Essence of Toddler: What’s Wrong with This Picture

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"What's Wrong With This Picture" activities are among my older kids' favorites. So we especially enjoyed a real-life version when we finally located our unsupervised toddler last night right before bed.(1) newborn baby sister's pacifier compromised--check(2) destruction of electronic equipment in progress--check(3) destruction of self imminent (treacherously high up the stairs and ready to dive)--checkI am Toddler.  … [Read more...]

“Natural Family Planning” and Method Effectiveness

August 2012-Christine Margaret Mary Cheely 034

Refugees from the sympto-thermal method, my husband and I have begun learning the Creighton model for fertility awareness over the last few months. With five healthy children in seven years, as Mary-Alice says so perfectly, we are “drowning in blessings”!Both the sympto-thermal method and the Creighton model rely on one of the same biomarkers to indicate fertility, and both involve daily charting of signs to determine fertile and infertile days of a cycle. In spite of such noticeable sim … [Read more...]

Bikinis and the Male Brain

Check out this video clip in which author Jason Evert discusses a Princeton study on the effect of a bikini-clad woman on the male brain. … [Read more...]

The Builder Boom is Complete

Builder Boomers

Our Littlest Princess arrived on Monday, wrapping up a historic Builder Boom. Seven "Builders" who blog here, and seven new babies, in eight months. Praise God!And we remain both heavy-hearted and blessed to have Katrina's treasure, Anastasia Rose, as the sister and patron in heaven of all our little Boomers.Here's our daughter, surrounded by welcome home gifts from her four siblings: … [Read more...]

The Orphanage

Kids Room

Baby # 5 is arriving in the next couple of weeks... into our 3 small-bedroom house. She will occupy the nursery within a month of her birth. So as of this week, our current baby was ousted from the nursery at the ripe age of 14 months and officially graduated into the already-brimming "kids' room".I think we are entering military-style large family living (a la Yours, Mine and Ours), except without the uniformity. Notice the mismatched bedding that doesn't fit the beds; the girls sleeping … [Read more...]

Princeton professor’s new take on old feminism debate

Have you all read this article, "Why Women Still Can't Have it All", published Wednesday night in The Atlantic? The author, Anne-Marie Slaughter, is our old pal, the former Dean of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School, who just finished a two-year stint under Hillary Clinton in the State Department.This article is at the same time super lengthy and impossible to skim, so just getting through it might challenge your work-life balance--maybe try it with a glass of red wine tonight after the kids … [Read more...]

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

rich and famous

I have noticed a transformation in strangers' interest in our family, now that I'm very visibly 7 months pregnant with #5. When we had 3 under 3, I felt cut down by the "you have your hands full" comments. Yes, jerk, I sure do, why don't you hold the door for us rather than reminding me how overwhelmed I am.These days, though, people really want to talk about it when we're out and about. It's more like: "Wow, are they all yours?" Yes. "Almost 5?" Yep. "Wow. So how is it? I mean they look … [Read more...]

Saturday Morning Sacraments and STDs

Nov 2011-May 2012 1354

We had a grace-filled morning as my 7 year old daughter made her first confession. She is a very pure and also a very scrupulous soul (as I think most oldest daughters are!), so we've long been looking forward to the day when she could experience the lightness and joy of absolution.After morning Mass, a bouquet of roses, and breakfast together at an upscale bagel shop, we made our way into the city to meet our beloved priest and confessor. Our parish is in the 'hood where we made the … [Read more...]

New Aquinas Institute Website

Aquinas

The Aquinas Institute at Princeton--through which most of us Builders discovered or enlivened our Catholic faith during college--has an updated website. Check it out.And the "alumni" section features some of our dearest friends! Inspiring folks they are--babies and vocations galore. Bravo. … [Read more...]

The Call to Hospitality: “Houseguests are Like Fish”

All Christians are called to hospitality--we never know when we're entertaining angels right? My husband and I also really enjoy having dinner guests and houseguests, most of the time, assuming we're not in pre- or post-baby survival mode.But I've been startled a few times at how my patience and generosity begin to run very, very thin when guests stay for more than a couple of nights. Even the dearest friends. I start measuring what I'm giving; I start resenting the extra cleaning and … [Read more...]


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