You can find me in the club...

This weekend Captain America and I headed to Minneapolis for a Jars of Clay concert at Club 3 Degrees. Club 3 Degrees is a club located kind of between the Fine Line and First Ave, for you Mpls concert goers. So while you're hanging out downtown, waiting for your Christian concert, you get to watch Saturday Night Minneapolis. We saw a brawl about a half block away, and then spotted a bunch of uhhh...umm... clubbers (who would have benefitted from doublestick tape and a few more inches of skirt)...on our way out at 11:30.

In any case. I have a deep and long-lasting love for Jars of Clay. They are one of the first bands I was introduced to upon learning that all Christian music was not Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith. We go way back, Jars and me. This was my 5th concert of theirs. At my second Jars concert, my friend Rebecca (who had a blog for 5 minutes) had met the band at an in-store signing beforehand. They told her they were going to call a few people on stage to sing the Dukes of Hazzard theme if they knew it. So her brother printed the lyrics off the internet and we tried to learn it fast. At the right time, I just grabbed onto her arm for dear life and got to tag along on stage in front of several thousand people to sing it. Autographs are $10. I accept paypal. Thank you.

The concert this weekend started off with a couple of local bands that were ok. And then Seabird showed up. Where have you been hiding, friend? LOVED them. Kind of Coldplay-Ben Folds Five- Cold War Kids -esque. The lead singer was hilarious. He said they were so excited at another show that he got all flustered and said, "We're like kids in a casserole." Yeah, he meant candy store. But he encouraged us to give "kids in a casserole" a chance as an alternative saying. I would have paid just to see them and will be downloading their album.

And then it was time. Jars of Clay. Every song is my favorite. The new cd is delicious. Granted, I could only see their heads because I'm 5'2". But it was still a fantastic show. Once I got out from behind the guy who moved right in front of me every time I moved. Before that, I guess I should be grateful he'd thought to put on deoderant, because I was close enough to know.

It was a moment (aside from Mr. Shoulder Blades). I love music. And at a concert like that, with really good music at such a volume that you're not sure if your hearing will survive, listening to songs that I love, it just feels like it's where I'm supposed to be at that moment. It's too loud to think about anything else that's going on in life.

For the encore, another short girl and I snuck our way up the side since other people were leaving. So I was quite a bit closer for the last couple songs. Then we stayed after because the band was going to be signing autographs. I dug through my purse to find anything to sign and got in line. As Dan, the lead singer, was signing my paper I mentioned that I sang Dukes of Hazzard on stage with them in Duluth many years ago. He laughed and commented as to how they should do something like that again. Then he told whoever was next to him (I heart their music, but I don't know EVERYONE's name), "She sang Dukes of Hazzard on stage with us in Duluth," and so it went down the line. So funny. Really nice guys.

Brother-in-Law had come down for the concert too, and brought his tshirt from their first tour to have signed (he goes to enough concerts to think of such things ahead of time). I think it was Charlie who as he was signing it felt the silk screen on the front and said, "You've been washing this inside out!"

* sigh * Good times.

Then Captain America and I headed to our hotel, because we're old. We don't do 2-hour drives after 11 p.m. anymore. Sunday we got to have lunch with friends we hadn't seen in forever. It was a good weekend.

And now I need to go download Seabird. You probably should too. I guess they've had a song on Grey's Anatomy. And Pushing up Daisies. Also get the new Jars album, if you don't have it memorized yet.


How did this happen???

We moved into this house I don't remember how many years ago. Eight? It's a three bedroom rambler/ranch (depending on what area of the country you live in) and we had no children.

I wasn't even going to attempt to share a closet with Captain America. So I chose the biggest closet in the house, even though it wasn't in our bedroom. It was kind of like having a ginormous walk in closet. A dressing room, if you will. Then we had Ella. She moved into the last room, so it didn't matter. Her closet was enough for tiny baby clothes.

Then we had Natalie. She moved into my dressing room. And I gave her a fraction of the closet for her tiny baby clothes. And then she got bigger. And she turned into a clothes horse like her mother.

Many months ago, the girls decided they wanted to share a room. I was not about to argue, because I wanted office space. So they moved in together. Ella still refers to it as Natalie's room. It recently occurred to me how silly it was that I was sharing a closet with Natalie in their room, and Ella's clothes were in my office. On Saturday nights before I had to sing at church, I'd have to pick out clothes before they went to bed because I'd be gone by the time they woke up.

This past Saturday I swapped closet space with Ella, hoping it will make her feel more like that's her room too. Also looking forward to having 24 hr access to my closet. BUT NOW I HAVE THE SMALLEST CLOSET IN THE HOUSE.

But the most clothes.

And shoes.

It looked ok at first. But I've really only got half of my summer wardrobe in there. So today I made a spur of the moment trip to Target to find every tool possible to maximize the space. Picked up some of the fuzzy huggy hangers that supposedly take up less space than plastic. A 2 drawer closet thing to put on the floor. An over-the-door shoe hanger.

Now, I hope Captain America decides not to read my blog this week, because let me tell you something. That shoe hanger is full. And so is the floor still. I have 26 pairs of shoes in my closet. Even though I've packed away everything that is for winter (including heels that are tweed and all but one pair of heeled boots). Do you remember that I have only unpacked half of the summer wardrobe? There are still shoes to be unpacked. And this does not count the, at least, five pairs of shoes I have on the mat by the door.

So how, I ask you, did I end up with the smallest closet?

Notice I did not ask why I have all the shoes in the first place. I know that one.


I have survived.

I am here to tell you, 30 can be done. I survived a whole year of it. And I'm a week into 31, and that's a piece of cake. Those five long years I spent dreading 30 weren't really worth it.

In other news, it was Easter. You're welcome.

I really enjoyed Easter this year. For lent I gave up emotional spending. Phew. That's a tough one for me. But it was good to spend some time thinking about what was a frivolous junk purchase for the sake of purchase, and what was useful. At least for me, it's hard to fill holes with the right stuff. For a long time I leaned more toward emotional eating. Then I switched to emotional spending. But at some point, you have to stand up and ask yourself what the real issue is. Which is a work in progress. For the rest of my life, probably.

On the heels of some personal discovery and a birthday (yay me!), with some sunny weather to boot, Easter was a joy. For the icing on the cake, our church did cardboard testimonies. If you don't know what I'm talking about, grab some kleenex and click here (I should note, these are from a different church). I was blessed enough to participate in all 3 services, and got to see a lot of cardboard.

All things together brought me here:

God is real and powerful. Powerful enough to defeat death. Loving enough to do it for you and me. But He is also personal. Personal enough to reach each person in a way unique to them and their needs. Personal enough to know what holes I need filled, and how to fill them so they don't gape open again.

I can grasp the thought of a great big all powerful God. I actually get that. Makes sense. But it's the personal interest that He takes in me that mystifies me. I'm not a speck on the planet, I'm a beloved child. So are you.


It's possible!!

Ok. I must confess one of my many horrible mother moments to tell this story. At the Christmas program for Sunday School, my children were the ones running up part way through the first song. Of two songs. Completely my fault. Although in my partial defense, they started a little early. Still. Way to go me. Nice.

Yesterday the girls were singing again for Palm Sunday. Ain't no way I was walking down that path again. Captain America was running sound board so he headed off to church at 7:10 a.m. like any good Captain America would do. It was all on me again.

I'd checked with the other moms on Facebook to see what time they were supposed to be there (our family missed the week before). 9:20. Or maybe that's what they told me, because they know me? I aimed to leave the house at 8:45, because I had to stop and get gas and then drive 20 minutes to Bigger Lake Wobegon.

Guess what? We actually left the house at 8:45. I put gas in the car. I drove uneventfully to church. It was like angels of promptness surrounded us yesterday morning. We parked, I hustled the girls inside, where the teachers were just turning on the lights. Only a few of them were even there. To drive the point home, I had this conversation with Ella.

E: They're all upstairs!!
Me: No, honey, they're not.
E: But where is everyone?? They're UPSTAIRS!
Me: No, no, we're early.
E: What?
Me: Early. No one else is here yet. We're here before we need to be.
E: So we're not late?
Me: No, we're early.
E: Oh, ok. Early. {to the teacher at the door} We're early today! We're the first ones!

Yes, early. Teachers and moms were patting me on the back. "Good for you, Sarah, you did it!" Yes I did! And it only took 5 1/2 years and hundreds of angels of promptness to make it happen.

My first reaction is to want to feel insulted by the response. But I've really earned it. I am chronically late. Like many a busy mom, I am forever doing "one more super quick thing" and never accounting for the time it takes to convince two children to do what I'm asking them to do without whining or hostage-like negotiations. And I truly believe these particular teachers & moms were rejoicing in my triumph with me. At one time or another, they've probably been in the same spot.

And it did feel like a triumph. I was beginning to think it was impossible for me to be on time. Like I needed to move to a country where time is more of a suggestion or a vague notion (maybe one that is also warm -- FYI, Minnesota, it's Spring). But standing there in the Sunday School hallway, I wanted to jump up and down and sing the Dora song, "We did it. We did it! We DID IT -- HOORAY!!" I didn't. Maybe a little in my head.

Some people wouldn't understand this level of fanfare for being early to one activity. But motherhood is about one step at a time. One checkmark on the to-do list. One little battle. So many are lost, I need to rejoice in what is won no matter how small.

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I am entering this post in a writing contest on Scribbit. The deadline is April 19, so if you'd like to write something on a "mom" topic, you've got plenty of time to enter.


Hi, my name is Sarah. I'm a birthday freak.

First of all, I'm having two birthday parties for the new 4 yr old in the next two days. My house needs cleaning. I have work to do. I need to prepare my self-employed tax info for Captain America to do this weekend. I need to balance the checkbook. It's lunch time.

But no. Blogging. That'd be a GREAT use of my time right now.

Since the dawn of time, I have been a nut about my birthday. I have always thought it's a day to be celebrated. BY ALL. Even if we've never met. I don't know where this came from, but it's an illness. Too many sitcoms? Too many Babysitter's Club books? I don't know.

For as long as I can remember, I have imagined grand surprise birthday parties in the making. I mean, even when I was 9. Somebody whispers. It's about my birthday!! The house is dark. It's my party!! Captain America is hesitant about making a plan for something -- it's because he's whisking me away for the weekend!!

Peeps, let me tell you, this causes nothing good. Nothing at all. Because when I turned 21 (*ahem* TEN YEARS AGO), my friend Amy called late in the afternoon. Did Captain America and I want to come over to watch the 90210 she'd taped? Sure. So we walked the two blocks over. Headed up to her apartment. Opened the door. TO MY SURPRISE PARTY. Where I nearly had a heart attack. Because for the first time in my life, I suspected nothing. When there was actually something to be suspected. It was wonderful! People had parked blocks away so I wouldn't see their cars. The shoes were all hidden. Surprise perfection. It was the sweetest thing. Only, in my shock, I didn't display the Proper! Excitement! I'm not sure what happened. Did I look like I was assaulted or something? I don't understand. But Captain America felt like it was a downer of a response, and has vowed to never, and I mean NEVER, throw me a surprise party again.

And in real life, I know. I know that the Birthday Excitement is supposed to be for my kids now. I know this because God gave me a child born one week before me. And I want Natalie to always feel like her own birthday is special.

Perhaps I have been overzealous. I have created a new Birthday Diva. The other day she made me her list for a party. There must be balloons! And a Curious George cake! And so I knew the paper was hers, she traced her foot. Even though she'd already written her name on it. Some kind of FBI coding or something.

So yesterday I called to order the cake. Our usual spot (I heart their frosting) had nothing to create Curious George. What??? "Natalie, you'll have to pick something else. They can't do George." Her response? "If I can't have a Curious George cake, then I don't want a cake at all."


And being the lesson-giving mama I am, I did what I had to do. I called around until I found a place that could make Curious George. It is my understanding that George will actually swing back & forth between trees.

Please don't think I've substituted my birthday obsession with trying to control hers. I'm still as sick as ever. Do they have a rehab for that?


World Autism Day

April is Autism Awareness Month, and today is World Autism Day.

For more information on Autism, click here. Why bother? You might learn something. It might change the way you interact with someone (as many as 1 in 150 people are somewhere on the spectrum). You might be surprised how little you really knew about it. While it seems to be diagnosed more and more now, I think it's just that. More diagnosed. I think many people from the past would be diagnosed Autistic by today's standards, but at the time were probably just considered eccentric.

To see why it matters to me, please read my sister's post today, about my nephew Colin.