Something So Big

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This One's For You, Dad

Cy made a basket and a free throw last night on his dad's birthday!
 Happy Birthday, Dad!!
 After a nice family dinner out to eat in Prairie du Chien (after the game), we came home for cake and ice cream.
 The traditional Dad-and-the-kids shot.  We like our 5 little birthday presents best of all;)
 To wrap up the month, Ally played her last basketball game of the season tonight.  We lost the game, but our girls gained so much in confidence, hustle, and skill as the season progressed.
 Coach and Player, Father and Daughter.  It was a fun season for us to watch!
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.--Ephesians 1:3 NLT

Great Day for Sledding!

Saturday was clear and not too cold...a perfect day for sledding! 
 I wish I had quick access to pictures from 12-13 years ago, because this Daddy pushed this same little girl on the same green sled back then;)
 We went to "Killer Hill" at the college, but quickly opted out due to the mud at the bottom of it.  I'm glad, because this hill was plenty steep enough and much more family-friendly.  I spent many weeks at this place back in college as it was our marching band practice field!
 The kids love those hats.  Good score for Christmas!  Here comes Shae-puppy and Paige-monkey...
 and Ally-Badger! (Cy at the right and Wynne on the left with the most worthless sled I've ever had the displeasure of trying.  I must have slid sideways about 5 times before ditching it for the Amazing Orange Flash that Shae's riding in the background!)
Daddy and the Baby.  I think this was the time where Wynne steered sideways (again, on that worthless blue sled) and scraped up her face a bit.  Not too bad, just enough to bleed a little and come crying to Mommy.  We retreated to the car for about 2 seconds, then all was well.
"Later, Dudes!" (Sorry I can't stop with the Chevy Chase movie lines.)

 "Now going for a downhill record...Clark W. Griswold the III (or was it II?) ...." 
Actually, Cy did very well going over two very sharp bumps in this path.  Give him about 15 years and his knees will be hating him for it!!
 I'm not much for winter sports, but the conditions were perfect on Saturday, and it's one of the cheapest forms of entertainment you can find.  Gotta love Wisconsin winters!

He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.--Psalm 147:16

Friday, January 20, 2012

How Many Basketball Games Do We Have This Week?

This is what the little sisters do at the games (when they're not complaining about being there or running out to the concession stand).
#45 got a clean bill of health this week from his ear surgeon!! Thank you Dr. Gubbels--you did awesome work!  No more perforated eardrum!! Now he can play that tenacious defense we've been missing.
 I like how she dribbles with her left hand, too.  She's getting pretty good at ball control.  Now if we could just control the other factors of the game, huh Ally? Don't give up Junie!!

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. --Proverbs 24:10

We Knew It Would Come Eventually

The property tax bill!
No, that always comes before we expect it.
I'm talking about the SNOW!
*     *     *     *     *      *     *     *    *  
Last weekend, the 3rd weekend in January, the kids had their first-go-round with the sliding hill.  It was a loooong wait, but our heating bill budget wasn't minding it ;)
 I'm pleased to report that the girls' new crocheted hats are WARM !  Thanks Mary Jo!  We get lots of compliments on them.
 Happy Belated Birthday, Rheann!  And thanks for the Badger gear for Cy.  He's getting plenty of use out of it, as you can tell.
Our little snow bunny, all bundled up and ready to ride!
Meanwhile in 3rd grade, we just finished the first semester (2nd quarter) and have been studing ecosystems.  The kids said they are thankful that we live in a deciduous forest ecosystem because we get all 4 seasons.  As one girl put it, "a little bit of everything". 
Even though it's colder, there's something about the white snow falling that makes everything cleaner and quieter.  It forces you to slow down a bit.  Which is a good thing ;)
God created it all and He is so good!

It was You who set all the boundaries on the earth;. You made both summer and winter. -- Psalm 74:17

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I really  need to learn how to take sports photos.
At least the blurriness makes the athletes look amazingly quick!
Ally is the point guard, as you can sort-of tell from this picture.  Her dad is coaching from the bench in the back.  The girls had their first win right before Christmas, which was awesome because they work so dang hard for only having 6 kids on the team!

Cy's a post.  That's another basketball term that I'm just going to throw out there because he told me that's what position he plays.  Aren't I impressive in my basketball knowledge?

It was fun watching the boys play Cassville because the coach and his son (far left in green) are our friends.  Cy is standing right behind the boy in the front of the picture.  I try to "point and shoot", but it takes so long for the camera to actually take the picture that I don't know what image I'm actually getting until I get it.   We lost the game, but Cy scored his first basket of the season so Yay!
Here are 2 of the spectators.  Their brothers play on the same team, and their big sisters play on another team together.  So I guess you could call Delaney Wynne's "bleacher buddy".
Here's Cy awaiting a rebound....
and here he is on defense.  Note the intensity! Wish he had this kind of enthusiasm...for ONE day...for cleaning his room or doing his homework.  Just one day, is all I ask.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.--Philippians 2:3

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Look at these STRANGERS!!
Aren't they silly??!!?
From the moment they met, these little girls hit it off.  As you can tell, they are fairly comfortable around one another.  And yes, they can be "strange" sometimes :)
Annika, Ava, and their mom and dad are moving to China for 3 years.  We are pretty sad about that at our house...but we are trying to stay hopeful and positive about the wonderful adventure that they are about to go on. 
Today's message at church was an awesome reminder (and very fitting, for the time) that we are all strangers in this world.  God did not make us for this world, but for the perfect place He has in store for us in eternity.  And so, even though our friends are going to feel very strange and won't "fit in" right away where they are going....we pray that God will use this opportunity of being "strange" to show that He is with them no matter where they go. 
Our guest preacher today said it well.  "He makes us new when it is easiest to be made new...when we are in a strange place....Every time we trust in Him, Jesus makes us NEW."

Annika, Paige, and Shae

And so we will not say "Good bye"...but rather, "Till we meet again!"  Mark & Astrid & girls, may God bless you and keep you...may He watch over you and move in you to put your complete trust in Him!

Ava & Wynne

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!
--2 Corinthians 5:17

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Games People Play

Every year when we gather at the hotel, it doesn't take long before the games start.  Cards, board games, video games, dance games, swimming pool games, and active games.  It's a good thing we play games, or we wouldn't be able to fit through the door, with all the tables of food we also eat!!

A few years ago Santa gave Cy four lazer tag guns.  Engelke Christmas has never been the same since!  See the guy leaning casually against the back wall?  Yeah, that would be Jared, all grown up and a successful, serious chemical engineer.  Until the lazer guns come out ;)
There's his little brother Kaleb, aiming for Lord-knows-who......I just love how the boys of ALL ages get together to battle in lazer-tag!  Nerf guns are also a great equalizer :)
Wynne broke the gender stereotypes this year!  "I've got your back, Gabe!"...
This is a familiar site in the hallway outside of the convention room.  Nerf or lazer, I can't remember which.  All's fair in love and war, right?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Time Flying

We see each other once every couple of months.   It is not often enough, and the time flies quickly.  That is what makes the Holiday Season so special.  It is a time when, if we're lucky (and our family is), we get to see our relatives twice in a month's span--for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It's a time to slow down a bit, sit down and talk with those we love.  And open a few presents;)
Shae and her godmother, Aunt Julie--who used Shae's initials to describe her gifts.  Thank you for the sparkly pink boots and awesome word books--perfect for imaginative writing!
Every year I take a picture of these two pretty little girls who aren't so little anymore.  I remember the one year both of their heads were wet from the swimming pool, and their eyes were red from the chlorine.  They were clutching their new dolls...
The older these girls get, the taller and more "technological" they become as well.  Note the matching I-pods and headphones.  They're sitting right next to each other, "chatting" electronically! ha!
Ally and Claire, very much 13
The cousin's gift exchange is a time that my kids really look forward to.  They enjoy picking out a toy or clothing especially geared toward that particular cousin.  When we visited the Princess Potosa Gallery a few weeks ago, Wynne knew right away what she was going to get her little cousin Annamae.  And then she used her own money to buy herself a big flower clip of her very own! 
Annamae, 6 months old and Wynne, 5 1/2

Time passes, grandkids grow up, and things change.  And yet, some things never change.
Mom and Dad with Kaleb, Lacey & Crystal--looking great 3 months post-op (tumor on vertebrae removed)!
Sisters.  My goddaughter Megan and her big sister Mandy, the baby who made me an aunt at age 9!

Of course I am partial to this gathering of family.  With 33 grandkids, 10 great-grandkids, and so many aunts, uncles is a huge group of people.  Not everyone could make it back for Christmas, but that is not unusual given the number of people involved.  In fact, I don't remember the last time we were all in the same place at the same time.  For my parents' anniversary last year, there were a few grandkids who couldn't be there. (We had to photo-shop one grandson into the family picture!) Christmases and Thanksgivings are hit-and-miss, as many grandkids are married with obligations to other family get-togethers.  I seriously can't remember when we were ALL together last.  It is my sincere hope that all 63 of us can congregate somewhere in the coming year.  At the same time!

So when you gather at a hotel with 40+ people for less than 24 hours, it is highly unlikely that you get time to visit with everbody.  My kids asked, "Why did that go so fast?"  I wish I could explain why, but I don't know the answer.  I only know that we need to make the most of the time we have IN THAT VERY MOMENT.
Cousins watching themselves dance their way into the New Year!

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone.--James 4:14 NLT

Winter Swimming Lessons

Paige and Shae were really looking forward to showing Aunt Mary Kay how much they learned in swimming lessons this summer!  Paige especially was ready for more instruction this weekend at the Engelke Christmas gathering.

Wynne just likes to jump in and let you catch her!

 The Christmas gathering at the hotel is something that Wynne calls "The Engelke Campout".  I guess you could call it that, because the whole gang basically camps out in the Mineral Point hotel....lobby....hallways....swimming pool....and convention room!  We are very fortunate that my brother Brian and Mary Kay work hard to set up, clean up, and get us a good discount through their working relationship with hotel management.  We all try to clean up after ourselves and not be too "rowdy" ;)
My nephew John and his daughter Lillian, age 2!

Shae is getting more confident and skilled in the water, too.

But then she put on her arm floaties, and she was unstoppable.  I especially love this picture of her with Shae.  Big Sister is instructing Little Sister...and no one is yelling!