Monday, July 25, 2011

My Artists

I was a little hesitant to read Betsy Tacy to BOYS, but we plan to go visit the Betsy Tacy homes soon so I read the first book to them. In the first book Betsy and Tacy start a store selling colored sand. Their friends paid them in pins but a neighbor lady paid them real money in coins that were worth a lot of money to them back then. Lamb 1 immediately wanted to start a sand store and make some money. I discouraged this because of the mess it would make using food coloring to color sand and filling bottles. Betsy and Tacy used sand leftover from building an addition to their house and colors leftover from Easter eggs. So I thought I got out of this idea because the Lambs didn't have any coloring left over from Easter eggs nor any sand besides what was in their sand table.
Lamb 1 spent several days after we read that chapter thinking of what he could do to make some money. Several ideas were thought of and then for various reasons they wouldn't work. I'm not sure how he came up with the idea, but he decided to draw and color pictures and sell them. They worked on their art for several days. We then talked about how sometimes artists will be commissioned to do a work. So recently I commissioned Lamb 1 to draw some pictures that I can add a note to and send as thank you notes. Lamb 2 and 3 got into this too and they now have an art store. Here they are working in their store:

Lamb 2 was having a difficult time coming up with his own ideas for his own art work. Lamb 1 was getting upset that Lamb 2 was copying his art work. So I commissioned Lamb 1 to draw our family and Lamb 2 to draw Ram and Ewe (I thought our family would be too much for him.) Both Lambs did pretty well on one of their first times drawing people when asked to. Lamb 1's photo is one for me to put in the scrapbook-he drew Ram's scar on his stomach and chest hair on Ram under his clothes. They have spent a lot of their time at their art store when they weren't playing outside. Yesterday they decided to hang their best photos on the wall so customers can see their choices. Lamb 1 is also working on adding simple (paper) frames to his best photos and charging more for those. I'm thankful that Betsy and Tacy didn't make too much money on their sand store so the Lambs accept coins for payment!
So grandparents, bring your nickels and dimes and quarters when you come visit us. Plain pictures cost 5-10 cents, commissioned works cost 25 cents, and framed photos are 20-25 cents. The art store continually is adding more items as the Lambs have more ideas, but I think these prices will stick for awhile. The art store has hours that work with the Lambs schedule-it closes before their bedtime, but after it closes you can still commission work for them to do the next day.
I never would have guessed reading Betsy Tacy would turn into an art store that has kept the Lambs busy for several days! And I think both Lamb 1 and 2 are ready for some drawing lessons this fall from Drawing with Children. Yesterday Lamb 3 spent some of the time vacuuming while the other Lambs were working on art. I don't think he's ready for drawing lessons or being commissioned to do art work yet. Lamb 1 is begging for more read alouds from the Betsy Tacy series. I am not reading more to them-he can read it himself if he really wants to. Plus one of the next books has Betsy and Tacy pretending to fly like a bird-I don't want to encourage that when we live 7 miles from the ER!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Father's Day treat

Ram's parents gave Ram a "coupon" to take us out to eat for Father's Day. We had already told the Lambs that we would grill out for Father's Day instead of going out. Ram's parents wanted us to still go out even if it was after Father's Day. We have been really busy since Father's Day with swim lessons, soccer, and doing church activities. We finally decided to go out last Friday. I had hung my clothes on the line late in the day because I didn't know we were going out. It looked like rain, but my clothes weren't dry yet. I decided to leave them on the line. As we got nearer to the restaurant the sky looked worse. So we decided to go out by the lake first, before we ate. We took a few photos.
My 3 handsome Lambs

Ram and my Lambs
When we came inside the restaurant, they didn't have power. The storm had not even started yet. After we were there about 10 minutes the power came back on. Then the storm began. It took a long time to be served after their power had been out. Plus the restaurant was really busy-some that lived near came out to eat when their power was out plus it was a Friday night. The Lambs did really well considering the long wait. I regretted not getting my clothes off the line. A couple sitting near us knew us (pastor and his family), but I didn't know them. They didn't help the situation when they said they hoped my clothes didn't blow away in the storm. I think they thought I was crazy when I said I didn't care about anything on the line except for Lamb 3's cloth diapers for night. I bet they have no idea how expensive cloth diapers are! By the time we were done eating the storm was over.

As a treat for their good behavior during a long wait, we decided to let the Lambs get ice cream sundaes. The Lambs knew that ice cream was free on Sundays and were a little disappointed that we went on Friday. They just started a new program where you could buy a chef's hat and each time you wear it to this restaurant you can get free ice cream. We had planned to buy them ice cream any way so we did this deal. We plan to keep the hats in the car so we have them if we eat there again.

We had a fun evening and it was fun to celebrate Father's Day in July. My clothes were a little damp when we got home, the same as when we had left to go out to eat.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Field Trip

The Ladies Aid from our middle church (not the town we live in and not the country church) took a field trip today to Gary, SD to this. Thankfully the weather cooled down a little and it was a nice day for it. We took a tour, ate lunch at the restaurant, walked around the grounds, and the Lambs played on the playground. It was a long tour for the Lambs, but it was very interesting.
This was the only state SD school for the blind from 1900-1961 (when it was moved to Aberdeen, SD). In 2008 a man purchased the property and they have renovated it into a hotel, banquet room, campgrounds, restaurant, etc. They kept much of the original woodwork and did much of the work so it would be on the national historic register. It is amazing the progress they have made in a few years to buildings that were vacant for many years and property that was totally run down. They are booked solid every weekend until the middle of 2012 for weddings and several other events too. Their staff is 30 in the winter to over 60 in the summer.
One of my questions was about Mary Ingalls and all the tour guide knew was that she went to school for the blind in Iowa. I came home and looked at my books and figured out that she went to school in 1881 and graduated in 1889. So it was too early for her to go to school in Gary. But it would have been much easier for her parents to send her to Gary instead of Iowa from DeSmet. That is the reason SD built the school in Gary so their residents that were blind did not have to go to Iowa to school.
The school in Gary usually had about 60 students. The school had a normal school year and the children were allowed to go home during the summer. During the Depression years the children that lived far away were given families in the area to live with because their own families could not afford to come get them. I can only imagine having a blind child and sending them so far away to school that you only see them for a short time in the summer, even missing holidays with them.
It wasn't real far from us so maybe some time we will take the Lambs back to eat at the restaurant or just play on the playground there and take a picnic lunch. The Ladies Aid from the town we live in plan to go on the same field trip in a few weeks. I don't think we'll go back so soon, but it would be fun to go back with our family in the fall. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Road Trip part 2

We skipped church and left our house at 8am. For some reason Ram was busy on Sunday morning and couldn't join us on our road trip! We stopped in Sioux Falls to eat. That stop ended up taking much longer than I planned because I was the only one to help the boys and construction made it difficult to get out of town. We finally got back on the road. We were surprised at the flooding in Sioux City area-miles from the river there were sandbags around all the businesses. Thankfully I had e-mailed a Looper from the area and she gave me directions for the flooding. We made it through the flooded area easily and crossed into NE.

We arrived at 2:30pm for the 3pm Ordination. The Lambs and I quickly changed clothes and found a seat. The Lambs enjoyed watching Lamb 2's godfather get ordained and also enjoyed that Grandpa participated in the service. Lamb 1 enjoyed sitting by Grandma. A kind "grandpa" from the congregation held Lamb 3 during the last hymn so I could help Lamb 2 and Lamb 3 could see.

There was a reception with cake, mints, peanuts, and punch. Rev. Ripke's sisters were talking that they had never seen mints like that before. Those same mints are served at all the graduations, anniversary parties, etc. around here. Guess it is a Midwestern thing. We took a tour of the small school next to the church. The Lambs played on the playground for a little while but it was really hot.

My parents had brought some treats and I had some things to give to them so we moved it from car to car. Then we drove about 10 miles to the "big town" where all the family gathered at a pizza place. We visited with family as we ate. It wasn't nearly enough time but we said goodbye to everyone. We stopped for gas in that "big town" and headed home. I had to stop several times for the Lambs to have potty breaks-it was so hot they had a lot to drink!

We made it to the hotel in Sioux Falls about 10:30pm. All the Lambs were still awake. Ram had driven there earlier in the afternoon. Everyone was tired and went to sleep soon after we got to our room.

The next morning we went swimming at the hotel, took showers, and checked out. We ate lunch at a Mongolian grill-all the Lambs ate well and love that food. We did a little shopping in Sioux Falls while we had a chance. Stride Rite had dress shoes 50% off so Lamb 1 got a new pair. They also had cute rain boots for $5 a pair so Lamb 1 and 2 got new rain boots. They didn't need them but it will be good to have an extra pair when their boots get very wet or muddy.

We got take out from Cracker Barrel-2 plates for the Lambs to split. Then Lamb 1 and 3 rode with Ram and Lamb 2 rode with Ewe. Lamb 2 talked the entire ride with Ewe. At Brookings we switched, Lamb 2 and 3 rode with Ram, Lamb 1 rode with Ewe. Lamb 1 answered Ewe's questions but hardly talked at all. What a difference there is between Lamb 1 and 2! The Lambs did very well on the way home and we didn't stop often for potty breaks.

It was so good to see family even though it was only a few hours. Most family events are in IN too far for me to go to. It was nice that it was possible for me to go down to NE and see everyone. We are still catching up on sleep after our trip and the Lambs have been a little grouchy, but it was worth it to see everyone.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Road Trip!

1 very long day+
3 hot, tired Lambs+
1 Ewe driving-
1 Ram (for some reason pastors have to work on Sunday mornings!)+
10 hours round trip driving+
almost 700 miles round trip+
real temperature of high 90s and feels like temperature of over 115+
many many stops for 3 Lambs to go to the bathroom (I really wanted them all to be potty trained? Trips were easier with diapers!)=

a few hours to see Ewe's parents+
a few hours to see family that I hadn't seen since summer 2009+
being able to be here:

=Worth it all!

Rev. Jonathan Ripke is in the front center. Ewe's dad is second from the right in the back. The preacher was Rev. Loum from St. Louis. His sermon was long, but excellent, and especially good for members of a rural church to hear. There were many pastors from Seward and the circuit.

Lamb 2 with his godfather

Rev. Jonathan and Megan Ripke-both the sermon and comments at the reception reminded them that they are a team in the ministry; Rev. Ripke is the pastor preaching the Word and she will both be the pastor's wife to support him and a member of the church spreading the Word to the local community.

More details about our trip to be posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hunting and gathering and berries

Yesterday and today I did major hunting and gathering as Melody would say. Yesterday was 4 hour drive to Half Price Books sale, Lands End outlet, first Costco run since January, and fast trips to Target and Walmart. We got home at 11:30pm and had lots to unload from the car. Days like yesterday make me think twice that if we didn't live rural if I would do ALL the shopping for the month (or months) on the same day! Costco runs are very strategically planned-no need to buy something we already have at home but sometimes I have shed tears when we forgot something as it will be several months before we return to Costco. (I do know there are more important things in life than shopping, but I write this because those of you that live near your shopping don't realize how blessed you are.)
Lamb 1 and I were up at the crack of dawn and picked gathered 10 lbs of blueberries this morning. Then we shopped local for some Christmas presents for our family and a few other treats and did grocery shopping. While we were gone Lamb 2, 3, and Ram finished putting away yesterday's purchases and cleaned up the kitchen.
After a nap this afternoon, I need to get to work on the berries. I hope to make many batches of jam from the blueberries and raspberries from Costco. We have other summer activities including our county fair this weekend. The calendar is full plus my berry work.
Hopefully I'll be able to resume blogging next week!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Wedding today

The RSVP was due the beginning of June. It was my decision. I knew it was the best decision. Our summer was busy enough. Precious vacation time needed to be saved for the fall. Lamb 1 and 2 needed to take swim lessons. Ram needed to go to Doxology this summer and didn't want to be away from the churches any more than that this summer.

But when the big day came I am physically in MN today but my mind and heart is in IN today. I want to take the Lambs to a parade that I went to many years of my childhood. I want to be there for the big day for my friend of 20 years. He is one of Lamb 3's godfathers. He is one of the few people from my time in IN that has actually come to our small town and visited us in MN. I want to meet his beloved for which he waited so long. I want to see one of my bridesmaids and her one year old son. I want to see other people that I know from teaching in Fort Wayne.

It's bad enough that we live 16 hours away from my family, but even worse when tentative plans to visit "home" get changed. Even if I KNOW this is the best way, I don't like it.

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Darin Koenemann. We can't wait to see photos from today when we visit in the fall. May the Lord bless you with a long life together.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I am from...

I am from 11 houses, 9 towns, and a 6 Midwestern states in the great country of the United States of America. I am from strong Hoosier roots with an IN address for most of my life even if IN is not on my birth certificate. I am from moving is an adventure. I am from Sechler pickles and Seyfert potato chips.

I am from long LCMS roots on both sides of the family. I am from “A Mighty Fortress is our God”, “Lord Keep us Steadfast in your Word”, “I am Jesus Little Lamb”, and “Now the Light has Gone Away” (in German).  I am from the Holy Spirit granted me faith at the baptismal font when I was a few weeks old; confirmation; weddings in the church; and anniversary parties and funerals for most of our loved ones at the same church. I am from Sunday School and church at the service with Holy Communion each Sunday. I am from Sunday School Christmas programs and huge VBS each year. I am from my Grandpas’ church even though I never met either of them.  I am from pastors of one grandfather and my dad. I am from being saved by Jesus’ death and resurrection.

I am from frugal and long lived, Grandma Frieda, Aunt Pauline, Grandma M., Aunt Lena, Aunt Agnes, Aunt Alice, Uncle Al, and Uncle Walt. I am from parents married for over 40 years. I am from one younger sister.

I am from the green house with trim that has been painted and changed a few times as the house that I lived in the longest and welcomed me home for a few years after college and still welcomes me home when I visit today. I am from my Grandma Frieda’s beloved house that I lived in for a short year but many weeks during the summer and evenings later in my life. I consider it my childhood home since I did not have one house for my whole childhood. Realizing that Grandma’s house is no longer there is one of my saddest thoughts mixed with happy memories of time spent there.

I am from the long row of mom’s daffodils in the back yard and Grandma’s huge garden. I am from summers of catching fireflies, picking strawberries, tangled hair, riding bike, and playing outside every minute that the weather was nice. I am from school years of practicing and playing flute. I am from the woman that wishes she would have listened to my mom and Grandma Frieda’s homemaking advice better.

I am from many stories of how God had always provided. I am from homemade gifts from the heart and hand-me-downs even if we didn’t have much money to get the latest fads. I am from don’t waste anything which taught me to love cow tongue, edible weeds, and think to make the most with what we had instead of buying more. I am from many hours laughing while playing board and card games. I am from sleeping under Grandma’s homemade quilts made with love just for me. I am from my mom made my prom dress just the way I wanted it.

I am from a love of music instilled by attending many organ recitals and Philharmonic concerts and other church concerts. I am from listen to NPR most of the day and not own a TV for many years of growing up. I am from a family that hung the United States flag proudly the respectful way every day. I am from the family that was quick to cry when hearing stories of the men that fought for our freedoms in our great country and never missed the Memorial Day parade. I am from never miss the high school basketball game when they play at home. I am from the house that always had a room devoted to a library. I am from weekly trips to the public library, reading under the covers after the lights went out, and parents that read to me daily. I am from a dad that made it possible for me to not miss my first college Wind Ensemble tour by picking me up at the airport after my trip to the Holy Land and driving me through the night to meet up with the group.

I am from Grandma’s suppers of only huge banana splits and smells of mom’s freshly baked homemade cinnamon rolls almost every Saturday. I am from Aunt Pauline brings the pies, Grandma Frieda brings tons of homemade cookies, dad makes the ham or turkey, and mom makes everything else from scratch for almost every holiday. I am from inviting someone to lunch nearly every Sunday and having a home cooked meal-usually a roast with veggies and homemade dinner rolls. I am from Grandma’s Easter cupcakes made with homemade fondant and homemade fried chicken that was so good we even had it for Thanksgiving one year. I am from the family that ate dinner together and had devotions afterwards almost every evening whether it was just us or company too.

I am from Grandma’s photos from the last century organized neatly in an old metal picnic basket and many other photos scrapbooked neatly. I am from a family where I never questioned that I was loved by them or God.

Esther posted this yesterday. I really enjoyed writing this. Esther's post has a link to the site it came from and the poem it is based on. My sister is going to try to write one and it will be interesting comparing the two as we are 7 years apart. I encourage you to write one, it is fun! Part of where I am from is that we moved a lot of my childhood which made my poem a long poem because I couldn't talk about one specific place.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

The Lambs decorated their bikes and pretend lawnmower, but refused to be in the parade. Only Lamb 2 walked in the parade for a little bit. At least they let me take their photo!
Only in a small town...
The sheriff would lead a parade of riding lawnmowers.
The mayor would drive her personal car in the parade.
The parade would consist of 1 sheriff car, 1 mayor car, 5 riding lawnmowers, 2 go carts, 1 golf cart with trailer, 1 golf cart pulling a dune buggy that didn't work, 1 ATV with trailer, and 1 boy walking.
There would be no advertising for the parade or potluck-we've done this for the last 5 years!
The only pastor that lives in town would be asked to lead a prayer before the potluck.

Days like this make me appreciate living in a town of 135 people!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fast Computers

When we first moved here we had dial up internet. We had that for a few years because first there wasn't any good high speed in this rural place, then you had to sign a 3 year contract or pay a penalty. At the time I was thinking we wouldn't be here for another 3 years. When we finally went ahead and signed the contract and began using high speed, it was so fast! We didn't know how we had ever used that slow dial up. I really noticed it when I read blogs-there were some blogs that I had only read once because it took so long to open them. We had the slowest high speed internet because it was the cheapest and we really thought it was fast! I felt bad for all the hours we had wasted waiting on slow internet. We stayed longer than the 3 year contract so we made the right decision there.

Our desk top was 8 years old and we had some problems the last year. 5 years ago we had to crash the whole computer and start over with the photos and random other things we had backed up. We didn't lose anything important, but it was a pain to start over. We had problems with a fan in the computer and had no computer for 18 days over Christmas 2009. This is a huge problem when you live in a rural place in the winter. Even after the fan was fixed we had it in the shop to fix it again last year. There was plenty of space on the computer but it was slower and slower. Sometimes it would freeze up and the only thing to do was shut down and start over. We ran virus programs, took it into the shop to see if it had a virus, had Ram's dad look at it, etc. We came to the conclusion that it was just old.

Recently we got a new computer. That will be a whole different post. We've had it set up for a few days. Because our computer was so slow it used to take me about an hour each morning to read and respond to e-mail and read/comment on my favorite blogs. This morning it took less than 5 minutes! I feel bad about all the hours I wasted on the slow computer.

Ram is going to take our old computer in his office to write sermons etc. He'll be frustrated waiting for that computer, but he will be glad to get rid of the really old computer that was in his office. The difference will be that I will rarely use the computer in his office now. After regularly using the new computer he won't have much patience for his computer. Perhaps we'll have to replace his computer too. He's very tempted to get an iPad...

NOTE: Because we live in a rural place some things are different when shopping for a computer-very few places have wi-fi besides the library, our churches don't even have a phone at them much less an internet connection, most cell phones don't work in our town/area, etc. Ram doesn't do very much traveling outside of the local area so it doesn't make much sense to get a laptop or smartphone. Shopping for a computer would be very different if we lived in a city.

Friday, July 1, 2011

MN government shut-down...

began today. I don't think it will effect my family, but it will be interesting to see. I think government impacts our every day lives more than we think. I know some church member's jobs will be effected.

I was outside this morning trying to deal with the out of control weeds in the garden after all the rain that we've had. I'm happy to say it's not perfect, but it's back to a manageable state. The edible weeds were plentiful in that jungle garden. I hated to waste the good weeds but I needed to finish the job quickly. Lamb 2 was the best help in the garden. It was hot, but not unbearable like yesterday. Then we had a thunderstorm this afternoon so I was glad the weeding had been completed and the plants had a good soak.

I came inside after working in the garden and remembered it was July 1. We don't have TV so I hadn't heard if the state shut down or not. It only took a couple of clicks on the internet to hear that it was shut down. Not the news I wanted to hear, but I wasn't surprised. We've only lived here 8 years and this is the second shut down for us. It's very different than growing up as a Hoosier.