Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Year-End Confession

I love her and I don't care who knows it.

(Callie, if you're reading this, I can bet you are already laughing because you know whats coming. Wait for it.)

Her name is Angie.

She writes a blog that I follow daily, Bring The Rain. I've posted about it before - but this post is a little different.

See, I started following her online journal almost a year ago, and with each clever, spiritual, emotional, or downright hilarious post, I became more and more of a groupie. I adore everything about her: her creativity, her love for her husband and her children, her love for her Savior. Angie is somehow able to balance thoughts of life, death, love and God with humor, grace, and the occasional post about the rising cost of stick bundles at Target. (24.99, anyone?)

So back to my "groupie" status.

On Christmas Eve, after Olivia went down for bed, my husband and I were just having a quiet evening at home. He was in the kitchen making some sort of snack, and my phone buzzed.

You have just received a direct message from Angie Smith.

*If I could insert a sound effect here, I would. Something like a car screeeeeeching to a halt.

I jumped off the couch and logged onto Facebook where Angie had messaged me. (Yes, I'd made her become my Facebook friend, even though we've never met in real life. I'm a groupie, remember? Try to keep up.)

The message basically said that she'd noticed my Pathwords score and wanted to know how I got it so high. This is when I start laughing out loud for the following reasons:

1. I started playing Pathwords on Facebook because Angie plays Pathwords on Facebook.

2. The score that she was referencing was not mine. Joel is the genius who is brilliant with letters, and once I started playing, well, he started playing on my account. And his score trumped my score. His score is astronomical.


How to write back Angie (in our first direct contact!) and tell her that it is not me who is the genius but in fact my husband? I knew I had to come clean.

But before I did, I skipped into the kitchen and kissed Joel square on the lips and beamed: "Your genius brain just got me a direct message from Angie...ANGIE!!!"

The saddest part is that Joel knew exactly who I was talking about, even though I've never met this gal in real life. He's heard me go on and on about her as if she were my closest friend. I can't help it! If Angie chooses to live her life out loud and online, and I'm so glad she does, I can't help but relate to 99.9% of everything she says and somehow find myself wishing that Nashville and Seattle were next-door neighbors and that I could meet up with her over the smell of burnt popcorn at Target.

Anyway - I did confess to Angie that the score was Joels - and she seemed to take it in stride. We shared a casual conversation about tricks with Pathwords, Twitter, and her husbands music. (Todd Smith is in the group, Selah) I shall now fight to get every Selah record played in heavy rotation on Spirit 105.3.

I said to Joel on the couch later that night "I think if I had the choice of meeting Justin Timberlake or her, I'd choose her."

Joel said: "Yeah...if you ever talk to her again, I wouldn't lead with that."


Monday, December 29, 2008

Busy Day

I've always been grateful that my mom, who is a teacher, purposefully keeps a part-time schedule so she can watch Olivia while I'm at work.

And whats more - she often sends me email "updates" on what they are doing so I don't miss out on anything!

So this morning I called for my typical "mom-daughter check-in" - and she sent me this! It's everything they did this morning!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Yep, Still Here

Its hard to blog when you're busy taking pictures with your new....ahem...camera!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day #2

I can't upload these pictures fast enough! More are coming!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Olivia: "No, Mama! No!"

Me: "I know, honey! Snow! I see it, Snow!"

Olivia: "No! Noooooo! No!"

Me: "Yep, honey! Snow!"

And she gives me a big, big grin! Have fun in the "No!" everybody!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snowflakes and Shopping Bags

I awoke to a *buzz buzz* text message on Sunday morning from my mom. It read: "Bring that Granddaughter on over here to play in the snow! You and Joel can have a fun day!"

I was out of bed at lightening speed.

We bundled up Olivia in her hat and mittens and scarf and pink Hello Kitty boots and off we went. Slowly, of course, because it was early Sunday morning and the roads were icy.

Olivia jumped out of the car with glee when we reached "Nanny and Po's House" and yelled "Nooooooooo!" which actually means "Snooooooow!!!" in her little brain. She was in seventh heaven.

Joel and I knew to make the most of our free day by getting all our Holiday shopping done - so we hit up Old Navy first. The parking lot was practically empty because of the snow, so we grabbed everything we needed in record time, with NO LINE. This was the beginning of a beautiful day. Target came next. Same thing - empty parking lot, no line. It was bliss! Stocking stuffers galore, plus a gift card for my brother Andrew for some Wii points. And no, I'm not ruining the surprise because he doesn't read blogs. :-) He's 18 and has better things to do with his time...like play the Wii.

Joel and I took a break to go home, have some french toast and scrambled eggs, and just rest. I had "Its A Wonderful Life" on DVR from the night before - watched the whole thing. I've never seen the movie before - just clips here and there. HOW HAVE I NEVER SEEN THIS MOVIE BEFORE? I loved it. Joel was quoting it with his back turned as he played on the computer. Evidently, he and his mom used to watch it each year. I think I'm officially the last person on earth that had not seen that movie. I'm gonna start calling Olivia "ZuZu."

The french toast was fuel for us to get back in the car and finish our shopping. My mom HATES the mall, so we said we'd do her shopping for her in exchange for the lovely day of childcare she was providing us. Done deal, she said! So we had fun finding a snowflake broach for my Grandma Grace in California, and a kickin' Northface Jacket for my little brother. (Dont worry, he doesn't read blogs, remember?). Plus, I may have thrown in a few extras for myself for my mom to give me. :-) We also got a DVD for Joels best friend, JR, whos serving in Iraq - and a bunch of goodies for his sister Ellen who just moved to Nashville. (And Ellen DOES read blogs, and I hope she sees this, to know a special care package is on its way!)

By the end of the day, Joel and I were simply exhausted. The french toast had long wore off, and we were starving. Imagine our surprise to walk into my parents house to get Olivia, with the warm aroma of homemade crock-pot Chili just waiting...right next to the brownies, fresh out of the oven.

My mom was thrilled that her shopping was done - without her ever having to find a parking spot. Olivia was in soft pink "Footie" pajamas, ready for a ride home and a warm bottle of milk. Joel and I were just about to hop in the car when someone reminded us that the Survivor finale began at eight pm. It was icing on the cake, we couldn't wait to see if Bob would win.

And he did.

And it was a good day. A very, very good day.

Olivia and Katie

Sarah, Meghan, Jacob, Katie and Olivia

It was a good day

Friday, December 12, 2008

Some people shop around before they buy a car. Or a house. Or a purse.

I, on the other hand, shop around before I commit to a weather report.

You can take it as me wanting to deliver the most accurate, up-to-the-minute forecast each afternoon. But the truth is, when SNOW is in the cards, I search for the report which gives us the best chance of that coming true!

So here's what I've got for today:

Colder air will move in tonight, and that could change rain to snow showers, especially above 500 feet and in the Convergence Zone prone areas of Snohomish, King and Kitsap Counties. As much as 2-6" could fall during the night!!! Thanks, KOMO 4. Your forecast wins the prize.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Oh, Hallmark, how you know me

I'm a Hallmark girl, through-and-through. If you ever want to impress me, send a card in the mail with that sweet Gold Seal on the back.

I love Hallmark cards (and Hallmark commercials) and could spend hours contemplating the perfect cover art with the perfect description with the perfect envelope. I was in the Birthday section this morning, because my nephew Jack is about to turn 3. And I needed to find just the right card, preferably with the number 3 on it. I'm big on giving kids age-specific cards. I'm not sure how much my dad would like a card that was in the shape of a 52, but whatever. I'm sure Jack will like his 3.

While I was scanning the store, pressing anything that had a button and played music (much to the cashiers chagrin), I stumbled into their wrapping paper section and fell in love with the MegaRoll. Finally! A roll of paper big enough to wrap that ShopVac I got Joel a few years ago! Then, I found the "Peek-Buster" bags - complete with motion-sensors that sound an alarm when little fingers get too close!

Hallmark - I only wish I was so creative - I would send YOU a card.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I began this blog 2 years ago. Found this in the archives. I was 9 months pregnant and asleep in the studio.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Olive Bread

I love kalamata olives. Don't remember the first time I tried one, but it was love at first bite.

Last week, Joel came home with Olive bread (didn't know it existed...now my life is changed) and we dipped warm slices in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It was so good, we were fighting for the crumbs. Olive bread...Olive oil...no wonder I named my first born Olivia.

I digress. We went back to the store and bought another loaf. We decided to pace ourselves and not devour the whole thing in an evening. The next afternoon, when I went to cut it, the crust was distinctively harder. It had hardened overnight, I guess, perhaps because I didn't seal the brown paper bag well enough. As I took my big, serrated bread knife to the thick, rock-hard crust, you can guess what happened. Slip. Knife in hand.

Index finger, to be specific. The kind of slice this is a little too deep and too quick to realize just what you've done. "JOOOELLL!" I scream from the kitchen. He ran to the garage, where we keep the first aid kit.

He helped me with a band-aid as I debated whether or not this was an ER laceration or simply a band-aid-sized-kitchen-mishap. I ask Joel. He says something about "...and why did you do this when there were three seconds left in the game and they were about to kick the field goal?" A response like that generally means I don't need to go to the ER.

Three hours later.

Joel heads into the kitchen. He has Olive bread on his mind. Same knife, same bread....same slip. Same finger.

Bigger cut.

I will not post what he said next.

Good thing the first aid kit was still in the kitchen. The debate about whether this was the time to visit the ER began again. Joel was feeling a little queasy (we think he hit a nerve in his finger) so he went to lay down.

A few minutes later, he returned, holding his finger above his head. I asked if that helped, and why he was doing it. He just looked at me and slowly lowered his hand.

I think the part that bothered us most is that we just wanted a piece of that dang bread. I felt like a mouse reaching for cheese and then SNAP! goes the trap.

This morning, the bread was still on the counter. The crust, a day harder. My will - a bit stronger. I microwaved that thing to "soften" it, and then ripped a chunk off. I took my prize into the living room and sat by Joel.

"You are a brave woman." And he smiled.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Puppies and Coins

I'm sure glad my Gran and my Mom saved a bunch of my baby dresses. It saves me time (and money) when I need to dress Olivia for the holidays. This dress was actually mine when I was two (and when I go into the garage later to get our Christmas tree, I'll search some old albums and see if I can find a photo of myself at this age and we'll compare!)

Thanksgiving with Joels family was great. His sister Emily knocked it out of the park with her candied yams (extra marshmallows) and her apple crisp (extra crisp.) The kids had fun running up and down Granddad's hallway, back and forth, sliding on hardwood floors. And surprisingly, no tears! Although, Olivia got tired of that dress REAL fast, so she ended up looking like this most of the night:

And to get her to look at the camera and smile, her Granddad held up a cupcake to catch her attention. This is the smile she gave...as in "GIVE ME MY CUPCAKE."

On the drive home (after the sugar rush from the cupcake wore off) Olivia was content in her car seat and Joel and I were listening to Christmas music. We hear this little voice in the backseat, counting. "One, two, free, four ...coins."

Coins? I follow her eyes and she's counting street lights. She calls street lights "coins" evidently. This is new to me. Whatever.

She counts her coins, smiling and laughing, and then begins to talk about a puppy. There are no dogs in sight. It's dark out. Just meaningless chatter coming from my curly-top-almost-two-year-old in the backseat.

Joel and I exchange curious glances, and he looks at me and says "Duh, Sarah. Puppies and coins. Could you imagine anything more wonderful? This is what she's thankful for. Coins with Puppies on them. Puppies with a coin for a tag. Coins. Puppies. Happy Thanksgiving."

Well, far be it from me to judge. Count away, darling. Count away.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm currently reading a book by Francis Chan entitled "Crazy Love."

In the book he tells the story of a friend who was faithfully giving 20 percent of his income to God, and suddenly his income dropped drastically. He knew he had to decide whether he should continue to give in a way that proved he trusted God. It wouldn't have been wrong to lower his giving to 10 percent. But instead, his friend chose to increase his giving to 30 percent, despite the income reduction.

Today we are partnering with Seattles Union Gospel Mission to provide 1 meal - 1 hope.

$38 a month for two months will provide 40 meals and care this holiday season at Seattles Union Gospel Mission. The meal is the "point of entry" for so many other aspects of Seattle's Union Gospel Mission. You can know that with each meal you provide, you are making a difference.

You can give here right now!

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. ~W.T. Purkiser

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'd Like To Buy A Vowel

Have I told you this story? Stop me if you've heard it. But its one of my favorites to tell, and I've been asked to speak at a Womens Conference in January (click here for more) and I feel like this might be part of what I talk about...so I'm going to practice it on you. Ready? Hold on to your seat.

When I was a Senior at the University of Washington, I asked my dad if I could work part-time for him over the summer in order to save up some money. I was also in transition with roommates, so I asked dad if I could move in with him for a few months. Hes a good dad, so he said yes.

I was in church one Sunday, and Pastor Brad was telling our congregation that we were getting ready to expand our church and build more room. Building For Life is what the project was called, and each of us were asked to pray about what God would have us contribute towards the project. I remember feeling a pang in my heart - I knew I wanted to help - but how? I didn't have any extra money, I was barely hanging on as it was. "Jesus," I prayed in the pew, "I want to help. I don't know how. Please show me how."

A few weeks later, I was sitting at the receptionist desk at my dads business, working on an excel sheet. A co-worker popped by my desk and mentioned something about the television show "Wheel Of Fortune" being in town, taping some special Seattle episodes. She told me they were doing College Week and that I should audition. "You'd be great," she said. And then she walked away with her fax.

I logged on to Wheel Of Fortunes website and took a look. I entered my name and email and clicked submit. Then I went back to my excel sheet.

A few days later, an email came. I'd been selected to audition....along with about 300 other super-eager-college-hopefuls. We all gathered in a hotel conference room downtown. My dad (remember I told you he was great?) gave me the afternoon off to go call out a few letters and spin a pretend wheel. I mean, how exactly does one audition to play a game show? I will tell you how! It was so funny. The first thing they did was pass out paper with the game "Hangman." We seriously sat in a room with a #2 pencil and tried to fill in blanks with letters. It reminded me of the SAT's.

If you passed that round, you got to go to another room. There is where you stood up when your name was called and belted out a letter, any letter at all, at the top of your lungs. I chose the letter R. I yelled it loud, smiled, and sat down. That was it. I am not making this up.

I'm glad I picked R. I think that was the clincher. I feel sorry for the people who picked L or T. They got sent packing.

The Wheel people called me back the next day - I'd made the cut. I would be one of the 15 people who would be spinning the Wheel - for real. I would be meeting (hold your breath) - Pat and Vanna.

To me, this whole thing was just too funny. The producers said I needed to get a college sweatshirt and wear it for the show. I didn't have one, so I drove to my school's book store and complained about paying $60.00 for a UW sweatshirt.

Flash-forward to the day of the taping. We were at the Convention Center downtown, and I was super excited. They kept all of us contestants in the back room, unable to talk to anyone, for fear of cheating or breaking some game-show rule or something. I don't know how cheating could happen, but whatever. The point is, I found myself behind the set, and in one fraction of a second, it hit me. I was here because of God.

God whispered to my heart - "Sarah, you prayed that I would do something through you for your church's building project? Well, hello! Do you think it's any accident that you're here?"

OH! I got it now! "Jesus," I prayed with a huge grin. "Whatever I win today is YOURS!"

That took away all my nerves. I knew I was on a special mission, and nothing was going to stop me. I was gonna spin that wheel with all I had - and call out my letters with gusto.

That day, I came in second place according to the score boards, but in my heart, I knew it was much more. My cash and prizes were over 11,500 dollars. Now, taxes took pretty much half of that, but I didn't care. Just wait until Pastor Brad got a load of this!

The next Sunday, I slipped a note to Pastor Brad after the service. I laughed out loud when my cell phone rang that afternoon. "Now let me get this straight," he began with a smile. "Is this for real?"

I told Pastor Brad the story, and he encouraged me to share it with the congregation the next Sunday. I began to write out what I was going to say.

**May I pause for a moment, and let you know that this begins the best part of the story? This is God about to do exceedingly and abundantly more than all I could ever ask or think.**

When I started to write my words, the words of the story I'd tell the church, I found myself getting nervous to speak in front of a large group of people. So I needed to practice on someone....someone safe....someone like Dad.

It was perfect since I was living with him at the time.

But before I go on, I need to let you know that my dad was not really the church-going type. He had been when he was younger, back when he was in high school and college he went all the time. But for the past decade at least, he and I hadn't talked about our faith much together, nor had we been in church together. I had a Bible engraved with his name and gave it to him for that previous Fathers Day, but I had doubted it had been opened. I didn't want to push him, I wanted to respect him, so I didn't know how he would take the words I was about to read to him regarding Wheel Of Fortune and my plans for the money. What would he say?

I read my speech anyway.

And what did he say? Nothing, at first. Because his eyes were filled with tears.

"Sarah," said my dad.

He paused.

"I am rededicating my life to the Lord."

It was that moment that I knew - I knew - I knew that was why all of this had happened. It was why I was in church that one Sunday. It's why I felt a pang in my heart - wanting to help raise money for our church. It was why I was on that game show. It was why I was asked to speak. It was why. He was why.

It started out that I just wanted to help bring in money for our church to bring in more people. Little did I know, the first person would be my dad.

"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." Luke 15:4-7

Countdown With Style

How cute is this?

Growing up, my mom always made sure we had our chocolate advent calenders on December 1st. She knew how much we loved counting down the days until Christmas.

Well now, instead of stale chocolates, you can create your own advent calendar with pictures of your family - and customize each box to say what you want.

Click here: MemoryBox Calendars

Pretty cleaver, yes? I'm gonna go make mine right now!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I'm enjoying Olivias increasing vocabulary.

"Mama glasses."

"Daddy phone."

"Kitty Boots." (Joel bought her a pair of "Hello Kitty" boots which she looooves)

"Purple Keey" (blanket)

"Ah kitty go?" (Where'd kitty go?)

Olivia has also named herself "DeeDee." I think O-Liv-EE-Ah is too hard for her to pronounce. Plus, she's always called babies "deedees" so, in her baby mind, since she is a baby, she is a deedee, therefore she calls herself "DeeDee." I think it's funny, and so does Joel, so we have honored her new request and begun to refer to her as such.

And the other night, I uttered a sentence I'm sure I've never said before in my life.

Olivia was in the other room, playing quietly. Too quietly. I heard a "plop" and then an "uh-oh" and then more silence.

I found her in the bathroom, with a little Beanie Baby stuffed elephant that Joel brought her back from Alaska. It was soaking wet. (And you need to know that in our house, we call elephants "Fuuuus" because thats the sound me make as we put our arm to our nose and raise it high: "Fuuuuu!")

So here comes the sentence that I'm pretty sure no one has ever strung together until this weekend:

"No No, Dee Dee. No No. We do not dunk our Fuus in the toilets."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I think I can, I think I can...

Thanks to my 2-week-free-guest-pass, I'm doing Step Aerobics with Callie. This is not something I would have tried on my own, but Callie is quite persuasive (plus she's lookin' mighty fit these days, so that speaks well of the class.) And a big thank you to Joel, who watches Olivia while I'm at class. I know he's her dad and all, but still, I'm appreciative that after a long day at work, he doesn't mind me coming home even later in order to squeeze in an hour at the gym.

We went last night, and it was great. When I say great, I mean I got a good work-out. But it also means I watched the clock, praying for time to speed up, and for more coordination in my feet. The only part that is enjoyable is when the class is over and I'm like "Whew, I made it."

I'm also still juicing, for those of you who were wondering if that fad came and went. All this healthy eating and exercising has been a prayer of mine for a long time. I really wanted to feel better - I wanted to drop some weight and gain some muscle and fit in my clothes and feel healthy and have more energy. Praise God that He understands those prayers, and has helped me accomplish these goals. After all, when I'm healthier and have more energy, I'm a nicer person to be around... or so I've been told. Joel uses words like "less edgy" and "not so moody." Thanks, sweetie. :-)

*crunch - there goes my apple...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Leave it to Grandma to surprise me

My mom can whip up any costume on short notice. It's a gift she has.

Meet my kitty, Olivia. She's a good kitty. She's pretty happy most of the time.

But shes even happier when you give her milk!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lullaby & Goodnight

A new routine has snuck up on us over the past week. After bath, books, bottle and blankie, Olivia knows what comes next. She reluctantly lays her head on my shoulder and waits for me to carry her upstairs, saying "It's sleepy-bye nigh-nigh time." Then I lay her in her crib, tell her I love her, and tip-toe out.

But for the past week, she's made a tiny little protest when I step out. She does the same thing for Joel. Its as if she needs one more really good hug and snuggle before she calls it a day. So we pick her up, snuggle her close, and sing a little song.

My songs include "ABC's" (she loves it) and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" (same melody as ABC's, therefore she loves it). Sometimes I pull out the songs my mom used to sing to me, and I find that my grown-up voice sounds much like hers did when she was my young mama and I was her young baby. Then my heart feels full, as I realize how much God has blessed me, when I look at my curly haired little toddler who wants to cuddle for "just five more minutes."

So last night, Joel took his turn to sing Olivia her bedtime encore. He's much more creative then me, and sometimes I hear him humming tunes by Radiohead and I am reminded once again that my husband is much cooler than I am. Last night, though, he was up there for more than five minutes and Olivia was still fussing a bit. I went up, took over, and he went downstairs. I sang "I love you, a bushel and a peck..." she said "gan" so I repeated it, and then it was lights out.

I went downstairs and Joel said "you win the prize for picking the right song" and I giggled and asked him what went wrong with his encore.

He continued to type at the computer, straight-faced and almost hurt: "She didn't like my version of God Bless America."

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Right before Joel and I got engaged, I started surfing the Internet to find wedding photographers. Read: I did not have a ring yet. I was just hopeful one would be coming soon. Read: I kept asking Joel to propose to me. :-)

Back to the photographers - I knew the number one most important detail about my wedding planning would be the photographer. The pictures would represent the memories which would last a lifetime. So I scoured the net and found a little something called One Thousand Words Photography. Angie and Ashley are the masterminds behind the operation - and we booked a meeting at Diva Espresso. The conversation quickly turned from business to personal, as we found out we were all pretty much the same age and shared the same interests and had our faith in common.

I remember the looks on their faces when I started talking about wedding photos and they didn't see a ring on my hand. "It's coming..." I said with a smirk. I booked them then and there.

A year later, the wedding took place and there were my girls. They felt more like friends at that point, and I found myself wanting them IN my pictures rather than taking them.

A few months after the wedding, when I found out Joel and I were expecting, you can guess who I called. Turns out, Angie found out she was expecting about a month later - and we were both having girls!

Now here is where the story gets good. Ashley and her husband Luke were also ready to start a family. In fact, they'd been ready for a while and with each passing month, the fact that it wasn't happening was beginning to transition from "maybe it's just going to take a while" to "maybe this isn't going to happen."

Ashley went to several fertility doctors. She took several medications and read even more books and changed her diet and the list goes on. As my belly grew, and Angies belly grew, Ashley continued to wait. Ashley attended my baby shower and threw one for Angie and celebrated with us. She took maternity photos and we spoke about names and unwrapped pink outfits and prepared our little nests, and although I prayed and prayed that she would get pregnant, the months went on.

Olivia was born in December, and it only took me a few days after returning from the hospital to realize I was in bad shape. Although my body was healing physically, I was an emotional mess. Fear had overtaken me and lack of sleep made it worse. My parents had suggested someone called a Doula, who is basically a mothers helper. The literal translation, I believe, means slave. I add this in only because of what came next.

For the few months prior to me delivering Olivia, Ashley had been taking classes to become a doula. She still did photography, but her love for children and people and just her general wonderfulness had pushed her in this direction. Is it any wonder than in the hour of my greatest need, I called Ashley and asked her for some references.

The conversation went something like this: "Ashley, I need you to refer me to someone who can come help me. Do you know anyone in your Doula classes?" Ashley responds, "Sarah, I can do it."

The next morning, the doorbell rang, and in comes Ashley to my home. Unshowered and completely drained, I gave her a tearful hug. She made me breakfast - everyday I asked for Cream Of Wheat. I hadn't eaten that since I was, like, 7 years old, but it's what I asked for each morning. She did laundry and cleaned and cooked and held Olivia so I could shower.

Here is a woman of noble character. Her deepest desire is to have a child of her own, and with each month that passes, I knew her heart broke a little more. And yet here she was, serving me, at my lowest point. Whats more, she never judged me for having a difficult time with Olivia. Sometimes I would wonder "Does she think I'm just a fool? Here I have a healthy baby with no complications - everything is blessed - and yet all I do is cry?" All Ashley did was love on me. Day by day, she helped me pull it together.

After about 3 or 4 weeks of our new routine, I was starting to become myself again. Ashley continued to show up, every morning. It was getting close to Angies due date, and Ashley began juggling between me and Angie - any day we expected "the call" that Angie was in labor. The excitement was building - and one morning, Ashley and I were sitting in the livingroom and she told me she wasn't feeling so hot. Her body was sort of achy, she was tired, and emotional. She was very honest when she said "It's like a trick. I feel this way, and my heart feels a pang of hope that I might be pregnant, that this might be the month...and then when it's not, it just feels like a cruel joke that I even felt this way in the first place." A cruel joke indeed. My heart ached. "Jesus," I silently prayed. "Bless her."

I'll never forget the next morning. I was downstairs, sitting on the couch. I could hear footsteps coming to the front door, and Ashley (who by now had a key) let herself in. She was on the phone, and her voice was high and the talking was fast. "I'll call you back! Bye!" she said. Footsteps up the stairs. She locked eyes with me in the hallway. They were filled with tears.

A smile spread across her face, slowly. And then the two words that I'd waited for so long to hear from her came out. "I'm pregnant."

Meet Luke and Ashleys daughter, Lilly. She is a miracle from the hand of God.

And now that you know a little more about Angie and Ashley, enjoy the photos from all of us at the pumpkin patch. The last one is me holding Angies second baby, Zoe. For anyone who wonders when Joel and I are going to go for number 2, well, just know that holding Zoe in that snuggly little wrap brought back all my desires for a new baby again. So I wouldn't be surprised if its not much longer. You hear that, Joel?

Here are our poster children for vegetables

Eva and Olivia

Snuggle up

Mama and Me



Run Like The Wind

Baby Zoe

This picture cracks me up because Angie had her hands full with a purse, a huge camera, and baby Zoe, as she chased after Eva. I said "Can I take something to help you out?" She said sure, so I took the only thing I really wanted to take. Baby Zoe. I left her with the purse and the camera and the toddler. Its the way I roll.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

On Saturdays, We Bake

I adore the smell of pumpkin, which is why I dig October and November so much. Saturdays like this were just made for baking. And since I'm headed to the Tenth Avenue North concert tonight (come join me! Tickets at the door!) I figured I'd bake the guys some pumpkin goodness, because heck, I'm domestic.

This recipe is best because the cookies come out tall and uneven, almost like a scone. Makes four dozen. Thanks to Lynette for the recipe!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

4 cups ap flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup shortening
2 cups sugar
1 can pumpkin (15 oz)(I prefer Libbys)
1 pkg chocolate chips

Cream together shortening, butter, sugar, pumpkin and vanilla. Mix in flower, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Add pkg of chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, do NOT over bake. Makes 4 dozen.

And yes, that's correct, there are no eggs in this recipe. I think the pumpkin has some "leavening" ingredient or something that doesn't need eggs. Is leavening even a word? I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Warning: Once you make these cookies and share them with friends, you will then be known as the Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip-Cookie-Lady and every fall people will say to you "Hey, __insert your name here__, when are you gonna make some of those cookies for me again!" You've been warned.

And yes, Olivia helped bake. Here we are.

And yes, I wear Spirit 105.3 T-shirts all the time.

And no, I don't let her sit on the counter unattended.

And yes, she did dip the cup in the sugar and then sprinkle it on the counter when I wasn't looking.

And no, I hadn't taken a shower yet when these pictures were taken.

And yes, I plan to go take one right now. :-)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Walk With Me

It began at a crosswalk, I think.

In high school, half of our school was on one side of the street, and half was on the other. So to get from class to class, often you'd cross back and forth multiple times a day.

My husband Joel said the first time he ever saw me was on that crosswalk. He was driving there to pick up his brother (in my same grade).

"Who's that?" said Joel.

"Sarah." said his brother Neal. And off they drove.

A few weeks later, Joel asked me out on my first real date. Sure, I'd dated other guys before him, but it was different. Those guys said things like "Do you wanna hang out?" and then we'd end up in a group at some friends house with chips and salsa and pizza and we'd all sit on the couch and watch television. Not really a date, but what more do you expect from a 16-year-old guy? To them, "lets hang out" was pretty romantic.

Not for Joel. Joel was 18 when he asked me out, I was 17. He took me to a Sonics game. I didn't have the heart to tell him basketball bored me to tears. Instead I saw a guy who drove a cool car and had cute dimples and he was asking me somewhere and the words didn't begin with "uh, do you wanna hang out?" Instead, it was something more proper, like, "Hi Sarah. I'm Joel. Can I pick you up on Friday and take you on a date?"

My heart skipped a beat.

Joels mom and dad raised him well. Joel was homeschooled (yes, I tease him about it sometimes, but honestly I think it has shaped him to be the amazing man he is today) and he seemed more mature than other guys his age. He was polite. He opened the car door. He made casual conversation that wasn't awkward. He offered to buy my concessions at the game. He made even a hot dog and a Diet Coke romantic, simply because he ordered, paid and brought it to me. He anticipated my needs. Other than my father, I'd never met another man that did such things. And we were only teenagers!

Joel and I only dated a few times in high school, maybe three real dates or something. One night, he walked me to the door to say goodnight and leaned in and kissed me. I remember him walking back to his car and I walked through the door, only to close it behind me and lean back against it and smile one of the biggest smiles I'd ever known.

As much as I liked him though, I was only 17 and I was interested in playing the field. (If I only knew then what I know now!) After those few dates in high school, Joel and I lost track of each other completely. Years went by.

Sometimes I would think of him when I'd come across an old note I'd saved, or when a shiny black Honda Prelude would drive by. Sometimes I'd accidentally run into him at Nordstrom (where he worked) or I'd see him from a far. Our social circles would cross every now and then, and through the grapevine I'd hear what he was up to. And then I'd remember that kiss...

Flash forward a few more years. I found myself at some worship service at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle. To this day, I can't for the life of me remember who I went with or why I was there, but I saw Joel's brother Neal in the pew and someone whispered to me in a low tone: "Did you hear? About their mom?"

Kathy had been diagnosed with cancer. My heart broke in that instant for their whole family. I'd remembered Kathy from high school days. She was an excellent quilter and had made some amazing quilts for our class and for the auction. My mom had even worked with her on some and commented on how great she was. Although I didn't know Kathy well, I knew enough to understand that she was an amazing wife, mother and friend.

I didn't know if I should say anything to Neal. Would the words "I'm sorry" even do? Should I call Joel? I stayed silent, but prayed whenever their family crossed my mind.

Then the day came in October (months and months later) and an email showed up in my box. Kathy had passed away.

In an instant, I felt this surge of compassion for their family, and although I hadn't seen them in YEARS, I knew I wanted to attend that memorial. I called my mom and asked if she would go with me. "Of course," she said.

The church was packed. Family from out-of-town, dozens of firefighters from Snohomish County where Joels dad works, all there to honor Kathy's life. Her quilts were hung on display up front and around the church, including a Sonics quilt she'd made that Gary Payton (her favorite) had offered to buy from her. She said no. :-)

My mom and I found a spot in the back row and took a seat. The picture on the cover of the memorial handout was of Kathy and her first grandson, Griffin. I am so thankful she was able to see her first grandchild born. I know he brought her such joy in that last year. He was actually born at the same hospital where she was receiving chemo. I can almost picture her, getting done with that dose and then heading down the hall to see Griffin enter the world. Pretty much the only thing to take your mind of cancer is a new grandchild! And God knew it!

When the service was over, I found Joel through the crowd. He looked so handsome in his suit, and yet there was no reason to celebrate being dressed up on this day. For one moment, I became incredibly self-conscious. What right did I have to come to this memorial? I didn't know Kathy very well, and I hadn't seen any of her kids in years. Are they going to be offended that I had the nerve to come? I dismissed the thought and trusted that God had me there for a reason. I thought the reason was simply to show support to their family and honor Kathy's life. I didn't realize that in that moment, as I walked toward Joel, we were being reunited and this time, it wouldn't fade away.

I don't remember what we said to each other. I don't remember if I hugged him or not. I do remember exchanging phone numbers and I do remember him calling.

"Hi Sarah. Its Joel. Can I pick you up and take you out on a date?"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Am I the only one?

My car dashboard has had the "!" burned-out blinker light on for about 6 months now.

I'm beginning to consider doing something about it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pre-Pumpkin Patch

Olivia and I are planning a trip to the Pumpkin Patch with our friends, Angie and Ashley. But that's not 'til the end of the month. So we figured we'd get familiar with the pumpkins outside the grocery store first. Good thing Grandpa came along for the photo op!

I get to be related to them

I know. They are beautiful people.

Inside and out! Meet Amy, my sweetest & bestest friend. And meet Neal - my brother-in-law. They are engaged to be married - and I'm so excited!

Neal is my husbands brother. He was the best man at our wedding. Amy was my maid of honor.

For their wedding in April, Joel gets to be best man and I get to be maid of honor.

Do you see how cool this is????

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

For Kenna & Lee

Until last night, I didn't even know there was a day like this. But thanks to Angie (link to the left), I know know that today (Oct 15th) is the National Day of Remembrance for Pregnancy and Infant Loss. This includes all babies who have died because of miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or any other infant death.

My friends, Kenna and Lee, who previously worked at Spirit and who I love dearly, lost their first baby less than a month ago. Kenna was 7 months pregnant, went in for a routine ultrasound, and there was no longer a heartbeat. I got a text from her asking for prayer, as she had to go to the hospital and deliver her daughter, who had already passed away. Her husband Lee stood by her side, and together they went through a weekend of every emotion you could ever imagine, to eventually deliver their daughter, Bennett Taydem Stoops, on Sunday, Sept 21st, 2008.

There are no sufficient words I can express reguarding the loss of a child.

I can, however, honor the memory of Bennetts life. I do my best to call or text Kenna and Lee often. If they only knew how often I think of them. I wish I could take just a tiny bit of the pain off their shoulders to make it more managible for them.

Today, I remember Bennett. Perhaps you are remembering your child, or the child of a friend. I encourage you to reach out today.


The Daily Verse

I subscribe to something called "The Daily Verse" and I get one each morning in my email. What I love most about it is that the gal who runs it, Kat, puts a little "nugget" of commentary below the verse, basically commenting on what it means to her. That gets my mind rolling and I find I take a bit more time to let the Word sink in. Heres todays:

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:34

Then Kat Comments:
Does the majority of your anxiety come from what is going on right now, or what you anticipate to come? I know that I’m at fault of the later – giving into anxiety about the future and not giving any thought to what the Lord might be trying to show me right now.

You can sign up, too: www.thedailyverse.com
AND if you like getting a verse on your phone, Spirit Text Messaging gives you the Bible Verse of the Day. Just text "Bible" to 23754.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Afternoon Walk

Olivia strolls with the neighborhood ladies to catch up on the days events. Only she doesn't know standard protocol is to stay on the sidewalk. Meghan tries to get her to come back, but Olivia only listens to GrannyNanny (holding the camera.)
Get back on that sidewalk, there, little Livi!

Monday, October 13, 2008

New Look

Yep, new look :-) Thanks to Shera for the makeover! She's the owner of www.sweetnsimpledesign.com. Shera is a mother to 6 kids (including twins!) and a scrapbook lover - but ran out of time to scrapbook (remember, 6 kids) so she started to blog. I just love the new look. Thank you so much!

Also, a few posts ago I told you I would be reading "Same Kind Of Different As Me." Correction. I've finished it. It was one of the most powerful stories I've ever read. I can not recommend it highly enough.


Friday, October 10, 2008


I wish I could say I'm THIS dedicated to my job, but I'm not.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Swing. Yeah. Swing. Yeah

as documented by GrannyNanny.

Currently Reading

Remember in high school, when you were forced to read whatever novel the teacher picked out in English class? The paperback would sit in my backpack and I would wait until the absolute last possible minute to open it up before the report was due. And even then, I'd grab the Cliffs notes.

I think that was the first reason I was turned off from reading. It felt like an assignment, not a privilege. Like a chore.

The other reason I was turned off from reading had to do with the fact that it made me sleepy. Sometimes I wouldn't know how to fall asleep and I'd always heard the suggestion "read a book." Lights out.

It's taken me a while to get back in the habit of enjoying a book. TV is so much easier, isn't it? Until recently when I realized there is nothing on. Ever. Except for The Office (tonight). But other than that, nothing.

So after I'd exhausted all my other resources (Lucky magazine, my pink Nintendo DS with Brain Age, various online games at MSN like Diner Dash) I decided my new hobby would be reading. Most recently I ordered Nicholas Sparks "The Lucky One" off Amazon.com. It was good, but not "Notebook" good. Now I've begun "Same Kind Of Different As Me" at the recommendation of some radio friends. The first one they suggested was The Shack, which I loved. I'm into fictional stories that highlight faith.

Wanna read "Same Kind Of Different As Me" together? I know I'm not Oprahs book club or anything, but it's kind of fun to discuss. I'm on chapter 4 as of today, so you'll need to catch up. :-) Oh, and we don't read on Thursdays, because, you know...The Office.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

If you read nothing else...

So I've posted about her before, but it's been a while. So here we go again.

About 6 months ago, I read a story online. Ok, so it was on Celebrity Baby Blog. Yes, a guilty pleasure of mine to find out what shoes Violet Affleck is wearing today. The website exists. Deal with it. Anyway, I read a story that changed my life... on Celebrity Baby Blog.

It was the story of Audrey Caroline Smith. She is the daughter of Todd & Angie Smith. Todd Smith is in the group Selah. We play Selah on Spirit 105.3, perhaps you would be most familiar with their cover of "God Bless the Broken Road." I digress.

Angie Smith has candidly and honestly and purposefully shared the story of their sweet Audrey, and in turn opened up her heart to all of us. If you read nothing else today, read the story: Bring The Rain In fact, if you never read my blog again, thats ok. I don't care. As long as you read Angies words. They are that powerful.

To give you a little perspective, some blogs have "followers." I, for example, have four. (Thank you, my precious four.) Angie, in turn, has 571.

The link I gave you (above) will help you start at the beginning of the story. Once you read the first post, you'll need to navigate your way through the blog to read the rest of the posts, in reverse order. It's worth it. Do it tonight.


I need an intervention

I'm officially addicted! It started the other day, when Matt Case (mid-days here at Spirit) mentioned that all the candy in the vending machine was on "sale." I guess we were getting new inventory and prices were being slashed. I rooted through the bottom of my purse and found a few quarters, and before I knew it, I'd bought a few boxes of these refreshing mints.

I can't stop. I've been eating them for a few days now (and have made a few trips back to the snack closet) and the mints are all gone. I was like "Aw, bummer...." and didn't think much of it until later that night when I went to the grocery store and saw the Halloween size boxes of Junior Mints at the front of the store. It said 5 bags for 10.00, so I did just that.

Next day at work, Matt Case sees my Halloween sized bags. He laughed out loud. I can't stop. I'm one step shy of this:

Remember that episode?

Wikipedia describes Junior Mints as "a candy consisting of small rounds of mint filling inside a dark chocolate coating." What they fail to note is the highly addictive factor of these tiny candies.

She gots da fever

Poor little Livvy.

She's been down and out for a few days, with a pretty nasty cold. Lots of coughing and a temperature around 102. Joel calls her "hot head." :-) Joel is the best daddy ever, taking time off from work to stay home with her so I can still be here at Spirit (because my co-host is in...ahem...Hawaii.) Thats right. Tom is in Hawaii so I am holding down the fort this week... meanwhile Joel and Olivia are home watching daytime TV and staying hydrated. Poor little girl.

I have decided to blame it all on Tom. :-)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Swingin' & Slidin'

Take this, Mom!

So I'm at work, minding my own business.

Ping! An email comes in from my mom.

"Oh," I wonder, "What kind, sweet, loving thing does my mom have to say to her daughter today?"

I open the email with anticipation.

It reads:


Do you welcome, or roll your eyes, when your Teacher-Mom points out a typo on your blog?

experience (a few posts below) as in "Maybe this is just the nudge you need to break free from the routine. All the day-to-day stuff can weigh on us. I speak from expierence here. I can't wait to hear your stories and worship along with you."

Love, Mom

I'm laughing so hard. Once a teacher, always a teacher. I feel like my mom just graded my assignment with a red pen.

Know what, Mom? I'm leaving my typo!!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

More To Come

Olivia says: "I've got curls for days."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Granddaddy Visit

Olivia has several grandpas. She has my dad, Steve, who we call "Grandpa." And my step-dad, Kevin, who Olivia affectionately named "Po" as in, Grandpo. And Joels Dad, Kenny, is "Granddaddy." Hard to keep straight, you'd think. But for Olivia, she knows and loves them each in their own way.

Here's the cute thing from the other day. I got a few pictures of Olivia (I'll post later this week) and sent them out to the grandparents. A little "bait" on a hook, I call it, because as soon as they receive pictures in their inbox, they all come clammering for when they can see her again. Honestly, I can count the seconds from when I hit "send" to when my phone rings or I get a text.

So I wasn't too surprised the other night when Kenny (Granddaddy) called Joel's cell after I sent him about 8 photos of his grandgirl. The conversation went something like this: (one-sided, mind you, because all I could hear was Joels end of the conversation)

"Hi Dad."
"Oh, you got those, huh? Sarah sent 'em?"
"Yeah, she's pretty cute."
"No, we're up. Just watching TV."
"Oh, ok...well uh, we'll see you soon!"

I laughed because I knew what came next.

"I guess my dad's stopping by."

Granddaddy came over with about 7 boxes of cookies. Olivia was thrilled! She had one in each hand. He also showed off his swanky new 14 megapixel camera (I have camera ENVY!) and here are a few shots.

And yes...I'll mention it before you make fun of it. I know Joel and I have matching glasses. For the record, Joel wants me to tell you that he had his pair first and I copied.