Tuesday, November 30, 2010


First, I'm sorry for the lack of blogging recently. We have had internet connection problems recently. Ram's dad gave us a new to us router that could be causing some of the problems. We have had internet sometimes and sometimes not for the past few days. I had other things to do on the computer when I had a connection so blogging didn't happen. I may not blog very much while we figure this out. Hopefully we'll figure it out soon.
On Sunday, someone commented to me that I needed to "hang in there"- that our family would be going home soon. Yes, my dad was here for over a month and my mom was here with him for over a week. Then we had a week break before Ram's parents came for about a week. Yes, I did more cooking and while my parents were here more laundry. Yes, I cleaned the house a little more before Ram's parents came. I found that comment on Sunday as odd. We love having both sides of our family visit. We live so far from our family that their visits are never long enough. The boys love having grandparents to play with them and read to them. I love having grandparents here to entertain the boys so I can cook without interruptions. My dad is a handyman when he visits-doing the tasks around the house that Ram doesn't have time to do. Ram's dad usually cleans up and organizes files on our computer when he visits. Ram's mom talks to me and gives me ideas to make me a better mom/homeschooler/housekeeper from her experiences raising 3 boys. My mom usually bakes treats when she visits. That comment on Sunday made me count another blessing-that we get along with both sides of our family and my sister. We like having all of them visit. Unfortunately, that is getting to be very rare in society today.
Maybe it also has something to do that our family is only Ram's one Grandma, both sets of parents, and my one sister. We remember our loved ones in heaven while counting our blessings of those that are still here with us.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I commented to Ram that I thought I had missed the perfect age for reading some books to Lamb 1. You know how you have to be organized with baby clothes or your baby may outgrow them before you ever had them wear that cute outfit once? We have so many books that my lack of organization meant that there are some books that are better for toddlers or preschoolers that I never read to Lamb 1 and he is now in first grade. Thankfully we still have a toddler and a preschooler to read them to. Ram told me that you never outgrow books. Classic books can be enjoyed by all the Lambs and me too! Whew, one more thing that I don't need to worry about.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A HUGE Unexpected Blessing

We received the bill from Mayo for Ram's surgery a few days ago. The total bill for doctor and hospital was over $66,000. We were expecting to be billed 20% of that. Ram opened the mail and handed it to me. It was UNBELIEVABLE, our portion after insurance was just $50! I'm sure there will be other bills and this bill from Mayo is not the end, but we were expecting a much larger bill for major surgery. The $50 was the copayments for two doctor visits! Lamb 2 needed a small filling the week before Ram's surgery and our bill for that was double what Ram's major surgery was. I have several stories of how God has truly worked out ALL the details before and after Ram's surgery, but this one is the best! Thank you, Jesus!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Anniversaries Today

37 years-My baptism anniversary is today. I praise God that I became His child today! I was baptized on Thanksgiving Day, but my baptism anniversary day is not on Thanksgiving Day every year. Happy Baptism Anniversary to Ewe!

7 1/2 years-Ram's ordination and installation into the Holy Ministry. It is hard to believe that he has been a pastor and we have lived in this parsonage for 7 1/2 years. Happy Ordination Anniversary to Ram!

4 1/2 years-Lamb 2 has been telling everyone for weeks now that he is going to be 4 1/2 on Thanksgiving Day. He has a difficult time because he will never catch up to Lamb 1 in age. When my friend met Lamb 2 for the first time she said, "Lamb 2 sure is cute, but I can tell he is a real stinker at times too." That statement really does sum up Lamb 2 well. He loves to sing and the misbehavior that usually gets him in trouble the most is singing/talking loudly at inappropriate times (during meals, at church). As much as it is annoying to constantly have Lamb 2 singing, it is a joy to hear happy, singing, Lamb 2. Happy half birthday, Lamb 2!

Lamb 2 with the first fish he caught.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful for...

Ram is one of two pastors in our district that has a tri-parish. He gets a paycheck twice a month from each church. (6 paychecks a month) While Ram was recovering the churches were generous enough to continue to pay him full salary until we found out if he would be approved for disability. (He was so his future paychecks will be adjusted for this.) I took his paychecks to the bank. Ram usually does the banking. The occasional times that I do the banking, I usually go to drive up. The drive up is being repaired and for about a month it is closed. So while Ram was recovering, I had many contacts with the tellers that I usually do not have.
One day a teller commented that she was glad that she wasn't a pastor because she wouldn't want to do paperwork for 3 paychecks. I could have easily commented that was only the beginning because we have the paperwork for taxes for 3 churches too, but I took another direction with the conversation. She wasn't aware that Ram had surgery. So I talked about how thankful we were that he had a job with health insurance during this time. I talked about how thankful we were to have members from 3 different churches praying for us, dropping off meals, and whatever they could do to help us at the time.
I'm sure that the teller had no idea when she made that "small talk" comment what she was saying to me. Sometimes scheduling is difficult with a tri-parish. Sometimes Ram is exhausted after 3 services 42 miles round trip on Sunday morning. Sometimes I get tired of the paperwork for taxes for a tri-parish. The bank teller's comment was a good reminder to me of how blessed we are.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What is the hurry?

I have a friend that begins decorating for Christmas on Veteran's Day. She works so she does a little decorating each day (and she has a lot of decorations inside and outside) up early in December.

Last week we waited in the car while Ram went to a door to drop something off. The Lambs commented that it was strange that they had both fall and Christmas decorations up at the same time outside their house. I answered that sometimes that was necessary in MN where people don't want to put their outside decorations up in winter weather. Other than that, I agreed with the Lambs that it was strange.

We were at Costco in September and they already had Christmas decorations for sale. The Lambs couldn't figure out what Saint Nick was doing at Costco in September.

Our local early childhood group is having their Christmas party on November 30. I plan to take the Lambs, but I'm sure I will have a difficult time being in the Christmas mood especially to sing Christmas songs that early.

My family waited until the end of Advent to put our Christmas tree up when I was growing up. We tried to wait until Christmas Eve, but sometimes because of my dad's schedule as a pastor we did it a few days before Christmas Eve. Some years it was difficult to find a live tree that was still alive by waiting that long. Some years if we needed new lights they were already 75% off by then. We would then leave our tree up for the 12 days of Christmas and celebrate Epiphany before we took it down.

Please enjoy Thanksgiving with your family instead of worrying about Christmas already. Just because the world starts selling decorations for Christmas in September and starts decorating for Christmas before Halloween, please don't get stressed if you don't have your decorations up the day after Thanksgiving. Your children will have memories of Christmas whether the tree is decorated for 24 days before Christmas or just one day. Remember that you do not have to take the tree down the day after Christmas either. We often take photos of the Lambs in their Christmas outfits in front of the tree in January, not during Christmas week when Ram is so busy with church services.
Please remember to keep Christ in Christmas. Take some time for prayer and personal devotions during this busy time of the year. If your church has midweek Advent services, be sure to attend all of them, not make an excuse that you are too busy. That is more important than Christmas decorations.  I want my Lambs to have memories of the fun things we do during the Christmas season, not a stressed out mom because I rushed to Christmas and forgot about Advent.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rejoicing in the little things...

I had a lot more laundry to do last week than I did during the month before. I'm thankful that I was able to wash clerical shirts and black pants and black dress socks instead of t-shirts, pajamas, and white socks for Ram.
Ram was able to hold Lamb 3 after his nap time last week. Lamb 3 really missed this time with Papa last month. Cooking supper was much easier when Ram could attend to Lamb 3. Ram even lifted Lamb 3 out of his crib a few times last week.
We went through a lot of cereal and granola last month. Ram usually doesn't eat breakfast but he did for the month of recovery. I'm expecting that our cereal from WIC and the granola I make will last much longer now that Ram is back to work.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week 7 School Report

Monday we had a big shopping day, the first time our family all went shopping since before Ram's surgery, so since September. We had school Tuesday-Friday. Saturday we had a day of running errands; Ewe cut Ram, Lamb 2, and Lamb 3's hair; and taking it easy before Ram's first Sunday back for 3 church services. We will have school on Monday. We will take a Thanksgiving break for the rest of the week because Ram's parents will be here. I can't believe today is the last Sunday of the church year and Advent begins next Sunday. I feel like I lost 2 months in 2010-oh yeah, we did lose 6 weeks while Ram recovered!
Here's what we accomplished last week:
Bible: Memorized 2 Timothy 4:18. Did the Bible stories of Wise Men, John prepares the way, Baptism of Jesus, and Jesus Calls the first disciples.
Reading: We read a lot of books this week. I'm just pulling them off the shelf and reading them. So this week we read a lot by Eric Carle, Margaret Wise Brown, and Jan Brett. I am also trying to involve Lamb 1 more in reading words that he knows while I read aloud.
Handwriting: Lamb 2 continues to work on his numbers in his Kumon book-big improvement over the last 7 school weeks!
Art: Lamb 1 continues to work on his Kumon drawing book.
Music: Listened to Bach and Yo Yo Ma.
Math: Lamb 1 began Saxon math 2. It has more writing (days of week, months of year, etc.) than Alpha MUS did. He is capable of doing more writing in math, he just doesn't want to. We only did it one week, but I'm pleased with Saxon. Perhaps it is because I used Saxon in the classroom so I can teach Saxon math 1 or 2 easily. I require Lamb 1 to write the entire date out (Sunday, November 21, 2010) so that is part of the writing that he doesn't like, but I think is good for him.
Both Lambs worked on their dot to dot books. I plan to begin Alpha MUS with Lamb 2 when he finishes the Kumon numbers book.
The Lambs chose MUS blocks to play with one day this week. It was interesting to watch and listen to them play with math blocks during play time. Lamb 1 decided to build a house out of the blocks and then the people were other blocks. The people were the same age as their blocks-the baby was a 2 block, boy was 6 block, etc.
Other: The Lambs watched Charlie Brown Thanksgiving twice.
Ewe tried cooking two of our family favorite recipes-borscht and dal. Ram always made those before. Ewe was successful!
We also did some cleaning/organizing after Ewe's parents were here before Ram's parents come next week. The dining room table is completely cleared off which only happens once or twice a year. Ewe is trying a new system for organizing paperwork and I'm hoping the dining room table at least stays free from Thanksgiving to Christmas so we can eat there for both holidays. I'm hoping if I start with a small goal like this, perhaps the clear table will last longer than Christmas.
Ewe organized our library-everything besides theology books-cradle of books, two bookshelves in the Lamb's room, 8 bookshelves in the library, 1 bookshelf of cookbooks, 1 new bookshelf with parenting and housekeeping type books. We could use another bookshelf, but it is nice to not have overflowing bookshelves now.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

LWML Quarterly prayer

Hear my voice when I call, O Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, Lord, I will seek. Psalm 27:7-8

Prayer adapted from Winter 2010 LWML Quarterly...page 16.

Oh, Lord, You know how much my husband and I long to have another child, but it seems as though that is not going to happen. It is difficult to know what further steps, if any, we should take. We need Your guidance and wisdom in making a decision for the future of our family.
Lord, we need to place this great concern totally in Your capable hands as we continue to pray for another child of our own. If that is in Your plan, we will rejoice in the miracle You will perform. If having another child is not to be, we pray for Your strength to accept that and to keep us mindful that we are already a family of 5.
Please continue to encourage us to be good examples to our 3 lambs. Let our time with them bring joy to our hearts as we continue to serve You. In the name of Your own dear Son, Jesus. Amen.

Disclaimer: I hope that adapting this prayer for our family does not offend couples that do not have any children and are praying a child. Ram and I mourn the loss of three Lambs and as we get closer to the first anniversary of our last miscarriage this is on my mind. I have sympathy for my friends TTC, but I can not identify personally with that problem. Only as I have walked this road have I realized how difficult it is when you long for more children, no matter if you already have 0 or 10 children.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


3 little kittens-Yellow?

It seems like Ram's mom kept everything, but I'm sure with 3 boys this is only a fraction of the clothes they had. I still have more outfits for Lamb 3 to be photographed-another day. Unfortunately Lamb 3 is the most difficult to take photos of.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Back to Work

On Monday, we went shopping. It was Ram's last day of full disability. I did very little shopping while Ram was on disability. It is nice to have a stocked pantry before winter. The Lambs and Ram enjoyed our first family day out of the house since Ram's surgery. We ate out twice. I drove more than I usually do on family trips. I had to load the car because Ram is not allowed to lift more than 10 lbs. It was a lot of work to do everything all day-he couldn't even lift Lamb 3 into his car seat. We got home late and then I had to unload the car-first the Lambs that were all asleep, then the groceries. The big grocery that we shop at had some incredible deals-including turkey for 37 cents/lb and free celery and carrots. The pantry is stocked so well that it was difficult to choose what to make for supper. That's a good thing after weeks of I can't make this because I'm missing _______ or I can't make this because I'm missing ________. If you don't live in a rural area, you wouldn't understand that frustration.
Tuesday, I was exhausted and tried to sleep in. Even though they were in bed way past their bedtime, the Lambs were wide awake before 8am. When I finally got out of bed, it had snowed both inside and outside. Outside was just a dusting, but the first snow we had. We didn't get any snow over the weekend. Inside, the Lambs had covered the living room with sheets of white paper. Before we had school they had to "shovel" the living room.
Ram went back to work part time on Tuesday. He's still being careful to not overdo it. That means that I'm still on full cooking and cleaning duty. For supper I made hummus and cut up veggies to tide them over because the soup took so long. I made borscht. Yummy!
While my dad was here he put together one more bookshelf for us. Tuesday night I spent trying to shift our library so that more of the books will fit on the shelves. One more shelf will not be enough to get everything on the shelf. Sigh. Such is life when 2 bibliophiles get married. I shifted about 1/2 of our library and hopefully I can finish this week in the evenings after the Lambs go to bed.
Tuesday night I also organized our CPH Bible story posters. Lamb 1 noticed right away that the set of posters that I just began with the Lambs had a lot of repeat stories. Repetition is good, but we just did many of the stories a few months ago. I hope that the new way I organized them will solve that problem.
Lamb 1 began Saxon Math 2 on Tuesday. He completed side one of the first worksheet before I even knew he had opened the book. I think we will both be much happier with Saxon, especially if he can do more independently. I was hoping it would be challenging for him, but so far we have the same problem as before that it is too easy. We'll see as we continue to work through Math 2.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Happy Birthday to my sister, Hannah!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Week 6 School Report

We accomplished a lot this week. Ewe's parents were both here this whole week. Here's what we accomplished this week:
Bible: Memorized Isaiah 43:1 and began learning 2 Timothy 4:18. Did the Bible stories-Mary visits Elizabeth, Birth of John, Birth of Jesus, and Presentation of Jesus. We reviewed the commandments on the Sing the Faith CD.
Latin: Reviewed in Prima Latina-still not ready to add Latin back in after Ram's surgery.
Reading: We finished reading a Mother Goose book. I chose this book for Lamb 3, but it was a good review for Lamb 1 and 2. We read some classic books-Billy and Blaze, Blaze finds the Trail, Five Chinese Brothers, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I'm trying to rotate the books we own as we have never read many of them together. I'm going to have to get more Billy and Blaze books because the Lambs loved them.
Handwriting: Lamb 1 finished his Kumon Uppercase Letters book. It was a good review for him and we tried to correct some of his bad habits. Then he began a "Get ready for school" workbook. Some of it is too easy for him, but I'm having him use his best handwriting and read the directions himself. It starts basic-write your name, address, phone number and he also read and talked about his daily schedule-his is a little different from a school setting.
Lamb 2 and 3 both are working on their own Kumon coloring books. Lamb 3 was thrilled to join in during school time with his own book.
Science: We don't have TV so we couldn't watch Great Migrations, but I'm hoping that we can get the DVDs eventually. My dad let them have a map that was in his National Geographic. Lamb 1 and I read about the animals migration patterns. We also did a lot of geography talking about the world map.
We finished reading/putting stickers in our Jungle World sticker book. They now recognize a lot more animals from this. Lamb 3 loved to be included in this. I wouldn't have even thought of giving a sticker book like this to the other Lambs when they were 2. Lamb 3 was very good at matching up where the stickers went.
Music: We read/sang/listened to the CD of the book Old Black Fly. My students in the classroom loved this book and so did the Lambs. We sang a lot of fun movement songs together too.
Art: Lamb 1 is working on his Kumon drawing book again after a long break. All 3 Lambs did a lot of play doh with Grandma this week. Lamb 1 and 2 did painting with Grandma. Lamb 3 loved play doh!
Math: Lamb 1 finished Alpha MUS this week. We will begin Saxon Math next week. He did a lot of telling time this week-which was way too easy for him because he knows how to tell time.
Lamb 2 worked on his Kumon numbers book some more this week. He is really improving on writing his numbers.
Both Lambs worked on their dot to dot books.
Other: We did a big variety of activities this week while Grandma and Grandpa were here. We delivered pumpkin pies (I made them) to the nursing home and ate pie there. They organized their crayons so that they each have their own crayon box. This has been a big help both that they each have their own box and they aren't all over MY desk. I organized their books in the baby cradle as it was overflowing again. We colored/wrote some thank you notes. We took photos outside on the nice days-wearing some clothes that belonged to Ram and his brothers when they were children. On the nice days the Lambs played outside a lot. I moved a sewing table into the living room to use as a desk. That prompted the Lambs to move one of their little tables into the basement and set up their own office. I may try to move more of their "paper clutter" to their office in the basement. We did lots of cleaning up the living room and basement. We cleaned out one toybox and got rid of about 1/2 of the box. Now that they have picked 1/2 to give away, I plan to look through that toybox and get rid of 1/4 more when they aren't helping me. Veteran's Day meant double stamps at our bank for their savings accounts, so we made deposits. Lamb 2 had plenty of stamps so he chose 2 medium sized cars. All 3 Lambs have enjoyed playing with Lamb 2's prize. We made homemade pizza one night. They put on their aprons and chef hats and all 3 put the toppings on part of the pizza. Lamb 3 was thrilled to help make the pizza. Lamb 1 helped Grandma make cornbread and Lamb 2 helped me make chili one night. One day they built a small town in the living room-with their few Fisher Price buildings and other blocks-then got out their cars and Fisher Price people. My dad put together another bookcase for us. I'm going to try to organize our library some more after they go home. It was a fun week with my parents here. If the weather is ok, they plan to go home on Monday and Ram plans to go back to work part time on Tuesday. We will have about a week of a "normal" routine before Ram's parents come for Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 12, 2010

One of many blessings

1. I've been hesitant to post this because I'm afraid people will not understand what I am writing here. We have been very blessed through this experience. Please DO NOT send us money after reading this post.
2. There are many many stories I could tell about how God was with us through the whole experience of Ram's surgery. God truly worked out every detail-even working out details that I had not thought of. I do plan to eventually post many of the blessings because it was so amazing to me that I want to share. I haven't quite worked out what to call these posts. I haven't made a list of these blessings yet. #3 was so amazing that I had to share it now.
3. First, I want to explain that Ram had lots of expensive medical tests done this summer before they found the tumor. He had a physical in June that started the process. We lost count of how many blood tests they did and they were not just routine blood tests. He saw 2 different specialists plus his regular doctor multiple times. He had a bone marrow biopsy. He had a colonoscopy and endoscopy. He had 2 CT scans. All of that was before he went to Mayo.
We chose to have the church move us from plan B to plan C insurance last year. We figured we were relatively healthy so it would save the church money to be on plan C. We had no idea when we made that decision that Ram would need major surgery. So copayments and medical bills are up from what we would have on plan B.
We had received bills for the first CT scan Ram had and the insurance statements matched up. God has provided for our medical bills so I wasn't worried, but I expected to see bills for his second CT scan that were equal to the first CT scan.  He also saw a specialist that day that he had a second CT scan. So I was expecting to receive a bill for the specialist visit that day plus several bills for the second CT scan.
Last week we received a bill for the second CT scan plus the specialist he saw that day. I am amazed that the bill was for $25 copayment to see the specialist plus ZERO for the CT scan. This total bill was over $5000. After insurance we owe just $25. Now I know that there will probably be more than one bill for each CT scan. I know that insurance has not sent us a statement to verify this. But receiving a bill means more than a statement to me. It is AMAZING to me that our insurance paid almost $5000 for this day.
Thank you Jesus, that we received a paid in full bill for an expensive test before he got to Mayo.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Prayer Request-UPDATED

My friend Gina, her son, John, received word that the organs he needs are waiting for him for his transplant. She blogged about the transplant here a few weeks ago. The surgery will be tomorrow. Thank you, Jesus, for providing the organs a few weeks after he was listed as needing a transplant.
Please pray for:
*Mark and Gina to have strength to be good parents through all this. I'm sure during recovery Mark and Gina will be separated while Gina stays at the hospital and Mark goes back home. Especially pray for Mark and Gina during the long waiting time of 5+ hours of surgery.
*John to be strong.
*The doctors and nurses to do their job well-both at the surgery and as they care for John after the surgery.
*The transplant to be successful.
*Their dog to be cared for while they are at the hospital.
*The family that was so generous to give the organs from their child at their time of grief.
*That ALL the details are worked out for them at both the hospital and at home during this time of surgery and recovery.
*That the financial details are worked out too.
*That they have spiritual care from a pastor near the hospital.
*Their church members while their pastor, Mark, is at the hospital.
*Mark as he travels back and forth from the hospital to home. Good weather for Mark to travel.
*Their house and car to be safe and work properly while they are at the hospital.
*Mark and Gina to remain healthy while they take care of John while he recovers.
*Swift recovery and few complications during John's recovery.

After Ram's surgery I have a better understanding of surgery since I never had surgery before. I still can't even imagine what Mark and Gina are going through during this. Please join me in praying for them.

11/12/10 8AM UPDATE: I should have posted this sooner, but it was a crazy day for them yesterday. They traveled to the hospital on Wednesday and the surgery was scheduled for Thursday. The organs were too damaged to use. John was released from the hospital. They wait for God's perfect timing.
After he was released from the hospital, the hospital called that John had an infection. They had the choice of going back to that hospital or going to their hospital closer to home. They know the staff and doctors at the hospital closer to home so they chose to go there. I don't do Facebook so I don't have a more up to date update, but the last I heard they were traveling to that hospital closer to home and they expect John to be in the hospital for at least 4 days.
They did a lot of traveling the last few days. They have had a lot of emotions getting ready for the surgery and then not having the surgery and then he is sick. They have to wait longer for the transplant. Please continue to keep them in your prayers.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Week 5 School Report

We're still doing shortened school days/not all subjects while Ram is recovering. Here's what we accomplished last week.
Religion: Memorized Psalm 145:13 and the first two verses of For All the Saints. Read the Bible story of Birth of John foretold.
Handwriting: Lamb 1 practiced writing his uppercase letters. Lamb 2 practiced writing his numbers. He is improving on writing his numbers. He can now write 1,2,4,5,6, 7. We're still working on 0, 3, 8, 9.
Reading: We read lots of Mother Goose especially for Lamb 3. We read some of our other favorite books too.
Science: We worked on our jungle sticker book some more-reading about the jungle animals and putting stickers in the correct places.
Music: We listened to Beethoven. I attended a workshop on music and movement. We sang some of the new songs/chants/fingerplays that I learned at the workshop. I tried listening to a CD/book that was recommended by an author called Boyton. Lamb 1 couldn't stand the rock music. Lamb 2 and 3 enjoyed dancing to the music. I'm not sure what we'll do with this since Lamb 1 can't stand it and Lamb 2 and 3 enjoy it.
Math: Both Lambs worked on their dot to dot books. Some days they did their dot to dot books backwards (100-1 instead of 1-100). Lamb 2 worked on his Kumon numbers book. Lamb 1 finished lesson 29 in MUS and began lesson 30. Lamb 1 also worked on telling time/counting by 5s in his MUS book. When Lamb 1 finishes lesson 30 he will complete Alpha MUS. We should begin our new math book next week.
Other: Lamb 1 swept the whole garage. Lamb 2 and 3 had checkups at WIC and did well. We've had lots of clean up the toys. They had a babysitter one night. They've played lots of Lincoln Logs and built train track and played trains. We've had mild fall weather and they've played outside a lot. They helped make and decorate my birthday cake. We've written/colored some thank you notes and cards for family birthdays. My parents came on Friday night and will be here until next Monday. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Birthday to Ewe!

I have a few photos to post from my birthday. It is very different from the many photos I want to post when a Lamb has a birthday!
Lamb 1 and my mom decorated my birthday cake after supper on Saturday night. It looked too delicious to wait another day to eat it. So they sang "Happy Birthday" and we ate it the night before my birthday. It was yummy!
My sister called at 12:30am (1:30 if the time hadn't changed) to wish me Happy Birthday. She has not given us a phone number to call her except for emergencies so I can't even get her back on her birthday next week. I was sleeping too soundly to have a response for her.
Sunday I took cut up fruit to share at Sunday School. When I taught in the classroom I always took cupcakes. I didn't want my Lambs to have more sugar after Halloween candy and birthday cake at home. I knew the other mom at church didn't want her kids to have more sugar. Lamb 1 and 2 and the two other kids in Sunday School loved the fruit. They had many helpings. The mom was so glad that I brought fruit. It was also a nice treat because the time had changed and our church is at 11am so they were ready for lunch before church. Lamb 3 and the youngest child from the other family didn't want the fruit. Oh well, 4 children were happy with "birthday fruit".
We observed All Saints' Day at church. Ram picked the hymns for November in a hurry before his surgery. He forgot to pick All Saints' Day hymns for yesterday. The Lambs had practiced "For All the Saints" but it wasn't picked. The organist happened to play it for preservice music so the Lambs sang along. We did sing some other All Saints' Day hymns. Those hymns are some of my favorite hymns because they are so comforting.
After church we opened presents and ate a fast lunch. There was a funeral at the church next door yesterday afternoon. Another pastor did the funeral since Ram isn't up to that yet. We took a nap and then we went to the funeral luncheon. They had more than they expected at the funeral so there wasn't much food left. The Lambs had a sandwich. I helped them clean up and do dishes. The Lambs went home to play outside in the beautiful weather.
We called Ram's mom and then we all (including my parents) headed to a restaurant over the border in SD. We had enough people that our appetizer was free and my birthday meal was free. The Lambs received free sundaes because it was Sunday. It was steak night so my dad and I had "all you can eat" steak. It was a nice birthday dinner. We hadn't been out to eat there for several months so it was a real treat. It was a good birthday weekend.
Ram gave me my present early. I used it to cook dinner on Saturday night.
http://www.oldlutheran.com/ if you want one of your own!

Ram's mom gave me this cute apron and many other gifts. (Ignore the messy background including the palm leaves on the picture on the wall.)

Ram's mom always gives one gift to everyone in the family that doesn't have a birthday. The Lambs received park ranger vests. They don't even know what a park ranger is, but they wore these for a long time yesterday while they were playing.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Spy!

Lamb 1 and Ewe's mom decorated a birthday cake. Look closely at the chocolate chips. How old is Ewe today? Lamb 1 enjoyed decorating the cake.

Thanks to Wendy and her Lost Boys for the recipe for chocolate carrot cake! I made the cake and my mom made the frosting and helped the Lambs decorate it. I've made this cake once before and it is delicious!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

November 6, 2000

It's hard to believe this was 10 years ago...

Ram organized for my friend Karen to kidnap me for an hour. We went to a book store while Ram was busy at my house. I remember being mildly worried to leave a guy that I had just met a few months before at my house by himself! He made supper of pork chops, baked potatoes, broccoli, and wine. When I came back there was a rose on my plate and a candlelit dinner ready.
After dinner he took me in my bedroom. My house was only 800 square feet total. There was only the kitchen, living room where we also ate, small bathroom, my bedroom, and my office. He had arranged roses on the bed with a card in the middle. Under the birthday card was a card from the florist. On the card from the florist he had written, "Will you marry me?" He pulled the ring out of his pocket and kissed me. He showed me the wedding band. We called his parents and then we went across town to show my parents. His parents were impressed that he made dinner when he had done very little cooking before that. I was impressed that he borrowed some items to make supper/set the table from his friends because he couldn't ask me where I kept things or it wouldn't have been a surprise. He was teased because he never ASKED me to marry him, he just wrote a note. A week later when he had my ring resized he got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. I said "YES"and got more kisses!
The next day after he proposed was my birthday. He had to work so my parents took me out to eat for my birthday without him. I don't think I did very much teaching on my birthday-I had to show everyone my ring. I remember one mom dropped her son off for school and I showed her and she was shocked. She ran home and got a gift for me both because it was my birthday and because I got engaged. She couldn't believe I was engaged when she hadn't even met him at any church or school events. I didn't tell her that our first date was in September and we got engaged in November! I still have her gift and we're still in contact.
I kept my engagement a secret until Ram and I went to visit my sister the following week for her birthday. It was really hard to keep that a secret from her for a week. A few weeks later Ram left for his vicarage for a year in the New Orleans area.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fall Vacation Day 9-September 13-Part 1

Our last day in Fort Wayne was a fun day. First my dad and I took the Lambs to the Fort Wayne Zoo. Here are some of the photos from the day.
I have photos in this jeep when I was little and went to the Fort Wayne zoo. They were too expensive to maintain so our Lambs never got to ride in them. They sure have fun pretending to drive them. Everyone needed a turn to pretend to drive so Grandpa got a good break on the bench.
I also took a lot of photos at the drinking fountain shaped like a lion because I drank out of that fountain when I was little, but the photos of the Lambs didn't turn out very well.

Lamb 2

My 3 joeys
I wonder how many children have had their photo taken in this kangaroo pouch?

Lamb 3

This photo was a big deal because it is the first time Lamb 1 was brave enough to pet/brush/get this close to a goat.

The Lambs were anxious to ride the carousel so this was the best photo I could get. Children below the yellow line in height are free. I'm pretty sure that Lamb 1 was short enough to ride the carousel free the last time we went to the zoo, 2 years ago. This will probably be the last time that Lamb 2 is short enough to be free.

While I was on the carousel the lens protector fell off my camera and I chased it while the carousel was going. I didn't have time to examine my camera at the zoo with 3 active Lambs. I was worried about it until I had time to look that it was just the lens protector, not the lens. That's the problem with taking a nice camera to some place like the zoo.

After a fun day at the zoo then my mom, sister, and I took the Lambs to a local splash pad. Lamb 1 and 2 had a great time. Lamb 3 was more interested in the playground than the splash pad. That was ok because we had enough adults to watch all the Lambs. I was exhausted after all we did that day.

More photos of my family and the final days of our vacation to come next week.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


We have a babysitter coming tonight because Ram can't watch the children alone yet and I have a meeting. We spent this week doing lots of cleaning and organizing before my parents come (Friday night or Saturday) and before Ram's parents come for Thanksgiving. So I've been doing other tasks, but I decided we should check on the playroom in the basement-it would be nice to be cleaned up so they can play down there while the babysitter is here since Ram will also be here.
OH MY GOODNESS! It had not been that long since we did a major clean up the basement toys. They have 2 Thomas "tents" in the basement and they had those stuffed completely. Toys that belong upstairs, clothes packed in bags that belong upstairs (they were going pretend camping so they packed their clothes), suitcases (thankfully empty) that belong in a different part of the basement, all the contents of their play kitchen (dishes and play food)-all of that in these tents.
We've had problems that have become worse recently at clean up time. The past few days they have got out and mixed up ALL their card games-that takes a long time to sort out all the games and put them away. The card games were several days in a row, not just once. Lamb 3 plays the whole time. Lamb 2 picks up a few things and then plays. Lamb 1 works most of the time but complains that no one is helping him. Lamb 1 also has a good point that he usually (not in the case of the tent mess today) didn't get most of the toys out-Lamb 2 and 3 did. Ram isn't able to help at all right now so if I help clean up then usually one Lamb works with me and the other two are unsupervised. I've been too busy during Ram's recovery time to really devote to cleaning up with the Lambs. I get frustrated spending my time on this but they are really too young to clean it all up without some supervision.
I feel like I've tried everything at clean up time-setting the timer, rewards, punishments, assigning a section to each Lamb to clean up, no eating lunch until it's cleaned up, etc. I'm frustrated because part of the problem is they just have SO MUCH. I have a friend that is trying to live closer to an Amish lifestyle. They got rid of their TV, really downsized clothes and toys, and have a family closet. I'm trying to downsize toys and clothes but it is just so overwhelming because there are so many areas to clean out. While Ram is recovering and while our parents are visiting are not the times to be doing major clean out projects. I had great plans and I accomplished a lot this summer, but I didn't get to a lot of areas that desperately need to be done.
The Lambs do have a place for everything-tubs for trains, train tracks, trucks, music instruments, etc.; cradle for books, barn for farm toys, shelf for games, boxes for toy cars, etc. Some of their toys are overflowing these places, but the problem is not that they don't know where to put their toys.
I know the Duggers put all their toys in bins and just get out one or two bins at a time so the toys seem new each time they get out a new bin. I like that idea but even with our Lambs 2 years apart, they all want to play with different things. Especially Lamb 1 and 3 don't want to play with the same toys. We have put most of the toys in the basement and the toys that they play with frequently in the living room. That's why I was so upset that the basement had toys that belonged upstairs.
One of our members said her husband required their children to clean up before every nap time and before every bed time. Sometimes I think that would be a good idea because it would be less to clean up. Other times I think, why would I want this battle for clean up twice a day instead of just once a day?
What I ended up doing today was having Lamb 1 put the clothes away that were in the basement. When he finished that then I had Lamb 1 clean up the living room. I put Lamb 3 down for rest time so he wasn't playing while we were working. Lamb 2 and I cleaned up the basement by ourselves. Ram was upstairs to supervise Lamb 1 cleaning up. We got everything cleaned up, but I didn't like that all 3 Lambs made the mess in the basement and only Lamb 2 cleaned it up. Plus I did far too much of the clean up when the toys belong to them.
I'm trying to think of a temporary solution until I have time to clean out their toys. I think we are going to try the twice a day clean up. I'm also going to set the timer for a reasonable amount to clean up and whatever is not cleaned up at the end of that time, I will pick up and sort right then-either throw away, give away, or a box with toys that I think are nice enough (they play with often) that they could work to earn back. Maybe with this system I'll get the toys cleaned out quickly! I'm hoping that just a few times of losing toys this way will convince them to clean up at clean up time. I also plan to move more of the toys from the living room to the basement.
Do you have any other ideas to help with cleaning up toys?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Week 4 School Report

We are still doing light school weeks while Ram is recovering. Here's what we accomplished last week-
Bible: Memorized Ephesians 1:7 and the first verse to A Mighty Fortress. The Lambs sang the first verse well and loudly in church on Sunday. Did the Bible story of the Ten Commandments. Talked about Reformation Day and All Saints Day but didn't study them like I wanted to. Maybe next year.
Reading: We finished reading all the Enid Blyton books we own.
Handwriting: Lamb 1 worked on writing his uppercase letters. Lamb 2 worked on writing his numbers.
Science: We read the current issue of National Geographic Kids and also worked on a jungle sticker book (read and put stickers in the correct places).
Music: Listened to Bach which pleased Lamb 2. Listened to Mozart.
Math: Lamb 1 finished lesson 28 in MUS and began lesson 29. We are almost done with Alpha MUS!
Lamb 2 did some dot to dot and some of his numbers book. The Kumon numbers book has him writing the numbers 1-10. This is very difficult for him but we have seen progress as he works a little each day.
Other: We had a busy week! We made cut out cookies for fall (pumpkins, leaves, apples) and frosted and decorated them with sprinkles. Lamb 3 was so excited to participate in this. Carved pumpkins, decorated more pumpkins with wooden pieces like Mr. Potato Head parts. Lit candles in pumpkins at night. The 3 Lambs had a little runny nose for a few days but no other symptoms of being sick. We went trick or treating twice. Once on Friday night to the stores 7 miles away. Once on Sunday night to people we know in our small town and to the nursing home for carnival games and treats.
On Saturday I took Lamb 3 to Saint Cloud to the Free Conference. The other two Lambs were babysat by Grandpa. Grandpa helped them to build a huge Thomas train track using all the track we own. I hadn't been major grocery shopping since before Ram's surgery so I went to a little of the Free Conference, ate lunch, and then did some shopping. It was nice to get away for the day and also get a lot of shopping done. Lamb 3 helped as much as a 2 1/2 year old can. He was so happy to get to go with Mama.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Lamb 1 cheerfully swept our garage today. We have a 2 car garage and unpaved roads in our town. Sweeping the garage is a big job. While he swept he sang, "For All the Saints" very loudly. Lamb 2 and 3 rode their bikes and didn't help Lamb 1 at all. Lamb 1 prefers to have them out of the way. I don't know which one makes me more glad, that Lamb 1 knows "For All the Saints" or that he willingly swept the garage.

Yesterday I threatened that if Lamb 1 and 2 didn't do their regular chores then they would have to clean the bathroom. I now have 2 clean toilets and 2 clean sinks. I'm glad that our house has 3 toilets and 3 sinks for when Lamb 3 is old enough! Of course it made more work for me to have to supervise the cleaning instead of just quickly doing it myself. They both learned a lot and hopefully next time will be a little easier. Lamb 2 learned not to spray himself in the eye with vinegar-thankfully I use natural products to clean now! I learned that Lamb 2 should clean the sinks and Lamb 1 should clean the toilets if I want them both to be cleaned well.

Hopefully I can post a school report for last week soon.

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints' Day 2010

Thou wast their rock, their fortress, and their might;
Thou Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou in the darkness drear, their one true light.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Oh, blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
(LSB 677:2, 4)

Today we are especially remembering two saints that we love that went to be with Jesus in the last year.

Timothy: January 13, 1948-December 29, 2009
61 years 11 months 16 days
Alive in Christ forever!

Roy: October 3, 1920-February 10, 2010
89 years 4 months 7 days
Alive in Christ forever!

O almighty God, by whom we are graciously knit together as one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of Jesus Christ, our Lord, grant us so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that we may come to those unspeakable joys which you have prepared for those who unfeignedly love you; through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (LW page 116 All Saints' Day Collect of the Day)