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

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snow Day Snowflake Photos

Remembering Snowflake Bentley, Brendan decided to use his EyeClops and take some photos of snowflakes. I really like the second photo.

Magnified 200 times
Magnified 100 times
Magnified 100 times
Magnified 100 times
Magnified 100 times

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chickenpox Tips

I have had several friends ask me for tips regarding the chickenpox, so I thought that I would share them here while two of my children are still recovering and ideas are fresh in my mind.

Look at the chickenpox as an opportunity to spend time with your child, reading a lot of stories and playing various board games. Chess was popular in our house. Brendan taught me how to play. I was surprised to learn that Finnian and Patrick already knew all the pieces and the moves that they can make. Patrick is quite good at the game. Finnian occasionally views it as a game of war and makes me smile with his exclamations.

Stock up on popsicles, ice cream, and juice. The popsicles and juice were used to share chicken pox germs with friends who visited and because they were something special for the sick children (we don't usually eat popsicles in winter, and ice cream and juice are rare treats). One family brought a candycane to our house to help spread the chicken pox germs.

Tylenol (acetaminophen) might be needed for the fever. We also gave it to some of our children when they felt particularly uncomfortable. We buy the Kirkland Signature brand acetaminophen for children from Costco because of the cost. Costco charges $4.59 for two decent size bottles.

My four older children enjoyed taking lukewarm baths with Aveeno added to it. (Since purchasing the Aveeno, I learned that it is produced by Johnson & Johnson. This company contributes money to Planned Parenthood and manufactures birth control. For this reason, I usually don't buy their products.) My two youngest enjoyed lukewarm baths with nothing added to the bath.

Most of my children felt more comfortable wearing their father's or big brother's undershirts turned inside out. My youngest didn't wear a shirt. My youngest son found that boxers with the cotton covering the elastic waistband were a lot more comfortable than underwear.

We applied bacitracin antibiotic ointment to chicken pox that were particularly bothersome with great results. I tried calamine lotion initially, but the children did not like it. The bacitracin even worked to heel a picked pox that looked like it was getting infected.

One of my boys held ice packs on chickenpox that were particularly uncomfortable and said that it felt really good.

We encouraged our children to offer their suffering for others. One of my daughters did this exceptionally well. Despite being completely covered with chickenpox, she never complained once. When I asked her if she was offering up any discomfort, she humbly said, "Yes."

When friends left our house, we tried to remember to tell them, "May the pox be upon your house!"

For those who might be wondering why friends wanted to expose their children to chickenpox, please visit and/or

If your family contracts the chickenpox, I hope that everyone recovers without any scars.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Reaping the Benefits of Chickenpox

Finnian came downstairs this morning, climbed on my lap, gave me a kiss, and said, "I have something that is a little red on me. I think it's chickenpox." He showed me his red blistery spot and I confirmed that he has chicken pox. He was very excited and proceeded to ask, "Can I have a popsicle? Can I watch a movie? Can you take me a bath? Can I have ice cream?"*

I told him that he could eat a popsicle after breakfast. When he finished his popsicle, he once again asked, "Can I watch a movie?" I responded that he could do so after his sisters practiced piano and violin. He responded, "Take me a bath." I told him that I would give him a bath tonight.

I have never seen a child so excited about being sick. Hopefully, his excitement continues to outweigh his discomfort.

*No matter how many times we tell him, he never says, "give me a bath."

Friday, February 18, 2011


My four chicken pox-ridden children have recovered and tell me that it wasn't too bad. They enjoyed playing board games, listening to stories, watching movies, and playing with some friends who visited.

My youngest has had chickenpox since Wednesday evening and is requesting some of the same benefits that her older sisters and brothers had, popsicles and ice cream.

I am wondering when Finnian will have some real spots.  I say real spots because one day, he pointed to a mole and said, "Mommy, look.  I have chickenpox." I explained that it was his birthmark mole. Later, he pointed to a freckle and told me, "Mommy, I have chickenpox. See." I looked and shared that it was a freckle. During dinner that night, Finnian said, "Daddy, I have a lot of prickles. Mommy told me."* Hopefully, he reacts as well to chickenpox.

*Finnian has two freckles at most.

I Don't Want to Hurt Your Feelings

Patrick: "Mommy, I want to listen to you read, but I want to listen to Daddy read, too. I like Daddy's story, so I am going to listen him read. I am sorry."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Saturday Routine

I am finally getting back into my Saturday routine of ironing clothes and listening to Audio Sancto.

This past Saturday, I listened to three incredible sermons:

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Guess Who? Saints Edition

Last night, I was thrilled to find a new version of Guess Who on Jessica's blog. She had seen Guess Who...of the Saints on Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families.  Today, I made our own template of saints (pdf), including the large pieces (pdf), and then my son cut them out, etc.

What I really like about Guess Who? Saints Edition is that it appeals to older children, too.  Instead of simply asking questions about what the character looks like, the children (ages 6 and up) are asking questions about the saints.  During one game, I heard:

"Was the saint a male or female?"
"Was the saint a martyr?"
"Was the saint from France?"
"Was the saint from Hungary?"
"Oh, it's St. Elizabeth of Hungary!"

I am expecting that the questions might become more complex over time.

The Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!
From February 11 to July 16, 1858, the Blessed Virgin came down eighteen times from heaven (Introit), and showed herself to St. Bernadette Soubirous (Collect), in the cave of the rock at Massabielle (Gradual). On March 25, she said to the little shepherdess of 14 years of age: "I am the Immaculate Conception"2. Today's feast therefore recalls Mary's triumph over the serpent (Tract) which the septuagesimal liturgy has in mind.
Like the woman seen by St. John "clothed in the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars over her head" (Epistle), the Virgin of Lourdes "is clothed in a robe and veil as white as snow, she wears a blue girdle and on her bare feet rests a golden rose3 all symbolic of her virginal love. She exhorts to penance the unfortunate children of Eve who have not been like herself preserved from sin. On the day of the Annunciation4 she declared her name to us, to manifest that it is on account of the Incarnation (Collect) that God has vouchsafed to her "not to be tainted with the original stain" (Tract).
Remembering that Mary is "the ark of the new covenant (Epistle), let us go with confidence to her who "full of grace" (Offertory) visits our earth to multiply in us the gifts of her riches" (Communion).
Every parish priest says Mass for the people of his parish.
St. Andrew Daily Missal 

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Winning Strategy

"No, you can’t imagine it, any more than anyone could imagine how twelve nice Jewish boys could conquer the Roman Empire. You can’t imagine it, but you can do it. You can become a saint. Absolutely no one and nothing can stop you. It is your free choice. Here is one of the truest and most terrifying sentences I have ever read (from William Law’s Serious Call): “If you will look into your own heart in complete honesty, you must admit that there is one and only one reason why you are not a saint: you do not wholly want to be.

That insight is terrifying because it is an indictment. But it is also thrillingly hopeful because it is an offer, an open door. Each of us can become a saint. We really can."
~ Peter Kreeft, The Winning Strategy

HT: Lora (via email)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Read-Aloud Books for 5-Year-Old Children

I was happy to receive a question about read-aloud books for 5-year-old children. My first inclination was to recommend chapter books, but thankfully I took some time to think. I thought about the chapter books that I read to my two oldest daughters, starting around age five and six. Although the girls enjoyed listening to the stories, they remember none of them. They do remember the picture books that I read to them. I thought about the books that my husband reads to our children at night.  Our older children like listening to them. Sometimes, the younger children like to stay and listen, too, but other times, I sneak away with my little ones and read them picture books.

What stories have my five-year-old children enjoyed hearing?

In addition to the various picture books mentioned on this page and elsewhere on my blog, some of the books that my five-year-old children have enjoyed listening to are:

Billy And Blaze: A Boy And His Horse by C.W. Anderson and the other books in this series.
Devotional Stories for Little Folks and by Nancy Nicholson
George Washington and the other picture books in this series by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire.
Happy Times in Noisy Village and other books in this series by Astrid Lindgren.
The Little Caterpillar That Finds Jesus: A Parable of the Eucharist and some of the other Precious Life books by Susan A. Brindle, Joan A. Bell, and Miriam A. Lademan
Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
Paddington Treasury by Michael Bond
Pooh Library original 4-volume set This set by A.A. Milne includes Winnie the Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young, and Now We are Six.
Treasure Box books edited by the Maryknoll Sisters (a series of picture books)

In addition to reading picture books to my younger children at night, I also try to read to them each morning. When I do so, I have noticed that my older children will invariably stop what they are doing and listen to th story. Some of them will even come and stand or sit close to me, so that they can see the pictures. While I definitely think that chapter books should be read aloud and I appreciate listening to my husband read them to our children, I am enjoying reading picture books with my younger (and older) children. I know that there will be plenty of time to  read books like these to my little ones. Picture books tend to lend themselves to cuddling up and reading together, fostering an early enjoyment of reading that will most likely continue as the children grow. 

Sermons on Marriage

On Saturday, I was unable to go to Mass, so I visited I was happy to see that three sermons on marriage were posted. Our pastor recently preached three excellent sermons on the same topic and I was interested in hearing more on the subject.

I found all three of the sermons to be informative. The historical information, shared in the last sermon, is very interesting.  The sermons can be heard by clicking on the following links:

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Apple Trees and Chickenpox

On Saturday, Brendan planted an apple tree with a little help from his dad.  On Sunday morning, Finnian asked, "Mommy, does our apple tree have any apples, yet?" This morning, Finnian asked, "Mommy, does our apple tree have any apples, yet?" I have explained to him that our apple tree probably won't produce apples this year, but he remembers last year's tomatoes and he is anxious to see the apples grow.

On another note, four of my children have chickenpox. Hopefully, my two youngest will get them at the same time, too.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Palma Giovane
Last year, on this date, my family and I were looking forward to going to Mass for the Feast of Candlemas. However, as the afternoon wore on, I started to experience some complications with my pregnancy and I knew that it would be prudent to stay home. I had experienced similar problems when I was pregnant with Elizabeth, but this time, they seemed more intense. Thus, I asked family and friends to pray and I made a doctor's appointment for the next day.

The doctor's appointment went well and my ob felt that there was no real reason for concern. He had me schedule a follow-up appointment and sent me to the lab to have my hcg levels checked. On the morning of the 4th, I received a phone call from the nurse, letting me know that my hcg levels were over 23,000 and everything looked great, but everything wasn't great. After dinner that night, I started to hemorrhage and I continued to do so for the next 11 1/2 hours. When I felt completely weak and like I was going to either faint or die, I prayed, "Dear God, please have mercy on me. I want to be here for my husband and children, and I don't want to die without going to confession or receiving last rites." Then I called for my husband to come and help me. Everything slowed down. He came in and helped me into our room and bed. Thankfully, I was able to stay there for almost 30 minutes.

On the 5th, after experiencing such a horrendous night, I thought that my miscarriage was complete, but I soon learned that it was not. My pregnancy came to a final end on the 7th of February. Since that time, I have prayed regularly for another baby and I have offered my cross for a pregnant mother in our parish who, after 11 miscarriages, delivered her second son on the 29th of January. Since February 2010, I have tried (sometimes very ungraciously) to be able to accept God's will. I have tried to focus on the many blessings in my life and I have found some peace.

Tonight, for the feast of Candlemas, I will go to Mass and I will pray for all mother's who have lost a child or children in miscarriage or after birth. I will pray once more for acceptance of God's will and I will thank Our Blessed Mother for her example. Tonight, I will pray for my children and I will hold each one them a little bit closer, thanking God for blessing me with them.

"We have received Thy mercy, O God, in the midst of Thy temple; according to Thy Name, O God, so also is Thy praise unto the ends of the earth; Thy right hand is full of justice. -- (Ps. 47. 2). Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised, in the city of God, in His holy mountain."
INTROIT Ps. 47. 10, 11
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