The Pursuit of Happiness 

We had a visiting priest this past Sunday at our parish and he gave a great sermon on happiness. It has given me much to think about it. He explained that true and perfect happiness can only be found in Heaven. What happiness we have here on Earth is always short-lived – whether it’s fine food, a good book, etc. He explained how the saints understood this, as most saints suffered great trials and adversity here on Earth, although they also received many graces, but they truly understood that their ultimate happiness was waiting for them in Heaven with God not here.

I’ve reflected on this a lot since Sunday. I’m always on the pursuit of happiness to some degree, it’s the perfectionist nature in me, but I realize it’s more important to accept that we’re here on this earth for a short journey. I need to ready my soul and those of my children for the greater glory of Heaven. Not that I haven’t been trying to do that, but that I can get caught up in trying to find and make happy moments here that are short-lived. I want to fix everything and make it perfect and happy and have it wrapped up in a pretty little package. Obviously that’s not where my focus should be. We live in a broken world, our moments of happiness are fleeting. Not to say we shouldn’t enjoy and relish happy moments that God graces us with; I do believe those are just a small glimpse of the happiness and joy we’ll experience in Heaven.

I do want to be like the great saints. They were so humble and loved God with all their being. Their only desire was to be with Him forever. It’s so easy to lose sight of that here. There’s drama, heartache, disappointments, immorality and sin everywhere! Happiness is so imperfect here. But if we get to Heaven, true and everlasting happiness awaits us there.

In the boys’ catechism class they’ve been learning the 4 reasons why God made us:

  1. To know Him
  2. To love Him
  3. To serve Him in this world, and
  4. To be happy with Him forever in the next.

So yes, I need to quit chasing happy and perfect here and be a better servant which will help me become a better saint.

Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette, pray for us!

Favorite Books, Websites and Resources

Here’s a start to our ongoing list of favorite books, websites and resources. We’ve really received great ideas and recommendations from friends and other bloggers and I want to keep all of that info in a post that I can easily access and maybe others will find it helpful too. We’d love to hear favorites from you as well, so please share! We’ll be doing our best to keep this updated as we find items that we love.

I was starting to read The Imitation of Christ, but Levi decided to

I was starting to read The Imitation of Christ, but Levi decided to “borrow” it instead. He carries it everywhere and sleeps with it under his pillow. He loves looking at the pictures inside and will randomly open it up during the day and ask me to say The Holy Mary prayer with him, aka The Hail Mary :) I oblige every time!

Since homeschooling, we’ve really grasped the importance of reading to our children and fostering a love for reading and books. It challenges their listening and comprehension skills and expands their vocabulary, plus it’s just good, quality time spent together.

I often find this sweet, mischievous boy looking through the books. I keep the board books on the bottom shelf for his easy access.

I often find this sweet, mischievous boy looking through the books. I keep the board books on the bottom shelf for his easy access.

Catholic (for Children):

  • Baltimore Catechism 1
  • A Child’s Rule of Life – Unfortunately out of print, but a fantastic book for young ones.
  • The Life of a Saint Series
  • Leading the Little Ones to Mary
  • Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories
  • Alice in Bibleland Series – I believe these are out of print too :( We enjoy the rhyming of the stories and illustrations. We were able to find the complete set in like new condition on Ebay.

Catholic (for Adults):
I find it so amazing how the boys gravitate to our Catholic books. They just love looking at the pictures and seeing the artwork. Even though they can’t read the books yet, they soak in the images and ask great questions and truly enjoy looking through them.

  • Baltimore Catechism 3
  • The New Roman Missal – Father Lasance – This was my grandpa’s, so I’m not sure if it’s in print anymore, but a Roman Missal is a great treasure that I think gets forgotten in the Novus Ordo Mass. So many great prayers and devotions!
  • Treasure and Tradition: The Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass – Great for beginners of the Latin Mass.
  • The Imitation of Christ
  • The Imitation of Mary – I can read this over and over again. It reads like you’re having a conversation with Mary and always brings peace to my soul.
  • Mother Love: A Manual for Christian Mothers – I literally prayed fervently one night in guidance in disciplining and raising the children, as I felt I was just not getting it right and I prayed that the guidance would be clear and in my face. Then Michael comes home the next day from a Catholic conference and gives me this book. As I read it, I knew it was the answer to my prayer. This is a clear guide for moms on how to raise holy, loving children. It includes great prayers and devotions too. I love this book!!! I use it every morning as there is a section for morning devotions to do with your children. I do this with them to start our day.
  • The Diary of St. Faustina
  • Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism
  • A Mother’s Rule of Life
  • The Four Last Things: Death, Judgement, Hell, Heaven
  • The Vatican: Secrets and Treasures of the Holy City – Lots of great photos of Vatican and its treasures: vestments of the popes and their chalices, photos of the Swiss Guards and lots of beautiful artwork. The boys love looking through this book.

We generally like board books at this stage. Touch and feel books are fun the little ones too.


  • Look and Find Books
  • Berenstain Bear Books
  • Little Critter Books
  • Llama Llama Books
  • The Story of Ferdinand
  • Owl Moon
  • Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree
  • Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo

I’d love to hear recommendations on readers. We have the ones from Seton, which are our current favorites. I briefly tried the BOB books, but we just couldn’t get into those. They were almost too simplistic. I didn’t feel like there was much of a story and the illustrations were just boring. But maybe I should try the higher levels…not sure.

Read Alouds:

  • Little House on the Prairie Series – Great series about life on the prairie. We enjoy reading about their adventures. Great values and morals are set in this book too. It helps us appreciate the modern comforts we have because life on the prairie was tough!
  • Treasure Island
  • Illustrated Classics for Boys


  • Math Magician
  • – This was the first site we used for the boys. They really loved it and learned a lot from it, especially reinforcing their letter sounds. At around ages 5 and 6, our boys lost interest. But still highly recommended especially for the younger ones.
  • PBS Kids


  • LeapFrog Letter Factory – The boys watched this a lot as toddlers and because of it knew their letter sounds which was a tremendous help in their Phonics.
  • LeapFrog Numbers Ahoy
  • Saint MoviesWe have all the saint ones from CCC and Christopher Columbus. The boys really enjoy them. I hope CCC adds to their library; we’d love to see the addition of other saints.
  • The Very First Noel – Unfortunately I don’t think this DVD is made anymore. But it’s a well-made movie on the birth of Jesus. Definitely a favorite in our house.
  • Little House on the Prairie TV Series – I love watching these with the boys. It’s fun watching a visual to the books we’re reading, plus there’s always a good lesson learned. I do screen them before letting them watch episodes. We just purchase a season at a time on our Amazon Prime account.

We really try to limit the amount of toys in our house and even still the boys have way too many.

  • Magna Blocks – The boys received these as gifts one year for Christmas and they continue to receive some on birthdays and Christmas. So they have a good collection now. They’re the one set of toys that never get old and boring. They’re played with at least once everyday, if not multiple times a day. The magnets are strong and inside the frame of the blocks (so no worries about small pieces), they’re durable and just plain fun. They can withstand the abuse of rough play from boys and Daddy! Open-ended imaginative play. The boys have created ships, battlefields or even pretend it’s Halloween candy. They play with these with their army men and Hotwheel cars too. The options are endless!
  • Lego – The boys recently discovered these and can literally build with them for hours. So far we mostly have the classic Lego bricks, not very many fancy sets or anything. We hope to keep it more classic bricks vs the sets. Although the boys have discovered the Star Wars sets and are a bit obsessed :/ I like the open-ended play of the classic bricks. The boys are really good about seeing a cool Star Wars set in a book and recreating them with the classic bricks. I like that alternative better than buying the expensive sets.
  • Army Men – The boys play with these at least once everyday, if not multiple times a day.
  • Hotwheels Cars/Monster Trucks
  • Games – Chess, UNO, Hiss, Candy Land, Monopoly, Connect 4

Big News and Other Life Updates

I’ve been absent on the blogging front for awhile for many reasons. Some good, some bad. As I reflect on technology and social media, I just think how fake and sugarcoated it all can be. It’s centered around ridiculous selfies and a look at me mentality – see the greatest thing I get to do now, or the coolest thing I have now. When really we should be focused on God, relationships and getting to Heaven. Reality is that LIFE. IS. HARD. And there’s no need to sugarcoat that by sharing only what is good because life has ups and downs and tough obstacles.

I started this blog as a way to document our life, especially the boys, as I know this time with them goes by so fast and in the midst of the chaos it’s hard to appreciate all the moments. It was also nice to be able to keep family and friends updated and if a random reader found something to be helpful or could just relate, then so be it. But I was starting to realize maybe I was sugarcoating life too. Only sharing the good and the cute, when I also need to be sharing our challenges and the chaos. I’ll continue to discern my blogging future. Maybe it’s as simple as just keeping my blog private, or to quit altogether, I’m not sure. Maybe instead of blogging, God wants me praying. More things for me to take to the Lord and think about.

I realize in my own faith journey how hard it is to be Catholic. It’s a constant denying of my own will and doing God’s will. That’s not always easy to do especially when you don’t like to suffer and I’ll be the first to admit, I really dislike suffering! Sometimes I think life would be easier to live in an ignorant bubble and know nothing of my Catholic faith because there’s nothing about the Catholic faith that won’t stretch you, take you out of your comfort zone and make you a better, holier person. And unfortunately that includes suffering too. Jesus tells me I have to pick up the cross, I have to suffer.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” -Matthew 16:24

Who wants to do that?!? I can honestly say I don’t look for or ask for these crosses, but such as life they come anyways. In many shapes and forms and varying difficulties. And many times they scare me, it can feel like too much to bear. But with every cross, He’s gotten me through and I’ve grown closer to Him. My Guardian Angel has helped me carry it and Mary has prayed fervently for me, obtaining the many graces I need.

Our family has had many changes in the last few months, some good and some bad. God is making me aware that I need to pray and discern more and to rely on Him. This is a bit of a painful process, but I’m slowly getting there. I also know that with the sufferings come great fruits and peace – we become better people, we are empathetic, more understanding. We truly feel God working in our lives. There has yet to be cross that I’ve been given that God hasn’t seen me through and made me for the better because of it. Even knowing that, they are scary and daunting at times.

One of the happy changes and reason for my absence is the exciting news…

Baby Isaac is going to be a big brother!

Baby Isaac is going to be a big brother!

We’re excited to be adding to our little crew. As with all my pregnancies, I’ve suffered all day morning sickness, so keeping up with the blog hasn’t been my highest priority :) I am just trying to survive! Although, I have to admit, the morning sickness hasn’t been as severe as my past pregnancies, so I’m grateful for that and I think it is starting to ease up. Meals are just the worse during this time. As nothing sounds appetizing and the thought of looking at, touching and/or cooking any raw meat does no favors for the gag reflex or nausea. Neither do the smells of home cooked goodness :/ On a happy note, the brothers can’t wait to hold another little tiny baby. They’re so excited. I got to hear the baby’s heartbeat yesterday and that never gets old! Just anxiously counting down the weeks to see Baby on the ultrasound. Whether or not to find out the gender is the big question!!! At my office visit, three different people asked me, “Oh is this your first pregnancy?” I laughed as I responded, “No, it’s my 5th!” The look of shock is always humorous :)

This past week we celebrated Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. We love these feasts and the boys especially get excited over Halloween and All Saints’ Day.

Halloween 2015

Halloween 2015 – Michael was adamant about being a classic ghost. I literally put that together on the afternoon of Halloween. Noah and Eli were Storm Troopers, Levi was a ninja, and Isaac was Master Yoda. Aunt Kim and Zach were Princess Leia and Darth Vader. Michael’s parents joined us for the festivities as penguins. Before trick-or-treating, we roasted some hot dogs and s’mores over the fire pit. It ended up being a perfect, fall evening.

All Saints' Day 2015 - Levi was St. Nicholas, Noah was St. George, and Eli was St. Michael the Archangel.

All Saints’ Day 2015 – Our parish hosted a fun and festive pizza party! Levi was St. Nicholas, Noah was St. George, and Eli was St. Michael the Archangel.

And Isaac enjoyed walking all over the place eating pizza :)

And Isaac enjoyed walking all over the place eating pizza :)


Beautiful All Souls’ Mass – The boys couldn’t believe there was an actual casket there. Levi asked, “Is there a body a inside?” I told him no, but he said, “We need to leave now!” I assured him all was well and at least it kept his attention during Mass :)

Please keep us all in your prayers! We’re especially asking God to keep Baby healthy and for a safe and healthy pregnancy, labor and delivery. Holy Family, pray for us!


Our Hearts are Restless

A couple Sundays ago, our priest gave a beautiful, yet challenging sermon. He told us there are two reasons why it’s so difficult to love God with all your heart, soul and mind.

  1. God is intangible. We can’t see Him, we can’t touch him. It’s hard to love someone you can’t physically see and touch. I completely relate to this. It’s easy for me to put God on the back burner, especially when I’m going through my hectic, busy and chaotic days of caring for four boys, six and under, and homeschooling, running a household, etc. Instead, I’m challenging myself to see God in those moments. To take in these sacred moments of craziness He has so blessed me with. God has entrusted me with these souls and He made them in His image. When I see my children, I need to see God. I need to see child Jesus and take on Mary’s role of a devoted, loving mother. I need to cherish these moments for they will go by far too quickly.
  2. We’re selfish. Wow, the truth hurts! But he only spoke the truth. There are plenty of times throughout my day I choose to not love God with all my being because at the time that isn’t what I want to do. Instead of reacting with love and patience, I can easily react with impatience with my children and husband. I need to understand that my will isn’t always God’s will. He’s in control, not me. I pray for Him to give me the graces to be the person He wants me to be, for the graces to be at peace with His will, not my own. To humble myself, to be unselfish.

We spend our lives looking for happiness. Many think happiness is found in success, money, big houses, fancy cars, vacations, living on the beach, fishing, whatever your “it” may be, the list goes on and on. He made the valid point that there is nothing wrong with these things in themselves, as long as you don’t love these things more than God, but the problem is that no matter what you have or don’t have, none of it matters. At the end of the day you can have all the things that are supposed to make you happy, but eventually you’ll become unhappy because our hearts were made for much more…for a greater happiness and a greater love.

My children show me this daily…they have a million toys and it seems at least once a day I hear, “What can I do? I’m bored!” How can this be, you have a million toys!!! There’s a million things you can do! It’s because our hearts are restless, unless they rest in the Lord. 


This is what we’re made for! And how blessed are we to receive Him – body, blood, soul and divinity – at every Holy Mass!

This past week was the feast day of St. Augustine. I’ve always loved his quote, “Restless is our heart until it comes to rest in Thee.” Because it is so true.

I finally finished my photo wall and made his quote into a printable and have it framed in our living room to remind us daily of this.

Our photo collage wall in our living room.

Our photo collage wall in our living room.

If you love this quote as much as I do, download it for free and hang it in your home. Enjoy :)


Isaac’s Baptism

We just celebrated Isaac’s first anniversary of his baptism. And I realize I never blogged about the occasion. Probably because I was just trying to survive and there was the fact that he literally cried through his entire baptism (not exaggerating)!

Isaac’s poor newborn days were not happy ones. He was really always grumpy and crying, but these days he’s all smiles…mostly :)

Isaac arrived at his baptism sleeping, but when he woke up we all knew it and he wasn’t happy about it!


Crying baby before, during and after the baptism

I love baptisms, but this one did me in. He was little over a month old, so I was just still exhausted and all the crying didn’t help. We got through it though and somehow managed to get a handful of photos.

We came back home to a small, simple celebration in honor of the event.


Finally a calm baby!

Finally a calm baby!

And a year later, we have a happy Isaac…quite the contrast!

Isaac posing with his Bible and crucifix.

Isaac posing with his Bible and crucifix.

My how you have grown in just a year, Isaac! You’ve brought us all great joy and much sanctification :) Love you!

The Death of a Just Man and the Death of a Sinner

While reading the Baltimore Catechism I came across this amazing painting depicting “The Death of a Just Man and the Death of a Sinner”.  Below is the painting with the wonderful explanation between the two deaths that each one of us will face. Will your death be like the just man or that of a sinner?

Death of a Just Man and Death of a Sinner

Death of a Just Man and Death of a Sinner

This picture shows the death of a just man and the death of a sinner. On the top is the just man on his bed of agony, resigned and receiving the last consolations of religion. His guardian angel watches over him and encourages him. His relatives are praying for him. Jesus Christ and the Holy Virgin watch him from heaven and extend their arms towards him. The demon, full of rage and shame, flees to hell.

At the bottom, the dying sinner refuses the priest with contempt. His guardian angel covers his face and departs in sorrow. Before leaving, the priest show shim the crucifix one more time. His relatives are full of dismay and dread. Jesus Christ appears to him and shows him the Cross on which He died to save him and before which He will judge him. The demons surround his bed and wait for the moment when he will breathe his last breath so that they can take possession of his soul.  – The Baltimore Catechism



Splish, Splash for Isaac’s 1st Birthday Bash

Last weekend we celebrated Isaac’s 1st birthday. I had the hardest time thinking of a theme, I blame it on my sleep-deprived brain, but Aunt Kim came through with the splish, splash idea which is perfect because Isaac loves things all water – bath, pool, water table, or water bottles…he’s in and splashing :)

It was quite the intimate affair as many of our usual guests were out-of-town on vacation or have moved away :( But it was a fun time none-the-less! I debated and toiled over what to serve for lunch, but we decided on the easy route and went with ordering in some pizza.

Here are the birthday party details:




For all the boys’ parties, I make the banners, birthday signs and cupcake toppers. I found the pinwheels, paper plates, and napkins at Dollar Tree. The streamers for the backdrop were from Wal-Mart. I’ve never done a backdrop before but I thought it would be a fun and different look to go with the water theme. It only took about 20 minutes to make. I was able to decorate for under $10 as I’ve collected the rest of the items over time from previous parties.


Just like his older brothers, Isaac participated in the traditional Korean Dol ceremony. In Korea, the first birthday is a big deal; the parties there look like a wedding reception. The tradition is to lay out items in front of the birthday child as he or she wears the traditional Korean outfit. The items: string for a long life; money for wealth; pencil for wisdom are the traditional items. We added a computer mouse for a career in technology and a Bible for a vocation to the priesthood.


Isaac picked the mouse first and then went for the pencil…so a very smart techie in the future, just like mommy and daddy :)

Michael wrote a sweet little tribute and prayer to Isaac. A tradition we plan to start for each boy on their special day.


A Consecration to the Infant Jesus on Isaac’s First Birthday

Today Linda asked for me to do a special blessing for Isaac since all our family and friends are here and it was a special occasion so thinking a good idea, I figured to go a little farther and do a full consecration–not an exorcism–but a consecration for Isaac and to whom better than The Infant Jesus.

Dear Isaac,

This past year, you have accomplished much, mainly in the aspects of survival. I not only offer this special consecration for you, we also pray for your guardian angel, whom has worked tirelessly to protect you, or sometimes we are left to wonder, did he protect you? Whether it has been from the numerous tumbles down flights of stairs; or taking not one, but two, shots to the face with the indoor hockey puck (one of those shots which I scored from) to the endless rough attacks by wild animals, that is, animals your bigger brothers pretend to be; such as cheetahs, bears, snakes and hunters. Of course we can’t forget when a dart war breaks out, you always seem to be a target–such as war, innocents always get shot. You have survived and enjoyed the wild life of none other than Sin City, Las Vegas; probably enjoyed a little too much come to think of it. So I would like to now have your brothers recite the Guardian Angel prayer for you now in thanksgiving to your angel for your survival.

Let not your cuteness fool anyone; you have been quite a challenge, dare I say even earning the nick name “Damian and Diablo” a few times.  You sleep in a closet, albeit, cozy, it’s a closet none-the-less. So now, let us take this special moment to offer your consecration to the Infant Jesus for all His blessings to come upon you for this next year and the years to come.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. – Amen.

Sweetest Jesus, under the protection of the Immaculate Virgin, Thy Mother, and of Saint Joseph, today we offer Isaac and is Guardian Angel at Thy Feet and to Thee, Jesus, Who in Thy Nativity are given entirely to us. We consecrate Isaac’ heart, his soul and his whole self in order to love Thee and serve Thee with all his strength.

Our Divine Savior, inspire the hearts of everyone here today an ardent love of Thy adorable Infancy. O Holy Child Jesus, grant that all may know the omnipotence of Thy littleness and humility. Instill Thy simplicity and innocence in our hearts, especially Isaac. Watch over Isaac and continue to protect him and continue to strengthen his Guardian Angel.

O Divine Infant King, have mercy on us and grant us our petitions. Amen.

Isaac,  while sometimes—ok—a  lot of times, I have cursed thy name for that troublesome attitude of yours, know deep down, I don’t mean any of it, because your cuteness always prevails.  As they would say in Ancient Rome—Ego amo te.  I love you.

And then there were gifts! The brothers loved “helping” you open them and by this I mean, they did open all your gifts and showcase to the guests all that you received. Noah made sure I read your cards aloud as well. Your favorite gifts were clothes and a toy truck you had to fight Levi for.


And then the moment all your brothers had been anxiously waiting for…cupcakes!!! I really thought you were going to love cake, but you weren’t too impressed. But ice cream on the other hand, you do enjoy!


Happy 1st birthday to my sweet, non-sleeping, bundle of energy that is you, Isaac! We love you!