Saturday, May 31, 2014


When Lamb 3 was a baby I had a conversation with a Looper where she predicted in a few years our lives would be full of activities for our 3 Lambs just as she was busy with 5 kids. We lived in rural MN and besides piano lessons I couldn't imagine what else would be added to our schedule if we remained homeschooling there.

Fast forward 5 years later and we live in a city, even the state capital. There are so many activities that are necessary (therapy for Lamb 2), that I want them to participate in (track and piano), and fun (small field trips). Compared to a lot of students (both homeschool and in school) our Lambs don't do very many activities. The only sport they have done long term is track. They are not in Boy Scouts. Our church does activities, but not a lot.

About a month ago Ram's parents visited Ram's grandma. Ram's mom took the time to look through our uploaded Snapfish photos with Grandma. I am behind uploading so she looked at most of 2013 photos. Ram's uncle was there too and commented that he couldn't believe how many activities our family did.

There really is a lot to do here. We go on field trips with either my friend Joelle and her kids or with other homeschoolers. Our family goes to events in the area. Saturday mornings the teacher store offers free crafts. Sometimes we do activities at the library although we have not committed to a weekly class. They take swim lessons every summer. They have occasionally taken a class through our city like a week long sports camp. I usually take at least a few photos at the activities we go to or the crafts they make.

So yes, what that Looper said to me a few years ago has come true. I'm not sure if would be so true if we were still in rural MN. Here it is just a 20 minute drive to most activities that the Lambs want to do. Keeping up with being a chauffeur for their activities (both necessary and fun), trying to keep some order to my house and yard, volunteering at church, and trying to spend some time with Ram and the Lambs meant that my blog has been neglected most of May. Add to that my recent work getting ready to guest post on another blog.

Lots of activities means lots of photos and things to blog about. Hopefully eventually I'll pop in here and post pictures and blog about our recent activities. Until then know that we are fine, just busy!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Surprise for the Lambs!

Last week while Ram recovered the Lambs had to go grocery shopping and a few other errands with me. They were not too happy about that, but Ram could not watch them.
On Friday night we had an exchange to make so we went to Fred Meyer. (For my Midwest friends, it is like Meijer, but carries Kroger brands.) While we were at the customer service desk I noticed they had a drawing for kids. I put all 3 Lambs names in the bowl.
On Monday we received a phone call that Lamb 3 was a winner. I didn't even know for what we had entered our names. Each store gave away one $20 gift card and Lamb 3 won. I couldn't believe out of that whole bowl of names one of the Lambs won the one prize given away.
We went and picked up the gift card and I told the Lambs they had to share it because they had all put their name in. I offered to buy the gift card from them and they could all have the money or we could look around if there was anything to buy. After a long time in the toy section, they chose to buy Nerf guns. I was a nice Mama and paid the sales tax so they each got one. I thought they chose wisely that each Lamb got something and they almost exactly spent their gift card.
Left: Lamb 3, the winner!
Right: Lamb 2
Lamb 1

Each one shoots 3 darts at once. They can shoot 75 feet. This has made a problem because all 3 go in the same general direction, but it is difficult for the Lambs to keep track of all 3. Plus they often go over the fence of one of the neighbors. Currently each Lamb has lost one dart. I expect to be asked to make a trip to the store for them to spend their money to buy more darts soon. $20 free gift card is going to cost them $10 for more darts unless they are content to just shoot one dart at a time.

Monday, May 19, 2014


Our state has primary elections tomorrow. I spent some time on the Internet researching who we will be voting for. My head was swimming after a little while. It is no longer as simple as voting for the pro-life, pro-family candidate. Some of the races all the candidates are pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-small government. Those are my top priorities, but I'm against Affordable Care Act because it is not pro-life, but there are some good parts that should be kept. I'm against Common Core but really what is the most important is that we don't lose our homeschooling rights. Of course none of the candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction talk about that. I'm against raising the gas tax as I feel we pay so many taxes here (even sales tax on food!) as compared to when we lived in MN and don't get even a fraction of the benefits (no speech therapy at the public school!). A huge issue here that I was not aware of when I lived in the Midwest is the use of public land and the natural resources on it. There are so many important issues that I ended up just picking one out of two that looked good in a couple of the races.

It is predicted that there will be very low voter turnout tomorrow. In a way I understand, most of the political mail we received in the last month was for county coroner. That doesn't seem like a very important election until you realize how many are running for that one office. Our city is growing like crazy which means we have more deaths which means the coroner job is bigger. We didn't receive any mail about voting for the Supreme Court seat which to me is very important. We received a lot of mail about who not to vote for governor, but very little mail of why we should vote for the other candidate. It took me about an hour to research who would be on our ballot and who I wanted to vote for. People today don't have an hour to do that.

We have a very busy day scheduled tomorrow beginning earlier than we usually have scheduled activities and going until later than we usually have activities. But I will make time in my schedule to go vote. I will take the Lambs with me to watch me vote so that they see it is important too.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

End of school year update

*Lamb 1 has 10 more math lessons before he finishes his math book. I am going to allow him to take a summer break from school work and piano lessons. He is looking forward to a summer break.
*Lamb 2 needs to continue school work and piano lessons this summer or he will forget what he learned this year. We will be a more easy on bookwork but I also hope he can read simple books by the end of the summer. He is highly motivated to learn to read.
*While I'm working with Lamb 2, I'll work with Lamb 3 too. He has half of his math book that I would like him to complete this summer. I also hope he can read simple books by the end of the summer. We have focused on Lamb 2 so much this school year that Lamb 3 got behind where he is capable of being. He would love to learn to read too.
*I signed up Lamb 1 to take a science course in 2015-2016 school year. It was half price if I registered now. I debated having him take it next year for a small discount if I signed up now or a bigger discount if we waited. It is crazy to be planning that far in advance! By then Lamb 1 will be in 6th grade and I think he will love 2 days of science labs.
*I registered for the ID Christian homeschool conference. I have never attended a homeschool conference because we lived so far away from the MN homeschool conference and it hasn't worked with our schedule since we moved here. I am only going to be able to attend one day because we have a wedding reception the second day. I still think it was worth the registration cost. I am looking forward to it but I know it will be a busy couple of days.

*Ram is doing better after his week recovery after minor surgery. He was a good patient and rested/read books all week. He plans to preach and do Sunday morning tomorrow and be back to work next week. He still can't lift things so we'll ask some men from church to come over tomorrow to help us bring the train table upstairs now that the paint is dry.
*Next week is very busy. The Lambs have dentist appointments. Lamb 1 and 2 have a piano recital. Track meets on 2 days to end track for this spring. Our church preschool has their annual picnic after preschool graduation. Ram is back to his regular work schedule. We are back to our normal routine of therapy, piano lessons, and track practice.
*Next weekend we have been invited to several parties for graduations, one birthday, and  it is also Lamb 2's birthday. I am glad Ram's parents celebrated with us earlier in the month because I don't know how we would fit them in next weekend.
*I did not sign the Lambs up for swim lessons for the first session in June like we did the past couple of years. They will take a later session. I am looking forward to a couple of weeks break after a busy May before summer activities begin.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Surprises for Ewe

Ram had some minor surgery on Monday and is recovering at home this week. This has meant that I have done all my normal work as a SAHM plus all the little things Ram normally does to help like take out the trash. Last night I was up late trying to catch up on dishes. I heard a noise upstairs and I should have gone to check it out but I didn't.

Before the Lambs went to bed I put a load of colors in the dryer and a load of whites in the washer. When I went upstairs about 11pm I noticed the dryer was open. I wondered if perhaps one of the Lambs thought the dryer was too loud and opened it so they could go to sleep. Then I saw the door to the dryer and the floor were all wet. Our laundry room is next to the bathroom. I'll let you fill in the blanks of what happened. When I told my friend, Joelle, about it she said she had heard of boys that lifted up a couch cushion and went there. Ram told me to be thankful it was just wet and not more.

I do not know which Lamb did it since they were all asleep when I did come upstairs. I used vinegar on the dryer and the floor. Then I put the whites in the dryer and stuck the colors back in the washer. The clothes didn't look wet, but I wanted to be safe on this one.

It took a little while to clean all that up and I finally got to bed a little before midnight. I heard a car alarm and thought someone hit the wrong button and didn't get up and check it out.

This morning I got up and checked e-mail and had a message that our neighborhood had some recent car break-ins and we should be careful. I helped the Lambs with school. I decided to quick check e-mail and then jump in the shower before lunch. I was looking into Lamb 1 taking a science class next year and was chatting with a customer service representative about how to sign up when the door bell rang. Ram is recovering so he couldn't answer the door and the Lambs were upstairs. I was so surprised that it was my neighbor man, not a delivery.

The neighbor was coming to tell me what happened last night. That car alarm-someone broke into a car parked directly across the street from our house and stole something. My first thought was that I was still in my pajamas and I was talking to the neighbor man! My second thought was that our car has been parked outside for the past week while we waited for the paint to dry on the train table in the garage. My third thought was that if anyone tried to steal from our car, the only thing in the center console is Bibles! I asked the man if he was going to be home for a little while so I could get dressed and then if he would help me lift the train table. I quickly got dressed and had the Lambs hurry to help me clean up the tools and supplies by the train table. He came over and helped me lift the table so I could park both cars in the garage. I did not get a shower but had enough time to make and eat lunch before it was time to be chauffeur for the Lambs.

I feel like I put out one fire after another last night and today. From a wet dryer to moving the train table. Why does this stuff happen when Ram can't help? I'm a little afraid of what might happen in the next few days before Ram returns to work.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Annual eye doctor checkups

Our family takes annual eye doctor visits seriously. Ram and his brothers started wearing glasses as children. As we homeschool our Lambs don't get annual checkups from the school nurse, nor would they notice if they can't see the blackboard whiteboard. Plus Ram has bad enough vision that we don't want to miss it if it gets worse.
On Friday we had some eye doctor checkups scheduled. Ram had called earlier in the week and asked if they had 3 appointments together and they did just a few days later. We always schedule appointments like this together and go get all eyes checked at once and cross that task off our to do list for another year. This time Lamb 2 did not need to be seen for a regular checkup because he gets his eyes checked by the doctor every two months at vision therapy. Back when Ewe had our Lambs, she got off schedule for regular checkups from the boys of our family when she needed her vision to return to normal after pregnancy.
Ram and Lamb 1 were fine. Lamb 3 was also fine, but the doctor expects he may need glasses in the next few years.
Lamb 2 had a fit that he wasn't also having his eyes checked. Part of the reason was our eye doctor moved to a new bigger office so he was curious. Mainly he felt left out to be the only male not having a checkup. The doctor said that was the first time someone cried because they were NOT seen by the doctor! While I was talking to him and trying to calm him down, Ram went and paid. We have good eye insurance and last year we just paid $10 copay for a regular checkup.
The Lambs were impatient to go so I didn't look at the receipt until later that night. I was shocked how little Ram paid, he only paid for himself. This morning I had Ram call to ask about the bill. It turns out that there is no copay for children effective January 1 of this year.
This was the first time that something helpful came out of the Affordable Care Act for me. It only saved me $20 this year, but that was $20. Parts like this should be kept as part of the Affordable Care Act. This would have been very helpful when I was teaching in the classroom. There were a couple of students every year that didn't pass the basic eye chart test given by the school nurse. When we told their parents that they should be seen by an eye doctor just to check it out, often the parents admitted they had no eye doctor insurance and couldn't afford an eye doctor visit. Then those students sat in my classroom every day probably needing glasses. This small part of this Act will help those kinds of students.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Moms' Night Out

Grab a couple of your girlfriends, get a babysitter or ask your husband to watch the kids,  and GO SEE THIS MOVIE! I went tonight and I laughed more than I ever remember laughing in a movie. You will especially like this movie if you are a mom, pastor's wife, OR a homeschooler but even if you are none of those it is a great comedy.

I had watched a video by the director and I was a little afraid this movie was going to be stupid. I did like what he had to say about his mom that homeschooled him which made me want to see the movie. It was so refreshing to see a movie that says "Thank you, Jesus" in reverence. This movie is getting bad reviews because they say there is not much of a plot. That is what I liked about this movie-it is so much like my every day life which would seem boring to Hollywood. Hollywood-there really are some of us left that are SAHM! Hollywood-don't forget that those moms that work outside the home take care of their children on the hours they are not at their paid job and even when they are at their paid job they care about their children. The movie showed both mothers with teenagers and mothers with little ones too. Whether you are a mom of a 2 year old or a 16 year old and whether you work outside the home or not, all moms work hard in their vocation as a mother.

Without spoiling the plot of the movie, I thought the overall message was one that moms need to be reminded of frequently. I didn't see anything wrong with the theology in this movie, but as Lutherans we would go farther than the movie went. It's true that God loves us, but moms also need the reminder that both their children and the moms are baptized children of God. Both moms and children are both sinner and saint at the same time and that is why we confess our sins and they are all forgiven. When we partake of the Lord's body and blood we get strength for this difficult job as a mom.

I had asked a few friends if they could go see this and no one was available to go to a matinee this afternoon. I wanted to go today because I don't know how long this movie will be in the theaters and Ram has his surgery on Monday and will be recovering next week. I felt pretty pathetic going to this movie by myself, but I did get a Mom Afternoon  Out and I saw the movie which is what counts.

I would say this is a movie to see with your girlfriends, maybe on a date, and not with the family unless you have adult children even though it is PG. Be sure to stay through the credits because the movie is concluded during the final credits. Also, take a pack of tissues because there are parts that will make you laugh so hard you cry! It is not showing in every theater, so if you can't make it to the theater be sure to host a Moms' Night Out showing when it comes out on DVD.

Lamb 2's words

Lamb 2 made me something in speech class for Mother's Day and put it in a paper bag. The bag is taped shut and marked TOP SECRET. On the way home from therapy he said this:

Lamb 2: "Mama, you are the perfect Mama for me to surprise."

Ewe: "Really?" 

Lamb 2: "Yes because you almost always take a nap each day so I have time to work on surprises."

Ewe: "Oh, I have a lot planned in the next few days and I don't think I have time for a nap."

Lamb 2: "That's ok. I know you'll go shopping and I can work on it then."

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Wooden spoons

One of my friends got married while we were in college and commuted from Milwaukee for her final year of college. I still don't know how she overloaded credits so she could graduate early, was a newlywed, student taught, and set up her home all at once that year. She was determined to cook from scratch and not ever eat a box of macaroni or a frozen pizza that year to save money and eat better food. I still remember her frustration when she was so busy and she couldn't find items to set up her home. She went to several stores in Milwaukee and she couldn't find wooden spoons any where. I think she finally ended up having her mom mail her some because she couldn't find them in the stores.

Fast forward almost 20 years later. Recently I realized some of my wooden spoons are worn out. I decided to replace them. I either couldn't find them in the stores, or they were cheap made in China that I could tell would not last beyond making one recipe, or they were very expensive/fancier than a plain wooden spoon.

When we were in Tuesday Morning yesterday, Ram's mom asked me if I needed new linens or soap. While we were there she offered to buy me something if I needed it. I turned her down on both of those as we didn't need those, but I asked for wooden spoons. I expected to get a small set of 2 or 3 and get stocked up again. Instead they had a set of 14 bamboo ones. So she bought me a very nice set because that is what they had.

I would say that I have a lifetime supply now, but I know how we go through household items here and I'll just say I'm very well stocked on wooden spoons now. I came home and threw out the old ones, which are probably from when I bought my first house in 1998. I only use wooden spoons for cooking, I don't even use wooden spoons for discipline like Dr. Dobson recommends! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Non-weekend celebration

We had a terrible time fitting in our schedule when Ram's parents could visit us to celebrate Ram's birthday. Ram's dad is not retired yet so we also had to fit it in with their schedule. We ended up having them come the past few days and we celebrated Ram's birthday a little late. We also celebrated Lamb 2's birthday a little early.

Monday night we went to a fish restaurant for Lamb 2's birthday. Everyone liked it and we all ate too much. Then we unloaded all the presents and things they brought us. Tuesday afternoon we opened up all the presents as it was the only time that we were all home together between the Lambs' activities and Ram being a pastor. Ram's mom had hoped to open up Ram's presents and Lamb 2's presents on different days. It was crazy opening up all those presents at once! The Lambs were a little frustrated to open presents and not have time to play with new toys because then we were off to piano lessons and track. We all met at Tucanos for Ram's birthday supper. Lamb 3 tried a lot of new foods and we all like that restaurant.

Today Ram's parents spent all day with us. Ram's dad built a train table for Lamb 1's model train. Ewe and the Lambs took Ram's mom shopping. The Lambs convinced Grandma to buy them a toy they have been asking for when we went to Tuesday Morning. We bought some groceries and came home and made supper. Ram's dad will probably be exhausted after today. He made several trips to the hardware store to buy one more thing for the project. We always fit a lot in to the few days they visit us.

We all feel a little spoiled with our new gifts (even the non-birthday family members received nice gifts so they didn't feel left out). The Lambs are busy putting together Legos/playing with their other new toys/and playing with a new kickball. Much of what was on Lamb 2's wish list are things that Lamb 1 had but Lamb 2 did not have yet like a baseball mitt. 

Ram's mom is so good at listening and figuring out what each of us would like. As a former homeschool mom she is really good at figuring out what would be educational for  our Lambs. After raising 3 boys, she is good at knowing what our male Lambs would like. And she still knows her son and buys Ram gifts he would like.

Now Ram and Ewe have to take turns painting the train table, flipping it to the other side, sanding it, and letting it completely dry. The primer layer is half way done. We need to finish the primer layer and do 2 more coats of paint. Ram's dad did the difficult work of figuring it out, measuring, and building it. Lamb 1 is frustrated with how long this will all take, but we are telling him the patience will be worth it. When this is finished he is going to have a wonderful place for his train set.

It was strange to be having this celebration on a Wednesday. We took the Lambs shopping this afternoon while most children were in school. We are back to regular schedule tomorrow of therapy etc. but track is canceled for a few of the next practices. That is helpful in our busy schedule. Ram's minor surgery is on Monday so we're trying to complete some of these projects and yardwork before then. I need to grocery shop before then too so while he recovers I can handle being nurse, mom, cook, chauffeur, and teacher by myself for a week.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Te Deum laudamus

We are on high deductible health insurance. I had estimated that we would meet our family deductible early in April because 2 are in speech therapy and 1 is in occupational therapy. (Vision therapy does not count for our deductible.) We ended up going to the doctor for a few extra trips so I knew we met the deductible before April.

Ram had to schedule some minor surgery for the middle of May. He chose then because it is after his busy time of the church year at Easter, but before summer when the other area pastors might be on vacation so they could help him at church for a week while he recovers. 

The middle of April we received a letter from Ram's doctor that they had checked with insurance and we had not met our deductible yet so we would need to pay in full a week before his surgery. I didn't know how we were going to squeeze hundreds of dollars out of our budget at this time just after paying our estimated taxes. I told Ram to call insurance and verify this before we tried to figure out how to pay this.

It turns out that our doctors and therapists billing offices are weeks and sometimes even months behind filing with insurance. When the doctor called the middle of April it did not look like we had met our deductible. When Ram called at the end of April, we had met it. We actually met it before April but their records didn't show that yet. The doctor's office was really surprised that there was a difference in just 2 weeks, but there was.

We are so thankful that insurance will pay for this surgery in full since we have met our deductible and especially that we don't have to prepay for this surgery. When Ram had his kidney surgery a few years ago I learned to wait for insurance statements and make sure they matched up before paying medical bills. If insurance and bills don't match up, it is a lot harder to get a refund than it would be if we tried to correct that before we paid the bill. Now it was worth the phone call to make sure it was correct before prepaying. 

I expect to still pay medical bills for the next month or two while all the billing gets caught up. Then it will be nice to not pay medical bills until 2015! We are also going to make sure that all 5 of us are caught up on necessary appointments like physicals while we are covered this year. We are expecting the Lambs to graduate from some of their therapy this fall and it will be much more difficult to meet the deductible next year. I'm also finding that you need to make doctor appointments months in advance so we'll start making the appointments now to make sure we get all visits in before 2015.