Thursday, March 31, 2011

My blessing

I had a little time to people watch on Monday. A family of 5 drove up in a 2 door car and they all got out, went into the store for a few minutes, and came back to the car. It took quite awhile for all of them to get back in the car, especially to get the baby in the car seat.
After ECFE this week, I used my keychain remote to open the doors to the van and the Lambs ran out and started to get in their seats. A dad with a 4 door car was jealous of that. He had gone out to the car earlier than we did, but his kids still did not have their seatbelts on and they hadn't left yet when we came out.
It made me think how spoiled I am to have minivan that the doors open automatically. We had an old SUV when Lamb 1 was a baby. When I was pregnant with Lamb 2 we bought our first minivan. Last fall we replaced that first minivan with a used minivan. Our new minivan even has automatic trunk opening. I could live without automatic trunk opening if I had to. We did not have this on our first minivan and it has been a very nice feature.
There is no way that we could have gotten all 3 car seats in our old SUV when Lamb 3 was born. With the minivan we are not worried about where we are going to put Lamb 4 when he/she is born. The minivan gets better gas mileage than our old SUV. I was never one to dread joining the parents club and have to get a minivan. Ours is not fancy-we do not have a DVD player or extra features.
Since we have had a minivan for 5 years, I had taken this blessing for granted. Could we get by with a car instead of a minivan? If we could figure out car seats then we could for now, until Lamb 4 comes. But it would be very inconvient, especially on our long shopping days and long trips like taking the boys to the dentist on Monday.
Thank you God, for providing us with the blessing of a minivan. Thank you for providing a few reminders this week to remind me that I am blessed with a minivan.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lamb 2

There is a family that comes to ECFE faithfully and their dad brings them. The dad doesn't interact with his kids as much as the other moms seem to interact with their kids during ECFE. I am glad he comes to ECFE and his kids get some educational play time at ECFE.
Yesterday at ECFE, Lamb 2 noticed this dad's baby girl. Lamb 2 took the initiative to hold her hand and talk to her. Lamb 2 was not quite 2 years old when Lamb 3 was born so he didn't have too much time to be the big brother for Lamb 3-he was almost a baby himself. I had to watch Lamb 2 very closely around Lamb 3 for fear of him hurting or biting him.
At ECFE, Lamb 2 was so gentle and knew just how to treat a baby. I was so proud of him. I was glad he gave this baby girl a little extra attention. I pray that we have a girl for him to continue this next fall. No matter what gender the baby is, I could tell today that Lamb 2 is ready to be a big brother for Lamb 4. He will be so happy to be a big brother again. May the Lord bless and keep Lamb 4 until Lamb 2 can hold and eventually play with him.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Family Update

Ewe: 12 injections down: 476 to go
Slight nausea. Hooray!
Working hard to declutter-in the meantime the house is more messy as I work on decluttering projects.
Ram: Bought himself new shoes for every day shoes for an early birthday present. Doing his first premarital counseling as a pastor and looking forward to performing his second wedding. Baked peanut butter chocolate chip recipes (thanks for the recipe agnusdei1996!) tonight for a treat for us.
Lamb 1: Needs more dental work done. The last visit there were a few teeth they were going to watch and hope they didn't get any worse. He needs 2 caps and possibly 3. Grr! We really do brush and floss regularly.
We've had a busy schedule the last few weeks. We have been a little more unschooly than classical school. Lamb 1 has spent a lot of time with Legos on his own. Ewe is looking forward to getting back on schedule for school, but Lamb 1 is not.
Lamb 2: Begins speech at the school on Friday. It took almost 2 months to test and do paperwork to satisfy the state. He qualified with a score of 65 in articulation and you need less than 70. Passed the rest of the test (vocabulary, grammar, etc.) as above average.
Lamb 3: Will be 3 on Saturday. He enjoyed wearing his "Warning: I am two." shirt today. Finally answered what he wants for his birthday meals. Brunch: pancakes and sausage. Supper: Pizza and chocolate cake. We may need to be a little creative because our church has a wedding on Saturday so we will probably celebrate on Sunday. His box of presents from Grandma has been here for a while tempting all the Lambs.
Lamb 4: Doing well, looking forward to our first prenatal appointment soon (heparin appointments don't count!).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Trusting God

Now that I'm pregnant and also trying to drink lots of water, I go to the bathroom A LOT. I saw the ultrasound of one of our babies that was just fine one week and the following week we lost that baby. I've had 3 miscarriages. Due to the nightmares of those and some other issues in previous pregnancies, I get nervous EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I go to the bathroom when I am pregnant. Before we lost our third baby, I always thought that seeing the ultrasound would be enough to calm me down that everything was well with baby. I have not had an ultrasound with this pregnancy. Seeing an ultrasound is not enough to calm me down any more. I believe I will calm down more after the baby in my womb has outlived all 3 of our babies in heaven, but it will be in the back of my mind until I am holding Lamb 4 in my arms.
I have done a little research about my blood clotting disorder called Factor II. After my little research it is amazing to me that it was so easy for me to get pregnant 7 times and even more amazing that we have 3 healthy boys. It is amazing that during each of the pregnancies/births/postpartums of all 3 boys I had very few problems. Sometimes I wonder "What if I would have known I had Factor II before any of my pregnancies?" Maybe it is better that I was naive about the whole situation and when I wasn't sick with morning sickness I enjoyed my first pregnancy without the facts about Factor II in the back of my mind. I would have totally freaked out when I had spotting with Lamb 2 if I would have known about Factor II then. But perhaps Lamb 3 would have gained more weight if I would have known about Factor II then. It doesn't really matter because the fact is that we have 3 healthy boys and now I have the knowledge that I have this for this pregnancy and any future pregnancies.
The Lambs really want another sibling, preferably a sister. They completely trust that in November they will have a sibling. They are completely naive that we could lose the baby before then. I know that if we would lose the baby, they would completely trust that it is in heaven and not grieve it too much-other than the fact that they lost the hope of getting a dollhouse and girl toys in our house in November. I can not be completely naive about the situation like they are, but I can trust in God.
Starting the next time I go to the bathroom, I am going to recite Bible verses and pray about this situation. Think of how many times I will recite Bible verses and all the prayers I will say over the next 240 days! That sounds like a much better way to spend all those trips to the bathroom instead of worrying.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

Friday, March 25, 2011

Answering a few questions

3 injections down; 483 to go

Due date is November 22.

Injections do not hurt, really they don't! The pharmacy didn't have the correct syringes so I ended up with insulin type syringes. They have a shorter needle than it was planned for me to get. But even the longer needle that I received in the doctor's office did not hurt. It does bruise so the bruises will hurt after I get several.

I have a supply of Preggie Drops for myself-just waiting for the day that I need them. In previous pregnancies I have had morning sickness when other women are usually about done with morning sickness. We'll see if the pattern repeats if I'm on heparin.

I talked to our local pharmacist (7 miles away) and they will be able to get heparin for me. There was only one pharmacy in the bigger town that I went to the doctor yesterday that carried heparin to fill the prescription immediately. It was good news that after this first month supply I will be able to get it locally.

Some of my friends have asked why I was advised to do heparin. After my last miscarriage I was tested for basically every disorder they can do a blood test for that could cause miscarriages. The disorder I have is called Factor II. If you do an internet search Factor V will probably come up with lots of info, but Factor II will only show up a little. Factor V is a rare blood disorder, but Factor II is even more rare. Basically there is a 30% chance that my blood will clot and either cause miscarriage or I would have the potential for a blood clot in my leg or even some place more serious. Baby aspirin should thin my blood to cut down on the chance of blood clot. Heparin injections thin the blood to cut down the chance of blood clot even more. Baby aspirin would do a lot for the blood clot situation, heparin injections are doing everything possible with medical knowledge today. I have always had this disorder so it is a miracle that we had 3 Lambs born without major pregnancy or delivery or post delivery problems. My doctor sees mostly high risk pregnancies or trouble conceiving pregnancies. He said nearly every woman that sees him at least takes baby aspirin and many take heparin. Heparin has been given for years and is relatively safe and especially safe for pregnancy.

Some one said to me today, "Wouldn't it be nice if you could have just a regular pregnancy, without being hospitalized with morning sickness, with gaining a normal amount of weight during pregnancy (not just 10 lbs), not doing heparin injections, etc.?" I responded that that is the idea behind heparin injections-the plan is that by doing heparin injections I will gain a normal amount of weight during pregnancy (maybe I'll even take the tags off and wear some of my maternity clothes!) and carry this baby for the entire pregnancy without having a preemie. May the Lord help that to happen. Thank you for all your prayers.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My new daily routine

Although I have a slightly different blood clotting disorder than this video, watching this helped me make my final decision. I had thought about heparin or not for over a year, but it wasn't until I was really pregnant that I had to make the final decision. My doctor gave me the choice of just baby aspirin or also heparin injections. I will give myself injections of heparin twice a day for the entire pregnancy. By doing heparin, I know that I have done everything possible for Lamb 4.
1 injection down, 485 more to go. (Maybe slightly less if Lamb 4 decides to come early.) Praise God for heparin only being $10 per month copay vs. Lovenox being $800 per month (I don't know what that copay would be.) The difference is Lovenox is once per day injections vs. heparin twice per day injections.
If you see me in real life this summer know that I am not abused, it is just the bruising from the injections! My other goal with using heparin is I hope to gain more than 10 lbs this pregnancy (Lamb 3's pregnancy). I do plan to save my needles for a photo, but I'm not making a video.  :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Here we go again...

The last week has been very busy. Thursday I saw the OB/GYN 2 hours away. At that appointment I agreed to just do baby aspirin. I talked to a lot of family, friends, and my doctors and decided to do heparin injections too. I spent most of Monday waiting for the nurses to call back with info from my doctors. I was finally set to make the 2 hour trip to begin heparin on Tuesday. When the nurse called for my appointment time, she reminded me travel was not advised. What? It was raining. Sure enough, it was close enough to freezing rain and several inches of snow were predicted. I asked for an appointment on Wednesday and she said it was supposed to be even worse then. She finally scheduled me for Thursday, but told me that was tentative as the weather might not allow that either. Another storm is predicted for Friday, so if I don't make it on Thursday, it won't be until the next week. I will do twice a day heparin injections at home for the entire pregnancy. My doctor 2 hours away will get me set up and after I begin I should be able to see the local doctor for the rest of my pregnancy.
The weather is crazy here. All schools in the area are closed. We received at least a foot of snow last night and it is currently snowing and expect a few more inches today. The main highway around here is down to one lane and drifted closed in some places. The local doctor's office and the local cafe are closed. We had such nice weather the last few weeks that most snow had melted from the trees and sidewalks. There were just patches of snow left in the yard and where the snow had been piled from shoveling. Everyone is so ready for spring!

Monday, March 21, 2011

This and that

*Lamb 3 still has a few accidents, but overall he is potty trained. I have been washing only a few cloth diapers.
*Lamb 1 and 2 have been having more dry nights. I haven't bought as many Pullups for them recently.
*We finally used up all the baby vitamins.
*I have been slowly working on cleaning all the baby items and clothes out of the Lamb's closet and room. Next I will really tackle giving away a lot of those items that I removed from their room.
*I'm ready to spend my Christmas money where I was allowed to get whatever I needed-finally settled on some new clothes for myself.
*Lamb 2 will be 5 in May which means he will be done with WIC.
*I haven't nursed any Lambs for almost 1 1/2 years.
*I had the best dentist report in February that I have had in the last 8 years.
*It is time for me to go to the eye doctor for my annual checkup.

Do you know why I posted this list?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What are the chances?

The waiting room had 1 male and 2 females waiting. Ewe's first name was called and both females answered! The male thought that was hilarious.

My high school gym class had 6 girls with Ewe's first name. There were 20 females in that class.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

I'm sorry I didn't post this until now. We had church on Wednesday night and the Lambs had an activity in the evening on Saint Patrick's Day, so we celebrated early on Tuesday.
The Lambs made these at ECFE last year. I put them up right away. When I was taking down Christmas decorations I thought about taking these down. Then I decided it was too soon until Saint Patrick's Day. Perhaps I should take them down now? They are by our back door, where visitors usually enter our house. Last March (and this March) the house was decorated well!

Ram's mom gave us this dish with this Irish Soda Bread recipe on it. I had to try it for Saint Patrick's Day!

The bread was delicious, but after some searching on the internet, I found out this isn't Irish or Soda Bread! It is more like Native American bread with raisins in it. Irish never would have used raisins and especially not during Lent.

DakotaPam's Irish Stew recipe, with all beef because Lamb is impossible to get locally unless you have a friend that raises Lamb or if you would plan WAY ahead of time.

On Saint Patrick's Day we read some books about Saint Patrick and I learned a few facts too.

We had a great celebration on Tuesday!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rich American Mom Problem

I recently heard from a friend that is going through 10 years of girls clothes and 5 years of boy clothes for 4 children and is very overwhelmed. She is trying to sort what to give to friends, what to keep, what to sell, what to give away.
I've talked on my blog before about my sorting project. I only have 7 years of all boy clothes to go through and I'm overwhelmed. Plus add in that Ram is the only living child and our children are going to be the only grandchildren on that side of the family. Currently our children are the only grandchildren on my side of the family. Ram's mom kept a lot of the clothes and they also had 3 boys. So I have a lot to go through.
I am on part 1 of my sorting project. I am currently working on clothes, baby/toddler books, and other items in their closet. I am not working on toys yet. Part 1 gets everything that is too small for them out of their closet and bedroom. Part 2 will be to seriously sort everything that is too little for Lamb 3 and hopefully give away most of that. Part 3 will be to go through what Lamb 1 and 2 have outgrown-that's a little more difficult because I think more Lambs will have a chance to wear this. But they have far too much. I think Lamb 2 has t-shirts to fit him that he could wear a different one each day for at least a month, possibly two months. Did I mention that we have bought very little of this, it was all gifts? The thought of possibly moving with all this also motivates me to give away more. Part 4 will be to make a list of what Lamb 1 needs and if there are a few items that Lamb 2 or 3 need. Part 5 will be to organize what we do keep for the Lambs to grow into.
It occurred to me that part of my problem is that I breastfed. If they would have had formula then more of their baby clothes would be stained up. Their baby clothes are in great condition and they had so many that some were only worn a few times before they outgrew them.
Some times I mention that I'm having a really difficult time sorting things because I don't know if we will have more children. My friends always reply that it is even more difficult when you know for sure that you are done-that brings it's own set of emotions and problems for sorting. I guess I'll take this problem with sorting over the other problem. I know that God will provide if I do give away something that I "need" if we have another child. Plus the ladies from church say that as soon as I give away the baby clothes then I will get pregnant. I guess I better get back to sorting baby clothes to give away now!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Poetry Memorization

A Looper sold me a used copy of Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization after all her children graduated from her homeschool. Even though it was used it was expensive and the new copies are even more. I bought it because I was looking for more CDs to play at bedtime (we aren't high tech for more than CDs) for the Lambs. I have been playing it at bedtime and working on about one poem a week with them. At the beginning Lamb 3 loved saying Ooey Gooey. After the Party by William Wise took a little longer for the Lambs to learn because each verse is very similar to the verse before. When they had learned that, I announced the next poem we were going to work on was Singing Time by Robert Louis Stevenson. As soon as I announced the title, Lamb 2 recited the entire poem from memory. He learned this from just listening to the CD a few times at bedtime! Lamb 1 was frustrated because he didn't know it without working on it. It was a short poem and Lamb 1 quickly learned it.
I know this program is expensive, but I would highly recommend it. I look forward to the Lambs learning  poems this way. I plan to work on one level for awhile (there are 4 levels) and then return to the Harp and the Laurel Wreath memorizing out of there and occasionally add in Psalms and longer Bible passages.
When I allow them to pick poetry at bedtime, they do not pick these "school poems". I think as they learn more and more poems they will pick this CD as they will be hearing the ones they memorized already. If not, then I will continue to pick it some nights and not give them a choice. We have also played it in the car on busy "school" days where I didn't have time to work on poetry with the Lambs but they still worked on memorizing poetry those days.

Monday, March 14, 2011

National Pi Day

We plan to have homemade chicken pot pie and pumpkin pie for supper. This site has more information about today. Ram isn't even wearing one of his pi shirts. We'll have to remedy that so I can take some photos to post on the blog.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Being a rural pastor's wife post #30

I may occasionally add something when I think of it, but today is my last planned post in this series. Thank you to all who commented or those few people that I had a conversation about this series.

I remember when we lived here about two years, I talked to a former pastor of one of the congregations here. I was introduced to him as the current pastor's wife. In front of the whole church he asked me, "Do you like it here?" I had to think quickly on how to answer that. At that point I really did not like living here. It had been too much of a change to leave a big city and come here. My answer (which was the best I could do under pressure) was that we loved the people here and the church members and locals were so kind to us. I completely avoided the rest of the question.

I think if I was asked the same question today, I would still answer about the people being kind to us, but I would have a few more blessings to talk about after living here 8 years. If my husband were to get a Call to another church tomorrow, it would be difficult to leave living here, especially the people but other things about living here have grown on me. All of our Lambs were born while we lived here. It really is a nice to place to raise the Lambs even though I didn't see that when we first moved here. I have adapted to living here. There is more to life than what is offered in big cities. I know now that I can be happy no matter where we live.

If you are a rural pastor's wife struggling with where you live, I want to leave you with these 3 pieces of advice.
1. Don't feel guilty-not if you don't like living where you live; if you can't get fresh produce for your kids; if you spend way more on groceries than you should; if there aren't any kids to invite to your child's birthday party; and the list could go on and on. Do the best you can do in your rural area.
2. Pray and then pray some more. Confess your sins if you have been a poor miserable sinner about the situation you are in. (I acted terrible when we first moved here-complaining to ANYONE that would listen about our situation of living 1 1/2 hours away from Walmart.) Ask God to help you "adapt" to the situation you are in. Thank God for the blessings you have where you live. (Yes, every place has blessings, you may just have to think longer to figure out what the blessings are!) Ask God to show you the blessings for where you live if you don't see them. Ask God to help you solve the "problems" that you have where you live-provide friends; money to buy things that cost more; or whatever problems rural living makes for your family. Pray for strength to not complain to your husband all the time, but instead to help him be the best pastor for the congregation(s) he has been placed at as their shepherd. Pray for strength to be the best in all your roles as wife, mother, church member, etc. Ask God for help for all the situations that come up with living far from family-vacations, holidays, birth of your children, etc. Pray for the things specific to your situation that I can't list here.
3. Read your Bible. Go to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion whenever it is offered (even if your rural church only offers it once a month!) to get strength to continue living where God has placed you.

May the Lord bless and keep us rural pastor's wives and our families!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Being a rural pastor's wife post #29

Today I want to blog about something that I knew before I started this series, but the comments left here reinforced it for me.

Everyone's situation is different. You may be a rural pastor's wife that lives in:
*a small town
*with no neighbors
*a little larger town but still in a rural area

Where you live may be:
*near another small town
*near several other small towns
*near a large town
*in a rural area but not far from a big city
*truly out in the middle of nowhere

Your comfort level living in a rural place may be influenced by where you grew up and where you lived before you moved to the rural area.

If I was to pick my dream area, I would pick a rural area not far from a big city. But I'm not able to pick where we live, our family lives where my husband has been Called to be the pastor. God's plan is for us to live here now so that my husband can be the pastor for the saints in this rural area. Thinking of that makes this the perfect place now for our family to live.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Being a rural pastor's wife post #28

I know that I have talked about shopping local before, but I went grocery shopping today in the town 7 miles away and I was reminded of this.

Pros to shopping at the local grocery store
*Drive up and high school age boy puts groceries IN your car-much appreciated when you have young children! And if you decline drive up they will often send that boy to walk out to your car with you when they see you have young children with you.
*Much easier to find items in the small local store than in a big store. Store workers will help you if you ask.
*Don't have to pay for gas for a long trip to a store.
*MUCH less hassle to go shopping and come home and unload your groceries-no need to worry about keeping things cold or unload a whole car full of stuff from shopping or take stuff to entertain Lambs in car, etc.
*Sometimes have items that are difficult to find at bigger grocery stores
*Have the best glazed donuts and this former Dunkin Donuts employee is picky!

Cons to shopping at the local grocery store
*More expensive
*Except for in the summer, the produce section is the best they can do when things have to be trucked out here-worst in the winter when weather may hold up trucks to the local store.
*When they run out of an item, there is no other store to stop at-you wait until next week when they get the next shipment in and hope that it is in the next shipment-especially frustrating when they are out of an item on sale.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Drip Drip doesn't matter

My bad day started Tuesday night. I worked Tuesday to clean out Lamb 2's clothes and pass the ones that were too small for him down to Lamb 3. I love organizing and seeing that side of the closet was great!
About 11pm I went to check on the Lambs and I could hear a drip in their room. Water was leaking in their closet. There were a few things on the floor of their closet that I took out, but I couldn't do much in there while they were sleeping. I was shocked because it was fine a few hours earlier when I worked in there. I didn't sleep well because we usually leave their closet light on as a nightlight. The Lambs were in our room several times because they weren't sleeping well without their nightlight which meant that I couldn't sleep well.
The next morning the Lambs and I worked to clear everything out of that side of the closet. Ram looked up in the attic and he could see the spot where the water was coming in. A church member came over with a big ladder and helped Ram climb up on the roof and get some of the snow off and put ice melt on the rest. The worst news to me is now we wait until that ice melts-we can't get the roof fixed until the ice melts.
In the middle of this mess we didn't have very much school yesterday. I had to go through each of Lamb 2's clothes and figure out what was wet and needed to be washed and find a place for the dry clothes. We have boxes of their books in the living room. Other stuff is in the hallway and throughout the house.
It is so ironic to me that I was working on cleaning out their closet-getting the baby clothes/stuff out and getting organized when this happened. I have been keeping a close eye on the rest of the house to make sure it is not happening anywhere else. I know their closet really needed to be cleaned out and I was working on it gradually. I just wish that I didn't have to have this mess in the middle of working on organizing it!
I was in a bad mood about this all day. I did take a long time in the afternoon to just read to the Lambs and that helped a little. It didn't help that several times Lamb 2 said, "We might have to wait until summer to put my clothes back in my closet!"
When I went to church last night, there were a few people that had sympathy for the situation, but most had the attitude, "You have some leaks in ONE closet, it could be worse." This morning my dad's daily e-mail (he writes a letter to my sister and I each day) said I should use this as a teaching moment for the Lambs that our possessions possess us. This morning one of the first blogs I read was this. I thought of this same Bible verse during church last night when I had gone in to church in a bad mood.
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21
I'm not sure how to pray for this situation-I want the ice to melt so our roof can be fixed, but I don't want snow to melt too fast or we will have flooding in the area. This is definitely one of those situations where I need to leave it in the Lord's hands and trust him to take care of all my needs, even some water in one of my closets.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Jesus, I will ponder now
On Your holy passion;
With Your Spirit me endow
For such meditation,
Grant that I in love and faith
May the image cherish
Of Your suffering, pain, and death
That I may not perish. (LSB 440:1)

Ash Wednesday begins the holy season of prayerful and penitential reflection. We especially direct our attention to the holy sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a time of special devotion and humble repentance. Let us pray that our Father will bless this Lententide for us so that we might come to Easter with glad hearts. (HT: Rev. Scott Murray's daily e-mail)

We can draw life and hope from the Word. Last year I attempted to read "Little Book of Joy" by Rev. Harrison and meditate on the Word with the "plan" at the end of the book for the 90 days of Joy after Joy. Circumstances in our life made it so I didn't finish the 90 days. I am going to try again this year. Anyone want to join me? I'm going to add this in, not give up anything for Lent this year.

In homeschool and in family devotions we don't do anything different for Lent. We continue to have our regular family devotions, usually at lunch time. We do discontinue lighting the white candle of Christmas/Epiphany. The Lambs take turns putting the candle out so they miss the candle during Lent. We do attend all the Lent midweek and Holy Week services offered at our churches. We also wait until the day before Easter to put up any Easter decorations (bunnies, eggs, etc.) and dye Easter eggs. We wait until after Easter to make special Easter treats like cut out cookies. We plan to make Lent a more prayerful and penitential time as the Lambs get older, but we are not doing that as they are young. For now it is enough to see purple paraments on the altar and hear different liturgy and hymns during Lent at church.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Being a rural pastor's wife post #27

Thank you to all who commented on my last post. It is clear to me that even some of you in bigger towns have difficulties with the library. Others appreciate their library more after reading my post.
Recently Loopers discussed Sunday School so I thought I would tell how our family handles Sunday School. In our tri-parish there is only one church that has children near the ages of the Lambs, so that is the church that I attend during the school year so the Lambs can go to Sunday School.
First there is a Sunday School opening which is very simple but nice. I take Lamb 3 to this even though he is not old enough for Sunday School. It has invocation (children do sign of cross), a Bible verse (their memory work) to focus on, sing a hymn (work on about 1 hymn a month), children take turns taking the offering (which goes to Lutheran Island Camp), sing "We Give Thee But Thine Own" during offering, prayer (usually repeat after teacher), and then they go to their class. The Lambs love the routine of the opening. Lamb 1 and 2 are in a class with one other boy their age. There is one more class with just one girl in it (unless we have visitors). I'm not sure what we will do when Lamb 3 is old enough for Sunday School (next fall) plus there is another girl about his age. Sometimes Lamb 2 is a little young for the activities (especially reading or writing) so the teacher assistant helps him more than Lamb 1 and the other boy in class. They use CPH materials. I have been very impressed with the recent CPH materials-they are nothing like CPH materials when I was in Sunday School! (Disclaimer-I'm a little bias since Deaconess Nielsen's daughter was in my second grade class-but they really are great materials.) We often listen to the Sunday School CDs on the way to church too.
The Lambs have a wonderful Sunday School teacher that is so patient with the little ones and has always been their Sunday School teacher. She is over 80 years old and does a wonderful job. I can't imagine teaching a class of all boys. There is another woman that assists her and they sometimes have a sub when one of those two women can't be there. I am so thankful that these church members still serve by teaching Sunday School even though they are older. Most Sundays they also get a treat-either tied to the lesson (example: grapes when they talk about the Promised Land) or homemade. The Lambs love Sunday School, their teachers, and the treats! I know our Sunday School is small, but I'm so glad that the Lambs are being taught their Bible stories. Sunday School is before church even when the rotation is middle service so Sunday School is pretty early considering we have to drive out to the country.
Sadly one of our churches is very willing to continue having Sunday School but no kids attend. The other church has Sunday School but the kids that attend are much older than our Lambs. We are thankful that there is another family at the one church with children near the ages of the Lambs for them to attend Sunday School together.
I still have a few more topics for this rural pastor's wife series that will be continued soon.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Being a rural pastor's wife post #26

I recently had a conversation about our public library and our home library that I thought I would share here. The homeschooler that I was talking to made the comment that she really appreciates the public library and especially inter-library loan. If she had to pay to use the inter-library loan, she doesn't know how she would homeschool.
I live 7 miles from the public library. Most days the hours are 12-8 but some days the hours are 10-3. It seems like we are always in town either before the library opens or after it closes. There has been talk of changing the hours to even less because of budget cuts. When Lamb 1 was little we went to library storytime. Not very many people showed up on Saturday morning so they quit having storytime. There is a summer reading program where they do a craft, read a story, get prizes for reading. The summer program has improved since we first started going, but again because of budget cuts, they may need to cut that too. Last summer we returned a library book on the day of summer program and it got lost on that crazy day and they said we didn't return it. It took awhile to get straightened out that we did return it. When I ordered things inter-library loan, they took a long time to come in and when they finally did, we were only allowed a little time before they were due to go back to the library (usually in the Twin Cities). If it was a book in our local system, then the whole process worked fine. But I asked for some books that weren't in our local system and that's where the problems came. DVDS are due back the next day after you check it out and it is rare for us to make a trip to town two days in a row. I have to really want to watch a movie to check out a DVD because I know I will need to make an extra trip to town.
We try to attend the summer reading program activities and throughout the year occasionally they have other activities/authors come in (thank you to our state sales tax increase a few years ago for this!) that we try to attend. But other than that, I am glad that the public library is there for others in the community to use, but we don't use the library. I'm sure other homeschoolers and even other SAHMs can't understand that! The reasons in the last paragraph are why. I'm sure the day is coming where the Lambs need/want to study topics that we don't have books about. But we have such an extensive library on all kinds of topics, that we are not at that point yet. I started a few months ago with the goal to read every picture book (just the fiction, not science or history books etc.) that we own to the Lambs. We are going in alphabetical order by author. We are currently on letter L-not even half way through the alphabet!
The one thing I use the local libraries for is for their book sales. It is not uncommon for me to buy 60-80 books at these book sales. I like the books about science especially-just watch for topics in science that would become outdated, but studying animals or magnets, etc. doesn't get outdated. I watch for a couple of different community libraries and they usually have a book sale once or twice a year. Some just ask for a donation, others ask for an average of 50 cents per book.
I know I am a library snob after my experience living in Fort Wayne and working at the public library there. When I was teaching every few weeks I would order online about 50 books and put them on hold and pick them up a few days later. I rarely bought books unless I had checked them out of the library and read them and decided I wanted to own them. I wouldn't own so many books in our home library if I could get them from the library easier.
Another positive is the Lambs choose for me to read them books that our in our home library. The times that we have checked out books from the public library, there have been problems-I don't want to read books with bad grammar or against my Christian morals or just plain stupid books. I also don't have to worry about fines for lost or late books. They do check out books for a few weeks in the summer so they get the experience of using the library without me worrying about the hassles of the library the rest of the year.
It is clear to me that if you live in a rural area you will either use the public library a lot (especially inter-library loan) or not very much like me. It would probably work better if our small town was near a big city to be part of their inter-library loan system. But there are no big cities in our local system so the books coming from the local system are all from other small town libraries. It is possible for me to get books inter-library loan outside of the local system, but it is not very easy.
So, if you live rural, do you use your library a lot or is it too difficult to use it frequently?
Come back tomorrow for another rural pastor's wife post.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Not in the plans

A couple of Loopers gave me directions and this idea. Last Sunday we made butterflies out of tissue paper and clothespins. The butterflies had the word "Alleluia" on them. One Looper helped with directions to make the butterflies.
Today was the big day that it was planned to have a children's sermon in church, bury the butterflies and Alleluias before Lent. Then the congregation was to sing LSB 417 and sing lots of Alleluias one more time before Lent. It took some planning on Ram's part to figure this all out because we don't have LSB at the church that has Sunday School with young kids in it. We found out the words were in public domain and another familiar tune that was also in the public domain that would work with it. I am so thankful for Loopers to help us with this as Ram doesn't have music experience.
But...this morning Lamb 1 came in our room at 5am and said he felt sick. Lamb 1 never comes in our room so I assumed he was really sick. He didn't have a temperature and he never actually threw up. Last night my stomach was upset and I assumed I had eaten too much sugar and junk food on Lamb 1's birthday. I wondered if maybe both of us had a bug. I called the Sunday School teacher and told her we wouldn't be coming today.
Ram was going to try to do the object lesson with the other kids. Unfortunately our boys make up half of the Sunday School. There is only one other family with kids unless there were visitors at church. Our Lambs made the butterflies but had no idea what we were going to do with them. They won't really get the butterflies being "released" on Easter because they weren't there to bury them. Lamb 1 played with his brothers all this morning and never got sick. Oh well, there's always next year.
This week I will try to return to the rural pastor's wife series for a few more posts.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lamb 1!-UPDATED

Lamb 1's birthday began last night when Aunt Hannah called from South Korea. It was his birthday there so she let him open her presents. He received  an "I Spy" type of Korean book and a yellow alarm clock. In this pile of presents from Grandma, there was one present for the other 4 of us so we didn't feel left out.

Lamb 1 asked for this Lego airport for Christmas, but we asked a little too late and it was a pretty big present to receive for Christmas. Grandpa and Grandma totally spoiled him with this gift that he was to open last. He said, "This is the best present I ever received!" He opened presents a little before 9 am and he has been busy building the airport all day. Ram is helping him, but he is doing very well on his own when Ram has to help the other Lambs play with the other new toys that Lamb 1 received.

When we got up this morning, Lamb 1 and 2 made monkey bread. Lamb 1 learned about this at his cooking class last week and requested it for breakfast. Totally sticky, gooey, sugar, yummy treat that was gone in about 5 minutes. Now Ram has requested this for his birthday breakfast too.
Ram helped Lamb 1 and I was surprised that he had everything for the airport together in a couple of hours. I thought he would do a few parts today and finish tomorrow or Monday. Silly Ewe-this was the best present he's ever received, he HAD to put it all together today! From the time he opened this until he went to bed with the exception of eating meals, he was either putting it together or playing with it. The set was 703 pieces!
We made the cupcakes yesterday. I tried a new recipe and I'll probably never make those cupcakes again, but the frosting was so good they were edible. Lamb 1 requested white cupcakes with green frosting. I came up with the idea for the #7 flags. I think I started something and I'll have to make #3 and #5 and perhaps even #36 flags for the next couple of months.
Homemade pizza for supper
Lamb 1 wanted to play his homemade guitar while we sang "Happy Birthday".  I guess it makes sense because the birthday boy can't really sing for himself. We had cupcakes and homemade vanilla ice cream. Ram's parents called to wish Lamb 1 Happy Birthday as we were finishing. Then it was baths and stories and get ready for bed.

This photo is supposed to be after the monkey bread photo, but when I updated this post, Blogger decided to put the photo here. Yesterday all 3 Lambs helped me make Texas Caviar. We were out of black eyed peas and a few other things so I planned to send all three Lambs to the store today with Ram and get a few minutes alone. Lamb 1 didn't want to leave his Legos so he stayed home while the other two Lambs went. I think the days where the Lambs fight over whose turn it is to go with Ram or Ewe to the town 7 miles away are gone! Lamb 1 did very well building the airplane by himself while they were gone. We also had our oranges and grapefruit sold by 4-H delivered. Lunch was delicious-TX Caviar and oranges.

I think Lamb 1 was pleased with today. He is usually quiet and serious even on days like today. So it was pretty impressive that he said that the airport was his favorite present ever. He said that several times today, not just after he opened it. Now we have about a month before Lamb 3's birthday.

I finally updated the photos of the Lambs on the side of my blog too. Those photos were not updated for about 2 years!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Being a rural pastor's wife post #25

I took my own advice and the last two Friday mornings I have gone to quilting with the ladies from church. I was only able to have coffee/treats and quilt for a couple of hours-not stay for lunch, because Ram had visits with members to make in the afternoon. It was fun to get together with the ladies (who are all old enough to be my mom or grandma). I liked to get out with the purpose of doing something-tie quilts. I'm also learning a little bit about quilting too.
I asked one of the quilting women about what she did to get time to herself when she had young children. She laughed at that question. She said there was far too much work on the farm and at home when she had young children to even think about time to herself. I asked if she had the neighbor over for coffee or something like that. Her answer shocked me-she never would have considered having a woman over to her house without also inviting the husband. Then on the rare time that a couple came, there were always farm chores to be done so the couple wouldn't stay long. She reminded me that even in the winter there was a ton of work to be done, it was just different work than summer work.
She also said that times have changed and we have a lot more to deal with when we raise our children today than she did then-I assumed that she meant how technology is in our lives but I didn't ask her to explain more. But she also sounded like she can't understand this "need" for moms to get time alone because she didn't get time to herself when she had young children. It was not all about her. I asked her about where she got advice for parenting-as compared to today I get advice from our family or look on the internet or ask my e-mail buddies. She laughed at that question too-what kind of advice did I need as a parent? She said she would talk things over with her husband and generally they just figured things out-even if it wasn't the best way or if it took her longer-things always worked out. I really respect her and her husband for taking this approach to parenting. I'm sure they talked things over and prayed about it and then left the rest in the Lord's hands.
I've thought about this conversation a lot in the last week. I know I only talked to one woman about this and perhaps I'll ask some more ladies at church these same questions. I doubt that this woman is abnormal in this area and especially not for the time that she was raising children. My how far we have come since her children were little and I'm not sure we've come far in a good way.
So what am I thinking after this conversation? I'm going to try to go to quilting as often as possible (which is not every week because of Ram's schedule plus they only quilt in the winter). I like that time getting some "wisdom" from the older women and volunteering at the same time. After talking to her, I also don't feel like it is abnormal to not feel that "need" to go to play group that many of my friends have talked about. If the older women in this rural area survived without play group, I can do it too. I know this paragraph sounds crazy because when I go to quilting I am getting a little time to myself away from the Lambs. But it is a different time away from the Lambs than play group would be.
I would encourage you to ask questions like I asked this woman at quilting to an older woman in your area. I would be very curious if her answers are typical for someone her age AND for someone in an urban area or just for the rural areas. I think some times we forget about what a blessing the older women in our churches are. Instead of complaining that there is only one other mom with kids in similar age to the Lambs in our tri-parish, I should be thankful that all the rest of the church women have "been there done that".
Check back tomorrow for more posts about being a rural pastor's wife.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Almost 7

I will try to get back to the rural pastor's wife series. I'm sorry for the interruption, but Lamb 1 turns 7 on Saturday. I wanted to post these two posts from last year. First, this was what I posted before his birthday last year. This is what I posted on his 6th birthday.

I was 7 years old when my sister was born so I remember that birthday and being 7. It is difficult for me to believe that Lamb 1 is that same age! Even though I say that, I'm not sad that he is turning 7. I'm excited about what my firstborn will look forward to in the coming years. Don't even mention that Lamb 2 is turning 5 in a few months though...

Recently Lamb 1 has become very good at reading easy readers. He loves to read to his brothers. He won't admit that he likes to read to me in homeschool, but you can tell that he enjoys it. It's amazing to me that this seemed to just happen one day after a few years of phonics and prereading work. He loves being a big brother and is particularly patient with Lamb 3. He is our serious Lamb and some times it's tough for others (not including his immediate family) to break into that shell.

Lamb 1 is requesting a few things for his birthday-breakfast-monkey bread recipe from the cooking class he recently took, lunch Texas Caviar, supper homemade pizza. He's talked about chocolate sheet cake, but that could change before Saturday.