Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy 5th Birthday, Catherine!

5 years ago at 11:45pm on Thanksgiving Eve I was trying to go to sleep when all of a sudden I felt a pop and I had my first hard contraction. Now I had been contracting pretty regular for days, but those contractions were very tolerable. These, however, were a different story. After several of them 15 min. apart, I woke up Dan and told him I thought my water had broken. He got up with me, helped me time contractions, and then after a while asked if he had time to take a shower and shave. I said, oh sure, it'll probably be hours. The contractions kept getting closer and closer and lasting longer and finally I said we'd better go to the hospital. This was at about 2:15am and I thought we'd get there and they'd laugh at me for coming in too soon.

So we got to the hospital and it took forever to even get up to the OB floor. Luckily Dan had memorized my SSN so I didn't have to answer any questions. Finally I get up to the little observation area and by the time they finally checked me, I was 7-8 cm. That got some action! 40 minutes later, after 10-15 minutes of pushing, Catherine Elizabeth was born, at 3:40 in the morning on Thanksgiving Day. So instead of a big turkey dinner, we got a precious little baby girl! Hooray!

Here is our little turkey, posed next to "Yellow Baby:"
Catherine at a few weeks old:
Here is our princess at almost 5 years old:
She is such a sweet girl and loves to help Mommy.
We love you Catherine, our big 5 year old! Happy, Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

You Know You Have a Bunch of Little Ones, #12

You know you have a bunch of little ones when you find yourself singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," and there's no one else around.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Feast Day Catherine!

St. Catherine of Alexandria

Below is the entry from Catholic Online in the Saints and Angels section. St. Catherine of Alexandria is one of our Catherine's patron saints.

St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr whose feast day is November 25th. She is the patroness of philosophers and preachers.

St. Catherine is believed to have been born in Alexandria of a noble family. Converted to Christianity through a vision, she denounced Maxentius for persecuting Christians. Fifty of her converts were then burned to death by Maxentius.

Maxentius offered Catherine a royal marriage if she would deny the Faith. Her refusal landed her in prison. While in prison, and while Maxentius was away, Catherine converted Maxentius' wife and two hundred of his soldiers. He had them all put to death.
Catherine was likewise condemned to death. She was put on a spiked wheel, and when the wheel broke, she was beheaded. She is venerated as the patroness of philosophers and preachers. St. Catherine's was one of the voices heard by St. Joan of Arc.

Maxentius' blind fury against St. Catherine is symbolic of the anger of the world in the face of truth and justice. When we live a life of truth and justice, we can expect the forces of evil to oppose us. Our perseverance in good, however, will be everlasting. (emphasis mine)

This reminds me that we should expect trouble when we are living out our faith. We may not face martyrdom, but we will most likely, at some time or another, face anger, hate, scorn, or ridicule, and yes, maybe even outright persecution because of our beliefs. May we all have the courage to face the anger of the world like St. Catherine of Alexandria.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What Would You Do?

While surfing the internet, I came across a study which was done 20 years ago, not even 10 miles from where we live. In it the scientists (?) placed either a black hose or a serpentine-shaped rubber snake in the median of a rural highway to see whether people would go out of their way to hit what they thought was a snake. They found that the rubber snake was much more likely to be hit than the hose. Duh! They had to do a study to figure that one out?

Friday, November 21, 2008

My First Book Review: "Real Women, Real Saints"

About a month or so ago I applied for and was approved to be a reviewer for The Catholic Company. I chose a book to review and received it in the mail shortly thereafter.

The book I was happy to read and review is called "Real Women, Real Saints," by Gina Loehr. It is subtitled "Friends for Your Spiritual Journey." This book contains a collection of short biographies/reflections of many women saints, categorized into chapters of various virtues: Women of Faith, Women of Hope, Women of Charity, Women of Prudence, Women of Justice, Women of Fortitude, Women of Temperance, and finally Queen of All Saints. The saints in this book are very diverse, some young, some old, some single, some married, some in religious life, and also saints from many different centuries and countries. Some were wealthy, some very poor, some with hidden lives of virtue, some very well known in their lifetime. Many are saints who are well known and loved, and there are also many saints whom I had never heard of prior to reading this book. There is one male saint listed in this book, but I am not going to tell you who it is! You'll have to get the book to find out for yourself. :)

Gina Loehr does a masterful job of condensing the saint's lives into short biographies. She writes with a modern style and has well crafted sentences, which don't waste words . At the beginning of each saint's biography, she lists her dates, her titles (such as religious, wife, mother, martyr, foundress, etc.), her feast day and her patronages. Then Loehr goes on to tell the story of the saint's life and how she fit into the particular virtue of the chapter, along with how this applies to our lives today. This was a perfect book for me to read before bedtime as I could read a short biography (or two, or three) and then meditate on it for a while. Although, I often found that I wanted to know more about a particular saint!

My favorite quote from "Real Women, Real Saints" can be found on p. 81 in the biography of St. Frances of Rome: "She offered these words of wisdom to other wives, 'It is most laudable in a married woman to be devout, but she must never forget that she is a housewife. And sometimes she must leave God at the altar to find Him in her housekeeping.' " This spoke to me greatly as I try every day to live out my state in life.

"Real Women, Real Saints" by Gina Loehr would make a great gift (Christmas is coming!) for any woman (or man), from teenager to college student to busy mom or grandma to religious sister. I would definitely recommend this book. You can clink on the link above to order.

And if you have a blog and would be interested in becoming a reviewer, go here and find out more details.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Time to Make Something!

Sometimes, when I am feeling brave (crazy?), I make something with all of the kids. They all love it and they all want to get up high so they can see. They pull over chairs and climb up and it is definitely a learning experience in how to share. Now though, Joseph wants to get in on the action:
So, we try this:
And it usually works for a little while. But, suddenly the space I have in which to work has gotten very small. Oh, it is a challenge.
In these pictures I think we were making banana bread.
The other challenge when cooking with little kids (besides all the safety stuff!) is that everyone wants to lick everything. "I want to taste it!" I've gotten the three older ones trained not to lick anything until I say they can, but I'm working on it with Joseph. Flour, shortening, you name it, he'll try it. He thinks it is a fun game. So, when I am done mixing, I have to deal with who gets what: spatula, bowl, mixing blade. Here Dominic is sharing with Joseph. I don't know why his eyes are closed. Maybe he doesn't want to see Joseph biting his thumb! Just kidding, that didn't happen.
Joseph had to come back and check to see if all the batter was really gone:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Maybe it Was Real!

One day Catherine woke up all distraught and said she had had a bad dream. I asked her what it was about and she said, "Someone was poking their finger in my bellybutton and now it hurts!"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Wild and Crazy Path

Do you remember me telling you about the path that Dan mowed around the big field out back? Well, one day he mowed a long, curvy path through the middle of it: The kids love to go through it:

They actually stopped for a picture:

Anne, Dominic, and Catherine, not quite as tall as the grasses in the field:

Run! Run! Run!

It could be Little House on the Prairie (except we have boys, too):

Monday, November 17, 2008

Are They Mine?

What might these two sweet little girls be holding in their hands? You got it! Slimies! (That is the term around here for anything resembling a worm.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Getting Ready for a Big Garden

The previous owners of our place must not have been interested in gardens, so Dan has been breaking up ground in the small side pasture for a big garden to plant next spring. Joseph loved running around in all that dirt:
The girls wanted to help:
Dominic is hard at work:
Yeah, my washing machine gets to see a lot of me these days!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Our Budding Writer

Yes, I think he's got it!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Silly Boy!

One evening I suddenly realized I couldn't hear Joseph, so I went looking for him. I looked in the boys' room. No Joseph. I looked in the girls' room. No Joseph. Finally I looked in the hall bathroom and there he was, sitting in the sink, playing with his toothbrush. Yes, he climbed up there all by himself. Luckily, he hadn't turned on the water. And no, I don't have a picture. I wish I did, because it looked pretty funny.

You Know You Have a Bunch of Little Ones, #11

You know you have a bunch of little ones when you don't even notice that your 3 year old has his pants on backwards until you are at the Library Storytime, and all the little kids stand up, and there they are for all the world to see.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Message from Fr. John Corapi


The American people have now made it abundantly clear who they want to lead them, and the policies and practices that this president-elect has represented for some time, they can now claim as their own. Actions have consequences, and I am sure God has duly noted what our priorities are in the US of A. Economic matters would seem to take precedence over moral matters; money more important than life itself to most people (I guess they don’t consider almost 50,000,000 innocent children murdered by abortion part of life).

Now we shall see what the fruit of such a tree will be. I predict that we won’t have to wait long. In recent months we have seen “corrections” in the stock market, housing market, and banking industries. Now we’ll see if God orchestrates a “correction” in a country and a world that has demonstrated quite clearly that it prefers convenience and wealth to life itself.Regardless of whatever happens next, remember there is still a God in Heaven and He loves you. He is infinitely merciful—and He is infinitely just as well.

God Bless You
Fr. John Corapi

Something Less Than Human

Go read this post by Jen at Conversion Diary.

In it she talks about times in history where ordinary people were surrounded by evil and goes on to wonder if she herself would have recognized the evil for what it was:
"If were a 31-year-old woman with three little kids in a busy house in Germany 1941, would I have fully understood the evil that surrounded me?"

Then she asks how you would know if you were surrounded by such evil when the forces of evil tell such slick lies to make it all seem okay:
"What litmus test could you offer that would apply to all places and all times as a way for a person to look around themselves with completely clear eyes, piercing through even the thickest fog of self-delusion and widespread cultural acceptance, and see that they are surrounded by grave evil?"

Finally, she offers a common denominator in all of the cases:
"One thing that stands out in all these examples is that the victims of the widespread evil were categorized as something less than human."

What is it is our time that is of such grave evil? Well, she knows and we know, that it is abortion. What can we do to speak out against such evil? What work can we do now to stop it? These are questions we can all ask ourselves, especially now that we will have a pro-abortion president and Congress majority.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Catherine was super excited to be a princess this year. She wanted to wear her costume all the time and loved to twirl around and lift up her skirts so she could walk, just like a real princess! Getting ready to go trick-or-treating. We had to let off some steam first.
Here they are: Dominic the Dalmatian, Princess Catherine, Joseph the Penguin, and Anne the Parrot.

They had so much fun trick-or-treating. Since we are out in the country now, we didn't think we'd have any trick-or-treaters, so I got to go this year. We drove to a neighborhood and then walked up and down the blocks. Joseph got the hang of it after a few houses and you could see he all of a sudden figured out that we were going to these houses and people were giving him candy! He was not shy after that.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Abortion and Obama Links

TO: American Catholics
RE: Barack Obama on the Issues of Importance to Catholics

1. Obama is undecided on whether life begins at conception - Saddleback Church Forum Aug 16th, 2008. Obama voted against born alive protections for abortion survivors four times, and voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion in the Illinois state senate
SOURCES: http://www.bornalivetruth.orgAudacity of Hope written by Barack Obama
2. Obama has pledged to Planned Parenthood to sign The Freedom of Choice Act, a law which would cancel every state, federal, and local regulation of abortion, no matter how modest or reasonable. It would even abolish all state restrictions on government funding for abortions. Catholics that pay income tax will be paying an abortionist to perform an abortion. It would also abolish state laws that protect Catholic doctors and nurses from losing their jobs if they refuse to participate in abortions. It would abolish requirements for parental notification and informed consent for mothers who consider the procedure. – Obama speech to Planned Parenthood, July 17, 2007 He is endorsed by pro-Abortion industry leader Planned Parenthood and has a 100% NARAL voting record. -
3. Obama would repeal the Mexico City policy, which bars federal funding for international nongovernmental organizations involved in abortion-related services and would pit the US against the Vatican on the international fight against abortion.
4. He strongly supports the 1973 Supreme Court decision on abortion rights and says he will oppose any constitutional measure to overturn it. -
5. Obama has pledged to choose Justices with a Pro Abortion agenda and he voted against Roberts and Alito. SOURCE:
6. Obama voted no on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions and prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion.
SOURCE: 7. Obama supports the destruction of embryos for experimentation and voted to expand research to more embryonic stem cell lines. SOURCE:
8. He voted yes on $100M to fund contraceptives for teens and sponsored bill providing contraceptives for low-income women. SOURCE:
9. Voted no on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP a program that gives funds to states in order to provide health insurance to families with children. SOURCE:
10. He opposed the federal marriage amendment in 2006 and also favors repealing the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which gives a state the right not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in another state. SOURCE:


This is an article written by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of the Kansas City, KS archdiocese for the Leaven, the diocesan paper. See the original article here.

‘The most important crisis in our nation is a moral crisis’

One of the saddest moments for me during this year’s election campaign occurred during the vice presidential debate, when the “Catholic” vice presidential candidate, Senator Joseph Biden, bragged about his role in preserving Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision which in effect legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.

This outburst of pride by Sen. Biden occurred as part of his response to a question inquiring how his thinking had changed since he first entered public life. Senator Biden answered by noting that when he first became a member of the Senate, he believed judicial appointments should be made purely on the basis of the legal competence of a candidate. However, at some point in his Senate career, his thinking evolved. Senator Biden now believes that ideology must also be a factor in evaluating the suitability of a judicial candidate.

By his own admission, Sen. Biden’s leadership on the Judiciary Committee was critical in defeating a nominee who in his opinion, except for his opposition to Roe v. Wade, was qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. By helping preserve Roe v. Wade, Sen. Biden was also assuming a share of responsibility for the deaths of millions of children who have died from abortion because of that Supreme Court decision.

Senator Biden’s debate comments serve as a reminder that our current permissive policies sanctioning abortion have come from the courts — not from Congress, the state Legislatures, or a referendum of the people. It was the decision of the Court in 1973 that struck down all the state laws restricting abortions.

Senator Biden says that he accepts the Catholic Church’s teaching on when human life begins, but asserts that it would be wrong for him to impose this belief on others. At the same time, he is happy and even proud to cooperate in preserving the Supreme Court’s imposition of abortion public policy on the entire nation.

Inadvertently, Sen. Biden also reminded American voters that ultimately we have the ability to change public policy, even those imposed by an over-reaching Court. One of the most important responsibilities of any president is the appointment of federal judges and, in particular, appointments to the Supreme Court.

Senator Biden’s assertion that he preserved Roe v. Wade makes clear that it also matters whom we elect to the U.S. Senate. The Senate has the ability to block any presidential nominee. Also Governor Sarah Palin’s meteoric rise to national prominence demonstrates the importance of electing pro-life candidates as mayors and members of public school boards because of the values they bring to these important local offices and because they form the pool of potential candidates for higher office.

There are those who argue that there were illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade, so what difference does a law make? This is like arguing that since there are still murders, rapes, and thefts, we should just decriminalize these actions.

Of course, there will always be those who will not comply with the law. This does not mean that such laws are ineffective or unnecessary. There are no accurate records of the number of illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade. Doctor Bernard Nathanson, a former abortionist and one of the founders of NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) admits that abortion advocates made up the statistics they used in their propaganda efforts to promote abortion’s legalization. The more honest estimates indicate that abortions increased by more than 10 times with legalization. This means that there are more than a million additional abortions annually because of Roe v. Wade. The law really does make a difference.

Senator Barak Obama says that he does not believe in litmus tests for Supreme Court nominees, but he also pledges to protect Roe v. Wade. Senator Obama has also stated that he wants, early in his presidency, to sign into law the so-called Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which would eliminate the modest limitations of abortion permitted under Roe v. Wade. Informed consent and parental notification statutes have reduced the number of abortions.

FOCA, in its present form, would also take away conscience clauses. In other words, it could be used to coerce doctors, nurses, hospitals and health care systems to participate in abortion. We should take Sen. Obama’s promises seriously because they are very consistent with his record as Illinois state senator and his brief career as a U.S. senator.

There are many in political life who would like the abortion issue to just disappear. They argue that abortion distracts from the much more important issues of the economy and the national security. The most important crisis in our nation today is a moral crisis. It is a crisis about fundamental values and beliefs. The foundational issue of this moral crisis is whether we will continue to permit the state-sanctioned killing of our own children.

In a recently published interview Sen. Biden said that he is a “John XXIII guy” and “not a Pope John Paul guy.” I hope that he is not trying to imply that Pope John XXIII would bless or approve his action in support of legalized abortion. It is not my responsibility or my role to tell the people of the archdiocese for whom to vote. However, I can tell you there is no such thing as a “John XXIII Catholic” or a “John Paul II Catholic.” There are, however, “faithful” and “unfaithful” Catholics.

Senator Biden is proud to have helped preserve Roe v. Wade and thus to share responsibility for its consequences. Consider this when casting your vote: Are you ready to accept some responsibility for the more than a million unborn children who are killed every year by abortion? Think about it!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Letter From Bishop of Salina, KS

This is the main reason why Barack Obama is a morally unacceptable candidate:

November 1, 2008
All Saints Day
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On Tuesday the citizens of the United States will elect the leaders who will govern our nation during a time of national turmoil unprecedented in recent memory. We are in the midst of a severe economic crisis, a housing crisis and an unpopular and protracted war against extremists who threaten our national security.
But the fundamental crisis, and the one we hear least about in the media, is a moral crisis. It is a struggle to determine the kind of nation we will be as measured by our treatment of the weakest and most vulnerable among us, the innocent unborn. As Pope Benedict XVI teaches, "The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself. This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right—it is the very opposite. It is a deep wound in society."
Protecting innocent human life is not just one issue among many. From a moral perspective it is the foundational issue of our time. It is likely that the next president will decide the fate of the "Freedom of Choice Act". If passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president, it will eliminate every single limit on abortions which have been achieved over the last thirty-five years. It would be catastrophic. This is an example of how much is at stake.
We Catholics have a duty to be actively engaged citizens. Before we vote we must be sure we know where the candidates stand on all the issues, particularly the most fundamental. If we are not well-informed voters we can do actual harm by our vote. As faithful citizens we have a duty to allow our Catholic principles and convictions to form our consciences and guide our decisions in the voting booth.
Please join me in praying for our nation during these final days before this momentous election. Pray for wisdom for all of our fellow citizens that we may choose well on November 4. So much depends on your vote!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley
Bishop of Salina

Barack Obama has told Planned Parenthood that the first thing he will do if elected President is sign FOCA into law. He is pro-abortion down to the core! If you vote for Obama you are cooperating in a grave evil. Don't do it!