Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Valuable Deposit

 Kiah said last Saturday night, "Mom, I have the day off tomorrow, do you want to go hiking?"

After church, a business meeting, lunch, naps, and what-not, we leave the house at 5:00 pm, and I grumble that I distinctly remember her saying she had the day off. I don't particularly like to start hiking this late in the day, but she's young and I'm not but I love her and am thankful that she likes spending time with me.

On the drive south, she comments how pretty the scenery is and says that she's never been this way before. We look at her in shock, because she's lived with us for a year now. Turns out she's driven the road between Duluth and Ashland many times, and the drive between our house and the next town a bazillion times, but other than that she hasn't seen much of Wisconsin.

We all agree she needs to get out more. Sunday made a good start. We visited St. Peter's Dome, about 40 minutes south of Ashland.

 Lani discovers peanut butter works 
good to hold a spoon on her nose.

But it also leaves peanut butter on her nose

 Lani got stuck with the job of 
carrying water bottles and snacks

Amy couldn't resist

 Nor could he.

Oh, cool! A waterfall.

But wait - You're supposed 
to look at it, not climb it.

"Kiah, that's far enough. 
You're making your Mama nervous."

Two thirds into the walk, I'm thinking I'm too old to do this. But then 
we get to the top and the view makes the long uphill climb worth it.

Girls, please stay away from the edge. 

 Every time I get up here I think we should come back in the fall. This is sure to be a glorious view when the trees are changing color. But we get busy and forget. Maybe this year!

Fueling up for the long walk down.

A fun day and another good deposit in my children's memory bank.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Eagle's Wings

Christina announced that her birthday gift to herself was to go Skydiving.

Excuse me, as in jumping out of a perfectly good airplane and trusting science and technology to help you safely land in one piece?

To solidify her resolve, she posted her intentions on Facebook. 

Comments quickly appeared.
     "Have fun"
     "You the bomb...I mean parachute."
     "Don't do it."
    "The saying, 'If at first you don't succeed, try try again' doesn't apply to skydiving."
     "Wear a nose protector."

I sarcastically said, "If you don't come back, can Kiah have your laptop?"

The mother of the friend who went with her left her a sweet note with the verse Isaiah 40: 31 - But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles..."

Wish I'd thought to be encouraging rather than sarcastic.

She talked three friends into going with her. 

They drove up to Duluth and flew out of Superior (Duluth's twin city on the Wisconsin side)


Two went up at a time. 

Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.

This was a tandem jump so they're attached to someone who knew what he was doing.

They celebrated with a Peanut Butter Pie

Christina admitted to being nervous before-hand and second guessed whether it was a good idea or not. But she's glad she did it, thought it wasn't as scary as she had imagined, and would like to do it again sometime.

All I can say is I'm glad someone else went with her. I love her, but not enough to throw caution to the wind and spit in gravity's face.

One more item off her bucket list. Three dozen more to go.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Oh To Be Young

Oh, to be young and enjoy simple things, 



Boat rides

and making unique sand castles

Complete with suspension bridge

A chair and two whirlpools

After weeks of hearing about everyone else's hot summer weather I'm happy to report that after a cool June, summer finally arrived in Northern Wisconsin and we're doing our best to make up for lost time.

Summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two 
most beautiful words in the English language.  ~Henry James

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Different Kind of Slide Show

My oldest turned 26 last Sunday. 

After a difficult 36 hour labor, Christina was born three days after our first anniversary to green parents who didn’t know much and learned as they went.

Memories flash through my mind like a slide show. 

7 weeks - Working at a Labor Day Family Camp before the advent of portable play pens, we had her sleep in an empty potato box. 

Me wanting a baby gate so she wouldn’t fall down the stairs. Keith insisting she could learn to maneuver stairs. Under his tutelage, at 10 months of age, she could go up and down like nobody’s business.   

Having a convulsion at 16 months old and scaring her mother spitless. The cause never determined, but thankfully she never had another one.

Having an uncanny sense of balance and loving to spin in circles. Clutching the walkman (a gift from Keith’s parents for her second birthday), listening to a Sunday School songs tape, and spinning in circles for long periods of time.

Age 2 – Perched in a carseat in the second row of our packed-to-the-gills old blue Volkswagen Van, surrounded by boxes containing all our worldly possessions as we drove from Colorado Springs to Portland, Oregon where Keith planned to attend seminary.

Age 2 ½ - Not especially happy to have a baby brother. Seemed to resent his intrusion into her life. Took all his clothes out of his drawers and hid them in the closet. 

Age 3 – Asked to play church. Stood up and said, “Let’s sing #55.” After “leading” a few songs, she announced, “Now it’s time for the snacks.” (meaning communion.)

Reading lots of books to her. Bus rides to the library storytime. Coming home with a big bag of books. Many hours with our nose in a book.

Fighting with Andrew while I nursed her baby sister Kiah. After figuring out how to read books to them while nursing a baby, at feeding time I plopped one child on each side of me and we read.

Age 6 - Loving Laura Ingalls Wilder and having a Little House on the Prairie birthday party. My sister made her the happiest girl in the world by giving her an old-fashioned sunbonnet. She proudly walked down a busy street in Portland, dressed in her prairie girl dress and sunbonnet, oblivious that no one else was dressed like her.

Age 6 - Moving back to a Denver suburb after her Daddy finished seminary.

Catching a stray cat and convincing it to stay and become the first Vik family pet. “Jennifer” lived for another 10 years.

Baking and decorating her own 7th birthday cake because Mom was flat on her back with a ruptured disc. Christina helped a lot as I recovered from back surgery.

Age 8 – Her first experience with grief. Keith’s Dad died unexpectedly at age 70 from a massive heart attack.

Age 10 – Staying overnight with me in the hospital after the birth of her fourth sibling, Anna.

We escaped from our cramped 2 bedroom basement apartment in a huge city and moved to eight acres and an old farmhouse in rural Iowa. So thankful to at last be living near her Grandma and Aunt Karen.

Climbing trees, designing tree forts, raising chickens, countless hours at the local public pool, Legos, 4-H, Fair projects, books, friends, and kittens.

Age 14 – discovered Scrapbooking. I’m rigid and formulaic. She’s an artist. Started going with me once a week on “Mom’s Night Out” to scrapbook or make cards with my friends.

Age 15 – First job, helped with an afterschool program at the library. Loved her boss and enjoyed the job.

Developed a strong interest in politics. Made a scrapbook of political articles. Sent a homemade card to congratulate Iowa's Senator Chuck Grassley on a recent political win.

Graduated at 17 and promptly left home to be a summer camp counselor at Camp Id-Ra-Ha-Je in Colorado.

Came home and worked at a Daycare to save money for her next adventure.

Age 18 – Summer spent at Village Creek Bible Camp as a wrangler.

Age 19YWAM Bible School (Youth With a Mission) in Townsville, Australia.  Keith and I didn’t sleep for two days until we knew she’d arrived there safely. She had a whopping good time. After a six weeks Mission trip to Thailand she spent a week in New Zealand before returning home.

After two years at a local community college, she transferred to Iowa State University in Ames, IA to study Political Science and International Studies. She did a semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina (with side trips to Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil) and studied a school year in Spain (with side trips to Ireland, England, and Morocco.)

While in Spain she became a devoted listener to Dave Ramsey podcasts. Impressed with the importance of getting out of debt, she moved home after graduating from college to pay off school loans.

Next on the horizon – Chipping away at her Bucket List and starting Nursing school with Kiah in the fall.

She survived inexperienced parents and grew up to be an interesting, intelligent, determined, and adventurous person.  

Tonight we’ll celebrate with a big birthday dinner with family and friends. So thankful for birthdays to remind us of our blessings.

Happy Birthday Sweetie, we love you.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Becoming Keith's wife

Years ago at the beginning of my freshman year of college, someone asked if I planned to go all four years there. At the time four years sounded like a huge amount of time and I could no more imagine committing myself for four years than I could see myself sailing around the world. Instead I planned to take one year at a time. (I ended up going to that college for five years.)

27 years ago today I stood before a minister and guests and committed to spending the rest of my life with a green-eyed bearded Norwegian from Iowa. Aware of the length of a lifetime in vague general terms but totally unable to fathom the logistics of living with someone else for the rest of my life.

1984 - on our honeymoon

27 years is a long time. But when I talk to someone who's been married 
for 50 years, I can't wrap my mind around being married that long.


27 years
Four states.
One son.
Six daughters.


27 years of 365 days with three meals a day adds up to 29,565 meals. I didn't keep a tally so there's no way to know how many meals I didn't cook when we went to Taco Bell, or to a friend's house, or to a church potluck, or bought TV dinners, or I didn't feel like cooking. Just to be on the safe side, I can say that I've cooked at at least 20,000 meals since saying "I do."


Not the most romantic thoughts on an anniversary, but marriage is sharing a life and life is composed of good days and bad days, a little special and a whole lot of normal, high points and low points, flying high and scraping bottom, sometimes stretching and occasionally breaking.

If you were to ask me when I became Keith's wife I would say July 7, 1984. But in all honesty, I'm still becoming his wife. We're not the same people we were 27 years ago. We've learned and grown and matured and regressed. We've experienced amazing moments of emotional intimacy and frustrating episodes of dumb-founding stupidity.


So I'm up for the next 25 years, though the thought of gout, and walkers, and hardened arteries, and loss of memory, hair, and hearing, and Keith getting bushy eyebrows and ear hair is a bit scary.

I'm thankful for 27 years of being married to to the one man out of the 3.5 billion males on the earth that belongs to me. I'm thankful that we didn't give up when things got hard and that he doesn't snore is also a definite plus.

I love you, Keith, even if you don't like sharing your Kindle with me.

Happy Anniversary