopping!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Family Update

I have many things to blog about, but each night it seems like 11pm comes way too quickly. In the past few days I processed and froze many tomatoes and a little applesauce. I baked cookies and zucchini muffins. I made cheddar vegetable potato soup. We've done shortened homeschool days. Being Ram's nurse is getting easier as he recovers more each day. The Lambs have been put to work cleaning up some areas in the living room and their bedroom. They have much more to do, but I'm expecting a little each day. I've done a lot of laundry and dishes. My dad and Lamb 1 went to a friend's house to get their hair cut and we had time to visit while we were there. My dad is starting to get used to his schedule here and also getting his sermons written. Ram has had a few visitors including an LCMS pastor that gave him the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Ram has read a little bit the last few days, but before that all he did was sleep, which is what the doctor ordered. We filled out and our church treasurer filled out lots of paperwork for Ram to be on disability. I've ordered a few things online and this came in helpful when I'm not taking any long distance shopping trips in the next month. I've talked to my sister and she's doing great in South Korea. Other friends have also called to get an update on Ram and we've had time to chat. Ram finished his pain medication and is going to try to tough it out now instead of becoming addicted. We did a little grocery shopping in the town 7 miles away and the Lambs were much improved in helping at the grocery as compared to the week before.

I did want to share what happened during Bible Story yesterday in our homeschool. We did the story of the 10 Plagues. I was explaining to the Lambs what boils were. Lamb 2 asked if boils were like what was wrong with the 10 Lepers. I'm so proud of the Lambs for remembering their Bible stories from both homeschool and from Sunday School.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Unexpected part of homeschooling

At bedtime after we say prayers with the Lambs, we play either an audio story CD or classical music. Whichever Lamb took a nap usually listens to the whole CD before they fall asleep. The other Lambs that didn't take a nap usually fall asleep during the story or music.
Last night was a music night. I've been playing short CDs of my choice of a different composer each night. Last night I chose Beethoven. After I started the music, Lamb 2 asked if we could play Bach instead of Beethoven. He had a major tantrum because he "loves Bach" and "only wants to listen to Bach on music nights". I eventually calmed him down enough to listen to Beethoven but he made it clear that he still prefers Bach.
Before we started homeschooling I never would have guessed that my 4 year old would have a tantrum because he couldn't listen to his favorite composer. Nor would I guess that he would know who Bach was and which music he preferred. Some times it makes me regret what we have done in homeschooling and other times it makes me proud of what they have learned by age 2, 4, and 6. And by the way, Lamb 2 can say Bach very clearly, no speech problem with the word Bach!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Preschool Screening Part 3

Lamb 2 spent a long time with the speech teacher during his preschool screening. That was the real reason I wanted him evaluated. Ram and I can understand most of what Lamb 2 says, but those who don't hear him every day can't understand most of what Lamb 2 says. He happened to be the last appointment of the day so the other teachers that finished evaluating the other children started to take down their chairs and pack up their supplies. They apologized to me for Lamb 2 taking so long. I said I didn't mind since that was the area that I wanted him to be evaluated the most.
The speech teacher spoke to me about his evaluation afterwards. He did fine in the basic evaluation of language and vocabulary. She was impressed that one time he spoke incorrectly and corrected himself correctly.
Articulation didn't go as well. She had the test divided into 5 or 6 areas by age. He missed 1 each in the first two areas. Then as he got closer to his actual age he missed every single word. I discussed this with my dad and he thought- so he's developing slower than other children in the area of speech. But from his evaluation, he didn't even get all the words correct that a 2 and 3 year old should be able to say. He didn't get ANY of the words correct that a 4 or 5 year old should be able to say.
We worked with this speech teacher before when Lamb 1 was a late talker. Her suggestion was that first we should run through a full speech evaluation with Lamb 2, not just the basic test that he took at the preschool screening. Get results from the formal hearing check he had less than a year ago. Full evaluation of language and vocabulary even though she doesn't expect any difficulty in this area, just to make sure that they don't miss anything. Of course the full evaluation of articulation. Of course sign all the paperwork to give the school permission to test and work with him.
She warned me that after all this testing he may not qualify for speech as his speech may not be bad enough. But she would like him tested and if he does qualify begin helping him now before his speech gets worse. If he qualifies then we will be responsible to take him to school once or twice a week for speech. If he doesn't qualify then she'll give us ideas how to work with Lamb 2 at home.
It was obvious to me after the preschool screening that when you commit to homeschooling, you are also committing to be the one responsible to set everything up to get your child evaluated in all areas. It would be so much easier to sign Lamb 2 up for preschool and the teachers would pull him out and evaluate him for all these skills during school time and then notify us of any difficulties and extra help they would give him. We are committed to homeschooling right now and we feel it is worth our extra work in this area.
Stay tuned to my blog to see if Lamb 2 qualifies for speech class.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Preschool screening part 2

I don't remember as much paperwork when Lamb 1 went to his preschool screening as I had to do for Lamb 2. Lamb 2 received a whole pile of papers to fill out and bring completed to the screening. I was surprised by the variety of questions. Many questions specifically asking about what race he was. What kinds of services we use like WIC. Questions and concerns we had about his physical skills. Lots of questions about his eating habits including what food groups are in his normal diet. Lots of questions about the home and if it is safe for the child. Questions about his learning. Questions about his hearing. Who do we want to get results of the preschool screening? Do we give permission for them to screen?
When we arrived at the screening for Lamb 2, there was another packet of papers to complete. It was mainly questions about his social skills. He received a perfect score on this based on my answers.
I know that the paperwork said that I did not have to answer all questions in the paperwork. I thought that a lot of the questions had nothing to do with the school's responsibility-they were the parent's responsibility. For example: It is my responsibility to feed my child healthy foods, not the school's responsibility.
It is a state law that all children must go to a preschool screening before they can attend kindergarten. You are probably wondering why I even took our Lambs to the preschool screening when we homeschool. I wanted both Lambs to have their speech evaluated. I'll discuss Lamb 2's speech in the next post. We'll have to see if we have any concerns about Lamb 3 either speech or another area before we make a decision about taking him to the preschool screening when he is 3 or 4 years old.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Preschool Screening part 1

Ram is still hanging in there recovering slowly. I'll take a break from posting about Ram and post about the Lambs now.
When Lamb 1 was 3 years 1 month old, in the spring, he went to the local school district's preschool screening. He was a late talker and we had had him evaluated for speech. The next step in that process was the preschool screening. That was 3 years ago so I don't remember everything, but I remember some things. It was held at a church. He had height and weight measured, vision and hearing checked, gross motor skills evaluated, some academic work where I was not allowed to be in the room with him, we spoke to the school nurse about his health and immunizations, and then they spoke to us as parents about how he did on the test. They assured me that the test was scored adjusted by his age, but I thought there would be a big difference between a 3.1 year old and a 4.11 year old. I couldn't imagine that they gave the same evaluation to both students. Lamb 1 did ok on everything besides speech. There was also the issue of separation anxiety during the test, especially during the academic part. His "prize" for going to preschool screening was a box of crayons.
Last spring when Lamb 2 was 3 years 11 months old, I expected to be notified of his preschool screening time. When I never received anything from the school, I called. They had moved the preschool screening to the fall. It makes sense because if they screen in the spring and find problems, they can't address those problems until after summer break. They have to retest in the fall because possibly the child learned those skills over the summer. Lamb 2 was put on the schedule this fall.
Lamb 2 had the last appointment of the day yesterday. It was held at the school, not a church. Lamb 2 is 4 years 4 months old. A teacher took him for the academic part first. He did well on everything except he could not draw a person. She also tested gross motor skills and he did great on that. The teacher talked with me after she was finished with Lamb 2. I told her my frustration with getting him to do writing or hold a pencil and how different he was than Lamb 1 in this area. She suggested a few things including more practice on a vertical or slanted surface. I'm glad my dad just repaired their easel as that will be good practice for him. She also suggested shorter pencils and crayons and the Handwriting without Tears program. It gave me some ideas to think about how to work with Lamb 2. Just talking with her about these areas was worth taking him to the preschool screening.
Lamb 2 also had his vision and hearing checked, height and weight checked, and did great on all that. His "prize" for the preschool screening was a book. We owned most of the books in the pile to choose from. He chose a non-classic book and that was ok from me because we owned all the classics in the pile.
I will continue this post tomorrow.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I'm so spoiled...

I'm spoiled because most days Ram is home. If he's not home most of the day, with the exception of a few days a month, he is at least able to give me short breaks from the boys. He's usually here to hold Lamb 3 when he wakes up from his nap. He usually changes a few of Lamb 3's diapers. He usually gives the Lambs their vitamins. He usually reads to each of the Lambs at bedtime. He usually leads devotions at lunch time. He usually cooks supper and then I just warm up leftovers for lunch the next day. He makes all our bread in the breadmaker and yogurt in the yogurtmaker. He tries to make hummus or guacamole or black bean dip regularly.

When I heard he was going to be recovering for 6 weeks after surgery, I immediately thought of the things I just listed. What I didn't plan on or remember was that in addition to all that, I still had to do the tasks that I do around the house (mainly laundry, cleaning, bookkeeping the family bills, and thank you notes/other correspondence) AND be his nurse AND take care of the Lambs.

Yesterday was so busy that I can't even list everything I did. My dad was gone at the monthly pastor's meeting most of the day so he wasn't here to help. My dad needed directions to the places he was going yesterday. Ram needs pain medication every 4 hours, Tylenol every 6 hours, and another medicine every 8 hours. I set the alarm to give him medicine at night. I didn't plan on Ram needing different food than us so I made him some food for lunch and the boys and I something else so I could try to use up some veggies from our garden. I felt like I was nagging the boys all day to pick up-their bathroom, bedroom, and living room especially. Ram is moving very slow and he doesn't need to trip over toys when he is going to the bathroom. I walked to the post office with the boys and then sorted snail mail for us and the church. I wanted to make granola but we were out of honey. I called around to try to get honey with no luck. I regret not buying honey at Costco last week. I wanted to freeze tomatoes from our garden, but I never got that far. I made bread in the breadmaker and it turned out. I believe I only had made bread in the breadmaker once before. I made Ram coffee. I believe I only had made coffee once before too. I did a lot of dishes yesterday. I tried a new recipe for supper and everyone (even Ram) ate it. I began to organize the medical bills as I know it will be important to keep up with them as they arrive. We have already received many medical bills from his tests this summer. I wanted to get that organized before I added in the major medical bills from his surgery.
It was my turn to serve Ladies Aid last night and a member volunteered to do that for me, but I asked her to make sandwiches and I would do dessert. My dad went to Ladies Aid and took my dessert. I had made ice cream in our ice cream maker and homemade chocolate sauce earlier in the week. I was so glad I had done that before Ram got home and it got so busy. They made their own tin roof sundaes and they were a hit.
The Lambs have been well behaved, they just want someone to play with them. In between his two meetings yesterday, my dad helped the Lambs build a big train track in the living room. They enjoyed his attention. I read a few extra books at bedtime. They liked that and it sort of made up for our crazy day.
I know that things will improve as Ram recovers slowly. Yesterday was probably the worst because my dad wasn't here to help and I wasn't quite prepared for such a busy schedule. I will get used to being wife, mom, daughter and cook, maid, nurse, teacher, babysitter all at one time. I'm thankful that normally I'm spoiled. After 6 weeks Ram will go back to his tasks and I'll go back to mine and some tasks will be shared again.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Ram came home today. My dad met his parents at about the halfway point and they handed Ram off to my dad. They arrived home in time to eat supper with us. Ram is moving really slow and taking his pain medication as prescribed. I'll set my alarm to get up and give him medicine every 4-6 hours. His parents were tired after a few nights of this. I know he'll gradually improve. It's amazing how well he is doing only one week after surgery.

Today is Ram's mom's birthday. Happy Birthday Ram's mom! We gave her a card from us, but she'll have to wait until she gets home to open up her presents that are waiting at the post office!

My sister made it to South Korea with all her luggage. She has already been blessed with some unexpected things. She is currently in a hotel until the teacher she is replacing leaves. That teacher was able to stay to help her the first week. She is at an elite elementary school and highly respected as the only native English speaker on staff. She is having all kinds of new experiences. It will be fun to hear of her adventures this year.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My hubby...

Ram in the hospital courtyard with his parents today. Ram was able to get outside in this beautiful weather.
Ram may be leaving the hospital tomorrow to go to a hotel for a few days. We may go get him as early as Wednesday. We'll have to see how his recovery goes. He is doing so much better than even when I saw him on Friday. He is eating more normal foods, doing nearly everything without help from the nurses, and is not hooked up to anything any more. I'm so glad to get the update that he is doing so well. He'll move really slow when he comes home, but it will be nice to be home again.
The doctor is going to mail us photos of the tumor. I don't know if I really want to see them, but I think it is cool they are going to mail them to us. It was the size of a football (18x10x10 were the exact measurements). I just can't imagine where he had that since he is so thin. Mayo is amazing to have photographers to take photos during surgery.
It is amazing how God has provided doctors that knew what to do to help Ram and that God has designed our bodies to recover after surgery. "I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:14

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Home after a little set back

Wednesday night we had several phone calls in the middle of the night from the doctor which I will blog about later. The short version is Ram was put in ICU for a few days because of loss of blood. He was given several blood transfusions and he went back to a regular room on Friday afternoon.
I had planned to visit Ram on Thursday morning and go home. I didn't want to go home until he was released from ICU. I am now thankful that car problems caused me to stay on Wednesday so I was there to receive the phone calls Wednesday night and not at home feeling bad that I wasn't near the hospital.
So we visited Ram on Friday morning and came home on Friday. I took it slow with the Lambs and we got home about 9pm. I hadn't checked e-mail all week and had some phone messages too. Some people that expected me to be home already were a little upset that I wasn't answering the phone. I'm sure when I explain what happened they will understand.
Everything was going so well until Wednesday about 8pm. From 8pm Wednesday until now is a big blur to me. I'm going to bed now at 1am. Tomorrow morning I'm hoping we make it to our local early childhood event that the Lambs are looking forward to.
My dad made it safely to our house and has his sermon prepared for Sunday.
Please keep my sister, Hannah, in your prayers. She flies to South Korea Saturday night/Sunday morning. She is going there to teach English for one year. She is really looking forward to this new experience. Please pray for a safe flight and that she is able to manage her luggage and get to her destination safely.
The good news is that Ram looks a lot better and feels a lot better too. It is clear this is going to be a long, slow recovery, but we are so thankful that it was benign. We are also thankful for the excellent doctors at Mayo.
I will try to blog tomorrow and also send out a mass e-mail to our friends and family, but we'll see how tomorrow goes. I'm trying to catch up here after being gone for a week, trying to catch up on sleep (especially that which was lost on Wednesday night), trying to make phone calls that were too difficult while I was alone watching the Lambs, and trying to be a good single parent especially by taking them to this early childhood event tomorrow. A friend reminded me to take care of myself through all this and I'm trying to follow that advice.
Ram's parents are still there and plan to stay next week too. Ram will probably be in the hospital until Tuesday and come home on Saturday. I will blog more about that later too.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Post Surgery Day 1

Ram's dad took our minivan to the fix-it shop this morning. This day didn't go as planned. Plan 1 was to visit Ram and go home today. We had to go to plan 2. Plan 2 was go to the fix-it shop, then go to lunch, then visit Ram, and stay another night in the hotel. We now plan to visit Ram in the morning and go home tomorrow.
Ram was doing as well as could be expected. 3 LCMS pastors visited him today. He was exhausted so we didn't stay real long when we visited him.
We are still praising God for the good news from yesterday.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We Praise Thee O Lord...

Beautiful words by phone today...


I took the Lambs to Rev. Loel and Kathy Wessel's home today. Ram's parents took Ram to the hospital and waited during the surgery. Kathy served a nice lunch with two kinds of soup, 3 kinds of bread, and homemade cookies too. The Lambs played with their two boys. Then we went to a park. We stopped to see Ram for a few minutes and ate supper before going back to the hotel.

They removed the tumor and the kidney. The tumor was probably growing for a long time. The tumor was all in the kidney and the kidney has probably not been functioning for awhile.

When we got back to the hotel our minivan had a small electrical problem. So in the morning we need to get that checked out before we can go home. We may be staying longer than we planned...

Ram will have a tough recovery but because this was not cancer after he recovers this is the end.
We are thrilled with this good news and thankful to the Lord.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pre-Mayo Day

Ram and his parents went to a doctor's appointment today. I tried unsuccessfully to get the Lambs to take a rest time in the hotel room while they were gone.
We met with a pastor in this area for prayers.
Then we took the Lambs to a park with a nice playground to play.
We ate an early supper at a nice Indian restaurant. Lamb 3 had 4 helpings of rice and dal. Lamb 1 ate well too. Lamb 2 was too tired (because he didn't have a rest time) to eat very much.
Ram's parents were impressed with Ram's doctors here. Ram's dad will take him to the hospital early in the morning. The surgery will be tomorrow.
I am thankful for Ram's parents being here to help me with both Ram as he recovers and with the Lambs.
The doctor did suggest that after Ram is released from the hospital that he stays in the area a few more days before going all the way home just in case of complications. We hadn't thought of this so we are now trying to figure out a plan to do this so Ram could rest those few extra days without the Lambs bothering him.
First we need to get through the surgery. The surgery will tell us a lot about what to expect about his recovery. Then we'll have a few days to make decisions and plan for his recovery time.
We're trying to get to bed early tonight as tomorrow will be a long day for all of us. Thank you for your prayers and concern.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

School Report

We looked like unschoolers this week and considering our life right now, that is ok. I'm not willing to call this week 2 though.
Here's some of what we accomplished this week in no particular order:
Memorized Psalm 139:14. Did the Bible stories Joseph Forgives and The Birth of Moses.
Lamb 1 did a few more spelling words.
Listened to ALL of the Geography Songs CD in the car-their new favorite CD.
Lamb 1 worked very hard with Ewe to pick all the green tomatoes and get our garden ready for fall before the first frost.
Did lots of picking up toys, getting the house organized.
Wash 14 lbs of pears.
Lamb 1 did a little math.
Lamb 2 did a little dot to dot and a little tracing book.Lamb 2 decided to do the dot to dot backwards (10-1) for a challenge.
Picked out one pumpkin for each Lamb.
Wrapped and mailed Grandma's birthday presents.
Lamb 1 and 2 tried to climb a small tree in our yard. They wish our yard had nice trees to climb like Ewe's parent's yard.
Went to two church dinners and cleaned their plates and choose plain fruit for dessert at one dinner.
Saw a local artist and his work sculpting and making things.
Saw Ram's scan in the doctor's office and talked about organs in the body and their functions and what happens at surgery.
Played a few games this week-Uno, Chutes and Ladders, and more that I didn't write down.
Lamb 3 went to the dentist for the first time. Lamb 2 got a very small filling. Lamb 1 got a dental cleaning.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

ND mission church

My friend Pam and her husband are part of starting an LCMS mission church in Bismarck, ND. They have been given a great opportunity to purchase land and a building for their church. Check this out and consider donating even a small amount to help them.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I voted today!

Our town is so small that EVERYONE mails in their ballot, there is NO polling place. We received our ballots earlier this week so Ram and I voted tonight. We witness each other's ballots. When we first moved here I found this so strange after living in a big city. Some years I have forgotten the election day since we voted so early.
It is going to get very annoying if we receive phone calls or junk mail campaigning for the next month when we've already voted.
At local parades this year, I allowed the boys to take several stickers for one particular political candidate and none for the candidate that was not 100% pro-life. At the last parade one of the candidates recognized our family and asked how many parades we go to. We didn't go to that many parades, but he remembered our family's support.
It also was interesting that after 7 years here we knew most of the people running for local offices. When we first moved here I had no idea who to vote for.
I was glad to get this task done so it's not one more thing to do while Ram is recovering from surgery.
In other news, our small town is going to pay $1500 to get street signs in our town. You read that right, we currently have no street signs in our small town. If you want to know where some one lives, you stop at the cafe or the bar or the post office and ask. The UPS man often does that. We learned the hard way that the FedEx man doesn't stop to ask, he just leaves it at the house that he thinks is the correct address. Thankfully it is a small town so when a package turns up at the wrong house, those people call and tell you the package is at their house. I don't know if the street signs will make it easier or more difficult for people that live here. They've been doing their system for years!