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.

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


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


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.