Thursday, July 25, 2013

Team Baby Vik

Rachel surprised our family with t-shirts to wear when the baby was born. The fronts all say 

and the backs all say what our relationship is


When my kids used call me Grandma, it was insult, meaning I was moving slow. Now being called Grandma is a privilege.   

Erica, Kiah, and I waiting not so patiently in the waiting room
(Two hours before Baby Vik's birth)  

Taken when Cailin was one day old.

We all wore our t-shirts at the camp where Andrew, Rachel, Kiah, Erica, and Amy work the next day. A young son of one of the full-time staff told Erica that he wanted a t-shirt. Erica asked him what it would say on the back of his t-shirt. He thought for a moment, then said decidedly, "Neighbor."

Andrew has six sisters so between me and the girls, there were a lot of blue shirts in the maternity wing. 

Andrew's best friend since third grade showed up wearing one

as did his wife

When the next visitor showed up, the nurse said,
"I'm sorry you can't go in, you're not wearing the right shirt."

Rachel's mom wants to be called Oma.


 Rachel's brother lives many hours away so 
hasn't seen Cailin yet, but he wore his t-shirt anyway.

My husband, Keith preached Sunday in his t-shirt


Keith saw Cailin for the first time when she was 6 days old. 

Christina, the oldest Auntie

 When asked why the shirts are blue when Andrew and Rachel knew they were having a girl, Rachel said that she liked the color blue. Andrew said we could save the shirts and wear them the next time they have a child. Besides Cailin's Opa, Grandpa, and Uncle, even though they love her dearly, might not to wear a pink t-shirt. 

Proud Aunties


Grainy picture, but I love the way Erica's holding Cailin.




A fellow camp staff member gave Lani a new nickname. He called her Aunty (pronounced "Awn-tea") Lani (rhymes with Bonnie). Then he decided that didn't sound right, so he combined the two words and named her, "Lanti" (pronounced "lawn-tea") She wears her shirt and new name proudly.

Team Baby Vik tied a volleyball match against another family at Village Creek Bible Camp this week. (Kiah loves Baby Vik, but said her shirt was very dirty.) I'm the short squatty one with the turtle looking knee pads. I rarely dive in volleyball, but wear knee pads to protect my aging knees in case I fall.  

Thankful for new babies, new shirts, and being able to share special times with family. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

It's a Girl!

This little peanut caused quite a stir in our family this week.

Definitely a case of love at first sight.

In the blink of an eye, she captured all of our hearts and all we want to do is hold her, take pictures of her, and talk about her

May we introduce the newest Vik

Cailin (pronounced Kay-Linn) Louise
Born July 17, 2013
5 lb. 13 oz.
18 inches long. 
Both Mom and baby are doing well. God is good.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Expanding My Horizons

My First Trip to Canada

My oldest daughters, Christina, Kiah, and I took a weekend trip the end of June to Canada to watch our adopted college student, Nathan, marry his beautiful sweetheart.  The wedding was ten hours away in Sioux Lookout, Ontario. Christina planned our route and itinerary.

The thought of driving that far with Kiah the speed demon did not appeal, but I wanted to see Nathan's wedding, Canada, and Lake Superior's north shore. 

Our friend, Brendon, came with us. We figured he'd be handy to change flat tires, share driving, and keep weirdos away.  Weirdos shouldn't bother us with a six-foot two man around. (Unless the weirdos were taller than him.) Brendon deserves a special award for traveling that far with three quirky women. 

Since we were cooped up in a 1996 Grand Marquis for three days, we had to learn to accommodate our differences. Such as the three young people enjoy listening to music much of the time. I could drive to Alaska and back without music and be fine. Kiah plays loud music in the morning while she gets ready. Loud music in the morning grates on my nerves.

Brendon and I drive the speed limit. Kiah doesn't. I like to stop and smell every rose along the way. Kiah doesn't stop for anything but gas and food. Christina and I love to hike and stop at state parks and scenic overlooks. Kiah, not so much. Christina and Kiah are coffee drinkers and frequent coffee shops. Brendon and I aren't coffee drinkers and the thought of paying $4 and up for something that tastes like burnt muddy water is unthinkable. Brendon is a morning person. The three of us are night people. 

We left early Friday morning, hoping the 60% percent chance of forecasted severe thunderstorms meant a 40% chance of no thunderstorms.  Severe weather never materialized, but it did rain and I can't say what Minnesota's north shore looks like as it was rainy and overcast most of the day. 

June 21 and we had this kind of weather. 
(People in Florida and Arizona, eat your heart out.)

Kiah protested stopping at Gooseberry State Park. Said hiking in the rain wasn't fun. Said rainy days were for sitting in coffee shops reading books. We ignored her.  Recent rains had swelled the waterfall to impressive proportions. The water was much higher than when we went there three years ago. 

I like this picture because while I love my daughters dearly, I'm not good in emergencies. I'm standing a respectful distance away from the way-over-the-banks rushing river, while Christina, who is good in emergencies is standing right beside Kiah, ready to grab her if something goes wrong.

We all agreed it was too foggy to stop at Split Rock Lighthouse.  Kiah wasn't disappointed we cancelled the other state park stops as well.

Finally we reached Grand Marais, a cute tourist town at the top of Minnesota. Kiah asked how to spell Grand Marais. I saw "Grand Marquis" on our car's dashboard and said, "like Marquis, but substitute "a" for "qu."

Kiah said, "But I don't know how to spell marquis." 

I told her, "like Marais, but substitute "qu" for "a."  Even my ipad was confused and autocorrected Marais to "Maria."

We're copying the mural of Mama Bear and her two cubs.

Years ago, Keith wanted to name our son "Sven or Ole" but I liked "Andrew" better. First time I've seen a restaurant using those names. 

We ate lunch at The Crooked Spoon. I saw this sign and couldn't resist. 

Vacations are about doing and eating things you can't do at home. I'd never eaten rabbit before and thought it had a mild flavor. It was doctored with Mexican seasonings, so I'm not sure how straight rabbit tastes. 

We left the restaurant, only to discover that Brendon had put our table's salt shaker in Christina's pocket. She made him take it back. Something about road tripping makes us revert back to being children. 

Lake Superior is awesome! So is my daughter.

We all enjoyed this stop. I'm not a donut person, but who could resist the world's best donuts? I got a maple long john and Brendon bought a Skizzle, which is a yummy, fried sweet pastry. After he gave us each a bite, we wanted to get our own but resisted since we'd already eaten a donut. If you're ever in Grand Marais, be sure to get a Skizzle. 

This sign is much more welcoming that the grumpy people at the border crossing. 

The unfriendly Canadian guard fired questions at us. "Where are you going. Why? For how long? What are you taking? Do you have more than $10,000?"  We could safely say we didn't.

I was disappointed not to see Taco Bell north of Duluth. If I ever get filthy rich, I'll build Taco Bell franchises every three hours on my most traveled routes.

We found it weird to be in a foreign country that didn't feel much different than our own. When you cross the Mexican border, it's obvious you're in a different country. But Canada is much like America except for them using metric, eating Ketchup potato chips, and pronouncing words like "progress" differently. 

We finally reached Thunder Bay, Ontario, which in my subjective opinion isn't as cool as it's name. To be fair, it was gloomy and overcast. Our hotel looked sketchy but Christina said it was one of the cheaper options. If Brendon hadn't been along, I wouldn't have stayed there. 

We visited Kakabeka Falls which was very pretty. Kiah stayed in the car. She's like her Dad that way. (Inside Dad comment - "You see one waterfall, you've seen them all.")

When Kiah was driving in Thunder Bay, the GPS said to turn left so she put on her blinker. We stopped for a red light and she got distracted looking at nearby shops. When the light turned green, she said, "Why do I have my blinker on?," turned it off, and drove straight ahead.

 We ate dinner at a fun restaurant called, "Gargoyles." Our waiter heard we were headed to Sioux Lookout and said they eat a lot of gravy there. The bride was Mennonite, so the food was bound to be good. Yes, we could live with gravy. 

We're at a cool scenic view that overlooks the city. Only you can't see the city in this picture because it's behind me.

That night we tried to watch Duck Dynasty on my ipad, but a dialog box said we couldn't in that region. Probably a good thing. Hate for Canadians to think that's what all Americans are like. 

We survived one day in the car together without getting on each other's nerves. Happy to be in Canada and looking forward to the big occasion the next day.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


This month I've been tackling the backyard I've neglected for five years and have spent more time outside than inside, so am woefully behind on blogging. I wanted to share about a big deal event in our family last month.

We had THREE daughters graduate from Technical school.

It was fun to have them graduate at the same time. Christina is seven years older than Erica so a few things happened to make this possible. Christina already has a four year degree from Iowa State. She worked for a couple years and then went back to school for a nursing degree. 

Kiah started and stopped going to school a few times. We were glad Kiah and Christina could do the nursing program together, although there were times, we feared they would kill each other. 

Erica took three years to finish a two year program, so all those things added up to a three-for-one graduation weekend.   

Erica (left) with a Occupational Therapy Assistant degree
Christina (middle) and Kiah (right) with nursing degrees

Our house was grand central station for five days. Andrew and Rachel drove up from Northeast Iowa, Christina's best friend Ruth drove up from Ames, Iowa, and Aunt Karen and Uncle Bob and Kiah's best friend Cassaundra drove up from Northwest Iowa. (got all that - there may be a quiz.)

First we had a party for Erica - but wasn't smart
 enough to take a group picture before she went to bed. 

Kiah, Anna, Andrew, Nathan, Amy, and Lani

 The next night, Christina and Kiah's nursing class had a joint graduation party/candle lighting/pinning ceremony at our church

Christina and Kiah with the ten girls in their nursing graduating class. The traditional lighting the candle ceremony is a tradition with roots in Florence Nightingale's nursing efforts during the Crimean War.

Christina and Kiah with their Aunt Karen and new uncle Bob

Andrew and Rachel with Karen and Bob

Kiah with Cassaundra, her best friend since fifth grade

Fun to celebrate with friends and family

Raising six daughters can do this to a person.


Me gusta

Proud parents

Great way to handle a photobomber

Oh, Amy!

The girls and two friends from church

Parties are done and now they have to take their 
licensing tests and find jobs. One step at a time. 

We're very proud of them. Good job girls!