Category Archives: Sarah

Virtual Family

Our new way of connecting with family in Oregon, Washington, and Southern Minnesota: Yahtzee on Google Meet/Hangouts and FaceTime. We learned a few things about cameras and scoresheets and the importance of seeing the dice when we’re playing, and it was so nice to connect in a way we’re used to doing in person. I predict many more creative solutions to come ❤️

Big Fat Cry

I had a big fat cry today. The cracks are starting to show in our kids, who miss their school life, friends, and routines, and despite them being used to me saying, “I don’t know” about all kinds of things, they kind of know this time that I *really* don’t know. Don’t know when we get to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s. Don’t know when the museums will open again. Don’t know when school will resume. I just don’t know.

We’ve never really been in control of this life, but there’s a special kind of something going on right now with this uncertainty. Crying is good. Loving each other and not doing school is good. Soaking up the sun is good. Leaving secret notes for our friends in the hollows of trees is good. There is a lot of good. AND. This sucks, and it’s scary, and we don’t know what’s coming next. And that’s worth crying about.

“We do not need to create a foot race to the silver lining. We don’t need to be in a hurry to turn these quarantine lemons (or cancer lemons, or any kind of lemon!) into a side hustle or a novel or a newfound fluency in three new languages.”


little gems

I really love putting the garden to bed for the winter: remembering the bounty, the warm humid days long passed, the delight of the first sprouts and flowers at the beginning of the summer. The passing of the seasons is a sacred time of reflection, being present in the best of each season, and looking ahead to the changes still to come. I love it when I am fortunate enough to slow down and savor it. So it was with great delight that I was able to uncover the last of our bounty in these tiny gems. Into the pot you go for carrot ginger soup! ❤️ 🍲 🥕

Halloween 2019 — She-Ra!

This year we settled early on one of our favorite shows: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Everybody had a character that they wanted to be. Sarah outdid herself, designing all five costumes (with a bit of manufacturing help). It was a very fun night.


Maggie and She-Ra

Griffin and Bow

Oliver and Perfuma

Maggie and Sarah as She-Ra and Glimmer

Metamorphosis II

Back in 2015 we documented the life journey of a monarch butterfly from egg to adulthood. This year, Sarah set up her iPad to film the entire process. The first video documents the caterpillar forming  a J-hook and then transforming into a chrysalis. The second video shows the butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.


I am home solo for a few days as I finish up training for the tri,, but also to have some space and time to tackle some house projects. I’ve been in the basement grumbling under my breath as I find thing after thing that has been “lost” (“I don’t know where it is, Mom! I’ve looked EVERYWHERE!”), and then I came across this:

spy instructions

I remember the day they were doing this (their stealth is seriously lacking) however this made me smile and laugh, and really? They’re pretty great. Even when they are constantly losing stuff.


We usually avoid places like Legoland. They’re expensive, crowded, and cater to a materialist brand-oriented ethos that we dislike. Did I mention expensive? But this year, knowing that we were going to San Diego, and we might not be back until Griffin’s too old, we considered checking it out. Grummy and Grandpa Stape jumped in, offering to give Griffin and Maggie gift certificates for their birthdays. That clinched it, and the kids were bouncing with excitement during the intervening weeks.

To our great surprise, all five of us had a great time and we stayed all day… we closed out the park! We went on a cloudy Wednesday and the park wasn’t as mobbed as usual. Lines were short, people (guests and staff) were kind and cheerful, and food options were better than expected. Oliver even took an afternoon nap in the stroller while Griffin and Maggie played at the waterpark. Lounging in a cabana while the older kids played and Oliver slept was not-at-all what I expected from a trip to Legoland. Moreover, the lego models were wicked cool.

Camp du Nord II

During the week of June 16, we took our second trip to Camp du Nord. (Our first visit was the summer before Oliver was born.) It was a glorious way to kick off our summer. We were way up north, totally unplugged, and getting into a more natural rhythm (going to bed early, rising with the sun, getting dirty, washing in the lake, walking everywhere, etc.). We stayed in a platform cabin (“Deer”) which was perfect for us. Here’s the description from the website:

Deer Platform Cabin 6 — Enjoy one of our “off-the-grid” eco-cabins. These newer cabins are simple, yet very comfortable. A screened porch with picnic table and stainless steel table make outdoor cooking a breeze. The sleeping room includes 2 elevated long twin over queen bunk beds. Nearby water spigot, showers, biffies, and refrigeration are available. Solar lanterns and all dishware and cooking utensils are provided.

We stayed in a backpacking tent last time, and although we love tent camping, we found it challenging to manage for a full week with cooking, washing, bugs, and unpredictable weather. The cabin gave us more sheltered space without adding electricity and plumbing.

Our pictures are in the gallery below, arranged roughly in chronological order. Note that we only took pictures of a few moments during the trip. Unpictured elements that we all remember fondly included, in no particular order:

  • age group activities for the kids in the mornings
  • cooked meals with the community up at the dining hall
  • afternoon ice cream at the trading post
  • the polar bear plunge into the lake every morning
  • the sauna
  • hiking on the nearby trails
  • easily achieving 20,000+ steps each day by simply walking around camp (if you wanted to go beyond that, the hiking trails extend pretty much infinitely)
  • filling downtime with non-electronic activities (Bananagrams, crossword puzzles, reading, writing, drawing, inkle weaving, etc.)
  • a week without news headlines

As always, click on a picture to see a larger version and then scroll through the slideshow.