Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pests

When we first moved here, that May, the ants in the house were terrible. I learned quickly that the secret was to clean the 3 toilets in the house well-the ants were attracted to urine. I usually have done extra bathroom cleaning in May and June and that has taken care of it. I don't know what is different this year, but the ants are worse than ever. We've even found some on the kitchen table! I guess I'll be cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen even more.

Last night, Ram saw a mouse in our old garage. Our house has an old 1 car garage off of the basement and the new 2 car garage off of the old garage. Ram took all the trash out for trash day today, swept the old garage, and hunted for the mouse some more with no luck. Our old garage is a mess and it was a project on our list for later this summer. I am really hoping that the mouse does not come in our house because I think it would be impossible to catch it in our huge basement and house. I don't know which will be more difficult, reminding the Lambs to keep that door closed tight, or catching the mouse if it does get in the house!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I recently realized...

that Ram and I are going to be apart for the longest we have ever been apart since our wedding day when he goes to Synodical Convention in July. I'm very glad that he was nominated to go, but I will miss him. Our Lambs are Papa's boys, and especially Lamb 3 is going to miss him. Thankfully my parents are coming and hopefully we can fit in a trip to the zoo or something fun to get our minds off of missing Ram! I didn't want to go along to convention because of the heat, cost for our family, and Ram would be busy all day every day.

I was trying to remember when we have been apart and this list doesn't count 1 or 2 day pastor conferences or something like that. Most pastor conferences our family goes along.
*Ewe's 2003 trip to relist our house in Fort Wayne to sell it
*Ewe and Lamb 1 went to my grandma's funeral
*Lamb 1 and Ewe went to my sister's college graduation
*Ewe and the Lambs went to Lamb 2's godfather's wedding last summer
*Ram went to two funerals this year without us, but those were fast trips of just going out there and attending the funeral and coming home.
I may be forgetting a trip, but it doesn't even come out to once a year since we've been married 8 1/2 years!

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Public Library

First, I want to make clear that the public library is a wonderful resource and especially the small libraries do a wonderful job with the limited funds they have. I am so thankful for library storytime and the summer reading program.
My friend Joelle commented on my last blog post wondering what I meant by I want my Lambs to read classic books instead of modern ones. (Read the school update if you want to see the whole discussion.) I would like to respond to her question here.

1. We have a huge library that we own. We have bought very few of these books new. They have been gifts (especially from Ram's mom). Their doctor gives them books at each checkup. We are part of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program where they get a free book each month until they turn 5-for a short time we received 3 books each month, now just 2. Our local early childhood initiative gives books at almost every event they hold and several times at ECFE (multiply times 3 kids). I go to 2-4 library book sales each year. Once I bought 80 children's books at one of these book sales. I just worked on making a list of our children's picture books that we own and it is up to 900 books. That list does not include religious, science, or history books, just fiction. Ram jokes sometimes that we have more (and better) books on our bookshelves than the local small public library does. We own a combination of modern and classic books because of where they came from.

2. Ram and I agree that we personally want to read the classics and we also want the Lambs to read the classics. There are so many classics that I want to read, there doesn't seem to be time to read everything I want to read. I don't want to waste my time on books that aren't classics. Ram's rule is that if it was published for the first time after Ram was born it is not a classic. I adapted this view when I was teaching at a classical Lutheran school. Classic books have stood the test of time, they are a friend for life, they are a joy to read again, recalling them brings great memories, and they demand rereading. Since I have 3 Lambs all different ages, we reread books a lot-sometimes even reading the same book to different Lambs in the same day. I get tired of reading and especially rereading books that are not classics to the Lambs.

3. There are a few exceptions to this rule. One of the exceptions that I can think of is the Lambs love the book Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy. They received this book from Dolly Parton's program. We will probably check out more Ladybug Girl books from the public library. It has a good plot and has inspired their imagination-they were thrilled to get bee headbands at VBS to be Bumblebee Boy at home. I'm just tired of reading modern books to the Lambs like the Seseme Street book that I posted about here. Modern books often don't have good grammar or good morals or a good plot. An example is Lamb 2 just chose a book from the library about a Runaway Shopping Cart. After we read it, I thought, why did the author even waste his/her time writing that book? Why not just read The Gingerbread Man?

4. Part of my problem is I was spoiled in the huge Fort Wayne public library system. I worked a few summers in the children's department and at one of the branches. When I was teaching I used the public library a lot and checked out tons of books each trip. I can only think of one time that they didn't have a book that I wanted in Fort Wayne (either downtown or at a branch) and they had to interlibrary loan it for me-that was for my high school French class. At our small public library, if it is in the system, it is usually from an hour away and takes a few days to arrive at my public library. There have been several times that I have wanted FIAR books that were not in the system and had to come interlibrary loan.

5. I admit that part of my recent book organization project was to get rid of some of the books that weren't classics and weren't worth keeping. So we will continue our system of letting the Lambs pick one book each when they go to the library and I don't really care if it is modern or a classic since it is just one book each and we will return it to the library after one week. I have also been requiring Lamb 1 to pick out an easy reader that I approve of like the modern Dick and Jane books for Lamb 1 to practice reading himself. Then about once a month I go to the library with my list of classic books (usually from FIAR) to check out for homeschool. This system has worked well for our family and the Lambs have tons of choices to read and the majority of the books in our home (both that we own and that we get from the library) are books that I'm willing to read several times.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

36th Week of School Report

First a note about week 36. When I was teaching in the classroom, we had 36 weeks of school and some of those weeks were short weeks with holidays. When I counted weeks for homeschooling, if we took off several days for vacation or other activities, I didn't count them as a week of school. We had a crazy year with lots of illness. So I'm pretty proud that we completed 36 whole weeks of school by the end of June since we didn't start until after Labor Day. Since we have completed 36 weeks, we will take it a little easier this summer. Lamb 1 will finish Alpha MUS math and practice reading each day. Of course we will read aloud daily. But we won't do all subjects every day. Hopefully by this method we will all be refreshed and ready to get back to a regular school schedule next fall. I'm also hoping to have more time for decluttering with this method if I don't have to spend as long each day being the teacher. And the Lambs are hoping for more time to play outside.

Lamb 1 and 2 began swim lessons daily this week. Lamb 2 had a cold so he missed swimming on Wednesday. The Lambs surprised me and did great at swim lessons. They had them going off the diving board the first day. I thought one or both would be afraid, but both did really well. There are 2 teachers and 7 children in their class. Parents are asked to go outside of the swimming area during lessons. This has been difficult for me as an overprotective Mama. There was one time when Lamb 1 and another child both went under water at the same time and each teacher had to "rescue" a child (including Lamb 1) at the same time leaving 5 other children (including Lamb 2) without a teacher helping them. I had to just watch this happen outside of the fence. I was proud of Lamb 1 for taking a short break after this and then going back in the water and not letting it scare him for the rest of lessons. They have one more week of swim lessons and I'm sure they'll continue to do great and I'll survive watching them outside the fence. Ram and I have taken turns taking them so we can both get more done this week than just going to swim lessons.

This week our babysitter came on Tuesday and did painting with them. At library storytime they painted fish. On Friday night one of our members had a 50th anniversary party which our family enjoyed.

Lamb 1 completed lesson 23 in MUS.

Lamb 1 read from his Dick and Jane library books. These are recently published Dick and Jane books with picture clues instead of words. Lamb 1 thinks it is more fun to read a library book than one that we own and he can read any time. We have a small public library and this series is one of the first that I approve of Lamb 1 reading that we don't own. I would much rather have the Lambs read classic books than modern ones. The Dick and Jane books are both modern and classic. I talked to the librarian about how glad we were to see these Dick and Jane books in the library. I read aloud from several other library books.

Lamb 2 worked on his Kumon books a little.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Declutter Update

We were busy this week so I didn't focus on one room like I planned, but I did accomplish a lot even with our other activities. I have been going through the kitchen cupboards one at a time, taking everything out, cleaning the shelves, giving away some, and organizing what I put back in. I have finished 2 cupboards that have canned goods, 1 that has paper napkins etc., 1 that has Tupperware, 1 misc. cupboard, 4 drawers, and 1 cupboard with tea. I also cleaned the whole stove area-hood, stovetop, and drawer. I didn't self clean the oven, I just wiped it out and it wasn't too bad. I took the mesh cover off the vent for the stove and washed it with hot soapy water. It was so disgusting the grease and dirt that was left in the sink afterwards! Today I plan to clean the appliances on one counter and clean the counter and also work in a few more cupboards.

I also have been watching a movie each night to see if we want to keep them. While I watch the movie I have been going through old receipts and tax information. I have completed 1991-1999 and 2002 doing this. I have tons for Ram to run through the shredder after this. This project has been more fun than I thought it would be-fun memories of when we bought furniture or conferences that I went to when I was teaching. I still have a lot to do on this receipt project, but it hasn't been too bad to work on it while watching a movie each night after the Lambs go to bed.

We have a busy week next week so my only goal is to try to finish the kitchen.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ephesians 5

At VBS a few weeks ago, the pastor was teaching this Bible verse to the students:
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." Ephesians 5:1-2

The pastor discussed what the verse meant and broke it down for the students. He spent a long time talking about what offering and sacrifice meant. Then he asked what fragrant meant. What is a good fragrance? A preschooler answered, "It smells like beer!" (That preschooler was not one of my Lambs.) The pastor had a good chuckle over that one and it took a few minutes for him to get back to the verse.

Lamb 3 was on my lap and Lamb 2 was in his own little world daydreaming during this discussion, but Lamb 1 heard the whole thing. Lamb 1 got such a laugh over this. He couldn't wait to get home and tell Ram what happened. I was impressed that a 6 year old got the joke and remembered it to tell Ram. The other preschoolers including Lamb 2 had no idea what was so funny.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My lack of knowledge

I am almost finished reading volume 8 of the Anne of Green Gables novels. This book is about Anne's youngest daughter, Rilla. Some of Rilla's brothers and friends join the troops to fight the war (WWI). I have been very frustrated with my lack of history knowledge as I read this book. When it mentions places that the troops won or lost battles and other historical events, it means nothing to me. I can't even tell you when they (Canadians) will start coming home. The book makes a big deal of 1914 and I think they will come home in 4 years, but I don't know that for sure.
In high school we just touched on WWI and spent more time on WWII in history class because our teacher was more interested that. I was a history minor in college and I took three semesters of World Civilization, but again it was very similar to high school, we hardly touched WWI.
My other problem is when I memorized or read about history in school it always had an American slant. I assume that Canada was very much like America during WWI, but I don't know that for sure. Were the Canadians more patriotic than Americans during WWI? Did they volunteer for Red Cross type activities more than Americans? By percentage did more Canadians join the troops than Americans? I have no idea.
It's obvious that even as a history minor I need to educate myself on "modern" history a lot more. Actually there are a lot of topics that I need to educate myself better. It's a funny cycle, without having TV, I am reading more. But I would enjoy that reading more if I read even more!

*One more note: If you have watched the Anne of Green Gables movies, what happens in the book is nothing like what happens in the movies (especially after the first movie). I will always enjoy watching the movies, but I am going to now think of the book and the movie separately. I had never read more than the first volume of Anne of Green Gables, so this has been very interesting to me. A few things really surprised me in the books after watching the movies, but I won't share those here so that you can be surprised when you read the books too!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Today

Lamb 1+Lamb 2+92 degrees+swim lessons=FUN

Ewe+92 degrees+watch swim lessons=HOT

Saturday, June 19, 2010

34th and 35th Week of School Report

Our computer was down on Sunday when I usually post our school report. We have been super busy and I don't remember everything we did in school that week. We had school Monday- Thursday of that week. On Thursday and Friday nights the Lambs went to VBS. On Friday our babysitter came and Lamb 1 learned how to ride a bike without training wheels. On Saturday Ram took Lamb 1 and 2 fishing. Lamb 2 caught 2 fish and had his picture in the newspaper.

This week, on Monday I had my thyroid biopsy and on Tuesday I was recovering from that so we didn't have school. We had school on Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday, Ram took Lamb 3 with him to the town 1 1/2 hours away to get some warranty work done on his Toyota. I was able to just take Lamb 1 and 2 to the library for the summer reading kick off. There was a magic show and it stressed practicing reading so you become a better reader and checking out books from the library. I think it is good to take the Lambs to experiences like this. It's so much easier without Lamb 3 along, but he goes with us to most of these activities.
On Thursday we went to a play about Anansi the Spider. The actors did a good job involving the audience in the play. After the play they did some activities asking the audience comprehension questions about the play and having the audience act out the different play characters. Lamb 2 really got into this and may become a great actor some day! Lamb 1 & 3 listened closely. We had school on Friday and Saturday. Here's some of what we did in school:

Math: Lamb 1 is almost done with MUS lesson 22.
Reading: Read Three Little Kittens, Little Tuppen, Anansi Learns to Fish, Anansi the Spider,
Three Kittens
(Russian tale), some Just So Stories, and some Now we are Six. Ram's mom gave us a set of Enid Blyton books. We read A Basket of Surprises and Do Pass it On from one volume of these books. The Lambs really enjoyed these with lots of pictures. I am learning some British vocabulary like treacle. We will continue to read more Enid Blyton after this. Since we finished reading FIAR volume 1 books, we have time for more variety in our reading now.
Religion: Read Arch books about Stephen and the Fruit of the Spirit. Continue to learn the Commandments on Sing the Faith CD. We are just beginning Bible stories about Jacob and Esau on our Bible story posters.
Latin: Continue to review vocabulary in the first 10 lessons of Prima Latina.
Science: Watched a movie put out by the American Cancer Society called an Early Start to Good Health. We began reading My Big Book of 5 Minute Devotions Celebrating God's World. Ram's mom got us this and I'm not sure if I would purchase it myself, but since we have it the Lambs have enjoyed learning about animals. I'm stressing the learn about animals more than the devotions. We read a few last week about farm animals and we'll continue more about zoo animals.
Phonics: Lamb 1 has enjoyed reading Dick and Jane from our Ultimate Dick and Jane Storybook Collection. We also checked out some Dick and Jane from the library this week. He enjoys reading this to Lamb 3.
Music: We continue to learn about composers in The Story of the Orchestra. We studied Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Mahler, and Debussy.
Handwriting: Lamb 2 has continued to work on his Kumon book.

I have recently discovered some good books for the Lambs for school in my book organization project. We plan to order math for Lamb 1 when he completes Alpha MUS (about 8 lessons), but other than that, we are going to use what we have and not purchase any other curriculum for Lamb 1 for first grade next year. There are some art and literature books that I would like to have for Lamb 1 that perhaps Ram's mom will buy for us, but if we don't get them then I'll just get them from the library. I also discovered some educational videos that will be good to have some variety for what they watch during rest time daily-if they had their wish they would watch Richard Scarry or Winnie the Pooh every day.
The next two weeks will be busy here with daily swim lessons for Lamb 1 and 2. We'll fit school in but I doubt I'll accomplish much of my decluttering project.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I'm still here

On Sunday when we got home from church, the garage door wouldn't close with the garage door opener. Then when I tried to turn on the computer it wouldn't turn on. Ram was busy with meetings that afternoon and we had to get ready to travel on Monday so we didn't have time to look at the computer or the garage door.

I had my thyroid biopsy on Monday. I was stuck with a needle on two sides and they took about five samples on each side. On Wednesday the doctor's office called and reported that there was no cancer. After this biopsy I don't need to do anything else unless I experience thyroid problems until I need to have another ultrasound in 2 years. The biopsy was a bigger deal than I thought it would be and I hope I don't need to have another one again, but at least it will be two more years until the possibility of another one. I was thankful that the hospital has lots of crucifixes and annoyed that there wasn't a crucifix in the room where I had my procedure. It was a long car ride home as I just wanted to sleep and the Lambs were not ready to sleep that early in the day.

I was sore after the biopsy and took Tuesday to recover. Ram took the computer to the fix it shop on Tuesday. Wednesday I took the Lambs to a magic show at the library. Wednesday night I didn't feel well. Ram was at VBS. I was trying to figure out if I could just let the Lambs play until he got home and he could put them to bed. I had a headache and started to feel very nauseous. It got worse. I finally called Ram and asked him to come home early. I slept all night after he got home. He put the Lambs to bed. I think I had a migraine but I've never felt that way before so I'm not sure. It could have been triggered with the thyroid biopsy a few days before or just triggered by something else. Ram got the computer back on Wednesday but I didn't use it because I didn't feel well.

This morning I got up and took a shower and went to the chiropractor. I felt well enough to take the Lambs to a play tonight and then we went out to eat. The play took longer than I expected and Ram had to go to VBS so I had 3 active Lambs at a tea room by myself. We survived and I'm sure the owner was glad when we left because she had a big party of ladies there too. I'm still achy and don't feel 100% better, but I hope by taking it slow I'll recover soon. I've used the computer a little bit but have lots to catch up on after it was gone for a few days.

Tomorrow we don't have any plans except for school and stay around home while Ram makes some visits.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Family Update

Decluttering-This week I worked in the kitchen a little cleaning out cupboards and counters. There is still a lot to do even though I'm always complaining that I don't have enough cupboard space! Hopefully I can reclaim some more space by cleaning out and organizing.
I also started a huge project to type a list of all the fiction books that we own. I have finished 2 big bookshelves in Ram's office, one bookshelf in our living room, the cradle in the living room is full of the Lamb's books, and one big bookshelf in our library. I am still working on two small bookshelves in the Lamb room. I am going through each book and deciding to keep it or not and typing in the ones we are keeping. I have several boxes to give away and tonight Ram said I need to give more away! I am close to 1300 books typed in. I will remind you that we have less fiction than we have nonfiction in this house. I'm not even going to attempt the nonfiction this summer-too much more that I want to do.
I also cleaned the main bathroom and cleaned the kitchen floor-both tasks were not done in a long time!
I also watched some videos this week to decide to keep or give away.
My plans are to finish the book project and then to focus on one room in this house each week-I'm finding it is too overwhelming to think of everything that needs to be cleaned out in this house. I'm going to take a break from books after I finish the fiction and next week I plan to work on our guest room-especially the closet. Hopefully I will accomplish a lot if I focus on one room at a time.
Dry Underwear!-Ram and I both were bed wetters so I haven't been too concerned about the Lambs being bed wetters. On Wednesday Lamb 1 kept his underwear dry all night. On Thursday Lamb 2 kept his underwear dry all night. We're making progress even if it isn't both Lambs the same night. I do plan to potty train Lamb 3 this summer, but we haven't started yet. Some days he seems completely ready and other days he doesn't seem ready at all. I plan to wait a couple more months unless he seems more ready before that.
VBS-Lamb 1 and 2 ended up attending VBS for the last two nights this week. They were thrilled that they received a couple of headbands so they can pretend to be bees. They went to story time by themselves for the first time this year (one or the other cried and didn't stay the whole time before). I feel bad they missed some VBS this year, but they enjoyed the two nights they went.
Bike-Our babysitter came on Friday. Lamb 1's bike, the chain continually comes off. Our babysitter offered to fix it for him and while she was at it, she took his training wheels off. Then she took him over to the baseball field and helped him learn how to ride without training wheels. I think this is something that either the mom or the dad should teach the child, but I didn't have time on Friday and our babysitter was a good motivator (probably better than I would have done) and it was hot on Friday-SO I'm really glad that she taught him. He still needs a little help, but overall he did really well for his first day.
Dick and Jane-Ram's mom got us a Dick and Jane Treasury. Lamb 1 has enjoyed reading some stories this week. He's fascinated that all his grandparents and his Mama read that in school. Ram doesn't remember if he read Dick and Jane in school. He thought it was cool that Grandpa and Grandma knew the names of the people (Dick, Jane, Sally) and pets (Spot, Puff).
Fishing-Our area has another youth fishing day today. This time Ram is able to take them so he's going to take Lamb 1 and 2. They have a tackle box full of nice supplies that they won at the last fishing day and we got them a fishing pole too. They should have a fun day.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ewe's thyroid

I went to the Dr. 3 hours away on June 4 and had everything done in one day-blood tests, saw Dr. and thyroid ultrasound. My blood test came back normal which is good, but after months of being low, the Dr. doesn't know why it was normal. So I am to repeat the blood tests in 6 weeks and hope that they are normal then and hopefully repeat the blood tests in 3 months and they will be normal again. IF everything is normal then we can TTC again. For the first time she explained that the two main drugs they give for thyroid-1 has the chance of causing birth defects and the other one has the chance of causing liver problems. So the Dr. would really like my blood tests to be normal for several months before we try to get pregnant. So it was good news that the blood tests were normal on June 4 and we pray that it remains that way.
I have had thyroid ultrasounds every year or two for the past 6 years. For the first time, the ultrasound showed two nodules that were bigger than the Dr. would like to see. I am scheduled on Monday for a needle thyroid biopsy. 90% of these biopsys are not cancerous. I have never had a thyroid biopsy before. Please pray for me to do well for this biopsy and for good results. Also, sometimes these biopsys don't show what the dr. needs to see, so please pray that it shows what the dr. needs-I don't want to make more 6 hour round trips than I need to nor go through more tests than this biopsy.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mama's mistake

Our tri-parish doesn't have VBS. They are welcome to join one of the neighboring LCMS churches for VBS. Ram is asked to help at one church where most of our member's children go for VBS. That church has a family come and lead the VBS. The Lambs didn't like it the one year we went-EVERYTHING was different-VBS songs, games, etc. and many more children than our small Sunday School. It was just too overwhelming for them. The last few years Ram has gone to one church to help and I have taken the Lambs to another church. The Lambs preferred the more traditional VBS with some VBS songs and some hymns, smaller classes, and lots of art time. I prefer the CPH curriculum over this family's curriculum. The class was small enough that if they wanted to do art a little longer and miss a little music, that was ok. They weren't allowed to do that at the other VBS-it was just too big of a VBS to allow that. This is important for our Lambs that don't go to a traditional school and don't understand the time limits that a classroom has. Last night I had Ram send an e-mail to register the Lambs for VBS next week. We got an e-mail back that VBS was THIS week. Oops! I just assumed it would be the same as the other church. I bet the other church had to do it when the family that runs VBS was available. I didn't even think to ask or register them ahead of time. So the Lambs missed at least half of VBS because of my mistake. I'll ask the Lambs if they want to go to the last two days of VBS or go to the VBS that Papa goes to or just skip VBS this year. I have to say that I'm not going to be disappointed if they choose skipping VBS this year-it makes a week of a crazy schedule with getting supper ready on time, getting home and to bed late, and needing to have laundry done for everyone to go to VBS every day instead of just wearing play clothes around the house. And when Ram goes a different direction than us every night, it's even worse. I do feel bad that they missed VBS this year though.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

CA Trip Day 2

Our Lambs are hotel snobs. They asked Grandpa if they could go to the hotel with fountains and fish, Shirley Temples (free happy hour), glass elevators, and a really good breakfast. Grandpa travels a lot for work so he was happy to grant the Lambs wish. We really like Embassy Suites!
Lamb 3 in the hotel lobby
We were up early enough on the second day and not in a big hurry to get anywhere, so we had some time after breakfast to "play" in the hotel lobby while we waited for Grandpa and Grandpa to be ready. The Lambs enjoyed this every day, but we had the most time on day 2.

Lamb 1 in the hotel lobby

3 Lambs at the hotel

Lamb 2, the birthday boy at Great Grandma's!
The second day of our vacation was Lamb 2's birthday. We went to the grocery store for a meat/cheese/cracker tray, veggies and dip, fresh fruit, a few salads, and of course cupcakes and ice cream. Then we went to Great Grandma's house.

Great Uncle Kurt and Great Aunt Shelly brought the party entertainment supplies-lots of bubbles and sidewalk chalk. Shelly's daughter Kirsten brought her two daughters. Here's Bailey with Kurt and Shelly. My boys were so excited that Bailey came to Lamb 2's party and she even was dressed properly for a girl-a dress and tights! She was adorable and the only child that was willing to wear a Thomas the train hat. Lamb 2 has never had children at his birthday party before besides his brothers so he was pretty excited.

Lamb 2 and 3 doing sidewalk chalk
We decorated all the sidewalks in the backyard and Great Grandma had the gardener clean it up the next day so we had fresh sidewalk to do some more!


Taylor was about a month old. She was content to nurse and then be held by about anyone. I was glad to hold a baby girl for a few minutes. I give Kirsten a lot of credit for getting two kids ready and driving over to the party by herself (hubby was at work).


We bought two kinds of mini cupcakes so the Lambs could each have 2 without getting too much sugar. I didn't edit this photo, because I wanted you to notice Kirsten's cute "Hooter Hider". Taylor ate her own lunch while we sang "Happy Birthday" to Lamb 2. We didn't know that Kirsten's babies are sensitive to dairy. We would have known what to buy that was dairy free if we would have known. Kirsten was tempted, but she was a good Mama and didn't cheat.

Then we opened presents. Here's Lamb 2 with a fancy bubble blowing machine from Great-Grandma. We gave one to Bailey and kept two. The Lambs loved playing with these. There were just a few presents to open because the rest of Lamb 2's presents were at home.

After presents, we sang "Jesus Loves Me" for Great-Grandma. Lamb 1 didn't want to sing, but Lamb 2 sang well.

Lamb 1 at the hotel Happy Hour
We tried to go back to the hotel for some rest time after the party, but the Lambs were pretty wound up and didn't rest. This was the one day we went to Happy Hour and the Lambs got their free Shirley Temples. Then we went out for supper to an great Indian restaurant that we could walk to from the hotel.
After supper, my cousin on my dad's side, Dawn, brought her family over to the hotel. We took some pictures, but unfortunately my camera didn't work. Hopefully some day I can get Dawn's photos. Dawn is a little older than me with kids much older than our Lambs. I've only seen her a few times so it was a treat to get together. I think we could have talked all night, but her kids were pretty bored and our Lambs needed to get to bed. Lamb 1 actually was so tired that after a few minutes of meeting them, he went in the other room of our suite and went to bed. The other two Lambs didn't go to sleep until after they left about 10pm (which was midnight our time). But we were able to chat for a few hours. It was so nice of her to drive over to see us!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

CA trip day 1

We flew to Los Angeles on May 24. Ram sat by Lamb 3 and I had the other 2 Lambs. We had driven 3 1/2 hours to the airport that morning so all 3 Lambs were tired by the time we got on that plane. I felt sorry for Ram trying to get Lamb 3 to stay in his seat and not holding him the first time he flew with his own seat. Soon Lamb 3 fell asleep and Ram was able to do quite a bit of reading on this flight. I had 2 Lambs that only did one activity for 5-10 minutes and then needed help getting the next item out of their backpack for the entire 4 hour flight. Lamb 1 never slept and Lamb 2 only slept a little at the end of the flight. I was exhausted by the end of that flight. When we landed it took quite a while for us to finally come to a complete stop at the gate-it's a huge airport. Poor Lamb 3 just didn't understand and kept saying, "DONE". Lamb 3 slept a good portion of the 4 hour flight

Can you guess where we ate lunch?

The Lambs were so happy to arrive at Great Grandma's house and be allowed to run around her small backyard.
Lamb 3 was rested up and ready to "RUN".

While they were in the backyard one of the first things they asked was if they could pick oranges. They remembered picking oranges off Grandma's tree in her backyard from the last time we visited 2 years ago. The woman that lives with Great Grandma was nice enough to cut the oranges up for the Lambs. She didn't know what she was getting into because she had to cut up oranges every day we were there once she started!


Lamb 2 loves orange juice!
On this first day, the Lambs helped make orange juice which they enjoyed. We didn't make orange juice every day we were there, but we brought some oranges home with us.
We brought KFC and enjoyed eating at Grandma's house. We were happy to get back to the hotel and to bed after our long day.

Monday, June 7, 2010

New Orleans 1992

In my decluttering efforts, I ran across a videotape made by our church when our youth group attended the National LCMS Youth Gathering in New Orleans in 1992. I had just graduated from high school and I went with the youth from my church before I started college. The videotape was about 1/2 a hour long. It was just some shots of going to Six Flags on the way there, some of the "church" services and activities we did there, and some of the sightseeing we did. I was one of the oldest ones in my group as I had not attended the Denver youth gathering (was that in 1989?) and most of my classmates had attended that one and only went once. On this trip to New Orleans I became better friends with my friend Kristy who eventually was one of my bridesmaids. My dad was the vacancy pastor at a small church outside of my hometown. About 5 of their youth plus a chaperone came with our large church. I enjoyed having them as part of our group.

The videotape-I wasn't smiling in very many of the shots of me. Our group was large-almost 50 of us on a bus with a few chaperones. This was frustrating because it was so many people to keep track of-it seemed like we waited to get the group going more than we actually went and did anything. Also, the conservative LCMS in me hated the actual youth gathering. Especially when a pastor came to our section during the communion service and winked at me and said, "Hey ladies, you get to give each other communion today for once!" And I could tell from the videotape that even then we all thought a lot of the planned events were dumb. 18 years later they are even more ridiculous! Our group had good chaperones and as far as I know we all behaved. But we heard horror stories about what other LCMS youth did at the hotels while we were there. I think 20,000 youth is just too many. I did enjoy the sightseeing and being with friends so the time wasn't totally wasted. But I enjoyed going to New Orleans with the CUW Wind Ensemble a few years later much more than this trip.

I am so thankful that my Lambs will have a chance to do Higher Things Youth Gatherings. I would forbid my Lambs to ever participate in something like what I attended in 1992. I don't think our Lambs even will have a desire to go with 20,000 other Lutherans-it's just too big for them after living in a town of 113. I think of how much money we had to raise to go to the National Youth Gathering-it was a lot of car washes, taking donations, and other fundraisers plus a lot of our own money. I think of how much it cost for LCMS to run the youth gathering. Since there wasn't Higher Things yet, I think I would have preferred to go with my family to some place like New Orleans and do our own sightseeing and go to a good LCMS church if we were there on a Sunday.

Did any of you readers attend a National Youth Gathering? Do any of your churches still attend the National Youth Gathering?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

33rd Week of School Report

We had a nice school vacation for a week while we went to CA. (I know I still need to post about our vacation, but other things have come up that I wanted to post!) We tried to get back to school this week slowly after our vacation. Monday was Memorial Day so we had one more day of vacation. Tuesday I had a doctor's appointment and then the babysitter came so no school. Wednesday and Thursday we had school. Friday I had a doctor's appointment for my thyroid, 3 hours away, so it was a whole day of doctoring and shopping and no school. Saturday we had school. I am finding it hard to get motivated to do school now that it is summer. The classroom teacher in me has a difficult time doing school during the summer. We need to get caught up from all our sickness this past year when we took more breaks than we should have. The Lambs have never been to school so they aren't unmotivated because it's summer. They're just tired and grouchy after all our activities and traveling recently. We have few plans this week so hopefully we can get some good school in this week before VBS and swim lessons...

Math: Still working on MUS lesson 21. Read a book about and practiced counting by tens. Both Lamb 1 and 2 did a little from their dot to dot books.
Reading: Read Celebrated Dancing Bear without doing any FIAR activities. I think we have now read all the FIAR books from volume 1. Read a little from Just So Stories.
We took a break from Latin, handwriting and science this week. Lamb 2 did a little from his tracing book.
Religion: Reviewed all the Bible stories in set 3 of the Bible story posters. We will begin set 4 next week.
Phonics: Lamb 1 read a Bob book daily.
Music: We read about and listened to Wagner.
Art: Lamb 1 did a little in his Kumon drawing book. The Lambs painted with their babysitter.
History: We read a book about the American flag and Lamb 1 remembered Flag Day is soon so he decided to make some pictures of flags to decorate our house for Flag Day.

I think that was about it. I felt like it was a shortened week in the classroom like I used to have for holidays and other events.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

International Clothesline Week Begins Today

I am going to attempt to put more out on the line this week-it's so difficult when you don't know if it is going to rain or not! I put a lot on clothes racks inside all year around so I don't feel so bad if I don't get it all outside all the time. At a minimum, I try to hang towels, diapers, jeans, sheets, and blankets as often as possible. I like the sun to bleach the diapers especially. My dad was nice enough to hang new line for me last year. I'm going to try to paint the rusty posts this summer too to brighten them up.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Decluttering day 1-3

I decided to document my decluttering efforts on my blog. Our tri-parish can not continue to pay a full-time pastor forever. I don't know what God's plans for our family are, but I don't think we will be here for more than a few more years. I plan to go through every drawer, closet, and bin in our house this summer. I want to get rid of some, organize what we keep, and clean the house well. Some of the items that I am getting rid of need to be cleaned up (strollers, baby swing, etc.). And then I need to organize where what I am getting rid of is going. Some items that I'm keeping need to be packed up like the baby bouncy seat. I'm not sure if I will get to our many bookshelves this summer with everything else planned for this summer.

Tuesday- I worked through the bin of 0-6 month clothes and got rid of some. I had done this before so there wasn't a lot that I was willing to part with. Hopefully as I go to the next age bin I'm willing to get rid of more. This is so difficult because I don't know if we will have more children or the sex of those children! Baby clothes are so cute, but they don't wear them for long before they outgrow them. I did actually get rid of a couple of Pooh outfits so I'm slowly making progress. (Last time I gave away almost everything that wasn't Pooh and my mom said I was still keeping too much.) Our boys have all been small when they were born and wore their newborn clothes much longer than the typical baby.

I also worked through 2 bins of VHS and DVDs that we own-deciding what to give away, what to watch and then give away, and making a list of what we own that I decided to keep. We actually own quite a few movies and many of them we have never watched-which is the reason why we have never had a Netflix subscription.

I also almost caught up on laundry after our vacation and kept up on dishes even after making jam on Monday and a pie today.

Wednesday-I worked on the movie organization project some more. I am up to over 200 VHS/DVDs that we own! I am basically done with organizing and listing the movies. I still have a huge tub of movies that I want to watch or have the Lambs watch and then decide if we are going to keep them. Those are not included in the 200! I discovered a couple of movies that we had 2 copies of and I had no idea when it was all disorganized. Yes, the Lambs still regularly watch VHS movies!

I worked on 2 tubs of 6-12 month clothes-I would like to get it down to 1 tub, but we'll see.

Thursday- Today the Lambs helped me organize their puzzles and we got a pile to give away making sure all the pieces were there for those.

Lamb 1 decided to organize his underwear by type (Elmo, Thomas, vehicles, Mickey Mouse etc.) and get the ones that were too small ready for his brothers. It was so funny how organized his basket of underwear was when he was done! He's caught the organizing bug from me!

I spent a long time this afternoon organizing everything that we plan to give away. I have boxes or bags for my parents, my sister, Half Price Books, Hyde Brothers (used bookstore in Fort Wayne), a lot for the Seminary, Goodwill, Once Upon a Child, and a few big items to try to sell on the local radio station. I've worked a little in the Lamb room, a little on the baby clothes, the puzzles, and the videos and we already have several bags to give away. It will be much easier now that that is organized when I find more items to give away to just put them in the correct bag.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Be still, my soul;

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on your side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; your best your heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul; though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in this vale of tears;
Then you will better know his love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe your sorrows and your fears.
Be still, my soul; your Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.
LSB 752:1&3
We miss you Tim! Ram said, "Happy Birthday Tim" to me yesterday. I'm so sad that our Lambs will never know you as an uncle. We often talk to the Lambs about you. We can't wait until the day that we are reunited.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mommy Memory

Last night, all 3 Lambs fought for space on my lap as we said our evening prayers. Usually all 3 Lambs want to be independent and kneel by themselves. I gladly made room for all 3 on my lap.

I used to give turns rubbing Lamb 2's back and then Lamb 1's back for prayers. Recently Lamb 3 has been insisting that he has a turn too. I don't mind singing a few extra hymns so that everyone gets a turn! Lamb 3 loves to be held and put his head on my shoulder.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Vacation Post 1

Our expenses
Checking 3 Suitcases 2 times=$150
Lunch Monday=$20
Parking=$47
Supper Friday=$50
Hotel one night=$70
Lunch Saturday=$20
Water for plane=$5
Rice milk for plane=$5
Gas to airport x2

Ram's parents expenses
Monday lunch and supper
Tuesday groceries for birthday party and supper
Wednesday admission to Knott's Berry Farm and lunch and supper
Thursday lunch and supper
Hotel 4 nights
Plane tickets (thank you frequent flyer miles!)
Rent 11 passenger van for 5 days
Gas
Admission to beach so our Lambs could spend about 15 minutes there

Thank you Ram's parents for making our vacation possible.

Spending time with Great-Grandma at her house= PRICELESS