Custom Power Poem for All Us Mamas


I am blown away. WP_20170928_003

This beautiful poem from a dear grandma lady, who is in our community, arrived in the mail today. I called Karen Beltz to thank her, and to ask if I could post it here. She wrote it for me. I just know that it’s for all of us.

Read it and enjoy. (I believe if you click on it, you can then zoom in to see better each page).


I, for one, am still digesting it. I think I will read it every day.

Blessings to you and yours,

Mary Clare



Frumpy Friday Summary

Door county welcomed us magnificently last week. Can you spot the moon? It appeared triple in size, so the photo doesn’t translate fully, but is still lovely, I feel. Honey lost his job the day before we took this planned vacation (his new company appears to be trimming after a merger). I am weighing supporting the family and serving the Lord (at least a little bit), by doing some work outside the home. Apparently, women for centuries and in cultures all over the world have contributed to economic needs. Whether this is God’s will for our specific family at this specific time is a major question. It would be so much easier if I had planted a bigger garden! Then, I would be canning veggies right now, and BOOM, economic contribution would be in the bag, er, jar. ūüėČ

Little man explores his newly-lengthened pj’s. I found a relatively simple, DIY way to extend the life of footy pajamas by cutting them near the feet and inserting a new swatch of fabric. It’s something of a hack job, and when I accidentally put the first couple of seams on the outside instead of in, it became more so. : D Oh,well! The net effect is the same, and so much better than spending an abominable amount of time with a seam ripper.

The art on the wall is cut cardboard and paint. Wow! So simple, so effective. It did a lot for the medical waiting room that we were in a few days back. Again, the picture doesn’t do it justice.

We did plant a few rows of carrots. Not only did these two come up white, but check out the one on the right! The weave of the stems was intricate and lovely, just like our Lord’s quiet plan for us. I know he holds us in the inner palm of his hand, and so why, then, shall I worry about money?

God love you,


How We Got through the Winter, Sort of

Last April, a visiting friend asked, “So, how did you survive the winter?” I didn’t have the guts to tell the whole truth, which is that, “we didn’t.” I mean, we’re still alive and all, but the winter of 2014-2015 was really, really hard. We handled it poorly. As summer was coming to a close this year, I was already tensly anti-anticipating the cold and isolation, knowing that I hadn’t really recovered from last winter.¬† I’m going to tell you this story to help with hope. There is hope! (And please, don’t pitty me. I do that plenty for both of us. Plus, pity is futile, so I’ve stopped that. I’m trying to stop that. I’m sort-of stopping that. ;))

By Thanksgiving of 2014, the situation was this: we had a very new (to us) home that wasn’t homey, an even newer baby, a toddler who was waking at o’dark thirty every night, several home issues including one which kicked us out of the house for 2 weeks, a crazy new diet for this nursing mom that seemed medically necessary yet impossible, and a baby who screamed – ear shatteringly – every time I put him down. Continue reading

The Three Hour Glucose Test

Author’s Note:¬†I wrote this post earlier in the week while at a lab having a 3 hour¬†glucose¬†test done. ¬†

I’m sitting at a clinic in town waiting for my third blood draw for my three-hour glucose test. ¬†I’ve been here for a few hours already. ¬†I’ve done this before with baby number 1, but this time it’s different… in a good way.

With the glucose test for baby 1, I was scared and nervous. ¬†I had a friend come with me because my husband was at work. ¬†It was great having this friend there. ¬†She really showed the Lord’s love to me that day.

Today looks different. I am not scared, just tempted to be negative.  I rushed to get myself ready and get my two-year old out the door to a babysitter, who graciously agreed to watch him with less than 24 hours notice. She knows who she is.  Thank you!

Going out the door, my son had a tantrum.  He refused to put boots on and then refused shoes only to ask for boots.  Huh?  He threw his sippy cup into the dirt out of protest and then whined because his sippy was dirty.  Frustrating.

The babysitter met us at the car, per my request, and took him inside her house.  I later received a text he was happy.  Great!

Now back to the waiting room. This time around, I am relaxed as can be and enjoying free WiFi on my laptop and an endless cup of water so they can get a good draw of blood.  I will have four uninterrupted hours all to myself (with a few breaks for blood draws.)

So now a little background to today. ¬†Last night when I was struggling with having to come in yet again for this test, a friend suggested I look at this as an opportunity for some time to myself. ¬†That was such a great suggestion. ¬†It helped me to change my attitude about having to take this test…again.

I am also using this experience as an opportunity to be thankful for the ways God is taking care of me today.  It would be easy to go down the road of negative thoughts today. No one likes a whole morning of getting poked and going without food, but God has given me grace today to stop negative thought patterns and find ways to be thankful.

Author’s Note: Since writing this blog post, I found out that I passed the three-hour glucose test! ¬†



Frumpy Friday Summer Summary (Again)

3/4 of us have mild fevers this week, and the ENT we saw last week was not at all concerned about his lip tie, but he had a double ear infection, with teething, following a cold, and followed up by a cold, which we noticed on his birthday, and checked again for ear infection on Monday but didn’t find it, which we found out today has become another double ear infection, despite being on a strong antibiotic for the first double ear infection the entire time. Confused? Me too.

So, let’s simplify and let the photos speak, in no particular order:


This is my kids playing with new toys from Josh’s 1st birthday party. Balloons, Duplos, a hand-made stuffed bee puzzle toy, instruments: what could be better?! We haven’t played with old toys all week. To come downstairs and see this was, for me, super rewarding. Kinda like being a kid at Christmas.

Which brings up a burning question: why won’t our 2 year old play with the toy food and range that she’s had since Christmas?

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I am not in a habit of doing this. “This”, here, includes: turning the camera on myself, washing my hair (the results of which you see in the hairstyle), sitting in front of our sleeping porch windows while my family eats dinner, almost falling out the window, being seen by multiple neighbors. I have no explanation.

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The light, especially the shiny yellows from the above-mentioned perch, were lovely.  This gives only a hint, but enjoy!


There they are. The two men in my life. Love ’em. Even though one (I won’t mention who to protect their privacy) has begun to crawl up our very steep stairs all by his big self. Many times a day. Very quickly. And he doesn’t know how to climb down.

I have an unrelated question: how will I ever get anything done around here given this development?

And here’s an unrelated observation: until the climbing started, for the sake of sanity, I placidly brushed off those things people tell you when they hear you will have two who are close in age (ie: “you’ll be busy”). Now, one year on, I understand.


I could always find obliging smile-ers at our party for the little rascal.


Yep. Great smiles. Great folks.


And now, for the food! We grew most of the carrots you see above. Thanks to the inspiration of Pinterest, they are arranged kinda interestingly and seasonally. Please tell me you recognize the shape.


I have a question. Can you guess what this is? Love handles and all? (Other than “deliciousness”?)


I may be despairing of her ever playing with the kitchen toys, but I needn’t have despaired of her drumming on a bucket, even though I did despair of it! Not only has it happened (once), but I have proof. So at least we’re half normal.


Nose + cheek + upper lip + little hanies (hands) + fat foot with pointed toe bottoms = too much!


The above two pictures were taken at a Touch a Truck event. She’s tentatively excited about the police cruiser. Which gives you 1/100th of an idea of her level of interest when she saw cupcakes at the same event.


I love that my mother in law lets her wear her real necklaces.


Room Re-arrangement of the Month Club, view A. The pirate corner has been dispersed, and I’m slightly in mourning about it.


Room Re-arrangement of the Month Club, view B.


Making clutter and the We-Still-Haven’t-Finished-Moving-In style look sorta intentional. It’s important. To me. Probably none of our 18 guests noticed. Regardless, this photo brings peace to a corner of my soul (when I can ignore the bespeckled-with-mess carpet).


The light + those lovely faces + toddlers fat hands + dimples + remembering my mom’s beautiful hands holding her as a newborn! = contentment.


Here. This is what I mean. She left in a hurry after the birth to see to my ailing father, then showed up unanounced that night to hold her. Those hands have cared more and worked harder than any I’ve had the privilege of knowing.


He goes around the house pushing a car like a big boy. It surprises and delights me. I didn’t know they did this at such a young age!


I like to think that they both have Irish Twinkle Eyes. This’s a thing, right? Because if it isn’t, it should be. The world is a better place for it/them/twinkley eyes.

Love to you all,

Mary Clare


What it’s Like with Two (Kids) II



Our friend Tess is over for dinner and next to the table there’s a toy storage bench that doesn’t quite fit snugly against the wall because your home is 100 years old and has beautiful, thick deep and high baseboards. The only “game” your 2 year old has occupied herself with lately is launching all manner of toys down the crack between the bench and the wall – similar to how you load a washing machine. You wonder if she’s figured out that she won’t need to clean up the toys if they are hidden in this way.


As you discuss birthday parties and the delectable treats her mom creates you vaguely hear the toddler calling out “Miss Tess! Miss Tess! Want to put Josh down the hole too.” Swiveling around, your husband sees her tugging on the baby’s arm as Miss Tess tries to interpret what she, an innocent bystander, just heard and realizes she is being asked to help with this naughty plot. You note that you, the authority figures, are not being asked for help, as if this way you won’t object to it.

More shenanigans.
More shenanigans.

And you wonder if, with 3, kids skip the step of asking-for-help-of-inocent-non-parent-bystanders and go straight for stuffing their younger siblings into 2 inch deep cracks on their own. Then you wonder which is preferable. Then you thank God that either a) you are not yet expecting #3 (and we’re not, thank you Lord!) or b) you have some time to prepare for #3, mentally, spiritually, and physically. And you make a mental note to teach the baby to stand up for himself so as not to get put into holes.

Happy weekend!


What It’s Like with Two (Kids) I

An early photo of one of us with two.

Whether conceiving your second child was long awaited or is a big surprise, you’re likely wondering how exactly it is going to go, and how well it is going to go, for all of you, when the new baby arrives. Several friends are expecting their seconds this year. So: Matt and Mary, Mike and Sarah, Pete and Christine, this one’s for you.

Your toddler is two and in her Sounds Phase because when you were descending the stairs together and she brushed against a heat register she liked the sound and you had read How to be a Great Parent by Dr. Nancy S. Buck when she was a baby because that’s when you had time or rather energy, and you don’t any more so even though the register is falling off the wall you let her make sounds and delay going downstairs because Dr. Buck encourages parents in the book to not say no so often because the kid’s desires are ok and it might even express a need for fun or freedom, so she plays it like an instrument and enjoys the sound until you entice her down the stairs with promises of a yummy snack likely containing sugar, but the concept of listening to the different sounds that things make when banged on has taken root.

And she is running around with a red heart shaped measuring cup that you got at a cute bridal shower long before she existed, doing who knows what because she is two and a child of you, and the baby is sitting between the dining room and the kitchen playing with something or other on the floor and you are just trying to get dinner done before Daddy gets home. It’s all about survival at this point and not burning the house down. As you ‘stir the gumbo’ you vaguely hear the baby squawk and see him reach as his older sister walks by and you slightly sternly adjoin him to calm down because he is okay because he doesn’t need the red heart shaped measuring cup because Rebecca had it first and he has other toys right there, and then you turn back to the ‘gumbo’ only a few minutes later to hear a more insistent squawking and this time as you half turn your attention towards that general direction you see said sister dashing off, this time with a slightly more guilty gate while brandishing said red plastic heart shaped measuring cup and you realize that in fact she is the one you ought to scold because in both incidences of squawking it is she who caused the hubub. She is using the read heart shaped plastic measuring cup to bang on brother’s head to hear and learn what sound it makes. But she is already out of sight when you finally put the pieces together, brother is half pacified since the concert disturbance has ceased, and daddy’s arrival is imminent, you really really, really hope, in fact why isn’t he home yet? And you can hardly keep from laughing your dupa off out loud because I guess any very young human would wonder what sound a red plastic heart shaped measuring cup makes on a smaller young human head, and you totally missed this interesting phenomenon the first time and it must have been fun for her, because she took the trouble to circle back and make the sound a second time.¬† So you vaguely say something in the general direction of the dining room to the two year old who has fled about not hitting her brother and you again tell said brother that he is okay all the while wondering why he trusts you after another instance of failing to protect him and then telling him the same thing regardless of responsibility about his okay state once the truth of his innocence is discovered.

And as you review the entire last 7.53 minutes or so you have no idea actually how long it was because every 5 minute interval between 3pm and 6:03 pm until Daddy gets home feel like 48 minutes and you think desperately again that if your spouse doesn’t walk through the door finally, finally –¬† late – at that exact minute you really will go crazy because you will forget to tell him about it and laugh about it after they go to bed if he doesn’t walk in that very next second but actually if the dinner burns in that next second you will forget to tell him even if he does come right away. So you review it again in your mind and think about dashing to the dining room to get the quote book to write it down but dinner might burn and the culprit might hear you laughing and think that banging on her brother’s head with a red heart shaped measuring cup is funny and therefore sanctioned so you review it again in your mind to remember it better to tell people about it and then you have to stop reviewing it in your mind because you laugh every time you think about it and if she catches you laughing she will think that banging on brother’s head not only makes an interesting sound, but is something Mommy enjoys which in fact you do enjoy but only in the company of adults as a story of What It’s Like with Two.

Mischievous look from number one while number two gazes at number one in admiration.

Joshy Can Now Crawl, and I am Not the Only One Crying about It


This just cracks me up! I wrote a whole post about not wanting my son to reach a major milestone (crawling – YIKES!!!), but trying to be happy about it regardless. When it actually happened very recently, I was resigned/excited/resigned, but wanted to cry. And yell. And whine. And kick. And stomp, and most of all, to make it stop. And guess who actually cried?! The big boy himself. That’s some sort of poetic justice.

It’s fitting that he gained this independence just in time for the celebration of our country’s Independence Day. And, to be quite honest he is not generally unhappy about his accomplishment. I confess that I made him cry. But it’s my husband’s fault. You see, I took the video that produced the above still at his behest while he was at work. It was only the 2nd time he’d taken his new all fours for a spin, and Erik hadn’t seen it yet. He requested a video. I obliged by taking away the crinkly thing Josh was playing with, and putting it in crawling distance. This is a boy who likes his toys. Oh boy, does he ever. He cried and whined and wanted it back. But I made him crawl to go get it. So he cried some more while crawling.

My conclusion is that I was right! Crawling is no fun.

Actually, I’m really ok with this development. I am happy for him, and even, as I said, a little excited. I think it’s because I love the kid. A friend once pointed out one of the best features of love: ‘it doesn’t stop on a dime’. It compels us to go further and do more than we would otherwise do. In my case, this means that I’m moving past all sorts of fears and hesitations (most of which are based in selfishness or satan – the JERK (and that’s putting it lightly)!), and landing in a place where my emotions are more positive regarding this stage of parenting. This also means that my floors will soon be the clean that they deserve, and I will work off some pounds running after the kid.

Which brings up a burning question. How do you clean floors? We have hardwood, tile, and a rug over hardwood in our main living areas. Seriously, I don’t know how to efficiently clean them, and I actually can’t seem to get spills cleaned up from the wood floor. It’s a small house, so I’d prefer just 1 mop thing-y for the whole shebang. We have little/no storage space for cleaning items. I don’t know what solutions to use, whether there’s a really cool gadget that sweeps AND cleans (please tell me that there is!), etc. It’s like I’ve never cleaned before. Oh, wait, I haven’t. At least not in this house. Just like a baby needs to crawl before they can walk, I need to do the dishes before I can mop.

The end, (but please tell me in the comments how to clean my floors),

Miss Mary Clare

Wholesome Things to Do during the “Witching Hour”

Some friends recently reminded me of a site that houses some awesome Christian missionary music, saying that their kids really love it. I’m placing it in this list amongst some other ideas for wholesome ways to get through the witching hour, which in our home can happen at any time, but most often it’s the 2 hours before Daddy gets home which feels like 5 hours. I think you know what I mean. I’m doing this to remind myself of the options.¬† It may assist others as well! Continue reading