Monday, June 28, 2010

Pet Pictures

I'm a firm believer in pets being a part of the whole happy childhood thing. We've had a steady stream of cats, dogs, birds, hamsters, and chickens pass through our home.



Chubby and Stubby


Lani and Stripes

Window shopping

Our Golden Retriever Jessie loves the water.

Monday, June 21, 2010

On the Road Again

Kiah's Travel Journal - Day 3 - Montana

The previous night we had set up the tent, blown up air mattresses, crawled into sleeping bags, and was sleeping by 11pm. My last words were, “If I’m cold or this mattress deflates during the night, I’m not going to be a happy camper!” Wasted words, because I slept like a rock and woke up at 8 the next morning. Mom and the girls got moving right away, but I hit the imaginary snooze button about 10 times and slugged around not wanting to wake up until 8:40. After enough pestering and Amy threatening to deflate the mattress, I finally got up and said, “This was the best camping experience that I’ve had in years!”

Since camping had been a last minute decision we weren’t prepared foodwise and only had fruit leathers and bananas for breakfast. Theyt took the edge off our hunger, but that was about it. Lani and I really wanted to hike a small hill nearby, so we pushed our hungry bellies to the back of our minds and took Mom and Amy with us up the hill. Too bad hills always looks smaller and easier to climb, when you’re a quarter mile away than when you initially climb it. Our flatlander lungs gasped for air and our legs and rears burned, but we made it triumphantly to the top!

We walked back down to our campsite. Our tent and sleeping bags were still damp so we drove 3 breathtaking miles up to the Visitors Center. Surrounded by mountains and hills, we could see endless mountains in the distance. Large white-capped mountains could be seen further back and Amy kept saying, “Kiah! Look at the mountains over there!”

At the visitors center we intended to get a few postcards and be on our way…..but the woman asked if we wanted to take the cavern tour. Mom didn’t want to because it was a 2 hour tour and cost $35. I really wanted to do the tour, so I talked her into staying a little longer then we’d planned.

As we started our ¾ mile hike UP to the cavern, Mom said, “Good grief Kiah, last night you didn’t want to camp at all and now I can’t get you to leave!” That folks is irony!

Lewis and Clark Caverns ended up totally being worth the money! The tour was physically challenging, but so amazingly cool and interesting! Our guide was very knowledgeable, friendly, and had a passion for her job

After we exited the cavern we had to walk another ¾ mile back to the visitors center, where I bought a neat Montana coffee mug, postcards, and more fruit leathers. Then we headed back down the mountain to our campsite to pack up our tent and got back on the road.

We meant to leave at 10 am to make the 5 hour drive to Thompson Falls, MT, but actually didn’t leave until 1:30 pm. As we left the park mom brought up the rather ironic and funny point that she’s the one that loves camping, but she couldn’t get to sleep the night before and had lain awake hearing all kinds of noises. Whereas me, who doesn’t like camping, slept like a baby and had been the primary advocate of staying longer.

Our stomachs growled in complaint at the absence of food so far that day. It was Amy’s turn to pick and she chose KFC. We ordered an eight piece chicken dinner and royally pigged out, wolfing down food because we were so hungry.

Halfway through our meal Mom said, “Look at us devouring our food. We’re not even really enjoying or noticing the scenery.”

Amy says, “Nah uh, I’ve noticed the scenery! People weren’t sitting there when we got here and now there are!” We all busted out laughing because Mom had meant the scenery outside and not the scenery inside!

Mom also got a huge glass of Root Beer. So between fried food and Root Beer we pulled out of the parking lot very full and kicking ourselves for being dumb enough to eat at KFC when we were hungry.

After lunch we got back on the road, I had another headache and was still super tired so I kicked back and took a nap, while Amy and Lani watched some episodes of Here Come the Brides in the backseat. Three hours later I woke up when mom stopped to get gas in Missoula. I was a little miffed that there was a Starbucks 5 miles back, but mom hadn’t thought to wake me up.

We kept heading west. Two hours from Thompson Falls Mom asked to hear some of my favorite artists and songs. This surprised the heck out of me because traditionally Mom always asks us to turn our music down or off. So for a few hours I cultured her in some of my favorites. To my surprise she liked or could tolerate most of it, which prompted me to say, “Wow, Mom, you’ve gotten a lot cooler then you used to be!” She laughed, and then I brought up the other valid point that I’ve also gotten a lot cooler in the past few years as well. It was a really neat bonding moment.

The most awesome thing to share musically with Mom was my love of One Republic (a band, in case you don’t know who they are) and to find out that Mom actually likes them as well. We listened to the whole CD twice!

Just before Thompson Falls, Sacky directed us to Riverview Rd. which is where we thought Mom’s aunt lived ….but it wasn’t! We looked for the house number 91, and the only 91 we saw was on the side of a garage. Mom calls her uncle to ask if he sees a gray Impala sitting in front of his house. The only problem is she’s not sitting in visibility of any of the houses on the street and she’s asking if he can see us!

We were on the wrong street and needed to go further past Thompson Falls. Uncle Kim said if we met him at the “Town Pump” we could follow him to their house. As we drove into Thompson Falls we all speculated what he meant by the “town pump”? Gas pump? Water pump? Air pump? So creeping through town, every 10 feet mom suspiciously asked, “Does that look like a pump?” “Is that a pump!” Finally we said, “No Mom, that’s not a water pump. Just keep driving!” At last, to everyone's relief, we found the “Town Pump” which ended up being a rather large gas station.

We followed Uncle Kim eight miles outside of town to their house where Mom’s Aunt, and cousins were waiting for us to eat. Aunt Marion put on a quite the yummy dinner! It was a little weird being in the midst of people that I am related to but had never really met. We were glad Mom got to see and reconnect with her family. The area they live in is beautiful.

After supper me, Amy, and Lani went outside to play with dogs and jump on their trampoline. After everyone left, the girls and I ventured down to the river behind their house to satisfy the infamous Vik craving and love for water. I was really tempted to push the girls in, jump in myself, and go swimming. But maturity and common sense prevailed as I realized that it was late, the river was high, and it would probably be rude to come into their house soaking wet. So we resisted the urge to swim and back up to the house. Three days down, one more day of cross-country driving to go.

Quotes from the Day!

Lani – (when got lost in Thompson Falls) “Mom, do they make boy GPS’s?”

We died laughing and Lani was actually embarrassed which made it even funnier!

Click here to read Day 1 and here to read Day 2

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kiah's Travel Journal - Day 2

Saturday - June 12 (click here to read Day 1)

With great reluctance we slowly crawled out of bed early Saturday morning. We agreed on a breakfast suitable to everyone’s taste buds, Perkins muffins! Thankfully the tongue has the fastest reproducing cells in the body and Lani’s sweet taste buds were up and running again so she could thoroughly enjoy her muffin.

After the challenge of finding "Paula" in the hotel parking garage, Mom had trouble getting out. First she was paranoid about scraping the car on the ramp turns, and then she couldn’t figure out how to go down. After arriving at the top level Mom said, “There must be a more efficient way to do this!

As soon as she said this, we noticed that we had gone in a full circle and were coming to the “up” ramp again. Lani pipes up dryly from the back seat, “Maybe you should try the down ramp Mom”! We all burst out laughing as we realized the down and up ramps were right next to each other, but instead of going down all this time she had kept going up.

We stopped at the state capitol in Bismarck, North Dakota. It was really pretty, and we had a lot of fun running around and climbing on statues. Amy and I raced from point to point and I felt like a little kid again running everywhere. Nice to know that I still have the dominance and speed of being the older sister as well!

We were most excited to find a huge statue of Sacagawea. We feel an affinity to her since we named the GPS after her.

There was also a huge buffalo that none of us could climb up

I was also delighted to get Starbucks before getting out of Dodge. Nothing quite like sunshine, a car full of people you love, magnificent scenery, and Starbucks to start a day!!

Even with “Sacky’s” help, Mom got lost leaving Bismarck. We finally got back on the interstate and I decided I was still pretty tired and had better kick back for the sake of the family and myself. I had worked a lot right before leaving on our little adventure and was still much in need of catching up on my sleep.

I woke up at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It was so GORGEOUS!! The badlands are unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my entire life. The shapes and colors seemed almost unnatural, like someone transplanted them from a different time and dimension. The Badlands are another portion of creation that testifies and gives glory to one of God’s many characteristics and attributes: beauty. We serve and love a creative and beautiful God, and our creative and beautiful world is just a small taste of that beauty and the beauty yet to come.

We ganged up on Mom to talk her out of staying longer. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to see it, but we would never get to our destination if we stayed there. As we drove through the badlands we listened to Rich Mullins song, “Calling out Your Name”. The song perfectly fit the scenery. We listened to it several times, and it was one of those moments that will be locked away forever in our memories.

I suggested reading the Bible aloud while we drove. I first read Proverbs 12 as it was the June 12th. Then I switched to Ephesians, although I didn’t say where I was reading. The first verse of Ephesians Ch. 1 says, “To God’s holy people in Ephesus…” but it wasn’t until I got down to verse 3 that Mom burst out triumphantly like she knew the winning question to Jeopardy, “Ephesians! You’re reading Ephesians!"

I went along with it and said sarcastically, “Really mom, what gave that away for you?”
She said, “The part about heavenly places!”
“Oh, not the part about ‘To God’s Holy people in Ephesus’ in verse one?”

At this we both started laughing, and if we had been able we would’ve been rolling on the floor laughing.

For lunch we stopped at Wendy’s per my request. I’m an avid fan of Vanilla Frostys so thoroughly enjoyed that meal. Although that night the girls complained about the chili I ate for lunch!

Amy and Lani watched Here Come the Brides in the backseat. After a few hours of sleep I came out of hibernation and crawled to the backseat to watch Leap Year with them. Yeah, Red Box.

After the movie we heard Subway calling our
names, so we stopped in a small town to eat supper. We also visited a cool gift shop with an amazing jelly bean and chocolate display, but we demonstrated self-control by leaving empty handed and keeping our waistlines intact.

We drove a few more hours, but the day was winding down and we still were four hours away from our destination. Mom looks over at me, "How do you feel about camping?"

I gave here a look that said, “You know how I feel about camping.” But I knew it was our best option, and in all fairness to camping I hadn’t tried it in years so thought I should be open-mindedtired, had a headache, wanted nothing more to go to bed, and we still had the job of making camp before us.

As we drove around the campground looking for an open spot, I said, “Why on earth would people, who have perfectly good houses, food, and showers, spend this much money to be miserable?” Mom and the girls thought I was being a little pessimistic, and it turns out I was!

Quotes From the Day:

Lani – (talking to herself in the backseat) “I get cranky when I lose my pencil”


Mom – “Amy can you please look up on Sacky or the map how far it is from Bozeman to Yellowstone?”

(Amy wasn’t responding fast enough so Mom asked impatiently again, “Amy, how far is
Yellowstone from Bozeman!?”

Lani – (Pipes up in her chipmunk voice) “About 3 centimeters!”

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Oregon or Bust

We made it to Portland safe and sound. I'm using Kiah's travel journal to tell about our trip.
The Oregon Trail Adventures of Mom, Kiah, Amy, and Lani  
--Summer 2010--
Day 1 - Friday, June 11th
We left Ashland at 7:30 am and Dad drove us to Duluth. We could tangibly feel his anxiety. He said more then once to Mom, “Be careful.” To which Mom replied, “I’m not generally a reckless person, Dear.” Nevertheless Dad was still concerned.
Dad drove to the airport where we collected our rental car. Pouring rain made moving luggage from the van to rental car unpleasant. After the car was successfully packed, we piled in, along with Dad who told Mom yet again to “Be careful!" and then he prayed with us.
Mom headed for the nearest gas station with Dad following in the van. Me, being a coffee lover and ridiculously sleep deprived, got myself a rather large coffee and a Chai tea to start the trip out right!
Mom commented, “You’re getting two things! Why do you need to get two things?”
To this I replied, “I don’t expect you to understand, but I really love both so I’m just getting them both now while they’re available.” I also treated Amy and Lani to Chai teas of their own, to which they were eternally grateful and glad that their cool older sister was going along for the adventure!
We finally parted ways with the Pops. As we pulled out of view I said to Mom, “I think Dad’s pretty nervous to let us go.” Mom agreed, and then I joked, “At one point I thought he was gonna follow us all the way to Oregon in the van!”
So we made our way out of Duluth, sipping Chai teas and singing to Chris Tomlin’s song I will Rise.
Mom had borrowed a Garmin GPS which proved most helpful in our adventures. At the gas station Mom had Amy program the GPS for the best route to get out of Duluth onto I-35. It turns out the GPS talks to you, which initially flustered the bajeebers out of Mom. We drove 4 blocks and at every corner Mom thought she had to turn because she wasn’t sure how to follow orders from the GPS.
After 2 minutes, Mom exclaimed in exasperation and confusion, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” I shook my head and said sadly, “No. No you don’t know what you’re doing.”
When Mom started to get used to the GPS it told us to turn left onto a highway. Mom said, "Aagh!! I don’t want to turn here.”
Naturally I asked, “Why?’
To our horror Mom answered “Because I don’t want to turn left across traffic!”
Completely flabbergasted and with dread, I rolled my eyes and sighed, “Oh boy, this is going to be a long trip.”
When we got onto the interstate, Mom drove 62 mph in a 70 mph zone. Granted it was raining, but still. I indignantly asked, “Can you please at least go the speed limit?”
Mom (flustered) “I don’t want to go 70 until I figure this car out!”
Me (impatient) “What’s there to figure out!?”
Mom, with no real excuse grabbed for the first thing she could think of, “The mirrors! I need to figure out the mirrors out before I feel comfortable driving 70!” She then spent the next 10 minutes trying to figure out how to adjust her side mirrors. Thankfully the rain deluge finally let up and Mom drove almost 70!
We decided our GPS needed a name. Mom suggested Sacagawea because she guided Lewis and Clark to Oregon. The rest of us didn’t like it at first, but after calling her “Sacky” the name stuck.
We then named our rental car. Mom found extreme goofy delight in naming our Chevy Impala, “Paula.” In a parking lot Mom noticed the next car was an Impala as well, so naturally like any normal person, she started talking to the neighboring car! “Well hello there, you must be Paul the Impala!”
I rolled my eyes, “Mom, it’s not Herbie!”
We turned on Archibald Avenue in Brainerd, MN looking for Taco Bell, Mom’s favorite place in the world to eat. At this Lani pipes up in the backseat, “What’s with all the heads?” We all busted out laughing at the realization that the street and the town had a few brain cells in common!
We stopped next at Fargo, ND. Mom made me the most grateful and happy girl in the world by stopping at Starbucks and letting me get an amazing Iced Mocha.
For supper we stopped at a grocery store for sandwiches and fruit, and to Mom’s indignation, I snuck a Dove chocolate bar in the shopping cart. For all her complaining, she thoroughly enjoyed her square of chocolate.
When Amy opened her peach there was a nasty centipede-like-looking bug in it that had completely eaten the inside. It was exceedingly gross, but more then anything surprising because the outside gave no indications of the nastiness inside. It reminded me of how sin eats away at a person’s heart, and it’s not always easy to judge a book by it’s cover.
We wanted to make it to Dickinson, ND but Dad burst that bubble by telling us that the cheapest hotel in Dickinson was $165! Ridiculous! So even though Bismarck wasn’t as far as we’d hoped to get, it would be much cheaper to stay there. At 10 pm we checked into the Radisson Hotel.. After staking out and claiming beds, Mom went with Amy and Lani to the pool. I opted out as I’m allergic to chlorine.
After tickling, laughter, snuggling, and family bonding time we all zonked out and hit the hay because we all knew morning would come early….and early it did come!!
Quotes of the Day
Lani – While eating fruit leather, “I lost all of my sweet taste buds.”
(Everyone bursts out laughing)
Lani – “No, seriously - I burnt my tongue and now I can’t taste anything sweet!”
Amy – While playing the license plate game in Minnesota, “Kiah, aren’t you gonna play?”
Kiah – (voice drenched in sarcasm) “Yes Amy, but we’ve had the same car in front of us for the last hour.”
Lani – In the hotel room, “This pillow melts under my head.”

Road Construction everywhere
Beautiful clouds in North Dakota

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Monday Mugs - Play

Hoping no one notices that I'm doing Monday Mugs on Tuesday. Heather of Oswald Cuties hosts this weekly fun by choosing a theme and we find pictures for that category.

This weeks theme is play.

I decided to share pictures from Memorial Day. Two good friends and three of their daughters from where we used to live drove up for the weekend. We had lots of fun and the girls definitely played. We spent a nice afternoon at the beach. Then us Moms stayed up late having fun with Picnik messing with pictures.

These pictures make us miss our good friends and nice weather. Today is gloomy, rainy, 60 degrees. Vik family rules prohibit turning the heat on in June. Brr.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Let's Not Start That Again

My name is Angie and I have a hard time making up my mind. Is there a 12 step program for this?

Keith and I love the vultures from the Disney movie, The Jungle Book.

(Spoke with a British accent)"What do you want to do?"
"I don't know, what do you want to do?"
"Let's not start that again."

Thanks so much for all your thoughts and suggestions regarding my last post. It helped to write because the thoughts kept circling in my head and wouldn't land anywhere. I really, really appreciate all your input. I felt so blessed that you took time to respond.

What made this so hard is that I'm a black and white kind of person, which is both a strength and a weakness. I want to do the right thing, and when the right thing isn't obvious, I bog down.

Wanting to do the right thing and respect my husband's wishes, I drug this decision out way longer than it needed to be. Finally I realized that Keith wanted me to choose, one way or the other. He was tired of all the hours I took to think, research, calculate, make spread sheets, ask people for advice, etc.

He's intuitive and things just feel right or wrong for him. His advice to go with my gut feeling didn't help. I don't do gut feelings. Not sure I have gut feelings. I'm more of a linear, logical (to me anyway), pro and con, pencil it out, and consider the options gal.

Even more than the actual decision to take the plane, train, or car, he wanted me to pick a shovel and be done with it.


(Me) "Are you sure it's okay for me to choose?'

(Keith - blood presssure, slightly elevated) - "How many times do I have to tell you, it's okay?"

(Me) - "10 times."

(Keith) - "It's okay to choose, it's okay to choose, it's okay..."

(Me, having a hard time getting the words out) - "Then...I want to drive."

Whew, I did it. Probably best that I never be a general or something where you have to make split second decisions.

I, Angie Vik, queen of IPA (Indecisive People Anonymous), have decided to Lord willing, weather permitting, rent a car, take three daughters and drive to Oregon next Friday.

Now if I could only decide which route to take.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Choosing Shovels

I wish there was a hotline that indecisive people could call and ask for advice. Many times I tie my brain into double and triple knots and I just
want someone to tell me what to do. My brain is overloaded and my thought processes have imploded. Is there someone out there with functioning objective reasoning skills who can tell me what to do?

1. We live in Wisconsin. My family lives in Ore

2. For a variety of reasons, my parents can't visit us, so we travel there every other year.

3. My seventy-one-year-old mother has various health issues and has been in an out of the hospital the last few years. We almost lost her four years ago and I really didn't expect her to live this long. She's been fighting a respiratory infection since December and has made four trips to the hospital.

3a. She's in the hospital again right now.

4. Kiah and I want to go for a visit. Kiah's got a soft spot in her heart for older people in general, and her Grandma in particular. Kiah's window to travel is June 13 to June 25 as she'll be camp counseling after that, and then going back to college.

5. Keith and Christina have work and can't go, Erica and Anna are working at a summer camp so aren't available, and Andrew's married now and can't go gallivanting with his mother. That leaves Kiah and the two youngest.

5. I've looked since March for good airfare. Usually if I wait long enough or look hard enough I can sniff out a reasonable price. But I've looked everywhere and can't find good prices. The longer I waited the higher it gets. There doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason why certain fares are higher than others, but right now there are no cheap midwest airfares to Portland, Oregon. I could fly to Florida or Washington D.C. cheaper than I could fly to Portland.

6. Keith suggested leaving Amy and Lani at home and fly with Kiah, since two tickets cost less than four. I want them to come. I want them to spend time with their grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. I like to travel with them. I like to do road trips. I like vacations.

7. My parents live in a small one bedroom mobile home and don't have room for four people to stay so we need to rent a hotel room which adds up pretty fast.

8. I have a $2000 budget which sounds like a lot but not when I have to buy $500 airplane tickets, rent a car, and get hotel rooms.

8a. If we use that money to go see her now and she dies in the next year, I will have already used the money budgeted for travel. Should I save the $2000 so we can all go to her funeral which only God knows when that will be? Then again, she could live another fifteen years.

8b. There's a pretty good chance that the money spent on this trip means there won't be money for a family vacation in August when Keith has time off. I feel bad spending all this money on two people.

8c. Kiah can't go in August when Keith has time off. Her only window this summer is in June. Besides that, Keith does not like Oregon. We lived there for four years when he was in seminary and developed a distaste for Oregon. He'll go if need be, but he would rather not.

9. Keith calls me "The Option Queen" and I have spent hours looking for the cheapest way to get four people to Portland and back. I've looked until I'm cross-eyed on Travelocity, Priceline, etc. at planes, trains, buses, and driving.

10. I finally decided to drive. At this point the cheapest option, besides leaving the little girls home, is to rent a car and drive. This sounds like fun, except I'm a BIG chicken when it comes to severe midwest summer thunderstorms and driving through big cities.

Are you still with me? I don't blame you if your eyes have glazed over.

Keith said I could do whatever I want but his preference is that I just take Kiah and fly. He's not comfortable with me driving that far. (Three days out and three days back - at least 4,000 miles)

So my quandary is do I do what I know he wants me to do - leave Amy and Lani home and fly, even though the tickets are outrageously expensive, or drive and take all three girls like I want to do? How do I honor my husband's wishes when he said I had a choice but I know what his choice is?

I've almost used up my two week advance purchase window for buying a plane ticket. If I don't buy tickets tomorrow the prices will be even higher.

So now that you've peeked inside my contorted thought processes, is there someone, anyone who can please tell me what to do? The sooner the better, if it's not too much to ask.

One of Keith's favorite sayings when I have a hard time making up my mind is, "I don't care what shovel you use, just pick a shovel and dig."

So if you were me, which shovel would you choose?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Monday Mugs - Barefoot

I enjoy participating in Oswald's Cuties Monday Mugs. Heather chooses a topic and we find our favorite pictures in that category. It's easy to do and fun to see other people's fun photos. Head over to Heather's blog to view other cute pictures, or even link up yourself. The more the merrier.

This has always been a favorite photo of my youngest at nine months. They're a little hard to see in this picture but I love her little cute feet.

My kids spent a good deal of their childhood barefoot. When we lived in the country they loved to go "barefooting" as they liked to call it. This is one of my favorite pictures of my youngest four. It was a stolen moment - a beautiful day in the midst of a string of cold, gloomy Iowa spring days. One of those times when we were smart enough to stop the busy and make hay while the sun shines, so to speak.

This picture should be titled "Young Love." It was taken after Andrew and Rachel had been dating six months. They were deliriously happy to be together and took a bazillion pictures of each other, while sitting on the front steps writing I love you on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk.