Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A visit from friends

The rest of the week after Halloween was a blur of unpacking, getting a few supplies and groceries, unpacking, buying a washer/dryer/refrigerator used, unpacking, eating out until we had a refrigerator, unpacking, and getting ready for the installation. Ewe's parents arrived on Friday and we had not done grocery shopping yet as we had just got our refrigerator on Thursday. So we left them to go out to eat for supper and went and did some major shopping for food to feed our family the weekend of the installation. Saturday Ram's parents arrived and brought us some chairs to go with our kitchen table that they had in storage for us but never brought them out to MN.
Saturday afternoon a family friend of Ram's brought his family to visit. Dan Rutledge was doing some missionary work in Thailand for several years. This year he brought his family back to the States so he could go back for some more schooling. He plans after finishing some schooling here to return to Thailand to work with families there. After several years of sending care packages to their family and reading his blog, it was nice for Ewe to finally meet them. His wife, Mam, is from Thailand and has done well adjusting to living in the USA. The Lambs enjoyed playing in our back yard with their girls. Their youngest is a boy and he was frustrated to be too little to go out and join them. After visiting for a few hours they headed back to their family, we had supper, and tried to get to bed early before Ram's installation day.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Trunk or Treat

I've already blogged about our movers, but they started unloading about 3pm on October 31. We had plenty of time to get into our house that we are renting, make a few decisions about where the movers would put furniture and how we would organize our garage with what we planned to keep in storage, go and pick up Ram's car from the church members that were keeping it in their garage, and take some stuff over to his church office before they got there. Our church has Trunk or Treat on Halloween. So as the movers were unloading, the Lambs put on their Halloween costumes and Ram took them over to church. They went from car to car trick or treating from our church members. I was answering questions for the movers back at home so I didn't take a picture of our doctor, Tigger, or Pooh, but Ram did take this photo.
The Lambs came home with a lot of candy that night and Lamb 1 was pleased to see that most of it was not sticky candy (he has caps on his teeth).
The movers quit unloading about 7pm because they didn't want to be driving their truck through our subdivision after dark on Halloween. First they made sure that our beds were all put back together so that we could sleep there. But we were too exhausted to look for bedding so we decided to go to the hotel for one more night. We went to Applebees and ate supper and headed back to the hotel. It ended up being a quiet Halloween for us but we still did something for the Lambs. We ate breakfast at the hotel and headed back to the house where they started unloading the truck again about 8:30am.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Moving trip part 3

The final day of our moving trip was on Sunday. Before the delay of the moving truck getting to MN one day late, we had planned to arrive on Saturday and then go to church at our new church on Sunday. But with that delay there was no way we could make it there in time for church. So we went swimming at the hotel on Sunday morning, took it easy getting ready and left Pocatello, ID late in the morning. We stopped and got take out at Cracker Barrel in Boise for a late lunch, especially for the Lambs. Then we went to the hotel and changed into church clothes. Then we went to Nampa, ID for a joint Reformation service. It was nice to go to church on Reformation since we couldn't make it there for church in the morning. We could have stayed and ate there, but the Lambs were tired from traveling so we thought it would be better to go.
So we found this restaurant, how perfect for our family!
Our whole family really liked this restaurant and we later discovered there are a couple of locations near us. The Lambs enjoyed ice cream after they were finished eating their meals.
I had planned to call my college friend, Joelle, and tell her that we had arrived, but I couldn't find her phone number. So we drove out to her house and surprised her. It was near bedtime and we got her kids all wound up by playing outside in their backyard. After a little visiting we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the moving truck to arrive the next day.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lambs shopping trip

When the Lambs receive birthday money or money as gifts other times of the year, we have tried to teach them to manage their money. We have tried to have them put 10% in the Sunday School offering, 50% in savings at the bank, and Ewe kept the other 40% for their spending. Vacations are usually to grandma's house, not to a place where they could go shopping. We lived so far from shopping that they rarely had a chance to go spend their money. Lamb 1 spent about $20 on Legos after his birthday last March. So each Lamb had between $30-$50 of spending money. Recently they were complaining that Ewe kept the $ and said they were for spending but they never had a chance to spend them. They also had $ from their art store to spend.
So after we arrived at the Old Faithful visitor center and found out we had about an hour before the next eruption, we took the Lambs to the gift shop. We told them they could spend as much money as was in their envelope or save all of it. Lamb 1 chose a stamper with a buffalo footprint, a small sticker book, a plastic buffalo, and a bookmark. Lamb 2 and 3 each chose a set of small plastic animals and a few bigger plastic animals. One was trying to convince his brothers if they each got a plastic buffalo then they could have a buffalo jam, but one brother didn't want that, he wanted a bear.
When we got up to the register the cashier could see they were spending their own money and she was very patient as they each counted out their money and paid. She gave them several free bookmarks, some were quite fancy. She gave them change with shiny new 2011 coins.
I was quite proud of their first shopping experience. They each chose reasonably priced items and got what they wanted but saved much of their spending money for their next chance to go shopping. After our shopping then we went to sit and wait for Old Faithful to erupt.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Moving trip part 2

We drove from Billings to Pocatello, ID on the second day of our trip. We stopped at Yellowstone on the way. We explained to the Lambs that you could spend much longer at Yellowstone but we just didn't have time. We drove in, waited for Old Faithful to go off, and drove out. I felt like we were cheating the Lambs to just go to Old Faithful when there is so much else to see. But it was cold and we didn't really have the time. I won't bore you with photos of Old Faithful or buffalo like everyone else takes. We also stopped to see buffalo and elk and the Lambs were watching for wildlife the whole time we drove through. So we did do a little more than Old Faithful. Then we ate at a pizza place in West Yellowstone that Ram and I ate at 9 years ago. The Lambs loved Yellowstone and hope that we can go back soon. It was strange to go when Yellowstone was still open but not at peak season, if we would have been a few weeks later then it would have been closed. Because it was a Saturday there were still plenty of people there even late in the afternoon. Then we drove to Pocatello for another night in a hotel.

Friday, November 25, 2011


It seems like I have been saying forever that Lamb 1 is 7 1/2, Lamb 3 is 3 1/2, and Lamb 2 is ALMOST 5 1/2. It really has only been the last couple of months, but today Lamb 2 turns 5 1/2. He has been telling everyone that his 5 1/2 birthday is November 25. All three Lambs, but especially Lamb 2 have had a recent growth spurt. Lamb 2 is 2 years 3 months younger than Lamb 1, but he wears the same size shoes now and he is only one size different in pants. Lamb 1 better watch out!
Today is also my baptism birthday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands and voices,
Who wonderous things has done,
In whom His world rejoices;
Who from our mothers' arms
Has blest us on our way
With countless gifts of love
And still is ours today. (LSB 895:1)

Happy Thanksgiving from Ram, Ewe, and our 3 Lambs!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Our moving trip part 1

The moving truck left our house in MN about 8pm on October 27. We did some last minute packing of the car and cleaning of the house and left about 9:30pm. That last 1 1/2 hours was a mad dash to finish everything. But we knew getting a hotel locally would be almost impossible during hunting season. We would have been welcome to stay with friends or church members but we were so unsure of our plans after the delay of the moving truck by one day that we had not made any arrangements. One benefit to this that I had not expected was it was not as sad or emotional to leave our house when it was dark. Plus at that time we couldn't stop and say goodbye to anyone else, we just got directly on the road. We arrived in Fargo a little after midnight and easily got a hotel although it was a little expensive during hunting season. We should have reserved something in advance, but we weren't sure if we would get all the way to Fargo or stop along the way.
We slept in a little and took it easy the next morning. We arrived in Bismarck and called DakotaPam. She brought her darling girls over to the McDonald's play place and in between wrangling helping her girls we were able to have a nice chat. The Rev. eventually came over to chat with Ram. It was a short visit but we were able to catch up for a few minutes and also the Lambs were able get out of the car and run around the play place. We hadn't seen Dakota Pam since January so it was a treat to see how much the girls had grown.
When we pulled in to McDonalds it was past lunch time but we had had a late breakfast so we had not eaten yet. I offered to let the Lambs get a snack at McDonalds and then after we were done visiting and playing on the play place then we would go out to eat for a late lunch/early supper at Cracker Barrel. Being completely serious, Lamb 1 asked what kind of food McDonald's had, what he could order at McDonald's. I expected Lamb 2 to respond with an answer to Lamb 1, but he also asked what kind of food McDonald's served. That shows how rural we lived before we moved here that the Lambs didn't even know what kind of food McDonald's had! We used to live 45 minutes from McDonalds but 1 1/2 hours from a town with McDonald's that we regularly went to. Now after you get out of our subdivision McDonald's is less than 4 blocks away.
The Lambs chose to just play and wait until we got to Cracker Barrel to eat. Then we headed down the road some more. We stopped at Theodore Roosevelt National Park for a bathroom break. The boys enjoyed watching the buffalo there. We finally made it to Billings and stayed in another hotel. This day was a lot of driving but made more fun with the stop in Bismarck.
Dakota Pam's boys were at school so it was just the twins and the Lambs

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More about moving

We had the impression that our driver and his two helpers for moving were picked for us by the lady that we worked with because she knew they could handle a job of 17,000 lbs. When we moved from IN to MN, they did not expect us to have 10,000 lbs and they only sent one guy to load us. He was supposed to load most of the boxes and then later in the afternoon get a helper to help him load some of the larger furniture and then get on the road and start driving after that. He walked into our house and panicked, knowing that he couldn't load what turned out to be 10,000 lbs by himself in one day. So I requested that Bekins be better prepared this time and they were. I think my request got us one of the best drivers and his helpers that works for Bekins. Our driver goes all over the country moving people.
When they were almost done unloading us the driver said to me, "You win the prize for the best self-packed clients that I have moved all year." This meant a lot to me because of what I wrote above. Considering this is November, I doubt any one else will beat us! The one helper had said several times that if we would have let them pack we would have had less boxes, possibly even only half of the boxes. I'm not so sure about that because our boxes were full. When the driver made the comment about being the best self packed, he also said that some of our boxes were small, but those boxes were heavy and all of our boxes were full. Most self packers make the mistake of not filling their boxes. Towards the end I would have been tempted to not fill boxes, but the lady from church that volunteered to help us pack our kitchen filled up boxes even more than I would have.
When the man came to give us an estimate he saw that we had several plastic tubs (totes) in the basement. He was pleased to see that and told us to fill all of those tubs up. They stack and are great for moving. So when we packed we began by filling all the tubs before we packed boxes. We had 780 items before they counted beds and mattresses and they found a few items that they forgot to number in one of the closets. I didn't hear the final count of items, but I believe it was close to 800.
The other thing that helped us was I had saved all the boxes that our wedding presents and things we purchased over 10 years of marriage. When my parents came to help us pack, my dad's job was to put all the appliances and things like that in the boxes they came in. It was very easy to identify what was in those boxes and where in the house they went when the truck was unloaded. The packing material was all there for those. Also any time Ram's mom mailed us stuff or we purchased something and it came in a large box or a box that was a good size for moving books, we kept all those boxes. Our basement had lots of room for storage for those boxes. We were thankful for all those boxes at moving time.
When we got here about half of our belongings (nearly all of our books that are not theology books) are in the garage. When we unpacked what we need to live in this house that we rented, I did throw away the boxes that that stuff came in. We just don't have the room to store those empty boxes here. Many of those boxes survived two major moves. We live near several grocery stores and liquor stores that it will be easy to get boxes to pack the things that we unpacked for us to move across town to the house that we buy next year. We are hoping to never move again after we get in that house so at that point when we unpack everything I will throw out the remainder of the boxes.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Moving photos

I downloaded photos from the last few weeks and I'll try to get caught up on posting them here. This was our second move with Bekins and we were very pleased with them both times. When we moved to MN we had 10,000 lbs exactly. In that move two beer glasses got broken. It was our fault for not packing them better. They were in a small box by themselves, not packed in another box. When they fell off the cart they got broken. Everything else made it here fine.

After hearing horror stories from fellow pastor's wives that moved, I knew we wanted Bekins again. When we called the LCMS moving services, we found out we got a discount if we went with certain movers. They were very surprised that we didn't want quotes from several companies, that we only wanted Bekins.

Bekins had no one in the area in MN to come out and give us a quote so someone from another company 1 1/2 hours away came and gave us an estimate. They estimated that we had 17, 500 lbs. You don't pay more than the estimate. I even questioned the lady we worked with for Bekins. She said their estimates are rarely off more than 500 lbs either under or over. She assured me that as long as we didn't add anything to what we had showed the man that gave us the estimate that we would be within 17,000-18,000 lbs.

In MN they loaded the stuff upstairs our house on the main level from the front door. Then they pulled around to the garage to load the stuff from the basement and the garage.

There was another family's stuff in the front section of the truck. It was eventually going to Oklahoma after dropping off our stuff and then some other stops throughout the Midwest. Our stuff began about where the second reflector line begins, after that front section over the front tires. Our stuff was loaded from floor to ceiling from there until after the S in Bekins. There was about 6 feet in the back that was empty. So we didn't fill the truck but we came close.

When they got to ID the movers began unloading our stuff late in the afternoon. They worked until about 7pm and then they quit because they didn't want to be driving a truck after dark on Halloween. They came back the next morning and finished unloading by noon. The driver is the one holding the blanket. He was like a grandpa to our boys. I know they do this daily, but I couldn't believe how they could carry queen size mattresses by themselves and things like that. When they were finished unloading they put tables and beds back together, anything they had taken apart in MN.

When they were done unloading I asked them how much they thought it weighed. They had carried everything out of one house and into another and they do this daily. Their estimate was 16,000 lbs. I told him if that was right I would be thrilled because then the church would pay less. (Customer pays less if under the estimate.) He hadn't been able to find a weigh station for his large truck so he had to weigh it again after it was unloaded. He called me about an hour after he left our house. He said, "You're not going to believe this!" I thought he meant that he was close on his estimate. Our total weight this move was 20,325 lbs! Not the estimator, not the movers, not even us thought it weighed DOUBLE what we had brought to MN. It shows that having children really does multiply your belongings!

I don't think the movers believed us that we got rid of a lot before moving day. The stove and fridge belonged to the parsonage. The dishwasher, washer, and dryer we left for the next pastor. The freezer was given away. So we moved no appliances. We gave away an entertainment center that our TV was on, a glass doored bookcase that was very heavy, bunk beds, and put a huge computer desk in the trash after we couldn't give it away. We gave away a whole back of a full size van with baby items-crib, pack n play, baby clothes, baby bathtub, etc. We gave away a very full pantry and freezer full of food. We took a big load to Goodwill and threw away a bunch. I can't even imagine how much weight we would have had if we had moved all that.

Many of our belongings are still packed in our garage so we won't know for sure until we unpack those next July, but so far nothing has been broken in what we opened. We have opened all the kitchen stuff and nothing was broken. This is amazing because we had several friends help us pack and when we packed we were in a hurry. Everything was not packed as carefully as it would have been if I would have done it all myself and had more time to pack. We are hoping to never move again after we get in our house that we buy here, but if we do, we will be sure to use Bekins again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

National Tie One On Day

I'm a little busy this year so I'm not participating, but don't forget National Tie One On Day is next week. I'll be sure to tie an apron on while I'm doing holiday cooking even if I don't make something for a neighbor in need. There is a giveaway too if you are participating.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Back to School

The first plan was to continue getting settled in our house that we rented and also exploring our new area. After Thanksgiving I planned to begin a little school with the Lambs, but not do full schedule during the holiday season. Then we would begin 2012 with the full schedule.
Yesterday was the last straw that I knew we needed to get back to more of a routine immediately. Lamb 3 took the kitchen faucet apart! Water every where plus I couldn't get it back together.
So today Lamb 1 and 2 were back to where we left off in math. Lamb 2 also did some writing as he did not have as much math to do as Lamb 1. Lamb 3 practiced holding his pencil and coloring.
We had been on school break since the end of September when I knew we were moving. It was good to hit the books again today. Lamb 2 had forgotten how to write some of his numbers. I can see that he is going to need to work harder on writing than Lamb 1 ever did.
So far it doesn't look like speech at the school is going to be an option for Lamb 2, so I'm going to need to look at our other options. In the meantime we will work on the materials the old speech teacher gave us to work on at home. We're still waiting on health insurance details to be worked out to see what options there are there. Lamb 3 should also be evaluated for speech, but we'll begin with Lamb 2. I'm still hoping that something will work out for Lamb 2 at the school.
Lamb 3 will begin at our church preschool after Christmas so two mornings a week I will have extra time to work with Lamb 1 and 2 on school work.
There were a few sets of Legos that were still unopened here so after school work this morning we opened those up. I'm hoping that that will keep them busy this afternoon while I try to tackle the laundry and dishes and continue to contact people about our change of address.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Congratulations H & E!

Congratulations to Eric and my sister, Hannah as they begin their life together today on a beach in Hawaii. Wish we could be there with you today. We love you and hope to see you soon.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Putting fires out this week

This week has been a whirlwind. Ram began a more normal schedule of work this week. My parents left early on Tuesday after being here for the installation. Tuesday evening we discovered our washer had leaked. The repairman came right away. There is still water on the carpet in the room we had planned for an office. We quickly moved all the unpacked boxes out of that room before they got more wet.
We found out this week that we currently have no health insurance as the proper paperwork wasn't turned in (partly our fault). The church needed some info for direct deposit for our paychecks and of course the bank was closed on Veteran's Day. We had a question for our tax lady and she wasn't in the office today either. So all that needs to wait until Monday.
The boys have colds and if they don't get better I don't think they can go to church on Sunday.
We found out the post office won't forward our mail because it was the same address as the church mail. We can't get internet at our house until Monday. Once we get internet at the house I have a lot of people to contact with our new snail mail and e-mail addresses. The e-mail address was for the parsonage in MN so we need to close that account soon.
I'm thankful that we have moved before because I know that all this will be straightened out and life will be more normal soon. We appreciate prayers, especially for the health insurance paperwork.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Moving update

We stopped in Bismarck, ND to visit DakotaPam, the Rev., and their darling twin girls. We made it here in time to attend the circuit Reformation service on Sunday. We didn't stay for fellowship afterwards as we were tired. The moving truck arrived Monday afternoon. They unloaded about half of our belongings before calling it an early night because they didn't want to be out on Halloween with a semi in a subdivision. They came back Tuesday morning and finished unloading. The 3 men who loaded/unloaded us were wonderful-we would recommend Bekins. They unloaded everything and estimated we had 16,000 lbs. The estimate given us was 17,500 lbs. The driver was shocked that we had 20,320 lbs. We had a great deal as you don't pay more than the estimate. We were honest and showed what we had, but I don't think the normal family has as many books as we do. We actually got rid of a lot of furniture and stuff before we came! We are storing much of our stuff in the garage as we are renting before we buy a house. The movers were a little disappointed that they only had to put many of the books and file cabinets in the garage, not take them up a flight of stairs. Ram is taking many of his books to church, but we still have many at home for homeschooling.
Ewe's parents arrived this afternoon and Ram's parents will arrive tomorrow afternoon. Sunday is Ram's installation. Ewe's parents are only staying a few more days because travel time is so long to get here and home.
This will be a big weekend but we are looking forward to meeting everyone and Ram beginning being pastor here. This transition time was difficult for me in the sense that he wasn't a pastor here yet, but wasn't a pastor in MN any longer either. The Lambs and I are anxious to finish unpacking and get back to a more regular schedule and homeschooling.
We don't have internet at home so it will be awhile before I get back to regular postings. I just wanted to update you that we arrived. Eventually I'll have some great stories to post about the Lambs first impressions in a city.