Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Where's Waldo?

It's probably one of those things where you had to be there to think this is funny.

We invited a good friend over for dinner. While waiting for dinner to get ready, he took Christina, Amy, and Lani outside to play in the snow. Great fun, except the girls had snow clothes on and he didn't, so his clothes got a little wet. 

I offered some of Keith's clothes while we put his clothes in the dryer. I gave him a choice of Keith's red sweats or jeans. He chose the red sweats. I gave him the choice of a dark blue long sleeved T-shirt or a striped Rugby shirt. He chose the Rugby shirt.

I just want to make sure it's clear we did not force him to wear these clothes.

Christina took one look and said, "Where's Waldo?"

The comments flew fast and furious:
      "You're a candy cane."
      "An escaped convict from the North Pole."
      "A tall elf."
      "Big Mike from The Blind Side."

When Kiah got home from work we waited to see her reaction.

She stopped in her tracks and said, "Oh my goodness."

I said, "We got him a new outfit for his birthday."

Kiah looked at me incredulously, "You've got to be kidding." Which considering her shirt was a little like the pot calling the kettle black.

When Erica and Anna came home we elected to wait and see what they would say.

Erica smirked and said, "Where's Waldo?"

I lied explained that we had given him the outfit for his birthday. To which she could think of nothing more intelligent than, "Wow."

It's hard to keep a straight face when someone looks like a barber pole. 

Things disintegrated from there.

They pretended to be kids listening to Amy read a Christmas story. 

Lani tried taking a self-portrait, forgot that red eye flashes twice, and temporarily blinded herself. 

Erica and Anna modeled their new socks

The girls get a kick out of how big "Waldo's" feet are.  He maintains guys have to check their ego at our door when they come over because my girls will rip it to shreds. 

Erica tried on Waldo's boots and was amazed at how big and heavy they are. 

After a rousing game of Dutch Blitz he changed back into his regular clothes and went home. Erica, not realizing we had been teasing her, asked why he didn't take the clothes we had given him for his birthday home with him. 

The moral of the story is to always keep a spare change of clothes in your car or pick your friends more carefully.  I mean, what kind of people dress their friends up like a candy cane and then blog about it?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Von Trapp Singers we are Not

Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in Thee 

Question posed at dinner three weeks ago, "What do you guys think about singing as a family for the church Christmas program?"

Five answered, "Yes", one said, "No", and knowing some family members sing on pitch better than others, the last one warily asked, "What do you have in mind?

"The song we sang at our old church's Christmas program three years ago. When we sang Come Thou Long Expected Jesus to the tune of Come, Thou Fount."

Random comments over the next two weeks. 

"I'm not doing it. Singing in front of 30 people is one thing. Singing in front of 120 is another."

"You have to sing. We want to do it all together. Like the Sound of Music."

"Nope, my mind's made up."

"But you'll call more attention to yourself if you're the only sister that's not up there singing."

"I don't sing good."

"That doesn't matter. Just move your lips. You don't actually have to sing."

"Shouldn't we practice?"

"We'll practice later."
Israel's strength and consolation
Hope of all the earth Thou art
Dear desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart.

Despite good intentions, three weeks passed without practicing.

15 minutes before the party began I searched out my harried husband, "We NEED to practice."  

Keith, who at that moment chose to be an optimist, said, "We don't need to practice, we'll just wing it." Unsure of our abiity to "wing it" I herded our six girls into their Dad's office for the quickest practice in singing family history.

After one verse, Keith said, "Okay, we got it - that's good enough."

Oh boy! I distinctly remember reading that the VonTrapp family practiced. Alot. 

Born Thy people to deliver
Born a child and yet a king
Born to reign in us forever
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring
So here we have the Von Trapp Family Wannabes Vik Family Singers making a joyful noise, some singing on pitch, some not, some just moving their lips, and some winging it,

Standing next to the loudest singing voice in the church was hard on my eardrums. Keith drowns out anybody close to him. We should have put the lip mover next to him.

I have no idea how we sounded. Who would be rude enough to tell their pastor that his family shouldn't quit their day jobs. By the lack of contract offers, we won't be doing the church concert circuit or American Idol any time soon. 

But all in all, it was fun. For the most part.

By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Mugs - Winter

I'm enjoying today's Monday Mugs' topic as Winter is my new favorite season. 

See I grew up in Northern California where winter was just winter. Lots of rain and what I thought at the time was cold. Snow was a rare treat happening once every eight years and treated like an important holiday. 

I was properly introduced to snow in Colorado when I went to college. Living on campus, being young, with no snow shoveling responsibilities, and friends to play in the snow with, winter was FUN.

Then I grew up, had babies, and then a few more babies, and moved to Iowa where winter meant business. Blizzards, drifting snow, freezing rain, icy roads, and nasty wind chills.

 Winter is cold

and long

 and people suck it up and endure it

 Then we moved to Northern Wisconsin 
where people embrace winter. So we
bought snow clothes and ski passes

and learned to ski and snowboard

 And to go sledding

 and wipe out

 and have fun with friends

 and ice skate and play hockey

 and walk on frozen Lake Superior
 and get rosy cheeks

 and take pictures in April 
by thawing Lake Superior

So far this year only our youngest two have done much playing in the snow. But Christmas break starts Thursday and the ski hill is open and calling our name. 

To view other winter pictures go to Oswald Cuties. Our winter is the yin to Heather's yang. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Christmas Winner

My friend Lori’s suggestion that I try The Blogging for Books program from Waterbrook/Multnomah Press sounded like a win-win situation. I like to read, blog, and write, and I certainly like free books. Especially since our local library has a small selection of Christian fiction and definitely not much from the current century.

Hopefully you’ll read the review because you like me. 

I chose Two Tickets to a Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul because I loved her Dragon Flight books which were a wonderful fantasy series chock full of wisdom, humor, and spiritual nuggets. I wondered how a fantasy writer would handle a romantic novella.

She did not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed this charming  book.

For starters, the cover with its rich colors, embossed letters, and playful font is beautiful and inviting. 

It’s a little something out of the ordinary, a Christian fairytale full of hope and divine intervention. This light-hearted read blends faith, romance, Christmas magic, friendship, and fantasy with a touch of Cinderella elements.

Two Tickets is a novella, therefore not a deep, many layered, fully-developed story. Think quick, fun, and fluffy.

Anything can happen in this clever tale of magical matchmakers, an unlikely couple, two tickets, and a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas Ball.

So now you have to watch this video trailer. It's only 31 seconds which is enough time for two good sneezes. 

The story opens when Cora Crowder and Simon Derrick bump into each other “by chance” at a quaint bookstore on a hard-to-find Sage street that is sometimes there and sometimes isn’t. 

Cora and Simon worked in the same office for years but never really noticed each other until they find themselves at the mercy of a group of determined matchmakers who have decided the clueless couple needs a little help in the romance department.  

Estranged from her dysfunctional family, cautious Cora lives an orderly life alone with her cat Skippy. She struggles to love and forgive her family, whom she calls, "Tomorrow's Sorrows  because whatever they choose today inevitably ends up being something they regret tomorrow."

Like many people Cora wrestles with how to reconcile worldly Christmas traditions with her Christian beliefs. She seeks to understand what Christmas is really all about, wanting to develop her own traditions and find the “right way” to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Simon happens to be Cora's boss. He is focused, no-nonsense, and diligent, rarely taking time to "notice" his employees. Though serious and anti-social at work, he is kind at home and puts his family's needs before his own. Simon lives with his multi-generational family including his delightful sister Sandy who has Downs Syndrome.

Unusual circumstances and interesting characters teach Simon and Cora valuable lessons as they see that God definitely works in some mysterious ways.

Good quote:  "It takes a man a while to get his head around the fact that love makes you stronger, not weaker." – Sandy

Two Tickets makes for a cozy read on a cold winter's night. Whether you’re a read by the fireplace, or read in the tub, or read in bed kind of person, I highly recommend adding it to your Christmas reading list. It also would make a nice gift, maybe even for someone in your family, and then you could read it too. :)

Disclaimer - I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in return for this review. I am not obliged to say nice things about it unless I really mean them.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Seeing Things

 23 years. How can it be?

The sisters make a group call, laughing, bubbling over with love and a bad case of missing-their-brotheritis disguised in goofy comments, random remarks, and lame jokes.

I look at my man-child and marvel that the intersection of his parent's love, Biology, youthful ideals, and God's Will produced this wonderful person.

I see a fun, kind, generous, big-hearted, loyal, friendly, hard-working, young man I'm very proud of.

I also see a sweet baby boy that his father wanted to name "Sven" or "Olie" but we didn't live in Norway so we decided on Andrew Peter. Someone once said that Andrew's name fit him because Andrew and Peter were brothers in the Bible and since Andrew never had a brother he had to be his own brother.

I see a toddler with fat red cheeks who walked and talked early and liked to comment on everything. Who was afraid to go to sleep at night because he heard "Scary Walking Noises." Who was fascinated with Garbage Men and Firetrucks.

I see a young boy with a Homer Price haircut who loved to watch football with his Daddy. And because Daddy loved the Denver Broncos, Andrew loved the Denver Broncos and lived and breathed football.

I see a knucklehead who wasn't wearing shoes and wiped out on a moped on a gravel road and caused his squeamish parents to turn inside out as they watched a doctor stitch up his forehead.

I see a clown, someone who enjoyed making other people laugh.

I see someone who's always been good with kids. Probably because he's such a big kid himself. 

I see an ornery person who struck a Koala Bear pose while taking his senior pictures

 I see a Grandma who always said, "Oh, he's such a nice boy."

 I see a Super Hero who could hold up the Golden Gate Bridge

Push boulders

Turn back the tide

Fight off the British

 And love on his sisters. 

  I see goofy. Definitely goofy.

I see smiles and mischief

I see a brother who let his sisters mess with his hair.

I see someone who dearly wanted a brother but loves his sisters.

I see a young man who loves his wife and once a few 
rough edges are rubbed off should make a fine husband.

I see a child who isn't here to celebrate his birthday and sending a 
birthday card and cash is not nearly as fun as celebrating in person.

Happy Birthday Son. You are loved. (And missed)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Mugs - Self-Portrait

What This Picture Says About Me:

1.  I like being outdoors.
2.  I love Lake Superior - I'm on a lakeshore 
     walking trail
3.  I'm sensible - 55 degrees - surely that's coat

4.  I'm practical - Bought coat at Goodwill
5.  I'm always cold and never leave home without 
     a jacket unless it's over 80 degrees.
6.  Blue is my favorite color
7.  I have a fondness for denim
8. I'm slow - The rest of my girls are much farther
    down the trail.

9. I'm not a morning person as this was an
    afternoon walk.   

10. I'm nice - Note light blue jacket in my teeth 
    that I'm carrying for a daughter. I made her 
    wear it because I was cold.
11. I'm menopausal - Sudden heat surges 
    make jackets unnecessary
12. I don't always think things through before 
    I do them. I made taking the jacket off much 
    harder than it needed to be.
13. I have goofy streak evidenced by deciding to post a picture where I'm not looking all that

To view other Self-Portraits visit Oswald Cuties

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Count Your Blessings

 The Place:  
Thanksgiving Dinner
The Question: 
Besides family, what are you thankful for this year?
The Answers:
For our church

For Village Creek Bible Camp. It has been a 
good place for my son to finish growing up.
That Christina dyed her hair back to blonde
That Christina and Kiah moved back home.

Travel and College Graduation

For getting married and 
That his family came down for Thanksgiving
That our Thanksgiving meal didn't burn and things turned out

For grace through a hard year
And her job at North Coast Coffee

For God's direction and provision.
She enjoys her college program

For moving to Wisconsin
For having Thanksgiving with Andrew & Rachel

For our dog Tucker
I'm also thankful for:
Taco Bell Chicken Burritos
Thermal Underwear
Smart Wool Socks
Indoor Plumbing

"Count Your Blessings
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings
See what God has done."