Seven Things: 25

Guys, thanks for making my Loving Yourself series so successful. I’ve gotten a huge response from people who are excited to contribute, which is so affirming. I love sharing your stories. Love. It. So. I’ve decided to turn this series into a semi-regular feature. If you have a story you’d like to share, feel free to contact me via email at (If you happen to be a guy, that’d be super awesome ’cause I want to hear from you, too, you manly man.) Thanks so much for loving each other and me and yourselves so well. You’re magical people.




1. Did you hear our good news?? My husband, the butcher, is one of six (six!!) people in the country to be awarded a scholarship to attend the Butcher’s Guild Conference in Napa, CA in September! My husband is a rock star. He’s a rock star who makes the sexiest tomahawk steaks this side of the Mississip.




The scholarship covers the cost of the conference, so we’ve set up a Kickstarter project to raise the remainder of the travel expenses. So far it’s been a smashing success! So much of a success in fact, that we met our goal in just four days!! I can’t tell you how grateful and surprised and grateful and thankful we are. So, so grateful. 


Now that we’ve met the goal of sending Vin to the conference, any other funds raised will be put toward establishing an LLC so we can take this party on the road to local farmer’s markets this summer. So, if you didn’t get a chance to donate before, we’ll still take your money, haha! (But seriously, we will.) Learn more about the project and our plans for the future by visiting our Kickstarter page.  If you’re as passionate as we are about having an ethical responsibility towards animals and food or if you just really love bacon, please consider funding our project. Vin is going to do great things and we’d love for you to be a part of it!



And you should really go learn more about what the Butcher’s Guild is all about, too. It is an amazing organization and we’re so proud to be affiliated with them. 





2. Children’s Television. Guys. Daniel Tiger has a new baby at his house. I know it aired a while back, but we’re slow to get to things around here. But, y’all. It’s a new baby. On Daniel Tiger. And I got way more excited about this fact than I rationally ought to. Not sorry at all. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a little misty eyed over the new baby’s name. (Sniffle)


Also, have you seen Peg + Cat? It’s my most recent fave. Friend Katy hates it, but I forgave her because she’s wonderful in every other way. It’s a kooky show about Peg and Cat (duh) who solve problems and teach math concepts. Have I ever told you how much I hate math? I hate math maybe more than anything in the world. Like, I get serious anxiety when I have to do mental math. It verges on paralyzing at times. Peg+Cat is my favorite and it’s about math. I probably like it so much because Peg and Cat are ridiculous. I find myself talking like Peg a lot, so if I call you an “ahmaaaaaaaazing cat,” you should understand and just go with it.




3. Are you guys reading things? Sometimes I am. Mostly when I sneak into the bathroom to pretend to poo when in reality I’m just hiding from my progeny. You really need to tell me that you do this, too. Once you tell me that, you should pick up a copy of I Heart My Little A-holes by Karen AlpertGuys, I laughed out loud many, many times. This book is honest, irreverent, vulgar, crass, full of expletives, and basically everything you ever wanted a book about parenting to be. You know all those dark and angry thoughts you’ve had about parenting but were too afraid to actually verbalize because you thought somebody might come and take you away? Alpert just says ’em. She’s unapologetic and, while my style of parenting and views on politics probably differ from hers, I am all kinds of grateful she put those thoughts down on paper. Cause lets be honest, we’ve all contemplated killing Caillou. (But never Peg. Or Cat. I’m looking at you, Friend Katy.)





4. Anybody else have a two-year-old? Can we take a minute to hold hands and promise each other it’s gonna get better?

Meaningful pause…

Thanks. I needed that. This is poor Lily all day erraday. 

Even her Band-Aids need Band-Aids. (And I just now realized how irritating it is to type out “Band-Aid.” Thanks for nothing, Johnson & Johnson.)


But look at how sweet she was on a “Mama/Lily Date” to the grocery store…

I just can’t get enough of this sweet little thing. Life’s hard, baby girl, but it’ll get better. I promise.




5. The other day Maggie (who is learning to use scissors) wanted help making a robot mask. Then she got real pissed, and rightfully so, because it ended up looking more like the type of headwear worn by white supremacists and ditched the whole project. I don’t blame her at all.


Naturally, Vin scared the crap out of me by sneaking up behind me like this:

So. Flipping. Scary.




6.Okay, I know I already kind of talked about it, but how awesome are all of our contributors to Love Yourself? I just love all of their stories so. much.

If you missed them, you can find them here: LorelaiStephanieKate

Which one speaks most to you?




7. Some links that rock:

    • BuzzFeed’s at it again with an awesome 12 Day Love Yourself Challenge. Anybody want to do it with me and post ’em to Instagram? I’m starting Monday, September 1 and I’ll use the hashtag #loveyourself…do it, too, so we can love each other loving ourselves. Did that make sense? It doesn’t matter because you get me, you ahmaaaaaaaazing cat!  (You can follow me on Instagram, bee tee dubs.)
    • Your Body is Not Your Masterpiece – A friend on Facebook said we should read this one every single morning. I concur. It’s just so good.
    • What other good stuff did I miss this week? Leave links to good stuff in the comments!



Have a great Friday and weekend, everybody! Don’t forget to love yourself! -MS


Seven Things: 23

Hay. I’ve missed you. I’m going to flatter myself and imagine that you’ve missed me. Heaps and heaps.


Here’s what we’ve been up to!


1.) So, Ev has two teeth and he’s pulling up and trying really hard to walk. We just keep pushing him over, hoping to deter him. That kid is ten months old in a few months. I can’t even handle it.





2.) Have you guys read the Wildwood series? I just started it, but oh my goodness it’s good. I will report my verdict as soon as I have two minutes together to read it. So, basically, this will be the last you hear about it.





.3.) Vin has been out of town for a week watching the world championship of lacrosse. At this point, I think it’s fair to say that my undying respect and admiration goes out to all single parents. This shiz is not easy with two people, but it’s next to impossible for one. Seriously. If you know any single parents, please go hug them. And then take their kids for an evening and give them a six pack of beer and a pillow so they can collapse. They’ve earned it.




4.) So, I saw this thing on Pinterest that was a cutesy little “Library Plan” printable. You know, so you know what books you’re looking for before your passel of little darlings starts ripping books off of the library shelves all willy-nilly. It’s a great plan, actually. 


Now, I’m a terrible librarian/mother and I honestly very rarely take the kids to the library. It’s too much work because they go bananas and I get tired of chasing them and I’m enough of a book snob that I’d rather just pick things myself. There. I said it. However, on the occasion that I do take them, I realize that it’d be good to have a plan like the little listy thing. Also they showed Frozen at the library I work at on Friday, so we had. to. go.


So, I decided to forgo the adorable printable in favor of a scrap of receipt paper and a marker, because I like to upcycle. The girls were allowed to choose two books each…Mags decided to look for books on koalas and fairies and Lil opted for dinosaur and deer books because she likes alliteration, that’s why.


And wouldn’t you know it, miracles happened! When we walked into the library, the girls went to the nonfiction section rather than straight to the toys like a couple of classless hooligans. They chose books and actually sat and read them. Heck, they even gave full reports on earwigs to a couple of my coworkers (because, list or no list, you can’t pass up an earwig book). It was basically the best ever. So, yeah. Make a plan, write a list. Happy library day to everyone.




5.) Did I mention they were showing Frozen at the library? It was fantastic. I’m going to be honest with you. While all the other parents in the world are ruing the day that Frozen came out on DVD, I’m still going strong. Perhaps it helps that my girls didn’t completely obsess over it, but I think it’s fair to say that I want to watch it / sing it / perform dramatic interpretations of it waaay more than my kids do. Nothing will sway my devotion to the wickedly talented Adele Dazeem. And I’m not sorry. 




6.) Maggie met a sweet boy at Frozen who loved her so much, he insisted that his mother let him walk us to our car…at which point he climbed into said car and refused to leave. I have two thoughts on this: 1. Boys better watch out for her daddy because, and I quote, he has “a saw and a grind plan.” and 2. I am so glad that other people’s kids do crazy junk like that and it’s not just me. I think I’m gonna be best friends with that mama.






7.) Maggie says the darndest things:

“It’ll be as quick as a cake in a pie!” Sooo, slow. It’ll be slow.

“I’m Mama! Look at my mustache!” Excellent.

“I’m taking your eyebrows!”

“It’s the crystal bow of Africaaaaa!”


She’s a weird kid. I have no idea where she gets it.





8.) BONUS! Here are some cute pictures of our crazy kids I just can’t stop looking at…











So what have YOU been up to?? Spill in the comments! I’ve missed ya!


Follow me on Instagram @ohblessyourheart!

Seven Things: 21

Well, I intended to do a Seven Things post and had actually been working on it earlier in the week (imagine that!), but then life happened and we ended up at the Emergency Room last night with poor Mags who’s got a UTI. It was as pleasant as you can imagine and we didn’t make it home until well after 3 am…which is why I’m posting this now.


These were our medicinal highlights:


Magazine found in the ER waiting room. Clearly not a Bradley Cooper fan.
She initially chased this with a fish stick to improve the flavor, but as of this morning she claims it’s not too bad. Must be an acquired taste…


Aaaaaanyway, here are some of the things that went on this week…I hope you had a good one!


1.) Everett can sit in a high chair now. I’m not sure how I feel about it, so I’m going to pretend it’s not happening.



2.) I’m in pre-Lent training and have decided to really limit my phone usage. I got creeped out the other day because I woke up early to get things done and somehow managed to spend over an hour looking at Facebook. I’m a firm believer that great things come from social media. However, I’d be lying if I told you my obsession with “missing out” on something didn’t severely hamper the amount of time and focus I spend on my children. And that’s just pathetic.

You may remember that I attempted to limit my media use during Advent, as well, which was fair-to-middlin’ (oh, yes I did just quote the Oregon Trail CD Rom game I had growing up), but I’m going to be more specific in regards to Lent. So, my specific intentions are to take the Facebook app off of my phone, make the Pinterest app harder to find, and replace them with Daily Reading and Rosary type tools.

So far I’ve been fairly unsuccessful. Facebook usage is down, but Pinterest and Instagram usage are at an all-time high. I may have to get drastic and just pull the entire plug come Lent. Clearly self control isn’t my strong suit.

What are you planning for Lent? Do you give something up or take something on?



3.) Some of you may remember that I work part-time as a Children’s Librarian. That mainly consists of reading awesome books to awesome kids, creating awesome Pinterest crafts with awesome kids, and practicing for awesome puppet shows. As you can see, things are pretty much awesome. However, the other portion of my job is to answer reference questions over the phone. What kinds of questions do people call the library for, you ask? Here’s just a sampling of the questions I answered in the last week or so:

  • What is the definition of “frontier” and how does is relate to Star Trek, i.e. Space: The Final Frontier? Answer:
    fron·tierˌfrənˈti(ə)r, noun
    noun: frontier; plural noun: frontiers
    1. a line or border separating two countries.
      • the district near a border separating two countries.
      • the extreme limit of settled land beyond which lies wilderness, esp. referring to the western US before Pacific settlement.
      • the extreme limit of understanding or achievement in a particular area.
    2. “the success of science in extending the frontiers of knowledge”
    3. Lordy be, do I really have to explain this in relation to Star Trek??
  • Where are the two highest rated veggie burgers in Cleveland? Answer: Town Hall and BRGR 9. 
  • I saw a movie on TV and didn’t see the title. It was with Andie MacDowell and she was an American and fell in love with this English guy and her friends told her not to marry him but she did but then she was pregnant at the wedding…what was that movie? The cable company gave me the title, but it can’t be right. Answer: The cable company was right, that movie is called Women and Men: Part 2 and no, the patron didn’t believe me, either.
  • How much is an original copy of Around the World in Twenty-Eight Days worth? Answer: Apparently not enough.
  • I was cooking some burgers in a pan and, once some had cooked, I added more raw burgers into the same pan. Is this cross contamination? Answer: No. That’s just called cooking burgers.
  • How does one find God? Can you email me some articles on that?  Answer: Siiiiiiiiiigh…



4.) Apparently there’s this burning ball of fire in the sky that some people call the sun. We Clevelanders have really only ever heard of it, but on Wednesday it appeared!!! I kid you not when I say that Maggie saw the sun and immediately put her swimsuit on.


After a change of wardrobe we went out and built the happiest snow girl I’ve ever seen!

Tell me that’s not the cutest snow girl of all time. Just try.



5.) And speaking of wardrobe choices, here’s Lily’s mash-up of Tinkerbell and Yoda.

Fab. U. Luuuuussss.



6.) I have the most wonderful dad on the planet. Wanna know how I know this? He sent me the complete set of The Mysterious Benedict Society books that I raved about earlier this week.

Give a girl new books and she’ll take joyful selfies all night long!

I seriously can’t tell you how excited I am. Best dad of all time.



7.) And, last, because she was so excited, here’s Lily with her brand new car seat. It’s the first one that wasn’t a hand-me-down. We sure know how to make a middle child happy around here!

Have a great weekend!!

Seven Things: 20

Hay. Here’s seven things that have happened this week.


1.) Sweet Lord in Heaven there’s a mouse in my house and it got in my dishwasher and I can’t even handle thinking about it oh my Lord, oh my Lord, oh my Looooooorrrrrd.

Apparently I’ve been having a bit of a melodramatic reaction to it because Lily walks around screaming, “Nooooooo! Yuck! Naughty mouse! Nooooo!” I think the girls are also confused because one of their favorite books is “The Tale of Two Bad Mice” by Beatrix Potter. Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca are so adorable while they’re sneaking into that doll house and stealing furniture and dressing up their little mousie babies…but not so much when they’re in Mama’s dishwasher. Sorry Beatrix, but homie don’t play that.

Update! Just before the time of publication I received a text that read, “Good morning. I love you. I caught a mouse last night.” And there was great rejoicing.



2.) Speaking of Lily screaming, that’s all she does. Like ever. Her favorite activity is stumbling around, wailing as loudly as possible. When she doesn’t get the appropriate level of attention, which is 1000% of the attention of every living human present, she claws at our legs and says, “I’m crying! I’m cryyyyying!” You know, just in case we hadn’t noticed.



3.) And speaking of things going horribly, horribly wrong – we were speaking of that weren’t we?- our furnace went out. Because the Polar Vortex hates us that’s why. Luckily we were able to crash at my in-laws until the repairman could save us. It was 35 degrees in the house when we got home, so we’re super fortunate that the pipes didn’t freeze, too! Kind of a rough week, all the way around.


Nothing like bundled up breakfast and naps in a bear suit to drive home the fact that winter is NEVER going to end…I really hate Punxatawny Phil this year.



4.) My mom brought us some really amazing pear jam a while back and it’s been taunting me from the refrigerator for weeks.


I had to. And as my brilliant friend, Haley, said on Facebook, I should pair it with some Eddie Breadder. Heh, heh, heh!



5.) And Vin got to go to anamazing organic pig/trout farm that is going to be working with his store. He brought home a ton of complimentary pig meat and it is all kinds of delicious. So I got a lesson on boning out tenderloins and making chops, which was fantastic…especially when paired with fried eggs, gravy, and homemade biscuits. I should really have food guilt about this, but I just don’t care.


For those of you who have accused me of perpetrating the recent crimes around here, all I got to say is, mess with me one more time and I’ll cut you!!!



6.) My favorite Maggie quotes as of late:

Heard from another room, accompanied by loud noises- “Mama, I’m not dressed up…but I made somethin’ happen!!”


“Liiiiiillly!! You’re sitting on my dream come true!”


Peeking out from the side of the couch, clearly hoping that this last-ditch effort would work- “Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Time for Lily and Everett to go to bed! Cuckoo!”



7.) Some of the best links from the week:

Daniel over at Carrots for Michaelmas talking about greatness…seriously so good and got me all fired up about life – “Who Are You to Deny Greatness”

And speaking of greatness, congratulations to Haley of Carrots on being asked to be a speaker at the Edel Gathering! So deserved and so exciting! I might be Haley’s biggest internet fan. Actually, I’m pretty sure I am.

And I’m praying that I’ve somehow managed to stay in the realm of “interesting interwebs stranger” and haven’t accidentally wandered over into “well-meaning but creepy internet weirdo.” ‘Cause how do you really know that the internet weirdos are well-meaning? You don’t. Lordy be, where is this tangent taking me????

Anyway. I’d laaaarve to go to this conference because it features some of the most amazing Catholic bloggers/writers out there (!) and it’s in Austin (!!) and they have Mexican food there (!!!). And Amy’s ice cream. And I’d be so close to my alma mater, UMHB…and I really can’t get my hopes up because the odds of being able to make it are all kinds of slim. A girl can dream though.



Back to links! Thanks to my dear friend, Mimi, I was reminded of the amazing website, Reasons My Son Is Crying. This is my favorite since Lily does this all. the. time.




And, guys, if you haven’t taken a zillion Buzzfeed quizzes lately, you clearly don’t know anything about anything. Please, do me a favor and take all of these. Then report back here. Go on! Shoo, shoo!

What Nice Thing Should You Do For Someone Today?

What Type of Parent Are You?

Which Sandwich Are You?

Which Pixar Movie Are You?

Which 90’s Nickelodeon Show Are You?

And, because it’s very necessary on a list of quizzes like this, What Arbitrary Thing Are You?




Have a great weekend, y’all!

Seven Things: 18

So I’m a little late in getting this week’s Seven Things out, but here it is anyway!


1.) I am so grateful for the response to my post on postpartum depression. I’m so encouraged by people’s stories, but more by the incredible amount of understanding, support, and community that came from it.

I think the biggest realization I got from the feedback I received was that many times we don’t think we’re struggling with something like postpartum depression because we’re not neglecting our children. Now, I’m no medical doctor, but I think a lot of the depression can come from trying to do too much, from not cutting ourselves some slack, and from holding ourselves to impossible standards.

The other thing I was reminded of is that there are more of us struggling that we think. As someone so wisely put it in the comments on Facebook, “the world is full of good actors.” So if you do nothing else today, please go love on somebody. We all need it.



2.) So, in order to cheer things up from the last post, I shall now share some things that make me laugh, the first of which is completely juvenile and I’m not sorry. If you’re offended by pictures of Olympic divers photoshopped onto toilets, do not click this link. If you think that’s hi-larious, which you should because it is, then by all means click away!


If adorable is more your style, please visit the endlessly entertaining Buzzfeed for this list of 15 Animals You Wish Were Your Coworkers.



3.) Then go listen to this song because it’s totally my new jam.



4.)Today’s College Buddy Blog you should visit is from Rachel at Wull Hay. Let me tell you a little story. In college I had these things called “Project Friends.” Basically, I’d scope out incredibly cool people that I aspired to be friends with and then wiggle my way into their lives, hoping that they’d take pity on me and teach me their cool ways. My Junior year I managed to be chosen to direct the university pageant (you read that right) and I took the opportunity to make my three biggest project friends my assistant directors. One is Maggie’s godfather, one took our wedding pictures, and one is Rachel.

Rach is just the most amazing person like ever. She’s original and creative, and hilarious and a phenomenal writer. She’s a fabulous graphic designer, radio dj, rock climber/skiier/biker/superwoman, and she organizes the most elaborate shenanigans with her friends. Also, she’s the best dancer I’ve ever known. Please, please, please check out her writing. I’ve had a crush on this blog forever. It’s seriously worth your time to dig waaay back into the archives and read all about the time she went to Australia as an au pair and how she found her way back to the states. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll fall in love with Rachel and you’ll thank me later.



5.) Vin took me on the best date ever. We went shooting at the gun range, the first time I’ve been able to go since I’ve been perpetually pregnant for the last 2.5 years. Gosh, I love shooting guns. It’s seriously the best stress reliever ever…and it definitely helps that I’m not too shabby a shot.


I need a sharp shooting alias. I’m currently accepting suggestions.



6.) This happened the other night:

Pigs fear this man.


That is a fresh ham that is currently curing in our kitchen, soon to be smoked in a Thanksgiving extravaganza of epic proportions. Clearly I’m excited. What are y’all eating for Turkey Day?



7.) Good links:

Check out Selfies: More Than Snaps by Kiran at Mummy Says. It’s another great reminder for moms to get in front of the camera every now and then…even if half your face is missing from the shot.


This is an interesting opportunity to contribute to an ebook. Share Your Story of conception, birth, postpartum, or nursing at An Ethnography of American BirthThe project is really interesting and aims to investigate “how American culture affects pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.” I’m going to try to contribute if I ever finish Ev’s birth story…


And I thought this post, “A Love That Never Ends” by Jenny at the Catholic Exchange was especially relevant this week. Just SO good.


Have a great weekend, everybody! Thanks, again, for the love this week. It was felt, I assure you!

Mary Susan

Seven Things: Part 14

Writing has been a bit sparse around here because my mom is visiting from Texas and ohmysweetgoodness guys you will not believe the amount of laundry that’s being done.


Seriously. Every morning I wake up and discover a little laundry fairy hard at work in our basement folding clothes that have not been folded since their purchase. And she’s made banana bread. And done all our dishes. And I’ve taken an obscene amount of naps since she’s been here.


And she’s leaving tomorrow…waaaaaahahahahaha!


Therefore, I shall recount our latest happenings in order to make myself feel better.


Seven Things, commence!


1.) We got to visit my midwife yesterday to check on baby Everett…and Lechen. What’s that? You’re not aware of a “Lechen” in our midst? Lechen is the baby in Maggie’s tummy. She kicks a lot. And I’ve just been informed that she has pink eyes and she likes pink towels. Also, Lechen is blonde and she’s going to eat tomorrow. So, yeah. That’s a thing.


So much of a thing, in fact, that after I had my check-up, Maggie insisted that she get up on the table and have the midwife check out her tummy, too. So, after a thorough exam, we can all rest easy knowing that both Everett and Lechen are doing well and “growin’ and growin’.”



2.) Lily has expanded her vocabulary to include the following words:

  • taco
  • whale
  • woof-woof
  • meow
  • ribbit
  • Rudy (my in-laws’ dog)
  • Dada
  • Mama
  • and some assorted garble that we take to be her doctoral thesis in the works.



3.) From the mouth of Margaret:

Me: Mags, are those shorts too tight?

Mags: They’re too tight…These shorts are just perfect!! (And so it begins…)



4.) What I’m reading/have recently read:

The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother

by James McBride.


Holy Moly, was this good. This is the real life account of the author’s mother, born an Orthodox Jew in Poland. She immigrated to America and grew up in Virginia in the thirties, married a black man, started a Baptist church in Harlem and put twelve children through college. This is especially interesting because it stems from the author’s personal quest to find himself as a young black man coming of age in the racial turbulence of the sixties. It’s especially, especially interesting in the context of current news.


This is a really great read. I wish I had gotten a more profound response from the ending, but overall, so. good.

The Art of the Common-Place: The Agrarian Essays

by Wendell Berry

“We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. And this has been based on the even flimsier assumption that we could know with any certainty what was good even for us…We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and to learn what is good for it.” (p. 20)

Yes. Just yes.


by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

So, I’m on like page five of this book and I like what I’ve read. I’ve heard numerous interviews with Adichie on the radio and I’m incredibly fascinated with her as a person. The book has gotten a lot of good reviews, but it’s quite the tome, so we’ll see how fast I muscle through it since I can’t seem to read just one book at a time.

5.) And while we’re on the subject of reading, check out these great blog posts from some of my favorites!

The Earth is a Nursery by Simcha Fisher – Gosh, I love Simcha Fisher. I’m honestly not sure if I’ve already shared this post with you or just smeared it all over my Facebook page, but if you haven’t read it, you should. If you have, you should read it again.

As a 28 year old mother of (almost) three, my vocation to motherhood is pretty counter-cultural, especially when compared with others my age. Sometimes it gets pretty depressing/irritating to hear the “Well, you’ll have your hands full!” comments and the “Three kids under five?? That’ll be ‘fun’…” remarks. It’s nice to have a positive reminder that the Earth is a nursery. It’s also nice to know I’m not the only one in this fight.

And speaking of which, check out Praying With Your Feet by Haley at Carrots for MichaelmasSuch a good reminder that prayer is not only quiet and reverent, but that the loud, the frustrating, the chaotic are prayers, as well.

And I’m currently obsessed with Birth Without Fear, a blog dedicated to helping women make informed decisions about their childbirth experience. This is also an incredibly open and inviting space that celebrates all different kinds of birthing choices. Birth Without Fear is really, really interesting, so if you’re like me and love reading birth stories, check it out!         Note: The pictures can be pretty graphic, so if you’re bothered by placentas, be advised. Also, be advised that people may be weirded out if you leave said photos on the screen for them to find…which is fun. 😉

6.) Speaking of births…I got to visit the water birthing suite we’ll be using when Everett comes and I am so excited I can’t even stand it!! I’ve never had a water birth, so I’m really excited to see the differences between an all natural “land” birth versus the aquatic variety. I’m genuinely looking forward to getting Mr. Everett into the world…but don’t ask me how excited I am when I’m in the throes of vomiting up an Ole Burger.

7.) Here are some photos that I like.

Mags took some pictures on my phone. Gosh, I love her.



Here she is modeling the new outfit my mom made her…from a pattern she used to make clothes when I was a little girl. How precious is that?


Lils loving on a bunny at the botanical gardens.


The Hubz is always super excited to “play cats” when he gets home…almost as excited as he is to have his picture taken.

Hope you’re having a great week, all!! I’m going to go enjoy my mama before we’re parted again til September…le sigh. You should go enjoy your mama, too! Or at least give that lady a call. 🙂


Seven Things: Part 13

I haven’t done a Seven Things post in a while and I wanted to squeeze one more in this week before we jet off on our anniversary getaway and eat our weight in Chicago Dogs. Anyway, I’m cheating and writing this early, but scheduling it to post later…cause technolgy’s cool like that.



1. As I write this, this is happening:

“The cyclone had set the house down gently, very gently – for a cyclone…” L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz




2. And while we’re on the subject of Maggie, here are my favorite things she’s said recently:

-Overheard from the other room, “Oh, Mama! We got a little action here!”

-Also overheard from the other room, “Mama, everything’s under control…”

-About a flower she picked, “It smells like happiness!”

-And last, in a recent conversation Mags said, “Mama, you’re beautiful and I’m beautiful,” to which I replied, “Yep. And what do you think makes someone beautiful?” The brilliant girl just said, “God.”  Girl preaches the truth.




3. Mags and I also filled out this Father’s Day questionnaire for her Daddy.

Do note that his favorite food is “lettuce,” and also that they’ve never played golf together.




4. And in the spirit of Father’s Day, I got a great photo of the clones.

Lily LOVES wearing sunglasses…and kitty masks, which I will attempt to capture for a later post.




5. Guys. I’m reading Wendell Berry. I know, I know…I’m way late to the party on this one, but seriously everything I pick up that he’s written is glooorious! I’m reading “The Art of the Commonplace” and “The Country of Marriage.” His poetry is out of control. I mean, it’s been a long time since I’ve encountered a poet whose works I could just sit down and read. 


“And I have a persistent music in me, like water flowing under ice, that says the warmer days will come, blossom and leaf return again. I live in that, a flimsy enclosure, but the song’s for singing, not to dread the end.” 
-From “Zero”


So. Good.




6. And speaking of things that’ll make you want to raise chickens…I got my first issue of Mother Earth News in the mail the other day!


I’ve got crazy hair, ’cause I’ve been mulching/gardening/hanging laundry on the line…you know, just harnessing my inner pioneer here on the homestead.



What this really means is that we’re officially hippies and that I’ve officially turned into my father…just with more hair and less mumbling. Or at least more hair.



7. By the time you all read this we’ll be in Chicago (!!!), so look for updates at some juncture… Have a great weekend, errabody!



Mary Susan

Seven Things: Part 11

1.) The hubz is officially an official butcher. The man took his final test and, at the end of nine months, finished a program that usually takes people one to two years. Did I mention, he’s brilliant?? I seriously couldn’t be more proud of this guy. And I think I might have a crush on him…


2.) I don’t always fold laundry, but when I do I love folding tiny jeggings.


3.) I also love making discoveries like this little gem:

Thumper's ready for takeoff. And I'm glad to see he's got a credit card with him...limitless credit, no doubt.
Thumper’s ready for takeoff. And I’m glad to see he’s got a credit card with him…limitless credit, no doubt.


4.) The weather has finally been nice enough to use the clothes line! Hooray!




At least it was three days ago when I got a sunburn. Yesterday was a tad different…



Yeah. That’s our neighbor’s slip’n’slide in the snow.


Surely I’m making this up. I mean, three days ago this was happening:




And this was yesterday:



5.) Lily’s making her first attempts at walking. Hard to believe she’s so big!

6.) Maggie-isms:

Me: Mags, I’m going to squeeze you!

Maggie: I am NOT a yogurt!


“Mama, Beverly is very cranky this morning.”   (Beverly is her rubber snake.)


“You’re going to have a baby or a vampire squid.”


“I have a baby Jesus in my tummy.” (says the constant one-upper…)



7.) Science project! We put some bean seeds in a mason jar with a damp paper towel. Lo and behold, we’ve got actual plants! You should really try this with the little person in your life. It was really fun to see the stages of seed growth.

Hope you all have a restful Sunday! We find out the gender of New Baby tomorrow, so stay tuned!!

Seven Things: Part 10

She liiiives! She liiiives! I’m totally not comparing myself to Our Savior, however, recovering from being ill with two (also ill) little ones makes me feel like miracles have happened around here! Sorry we’ve been so quiet, but we are back…with a vengeance!


Okay, not really “with a vengeance,” but it’s Oscar season and I have a movie trailer voice in my head 24/7 this time of year.


So. Seven Things! Whip crack sound effect! (Did I mention I also have a foley artist in my head, too? That’s all year long, though…)


1.) Have you seen this movie? It’s my favorite.

What’s Up Doc, 1972; Barbara Streisand, Ryan O’neal, Directed by Peter Bogdanovich


Funniest. Movie. Ever. There’s no way to describe it, really…it’s only the most glorious screwball comedy ever. This film will make you have a crush on Ryan O’Neal, which isn’t hard to do in the first place.


It may also make your very conservative, non-movie loving husband laugh out loud and develop a crush on young Barbara Streisand. Be advised.


It also has hilarious appearances by Madeline Khan (ohmysweetgoodness, I love her so much) and Austin Pendleton, who may be my new Awkward Celebrity Crush.


2.) Mags and I made a Valentine garland out of an old book that was falling apart and I larve it.

I think the garland does a lovely job of accenting our avalanche’o’toys, don’t you?



3.) Lils is starting to pull up on things, specifically the things that are most likely to maim her and get me turned in to the authorities. You know, like the side of the crib or bathtub, or the zoo animal activity block. Nothing like the shriek of a child being impaled by a wooden giraffe to really accomplish that “Home Sweet Home” vibe. Sheesh.


Good thing she’s so cute…



4.) I get to go to a Violent Intruder Training at work on Valentine’s Day! This fits perfectly with our new-ish tradition of celebrating the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. I’m sure I’ll be amped up to watch a great mob movie with the hubz when I get home. Any suggestions of good ones? Mayhaps we’ll go old school this year and get some Jimmy Cagney?



5.) So, I like Instagram. You should follow me! I’m ohblessyourheart…original, I know. Here are some good ‘uns I’ve shared as of late.

Bahahaha…This is like the gift that keeps on giving since I’ll get to enjoy it all over again in ten years when she discovers it and freaks out…


Eatin’ some pancakes!





6.) My sweet Mama and my dear sister, Mara, are coming to visit soon!! I am so excited I can’t even handle it! If you are ever lucky enough to have a Southern mama, please make sure she’s the type who sends you Valentines even when you’ve got kids of your own. Even more importantly, make sure she’s the kind who makes Jalapeno Peach Jam and sends that to you. And then make sure you marry a guy who makes the best homemade bread of all time. Combine the two and, I’m telling you, you will not be sorry. I’d share a picture, but I ate it all.



7.) Best link of the week, hands down, goes to Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas. She wrote this beautiful post, “A Letter to My Former Self On the Day I Became a Mother” to celebrate her eldest turning four. Hold on to your tear ducts, mommies, cause this one is honest and wonderful and so, so good.

Much love to all!

-Mary Susan

Seven Things: Part Nine

1.) We’re all “secret spies” today… I’m “Secret Spy Mommy” and I’m joined by “Secret Spy Lily” and “Secret Spy Banjo”. We are led fearlessly by “Secret Spy Maggie” who pronounces it, “Speeket Spy” and makes us look through her super spy gadget glasses, which are clear plastic Rapunzel princess slippers held up to our eyes. That’s the best way to see clues, I’m told. Clues to what mystery, I cannot say…


2.) We have a crawler, y’all.


All my photos are grainy. My apologies…


Also, she’s incredibly cute when she sleeps. Just so’s you know…


So tiny in the “fancy bed” at Nana’s house…



3.) Maggie-isms for the week:


-Maggie’s new favorite question to ask us is, “Whatchoo think you’re doin’??”

-To my great pride, she likes to talk in a British accent, especially when we’re pretending to be “fancy ladies” or when she’s asking someone if they “wemembah??” something in particular.

-A few moments ago I heard a screech from upstairs where she was watching Little Einsteins. Apparently she’d changed the channel by accident. Mags came bounding down the stairs yelling, “Mama! I turned your show on and it’s real bad!!” I went up to discover that she’d turned on The View. Not “my show,” but definitely bad!

-Life is hard for a girl who insists on wearing a tutu to bed. Especially when your pull-up leaks on said tutu, “Maaaammaa! My tutu’s wet! We needa waaash it!”

Hot cocoa after a FREEZING walk outside with Daddy. Look at those cheeks!


4.) I successfully stripped my cloth diapers, which is just a special way of washing them to get rid of the stank and any buildup that might be present. What a difference! I got the “recipe” from a blog I found via Google, A Collection of Passions.  If you use Bum Genius diaps or cloth diaper in general, this is a good resource. Also she rocked my world with this tip: Use a spatula to scoop off the poop. Now this might sound gross, but you obviously don’t use the spatula for food ever again and it sure beats the heck out of paying forty bucks for a diaper sprayer, which I have just never gotten around to.


5.) My husband is pretty much the most amazing person ever. He’s jumped in on my cleaning schedule without questioning at all and has gone above and beyond. Plus he does all kinds of cool things with Mags like teaching her to make her own homemade noodles. I ate some and they were awesome!


6.) The Newbery and Caldecott awards will be announced on the 28th and I’m super-excited. I’m also super-excited by the past winners display we’ve got up at work. I’m plowing through award-winning books as fast as I can. So, here’s what I’m reading this week: The Underneath by Kathi Appelt with drawings by David Small

Image via Simon and


Here’s the book overview from Children’s :

There is nothing lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at least for a while, and then abandoned on the side of the road.

An abandoned calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the achingly lonely howl of a chained up, abused hound dog deep in the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest and the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate. They are an unlikely pair, about to become an unlikely family. Ranger urges the cat to hide underneath the porch, to raise Sabine and Puck there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use her or her kittens as alligator bait should he find them. But, they are safe in the underneath…as long as they stay in the underneath.

Kittens, however, are notoriously curious creatures. And one kitten’s one moment of curiosity sets off a chain of events that is astonishing, remarkable, and enormous in its meaning. In the tradition of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Flannery O’Connor, and Carson McCullers, Kathi Appelt spins a harrowing yet keenly sweet tale about the power of love (and its opposite, hate), the fragility of happiness — and the importance of making good on your promises.

It is so, so good!


7.) Today is the 4oth anniversary of the March for Life.

 This is a really phenomenal post by Simcha Fischer on why it’s important to use graphic images of aborted babies only when necessary  and not as a go-to tool.

And here’s another great post by Simcha on using our spiritual gifts to promote the pro-life movement.



I hope you all have had/continue to have a spectacular week!