Saturday, October 31, 2009

What's Wrong With This Picture?

It's that time of year again when I start thinking of whose turn it is to write the Christmas letter and decide which family picture to use in our Christmas cards.

The things is Andrew loves to goof off in pictures. I've explained to him that its hard enough getting nine people all looking at the camera, smiling, and looking intelligent all at the same time without having someone mess up pictures on purpose. When he was younger before we had a digital camera, I used to charge him a quarter for every picture he ruined.

So, without further adieu, follow me through our Andrew-caused family photo rejects of the last five years.


Good thing for him other people goofed up this picture too (but not on purpose)

2008 - We took this picture with a tripod. When I saw the picture, I asked the girls, "Why didn't any of you mention that Andrew was hanging off the tree." They claimed they didn't know. So I asked, "How could you not know?" Anna said, "But Mom, you told us to look straight ahead."

Part of the problem is Andrew usually stands in the back row so we don't know he's goofing around. If we use a tripod, there's no actual photographer to growl at him to cooperate.

2007 - It's a little hard to see in this picture. But he pulled his long hair to the front and gave himself a mustache.

This next one isn't as bad as some of the others. However there was no stick growing beside Andrew. He grabbed one at the last minute and put it there.

2007 - Wild hair, shorts hiked up. Need I say more?

2006 Family Vacation



More of the same

At the time it's frustrating, but we all look back on these pictures and laugh. We're hoping he behaves himself when he gets married and has to take wedding pictures.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tucker the Wonder Dog

Here's a 41 second video taken for family members who miss Tucker. For those family members who don't miss Tucker (you know who you are) click over to Facebook or The National Weather Service.

Disclaimer: This video is neither funny, interesting, creative, or amazing. Nor does it capture the unpleasant smell of wet dog. But it does make us smile to see our goofy dog jumping through the water.

We saw a dog jump off the dock to fetch a stick so we tried teaching Tucker. He was a good sport the first time.

The second time he walked to the end of the dock, waited a minute, then fell into the lake.

The third time he looked at the stick, walked back off the dock and then swam out to it. We finally gave up and then took this video. Maybe dock jumping is an acquired taste.

Erica took the video this summer. Meant to post it earlier but forgot. Keith is throwing an old VBS craft because it was easier for Tucker to see. Good thing Keith rinsed the wood off before throwing it. :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

What's Good Enough for the Cat...

I wanted to share a story from the family archives.

Evangelism took on new meaning six years ago when Amy wanted to save her sister’s soul. Amy resembled Tigger from Winnie the Pooh—bubbly, bouncy, friendly, not to mention BOSSY and opinionated.

Amy had bossed her younger sister around for years. Lani good-naturedly complied until kindergarten when she finally learned to tell Amy, "No."

When Amy was seven she prayed with me to become a Christian.

Immediately Amy wanted Lani to follow suit. “Lani," Amy orderd. "You need to become a Christian so you’ll go to heaven when you die and not go to hell.” Now that isn’t exactly how I worded things, but that’s what she passed on.

Lani shot back, “I’m not going anywhere. I'm staying right here. I will not become a Christian!”

This bothered Amy, who for days tried unsuccessfully to persuade her little sister. Amy’s heart was in the right place but she needed to learn that you can’t nag somebody into the kingdom.

After church one Sunday Amy and Lani snuggled up in a big overstuffed chair with their very patient cat, Stripes. “What did you learn in cat church today, Stripes?” Amy asked.

Lani, pretending to be the cat, said, “I can’t tell.”

Amy told Stripes the importance of being good and telling the truth and being nice. She concluded by telling Stripes he should become a Christian so he could go to cat heaven because he sure didn’t want to go to cat hell.

I don’t know about Stripes, but Lani was finally convinced. Amy brought Lani to me so I could explain how to become a Christian. After Lani prayed, Amy beamed and said, “Now, we’re all Christians!”

…and following Him, Andrew found first his own brother, Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah.” John 1:40a,41

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tag - You're It

I was tagged by Shana at Blaze and Crochet.
Here goes:

A - Age: 50

B - Bed size: queen

C - Chore you hate: dusting

D - Dog's name: Jessie and Tucker

E - Essential start your day item: My dog Tucker laying his head on my side of the bed, looking at me with his sad eyes, pleading with me to get up and feed him.

F - Favorite color: blue

G - Gold or Silver: silver

H - Height: 5'4"

I - I am: a night owl

J - Job: Domestic Engineer

K - Kids: One son, six daughters

L - Living arrangements: Big old house with hubby and four youngest daughters

M - Mom's name: Pat

N - Nicknames: The Law

O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: Back surgery 17 years ago, stayed with Kiah when she was hospitalized after I hit a UPS truck (long story) and with Lani for Failure to Thrive (her not me) when she was six weeks old.

P - Pet Peeve: My kids leaving things laying wherever they last used them

Q - Quote from a movie: "The brave may not live forever. The cautious never live at all." Mia's father in The Princess Diaries

R - Right or left handed: right

S - Siblings: two younger sisters, one younger brother

T - Time you wake up: 8:45 am

U- Underwear: sensible

V - Vegetable you dislike: brussel sprouts

W - Ways you run late: misjudge how long it takes to get ready

X - X-rays you've had: knee (car accident), back, foot, shoulder (tripped over a baby gate in the middle of the night)

Y - Yummy food you make: Dipped Mint Oreos, Molasses Cookies, Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, Oatmeal Cake

Z - Zoo favorite: otters, monkeys, penguins

I tag:

Lauren at Courageously Brave

Margie at Dustbunnies and Divas

Nati at I Will Praise Him

Pam at Life As Pam

If you want to play along, copy the ABC categories, delete my answers, insert your own, and tag someone else.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Andrew's Proposal

Andrew’s fiance, Rachel, posted this note and pictures on Facebook. I got her permission to post them on my blog.

I Said Yes!

I got home from helping at AWANA Wednesday night and “talked” to Andrew online like normal. Kindra (my roommate) said "Andrew is online" and went to her computer and began talking to “someone” online. Andrew is not the greatest multitasker so once Kindra started talking to “someone”, our conversation was slim to none. It took him two to three minutes to respond to a yes or no question! At the same time Kindra kept asking questions about my schedule the next day.

What in the world were they up to? When Kindra signed off and went to bed, my conversation with Andrew picked up again. So I suspected Andrew might show up to surprise me for my birthday.

The morning of my birthday, I got a short online message from Andrew saying “Happy Birthday!” All day I got wall posts, messages, and phone calls from lots of people but nothing more from Andrew. I felt disappointed as I had thought I would see Andrew, but when it got late I figured he wasn't coming.

I was kinda pouting and didn't want to go to Bible study anymore. I texted Kindra and told her I didn't want to go because I wasn't in a people mood. Kindra called my other friends and they made sure I went. Well Bible study had a great message and I felt convicted and bad about being so selfish. During prayer time I confessed to God and told Him I was sorry for being selfish. I left with a new attitude and looked forward to a movie night with Kindra.

Meanwhile Andrew had come to La Crosse, picked up the ring, and with Kindra’s help, got my RA to let him into my room. When I returned to my dorm room the door was locked, so I was dissapointed Kindra wasn't back for our movie night.

I opened the door and there was the one and only Andrew Vik! I was so happy to see him but still wasn't thinking that he would propose. He said, "I put your birthday present on the door." I was confused because I didn't remember seeing anything when I walked in.

I turned around and a sign on the back of the door said, “Will you marry me?” Of course I was overcome with emotions!! I kept saying "Oh my goodness!" When I turned back around, Andrew had gone down on one knee!

Oh my, I was so surprised! I started to cry and then sat down on his knee. He said some nice things I don't remember. All I remember is, “Rachel, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?" So I said yes and he put the ring on my finger!! I am so happy and excited to start this new page of my life with Andrew.

I thank God for all His blessings. As soon as I told God I was sorry for being selfish, He allowed me to see Andrew for my birthday and then He went beyond that. God is good and has blessed me so much by allowing this relationship with Andrew!!!

Thanks to everyone who helped make this day something special. I love you all!

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Love Story

Once upon a time a young boy grew up in a family with six sisters. He dearly wanted a brother but such things were not to be. He made the best of the situation and grew up to be a fine young man.

He was a lot of fun. A life of the party guy. Always laughing, having a good time, playing jokes, doing crazy things. At times his family wondered what kind of girl he'd end up with.

The young man left home at twenty years of age and went to work at Village Creek Bible Camp in Lansing, Iowa. Almost immediately, he became smitten with the wrangler.

She didn't think too highly of him at first, but his fun personality won her over.
They started dating in the fall of 2008. Neither one had dated before and all of Northwest Iowa was in shock that Andrew had a girlfriend.

Last Thanksgiving, Andrew brought Rachel home to meet his family. They took one look at her and knew their prayers for Andrew had been answered.

His sisters immediately welcomed her into their circle. She good-naturedly smiled politely at Andrew's crazy family. His Mom discreetly whispered to him that Rachel was a keeper.

Andrew's little sister had never seen him hold a girl's hand before so she captured the moment on film.

Andrew walked around with a goofy grin on his face all last year. He wrote a fun long post last spring about him and Rachel that can be read by clicking here.

Yesterday was Rachel's 20th birthday and Andrew bought her an extra special birthday present. He gave her a ring and popped the question. And she blessed his heart and his family's heart by saying, "Yes."

Which means comes next May, Andrew's mother will be a Mother-in-law.

His family is tickled and excited and happy and walking around with silly grins on their faces. Ironically, as much as Andrew wanted another boy in the family, he's adding one more girl. Until his sisters get married, he's still the only guy.

Rachel is a sweetheart and she makes my son happy. We're grateful to God for the gift of Rachel and the fun of seeing this relationship develop. We couldn't have asked for someone nicer for our son.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Murder at the DQ - By Erica and Augusta

My friend Augusta and I enjoyed cheap fun by creating a murder mystery using condiments found at a local Dairy Queen.

Our story starts with a simple blind date...Mr. Pepper takes Ms. Salt to the DQ. It's love at first sight and they get married soon after...

A couple years down the road Mr. Pepper is a mid-thirties disillusioned cubicle drudge in the work-a-day office world. His wife sees him off to work.

Mrs. Pepper gets worried when Mr. Pepper isn't home to listen to his favorite band, Salt N Pepa...

She gets on the phone and calls her friend the private investigator and his trusty sidekick, Mustard.

The private investigator is barely on the case for two minutes before he gets a phone call from some innocent bystanders...

Mr. Pepper, unfortunately has bit the dust...

The private investigator and his trusty sidekick cordon off the crime scene with very official police tape...

The private investigator and his trusty sidekick talk to the widow and try to find who would want Mr. Pepper dead... (on a sidenote, the glasses case is a couch, not a coffin, we're not that morbid)

The private investigator and his trusty sidekick review the weapons found lying around the crime scene...but none match the crime.

Because unbeknownst to The Private Investigator, his trusty sidekick has gone over to the Dark Side. He killed Mr. Pepper in a fit of anger because Mr. Pepper called the Packers a bunch of pansies...

Desperate to call attention off himself, the not-so-trusty sidekick tries to frame an innocent ketchup...

And it almost worked except when The Private Investigator trimmed his hedges, he just happened to see his not-so-trusty sidekick bury the murder weapon!!

The not-so-trusty sidekick is brought under intense interrogation by the Private Investigator...but he won't break down...Until he is brought to the grieving widow who tells him Mr. Pepper was joking when he said the Packers were pansies (or WAS he??)

The not-so-trusty sidekick breaks down and confesses and is thrown into a maximum security prison for life.

A couple years down the road Mrs. Pepper becomes Mrs. Private Investigator and they live happily everafter.

The End

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not Me Monday

I had not planned to do a Not Me Monday post today so didn’t change my mind and stop to write one, just because MckMama is giving away a neat prize. You can check out My Charming Kids to see the prize and other Not Me posts.

I did not put up a stink this weekend about going to a conference with my husband. I love to travel so jumped at the opportunity to drive six hours for a one day conference and the chance to be around total strangers with not enough time to get to know anyone.

I am totally comfortable leaving my four daughters at home under the supervision of our 17-year-old. So on Saturday when she threw a Rubik’s cube at Anna, I did not think, “That’s it, I’m not going.” I’m sure that there was a good reason for her throwing the cube so there’s nothing for me to worry about.

I didn’t ask people to check on the girls while we’re gone because there is nothing to worry about. They’ll be fine. Really.

I did not leave them a typed list with detailed instructions and emergency phone numbers just in case. Because they’ll be fine.

So I did not stop on our way to the Wisconsin Dells at the first Taco Bell we saw for a chicken burrito, even though we’d had lunch only two hours before. I only eat healthy food and don’t care for fast food so wouldn’t make an exception for Taco Bell, just because I like their bean burritos.

We did not drive all over the Wisconsin Dells to see what eating places were available and then end up back at the restaurant next to our hotel.

I did not drink three glasses of root beer. I lecture my children all the time on the evils of carbonated beverages so wouldn’t have a blind spot when it comes to root beer. We all know pop is bad for teeth, bones, and waistlines.

I didn’t call the girls the first chance I got to make sure they’re okay. Why wouldn’t they be? They’re good kids.

I didn’t look around the meeting and see that only one fifth of the men had brought wives and think that I could have stayed home and avoided the whole uptight Mom leaving the kids at home routine.

I have not tried figuring out what is a reasonable amount of time to wait before calling again to make sure the girls are all right. They’re fine. I’m sure of it.

Maybe next year we can bring the girls.

Erica's Fun Pictures

Wanted to share a few fun pictures Erica took this year. She has a good eye for the interesting and often sees things I overlook.

Such as:

These tree roots hugging a rock.

What the world looks like to a toddler

A Prayer meeting

Rocks on the Beach

Leaf By the Rocks on a Beach

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Case of the Missing Midwife

Amy’s brains turned mushy this past year. Keith says kid’s brains turn to mush when they turn 13 and don’t solidify until sometime in their early 20’s. I now have three teenagers with mushy brains.

After five hospital births, we decided to try a homebirth. We chose a busy, skilled, faith-filled lay mid-wife from South Dakota.

We felt totally comfortable with everything until the week before Amy’s birth, when Judy shared her schedule. To my dismay she had something scheduled almost every day that week. Although she assured me that she rarely missed a birth, I knew in my heart she wouldn’t make it to ours.

I started to worry. I had enough faith for a homebirth, but not enough for a homebirth without a midwife.

Judy’s apprentice lived 40 minutes away. I’d never met the lady but knew someone who did. On Friday afternoon, I had my friend ask Kim if she could come if Judy couldn’t make it. Kim said to give her a call.

I kept praying throughout Friday and God gave me peace that He’d take care of things.

God decided it would be best for my character development if labor started while Judy was five hours away at a conference. There was no way our midwife could make it in time.

Labor began at 3:00 am Saturday morning. Judy suggested we call Kim, who had helped deliver many babies, but never all on her own. Short of going to the emergency room, what other option did I have? Keith called and woke up a total stranger out of a dead sleep in the middle of the night and asked her to come.

Kim said yes but had to leave at 7:30. Keith said we’d take any help she could give. Judy also called another less experienced apprentice who came to help. Both ladies arrived at 5:30.

At 6:30, Keith’s sister took our other children to her house. Talk about pressure, I had one more hour to pop out a baby before Kim left.

At 7:15 am (Thank-you, Jesus) another little girl joined our family. Breathing. Beautiful. Healthy. Except for Judy’s no-show, we had no problems. Kim left at 7:30 and the other apprentice took over.

She was born at sunrise. I looked out the window at the sun coloring the eastern sky and thanked God for being so good to us. Keith suggested the name Autumn Dawn. Which is a beautiful name, but I wanted to wait and make sure.

When seeing she was a girl, the first thought that popped into my head was, “How in the world can someone have so many girls? Now I’ll never make it to church on time.”

Except for the missing midwife, I really liked having a homebirth. It was much more relaxed and enjoyable than a hospital birth. The apprentices were angels in disguise and went above and beyond the call of duty to help in our time of need.

After everyone left, we laid down for a long nap. Keith claims that’s one of the best naps he’s ever had. We both look back fondly on her birth day. A beautiful peaceful warm fall day.

Until…Keith’s sister brought our other kids back at 6:30 that night. Good-bye peaceful day. Shoot me for being honest, but one drawback to a homebirth is if you’re home, your kids assume you’re open for business. Something about seeing Mom in a hospital sends a message that she needs to take it easy and could use extra TLC.

From the perspective of having had six hospital births and one homebirth, I like having babies at home better, but I like recovering in the hospital better.

Normally Keith and I would have freaked out when the midwife couldn’t make it and we were in the hands of an apprentice with a Cinderella curfew. But God gave us both a peace that He was in control and would take care of things. He invented childbirth and we rested in knowing God Almighty was aware of our situation and would act on our behalf. He blessed us with a safe problem-free birth and a sweet healthy baby girl.

Said baby went six days without a name. She just wasn’t an Autumn Dawn. Work, six kids, and visiting parents didn’t give us time to discuss names.

On Thursday Keith came home from work and said, “What do you think about the name, Amy?”

“I love Amy. But I suggested it for the other girls and you never wanted that name.”

“They didn’t look like an Amy. She does.”

Put that way, it made perfect sense. “I don’t think we’ll have another boy,” Keith continued, “so I want her to have my middle name.” Lucky for Amy, Keith’s middle name is Linn.

Amy Linn Vik. Born at sunrise in her parent’s bedroom, one of seven children, blessed with bright eyes, a big smile, a bouncy personality, and a friendly spirit. She unconventionally breezed into our lives on the wings of prayer, faith, good people, and the grace of God.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Answered Prayers

I wanted to marry a man named Joshua, but married a man named Keith.

I wanted three girls and two boys, but got six girls and one son.

I wanted to be a park ranger, but was a teacher, then a wife, then a Mom.

I wanted to travel in America, but we were given a trip to Turkey and Greece.

I found two girls for my twenty-year-old son to choose from. He chose his own.

I would have been content to live in Colorado all our married life, but we have lived in Oregon, Iowa, and now Wisconsin.

I asked God to help our church in Iowa get healthy. Instead he took us to a thriving, healthy one in Wisconsin.

I wanted to live in a one-level ranch house on the outskirts of the smaller town of Washburn, instead we live in a big old two-story house by Main Street in the bigger city of Ashland.

Time after time, I prayed for this and God gave me that.

I prayed over the years, believing God answers prayers in one of three ways: Yes, No, and Wait. Sometimes he gives me what I need and want, sometimes He doesn’t.

Sometimes my prayers aren’t really asking for God’s will. They are veiled requests for God to bless MY choices.

I never like to hear no. I’m just like my kids that way. And like my kids, I always want to know, “Why?” or “Why not?”

I look back on some things I wanted in the past, immensely relieved that God didn’t answer those prayers. Hindsight shows the glaring obvious reasons God didn’t give me what I asked for.

But other times He gives things I didn’t know enough to ask for.
Like with the list above, even though I hadn’t asked for wrong things, God still said, “No.” Only this time, it was “No, because I have something better.”

God knows everything from beginning to end. He knew and loved me before I was born. He always has a reason for whatever He does or doesn’t do. He knows the big picture and how my story ends.

He is not capricious or random. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, good, loving, kind, just, merciful, righteous, holy, trustworthy, and wise. And in the midst of accomplishing His purposes and holding the universe together He takes time to lead and guide and answer my prayers.

While the following is easier said than done, that leaves me:

Seeking God’s will and His glory.

Trusting in His character, in His love, in His timing, and in His reasons.

And knowing sometimes God says yes, sometimes He says no, sometimes He says wait, and sometimes He says no, because He has something better.

Oh, for grace to trust Him more.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Four Things that make me Smile!! by Erica

An average person smiles anywhere from a hundred and thirty to a hundred and fifty times a day!! I'd like to share a couple things that make me smile.

Number One

Every morning I'm told (ahem..yelled at) by this wonderfully cute fifty-year-old to get my "tu-kus", as she calls it, out of bed. Once awake, I appreciate my mother enough to smile about it.

Number Two

All the crazy and wonderful people I have met and had a blast with.

Number Three

Creating morbid murder mysteries with my friend with condiments thoughtfully provided by Dairy Queen.

Number Four

And finally, the most adorable baby I know, (Shyanne Struckman) who not only knows who I am, calls me "Air-ka", and gives me a kiss every time I see her, but she loves to jump on the trampoline and say "bouncy, bouncy, bouncy!!"

Well I've smiled four times thus far, only a hundred and forty-five to go!

What makes you smile??