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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lipstick for Dogs?

Brendan: "Who put lipstick on Heidi? It's all over my hands."

Finnian: "I did."

Catherine: "Finnian, you don't put lipstick on a dog."

Finnian: "Well, she's a girl and she has lips."

I just hope that my daughter is not planning on keeping the lipstick.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Organic Gardening

Since accidentally destroying some of my roses by using weed killer near them, I have returned to not using chemicals. However, I spend a lot of time in the spring removing unwanted grass and weeds by hand from our small garden. Last year, I purchased compost at Costco for one of our garden beds. Brendan recently told me that the plants in that bed are looking great. After watching some of this video, I think that I know why.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Holy Habits in the Home

I was very happy to read Ginny Seuffert's Holy Habits in the Home in Seton's January newsletter. Growing up, my parents tried to instill various "holy habits" in our home. We used to pray the family Rosary each night and at the beginning of each 30-minute or longer road trip.  My parents occasionally read us religious books. A statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, purchased in Lourdes, graced my parents' garden (the statue now stands in our front yard most of the year). We visited Catholic shrines in Europe, Canada and the United States. Each night, my father blessed us with holy water before we went to bed. Most importantly, my mother was a daily Mass attendee throughout her life. These and other holy habits made an impression on me and helped to foster my faith.

Today, my husband and I are trying to instill some of the same holy habits in our home and it is wonderful to have encouragement from articles like the one linked above. As Catholic families, we need to return to these practices that used to be a normal part of almost every Catholic family's life. May God bless Ginny for sharing.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Too Big for Her Britches

Elizabeth: "Daddy, I want you to read St. George and the Dragon and Patapon (a.k.a. Noel for Jeanne-Marie)."

Daddy: "I can only read one book. I am tired and I need to get up early in the morning."

Elizabeth: "Okay, Grandpa."

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

27 Weeks

Yesterday, I had another ultrasound. My doctor turned on the ultrasound's 3-D capability at one point, and my husband and I were amazed to see our baby as though he was right there. Baby's heartbeat was 149 and he weighs 2 lbs 10 oz. I love this little one, but that's nothing new.

Breech Position

When we got home, the children were in awe, commenting, "Look at the baby's ear." "You can see the eyebrows." "He looks like a boy." "She looks like a girl." I find it so much fun to keep the baby's sex a surprise.

My Jesus mercy. Thy will be done in my life and in my death.

After my doctor finished the ultrasound, he told me that I have gestational diabetes again. My husband and I were not surprised, as I have been feeling kind of funny an hour or two after I eat and/or if I don't eat for a while. I had also tested my blood sugar levels two hours after breakfast one morning and the reading was high. Hopefully, I can control the blood glucose levels with my diet again. Due to the gestational diabetes, the baby's stomach is larger than normal. I have another appointment next week, during which time the doctor will "check on the baby" and I will meet with the dietitian.

I am thankful that this baby moves a lot and that my anemia isn't bad enough to warrant my taking iron supplements.

Thank you to everyone who has emailed and/or told me that they are continuing to pray for baby (and for me).

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Dog Product Recommendations

Since getting our golden retriever in July, we have found some things are indispensable. We have also found that we prefer certain products to others.

Thanks to the Monks of New Skete and their book The Art of Raising a Puppy, one of the first purchases that we made was a dog crate. The Majestic Pet Titan 42" dog crate from Costco is great for Heidi. It also happened to be the best price that I could find for a new crate, divider, and mat. Please note, that crates can sometimes be found for less on Craigslist.

After purchasing various collars for our growing golden retriever, we finally bought what will most likely be Heidi's final collar (until it is worn out). Due to the fact that the Red Dingo reflective safety dog collar cost more than most collars at our local pet stores, I hesitated before buying it. However, when my husband commented on the quality of the collar and I saw how well it reflects, I was happy that I had not waited too long to order it.

Our taking Heidi for daily walks was interrupted by morning (aka all-day) sickness, a visit to the hospital and a little time in bed. When I was finally able to start walking Heidi again, I found that she had gotten into the habit of pulling. Her nylon leash, combined with the pulling, caused my hand to hurt for days and made me not want to walk her. After doing a little research, I learned that leather leashes minimize any discomfort to the dog owner's hand. I visited our local pet stores and looked online until I found a 6 ft. leather dog leash that I felt looked decent and would serve my purposes. I definitely recommend Punk Hollow's double-braided leather dog leash.An added bonus of this leash is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee.  The more I consistently walk (5 days so far) Heidi, the less she pulls. I definitely needed something that didn't cause my hand to be in pain for days. We still use the inexpensive nylon leash around the house, but the leather leash is what we use for all of our golden retriever's walks.

I know that some people take their dogs to have their nails trimmed; however, in their puppy book, the Monks of New Skete share that it is easy to trim a dog's nails oneself when done from an early age. We have found the Millers Forge nail clippers to be the perfect tool for the job. In addition, to the clippers, we also purchased Kwik-Stop Styptic Powder to apply to Heidi's nail in the event that we cut it too close. I am happy to say that so far, we have not had to use the Kwik-Stop.

Another grooming tool that we like using on Heidi is the Spornette porcupine cushion brush. It actually isn't a dog brush. I was tempted to keep it for one of my daughters when it first arrived because it is great for brushing long hair, but I am happy that we decided to use it for the dog. It brushes her coat well and is great at removing shedding dog hair. I think that it is cutting down on some of the dog hair that we would ordinarily have around the house. Unfortunately, we have not found a good slicker brush yet. Suggestions are welcome.

When we first brought Heidi home, we fed her Merrick's Puppy Plate, but she did not like it. We decided to buy the Kirkland Signature puppy food from Costco. Heidi ate it and so we mixed it with the Merrick. She seemed to tolerate this, but was not the best eater. A golden retriever owner at dog training saw how energetic our dog was and recommended that we switch her to adult food. As soon as the puppy food was finished, we did so, buying the Kirkland Signature dry lamb dog food. Thankfully, Heidi wolfs it down. However, her energy level has not changed. Heidi also likes the Kirkland Signature dog jerky and will do almost anything for a little bit of it.

I would be remiss if I did not mention some dog toys/distractions that our dog likes. The Kong dog toy has proven to be invaluable. We started with a small Kong and soon purchased a second one in a size large. Heidi is almost eight months old and this size is still working really well for her. We have also found that she will spend hours chewing on stuffed bones. We put peanut butter or plain yogurt on one end of the bone, fill it with dog food and freeze it. She also likes her cotton ropes that we picked up at the dollar store. Like most dogs, Heidi also enjoys catching tennis balls; I just wish that she would bring them back to us.

Unfortunately, Heidi also likes to chew children's toys, rose bushes, fruit trees, rhododendrons, my youngest daughter's shoes, books, and electrical cords. Grannick's Bitter Apple stopped the dog from trying to chew our furniture, but it wouldn't be practical to use it on all of the items that she still chews. Suggestions for teaching our puppy not to chew the above mentioned things would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, February 03, 2012

You Know You're Tired When

1. You start to call for your son, but you call "God" instead. My children were amused to hear me say, "Goood" in the same way that I would say, "Paaatrick". What can I say, I was thinking about Him as I brought the dinner to the table.

2. You start the dishwasher and then realize that you never added detergent.

3. You almost run a red light. My eldest son informed me, "I was thinking that you thought our big van could stop as quickly as a sports car or something." I didn't know that our van could come to a stop as quickly as it did. Dear, if you are reading this, don't worry. I won't make a habit of stopping the van quickly. I know that it is bad for the brakes.

4. The only thing that you really want to do all day, every day, is climb in bed and go to sleep.
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