Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Lambs love Ewe

The Lambs built a tea party for their Mama out of Legos. I have blond hair and three friends joined me. It was a lovely party!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


We moved into a brand new home 2 years ago. Since it was never lived in I wiped out the cupboards but I didn't do much cleaning when we moved in. Just about the time it was time to really deep clean we began doctor's visits and therapy with Lamb 2. I decided this month was the time to tackle that job as we could see Lamb 2's therapy starting to decrease.

This project really started a few months ago when we took everything out of the play room to build the train table. I tried to get the Lambs to go through things before putting them back in the play room. One of their big projects was to go through every single sticker. Lamb 1 couldn't have lollipops when he had caps on his teeth so the bank and other places gave our boys stickers instead. They have a huge bag to donate to our church preschool of new stickers. They saved the ABC letters and ones that were special to them in a small drawer. This is so much better than an overflowing box. We are still working on some projects like the stickers and have set those aside to work on a little each day instead of tackling it all at once.

Then I took all the stuff to donate out of the guest room and began delivering it to different places. We still have a pile if we ever get to Fort Wayne, but the guest bed is actually uncovered for sleeping now! Then I did a thorough cleaning of the guest room.

Then I worked one room at a time, first decluttering, then organizing, then doing a deep clean. It was disgusting how much dust and grime gathered in 2 years here. I cleaned everything, dusting, vacuuming, washing all bed coverings, cleaning ceiling fans and light fixtures, and washing walls. I reorganized some of our books but that project never ends.

There is still much more to declutter here and a few more serious cleaning jobs to do, but this is the way I want my house. Since we homeschool we are here more than the average family. I told Ram that after I vacuumed the hallway it felt nice on my bare feet-not watching for Legos especially, but also the carpet felt softer and cleaner. Ram thought that was crazy, but it is true.

I saved the bathrooms for last and yesterday I really scrubbed down the boys bathroom. I overdid it and today my hands were sore from all that scrubbing.  No one told me when my first was born how terrible it is to clean boys bathrooms. They really can't control it when they go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I'm just glad they are using the toilet so I'll deal with cleaning it. Pumice stones and Magic Erasers are necessities.

Usually when I do projects like this Ram helps some in the evenings and on his day off. This time he broke his foot (when he was paying attention, just walking around a corner in our house) and had to have it elevated. I think he just didn't want to vacuum.

Now the trick is to do routine cleaning so it doesn't get this dirty and I have to deep clean the entire house at once again. And after all this cleaning we misplaced our Skipbo cards. You would think that we would know where everything is after cleaning the entire house, but the Skipbo cards are missing. So the next project is to search for those.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

VBS Craft supplies

I am planning/leading the crafts for our VBS this year. I began by looking what supplies we had at church that we could use and then what supplies I had leftover from teaching. I then went shopping with my 40% or more off coupons to buy a few more supplies at several stores. I had expected Hobby Lobby to be the best place to buy wooden crosses but I didn't see any in their wood section.

Last week I hit a few stores to buy school supplies on sale for both VBS and for homeschool. We needed a lot of glue bottles for VBS so I was happy to see those cheap at several stores.

I figured I was pretty set with supplies and ideas for projects for 3 days of VBS. Then I went into Hobby Lobby to get a present for my sister. While I was in there I saw their summer VBS craft stuff was 80% off. No wonder why I didn't see wood crosses the week before, they were in a whole different section for VBS. I bought several items and most of them the whole pack (with supplies for 6 or 12 kids) was 40 cents or less.

I plan to use a couple of these items for VBS, switching what I had originally planned in order to save myself time of cutting out items for the preschool class. The rest is organized in a tub for use for the Sunday School throughout the year or VBS next year.

I bought:
-colored foam picture frames with magnets (I plan to take their pictures at VBS on the first day and send home the picture frames with their pictures on the last day)
-brown foam crosses (not sure what to do with those yet)
-a couple of sizes of wood crosses, a lot of the small wood crosses in packs of six (some of these will be used in Sunday School for Holy Cross Day in September-the rest I have several ideas of projects)
-cross necklaces to color with markers
-stand up wood crosses
-foam ABC letters (this could be used any time of the year for lots of different kinds of projects)
-foam nametags with supplies to decorate them and wear them
-2 different kinds of shells, one is foam and one is felt
(I'm not sure what project to use these for, but they seemed to fit baptism well and looked nice. We have a family at church that plans to baptize their children soon so perhaps when that happens our Sunday School will have a baptism celebration and use these.)

Believe it or not, I controlled myself and this was only a fraction of what was in the spring/summer/VBS 80% off aisle.

When I paid I found out that Hobby Lobby will give a 10% discount (even on top of sales) if you pay with your church or school or other nonprofit credit card or check. I paid for this out of my own pocket as it was so cheap and I don't have to deal with being reimbursed by the church. But I'm going to make sure that the preschool teachers and director know this and keep it in mind if we have a big supply order.

I was happy to support Hobby Lobby. They are building another store in our area, when that is completed it may be dangerous for me to have 2 stores tempting me in both directions that I usually shop!

After VBS I'll post photos of the completed projects for you to see.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Catechism Competition

When we are out in the community, I am often asked if everything becomes a competition with 3 boys at my house. Yes it does, probably even more than you can imagine.

Disclaimer here: When we lived in MN we did the Sing the Faith CD almost daily as part of our daily homeschooling routine. Due to the move to ID and even more with Lamb 2 in therapy, we have let this part of our routine go. Now that Lamb 2 is starting to  finish therapy, I plan after summer break to do the Sing the Faith CD daily again.

Last night I overheard the Lambs talking before they fell asleep. Lamb 3 suggested they chain up Ram and Ewe so they could eat unlimited ice cream. I immediately talked to them about stopping that kind of talk as it was not honoring your parents. I'm not even sure where that conversation came from because they have had a lot of treats recently, including popsicles and ice cream.

I left their room and then the talk about commandments began. It started with which commandment talks about honoring your parents? Then it became a competition to ask their brothers questions about the commandments. Soon Lamb 3 came to me asking which commandment says not to lie. He didn't like my answer so he went to ask Ram. Then Lamb 2 came and asked me what the 9th commandment was to see if Lamb 1 was telling him the correct answer. Then Lamb 3 came to ask about the 10th commandment. I'm not sure which other commandments they talked about without asking me about them.

After answering these questions I told them we could continue this conversation at lunch time, but they needed to get some sleep. I don't like how this conversation began, but I do love that they were reaching in the back of their memory of the catechism to try to stump each other. I think homeschooling is going to be really fun with a 1st, 3rd, and 5th grader!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lamb 2's First Graduation

After going to speech therapy once a week for half of his life, look who graduated from speech therapy today! His speech therapist was awesome and so patient with a complex patient.

Excuse the poor picture quality. I have not mastered my new camera lens. This photo shows that I need to spend some time practicing or use my old lens until I figure it out.

We celebrated by taking the family to our new Cracker Barrel tonight. We hadn't been to Cracker Barrel in over a year. We made the Lambs try grits and okra. They thought okra was ok and not grits. We cheated on our diet, but that is all right once and awhile. It was interesting going to a brand new Cracker Barrel where all the servers were brand new. Maybe we will win something in their grand opening drawing.

Now we are looking forward to Lamb 2 graduating from occupational therapy and vision therapy. Then we'll see what else ends up in Lamb 2's journey.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lamb 1's economics lesson

Once a week in the summer I take the Lambs to a local park over the lunch hour. They play on the playground, visit the Bookmobile from our library, and get a free school lunch. The free lunches are offered all week days in the summer. We only go on Bookmobile day. We only go once a week for several reasons. We're too busy in the summer to go more often, I can only handle them having junk food- that much gluten and dairy once a week, and we don't NEED to get the free lunch as some people do.

I could write several blog posts with my thoughts about this free program. I figure I can tolerate it once a week because the Lambs do love the novelty of school lunch and eating it at the park. If nothing else this is cultural literacy for my homeschooled Lambs to eat a school lunch. This was the first time they had tacquitos and pizza pockets. They now have the main course menu memorized but they are surprised by which fruits, veggies, and dessert is included.

While they were eating their lunch last time, the Lambs had all kinds of questions about school lunches.  Some of their questions were about how the lunch could be free and who paid for the lunches. I explained that it was offered because our city wanted each child to be offered at least one hot meal a day, even if their parents couldn't afford it. I explained that during the school year the students got a hot meal at school and the food truck drove to the park in the summer to give out hot meals. I explained that all lunches were free in the summer for children and one reason was so they didn't have to figure out who could afford a lunch and who couldn't.

This turned into a conversation about public schools offer full price, reduced, and free lunches to students based on their parent income. The Lambs wanted to know if I ate at school when I was a child and since my dad was a pastor they wondered if I got reduced or free lunch. I explained that in elementary school I usually brought my lunch from home and in middle school I went to a Lutheran school and ate there. I explained that I had no idea if the Lutheran school even offered free lunches back then, but I knew that my parents paid full price for lunches. I didn't go into reasons for my parents paying full price with the Lambs. I didn't go into this in detail with the Lambs. I know that some Lutheran schools do participate in the lunch program so would give free/reduced lunches and some don't participate in the lunch program. When I taught at the Lutheran school I just gave out milk and made sure the students ate their lunch, I have no idea who paid what.

At this point in the conversation Lamb 1 got very upset. He said it wasn't right that there were free lunches at the public school and not at the Lutheran school. His reasoning was that Christians should provide for everyone. It would make more sense to him if it was the opposite, that lunch was free for everyone at the Lutheran school and everyone paid at the public school. He didn't think it was the public school's responsibility to feed students, but he thought Christians should. Plus he thought the Lutheran schools should have enough money to feed their students based on the offerings given on Sunday mornings. He thought Lutheran schools should take care of their students because they were so happy they were going to their school so they could learn about Jesus.

I spent a little more time explaining this with Lamb 1, but I didn't go in to too many details as he was ready to go play on the playground at this point. In a perfect world Lamb 1 would be right. If Christians were providing enough food for the hungry then our schools and the government would not have to offer free lunches to students. In a perfect world Lutheran schools wouldn't have financial problems and would have no limit to helping people all over the world.

I expect that this conversation will be continued each time we go to the park for our "free" lunch now. I may not pay money for these free lunches for the Lambs, but I pay for it by answering their questions. Who would have thought a free lunch could have so many lessons?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fertility in a Fallen World

One of my blog posts that is hit on quite often is titled Lutherans and Miscarriage. That post was originally written as a way to tell about the He Remembers the Barren book and website.

I had my first miscarriage 9 years ago. Since then I have added so many thoughts and so much understanding about fertility. I have remained pretty silent about this on my blog as I just didn't know where to begin. I didn't even post about most of my miscarriages. It was just too overwhelming to talk about this 9 times. I really wanted to add my thoughts to my blog after I attended the He Remembers the Barren Retreat last year. But life, especially caring for Lamb 2, has interfered with that plan. I have felt that I really should talk about this more on my blog, especially since the Lutherans and Miscarriage post is hit on so often.

One frustrating part about my miscarriages was I don't know anyone else that has had as many miscarriages as me. One of the reasons I wanted to post my story was so if there are other women out there with recurring miscarriages, they know they aren't the only one. There is such comfort in just knowing you aren't alone.

Several weeks ago I stumbled on a blog where women were invited to tell their stories. This was my chance to put in to writing many of my thoughts about fertility. As I began to answer the questions asked, the writing poured out and it became quite long. I let it sit for about a month, occasionally adding or deleting parts of it. I spoke to my husband and parents about this as they were part of my story. I finally decided I was ready to post it.

A Bundle of Myrrh was quite gracious to post my story here. I do have plans to post this story again on my blog in shorter parts and in more detail. That will have to wait until  time allows, which may not be until this fall when Lamb 2 graduates from most of his therapy. Writing this has opened the way for me to talk about miscarriage more on my blog.

My story is at a strange point in our family's journey. Our family size may be done, but only God knows if it is. At some point we may also adopt or foster, but we don't know if we will. I would love to hear stories of women that are beyond the childbearing years as part of this series. There is wisdom then that those of us in the childbearing years don't always see. So if you are a woman beyond the childbearing years, I would ask you to share your story with us. A Bundle of Myrrh has great questions to get you started.

Putting my thoughts in writing was so helpful to me. I loved the introduction she wrote for my story-especially her last paragraph summed up the most important part of my story. Thank you so much, A Bundle of Myrrh, for the opportunity to guest post.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Planets, Music, and Movement

Lamb 1 and 2 are at baseball camp each morning this week. Lamb 3 did not want to go to baseball camp. He is enjoying playing with play doh and playing some card games with me while his brothers are gone each morning. I saw that our library had a special program this morning that I thought Lamb 3 would enjoy. It took some convincing to get him to leave his play doh and try a new program at the library without his brothers.

After teaching in the classroom at a classical school I am usually pretty critical of library programs. I want the program to be something educational that is worth learning. I want it to be fun for them. Usually the programs we go to are very well attended-too many children for one room when they are doing activities.

I was very impressed with this program this morning. It taught the children about the planets by using Gustav Holst's The Planets music. There were different activities for movement during each of the music movements. The instructor talked about the planets in between playing the music for each planet. Perhaps similar lesson plans are on the web, but I thought I would post what they did this morning in case any of my homeschool friends want to do something similar.

Mars-the music is in 5/4 time so have the students count to 5 while marching

Venus-rock a baby to sleep

Mercury-This one was a little crazy for me-I'm not sure I would do this same activity.
They pretended to have a message to deliver from dad to the kids. They said "There will be pizza when you are done with basketball" very fast each time the theme came up in the music.

Jupiter-skate with paper plates around the room

Saturn-rock your body to the music while joining hands in small groups like Ring around the Rosy

Uranus-group gathers around a parachute with beach ball in the middle

Neptune-teacher blows bubbles as she goes around the room, kids touch the "magical potion"

The teacher was also really good at the direct instruction method with the goal of having the students remember the composer's name. Several times during the program she would stop and say "1, 2, 3" and the students would yell Gustav Holst. The children may not remember the music played today, but I'm sure they will all remember the composer's name.

I was really glad I took Lamb 3 this morning. Now we have an idea of what to do when the Lambs are bored since Lamb 1 and 2 missed the program this morning.

Monday, July 7, 2014


I took the Lambs to the pool today. There were several other families there on this hot day. A couple of boys were convinced that Lamb 1 and 2 were twins because they have the same swim shirt. When I told them that all the Lambs are 2 years apart, the mom replied that they all look so much alike that she was trying to figure out if they were triplets. When she heard they were 2 years apart she told her boys that my boys were probably ages 8, 6, and 4. She was correct except we don't have a 4 year old, we have a 10 year old.
Lamb 1 and 2 wear the same size shoes. Lamb 1 likes his clothes to fit tight, Lamb 2 likes his clothes to be baggy. If it wasn't for that they could wear the same size clothes too. Often when Lamb 1 outgrows his clothes they are too small for Lamb 2. Then there is Lamb 3 that looks 2 years younger than he is because he is so skinny.
My MIL said she was often asked if her boys were twins or triplets. They had closer spacing than we did. I was asked that a few times when we just had Lamb 1 and 2. I did not expect to be asked that now.
The Lambs have their annual checkups scheduled for the end of August. I am curious what their weight and heights are and how it compares to other boys their age.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The perfect July 4

*On a perfect July 4, 100% of Americans would answer that they are proud to be an American, not answer this way.
*On a perfect July 4, my Lambs wouldn't have to go to the cemetery to watch the fireworks at the same place as their uncles.
*On a perfect July 4, my Lambs would have the beginning of the Declaration of Independence memorized (or at least be able to read all the words) when Grandma asks them to recite it.
*On a perfect July 4, gas wouldn't be so expensive to travel.
*On a perfect July 4, we wouldn't get sunburned while watching the parade.

We do live in an imperfect world.

I am proud to be an American even if 44% of Americans are not.

We are blessed to live a few hours from Ram's parents now. We are blessed to own a reliable car and be able to afford gas to go visit Ram's parents for a few days. Ram's parents are blessed with a house that we can stay at when we visit. We did have a great view of the fireworks at the cemetery. We were blessed with nice weather for traveling and a car with air conditioning that works. We were blessed with sunscreen so that only a few spots on each of us got sunburned. We are blessed to live in a country where it is safe to go to a parade.

We enjoyed our few days vacation and especially spending it with Ram's parents. It was a little cooler there than where we live. We were blessed to come home to a house with power to turn on the A/C full blast. It will be good to sleep in our own beds again tonight.

Plus Grandma gave us a year to work with the Lambs on the Declaration of Independence recitation!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 4 on a Friday

Because of the holiday some of Lamb 2's therapy was rescheduled to earlier in the week and some of his therapy was canceled. We were willing to attend all the therapy at the regular times because he doesn't have any therapy on Fridays, but his teachers wanted Thursday off or at least leave earlier on Thursday. We ended up fitting a lot early in the week. It is nice to truly have a vacation. Lamb 2 will have a 5 day break from therapy over this long weekend. Then next week we are back to full schedule of all therapy, piano lessons, and baseball camp. Ram is back to a busy schedule of a funeral, a wedding preparation, and visiting several members and shut-ins. We are going to enjoy this long weekend as a family!
I had not planned on July being this busy. It shouldn't be like this in the summer when many activities take a break. We will celebrate each time Lamb 2 graduates from some therapy because it will mean one more free hour a week.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Leave it to my boys...

One day I came into the school room and saw this diagram was made for me. The Lambs were discussing where everyone should sit at the table for meals. After much discussion and drawing we remained sitting where we always sit, which is the top diagram.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Vision therapy evaluation #3

Lamb 2 had vision therapy and then he had his next evaluation with the doctor today. We ended up spending much of the time talking about his breathing pattern. I never would have expected a developmental optometrist to be full of ideas for Lamb 2's breathing when he speaks. It makes sense though because his recommendations were based on experiences with his own children (one of his sons), some of his patients, and he knows many doctors and therapists in the area. During testing the doctor paid attention to Lamb 2's talking and breathing while he speaks. This was helpful to see what he had to say when it was not in the controlled environment of speech therapy and was not with a family member that he talks to daily.
The doctor really thinks the breathing pattern when speaking is Lamb 2's way of thinking before he speaks. Instead of saying "um" or just pausing, he takes a breath. VT is at the point of working on processing speed now. It is the doctor's hope that as he speeds up processing what he sees, he will also speed up processing what he says and perhaps stop taking breaths when he talks.
Lamb 2 has completed 6 of the 9 month vision therapy program for him. The doctor asked me what else we would like to work on. This is the time to speak up when they have 3 more months to work on it. I did not expect that because I am still following whatever directions the doctor gives us to work on at home and in homeschool.
Lamb 2 did most of the tasks in his testing today slower than last time but when he made mistakes he corrected them. This awareness of knowing he is making mistakes is important. Even though his scores showed slower results than last time, the quality of his work was much improved. The next step will be to speed up his work but keep this quality work.
We will continue work with pattern blocks (thanks to the Loopers that sent me blocks and patterns!) at home and in OT and in VT. Homeschool should do more pre-writing activities. Draw castles, waves, loops, backwards loops, etc. I did this in the classroom with my first graders and Lamb 2 needs to back up and do this too. I will probably have Lamb 3 do it with us too. Simple activities like tear paper in a straight line, scrunch up paper into a ball are also activities he needs to practice.
All of Lamb 2's therapists (VT, OT, speech therapy) are impressed with how hard he works. Recent comments from all of them is that he has matured so much in the last 6 months. He is taller, much more confident, pronouncing words correctly, and the tasks that were difficult for him are easy for him now.
Today's evaluation was a big answer to prayers, perhaps even for prayers that I hadn't even asked God for yet. After the evaluation today I feel much more confident that we have made the right decision to quit speech now. I feel much more prepared to ask questions when we take him to the ENT. If it turns out that the ENT doesn't find anything wrong, I now know the next steps and next doctors to try. Since Lamb 2's tantrums one year ago we have been on quite the journey. God has definitely been our guide and answered prayers before we even asked some times. One doctor has led us to the next doctor and all the doctors have worked together to help Lamb 2.