Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Panic Attack

This child...

will celebrate her 18th birthday with 20 of her closest friends with a party at our house on April 23rd. Then have a graduation party three weeks later on May 15th.

This child... still playing volleyball. Just when we thought volleyball season was done, one of the other Moms organized a traveling volleyball team. So a good number of Saturdays in the next six weeks will be spent at volleyball tournaments in towns two or three hours away. Sigh!

This child...

flies home from Spain on May 20 and needs to be picked up in Minneapolis which is four hours away. She graduates from college this Spring.

The child on the right...

came home for a visit two weeks ago. We registered her for college in the fall. She flew out of Minneapolis March 22 to visit her big sister in Spain and will be there for seven weeks. She arrives back in Minneapolis on May 10.

These four...

leave for a week of Horse Camp where Andrew works on May 16th. They'll be there until...
These two...

get married on May 22.

Plus I need to chair a committee to plan a Ladies' spring event at church, and plan a trip to Oregon to see my parents after the wedding.

Please pray for our family. We have a lot on our plate the next few months, and you may find this hard to believe, but I have a history of being crabby when stressed.

So here's to low stress graduations and weddings. One could always hope.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tis the Season

Amy and Lani just finished their volleyball season. In Iowa, volleyball is a fall sport. In Northern Wisconsin, it is not. There must be a good reason for this, but we don't know what it is. They played for a Catholic school down the street who let homeschoolers be on their team.

We have been to every gym in a 40 mile radius. I see volleyballs in my sleep. Volleyball in seventh grade is mostly about getting serves over the net.

I'm happy to report that after five Saturday tournaments and a bazillion games, their team came in first place.

We are a volleyball family. Most of my girls have bruised knees and we have a stockpile of kneepads. Amy and Lani had a ball, no pun intended. And when they're happy, generally so are we.

It's kind of bittersweet having our last two girls in volleyball. They are so stinkin cute, and yes, we're biased, but our days of sitting on hard benches and eating concession stand popcorn are numbered.

Amy is a setter

Lani, the left-handed wonder

Though Lani is left-handed, she can only serve overhand with her right hand. And she can only serve underhand with her left hand. Her coach has her mix it up to confuse the other team.

A certain unnamed child has never forgiven me for not letting her play volleyball when she was young. At the time I had seven children aged 13 and younger and couldn't handle any more on my plate.

All I can say, in love of course, is that she has been to six continents and has visited more countries than almost anyone else I know, so my dear daughter, you need to get over it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Posts

As I look back on a year of blogging, I picked out my top 10 favorite posts. If you haven't been with me since the beginning, maybe you might like a peek into the archives.

A Recipe For Fun - Easter weekend 2009

17-Year-Old Object Lesson Faith lessons from Erica's birth

Superior Rest - Meditative

Mysteries of Life - Just for fun

When Worlds Collide - Anniversary thoughts

Learning About Love - Meditative

Answered Prayers - Meditative

A Love Worth Waiting For - About Andrew's engagement

While I realize none of these are Pulitzer Prize material, these are my favorites. Perhaps another post that's not listed struck your fancy. Anyone else care to chime in, what post of mine did you enjoy more than others? Not that I'm fishing for compliments, but it's fun to hear what other people think.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blogoversary Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Nati at I Will Praise Him for being the winner of my first giveaway. Nati gets to pick from one of the items listed here.

I've enjoyed getting to know Nati. She is real and shares honestly about her joys and frustrations. One thing I find fascinating about Nati is she is German but blogs in English. Her English is so good that you can't tell the difference, which puts most of us Americans to shame for knowing only one language. I especially enjoyed her March 17th post titled "Healed=Happy?

Thanks everyone for participating.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Cautionary Tale

Since I'm celebrating my One-Year Blogoversary this week, just for fun I'm reposting my first post. Click here to enter my Blogoversary giveaway. I'll draw a name on Sunday, March 21.


Falling in love is risky business, the least of which is hoping you’ll like your new last name, should you get married. Twenty-five years ago I traded the perfectly normal, easy-to-spell, easy-to-pronounce "Taylor" for the tricky name of "Vik."

What’s tricky about Vik, you ask? It’s frequently misspelled "Vic" or "Vick." Add an "s and it sounds like a cough drop. The phonetically challenged say "Vike." People often call me Vicky, and no, we’re not related to Michael Vick.

We couldn’t name our son Nicholas or Richard because Nick and Rick rhyme with Vik. So does hick. But it could have been worse. Vik was shortened from an even trickier name. And therein lies my tale.

On May 11, 1912 Grandpa Vik left Norway at the tender age of twenty and sailed from Liverpool, England on the H.M.S. Mauritania with twenty dollars in his pocket. Family legend says Grandpa Vik was scheduled to sail on the Titanic but sold his ticket and traveled one month later.

At Ellis Island, he changed his name from "Johannes Vorpvik" to "John Vik." And Viks ever since have been thankful.

With all due respect to Norwegians, "Vorpvik," was outside the realm of my experience. I grew up in Northern California with Italians, Japanese, and Mexicans and thought last names like "Franceschi," "Taniguchi," and "Hernandez" were normal.

Grandpa settled in Irene, South Dakota and persuaded a young widow to trade her perfectly normal, easy-to-spell, easy-to pronounce name of "Johnson" for "Vik." But Marie, aware of his history, knew she had dodged a bullet and welcomed the shortened version.

If Grandpa Vik hadn’t come to America, or had sailed on the Titanic, or hadn’t changed his name, there wouldn’t have been a Keith Vik for me to marry and I might have ended up with Gary Mukaida and had Japanese children.

So the moral of the story is to only date men whose last name you like, or have them immigrate somewhere and change it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Fearless Four

I know people are getting tired of winter so I apologize for one more winter post, but I thought these pictures were kind of cute and couldn't resist.

We're so blessed to live a 35 minutes from Mt. Ashwabay Ski Hill. "Ashwabay" is a combination of the three closest towns: Ashland, Washburn, and Bayfield. Ashwabay is very family-friendly, within driving distance, and affordable.

I grew up in Northern California where it rarely snowed. Closest ski places were five hours away at Tahoe and Squaw Valley. My family didn't have money to ski. None of my friends skiied either.

We lived in Colorado for many years but couldn't afford to ski there.

But this we can afford. We have a season's family pass, which for a family our size is a great deal. We were loaned one pair of skis and were given another set. The other two girls got a seasons rental pass. We know there are bigger, better ski hills but Ashwabay works well for us.

Our girls went to ski school this winter, which is nine Saturday morning group ski lessons. They had a ball and learned so much. The teachers were wonderfully helpful and encouraging.

My four skiers and two friends

The girls are light years ahead of me. I look at the bunny hill and think it looks steep. This is the second year I've watched them ski without working up the courage to try it myself. Don't hold your breath, but Keith and I said maybe we'd try next year.

My girls make their Momma nervous at times but I don't want them to be chicken-hearted like me. I like to do safe things like blogging and making granola. Sliding fast down snowy hills looks scary. Maybe I'll just close my eyes.

Ski School has races the last day of class. Each contestant skis a course one at a time and whoever has the best time wins.





Ski School teaches them to ski first without poles. This is Lani's second year without poles.

Most of our snow is melted so skiing is done for this year.

This is my last winter post, I promise.

Be sure to enter my Blogaversary giveaway. Click here for details.

Friday, March 12, 2010

1 Year Blogoversary & Giveaway

One year ago I entered the blog world.

My good friend, Lori, over at Life, Love, and Laughter in a Large Family, walked me through setting up a blog. She was my first follower, my oldest daughter the second.

I tried Twitter, Facebook, and Blogging. Didn't like Twitter, Facebook is okay, but I really liked blogging. Originally I desired the blog be a tool to help keep in touch with family and friends.

And then I made new friends. Other people who share thoughts and experiences online. People whom I've never met but feel I know. I enjoy reading other people's blogs as much as I like writing mine.

Thanks for sharing our lives and caring about my family.

Thanks for being a fun part of my life. Thanks for your comments and encouraging words.

As I celebrate a year of blogging, I remember something else Lori taught me: Everything is more fun with friends.

In honor of this milestone, I am hosting a giveaway. drawing a random winner from anyone who who comments on this post. If you comment and are a follower, I'll enter your name twice. I'll draw a name on Sunday, March 21, 2010. The winner may choose from the items shown below.

Creative Memories Photo Sharing Card
Choice of either Black or Spargo. It comes complete with 1 card , 1 envelope, and 5- 4" x 6" photo mounting sleeves. Photo Sharing Cards are made of acid-free, lignin-free, buffered paper and will not harm photos. They can be used whether you scrapbook or not, as they are a nice way to send pictures to grandparents or friends.

Audiobook on cassette

True Devotion by Dee Henderson - Kelly Jacobs has already paid the ultimate price for loving a warrior: She has the folded flag and the grateful thanks of a nation to prove it. Navy SEAL Joe "Bear" Baker can't ask her to accept that risk again -- even though he loves her. But the man responsible for her husband's death is back, closer than either of them realize. Kelly's in danger, and Joe may not get there in time ... This romantic suspense with its theme of God as refuge provides a firsthand look at life in the military -- where serving God and country create truly Uncommon Heroes.

The rest are books in The Sisterchicks Series:

Sisterchicks Go Brit - by Robin Jones Gunn - Two midlife mamas travel to England and encounter so much more than the usual tourist stops. Nothing goes the way these two friends had envisioned. They start with a village pancake race and end up being held for questioning on The Underground. Kellie and Liz take a wild tour through the land of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and then find themselves swept up, up, and away in a hot air balloon over the Cotswalds. They enjoy the sights and sounds of London with a few surprises thrown in.

Sisterchicks in Sombreros - Two Canadian sisters inherit beachfront property in Mexico and take off on an adventure to claim their inheritance. They travel by cruise ship to Ensenada and survive a rocky trip through Baja California, only to be shocked when they arrive in San Felipe. Their beachfront property is, indeed, on the beach, but the "structure" is an Airstream trailer their uncle parked on the property in the early 1960s! With the help of a few locals, the sisters figure out what to do with their less-than-desirable legacy. The true gift, they find, is that they reconnect as sisters and discover that everything that happened along the way was part of God's plan.

Sisterchicks Down Under - Kathleen joins her husband for a three-month trip to New Zealand when he's hired by a film studio in Wellington. Leaving behind her familiar comfortable corner of Southern California, she realizes that the past twenty years have been so tightly woven into the life of her only daughter that she's not sure who she is anymore. Kathleen meets Jill at the Chocolate Fish cafe. Even though the two women are very different at first glance, they find common ground and instantly forge a friendship that takes them on a journey where both Kathleen and Jill learn alot about God and themselves.

As a lifelong bookworm, I think books make the nicest gifts. Please leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for one of the above items.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Photo Album Strategy

Years ago I aspired to make scrapbooks for each of my seven children. A noble goal that I never came close to reaching. Christina started scrapbooking at age 14 and took responsibility for her own albums.

The other six children's albums hadn't been touched in 10 years, other than to be carried to the basement during severe summer thunderstorms or tornado warnings.

Four years ago Christina encouraged me to work on her siblings photo albums. I started with Amy and Lani because they had the shortest lives. Once their albums got caught up, I planned to work on the others.

Amy and Lani are a package deal and do most everything together, so I made their pages almost identical. This worked well but no matter how much I plugged away, I was always two years behind.

And, I still hadn't touched the other kids' albums. A year ago I decided to make the four youngest girls books alike. Usually I come up with a layout and insert on each girls' page pictures that pertain to that child.

For example, here are pages from a hiking trip we took. See how they're the same but different. (My husband makes fun of me for using that phrase).

I made the 8 X 10 collages in Shutterfly Studio,
a free download from Shutterfly.

Then made the two page spreads.
(Click on pictures if you want to see them bigger)

So now instead of being two years behind on two girl's books, I'm three years behind on four girl's books. That's progress, I think. I hope.

I finally gave up on Erica's book as I knew there was no way I'd have it done by graduation. Last month I made her a digital scrapbook on Shutterfly which takes a lot less time and isn't nearly as messy.

Now if you're good at math, you'll notice I mentioned Christina does her own album and I've worked on the youngest four. That adds up to five and I have seven kids, which means I haven't touched Andrew and Kiah's albums in 15 years. Sigh!!!!

Back to the scrapbooking grindstone. I think I can, I think I can.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fifty Cents Worth of Fun

Beautiful full moon, outdoor skating rink, 15 friends from church, brisk weather, energy to burn, 25 cents skate rental, hockey equipment, and the girls were good to go.

Just so you know, that's not an incoming UFO. The rink's light looks way bigger than it actually was.

My two girls are in the middle

Amy Linn

Taking my spectator job very seriously. Notice the four layers of clothing? (My snow pants don't show.)

Frustrated by their inability to block the other team's goals, the little girls pushed two goals together so no pucks could get in, only to become prisoners and at the mercy of the big guys.

Not to fear. If they just chew long enough, they'll get out.

At the end of the evening, after some of the group had left, I tried taking a group picture. When daughters, Erica and Anna, struck an Olympic ice skater pose, the three girls on the left followed suit...and landed in a heap.

No sympathy for them. Lani (middle girl on the ground) does her Mermaid pose.

At last, everyone on their feet and looking at the camera.

On a scale of 1-10, one being horrible and 10 being fantastic, the girls rate the evening an 8. Not bad for 50 cents.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Is nothing sacred?

Can't a women have a short-term memory lapse and forget to log out of Blogger without her ornery husband posting sassy comments on HER blog?

All I have to say is life is too short to organize your underwear drawer.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Strategic error; she left the blog editor site on and a husband has snuck under the wire!
Messy cars muddy shoes, Ha! You should see her underwear drawer. When I get up in the morning I have to climb on and over piles of laundry and she has lately gotten in the habit of piling stuff on top of my cell phone (which I dutifully charge every night). Messy, the world needs to know! Oops, I hear the clomp, clomp of familiar feet - better get while the gettin' is good. She'll never know!