Sunday, January 31, 2010

17th Week of School Report

Ram had a funeral Friday morning and afterwards we headed 1 1/2 hours to go shopping. We hadn't been shopping for a month and we were all looking forward to getting out of the house and restocking the cupboards. Saturday I worked on putting everything we bought away and other housekeeping tasks. We had school every day besides Friday and Saturday. We worked really hard on school all of January so I don't feel bad taking off two days. Our babysitter was supposed to come on Tuesday but I canceled because Ram wasn't going to be here and I was too lazy to go get the babysitter and bring her home-it was 4 trips with the Lambs in the cold opening and closing the garage door-even though the babysitter would have helped me with 2 of those trips. I know it wasn't as cold as it was earlier in the month, but I was also a little overwhelmed with Ram having a funeral this week too. It seems like the funerals mess up the entire week and I wanted to get homeschooling in the beginning of the week because we were going to be gone on Friday. Here's what we did accomplish this week:
Math: Worked on lesson 11-easy for Lamb 1, count by twos and triangles and circles. I probably should have him do two lessons a day while it is this easy, but haven't pushed it. He's into routine and we don't do more than one lesson a day in his routine...
Reading: Read more My Book House stories. Read The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge. I had never read it before. It is a great story! We didn't do any FIAR activities with it, just read it. Began memorizing Bed in Summer by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Phonics: Lamb 1 continues to do well in Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading.
Religion: We were working on other subjects this week and we reviewed, but didn't start anything new. It wasn't until I typed this that I realized that! We'll have to do better this week!
Latin: Continue to review in Prima Latina.
Music: Continue to learn the names of musical instruments. I am amazed at how well the Lambs are doing on this.
We just didn't get to much science, history, or art to talk about here.
Language and Thinking for Young Children: We continued to talk about nutrition, traffic signs and things to know while driving (we got out the play mat and cars and talked about how to drive the cars), and practiced counting. Lamb 2 gets distracted so easily that I didn't know if he knew how to count to 100. It took several tries for him to prove to me that he could do it! Lamb 1 had counted to 100 for me a lot before he was Lamb 2's age.
Handwriting: Lamb 2 continues on his worksheets from www.donnayoung.org and he does a little better every day. Lamb 1 finished his review of all the alphabet to make sure he is making the letters correctly. Now we are beginning to review the numbers.
This will be a busy week as we are hosting the area pastors for an Epiphany party on Friday. We will try to get lots of school in after our weekend break and also be cleaning the house to get ready for the party!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Vinegar and Vodka

Ram's mom gave me the book Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck. She is trying to do laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc. in a more healthy way. She thought that I might like to see some of the ideas in this book too.
When I was pregnant with Lamb 2 and 3, we paid for a cleaning lady so that I wouldn't have to smell the cleaning stuff. This post talks about why we quit paying for a cleaning lady.
Since I started washing cloth diapers a little more than a year ago, I've been more willing to try other natural cleaning for my family. My mom washed out my refrigerator a few years ago using water diluted with baking soda. I was convinced at the time that she needed to use more than that to get it really clean. I've changed my mind since then-sorry mom!
Yesterday I bought tea tree oil and more washclothes to start making my own baby wipes. I'll let you know how that goes soon.
Recently I started reading Organic Housekeeping. I've only read a little bit, but I was interested in the chapter on cleaning the bathroom first. She recommends first designing your living areas to make them easier to clean-example: no carpeting in the bathroom. We live in a parsonage so this is not an option. So I jumped right into reading how to clean. She says to clean with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide if sickness has been in your family. If your inlaws are coming to visit or you are trying to sell your house, then get out cheap vodka and clean with that. I had taken Susan's advice and bought vodka for vanilla, but I guess I should have bought more vodka for cleaning!
So tonight, I cleaned our big bathroom with vinegar while Lamb 1 and 2 were taking their baths and showers. (They play in the bathtub after Lamb 3 is done taking his bath and then after playing for awhile they take a shower to wash their hair. Lamb 3 went first tonight and took a bath and then went to sleep while Lamb 1 and 2 were taking their showers.) I didn't clean the tub because the Lambs were in it. But the vinegar worked great to clean the toilet and counter top. I tried spraying the vinegar directly on the mirror and that didn't work as well as when I put some vinegar on a rag and cleaned the mirror that way. Organic Housekeeping has more ideas for other nontoxic cleaning agents and ways of cleaning too.
What I like about this is I can trust Lamb 1 to start cleaning the bathrooms now. If he is just using vinegar, I trust him much more than with a can of Comet. I haven't cleaned the Lamb's bathroom for awhile so I think I'll give it a good cleaning myself and after that assign that chore to Lamb 1! He loves to clean so I think he'll enjoy the squirt bottle of vinegar too.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Curious

I added Live Traffic Feed to my blog earlier this week. There are only a few international people/friends that read my blog so I didn't see much purpose to adding a live traffic map (or what ever it is called) to my blog.
It has been very interesting to me who reads my blog. For example, one found my blog because they were looking up Costco in Fargo. There is no Costco in Fargo! But The Mama commented on one of my blog posts asking if there was a Costco in Fargo.
It's also been interesting to me the people that come to my blog after reading another blog that I'm linked on. I can figure out who a few of these people are, but I'll probably never know who most of these are.
One came to my blog looking for home away scams!
It's also interesting where people go after reading my blog-which blogs on my blog list they choose to go to after reading my blog.
I suppose I am most curious about people that are local in MN/over the border in SD to me. I'm sure I know some of them in real life. And the ones that I don't know in real life, I'm curious about how they ever found my blog!
For my first blogaversary I asked all of you that read this blog to leave a comment. Then my computer was down. It was also the busy Christmas season. If you were one of the 12 to comment there, you don't need to comment again. But if you read this blog post, would you please leave a comment so I can "know" who a few more of you are? Thanks for reading my blog and for leaving a comment!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Prayer Requests

I have quite a few friends that need prayers and I thought I would list them here to help me remember to pray daily for all of them. You are welcome to pray for them too.

1. I posted earlier this month about the Baker family losing their father/grandfather. Understandably they are having a very difficult time. Especially pray for them to get some peace over all this even though we will always have questions that will never be answered. Kimberly and Becky have written some blog posts recently that especially show their concerns. On top of everything else, Becky's family lost their dog recently too.

2. My college friend Joelle and her husband Matt received news that she is very close to adopting a little boy that they named Timothy from Taiwan. Please pray that all the details will work out. Adoptions in Taiwan are just like America that the birth mother can still change her mind. Please pray that Timothy can join their family (including adopted daughter, Audrey) soon.

3. My high school friend Kristy is pregnant with her first child and the baby (boy) is breech. Will you please pray that her baby turns in the next few weeks? She is also moving into a new house soon and pretty overwhelmed with the timing of everything.

4. My friend Pam had her baby twin girls NATURALLY and all of them were home from the hospital just 5 days after they were born! Please pray prayers of thanksgiving. I'm so happy for her. Please also pray that she can be a good mom for her 4 boys and 2 baby girls.

5. I continually pray for our tri-parish. Each time a voter's meeting comes (4 times a year) I'm reminded to pray extra for them to continue to make it financially. This month I was reminded to not only pray for them financially, but also to pray for manpower to do all the behind the scenes work that a church needs to keep it running successfully. Our members are all getting older and it is getting more and more difficult to fill positions on the church board. Please pray for our small tri-parish churches and members.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cool idea!

I don't know if it is because I am living out here in rural America or because we homeschool or what, but I think these are so cool. You can personalize paper plates with a photo! Hallmarkparty.com and if you use the code FamilyFun50 you can get the plates half price (10 plates for $5). I'm not going to order any because our Lambs don't know anyone to invite to birthday parties, our family lives too far away to attend birthday parties, we homeschool, and I can't think of any other reason to get paper plates. I usually bought Pooh first birthday paper plates for the Lambs but we never had anyone to invite for their parties. Birthdays are just for us 5. I can't see spending money when it is just for us. But maybe you can think of a good reason to buy these cool paper plates! They have lots of holidays and kids birthdays too. I didn't look at all the details, but it didn't seem that expensive while they are running this half price deal.

Monday, January 25, 2010

My cleaning helpers

About a month ago I saw Menards had these electrostatic dusters on sale for 49 cents. I was hoping to get to Menards before the ad expired but it didn't happen. The next time we went to Menards they were full price-$2 each. I let the Lambs each choose one either colored or blue. Lamb 1 has always liked to help clean. Before we bought these the Lambs would fight over my one green duster. Sometimes they play with them just for fun-not when they are cleaning.
I started my clean the whole house project last Friday to get ready for our Epiphany party on February 5. Ram had to go home to ID when we originally had the party scheduled. The area pastors and their families (although not very many have children) will come to our house then.

Lamb 2 was a good helper.

Lamb 3 just "talked" and even took over my duster too, but didn't do any cleaning!

Finally Ram assisted Lamb 3 so he did a little cleaning.

Lamb 1 didn't want his photo taken but he did quite a bit of dusting too.
We just cleaned the entryway on Friday. It was quite dirty- still mud from our construction this fall (even though I had vacuumed there, I think we'll be dealing with mud for a long time) and where puddles were from the Lambs and Ram after they shoveled the front walk several times. It was just a small project on Friday to get us started on the bigger cleaning jobs like the living room. Hopefully we'll be finished cleaning by the time of the party!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

16th Week of School Report

We were able to have school all days of this week. Other than our babysitter coming on Tuesday we did not go anywhere this week. This morning our country church canceled church but by the time I heard it was too late to go to another service. This week will seem strange without church this morning. With the bad weather at the end of the week were able to accomplish quite a bit of school. We also took our Christmas tree down and stored the decorations. We usually take the tree down earlier than this but it usually takes me several months to find time to pack up the decorations. Here's what we accomplished this week.
Math: Finished lesson 10-the concept taught was adding 8 to a number.
Reading: Read several My Book House stories. We're almost finished with volume 1. Read Lentil every day, but did not do any Five in a Row activities with it. Reviewed the poems we had already learned.
Handwriting: I began printing readiness from www.donnayoung.org with Lamb 2. I am glad I found this website. Once we got our printer to work, I had lots to print! Even this printing readiness is difficult for Lamb 2 but it is possible. I have to sit right next to him and try to keep him on task-ANY distraction from Lamb 1 or 3 is too much. One day this week after he had done the paper in pencil then I had him go over the lines with a crayon. I don't know if it was because he was using a crayon or it was the second time he did it, or both, but he did much better with the crayon. I don't know for sure, but I think the problem is holding a pencil. I know he is holding the pencil correctly, I just think it is that difficult for him to hold a pencil. The more I work with him the more I know that homeschooling is right for him. Preschool/kindergarten in school would be very difficult for him. When it does truly get too difficult for him we just put it away and we'll try again another day. Plus I hate to think of how he can't even handle distractions from his 2 brothers, I can't imagine the distractions he would have in a whole classroom of students. And he is doing so well with Latin and things he can answer orally that would probably be missed in the classroom because the teacher would be so concerned about his writing. I keep reminding myself that he is only 3 1/2 because he knows so much that is easy to forget too.
Lamb 1 is up to Xx in reviewing his letters to make sure they are made correctly.
Phonics: Lamb 1 is doing very well reading in The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading.
Religion: We didn't begin a new hymn and we continue to review the commandments for catechism. We finished and reviewed the second set of Bible stories (which happen to be the same as what they are learning in Sunday School). I didn't get out the next set of posters yet, but hopefully this week. We have not worked on memorizing Bible verses-we need to get back to this too.
Latin: Continue to review from Prima Latina.
Music: We began learning the names of music instruments. The Lambs are doing very well on this. We own several of the percussion instruments-just child versions-tambourine, maraca, triangle, xylophone, etc. The Lambs have enjoyed getting out their instruments and playing them after school each day. I also purchased The Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levine and we will begin going through this book soon.
Art: None this week.
Science: We've been reading books about arctic animals.
History: We read and discussed the Preamble to the Constitution. This was above them, but I tried! I also purchased Geography Songs by Troxel. We used this while I was teaching. The Lambs are excited to use the CD instead of just my singing of the songs I remembered!
Our new activity: When I was teaching we attended a conference on Reasoning and Writing and we were given several copies of Language and Thinking for Young Children by Ruth Beechick-just as an extra from the instructor of one of the sessions. We gave them to the kindergarten and preschool teachers at our school and I believe they used them, but I taught 1st and 2nd grade and was expected to begin teaching Reasoning and Writing so I did not teach Language and Thinking. I noticed this book was in some homeschooling catalogs. We began going through it slowly this week. The whole idea is we should not feel guilty for not providing some activities for our children because we are able to provide some different but useful and practical activities for our children in homeschool. I did not spend much time on the stories part of this book because we read a lot already. We began the vocabulary and thinking skills section this week. We began with nutrition and consumer vocabulary-discussing juice, bread, sugar, and produce. We plan to go shopping on Friday and will expect the Lambs to help shop with their new knowledge. Other topics covered in this book are language games, memorization, learning about telephones (manners and safety), poetry, manners, and learning on trips. I think this is a good addition to our homeschool because even though I could teach all this without a book, it is a good reminder for me to make sure all these topics are covered. Although the classroom teaches phone safety, I doubt any schools have time to teach telephone manners. I do want the Lambs to learn manners and these practical topics.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pizza

After FRED the other night I asked Ram to pick up a pizza from Pizza Ranch. I didn't expect the provided meal to be enough for the Lambs and definitely not enough for Ram. The last few times we have had pizza I'm always surprised that a large is not enough to feed our family of 5 with 3 hungry BOYS. It was ok because they had already had supper at FRED. I don't know how people eat out and afford to feed their family like that all the time. We actually rarely get take out like that because Subway, Dairy Queen, and Pizza Ranch are the only choices and they are 7 miles away. After we finished the large pizza, Lamb 2 asked if we could make homemade pizza. Lamb 1 replied that we didn't want to have pizza two nights in a row. Ram replied that homemade pizza tasted a lot different and a lot better than Pizza Ranch pizza. So last night we made pizza.

Can you tell Lamb 2 just threw his toppings on? He was done making his pizza a long time before Lamb 1 was done.

Lamb 1 took forever to make his pizza. He made "streets" of olives, then mushrooms, then onions, etc. on his pizza. I was so glad when he was finally done that I forgot to take more pictures of him like I did Lamb 2.

I remembered to take a picture of Lamb 1's pizza after it was baked but you can't tell very well where his streets are at. Lamb 1 doesn't like melted cheese so you can tell a little better on his half. He likes grated cheese so he puts that on his pizza after it is baked though.

Lamb 1

Lamb 3

Lamb 2

Thankfully when we make homemade pizza we make two pizzas and there are lots of leftovers. I can't imagine how many pizzas we will have to make when they are teenagers though!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Remembering summer

When the weather forecast predicts 0.8 inches of ice, 5.2 inches of snow, and wind gusts of 31mph winds and we expect the Lambs and Ram to be doing lots of this over the next few days...

We chose to remember our last summer vacation here...

The happy bakers


When we were in CA I couldn't see spending so much money for a few pieces of Ghirardelli chocolate. We went through the shop a few times so everyone could have one sample. Then I bought a package of chocolate chips. I figured we could all have several chocolate chip cookies vs. one piece of chocolate for less money. We were busy when we returned home and then last fall we were sick so often and then Christmas came...I finally remembered to bake them today.

Can you smell them?


Lamb 3 tasted them and approved. He cried because he was only allowed to eat one at a time.


Lamb 1 also tasted them and approved.

Lamb 2 tasted them and approved too.


I don't know how you could get here with the weather that we've been having, but you better hurry if you want to sample the cookies before they are all gone!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

FRED

Tonight Ram took Lamb 1 and 2 to a Fathers Read Every Day event in the town 7 miles away from us. He felt Lamb 3 was too young to understand it and chose to focus on just 2 Lambs. (I reminded him that I take all 3 to ECFE by myself almost every week and that didn't help convince him to take Lamb 3!) They ate a free meal (sub sandwiches, fruit, cookie), listened to stories, and then while the dads had a meeting the kids had free time in the gym. I assume the meeting talked about the importance of dads reading and spending time with their children. Perhaps Ram will talk more about this on his blog. The Lambs seemed to enjoy the night's activities. Ram said he didn't hear anything we hadn't heard before, just the importance of reading to your children.
While they were gone, and I just had one Lamb to "help" me, I cleaned off their dresser top. Does every mom with a 5 year old constantly have trash oops, I mean art all over their house? Lamb 1's new favorite activity is to cut up the advertisements and coupon trash after I'm done with them. His favorite advertisement is Menards because he can cut out snow shovels and toilets-he likes to give the toilets as prizes to Lamb 3 as he's just beginning potty training. He also likes to cut out advertisements of phones and cameras. When I ask one of the Lambs to do something-Lamb 1 says, "I'll give you a prize that I cut out if you do what Mama says!" He has been happy during rest time for the last few months cutting out wreaths, Christmas trees, and recently hearts getting ready for Valentine's Day-cutting all of this out of scrap paper. I have tiny pieces of scrap paper and advertisement trash on the guest bed where he takes rest time, in the living room where he gets the advertisements, and especially in his room on his dresser where he keeps his "prizes" and other art. Anyway, I filled a plastic shopping bag with these tiny bits of trash tonight that was on top of his dresser. I organized his other treasures (Legos, wallet, watch, etc.) and I don't think he'll miss what I threw away. When he got home I showed him what I had done (not the trash!) and he replied, "Just wait until Sunday until I cut out more!" I just sighed and I'm not looking forward to the other Lambs joining in on this activity and making 3 times the mess that we have now!
I also put all the Lambs clothes away that had been piled up in the crib. Last fall we tried all 3 Lambs in the same bedroom and it was a slow process to get all 3 to sleep in there. Just as we were making a little progress then we got the flu. We never got back to it because it was just easier to continue with Lamb 3 in our room. So tonight when they got home we tried all 3 in the same room. Lamb 2 has the most difficult time because he still takes a nap so he's not tired at bedtime. Lamb 1 and 3 fell asleep right away tonight while Lamb 2 sang and talked to his toys. I'll try to update you how it goes this time.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Buying Raw Milk

Several Loopers and my college friend Jennifer have talked about how good raw milk is for you. Several months ago I bought the book, Nourishing Traditions and have slowly started to do some of the suggestions in this book. I don't know if we will ever make all of the lifestyle changes suggested in this book, but some is better than nothing. I didn't have a source to get raw milk. We live in a very small town in the country, but there doesn't seem to be very many dairy farmers around here any more. When I went to this meeting I asked where to buy raw milk. I was given some names but I never followed up on it.
Just before Christmas our babysitter was late one day because she had to go with her mom to get their milk. I asked if they would be willing to pick me up a gallon when they went. They ended up getting several gallons so their friends in their town were stocked up before the blizzard. That ended up being very good because we DID get the weather predicted. Lamb 1 will probably never drink milk after MSPI-not even raw milk and had no desire to try raw milk. Lamb 2 had a few glasses to taste it but didn't love it. Lamb 3 had been having bad diaper rash so I didn't try him on raw milk that time. So Ram and I enjoyed that gallon of raw milk around Christmas time. The family of Ram's best friend when he was growing up drank raw milk. Ram has never liked store bought milk since then.
Next, our babysitter suggested that she go along one day and show me where they go to get milk. Between our schedules, Ram going to the funeral, and when they allow buying milk (all day on odd days, before noon on even days), the first day we were able to go together was last Wednesday. I was glad it was a warmer day in the 30s! We drove across the border to SD. The family that sells the milk homeschools and has several children. First we got the milk. Then they tried to show us the cows but the Lambs were too scared of the huge animals. Then they showed us the chickens. While we were getting the milk some of their boys got us some eggs. Then they showed us the calves and the Lambs were a little more eager to see them as long as they didn't have to get too close. Then they showed us the pigs. They had some huge sows close to delivery. I should have taken pictures, but I didn't remember. They run an organic farm and the organic raw milk was $3 a gallon. The organic eggs were $2 a dozen. Their boys were very helpful loading everything up in the car too. It also helped that I had our babysitter along to help load the Lambs! They have lots of cats and Lamb 2 was even brave enough to pet the cats!
Next, a complete surprise to me, someone in our small town called and asked if I would be interested...they deliver newspapers all over the county on Saturdays and while they are out they stop at a farm and buy themselves milk...she just wondered if I would be interested in getting milk too since they were already going. It is $4 a gallon and the farm provides the jars. I took her up on this offer because I don't have to drive anywhere-she will deliver it on Saturdays when they are done with their paper route. She didn't know why her husband suggested that she ask if we would like milk. I hadn't told anyone here in town that I was going with my babysitter to get raw milk in SD. Perhaps she thought of us because we have children?
So, now my plan is to get the milk delivered during the winter from here in MN and go over to SD and buy the milk in the summer. We go quite often over to SD to a friend's produce stand in the summer and we can stop and buy milk when we go get produce. But it will be nice to have it delivered in the winter.
I don't think we are going to be getting much milk from WIC any more-I'd rather pay for the raw milk. Part of the reason we decided this is when Lamb 3 turns 2 in April, we can no longer get whole milk. We were using most of the milk that we got with WIC to make yogurt and we like our yogurt made with whole milk.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The name LCMS

Warning: If you are not a member of LCMS, this blog post may be a little confusing. As a life long LCMS member, I may be using terms here that I think every one knows. Ram is not a life long LCMS member. I think he will do a very good job representing our circuit as a delegate to the Synodical Convention in Houston in July.

Ram attended a meeting to review the final report of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance last Friday and Saturday. Perhaps he will talk more about what he learned at this meeting on his blog (when he gets caught up from two trips the last two weeks!). The clergy and lay people delegates from ND, SD, Iowa West, and MN attended this meeting in the Twin Cities. They had a good turn out because we had surprisingly nice weather for this time of year. Ram said the accommodations at the Hyatt were quite nice. At first I wondered why they were "wasting" so much money on this meeting. Then we realized that the Twin Cities probably was the best place to have this meeting to have a big enough place and easily accessible for everyone. Some of the people from the Dakotas flew in order to be back for Saturday night church services. They paid for mileage, hotel room for one night, everything involved with the meetings, one dinner, and one breakfast. On Friday night each district had a caucus in addition to all the other meetings these two days.

The big event at the Synodical Convention of course is going to be electing the Synodical President, (VOTE FOR HARRISON!) but there are many other items for the delegates to vote about. One that was discussed that got my interest is they want to change the name of the LCMS.

Recommendation: Adopt a Process Leading to the Renaming of the Synod
"For the sake of confessional mission to an unchurched society, the Synod shall be renamed. Previous studies of this matter will continue to provide guidance as we move to reach consensus regarding a name that best serves Synod's mission and ministry."

Personally, I think the name should remain The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. We have a long history with this name. If people don't understand the name, then I think we have a chance to explain the name and evangelize during that talk about the name. With everything that happened with ELCA recently, Ewe's relatives that are not LCMS asked lots of questions if we were like ELCA. I'm afraid that if we change the name there will be more confusion about the difference between us and ELCA again. I'm also afraid if we change the name that people will assume we also changed our beliefs and became a different denomination. Just the other day, USA Today recommended donating money for Haiti to LCMS World Relief and Human Care. If the name LCMS changed, would all the groups with that name like LCMS World Relief also change their name to reflect the new LCMS name? If so, the next time there is a disaster and people want to donate to LCMS World Relief, they will wonder what happened to that organization. Also look at the merger of Aid Association for Lutherans and Lutheran Brotherhood becoming Thrivent. This was a merger, not just a name change. I still hear people refer to it as AAL or LB over 10 years later. And it seems to me like a waste of money to reprint everything to say the new name-remember after the Thrivent name change that we had to use up napkins and pencils etc. with the old name? Think of how much bigger this would be for everything printed with the LCMS name-including every LCMS church sign in the United States. The task force claims that with everything else they are recommending this recommendation would be a very slight cost to the Synod. But I think of the slight cost to each individual congregation and especially to the small churches like ours-it would become a big cost when they don't have enough money to pay for heating the building right now and they are expected to buy a new church sign. The last reason I am against this is I like that I am part of the church of my parents, grandparents, and even my great grandparents were LCMS. Unless the LCMS breaks up (which many people are working very hard that it does not break up), I think they should keep the same name. It is just too confusing to both current members of LCMS and non members if we change the name.

Ram is expected to attend another meeting in early May and then a week in Houston in July. I think he enjoyed reading the "books" he was sent by the BRTFoSSaG. I expect he will be sick of all the political mail (both snail and e-mail) by July. And he HATES heat so he is not looking forward to traveling to TX in July. But I think this convention will be a good experience for him. My parents are planning to come visit while Ram is gone-my dad will preach at the tri-parish and my parents can help me with the Lambs while Ram is gone. Perhaps we can get some little tasks done around the house on my to do list done too?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

15th Week of School Report

We did not have school on Wednesday because we had a field trip to a farm-more on that in a later post, but we had school every other day this week. Here's what we accomplished:
Math: Finished lesson 9 working on adding 9 to a number-Lamb 1 is doing much better at this concept.
Reading: Reviewed poems we learned before. Read more My Book House volume 1. Read A Pair of Red Clogs for Five in a Row-just read it, didn't do any activities with it.
Handwriting: Continued to work on numbers with Lamb 2-still no clue so we'll go to some prewriting activities next. Worked on reviewing numbers with Lamb 1 while I was working with Lamb 2. Lamb 1 continued to work on his letters-he's up to letter Tt-reviewing one letter at a time-being picky that he forms the letters correctly.
P.E.-It was warm enough that Lamb 1 and 2 played out in the snow several days this week and we also walked the few blocks to the post office several times this week. Lamb 1 did lots of shoveling to finish shoveling the walks from the snow that we received last week but never shoveled. Lamb 1 said, "Mama, it's 33 degrees! It's so warm we don't have to wear gloves!" When you consider our wind chill was -51 just a few weeks ago-that is an 80 degree difference and of course it would seem warm to us!
Phonics: Lamb 1 continued in The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. He's doing well.
Religion: Did Sunday School lesson on the baptism of Jesus because the Lambs were sick last week. Began memorizing Lord Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word hymn. Did several Bible stories about Jesus early ministry. Finished the second set of Bible posters we were working on for our Bible story time. Will begin the third set of Bible posters this week. Reviewed commandments 1-2 because I want to make sure they really know the commandments before we go on to the next part of the catechism. Lamb 1 was disappointed that was all we did-just 2 commandments. He said, "I want to do the 6th commandment because it is my favorite!" (In our church the 6th commandment is "You shall not commit adultery.")
Latin: I went back to lesson 1 and 2 to be sure the Lambs are really learning all the vocabulary. I plan to review for a few weeks before we go back to learning a new lesson.
Music: Began learning the names of musical instruments. Lamb 2 wants to play the bagpipes now because they are LOUD!
History: Read some books about the American flag.
Science: Read more books about animals-birds and insects.
Ram had to go to a meeting on Friday and Saturday-more on that in another post. We are glad that he should be home now after two big trips the last two weeks. We are accomplishing a lot in school this month. Hopefully we can continue this for the winter.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tests during pregnancy

A few days ago I received an e-mail from a friend that is pregnant and when she got her blood tests back it showed her baby could have Down's Syndrome. She is waiting until she goes for further tests/ultrasound to know more. She e-mailed wondering if any one she was e-mailing had any experience with this. I immediately called her after I received the e-mail so I could tell her our experience with Lamb 2.
When I was pregnant with Lamb 2, the blood test came back showing a possibility of Down's Syndrome. The next step was to drive 4 hours to have a level 2 ultrasound. When I called to make the appointment I had to wait several weeks to get in. That was frustrating to wait and not know anything during those few weeks. It was really bad timing for this level 2 ultrasound because Lamb 1 had broken his leg but we didn't know that it was broken at the time. So we headed for the Twin Cities and spent the night in a hotel rather than get up in the middle of the night to make it for our appointment.
The FIRST step at our appointment was to meet with a genetic counselor. There is so much wrong with this system that you meet with a genetic counselor BEFORE the ultrasound. The genetic counselor was very concerned because Ram has a first cousin with Down's Syndrome. Also Ram's brothers are both dead and my sister is not married so she had nothing to go on for our nieces and nephews. She really encouraged us to have an amniocentesis. We declined that. We listened to the whole ridiculous talk and then we finally had the level 2 ultrasound. I was expecting to be able to see much better, but the level 2 ultrasound seemed just like a regular ultrasound for my untrained eyes. The ultrasound tech did his job and didn't talk to us very much. Lamb 2 was so active that he couldn't get very good photos of some important parts to see if there was a likelihood of Down's. (Ram's dad heard that and said there was no way our baby had Down's if it was so active that the ultrasound tech couldn't even get good photos!) For example he was punching so he couldn't get photos of his hands. Then another man came in and told us what the ultrasound showed. He was very careful with his words, but without being this blunt, he said there was not very much likelihood of Lamb 2 having Down's Syndrome. He also encouraged us to have an amniocentesis, but he also said there wasn't much chance of having Down's Syndrome so he didn't encourage the amniocentesis as much as the genetic counselor had. Both this man and the genetic counselor talked there is 1 in ____ chance of this, 1 in _____ chance of this, etc. That meant nothing to me. Although they gave plenty of chance for questions, we knew so little about this that we didn't even have questions to ask.
We left the appointment not knowing a whole lot more than when we went. We knew from the beginning that we would keep the baby so it seemed like a waste of time to drive to the Twin Cities and back for the level 2 ultrasound. We decided then that if we had any more children we were not going to have unrequired blood work done during pregnancy. We declined it for Lamb 3 and we will also decline it for any future Lambs. We do chose to have regular ultrasounds during pregnancy because sometimes they show something that can be corrected during pregnancy or we would know we need to deliver at a bigger hospital in order to have the baby at a NICU.

Although it was a waste of time, I was glad that we went through this whole experience because it was such an eye opener to me. It is so so sad the way the system works that so many are aborting their babies when they hear this news and there is no way to know if the news is a false positive.
This is from the March of Dimes website. "Out of every 100 women who take a screening test, about 5 (5 percent) have an abnormal result. However, only about 4 to 5 percent of women whose test results show an increased risk for Down syndrome actually have a baby with Down syndrome." Why in the world do they even administer a test that is incorrect more than it is correct?

I chose to share this on my blog even though it happened 4 years ago because I was comforted to hear from friends that also received false positives. My friend's unborn baby is in my prayers. I know that even if does have Down Syndrome she will keep it. In fact she will participate in the March for Life in D.C. in a few weeks. May the Lord bless and keep all unborn babies whose mothers receive a positive on their bloodwork during pregnancy. May the Lord bless and keep all the mothers who worry about a positive on their bloodwork during pregnancy too.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My attitude about babies

Our family and friends that saw how we "put up" with Lamb 1 when he was a baby were amazed that Ram and I did it. We did not know that Lamb 1 had MSPI until he was hospitalized at 2 months old. So for 2 months, Ram and I took turns non stop holding Lamb 1. (With the exception of when Ram's mom and our families visited and helped-Ram's mom was here longer so helped more-I don't think I could have survived without her help.) Lamb 1 would sleep 10-20 minutes at a time about a dozen times a day/night when we held him. That. Was. It. And. He. Was. A. Newborn! For 2 entire months all I did was nurse, change diapers, hold him, and hope for a nap some time during the day when Ram could hold him.
When we took him for his check up the doctors and nurses thought we were first time parents that were exaggerating about him not sleeping. Every first time parent thinks their child will sleep through the night, right? They told us they weren't concerned until if he hadn't settled down into sleeping better by the time he was 6 weeks old.
I took Lamb 1 home for my Grandma's funeral when he was about 1 month old. My aunt and my mom discussed Lamb 1 behind my back-there was obviously something wrong with this child! When he was admitted to the hospital at 2 months old, the doctor told me to immediately stop eating dairy and soy and they ran over 200 tests on Lamb 1. I stopped dairy and soy at lunch that day. I was concerned about how I was going to get any sleep that night without Ram at the hospital to take turns during the night. The nurse told me not to worry that she was good with babies and she would do her best to give me a little sleep that night. Lamb 1 slept through the ENTIRE NIGHT that first night that I gave up dairy. We stayed at the hospital for a few more nights to do more tests, but went home knowing that if I gave up dairy and continued nursing he would sleep much better.
When Lamb 1 was a few months old we discovered that if we ran the vacuum cleaner for about 10 minutes in his room before bedtime or naptime that he would happily go to sleep without being held and sleep for much longer than if we didn't run the vacuum. This made for some interesting vacations talking the housecleaning crew into letting us borrow their vacuum for the night at the hotel!
After no sleep for 2 months, I was honestly too exhausted to think about what we had done with Lamb 1. We just made it through.
Shortly before Lamb 1 turned 1 years old, I got pregnant and had a miscarriage a few months after his first birthday. Between that time of the miscarriage and when Lamb 2 was born, I had time to think about our experience with Lamb 1's health problems and mourn the loss of our miscarried baby. Plus during that time I had other friends that had miscarriages and friends that were adopting after many years of not being able to have a baby. Lamb 2 didn't have the health problems so he was a much easier baby than Lamb 1. But every baby has their fussy moments, and it was in some of those late night rockings of newborn Lamb 2 that my attitude changed. I decided that God had blessed me with a baby to rock even if it was in the middle of the night. I thought of my friends with fertility problems that would have given anything to have a baby to rock. I thought of how quickly Lamb 1 was growing and I knew Lamb 2 was not going to be a baby long. Since I wasn't as exhausted as I was with Lamb 1, I started to almost look forward to that night time when the house was quiet and Lamb 1 (with all his high needs) was asleep and I could spend time with my baby, Lamb 2. I tried to continue this good attitude after Lamb 3 was born too.

I thought of saying all this in a post because MckMama posted similar thoughts in this post. I am blessed to be the mother of my 3 little Lambs. Sometimes mealtime gets crazy or I look at my walls with crayon marks all over them or I get tired of changing diapers or it is impossible to get all 3 Lambs to sit together for a photo or I get tired of doing laundry or I get frustrated to not be able to teach Lamb 1 in homeschool with 2 other little Lambs. But just like we made it through the first year of Lamb 1's health problems, with God's help we will make it through this season of our life with little Lambs. They will eventually all be able to feed themselves at meals and go to the bathroom by themselves and even move out of our house so I won't have to do their laundry any more. And I suspect that I will think back to these times fondly and forget about the hard work that Ram and I did during this season of our life. I know that some day I'm going to miss this just like MckMama.
I also have friends that are pretty sure that their youngest is going to be their last child unless they are surprised to be blessed with another one. They seem to be much more sentimental than I am about their youngest because they know it is probably the last time their baby will crawl, walk for the first time, wear those cute outfits, nurse or be fed a bottle, want to be held etc. This is difficult for me because we hope that we are not done yet, but we don't know God's plans so it's always possible that Lamb 3 is our last child. And I know that some day I'm going to miss this-especially whatever "firsts" and "lasts" our youngest child has.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti

One of my college friends adopted two children from Haiti a few years ago. We started supporting a Lutheran pastor in Haiti through their connection. A few years after that, we started supporting one school child in Haiti every year through our MN North District. It was amazing to me to learn that $250 a year was all that was needed to cloth, feed, and school a child that was in desperate need. Rev. Bernard was kind enough to send updates and even photos about our child that we adopted. We have been blessed so much in America that I was glad our family could help a child that was in need.
Rev. Harrison from LCMS World Relief is posting updates about the Haitian situation here. Sadly, there is no news yet on Rev. Bernard or his congregation or his school. We continue to keep the people of Haiti in our prayers.
Rev. Harrison is my former pastor and you can tell that it was very difficult for him to make this video and his staff is doing everything they can possibly do to get news and to help the people of Haiti. Please also keep Rev. Harrison and his family (wife Kathy, sons Matthew and Mark) and his staff at LCMS World Relief in your prayers as they help at this time of disaster.

Please also keep my friend Pam in your prayers. She is going to be induced today to have her twin girls. Please pray for a healthy delivery, healthy Mama, and two healthy baby girls. Please also pray prayers of thanksgiving that she is going to be both a boy Mama and a GIRL Mama now.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Christmas Caroling

I am very far behind on posting our family photos. Ram and I can't figure out how to download photos from our new camera-we keep getting the message that our photos are too large. I have plenty of photos that were taken before we received our new camera, but after our computer broke. First I'll post photos of our country church going to the nursing home to carol on December 10. First we had a little program in the dining room after the residents ate supper. Ram read the Christmas story from the Bible and we sang hymns.

Can you tell Lamb 3 is our baby, with the most photos taken of him?


Then we went to the hospital and nursing home and caroled through the halls for those that were unable to come to the dining room. Lamb 2 loves to sing Hark the Herold Angels Sing so we sang that several times. Finally we went to the assisted living apartments and sang several Christmas carols and asked what their favorites were and sang those for them. One of our members was so appreciative that our boys came to the apartments to see her.

After all that caroling we went downstairs to our meeting room and had a short Ladies Aid meeting before our Christmas party. A few people had brought real food which I appreciated for my boys to not just have sweets. Each of us brought 2 dozen Christmas cookies to share. The Lambs ate their fill of cookies (and their fill is a lot!).
It was an enjoyable evening for our family and we brought some joy to the residents. I am thankful that we homeschool and we are able to do activities like this because it would have been way too late of a night if we would have had to get Lamb 1 up for school the next morning.
Hopefully we can figure out our new camera because I have lots of photos to post!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Annual Report

I am still on the LCMS roster as a teacher. I want to keep this up because I never know if I will want to return to teaching at a Lutheran school some day. Every year I need to make an annual report to stay on the roster. Basically they just need current info like address and then I need to report what I have done in the last year. I already wrote my excuse for why I didn't attend the last District Convention so that was covered. (Who would watch the children if Ram and I both went?) But I needed to fill out the form about what I did in the last year. Here's what I came up with so far (in no particular order):
*read my Bible and catechism daily
*attended church services when they were offered and received Holy Communion when it was offered
*occasionally commented on Sturm (classical Lutheran education e-mail list)
*helped with Ladies Aid at all three churches
*read/looked at a lot of CPH materials in the last year including children’s books
*taught religion to my own children 6 days a week (50% of the kids in our congregation!)
*do some secretary duties for the tri-parish
*evangelism in a rural area
*led the tri-parish effort to send several Global Care Packages through LLL

Ram thinks I should put this on my form, but I want to be approved for another year! He's right though, this is more valuable than what I wrote first.
*I am growing the church out here in rural Western MN through procreation and nurturing my children. I am helping with some of the seemingly "unimportant" tasks in the church. Because I am a SAHM, I am able to do more tasks that I would be unable to do if I worked outside the home. In fact, in some of these tasks, our entire family is involved (visiting the nursing homes and tasks like that).
HT: Father Hollywood

Any other ideas what I could put on this form?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

14th Week of School Report

We did a week of school before our computer broke that I never posted about. Then we took a 2 week Christmas vacation. This year was so strange with church services being canceled that if I would have had the motivation then we probably could have even had school Christmas week! I'm reminded that when I was teaching in the classroom that we were almost finished with the second quarter/first semester of school this time of year. Comparing our homeschool to that, we are about a month behind because of our sicknesses last fall. But I expect us to get lots of schooling done this winter and we never have to cancel because of bad weather!
I don't remember what all we did before our computer broke and I couldn't make a report. This last week we had school Monday, on Tuesday our babysitter came but we had school first, Wednesday and Thursday we had school, Friday Lamb 1 had a cold and didn't feel like doing school so we didn't have any school, and Saturday we had school. My MIL was surprised that we had school even on the days that Papa was gone. There wasn't any good reason to cancel. It did feel a little strange schooling on days that the area schools were canceled because of weather though! Here's what we accomplished last week-
Math: Lamb 1 is still working on Math U See. The lesson we worked on this week was adding 9 to a number. We will continue to work on it because he doesn't quite get the concept yet.
Handwriting: Lamb 2 began handwriting this week. I started with numbers with him and we worked on numbers 1-5, one each day of this week. Lamb 1 sort of taught himself to write and now I'm correcting his mistakes. I thought it would be easier to teach Lamb 2 to write instead of fix his mistakes later. When I taught in the classroom I taught cursive to grade 2 and finished teaching printing to grade 1. But the children usually came to me knowing how to write their letters and just needed to fine tune them. I remember one boy in particular that his handwriting was so terrible that even though he was very intelligent, I sent him to tutoring twice a week to work with someone else besides me on handwriting to get double work on handwriting time. Lamb 2 is the first child I've ever taught handwriting from the beginning. We worked and worked on each number this week and in the end we were doing well if he could TRACE the number by the end of our time together. I just kept reminding myself that he is only 3 1/2. When I tried to have him write the number on his own he wasn't even close. He's so excited about learning to write his numbers that I think I have to spend a few more days on this or he won't understand why I only taught him 5 numbers. But my next plan is to use this site to do lots of prewriting work with him. The problem-after our computer was down, we can't get our printer to work. So I think I'll work on 6-9 and 0 with Lamb 2 this week and hope that our printer is fixed to work on the prewriting work next week. He knows all his letters so I can't see spending a lot of time with play doh type letter activities, but maybe this is what else he needs too.
Lamb 1 has worked on one capital and one lowercase letter each day to make sure he is making it correctly and we have done through Pp. Lamb 1 has also been doing the same number practice (Grandma sent Thomas the Train number writing workbooks) and has also done 1-5.
Reading: We still have not gone back to Five in a Row. I'll admit that I'm lazy and I would prefer to just read the books and not do the activities. I'm going to try to motivate myself to go back to FIAR and finish volume 1. We may read some of the books from volume 2 and 3, but I don't plan on purchasing any more Five in a Row. I think that when we are done with FIAR we will spend more time reading aloud chapter books and having Lamb 1 read easy readers.
We are doing well reading volume 1 of My Book House. We read several pages daily because most of this volume is Mother Goose and short ones that we can read several.
We began learning a new poem-The Little Turtle. We reviewed all the Robert Louis Stevenson we learned and Psalm 23. I'm thinking about what we should memorize next-maybe another Psalm?
Religion: Our Sunday School teacher has not given us our next set of Bible verses so we haven't worked on memorizing Bible recently. The CD player in the kitchen doesn't work so we haven't done catechism songs. I'll have to check the CD player out or buy a new one today so we're ready for school next week. After memorizing several Christmas hymns, I didn't pick a new hymn to work on yet. Today I'll try to pick a new hymn to work on. We did several Bible stories this week with Jesus early ministry of teaching and miracles. We are working on the same Bible stories as Sunday School so the last few stories the Lambs have said, "We just did that in Sunday School". I quickly went through the stories and they did know them. But since we do 4-5 Bible stories a week vs. Sunday School doing just 1, I think we will get ahead of Sunday School soon.
Latin: CD player broken so no Latin this week.
Music: The Lambs received a triangle for Christmas to add to their instrument collection. We have had lots of spontaneous parades in our house with drums, tambourines, triangle, and shakers. I really do want to do some music appreciation and music theory (learning music note names etc.) so I need to get organized and start this with them.
Art: Babysitter did play doh and painting with them. We have not gone to ECFE for several weeks.
Phonics: Just like handwriting, most of the students came to my classroom knowing how to read easy words and when I taught first and second grade we worked on reading more than 3 letter words and eventually reading fluency and making sure they understood what they read-not just sound it all out. So Lamb 1 is my first "teach to read from the very beginning" student. We started The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading last year and he just didn't get it a few lessons after he learned all his letter sounds. We took a long break from phonics/learning to read (longer than we took a summer break) and began again this fall. I expected him to get to the point that he was last year and get stuck again. But this time he gets it! I have to type what he read to me yesterday from TOPGtTR page 93.
"The red bug sat on a hill. The bug had red fuzz on it. It did buzz. The red bug did buzz in the sun. The bug fell off the hill. The bug fell on the moss. It did huff. It did puff. Will the bug hop up the hill? Will the bug jog up the hill?"
I know Lamb 1 does not realize how exciting this is to me that he can read this no matter how much I praise him-he doesn't understand my comparison to teaching in the classroom. The other thing that impresses me is that we had about an hour of reading/phonics time in the classroom but each child only had a few minutes to read to me individually and some times they didn't get any turn to read to me individually. In homeschool we spend less than 15 minutes daily on reading/phonics, but Lamb 1 is reading individually to me that entire time (or working on sounds with Lamb 2). I taught at an excellent school, but there were only a few students that could have read what Lamb 1 read yesterday before the end of the first semester of kindergarten.
Sometimes I have been discouraged when I have read blogs of what others are doing in homeschool kindergarten, especially those with girls and especially those with only one child and/or one child school age. But as we keep plugging along in The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, I can see that we are accomplishing a lot and it's working even if it seems slow to me.
History/Science: During read aloud time we have spent a lot of time on Christmas books and not as much time on history or science books. The Lambs did receive several books about eagles, owls, insects, etc. for Christmas presents that we began reading. I hope to do more history this winter.
I'm glad I type this weekly report out because it shows me some areas that I need to plan for this week and some areas we need to begin learning after Christmas vacation.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cereal

Lamb 3 has talked much earlier than Lamb 1 or 2. He also seems to be left handed. I'm wondering if there is a correlation between his early talking/left handed/good at coloring and the late talking/right handed/good at math and puzzles that his brothers have.
We usually start our morning with cold cereal because it is fast and WIC provides so much. Later in the morning we make something like oatmeal or eggs or if we are too busy with school then we just eat lunch earlier. Since Lamb 3 could say a few words for several months I would have him answer "o"=Cheerios; "Kix"; or "no" if he wanted something else. He usually tries "no" first and asks for pretzels and then when he finds out he can't have pretzels for breakfast then answers "o" or "Kix".
After several months of this routine, Lamb 3 has been doing more Charades and less talking. In a way I'm impressed with how he gets his messages across by acting them out instead of talking, but I want him to talk verbally!
Yesterday, I asked the typical question in the morning and Lamb 3 refused to answer verbally. I told him he needed to use words or he wouldn't get anything. This worried him because he saw his brothers getting what they asked for. You could see his brain working-how can I get what I want without talking? Then he started kicking his foot. I gave in and gave him Kix because of creativity!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Eternal Life

I've started to write this post in my head many times and scratched the ideas quickly. We'll see what comes in this post now. I would like to post about so many topics after no computer for so long. I haven't even tried to figure out how to download the photos from my new camera. I didn't have a chance to post about our Christmas, our anniversary, or many other topics since our computer broke. I promise I will get back to less serious topics next week!
Our family has a lot of experience with death (both of Ram's brothers, all of my grandparents, Ram's maternal grandparents, 2 miscarried Lambs, and other loved ones). Ram's parents knew helpful things to bring to the Baker family at their time of grief. Partly because of being a pastor, but also because of our family experiences, Ram knew what to write in their sympathy cards. Reading their blogs many of their feelings and thoughts have been MY feelings and thoughts at one time or even now. Often I can comment on blogs when I read about a miscarriage because of our experience.
Our Lambs have a lot of experience with funerals because Ram is a pastor. Ram has done over 40 funerals in the last 6 1/2 years. Sometimes in the Lambs pretend play they pretend to be a pastor and often they conduct funerals in this pretend play. Lamb 1 even writes his imaginary funerals (including how old the imaginary person is-often they are 104!) on his personal calendar. He does this so often that sometimes there isn't room on the calendar to write the real events! Often I make a cake for the funeral dinners. I rarely make cake except for funerals or birthdays. There is often leftover cake (even after the family takes some home). Often I don't take the Lambs to the funeral (to save space at our small churches for the family and friends), but we just go to the funeral dinner. So to them most funerals are fun-eat, perhaps children to play with, and eat leftover cake for a few days after the funeral. Sometimes I wish that my view of funerals was still as childlike as the Lambs view.
Then I read a passage of scripture or sing a hymn or sing the liturgy at church and I'm reminded that in those moments that I go up to the altar at Holy Communion that I am with the angels and with all the company of heaven we are magnifying His glorious name and evermore praising Him. And those moments are just a preview of eternal life. Wow! Then I'm reminded that my Heavenly Father is holding our two miscarried Lambs until I can join them. We do not have those two Lambs now, but they are waiting for us in heaven and we will have them forever.
It seems I've heard so much bad news recently from divorces, the Baker funeral, 2 births (one a friend and one just a blog that I read) that were very serious complications-(but praise God that both Mamas and babies are still here with us), not to mention the economy and politics in America today. The devil is working very hard, especially on us Christians.
Praise God that Jesus has purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil. Praise God that he daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. Praise God that on the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. Praise God that this is most certainly true.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

In memory of...

Timothy Baker
January 13, 1948-December 29, 2009

Lamb 2 with Tim Baker

This photo was taken the last time we saw Tim, in July 2006, although we talked on the phone and wrote letters since then. This is the photo that I will remember him by. His wife Carolyn got out toys and books for our two Lambs to play with, but they didn't know them so they were pretty shy to even play with the toys. Tim grabbed Lamb 2 when he had a chance to hold a baby. Lamb 2 went right to sleep and Tim held him for most of our afternoon visit. During that visit, he had to tell us all about his 6 children and all his grandchildren.

Ram is at the funeral today in ID and will fly home tomorrow.

One of his daughters has written some posts on her blog recently talking about her dad. His daughter-in-law has also written some posts talking about him too. In reading their blogs, it seems as if they are keeping this Bible verse in mind.

Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

We love you Baker family and you are in our prayers.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I'm back...after 18 days, but who's counting?

*Warning: Long post after no computer!
I was making a comment on Angie's blog on December 19 when the phone rang. After I answered the phone and relayed the message to Ram, the computer was dead. I yelled at the boys for "pushing buttons" but they responded they did not do it and if anyone did it was Lamb 3. Lamb 3 wasn't even in the same room. When I tried to restart the computer it acted like it would fire up and then said "going to sleep". Viruses have been nasty in this area so I assumed it was a virus. We had been recommended a man 15 miles away to fix computers. 12/19 we couldn't reach this man. 12/20 was a really busy day at our churches, but Ram found time to drop off the computer. The man realized it was important to us to have a computer because Ram is a pastor. After a few days he reported that it wasn't a virus and everything was still there. We had backed everything up at Thanksgiving so we weren't extremely worried about losing anything valuable, but after crashing a computer a few years ago we know that it is a pain to reenter info in. So this was a relief that it wasn't a virus. The fix it man asked for a few more days to figure out what was wrong. We were hoping to have the computer back by Christmas. Then we had a blizzard and there was no way to pick up the computer even if it was repaired. After Christmas we found out he needed to order a part that had broken and he was waiting on the shipping company which was being slow because of the holidays. A part had broken that caused the fan to not work that caused the computer to shut down instead of overheating. I still can't understand how a part can break inside your computer when you don't move the computer. We started our daily phone calls to check if the part was here yet. Finally the man had the idea on 1/5 that he could temporarily fix the computer and when the part came in (he had to reorder the part because it never arrived) we'll take the computer back to him to be fixed permanently. I don't know why he didn't do that from the beginning but none of us expected it to take so long. While he waited on the part he cleaned up our computer and defraged it and everything because computers DO NOT like to be shut down the way ours was. So we are in good shape on our computer again.
Ram was nice enough to go pick up the computer last night for me before he left for a trip (more on that later). I spent last night skimming our 350 e-mails and responding to a few of them. On tonight's agenda after the Lambs go to bed is to read some of the many blog posts I missed.

It is an understatement to say it was terrible to be without a computer or internet. If you don't live as rural as we do, there is no way you could understand. It wasn't just the "fun" part of not reading blogs. We gave up TV and had no internet and when the weather is bad we can't get local radio stations inside the house. Over Christmas we had a blizzard and we had no way to get weather info. We live 7 miles from the library and they are open very little hours because of budget and open even less over the holidays. We don't know anyone in our town of 113 that has internet that we know well enough to let us borrow. Ram has an ancient computer to write his sermons on but it hasn't had internet for over 7 years on it and it wasn't worth the slow connection or chance of virus or downloading all the updates. Being without computer didn't bother Ram that much. He just read more books. When I said I was going crazy, he reminded me of all the women in this area that raised more children than I am without a computer. But I think when you don't have something (or even know it exists) that you don't miss something as much as someone that has it and loses it.
I had read e-mail and blogs and made a few comments and even pre-posted one more blog post the night before our computer broke. So I wasn't behind on that before this all started. But my problems already began on 12/19. My mom had e-mailed me a few recipes for the potluck the next day and I hadn't printed them out so I had to make something else for the potluck. Ram gets his prayers for church by e-mail and he hadn't printed any of those out in advance. Thankfully Ram had already e-mailed all the Christmas bulletins to the secretaries. Thankfully my dad is a pastor and he printed the prayers out and snail mailed them to Ram. There were a few church members that didn't realize our e-mail was down and e-mailed us questions or announcements instead of calling us. I had to answer them last night that we never received those e-mails. I had mailed a lot of Christmas presents and other items before our computer broke and I had no idea if people had received them and some of those people I didn't even have phone numbers for. I'm sure everyone with computer problems says this, but I regretted not doing some things before our computer broke and the whole time the computer was down I said to myself, "If I only would have known the computer was going to break I would have done....before it broke." We haven't started our Christmas letter or sent any Christmas cards without a computer. I had planned to order a few things online and get some sales and I missed all that. Oh well, there will be sales again. My parents were nice enough to keep a watch on a few blogs to find out that Kristy is having a boy and Pam didn't have her twin girls yet. I called them almost daily to get updates. Thanks mom and dad for doing this.

Much happened while our computer was down. I list a few of the highlights here and hopefully I can still post more about some of these in later posts.
*We had a blizzard and all church services were canceled on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I remember being sick on Christmas Eve once but I still went to church even though I didn't feel well. So this was the first time in my life that I didn't attend several services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Remember my post complaining about dreading Christmas Eve at our tri-parish? It ended up not mattering because none of that happened. It was so strange to stay home from church and all our presents were opened before 8am on Christmas Day. It was a very relaxing Christmas as a family. I even had time to start reading many of the books I got for Christmas! Even though it was relaxing, I hope I never have to go another Christmas in my life without going to church.
*Our one church rescheduled the Christmas Eve program to New Year's Eve. So we still had a rushed New Year's Eve to have the Lambs in the Christmas Eve program at one church and then make it to church at the second church for New Year's Eve service. The Lambs did well and said their lines loudly and sang well too. I'm so proud of them, especially shy Lamb 1!
*Because of weather one church canceled on Dec. 27, but the other two churches had church. Even with the cold wind chill, all 3 churches had church on Jan. 3.
*We celebrated our 8th anniversary on December 29. The roads were clear so we took a family trip to Sioux Falls to eat out and shop. We did it all in one day and got home very late. We were tired after that, but had a good day as a family.
*Ram's parents gave us a new camera for an anniversary present. I have been trying to read a little of the book with my camera in hands and trying out some features daily. Ram could care less about cameras, but I am very excited. I'll do a whole post about my new camera.
*My parents had furnace troubles and their house could have burned down on Christmas Eve. Thankfully my sister was home and insisted that my dad call the repair man when she heard a strange sound. That sound wasn't a big deal, but the repair man found something else that was. My dad didn't want to pay a repair bill until he heard how serious it was. Then he gladly paid the bill and was even glad that he had stayed home from church to meet the repair man.
*A family friend of Ram's family died and we heard the news on New Years Eve. Ram flew home today, will attend the funeral tomorrow, and will fly home on Friday. Please keep the Baker family (leaves behind a wife, 6 kids and their spouses, several grandkids) in your prayers. Please keep Ram's safety and the weather for flying in your prayers. Please keep me in your prayers as I am here in MN with 3 boys during another blizzard. The man that died was a second father to Ram as he spent much of high school at their house with his best friend. I will post more about this on another post.