"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
(1 Jn 4:16)

Friday, December 28, 2007

In Review: Our Lady of Guadalupe

On December 12 (Patrick's baptism anniversary), we invited three families to join us in celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We ate tortilla tilmas, praying hand sandwiches, Tepeyac Hill (made from a jello mold), sombreros, and sipped rose punch. The ideas came from Cottage Blessings. After lunch, I had intended to read the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, but the book was not available and the children really wanted to play.

As the twenty children played, the four moms chatted and I received an invaluable tip from the trenches. For four years, I have been buying mattress covers, in an attempt to protect a bed from frequent accidents. When I shared this fact with my friends, they responded in unison, "I use a shower curtain." Needless to say, a shower curtain is now doing an excellent job of protecting my child's mattress.

Thank you, Our Lady of Guadalupe!

In Review: The Feast of St. Nicholas

On December 6, we surprised Bernadette with a St. Nicholas Baking Birthday Party. We told her that we had invited some friends over to join us in our annual St. Nicholas Day baking and crafts. As Bernadette's friends were arriving, she was cleaning her bedroom (actually, knowing Bernadette, she was probably reading a book, drawing, or playing). Eventually, she wandered into the living room and her friends said, "Surprise!" I then explained that it was a birthday party for her. Bernadette responded, "For me?"

All of the girls enjoyed baking and decorating sugar cookies and Polish honey cakes, and playing pass the parcel. After everyone left, Brendan asked, "Will my birthday ever fall on St. Nicholas' feast day?" I was happy to know that he liked his sister's birthday, too.

In Review: Thanksgiving

This year, we continued last year's tradition of celebrating a noisy Thanksgiving at home. My dad, my siblings, and in-laws were in my prayers even though we were not together. We have celebrated a nunber of Thanksgivings at home, but only two without extended family.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

In Review

As anyone who visits this blog knows, it (along with my other blogs) has been neglected. We have been busy, but I want to record a few events before year's end, starting with our godchild's baptism.

On November 17, we were honored to be the godparents of our nephew, Cormac. The baptism was beautiful and included anointing with oil and chrism, the blessing of Cormac's mouth, ears and eyes, and the blessing of mother, father, and godparents which was followed by the priest holding Cormac high in the air. Catherine snapped a photo as Father was bringing Cormac down.

My sister and brother-in-law went the extra mile with dinner. I was amazed at all my little sister was able to do with a baby who was one day shy of one month old. Hopefully, she wasn't too tired by the end of the day.

Finally, the cousins all enjoyed playing with each other.

My sister and brother-in-law are doing a wonderful job raising there little ones. Their children are delightful.

Christ, the Savior, is Born!

We wish everyone a blessed Christmas season!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Help Holy Rosary School

Recently, my family visited Holy Rosary's Christmas Bazaar and we learned that Holy Rosary School is in danger of closing for financial reasons. Even though we home educate our children and I never went to Holy Rosary, my heart has been heavy since hearing this news. The school truly opens it's doors to children regardless of financial status. Holy Rosary was founded in 1891 and has faithfully served Catholics in Tacoma since that time.

If anyone still needs or wants to make a tax-deductible donation before the end of the year, please consider making it to:
Holy Rosary School
504 South 30th Street
Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 272-7012

Please join me in praying that Holy Rosary in Tacoma receives the financial support it needs to keep it's doors open.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Full of...

After Mass on Saturday, my friend Rachel shared a humorous story with me. In preparing for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, she was teaching her children about "Grace". As she was speaking, her son, John, piped up, "Chicken Nuggets have grace." Thankfully, his eldest sister knew what he meant and responded, "You mean grease, John. Chicken nuggets are full of grease."

Monday, November 26, 2007


Me: "Let's go inside, Mister Patrick."

Patrick: "I'm not Patrick. I'm the birthday boy."

Catherine: "I like your new ball."

Patrick: "It's not a ball. It's a bouncy ball with lots of colors."

Me: "I've never changed such a big boy's diaper."

Ptrick: "Yes, you have. You changed my diaper last day."

Saturday, November 03, 2007

40 Days for Life

Since September 26, we have been participating in 40 Days for Life, praying for an end to abortion, praying for unborn babies and their mothers. Yesterday, we heard David Bereit (the national coordinator of 40 Days for Life) speak in Tacoma. He spoke about visiting the Holocaust Museum and how Hitler had indoctrinated the youth to his demented way of thinking. Today, as approximately 30-40 of us prayed outside the Planned Parenthood, several young women and men jumped around, yelling, "My body, my choice" and other things that made my heart weep. I wondered how our nation could condone the "choice" to kill unborn babies. I wondered whether these PP people realized the meaning of their words. I felt like I was in the middle of a spiritual battle between good and evil.

Dear Jesus, please shower your mercy upon the PP people who were outside the abortion facility in Tacoma (and elsewhere) today and help them to see the wickedness of their ways. Help them to realize that they have no right to kill unborn babies, babies who are made in your image and likeness. Please protect and save babies.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Baby is Born

My seventh nephew, Cormac Anthony, was born at 8:08 this morning. My sister did not have my godson's weight, yet. Both mother and baby are doing well. We are anxious to meet the children's eighteenth cousin.

Thank you, God, for blessing our family with Cormac!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Poetry Friday

I Like To See A Thunderstorm
by Elizabeth Coatsworth

I like to see a thunderstorm,
A dunder storm,
A blunder storm,
I like to see it, black and slow,
Come tumbling down the hills.
A plunder storm,
A wonder storm,
Roar loudly at our little house
And shake the window sills!

Poem found at Mother Goose Caboose

Saturday, October 06, 2007

My Matter of Fact Son

This morning, I thought that Patrickk was crying because he wanted to go with me to First Saturday Mass and 40 Days for Life. However, when Brendan asked Patrick why he was crying, Patrick responded, "I am not crying because I want to go with Mommy. I am just crying because I don't want to stay home with Daddy."

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Begin Again

I haven't had much ime for blogging, let alone maintaining online reading logs, etc. I am stealing a few minutes, while I nurse the baby to sleep and my other children finish breakfast, to blog with one hand. Well, I might have a few minutes, if the bickering in the dining room stops.

I just finished reading Ginny Seuffert's article, "Begin Again", in Seton's October 2007 newsletter. In the last paragraph, Ginny mentions that "St. Josemaria used to tell his followers after they fell short, 'Begin again.'" This seemed to be my motto throughout September.

This year, the best time for me to go grocery shopping is during my daughters' piano lessons (Costco runs occur on Saturdays). The problem is that I only have one hour to drive to the grocery store, get my four youngest out of the van, buy the groceries, buckle my children in their seats, put our purchases in the van, and drive back to the piano teacher's house. Realistically, this means that we have 30 minutes to complete our grocery shopping. The first time that we attempted our 30 minute marathon, we were fifteen minutes late to pick up the girls. The second time that we attempted our thirty minute marathon, I fell short. I told my children, "Just let me choose the apples. It goes a lot faster. I will get the cucmbers. We don't want to be late." We picked the girls up on time, but I knew that I had failed miserably and I needed to begin again.

The following week, my children helped me choose the fruits and vegetables. We were late picking up my older daughters, but the younger children and I were happy. There have been numerous other occasions during the past month when I have fallen short, but I know that through the Sacrament of Penance I can "Begin again."

Thank you, God, for the children who you have entrusted to my care and for the gift of the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Every Baby is a Blessing

Yesterday, I received a welcome letter from Prolife Washington. They shared that Prolife Across America is joining forces with Prenatal Partners for Life to bring us billboards that "will help inform and educate the public about the blessings of babies born with Down Syndrome." Below is a picture of one of the billboards.

Please consider making a donation to one of the above mentioned organizations to help them get these billboards up across the nation.

40 Days for Life

My children and I were supposed to go to 40 Days for Life today, but it seemed like everything was against us. First, Patrick didn't want to wear a shirt. Then, I could not find my keys. When I finally had everyone buckled in their seats, including myself, I turned the key and our van would not start.

Fortunately, we are signed up to participate at other times throughout the next 40 days. I strongly encourage everyone to watch this 22 minute video, check to see if 40 Days for Life is happening at a location near you, and then prayerfully consider speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves by participating in 40 days of prayer, fasting, and vigil.

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
~ Elie Wiesel, Holocaust Survivor, ~

Monday, September 24, 2007

Prayers Needed

Please pray for my mother-in-law. On Thursday, September 20, she was rushed, unconscious, to the emergency room. She spent the night in the ICU and eventually regained consciousness, but was not well enough to leave the hospital. My father-in-law just called to say that my mother-in-law has been having severe seizures today and is unconscious once again. The doctors will be doing a CT scan of her brain, shortly, to try and determine what is wrong.
Your prayers are greatly appreciated!

Saturday, September 22, 2007


We had a wonderful time participating in Ride4US today! We enjoyed walking with family and friends for a great cause! I am so thankful to businesses like First Command Financial Planning, Pinnacle Capital, Founder's Choice Cabinetry, Connelly Law Offices, Lexus of Tacoma at Fife, The Spar, Metropolitan Market, BCRA, Hopper Construction, OneDurr Painting and Finishing, Forza Coffee Company, Town Apparel, and Hot Shoppe Design Factory for helping to make this event possible. I am also thankful to family and friends who helped Catherine surpass her Ride4US goal. More importantly, Ride4US surpassed their goal, raising over $90,000, enabling them to purchase three ultrasound machines from Sonosite for Care Net Pregnancy & Family Services of Pierce County.

We are all looking forward to participating again next year!

Thank you, Diego and Kim!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Prayer Request

Gloria Strauss passed away at 6:50 am this morning. Please pray for the repose of her soul and for her family.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

One Last Plea

If you are able, please make a donation to Ride4US via my daughter,

Ride4US was founded by a Catholic, Diego Wendt, a few years ago to help Crisis Pregnancy Centers. This year's donations will go directly to Care Net Pregnancy Center of Pierce County. All donations are fully tax deductible.

We will be participating in Ride4US 4 the babies by walking 5 miles. Our daughter has been raising money for this event. She has surpassed her goal thanks to the generosity of family and friends, but she would like to raise even more money for this life-saving event.

Please make a donation to and ask your friends to do the same!

He's Coming to the United States

Pope Benedict XVI will visit in April 2008. Please visit Catholic World News for more information.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Mass on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

On Friday, September 14, we went to Mass at Holy Family in Seattle. We were happy to participate in the Tridentine Rite Mass. Most of our children, some of whom had never been to this form of the Mass, were in awe. The baby was noisy and so he and my little boy, who likes to hold onto my skirt, were with me in the vestibule at times.

Three priests were present and I was happy to see that they spanned the ages. I am guessing that one of the priests was in his 20s, another was in his 50s, and the celebrant may have been in his 80s. There are several other priests in the Archdiocese of Seattle who are also interested in saying the Mass in the "Extraordinary Form". We are praying that more priests will offer a Sunday Mass in the Tridentine Rite in the Seattle Tacoma area in the near future.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Craft for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

I am sorry that I am posting this today, the Feast of the Exaltation, and not before, but I have been very busy. All the children (including my own) with whom I have done this craft have enjoyed it and liked the results.

  • Oil pastels
  • Paper
  • Construction paper (or any stiffer paper)
  • Hair Spray or an art spray

    What to do:
  • Draw a cross on construction paper
  • Cut the cross out*
  • Color the edges of the cross with the oil pastels
  • Place the cross on a piece of paper and hold it in place
  • Using your finger, gently rub the oil pastels from the cross onto the paper, making it come out like rays
  • Remove the cross
  • Spray with hair spray or an art spray to prevent smudging
  • Let dry

  • The end result will be a beautiful cross. It will look better than the hastily made sample below.

    *The negative image can also be used by cutting the cross out with an exacto knife. The finished product will then be a colorful cross, rather than colorful rays.

    **We usually make Easter cards using the above feathering technique.

    I would enjoy seeing any end results.

    Happy Feast Day!

    Edited to add this photo of Brendan's impromptu cross:

    Tuesday, September 04, 2007

    Can You Spare Five Dollars?

    As I have mentioned before, my daughter is raising money for Ride4US. Ride4Us is a volunteer organization that raises money for ultrasound machines for crisis pregnancy centers. All donations go directly to the charity and are fully tax deductible. This year, Ride4US is raising money for Care Net Pregnancy Center of Tacoma. Care Net Pregnancy Center of Tacoma offers entirely free support to pregnant women for as long as they need support. Thanks to the generosity of family and friends, Catherine has surpassed her goal for donations; however, Ride4US still has a lot of money to raise. If you can spare $5, please make a donation to Ride4US via my daughter.

    Thank you in advance for your generosity and may God bless you!

    Wednesday, August 22, 2007

    Fr. James V. Schall

    has written an excellent article "on saying the Tridentine Mass". The article can also be found here on Fr. John Zuhlsdorf's blog along with Fr. Z.'s comments.

    The Queenship of Mary

    Let all, therefore, try to approach with greater trust the throne of grace and mercy of our Queen and Mother, and beg for strength in adversity, light in darkness, consolation in sorrow; above all let them strive to free themselves from the slavery of sin and offer an unceasing homage, filled with filial loyalty, to their Queenly Mother. Let her churches be thronged by the faithful, her feast-days honored; may the beads of the Rosary be in the hands of all; may Christians gather, in small numbers and large, to sing her praises in churches, in homes, in hospitals, in prisons. May Mary's name be held in highest reverence, a name sweeter than honey and more precious than jewels; may none utter blasphemous words, the sign of a defiled soul, against that name graced with such dignity and revered for its motherly goodness; let no one be so bold as to speak a syllable which lacks the respect due to her name.
    Ad Caeli Reginam
    , Encyclical of Pope Pius XII

    *Picture: The Coronation of Mary by Diego Velázquez

    Monday, August 20, 2007

    Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and Montessori

    When my first child was about six weeks old, I attended a conference and heard about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Everyone at the conference was invited to register for CGS training. I wanted to do so, but I knew that the timing was not right. Thus, I turned to the library and discovered a little gem by Sofia Cavaletti and Gianna Gobbi, Teaching Doctrine and Liturgy: The Montessori Approach. This book, printed in 1964 with photos and pictures, shows how Sofia Cavaletti drew from Maria Montessori in starting what would eventually become the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

    I believe that the last paragraph in the book shares the key to the "Montessori method", the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and all successful education.

    "The Montessori method is based on love, and the genius of the great educator lies in the fact that she made love the foundation for man's dealing with himself, his fellow men and with God."
    p. 132

    Sunday, August 19, 2007

    Being Open to Life

    On Saturday morning, I went to the grocery store with all of our children. My husband had offered to watch some of the children at home, but I told him that I would not always be able to go shopping with our children; one day I would long to have all of our children with me.

    As the children and I were standing in the checkout line, the lady in front of me, her cart filled with canned cat food, turned around and said, "My G_ _! Those aren't all your children." I get negative comments so often about our family size that I knew what was coming was not going to be nice. I said a silent prayer, put a smile on my face and stated, "Yes, they are! We have been blessed!" The lady responded, "In the 50s, I went out with a man. When he showed me a photo of his family and I saw that his parents had 14 children, I told him to go to h_ _ _." Without thinking, I replied, "Let's pray that God has mercy on your soul."

    I then turned to my children and talked to them about not using God's name in vain, etc.

    As we walked to the van, a lady stopped us and said, "Oh, it's so nice to see a large family!" We talked for a bit and she gave me a hug. I am so thankful to God for placing that lady in the parking lot.

    Families with one or two children often have a cross to bear because people assume that they have chosen to limit their family size, when this is far from the truth. Large families also have a cross to bear...they have to live with the negative comments about their family size, comments that are made in the presence of their children. I have several friends who are open to life, have been blessed with one or two children and long for a larger family. I pray for them and when they share their sorrow with me, I remind them that Mary and Joseph only had one child and theirs was the perfect family. I hope that they pray for me, too, and rejoice with me when I hear a positive comment about the size of my family. In the end, family size is not going to determine whether or not we get to Heaven, being open to life, following the examples of the saints, knowing, loving, and serving God will.

    Holy Family
    by Esteban Murillo

    Saturday, August 18, 2007

    An Afternoon in the Life of Patrick

    Recently, I heard my mommy tell someone that I am getting easier. Although I know that I have been keeping my mommy busy, my reputation was still on the line. Thus, on Thursday afternoon, I knew that it was time to take action. When my mommy went to put Finnian down for his afternoon nap, I snuck into the kitchen. The floor looked like a wonderful art canvas. The only problem...I did not have time to climb on the counters to get the art supplies (besides, I have done that before). Therefore, I decided to make a composition in whites and off-whites. I began by pouring the parmesan cheese all over the kitchen floor. Then I took the oatmeal out of a cupboard and scattered it on the floor. At this point, Theresa came into the kitchen. With an audience, I knew that I had to be even more creative. I started to throw the sugar all over the kitchen and me. I had emptied a third of the sugar container when Brendan entered the room and ruined my fun by taking the container away from me and calling Mommy.

    Notes to self: Next time I decide to make a work of art, I need to make sure that Mommy and Brendan are busy.
    Throwing things on myself results in Mommy giving me a bath.

    Thursday, August 16, 2007

    The Dangers of Cough Medicine

    Cough and cold medicines can be dangerous for young children. The full story can be found here.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007

    Prayers Needed

    Please pray for my dad. He is scheduled for an angiogram on Friday (Thursday night here). He has been having debilitating heart palpitations since finishing (or maybe while he was still receiving) chemotherapy. The palpitations had seemed to be under semi-control, but started again recently. Please keep my dad in your prayers. He tends to downplay his suffering, so I do not know how serious his condition is.

    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Ride4US Donate4US

    Ride4US raises money to purchase ultrasounds for Care Net Pregnancy Centers and other crisis pregnancy centers in Washington by hosting a Ride, Run, Walk and Family Fun Day at Pt. Defiance Park. Last year, Care Net of Pierce County performed 578 1st Trimester ultrasounds on pregnant women in crisis; upon seeing the beginnings of little fingers and toes, 560 women chose life. The power of ultrasound is a light in the darkness - 97% CHOSE LIFE!! This year Ride4US is trying to raise enough money to purchase two ultrasound machines for Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Tacoma.

    Please visit our Ride4US fundraising webpage and make a donation for life in my daughter's name. Your gift will echo into eternity.

    All donations are tax deductible.

    Thank you to everyone who has already donated. Catherine is almost halfway to her goal of $500.

    Monday, August 13, 2007

    Family Movies

    My husband undertook a semi-big project this weekend, transferring home movies to DVD. We watched our wedding video for the first time. Words cannot describe my feelings. We saw our trip to Lourdes, France and Switzerland and I marveled at my husband's documentary. The children enjoyed seeing Lourdes and were fascinated with their dad's comments about "the wall of shame" in Switzerland. I enjoyed seeing video of my mom (although there wasn't enough of it). I hope to eventually be able to share some of the videos, but more importantly watching the videos made me want to return to the countries that some of my family call home. I wish we could have gone with our daughters last October, but God knows what is best.

    Saturday, August 11, 2007

    Now is the time to pray for Gloria Strauss

    Here are links to Gloria's Site and a recent newspaper article. Below is the most recent update.

    Dear Friends,

    Unfortunately, this Gloria update does not contain good news. The night before last, they had to increase the amount of pain medicine from 45 to 50mg per hour. Yesterday, they ended up working their way up to 100mg. The first 50mg had taken three weeks, but now 50mg more wasn’t working. Just as her body had become used to the morphine, this pain medicine doesn’t seem to be helping any more. She is in constant pain. This morning, her breathing became labored. Dr. Park had told them yesterday that the cancer is pushing against her lungs, causing this to happen. They drove up to Children’s earlier this morning.

    The family is asking that everyone pray, pray harder than ever. We are not giving up. With God, all things are possible. He can heal Gloria. They have always known it will get worse before it gets better and that has happened. Now we are praying that God will take her cross so that she can have her healthy life back. This time is especially difficult for Doug and Kristen. Please pray that God will give them strength and comfort. Please spread the word to people (email, phone, Myspace, word of mouth, however), we need as many people praying as possible.

    We are going to be having another prayer gathering in our home tonight (Saturday, August 11). We know that God will be listening to our payers. “Where two or more are gathered, There I am in their midst.” Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come. The need for prayer right now is great. We will begin at about 8:00. Thank You for the prayers you have been saying for Gloria. Doug scolded me yesterday because I forgot to specifically tell people that the Strausses are very, very grateful of all the prayers. They know that people are always lifting them up in prayers. Doug had said to let everyone know, “We love them all and thank them so much.” If you can’t make it tonight, please just pray from wherever you are. This is so much bigger than any of us realize and while you pray, know that you are among hundreds, perhaps thousands of people storming the Heavens for this miracle.

    Dear Lord,
    Help us to concentrate on this miracle, to give up some portion of our busy day to pray for the Strausses. Cast out all of our anxieties, doubts, and despair. Fill us with trust and faith in You. You can do anything Lord, You can heal Gloria. Please wrap the family in Your loving embrace so that they might feel comfort and love. Send peace into their hearts. Most of all, Lord, we ask You to touch Gloria with Your loving hand. Hold her in Your arms and wipe out all of her cancer. Please stop her suffering Lord, so that she may live to give glory to You for years and years to come. Thank You for being with us Lord. We know that You will never abandon us. Amen.

    Once again, Thank You,

    Theresa Brennan

    Please storm Heaven for Gloria and her family.

    Yard Work with Daddy

    During breakfast, my husband asked our children to help him weed a little later. The children eagerly agreed. Ten minutes after going outside with Daddy, the children started to wander inside with "pet" grasshoppers. I gave them containers for the grasshoppers with strict orders to keep their "pets" outside.

    Patrick is now crying, "My grasshopper escaped in the house."

    I have a feeling that this is not the first grasshopper that will or has escaped in our house.

    Beetles, earthworms, potato bugs, and spiders have preceded the grasshopper.

    Friday, August 10, 2007

    Poetry Friday

    A Saintly Wish
    by C.F. Alexander

    Lift up our thoughts, lift up our songs,
         And let Thy grace be given,
    That while we linger here below,
         Our hearts may be in heaven.

    Feast of St. Laurence

    Tuesday, August 07, 2007


    When I miscarried Mary Frances on November 12, 2003, Brendan had a very difficult time. He cried a lot and asked his dad and me questions that we found difficult to answer. Today, our little boy was reading "A Story about the Angels" in These are Our Neighbors to me. He read, "Some day our angel will take us back to God. If we love and obey God, we will go to heaven." All of a sudden, he stopped reading and said, "Oh, that's why God let Mary Frances die! She loved Him and He loved her so He wanted her to live with Him. We need to love and obey God because we will die one day. And then our angel will take us to live with Him in heaven, too."

    DDT Banning Leads to Rise in Malaria

    Growing up, my dad used to tell us that DDT used to be used regularly when he was younger to kill mosquitoes and eradicate Malaria. He did not understand why DDT was banned. Most of his relatives who were also exposed to DDT are living healthy, long lives (80 to 100+ years). Thus, the following article from National Geographic caught my attention, Bedlam in the Blood Malaria.

    HT: LifeSite News

    Tuesday, July 31, 2007

    Come to the Stable

    My family and I have watched Come to the Stable on a few occasions and each time, I have really enjoyed the movie. Today, thanks to Sonific, I learned that the movie is actually based on a true story. I was searching Sonific's site for religious music and I discovered the beautiful song (now on my blog) sung by the Choir of Benedictine Nuns at the Abbey of Regina Laudis. Wanting to know who these nuns were, I did a Google search. The search led me to the website of the Abbey of Regina Laudis. Once on the site, I clicked "Foundation History" and found that I was very familiar with the story.

    I now know what I might want for my birthday...

    HT: to Life in a Nutshell for leading me to Sonific.

    ETA: Ana left a comment letting me know that Ignatius Press has published a book about the Abbey of Regina Laudis,
    Mother Benedict

    Thursday, July 26, 2007


    For the past two years, I have wondered about Bernadette's loss of flexibility. I do not need to wonder anymore. As I was working in the dining room, earlier today, Bernadette came in and told me that she needed to do her tennis stretches. As she was stretching, she said, "I used to bend my legs when I had to touch my toes, but today I am going to keep them straight. I just hope that they don't stretch because they are already long enough. I don't mind if my arms stretch a little because they are not as long as my legs. I really hope that my legs don't stretch. They are already very long."

    Happy Feast of St. Anne!

    St. Anne holds a special place in my heart. God has blessed me with family and friends who are named after Christ's grandmother. My in-laws gave me this old picture as a gift. It graces one of our living room walls and reminds me to ask St. Anne and Mary to help me educate my children.
    *I am sorry that I was unable to take a better photo.

    Tuesday, July 24, 2007

    Learning from Manners

    Finnian sneezed this morning. While there is nothing unusual about a baby sneezing, Patrick's response made me laugh.

    Patrick: "He blessed on me!"

    Monday, July 23, 2007

    The Fussing, the Biting

    The pain and agony were all worth it.

    Finnian has cut his first tooth!

    *I am sorry that I do not have a photo, but his little prize for all his troubles is still much too small to photograph. His tooth has barely cracked the surface, but it is definitely there.

    Evangelizing on the Tennis Court

    This afternoon, during my daughters' tennis lessons, one of the children asked my eldest, "How many brothers and sisters do you have?"

    My daughter responded, "There are three girls and three boys in my family."

    The child said, "I'm glad that I'm not you."

    My daughter stated, "If your mom had more children, you wouldn't be glad that you're not me. I want to have twelve children in our family. I want my mom to have three sets of twins."

    The tennis instructor chimed in, "That's a lot of children."

    My daughter happily responded, "My mom has been heard to say that the more children she has the easier it gets. I think that the larger our family gets, the more fun it is."

    Saturday, July 21, 2007

    Our Israel Relief Map

    The children and I made this relief map of Israel a couple of years ago. It has held up fairly well, considering Patrick likes to take the pin markers and place them in random locations on the map.

    Memorial to Life

    A local parish has built a beautiful monument to life which our archbishop recently dedicated. Please head on over to Rebecca's blog to see some photos of the memorial.


    Several months ago, we saw a skunk in our Lady's Garden. Last week, my eldest son and a raccoon observed each other through our sliding glass door. Two days ago, my husband heard some very noisy crows outside. He looked out the window and saw a mother raccoon trying to get her baby to follow her. He woke our second child and together they observed the following.

    Friday, July 20, 2007

    I am Six Months Old

    My big accomplishments this month are sitting up by myself and scooching on my belly. Mommy thinks that I look like an inchworm when I move across the floor. Catherine commando crawled, before she crawled on hands and knees, but I have found that pulling with my arms, while pushing with one of my legs is a very effective means of getting to where I need to go. It is much better than the rolling and wriggling that I have been doing for the last two months.

    What has Mommy Done?

    Yesterday, my husband called from work and he was truly worried. One of our July birthday girls answered the phone. He asked if he could speak to Mommy. Theresa responded, "She's not here. She's getting my birthday present." Slightly worried, he then asked if he could speak with Catherine, only to receive the same response. He received a similar response when he asked to speak with Bernadette. Thankfully, I took the phone at this point.

    My husband told me what Theresa had said and how worried he was getting. Knowing me, he didn't know how I could have left any of our children at home, especially our soon-to-be birthday girl. I explained that the three of us had gone downstairs because I needed the older girls' opinion on a birthday gift. He laughed, tension relieved.

    Thursday, July 19, 2007


    Ride4US raises money to purchase ultrasounds for Care Net Pregnancy Centers and other pro-life centers in Washington by hosting a Ride, Run, Walk and Family Fun Day at Pt. Defiance Park. Last year, Care Net of Pierce County performed 578 1st Trimester ultrasounds on pregnant women in crisis; upon seeing the beginnings of little fingers and toes, 560 women chose life. The power of ultrasound is a light in the darkness - 97% CHOSE LIFE!!

    Please visit our Ride4US fundraising webpage and make a donation for life in my daughter's name. Your gift will echo into eternity.

    Take a Virtual Tour of Vatican City State

    This website includes photos, history, webcam, and many other points of interest.


    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    The Priests are Willing

    A priest near Seattle has announced that he will be saying a Mass according to the 1962 Missal after September 14. My mother-in-law just called to say that a priest at their parish (over 2 hours away from us) will be doing the same. He asked my mother-in-law if she would help the altar boys learn the Latin pronunciations.

    Saturday, July 14, 2007

    Chesterton's Thoughts on Eugenics

    from What is Eugenics?
    People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late.

    Chesterton's Thoughts on Christian Feasts

    from The Story of the Vow
    It is often said by the critics of Christian origins that certain ritual feasts, processions or dances are really of pagan origin. They might as well say that our legs are of pagan origin. Nobody ever disputed that humanity was human before it was Christian; and no Church manufactured the legs with which men walked or danced, either in a pilgrimage or a ballet. What can really be maintained, so as to carry not a little conviction, is this: that where such a Church has existed it has preserved not only the processions but the dances; not only the cathedral but the carnival. One of the chief claims of Christian civilisation is to have preserved things of pagan origin. In short, in the old religious countries men continue to dance; while in the new scientific cities they are often content to drudge. 

    Chesterton's Thoughts on Family and Education

    from The Story of the Family

    The most vital function [the family] performs, perhaps the most vital function that anything can perform, is that of education; but its type of early education is far too essential to be mistaken for instruction.

    Chesterton's Thoughts on Marriage

    from The Superstition of Divorce

    It is not hard to see why the vow made most freely is the vow kept most firmly. There are attached to it, by the nature of things, consequences so tremendous that no contract can offer any comparison. There is no contract, unless it be that said to be signed in blood, that can call spirits from the vasty deep; or bring cherubs (or goblins) to inhabit a small modern villa. There is no stroke of the pen which creates real bodies and souls, or makes the characters in a novel come to life. The institution that puzzles intellectuals so much can be explained by the mere material fact (perceptible even to intellectuals) that children are, generally speaking, younger than their parents. "Till death do us part" is not an irrational formula, for those will almost certainly die before they see more than half of the amazing (or alarming) thing they have done.
    ~ G.K. Chesterton: Collected Works, Volume IV, pp. 237-238

    Chesterton's Thoughts on Education

    from What's Wrong with the World

    It is quaint that people talk of separating dogma from education. Dogma is actually the only thing that cannot be separated from education. It is education. A teacher who is not dogmatic is simply a teacher who is not teaching.
    ~ G.K. Chesterton: Collected Works, Volume IV, p. 162

    But the important point here is only that you cannot anyhow get rid of authority in education; it is not so much (as poor Conservatives say) that parental authority ought to be preserved, as that it cannot be destroyed.
    ~ p. 166

    That is the one eternal education; to be sure enough that something is true that you dare to tell it to a child."
    ~ p. 167

    Many a school boasts of having the last ideas in education, when it has not even the first idea; for the first idea is that even innocence, divine as it is, may learn something from experience.
    ~ p. 167

    Today we all use Popular Education as meaning education of the people. I wish I could use it as meaning education by the people.
    ~ p. 167

    Thursday, July 12, 2007

    Blog Hacks

    A couple of months ago, I decided that I wanted to display a quote of the day on my blog and on our homeschool group's website, but I knew that I did not have the time to write my own code. I did a Google search and discovered Tips for New Bloggers. Instructions for adding a quote of the day to the sidebar of your blog can be found here. While I was perusing Tips for New Bloggers, I also found easy instructions on how to add three columns to the Rounders Template and how to add translation flags and scripts to my blog. For my children's book blogs, I found code that allowed me to remove blogger's navbar and add a search box. All of Bizwhiz's code is clearly presented and very easy to implement. It is also easy to tweak. Tips for New Bloggers has saved me a lot of time and allowed me to spend my time doing what I am supposed to be doing...taking care of my children.

    Now, I need to apply my time to raising my children and beautifying (or rather maintaining) my house. The blog might be nice for others to look at, but God has blessed me with a beautiful family who deserves my utmost attention.

    Please Pray for Sara

    Over a month ago, Sara let me know that her prayers had been answered, she was expecting another baby. Yesterday, I learned that Sara's little one had died in her womb. My heart is breaking for Sara. I know the pain of going to a doctor's appointment and seeing the doctor look concerned because there is no heartbeat. I know the pain of waiting while the doctor gets the ultrasound machine. I know the pain and sadness of seeing your baby not moving, her little head thrown back, her mouth open wide. I do not know exactly what Sara and her husband are feeling, but I know that they are grieving.

    Dear Mary, please wrap your mantle around Sara and her family.

    Saturday, July 07, 2007

    A Summer Reminder

    Please remember to put sunscreen on your children this summer.

    I learned a hard lesson this week. For the past seven years, my children have played in our shady oasis (aka our backyard) without a single worry. On the 4th of July, my children and I set up their little pool in our backyard. As in year's past, the pool was in the shade. Throughout the day, the children played in the pool. When he wasn't napping, Patrick joined them. At the most, Patrick probably spent about four hours outside.

    In the afternoon, my husband brought Finnian outside and I realized for the first time that we were not in the shade. I moved my chair to the only shady spot that I could find and continued to watch the children in the pool. A few minutes after Finnian joined us, I noticed that Patrick was getting sunburned. I told all of the children that it was time to come inside. Due to last year's windstorm, our shady oasis had turned into a suntanner's delight.

    We applied Aloe Vera to Patrick's sunburned shoulders and back. On Thursday evening, July 5, we noticed that Patrick had a few small blisters on his left shoulder and we gave him a cold bath. By Friday morning, the blisters had formed one large blister, over one inch in diameter. I took him to our pediatrician's office shortly after they opened.

    I felt awful. The nurses and doctor tried to reassure me, saying that several children had come in the day before with blistering sunburns. The nurse cleaned around Patrick's blister which was now measuring closer to two inches in diameter. The doctor gave me some prescription strength antibiotic ointment to apply if the blister popped and a prescription for Tylenol with codeine for my son's pain (I didn't fill the prescription, as the children's Tylenol and Motrin were working). Patrick has a second degree burn because I did not put sunscreen on any of my children on the 4th of July.

    Please remember to put sunscreen on your children.

    Summorum Pontificum

    can be found here on the Vatican's website.

    The USCCB's English translation can be found here.

    As the person who e-mailed me said, "Deo Gratias!"

    Thursday, July 05, 2007

    Do You See the Baby?

    A friend e-mailed me the above picture. I saw the baby's feet first. Now, I cannot help but see the baby. Can you see the baby?

    *I would like to give proper credit to this picture. If you know who it belongs to, please let me know.

    Saturday, June 30, 2007

    Mmm, that's good!

    On June 18, I ate solid food for the first time. I liked the rice cereal so much that I cried for more when it was finished. Since then, I have continued to enjoy eating baby food. Now, if only Mommy would allow me to drink from Patrick's cup...

    Tuesday, June 26, 2007

    Monday Night Baseball ~ Dad Style

    A couple of weeks ago, my husband returned from our son's baseball game saying, "I can't go to any more baseball games. I have a headache."

    He must have seen my quizzical look and understood that I was thinking, "Why does your headache prevent you from going to future baseball games?"

    He answered my thought, "I get too excited. By the end of the game, I was no longer in the bleachers. I was standing by the fence cheering for our team."

    Needless to say, he went to our son's last game.

    Monday, June 11, 2007

    I am 5 Months Old

    My greatest accomplishment, this month, is that I am mobile. No, I am not crawling. I am rolling and wriggling to my desired location. On Friday, my mommy put me on the floor in the living room and sat down to listen to my eldest brother read. I maneuvered myself to the other end of the room. I can't wait to start crawling!

    What are you waiting for?

    Danielle Bean's charity raffle to benefit St. Gianna Maternity Home ends today, June 11 at 9:00 pm EST. Danielle has raised $6000, so far. Buy some raffle tickets in the next 8 1/2 hours and help her raise even more money for this wonderful charity!

    Motherly Advice

    Two months after Catherine's birth, I started tutoring for the Brock family. One day, I told Debbie and her children that I had cut Catherine's nails for the first time. Debbie shared that sometimes it is easier to cut a child's nails when he is sleeping.

    A few days ago, Patrick got a huge sliver embedded deeply in his finger. The sliver really hurt him, but he refused to let anyone take it out. Knowing that taking my son to the doctor to get it out would most likely meet with even stronger resistance (yes, our pediatrician has taken a sliver out of Patrick before), I advised my husband that we would need to try Debbie's advice in a different situation.

    Bedtime came and Patrick fell asleep. My husband got a needle (no part of the sliver was exposed) and tweezers, and started trying to remove the sliver. In no time, it was out. The next morming, when Patrick woke up, he looked at his finger. Upon not seeing the sliver, he asked, "Where's my sliver?" I responded, "Daddy took it out." Patrick responded, completely crestfallen, "It's gone."

    Yes, my dear child, it's gone. Thank you God for putting Debbie in our life.

    Sunday, June 10, 2007

    Treasure Trove

    I am so excited! Today, I was searching for a Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to say for nine days during the month of June, when I stumbled upon EWTN's Devotions page. I have found novenas, prayers, etc. before on EWTN by doing Google searches, but I had never taken the time to actually look at the original source page. I am thankful that I did so today. I now know where to turn when I am looking for a certain prayer, novena, litany, etc.

    Friday, June 08, 2007

    Monday Night Baseball

    Boy on third base: "Pleeeease hit the ball for me, Brendan. I really need this run."

    Brendan responded by hitting the ball. The boy ran safely home. Brendan made it to first base and eventually made his way to the home plate.

    Thursday, June 07, 2007

    Little Flowers Final Badge Ceremony

    It's hard to believe, but today we had our last Little Flowers' meeting. Unfortunately, most of the girls could not make it, due to illnesses. It was great to see those who could.

    Badge Ceremony
    Badge Ceremony
    Badge Ceremony
    Badge Ceremony
    Little Flower Sisters
    Little Flowers Group Photo
    Little Flowers Group Photo
    Future Little Flower
    Little Flowers Sharing Photos
    Sharing More Photos
    Little Flowers and Their Moms Visiting
    Little Flower Mother and Tea Hostess

    St. Therese, pray for us!

    May God bless all of the Little Flowers!

    Monday, June 04, 2007

    Eight Things Meme

    Thank you, Ana, for tagging me.


    "For this meme, each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog."

    Where do I begin?

    1. My mom was one of my best friends. I miss her a lot.

    2. Apples are my favorite fruit, but I also like strawberries, pears, bananas, kiwis, lychees, oranges (especially if someone else peels them). Actually, the only fruit that I don't like is grapefruit.

    3. I am the middle child. Yes, exactly in the middle, I have an equal number of siblings who are older than me and younger than me.

    4. My favorite drink is, drum roll please, water.

    5. I do not really enjoy talking on the telephone. More things happen in my house when I am on the phone than any other time. The only time that glass (not as in drinking vessel) has been broken in our house is when I was on the phone... Even if things didn't happen while I was on the telephone, I still wouldn't like said activity.

    6. It is very difficult for me to sit and watch television without doing something. Sometimes, it is even hard for me to watch television when I am doing something because I feel like I can be doing so much more.

    7. I became a U.S. citizen in 1999.

    8. I speak to my dad on the phone every night.

    I tag Alice, Sara (she shared some wonderful news the other day), Ruth, and Jenn (who also shared some wonderful news recently).
    (Plus any other four readers who enjoy memes.)

    Saturday, June 02, 2007

    First Saturday

    We had a busy First Saturday. My husband spent his day in an A+ certification class, followed by confession. The children's and my day was a little bit more involved. We began our morning by attending Mass at what is probably the most beautiful church in our area. After Mass, we headed to a ballet dress rehearsal for all three girls. Once the rehearsal was finished, we stopped at Wendy's, picked up six value meals, came home to eat and change clothes. About 20 minutes later, we were back in the car and driving to my eldest son's baseball game. The game ended and we went to Costco for our weekly supplies. On our way home, we stopped at the library to pick up a pile of books being held. Once we unloaded and put everything away at home, I sat down to nurse our baby. My husband walked in the door shortly thereafter.

    The highlight of my day was not my husband coming home (sorry, Dear), but Mass. I knew that our day was going to be very busy and I had debated whether or not I should make it busier by driving 20 minutes to observe our First Saturday devotions. I am so thankful that I did. I needed all of the graces that I could get to accomplish what we did today.

    A side benefit of attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist was the visiting priest's homily. He began by saying that we need to try very hard to understand the wisdom of God because without His wisdom, we can understand nothing. He spoke about the great need to know our faith in today's world and about how we tend to rationalize things as we age. The priest went on to recommend St. John of the Cross' Dark Night of the Soul. Finally, he advised all those present to tap into the vast wealth of knowledge that the Church and the saints have provided for us in books.

    Wednesday, May 30, 2007

    Calling all Book Lovers

    Love2Learn Mom is putting together (or adding to) "State-by-State", Europe, Central and South America, Canada, Mexico, Africa, etc. book lists. If you have book recommendations that fit specific locations, please head on over to Love2LearnBlog. All you need to do is leave a comment with the location, book's title, and author in the comments. Love2Learn Mom has simplified things by providing links to each book list in the sidebar of Love2LearnBlog.

    Prayers Needed

    Please pray for my mother-in-law, Michele. She was admitted to the hospital yesterday. Today, she was placed in the ICU and will be transferred to a hospital in Seattle as soon as possible. She is incognizant, her EKGs are all over the place, and she has had heart fibrulations over 300. Please, please keep her in your prayers.

    Flu Bug Observations

    Warning: This post is not for anyone who is queasy.

    When you are two, spitting up and vomitting are one and the same. Each time you vomit, you comment, "I spit up again." Since you do not make a distinction between spitting up and vomitting, your mother wonders whether you will be nicer to your baby brother who spits up 24 hours a day.

    When you are two, the best place to throw up is in the pile of clean laundry. No matter how many times your mother asks you to throw up in a bowl, in the toilet, or on the dining room floor, something about the pile of clean laundry remains extremely appealing.

    When you are four and decide to rinse the bowl in which you vomitted (because you are very conscientious), the best place to empty the contents is in the sink. When your older sister comments that the sink is blocked, you burst into tears because you were only trying to be helpful. Your mother's response is laughter. It truly is the best medicine.

    Monday, May 28, 2007

    Queen-Size Bediquette

    In a queen-size bed,
    two's a couple,
    three's a crowd,
    four in the bed is not allowed.

    Catherine made up the above little poem this weekend, as we discussed sleeping arrangements.

    Sunday, May 27, 2007


    Despite his antics, Patrick really does pay attention at Mass. Tonight, he sat at the table with a small stack of Pringles. With each chip, he broke off a small piece, said, "Body of Christ", placed it in his mouth, and followed with "Amen". This continued until the pile was finished.

    *Posted by my husband

    Real Deer

    Patrick was truly amazed by the deer that we saw this weekend. He exclaimed more than once, "It has eyes!" He was also heard saying, "It has feet and it walks!"

    Where's the Camera?

    We saw a lot of deer up close this weekend, including a mother deer with two fawns. Our children held their breath, hoping the deer would not be hit, as the mother left a clearing in the trees to lead her two fawns across the street. I wish that I could share some photos, but we left our camera at home.

    He Can't Help Himself

    We spent the weekend at the ocean, visiting relatives. When we walked into the lobby of the hotel, my husband noticed that one of the computers had an "Out of Order" sign taped on it. I patiently waited for his request. He finally asked this morning, "Would you mind if I fixed their computer for them?" Approximately 20 minutes after my husband left our room, he was back, claiming victory. What can I say? I married a "computer nerd".

    Friday, May 25, 2007

    In Honor of Our Lady

    Chesterton's Thoughts on Women

    Yesterday, during my eldest daughter's piano lesson, I continued to read Chesterton's What's Wrong with the World. I found myself wanting to make note of a lot of what I was reading in his chapter, "The Emancipation of Domesticity". I was happy to finally learn where the following famous quote could be found:

    How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.
    ~G.K. Chesterton: Collected Works, Volume IV, pp. 118-119

    In his chapter on "The Coldness of Chloe", I could not help but think of some discussions that have taken place regarding skirt wearing. Only Chesterton could expound on skirt wearing in this way:

    ...a little while ago it was common for an "advanced" woman to claim the right to wear trousers; a right about as grotesque as the right to wear a false nose. Whether female liberty is much advanced by the act of wearing a skirt on each leg I do not know...It is quite certain that the skirt means female dignity, not female submission; it can be proved by the simplest of all tests. No ruler would deliberately dress up in the recognized feters of a slave; no judge would appear covered with broad arrows. But when men wish to be safely impressive, as judges, priests or kings, they do wear skirts, the long trailing robes of female dignity. The whole world is under petticoat government; for even men wear petticoats when they wish to govern.
    ~p. 128

    In "The Pedant and the Savage", Chesterton's insights seem particularly acute for a man.;)

    ...the woman does not work because the man tells her to work and she obeys. On the contrary, the woman works because she has told the man to work and he hasn't obeyed.
    ~p. 130

    I am looking forward to reading more of this book.

    Thursday, May 24, 2007

    Bernadette's First Communion

    On Sunday, May 20, 2007, Bernadette received her First Communion. She has been longing to receive Jesus for a long time and she was more than ready. Nine days prior to her First Communion, Bernadette started a novena to welcome Jesus, using Welcome Jesus: A First Communion Preparation (although this little booklet does not appear in Catholic Heritage Curricula's catalog, they still sell it upon request). She made a beautiful garden of red roses, violets, forget-me-nots, lilies of the valley, bluebells, daisies, buttercups, lilies, and pansies in her heart for Our Lord by "being kind to others", "not getting angry", "visiting Jesus", etc. Her heart was overflowing with flowers for Jesus.

    During the Mass, Bernadette read the first two Prayers of the Faithful:

    "For our Pope Benedict, our Bishop Alexander, the priests, deacons and all the members of God's family......let us pray to the Lord."

    "For all the children of the world, loved by the Lord Jesus.....let us pray to the Lord."

    The latter prayer was perfect for Bernadette, who is always thinking of others. The night before her First Communion, when we said we were praying our rosary for her, she stated, "Why can't we pray our rosary for all children who are receiving their First Communion?" We did.

    May Jesus continue to bless my little girl

    who loves Him with her whole heart!

    Thank you to the children's grandparents for traveling over two hours to celebrate this special day with us. Thank you, Bernadette, for telling me, the amateur cake maker, exactly what you wanted on your cake.

    May Jesus bless all the children who have received, or will be receiving, their First Communion this year!
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