Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Doxology Trip Day 5

This was our final day of our trip. We drove from our hotel to Cedar Rapids, IA. We ate lunch at Biaggi's, one of our favorite restaurants. Then I called my friend Elizabeth's house to see if we could get together. I caught her mom home on lunch break from work and she gave me Elizabeth's work number and cell phone number. We decided to finish our lunch and do a little shopping to give Elizabeth some more time at work. So of course we had to check out a Half Price Books and buy a few items while we waited. I was getting used to shopping for books without Lambs along! Then we went to Elizabeth's work place. We just missed her at work. We called her cell phone and she didn't answer. I didn't know how to reach her so we were trying to decide what to do. She called back while we were trying to decide. She was shocked that we were in town and could visit. We went back to her place of work and met her there and then we went to a coffee house. We talked for nearly 2 hours and waited for the rain to let up before taking her back to her car. It was so nice to have some time to catch up with Elizabeth, our match maker. It was hard for her to believe we are going to celebrate our 10th anniversary in December. We hadn't seen Elizabeth for about a year so it was good to get together again.
We finally drove pretty much straight home from Cedar Rapids with fast stops for gas, food, and bathroom breaks. We arrived home about midnight, we never would have made it that fast with the Lambs! I had hoped to get in before the Lambs bedtime. We both agreed time to see Elizabeth was worth getting in late. My dad helped us unload the car and then we all went to bed. Doxology, the trip alone with Ram, and seeing friends was all fun and worth being exhausted for the rest of the week after we got home!

Ewe and Elizabeth

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Doxology Trip Day 4

A wonderful Divine Service began our last day of Doxology. Then Dr. Yahnke spoke to the wives. Her topic was "Parsonage Depletion Hazards". She spoke about this to the pastors earlier and now she talked to us wives about it. Pastors and their wives give of their time, love, and energy all the time. Sometimes it is good to think about your own (and your spouse's) health and well being. There is more that I could say on this topic so perhaps I will blog about this in a separate blog post as I think it would be good for all pastor's wives to hear.
Then we broke into small groups of wives and discussed our personal goals. We all agreed after participating in Doxology that we had some goals in common now, others were more personal goals. We want to work out our schedules to have more prayer/devotional time, more time with our husbands, and try to exercise more. It was interesting to hear goals from all the women at the table in different stages of their lives-some were just beginning an empty nest and others were pregnant and others had children in the ages between.
After lunch Dr. Kleinig led his last session on "The Cleansing Blood". He was a little rushed as he didn't have his full time but I took a couple of things away. 1. The devil stops people that need church the most from going to church. 2. The blood of Jesus is the remedy for sin. 3. Remember your baptism and attend Holy Communion.
Then we had our final church service and said goodbye to our friends.
When we went out to the car it was nearly 100 degrees. Next we tried to find a Starbucks to buy a St. Louis Starbucks mug. We finally gave up and went to my college friend's house, Matt and Karla and their 6 children. Karla made beef sandwiches and we had a nice meal together. After 4 days away from the Lambs, the supper table seemed noisy! It was cute how Matt and Karla and the children all tried to talk to us at the same time-the children were respectful but they wanted to tell us about things too. We've never visited a family just the two of us without the Lambs. Usually the children all play together while the adults talk. Karla told us where to find a Starbucks. We found our mug and of course had to get coffee and tea while we were there.
Then we drove to Hannibal, MO. We didn't know how far we would get so we hadn't reserved a hotel room. We were too tired after all the activity of Doxology to drive much farther or search too hard for a hotel room. So we went to Holiday Inn and slept and then had a nice breakfast the next morning.
I'm anxious to finish posting about Doxology (1 more day of our trip) so I can post about our trip to DeSmet, SD to see the Laura Ingalls Wilder sites.

Ewe, Daniel (almost 1 year old!), Karla

Monday, August 29, 2011

Our phone number

When we first moved here I went to rent a movie and really confused the person at the counter because I had the same address and phone number as the former pastor but a different name.
We just had a guest preacher who married a former pastor's daughter of our church. He called the night before church to tell us he was here. He enjoyed dialing the phone number because it was his wife's phone number when they were sweethearts (I think about 25 years ago!).
I'm sure most of our members have the pastor's phone number memorized because it has always been the same. That fact makes the telemarketers that call for a former pastor worth it.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Doxology Trip Day 3

This day was a full day at the conference center. We started with church. Then Dr. Kleinig had another excellent session-"Access to the Father's Grace Finding Help for Ourselves and Others". What did I take away from this session? Who do I know that is spiritually crippled in my family, friends, and former church members? What can I do for them? Pray for them specifically. Make a list of these people and "take them to church with you each Sunday". The devil will continually be on our back-you can't even get all your family to go to church! You can bring yourself and others to the Father through the Son by the Spirit.
Then we had another session about financial strategies. Ram and I thought we are doing pretty well financially for the salary we have. We have no debt and are in a parsonage so we don't even have a mortgage. We have started to save for retirement. One thing I learned was if you have been working 1-5 years your goal is 6 months salary/More than 5 years your goal is 1 year salary/More than 30 years your goal is 2 years salary of emergency savings. Ram and I have worked on this and we are close to 6 months salary of emergency savings. But it was clear we need to work on this more and start with getting the whole 6 month salary saved first and then since Ram has been a pastor over 8 years we need to work towards the 1 year salary. We know it can be done with some serious work. Ram and I discussed our financial goals on the way home and came up with a "plan" for how we can work on our emergency savings some more.
Then we had a nice lunch that I've already mentioned chatting with Adriane the Lutheran Witness editor.
Then the wives broke off into small groups and had time alone with other pastors wives. I took a couple of things out of this conversation. 1. We need to work on having people over more. I don't need to always cook a big meal or have a perfectly clean house to have people over. Ram and I talked about this more on the way home and we are making a goal to have people over to our house at least twice a month. We always talk like there aren't "friends" here our age, but there are a few, plus we want to have the area pastors over more often and our church members too. With 3 churches it will be difficult to get all of our members over here-but we can invite a few couples at a time. Ram and I discussed that when we first start this our church members will be surprised since we haven't done this before, but after a few come then it will be easier. I think it will be good for our Lambs and good for us. Our plan is to have dessert or just ice cream with a few toppings-keep it very simple, but actually have people to our house instead of just talk about it.
2. The second thing I learned was when you hear yourself say "I'll pray for you", have the goal to already have prayed for them before you say that. When you receive that e-mail with bad or good news from your friend, pray for them immediately before you open the next e-mail. Then try to pray for them several times the rest of that day while you do your work around the house. If you do it several times that first day it will be in your mind to continue to pray for them instead of just praying for them once and forgetting.
Then we had church again.
Then Dr. Yahnke had a session for the wives about parenting and discipline. This inspired Ram and I to talk on the way home about how we could do better in this area with the Lambs. We especially want to work on nice manners and have a tone in our household of nice talking and working together. That needs to start with Ram and I doing a better job of  talking to each other and to the Lambs because the Lambs will copy us. We have not implemented Dr. Yahnke's "discipline plan" but it was so nice to have an uninterrupted conversation with Ram about this on the way home. I feel that we are "on the same page" now and have noticed a difference about this since we got home from Doxology. The real test will be when we get back to a full homeschool schedule if we can continue it.
Next we had a banquet and they actually ran out of cheesecake so our table didn't get any! Other than that it was a nice meal and nice time to chat with new and old friends.
Then we had church again and a wine and cheese reception. I already mentioned that we had time to chat with Rev. and Mrs. Harrison. We were tired when we got back to the hotel this night and there was still one more day.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A first for me

I don't think before yesterday I had ever walked out of a restaurant before I was served. Yesterday we went to DeSmet, SD to see the Laura Ingalls Wilder sites (a big blog post is eventually coming about that!). We waited until we were back in Watertown, SD to eat supper. It was almost 8pm and the Lambs did fantastic to not complain since they hadn't eaten since 10:30am. We tried a local sub shop but they were closed. Then we tried a local barbeque place but they weren't there any more. So we ended up at Applebees. We were seated right away. We waited and waited and no one came to take our order. Finally Ram spoke to an employee. We waited some more. We finally got up and left. The Lambs were quite confused since we hadn't even ordered yet. Where to go at 8pm when we're starving? We walked over to Culver's. It was very busy and Ram waited in line for awhile. He finally ordered and then we waited longer for them to deliver our food to our table. Drive up was even worse. We were finally done eating about 8:45pm. Then it was a mad dash to get to Starbucks, Target, and Menards before they closed. They were open longer than I thought so we made it to everything. We finally got home about 11pm after a very fun day.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

He Remembers the Barren book now available!

I'm ordering my copy today. Here's where to order yours.

After I ordered my book I saw a coupon code good through 8/27 for 20% off. The code is SCHOOLED. It was too late for me, but hopefully it will help you. (It would have been very nice since I ordered some for gifts!)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Day of School

I decided to start school today gradually and go to all subjects after Labor Day. Being from IN I felt lazy not getting back to school until after Labor Day. But we are trying to squeeze in a few more events this summer plus I'm trying to get some cleaning/yardwork done before we get back to full school. Today we did religion and then Lamb 1 and 2 did math. We began right where we quit in their books last year. That is one part of homeschool that I like-no months of review what they already know. Lamb 1 asked to do more school but I told him after Labor Day. That's a good thing when your child requests more school! I'll try to fit blogging about our Doxology trip and other photos from this summer in soon too.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Doxology Grand Reunion

The title for the Doxology session where the wives attend with their husbands is called "The Grand Reunion". Oh, was it ever a grand reunion for me! There were many friends I hadn't seen for several years. 
This photo is for Cheryl . Cheryl's husband was the cantor for all of our worship services at Doxology. Ram and I also had a chance to talk to him for a little while at the hotel one morning. It is nice to talk to a fellow Looper dad. The music was excellent at Doxology.

These are the parents of a blog friend that I've never met. Hopefully one day I'll meet Kristen too.

Suzan, one of my new Doxology friends. She is a pastor's wife in rural CO. We had many conversations of things we had in common over the few days of Doxology.

Sarah and Preston, my CUW friends. I hadn't seen them since we moved to MN. They also live in MN but in a complete different part of the state-probably 6 hours away. 

This is Teresa, a pastor's wife in the same circuit as us. One of her husband's churches is closer to one of Ram's churches than to the second of her husband's churches. 

This is the pastor and his wife of my sister's former church in SC. Evelyn became a second mom to my sister. My sister is very close to the Burgers. I had never met them before Doxology. They had never been away from their children before either. I'm so glad they were able to come to Doxology and I was able to meet them.

I believe these were all the female Loopers at Doxology
Ewe, Glenda, Beth Speers
(Glenda forgot her camera so some of these photos are posted for her)

I had been reading this blog for awhile. It was so nice to meet  Emommy! Emommy is expecting her first girl. I had some girl items here and decided to pass them on to someone who could use them instead of sit in a box. It was embarrassing to have so many girl items when I've never had a girl before! She was thrilled to receive baby girl clothes-after 2 boys they are going to have fun with dresses/pink/other girly items!

Adriane, the editor of Lutheran Witness. We had a nice chat over lunch one day of Doxology. We talked about what our members would like to see in Lutheran Witness. Who knows, maybe after our lunch Ram will be asked to write an article? Adriane came just to participate in Doxology and be a journalist. It was wonderful to have her give up her weekend and participate with us. 

This is Jennifer, one of my close CUW friends. Seeing each other at Doxology saved at least one several hour phone call, but we still talk on the phone a few times a year and those talks turn into several hour talks. Saturday was her 17th wedding anniversary. I went to her wedding. I'm having a difficult time accepting that was 17 years ago. 

Our LCMS President, Pastor and Kathy Harrison, joined us for the whole weekend. We took this photo after church on Saturday night. There was a wine and cheese reception after church. I walked back to the reception with the Harrisons and then we waited in line to get our treats together. From our conversation I could tell the weekend was as good for the Harrisons as it was for the Doxology participants. Everyone in the Synodical office is working so hard-17 hour days are the norm. It was so good to spend the weekend together as a couple away from other responsibilities. I was glad to get the chance to speak to them together on Saturday night. It was also a good reminder to continue to keep the Harrisons, their marriage, and their boys in our prayers.

There were others that I didn't get a photo, but it was fun to see again. Rev. Juhl, the Uttenreithers, and other Seminary friends.

So LCMS friends, in this small LCMS world, who do you know in these photos?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Doxology Trip Day 2

Even though we were in late the night before, we were up early to do some shopping in the Saint Louis area while we had a chance. We began at Target getting Starbucks and a few treats for the Lambs. Then we had to go here...
I know that this was the beginning of the Borders Going out of Business Sale and that the prices weren't that good. But it was a chance to go book shopping! It has been over 7 years since both Ram and Ewe went to a new book store to shop at the same time. Usually one watches the Lambs while one shops and then we switch. Unfortunately there was a family with one small brat child and I still felt like I had a child along. There were a few times where I just couldn't help myself and I tried to distract the child and it helped her to stop whining for a little bit. We picked up more treats for the Lambs and a few things for homeschool and even got some Smencils like Jan recommended. Everything was at least 25% off and we didn't have to pay shipping so we got decent prices if not a great sale.
Next we went to Cracker Barrel and had a nice lunch. It was so nice to eat the whole meal without taking anyone to the bathroom and to eat my whole meal without sharing anything off my plate.
Next we went to the Seminary bookstore. Ram had not spent very much of his "allowance" for theology books this year so I helped him do that. Then we discovered their "free books". So of course we had to check that section out and had a few good finds there too.

Then we checked out Concordia Historical Institute.  I felt like I should read everything since we didn't have Lambs along, but we really didn't have much time. I was very glad to see CHI even though we didn't spend long there. We remarked how empty the campus looked as compared to being there last September for the installation service.
Next we went to Costco for a few items because I wanted something that was only on sale until Sunday. Our time was very limited by this point. I got a huge bag of baking soda (for laundry) and as we were leaving I realized there was a hole in it. I ran to replace it. After driving through traffic we arrived at Doxology right on time. After we sat down for the first session I realized that Ram had baking soda on his dark colored shirt!
Doxology began at 3pm and they kept us busy for three days. Dr. Kleinig began with a great session on the Family Altar. I learned a lot at this session and we were challenged to rekindle the family altar in our own homes and the homes of our church members. We want to pass on this heritage of faith. Then we had Vespers and it was marvelous to worship with all those Lutherans! After dinner we had time to break into small groups. Our group ended up being 3 couples all from MN in small parishes that are either dual or triple. It was nice to share together. Then there was an ice cream social and after dinner with apple pie I wasn't even hungry, but I couldn't turn down ice cream. We returned to our hotel tired but knowing the next day was going to be wonderful.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Doxology Trip Day 1

Ram and I left about 6:30am on August 4. It was so nice to travel and be able to talk without interruptions for a whole day. We stopped near Albert Lea and had Mexican food for lunch. We stopped in Iowa City to get gas, go to the bathroom, and get coffee. After gas and Ram's bathroom break, we were going to drive to get coffee and Ewe's bathroom break. On the way to the coffee shop we were sideswiped by this...

We were by a train overpass and there were two lanes and the cement mixer tried to change lanes and got a little close. The cement mixer driver got out of the truck and said, "I'm so sorry! I've been driving truck for 16 years and never had an accident before. In fact, I don't even know what to do when I have an accident! I double checked before I changed lanes and you were just in the wrong spot. I really did look!" He had his wad of insurance papers in his hand and called his company and the police.
The police arrived and took a look at Ram's license.
Police: "So Ram, what are you doing in Iowa City if you live in MN?"
Ram: "We are going to get coffee and then going to Saint Louis."
Police: "Oh, welcome to Iowa City!"
(Police walks around and see the damage on the car.)
Police: "Oh, Wow!"
Police: "The cement mixer has a full load and I'm sure his boss is already going to be mad at him so I'm going to let him go to his site and dump his load. His truck is new and   we don't want him to lose his load or truck."
Ewe: (says to Ram after policeman walks away) "That's not fair that the one that causes the accident gets to leave the scene of the accident and we have to wait when we want to get back on the road."
The police did the necessary paperwork and said we shouldn't have any problem since both the cement mixer and our stories were exactly alike.
Police: "So you still know how to get to Starbucks?"
Ram: "Yes, but you better remind me after all this!"
One hour after we got off the highway we were back on the road again. We drove pretty much straight through from Iowa City to Saint Louis with the exception of a break to talk to insurance about the accident and go to the bathroom.
We were blessed that the driver realized right away that he hit us and backed off right away. The accident could have been much worse. It damaged both driver side doors and the panel above the wheel. We were still able to drive the car, we were not hurt, and both doors could open and close.
We made it here before closing time. It was nice to go to dinner together in the city, but there were other kids in the restaurant and I missed the Lambs. I had asked Loopers that were current and former residents of Saint Louis where we should go. Old Spaghetti Factory had the most votes, but there were some other good suggestions too.
I had clam sauce spaghetti. Ram makes Susan's recipe often and he uses lots of garlic in his. We also top it with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Old Spaghetti Factory's clam sauce spaghetti was good, but Ram's with Susan's recipe is better. The prices were excellent for a complete meal. I would like to take the Lambs there and they would really like it. But if we go back to Saint Louis again by ourselves, we'll try a new place.

We got to our hotel about 11pm and were tired from a full day of driving.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mankato, MN 7/30/11

After saying goodbyes to the Mummes, we headed to Mankato. We had lunch at Pita Pit. We all liked this lunch with fresh filling food and Lamb 3 had a cheese quesadilla.
As far as I could tell Betsy Tacy tours are only given on Saturday afternoons. This does not work well for a pastor's family, but we made it work. You can pay to have a special appointment for a tour other days of the week. I think if I were to do this again I would do that-there were quite a few people at Betsy's house and it might be nice to just be on your own with a tour guide at a different time than Saturday afternoon.
I know it will be difficult for you to believe that I never heard of the Betsy Tacy books before a few years ago and I only began reading the Betsy Tacy books a few months ago. I have 2 more Betsy Tacy books left to read.
We began at Tacy's house. The living room area is a small museum with photos of the high school crowd, photos of Betsy and Tacy's real life families and other items. The kitchen has a large desk where you pay for tours of Betsy's house. The main room on this floor is just used as an entryway, I assume it was the dining room for Tacy's large family. It was hard for me to believe that Tacy's large family lived in such a small home. There is a small room off of this dining room that has the items for sale in the gift shop. I don't know if that small room was a bedroom or what. Because of fire code visitors can not go upstairs in the Betsy or Tacy homes. Tacy's home was bought after Betsy's home by the Betsy Tacy Society. Tacy's home still needs more restoration work done than Betsy's. I didn't take photos inside Tacy's home because I was too busy picking items from the gift shop! The Lambs were busy choosing Mr. Small books illustrated by Lois Lenski, I "needed" some treats for myself (hey, I'm a Mama of all BOYS so I take the chance to get girly stuff when I can!), I wanted to get my goddaughter a treat, and on top of all that they had a big sale in the gift shop.

There are only 3 of these plaques in MN and we saw two of them on the same day. The third one is on Fitzgerald's home in the Twin Cities.

Tacy's house

Next we took the tour of Betsy's house. Lamb 1 and Ewe took the whole tour. Lamb 2 and 3 took a little of the tour but they soon got bored so Ram took them outside.
Betsy's kitchen. Green paint was said to keep the flies away. The tour guide said that made sense because green and blue paint had arsenic in them, white and other colors had lead in them. I found the stove interesting-that is not what I pictured "Everything Pudding" being made on. The stove does look like the illustration in the book. The stove is very different to come out from the wall the way it does.

Betsy's dining room. The Betsy Tacy Society got the lamp off of E-bay to match an illustration in the book. Notice the telephone on the wall too.

Another view of Betsy's dining room, you can see the front door. The trunk is like Betsy's trunk that she kept in her room for writing-has a flat top unlike most trunks.

The bedroom added onto the kitchen to make room for Betsy's younger brother. But her younger brother turned out to be Margaret so this bedroom was used for the hired girl instead of her brother. When this addition was made Betsy and Tacy got their sand for their sand store. I found it interesting that the hired girls of this time were usually high school girls who were from the country and moved to town to go to high school. They had free room and board and were able to go to high school in town in return for helping the mothers with the housework. I had not thought about the hired girls being high school age until the tour guide said this.

The sitting room with Thomas Hart's (Betsy's real life father) chair.

The parlor with a piano. There is a door directly across from the piano. Somehow before visiting the home, I pictured the parlor on the opposite side of the dining room and the piano on the opposite side of the room too. It was interesting to see the real house after what I had imagined from reading the book.

Here's the floor plan of the house. (as best as I can type it without drawing a picture!)

front door(opens to dining room)     front door (opens to parlor)
dining room                                  sitting room
back door (opens to kitchen) back steps to upstairs  bedroom added on

Of course I had to take a photo of the books on the bookshelf, many were mentioned in the Betsy Tacy books.

Betsy's house-front porch wasn't quite what I imagined either, so interesting to see the real porch.

After we toured Betsy's house we walked up the "big hill" (about one block from Betsy and Tacy's homes on the corner) and sat on the bench where Betsy and Tacy often had picnics. Their moms would dish up their food for supper and they would meet up at the bench and eat their own suppers together.

I think this is Tib's home. There was some construction on the streets in the area and we parked down the street and I walked down to take this photo. Tib's home is not owned by the Betsy Tacy Society and has no markings to say it is Tib's home. I believe it was about one block down and then you turn and go two more blocks. In the books I pictured it as much farther away than it was. But for young children, when two lived across the street from each other, I guess Tib's home was much farther away.

After we were done touring the Betsy Tacy homes then we went to the new public library and saw the Maud Lovelace wing. There were original illustrations by Lois Lenski and this mural there. We also did a little shopping in their used library bookstore while we were there! :)

I would have liked to have gone to more Betsy Tacy sites in Mankato, but the Lambs were at the end of their attention spans and we only had one afternoon. There is a brochure both online and at the sites to tell you more sites besides the Betsy Tacy homes that you can see. But Lovelace said herself that it is difficult to go to many of the sites in an automobile in modern day Mankato when she talks about walking and later going in a horseless carriage to the Mankato of the early 1900's. Add in that the books are fiction added to her memories of growing up and it might be impossible to find some of the sites in the books.

After seeing the Betsy Tacy homes then we did a little shopping when we were in the "big city" including stopping at New Ulm and getting Schells beer and root beer. We ate supper at Applebees with a gift card redeemed from a Pampers program. (Which reminds me to start typing in those codes again and redeem some more!) We got home fairly early for a trip for us in order to get some sleep before church the next morning.

I think often we don't go to historical sites/museums/etc. that are near us. We are too busy to go to things near us. When we lived in Fort Wayne I know many of my friends had never been to the Lincoln Museum. A few years ago the Lincoln Museum closed. I am trying to go to sites/museums that are within a days drive of us. Last summer I went to Walnut Grove, MN and this summer we all went to the Betsy Tacy homes. We are trying to work out a time to go to DeSmet, SD. Perhaps we will have a chance to go to some of these sites again when the Lambs are older. But my goal is to go now and not put it off in case we don't have that chance again. I want to challenge you to go to a museum/historical site that is within a day's drive that you haven't gone to before (or haven't gone to for a long time). Don't put it off because you don't know if you will have another chance. I am so glad we got to see the Betsy and Tacy homes-it brings the books to real life more even if Betsy and Tacy are make believe versions of Maud and Frances.
If you have not see the Betsy Tacy Society website, it was very helpful for planning our visit and if you live too far away to go to the Betsy Tacy homes it doesn't have a virtual visit, but it has lots of interesting information. If you have not read the books then I would recommend checking them out from the library!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Ulm, MN 7/29/11

I am going to attempt to blog about some of our events the past few weeks. We were so busy in between trips that I didn't have time to blog about them. We went to see the Betsy Tacy homes the end of July. I did my research before our trip and I think we did nearly everything that was possible to do in New Ulm when we just had a few hours.

We drove to New Ulm on July 29. Our first stop was Schell's brewery. It was hot and we were sure the Lambs were not willing to take an hour tour. I thought that possibly there would be a bar where we could purchase beer and root beer for the Lambs, but they legally can't do that. The only way to get "samples" is to take the tour. We bought a few items at the gift shop and looked around the museum. They had peacocks outside which scared the Lambs with their noise.

Next my research said this park had a great playground. So we took the Lambs to play. The river was very high next to the park. Before we got out of the car we warned the Lambs to stay near the playground. Next to the park there was an old school house that had a "museum" for a group that is trying to save the river environment. We arrived shortly before closing time. A kind volunteer took the Lambs through the museum and showed them furs and other things to touch. They received some posters and other souvenirs. The volunteer was so excited to have out of town visitors that she was surprised that we just stayed for a short time. The Lambs were thinking about the playground some more plus they are too young to have much attention for a museum even when they are allowed to touch things. It worked out well because the museum was about to close any way. Then we were back to the playground. As we drove through town we discovered another playground that would have been better for the Lambs. But if we would have gone to the other playground then we wouldn't have gone to the river museum. The Lambs enjoyed the time to run around at the park after a long car ride.

Next we checked out this restaurant in a "town hall" as a possibility for supper. There were beautiful restored murals on the walls. This one reminded me of the hymn A Mighty Fortress. We decided to check out another place for supper.

We chose to eat at the Kaiserhoff and there were a few entrances, but we chose this one. There were 2 murals on the wall here. Ram and Ewe had a wonderful German meal, the Lambs had American kids meals. The Lambs had several samples off of Ram and Ewe's plates. We were too full for dessert, but I bet it was wonderful here. We were able to have Schell's beer and root beer with our meals.

We drove by the Wanda Gag house and took photos, but it is only open on Sundays as far as I could tell. A Sunday tour was not going to work for a pastor's family! Wanda Gag wrote children's books including Millions of Cats and ABC Bunny. The Gags had much influence on the architecture and art in New Ulm and it showed in other places we visited in New Ulm.

Before we left town we stopped to listen to the Glockenspiel. It was a little loud for the Lambs, but they did allow me to take one photo.

Then we drove to the home of one of our Looper friends. The adults had a nice chat while the Lambs and their children played outside. Unfortunately Lamb 2 fell on the driveway and skinned up his ear and cheek. We patched him up as best we could. The Mamas didn't plan too well as I had brought zucchini cupcakes and she had leftover birthday cake and ice cream. But the Lambs loved ALL the dessert. The adults stayed up and talked while the Lambs attempted to go to sleep in a strange place. It was really nice to have a visit with the Mumme family even if it was a short visit. The Lambs said visiting their kids was the favorite part of the two day trip. It helped that they had neat toys!

We got up and ate breakfast and attended Matins next door to their house. Then we were on our way to Mankato, MN to the Betsy Tacy homes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lamb 2

I think Lamb 2 has been reading too many Mr. Small books by Lois Lenski. Yesterday I overheard him tell Lamb 3, "We're going to drive our automobile to the country."
We did drive our automobile to the country to a party with the area pastors. Everyone in our family enjoyed the evening with other pastors and their wives. Our Lambs were the only children. We grilled out but then it started to rain so we moved inside to eat. Then we roasted s'mores on a bonfire. On the way home Lamb 2 had a runny nose. I don't know if it was allergies from playing outside (grass, trees, and cornfield nearby), the bonfire, or playing with their dog. He woke up this morning complaining that he still didn't feel well. Perhaps it is a good thing that we only drive the automobile to the country for this party once a year.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My new project

Recently I have been working on cleaning out our catalogs and assigned Ram the task to call these catalog companies and take us off their mailing lists. About once a year I usually clean out the catalogs. But I recently got the idea to get off their mailing lists and was motivated by a few reasons.
1. When this project is done our recycling bin will be full or overflowing. If we move I don't want to deal with this during packing.
2. We receive A LOT of snail mail because our home address is the same as the church address. Some of the catalogs are related to church. We are a small church and Ram orders everything except for candles-the church doesn't need to receive these catalogs. With the possibility of our post office closing soon, it would be good to get this junk mail out of our box to make room for our real mail. Some of these church catalogs are still under the previous pastor's name.
3. We are on several mailing lists of various types-many homeschooling catalogs that I wrote and asked for several years ago when we were considering homeschooling that I've never ordered from, several teaching catalogs that somehow tracked me down when I moved, many baby and children's magazines that got our name when we had babies, some other catalogs that somehow got our name but we never ordered from. I now have my companies that we regularly order from and we can always look online if we want to order-I don't need to receive a snail mail copy. We'll stay on our e-mail lists to still receive notification of sales.
4. My parents are still receiving a few of the catalogs from when I was teaching and lived at home the first few years after college. I'm sure the school is still receiving some of the catalogs from when I taught there too. The school combined into another school and isn't even on site any more. I'm sure both the school and my parents would appreciate not having to deal with my catalogs any more. The funny one was a software catalog that Ram called to take me off the list, the company doesn't even exist any more! Another one he gave multiple addresses to them and they asked for my phone number-he said he didn't know the phone number since it has been over 8 years-the lady on the phone said they would remove all the addresses!
5. If we move it will be a nightmare for the local post office (who might be 7 miles away), the church, and the new pastor because our address is the same as the church. I would like to reduce this junk mail to make their job easier so hopefully we get our important mail forwarded to us at our new address.
6. Because we live rural we order a lot online, but there is no reason we need ALL these catalogs. I did stay on these mailing lists: Concordia Publishing House, Rainbow Resource, Sonlight, and Veritas Press. I figure if we want to order from Lands End, we can do it online. I know that after I order something I will be back on their list, but at that time it will be manageable to get off of one list instead of a hundred lists.

This is one of the tasks that should have been done a long time ago. You know the saying to take care of tasks immediately and not put them off? I have been overwhelmed with our snail mail for a long time. Doing this task is the first step to taking care of reducing our snail mail. It will feel so good to take that full recycling bin out on recycling day and get that out of my house. Then it will be manageable to get off of one list at a time when it comes in the mail. I have other projects like this to do, but this was one that I can see the progress right away plus I will see it daily in a few weeks when these catalogs don't show up in our mailbox.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Last Week

Ram and I were gone to Doxology from early Thursday morning until late Monday night. My parents and the Lambs did just fine while we were gone. One of these days I'll sit down and blog about our trip and our Doxology experience.
Tuesday was spent talking to my parents about our trip and trying to catch up here. I made one batch of peach jam with my mom's help.
Wednesday my parents left very early to go home. We left early to go to Saint Cloud to my thyroid doctor. I had a good checkup and one of these days I'll sit down and blog about my doctor's appointment.
Thursday our family ran local errands including a library book sale over the border in SD. Lamb 3 had the best find-a set of Flicka, Ricka, Dicka books! The Lambs were the best behaved that they have ever been while we shopped for books-they poured over the Flicka and Snipp, Snapp, Snurr books while we shopped. I made another batch of peach jam.
Friday I had my physical at the doctor. Everything was good, but I want to blog about my appointment one of these days too.
Today this busy week caught up with me and I took a long nap and didn't do much. I hope to make a peach pie tonight for our family to enjoy.
I also want to blog about our trip to see the Betsy Tacy houses in Mankato, MN. Hopefully next week will calm down a little so I can blog about all this.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sneak a Zucchini Onto your Neighbor's Porch Day!

Unfortunately we are still going to be out of town today, but perhaps I'll bake some zucchini bread when I get home and share that with my neighbors. I'll have to try to remember this holiday next year.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My weekend plans

Ram and I are going away without the boys for the first time in over 7 years-longer if you count my pregnancy with Lamb 1. We leave early in the morning and will come back on Monday. Packing for just myself was so easy! It will be so nice to travel tomorrow without any interruptions in our conversation and without stopping multiple times for bathroom breaks for one of the Lambs.
We asked the Loopers that are former Saint Louis residents for advice on where to eat dinner. After several suggestions most suggested The Spaghetti Factory. We have had a few dates to one local restaurant, a few dates in Fort Wayne when we visited my parents, but other than that we have never gone out without the boys.
I don't think anything could top being together with my beloved for 5 whole days, but there will be several friends there too. Two college friends (Leah and Jennifer), at least 2 Loopers with some other Loopers possible, one blog friend that I've never met in real life, one other local pastor here, and I'm sure there will be others that I know that I don't even know are going. Then on the way home we are going to stop to see another college friend (Karla) and we're trying to work out the details to stop and see the family of the flower girl from our wedding.
Where are we going? To Doxology. The first session was just for the pastor and Ram attended that in June. This session the pastor and his wife goes. The next session in February the pastor and some leaders from our tri-parish will go. Ram has only attended one session and he loved it. Others that have gone to the pastor/wife session have told me that I will love this. If you are LCMS, encourage your pastor to check out Doxology and help your pastor find a way financially and to take some time off to attend. Next year there are plans to have Doxology sessions in 3 different areas of the country.
We don't have a laptop or smart phone, but I'll be sure to take my camera and I'm sure I'll have lots to blog with you when I get back. We are so thankful to my parents for watching the Lambs, to the tri-parish for allowing us to attend, and to the Doxology leaders that organized this.

National Watermelon Day

I don't know who makes up these crazy holidays, but it doesn't make any sense to me since the watermelon grown in this area is not even close to being ripe. This holiday should be in September, not August 3!
Watermelon is the only food that my mom does not like. She will eat it if it is in a fruit salad, but not plain. I grew up with watermelon as a treat once and awhile for my dad and us girls, but not bought often at our house.
In college I discovered that watermelon was good and worth more than a treat once or twice a year. For Lamb 2's first birthday we served watermelon. My parents and sister were visiting and all the adults cut up and gave him some watermelon. Lamb 2 didn't feel well that night. We thought maybe he was allergic to watermelon as it was the only new food for him. Then we counted up how much watermelon he ate and we knew he wasn't allergic, but a 1 year old should not eat 1/4 of a watermelon by himself!
We like the small watermelons from Costco so a few times a year we buy those. Other than that we rarely buy grocery store watermelon. I don't know the name, but our friends grow yellow flesh watermelon, but it is so sweet and good that it is worth waiting for it to be ripe and eat our fill each year!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Busy and injuries

We've been very busy getting ready for Ewe's parents to come visit. Yesterday we walked to the church behind our house. Lamb 1 got stung by a wasp right before we entered the church. When Ewe stopped to look at it, she got stung too. I took Lamb 2 and 3 to sit with our neighbors and went home to get some ice for Lamb 1. We only missed a few verses of the first hymn and were back to church. Lamb 1 was fine after the service.
Friday and Saturday we went to New Ulm and Mankato, MN. We stayed with friends and the Lambs thought playing at their house was the best part of our two day vacation. On the first night Lamb 2 fell on the driveway and wiped out the side of his face and his ear. I'll try to blog about our trip and our visit to the Betsy Tacy homes soon.
We all went to the chiropractor this morning for our monthly adjustment. Lamb 3 had swollen lymph nodes. I think it was a good thing that we went for adjustments this morning.
I've just been too busy to blog more, but one of these days I'll get caught up and have lots of photos to share.