Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

So glad to be back in my hometown with all the patriotism during the Memorial Day parade. Great job, CLHS band!




Monday, May 15, 2017

Goodbye, Pampers

For the past few years I have continued to enter one Pampers code a month even though I don't have anyone in diapers any more. Sometimes these codes were ones that I found when we were moving from when the Lambs were in diapers, sometimes I bought baby wipes to use in the car, etc. I did this on the same day each month to make sure that I did it according to their program rules, once a month. I was rewarded by Pampers for this with 2 12x12 Shutterfly albums including shipping. This made it worth it to me to continue to buy wipes (especially with a coupon) and make the effort to enter them once a month. I also always gave Pampers diapers and wipes as a baby shower gifts with a note that new moms will want to take part in this program.

Last week was my day to enter in my monthly code and this message popped up.

Pampers will soon launch a new and improved mobile and web experience. However Grow On will not be part of the new experience. So if you have a Grow On gift waiting for you make sure to claim it by June 7th.  

Don’t worry though, your points balance will transfer automatically and you will still earn points for your Pampers purchases. You will even get bonus points for downloading and trying our new app. Plus, we will be introducing exciting new items to our rewards catalog that many of you have been asking for!

Last week was my 7th month towards earning my next Shutterfly album. Since they are discontinuing the program and I already earned my 6th month prize, the Grow On program is done for me. I am so thankful that I wasn't at my 11th month or closer towards earning the Shutterfly album. I have been really busy lately, but I don't remember receiving an e-mail or seeing this on social media. I did not know this until I went to enter my monthly code. This message did not pop up at my 6th month. I think Pampers should have given much more notice on this, perhaps I wouldn't have started this 6 months ago. I also understand that everyone doing this program is at different months and it would be impossible to notify everyone so they are at the first month. That doesn't change that I am disgusted to being halfway towards a free album. And if I would have earned a prize, (prizes were earned at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months) that was very little notice to redeem it by June 7 or it would expire.

I understand that Pampers has a right to do a rewards program however they want. They are being generous and so far since the program began when my Lambs were little, they have not said that points expire for the rewards program. There is still the chance to use your rewards for other prizes as part of the reward program that is not connected to the Grow On program. But the whole reason why I participated was to get the free Shutterfly albums. So I will not be buying any more Pampers baby wipes for our family's use or buying any Pampers as gifts.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Field Trip to the Farm


We took one of the #ColorCogburn pictures out to the farm today so he could see his farm friends and go on a hayride.


#WearTheRooster 

I pre-ordered my copy of #TheHarvestRaise today from cph.org. I received a small bonus for pre-ordering. Did you order your copy today?



This was the best photo today of my EWE hat and Ram's RAM shirt.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Cock-a-doodle-doo!

The Harvest Raise is available for preorder from cph.org tomorrow! I'm ordering a copy. Are you going to order yours? There is some kind of bonus if you pre-order that I don't want to miss!
Our boys are crazy about participating in contests. We did not make them participate in the latest #TheHarvestRaise contest. Ewe printed the coloring sheets out and the boys colored them without any prompting on our part. We had to print some more because Lamb 3 colored 3 roosters! Ewe winning the second #WearTheRooster contest influenced our boys to want to participate in this contest. Plus Aunt Hannah will be proud of them. 
Don't you think these are the best BOYS to #ColorCogburn? Our Lambs are hoping to win so they can say they won a contest. (If there aren't 3 shirts available for them then if they win they will give their winning shirt to their Grandma.)


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Confirmation Day Sermon

If we would have remained in MN, there would have been one other boy in Lamb 1's confirmation class. When we moved to ID, one of the first members I met was very excited that Lamb 1 would be in her daughter's confirmation class. Lamb 1 and that girl  did do their first year of confirmation class together in ID. If we would have remained in ID, they would have been confirmed together on Palm Sunday of this year.

When we moved here we hurried to get Lamb 1 enrolled in first communion class and eventually confirmation class at what became our new church. In fact he attended his first class while we were unloading the moving truck. He worked hard to memorize the catechism with meanings this year. He passed the pastor's questioning session easily after all that memorization. At that examination session, it was obvious that Lamb 1 had not just memorized the catechism, but he was able to answer questions that applied that memorized knowledge. He was confident in his knowledge and not nervous about this questioning.

Lamb 1's confirmation class here had several children in it, but only one other boy was ready to be confirmed. The other children including Lamb 2 and Lamb 3 will return next year and continue working on memorization and learning from our pastors on Saturday mornings. It is our goal that Lamb 2 and 3 attend class and memorize the catechism with meanings and are both confirmed next spring. Our church does not have a set age for confirmation, it is when the child has completed their memory work and pastor and the parents agree that they are ready for confirmation. If Lamb 2 or Lamb 3 are not ready next spring, they will continue confirmation classes at church until they are ready.

Our family has been through a lot in the last few years. When he was a child, Lamb 1 expected to be confirmed in MN, then he completed one year of confirmation class in ID, and then he moved to IN and did all that they required for confirmation class in one year. A few months ago he was stuck on the meanings of the Lord's Prayer and worried that he wouldn't complete the memory work in time. We continued to work on it daily and he learned everything required in time. This move has been a difficult transition for our Lambs. It is slowly getting better for the Lambs, but it's a struggle to not be homesick for their way of life in ID.

The pastor's sermon was really meaningful for me. You can listen to or read the sermon HERE. At first I started to squirm in my seat a little as he talked about the comparison between what Christians suffer and childbirth. He was preaching from the text. I admit that I am very sensitive to this because of my secondary infertility. Amazingly, Pastor did get to the point and even remembered barren women! It was a great reminder for me, especially as Lamb 1's mom, of what confirmation is all about. All that memory work was for Lamb 1's benefit as he fights battles throughout his life against Satan.

Photo credit: Steve Blakey, our church photographer
I have never heard a confirmation sermon like this one before. I won't try to sum up his sermon here, because I want you to listen to or read it!

I will post more about Lamb 1's confirmation soon.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

I get to #WearTheRooster!

For details see here. Eldest niece is my favorite judge!

You have less than two months to read (or reread) House of Living Stones and The Choir Immortal before The Harvest Raise is released! They are even on sale at CPH. Get your copy today!


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

More about The Harvest Raise

I really want to #WeartheRooster and I can't wait for #TheHarvestRaise. I am reposting this in case some of my friends missed my announcement during Holy Week. I will post Easter photos soon. 
💗 #ForTheLoveOfPie


I have been reading the first two books in the Anthems of Zion series again. It is less than two months until The Harvest Raise is released!

I baked a pie and set it to cool. I don't know how this happened, but when I came back, the rooster that is part of our toy farm set escaped from the barn and drove the tractor all over my pie!


I enjoyed the pie while I read House of Living Stones again. My family won't complain if I bake another pie for reading The Choir Immortal.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Harvest Raise


I have been reading the first two books in the Anthems of Zion series again. It is just two months until The Harvest Raise is released!

I baked a pie and set it to cool. I don't know how this happened, but when I came back the rooster that is part of our toy farm set escaped from the barn and drove the tractor all over my pie!

I enjoyed the pie while I read House of Living Stones again. My family won't complain if I bake another pie for reading The Choir Immortal.

💗 #WearTheRooster  #ForTheLoveOfPie  #TheHarvestRaise

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Happy Birthday, Lamb 3!

Lamb 3 helped make a chocolate cake.
When it was in the oven he said, "Making a cake isn't difficult!"
(Of course not when you cheat and use a cake mix!)
(He was still 8 when we baked the cake. He wanted to wear his #8 shirt one more time.)

Please excuse my messy kitchen in the background. I'm busy making memories with my youngest now.  The counters where we needed to work were clean!

I bought blue frosting and it came with sprinkles. He had a great time making his cake even though I was lazy and used a cake mix and store bought frosting.

We opened presents with my parents. Lamb 3 received the Changing Seasons Lego set from Ram's parents. You can build the house to show a house in the spring, fall, or winter. It came with a light brick for the grill in the summer and the fireplace in the summer. 
When we moved I couldn't believe how many birthday candles we owned and gave away several. When we chose candles for Lamb 3's birthday, I couldn't believe how many birthday candles we still owned. He wanted green candles and each pack had 2 or 3 green. I actually bought one more set of candles so he could have 9 green ones. It seemed ridiculous to buy candles when we own so many, but he had such a small request that it seemed worth it to get one more pack of candles so he could have all green ones. Frugal me will wash them and save them for next year and he can have all green candles for #10 if he wants them, because I'm not buying more green candles next year!


We had cake and ice cream with my parents.















He also received a human body puzzle that is pretty neat. He put it together right away.

This is my youngest son in his last number shirt. I will enjoy this last year before double digits and enjoy the memories of all 3 Lambs in their number shirts. Our local friends have commented recently about how tall our boys are getting. I had to get out new church shoes for Lamb 3 this morning because he outgrew his old ones. Thankfully he is the youngest so it means pulling the next size out of the closet as they do wear hand-me-downs for church shoes, but not for every day shoes.

The house in spring was the most advanced build in the set, but it didn't take him long to build it. The house has a pool, grill, basketball hoop, mailbox with mail, and lawnmower. We talked about how Ram or Ram's parents helped Lamb 1 and 2 build their Lego sets at their 9th birthday and how Ram and I didn't do anything to help Lamb 3 except congratulate him when he was finished building it. That's what happens with the youngest child in a family. Plus this set was not a difficult set to build like some of the Star Wars sets that they Lambs have received before.

Happy Birthday, Lamb 3!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Thankful for interruptions today

We didn't start school on time this morning. First, we slept in a little after a late night last night. Then we were notified that my sister and her husband are going to be moving closer to us. We were so excited that of course we had to take time for a phone call for that! My parents can't believe that both of their daughters are going to be back living in the Midwest soon.

Second, I checked our bank balance and I thought there was a mistake because the balance was so high. I was so surprised that we had our tax refund deposited already. I paid a few bills with this refund and put the rest in savings.

Third, we made a phone call because we previously received a discount for a subscription we received and I didn't know if we still qualified for that discount since Ram is no longer pastor at a church. We found out that we could continue to have that discount. It's only a $20 discount, but I am glad we can still have this membership.

Also today Ram took the lawnmower in to be serviced before our yard needs it; we baked a birthday cake for Lamb 3; and Lamb 2 had gymnastics class. We did eventually get to our school work because we plan to take off Monday in honor of Lamb 3's birthday. It was a full but good day and I am thankful for the interruptions that we did have.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Our first teenager


His birthday present was complicated enough that it was not put together in one day. The details in this set are amazing!


Lamb 1 went over to Grandma's house and baked
and decorated his own triple layer cake. My mom was a home economics teacher and was glad to spend the time with her grandson doing what she did for a career with other students.

I am having blog difficulties so I'm not sure I will be able to post his photo on my sidebar, but I did want to share today's pictures.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Last day...

until 2028 without a teenager in our house!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

So sad behind the scenes

Recently this story about Iceland has been circulating. I have talked about my pregnancy with Lamb 2 on my blog before, but it is worth repeating again since this story is out.

When I was pregnant with Lamb 2 I went to a new midwife because my midwife for Lamb 1 thought 1 1/2 hours was too far away for another birth since Lamb 1 was born less than an hour after I arrived at the hospital. The midwife for Lamb 2 ordered what I considered regular blood tests as I was a new patient for her. These blood tests came back positive for birth defects such as Down Syndrome. We lived in rural MN so the midwife ordered a level 2 ultrasound in the Twin Cities to see if we could tell anything else.

While we waited for the ultrasound, Lamb 1 fractured his leg, but we didn't know it was fractured until about a month after he fractured it, the x-rays didn't show that it was broken until it was healing. So we traveled to the Twin Cities with a toddler with a broken leg that we didn't know was broken and due to an early morning appointment stayed in a hotel the night before. Ram drove and helped take care of Lamb 1 in the office during my appointment.

The oddest part for me was the first thing they did at this level 2 ultrasound was had us meet with a genetic counselor. She took down our whole history. She was kind of disgusted that I only have one sibling that was not married at the time (so no children) and Ram had no living siblings (and they never had children). She admitted without knowing about our nieces and nephews she didn't have much information to go on. I didn't understand that, because what if we had several siblings but we were the first ones to start our family? And neither Ram or I can help that we come from small families! Both Ram and I repeatedly asked why we couldn't have the ultrasound before speaking to the genetic counselor. That made it clear to me that they wanted us to decide on abortion with their "facts" of our genetics, before we even saw the baby on the screen. Because she had so little information about our family she recommended an amniocentesis. Because of our miscarriage between Lamb 1 and Lamb 2, I immediately declined an amniocentesis due to the risk of miscarriage after amniocentesis.

It was finally time for the level 2 ultrasound. I was really looking forward to seeing our baby in more detail than a normal ultrasound. I have had a lot of ultrasounds with all of my pregnancies and miscarriages and this level 2 ultrasound was the most silent ultrasound tech I have ever had for any of my ultrasounds. He only talked when necessary. Then another tech (doctor?) came in and was supposed to explain the results to us. But again, he said very little, we found out that Lamb 2 was a boy (the only pregnancy that we had a gender reveal-due to all this testing I wanted to know the sex to pray for him or her) and very little more. Again he recommended an amniocentesis. His reason-Lamb 2 was too active to really get good measurements. Both Ram and I left that ultrasound with the feeling that they did not suspect Down Syndrome, but they couldn't say that to us because they were afraid we would sue them if he was born with Down Syndrome. But they would not tell us one way or another, even what they suspected, just recommended an amniocentesis.

At the time we had good health insurance so our out of pocket cost was parking for the appointment; the hotel one night; gas to go 4 hours; and the time and mental stress of the appointment. Ram and I were quite disgusted that we received so little information for all that.

The rest of the story is that I didn't have any more ultrasounds during Lamb 2's pregnancy and we made clear that we were keeping the baby no matter what. But I would have really liked to have more information to be more mentally prepared and educate myself some more if he was born with Down Syndrome. He was born without Down Syndrome.

I left that appointment and started doing my research. At the time, (11 years ago) the best estimate that I could find then was that 75-90% of Americans with a positive blood test for Down Syndrome abort their babies. (The statistic in the story referenced above is higher, but I am not sure if that is a statistic for a positive blood test, ultrasound, or amniocentesis). It made me so sad. The way they do these appointments for level 2 ultrasounds is encouraging abortions.
1. We had to meet with the genetic counselor before they even looked at the baby on the level 2 ultrasound.
2. They wouldn't give us very much information no matter how many questions we asked.
3. They worked very hard to get me in for my level 2 ultrasound before it would be too late to have an abortion.
4. They encouraged amniocentesis, which causes miscarriages in some cases. (Even a small percentage of miscarriages due to amniocentesis is too much in my mind.)

Due to so many abortions after a positive blood test for Down Syndrome, there is no good estimate of how many of these were false positives like Lamb 2. So we have no idea how many of these babies were just fine like Lamb 2 but were aborted. I'm not even sure if they have any way to report that Lamb 2 was a false positive. It doesn't really matter if they have Down Syndrome or not, none of these children should be killed.

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

When I was pregnant with Lamb 3 I refused any blood tests like this one that I had a false positive on when I was pregnant with Lamb 2. I refused to go through all that again when I knew we would keep the baby. For Lamb 3 I had a normal ultrasound at 20 weeks. Then as I got closer to delivery day I had several ultrasounds due to the fact that I only gained 10 lbs in that whole pregnancy. They never found anything abnormal in any of those ultrasounds, but due to the little weight gain they induced me a week early. Their ultrasound estimate was he was 4 1/2 lbs on induction day. But he was born healthy and 6 lbs 10 oz. I am thankful that he was born healthy and I don't regret the induction because the midwife was going on what information she had been given. I know that sometimes ultrasounds give life saving information. But I can see from Lamb 3's pregnancy, that even ultrasounds don't always give correct information.

Looking back, I am glad we had these experiences with Lamb 2 and Lamb 3 because it really opened my eyes to what the medical profession does during pregnancy. Please pray for pregnant women and their spouses to be able to navigate the information given to them during pregnancy and make wise decisions. Until Lamb 2's pregnancy, I had no idea the amount of decisions that need to be made during pregnancy. I already knew there were a lot of decisions to be made during birth. Continue praying for families blessed with a child with Down Syndrome. Continue praying for unborn babies.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Apple pie for birthday dessert. New shirt from my sister. One candle instead of 77.

The Lambs read in their Botany book that God designed hummingbirds to be able to recognize and prefer the color red. They learned that a good way to get hummingbirds to notice your feeder is to direct them to the feeder with artificial red flowers. They immediately remembered that Grandpa gets excited when hummingbirds visit his feeder. So they thought he needed some artificial red flowers for his birthday present. I'm sure he didn't expect that for a present, but he will enjoy it when the hummingbirds come.

We are thankful to be in town with my parents to celebrate birthdays with them. This kicks off birthday boy season at our house!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Not my best moment of 2017!

A few weeks ago, right before we all got sick, I had a difficult time with one of Lamb 2's math lessons. I was upset with myself for not being able to handle 4th grade math. I thought I had bought his math book used and figured I could handle doing grade school  math and did not need to spend extra to buy a teacher's edition with answer key. I planned to set aside some time to look at it again without Lamb 2 and then sit down with Lamb 2 and redo the lesson. I wondered what my problem was since I didn't remember having trouble with this lesson when Lamb 1 did this book a few years ago. Then we got sick and after we were well I never found time to work on that lesson. My hope was that since it was before we got sick, maybe my brain just wasn't functioning well that day.

Lamb 2 is almost finished with this math book, so I went to get out his next math book today. What a surprise that right by his next math book was the answer key for his current math book! No wonder why I didn't have a problem with this lesson with Lamb 1, if I did, I checked my work in the answer key! When Lamb 2 did this book I forgot that we owned the answer key and I worked all the problems out in my head as he did each lesson. Instead of being upset with myself, I'll give myself a pat on the back that I did 118 4th grade math lessons by myself.

I could blame misplacing the answer key on moving, but unfortunately he began this book last spring and I didn't use the answer key then either. Hopefully I can remember that I own this answer key when Lamb 3 does this math book! Since I own several levels of math books, in the future I am always going to check if we own the answer key before one of the Lambs begins a new math book!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Quick Family Update

1. I think we are finally all healthy. We missed a week of homeschool while the Lambs and I were sick with a cold/cough/fever. It was a rough week where nothing got done. This week is very busy making up doctor checkups etc. It was so ridiculous that I was too sick to go to the doctor for a thyroid checkup and appointments like that. We are finally scheduled to make some of that up. I am so thankful that we never had stomach flu at our house, just the colds.
2. Our church had a wedding on Feb. 5 during the regular Sunday morning service. I do plan to blog more about the wedding soon. The wedding reminded me of our wedding with the same version of the Te Deum that we used. Ram was happy to have a copy of the music in front of him because he did not have a copy during our wedding and he did not have it memorized like I did!
3. Our church has a fish fry fundraiser for medical expenses for one of our members coming up on Friday. We are happy to be going to help on the fundraiser day. I am so impressed with all the behind the scenes work people from our congregation are doing to get ready for this fundraiser. We are praying for a very successful fundraiser to help this family.
4. The ladies at my mom's church are having an apron party this spring. I have dug out some of my books and aprons to help my mom with her planning. It has been fun to get all that out and look at it again.
5. I volunteered to present at a teacher's conference this fall. I don't know if I will be asked to speak or if they will have enough speakers, but I am hoping for a chance to do a little back in the teaching world again.
6. Ram is working hard on his schooling. Reading, writing papers, and doing interviews are all going well.
7. The Lambs are continuing with homeschooling and piano lessons and confirmation class at church. We just keep plugging along and when we finish one book we go on to the next.
8. Because I was sick I have not gotten everything together for our tax lady yet. Hopefully I can finish that by early next week.
9. The dishwasher is fixed. There was some food stuck in it and when that was removed it worked fine. It motivates me to scrape/rinse the dishes a little more. If I owned this house I would invest in a better dishwasher, but I don't so it means scraping and rinsing better.
10. We are studying what activities and day camps this area offers for this summer. So far Lamb 1 and 2 want to do several camps and Lamb 3 hasn't found any that he is interested in. I think it will be a very busy couple of months being chauffeur for what each Lamb is interested in. I am going to look into what the Science Museum offers because I think that is more what Lamb 3 would like to do instead of sports like his brothers. I am happy to let them do different activities in the summer for a week or two instead of committing to an entire fall or entire spring of chauffeuring. Plus I like that they can try out a wide variety of activities and see what interests they would like to pursue more.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

11 days

We are renting an old house. Since we moved in on Labor Day it has seemed something was always broken. I have been very thankful that the landlord is responsible for paying the repair bills, not us. I am also thankful that the landlord takes care of repairs, but it does take a little while because our landlord does not live in our city, so he asks his mom that does live locally to schedule the repairs.

We waited several months to get a pipe repaired in the basement that our kitchen sink was draining into. Everything in our house was working properly for 11 days after that was repaired. Then the dishwasher broke. We have been doing dishes by hand for two days. I will be thankful when the repair man gets here on Friday.

Frugal mom win today: We did not go out to eat tonight, we cooked at home and then I did all the dishes. My Aunt Agnes used to always say to do the dishes after every meal. She said if you don't get behind then it doesn't seem so bad to do one meal worth of dishes. That is so true! When we first moved to the house we bought in ID we had dishwasher problems but we continued to use it, we just had to mop up water afterwards until it was repaired. I have not been without a dishwasher since I was pregnant with Lamb 1 and he will turn 13 in a few weeks. I hope the repairman can fix it on Friday!

The Lambs have had some practice drying dishes, but our kitchen is small so I haven't asked them to do dishes yet. They will be glad when the dishwasher is fixed and they can get out of drying duty.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

My first

Today was the first time in almost 13 years that I went to church on Sunday morning by myself. When Ram was a pastor in the parish, it was up to me to stay home with sick Lambs. Today Ram stayed home with the sick Lambs. All 3 Lambs have fevers and coughs. I've already told their piano teacher they won't be at lessons this week. This may be a long week, especially if sickness is traded around and back again to different family members. After church I went shopping for more Tylenol for the Lambs, a new humidifier filter, and lots of juice.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Moving and mail

Recently I have been trying to make sure that important information for our taxes is forwarded to our new address. You don't think about any of that until you need something that didn't show up.

Today my mom gave me a catalog for teaching supplies. It had my maiden name and my parents new address. As far as I know I never ordered anything from that company. How could I stay on that mailing list as I lived in several states and my parents moved once? I was on that mailing list 20 years ago.

I bet that some important mail will not follow us even though this junk mail did!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Our weekend

Friday: We watched most of the inauguration coverage in between dropping off and picking up our car for some repairs.

Saturday: The Lambs began confirmation class. Pastor taught about commandments 1-5. He spent a long time on "You shall not murder"-explaining it in terms that the children would understand. I am enjoying my refresher catechism class when I am able to attend with the Lambs.

After confirmation we participated in Fort Wayne, Indiana's March for Life. First we gathered for prayers and speakers. The speaker included Stanton Healthcare in Boise, ID in his talk. Then we marched together through downtown. The weather was unbelievable, it was in the 60s!



Sunday: Lamb 2 and 3 sang this Gerhardt hymn with the Sunday School children during our church service. I thought it fit very well with our other events this weekend. I am printing one verse here, but I encourage you to read through all the verses of this wonderful hymn. I love that the Lambs are learning this in Sunday School.

Why should cross and trial grieve me?
Christ is near with His cheer;
Never will He leave me.
Who can rob me of the heaven
That God's Son For me won
When His life was given?
LSB 756:1

This afternoon Ram took the Lambs to the park for a little while. Then he studied for one of his classes. I worked on a Shutterfly book while I had a code for a free one. I completed our family album for 2015. I am hoping to complete our family album for 2016 before the end of January while I have another code for a free one.

Tomorrow we are back to regular schedule after a crazy week of Symposia at the Seminary and Ram beginning his first classes. We are all looking forward to a "normal" schedule again.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Lord provides...

Sometimes I look back and am amazed at how God works out things "behind the scenes". Sometimes we are blessed before we even have time to think about what we need or pray about it. I have countless examples from our move to Indiana. I wish I would have blogged about more of those during our move.

I recently realized another blessing that I want to share here. Ram's dad traveled a lot for work and had to be dressed up for those business trips. When we were first married Ram's mom tried giving Ram dress clothes as Christmas and birthday gifts-assuming he should work on his professional wardrobe before he graduated from Seminary. He told her then that he would dress like a pastor most of the time he needed to dress up so she could stop those gifts. But we realized that he was going to need more dress shirts and ties in order to do an internship and even just to go to church back in the Midwest. Everyone dresses more formal here than they did in Idaho where he grew up. He said he needed plain white or basic color shirts the most-he owned enough striped ones. Not only did we not have money to buy him a whole new wardrobe, we really didn't have time to spend shopping.

Ram's dad retired last summer. He cleaned out his dress shirts and gave Ram a whole bunch. After retiring he not only will wear dress clothes less often-but it won't be an issue of traveling with enough clothes/having enough clothes to do laundry. The timing of Ram's dad's retirement and not needing as many dress clothes and Ram's going back to school and needing dress clothes is just another example of God's plan for us. We are very blessed.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Mom's homemade food

My parents had a chili contest today as part of an event at their church. We attended with them. They had small bowls to write the number of each of 9 pots of chili, get a sample in each of your small bowls, and after trying then you voted for your favorite.

After getting my samples I sat down and tried them. After one bite of the first one I tried I said, "This tastes like my mom's chili! Did she bring a pot?" My dad answered yes, but he didn't know which pot was hers. I arrived after they set up and I did not know if my mom had entered the contest or just brought dessert. It turned out it was her chili! Unless she served chili when we visited on vacation, I don't think I had her chili in at least 13, probably closer to 15 years!

I think I know why I could recognize my mom's chili. My mom was frugal in her cooking during my childhood. Chili was served often. Her recipe had lots of beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and less hamburger. When I was teaching I asked her to make chili for a potato topping for a potato bar when the teachers served at a church supper. Her chili as a topping was so popular that we ran out. The recipe is not spicy, but I like it.

The next one I tried, I thought it tasted a lot like the chili that Ram's mom makes. She often served chili when we visited so I have had hers more recently. It turned out to be one of the pastors made it and I think it was Paleo or at least close to Paleo which made me think that it was like Ram's mom's chili. It was more spicy than my mom's chili, but also very good and won the contest today.

Lamb 2 ended up voting for the first sample he tried. It didn't seem special to me, was just a regular recipe for chili. I think he liked it because it was familiar. Lamb 3 is not a big chili eater and had said he was glad there was salad and dessert because he did not plan on trying all the chili. But when he saw the pot that looked like Cincinnati chili with spaghetti noodles, he wanted that and ate 2 helpings and voted for it!

Unfortunately Lamb 1 was not feeling well during church so we thought it was best if Ram took Lamb 1 home. We have a busy week planned and we hoped that if he rested he would be ready to participate in the rest of our plans this week. He was bummed to miss all this, but happy to stay home and "rest" by watching football. He seemed better tonight so I hope we can go to piano lessons as planned tomorrow.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Decluttering works!

The least favorite chore for me each year is to put away the Christmas decorations. When we lived in MN and I had babies, often it would be several months before the Christmas decorations were packed up and put away. They usually got stuck in the guest room and when we would have company spending the night I would finally get the job done.

This year Ram and the Lambs put the Christmas tree away and left the decorations for me to put away. Once again I dreaded this chore so I put it off for a week. We don't have a lot of room at our rental so I decided to finish the job today.

I was surprised how quickly the project went once I began! This was because I seriously decluttered before we moved. We still have a lot of Christmas decorations, but we gave away a lot before we moved. Everything was labeled and organized in plastic tubs before we moved. It was easy to put everything back in the correct tub today.

We also kept some of our Christmas decorations packed up this year as we are in a rental and didn't have room to get everything out. The Lambs chose their favorite ornaments for the tree and the rest stayed in the tubs. Of course we got out a few other decorations and stockings, but we didn't get out every Advent calendar that we owned. I didn't feel that we were missing anything because our favorites were out. When we finally purchase a house again, we will all rejoice to decorate for Christmas like we did in Idaho.

This motivates me to keep at the decluttering. Even though we gave lots away before we moved, there are several boxes left to really go through and decide what to keep. This reminded me that it is worth the time to declutter.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Successful Week

Just in case you haven't kept up with the Lambs progress, let me start with a review.

Lamb 1 is almost 13 and in 7th grade. We are considering sending him to our Lutheran high school in 9th grade. We may continue homeschooling. Either way, we are spending the next year and a half of homeschool getting him ready for high school. I am expecting more independent work from him this year. I consider myself to have been homeschooling since he was 3 years old. Homeschooling has been good for this firstborn that taught himself to read.

Lamb 2 is 10 1/2 and the right age for 5th grade. He did a year of vision therapy and occupational therapy in 2014. He is ahead of 5th grade in some subjects and behind in other subjects. We are continuing to work on learning to read this year. I learned a lot about how to teach a child with learning difficulties when homeschooling Lamb 2. I love that with homeschooling he is not kept behind in areas that he is capable of working ahead nor made fun of for being behind in other areas.

Lamb 3 is 8 1/2 and the right age for 3rd grade. He is also ahead of 3rd grade in some subjects and behind in other subjects. I have learned a lot about schooling boys when homeschooling Lamb 3. This is the first year he has been interested in learning how to read. We are continuing to work on learning to read this year. Lamb 3 attended our church preschool and we considered sending him to the church for kindergarten, but he wanted to be homeschooled. Homeschooling has been good for him to listen in on lessons for his brothers and to be challenged to keep up with them too.

We got a late start to our school year after moving, but we have completed 71 days of homeschool in Indiana. We added all subjects back in this week after a break this fall from Latin and poetry memorization and subjects like that. This week we began listening to the audio version of Story of the World volume 1. We began reading this together a few years ago but never finished. I am hoping we will be more disciplined to daily listen to the audio version. We began listening to DVDs of Leonard Bernstein Young People concerts. We began listening to Moody Science DVDs. We began Apologia Exploring Creation with Botany. We worked on memorizing the commandments and Lamb 1 worked on memorizing the meanings for the commandments this week.  We are reading about Mozart. Lamb 1 read The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth Speare.

I plan to blog more about what we are doing in homeschool this semester in future posts. I am trying a lot of new curriculum for language arts and I especially want to go into more detail for that.

The Lambs were a little frustrated that school took more time than when we didn't do as many school subjects. But we all kept on and they did well. When I gave them a break this afternoon after working hard all week, they acted like they missed the structure of a longer school day!

I am very pleased with our first intense homeschooling week of 2017. Next week we have some friends coming to visit so we won't have quite so long of school days. Hopefully because we got off to a good start this week we can continue to make good progress.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New jeans

About 5 years ago my sister recommended Levi jeans. I usually used coupons at Kohls and bought myself a new pair of Levis when I needed them.

When we moved I had lots of old jeans. The ladies at church used them for crafts so I had lots to donate. I noticed that several old pairs had holes in the crotch and it seemed so weird to get holes there before the knees. I decided then to not buy any more Levis since I kept having the same problem. I also gave away all my jeans that were too big-which was a problem after all the exercise we got getting our house ready to sell.

I moved here with one pair of jeans that fit and one pair that was a little large. In December the one that fit got a hole in the same place as the other ones. The pair that was a little large in August was very large after my thyroidectomy. This was all a good problem to have, but I felt I needed at least one pair of good jeans.

I used a coupon at Kroger to get $5 off an Old Navy gift card. I used Giving Assistant to get a couple more dollars off my Old Navy order. I ordered exactly enough to get free shipping. I probably could have waited for a sale, but I was happy with that savings so I could get new jeans now. I have never owned or tried on Old Navy jeans, so I took a chance ordering a size smaller than I used to wear. I ordered size tall.

2 pairs of jeans arrived this week. I tried them on and they both fit perfectly. They are the same size, but different styles and one was too long. I don't ever remember owning a pair of jeans that was too long! I decided immediately to keep both pairs-even if I have to roll one pair up, it will make me smile each time I wear them!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January update

Here is a glimpse into our life right now. Hopefully I can blog about these in more detail soon.

*Ram will begin classes for his degree next week. Our family really needed the down time for the last few months to get ready for this next chapter of our lives. We are all excited that he will now begin classes.
*Ram preached at our new church once in December and did pulpit supply (substitute preach) at a church a little south of us on New Year's Day. It was strange to be the pastor's family again for these. I am so glad he had a chance to use his talent for these before he begins classes.
*Our health insurance ended at the end of the year and we are trying Samaritan Ministries this year. I will blog about this as we get more experienced with our new "insurance".
*I was determined to return to more homeschool subjects and accomplish more in homeschooling than we did last fall after moving. I did some serious planning over Christmas vacation with the goal of getting Lamb 1 ready for high school whether we put him in high school or continue to homeschool. I plan to blog more about what we are doing in homeschool this semester.
*We are getting settled into activities at our new church and continuing to meet people there. We are going to have all the Lambs sit in on confirmation class this spring with the goal of confirmation for Lamb 1 and first communion for Lamb 2 and Lamb 3 in May.
*The Lambs are continuing piano lessons. I love that their piano teacher assigns Lamb 1 LSB hymns to practice. They also enjoy going to a weekly program at the library. They want to do more activities, especially sports, and we are still working on what will be a good fit for the Lambs and will work with our schedule (working around church activities and Ram's classes).
*The Seminary Symposia is next week. We are looking forward to seeing many friends, some of whom we have not seen for several years. Ram begins classes for his program next week so he is unable to attend Symposia, but we will still see friends. Our rental house does not have room for visitors so I look forward to getting our own place when Ram graduates so we can host for times like this.
*Recently I spent some time reading some of my old blog posts. I am determined to blog more often in 2017. It is interesting to go back 6 months or a year and reminisce both the good and bad times. So much that happened in 2016 was not recorded due to our move. I also hope to go back and blog about some more of 2016.
*We are still getting settled in our rental home. This is a slow progress, but it is progress. We are waiting for a few more repairs to be done by our landlord.
*We took the Christmas tree down the day after Epiphany, but there are still Christmas decorations to organize and pack away.
*We have had some car repairs recently. I am thankful for a husband that takes care of scheduling all that so that all I have to do is drop him off or pick him up if it is going to take more than a day.
*I am getting used to grocery shopping here. Today I was pleased that a raincheck and a digital coupon worked together. I am learning how to use my smartphone at the grocery. Our pantry is gradually getting stocked when items we use frequently are on sale. This makes life so much easier.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Just like Pizza Hut!

Today for lunch I had each Lamb make their own mini pizza. I had some pizza toppings to use up and they each like different toppings with no cheese for Lamb 1. While they were baking, Lamb 3 said, "This is just like Book-it!" It really was because I used to read to the Lambs while we waited to be served at Pizza Hut and we read today while we waited for our pizza to bake. Due to Lamb 1 outgrowing Book-it and our move, we took this year off of Book-it. Maybe we can continue the tradition at home now.