Posts Tagged ‘Sarah’


Counterproductive Pole Entangling

March 10, 2010

Honestly, I was the good child. I did not rebel, did not argue, did not want to get into trouble. However, after watching this video, you will see that I still had my ways of misbehaving under the radar. Ben and I did absolutely everything together as youngsters… and on this occasion, I had a lot more fun than he did.

It is a rather long clip, and I apologize for that, but I’m posting it here in its entirety anyway.

Moments to note:

  • Ben gets in trouble before I do.
  • I outright lie to my father (“I’m trying to!”)
  • I give the same lie later.

I admit that I was naughty, but you have to agree that Ben was super fun to tease.


Trip Gifts

July 20, 2009

As John and I are joyfully anticipating a trip to King’s Island for my birthday and our anniversary this weekend, I am reminded of the many family trips we experienced growing up. The destinations my parents chose are for another post – I do not have the stamina to relive those memories right now. But regardless of where our trips took us, they always started in the same, wonderful way.

My mom instigated the tradition of trip gifts. After the car carrier was loaded and locked on top of the van and all family members were tucked into their corners of the van with pillows, snacks, and backpacks scattered around, we would bow our heads and pray for safety and quality time on the vacation. Then, Mom’s eyes would begin to gleam as she excitedly pulled out a gift for everyone in the car. We all got something special, just for being there.

Probably the best and most memorable trip gift Mom gave out was a Nintendo Game Boy for each of us kids. I cannot adequately express how much we treasured those things. Our Game Boy systems and battery packs were necessary companions on all future trips. Often, Ben and I would load the Super Mario Brothers game at the same time and race to see who could score the most points, get to the furthest level, or simply complete each level fastest.

At other times, Mom doled out gifts that were simply cool but completely unrelated to travel. I received a full manicure kit one year, and I think I still have some of the components in my makeup drawer. Often, we received books by our favorite authors or cute outfits to wear while sight-seeing. It really did not matter much what we got – we just loved the tradition!

Prior to family vacations, the three of us kids would sometimes whisper to one another, “Do you think Mom got us gifts this time?” She never once forgot.

Shannon and Ben – do you remember any other gifts that Mom gave us on trips?


Just call me Miss Kitty

July 15, 2009

As a Family Studies Master’s student with an emphasis on parenting and child development, I place enormous importance on socio-dramatic play, or as I referred to it as a young child, “pretend”. Make believe play is a way for children to practice life, to develop social skills, and to learn about the world and relationships. It requires a good deal of creativity and imagination, unlike television and even some books do. All right, enough of that – you get the point.

(But if you are my child reading this twelve years from now, you should know that reading this blog is a quality way to spend your time, and you should feel free to read all of the archives. Afterward, however, get your hind end outside and participate in some imaginative play.)

My parents placed tight restrictions on TV and computer time when we were young, and, thinking this was normal, we spent an extraordinary amount of time playing outside. Our games took on many manifestations. At times, we played the politically incorrect version of Cowboys and Indians. We had some inedible berries on our property that, when smashed, doubled as excellent face paint. We played a game we called Prairie Days, because we were overexposed to Little House on the Prairie during the home school years. Sometimes, we just played Pretend Sarah is a Princess and Ben has to Rescue Her. Regardless of the scenario we enacted, I donned flowing gowns that were much too long for me and shawls that bore the stains of overuse. Ben would strap as many plastic weapons on his body as possible, using belts and strings and holsters.

All of this is a mere backdrop, however, to the real issues we had to resolve before pretend play could even begin. The single most important task was to determine what our pretend names would be. If I remember correctly, Ben most often chose Derek for himself – Prince Derek had such a nice ring to it. I unintentionally went the slightly more skanky and ridiculous route, for my favorite pretend name of all was Kitty, short for Katherine. My reasoning was that a) Katherine is a beautiful-looking name, and b) Kitty is even better. I am almost certain I got this idea from the character Katherine “Kitty” Brydon in the 1994 release of The Jungle Book. She was gorgeous, and she got a savage who was raised by wolves to fall in love with her. If only something so wonderful could happen to me, I thought.

Fifteen years later, I am now able to laugh about my foolish, overly romanticized ideas. While I honestly do still like the name Katherine, I am fairly sure that John will not stand to name any of our children Katherine, since I am not sure we could separate that name from the mockery he makes of my former pretend name. I do have to admit, though – a very small part of me still likes that cliche, ridiculous version of The Jungle Book, though perhaps for different reasons now. Cary Elwes as a bad guy?



Running Errands

June 8, 2009

In general, my mom tends to get her energy from her alone time. Not once can I remember herĀ  complaining about being lonely or needing to get out and be with people. She loves having people into the house and has a big heart for her friends and family, but being alone certainly does not bother her.

Except when running errands.

If people could earn degrees for the amount of time they spent running errands, Mom would have her doctorate. She was and is almost always on her way somewhere to do something. When I was between the ages of about ten to eighteen, I pretty much got to be Mom’s errand-running partner. Mom would often come down to where we kids were hanging out and say, “Hey, I’m on my way out the door to run some errands…” Pause. “Does anyone want to come with me?” That was my cue.

Mom and I would ride along silently at times, and at other times we had very meaningful conversations. Occasionally, Mom would ask me what I was thinking about – a dangerous game. I know that I flat out lied at least once, and she could probably tell, but I certainly was not going to ruin my reputation as sweet, innocent Sarah by disclosing to what extent my mind was in the gutter. Another time, I distinctly remember giving Mom a detailed explanation of an unimportant scene from Lassie in response to that question. At least that was an honest answer.

Perhaps all that ingrained errand running is the reason I love riding in the car. Driving is just all right, but if I can jump in and go somewhere with someone I love, I am completely content.

Thanks, Mom, for the good memories!


What to do in an umergansy.

April 4, 2009

According to a note I found in my school file today, there was a point in the early nineties when I struggled to overcome two unfortunate weaknesses: a propensity to wake people up unnecessarily and incredibly poor spelling. See below:

Page 1

Page 1

Page 2

Page 2

I find that a phonetic spelling of this letter is almost just as fun to read:

“Dear Mom, I’m sorry for what I did. But now I will think abote it! I hope youwill forgive me. (over–>) Hers what dad told me. That I sood not wake pople up enless it is an oo-mer-gan-sy. Love, Sarah”

It is that last fragment that really disturbs me – that is where everything really fell apart.

A closer analysis of this letter leads me to believe that I may have been better off if I had not crossed out whatever I first wrote before that “aboat” nonsense. Also, my attempt to delineate the spacing between “you” and “will” was a valiant effort, but it does not excuse the incorrect conjoining of two otherwise easily spelled words.

Dad, good advice – that was an important lesson to learn. Mom, I hope you declared my spelling a state of umergansy after reading this note. I will now proofread this post twice before publishing it.


Crush (Volume 1)

March 12, 2009

What fools we were, according to Ben. Everyone can remember having a crush as a youngster, and while not everyone enjoys reliving those days, I have decided to dredge up some good crush stories from our family and to smear them on the Internet for all to see and know. Fortunately, my family is good-natured enough not to mind… at least, most of my family. Some members who will go unnamed refused to give their permission for me to blog up their childhood crushes, and to them I say, Hmph.

For those of you who are more willing to divulge some great crush stories, please notice that this post is entitled “Volume 1” in the hope that you will be willing to share your own crush stories for a “Volume 2”. After reading, you should definitely click on the Share My Own Memories tab on the right and send me a tale of long lost (or found) puppy love. The stories that appear below can be your inspiration.


At the age of fifteen, John considered just a few things to be irresistible. One of them was basketball; one was Star Trek; and one was smart girls. While working at a pharmacy part time, he got to know a pretty cool chick who had just graduated from college. Yes, your math is correct – he was about six years younger than she, which is a lot when you are fifteen. This chick’s name was Robin, which I find interesting only because it is also the name of my amazing mother-in-law. No matter how good the name, if you can avoid ending up with someone who shares a name with one of your parents, that is a huge plus. Anyway, neither Robin’s age nor her name deterred John, because Robin had been an English major in college. That was all he needed to know. They spent time at the pharmacy filling prescriptions and discussing literature. I do not know if Robin ever knew of John’s fancy for her, but I will be always grateful to her for instilling in John a particular affinity for English majors.


Lots of names come to mind when I think of my childhood crushes. There was Gabe, the cutest guy in my first grade class. His mom was also our librarian, so that was another selling point. Then there was Steve Green, whom I once beat in a foot race at church. Flirting was his specialty, and I found it came pretty naturally for me too. There was also Josh Harris, the renowned Christian relationship speaker and writer. I got so into him while reading I Kissed Dating Goodbye that I wrote in my journal about how I needed to stop looking at his photo on the back cover of his book. Ah, but none of these came close to my passion for Steve Baldwin. He was in high school when I was around the age of six, and I thought he was all that and a bag of chips. Every Sunday at church, he vowed to me that he would wait for me to grow up… I did not realize how creepy that sounded until much later… But when Steve up and married a gorgeous girl named Annette, I remember feeling a little betrayed. After all, he said he would wait.


Ben had lots of crushes to choose from as well. Tory is the one who stands out for me. They both went through a brief period of liking each other when they were about seven-ish. All of the adults thought this attraction was adorable, even long after Tory and Ben described themselves as “over” each other. It was during this post-crush phase that Ben starred in a church play as the character Small Fry, a Bible nerd with a bowtie and thick glasses. Tory’s grandmother insisted on taking photos of the not-so-happy couple after the play, plunging them into deep embarrassment.

The one girl who probably had the greatest influence on Ben’s crush life was Lauren Heinz. It was Lauren who caused Ben to experience a very rare introspective moment in his busy childhood. Sitting in Joyce Knight’s Sunday school class (the epitome of Ben’s social networking in fourth-fifth grade), and not paying attention to the lesson, Ben was struck with an epiphany. He clearly remembers thinking, “I am nine years old now. It is probably time for me to start liking girls.” Up to this point, his interactions with girls had consisted of teasing them, hitting them with Bibles, calling them fat, and so forth. “Time to make a change,” Ben thought. “So… who in this room is cute?” Shoot. The cutest girl in the room was Lauren, and she hated Ben’s guts for all the mean things he did to her on a regular basis.

That day, he approached Lauren and apologized (sincerely?) for all the things he had done, then asked if they could be friends. Lauren hesitantly shook his hand and agreed, wondering what this kid was up to now. And so began a three-year long crush, during which he secretly asked her out not just once, but three times, and was secretly turned down each time. Guess it is not such a big secret now. Ben, I have to say – you’ve come a long way.


Out of all of us, I think it is safe to say that Shannon has the most unusual and fascinating crush stories. Of course, the common, sentimental fare is there, such as the time in second grade when she carved Alex Minick’s initials into her bedroom window. Now, over twenty years later, Alex’s mom is Shannon’s supervisor. Itty, bitty, tiny world, huh?

No, I am not talking about those cute little stories – I am talking about some of the most interesting men I have ever met or heard of seem to gravitate to Shannon like cat hair to my new furniture. Some of those narratives have been officially stricken from the list of bloggable topics, but there is one remaining that I think should never be removed from the annals of family memory. That is the story of Haider.

Haider wanted to marry Shannon. He had never met anyone as beautiful as she was; the problem was, he had also never met Shannon. Haider chose her for his life partner while shopping in a Half-Price Bookstore where Shannon and Mom also happened to be spending Shannon’s twenty-fourth birthday. He stared at her intently while she browsed the aisles but couldn’t work up the courage to speak to her until she was in the parking lot, about to leave. He ran out to the parking lot and asked them to wait before getting into the car. With Shannon and Mom there by the car, he poured out his heart, saying that Shannon was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and that he would like her to go out with him. Needless to say, Shannon was flattered but cautious. Mom was even more cautious and decided to take the offensive by asking him if he was a believer. He stuttered something like, “Uh, yes – yes, I believe.” Shannon agreed to take his number and meet him at Starbucks the next morning.

The Starbucks date gave a little more insight into who Haider was. He was Morrocan, I believe – Shannon might need to correct me. He had two houses (although I think one was in Daytona… if you’re going to spend money on two houses, put the second one someplace cooler than that). He knew seven languages. He was Buddhist. He was an entrepeneur. She never learned what he actually did for a living, and while the houses and languages were impressive, the difference in religion was the real kicker. Though they did not meet again after that semi-date, Haider continued to call Shannon for awhile after that when he was in town. I hope he has moved on by now – I am pretty sure Shannon has.

I love this family.

I love this family.


Etymology of a bus

February 12, 2009

My mom was half homeschool mom, half errand runner during our formative years. We spent quite a lot of time in the car, so much so that we became absolute fiends at some of those great riding-in-the-car games. One of our favorites was counting woodies (that is, those cars with the faux wood strip across the side, most popular in old station wagons). Woody counting got to be a pretty competitive endeavor.

But I am losing my way here. Before we were old and mature enough to keep ourselves occupied with travel games, we entertained one another by waiting for someone to say something, then jumping at the opportunity to make a correction to that person’s statement. Ben was often a prime target for such corrections, since he was just learning how to talk in the first place. On this particular occasion, both Shannon and I got to censor him. Double whammy.

Gazing out the window of our burgundy van, Ben noticed a big, yellow, you-guessed-it-already bus. Thrilled, he exclaimed in his little kid voice, “Look, a bup!”

I was on it. With my adorable lisp, I corrected him, “Ben, it’s not a buuuup, it’s a buth!”

Fortunately, Shannon was old enough to know how to pronounce words and to have outgrown any lisps she may have had. She turned around in her seat, gave us a smart, knowing look, and said, “No, it’s a BUS.”

Now that the story is in writing, it doesn’t seem too exciting. Nonetheless, I still get a kick out of it every single time.

Thanks to Shanny for this suggestion!