5 Years Later: Ladybug’s In Heaven


I had a really hard time finding this article that was written about my nanny after her death in 2011. I’m putting it here so I never lose it again.

Ladybug Tattoos for Nanny

Mike Argento: Ladybug’s in heaven


POSTED:   10/26/2011 02:34:19 PM MDT| UPDATED:   5 YEARS AGO
Evelyn Snouffer had a thing for ladybugs.When she’d see one outside, she’d pick it up and hold it, hoping its good luck would rub off on her. Whenever she went to Atlantic City, she’d take her talisman, a stone ladybug that she believed brought her luck in her quest to wrest a few dollars from the casinos.

There may be something to it, if you believe in such things. Nearly every culture on Earth believes ladybugs bring good luck, probably because they eat harmful pest – aphids, mostly. In some countries, ladybugs are said to omens of good crops. Some believe they can grant wishes. The French believe that if a lady bug lands on you and flies away, it carries all of your ailments with it.

Evelyn didn’t go that far. She did believe they were good luck and she was crazy about them. She had ladybug pins and earrings. And, of course, her good luck token.

But don’t let that lead you to believe that she was some woman doting over ladybugs. Her grandchildren all called her “Nanny,” conjuring images of a kind of Norman Rockwell grandma, sitting in her rocking chair or baking cookies. That wasn’t her style.

She was kind of a free spirit. One of her daughters, Linda Hess, described her as her BFF, that she was a good friend and a mother. One of her granddaughters, Meagan Hess Feeser, described her as “badass.”

She and her granddaughter would try to outdo each other when it came to stringing together colorful chains of expletives, holding contests to see who could be more obscene, who could stretch the envelope further. Evelyn won a lot. Her favorite expression was “damn good.” Ask her how she was doing, or how her sandwich was, or how her cup of coffee tasted, and she’d say, “Damn good.”

For her 69th birthday, her granddaughter threw her an adult-themed party. She enjoyed it.

When she’d get together with her daughters and granddaughters, she was just one of the girls, going shopping or taking weekend trips to Cape May, a place she loved like no other. And she relished beating her daughter at cards – 500 rummy – something she did frequently.

Her daughter said she was always fun to be around. She knew how to have a good time and never passed up the opportunity to do so.

She first got sick in the summer of 2010. She started getting headaches and wound up at the doctor’s office. Some tests later, she got the bad news – she had a brain tumor. She didn’t make a huge deal about it. Even after the diagnosis, she still mowed her own lawn and took care of herself. She wasn’t one to mope.

She had surgery in October 2010 to have the tumor removed. She was recovering from that when she got sick again, this time, cancer. In the spring, as the ladybugs were returning, she had hospice care in her home. Her family took care of her, round-the-clock for 18 days, right up the end.

She died April 28. She was 74.

Her granddaughter Meagan wanted to memorialize her with ink. She’s a marketing professional in Owings Mill, Md. – she commutes from York – and is not heavily into tattoos. She does have another, the Hess family crest, which she shares with her mother and father.

Her initial thought was to have the words “Damn Good” inked on her body. She mentioned getting a tattoo to memorialize Nanny to her aunts and cousins and they were all for it. But some of them balked at having “Damn Good” permanently affixed to their bodies.

Someone suggested a ladybug.

It was perfect.

So during a Mother’s Day weekend trip to Cape May, the women, six of them altogether, spent eight hours that Saturday in a tattoo parlor, getting ladybug ink. The toughest sell was Linda Hess’ sister, Donna Wolfgang. She has no other tattoos and wasn’t crazy about getting one. But since everybody else was doing it, and mostly because of Nanny, she went ahead with it.

The next day, Mother’s Day, they gathered on the beach and spread Nanny’s ashes.

And not long ago, another of Nanny’s daughters, missing her family, moved back to York County from Florida. Her family had a party on the deck at Linda’s house to welcome her home.

Someone noticed that a ladybug had crawled onto one of the benches and stayed there. It sat there all night, as if it were hanging out at the party, as if it were taking everything in.

“It was like Nanny was there with us,” Meagan said.

Mike Argento’s column appears Mondays and Fridays in Living and Sundays in Viewpoints. Reach him at mike@ydr.com or 771-2046. Read more Argento columns at www.ydr.com/mike or visit his blog at www.mikeargento.com. Or follow him on Twitter at FnMikeArgento.


LEGO KidsFest


We took the kiddos (one six-year-old, two three-year-olds and a two-year-old) to the sold-out LEGO KidsFest last night at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg.
LEGO KidsFest @ohbotherblog

I saw the event advertised earlier in January and my desire to go was solidified after I watched the LEGO documentary Beyond the Brick: a LEGO BrickumentaryHoldy has been showing interest in LEGOs after playing with them at her dad’s house so I thought it would make a fun outing.

Despite the event being sold out for all three days, it wasn’t quite the madhouse you might expect. There were a ton of activities to do that were appropriate for all ages and skill levels, from straight-up coloring, to DUPLO blocks to advanced builds and competitions. Everything was nicely spread out so you didn’t feel like you were on top of each other. AND everyone attending, volunteering and working the event was super nice, so it was a great experience.

LEGO KidsFest @ohbotherblog

The kids loved building and displaying their own LEGO creations.

LEGO KidsFest @ohbotherblog

There were tons of LEGO characters to pose with, from Disney to Star Wars and super heroes.

LEGO KidsFest @ohbotherblog 

We actually had to stop the kids from building a few times so we could move onto the next thing. LEGOS are amazing, man.

 LEGO KidsFest @ohbotherblog

And of course, there was a HUGE LEGO pile in the middle of the arena for kids to (literally) dive in. Some kids were even making LEGO angels (of course, Holdy was one of them).

LEGO KidsFest @ohbotherblog 


#latergram Lego Pit at #legokidsfest

A video posted by oh bother (@ohbotherblog) on

Some tips if you go:

  • Check out this “Plan Your Day at LEGO KidsFest” link.
  • Parking is in the North Lot, as well as the offsite Elmerton Ave. lot and is $10 (cash).
  • The entrance to LEGO KidsFest is on Cameron Street, so it’s a bit of a walk. Though you can exit the event into the North Lot when you’ve finished.
  • There is a coat rack at the entrance.
  • There is a “Lost Parents Zone” to the right once you enter the event. You can fill out a card with your contact info and put it in your kid’s pocket, just in case.
  •  There is a “Dad Changing Area” near the DUPLO section so dads can get in on the diaper action too.
  • Rather than waiting in the super long lines at the concession window, grab a pizza from the smaller pizza table set up near the bathrooms. The line is shorter and the pizza is better.
  • Get a Farm Show milkshake!
  • If the line is too long to purchase anything in the retail store, talk to one of the employees and they’ll give you a “free shipping” card so you can order online.
  • Exit through the North Lot exit to be closer to your car (don’t forget to go back and get your coat if you checked it).

I have to confess that we actually own zero LEGOs because GB has only recently exited the put-every-thing-in-his-mouth phase. This morning I did just order a LEGO Starter Kit from Amazon ($7 cheaper than at the show)!

gb’s birthday clock photo: year 2


So, we have this tradition we stole from my friend’s mom. Every year on the kids’ birthday, I take a photo of them with a clock showing the time they were born.

Last year, GB almost slept through his clock photo:

GB's first birthday clock photo @ohbotherblog

But this year, we nailed it:

GB's birthday clock photo @ohbotherblog

Disregard the date; no idea why it says 3/24. 

PS – GB’s birth certificate is actually wrong and says 2:41pm, but I was there and remember the correct time of his exit.

Happy Birthday, Geebs!

to my son on his second birthday


Gatsby/GB/Geebo/Gilbert/Goose (that last nickname is a new one I’m trying out)–

You’re two years old today. What a big little man you are. I was rereading last year’s letter, which was all about how sweet and gentle you are and I just had to laugh. You’re still super sweet and lovey, of course, but you are now a full-fledged… toddler.

My baby boy is now a toddler @ohbotherblog

You get into everything. You started walking not long after your first birthday and have been on the move ever since. You’re like a ferret–you steal things and hoard them in various places. We once went three days without a TV remote until we found where you had put it.

Big shoes to fill @ohbotherblog

You have yourself quite a temper, though for some reason I still don’t find it as difficult as Holdy’s. When you get mad, you throw whatever is in your hand–your bottle, your Nuk, your toy, your shoe. Sometimes you’ll put your hand up to hit and when I tell you “no hit,” you look me dead in the eyes, walk over to the nearest wall and hit it, as if to say, “I’m wishing this was your face.” 

Toddler tantrums @ohbotherblog

We’ve been trying Time Outs, but when I sit you down to talk about your behavior, you always make a silly face at me by opening your mouth wide to diffuse the mood. “You’re lucky you’re cute,” is a phrase I say often.

Silliness diffuses anger @Ohbotherblog

You love paper products for some reason–paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, baby wipes. You’re fascinated by toothbrushes, so much so that I bought you two as your Valentine’s Day present. You are absolutely obsessed with vehicles–“hucks” (trucks)–and you point out every one you see. Every jeep, van, truck, car, or tractor, which makes for interesting car rides. You get the biggest thrill by sitting on a tractor; maybe we’ll go to Home Depot today for your birthday, haha.

My kid loves vehicles @ohbotherblog

Your vocabulary has grown tremendously. You ask, “what’s that?” all the time and repeat words and phrases so well that sometimes we have to laugh about it. You enjoy learning and seem to take it very seriously. One of your very first words was “Holdy,” and it’s still the first word you say every morning, asking her whereabouts. That’s followed immediately by “ballal” (bottle), which you request multiple times a day. Your newest phrase–much to my dismay–is, “I farted.” I blame your Duke for that one.

Moving into Sissy's room @ohbotherblog

You’re still a great sleeper, even after we moved your crib into your sister’s room a few weeks ago. I was hoping your presence would make sleeping through the night less stressful for her and that it would also bring the two of you closer. We have to contend with some silliness at bedtime, but so far, you’ve both been sleeping pretty well through the night with no issues.

You call me, “Baba,” and you’re my little buddy. Sometimes you surprise me by coming up out of nowhere and hugging my leg.



A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

You’re very close with your Duke, who you spend every day with. You love to go on walks with him in the jogging stroller. I suspect Duke sneaks you sips of soda like he did your sister. Next month, you’ll be going to school with Holdy and I know Duke will miss his pal. I’m hoping that means Duke will be up for some nighttime babysitting to make up for it.

GB loves his Duke @ohbotherblog

You love to dance, preferring the Riverdance-style. We’ll be literally anywhere and you’ll hear a few strains of music and your hands are instantly in the air.


Greased Lightning #ohbotherblog

A video posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on


GB Dance Party #babyfees #ohbotherblog #disneyside

A video posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

You’re sweet and silly and loving and curious. You start out tentative around other people but warm to them quickly (unless they’re the doctor). You are soft spoken (when you aren’t yelling and screeching with your sister).

Your best friend remains your Holdy. You guys are two peas in a pod and pretty much inseparable, although you are starting to exert your independence more. You feed off of each other, which means our evenings at home are often crazy.



A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

I’m so glad that you guys have each other and I hope you stay just as close as you grow, even though I predict there will be a lot of conspiring against me in our futures.



A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

They say the years are short and the days are long and that’s the absolute truth. One minute I was rocking my tiny little baby to sleep and I blinked and now he’s climbing on top of the coffee table (again. Stop doing that please.).

You’re growing into such a fantastic little boy and bring so much joy to our days. I can’t wait to see how you blossom at school. I know Holdy will take good care of you and introduce you to everyone as “My GB.”

Happy, Happy Birthday, GB.

I’m sorry I still haven’t made you a Shutterfly book.

Sheriff Woody won't wear his hat #babyfees #ohbotherblog #disneyside

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

bedtime bedlam


We have a problem in the oh bother house. A big problem. A bedtime problem.

It started a few months ago, but we’ve now reached Desperation Point, peaking during the week we were snowed in (god, I hate snow).

Bedtime has become a nightly battle with Holden. She doesn’t want to go to bed. She doesn’t want to brush her teeth. She wants me to tell her one more story. She wants to tell me a story. She wants me to rub her back.

Once her door is closed, she immediately comes out five more times because a) she wants some water, b) the dog moved to the foot of the bed, c) one of her drawers is open, d) I didn’t turn out all the lights and close all the doors on the second floor, e) she just wants to see my face.

She gets up in the middle of the night because: a) she has to pee, b) the dog moved to the foot of the bed, c) she can’t find her flashlight that she insists on sleeping with, d) she had a bad dream, e) she doesn’t know.

During the snowstorm, she started wetting the bed at night, after having been Pull-Up free for months. After three straight nights of washing all of her bed linens, I gave up and went back to Pull-Ups. Her Pull-Up is now wet every morning.

It’s to the point now that we both fear bedtime. I’ve been trying various tactics to improve things.

Dream Catcher to improve bedtime @ohbotherblog

  • I’ve been using some random old Bath & Bodyworks Lavender Pillow Mist as “Good Dreams Spray.”*
  • I bought her a dream catcher.
  • I gave her a mini flashlight to sleep with.
  • I bought her a nightlight (that she refuses to use).
  • We practice deep breathing and talking about the good dreams she’s going to have.

When I was little, I remember I used to have trouble sleeping too. I’d make my mom leave the hall light on and my door open “just a crack.” I’d lie awake for hours. Sometimes I’d sneak over to my little brother’s room and pull him over to my bed with me.

Because of my experience, I’ve always thought I want the kids to share a room at some point in their lives. Maybe that point is now.

The problem is (or… it’s not really a problem so much…) that GB is an excellent sleeper. The kid essentially requests to go to bed and never fights it. He’s never climbed out of his crib once. Do I really want to mess with that?

Probably not. Not yet anyway… but I did find a super cute bunk bed for when the time comes.

Dorel Living Brady Bunk Bed @ohbotherblog

In the meantime, I guess we just power through and hope this phase ends soon.

*Here’s a cute recipe for “Monster Spray.”

snowed in, pt 2


It has not been a good weekend.

We started out okay, taking advantage of the snow by taking 30 minutes to get bundled up to play outside.

Blizzard Jonas 2016 @ohbotherblog Blizzard Jonas 2016 @ohbotherblog


Need for speed #ohbotherblog #pawx #yorksnow

A video posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

Only to come back in after about 10 minutes.

Blizzard Jonas 2016 @ohbotherblog

Holdy and I had a spa day while GB napped.

Blizzard Jonas 2016 @ohbotherblog Blizzard Jonas 2016 @ohbotherblog

But then come afternoon, the restlessness set in and the horror started. The whining. The requests. The crying. The dog crapping on the floor in protest. The fighting. The throwing the little brother down the stairs.

Blizzard Jonas 2016 @ohbotherblog

Day Two has only gotten worse. 

As in diarrhea and vomiting worse.

Blizzard Jonas 2016 @ohbotherblog

Poor GB’s diet is about 85% whole milk. So you can imagine the consistency. And smell.

Amidst multiple loads of laundry and steam cleaning the carpet about four times, I also had to find time to help out with the shoveling so the neighbors didn’t think I was a huge jerk.

Fortunately, “Pukey” went down for a nice long nap so I could shovel while Holdy literally played in the street. Unfortunately, my right shoulder is slightly dislocated so shoveling is absolutely miserable. Thank god for neighbors with snow blowers.

Blizzard Jonas 2016 @ohbotherblog

Now we’re all camped out on the couch watching “Iron Giant.” The plows finally came down our street and there’s only about four hours until bedtime. I think we can do this.

Fingers crossed that Holdy’s school is open tomorrow. It’s not looking good.

snowed in


Snowed in at the oh bother house during Winter Storm Jonas @ohbotherblog

The kids have been up for one hour and 48 minutes and I’m already questioning whether we’re going to make it through the weekend. Here in southern PA, we’re right smack dab in the middle of Jonas’s wrath. It’s been coming down hard since last evening with no sign of stopping.

You know you’re a parent of young kids when your first thought when you hear about a snow storm is, “oh crap, I’m going to be stuck inside with those jerks for several days.” 

I’ve already made pancakes from scratch and had to explain the difference between “blizzard” and “lizard” at least twelve times. We’re on our third episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Oh, and GB is being super clingy today, so I’m literally doing everything with one arm.

Clingy GB @ohbotherblog

Like I even had to pee with him sitting on my lap.

I’ll let you know of our progress. How are you faring?

Happy Ohbotherdays


Christmas 2015 @ohbotherblog

I love that I have my followers and friends so well-trained now that when they ask me, “How was your Christmas?” they know to immediately follow up with, “Crazy, right?”

Truthfully, nothing amazingly catastrophic occurred. The kids were a bit overwhelmed by all the family and activity and that led to some hyperactivity and tantrums (Holden) and some clinging and shyness (GB). There was also some last-minute Christmas magic involved.

Let’s recap.

All season long, Holden has been telling me/Santa that she wants “ballet shoes, ballet socks, ballet dress, ballet coat.” So “Santa” went ahead and obliged… as well as signing up for dance lessons in 2016.

Tuesday night, Holden came home from school with this:


Nothing like last minute requests #lettertosanta #weefees #ohbotherblog

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

That’s right: the kid was now requesting a rainbow. Luckily, I have awesome Facebook friends and this happened the next morning:

Christmas Angel @ohbotherblog

So my Christmas Angel was able to help make this happen: Christmas 2015 @ohbotherblog

The kids got up at a reasonable time on Christmas morning and waited patiently for Mommy to give the go-ahead.

Christmas 2015 @ohbotherblog

Somehow that photo didn’t turn out as sweet as last year’s:


#waitformommy Merry Christmas #ohbotherblog A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

The Mondo Bloxx that took “Santa” forever to fold were a big hit.


I hate myself. #mondobloxx #ohbotherblog

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

Christmas 2015 @ohbotherblog Christmas 2015 @ohbotherblog

I was super excited for the Bell Charm Necklace I found on Etsy. Who remembers these from the 80’s? Holden wore it to school this week and has already broken two charms. Christmas 2015 @ohbotherblog

And, of course, the ballet stuff made an appearance. She hasn’t touched any of it since. Christmas 2015 @ohbotherblog  

But the rainbow was the star of the show: Christmas 2015 @ohbotherblog  

GB did not know what to make of the whole “Christmas thing” so I have lots of photos of him looking confused: Christmas 2015 @ohbotherblog Christmas 2015 @ohbotherblog

But he got a lot of “hucks” (trucks), his current favorite thing, so that elicited some smiles. Christmas 2015 @ohbotherblog  

I’ve been trying to breed Star Wars fandom, so I was pleased when the kids stole someone else’s Light Saber gift for some Christmas morning fun. Christmas 2015 @ohbotherblog   Surprisingly, GB was the one who turned immediately to the Dark Side.  Christmas 2015 @ohbotherblog Christmas 2015 @ohbotherblog

Goes to show you never can tell with The Force.

Overall, a lovely oh bother Christmas indeed.


Christmas Kids #ohbotherblog

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

Merry Christmas from oh bother blog


Presenting our 2015 Christmas Card:
The oh bother Christmas Card 2015 @ohbotherblog

If you’ll recall, I went with a similar card theme last year. It’s going to be my thing:

the oh bother christmas card 2014 @ohbotherblog

Oh, these crazy kiddos.

Christmas Card Photos 2015 @ohbotherblog Christmas Card Photos 2015 @ohbotherblog Christmas Card Photos 2015 @ohbotherblog Christmas Card Photos 2015 @ohbotherblog Christmas Card Photos 2015 @ohbotherblog Christmas Card Photos 2015 @ohbotherblog

Merry Christmas, ya’ll.

mom necklace


I get a ton of questions about the necklace I wear everyday so I figured I’d make a post here so I can refer back to it without having to search through my Etsy history every time, haha.

The necklace comes from Betsy Farmer Designs on Etsy and is the New Baby Necklace, in the lowercase bookman font. I received my “Holden” necklace as a gift (perfect gift!) and loved it so much that I reached out to Betsy for the matching “Gatsby” charm to add to it once he was born… and a replacement pearl for Holden because I, of course, lost it.
Mom Baby Birthstone Necklace @ohbotherblog

I wear my necklace every day and I absolutely love it. 

Prediction: I myself will have to refer back to this post after one of my children (probably GB) breaks off one of the charms.

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