Monthly Archives: January 2014

Conversation with a 3 Year Old


We are on the way home from dropping sisters off at school today. This conversation was not related to anything previously discussed. The only helpful piece of information is that Zoey is deeply into knowing what every living thing might eat.

Zoey: “Natalie was a unicorn. She had a costume. It was a unicorn. And Ella was a witch. And Zoey was a monkey.”

Me: “At Halloween? Yes. You’re right.”

Zoey: “Monkeys like bananas. I would like to feed monkeys bananas.”

Me: “Monkeys do like bananas.”

Zoey: “What do unicorns eat?”

Me: “I guess I’m not sure, what do you think unicorns might eat?”

Zoey: “NO! What do UNICORNS EAT?!?”

Me: “Oh. Well, I wonder if they might like cotton candy.”

Zoey: “YES! And witches eat giant potatoes.”

Me: “They do? They eat giant potatoes?”

Zoey: “No! That’s silly. They don’t eat giant potatoes.”

Me: “Oh, ok. What do you think they eat?”

Zoey: “They eat small potatoes.”

Yes. Yes, of course.


Goodnight, Pete


Sometimes I think my entire youth was spent listening to Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie, with some Peter, Paul, and Mary thrown in for good measure. There were rows of records, and then rows of tapes, and then rows of cds – but the only two that mattered were Peter, Paul, and Mary’s “10 Years Together” and “Precious Friend” from Arlo and Pete. Not only can I recall every word sung, but I know every bit of dialogue that was spoken as well. Yet I’ll laugh at the jokes every time.

Every road trip we took had those albums for a soundtrack. I guarantee my parents stuck those tapes in the car, no matter how long the trip. The thing about Pete’s singing, is the music isn’t about Pete. It’s not the Pete show. Pete shared his music with you, and invited you to sing along. The music was more important than him. If I know anything – anything at all – about harmony, I probably owe it to him. Even as a teen rolling my eyes, Arlo and Pete could always win me over. Much as I may have tried to not like it, one of the best concerts I’ve probably ever been to was Arlo and Pete at the Northrup Auditorium at the U of M.

But it’s more than singing along. Pete’s music means something. It’s supposed to make you feel something, and drive you to action. It taught me that the world is bigger than what I can see. Pete spent his entire life trying to make the lives of others better, and it made me believe that’s what we’re supposed to do. Not just by sharing his music, but by his activism. He wasn’t afraid to be thrown in jail for his beliefs. He didn’t have Facebook or Twitter, he had music. If he wanted to influence people’s feelings about war, he wrote a song and got people singing it.

I’m quite sure that this upbringing is what draws me to music so strongly. When I don’t know how else to express myself, I know I can find it in a song. It’s cathartic and healing to me, and has – no doubt – saved me thousands in therapy.

I know how grateful I should be for the way Pete Seeger changed music, and all the songs he gave us. But I’m more grateful for the way he changed my outlook on life.

Goodnight, Pete, and thank you.

Friday Five: Random


I’m going to be honest. Zoey’s probable Influenza shot my week all to pieces. I’ve got nothing to show for the week except a slightly better but crabby child, and some serious sleep deprivation. Between that and the constant Arctic temps, I can’t form a coherent thought. Severe lack of sleep and permanent cold has broken me. So today, five random thoughts. And then I’m going to dig out the vitamin D supplements and consider a second cup of coffee.

  1. I’ve recently become obsessed with All Things Tudor. I think everyone in court was insane then, and no wonder. They never drank anything but ale or wine since everything else made them sick. All that inter-marrying. All the diseases they probably had from bad food and sleeping around and general uncleanliness. The crazy “doctor” remedies. Good gracious. It’s like an accident I just can’t look away from.
  2. I’ve gotten to that point of cabin fever where I NEED to get out and see people, but it’s so cold I just want to curl up and watch movies (or sleep! sleep would be awesome!). It’s hard to be an extrovert in Northern winters. Usually I can buck up, but the sick kid did me in.
  3. Apparently I look so defeated, that this morning Natalie asked me to leave the clean dishes in the dishwasher so she could put them away when she gets home from school. I have sweet girls. Of course, they also told me I looked terrible and asked what was wrong with me. But I’m going to overlook that. Sweet girls.
  4. The plus side of a sick kid and uber cold temps is I think we save money. Who has time for Target? Who would leave the house? I’m not going out to pick up any kind of dinner. I’m not going anywhere I don’t absolutely have to, so I’d be saving on gas if I didn’t have to warm the van up for the sickie. Of course, all that money and then some is just going toward heat. It probably balances out.
  5. One of the best purchases I did make this month was a fake fireplace space heater. Our tv room is an addition that’s on stilts, which means all that cold is right under the floor. The space heater makes it quite a bit cozier out there. If you don’t look too closely, you can pretend it’s a real fire. Plus it’s actually warm, which is fantastic. And the flames remind me that I turned it on, and should turn it off again before I go to bed. Where I don’t sleep. In any case, I’ve been so glad we went ahead and got it.
  6. Bonus #6! How fantastic is American Idol this season? I didn’t watch last year’s, because I didn’t think I could stand that panel of judges. Harry Connick, Jr this year? Ah. Maze. Ing. He’s a brilliant musical mind, with some serious technical feedback. But he’s also hilarious. He’s honest without being cruel. It’s a whole new show. I’m a big Phillip Phillips fan, but I didn’t care for that season in general. And I love the rest of the panel, too, but especially the chemistry between all of them. The auditions have been great, and I love that they’re showing more behind the scenes, more of the middle ground singers where we don’t know if they’ll make it or not, and much less of the bad/crazy people that we all know aren’t going through and have just wasted everyone’s time. So, so good.

Sickness. Day….what day is it?


Little Zoey is still down for the count. No one sleeps. I don’t know. Maybe her sisters are sleeping. I know Captain America and I aren’t. There’s so much coughing. No, it’s not a barky croup cough. The fever comes and goes. Poor baby is just absolutely miserable. I don’t know how her itty bitty little body can manufacture that much snot. Gross? Tough. You aren’t living with it.

Today she has mostly cried. The cough makes her cry. Her poor little throat must be just raw from a full day of coughing yesterday. When she cries, it makes her cough. You see where this is going. She’s the kind of pitiful where she calls to me from the next room to say her feet are cold and she needs a blanket on her. The blanket that is right next to her, three inches from her feet. Her little nose has been rubbed raw, so every nose wipe leads to more tears.

A sick preschooler is just SAD. She doesn’t want water. SHE WANTS WATER!! She wants applesauce. SHE DOESN’T LIKE THIS APPLESAUCE! She doesn’t need to go potty. SHE NEEDS TO GO POTTY!! It’s not even frustrating, just sad. I spend most of my time just trying to calm the cough. And preparing every space she’s in for a possible…over productive cough. Oh, and not sleeping. I’m doing a lot of that. The saving grace right now is that her sisters are largely able to care for themselves. They set alarms and get up and ready for school. They do what they need to do. And then we all sit around and lament about Zoey. “It’s so sad…”

I want to be optimistic, but really, I’m sitting around waiting to see who goes down next.

Coffee. More please.


I was not a coffee drinker. I enjoy a fru fru latté, but they have always given me a terrible stomachache and/or migraine. I really love the smell of coffee. I love the taste of coffee. It just hasn’t loved me. Tea has always been a love of mine, and that’s where I’ve always held my coffee shop ground – with a chai latté.

But I have not slept for weeks. Zoey’s been enjoying wandering around the house at all hours. Once, she just walked into our room and turned the light on at 3:15 am. Lately, she’s been heading out to the living room where she’s tall enough to see out a window to check and see if it’s morning. Then she comes to our room to either tell us it’s morning, or say that it’s not and she’d like to go back to bed. Yes. Sometimes my 3 yr old wakes me up to say she’d like to sleep. The “Ok to Wake” alarm clock is on the UPS truck.

Now, my little peanut is sick. When Zoey gets a cold, it hits her like a semi truck. She coughs. She coughs some more. Sometimes she coughs til she throws up. It’s created quite a panic system in me. I hear one little cough and I leap out of bed for her room, “Drink some water! Drink some water! Calm the cough down! Mommy doesn’t want to do laundry right now!” That’s what I was doing last night at 3:30 when I discovered she had a fever of 101.5. And then she coughed til she threw up a little anyway. The good new is that after that, she’s usually pretty good for the rest of the night. Only last night I was so worried about the fever part, I could not for the life of me get back to sleep.

Enter, coffee. I got a Keurig for Christmas. I envisioned it as an occasional cup of coffee. Something to serve my guests who are coffee drinkers. It turns out, regular coffee seems ok for me – it must be espresso that hates me. I think it was that time in high school when I got an espresso maker and started downing espresso shots to wash down giant pixy sticks. Now I’m drooling over 24 k-cup boxes. In these weeks of not sleeping, I’m thinking about my coffee as early as the night before. I know a nap isn’t going to happen. Going to bed early is iffy. But the coffee is a done deal. Girl Scout Cookie creamer? Don’t mind if I do. Bailey’s Irish Creme creamer? Got that, too. Vanilla Heat? You bet. Caramel Machiatto? I think I have a creamer problem. Hi. My name is Sarah. And I buy coffee creamer.

So far, I’ve managed to keep it to a cup a day habit. But on a day like today? Well. I barely know my own name. And I’m quite sure I don’t know how old I am. We’ll see.

And now, a haiku for my dear friend Coffee.

Coffee, I love you.

I’m glad we’re together now.

You are there for me.

Friday Five: Places I would Rather Be


I have tried positive thinking. Now I would like to think of places I would positively rather be in January. You know, if money were no object and all that. Keeping in mind, the high here today is 12, and I will be super excited Sunday when it is 37.

  1. Sedona, AZ. On one of Captain America’s work trips we made it up to Sedona for the day. I thought it was artsy and peaceful, and that’s the kind of winter retreat I would enjoy. They aren’t having hot temperatures this week, but you know what? I don’t like hot either. High 60s sounds good to me.
  2. San Antonio, TX. For the most part, Texas doesn’t interest me. But San Antonio looks pretty and fun. Their 10 day forecast has some 70s in it, and I’m completely open to that.
  3. Sea Island, GA. One of Captain America’s other work trips found us at the Cloister on Sea Island. It was gorgeous and wonderful and I would so gladly spend more time there. Why, this weekend they’re having a Downton Abbey inspired event, with special guest BRANSON. I mean Tom. What do we call him now?? I suppose his real name is Allen Leech. But whatever, how stinking cool is that? One of the events is a costume cocktail party – will you dress for upstairs or downstairs? Upstairs, for sure. Even if I don’t have Anna to help me. It’s not crazy warm there this week, but it doesn’t require a parka, either. I’d take it.
  4. Fiji. I don’t know what I’d do in Fiji. I don’t really know anything about Fiji. But in an Affair to Remember, that’s where Nickie’s grandmother lived, and it looked nice enough to me. So I’d like to go stay at Nickie’s grandmother’s house (I realize she’s dead now. And also not real.). I’d sit in her little garden and drink iced tea, and read books in her living room, and pray in her little chapel. Temps in the high 80s might send me into heat stroke, but I’m willing to risk it.
  5. Hawaii. I’d like to hike around and then eat copious amounts of fish and pineapple and shave ice. I would like to be on the beach, but I don’t care a whole lot about being in the water. Generally I am more interested in traveling the continental US, but in January with fake money I could go a little farther. Some green plant life would be nice. Highs in the high 70s and low 80s sounds just about right.



I never meant to take such a long hiatus from writing. I love to write, and I need to write. It was actually sort of painful to do that little writing in 2013. I had so many topics and ideas and funny kid stories floating in my head, but it didn’t feel right. In October of 2012, our church closed. The pain I experienced with that was so much more than I imagined, and it lasted much, much longer than I thought it would. In my adult life I have been through very few things that hurt that much. So I needed to step back in order to process it all. This just didn’t feel like the forum to do it. A church is like a family, and I wouldn’t take to my blog to detail out family or marital issues. I wish I had journaled it, though, because I think the act of writing would have done me some good.

Things go wrong in churches all the time. People make mistakes. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it’s enough to make people turn their backs on church, and even Jesus himself. I get that. These things happen, no matter how much we wish they didn’t. Church should be a safe place that you can count on, but sometimes it isn’t. I wish there was a better way for these things to be handled. I wish we were more open about things that hurt us.

But the bottom line is, we still need church. The New Testament is full of verses on the importance of the church, and the description of the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-5, 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, Ephesians 1:22-23, Colossians 1:18, Colossians 3:14-16). We all have different gifts, and I believe we are supposed to use them together to help each other grow and to spread the love of Jesus. Just drawing on my own experience, I know I need church. I need to belong, I need to serve, I need to learn from others, I need support, I need my life with Jesus to be about more than just me. I have no doubt that God will bring good out of the death of our tiny church. I’m sure He already has.

After visiting SEVEN churches, we’ve settled down in the place we thought we’d never be – the opposite of our previous church. It’s ginormous and huge and exactly where we need to be. The church search experience was eye opening in so many ways. We have Covenant Church hearts and history, but there is no Covenant Church in our area. So when we looked at churches we tried all kinds, in many denominations. Mostly, I learned a lot about our family. We started to figure out what things were important to us, which was a little different from what we originally thought. Watching our church disintegrate was incredibly hard on our kids, too. I was more concerned about finding a place that they enjoyed going than finding somewhere I wanted to go. I thought they wouldn’t do well being dragged to church after church. I should not be surprised by now to learn a lesson from my kids, but they were amazing. They found something good about every place we went. They were excited and game for anything. We would get in the van after church and ask them what they thought, and Ella, in particular, always had something good to say. As a matter of fact, I think they wanted to stick with every church we went to, except for maybe one. And really, that one was more about a lack of space and crowded feeling than anything.

It was fascinating to attend a variety of churches with an open mind. Part of me wanted to write letters to all the churches we visited to give them feedback. I kind of wish I would have. I always think it’s interesting to see what other churches are like. Plus it’s just really comforting for me to know that there’s a church out there for everybody.

So that’s where we are. We have grown, and we have found a new home.