Monday, July 23, 2012


I spent most of my childhood living in IN. It was not unusual to go to Chicago or MI or Cincinnati if we wanted to go somewhere or to something. Most of our traveling was in IN to Indianapolis. We usually took a family vacation to FL or NY.
When we moved to MN for Ram's first Call, we lived just 8 miles from SD. We usually went at least once a week to SD during the summer and fall to get produce. We often went to SD or ND to do our major shopping for the month. Ram often had conferences in  ND or 3 or 4 hours away in MN. Our family vacation was usually to fly to CA to see Ram's grandparents or drive to IN to see my parents or both. The Lambs became very good travelers (even without a DVD player in the car!).
We moved here the end of October and since them the Lambs and Ewe haven't left the state. In fact we have been 3 hours away to Ram's parents house for a few days just 3 times and other than that we have stayed in the area. Ram hasn't traveled a lot either. He went to Oregon twice for church business and flew to MN for Doxology in February. One pastor conference was in the area and he came home and slept in his own bed. This district is so large that there aren't as many conferences offered for the pastors like there were in MN.
Since we have stayed so close to home, on the 3 hour trips to the grandparents the Lambs have not done so well traveling as they did in MN. I'm wondering how our family vacation will go this year?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Identity Crisis

The other night I met a lady with one daughter about graduate school age. She is a librarian so we talked about that for a little while. Then she asked what I did. The look on her face when I said, "I'm a mom" was priceless. I then probably explained more than necessary by saying that we homeschooled and had 3 boys. Everyone at the table seemed to accept my answer as ok because I have 3 relatively young boys. But I wonder if my answer would have been ok if I would have had girls or if I would have just had one or two children?
She then found out through conversation that I used to teach in the classroom. She asked if teaching in the classroom was easier than homeschooling. Everyone at the table seemed surprised that I said it was the opposite. I taught for 6 1/2 years in the classroom and if I could have my way I would be retired from teaching. If or when I ever have to go back to work, I don't know what I'll do, but I really do not want to go back to teaching.
It would be one thing if Ram and I had never been blessed with children if I remained teaching in the classroom. But I just don't feel I would do a great job teaching in the classroom now that I have children because my family is more important to me. Could I do a good job teaching in the classroom with a family? Yes. But even when my boys are older they will still need parents-it will just be a different kind of need than now.
Most other jobs besides teaching have set hours and you don't have to bring papers home to grade and do lesson planning after hours. When I taught we were almost more busy in the summer than we were during the school year planning and preparing our classrooms and trying to do as much as possible to make the school year easier (make copies, etc.). I know that you do what you have to do if you have to. But I would find it really hard to be motivated to do that after hours and summer work with a family.
Ram's mom had to work some when her boys were young. She returned to college for a few years when they were older. After her time in college she has not worked outside the home. She still has a hard time answering the question, "What do you do?" I think it will be easier for her once Ram's dad retires. But that shows me that if I don't return to work it is such a foreign way of thinking for the working women that I will always have trouble answering this question.
Along with this, most people in our new church don't know that I've had 5 miscarriages. I assume that they think that we quit with 3 boys willingly. They have no idea that before we were married Ram wished for 6 children, I wished for 4, and we joked that we should compromise with 5. I know I shouldn't worry about things in the future, but as our boys get older I wonder if my answer of being "just a mom" will be acceptable.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Excitement at our house

Lamb 2 refused to let us take his training wheels off his bike. On Thursday he finally asked Ram to take them off. Ram took them off and he was off. None of this practice in the baseball field like Lamb 1 had us do!

On Friday after lunch the doorbell rang. The neighbor girl said Lamb 1 crashed on his bike. He had blood all over his hands and legs. I was trying to gently wash it off his hands and legs. Then he told me the only place he hurt was his chin-all that blood was from his chin. I called Ram and had him take him to the doctor. He needed 4 stitches. His biggest concern at the doctor's was that they hurry so that he could still get to the library. Ram brought him directly to the library and he only missed about 15 minutes of his "class". The librarians couldn't believe he was that dedicated. Lamb 1 is the most careful of the Lambs and he is the first one to need stitches and the only one that broke his leg (as a toddler). Life isn't fair sometimes. The nurse was glad to hear he was wearing a bike helmet. The doctor checked out everything on his jaw and teeth and we were glad it was just 4 stitches. He is embarrassed and doesn't want people to know he had 4 stitches-doesn't want people to make a big deal about it-but they will ask what happened to his chin when they see it!

As I post this there is no exciting news about Lamb 3. Hopefully he doesn't have any excitement like Lamb 1! He is now asking for a bike, so we'll see what we can do about that.

Friday, July 20, 2012

ID Shakespeare Festival

On Wednesday night I went with a group of ladies to see The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie. The Mousetrap opened in the West End of London in 1952, and has been running continuously since then. It has the longest initial run of any play in history, with over 24,500 performances so far. It is the longest running show of any type of the modern era. Before this year you had to go to London to see this play, it was released very little. In honor of the 60th anniversary of the play they released it for 60 performances outside of London. We went to the ID Shakespeare Festival with one of those showings. The play is also known for its twist ending, which at the end of every performance the audience is asked not to reveal.
We began with meeting before for a potluck supper. Everyone brought so much food! I brought salmon, cream cheese, capers, tomatoes, on crackers. It was in the high 90s and hot!
ID Shakespeare Festival is currently in their 36th year. It has a very nice amphitheatre. We had nice seats up in the shade. By the end of the performance the sun had gone down and it was almost chilly in there. I'm still not used to the cool nights here.
It was a fun night and I look forward to the boys getting a little older and taking our family to a performance.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

State Taxes

When we lived in MN we usually got a refund from the state of about $600. The best I could figure was this was because we had 3 children.
Last year we were part year residents of ID and we did not get a refund from ID, we had to pay $10. I figured this was because we were part time residents.
I have lived in MN, WI, and IN. Since I began working in 1991 I have never had an audit request or even a request for more info. We have a really good tax preparer and I credit this fact to her good work.
Today ID sent us a letter that we have 15 days to provide a lot more info to them or we will owe them more taxes. After moving I didn't know where anything was. After a frantic search I found everything for them and will copy and mail it. If we are sent another letter I will contact my tax lady. It sounds to me that they didn't understand that we were part year residents. I really hope it is not more than that.
We have a lot more freedom in ID than we did in MN, especially for homeschooling. But  I miss the benefits of MN-free car seats (We chose to buy them infant car seats and after that we have never paid for a car seat or booster seat.), free educational programs for young children, and free speech therapy for Lamb 2 once a week. I understand ID has less residents to pay taxes. I just hope the freedom is worth the lack of benefits and the money that we pay in taxes. We do have a great library system so we are taking advantage of that benefit.
I hoping this is all just growing pains from moving to a new state and that our 2012 taxes will go better. At least Ram only has one church instead of 3 so that has to make taxes easier, right?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Weekly Update

1. Ram and I went on a lunch date on Monday. It was the first time the babysitter ever called us that one of the Lambs was not behaving. Thankfully he shaped up after that so we enjoyed the rest of our date. I just had the soup and salad bar and I was stuffed. They had every kind of berry on their salad bar. When I sat down I noticed the raspberries did not look good. At first I thought maybe they put mint on them or something. But Ram agreed it was mold, not mint. The restaurant hurried to replace that bowl of raspberries and brought me a fresh cup. Ram and I both had a few helpings of lobster bisque and scones with honey butter. Is this making you hungry yet?
2. We are busy this week recovering from VBS last week (Lamb 3 has especially needed a nap every day), making vacation plans, going to Michaels for free crafts, and trying to finish the activities for the library summer reading program.
3. Creative Memories has a summer challenge to try to complete 75 scrapbook pages this summer. I have completed 39-in part because I went to scrapbook nights twice. I have finished Lamb 3's first year. Now I need to go back and finish Lamb 2's first year as I just have about 9 months done. I am not doing anything fancy-I figure they are boys and I just want the photos organized for them with some journaling about them. When they grow up if their wives want to take their photos and do something fancier, they are welcome to and it will be organized for them to do that. I don't know if I will finish 75 pages with everything else we are doing this summer, but even just this milestone for Lamb 3 is good. Eventually I may do all digital albums, but I want their baby albums to be traditional.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Birthday parties

Lamb 3 is the first of my boys to be invited to a birthday party. He actually is quite popular with the other preschool students! It is for a little girl that will be 3 years old. Lamb 3 was one of the first people on her list that she wanted to invite.
I really do not expect my Lambs to be invited to very many birthday parties. There was another boy from church that just had a party and none of the Lambs were invited. I think that partly because we are new here, partly because we homeschool, and partly because there aren't very many other kids their ages at our church.
I'm looking for ideas for a present-I'm willing to spend a little more than I would typically because I don't think my boys will go to birthday parties often. So those of you that have been to or hosted birthday parties and have a good idea, please share. One idea I had was a gift certificate to an ice cream shop for the whole family to share, but that isn't something that she could open and play with right away. Lamb 3 is insisting that it is a good "girl" present and I have no idea on that since I'm an all boy mom.

Note to Handcrafted by Hannah: She has very fine baby hair so I don't want to give her barrettes.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Weekly Update

1. Along with everywhere else in the country, we got our very hot temperatures this week. I don't remember ever seeing the red thermometer on the forecast that you can see here. (I did see the thermometer for extreme cold in MN!)

July 9 forecast for the week-Notice it was currently 100 and felt like 104 

July 9, I took this photo about 3:30pm and it was 106 and felt like 114, about an hour later we thought it was going to storm and the temperature dropped to 96. I did not storm here but it did storm not far from us and several did lose their power. Storms are so strange here to me-not the Midwestern thunderstorms that I grew up with. It did get to 108 and break the record, but I only saw it at 106.

2. We have VBS this week. I think I am teaching more this week than I did the whole time we lived in MN. I taught Sunday School last Sunday and am scheduled to teach again next Sunday. I am teaching the preschool class this week of VBS.

3. Along with the hot temperatures-today it was in the upper 80's and it seemed so much cooler to me I didn't turn the AC on until much later in the afternoon when it got in the 90's.

4. I don't know how working moms do it-I'm having a difficult time getting everyone to VBS on time with lunches packed for Lamb 1 and 2 and I get to leave VBS at noon so I only "work" a couple of hours. Tonight Ram's dad came to drop off some stuff and my house was a wreck-we were in the middle of trying to get caught up on dishes, sweep the floor, take out the trash, etc. when he arrived. Just being gone a few hours messes up my whole routine. 

5. I have photos to post from visiting a fire engine field trip, July 4th, and VBS. Maybe next week I'll get caught up on blogging. In the meantime we have 2 more days of VBS, a church picnic, I'm going to scrapbooking for a night, and we have to help with a booth advertising our preschool. I don't plan to do much next week besides catch up on the housework and get back to our regular summer routine. I'm going to relax on Ram's day off next week! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sweet potato salad

My MIL and FIL are beginning to go Paleo for eating. When we visited them for July 4 for a few days, she cooked/made a few dishes before we got there and then my FIL just grilled meat to finish the meals. The first night we were served some foods from the freezer to try to use up some food that wasn't Paleo (pasta shells, etc.). She made a huge fruit salad that we ate for every meal while we were there. She also made this salad. She adapted the recipe from AARP. It was delicious. Don't think about the traditional potato salad, just think of having a delicious, healthy, side dish.

4 small-medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup mayo
1 T. mustard
4 celery stalks thinly sliced
1 small red pepper, diced
1 cup diced fresh pineapple or halved grapes (she used grapes)
2 scallions finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 400. Bake sweet potatoes for 1 hour. Cool, cut into 3/4 inch chunks. In a large bowl mix mayo and mustard. Add sweet potatoes, celery, red pepper, fruit, and scallions. Toss gently. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour. Fold in pecans and sprinkle with chives.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

They are ok

We had a short contact from my parents yesterday. They are ok after the storms in Fort Wayne, IN. They do not expect to get power back again until July 4. The pictures on the news reports online show terrible devastation over a large area of NE Indiana, especially the Fort Wayne area. It will be interesting to hear their story when power returns.
Interesting that the first plan was for my parents to be visiting us this week. I'm sure they are thankful to be there and to know their house is ok.
Please keep the people that had storm damage in your prayers.