Sunday, September 4, 2016

Weeks 35 & 36 In Review

August 22 to September 3rd in pictures: 


School has officially started!  
(Thanks to Angel for taking this picture on our first day of school!)
I've always wanted to have uniforms for our home school "Sancta Familia Academy" and this year it worked out to have them. I'm so excited. I have to admit I just love seeing kids in uniforms. 






 We enjoyed a morning at our local Fairfax Falls with the Gebeau's while they were here.

I was able to attend one of Phil's presentations - it was great to be able to hear his presentation - at least as much of it as John allowed.

 Soccer is in full swing - this was Luke's first evening practice.

 While William was at soccer, Miriam and Luke got to participate in a "spy night" at our local library- they had to break a secret code, make a disguise and get through this tricky obstacle course without setting off the alarms.

Here are some classroom in action shots.  Above is our daily school week schedule.
 Luke and Thomas in their school desks.
The older two hard at work.
Even John has his space in the school room. 

Here is some science in action.  William found a monarch butterfly caterpillar on the milkweed near our home and we dug out our butterfly container to watch the transformation.
Sure enough, within a couple days it formed this chrysalis

We then got to witness the butterfly emerge!
Here's a  picture just before we set if free.   


We've had some beautiful weather - here's a picture of in the woods.  Can you find Luke?

 Here are the youngest two just hanging out in the wagon.
 We have a sunflower in our garden that is 11 feet tall!

William caught a fish while fishing with dad on Saturday.



These little saints are now at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help ready for Mother's Teresa Canonization today. St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!!


What we're up to: 

Our first 2 weeks of school have gone well! We have settled into our new routine - as much as this is possible with 5 small children - and are enjoying the challenges and joys of homeschooling. Now if I can just get the toddler to play quietly all day....

We'll be attending a conference in New York on Sept. 25th - Inspire Called to Love. It's completely free including child care and lunch. I'm really excited because they have some pretty amazing speakers Bishop Robert Barron and George Wiegel and our own Bishop Coyne.  

Just a few short weeks until our trip to San Diego! We are so excited to see family in San Diego in October! 

And the big news: We again stand in awe at God's plan for our family as He guides each step of our way. As many of you know, Phil felt called to discern the diaconate about 6 years ago and entered into formation in La Crosse Diocese.  God then called us out of central Wisconsin and has led us an unexpected but joyful journey which has taught us to surrender completely to His plan and see the beauty of trusting completely in His loving care. Again, in Green Bay, Phil entered into formation just before God called us to move to Vermont where Phil as part of his interview process mentioned to Bishop Coyne that he felt called to the diaconate and asked about formation here. Bishop Coyne, to our surprise, joy, and awe at God's plan, has decided to ordain Phil to the diaconate on February 11, 2017 - the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. He will be receiving the rite of candidacy on September 15th (Our Lady of Sorrows) and then continue with preparations for this holy sacrament which will join the graces of ordination to the ministry God has called him to through his work in the diocese for the Church and her work of evangelization. Praise the Lord for His many blessings! Please pray for our family as we continue this journey of service under Our Lady's guidance. You are each in our daily prayers!  


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Weeks 33 & 34 In Review

August 10- August 21st in Pictures: 
We were able to have our shrine blessed this weekend!  Our Pastor Fr. Henry Furman came over to bless it and friends Jean and Fern Rainville were also present for the blessing since most of the rocks Phil used to build the shrine came from their home.  

 A travelling exhibit/ movie about the red tail squadron was at our local Air Force base - so we were able to go on base to watch the movie and see the exhibit.

 A few of the kids made it into our local paper in pictures of the mini-renaissane faire at the library.
 Fun with magnets
 Luke's Lego creations have been getting more detailed.  Here's a super hero play ground.
 Hanging out in the tent with Dad.  Luke made a tent "academy" for Thomas where he taught Thomas to write and sword fight with Dad's help.
 John's been having a rough couple of weeks due to teething.  Mass isn't his favorite part of the day.
 Marshmallow creations
 Some of our gladiolas bloomed this week!
 A picture of the completed shrine.  Phil built the shrine, I added the rock rosary. 
We had a fun summer play date/ picnic with some of the local homeschooling families on Friday.  
I preserved some of our harvest of zucchini in baked goods and shredded for the freezer.  


Our friends the Gebeaus arrived for a visit!  They traveled all the way from WI with a 5 week old and now we have 10 children in our home all having a great time!
 A group shot of all 10 children.   Angel teaches 6th grade religious ed at the parish Phil worked at for 11 years in Steven Point and began around the same time Phil started as DRE/youth minister.  
 We are ready for school to begin this week - the classroom is ready.  
The lesson plans are done.  Watch for 1st day of pictures in our next update!

Praise the Lord for His many blessings!  Our prayers are with you, please remember us in yours!



Monday, August 8, 2016

Weeks 31 & 32 In Review

July 25th to August 8th in Pictures:
One of the things we enjoy most about summer is time at the park!

While William finished up his second week of woodworking we spent a few mornings at the park in Essex Junction.  The kids had fun trying out the skate park on their scooters.

On  July 25th 2004, Phil asked me to marry him and in honor of the 12 anniversary of that special day he gave me a dozen roses. :-)
Our family pictures are hung!

 Our Library had a mini, kid-friendly Renaissance fair.  The kids loved it!
 The children were able to practice jousting and sword fighting.

 We said good bye to our Chinese exchange students.  We miss them already!
 The library had its grand finale for the summer reading program with a musical puppet show, raffle drawing and cake.
 Thomas won a Curious George book and stuffed animal.
William won a brand new bike - the grand prize!
Luke won a free ice cream cone.  It was a fun day!

 Miriam was able to participate in a young producers workshop where she got to participate in the making of a game show.  
Each of the children had a turn as game participant, show host and camera person as well.
 Luke and Thomas enjoyed a game of chess while we waited for Miriam.
John loves the kids area at the library especially the lady bug pillow and puppet theater.
The sandbox is worth it's weight in gold to me for the many happy hours our children have spent digging happily.
Luke using our new peg doll Mass kit - we participated in a swap on-line to get all the pieces.  He loves it!

The kids did the "Fairfax Egg Run"
Phil is working on our family shrine for the Holy Family - this time we are building it using stones from the area.
I just finished another group of saints - they are going to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in time for the Assumption Day Mass and Procession.

Father Harlow came over for dinner on Sunday - one reason this post is a day late. 

Family News: 
The past two weeks have flown by in a whirlwind.  We had a wonderful time with our Chinese exchange students and were sad to say goodbye - yet they are in our family's prayers!

Phil is getting ready to do a number of presentations all throughout the diocese beginning tomorrow on "Starting the conversation on the New Evangelization."  He's also been working hard on our family shrine - it takes a lot of rocks to build a shrine & some are quite heavy!  

We have 12 meat chickens which are growing quite well.    

The garden is doing well - my kitchen is being taken over by zucchini...now I just need some more time to shred it and freeze the amazing broccoli crop we have as well.  

Luke is our first child to learn to ride a two-wheeler in 1 day.  Phil took him to practice on Saturday and he was off and riding after 1 short lesson.  Thomas is our first 3 year-old to be able to pedal on a large two-wheeler with training wheels so we are now enjoying some family bike rides.

William began soccer tonight, Miriam begins next Tuesday and Luke the following Saturday. We will then have one child at practicing every night of the week until mid-October with games on Saturdays. This is a first for us and it's a little intimidating.  We'll see how it goes.  

We have really enjoyed the benefits of our local public libraries this summer.  While each small town has their own independent Library and programs, 26 of them have joined together to allow people on a "home card" system to check out books from any of these libraries.  Every library has it's own set of passes to Vermont museums, and state Parks that you can check out for the day and so get in for free. They have some really neat summer programs including chess club, Lego club, a gymnastics workshop, a young producer's workshop, archaeology, a summer kid-friendly Mini-Renaissance Faire and other really fun summer science workshops.  The summer reading program was great as well and every child got a t-shirt for reading 10 books as well as other small prizes and 3 of our 5 children won grand prizes including a really great bike for William.  We are so grateful for this great community resource!

William finished his final "Stern Center" tutoring session and is doing well.  We will be continuing his instruction at home with the Barton program, using the Stern Center as a resource as necessary. 

On the school front, the lesson plans are almost ready, our classroom is almost ready and we are slated for a start date of August 22nd.  We are looking forward to the next school year!

The tickets to San Diego are purchased.  Now we just need to work out all of the details.  :-)

John Paul has an almost complete set of toddler teeth as he has his molars and is finishing up with his canines.  We'll be grateful when the teeth are fully in and he an sleep a bit better at night. Between the teeth and an ear infection sleep hasn't been as plentiful as we'd like it to be. 

Praise the Lord for His many blessings!  The days are full with joy and the challenges inherent in raising five little people with their own ideas and personalities.  We are so grateful for this time even as we pray for wisdom and strength and maybe a bit more sleep.  Our prayers are with you - may God bless you and your families abundantly as we seek to grow ever closer to Our Lord.  Please keep us in your prayers!