Happy Birthday to my Kieran

I’m so thankful God gave me Kieran on this day 4 years ago. He continually amazes me. He’s a wonderful kid, and I can’t wait to see how he grows.


Book Nook


I’m thankful my parents have saved so many books from our childhood.  Kieran discovered the book Mr Puffer-Bill – Train Engineer by Leone Arlandson.  It’s rather beat-up by now, having survived my siblings and me and then the grandkids, but that just shows how well-loved it is.  I should have known Kieran would love it given his love of trains.  You can still buy used copies on Amazon, but I don’t think it’s being printed any more. It’s a fun book, though, following Mr Puffer-Bill as he tries to find a hat that will stay on his head to protect him from the rain.

Imagination is More Important than Knowledge

from The Guardian

Albert Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” it is that statement that continually echoes in my mind as I watch Kieran play.

 As he nears his fourth birthday, it seems his imagination has soared, and he takes us along for the ride. If he gets out his Brio train sets, he’ll create an amazing track and then make up stories for his trains. He’ll take story elements from Thomas the Tank Engine, English rail stations, and places and events of his own creation and weave them together into a single story. Or he’ll take some Playmobil sets or Lego and create objects and stories.

 Always wanting to be like her brother, Charlotte enthusiastically joins in, entranced by the stories. In fact, she now creates her own scenarios, though these usually consist of giving a toy or herself a new name or title, such as when she decided she was a “serious doctor”.  I can’t wait to see what they’ll imagine next.

Day 27 of Thankfulness


Happy Advent! I love Advent. It’s a special time of year for me: my son’s birthday is often during Advent, I entered the Church during Advent, and I was married during Advent. In a way, all these things heighten the sense of waiting for the Second Advent of Jesus and the marriage supper. We have a taste of that now in the Eucharist, of course, but now is the time we look for the fulfillment of that.

I am also thankful for the new translation of the Mass. We’d started using in Liverpool before we left, but we didn’t start using it in the US until now. As Fr. Barron points out, the language is elevated, more regal. This is appropriate, for we are in the Prescence of the King of Kings at Mass.

Rosary Musings: Fourth Sorrowful Mystery

The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: the Carrying of the Cross

Luke 23:26-31

26 As they were leading him away they seized on a man, Simon from Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and made him shoulder the cross and carry it behind Jesus.27 Large numbers of people followed him, and women too, who mourned and lamented for him.28 But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children.29 For look, the days are surely coming when people will say, “Blessed are those who are barren, the wombs that have never borne children, the breasts that have never suckled!”30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”; to the hills, “Cover us!”31 For if this is what is done to green wood, what will be done when the wood is dry?’

Try as I might, I find it difficult to put my thoughts on this mystery into words. I suppose what comes to mind is the Stations of the Cross. Despite wishing to do it before, I never did the Stations of the Cross until last Lent. It’s a wonderful devotion, helping to truly unite ourselves with Jesus: to take up our crosses with His.

Do Amber Necklaces Really Help?

Ever since Charlotte first started acting like she might be teething, I put an amber necklace on her, determined to naturally alleviate her pain and avoid the nightmare of teething as much as possible.  She’s therefore worn a necklace since she was a few months old, long before she cut her first teeth at 10 months, and has worn it constantly since then.  People ask if it helps, and I usually laugh and respond that it either helps, or she’s the most laid-back teether ever.

Now, she’s a pretty laid-back girl about many things, so I really didn’t know how much the necklace helped.  For the most part, she’s gotten teeth without much fuss, and without taking medicine.  She likes to chew on ice or a cold, wet cloth, but hasn’t needed anything more than that.  Was it the necklace, or was she just one of the lucky ones?

I think I can answer that question now – it’s the necklace.  The night before last, she pulled off her necklace and I didn’t put it back on.  The clasp is wearing out and I wasn’t sure if it would hold.  She’s been working on her canines, but I thought maybe she wasn’t actively teething right now.  I do have another necklace somewhere, but couldn’t tell you where offhand.

Yesterday, though, she was a beast.  It was obvious that her teeth were bothering her, since she had her fingers in her mouth and one pink cheek.  For some reason, though, it didn’t dawn on me that that was the problem until the evening.  I took off my own amber necklace and put it on her.  I then put her old one back on her, since I got the clasp to hold for now.  Within 10 minutes or less, she was back to her happy self.  It was amazing to see the difference.  I know she was also hungry, but that wasn’t all of the problem, and in fact she was refusing to consider food until I put the necklaces on her.

My conclusion: the amber necklace definitely helps Charlotte with teething pain.  I will continue to use and recommend them.  They are well worth it.