Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013

Today I am reflecting on what our family did in 2013. Ram went to Oregon a couple of times for church. Ewe went to the He Remembers the Barren retreat in St. Louis. The Lambs never left Idaho in 2013. This is so different than when we lived in Minnesota and often went to other states just to go grocery shopping. Ewe and the Lambs have still never been to Oregon even though we live very close. Perhaps in 2014 we can go over the border some time.

Ram's parents visited for each of our birthdays and a few other times during the year. I believe this is the first time they visited for Ewe's birthday-the daughter-in-law!
We planned to vacation at their house in August, but our vacation was cut short by a major wildfire. They ended up coming to stay with us until it was safe to go home. We are thankful for the firefighters, Ram's parents safety, and that we live close enough for them to come to our house during the fire. Ram's dad is not retired, but working part time. He still travels and works a lot.

Ewe's parents visited us for about 3 weeks this summer. We all went to Ram's parents for the 4th of July. We took several field trips to places in the area like the zoo while they were here. We are so glad they came to see us and the area that we live at now. This was the first time they saw our house as we were at the rental house the last time they visited.

Ram went to the emergency room when he cut his thumb with a cheese slicer. He ended up not needing stitches, it was just very inconvenient for a couple of weeks. I think getting stitches would have been easier than being so careful with bandages. Other than that he had a very normal year of being pastor, husband, and father. When you read about Lamb 2 you will see that he took Lamb 2 for many doctor visits. One of the charter members of our congregation went to be with Jesus in November after a long cancer battle. Much of Ram's year was spent with this family before and after his death. In January Ram and Ewe began eating gluten free and are on our way to eating Paleo. Ram lost 10 lbs doing this.

Ewe cheated on our new diet more than Ram did, but still lost 7 lbs. She has a couple  more lbs to lose to weigh less than she did before she had children. Ewe had a normal year of being wife, mother, and teacher. When you read about Lamb 2's year, you'll see she added in nurse, counselor, special ed. teacher, therapist, more chauffeuring, and some more. We were sad to have 2 more miscarriages this year. We now have 8 children in heaven. Ewe was glad she went to the He Remembers the Barren retreat and made new friends that truly understand. Ewe turned 40 in November, but celebrated with her friends in October at a "I'm not 40" party. Ewe is not officially the Sunday School superintendent but ended up doing a lot of those duties when the former SS superintendent "retired" after many years of helping. Ewe also organized a catechism memory program at church. This has gone better than she expected and we are so proud of all our children at church for their progress.

Lamb 1 is doing well in 4th grade homeschool. This was the first year of homeschool that Ewe didn't have experience teaching in the classroom for homeschool. It has taken slightly more preparation to keep ahead of him. He is plugging along in the Saxon math 4th grade book. He has really progressed in piano this year. It is hard to believe he has only had a few months more than a year of lessons. When we can't get an organist at church he plays piano for pre service, during the offering, post service and a little of the liturgy. He has his eye on the organist job at our church in a few years.

Lamb 2 began piano lessons in January and after a summer break of just once a month piano lessons he began having trouble in piano and school. After several doctor visits of all kinds of doctors, many doctors agreed he has vision difficulties that would not be corrected with glasses. He is still in speech therapy, also began occupational therapy once a week at the same place that he goes to speech. In January he will begin twice a week vision therapy for at least 9 months. He is in 2nd grade in homeschool and has finished the 2nd grade Saxon math book already. 2013 was a rough year for him to go through all this evaluation of what was wrong, not do as well at piano as Lamb 1, and not do as well at school as Lamb 3. Ewe is seeing that being a middle child is difficult; Ram understands this. We are praying that vision therapy helps him succeed in all areas of his life, especially school and piano, but will also help his self esteem and playing with the neighborhood kids. He is still our helpful, motivated, cheerful son which makes it worth all the doctor visits, exercises at home, and going to therapy.

Lamb 3 went to speech therapy at the public school from January-May once a week. In July he began going to speech therapy at the same place as Lamb 2. It has been nice for our schedule to go to speech therapy at the same time and place for both of them. Lamb 3 went to preschool at our church from January-May. We considered having him to go our church preschool another year but he begged to come home for school like his brothers. He began kindergarten at home this fall. He is doing well in the Math U See Alpha book. He is also doing well learning to read and write. Lamb 3 is glad to be home for school and not miss what his brothers are doing at home. Homeschooling 3 at different levels has been more difficult than homeschooling 2, but not as difficult as combining preschool and homeschool schedules.

We miss our friends in Minnesota and Indiana, but we are planning on focusing on therapy with Lamb 2 and not planning any trips at least until next fall when he will have completed most of his vision therapy. Especially Ewe is "homesick" but knows that he will eventually complete therapy and we will be able to travel again. We have a guest room and friends and family are always welcome to visit us even though we can't travel much. There is lots to do in Boise if you do come visit!

We pray you have a Blessed 2014!

Monday, December 30, 2013

The fourth day of Christmas

Stockings today- Ram: a tote bag that says, 'I like big books and I can not lie'.
Lamb 1: snowglobe that you can insert a photo, he is excited to change it with each season.
Lamb 2: footie pajamas like Lamb 3 received earlier
Lamb 3: Pez for his Pez dispenser (he really wanted this-and then he ate all six packages in one day!)

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four calling birds.

Fourth Day of Christmas Treat: Paleo Chicken pot pie



Today Ram ran some errands, we all did some housework, and we prepared for celebrating Christmas with Ram's parents. I do like having a clean house without messes everywhere! I am already a day behind posting about the 12 days of Christmas due to the important blog post yesterday. I have some other blog posts planned. Don't worry, if there is a few days break blogging about the 12 days of Christmas, I will eventually post about all the days.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine

December 29, 2001-December 29, 2013

He still loves me more than books!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Third Day of Christmas

Stockings today: A small rock and gem excavation kit for each boy from the new teacher store in our town. The Lambs got right to work in the morning and got some rocks and gems out. They worked on it for awhile and then took a break, this may keep them busy for several days. Lamb 3 got his rocks out the easiest, Lamb 1 was the slowest-he was careful not to break any as he worked. This was a good project to teach that excavation and archeology can take weeks/months/years/decades.







On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three French hens.


Third Day of Christmas Treat:


Cornish Hens
We cooked 5. Lamb 1 and 2 finished theirs. Ram, Ewe, and Lamb 3 had leftovers for the 4th day of Christmas treat. Lamb 1 and 2 thought it was great to have their own chicken! We may not do this again if they need more than one chicken each.





Today the Lambs played and worked on their rock and gem kits. Ewe ventured out to do a little shopping hoping to get some after Christmas deals and use some coupons before they expire at the end of the year. I had a coupon to use at Chick Fil A and that was the busiest place I went all day. Ram is on vacation so he read a book most of the day and then cooked dinner. We are celebrating Christmas with Ram's parents next week so Ram and I wrapped all their Christmas presents today too. This was the only wrapping I did this year. Ram also hung up some posters for homeschooling, that is another post. Lamb 3 stayed in his new footie pajamas all day.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The second day of Christmas

Stockings today: Each boy received a box of sugar cereal with a Star Wars character pen inside. This was a huge gift as we don't buy cereal, especially not sugar cereal, plus it had the Star Wars pens in them. This is a good time to have this treat because they don't have speech or other therapy this week to behave at after eating sugar cereal. I'm sure this cereal will be gone before we return to regular activities.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two turtle doves.

Second day of Christmas treat:

Chocolate turtle candy from our local chocolate shop. 
Lamb 1 reminded me that we should also have pear crisp today. I told him he wasn't going to have 12 treats on the 12th day of Christmas, just one treat a day.

The Lambs played and watched movies all day. Ram went to the history museum to finish reading all the parts at their special exhibit before they close it at the end of the year (he had already been twice this year but hadn't finished reading about everything). Ram tried to do a little shopping for me, but they were out of everything I asked him to look for. Ewe made a fast grocery shopping trip and spent the rest of the day doing end of the year paperwork to do taxes. It was not a fun day doing that, but it is nice to have more of it done even though I'm not done yet, and it was especially nice that Ram cooked dinner, did dishes, and watched the Lambs so I wasn't interrupted while I worked. We had some green peppers to use so we made stuffed peppers for dinner and then had the chocolate turtles for dessert. The stuffed peppers were paleo and so yummy!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The first day of Christmas

Stockings today: Lamb 1-small Star Wars Lego set (bought on sale at Target)
Lamb 2-small Lego Creator set (bought at Barnes and Noble on teacher sale day)
Lamb 3-Duplo building plates (bought by mistake online, I thought I was buying Lego building plates. It turned out ok as they pulled their Duplo out and played with it again.)

I saw a magazine article talking about the 12 days of Christmas with ideas for foods you could serve each day. I figured since we are actually home and on vacation this year, this would be fun. I tried to think of ideas that were paleo and ideas that would be treats for our family. I will try to blog about this each day. Some of the foods are desserts, some are appetizers, and some are the main course. Some are what the magazine suggested, most are my own ideas.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree.

Treat for first day of Christmas:
grain free apple and pear crisp with vanilla Coconut Bliss ice cream on top

After church and opening the presents from Aunt Hannah, we had a relaxing day at home together. We ate crepes/lingonberries/whipped cream and ham. We called and talked to all our family. The Lambs played with their new toys and watched their favorite TV show, Wild Kratts. I was surprised there were new episodes this week. The Lambs are happy that we aren't going anywhere and they can watch their show daily. I made the pear crisp and we had dessert before bedtime. Ram and Ewe each had some reading time yesterday, I even finished a book I began a few weeks ago!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas photos

Photo taken after first service on Christmas Eve
Merry Christmas from Ram, Ewe, and 3 Lambs!

This photo captures the Lambs so well. Lamb 2 and 3 are hugging. Lamb 1 doesn't even want to be in the photo. Lamb 2 wore a tie, the others didn't.
I bought these sweaters in 2010. Can you believe I got 4 years out of them? I bought them online while I sat in my pajamas on Black Friday when we lived in MN. Everyone commented how cute they were last night. I think this is the last year for Lamb 1 to wear his, but Lamb 2 and 3 will still be able to wear them next year.

Before second service on Christmas Eve. Lamb 1 played the piano for the liturgy as we couldn't get an organist for the late service. We knew the hymns well enough to sing a cappella.
Lamb 2 was the acolyte.
Lamb 3 had a nap in the afternoon and wore his footie pajamas.
All the Lambs were fine to be up until 11:30.

Lamb 3 asked for footie pajamas. I had never bought new pajamas for our Lambs as we are blessed with nice grandparents to buy them. It was fun to have a Lamb to buy pajamas for that I knew would appreciate it. He may be 5, but he's my baby. He didn't even know that he was giving me a gift to ask for footie pjs. It ended up being really difficult as he needed size 6. They make boys toddler footie pjs and also for teenagers, but it was not easy to find the middle sizes. I tried several stores and finally at my third Target I found them. Thankfully we live near 3 Targets! (Hopefully I didn't have identity theft when I bought these pjs!) Everyone at the late service thought his pajamas were cute. One middle school girl at church was jealous of the spaceship feet.

I was excited to buy footie pajamas for Lamb 3 and when Lamb 2 opened his stocking on Christmas Eve morning, he was very jealous of Lamb 3's pajamas. I had no idea that Lamb 2 wanted footie pajamas too. I refused to go shopping on Christmas Eve. So hopefully I can find footie pajamas in Lamb 2's size soon.

In between services we opened a few presents from a few church members and also my parents. Lamb 2 and 3 were very excited to get this car carrier from my parents. Lamb 1 refused to be in this picture.

Getting up/going to church this morning was a little rough for Lamb 2 and 3. When we got home from church we had paleo crepes and lingonberries and whipped cream. It worked well and I think I like these crepes better than the crepe recipe we have used every year of our marriage.

Then we opened presents from Aunt Hannah and Uncle Eric. Aunt Hannah is a great aunt and knows just what to get our boys! Then it was time to play with our new toys. They only received a few presents until we have Christmas with Ram's parents, but they appreciate and enjoyed playing with what they got now.

Here are a few photos of Lamb 3 playing with their new car carrier. They got out some of their other cars to play with it together.



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

Stockings today: Lamb 1: pretend jewels for crafts
Lamb 2: colored paper for their art store
Lamb 3: footie pajamas (the first ones I ever bought, requested by Lamb 3!)

Plans for today:
Sleep until 10am with interruptions from excited Lambs.
Lay out Lambs' Christmas outfits.
Lay out my Christmas clothes.
Put Advent decorations/calendars/wreaths away.
Make sure camera has a fresh battery and photos downloaded and organized on computer.
Organize from my old purse to my new purse. (Ram's grandma gave me a Kohl's card for my birthday and I got a great deal with all my coupons. I bought this several weeks ago but haven't used it yet.)
Supervise Lambs showers.
Take a shower.
Try to force Lambs to rest even though I know they won't sleep.
Cook a ham for supper.
Do Altar guild duties for two services.
2 Church services
Family photo after first church service.
Come home and drink eggnog in between services in honor of National Eggnog Day.
Let Lambs change into pajamas for second service if they want.
Get to bed way too late and get up for church again tomorrow.

Merry CHRISTmas!



Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ewe's 2 week vacation!

1. No teaching Sunday School or organizing the other Sunday School teachers.

2. No chauffeuring for piano, vision, speech, or occupational therapy.

3. No need to set the alarm because the only reason to get up is for 9:15 church on Sundays.

4. No doctor appointments scheduled until January. (This is huge after our family tried to squeeze in a bunch of appointments in December before a new year of deductible!)

5. No cooking a big Christmas meal. (We hosted Thanksgiving so we get off Christmas. We may cook a big meal for Epiphany for our family.)

6. No cleaning to do before hosting-not only are we not hosting but our family did some basic cleaning on Friday so the house looks pretty good.

7. No lesson plans or grading papers or teaching for homeschooling.

8. Yes one Call the Midwife and one Downton Abbey to watch.

9. Yes 5 of my favorite church services to attend.

10. Yes 1 anniversary with my beloved to celebrate.

11. Yes blogging will happen in some of my free time.

12. Yes baking and doing crafts with the Lambs will happen in some of my free time.

13. Yes sitting by the fire drinking tea and reading a book will happen in some of my free time.

14. Yes this vacation is well deserved at the end of 2013.

And now I'm off to do #13 even though I haven't finished decorating the Christmas tree.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Friday-"F"

Fillings-When I was about 12, right after my adult teeth came in, I had to get 2 fillings. Right after college I needed a tiny filling. (I know because I was on my own by then and had to pay for it instead of my dad!) My dentist that I had always had did all of those before he retired. I usually had bad teeth when I was pregnant, but always a good report after teeth cleaning. That was until yesterday. I have a cavity on the side of one of my teeth which means I need two small fillings. Ram has still never had a filling so I feel even worse. The dentist and I had a long talk about how he could tell I grew up in the Midwest because I had enough fluoride in the water as my teeth were growing. He could tell that my first fillings were almost 30 years old. It was a fascinating conversation, I just wish I didn't need fillings! He assured me that he will be gentle, but that is not what I was worried about, I was worried about needing fillings. They couldn't fit me in yet this month with the holidays so I won't go back to the dentist until January. I haven't told the Lambs yet because I'm afraid of their scolding.

Freaky-At two different grocery stores I saw women carrying small dogs in a baby sling. One was in line after me and she said her dog had been sick so she couldn't leave him home by himself nor leave him in the cold car while she shopped.

Forty?-I bought some hard cider for Ram yesterday and I was asked to show my ID. I couldn't believe it.

Fun-Ram and I went on a date last night. We saw the Hobbit at the new theatre in our town. It was great to see the Hobbit in 3-D and a great movie to be the first that we went to at the new theatre. We went out to eat for prime rib. We got gluten free chocolate cake to go and ate it at home. We stopped at Walmart for a few items. (It is so much easier to shop without the Lambs!) Walmart was packed at 10pm. We were buying groceries, not Christmas shopping.

Flurries-We did our whole date during a small snowstorm. We took it slow, drove carefully, and didn't go too far from home. We had a student home from college for Christmas break babysit. She wasn't afraid to drive in the snow even though she lives a little far from us. Her mom said she had 4 wheel drive and would be fine. She hadn't babysat for us since we lived in the rental house, so the Lambs were thrilled to have her back to babysit. The Lambs were shocked at how much snow we received while they were inside playing when it was time for her to go home. They couldn't wait until morning to play in the snow! It was great to not have to take her home after our date.

Financial aid-We found out that we will be granted 80% financial aid for the Lambs speech and occupational therapy next year. We praise God for this blessing!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Homemade?

After our church preschool Christmas program today I hurried to fry some eggs and opened up a package of sausage links and threw them in the oven to bake for a quick lunch before Ram had to get back to church to work some more. We ate the eggs because they were done first. The Lambs were playing when we announced that the sausage was done and we could eat the rest of our lunch.

Lamb 2 came downstairs and said, "I love homemade sausage!"

Lamb 2, it was sausage baked at home from a package, not a sample at Costco or sausage at a restaurant, but it was not homemade.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Spinning...

My head is constantly spinning with thoughts due to the Lambs. Lamb 2 began vision therapy this week so it meant two more chauffeuring jobs for me. Our new schedule is Monday:Vision Therapy, Tuesday: Vision Therapy and piano lessons, Thursday: Speech therapy and occupational therapy. During those chauffeuring jobs, the Lambs come up with all kinds of questions. What did we call those phones we had in MN again? (Landline) Why are the other phones called cell phones? How does the landline phone know to ring at the correct house? (They thought it worked like a cell phone tower, we had to back way up and explain landline phones some more. They still don't really understand because they don't know what a corded phone is-they're thinking of a modern landline phone.) And a conversation about names: What are the variations of the first names of their therapists, why we named the Lambs what we named them, what are the variations of the Lambs' first names... I'm on my own to answer all these questions because Ram isn't with us and as Lamb 1 keeps reminding me, I don't have a smartphone for Lamb 1 to look it up himself while we're in the car. Usually I'm thinking about something else and I have to interrupt my thoughts to think of answers to their questions.

Then at home Lamb 1 is constantly asking music theory questions for his composing and I'm having to reach back in my mind 25-30 years ago to what I learned in flute lessons. Sometimes I have no idea because I only had about 6 weeks of piano lessons. After piano lessons today the piano teacher suggested that she is going to get him a spiral bound blank staff book so he doesn't have so many scraps of paper printed out with his music unorganized. She thinks this will help him.

Then Lamb 2 and 3 are both asking how to spell words constantly, Lamb 2 for his story he is writing, and Lamb 3 just because he wants to know. Lamb 1 asks questions like which of a couple of choices do I like best for an alien name for his story?

Then each of the Lambs get an idea in their head for a project they want to do, such as a craft project, and need me to find the supplies. Our school room is so unorganized after moving that it is not simple for me to say go here and go get that. A big goal for me for 2014 is to organize the school room and school room closet. But until then, they ask for something and I have to think where it might be. If it's not where I expect it to be then I spend the next few days thinking where else it could be until we finally find it.

Does this get worse or better as they get older? At least the Lambs like me and talk to me. But I am really looking forward to going to see the Hobbit without the Lambs to ask questions later this week!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Quick update

We saw a couple of doctors last week for Lamb 2 and finally have a diagnosis and treatment plan after seeing many doctors. Lamb 2 will begin twice a week vision therapy for 9 months. I plan to have about a week of blog posts about this soon, but it is quite the story and will take much longer to blog about this than a normal post. When I get all my info together I will blog about it.
The Sunday School Christmas Service was on Sunday morning. Following that we had a small party. It is a huge relief to have that accomplished this year. Now we have a couple of weeks of crafts-I need to pull all the supplies together. Then we are taking a couple of weeks off of Sunday School so I get a Christmas vacation.
Our ladies had Advent by Candlelight tea on Sunday afternoon. I hosted a table so had to cart my china and other things over to church. I still have a few things to put away from that and need to wash all my china that we used, but it is good to have that event done. It was a relaxing afternoon chatting and singing Christmas carols and I'm glad I went.
We got about 4 inches of snow on Friday night/Saturday and the Lambs have spent every minute since then that I let them outside building a snow fort and making snow balls. It has been abnormally cold here-highs in the low 20s, lows actually below 0. The Lambs wear snow pants and warm coats and I bought them new waterproof mittens so they don't mind the cold. They remember that this is nothing compared to MN weather. 4 inches is a good amount of snow to play in vs. the feet of snow we would get in MN. The Lambs have used all the snow in the front yard so they have to cart snow from the backyard to continue their building. Our fireplace has been on a lot and many cups of hot cocoa have been enjoyed. I know this may be the only good snowfall this year for the Lambs to play in so I'm a little more generous with their outside time than I normally would be.
I have been busy filling out financial aid forms to hopefully get some help with medical bills next year for Lamb 2 and 3 to remain in speech therapy and Lamb 2 in his other therapy. Please pray for our family for this. The world doesn't understand this-if they went to public school they would get some of this therapy for free. But if they went to the public school they wouldn't be getting as much therapy, as good of therapy, or individual therapy. I know this is the best for our Lambs, but boy is it ever expensive. So I'm busy filling out the forms and Ram will be busy making copies of our tax forms etc. so we can submit everything by the deadline. Then we will wait and pray for that phone call that will be the best Christmas present ever, that we can receive some financial aid for these services.
Lamb 1 decided to write a story and has been busy asking me questions for things he never paid attention to in books. Such as who you dedicate a book to, grammar and capitalization questions, etc. I never would have planned this in the busy month of December, but he is gaining a lot of important skills doing this-much better than if I would have assigned similar things in school. Next Lamb 2 decided to also write a story. I'm not sure I'm brave enough to help him as much as he needs help though. I kept telling them I would help them with their projects after Dec. 8 and all my things I needed to do. It is after Dec. 8 and I've either wanted to take a nap or read a book-not help the Lambs with their projects. Thankfully they've been busy playing outside, but soon I'll need to devote more attention to them and their projects.
We've plugged along daily in school in the middle of everything else this time of year. I had hoped that Lamb 2 would finish his math book by Thanksgiving, now it's looking like he'll have a few more lessons to do in January. He's still ahead in math. Lamb 1 and 3 have gotten off to a good start in their math books.
We haven't put the fall decorations away and have only got out a few Christmas decorations. We haven't put lights up outside or even started a letter/Christmas cards. I am relieved that I hosted Thanksgiving so I will not have that responsibility for Christmas. We plan to have a very relaxed week of Christmas after all the church services-just spending time as a family of 5. It will be much needed after all our hard work this year.
Some day I will post the many pictures I have of things we did this fall...


Saturday, November 30, 2013

December planning

Ram's parents returned home today and life is getting back to normal after a short Thanksgiving school break/eating too much/and grandparents spoiling the Lambs. We have some turkey left but most of the other Thanksgiving Day leftovers will be finished tomorrow if they aren't gone yet. We were able to help decorate the church for Advent tonight because we didn't go out of town this year. The Lambs had lots of time to play outside this week even though the weather was rainy and cool. They will miss their neighborhood friends returning to school next week. I feel ready to put the Thanksgiving/fall decorations away and get out the Advent wreath and Advent calendars.

It is nice that Advent begins on Dec. 1 this year-most store bought Advent calendars and Advent resources go from Dec. 1-25. Most years we have to wait until Dec. 1 to begin the Advent calendar even though Advent begins earlier. It was nice to celebrate my baptism birthday before Thanksgiving too.

This month Ram, Ewe, and the Lambs each have a few doctor appointments-trying to do these before a new calendar year and a new deductible to meet. It seems like Dr. appointments throw our whole school day off. We will keep plugging along in our school work even if we don't accomplish as much as normal in school this month.

I did a lot of Christmas shopping/getting stuff for Sunday School treats in October and early in November. I have a couple more small gifts to pick up but I am mostly done. I already mailed my parents and my sister their presents. I have the few other people that we mail to ready, I just need to wrap and put them in the mail.

Our Sunday School Christmas Service and our Ladies Advent Tea are both on December 8. I have much to do for both of these and have worked on it before Thanksgiving and will finish this week. After that Sunday School will do some crafts for the next few weeks so I won't need to prepare to teach a Sunday School lesson. I will make something for our Advent suppers but I don't have any other commitments. It will be really nice to get the major events done early in the month and spend the rest of December focusing on Advent and Christmas when it comes. I am expecting Christmas to be very relaxed at our house as we decided not to celebrate Christmas with Ram's parents until New Year's week. Perhaps we can spend time doing some of the Christmas traditions that I would love to do but we never seem to have time.

Monday, November 25, 2013

God's own child for 40 years

Today is my baptismal anniversary. There is a lady at church that is proud to tell others how many years she has been a Lutheran. I think sometimes us life long Lutherans take that for granted. Thank you to my parents for bringing me to the font at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Itasca, IL 40 years ago today. Thank you to Pastor Mueller for baptizing me in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Gracious Lord, we give thanks that in Holy Baptism we receive forgiveness of sins, deliverance from death and the devil, and eternal salvation. On this baptismal anniversary, bless me continually by Your Word and Spirit that I may faithfully keep the covenant into which I have been called, boldly confess my Savior, and finally share with all Your saints the joys of eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen (LSB page 310)


Today is also the day that Lamb 2 turns 7 1/2 and Ram celebrates his 10 1/2 anniversary of ordination into the holy ministry.


Thanks be to God!



S.D.G.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Schnitzel and spaetzle and bretzels

Tonight we took the Lambs out to eat at Idaho's only German restaurant. I had a coupon that was going to expire soon. It turned out that kids eat free on Sunday so that was a better deal than using the coupon.

When we got there the Lambs complained about the choices on the kids menu. They were out of one item so that left the kids choices of schnitzel, brats, or cheese spaetzle. Lamb 3 was not about to eat any of that. So we allowed him to order a cheese pretzel. Lamb 2 was willing to try schnitzel and spaetzle. (Lamb 2 went with the flow tonight-decided what to order right away, didn't complain that the food took a long time, etc. I can't express how huge that is for Lamb 2 to do that!) That left Lamb 1 who doesn't want anything with cheese and said he didn't want brats. He unwillingly ordered schnitzel with spaetzle because I told him there was no way he was going to order something that cost more than my entree on the adult menu just because he wasn't willing to eat anything on the kid menu. (Do those of you with pre-teen boys have this problem when eating out?) Ram ordered some German street food-brats with a curry ketchup sauce and fries. Ewe ordered brats with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. The mashed potatoes were excellent!

It took a long time for the food to come, the restaurant was busy and they make the food homemade. When the food finally came every one was very pleased with what they ordered. Lamb 1 and 2 ate all of their food (and the portions were not small even off the kids menu!) and Lamb 3 ate all of his pretzel. They claimed they were still hungry so Lamb 2 and 3 ordered cheese pretzels and Lamb 1 ordered a plain pretzel. Lamb 3 was not able to finish his second pretzel but the other Lambs ate all their food. Ram ate all gluten free and Ewe only took a few bites to try the Lambs food that was not gluten free.

The atmosphere was neat-it is in a fancy area of town but was made to look like an indoor beer garden with picnic tables and flags on the walls and lights. The Lambs enjoyed going over what German vocabulary they know and seeing the German signs on the restrooms. Ewe enjoyed the pictures from German places on the walls.

It wasn't exactly a cheap evening out, but it helped that Lamb 1 and 2 had their meals free and we just paid for their pretzels. Eating out is not cheap any place any more and we had huge portions of food. The Lambs liked it enough to ask if we could go there again. Ram and I thought maybe next time we would order what we want and pick up a carry out and just serve the Lambs something they like at home. Or perhaps some time we can have a date there without the Lambs. But I'm glad we took the Lambs this time-perhaps it will get through to them that it is fun to try new foods and places and you may be surprised, it might be really good! I would rather just go out occasionally to places like we went tonight instead of going out more often to chain restaurants. And I do enjoy taking the Lambs and giving them new experiences too.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Tie one on day 2013

Are you ready? Put on your apron, make a baked good and deliver it on Wednesday to cheer someone up. Look for more info here. We are hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year instead of going out of town and so far everyone is healthy, so I'm looking forward to actually participating this year on the day, not waiting until another date.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Lambs/Legos/Tigger

I'm posting some pictures on my blog! I'm trying to get caught up before Christmas. These pictures are from this month too!

The Lambs built a church out of Legos. Notice the pastor is bald. The area in the back is the closet for the acolyte supplies. The people outside the church are in a wheelchair built for three so they can fit in the church better. I thought the Lambs were very creative. I love the organist with pink hair!
 
Lamb 1 and 2 with their Lego church.

Lamb 3 with Tigger. He tried to buy Tigger at our church bazaar but he only had a $5 bill and it cost a nickel so they gave it to him. That was all he wanted at the bazaar. His brothers bought more junk treasures and spent more of their $5 each spending money. Tigger needed back surgery by Ewe the same day we brought him home. Lamb 3 has given lots of love to Tigger since he brought him home.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Breakfast

Ram: What would you like for breakfast?
Lamb 3: (using hand motions to show what he means) Crumbled eggs, not those flat eggs that Mama makes us sometimes.

(I guess he prefers scrambled eggs!)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Nap Time

A few days ago the Lambs were all working to clean up their toys. When Lamb 3 was done organizing his area, he asked if he could take a nap. I couldn't believe he was ASKING to take a nap in the middle of the afternoon. In his cleaning up he found Pooh and Tigger. Lamb 3 is my baby (even if he's 5!) and I couldn't resist taking a picture of him sleeping with Tigger.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Coupons

When we lived in MN we often got the Sunday paper. I rejoiced when there were diaper coupons in the paper, especially Pampers or any kind of wipe coupons. I cut coupons but besides the diaper coupons, not a whole lot got used when we only went for one big shopping trip a month. They would either expire or I didn't have time to look for specific items on our long shopping days.
A few years ago we stopped getting the Sunday paper. It just wasn't worth the hassle any more and easier to buy generic. This was even when Lamb 3 was still in diapers because we used cloth diapers with him.
Last week and this week we got the Sunday paper. I knew there would probably be some good coupons in it for Thanksgiving dinner. What surprised me was there were very few coupons that we could use any more. We don't buy diapers. We don't buy bread or rolls any more. We don't use a lot of cleaning products besides vinegar.
I was able to use a couple coupons for things like spices and cottage cheese-matched up to sales in the store. There was a rebate for liquor which we used to stock up on vodka for homemade vanilla! Plus now I live in a city and I can actually use the coupons for stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels and Joann Fabrics before they expire. I know I could print these same coupons off the internet, but it is nice to get them all together in the newspaper. Same for looking if it is worth a trip to Target-are things we use on sale? Last week it was for us at Target, this week it is not.
So I would say that it is still worth the price of a newspaper for us to get the coupons in the Sunday paper, our savings are just very different than they were 5 years ago. Plus Ram gets to read the paper, even if we think it is very short on news compared to the Twin Cities Sunday paper. But I don't think we'll become regular subscribers and definitely not the extreme couponers that get several copies of the Sunday paper.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Puzzling

On Thursday I received a phone call from the nurse of the doctor I have gone to after my last few miscarriages. I had to ask her to repeat which doctor's office she was calling from when she called. I would have expected a phone call from one of Lamb 2's doctors, but not a phone call from my doctor that I haven't seen for several months.
When I finally figured out who was calling, I asked why she was calling. The were just calling to check on me. I replied that I was fine and I would contact them if I needed them.
When I hung up the phone, I was puzzled if they were calling because they were truly concerned about me or if they want my business if I become more aggressive in trying to have a baby. I still don't know the answer to that. They never called me before as a follow up after previous miscarriages, so I doubt the former is the reason. I refuse to become as they would say "more aggressive in my approach to having a baby" for moral reasons so if the latter is the reason, they aren't going to make money off of me. Or perhaps my turning 40 last week made them call me? When I first saw this doctor I was 38 and she said I would want to be very aggressive in trying to have a baby before I turned 40. She didn't like my answer then that I was trying to prevent more miscarriages, and since it is the Lord that gives children, I can not try or not try to have babies.
I am still a little shaken by that phone call. It was not helpful in my journey of grief. I am mentally/spiritually/physically fine after all my miscarriages. But what if I wasn't when I received that phone call?
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Trunk or Treat

This was the best picture I took at any of the Trunk or Treats we went to. It was held at my friend Joelle's church. It was so nice to attend but not do all the work! We couldn't find her son when it was time to take the picture.
Not pictured: T-Thomas the Train.
Lamb 3-Eeyore
A-Riding a horse
Lamb 1-Baseball player
Lamb 2-The King of Candy with a homemade sword

Ram took them to our city Trunk or Treat while I attended a teacher workshop. The Lambs received several gift cards for free kids meals for restaurants in the area and lots of candy. We'll try to go to that event again next year. We didn't take any pictures of the city Trunk or Treat.

Our church Trunk or Treat started out rainy but we had great attendance. I didn't take many pictures, but here are a few.
This family made their own costumes. They attended our church Trunk or Treat but they are not members of our church. Aren't they creative?

A few photos of the Lambs before it got dark.
Lamb 1- Obi Wan Kenobi homemade costume made out of duct tape
(He asked if he could grow a beard for Halloween! Perhaps next year I'll have to get some face paint for beards.)
Lamb 2-The King of Candy
With finger glow rings that we gave out at Trunk or Treat

Lamb 3-Eeyore
With glow in the dark sword

I can't get Blogger to cooperate to post the last picture. Anyway, our trunk was decorated with pumpkins and squash at the bottom of the trunk and the Lambs made Halloween paper chains too. Bones had surgery and was able to attend Trunk or Treat. Unfortunately he broke his leg again at Trunk or Treat. I think he overdid it going to Trunk or Treat the day after his surgery. No surgeries have been successful since then so I think his left leg will need to be amputated below the knee. He is currently recovering on the sofa in our library.

Lamb 2 and 3 have almost finished their candy. They received a lot going to Trunk or Treat 3 times plus Trick or Treating in our neighborhood. You can't tell that Lamb 1 has eaten any because he limits himself to one piece a day. I now know who we need to teach budgeting skills to in the future!

I told the Lambs that we were not spending money on costumes this year. They were pretty creative in coming up with stuff we had around the house. They all ended up with warm costumes for our church Trunk or Treat that was cold and rainy.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

33

Happy Birthday, Hannah!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

25%

1/4 of the candidates that I voted for yesterday won. We had a lot of people running for our city council. I did a few minutes of research on the internet before I went to vote, one of the candidates didn't file his 2012 taxes for personal reasons! Thankfully he didn't win.

Also, a few nights ago I spent some time rereading my blog from the past few months. There is so much more that we have done this year that I never took the time to blog about. I do enjoy looking back at my blog so I hope to blog a little more often before the end of the year. I'm almost afraid to say that things have calmed down here as far as our schedule so hopefully I can accomplish this goal.

Monday, November 4, 2013

All Saints Day

Ram's installation at our church was on All Saints Day (Observed) 2 years ago. On that busy day, All Saints Day wasn't observed very much with all the other festivities. But when it was time for communion, I remembered that it was All Saints Day and it brought tears to my eyes to see two living saints in wheelchairs come up to the communion rail together.

Wheelchair number one was a younger lady that I'm not sure what her official diagnosis is other than she has some muscle problems and is a slower speaker. She introduced herself after the service and talked about how happy she was that she was able to attend Ram's installation. She also smiled as she said how happy she was that she was a baptized Lutheran. A caretaker brings her to church almost every Sunday.

Wheelchair number two was an older lady pushed by her husband. It brought tears to my eyes that a husband would take care of every need for his wife. In the two years we have been here they very rarely missed church, I can only think of one vacation where they did. They were no longer able to help with many projects at church, but they were there every Sunday for church and Bible class. We later found out that they were charter members of our church. This summer the husband announced that he had terminal cancer. Even though it took great effort, he continued to go to church each Sunday. Their children took turns bringing them to church. On Reformation Sunday after church he told his children he was too weak to go to church any more. We could not predict that he would be praising God on His throne by the next Sunday.

So All Saints Day Observed brought extra tears for the members of our congregation, especially when Pastor reminded the children during the Children's Message that the whole company of heaven is at the communion rail with us. The hymns were so beautiful when thinking of this saint that has gone before us. Some of his family including his wife were in church with us yesterday which made his chair seem empty.

After church yesterday I went to talk to the lady in wheelchair number one. She was smiling and talked about how happy she was. I had to stop myself from saying that I cried through most of the service. But then she explained some more-she was happy because her friend from our church was no longer in pain and was with Jesus now. And I smiled because I know that they will still be at the communion rail together each Sunday.

For the Lord takes pleasure in his people, he adorns the humble with salvation. Psalm 149:4

Sunday, November 3, 2013

So proud...

of my alma mater, winning the state marching band finals! Congratulations, Mrs. Moellering, after 21 years of hard work. Congratulations, band members after many, many practices. We love that you gave such a great Lutheran music witness. We love that you silently witnessed by forming a cross formation as you waited for the results from the judges. Now, make room for the huge new trophy!
S.D.G.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Skeleton Models

None of the Lambs were ever attached to a security blanket or a stuffed animal. So I was really surprised at the beginning of the year when Lamb 3 became attached to a small model of the human body that was half skeleton and half muscles. He called it Bones. He made a small house for it out of a shoebox, had it sleep next to his bed, made a few clothes for it, etc. He did this for a couple of months and then seemed to forget about it.

About a month ago we were stocking up at Costco and I took the Lambs around the toy section to browse while Ram paid. Lamb 1 and 2 were making mental notes of all the Legos and Lego books they wanted to put on their Christmas wish list. Lamb 3 wasn't interested in any of the toys. I asked Lamb 3 what he wanted to go see. He wanted to go to the Halloween section. I couldn't figure out why he wanted to go there, until I saw the life size skeleton. Even though he begged, I didn't even bother to look at the price.

About a week later I saw a child size plastic skeleton at Michaels. Of course I used a coupon and bought it and saved it as a surprise. When the Lambs completed some chores a few weeks ago I gave it to them. Lamb 3 was thrilled. He brought me the small Bones and said he didn't need it any more now that he had a big Bones. Bones started going every where with us, usually staying in the car while we went to activities. The Lambs set up his place to sleep in our library. The Lambs made sure Bones did exercises with us every night just like the Lambs. They figured out that Bones was a female.

Then last night, Lamb 2 was careless and now Bones needs major knee surgery to reattach his fibula and tibia. Of course I sent Ram out to look for a new skeleton and it is so close to Halloween that he couldn't find one. Bones hasn't attended Trunk or Treat with us at our church nor has he been used for a school lesson to learn the names of the bones of the body. So now we need to add knee surgery for Bones to our schedule this busy week. Oh, what homeschooling parents will do for their children!

Bones and the Lambs watching a movie before the accident

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Reformation Day Observed

It was an eventful day at church today-our first prize day for our new catechism memory program! It began a busy week. Tonight we are off to a Trunk or Treat, we plan to go to another Trunk or Treat on Tuesday, Reformation service on Wednesday night, our church Trunk or Treat on Thursday, and then Saturday is our church bazaar. We will also do school and exercises, attend piano lessons and speech therapy, we have a couple of doctor appointments, and some time in there find time to bake cookies and other treats for the bazaar.
Lamb 1 was quite proud of himself for figuring out the Latin during Sunday School after he sat near these banners for worship. 

Lamb 2 recited Asking a Blessing Table Prayer and earned a certificate. 
Lamb 3 recited Asking a Blessing Table Prayer and earned a certificate.

Lamb 1 earned two certificates when he recited Asking a Blessing Table Prayer and Luther's Evening Prayer.

Most of our other Sunday School students recited the Lord's Prayer and earned a certificate for that. The Lambs are going to work on the Lord's Prayer next-we say it every evening at bedtime, but they haven't recited it yet. Our Sunday School catechism memory program is off to a great start!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Grocery Shopping Humor

I found two things about grocery shopping humorous recently.

There is a new grocery store in our area. I especially like their natural foods part. I have been shopping there almost every week, buying what they have on sale. A few weeks ago they had cookies on sale and I decided to pick some up for church fellowship time. I had shopped at this store a lot and I realized I had no idea where the bakery was located! I guess I really am shopping gluten free.

There is a cheap grocery store here. We buy most of our basics here-canned goods, bulk section, and even laundry soap. They recently sent a coupon-$10 off a $50 purchase. I had to work to come up with a $50 list-unless we buy local honey my bill there is usually around $20. Milk was not included in the $50 purchase, just like you would expect alcohol and gift cards. We don't buy much milk any more, but that was funny. Would people really buy $50 worth of milk? Ram thinks some of the large families around here would.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Praying for widows and fatherless

Ram went to our district pastor conference for two days this week. The first day that he was gone did not go too well. The Lambs had piano lessons and Lamb 2 left his flash cards at his teacher's house. I didn't want to go back for them so it is going to be difficult for him to practice this week if I don't take the time to print up some more for him.
Tuesday should have been payday and for the first time in our two years here Ram's paycheck wasn't direct deposited. So I spent time trying to figure out what happened. In the meantime I couldn't pay bills. It ended up they wrote a paper check, but I didn't know that since Ram didn't go to church to pick it up.
I "cheated" and took the Lambs out to eat so I didn't have to cook. Even though the Lambs are older, it is a lot of work for one parent to help them all get their food from the buffet, make sure every one eats more than just dessert, and help them when they need to go to the bathroom.
During bedtime routine a family member called and needed me to check something on our Snapfish account and e-mail some photos. I know how to do it, but Ram usually does all that. I was stressed doing it immediately and the Lambs wanted my attention and I wanted to continue bedtime routine to get them in bed on time.
During exercises before bed, Lamb 3 completely melted down. My Lambs are Papa's boys. It just wasn't right that he didn't see Papa all day. He was tired and I couldn't hold and comfort him like Papa would.
I have a friend that can't sleep while her husband is out of town. I'm just the opposite, when Ram goes out of town I'm glad to have a whole bed to myself. Maybe that is because I was single for so long. I think I'm so exhausted being in survival mode of being a single parent all day that I sleep well. In MN Ram often went to conferences. Here sometimes those conferences are near enough for him to commute. So in the last two years he hasn't been gone overnight much.
I know the Lambs and I are spoiled that Ram was home almost all the time while the Lambs were little. Now he is almost always home for both lunch and supper even if he is gone the rest of the day. He only has a few night meetings a month and some of those he is home before Lambs bedtime. He does a lot of the cooking while I focus on teaching the Lambs or doing other things in the home. On the weekends I send him with a list and he does a lot of the shopping.
I know it isn't like that for most families. Either dad works a lot more hours or dad isn't in the home at all. So when Ram is gone, it is a good reminder for me to pray for widows and fatherless and also to include military families. It doesn't compare for the Lambs and I to survive a few days apart from Ram. Even when I say I am a single parent for a few days, I'm not really. Even though Ram didn't have cell coverage, he e-mailed me a few times. May the Lord bless and keep those that have a separation that is longer than a few days and especially those who have forever separation.
Thankfully the second day he was gone went better. Ram connected me with another pastor's wife and we were able to e-mail a few times and get to know each other. I also didn't have any where to go the second day so I taught the Lambs and did some housework. We were all thankful when Ram came home though.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bowling shows how old I am

Thrivent sponsored a bowling event and our family attended Sunday afternoon. I don't think I had been bowling for 30 years. I went roller skating or ice skating, not bowling. I think I should have asked for bumpers like the Lambs had so I didn't have so many gutter balls.
Our lane scores:
#1 Ram
#2 Lamb 2 (by one point!)
#3 Lamb 1
#4 Lamb 3
#5 Ewe (just glad that Ram didn't double her score)

I was amazed at technology at the bowling alley. The last time I bowled there weren't computers to keep score and at least one church bowling alley I bowled at needed someone to sit back there and reset the pins each time. It's amazing how fast you can play a game when you don't need to keep score. You can't cheat when the computer keeps score. It's easy to know whose turn it is on the screen. The bumpers came up automatically for the Lambs and went down for Ram and I. The computer congratulates you each time you get a spare or a strike. Wow! I knew about this, but hadn't seen it before Sunday. I kept thinking how impressed my grandpas and great uncles that are in heaven would be if they could bowl today. It shows how old I am that I remember two churches that had bowling alleys. Technology has also made all the churches that had a bowling alley close them.
Lamb 1 asked if he can have his birthday party at the bowling alley. I'm hoping to bowl again soon to try not to be in last place again.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. It is bittersweet that our family has added two little lambs to heaven since this day last year. I looked back over my blog on this date the past few years: 2009, 2011, and 2012.

Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

Today I included in my prayers both my friends that I know personally are affected and also those whom I do not know. I also prayed for their families including their husbands, parents, siblings, and other children. I prayed for women with fertility problems; who have had a miscarriage or an infant die; and those that have had an abortion.  I prayed for my 9 sisters in Christ that I met at the He Remembers the Barren Retreat this summer. I prayed that all women affected by pregnancy and infant loss get the peace that passes all understanding through Christ.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Church yesterday

I would estimate close to half of our normal Sunday morning attendance wasn't at church  yesterday. It had something to do with the opening day of attempting to get some meat to put in their freezer.
Which meant that the people that always do certain jobs at church weren't there to do them. Which meant that even though they are a little young, Lamb 1 and 2 were asked to be acolytes. Lamb 1 had been an acolyte before so he lit the candles. Lamb 2 had not been an acolyte before so he was thrilled to get the chance to snuff the candles out. A benefit for me was Lamb 2 was very well behaved at church because he didn't want to miss the chance to acolyte!
Everyone that was there commented how well the Lambs did at their young ages. I think sometimes we don't let younger kids do enough at church. Ideally at our church the middle school students would be acolytes, but when they aren't there, let the younger kids.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

This always happens to me...

A few months ago I purchased a copy of Peter Pan in the dollar section at Target. It was actually $3, but I thought for a paperback, unabridged, printed in the USA that was an ok price. I just bought Peter Pan and didn't even bother to look at the rest of the selection of books. It's rare for me to buy new books and even more rare to buy anything in the dollar section of Target that is more than $1.
Tonight Ram pulled the book off the shelf and we noticed that it was printed in Fort Wayne, IN, USA. I also like the illustrations and there was a short author biography in the beginning of the book. Ram said, "We should look if they have more classics that we would like to buy."
So their website is all Disney books and it looks like they were bought out by another company. This was months ago, I'm sure Target is no longer selling them. Big sigh from Ewe now. At least we got one!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Romans 8:28 Part 2

At Lamb 3's last speech therapy session, the speech therapist had a request for me. She asked me to write down prayers we say at meal time or memory work he does for Sunday School or poems we memorize in homeschool. She wants to work with Lamb 3 to pronounce each word clearly for something that he knows well and says often and something that he will be saying to others besides our family. I agreed to write down Luther's meal prayers for her to begin. His speech homework is to work on those with me and be ready to work on those with her during speech therapy. She said she is all about doing activities during therapy time that are useful for Lamb 3's everyday life. He is doing very well pronouncing words at the word level so now she wants to work at the sentence level.
I was shocked to hear a request like this and so happy that Lamb 3's speech homework and therapy time will be used in such a useful way! I know that if Lamb 3 went to speech therapy at the public school he would not work on prayers or memory work during speech therapy. Plus if he is comfortable reciting the meal prayers to someone else, he will be able to earn a certificate at our church as part of our Catechism Memory Program.
Our family spent a lot of time in prayer and thinking about this before enrolling both Lamb 2 and 3 in private speech therapy. I am more and more glad that we made the decision to send them to private speech therapy.
We have been reading about Joseph in the Bible with the Lambs. I can't even imagine all the feelings going through Joseph's brothers minds when they found out that the ruler of Egypt was Joseph. He told them to not be afraid, that God had worked his slavery for good.
I love seeing examples in our family life that seem similar to Joseph. Paying for private speech therapy would not have been my first choice. Because they were not allowed speech therapy at the public school, God has worked it for good. In fact it has worked out better for Lamb 2 and 3 than I ever could have imagined.
S.D.G.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Romans 8:28 Part 1

Lamb 2 attended speech therapy at the public school once a week for 1/2 hour when we lived in MN. He was the only student with his teacher during his speech time. I was shocked when we moved to ID that the public school would not do speech therapy for homeschoolers. They did allow Lamb 3 to attend speech therapy at the public school once a week for 1/2 hour until he began kindergarten. During his speech time he had therapy along with one other student. ID public school never provided speech therapy to Lamb 2.
Many of our friends told us that we should "fight" this and demand speech therapy from the school for Lamb 2 and 3. One of the reasons why we did not do this was I did not want the school to agree to speech therapy and then possibly unintentionally cause problems. For example: I didn't want them to be enrolled in speech and then a schedule change for an assembly and they forget to tell us and we show up and there is no speech. There were other reasons why we didn't demand speech from the school too.
So over a year ago Lamb 2 began private speech therapy for one hour once a week. A few months ago Lamb 3 began private speech therapy at the same place as Lamb 2, also getting one hour a week therapy.
We recently found out that Lamb 2 may have some learning disabilities. I don't want that to be the focus of this post. But I will say that Lamb 2's private speech therapist has recently spent much time "worrying" both while she was on and off the clock about how to help Lamb 2 best. She is doing speech therapy for Lamb 2 different now than she did before. She pointed us in the right direction to get help in other areas. Her referral meant a lot to our family doctor. That sped up the process to get into speciality doctors. It means a lot to me that out of all the children she sees all week she spent extra time on Lamb 2.
Also it is really nice for our schedule that both Lambs go for their therapy at the same time with different speech therapists. I doubt the public school would do that for our schedule.
Plus I know that one hour a week speech therapy by himself was much more helpful (perhaps even necessary) than if Lamb 2 would have been in group speech therapy and/or only had 1/2 hour speech therapy once a week at the public school.
Sometimes our mommy gut wins out in decisions like this. Private speech therapy is very very expensive until we meet our deductible. It's all worth it when your child gets the help they need though.
To be continued tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Gluten and dairy free pumpkin pie

I have only made a dairy free pumpkin pie recipe since Lamb 1 was diagnosed with MSPI in 2004. We liked it so well that I continued to make it even after he outgrew MSPI. The recipe used orange juice instead of milk. I recently loaned my dairy free cookbooks to the Lambs' piano teacher as she is cooking dairy free for her second son.
Then I found out that Ram's parents are coming to our house for Thanksgiving this year. So I plan to do my best to have a complete Thanksgiving meal that is Paleo. So I decided to look for a new recipe.
I made this recipe last night. The Lambs were shocked I was making dessert and not taking it to church or some place-it was just for our family!
I used the alternative crust recipe and I think this crust would work well for a lot of pies. The Lambs did not like the crust, but I think it is as close to a gluten crust as I would ever get. They ate it even though they complained about it. Next time I will press the crust a little thinner for the Lambs. I think next time I will add a few more spices-we are used to lots of pumpkin pie spices in our favorite recipe.
Lamb 3's favorite pie is pumpkin pie. I will probably make this new recipe several times this fall.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Exactly!

Yesterday the Lambs finished all their school work, also they practiced piano, did OT exercises, read for book club meeting, practiced speech, and did music flash cards by 3pm. It was because we had no where to go yesterday and we just did everything instead of waiting to do exercises and practice piano after supper.
At supper time the Lambs asked, "May we do this every day?" They were so happy to be able to play outside from 3pm until dark, just coming in for supper.
That's the idea, Lambs. I'm not just talking when I say it is time for school work or time to practice the piano, I'm trying to get our work done so you have play time! It doesn't work on days that we have piano lessons or speech therapy or doctor appointments, but on days that we are home, we should work hard so we can have plenty of play time. Plus Ewe wants time to do something besides keep you on task, even if that means doing housework. I think that means that Monday and Wednesdays are our new favorite days because we should be able to finish our work early and have play time.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Telephones

Lamb 2 is about 3/4 done with Saxon Math 2. Today his math asked this question.

About how long is a telephone?
2 feet      8 inches     2 pounds      3 inches

He was frustrated because he didn't think any of the 4 choices were correct. He finally circled 3 inches and thought that was as close as he could get. We don't have a landline phone any more. He went and measured my cell phone and it was 4 inches.
3 inches would have been a ridiculous answer when I was teaching in the classroom 10 years ago. Times change. I wonder what the right answer will be in another 10 years.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

No apple cider

Yesterday we made the 1/2 hour trip out to the orchard. We got a bushel of apples but no apple cider. The frost came earlier than they expected and they lost their cider apples. When I asked about the cider, the man replied that hopefully they will have cider next year. You mean I have to wait a whole year? Grocery store cider is not the same!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Denied because Barren

I read in the Thrivent magazine that they offer disability insurance to SAHM. This sounded like something smart for me to get. We live far from my side of the family and Ram's dad isn't retired yet so his parents couldn't come help us much. If I had a disability for a few weeks our church members would help out. But if I had a long term disability we would have a difficult time. It would be nice then to have dollars to pay someone to do some housekeeping and perhaps to send the Lambs to school if necessary.
So we asked our Thrivent rep. about it. It sounded like something useful for a few more years until the Lambs are older. He asked a bunch of health questions for the application. At first I thought compared to Ram having one kidney now, I haven't had anything in my health history to discuss. I've never had surgery. I don't take any prescription medications. But as he asked questions it began to become humorous-oh yes, I broke my foot a few years ago when I fell down the steps and I broke my finger too when it was smashed in the garage door. Oh yes, I had a thyroid biopsy a few years ago. No, I've never had pregnancy or birth complications. Oh yes, I've had 8 miscarriages. The Thrivent rep. said as he read the list of things that most of what he read was probably going to be things that I never heard of before. As he read the list of possible pregnancy complications, I knew what every single one was and most of them I could name a friend that had had that pregnancy complication!
The next week I received a phone call from Thrivent. She had a very specific list of questions to ask regarding my answers to my Thrivent rep. on my health history. When I tried to elaborate on the answers she asked me to just answer the question. She told me they were trying to not ask my doctor for records and get the info directly from me. But the answers to her questions did need to be elaborated on and she wouldn't let me. Yes, I had a thyroid biopsy a few years ago. It was all benign. I am closely monitored by a doctor for my thyroid, but no signs of thyroid cancer and no need to be on medication. Yes, I've had 8 miscarriages, but I've never had any pregnancy complications nor any birth complications. Do I know what is causing the miscarriages? I answered no. They know I have Factor II, but I've done what they told me to do during pregnancies because of Factor II and I've still had miscarriages. When I got off the phone with her I was frustrated because not only did she not listen to my answers, but my gut told me I was going to be denied coverage.
Next I received a bill from my thyroid doctor that I didn't understand. So I called billing for an explanation. I was being billed by my thyroid doctor for Thrivent inquiring information about me. So then I called my Thrivent rep. I learned then that I was on his list to call that day to tell me that Thrivent denied insurance coverage to me because of my health history. He is going to try to get reimbursement for the bill from the thyroid doctor from Thrivent. I can appeal their decision but it is very unlikely that I would "win" as they very rarely change their first decision.
I am not angry at my Thrivent rep. In fact he went above and beyond his duty for a little tiny policy. I am frustrated and angry that I was denied coverage though. As Ram and I discussed this, I wonder if I was on the pill if they would give me coverage because more pregnancies would be more unlikely.
I'm waiting for the Thrivent rep. to call me back to get more details. Perhaps the denial  is more about my thyroid and less about the miscarriages. I don't know. I may never know specifically why I was denied. Although it would have been nice to have, the Lambs are old enough now that I don't feel that we really NEEDED this insurance. But this is one more time that it feels like being punched in the stomach again for being barren. Being barren is so much more complicated than it seems. Not only do I not get another baby to hold, but I also have to answer questions from everyone including insurance people. Being barren is not something that I did or did not do like consequences there would be after smoking for many years before. After explaining everything as best as I could then I'm still denied coverage.
*Update: The letter I received from Thrivent said the reason I was denied coverage was all of the above reasons in my health history-Factor II, miscarriages, and thyroid nodules. I am not going to appeal this decision.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Did I give in?

I turned the gas fireplace on today. The fireplace heats the downstairs main area. I did not turn the furnace on yet. Is this the first day of turning on the heat?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

You know you are busy when...

Last night Ram got a message on his phone.
"It looks like you have a busy day tomorrow. You have 7 events scheduled."

I prefer to run out of room on the paper calendar page instead of get a message from a smartphone like that!

I did use a coupon and purchase a 2014 paper calendar already so I don't have the problem of a couple of years ago, when I couldn't find a paper calendar at the end of December.

And yes, today is a busy day for Ram both being a pastor and being a dad. Hopefully it can be a 12 hour work day for him.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Author Visit

Our Barnes and Noble hosted Kate DiCamillo today. I packed a lunch that we ate in the car on the way there after church. When Jan Brett came a few years ago it was on Sunday morning so we were unable to attend. I was happy the signing today was on  Sunday afternoon instead of Sunday morning.
We arrived about 15 minutes early and all the seats were taken. Everyone just stood around and listened that didn't have a seat.
First she answered questions for about 25 minutes. Some of the questions from both adults and children were very good questions.
Then she read the first chapter of her new book, Flora and Ulysses. The first chapter has some cartoons so it was a little difficult for her to read it, but most people had a copy of the book to look at while she read.
Then she signed books. The rule was that she would only sign books, not posters or other items. I was surprised she would sign an unlimited number of books. Some people had several books to sign-we had 4. I had wanted her to sign 2 books but brought 2 extras in case she would sign more. Some were giving books to their child's teachers. We had gone earlier in the week (after piano lessons) and bought her new book. That meant we were in the first group of 10 families that she signed books. It was perfect to listen to her talk and then get our books signed- the Lambs could handle waiting that long. (Shh...when you look at these photos, don't tell my goddaughter what her Christmas present is.) Lamb 1 has a sucker in his mouth from Sunday School in some of these photos.




The Lambs loved reading this book!






The Lambs cooperated very well and we bought them a treat from the cafe after our books were signed. Then I went and told the Barnes and Noble staff thank you for their work in bringing such a big name author as Kate DiCamillo to Idaho. The staff was shocked to hear me say thank you-they said if I only knew how much work went into today. It was organized and advertised well-everyone knew what the rules were and it was organized, not a chaotic line of hundreds of people waiting to get their book signed. She spoke at 1pm and we left at 2pm. Thank you Barnes and Noble and Kate DiCamillo!