Sunday, June 29, 2014

Big Day

Keep the courts in your prayers. Very soon they will decide about the birth control case for private companies like Hobby Lobby. This decision has taken months/years and should finally be decided on Monday.

Friday, June 27, 2014

2014 Swimming Lessons

The last two years the Lambs took swim lessons the first two weeks of June at a private home near us. Both years there were several chilly and/or rainy days. They never cancel lessons unless there is lightening. I looked at our calendar and decided the last two weeks of June would be best for our schedule and hoped it would be a little better weather too. We went to the same place as last year.

The last two years all the Lambs were at different levels so that meant 3 half hour lessons each day for two weeks. The last two years were terrible for all of us. It was just too long to wait 1 hour for your brothers when you only get 1/2 hour lesson. It was either waiting 1 hour in the hot sun or in the rain/cold. I didn't know any other families that were also taking lessons. Most of the moms knew each other as they were from the same ward or had friends from the same ward. The last two years no other moms ever talked to me. I was the most frustrated because the moms last year did not watch the younger siblings while their older children took lessons. One day last year I saw a 2 year old in the street while her mom was talking to other moms.

This year Lamb 2 and 3 were close enough in swimming ability that they took lessons at the same time. This meant only 1/2 hour wait for your brother and a 1/2 hour lesson. This was so much better for all of us. 1/2 hour less really helped.

This year there was one boy that was very social and tried to learn all the other kids names on the first day. He sort of organized all the boys walking around/talking while Lamb 1 waited for his brothers to have their lessons. Lamb 1 really needs this time with other boys. Also several moms talked to me this year! One day one of the dads played Skipbo with us. Since the Lambs were older and no longer in the "baby" class, there were less toddler younger siblings this year. All the moms watched the younger siblings this year.

Last year I took books to read with the Lambs while they waited for their lesson but that didn't work too well for the whole time. This year we brought a couple of card games. It was usually enough time to play one or two rounds in the half hour.

I was also pleased with the Lambs maturity in the last year. Everyone can completely get dressed by themselves in swim shirt, swim trunks, and sandals. I had to make sure towels and swim clothes were clean and dry daily, but other than that they could do everything themselves. This also made swimming lessons so much better-we were in the car 5 minutes after lessons instead of 20 minutes later like last year. Lamb 1 likes to change after lessons but his lessons were first this year. The other Lambs put a robe on and change when they get home. We were home before noon this year. While the Lambs took showers and got dressed I made lunch.

Lamb 1 really worked on specific strokes this year. All of his lessons were in the deepest part of the pool. Some of his lessons taught him how to dive. Lamb 2 spent most of the lesson when he was not working with the teacher dunking himself completely in the water. This was a huge change compared to last year never putting his face in the water. He also went off the diving board at least one time each day while holding onto a pool noodle. Last year he only went off the diving board once. Lamb 3 has always loved swimming. This year he was the example student for the rest of the class. The teacher would say, "Lamb 3, do a back float. Now everyone do what Lamb 3 did." Lamb 3 jumped off the diving board and swam over to the ladder by himself several times each day.

We hope to go to the pool in our subdivision often during July and August so the Lambs can continue to practice what they learned in swim lessons this year.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

My garage sale find

I have never been good at garage sales. I like thrift stores, but I don't have patience to drive all over to garage sales that may or may not have what I would like. Plus I'm not good at talking down prices.

A few weekends ago several subdivisions in our area had garage sales. It was clear after the train table was built that the Lambs needed more things to organize the toys they wanted to keep. So our family hit several garage sales over a couple of Saturdays until we found what would work to help the Lambs get organized.

At one garage sale we stopped about 10am and we were her first customers so she was starting to close and give up. She had a nice Winnie the Pooh poster and I commented that I liked it, but no where to display things like that. She had just packed up this bookend set. She said a few years ago she was into Pooh but not so much any more. She was happy to have sold one thing that day. We can always use more bookends! I looked on Ebay, this set goes from anywhere from $20-$70. She charged me $3.

The Lambs also found a garage sale with a big sign up-we have stuff for BOYS! Oh, did they ever. Two teenage boys needed money so were selling everything from their childhood. Each of the Lambs spent their own money there to get their own remote control car. Then Ram had to buy rechargeable batteries for one of those cars. :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Photo Books and Memories

One of the churches that Ram served at in MN is celebrating their 125th anniversary. We really wanted to attend the celebration but we already had made other plans for that weekend.
I have wanted to make a photo book of our time in MN. I got the idea to make a book just of our time at this one church. It took hours to sort through pictures and choose the ones from this church and organize them into a book. Those photos were already all uploaded to Snapfish, but unfortunately we did not organize them well at the beginning of using Snapfish. This was due to a combination of being really busy with 3 young boys and 3 churches, also only dial up internet, and getting used to our first digital camera. Even though they are unorganized, they are all there, I just clicked on the correct photos. It has paid off to stick with Snapfish for the last 11 years.
I was really happy how it turned out. I don't know what the people at this church will think of it. It is so bittersweet-we have such good memories of our time and the people at our churches in MN, but we aren't there any more. I did get choked up looking at a few of the pictures and I bet the members would get choked up about even more. I am sending a copy for their 125th anniversary for everyone to look at. I also will order a copy for our family. Perhaps if there is a good sale at Snapfish I will also order a copy for each of the Lambs for when they are older.
Some day I would like to make a book for the other two churches in MN too. Also a book for all the "field trips" and things we did in the community while we were in MN. I should probably begin a book for our time at our current church in ID. I don't know how much of what we do at our churches and especially the people at our churches will be remembered by the Lambs when they grow up. I want to be able to show them photos of people and events at our churches to help jog their memories.
We got married during Ram's last year of Seminary so we did not have the traditional married couple at the Seminary experience nor did I have the traditional Seminary wife experience. I was never warned of just how close you will get to the members of your husband's first Call. All 3 of the Lambs were baptized there and they all began Sunday School there. Those members were there for us when they found out about my first miscarriages. Those members were patient as Ram began being a Pastor and we began our family. When it was time to move on to the next Call, I knew moving was good for our family, but I didn't want to leave the people at our old congregation(s). I pray that we can remain at our current church until Ram retires so we never have to do this again.

8 1/2 years of memories for our family happened here

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Play tiles

My mom would often get this Playskool toy out when we had company with young children. I don't think either my sister or I played with it. The last time we visited my parents when they babysat the Lambs, there were tiles all over the dining room when we got back from our date. My mom asked me then if I wanted to take them home and I said she should leave them for something new at her house when we visit.

I thought they would also be good for Lamb 2 during vision therapy so I asked my mom to send them to us and she did. I looked and complete sets are quite expensive on Ebay. Thanks, mom and dad, for sending them to us! Now I'm the one that picks up tiles! The Lambs have enjoyed them. They have to take turns because there are only 2 boards. Usually Lamb 2 and 3 work together on one.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Pattern Block Fun

At Lamb 2's last vision therapy evaluation, I could tell that he needs to work on patterns. He will be asked to do more tasks with patterns at his next evaluation. He has done some more work with patterns at OT. We have a couple of small sets of pattern blocks, but I realized we would need more if all 3 Lambs wanted to do these tasks/play with pattern blocks together. I asked the Loopers and one sent me pattern blocks sitting in her basement and another is going to send me patterns for Lamb 2 to try to copy with the pattern blocks. The pattern blocks arrived the day of Ram's minor surgery in May. It kept them busy for a couple of hours while Ram and Ewe tried to complete some tasks around the house before Ram was unable to lift anything for a couple of weeks. Thank you, Raggedy Mom! These are nice wood ones, not plastic like I used in the classroom. I let the Lambs play with them for several weeks and beginning in July I will expect Lamb 2 to do more directed tasks with the pattern blocks. Here are a couple of photos that I took that day.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces

Here is a post talking about a great opportunity to help our military chaplains help those who are deployed.

Here it tells about a great LCMS ministry that sends devotional materials to our military overseas and also encourages the military, veterans, and their families.

I would encourage you to check out both links and support them with your prayers and donate if you are able to.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Project Completed!

Ram's parents had 3 boys closer in age than our Lambs. She has told this story several times.

Nice friend from church: "I don't know how you do it with three young boys. When do you ever have time to do projects?"
Ram's mom: "PROJECTS????, I'm just happy if I'm allowed time to take a shower each day!"

I have felt that way since we got married. First I was teaching, then we got ready to move, then I planned to not work and just try to get our stuff organized but I got pregnant, then Lamb 1 never slept because he had MSPI, then Lamb 2 and soon Lamb 3 came along, then when I finally felt like I had time to do projects we moved, then when we were finally settled then Lamb 2 needed a lot of attention and therapy. I am finally seeing a possible end to some of the therapy and finally feel ready to tackle some projects. I wouldn't trade the last 12 years for any other way, but I simply have not had time to do anything extra.

I have had this project in mind for several years. Ram did his vicarage near New Orleans. I visited him during Mardi Gras and we went to a parade and did other sightseeing. We have had a box of souvenirs sitting in the attic, basement, or garage since 2001. Each time we moved I got rid of a little and the box is much smaller than it was in 2001. It is silly to just have stuff in a box where no one can see it. A few months ago I bought a shadow box with this in mind. I made it today and Ram hung it up in our bedroom. I am so happy to cross this off my to do list! Thank you, Ram, for hanging it so the project is completely finished.

I learned from this project that if I ever do another shadow box I should take a picture of it before it is behind glass and there is glare. I played with my camera for awhile and these were the best photos I could get.

This was the kind of project that I would have asked my sister to do or help me with because she is so talented in projects like this. She lives too far away and doesn't have plans to visit soon. So I had to do it myself. I was very pleased with how it turned out since I have never attempted anything like this before. I couldn't fit everything in that I wanted, so I may do a small shadow box by it. I think I'm addicted to this kind of project now. It was fun to use a hot glue gun! I'll have to start watching my coupons for craft stores to buy more shadow boxes.

This was actually a plastic cup and I liked it because it had the date on it. It was too wide for the box so I cut it. It says February 17, 2001.

This was another cup that I liked because of the date (1973). It was a little smaller so the whole cup fit.

The middle part was from a necklace from the 1992 LCMS National Youth Gathering. It says "A Time for Joy"

Here is the completed project with a photo of Ram and Ewe in New Orleans in 2001.

Nearly everything in this box was thrown to us in the parade so it was free. I think some church members gave him the masks as a gift. I used a really good coupon and sale to get the shadow box. 

It makes me smile to see memories of us during our year of engagement. Plus Ram had an excellent vicarage and I like to remember that time too. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"Seeing" the grandparents

Ram's parents have been planning a big trip for the past several years. Once Ram's dad went to part time work (he's not fully retired yet) they decided to go. A few months ago they said they would have to celebrate Lamb 2's birthday early because they would be gone on his birthday.
Grandpa stuck his GPS in his suitcase and turned it on when they arrived. We were able to see where they were each day. I took this photo of our computer screen a few days before they returned home.

We haven't seen them since they returned home, but we look forward to looking at pictures and hearing all about their trip. I'm looking forward to hearing which was more fun, the cruise or sightseeing on land? Ram's dad really likes to take pictures so I'm sure they will have tons of beautiful ones to show us.
They had limited and slow internet access, but we were able to get the message to them that Bowe was released when they checked in with us a couple of times. Technology was great that we could see where they were without even talking/texting/e-mailing them.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Family Fun Day

Friday we worked hard to do shopping and chores so we would have Saturday free as a family day. We don't often take a whole day off of chores/work/homeschool but there was so much to do last Saturday. We all enjoyed the day. Most of the events this day were free, we just paid for our lunch out.

The first event we went to on Saturday was all about sheep. We rode a shuttle up to the foothills of Boise. We walked around the trails. FFA members helped the Lambs do crafts. We watched the dogs herd the sheep. We ate Lamb sausage.

It was chilly and we hadn't brought jackets so we didn't stay real long. It was so fun to go  just a short drive from Boise up to the foothills and see God's neat creation.

Next we went on a candy hunt. The first summer reading library prize was for a candy hunt at an old fashioned candy store. The Lambs had to find 5 kinds of candy and they could choose any flavor, but they needed that specific kind. The store is packed full of every kind of candy that you can imagine. Even with all 5 of us looking, it took a little while to find one of them.  Each Lamb got their own little bag with those 5 kinds of candy to take home.

We ate lunch at Boise Fry Company. Our family has only been there a couple of times and it is a huge treat. We like their burgers, fries, sauce, brussel sprouts, and "homemade" soda made with honey (root beer or orange basil). It is difficult to choose what to order, but when the whole family goes you can order a couple of different fries and share.

After lunch we went to the grand opening of the Northwest Science Museum. We are so excited that a creation museum is opening in Boise! We arrived towards the end of their festivities so we didn't do everything offered.
I was hoping for a picture to remember that we came to the grand opening. The Lambs had other ideas. They were not happy to stop and pose for a picture inside the museum when they wanted to do all the fun activities outside. 

The Lambs brought along a few of their rocks from their rock collection and a geologist identified all their rocks  for them. I was so impressed that she could do that without looking in a book. Ram said that is what geologists do! Lamb 1 refused to let her put a number on his rocks with a marker so we could remember them later. Hopefully we remember what she told us!

Each Lamb got to keep one "fossil" or rock that they found in the sand. Digging was fun for them!

This volunteer was so patient with the Lambs as they painted a plaster fossil. Lamb 2 and 3 made theirs with sparkly paint, Lamb 1 made his all brown to look more realistic.

We look forward to attending more events at the Northwest Science Museum as they grow.

Next we went home and rested for a little bit. We stopped at church to set up for communion as it was my turn to do Altar Guild.

Our final event of the day was to go to a free outdoor concert at a park. I didn't take any pictures, but we enjoyed it. We brought a picnic supper and ate during the concert. The Lambs each needed a couple of bathroom breaks, but we asked them to sit and listen to the whole concert instead of go off to the playground to play. They played patriotic music and also Lord of the Rings.

Ram and I discussed how different each group of people was at each of the different events we attended in one day. Also how different people dressed for each event. The biggest contrast was most of the people at the museum were dressed very modestly with many women and girls in dresses. At the free local concert it was almost the opposite, just about anything was ok to wear and many of the women and girls had tank tops on. Everyone in our family wore the same clothes to all these events all day. 

We found out too late that another event was on Saturday morning. We would have liked to have gone to a pro-life "Celebrate Life" event, but we didn't know about it until too late. We also had already told the Lambs we would attend these other events.

Friday, June 13, 2014

City Event

Our city had an event a few weeks ago and our family went and we also saw my friend Joelle and her family there. We were busy doing the fun activities so I didn't take very many pictures. They had free hot dogs and popcorn. We chose not to make bird houses like we did last year. We had fun doing other activities that we did not do last year and getting free stuff at the booths. We got a shower timer and I have appreciated limiting the Lambs showers to 5 minutes or less.
Such a perfect activity for boys!

The volunteer timed them with his phone. They each had 5 minutes.

Lamb 3 had to wait the longest, but was successful!

The only time homeschooled kids have to walk in a line is when we go to something like this with crowds!

Afterwards our family went out for pizza because hot dogs and popcorn were not enough for growing boys. We let the Lambs go in a nearby splash pad after pizza. They were so surprised that I said it was ok to go in without their swim trunks. It was a fun change for our family to do something together in the middle of the week.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Therapy Graduation #1

Look who graduated from speech therapy today!
Lamb 3's speech therapist said she had never had a patient that made such significant progress so quickly. He began with her last July. His original articulation score was 55.  100 is average. He obviously qualified for speech therapy last July. Today his score was 97. If he would be tested for the first time today he would not qualify for speech therapy. The few words that he mispronounced she wondered if he said them incorrectly out of habit instead of not being able to pronounce them. For example he said watches correctly but not chair. She was most impressed that he said basketball correctly. His biggest mistake was words with the letter R, but he got some of those correct too. His therapist said it was a combination of hearing Lamb 2 speak correctly and Lamb 3 turning 6 that helped his speech. After 4 years of speech therapy with Lamb 2, we are shocked that it only took one year of private speech therapy for Lamb 3.

He no longer needs to go to speech therapy, but we will encourage him to speak slowly and tell him the correct way to say words when we hear him mispronounce words. If he turns 8 and is still not pronouncing words with the letter R he will return to speech therapy for a few sessions.

It is very helpful for our schedule and financially that one graduated from one therapy. (Although we have met our deductible for this year so financially wasn't such a big deal now.) Lamb 2 is going to do several more weeks of speech therapy before we take a break. When he graduates from speech therapy we will truly have this hour free that we have taken one or both to speech therapy for the last 4 years. We are expecting Lamb 2 to be in vision therapy through this fall and perhaps OT through the end of this calendar year. We plan to take photos and celebrate each graduation from therapy for Lamb 2. We are proud of Lamb 3, but won't celebrate much until Lamb 2 also graduates from speech therapy so Lamb 2 doesn't resent still being in therapy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Lamb 1 Update

Lamb 1 finished his math book so we are allowing him to take a break from book schoolwork this summer. I am hoping for less complaints about schoolwork next school year after a summer break.
Lamb 1 had a goal to read all the Boxcar Children series. He read probably 3/4 of the series and lost interest. For the past several months he has not read anything. We were too busy with Lamb 2's therapy to worry about this. This troubled the readers of our family, especially Grandma. Grandma offered a reward, probably pieces for his train set, if he did read several books this summer that were at or above his reading level-not just reading easy books. The offer of a reward has made him read several Beverly Cleary books already this summer. I was hoping for better literature, but I am just glad to see him reading again. Perhaps after a few more Beverly Cleary he'll read something more difficult.
Lamb 1 was starting to hate practicing piano and piano lessons after 2 years of practicing all the time, even before we asked him to practice. We decided to give him the summer off of piano lessons. He is still expected to practice a couple of times a week, but he gets to choose what he wants to practice. Sometimes he just plays hymns out of the hymnal for his practice time. I am expecting him to be eager to go back to piano lessons this fall. When Lamb 2 finishes his therapy then we will consider letting Lamb 1 add another instrument, he is talking about trumpet.
This was Lamb 1's first year at track and at the beginning the drills were difficult for him. He soon found out that he is good at long distance running and made that his goal. He did bring home 2 first place (3000m, 1500m) and 2 third place ribbons in his age group. He did not have quite as much competition as Lamb 2 did, but we are so proud of his first track season. He would like to run cross country this fall and I think he will be very good at that.
When Lamb 1 was 3 years old he got caps on his 4 front top teeth. Last year he had those teeth pulled to allow room for those teeth to grow in correctly. 2 teeth already grew in that space, the other 2 have not appeared. Our dentist first said give it six months to see what happens naturally. There was no change so recently we took him to an orthodontist. The orthodontist said give it 6 more months to see what happens. I did point out that Lamb 1 was very late getting his baby teeth and perhaps it will just take time. But if nothing happens in 6 months, then we are talking braces. It has been interesting to me the communications between the orthodontist, parents, and dentist. They took several pictures of Lamb 1 and e-mailed the pictures and notes from the orthodontist to us. Heredity has not been kind to Lamb 1's mouth structure even though neither Ram or Ewe ever had braces. His mouth is just not big enough for adult teeth, just like Grandpa's!
Lamb 1 still eats very little dairy with the exception of ice cream. He recently tried some dairy free cheese and didn't like that either. He would probably have the easiest time eating Paleo but he does like his sugar and desserts so he doesn't eat total Paleo.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Lamb 2 Update

Lamb 2 has made a lot of progress in 2014. I'll update some of his progress here.

Lamb 2 did well at his piano recital. The other parents of piano students commented on his confidence and concentration as compared to the December recital. He is taking piano lessons once a month this summer. We are asking him to practice daily. He is currently working on Jingle Bells. His progress in piano since Christmas has been amazing. Note names for both treble and bass clef are finally sticking with him.

Lamb 2 had lots of competition in his age group at the track meet but he still brought home 1 3rd place (200m) and 1 4th place (400m) ribbon. We were proud of his first track season. Track was easy for him after his OT exercises. We think track was helpful for OT and speech therapy too.

Lamb 2 can pronounce all his words correctly now so if that was the only issue he would graduate from speech therapy now. He made so much progress in articulation in the last few months! Because he was speaking correctly that encouraged Lamb 3 to speak correctly. After 4 years of speech therapy I'm so glad he has mastered articulation!

Lamb 2's other issue is not stuttering, but taking too many breaths. He has worked on this since we moved to ID with a little but not much progress. His speech therapist is recommending a break from speech therapy for 6 months to a year. During that break we are to see some other doctors including an ENT to rule out that there is not a physical problem to this breathing problem. I'm starting to put together the pieces of the puzzle and really do wonder if there is large tonsils or something. We have met our deductible this year, so more doctor visits for Lamb 2 like last fall. He would love a break from speech therapy especially because Lamb 3 is going to graduate from speech therapy. We need to see if anything comes out of the doctor visits or if he self improves this breathing pattern during this speech therapy break. At that point we'll decide if he continues speech therapy. Currently he is not aware that he does it so it is difficult to work with him on this.

The way I understand vision therapy is they work on parts of Lamb 2's vision problems one at a time and then put all the parts together and work on everything together at the end. Lamb 2 is currently working on stamina which is the last part he needs to work on. When he masters this then they will put it all together. He began in January and we expected 9 months of therapy. We are still expecting him to graduate from vision therapy this fall. He goes at 7:30am in the summer so the other Lambs can sleep in while he has therapy. Lamb 2 did great at therapy at 7:30 but Ewe was exhausted the rest of the day after that.

Lamb 2 has had the most difficult time at swim lessons of any of the Lambs. I am curious if he does better this year after vision therapy. He enjoys going to our pool if he can wear a life jacket. I am hoping this improves after swim lessons this year-perhaps not needing a life jacket at our local pool?

Lamb 2 had a lot of interruptions in school work due to so much therapy this year. He completed grade 2. He began Saxon Math 3 but has not finished the first of two books. We found out last summer that he can not take an academic break. This summer he is doing phonics, math, and handwriting. We will take breaks for swim lessons and vacation, but he needs to continue academics most days both to get caught up and to not forget what he has learned.

Lamb 2's "homework" from therapy has decreased a lot compared to the beginning of this year. He has a little VT exercises and no speech therapy games or exercises. His only OT exercises are his VT exercises. I'm not quite sure what to do after 4 years of trying to fit in a speech game daily! On top of that we don't have to do speech games with Lamb 3 either. We're going to have to plan time to play board and card games since we aren't required to do this any more. We'll also use the time to do music flash cards until he really knows all his piano notes.

It is amazing when I think of Lamb 2 last summer compared to now. He is not only taller but much more confident in so many areas. Last summer he never played catch with a ball with his brothers or the neighbor kids, this summer he organizes the game. Last summer we had several tantrums each day, now we sometimes have tears but not tantrums. We are so thankful to God for helping us find out what was wrong and to all his therapists that helped him.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lamb 3 Update

I thought I would update you on each of the Lambs. I will begin with Lamb 3.

Lamb 3 has always been a picky eater, he would prefer black bean dip or guacamole to most foods that kids traditionally like such as macaroni and cheese. If we have stir fry or other main dishes, he will pick the meat out and only eat the meat-not the potatoes or veggies or pasta. The only fruits and veggies he really likes are avocado, sweet potato, apple, and banana. (Isn't it interesting that his favorite foods are the first solids he had as a baby?) About a month ago when we went out to eat he tried chicken hearts. In the last couple of weeks he has decided to try more foods. He tried tomato, lettuce, strawberry. He only asked for more lettuce, but the others he at least tried.

So much focus was on Lamb 2 with his therapy this year. Also by the 3rd child I learned a little better what areas of math to spend more time on before going on. For both of those reasons Lamb 3 did not finish his math book. In kindergarten we do the first grade math book. So it is not a problem that he did not finish. I would like him to finish either this summer or early next school year so he can begin the next book. He is capable of it, it will just mean that we need to do school this summer. He has cooperated because he knew it was just math, not more school. We will take breaks from math during swim lessons and vacation, but I'm glad we're not taking a whole summer break.

Lamb 3 has gone to speech therapy for about a year at the same time and place as Lamb 2 has his speech therapy. Lamb 2 began talking better a couple of months ago. Because Lamb 3 heard Lamb 2 speak correctly, Lamb 3 began speaking better. Lamb 3's speech teacher is going to do some testing to be sure she isn't missing anything, but Lamb 3 has mastered every sound except for "R" which isn't expected for a 6 year old. We expect Lamb 3 to graduate for speech therapy in the next couple of weeks. If he does not master "R" in the next couple of years, we will take him back for a few more sessions. Lamb 3 has mixed feelings about graduating from speech therapy. He will miss doing crafts with his speech therapist but he will be glad to not have to go to speech for an hour each week. I'm going to have to plan some fun craft time at least once week to make up for this.

Lamb 3 has really enjoyed going to the pool the few times we have already gone this year. He is looking forward to swim lessons next week. I'm hoping this summer we can take the training wheels off his bike. I would like him to ride his bike more than the other  ride on toys that we own. We'll see if my ideas work with what he wants to do!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

July 4th Memories

The first time I visited the Sun Valley area in ID was for our engagement party in 2001. We went to a party at the house of our best man's family and watched the fireworks on July 4. At that party I met a Presbyterian UPS driver and had a pretty long conversation with him as I got to know friends of Ram's family. 

After we moved to MN we tried to visit Ram's parents every other July. That was a good time to visit his parents especially for weather to drive there. July 4 is always fun in a "small" town. We weren't able to get there every year so we enjoyed the times we did go.

Time passed and Ram added that Presbyterian UPS driver's son to our prayer list in MN. Our church prayed for him every Sunday. Ram was often asked who that was on the prayer list.

Then we moved to ID and when Ram made sure he was on the prayer list at our new church, there was no explanation needed for the members. This was his home state and everyone knew who he was.

Many of the businesses in the Sun Valley area were decorated with signs like this for the past 5 years.

The first July 4 we were here we were thrilled to be just 3 hours from Ram's parents. I cried during the whole parade when I saw his dad silently walk the parade route. He was Grand Marshall even though he was absent.

July 4, 2012

That Christmas I read a Christmas card from his mom. It really put perspective on those prayers each Sunday at church to hear what his mom said after 3 years. My parents visited last July 4 and we all went to the parade with Ram's parents. It was different than the year before and this is the only photo I took where I saw that he was remembered. That made me sad for his parents.
July 4, 2013

On Saturday my mom e-mailed me to tell us that he was freed. It was so ironic that she e-mailed me before I saw it on the news here in ID. I was immediately thankful for his parents. My mom had e-mailed some other friends about it too. That evening my mom and I started receiving some e-mails from people that weren't so thankful about his release.

His poor hometown has been flooded with communications in how disappointed they are with the town for rejoicing that he is home. Some have canceled trips to Sun Valley due to the situation. Sun Valley has huge tourism so this is not good. Add to that last summer they lost business at the busiest time of the year due to a wildfire.

My brother-in-law is in the military along with other friends. I pray for their safety daily. I will never understand what it is like to be a military wife or daughter, I only see how difficult it is for my sister to be a military wife. I understand what the comments being made now are about. The comments may be true or may not be true. What is clear to me is that this whole situation is very complicated.

Beginning Saturday evening at least 75% of the local news is on this story. I really did want to hear the press conference with his parents on Sunday. But the rest of it is a bunch of media speculation. I keep telling myself (and talking to the TV!) these points:
1. Let's let the military deal with it according to military and United States laws.
2. Remember that he is innocent until proven guilty 
3. One part that has to be easier for the military is they don't have to be careful in the area that they thought he was in now that he is released.
4. Let's just take this one step at a time. He's not even back in America yet.

We live in a fallen world. Our churches in MN and now ID have remembered him in our prayers each Sunday since he was captured. We plan to continue to keep him in our prayers as now it might be even more important to pray for him. We will also keep America in our prayers during this time. May God bless America!

*All photos in this post were taken by Ewe between Nov. 2011-July 2013.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Cherish the Ladies on PBS

Joanie Madden and Ewe

In Oct. 2012 Ram and I went to a Cherish the Ladies concert in Twin Falls, ID. At the concert they said they were working out details to have a concert on PBS hopefully in March of 2013.

We purchased an antenna so we could have TV after Christmas in 2012 for two reasons.
1. I wanted to watch Downton Abbey.
2. I wanted to watch Cherish the Ladies when it was broadcast on PBS.

As far as I could tell, it did not work out to be broadcast in March 2013 in ID. This Friday our PBS station is broadcasting Cherish the Ladies. I had planned to attend scrapbooking so I'm hoping all the ladies want to watch Cherish the Ladies with me while we scrapbook. It has been a long year to wait to watch this!

Check your local PBS station schedule to see if Cherish the Ladies will be broadcast in your area soon.