Saturday, December 27, 2014

Merry Christmas!

We hope that you have enjoyed your first days of Christmas. We had snow on Christmas Eve when this photo was taken. Our organist almost didn't make it because of the snow. We were glad he did make it and we had a beautiful candlelight communion service. Attendance was low, but higher than I expected because of the weather. After church we opened up presents from my parents and my sister.

After church on Christmas Day the Lambs were allowed to open one present each from Grandpa and Grandma. The rest of Christmas Day was spent putting together Legos.


Lamb 3: Arctic Snow Base Camp
Lamb 2: Bike Shop/Cafe

Lamb 1: Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer

The Lambs spent their Christmas money buying apps for games for the iPad on the day after Christmas. Lamb 3 only spent 99 cents because most of his games were free. Lamb 1 and 2 spent a little more. They got frustrated playing the games at first because they weren't familiar with the rules yet. We encouraged them to keep trying and it went a little better today.

Tonight we have more snow. This reminds me of our time in MN- wondering the night before if we will have church services in the morning. Next week we plan to relax before we are back to regular schedule in January. Ram and Ewe will celebrate their anniversary next week. Ewe has a scheduled scrapbook day. We hope you enjoy your Christmas break. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Green Stamp Gal

I told my mother-in-law in September that if she happened to shop at the grocery store that gives out green stamps for pots and pans to save them for me. They started this program in September. Each $10 purchase=one stamp.She occasionally sent me a few stamps. Each week I got a few stamps. I was frustrated a few weeks when my coupons meant my total was less than $10 so I didn't get any stamps. Being frugal and trying to earn stamps didn't work well!

Last week I did a big grocery shopping trip and earned 10 Stamps! I entered them on my sheet and couldn't believe I was up to 103 stamps. In order to get the pot I wanted free, I needed 120 stamps. So close...they quit giving away stamps on December 24.
This evening the UPS man delivered a box. Each Lamb received one present from Grandpa and Grandma to open on Christmas since we will celebrate with them after Christmas. There was one small box for me, they figured Ram and I were old enough to wait until after Christmas for our presents. I was directed to open my box immediately.
Look what was in the small box! I guess Ram's mom did lots of shopping before Christmas!
 I made it to 120 Stamps!
 I even have 5 left over to bless someone else with a few extra stamps.
I will be going to pick out my 6 quart stock pot tomorrow. I hope they still have some left. If they don't I'll be trying several grocery stores tomorrow! I have until Epiphany to redeem my stamps, but I would love to get it tomorrow.

I felt like my grandma collecting green stamps. I will really enjoy using this stockpot after all the work to earn it!

Christmas Eve UPDATE: Here it is!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It's still Advent!



I had great plans to link to Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife’s Advent Post Link Up . Since it was announced before Advent I decided to wait until Advent began so I could include pictures of our Advent wreath. I read several linked posts. Many of these discussed what they did with their young children during Advent. Since we have elementary school age boys I wanted to post what we do.

I was so proud of myself for hanging up the Advent calendars and getting out the Advent wreath on the first Sunday of Advent. Grandma went overboard buying us Advent calendars and many are used every year at our house. Our boys are old enough to take care of the Advent calendars themselves. This year they took turns on 6 different calendars. The calendars went well this year and our six year old knows exactly how many days until Christmas.

Unfortunately we didn’t do as well on the Advent wreath. I didn’t dig out the candles until the second Sunday of Advent. We only lit the candles one time this year so that each boy had a chance to put them out. I still haven’t taken pictures of our Advent wreath. (The photo above was taken at church.)

This year was very different because instead of counting days until Christmas, we had a build up to my second son having surgery for some nose blockage. There were lists of things to do before his surgery, to prepare for his recovery, and quiet activities inside for our family to do together while he recovers. In my head I also had lists of things that we are not going to do this year during the Christmas season because of his surgery. I even started referring to events that we planned to go to as that is the day of his surgery, that is the day before his surgery, etc. This upset my oldest son and he requested that I say the real day of the week instead of that.

Because of this the focus for us has been attending church services and not a whole lot extra this year. I must admit this is the most relaxed Advent season I have had since I was in middle school. Our boys attended church services on Thanksgiving Eve, Sundays, and all midweek Advent services (except the son that will miss the last midweek service during his surgery recovery time). I have attempted to really concentrate during the sermons as all my boys are old enough to behave in church now. I would love to have family devotions and light the Advent wreath every night during Advent. But this year that didn’t happen. I'm thankful that attending church services was the one thing that did happen for us this year.

Here are some of my tips for Advent that I have learned after 12 Advent seasons as a wife and 10 Advent seasons as a mother.
1. Plan for Advent before Thanksgiving-Whether you have a cute Pinterest idea for an Advent calendar or just plan to do what you did last year, have a plan for Advent before Thanksgiving. Add “Get out Advent decorations” to your calendar on the first day of Advent. If you plan to make something for Advent try to complete it before Thanksgiving. Plan your family devotions before Thanksgiving. If you have grand plans to make something like homemade Jesse tree decorations, begin working on that in July. Add "Purchase Advent candles" to your September calendar. 
2. Plan for Christmas before Advent-I purchased ornaments for the Sunday School children last August when they were just put out at the store and on sale. I made extra dessert for our church bazaar in November and froze it for our ladies Christmas party. I bought St. Nick Day presents for my boys when there was a sale in July. I was so thankful that I did all of this before Advent. I did less shopping this December than I have for years.
3.  Consider waiting until at least the third Sunday of Advent to decorate your house for Christmas. Then try to leave your decorations up until Epiphany (January 6). Most years we waited until Christmas Eve to decorate our tree when I was little. While I don’t wait that long any more, we do usually wait until it is Gaudete Sunday. I have friends that decorate for Christmas on Veteran’s Day. While I understand you have to decorate while you have time, I do think if you wait it is one more way to celebrate Advent first. I have also found that we are less busy as it gets very close to Christmas when the holiday parties and holiday events are done. The rest of society begins decorating so early and stores have Christmas items for sale in July. I like to wait and have my decorations up for the true 12 days of Christmas. (We have not put our tree up this year yet.) 
4.  Honor a few traditions and don’t stress about the rest-Are you just not up to making two dozen different kinds of cookies this year? Do you just not feel like putting up a Christmas tree and dragging out all the decorations? Then don’t. You are probably the only one that considers you need to do all that because you do it every year. Make a list of the top three things that you want to do at your house this Christmas. Do those and nothing extra. It won’t be the end of the world if you serve store bought cookies this year. You don't have to go shopping for a new Christmas outfit for everyone, it is fine to wear regular church clothes. Everything does not need to be wrapped perfectly, especially after the toddler age when they like the box more than the gift. Less is more and if you limit what you do your children are more likely to remember what you do. 
5.  On Christmas Eve pack up the Advent decorations. Last year I packed up the Advent wreath and calendars and put them in a tub marked “Advent”. It was so easy to set up for Advent this year because I prepared for it last year.
6. Be gentle with yourself if you have a reason for grieving. I don't care if your reason for grieving happened this year or 50 years ago. I know the song says "It's the most wonderful time of the year", but I have found this is also a time with many memories that can be a trigger for my tears. I am so thankful for extra chances for Holy Communion at this time of year so that I can be with all the company of heaven. Try to take some time for yourself during this season if you need it. Do whatever you need to do to survive this holiday season. If it helps to hang ornaments that remind you of your loved ones do that. If it is too painful to hang those ornaments it is ok to keep them packed up. If you can't sing during a Christmas carol, just listen as everyone else sings. Remember that because baby Jesus came at Christmas, Easter will come.
7. There will be another December-If your plans didn't work out this year, you can try again next year. But remember that it is ok to not follow the plans if that worked this year!

This post was shared at Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife for their Advent Link-up Party.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lamb 2's Surgery Update

Yesterday Lamb 2 was allowed to have liquids until 11:30 and nothing after that. We were blessed with a child that loves broth. I had some leftover homemade chicken noodle soup that I planned to strain the broth for him. He wanted store bought. :) For breakfast he drank two cans! At 11:30 I took everyone to the park to get their mind off of eating. When we were at the park he had to go to the bathroom twice after all that broth. When we returned home he was thirsty but it was almost time to go to the hospital. Ewe, Lamb 1 and Lamb 3 ate lunch after they left for the hospital.
The surgery went well and he returned home doing better than I expected. Lamb 1 had a piano recital so Ewe, Lamb 1 and Lamb 3 went to that. When we returned home Lamb 2 was home. The first thing he had to tell me was he had 6 popsicles.
I had expected to need Lamb 2 to sleep on the couch, but he was doing so well he slept in his bed. I set my alarm to give him pain meds through the night. It reminded me of Ram's surgery. We had a difficult time waking him to take his midnight medicine, but he woke right away for his 4 am medicine and asked if he could get up yet. That's my early rising child!
I had a difficult time getting back to sleep after the 4am meds. Today was a day of giving medicine at the right times, doing dishes (especially the medicine measuring cups), and watching all three Lambs that they didn't ask Lamb 2 to do anything too active. We did everything well but I was exhausted by 2pm after not sleeping well last night. I was so glad Ram was working from home so I could take a nap at that point. I felt much better after a nap.
When I woke up Ram was defrosting meat for supper in a way that I didn't think was safe to eat. I hadn't thawed anything and our microwave is broken. So three lbs of meat went in the trash and he went for take out. I'm quite proud that this was the only thing we messed up on in the last few crazy days. We are definitely going by the "if in doubt, throw it out" rule and it's not the end of the world to need take out. 
We have been blessed that the child that needed surgery is also our son that drinks the most liquids. He is getting plenty of water during this recovery. 
I sent an update on Lamb 2 to his speech therapist as she has been very concerned about Lamb 2 after being his teacher for 2 years. She was so happy to hear that everything went well. We are glad to be done with therapy but we miss seeing our therapists.
We will continue the meds at the proper times and return for a checkup with the ENT in one month.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Living in Boise

I will blog about our Jan Brett book signing when I get the pictures downloaded and time to write about it. First I wanted to share what happened at the book signing.

First, after Jan Brett spoke I took the Lambs to go check out books from the library. I was surprised that the auditorium went directly into the library and there was no security to go through first. Can you tell I worked at a big city library? There were many librarians ready to help. I had never checked out books at this main library so we had lots of questions where items were located. They were very helpful and prepared for lots of patrons during this event.

The library was prepared for this event-there were librarians helping at the front and back of the book signing line, one taking dressed up Hedgie around, and several other librarians helping in the auditorium.

There were tons of people at the book talk by Jan Brett including lots of school children that went back to school after her talk. I'm guessing their teachers were disappointed to not stay and have a book signed. The auditorium holds 250 and there were people standing every where.

After she spoke the librarian asked us to clear the middle aisle for the school children to leave. She then asked for two lines-one to purchase books and one to get books signed. She also announced that the first 100 hundred families to get their book signed would receive a free poster. She announced that Jan would sign books for two hours after her talk.

I would guess we ended up in line as number 97 so we did receive a free poster. I'll blog more about that later. After we had our books signed I was in no hurry as most of the people had cleared out. I thanked the local bookseller for being there even though I didn't purchase any books from them. That began a conversation between the bookseller, Jan Brett's husband, and myself.

The bookseller said several teachers did not RSVP and showed up with a school bus full of children ready to listen to Jan Brett. The librarians felt so bad to turn away so many children but there simply wasn't room for them. The teachers should have let the library know they were coming. He said that no one got upset about this and those buses just returned to school for a regular school day. He said Boise people are pretty laid back.

This is where Jan's husband interrupted our conversation and said he never saw another city in America like Boise. He said that he couldn't believe the way our library handled the free 100 posters. He questioned if they planned to give out numbers or tickets. He couldn't imagine with all those people what they were going to do. They said no numbers, it would work out fine. And it did! There were about 10 families in line after me. No one was upset that they ran out of posters. The line was very orderly and everyone waited patiently for their turn.

Jan's husband said that he just couldn't believe how nice everyone in Boise is. He said he grew up in Portland in the 1950's. He said Boise is just like Portland was then.

This was a great compliment for Boise both by how we acted at this book signing and with what Jan's husband said. Thank you to the Boise Public Library, to Rediscovered Books, and to Jan Brett and her staff for this event.

*Note: I wasn't positive that I was speaking to Jan Brett's husband, but he was with Jan helping her pack up and I assumed it was her husband. When I came home I looked her up and saw a picture of them from 2009 which told me it was her husband. He was (is?) a bassist for Boston Symphony Orchestra and their biographies are both very interesting. Just the fact that they did this book tour doing book signings at two different cities a day going across the country in a little more than two weeks is amazing. Even with 39 million books published, both Jan and her husband were so friendly and nice and took time with each person in line. You can tell they enjoy these book tours and meeting her fans.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Oh, Ewe!

This morning I took the Lambs to a Jan Brett book signing. I have lots to post about our fun day! We got home for a late lunch and Ram went to run some errands. I told him to be sure to be back before Lamb 2 had a doctor appointment at 4:45. At 4:20 I looked at my calendar and realized his appointment was at 4:00, not 4:45! Ram called and apologized and said we were on our way but we would be late. They said they were completely booked and the first time they could get Lamb 2 in would be Monday.

I scheduled Lamb 2's appointment for today so he could see the naturopath one more time before his surgery while still in this calendar year where we have met our deductible. So this means that because we missed the appointment today he won't be able to go to the naturopath until he has recovered from surgery and we can make an appointment-which I expect to be in January. Which means that his follow up appointment with the naturopath will not be covered by insurance as I had planned.

We will try in the morning to see if he can see us at his other office. I'm also working on remembering that Lamb 3's appointment is set for next Thursday at 4:30pm. I don't ever remember messing up a doctor appointment this badly before.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lamb 2

Lamb 2 is scheduled for nose surgery on Monday. Today I went to the pharmacy to pick up his meds to be prepared for after surgery. The pharmacist was full of directions-how to mix the antibiotic since it is too early to mix it today, take antibiotic twice daily so he doesn't get an infection, take probiotic once daily because antibiotic is so strong, mix something like Neosporin with saline spray and spray that several times a day while he heals, etc.

We would appreciate your prayers for Lamb 2's surgery and recovery. I would especially appreciate your prayers that I get all his meds organized and given correctly! I'm sure once we begin it will become routine for 10 days. But right now it seems so important to get it right so he doesn't have complications or infection.

I must say that I was so thankful we have found a local pharmacy in this big city that still takes the time to explain everything to their customers. I thank God for them each time someone in our family needs a prescription. Plus they gave the Lambs candy canes today for waiting so patiently while the pharmacist talked to me. I was also thankful that insurance paid for the prescriptions and I only had to pay for the OTC stuff that went along with the prescriptions. I also thank God that medical advances have given us meds to help our children recover after surgery.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Day Off

Lamb 2 began vision therapy about this time last year. He went to a few sessions in December of 2013, had a Christmas break, and then began twice a week VT in January 2014.
His schedule was Mondays and Tuesdays during the school year, and Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the summer. There were a few Mondays where they were closed for holidays. He was sick for one week in the spring so he missed two sessions. But other than that he attended every single scheduled VT day. We even planned our vacation to WA around his VT-we left after VT on a Wednesday and were back before his therapy the next Tuesday. He had a sub a couple of times but therapy was never canceled other than the few holidays they were closed.
We have also alternated piano lessons between Mondays and Tuesdays based on what worked best for the piano teacher and with our schedule. Lessons are currently on Tuesdays. Lamb 2 had less piano lessons in the summer, but he still took lessons. So many of the days that he had VT, he also had piano lessons. This was really rough for him in the beginning of VT but it got better.
During the summer Lamb 1 and 3 usually slept in while I took Lamb 2 to his early morning VT one day of his therapy. During the school year they usually went to VT and did their school work in the break room during Lamb 2's VT. There were a few exceptions where Ram watched them while I took Lamb 2 to VT without them, but they went along to VT for the majority of Lamb 2's sessions. There were a few times where Ram had to coordinate his work schedule to take Lamb 1 to the orthodontist while Lamb 2 had VT and appointments like that.
So all 5 of us were thrilled to be done with VT last Monday! We only live a short distance from the doctor. I can't imagine the people that live far away from VT and have to add in traveling time. We all feel like we have a "day off" of therapy every Monday and Tuesday now!
I am looking forward to January and really settling into a school routine that we haven't had for the last year and a half with all this therapy. Lamb 3 especially is ready for more academic work and needs more time with the teacher than he has been given. Lamb 2 needs to continue with the progress he has made in reading. Lamb 1 needs to do some more challenging work as he is in 5th grade. It simply wasn't possible to do all this with all the time we were at therapy last year. I look back at the year and I am extremely proud of what we did accomplish while we also got Lamb 2 the help that he needed too.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

This morning at our house

I loaned my St. Nick Day book to a friend so we didn't read the story today. All the Lambs know the story well so I didn't feel too bad. They enjoyed eating chocolate coins and playing with their new Lego minifigures. I love giving presents on St. Nick Day and saving the focus of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for worship.

Friday, December 5, 2014

A married couple buying a car

In MN we bought a new car for Ram. We traveled 4 hours to get the best price which meant a very long day of traveling to, buying the car, and driving two cars home with three little Lambs. There were tons of papers for both Ram and I to sign in order to purchase the car.

When we bought the minivan a month ago, I was prepared for the process to take awhile even though we knew which minivan we wanted. I sent Ram to talk to the car salesman and told him to call me when it was time to sign papers and I would bring the Lambs over. We live about 1/2 hour away from the car dealer. That is what we did, Ram ended up being there about an hour before he called me. When we went in to talk to the finance man, he asked to see my driver's license. Then he asked Ram to sign everything and I didn't have to sign one single paper.

Both cars were brand new, both cars were financed the same way, and both cars are titled in both of our names. The only difference was they were purchased in different states.

I was a little disgusted that I drug the Lambs over there and made them wait for us to sign all the papers when all they needed was my driver's license. I was complaining to Ram and the Lambs overheard and started asking questions. Ram explained to the Lambs that ID actually still has it right, that the husband should be trusted to make financial decisions for the family. Looking at it that way makes me glad to live in ID!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Time

Ram has had a busy week with meetings at church on Monday and Tuesday nights and Advent service and another meeting last night. We knew that the beginning of the month would be busy and it does get better with almost nothing at church at the end of December. Last night he commented that a lot of good things have happened at all those meetings, but they are really cutting into his reading time in the evening. By the time he gets home it almost time for the evening news and then it is bedtime.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Laugh or Cry? Laugh.

I have mentioned before that after all my miscarriages it is difficult for me to go to any kind of doctors now. Even routine doctor visits need to bring this up. For example my eye doctor has to continue to keep me on eye drops for my allergies that are safe for pregnancy. Ram allows me to get a Starbucks after every doctor visit because of this. :)

I also have mentioned that we are trying to fit in all our doctor visits before the end of the year since we met our deductible. I recently had to see a male doctor because my female doctor wasn't available the day of my appointment. He had never met me before and he was having trouble getting my record to come up on the computer. So we began a short conversation while he waited on the computer. I tried to briefly tell my history.

Dr.:"Frankly, that's AMAZING that you got pregnant naturally so often in your late thirties and even at age 40!"
(These were the first words he spoke to me after hearing my history. The expression on his face was priceless. I could tell he would love to take me to a conference to show off an "old" woman that was still getting pregnant naturally so often.)

Dr. continues:"You must have a lot of eggs in there. We just don't see this often in our practice."
(This got me to an interesting thought-all the months that I haven't menstruated because I was breastfeeding, pregnant with the Lambs, or pregnant with miscarriages have added up. It may be years before menopause for me!)

I briefly described how I was doing emotionally with the help of  going to the He Remembers the Barren Retreat last summer. The doctor was very interested in the He Remembers the Barren book and I plan to give one to him next time I go to that doctor. He was especially interested that I have a "network" of people to talk to that also have infertility problems. I mentioned that I had never met another woman that had as many miscarriages as I have had.

Dr.: "I've never seen anyone that has had as many miscarriages as you have had."
(This doctor's specialty is infertility. That got me to another thought-most women would try to prevent pregnancy after this many miscarriages or at my age. They would either have a medical need for an hysterectomy, do some form of birth control, or try IVF or other fertility procedures. To do nothing to either prevent pregnancy or try to conceive is so different from most women my age.
Also, this is not a new thought for me, but I think that previous generations probably had a lot more miscarriages than they were aware of before home pregnancy tests. My generation is both blessed and cursed with home pregnancy tests.)

My morals and values just aren't typical at this practice, but I don't know without traveling outside of ID whom else to see. I have been blessed with three boys. I don't want to do anything extraordinary to have another baby. My problem is not getting pregnant, it is staying pregnant. I originally went to this practice with the hope that they could save some of my babies that became miscarriages. Doctors don't know everything and they tell me after each miscarriage that I can't do anything else unless it is controlled under conditions like IVF. They don't know what to do with me because I get pregnant under conditions they can't control.

I left his office after my appointment just bursting to tell Ram what had happened. I have shed so many tears that at this point I love to see the humorous side of this. In the doctor's words-It is AMAZING that I was pregnant at age 40 and I have a lot of eggs in there! It was a blessing that my regular doctor wasn't available that day so I had a humorous doctor visit.

*Note: I am not currently pregnant. This was discussing my previous history.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Our Thanksgiving Weekend

Ram's parents joined us for church on Thanksgiving Eve. We had pretty good church attendance that night. During the day I prepped the mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes so most of my cooking was done. I also finished cleaning the bathrooms and tidying the house.
For Thanksgiving we were very laid back, we ate when the turkey was done, no schedule or hurry. The Lambs played on the iPad while the adults talked and Ram cooked. I made Paleo pumpkin muffins to go with our dinner. Ram made the turkey, gravy, and maple glazed brussel sprouts. I made both dairy and coconut milk whipped cream to go on top of our pumpkin and pecan pie from Costco. Ram's dad ate pecan pie without eating the crust.
Friday we went to our local science museum to see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit. The Lambs weren't old enough to be totally interested, but they did find parts to enjoy. We went ahead and purchased a membership which will get us in discounted to other science museums around the country for one year. Lamb 3 got excited when he saw a picture of the Mona Lisa and joked that Jan Van Eyck painted it. I tried to get the Lambs to notice the pictures on the wall along with the hands on exhibits.
Saturday we went to a used bookstore that we had never been to before. There were actually two bookstores next to each other. Ram's dad enjoyed looking at records in one and the Lambs begged for Grandma to buy them books at the other one. Typical for our family she had to limit each Lamb to only 4 books. Of course Ram bought a few books. We happened to be next to the city Christmas Tree lighting so we received a support small business tote bag. We didn't stay for the lighting, we headed to dinner.
We chose to go to a build your own burger restaurant. You fill out a form how you want your burger with what toppings, what kind of meat, what kind of bun, etc. The adults chose gluten free buns. It was good food but they messed up Ram's dad's order. I don't know how you can mess it up when you follow what people fill out on the form. I don't know if we will be returning there after that experience.
The temperature dropped about 30 degrees between Thursday and Saturday so we didn't walk around the outdoor mall very long after dinner. Ram's parents came back to our house to warm up in front of the fireplace and drink tea before they left.
We had a great visit with Ram's parents-probably the longest visit at our house since we moved here. The Lambs watched every minute of football that they were allowed to have the TV on. They played outside in our backyard lots. We ate lots of leftovers and snacks and dessert. I was able to keep up with dishes all weekend so I was able to relax too. The Lambs made lots of art store pictures to sell to the grandparents. The Lambs played lots of card games and board games with each other too.

Sunday was church and then Sunday School was busy preparing for the children's Christmas service-children assigned their parts and practicing the whole service, moms  getting costumes ready. That afternoon I headed out to two stores-one grocery store and one trip to World Market so I could get a free Downton Abbey tote bag. They had tons of tote bags so I think Black Friday shopping was not very good this year. Then I came home and we ordered from Amazon so we could get 30% off one book. Today I ordered from our church preschool book order. That was the extent of my Black Friday weekend shopping.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lamb Dentist Appointments

All three boys had dentist appointments scheduled this morning. I felt a little guilty taking appointment times when the public school has a break. When we arrived only Lamb 3 was on the schedule. I remained calm and thankfully I didn't say outloud what I was thinking. They worked them all in even though they weren't in the computer. I still don't know what happened to Lamb 1 and 2's appointment times. I'm always impressed that all three can have their appointments and we can get out of there in less than an hour.

All their appointments went well and no one had cavities. Lamb 1 needs to brush in the back of his mouth a little better. They recommend sealants for Lamb 2's molars but I have been hesitant to do this. I guess I need to do a little more research before telling the dentist my decision. Lamb 3 remains in the no cavities ever club.

The Lambs get tokens to pick prizes out of a vending machine when they visit the dentist. They are now stocked up on bouncy balls. Lamb 2 thought the toothbrush they gave him was babyish so we had to ask for a different one.

Everyone in our family has doctor appointments scheduled with our naturopath chiropractor in December. Lamb 2 has one more vision therapy session and one more evaluation with the vision therapy doctor. Lamb 2 has nose surgery scheduled. Lamb 3 needs a shot in December. That will conclude our 2014 doctor visits. Overall we did very well fitting everything in while we met our deductible this year.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tie One on Day

November 26, 2014 - Tie One On Day
Don't forget about Tie One on Day tomorrow! I celebrated a little early by making scones and sharing scones, whipped cream, and blackberry jam with a friend in need yesterday. What are you doing for Tie One on Day this year? 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Finally!

We bought gas on Friday and it was under $3 a gallon. I get so disgusted hearing the news that prices are going down and it seems to take forever here in ID to catch up to the rest of the country. Ram and I told each other one of the best benefits of buying a new minivan was a full gas tank!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How our Lambs watch football

This is how a typical Sunday afternoon goes at our house.

Lamb 1 turns on the TV when we get home from church and scrolls through the listing to see what time what games are on. We have had our TV almost two years and I have no idea how to do that. I don't need to learn how to do that because Lamb 1 always does it.

Then begins the negotiating for Lamb 1 to try to convince one or both of his brothers to play football or soccer in the backyard. Usually Lamb 1 and 2 play while Lamb 3 stays inside. Lamb 3 watches the game closely enough to yell outside at the Lambs playing outside when there is something exciting happening in the game. Sometimes Lamb 3 plays while Lamb 2 stays inside. The Lambs that are playing outside take frequent breaks to come check on the game. Lamb 3 can't be trusted to tell them when it is almost halftime or end of the game so they have to check themselves.

All afternoon they ask me which team I am cheering for. Usually I could care less. They just can't believe I don't have a favorite team for all the games! They pick which team based on the team colors usually. Lamb 2 cheers for SF because they have gold. Often different Lambs are cheering for different teams.

I never imagined my boys would watch and play football at the same time. It seems to work for our active Lambs though! This is all done with our antenna, we don't even have cable.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Last post on Lamb 2 Exercises

I blogged the past few days about exercises and tasks that are recommended for Lamb 2 now that he has completed OT. Several times during the past year of Lamb 2's therapy I was struck with thoughts of not believing simple tasks like carefully tearing paper were so important for academics. It was true that Lamb 2 couldn't go on to more difficult tasks until he could complete the simple tasks. That was the main reason for my posting about this the past few days. My hope is that other preschool parents would start thinking about doing some of these simple tasks with their children before they begin school.

I have learned so much from Lamb 2's therapy that would be very helpful if I ever return to teaching in the classroom. I did share some of this with our preschool teachers at our church.

We are preparing for hosting Thanksgiving at our house. Then we will begin to get ready for Lamb 2's nose surgery and then recovery. My plan is to add in these simple tasks and exercises to our homeschool curriculum-focusing on one or two a week beginning in January. I think it will be good for both Lamb 2 and Lamb 3.

We also recently cleaned out our game and puzzle closet. The Lambs were ready to part with Candyland and other games they had outgrown. They actually gave away a lot more than I expected. I also hope to add in game and puzzle time to our homeschool curriculum in January. We do have many educational games and many would be good for Lamb 2's OT exercises. They often play the same games over and over, but it would be good to make an effort to focus on one or two extra games each week. I want to make sure that all 3 Lambs understand the rules and how to play all the games that we own. I hope that perhaps some of the games that we focus on get added to the rotation of their favorite games too.

Friday, November 21, 2014

More on Lamb 2 Exercises

I had asked Lamb 2's OT if she had suggestions of educational games or toys to help Lamb 2 considering Christmas is coming. Here are some of those suggestions:
*Push pegs in a board placed in an upright position. (I need to research if they still make Lite Brite like when we were kids.)
*Jump rope
*Hopscotch
*pattern blocks (which we have already been doing)
*bat a balloon in the air with a tennis racket
*kick ball with just one foot and then alternate feet

Arm and hand strengthening tasks: 
*Lay on stomach and prop on arms to read a book, color, watch a movie, play a game, put together a puzzle, or do writing on a clipboard.
*open and close doors whenever we go someplace
*push the grocery cart
*color on chalkboard, easel, paper on the wall, etc. Use a squirt bottle and cloth rag to clean the chalkboard.
*help cook-stir, roll, knead, open containers
*thoroughly wipe off the table after dinner
*swing on a swing
*help made bread-stir and knead
*push along floor with arms on a scooter board
*playground play-monkey bars, swings, trapeze, climb the slide, climb walls and ladders
*animal walking-bunny hop, bear walking, crab walking, kangaroo, monkey, inchworm, etc.
*play in the bathtub-squeeze, pour, grasp bathtub toys, squeeze a sponge

Fine Motor Tasks:
*Use tongs to pick up small objects and put them in a container. Make a game of it. Use cereal, small toys, cotton balls, etc.
*play board games with small pieces
*art activities-cut, glue, color, lace
*crafts with tiny pieces like perler beads that you iron into shapes after creating on pegboards
*open and close food containers and packages that you twist, tear, pull open (jars, bags, applesauce cups, granola bar wrappers)
*manipulate small objects in the hands (Lite Brite pegs, sort coins, Connect 4, Don't Break the Ice)
*play doh and other crafty doughy textures. Roll into balls and snakes, make pancakes, pinch them, squeeze, roll, etc.
*color with crayons broken in half
*Legos
*peel small stickers off a sticker sheet and incorporate into art projects
*play dress up-have child do buckles on shoes, snaps, buttons, and zippers on clothes
*clothespins-pick up small objects using clothespins-qtips, cotton balls, tissues, clip clothespins around an index card are along the bottom hem of a shirt
*wind up toys
*string beads
*crafts with glue in a bottle, not glue sticks

To be continued tomorrow...

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lamb 2 exercises

Lamb 2's occupational therapist is on maternity leave. Lamb 2 was able to graduate from OT when she had her baby rather than working with a sub. Before she had her baby she gave some advice and exercises for him to do at home. I do not have an early childhood degree and I either did not do these types of activities with my Lambs or I took for granted that these were activities that preschoolers should do. I decided to make a list here so other parents either do these types of activities with their preschoolers or if they are already doing these they realize they are educational!

Specific exercises for Lamb 2's weaknesses
*jump in place with opposite arms and legs
*fold paper (I am doing an entire workbook with Lamb 2 and 3 with this)
*mazes, especially ones with narrow lines
*army crawl
*color in complex shapes
*copy shapes like star or overlapping circles
*find the same and different shapes

Activities to improve fine motor coordination
*shuffle and deal cards (I recently played a game with a second grade boy that could not handle picking up the right number of cards from the deck when it was his turn. I was amazed because all my Lambs knew how to do that at about age 4. Playing basic card games with your children is really important!)
*trace a design with a pen
*make a chain of paper clips
*pick up small beans and put them in a cup
*pick up hooks and eyes and put them in a medicine bottle
*pick up coins and place them in a coin purse
*put clothes pins on the side of a cup
*screw and unscrew nuts and bolts
*pick up toothpicks with a tweezers
*fold, crumple, and tear paper or a tissue (Lamb 2 spent a lot of time at the beginning of VT doing this. I couldn't believe I was paying $70/hour for this! We worked on this at home when I found out he was doing this at VT. :))
*string beads or macaroni on a string
*lace shoes and tie them (I need to work on this with my Lambs. It has not been a priority since we homeschool.)
*stack coins
*pick up marbles and hold as many as you can in your hand
*play a game with small pegs or playing pieces
*bounce a small ball and catch it
*practice buttoning
*string beads or buttons
*sew with a needle and thread
*cut out coupons

To be continued tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lamb 3's Day

This actually happened a couple of weeks ago, but I am finally posting it. It was great to eat out the day after our church bazaar! Ewe and Lamb 2 had their days last January. Lamb 1 is anxious for them to have his name day!

The small sign was broken so we had to take the photo by the large sign. A few days later the small sign was fixed.

Lamb 3 was so excited to make his pizza and wear his hat. The manager noticed he was touching his hat so he had to wash his hands again before he was allowed to make his pizza.



Lamb 3 asked for cream cheese on his pizza. He actually ended up not liking it but it wasn't difficult to remove.
They were really busy when we went. In addition to regular customers and the name day customers, there was also a birthday party. Lamb 3 had to wait a long time before they had time for him. There wasn't time to take a photo of him with his pizza before it went in the oven.


Lamb 2 and 3 shared Lamb 3's free pizza. Lamb 1 ordered a pizza with no cheese. Ram and Ewe ordered a pizza with a whole bunch of toppings. We figured if we were going to cheat on our diet we may as well have a whole bunch of toppings. It was delicious and worth cheating!

Thank you, Flying Pie Pizzaria!

Monday, November 17, 2014

I can't believe I said this today!

Ewe speaking to the Lambs:
"You may only watch Jeopardy and 1 hour of Antiques Roadshow, that will be plenty of TV for today."

*Lamb 1 likes the once a month that he has Cub Scouts on Wednesday instead of Monday so that he can watch Antiques Roadshow.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Christmas Shopping Today

Today our local grocery store had the entire natural food side of their store at 20% off. I was determined to not miss this sale. We had 8 inches of snow total. Lamb 1 had a Cub Scout event today so I knew I had to get up early and go shopping or I would have to do this major shopping with Lamb 2 and 3 helping and asking for everything because it was on sale. So I got up and left the house at 7:30, driving slowly through our subdivision and discovered I left my phone at home. I returned home for the phone and left the second time at 7:45.

I bought groceries on sale on the regular side of the grocery, food to take to a church potluck, items to stock up for us that were on sale, and a few Christmas presents for people in our family and my secret pal at church. It seems like odd presents, but when you try to eat gluten free, either you spend extra dollars on food or you do without treats. I think my secret pal will appreciate what I bought her. My best find was they finally had the holiday coconut milk flavors. This is what I bought:
6 mint chocolate coconut milk
1 eggnog coconut milk
1 pumpkin spice coconut milk
4 organic eggnog (everyone besides Lamb 1 likes eggnog and I don't like eggnog with HFCS)
2 organic milk

Last year we discovered the holiday coconut milk but after Christmas the local stores were all sold out. I have been checking the past few weeks to see if they had any yet. We don't buy toys for the Lambs for Christmas because Grandma takes care of that. I do like to buy food treats for Christmas for the Lambs. The regular eggnog and milk and pumpkin spice coconut milk eggnog expire before Christmas. The rest doesn't expire until late January or early February. If Lamb 1 doesn't finish it before then (I think he will!) I will try freezing it. I think as long as you shake it well after it thaws it would be fine.

We don't have a very big freezer and it hasn't been long since I got 40 lbs of chicken so I did control myself in the freezer section of the store. I did buy some coconut bliss ice cream and managed to fit that in our freezer. My total bill for all groceries and tax was under $200. I drove slowly home on the snowy streets and arrived home in time for Lamb 1 and Ram to leave for Cub Scouts. Lamb 2 and 3 enjoyed helping me unload the groceries and seeing all the treats. Usually during sales like this the grocery store is packed, but today with the weather I practically had that side of the store to myself besides employees. Usually they have several checkout lanes open-today I was the only one in line. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Real Snow Day

Today all schools in the area are closed. The Lambs woke up and immediately wanted to go outside and play in the snow. I held them off until 9 am and declared a homeschool snow day. Perhaps when they get tired of playing outside we will attempt to do math. Or maybe not.
Our front yard showed about 5 1/2 inches.


The last snow day the schools had here was on opening Lego Movie day in February. Today is my sister's birthday so I'll remember this one too. It is rare for our area to have more than one snow day in a school year so we'll enjoy today.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Snow Day

It snowed all day today but there was not a big snow total. The Lambs could not wait to finish school work and go outside and play in the snow. I was surprised they weren't really out there very long this morning, I think it wasn't enough snow to play in.

When they came inside we had hot cocoa and they put their mittens and hats by the fireplace to dry. It was a good day to sit by the fire and drink hot cocoa!

This photo was taken this afternoon and you can tell there wasn't a lot of snow even by afternoon. They played outside some more in the late afternoon before it got dark.

Lamb 2 graduated from OT last week so I didn't leave the house today. It was a good first Thursday of not being scheduled for OT considering the weather!

The most amazing part was everyone had hats, snowpants, coats, mittens, and boots that fit! Lamb 2 has outgrown his coat, but he could still squeeze into it to play today. Our weather is so mild here that they mostly wear sweatshirts or light jackets except for when they want to play in the snow. Considering our first snow was November I was really impressed that we weren't caught off guard without large enough winter clothes. I did need to buy almost everything last year (boots and mittens for all 3 and a coat and snowpants for Lamb 1) and I bought all of that large for them to grow into.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Our Lamb differences in school work

Lamb 1 would prefer it to be quiet while he works. We even tried noise canceling headphones for him to do his school work. Even those did not block enough noise for him. So we now allow him to do his math downstairs with the door closed while his brothers are told to play upstairs quietly. Sometimes if lawn mowers are going or windows are open he just can not do his work, he needs to wait until another time. I am not as extreme as Lamb 1, but I never did my homework with the TV on.

Lamb 2 loves to hum and often when he gets in trouble it is for making noise at inappropriate times. This week during his computer time at VT, the therapist forgot to turn off the music she had been listening to before he came in. She said it was piano Gospel music. It turned out that he had the best session ever. She is now going to turn on the same music when he comes in for his session. She is kicking herself for not discovering this until his last month of therapy. Ram totally understands how Lamb 2 would work better with music because Ram usually listens to radio talk shows while he writes his sermons.

Lamb 3 isn't far enough in academic work in first grade to know what his preference for noise is yet. His is more of a motivation problem. He is very stubborn and if he gets in his mind he doesn't want to do a school subject on one day, he won't. I never had this problem with the first two Lambs. Then I have to become very creative in how to get him to finish his work that day. Bribes and threats don't work. It is usually treating him as much older than 6 years old that works-saying something like, "If you finish this today then you won't have as much to do tomorrow." What else is helpful is to let his brothers finish all their school work before asking him about his school work. I think at that point he wants the one on one time with his favorite teacher mom. I am so thankful that this is an occasional problem because I don't understand it at all. I was one of those children that came home and did my homework without my parents asking. I can only imagine what the teacher would say if he was in school and I have no idea how I would motivate him to cooperate then.

I am thankful that we homeschool so we can teach our Lambs in the way that they work best. Are we always able to have it the way that they prefer? No, but I think that is good for them because the real world is not always as we prefer. But if it can be the way they prefer most of the time, they will accomplish more than if it is not.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Doctor Visits

Ram had his physical last week and is very healthy. Since he is an adult I won't post his stats here like I did for the Lambs, but his stats were great. We don't take annual physicals lightly after his surgery in 2010. We are thankful to God for this good news.

I have been calling several doctors to make different kinds of appointments for the 5 of us before the end of the calendar year since we met our deductible this year. Lamb 2 is scheduled for nose surgery on December 15. There is an order to appointments for everyone in our family-I would like to have all of our other doctor visits done by December 15. I needed to postpone one appointment because of the order of these. This is how the phone call with the receptionist went.

Ewe: "Hi, I need to postpone an appointment I made a long time ago for this Friday."

Nice receptionist says with panic in her voice: "Oh, I'm not sure we can do that, our schedule is really packed. You know Dr. _____ only does those kinds of appointments on Fridays."

Ewe: "I was hoping to postpone it until February or so. It's just not going to work to come this Friday."

Nice receptionist with a big sigh: "Oh, the February schedule is wide open. I was thinking you needed it in the next month. What date and time would you like?"

Along with this I have been seeing a naturopath chiropractor and I feel better at age 40+ than I did at age 30. I made appointments for everyone in our family to see him since we met our deductible this year and insurance pays for this. I am hoping he can help Ram with some of his aches and pains. I am curious what else he may find is wrong with them. We have seen several chiropractors in the lifetime of our Lambs, especially after we moved here, and this is the best adjustment to my pelvis I have ever had. He also said my thyroid is very healthy which is not what I have heard from the endocrinologist. But he said I need to get my emotions in control which is hurting my thyroid. So I have done my homework for him and he is helping me work through my emotions. I am going to be curious what the endocrinologist says at my next yearly appointment after I have worked with the naturopath. I am so thankful to my friend that recommended this naturopath.

Along with this we have begun using essential oils. I have a friend that told me she began seeing a naturopath and using essential oils about 10 years ago. Now I'm wishing I would have listened to her and used both of these the past 10 years. I really doubt that we will meet our deductible next year so I am hoping that these natural remedies work so we see the doctor less.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Goodbye, Grandma Jane

She wasn't my grandma by being related to me. When I was little I lived 3 hours away from my grandmas and I never met either of my grandpas. She taught Sunday School and helped with the music for Sunday School opening. She taught me to make wreaths out of candy kisses one Christmas. Even after we moved away she always remembered my birthday with a card with $1 tucked in. The past few years she wasn't sure of my address so the cards were a little late, but still came. She made and embroidered their names on baby quilts for Lamb 1 and Lamb 3. She sent a different gift when Lamb 2 was born. The last time we visited her Lamb 3 was a baby and she was so happy to meet my boys. It brought tears to my eyes that my adopted grandma would remember my Lambs as an adopted great-grandma, just like my Grandma Frieda would have done if she was still alive. She had tons of grandchildren and great-grandchildren that were related to her and she still always remembered her adopted granddaughter.

This is my first birthday in 36 years that I won't receive a birthday card from Grandma Jane. She is with Jesus and Grandpa Stan now.

My Lambs have adopted grandparents from our churches both here and in MN. I don't know if their relationship with their adopted grandparents will last as long as mine did with Grandma Jane. But I know that by adopting me all those years ago, that was the kindest thing she could have done for her pastor (my dad) and his family. She felt like her words were not much in those birthday cards coming from a small town homemaker.  But her taking time to write the cards each year is what mattered. I hope to follow her example and adopt children from church to be my grandchildren when the Lambs are out of the house.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Halloween costumes

I ran out of time to make Halloween costumes help the Lambs come up with costumes from items around our house. When they were younger we bought Pooh costumes from the used kids store. This is the first time we ever purchased new costumes from the store.  I was surprised that we saw several Spidermans this year, but very few Star Wars characters. The Lambs were very grateful for their new costumes and I expect throughout the year they will play in their costumes.
Spiderman aka Lamb 3

Jango Fett aka Lamb 1

Darth Vader aka Lamb 2

The Lambs went trunk-or-treating three nights in a row.
Once at city hall, once with Cub Scouts, and once at our church.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Oh give thanks to the Lord!

So much has happened the past few weeks I'm not sure I'll ever get caught up on blogging. I have many pictures of recent events. So many good things happening for the Lambs, our church, and our family. Some days I want to tell everyone I know about the miracles God has worked for us in Idaho over the past few years. These miracles were done by the Lord and they are marvelous in our eyes. Yesterday Psalm 118 was one of my Bible readings. I thought I would begin by posting some selected verses from Psalm 118.


Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let those who fear the Lord say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”
 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man.
  The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
 I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of the Lord.
 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
 This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
 This is the Lord's doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
 This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
 Save us, we pray, O Lord!
Lord, we pray, give us success!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
 The Lord is God,
and he has made his light to shine upon us.
 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will extol you.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!