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!

How to Beat the Midwinter Blues

Winter Vortex getting you down?


Seriously, anybody else been feeling super-depressed lately?


I don’t know if it’s just the weather or the fact that it’s impossible to leave the house without literally risking frostbite. Or maybe it’s the sheer amount of mittens and hats and boots and coats required to do anything, even dumb stuff like take out the trash. Or perhaps it’s the fact that it’s so cold that the dog won’t go to the bathroom outside, instead favoring the use of the basement, but I have been seriously down in the dumps lately. Like crying a lot and incredibly down on myself and on and on and on.


And, while it’s fun to wallow in self-loathing, I thought that a week of that nonsense was enough. So, in the interest of snapping out of it and possibly helping others along the way (cause I can’t be alone in this, I just know it), I’ve compiled a list of tried and true methods to beat the Midwinter Blues.

Here goes:

  • Get out of your house. “Oh, easy for her to say,” you think. I know this is counter-intuitive and a lot of effort, especially if you have kids, but really. If the weather shows any sign of the possibility of sunshine, get out of the house. Bundle yourself and your progeny up in as many layers as it takes to stay warm and leave. the. house. Be safe, of course, but seriously. Nothing does the spirit better than a trip to the museum  or the library or the McDonald’s play place. Heck, even the post office feels like a vacation when you’ve been holed up for what seems like centuries. Just take advantage of the balmy 8 degree temperature and get the heck out of your homey prison.


  • Rearrange your furniture. Sometimes just mixing it up the angle of the couch or the placement of the china cabinet can make a huge difference in your mood. When nothing about the outdoors is changing for months on end, it’s good to force some change on your environment. Moving Toy Everest to a new location can make you feel like a new woman or man or whatever.


  • Get some cardio. Unless you’re super hardcore like my granola coworkers and actually purchase cleat-like snowshoe attachments for your running shoes, you’re probably not gonna be outside much for a workout. Don’t worry! YouTube has a fantastic selection of very mediocre Zumba videos that will both get your heart pumping and make your children laugh maniacally as you shake your bon-bon in the (newly rearranged) living room.


  • Get in the kitchen. This is the perfect time to try something new. Pinterest abounds with all kinds of crazy recipes just begging to be loosely followed. Seize the day and get cooking! If you’re holed up for weeks on end you might as well perfect your culinary skillz. (And yes, I do mean skillz.)


  • Even better, get your husband in the kitchen! We had an incredibly rare occurrence in which both of us had two days off in a row. I hear they’re called “weekends”, but it was on a Tuesday and Wednesday. Whatever. The hubz made…wait for it…homemade breakfast sausage, bagels, carnitas, pizza dough, and chili. And I made tortillas because I’m not as cool as he is. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, marrying a man that can cook is the best life decision I ever made…along with the decision to stop using those home hair highlighting kits with the weird caps that you have to rip your hair through. That was a good call, too.


  • Do some more cardio to offset the cooking thing. Or not. Puffy coats hide a multitude of sins…and a multitude of bagels. Just sayin’…


  • Read a good book. I’m probably going to finish it tonight or tomorrow, but I am so completely obsessed with The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. I’m going to write a full post about this one, but seriously. Read it.  Also, I started Anna Karenina and, because I can’t ever read just one or two things at a time, I’m also reading The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander which is fantastic. What are your latest bookish obsessions? Any favorite winter reads? Any put a pep in your step reads?


  • Revitalize yourself with the talent of teens. This might be harder to do for some of you, but I bet it’s feasible if you do a little searching. I had the privilege of judging the annual Poetry Slam at the library last night. Guys. Teenagers are so talented and passionate and, I promise, if you’re around them and take the time to really listen to their thoughts and ideas, you’ll be so much the better for it. Find an open mic night in your area or volunteer with teens in some capacity. Teens are so life-giving and yet so overlooked…well worth your time, I promise.


  • Listen when people tell you you’re wonderful. I don’t know about you, but when I’m depressed I focus inward. My tunnel vision makes it impossible to see any good about myself, any shred of beauty in me. I can’t maintain any positive energy at all. And that’s where the listening comes in. So many times people pour goodness into me and I just don’t receive it. My depression wants me to believe there isn’t any goodness present and that nobody loves me when that simply isn’t true. If I focus and unstop my ears, I allow myself to see the beauty all around…I allow myself to breathe, to receive the kindness and love of others and to love myself.

    Incidentally, I made this the other day and Vin sent me a picture of it while I was crying all the way to work. Nothing like a gentle reminder from yourself…via your infinitely intelligent husband.


I tried paying more attention recently and realized that my husband tells me I’m pretty, like all the time. I think he might have a crush on me or something. And my kids? The other night Maggie told me, “Mama, I love you the way God made you.” If I hadn’t forcibly made myself chill out and be present instead of mentally berating myself, I’d have missed that.


  • Listen to your breast pump. If any of you have had the privilege of being hooked up to a breast pump on a regular basis, you may, like me, have realized that these machines can talk. Laugh if you want, but there’s a certain cadence to a breast pump that just sounds like words. Maybe it’s just my particular model or my particular neurosis, but I swear that thing talks to me. If you’re not lucky enough to have a breast pump on hand, please locate the nearest lactating mother and see if she’ll let you listen to her pump. She won’t think it’s weird at all!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Listening to the breast pump is always a good idea, as it generally has valid advice. Last night, mine simply said, “Let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go…” on and on and on. And the breast pump is right. Long, unrelenting winter makes it hard to stay cheery, but there’s so much good surrounding me, fighting to be seen through the numbing fog of blaaaaah and self critique and doubt and comparison. And now is as good a time as any to let it all go.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also, the breast pump’s advice morphed from, “Let it go, let it go, let it go,” to “Move to Paris, move to Paris, move to Paris, move to Paris,” which I think is a decent suggestion. I mean, the breast pump has never steered me wrong before… So you can just forward my mail to Versailles. But in the meantime, while I’m packing and whatnot, I think I’m better equipped to handle all this Polar Vortex nonsense. Subzero temperature and frostbite ain’t got nothin’ on me, thankyouverymuch.