Thursday, December 29, 2011

December 29

1 Ewe+1 Ram+3 boy Lambs
-5 miscarried Lambs, 1 brother (Tim), 3 Grandmas, 2 Grandpas, 4 Great Aunts, 2 Great Uncles, and several family friends going to join the saints in the Church Triumphant
+1 Brother-in-law (Eric)
+ 1 Saturn- 2 Saturns + 1 Blazer- 2 Blazers
+1 Toyota Camry + 2 Minivans-1 Minivan
+ 3 Digital Cameras- 2 Digital Cameras
+1 Laptop+ 2 Computers
+ Several vacations to IN, ID, CA, SC, AL, MO, WY, NE, etc.
+ Ewe's first cell phone
+ Living in 3 houses in 3 different parts of the country
- 1 house (sold)
+ 2 Major moves to different states
+ Ewe changing from classroom teacher to Mama to homeschool teacher
+ Ram changing from student to pastor
+ 1 major surgery for Ram
+ Ram two Calls to 4 different churches
+ Plus making many new friends from many different parts of the country and a few from overseas
+ Moving from living in the same city as one set of parents to the same state as the other set of parents
+Living in a big city, in a town of 113, and in a suburb of a big city

=10 years of holy matrimony for Ram and Ewe!

We thank Christ for being the center of our marriage and being with us through all these changes. We know he will continue to be with us in future years and future changes too.

*Sorry I can't post a photo, but the wedding photos are still packed!

**Baker family, you are in our thoughts and prayers today. We know while this is a joyous day on the calendar for us it is a difficult anniversary day for you which makes it a bittersweet day for us. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May we continue to look forward to the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day 1



3 Handsome Lambs



Photographer: Lamb 1
Not bad for his first photo!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

*Photos taken at our new church on Christmas Eve

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Lamb 1
Lamb 2
Lamb 3

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2:11

*Photos were taken in MN in October

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Are you listening?

The secular world says Christmas is only one day. About a week ago I heard a fellow customer talking on her cell phone in the grocery store. She was talking about taking down her Christmas tree. This was a week before Christmas Day! In our family we wait until Advent is almost over to decorate our Christmas tree. First we observe Advent. We take our Christmas tree down after Epiphany. We observe the whole 12 days of Christmas, not just one day.
Did you know there is a radio station that plays Christmas music for the whole Christmas season? You can listen here. Thank you Lutheran Public Radio for beginning Christmas music today.
You can also listen to talk radio about the Christmas season here on demand. Thank you Issues Etc. for discussing the issues in our world from a Lutheran viewpoint.
Our computer is tuned in to Christmas music today until we leave for church tonight. Is yours?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Busy Weekend

We had a busy weekend at church this past weekend. Sorry it took me so long to post these, we were recovering from the weekend for a few days while also getting ready for Christmas.
Our family did not help, but our church provided food for 18 needy families. They went shopping, packaged up the food, and delivered it. Oh how excited those families must have been to receive a turkey, bag of potatoes, gallon of milk and OJ, bag of flour and sugar, and several canned goods to complete their Christmas dinner. Times are hard for many people in this economy and I'm glad our church was able to help out these families that needed it. I hope that next year we can help with this project as I think it would be good for the Lambs.

Saturday morning we had dress rehearsal practice for the Christmas program.

This was the first year our church tried doing a Living Nativity. It was out by the street for a few hours on Saturday afternoon. One man read the Christmas story and other readings from the Bible and the "actors" acted it out. There were no speaking parts except for the reader. Ram was King Herod and he is not in this photo. After watching the Living Nativity then you were invited into the church for cookies and apple cider. It went well for the first year and they plan to do it again next year.

Lamb 3 was not feeling well on Saturday night, I think he was just tired and too many cookies because he was better on Sunday. I had planned to go to church for early service but thought it would be better to let Lamb 3 sleep in a little more. The Lambs went to Sunday School and the Children's Christmas Service was during second service at our church. Here are my two shepherds and one sheep.

Shepherd Lamb 1

Shepherd Lamb 2

Sheep Lamb 3

All the children (except Lamb 3 refused to be in the photo)

After the second service there was a Happy Birthday Jesus party. The Lambs enjoyed these snowman cupcakes even though the toppings were sticky so Lamb 1 with caps on his teeth couldn't have them.

Happy Birthday Jesus Party
The Lambs were given treat bags

Sunday evening one of the families from church had a Christmas party at their house. The entire congregation was invited. It was well planned with crafts for the kids upstairs while the adults visited downstairs. They provided ham and turkey and we brought sides. Our letter of the alphabet was asked to bring a salad. I took these veggie trays and hummus. It was appreciated by those gluten free members and by others who had too much sugar all weekend. I didn't bring many veggies home. All Lamb 3 ate was hummus and dessert. The Lambs had a great time and our members appreciated seeing them outside of the church, especially seeing them "just being boys".


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Homeschool Christmas Vacation

At one time Lamb 1 was a whole year ahead in math, doing Saxon math 2 book while he was in first grade. Then Ram had major surgery, I had some miscarriages, and we had a major move. I am happy to report that Lamb 1 finished his Saxon math 2 book on Thursday. He will begin Saxon math 3 after Christmas vacation. After he completes Saxon math 3 I do not know what math curriculum we are going to use. I like Saxon for the lower grades but not for the upper grades. After our major life events I'm proud that he is still half a year ahead in math.
Lamb 2 finished his handwriting of capital letters on Thursday too. Writing is very difficult for him and lower case letters will be a challenge. He is only in kindergarten and as a boy, I don't push him in this area. I know it will eventually come. He is eager to write like Lamb 1 so I'm glad he at least knows his capital letters now. He is plugging away in Alpha MUS and doing very well.
Lamb 3 will begin preschool in January. In homeschool he has been working on coloring and cutting with a scissors, both skills that will help him in preschool.
Since Lamb 1 and 2 were at a good breaking point I declared Christmas vacation began on Friday. They have their Sunday School Christmas program on Sunday and we have cookies to bake!
We are all looking forward to adding all subjects in after Christmas vacation. After our move we just did the basics in homeschool the last few months. I especially want to add more memory in, using Andrew Campbell's book, Living Memory. The Lambs want to resume Latin studies and study of Egypt in history.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Growing

When it was clear that the MN churches would not be able to pay Ram so he could stay there as a pastor until he retired, we began praying for a Call for Ram. In our prayers we prayed that we would move to a growing area with the possibility to grow the church. We loved our members and churches in MN, but it was tiring to live in a place where everyone was moving away and few were moving to the area. While we lived there a public elementary school closed and a bar closed and several businesses and stores closed. A LCMS church about 45 minutes away closed. Ram did about 50 funerals but only a few baptisms.
When Ram received the Call here we could tell this was a growing area; population growth is really exploding here. That was a positive sign that if the area was growing, there is the possibility to grow the church.
It wasn't until we moved here that we saw how MUCH the possibility is to grow the church. Ram went to a church meeting on Tuesday night. There is talk of definitely having a building project and possibly even moving locations so we could have more space. Many of the members desire a real sanctuary with pews. The preschool is growing and needs more space. Our church needs a better area for events at church besides just moving chairs and setting up tables in the sanctuary.
And the best part-they aren't doing anything special at this church, they are just being LCMS. I'm going to be very interested to see how God answers our prayers and what happens to our new church in the next 5-10 years.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

More Family Update

My last post was getting quite long, so I decided to continue it here.
Saturday morning I went to LWML. In MN they wanted the pastor to come to Ladies Aid to lead Bible study so with the exception of a few times a year where our whole family went, I wasn't able to go to Ladies Aid because I needed to stay with the Lambs. The LWML group is small here-we'll have to work on increasing attendance.
Saturday after the Lambs were in bed, Ram went grocery shopping. I'm still not used to living in a place that has stores open 24 hours a day. We were trying to figure out a time to go shopping in our busy schedule. Then he decided to go then.
I have looked at a few stores here and I can't find pretzels in Christmas shapes (tree, bell, star, etc.) That was always an easy baking project for the Lambs-dip the Christmas pretzels in chocolate. One more example of my frustration shopping here.
The Lambs and I have made 5 different kinds of cookies already and have plans to make more. I'll have a post of what we've baked soon.
Monday Ram went to the mortgage company and got preapproved for a loan. We would be allowed $280,000. Isn't that crazy on a pastor's salary? I know the house we buy will be no where near that much!
We spent Friday afternoon and most of Monday with Ram and I was glad because this is the busy time of the year and we won't see Ram much more this week.
This weekend will be busy with the Christmas program for the children on Sunday and a congregation open house at one of the member's homes on Sunday afternoon and a Living Nativity on Saturday.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Family Update

On Thursday I tried going to a new chiropractor. He was running a deal that if you brought in food for the needy then your first visit was free. I liked him so I took the rest of the family back on Monday. Ram and I really needed adjustments after moving, sleeping in hotel beds, and the stress of living in a new place. We found out Lamb 1 has mild scolosis. Since we homeschool he has not had checkups with the school nurse and I had no idea. The chiropractor wonders if possibly his spiral fracture of his leg as a toddler is causing some of his problems. So the chiropractor will work on this monthly and if it doesn't improve we may look into seeing if there is a problem with his leg. Thankfully it is mild and the chiropractor can work on this. Lamb 2 was perfect, probably didn't even need an adjustment. Lamb 3 was afraid of a new chiropractor, even though the doctor's first name is the same as Lamb 3's! This chiropractor does things a little different method than our old chiropractor, but I still like him. I'm thankful there is one more new doctor that we found and liked.
Friday we looked at two houses. We ruled out one because none of the bedrooms were big enough for 3 Lambs (even with a bunk bed) and they don't want to be separated. The second one is a possibility-it had built in bookshelves in almost every room of the house. It had one big bedroom with bookshelves built into the whole wall. That would be our schoolroom/library. I liked the second house we looked at but I'm not willing to buy the first house we look at. Besides the bookshelves there was nothing that jumped out and told me this was THE perfect house for us.
There are two more houses that I would like to look at, both are near the one that we liked. One is brand new never occupied. Can you see any problems with buying a brand new house? Or would it be ideal to buy a brand new house? The problem with that one is there is a high home association fee. The benefit is a community pool. I'm not sure I'm willing to pay $700 yearly the whole time we live in that house, but it would be nice to have the benefit of a pool. We haven't looked at this house yet so we will see. After we look at these two houses then I think we'll take a break from house shopping. There are not many houses on the market during the winter and I think we'll do better in the spring.
After we looked at houses on Friday we took the Lambs to the park. I couldn't believe we were playing at the park in December. We did wear winter hats with our sweatshirts! We almost had the park to ourselves. It would be nice to live near that park.
Friday evening some church members invited us over for dinner. Their children are grown, but the Lambs had a great time at their house. They played with Legos (they had tubs from when their boys were little), made their own pizzas for dinner, had cake and ice cream for dessert, and played Wii for the first time. Lamb 1 was really good at Wii bowling. Lamb 2 and 3 didn't really get Wii, but they were thrilled when it was their turn each time. It was nice to be invited to their house-we can't really invite others over here while we are in this rental house.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stockings

My last post had a comment asking what we did for the 12 Days of Christmas stockings.

My mom filled our stockings each day for the 12 days of Christmas. We had a little larger gift in there for Christmas and Epiphany, and small gifts the rest of the days. Since our family was just two girls, the larger gifts were usually something like a purse. The smaller gifts were things like chapstick, candy, hair ribbons, etc. We always looked forward to Scotch tape in our stockings because we were not allowed to use my parents' tape (we would have used it all) and we always used ours up to wrap presents.

We have taken my parents idea but made it for boys since the Lambs are all boys. Christmas Day we put the smallest present Ram's mom gives them for Christmas that fits in there. They are allowed to open their stocking on Christmas Day before we go to church. We also put peanuts and oranges in the stockings then because that was Ram's parents tradition from Ram's mom's dad. For the rest of the days they get small gifts, often ones that we would buy them anyway, they are just in their stockings. Toothbrushes, crayons, Scotch tape, blank envelopes, candy, small cars, etc. Epiphany is a big gift from Ram and Ewe, sometimes it doesn't fit in their stocking. We started this because we wanted it clear that Papa and Mama gave a present and what they gave instead of being confused with all the other gifts from church members and from grandparents. A typical Epiphany gift: Lamb 1 received a watch when he could tell time.

I have heard of families that make a scavenger hunt with clues in the stockings where their treats are hidden in the house. I have heard of families that have treats in the stockings that the children receive once a year like pop or certain sweets. I have heard of stockings with totally silly gifts that the whole family can enjoy during Christmas vacation-like cans of silly string and a chance to go crazy together in the garage.

Some days I give "coupons" that they can redeem that day. When we lived in MN it was coupons like the next time we go to a city with Starbucks you can get your own drink. Also coupons like you can play play dough today for an unlimited time. I do try to limit the coupon days because they aren't as much fun for the Lambs as getting a gift.

Filling stockings for 12 days does take some organization and planning. It can get expensive to do 12 days times 3 (or however many children you have) Lambs. If you plan ahead you can get school supply type gifts on sale during August. If you don't plan ahead you may be able to get some deals during After Christmas sales. You can have some days be "coupon" days like I described. Some days can be a gift all the children could share, but that day wouldn't have something in each stocking. I would encourage you to be creative.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

St. Nicholas Day

My mom lost her dad in an accident a few weeks before Christmas when she was a young girl. Her dad had already picked out the presents and her mom wanted them to know that the presents (especially dolls for the girls) were from her dad, not Santa. So that year she not only lost her dad, but she also lost Santa. After that, she decided she would never do the Santa thing with her children. So growing up we never did Santa.
Because of my mom's experience I knew we would not do Santa with our children either. Julie Stiegemeyer wrote Saint Nicholas. I bought a copy and had it signed by Julie when I was pregnant with Lamb 1. We try to read it on Saint Nicholas Day each year. I like that it is short enough for even young Lambs to pay attention to the whole book.
Because we don't do Santa, but the Lambs know Saint Nicholas was a real man, we don't even talk about Santa, we only talk about St. Nick. When we moved here, the Lambs would walk into a store and talk about how many St. Nicks were out on the store shelves already at Halloween time. We went to the mall a few weeks ago and the Lambs pointed and yelled that they saw where people were having their picture taken with St. Nick. When we drive down the street they talk about how many St. Nicks they see outside on people's lawns for Christmas decorations.
Lamb 1 put his shoes out for St. Nick on Sunday night in anticipation of today. I didn't take a photo but the Lambs received chocolate coins in their shoes this morning from St. Nick.
This "solution" to Santa Claus has worked for our family. If someone would ask them if Santa Claus came to their house they would answer yes, because he came on St. Nick Day. If someone would ask them if Santa Claus was real they would answer that yes, St. Nick is real. They know that Santa Claus is the American version of St. Nick with flying reindeer and other additions. I like that I don't need to keep this a secret.
But what the Lambs look forward to is presents from Grandpa and Grandma and Great-Grandma and Aunt Hannah and stockings filled for the 12 days of Christmas by Papa and Mama. What they really look forward to is being in the Children's Program at church. We don't open any presents until after all the church services on the afternoon of Christmas Day. I like that they know people that love them give them their presents. Now, the next thing we need to work on is being able to have a conversation with either Grandma or Great-Grandma in November and December without having their Christmas wish list be part of that conversation!

Disclaimer: If you chose to do Santa with your children, I can understand the magical part of Christmas that many people have as part of childhood. It was just never part of my childhood experience so it also never became part of the Lambs experience. This post is explaining what has worked for our family, not criticizing your family if you do Santa differently. This post gave me the idea to post about Santa.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Writing thank you notes

The boxes are unpacked so earlier this week I sat down and made a list of all our friends both there and here that helped us at our time of farewell and moving. I realized how long the list was and decided it would be best to go stock up on thank you notes before beginning. When I sat down to write those notes, I could only write a few before too many tears flowed to continue.
This is the 17th time that I've moved. I knew it would be more difficult because this is the first time I moved with children. There are so many things that were right about moving here-they were exactly what we prayed for before Ram received a Call to be  pastor here. But we have to find all new doctors here after becoming close to several of our doctors in MN. ID has the best homeschooling law in the country but I found out that they are unfriendly to homeschoolers that need services from them like speech therapy. After student teaching in WI, teaching in a school in IN, and sending the Lambs to the public school in MN for speech, this has been surprising to me that all students do not have a "right" to speech. I was so happy to move to a city with stores just down the road instead of a big mall 3 hours away. But the stores here carry different brands and products than they did in MN. I was used to buying specific items in specific stores in specific towns-even if that meant stocking up when we were at that store and only buying some items a few times a year. Even if the stores carry what I'm looking for, I'm not used to where on the shelf it is like it was in MN. Ram is busy at church so I'm navigating my way through traffic in a strange city with 3 Lambs along. (I must say they have been quite the troopers for the shopping that we have done and I've bought them a few McDonald's ice cream cones to say thank you to them.)
When we were in MN I thought this was the perfect time of year to move-our garden was done, etc. Now that we are here, I realize it was a really difficult time to move. In MN I was really busy this time of year-getting ready to go to all the Ladies Aid Christmas parties, Christmas program practice, Christmas caroling, etc. I brought food to almost all those events so I was busy cooking and baking the whole month. Since this is a bigger church there are more people to help. Here others cover almost everything so as pastor's wife I'm not expected to do those things.
Oh, how generous our former members and friends in MN were when we moved. Here they were losing their pastor and his family and unsure what the future held for them as a tri-parish. They helped us pack, brought us food, gave us gifts, and made sure the parsonage was painted/cleaned/repairs made.
So this post was just to say that I miss MN and our friends and church members there. I know that I will get used to ID. I know there are a lot of great things about our new town and our new church and I will get used to it. I know there are a lot of other wives of pastors that have been at this point. I know I will get the thank you notes written. I know I will get used to my new role as wife of the pastor here. But I will be thinking of what our churches in MN would traditionally do on each of the days this month.
On the positive side, a couple from church invited our family over for dinner this week. If I'm not so busy with church activities, this will mean more time to do Christmas activities and baking with the Lambs.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

First Field Trip

Our church preschool went to Albertson's grocery store for a field trip a couple of weeks ago. We asked if we could tag along. They were surprised none of the Lambs had ever been on a field trip before. I had my hands full with Lamb 3 being very clingy-I think he was afraid I was going to leave him with the teachers and students. We had told him he would start preschool after Christmas and this field trip was not part of what he expected. So I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked to. For the field trip they went to each section of the grocery store and talked about healthy food choices from that section-to buy bread at the bakery, but only occasionally buy donuts or cake. At each section they were given something to put in their bag. At the end of the field trip they had a lunch to eat-sandwich from the deli, apple, banana, granola bar, bottle of water, piece of bread, etc. They also received some nice coupons for when we shop there and since I have 3 Lambs I received 3 times the coupons! After touring the store then each child got to pretend to be the check out person and scan some items and then they sat down and ate their lunch together. It was nice for me to meet a few other stay at home moms. The preschool met at the store so parents had to bring their children, there was no bus or van to the store. We enjoyed our field trip and look forward to going on the next field trip with the preschool. Thank you Albertsons!






Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pantry Shower

We had some interesting meals here between the time that we got a refrigerator and when the church had a pantry shower for us on November 13. I didn't want to stock our pantry until I saw what we received at the shower.
The shower was overwhelming. It was very welcome after we had a full pantry in MN and gave away an entire chest freezer and pantry full of food.
We received lots of chocolate chips and items like pasta and spaghetti sauce. The boys ate their first can of Chef Boyardee. Toilet paper, paper towels, cereal, pure maple syrup, and other canned goods were appreciated. We also received several gift cards for local grocery stores. We even received a plant which was appreciated after I gave away all but one of my plants when we moved. It was great to be welcomed to the church with this pantry shower. The day after the pantry shower we went grocery shopping with our gift cards and finished filling our pantry with items to cook from a menu for a couple of weeks-basing the menus on the items we were given at the shower and finishing the menus to make complete meals.

The Lambs helped unload the car with the items we received while Ram led the second service at church. Then they unpacked everything to see what we received. We ate some soup we received for a fast lunch when Ram got home. Then they put everything out on the table and played store. So the pantry shower not only filled our pantry, but it also provided entertainment for the Lambs for an afternoon.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A surprise

One day a few weeks ago Ram brought home an envelope from church. I would have sat down and blogged about it right away, but we didn't have Internet at home yet. A Looper that I have never met before sent me a gift. She didn't know my home address so she sent it to church. That is what is so nice about having a pastor for a husband! She sent a really nice card with it to encourage me as she knows moving is hard. She knows that we used to live 1 1/2 hours from Target and now Target is right down the road. So this is what she sent. I had never seen "gift coins" before. They were perfect for the Lambs to each get a treat and Ewe was allowed to use the extra coin on herself. It was good timing to get a gift as Ewe was discouraged-the washer had leaked water all over the office, we didn't have Internet at home yet, we found out that the post office wouldn't forward our mail, unpacking wasn't going as fast as Ewe would have liked after Ram started working at church, etc.
Ram took the Lambs to Target one day and gave Ewe a few minutes peace. Lamb 1 chose Legos and Lamb 3 chose Duplos which did not surprise me. They chipped in a little of their spending money with their gift coin and were quite happy. When they got home they claimed that Lamb 2 had spent a lot of his spending money in addition to his gift coin. Actually what Lamb 2 chose was on sale so he didn't spend that much extra with his gift coin. He chose a Busytown Richard Scarry board game. It surprised me that he didn't buy Legos. I thought that this would be a good learning experience for Lamb 2 with his spending money. It turns out that the Lambs have played this game several times almost every day since he bought it. They can all 3 play it or just 2 of them. It is huge spread out on the floor several feet. Yes, Lamb 2 won't have as much spending money as the other two Lambs the next time they go shopping. But it turns out it was a very good purchase for him. Add in that many of our games are still in the garage and it makes this even better. Once again the cashier was patient as the Lambs counted out their own money along with their gift coin to make their purchases.

So thank you to my Looper friend for not only thinking of sending a small gift, but also getting it in the mail. I often have good intentions but time goes by and ideas like this don't happen. I haven't used my coins yet, but one of these days we'll have to go to Target so Ewe can get her treat too. Hopefully some day I will get to meet this Looper friend in person.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ram's installation at our new church on November 6

Janet, Ewe, Becky
These are the "local" Loopers (LCMS homeschool e-list). Janet is about 1 1/2 hours and Becky is about 20 minutes away from me. They were both thrilled to have a Looper move so close! Janet's husband had to miss a football game to come to the service, but they enjoyed the service and stayed to eat afterwards. Becky's two children were real troopers to sit through a long afternoon service for a pastor they never met before. Becky's husband was out of town for the weekend so she was on her own with her children. It meant a lot to me that two Loopers I never met before took the time to come to the installation. Janet's children are older, but I still hope to be able to get together with her occasionally. I really look forward to getting Becky's kids and the Lambs together as her children are just a few years older than the Lambs. It's wonderful to already have local friends when we first moved here.

The pastors at the installation
The most familiar one (for Higher Things participants) is probably Rev. Timothy Pauls. Ram knew the names of a couple of other pastors from the circuit and looks forward to getting to know them better. Rev. Pauls was very happy to see Ram return to ID.

Our family with Ram's parents

Our family with Ewe's parents

Our family

Ram with Ewe's dad, who preached for the installation.
Ewe made Ram's stole for his Ordination
Ewe's dad's stole was a gift from a deaconess in Thailand

We had to hurry to take photos after the service. We found out our church is dark and photos are a challenge. I miss that part of our last church, photos with lots of sunlight through the stained glass windows. Following the installation service there was a potluck with meat provided by the church and a birthday cake for Ewe. It was nice to have some time with our family and friends after the long day of church and Sunday School in the morning and the installation service in the afternoon. There was some miscommunication between Ram and Ewe so we thought we had camcorded the installation service, but a new "tape" was not put in. We were just glad to see that the camcorder had not taped over the last thing recorded. It would be nice to have that service recorded, but it wasn't as bad as if we would have messed up recording something important to the Lambs. Lamb 2 and 3 slept through most of the installation service and Ram's mom helped Lamb 1 pay attention through the long service.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A visit from friends

The rest of the week after Halloween was a blur of unpacking, getting a few supplies and groceries, unpacking, buying a washer/dryer/refrigerator used, unpacking, eating out until we had a refrigerator, unpacking, and getting ready for the installation. Ewe's parents arrived on Friday and we had not done grocery shopping yet as we had just got our refrigerator on Thursday. So we left them to go out to eat for supper and went and did some major shopping for food to feed our family the weekend of the installation. Saturday Ram's parents arrived and brought us some chairs to go with our kitchen table that they had in storage for us but never brought them out to MN.
Saturday afternoon a family friend of Ram's brought his family to visit. Dan Rutledge was doing some missionary work in Thailand for several years. This year he brought his family back to the States so he could go back for some more schooling. He plans after finishing some schooling here to return to Thailand to work with families there. After several years of sending care packages to their family and reading his blog, it was nice for Ewe to finally meet them. His wife, Mam, is from Thailand and has done well adjusting to living in the USA. The Lambs enjoyed playing in our back yard with their girls. Their youngest is a boy and he was frustrated to be too little to go out and join them. After visiting for a few hours they headed back to their family, we had supper, and tried to get to bed early before Ram's installation day.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Trunk or Treat

I've already blogged about our movers, but they started unloading about 3pm on October 31. We had plenty of time to get into our house that we are renting, make a few decisions about where the movers would put furniture and how we would organize our garage with what we planned to keep in storage, go and pick up Ram's car from the church members that were keeping it in their garage, and take some stuff over to his church office before they got there. Our church has Trunk or Treat on Halloween. So as the movers were unloading, the Lambs put on their Halloween costumes and Ram took them over to church. They went from car to car trick or treating from our church members. I was answering questions for the movers back at home so I didn't take a picture of our doctor, Tigger, or Pooh, but Ram did take this photo.
The Lambs came home with a lot of candy that night and Lamb 1 was pleased to see that most of it was not sticky candy (he has caps on his teeth).
The movers quit unloading about 7pm because they didn't want to be driving their truck through our subdivision after dark on Halloween. First they made sure that our beds were all put back together so that we could sleep there. But we were too exhausted to look for bedding so we decided to go to the hotel for one more night. We went to Applebees and ate supper and headed back to the hotel. It ended up being a quiet Halloween for us but we still did something for the Lambs. We ate breakfast at the hotel and headed back to the house where they started unloading the truck again about 8:30am.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Moving trip part 3

The final day of our moving trip was on Sunday. Before the delay of the moving truck getting to MN one day late, we had planned to arrive on Saturday and then go to church at our new church on Sunday. But with that delay there was no way we could make it there in time for church. So we went swimming at the hotel on Sunday morning, took it easy getting ready and left Pocatello, ID late in the morning. We stopped and got take out at Cracker Barrel in Boise for a late lunch, especially for the Lambs. Then we went to the hotel and changed into church clothes. Then we went to Nampa, ID for a joint Reformation service. It was nice to go to church on Reformation since we couldn't make it there for church in the morning. We could have stayed and ate there, but the Lambs were tired from traveling so we thought it would be better to go.
So we found this restaurant, how perfect for our family!
Our whole family really liked this restaurant and we later discovered there are a couple of locations near us. The Lambs enjoyed ice cream after they were finished eating their meals.
I had planned to call my college friend, Joelle, and tell her that we had arrived, but I couldn't find her phone number. So we drove out to her house and surprised her. It was near bedtime and we got her kids all wound up by playing outside in their backyard. After a little visiting we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the moving truck to arrive the next day.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lambs shopping trip

When the Lambs receive birthday money or money as gifts other times of the year, we have tried to teach them to manage their money. We have tried to have them put 10% in the Sunday School offering, 50% in savings at the bank, and Ewe kept the other 40% for their spending. Vacations are usually to grandma's house, not to a place where they could go shopping. We lived so far from shopping that they rarely had a chance to go spend their money. Lamb 1 spent about $20 on Legos after his birthday last March. So each Lamb had between $30-$50 of spending money. Recently they were complaining that Ewe kept the $ and said they were for spending but they never had a chance to spend them. They also had $ from their art store to spend.
So after we arrived at the Old Faithful visitor center and found out we had about an hour before the next eruption, we took the Lambs to the gift shop. We told them they could spend as much money as was in their envelope or save all of it. Lamb 1 chose a stamper with a buffalo footprint, a small sticker book, a plastic buffalo, and a bookmark. Lamb 2 and 3 each chose a set of small plastic animals and a few bigger plastic animals. One was trying to convince his brothers if they each got a plastic buffalo then they could have a buffalo jam, but one brother didn't want that, he wanted a bear.
When we got up to the register the cashier could see they were spending their own money and she was very patient as they each counted out their money and paid. She gave them several free bookmarks, some were quite fancy. She gave them change with shiny new 2011 coins.
I was quite proud of their first shopping experience. They each chose reasonably priced items and got what they wanted but saved much of their spending money for their next chance to go shopping. After our shopping then we went to sit and wait for Old Faithful to erupt.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Moving trip part 2

We drove from Billings to Pocatello, ID on the second day of our trip. We stopped at Yellowstone on the way. We explained to the Lambs that you could spend much longer at Yellowstone but we just didn't have time. We drove in, waited for Old Faithful to go off, and drove out. I felt like we were cheating the Lambs to just go to Old Faithful when there is so much else to see. But it was cold and we didn't really have the time. I won't bore you with photos of Old Faithful or buffalo like everyone else takes. We also stopped to see buffalo and elk and the Lambs were watching for wildlife the whole time we drove through. So we did do a little more than Old Faithful. Then we ate at a pizza place in West Yellowstone that Ram and I ate at 9 years ago. The Lambs loved Yellowstone and hope that we can go back soon. It was strange to go when Yellowstone was still open but not at peak season, if we would have been a few weeks later then it would have been closed. Because it was a Saturday there were still plenty of people there even late in the afternoon. Then we drove to Pocatello for another night in a hotel.




Friday, November 25, 2011

Finally!

It seems like I have been saying forever that Lamb 1 is 7 1/2, Lamb 3 is 3 1/2, and Lamb 2 is ALMOST 5 1/2. It really has only been the last couple of months, but today Lamb 2 turns 5 1/2. He has been telling everyone that his 5 1/2 birthday is November 25. All three Lambs, but especially Lamb 2 have had a recent growth spurt. Lamb 2 is 2 years 3 months younger than Lamb 1, but he wears the same size shoes now and he is only one size different in pants. Lamb 1 better watch out!
Today is also my baptism birthday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands and voices,
Who wonderous things has done,
In whom His world rejoices;
Who from our mothers' arms
Has blest us on our way
With countless gifts of love
And still is ours today. (LSB 895:1)

Happy Thanksgiving from Ram, Ewe, and our 3 Lambs!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Our moving trip part 1

The moving truck left our house in MN about 8pm on October 27. We did some last minute packing of the car and cleaning of the house and left about 9:30pm. That last 1 1/2 hours was a mad dash to finish everything. But we knew getting a hotel locally would be almost impossible during hunting season. We would have been welcome to stay with friends or church members but we were so unsure of our plans after the delay of the moving truck by one day that we had not made any arrangements. One benefit to this that I had not expected was it was not as sad or emotional to leave our house when it was dark. Plus at that time we couldn't stop and say goodbye to anyone else, we just got directly on the road. We arrived in Fargo a little after midnight and easily got a hotel although it was a little expensive during hunting season. We should have reserved something in advance, but we weren't sure if we would get all the way to Fargo or stop along the way.
We slept in a little and took it easy the next morning. We arrived in Bismarck and called DakotaPam. She brought her darling girls over to the McDonald's play place and in between wrangling helping her girls we were able to have a nice chat. The Rev. eventually came over to chat with Ram. It was a short visit but we were able to catch up for a few minutes and also the Lambs were able get out of the car and run around the play place. We hadn't seen Dakota Pam since January so it was a treat to see how much the girls had grown.
When we pulled in to McDonalds it was past lunch time but we had had a late breakfast so we had not eaten yet. I offered to let the Lambs get a snack at McDonalds and then after we were done visiting and playing on the play place then we would go out to eat for a late lunch/early supper at Cracker Barrel. Being completely serious, Lamb 1 asked what kind of food McDonald's had, what he could order at McDonald's. I expected Lamb 2 to respond with an answer to Lamb 1, but he also asked what kind of food McDonald's served. That shows how rural we lived before we moved here that the Lambs didn't even know what kind of food McDonald's had! We used to live 45 minutes from McDonalds but 1 1/2 hours from a town with McDonald's that we regularly went to. Now after you get out of our subdivision McDonald's is less than 4 blocks away.
The Lambs chose to just play and wait until we got to Cracker Barrel to eat. Then we headed down the road some more. We stopped at Theodore Roosevelt National Park for a bathroom break. The boys enjoyed watching the buffalo there. We finally made it to Billings and stayed in another hotel. This day was a lot of driving but made more fun with the stop in Bismarck.
Dakota Pam's boys were at school so it was just the twins and the Lambs

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More about moving

We had the impression that our driver and his two helpers for moving were picked for us by the lady that we worked with because she knew they could handle a job of 17,000 lbs. When we moved from IN to MN, they did not expect us to have 10,000 lbs and they only sent one guy to load us. He was supposed to load most of the boxes and then later in the afternoon get a helper to help him load some of the larger furniture and then get on the road and start driving after that. He walked into our house and panicked, knowing that he couldn't load what turned out to be 10,000 lbs by himself in one day. So I requested that Bekins be better prepared this time and they were. I think my request got us one of the best drivers and his helpers that works for Bekins. Our driver goes all over the country moving people.
When they were almost done unloading us the driver said to me, "You win the prize for the best self-packed clients that I have moved all year." This meant a lot to me because of what I wrote above. Considering this is November, I doubt any one else will beat us! The one helper had said several times that if we would have let them pack we would have had less boxes, possibly even only half of the boxes. I'm not so sure about that because our boxes were full. When the driver made the comment about being the best self packed, he also said that some of our boxes were small, but those boxes were heavy and all of our boxes were full. Most self packers make the mistake of not filling their boxes. Towards the end I would have been tempted to not fill boxes, but the lady from church that volunteered to help us pack our kitchen filled up boxes even more than I would have.
When the man came to give us an estimate he saw that we had several plastic tubs (totes) in the basement. He was pleased to see that and told us to fill all of those tubs up. They stack and are great for moving. So when we packed we began by filling all the tubs before we packed boxes. We had 780 items before they counted beds and mattresses and they found a few items that they forgot to number in one of the closets. I didn't hear the final count of items, but I believe it was close to 800.
The other thing that helped us was I had saved all the boxes that our wedding presents and things we purchased over 10 years of marriage. When my parents came to help us pack, my dad's job was to put all the appliances and things like that in the boxes they came in. It was very easy to identify what was in those boxes and where in the house they went when the truck was unloaded. The packing material was all there for those. Also any time Ram's mom mailed us stuff or we purchased something and it came in a large box or a box that was a good size for moving books, we kept all those boxes. Our basement had lots of room for storage for those boxes. We were thankful for all those boxes at moving time.
When we got here about half of our belongings (nearly all of our books that are not theology books) are in the garage. When we unpacked what we need to live in this house that we rented, I did throw away the boxes that that stuff came in. We just don't have the room to store those empty boxes here. Many of those boxes survived two major moves. We live near several grocery stores and liquor stores that it will be easy to get boxes to pack the things that we unpacked for us to move across town to the house that we buy next year. We are hoping to never move again after we get in that house so at that point when we unpack everything I will throw out the remainder of the boxes.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Moving photos

I downloaded photos from the last few weeks and I'll try to get caught up on posting them here. This was our second move with Bekins and we were very pleased with them both times. When we moved to MN we had 10,000 lbs exactly. In that move two beer glasses got broken. It was our fault for not packing them better. They were in a small box by themselves, not packed in another box. When they fell off the cart they got broken. Everything else made it here fine.

After hearing horror stories from fellow pastor's wives that moved, I knew we wanted Bekins again. When we called the LCMS moving services, we found out we got a discount if we went with certain movers. They were very surprised that we didn't want quotes from several companies, that we only wanted Bekins.

Bekins had no one in the area in MN to come out and give us a quote so someone from another company 1 1/2 hours away came and gave us an estimate. They estimated that we had 17, 500 lbs. You don't pay more than the estimate. I even questioned the lady we worked with for Bekins. She said their estimates are rarely off more than 500 lbs either under or over. She assured me that as long as we didn't add anything to what we had showed the man that gave us the estimate that we would be within 17,000-18,000 lbs.

In MN they loaded the stuff upstairs our house on the main level from the front door. Then they pulled around to the garage to load the stuff from the basement and the garage.

There was another family's stuff in the front section of the truck. It was eventually going to Oklahoma after dropping off our stuff and then some other stops throughout the Midwest. Our stuff began about where the second reflector line begins, after that front section over the front tires. Our stuff was loaded from floor to ceiling from there until after the S in Bekins. There was about 6 feet in the back that was empty. So we didn't fill the truck but we came close.

When they got to ID the movers began unloading our stuff late in the afternoon. They worked until about 7pm and then they quit because they didn't want to be driving a truck after dark on Halloween. They came back the next morning and finished unloading by noon. The driver is the one holding the blanket. He was like a grandpa to our boys. I know they do this daily, but I couldn't believe how they could carry queen size mattresses by themselves and things like that. When they were finished unloading they put tables and beds back together, anything they had taken apart in MN.

When they were done unloading I asked them how much they thought it weighed. They had carried everything out of one house and into another and they do this daily. Their estimate was 16,000 lbs. I told him if that was right I would be thrilled because then the church would pay less. (Customer pays less if under the estimate.) He hadn't been able to find a weigh station for his large truck so he had to weigh it again after it was unloaded. He called me about an hour after he left our house. He said, "You're not going to believe this!" I thought he meant that he was close on his estimate. Our total weight this move was 20,325 lbs! Not the estimator, not the movers, not even us thought it weighed DOUBLE what we had brought to MN. It shows that having children really does multiply your belongings!


I don't think the movers believed us that we got rid of a lot before moving day. The stove and fridge belonged to the parsonage. The dishwasher, washer, and dryer we left for the next pastor. The freezer was given away. So we moved no appliances. We gave away an entertainment center that our TV was on, a glass doored bookcase that was very heavy, bunk beds, and put a huge computer desk in the trash after we couldn't give it away. We gave away a whole back of a full size van with baby items-crib, pack n play, baby clothes, baby bathtub, etc. We gave away a very full pantry and freezer full of food. We took a big load to Goodwill and threw away a bunch. I can't even imagine how much weight we would have had if we had moved all that.

Many of our belongings are still packed in our garage so we won't know for sure until we unpack those next July, but so far nothing has been broken in what we opened. We have opened all the kitchen stuff and nothing was broken. This is amazing because we had several friends help us pack and when we packed we were in a hurry. Everything was not packed as carefully as it would have been if I would have done it all myself and had more time to pack. We are hoping to never move again after we get in our house that we buy here, but if we do, we will be sure to use Bekins again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

National Tie One On Day

I'm a little busy this year so I'm not participating, but don't forget National Tie One On Day is next week. I'll be sure to tie an apron on while I'm doing holiday cooking even if I don't make something for a neighbor in need. There is a giveaway too if you are participating.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Back to School

The first plan was to continue getting settled in our house that we rented and also exploring our new area. After Thanksgiving I planned to begin a little school with the Lambs, but not do full schedule during the holiday season. Then we would begin 2012 with the full schedule.
Yesterday was the last straw that I knew we needed to get back to more of a routine immediately. Lamb 3 took the kitchen faucet apart! Water every where plus I couldn't get it back together.
So today Lamb 1 and 2 were back to where we left off in math. Lamb 2 also did some writing as he did not have as much math to do as Lamb 1. Lamb 3 practiced holding his pencil and coloring.
We had been on school break since the end of September when I knew we were moving. It was good to hit the books again today. Lamb 2 had forgotten how to write some of his numbers. I can see that he is going to need to work harder on writing than Lamb 1 ever did.
So far it doesn't look like speech at the school is going to be an option for Lamb 2, so I'm going to need to look at our other options. In the meantime we will work on the materials the old speech teacher gave us to work on at home. We're still waiting on health insurance details to be worked out to see what options there are there. Lamb 3 should also be evaluated for speech, but we'll begin with Lamb 2. I'm still hoping that something will work out for Lamb 2 at the school.
Lamb 3 will begin at our church preschool after Christmas so two mornings a week I will have extra time to work with Lamb 1 and 2 on school work.
There were a few sets of Legos that were still unopened here so after school work this morning we opened those up. I'm hoping that that will keep them busy this afternoon while I try to tackle the laundry and dishes and continue to contact people about our change of address.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Congratulations H & E!

Congratulations to Eric and my sister, Hannah as they begin their life together today on a beach in Hawaii. Wish we could be there with you today. We love you and hope to see you soon.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Putting fires out this week

This week has been a whirlwind. Ram began a more normal schedule of work this week. My parents left early on Tuesday after being here for the installation. Tuesday evening we discovered our washer had leaked. The repairman came right away. There is still water on the carpet in the room we had planned for an office. We quickly moved all the unpacked boxes out of that room before they got more wet.
We found out this week that we currently have no health insurance as the proper paperwork wasn't turned in (partly our fault). The church needed some info for direct deposit for our paychecks and of course the bank was closed on Veteran's Day. We had a question for our tax lady and she wasn't in the office today either. So all that needs to wait until Monday.
The boys have colds and if they don't get better I don't think they can go to church on Sunday.
We found out the post office won't forward our mail because it was the same address as the church mail. We can't get internet at our house until Monday. Once we get internet at the house I have a lot of people to contact with our new snail mail and e-mail addresses. The e-mail address was for the parsonage in MN so we need to close that account soon.
I'm thankful that we have moved before because I know that all this will be straightened out and life will be more normal soon. We appreciate prayers, especially for the health insurance paperwork.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Moving update

We stopped in Bismarck, ND to visit DakotaPam, the Rev., and their darling twin girls. We made it here in time to attend the circuit Reformation service on Sunday. We didn't stay for fellowship afterwards as we were tired. The moving truck arrived Monday afternoon. They unloaded about half of our belongings before calling it an early night because they didn't want to be out on Halloween with a semi in a subdivision. They came back Tuesday morning and finished unloading. The 3 men who loaded/unloaded us were wonderful-we would recommend Bekins. They unloaded everything and estimated we had 16,000 lbs. The estimate given us was 17,500 lbs. The driver was shocked that we had 20,320 lbs. We had a great deal as you don't pay more than the estimate. We were honest and showed what we had, but I don't think the normal family has as many books as we do. We actually got rid of a lot of furniture and stuff before we came! We are storing much of our stuff in the garage as we are renting before we buy a house. The movers were a little disappointed that they only had to put many of the books and file cabinets in the garage, not take them up a flight of stairs. Ram is taking many of his books to church, but we still have many at home for homeschooling.
Ewe's parents arrived this afternoon and Ram's parents will arrive tomorrow afternoon. Sunday is Ram's installation. Ewe's parents are only staying a few more days because travel time is so long to get here and home.
This will be a big weekend but we are looking forward to meeting everyone and Ram beginning being pastor here. This transition time was difficult for me in the sense that he wasn't a pastor here yet, but wasn't a pastor in MN any longer either. The Lambs and I are anxious to finish unpacking and get back to a more regular schedule and homeschooling.
We don't have internet at home so it will be awhile before I get back to regular postings. I just wanted to update you that we arrived. Eventually I'll have some great stories to post about the Lambs first impressions in a city.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Moving Update

The moving truck was supposed to be loaded yesterday. They weren't able to get here that quickly. They called us early enough in the day that we unpacked a few boxes of bedding and spent another night here. They arrived at 8 am and started loading today. The current tally is 773 items, not counting mattresses and they may find some they missed while they load the truck. The last time we moved we were second place for the most weight. The movers record is 776 items so we should take first place for these movers! The one mover asked if we ever considered using the public library instead of owning all these books!
Because the moving truck wasn't loaded yesterday it makes a change of plans. We had originally planned to go through Cheyenne even though it was a little farther so we could visit friends. We had planned to attend church in ID on Sunday. Now we are thinking of going through Bismarck and visiting friends there. Our plans are not definite until we see when they are finished loading the truck and we can do a little cleaning. We are hoping to get out of town tonight yet because there are no hotel rooms locally due to both hunters and a meeting for the local power plant. We are not expecting to make it to ID to attend church there on Sunday. We will see after the truck is loaded and we are finished here.
Blogging will be very infrequent as we transition. Ram will have wireless internet at church but I'm not sure what we are doing for home. I can live without TV, but not without internet! We'll see after we are settled how that works out. I'm actually pretty calm about the whole situation.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Being a housemother

The weekend is over. We picked up Ram from the airport, bought a few odd size boxes for some special items, went to two farewell parties, and Ram had his last services at our tri-parish. It was a whirlwind and the Lambs are tired and grouchy. Hopefully they will sleep in today.
Ram always thanks me for running the house efficiently and trying to stay on budget when shopping and also raising 3 young boys at the same time. Today will definitely be a day to try my patience. We have a lot left to pack-Ram has barely started his office and there is much in other rooms of the house to pack too. This morning someone is coming to pick up our freezer. Sometime today/tonight someone is coming to pick up our bunk bed frames. This afternoon someone is coming to pick up my food and take what she wants for her family and then take the rest to the Food Shelf. A kind member offered to bring us lunch and come pack up my kitchen today. Running all this, watching the 3 Lambs (who have no idea what moving is or what is happening!), and also trying to get a major part of the packing done today is going to be challenging. The truck comes on Wednesday. Prayers are appreciated.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. My friend's 4 month old, Elizabeth, went to heaven last week. We have 4 miscarried babies in heaven. I have many friends who have had miscarriages or infertility problems or both.
If you haven't checked out the blog, He Remembers the Barren, or bought the book yet, I would encourage you to. I bought 5 copies and I've given them all away. After we move I'll have to order more copies to give away.

Who so happy as I am,
Even now the Shepherd's lamb?
And when my short life is ended,
By His angel host attended,
He shall fold me to His breast,
There within His arms to rest.
(LSB 740:3)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Moving Update

Yesterday we were approved for a rental house for a year. We decided to do this instead of rushing into buying a house. I was mildly worried that we would have trouble renting since we have been in a parsonage for the past 8 1/2 years. We did have trouble submitting the application online, but once that was straightened out we were approved. So we now have a temporary address. Now begins the fun of figuring out what snail mail to transfer to our new address and knowing that we will have to do it all again when we get into a house.

In the last week I emptied/packed everything in our big computer desk and entertainment center/TV stand. We got the desk hauled out to the garage ready to give away. We will take the entertainment center out to the garage soon. I listed in the newspaper the furniture we plan to give away rather than move (twice because we will be in a rental for a year).

Yesterday I completed packing one full size bookshelf. Only 10 full size, 3 half size bookshelves that are my responsibility to go! (Ram will do his theology books.) I am mildly concerned that it took me that long to do one bookshelf and I have more to pack than just books! We are also starting to run out of room to place the packed boxes and I've barely begun packing.

The company that we chose to move us did not have any one in the area to come and give us an estimate. So they sent someone from another company. It only took a few minutes to do the estimate, but 1 1/2 hours for him to drive here. I am hoping they are prepared to move all our stuff!

On Monday we took the Lambs to the dentist. It was a successful day-no cavities for any Lambs, received the name of a dentist in our new town for the Lambs, took a full car load to a friend to give her a bunch of baby stuff (crib, pack and play, baby bathtub, baby clothes, etc.), used some coupons for stores/restaurants that will not be in our new area, and met Lamb 3's godfather's family to say goodbye.

Last night I read Father Hollywood's blog post and downloaded some beautiful music to listen to while packing. A friend that I don't think I will see before we move also called me and we had a nice chat.

Time for me to get back to packing!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, Olivia!

Last year when we got back to the hotel on the day of Ram's surgery there was an electrical problem. When I went to use the power doors everything froze up. There were a few worried moments when we were "trapped" in the van as neither the power doors worked nor could we open them manually because the doors wouldn't unlock. I finally got everyone out of the van and I was so thankful Ram's dad was there to look at the minivan. He got it working again and the next morning he took it down the road to be looked at. We had planned to check on Ram and then Ewe and the Lambs were going to go home and let Ram rest and recover. That morning Ram's dad called and the conversation was something like this,
"There is a computer problem with the van. It will be $2000 to fix it and they can't guarantee that was the right computer part so it may not be fixed. You can't drive the Lambs home from Rochester by yourself in a van like that."
So instead of visiting Ram and starting home that day, Ram's dad asked if they had a used van exactly like our other van with less miles. They did, but it was newer so it had a few more features that I love having. Ram's dad did all the car shopping so all I had to do was go over and sign a bunch of papers and then they gave me the keys. Then began the task of cleaning out the old van-we had not cleaned it out after our vacation to Fort Wayne/St. Louis plus we had many items in it to entertain the Lambs for 5 hour trip to Rochester and home. Amazingly by lunch time we went back and picked up the Lambs who had been at the hotel with Grandma and went out to lunch before finally visiting Ram.
We spent another night in the hotel because we got the minivan that day and planned to drive home the following day. Because we were at the hotel that extra night, I was able to receive the middle of the night phone call that they had transferred Ram to ICU because of loss of blood. I was so thankful that we were not 5 hours away when that phone call came. God was even in the details of an electrical problem with the van helped us to be there when we wanted to be.
The Lambs named our new van, Olivia. We haven't taken any big trips other than coming home from Rochester in the last year, but we have driven 12,000 miles of local driving and driving to conferences and doctors when the whole family went along. We are so thankful to God for providing Ram's dad to help us through that minivan experience. We are so thankful to have a "new" van. God was even in the details of finances-Ram's total bill for all his hospital time was only $50.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

We praise Thee O God...

Today is the one year anniversary of Ram's surgery. We are so thankful to Ram's parents for coming and helping the entire time Ram was in Rochester. We are thankful to Ewe's dad for filling in as pastor of the tri-parish while Ram recovered. We are thankful to the Wessels for letting Ewe and the Lambs visit to get our mind off of that day when we were worried. We are thankful to the many friends and family that were praying for us and offered to help however they could. We are so thankful to the wonderful doctors at Mayo, especially when the words BENIGN were spoken but also when they took such good care of Ram when there were complications. We are thankful to our local doctor that took the time until she found out what was wrong and sent Ram to Mayo immediately and did all the checkups following Mayo. We are thankful to our church members who brought many meals. We are thankful to God for working out all the details and helping Ram, Ewe, and the Lambs through the surgery and recovery. We are thankful to God that at his recent checkup Ram's one kidney is still very healthy.

Day by day we magnify Thee.
And we worship Thy name ever, world without end.
O Lord, let Thy mercy be upon us, as our trust is in Thee.
O Lord, in Thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The big announcement

I knew what Ram's decision was several days before it was announced at both churches. It was difficult to keep it a secret. Also difficult to get started on things that need to be done before we move when I'm not allowed to tell any one!
Yesterday was pretty emotional at the two churches I attended (one for Sunday School and church, one for a potluck). Please keep us in your prayers as it is going to be difficult for us to leave our dear members here.
We had a very busy weekend with a wedding too. The October calendar is full for us even without needing to pack and move. We're trying to squeeze in visits for friends from MN too.
Blogging will be very infrequent as I have less than a month to pack or give away so that we have less than 15,000 lbs. I know those of you that don't have books like our family will laugh at that statement. The moving company was glad to hear that we don't have a big screen TV or any appliances to move. Did you know it costs $600 to move a front loader washer? I don't have one to even have to consider moving that. If I can accomplish limiting it to 15,000 lbs we will be under the church budget for moving by several hundred dollars. That is big motivation for me to downsize!
We are blessed with many friends that have offered to help however needed and especially with prayers. Being busy will be an advantage during this emotional time.
Eventually I have photos from the boys recently and the wedding to post and blog about. One task at a time . . .
Everything has been so perfect about this Call and the timing of the Call that I'm confident that God also has all the details worked out for moving and housing there. I'm actually not stressed, just keeping extremely busy and also finding time to spend with the Lambs during this difficult time in their lives.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Do you have a friend?

Lamb 3 is going to his kindergarten screening at the school tomorrow. He is so excited, every day this week he has asked if it is the day yet. I'm glad he's also encouraged his brothers to go to sleep early so that he can have his rest because he is going to school on Friday!
One of the questions in all the paperwork that I had to fill out in preparation for Friday asked if the child could name a friend. Because we have so few children in our church and because the Lambs rarely play with other children besides their brothers, I thought I better ask Lamb 3. His answer, "my friend is Carol". The girl in Sunday School with Lamb 3 also starts with a C so I thought he wasn't talking clearly. Then I realized that his friend is the church member/neighbor lady. Yes, Lamb 3 it is ok to have friends of all ages, even retired ones.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday-My hunters

Shh! I know it is before opening season and that they have some illegal!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My microwave

A few years ago our family gave up microwave popcorn. I pulled out the air popper I took to college (boy did the RA give me a difficult time about that until I showed her popcorn makers were not on the list of unallowed appliances!) I don't think the boys ever remember making popcorn in the microwave. That air popper that I spent $3 on at the thrift shop 17 years ago is still working!
After hearing how evil microwaves are for the past few years, Ram and I talked about putting our microwave in the basement. I figured if I thought it was important enough to run downstairs to use it I would use it much less frequently than I do now. Today my microwave died and we are not going to replace it. I had planned to have a trial with the basement, but we are going cold turkey. (Pun intended!)
My parents bought this microwave when they thought theirs was dying, but it didn't die. It sat in the box until I took it to my first house in 1998. I have no idea what the normal life for a microwave is, but I would say my parents got their money worth.
Today we had to heat homemade fudge sauce for our ice cream on top of the stove. I had to melt butter for a recipe on top of the stove. It sure makes more dishes to not have a microwave, but it isn't that bad. If what the reports say, it will be much healthier for our family too. I have much more counter space too.
So do you use your microwave often?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Random updating post

1. Ram will announce his decision on the Call this Sunday. He will not visit the congregation before his decision.
2. I attended a presentation by MCCL tonight. Ram was nice enough to put the Lambs to bed for me to attend. Before the meeting I thought I was pretty up to date on what was happening. There were facts given at this meeting that are horrifying for the direction America is taking. We need to keep the unborn, disabled, and elderly in our prayers. I will probably be posting some of what I learned in future posts. In the meantime feel free to check out their website.
3. Since Lamb 1 was born I have always had an extra laundry basket sitting in my laundry room-when there was something with stains or something that needed to be washed separately I would throw it in there. I am happy to report that it took me 7 1/2 years, but I finally completed all the clothing in that basket. It was full last week and I tackled one piece at a time. The ones with stains I washed with normal soap and then hung them on the line outside for about 3 days in this beautiful sunshine we have had. I was amazed that without any stain remover almost all those stains were bleached by the sun. It feels good to have that completed. Hopefully the Lambs didn't outgrow them before I put them back in their drawers!
4. Our family worked outside together all afternoon on Saturday. The weather was beautiful and we got a lot of yardwork done. Ram borrowed a pick up truck and took several loads up to the dump. We also cut bushes and tore out the garden. All the Lambs helped and it feels so good to have our yard ready for winter.
5. Our calendar is full right now and it seems everyone I talk to has the same busy schedule. Ram has done weddings in the area, but this Saturday he will do his first wedding at one of our three churches. The bride is the first confirmand he had. Our family is so excited to go to her wedding and reception. That is where we live-in 8 1/2 years he did so many funerals that I lost count but only one wedding. The end of this week will be very busy getting ready for that, which reminds me I should give the Lambs and Ram haircuts soon too.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

If you pray for rain be prepared to deal with some mud!

I have a Mary Engelbright bookmark with this saying on it. For the last few years we have prayed for a Call for Ram. We went from the second largest city in IN to a town of 113 in MN. It took me a long time to get to this point, but I can honestly say that we like living here and I do not want to move. But we can tell that these small churches will soon no longer be able to afford a pastor with 8 years experience like Ram. We continued to pray and nothing seemed to be happening.

Yesterday Ram received the paperwork that he has a Call to ID near Boise. The church is in a growing area. Many things that were in our prayers and dreams for the future are right about this Call. We would be 3 hours from Ram's parents. We would live near my college friend, Joelle. We would live near Costco. We would live near the state capital. I could go on and on about the things that are "right" about this Call. I was shocked that he received this Call and I don't know why because it is what we've been asking for in our prayers.

We prayed for "rain" and we received "rain" which made "mud". It is a difficult decision for Ram to make for our family. Please keep Ram in your prayers while he is considering this Call. Please pray for me to be a good wife whatever his decision is. Our Lambs only know life in a very small town where they could play in the street, had to walk to the post office as mail wasn't delivered, and had to drive 3 hours to go to the dentist. Please pray for the Lambs to adjust if the decision is yes. Please pray for our three churches here in MN.

Ram plans to announce at both the church there and the churches here what his decision is on October 2.