Saturday, April 30, 2011


DakotaPam posted about the royal wedding on her blog here. We don't have TV, but I did look at some photos of the day. After reading her post, I decided to watch the wedding on Ram made fun of me a little because I had joked about the wedding earlier in the day. It seemed so ironic that Americans were so thrilled to watch this on TV when it wasn't so long ago that Americans fought for their rights to get away from being subjects of the same royalty that they were watching on TV!
I was glad to watch it later, I never would have got up in the middle of the night to watch the wedding. (Although there was a minor earthquake not too far from us that night that I think woke Lamb 3 and it took me a little while to get him settled back in bed so I could have watched it.)
What surprised me was how much the royal wedding reminded me of my own wedding. There were glimpses through the whole wedding that reminded me of December 29, 2001. Her bouquet was made of lily of the valley, which I love. As a little girl I tended to the lily of the valley in our yard to assure it came up each spring. I had a perfume that smelled like lily of the valley that I loved. I couldn't have lily of the valley because I was married in December. In fact the small white flower that I chose froze that year and the florist improvised because she didn't have what I requested. My bouquet ended up being much bigger than I had imagined. I would have loved a small bouquet like Catherine's.
I loved Catherine's dress partly because her dress reminded me of my dress. Of course my train wasn't as long as hers, but I had a long train. I had long sleeve lace sleeves like hers. I wore a tiara with a veil in the back. Ram's tux looked English, like what Prince Charles would wear.
Being LCMS, the church service reminded me at least in structure of our wedding service. My wedding was held here (sorry the website is under construction now, but at least you can see a photo). It was a very high church wedding. The pastor that married us wrapped his stole around our hands as we knelt just like the bishop did for William and Catherine. I think there were more pastors/seminarians involved in our wedding service than the wedding party. The school children were invited to our wedding and the congregation was invited to sing the Lord's Prayer and the Te Deum with the school children leading. Of course the church wasn't as big as Westminster Abbey, but it seemed like a long aisle to go down myself and a big beautiful historic church.
I found the "confession" part of the service very interesting. Our wedding service wasn't as blunt as that, but my dad preached the sermon and he had a confession and absolution for Ram and I as part of the sermon.
The commentary talked about how Catherine seemed much more relaxed when they came out after they went in the back room and signed the papers. She seemed to enjoy the rest of the ceremony/day and not be so nervous. My dad said something to me when we got to the end of the aisle after processing in that made me cry. I didn't have a chance to wipe the tears away until we went in the back room to sign the papers. (Our church had us go to the side chapel and sign the marriage license while the congregation sang a hymn in the middle of the wedding service.) The pastor back there cracked some jokes back there while we were signing papers. I came back without tears and could concentrate on enjoying the rest of the service.
For my own wedding, the only "mistake" that we caught was the flowers we ordered for the alter sat in the back room and were never put on the altar. We were married at Christmas so there were enough Christmas trees and poinsettias that no one missed the one more bouquet of flowers that was supposed to be there. It seemed as if everything went perfectly for the royal wedding. If there were mistakes they were very minor. I'm happy for them that everything went so well.
I'm so glad that there was an event that was watched all over the world that was a Christian event with Jesus' name mentioned several times. Even if it is all for show and no matter how the marriage turns out, I'm glad that Christ's name was proclaimed proudly at Westminster Abbey.
My next question is how many babies will be named Catherine or William in the near future?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Easter Bonnets 2011

Ewe and Ewe's mom in back row.
Other church ladies from the country church in our tri-parish including the youngest member of the congregation.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

All boys

I am looking for some encouragement from those of you that have all boys. Please do not comment if you have any girls even if you have mostly boys or if you had all boys for many years before you finally had a girl. It has been 5 generations straight back in Ram's family with no girls so I'm not even expecting granddaughters. Thankfully my mother in law understands, but we are so rural that I don't have local girlfriends. So I'm hoping some of you blog friends will understand and comment.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I know that my Redeemer Lives!

...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)

Our Lamb 4 spent Holy Week resting in Jesus' arms.
Lamb 4 was alive in my womb for exactly 8 weeks and is alive in Christ forever.

He lives to silence all my fears;
He lives to wipe away my tears;
He lives to calm my troubled heart;
He lives all blessings to impart. (LSB 461:5)

Prayers are deeply appreciated for our family.
Posts about Easter bonnets and Easter photos to follow later this week.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Holy Week

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)

Blogging will resume after Easter.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tax Day

I had all our info together to send to our tax lady earlier than I ever have. I think we mailed it to her on February 14. I have to get everything together, but then we send the info to a wonderful tax preparer in Fort Wayne that specializes in church workers. Church workers get a little complicated and we appreciate their  knowledge if we would ever be audited.
We received a nice refund from both the state and federal. Federal was a few hundred more than what we had paid in estimated tax through the year. So I consider that we received a few hundred more than we already paid in-not that we received a huge federal refund.
This was the first year our tax preparer had mandatory e-file and we also got our info in so early that we received our state refund several weeks ago and our federal refund a few weeks ago. It was nice to deposit the federal refund in savings to be ready to pay estimated tax each quarter this year. The state refund will probably be used to pay for the rise in gas prices. I was thankful that we didn't have to pay. I had been worried because Ram had received disability pay above his regular salary. It's nice to have those checks deposited in the bank when others are paying their taxes today!
I enjoy reporting what our taxes show about each year here. Here's the 2010 report:
Vehicle: We traded in our minivan for another minivan very similar to the old one with less miles in October.
Medical: This was a huge medical year but insurance was very good to us.
Medical miles driven: 4461
Medical dollars spent out of our pocket: $6194
Ewe had a miscarriage in February.
Lamb 1 got more caps on his teeth in April.
Lamb 2 had his first filling in September.
Ewe had testing to see why she had some miscarriages.
Ram had lots of testing in the summer to find out why his blood work at his regular physical came back abnormal.
Ram had surgery at Mayo to remove one kidney and a benign mass the size of a football.
Ewe got new glasses.
Ram as a pastor: Ram did 3 funerals (there were other funerals but he was recovering from surgery or on vacation). 1 baptism.
Ram processed in with the pastors for the installation of LCMS including Rev. Harrison in Saint Louis in September.
Ram was a LCMS Synodical Convention delegate to Houston in July.
Ram did not attend any other conventions out of state this year.
Ram received disability pay while he recovered from his surgery in the fall.
Ram drove 5980 miles for the church.

You could compare 2010 to 2009 for our family here.
How did your taxes turn out this year? Refund or owe? Better or worse than last year?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

One reason why we don't have a dog...

Lamb 1 was given 4 fish as a birthday present a little more than a year ago. 1 died right away, 1 died a few months later, and the other 2 survived to their one year birthday. 1 died about a week after the birthday. 1 died about a week ago. I noticed it was dead several nights ago. I didn't say anything to the Lambs. Today, Lamb 2 noticed it was dead. It was Lamb 1's fish and he didn't notice it was dead! He had forgotten to feed it for at least a week (even though I reminded him several times in the week before it died). The poor fish probably died of starvation.
I'm going to ask Ram to clean the fish tank out (pregnancy is a good enough excuse). Then we are going to pack up the fish tank and store it for a few years until the Lambs are old enough to be more responsible for their pets.
I feel bad that we found babysitters for the fish while we were on vacation and Ram had surgery last year. The fish sitters did a great job. We bothered them to do this and then Lamb 1 didn't do his job. Big sigh here... But it will be nice to have a little extra room on the table...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gas prices

Tuesday it was $3.82 a gallon here. I read an article that was surprised that Americans bought 3.6 percent less gas last week than they did a year ago. They were surprised about this because retail sales went up and jobs were gained and people usually cut back on gas as a last resort.
This doesn't surprise me at all. People have already the last few years cut back on everything that they can. Since they are staying home more to conserve gas, they are going to need to buy more groceries and entertainment for home.
I know that we are not making one single extra 7 mile trip to town that we don't need to make. Ram's paychecks sat here for over a week because I didn't want to make an extra trip to town to go to the bank. Unfortunately this has hit at a bad time in our family. Ram just had to make two trips 1 1/2 hours away to get some work done on our cars at a dealer-one was a recall that our minivan sliding doors could potentially catch on fire, one was some work that needed to be done under warranty. I'm doing extra trips to the doctor for prenatal stuff. Lamb 1 needs caps on his teeth so it's another trip 3 hours away to the dentist.
In a speech Obama gave recently, he encouraged Americans to get rid of their gas guzzlers. We have already done that. When the whole family is going we take our minivan that gets better gas mileage than our old SUV. When just some of us are going we always take the car that gets better gas mileage than the minivan. Sometimes it is a pain to move car seats to do this, but we do.
It is not an option for my family to take the city bus or walk instead of driving. The bank, grocery store, hospital, etc. are 7 miles away. In order for Ram to do Sunday morning services he travels 42 miles round trip. He can walk to visit the members that live in our small town, but more than 2/3 of the members of our churches do not live in our small town. The nursing homes and hospitals he has members in are 7 or 15 miles away and others are farther. He has 3 trips this week to the town 45 minutes away to conduct church services and other meetings.
Our churches will do what they can do for mileage for their pastor and we have money in savings so we won't go hungry over buying necessary gas. It just frustrates me that government forgets that there really is a big portion of the United States that is not in a city. Because we are not in a city, it is a necessity to have gas, not a luxury.
On top of it all, this week our bank has "teach your child to save week" and we are making daily trips to town for the Lambs to make deposits and do the activities at the bank. I find it very ironic to be spending 14 miles of gas daily so the Lambs can learn how to save their dollars! On Tuesday we were already making a trip to town, but all the rest of the days will be a special trip to go to the bank. The Lambs enjoy this week at the bank tremendously so even if I cringe as I drive past the gas station daily with them, we'll do this daily.
Rant by Ewe is over now. Back to being thankful that we have a car and a minivan to drive and so far have the resources to buy gas to drive them and Ram has a full time Call as a pastor...and the list could continue.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It is just wrong...

For 71 degrees today and 3.5 inches of snow predicted for Friday to be in the same weather forecast!
Seriously, this is a big concern for our tri-state area that is already worried about flooding. The main highway near us has already been closed for a few weeks. Not good to need to take a detour with gas prices today. Everyone will be watching this storm closely the next few days. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lamb 3's birthday

I never posted photos from Lamb 3's birthday on April 2.
With the loot presents from Great-Grandma and Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma says Lamb 3 is the most difficult to buy for...

Grandma gets everyone in the family a present to open so they don't feel left out. Lamb 1 got to work right away putting his Legos together. We don't have very many Duplos so Lamb 3's gift was nice. Ram and Ewe both received books.

Lamb 3 requested chocolate cupcakes-it took a few tries to blow out the candles. I think it took 3 tries which fit his birthday.

My stair step boys at the wedding reception

We had his birthday meal the next night. He loved helping to make pizza. There was some leftover cheese and I'm not sure if he liked the cheese or the pizza more. All 3 boys love having homemade pizza because it is the only time they are allowed pop. We do not make pizza every week. They like root beer so they can pretend they are having coffee or beer.

I'm not sure if Lamb 3 liked the hot ham/cheese sandwich or the chocolate cupcake at the wedding reception more. He ate all of that. He was a mess after the cupcake-thank goodness for good washing machines.

One of his presents (sorry no photo) was a Fisher Price record player just like mine when I was little. He calls it his CD player. He wasn't interested in it until he figured out he could put his little people on it and make them go around. Boys!

Hopefully I'll take a photo of him in his #3 shirt and post it soon.

Tonight we looked at photos of Lamb 1 and  2's 3rd birthdays. They had forgotten some of their previous birthdays. Lamb 2 didn't forget that he had a pink cake for his 3rd birthday. I didn't forget that I broke my foot carrying his birthday presents downstairs for his 3rd birthday!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

MN Orchestra Concert Part 4

In 2008, MN voted and it passed to fund the Clean water land and legacy amendment. This meant a sales tax increase. I was not in favor of this and I did not vote for this. Among other reasons, I did not like this amendment because whose definition of "the arts" would this money go for? In a way, I thought it was crazy to vote to have a sales tax increase-if this was important they should find the money in the current budget and not increase our taxes. I'm not complaining too much because we have no sales tax on food or clothing/shoes in MN. Plus we live near the border so we often shop in ND or SD.
Since this amendment passed, we have really benefited in our rural area. Here are some of the benefits our family has taken advantage of:
*April 5, 2011 MN Orchestra concert
*August 2010 Ewe took bus tour to Walnut Grove, MN (completely free trip)
*May 2010 Douglas Wood, children's author visit
*April 2010 Nancy Carlson, children's author visit
It's possible there are more that our family has attended that I didn't realize were funded by this Legacy Amendment. There have been other events that our schedule didn't work to attend. I'm sure that without this the MN Orchestra would not have come to our rural area. I'm so glad that the Legacy Amendment money is being used in the rural areas too, not just for the cities in MN.

Friday, April 8, 2011

MN Orchestra Concert Part 3

Lamb 1 interview with Ewe's dad.

Lamb 1, did you enjoy the concert? Yes

With whom did you go? Mama

Was the sun shining when you went? Yes

What did you enjoy most about the trip? watching the concert

What did you not like? waiting for the concert to start

What music did you like best? Tchaikovsky

Did you meet the nice lady? no (The arts director that gave Lamb 2 permission to attend the concert, she introduced the orchestra, but we didn't talk to her.)

Did you meet any of the players? no-heard French horn soloist talk before concert

Did you have a treat during intermission? water-no treats

What did you tell Lamb 2 and 3 about it? drum was loud, I got to go to DQ and get a hot fudge sundae

Did you sleep on the way home? yes

Are you going to play in an orchestra some day? I don’t know. I want to play harp. At the concert the harp was not in the Tchaikovsky piece.

Grandma Joan and I are glad that you could go. Will you tell us about it at Easter when we come? If I remember by then.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

MN Orchestra Concert Part 2

Lamb 1 and Ewe arrived a few minutes before "the talk" was scheduled. I was surprised the box office was not open to get our tickets. They encouraged us to go listen to the talk and get our tickets afterwards.
The talk was by the principal french horn player, Michael Gast, that had a solo in the concert. I found it very interesting, Lamb 1 tolerated it, but was anxious for the concert. Gast started playing in 6th grade band (I was surprised not 4th grade) and switched to french horn in high school for a challenge. He went to college not sure if he should do oceanography or orchestra. He chose orchestra after deciding he didn't want to take the science classes in oceanography. He really didn't understand how competitive orchestra was when he made that choice. He played a few years in various places after being blessed to study with some great people. On his 26th audition he made it into the MN Orchestra. He said it really is where there is an opening and if you happen to play your best on audition day. He has been with MN Orchestra for 28 years. He said he played this same solo piece in 1993 and looking back he was not musically prepared to play this difficult piece then, but over the years he has improved and he was ready for this concert. He recommended an excellent book, but I didn't catch the title and I'll have to try to track down the title. He said he practices at least 2 40 minute periods a day plus 4-5 rehearsals a week plus 2-3 concerts a week. He said they get the music 4-6 weeks ahead of time. They are expected to know the pieces before rehearsal-there is no sightreading at this level. Almost everyone in the orchestra has tenure, but not being prepared could jeopardize that tenure. The talk was very interesting. They said they often have these talks before concerts.
Then there was over a half an hour until the concert. They served coffee and water. I don't like coffee. We were hoping there would be cookies or something but there wasn't. We were 45 minutes from home so we didn't know anyone to talk to. It was a long wait until the concert and during intermission.
We didn't have good seats-Ram had ordered them and didn't know anything about ordering seats for a concert, plus we ordered them late. We were on the left side in the front. All we could see is violins and bass violins and I could see the cymbals, but Lamb 1 couldn't even when I held him on my lap. Lamb 1 wants to play the harp (partly because he heard one of my college friends has a daughter that plays the harp) and he couldn't see the harp. We went up to see the harp during intermission and they had taken it off stage for the last piece. We could see the conductor well so I encouraged Lamb 1 to watch the conductor. Some ladies sitting one row behind me were talking about how lucky they were to have such great seats-they didn't get the concept of being able to see the whole orchestra and hear it too. The auditorium was very small-they had to get a grant to get new curtains to make the stage bigger to have room for the MN Orchestra.
They played Wagner and then Concerto No. 2 in E-flat major for horn and orchestra by Strauss. After intermission they played Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Opus 74. I was surprised by the ending to Tchaikovsky's piece-after a lively movement that I assumed was the finale, the last movement was quiet. The audience wasn't sure if the orchestra was done and when to clap at the very end of the concert! Lamb 1 did great listening until the very last movement of the concert-he was tired and it was a quiet piece. He made it though.
The associate conductor, Courtney Lewis, was very young. I heard several audience members talking about how young he was. It was fascinating to watch him conduct the Tchaikovsky piece without a score in front of him-that was a long piece to have memorized. He did a fantastic job.
After the concert I took Lamb 1 to Dairy Queen for hot fudge sundaes. The next morning he had more to tell his brothers about going to DQ than the concert! He fell asleep on the drive home.
Tomorrow I have a short interview with Lamb 1 about the concert to post.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

MN Orchestra concert part one

I saw in the newspaper that the MN Orchestra was scheduled to play at a small town less than an hour from us. Tickets were $15 for adults, $5 for students. There was no age on the student price, so we e-mailed and asked for an age. It can cost more than that to go to see a movie with your whole family, so we were prepared to splurge since the MN Orchestra was coming so near us. We told them the ages of our boys in the e-mail. I was planning on Ram and I taking turns in the lobby with Lamb 3 and in the auditorium with Lamb 1 and 2.
Soon after we sent the e-mail, we received a reply that all 3 were students. Before we bought the tickets, but a few days after we received the e-mail that all 3 were students, we received another e-mail. This e-mail said that children age 6 and above were welcome to attend with an adult. So that put us in the position that only Lamb 1 was allowed. I wrote this e-mail back.

This is very disappointing. I understand not bringing the 3 year old, but I do not understand not bringing the 5 year old. We homeschool and we have studied instruments, composers, and orchestras. We have studied this in books and listened to CDs, but nothing can compare to going to hear the orchestra live. Our 7 and 5 year old knew what we were talking about when we told them we were going to listen to Wagner and Strauss and Tchaikovsky. We were thrilled to learn the Minnesota Orchestra was coming to our rural area. We have lived in a big city before and the biggest thing I miss now that I live in a rural area is that we can not attend concerts.

I do not know what we are going to do about buying tickets, we will probably not be attending at all, because our 5 year old would be so disappointed that his brother got to go and he didn’t. Our 5 year old has sat through a church service without leaving once that was longer than this 2 hour concert.

I am the most disappointed that this information was not posted on your website and that you did not tell us this immediately when we e-mailed. In the meantime we told our boys that we would be attending and they will be very disappointed.

Then I received another e-mail back that both Lamb 1 and 2 were welcome to attend and they hoped that we chose to attend. They apologized for the misunderstanding on the website. This was the director of the small town arts program. I'm sure she never expected parents to ask to bring a 5 year old on a school night. She had to work with the MN Orchestra and go by their guidelines.

So we talked to Lamb 1 and 2. We told them what the concert would be like (as much as you can describe that to boys that have never attended a concert before). We told them they would have to miss ECFE to attend the concert because they were at the same time. Lamb 1 wanted to attend the concert. Lamb 2 wanted to go to ECFE with Lamb 3.

Since tickets were only $5 we bought 2 student tickets in case Lamb 2 would change his mind. He didn't. So Ram took Lamb 2 and 3 to ECFE and Ewe took Lamb 1 to the concert last night.

This post will be continued to talk about the concert that Ewe and Lamb 1 attended.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lamb 1 Interview

Rebekah gave me the idea that when her children turn 3 they get to stay up late with mom and dad and have a "cocktail" on their birthday.
Lamb 1's birthday was on a Saturday night this year and that wasn't going to work for a pastor's family. I decided to start this tradition on their baptism anniversary. I don't know what we'll do when a baptism anniversary is on a Saturday night, but it works this year. We liked having something special on a different day than the birthday with it's own traditions and excitement.
Lamb 1 chose pineapple juice for his "cocktail". The other Lambs did not have a nap so it was pretty easy to get them to stay in bed while Lamb 1 had his time with Ram and Ewe.
I began by asking what he wanted to talk about-since we had never done this before, he had no idea. So we asked him some questions. Here is some of the interview:
What is your favorite movie? Charlotte's Web (He was shocked to find out this was a book before a movie-wondered if it was a 96 page book like the 96 minute movie)
What is your favorite book? No favorite, just like to read and be read to. (Frances books are pretty popular with Lamb 1 now.)
What was your favorite event last year when you were 6? When Grandpa and Grandma came for Thanksgiving. (We also went to CA and IN and St. Louis. This answer shows that Lamb 1 really does like to stay at home and play with his own toys. Thanksgiving was nice because Ram had recovered from his surgery.)
What are you thankful for? All the grandparents especially because they give me birthday cards.
What do you like to cook or do when you help cook? Make pizza, stir things on the stove.
Do you like being the oldest or do you wish you were born a different place in the family? I like being the oldest.

We also spent some time talking about a concert that we are getting ready to go to so Lamb 1 would be prepared what to expect at the orchestra. Hopefully I'll blog about that soon. We also discussed what names Lamb 1 would like for the baby, sorry to say that I don't like his names! He chose names that were on his math paper that day.
The other Lambs are looking forward to their baptism birthdays and cocktails with mom and dad. Poor Lamb 2 has to wait almost 2 more months for his birthday and even longer for his baptism birthday! It will be interesting to hear Lamb 2 and 3's answers!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Baptism Anniversary

With one accord, O God we pray:
Grant us Your Holy Spirit.
Help us in our infirmity
Through Jesus' blood and merit.
Grant us to grow in grace each day
That by this sacrament we may
Eternal life inherit.
(LSB 601:2)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Last Day

Lamb 3 turns 3 tomorrow.
His big deal recently was accomplishing potty training. He is also pretty good at talking. The other Lambs did not talk as well as early as he did. It surprises me when he says something like, "Mama, please open this for me and put it here." Not only can he talk, but he has good manners! Yesterday he played by himself inside while his brothers played outside (by his choice). He went and got a puzzle and did it all by himself. It was missing a piece so he looked all over for it and then asked me to move the sofa so he could have the last piece. He seemed like such a big boy to do all that without help from his brothers.
It took him a long time to answer what he wanted for his birthday meals. He is a very picky eater, but I'm not sure he knows the names of his favorite foods to answer what he wanted. Lamb 1 and 2 tried to influence him, but he had his own ideas. He finally answered that he wanted pancakes and sausage for brunch and pizza and chocolate cake for supper. We have a wedding reception to go to so he'll have to wait for his birthday meal until Sunday.
I'm a bad mom because I just can't get motivated to make a big deal of his birthday like I did for Lamb 1 last month. I started something by making little #7 flags for cupcakes for Lamb 1's birthday. Lamb 3 answered that he wants green flags. I haven't even taken the paper out to make the flags yet. I could use Lamb 4 as an excuse, but I'm not puking yet. Hopefully I'll get motivated today to make the cupcakes and #3 flags. Thank goodness Ram's mom takes care of the presents so I don't have to worry about that! She said Lamb 3 is the most difficult to buy for because he wears his brother's old clothes and plays with his brother's old toys. I am thankful that he is 3 so we are a little less concerned about choking on small toys now. It is really difficult for big brothers when there is a little brother, especially with toys like Legos. We'll have that experience again when Lamb 4 comes, but it will be nice to have a break from that for a few months.
Last year Lamb 3's birthday was on Good Friday, so I only posted a little about his birthday here. That link also has a link to his birth story. Lamb 3 showed me that I really can do a land birth after 2 water births. I had been worried about having a baby on April Fool's Day, but the midwife said I should be glad if he came out on the first induction try no matter what the date was. Thankfully he waited about 3 hours after midnight  so I didn't have an April Fool's baby. He still fooled everyone by coming so fast that the midwife wasn't at the hospital nor had they filled the tub for water birth. He's still small and just barely on the chart, but he's healthy and that is what matters.
Happy Birthday tomorrow, Lamb 3!