Sunday, January 31, 2016

2016 Week 5 In Review

 The Week in Pictures:
On Saturday we took a family trip to explore the Waterbury area where the house we are looking to buy is and came across a sign pointing us to the Von Trapp Family Lodge.  It was beautiful and a fun side trip - who knew the Von Trapp family settled in Vermont!

After stopping at the Von Trapp Family lodge we decided to do some taste testing.  Can Vermont chocolate and cheese be compared to Wisconsin's?  Our panel of objective judges stopped at the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory and then the Cabot Cheese Factory also located in Waterbury to sampl the Vermont versions.

The results: 2 favor Wisconsin cheese, 2 Vermont cheese & 2 choose "both".  All say the chocolate is delicious in both places.  
Phil took the kids to the "North Beach" today (Sunday) since we are enjoying un-January like temperatures in the 40's and 50's.  Here's a group shot of the kids at the beach.

For fun - here's a hello from each child:

John Paul -  Hi everyone, I'm getting big and moving around, just not always in the direction I want to go.  I love playing with my brothers and sister but especially love singing and dancing with them.  My favorite way to get around is on my little car.  
Here's Thomas - He loves being outside, and has discovered a love for "graphic novels" especially Tiny Titans from the Library.  He also enjoys home school and will grab a white board and ask me to give him a word to spell like the big kids.  The only 2 letters he can actually write are "T" and "o" but this doesn't deter him from spelling words like dinosaur and loquacious in his own script.  
Luke is our thoughtful 5 year old - he is a diligent student, and definitely our auditory learner.  The Catholic Schoolhouse memory work CD's are perfect for him and he will often correct me if I sing one of the songs incorrectly.  He enjoys cooperative games - the type were everyone works together and can often be found playing a game by himself against his "mind" so he doesn't have to lose to a sibling.    
Miriam sends her greetings - she has just finished reading her first chapter book all by herself: "Charlotte's Web" and loves to sit quietly and read and is especially looking forward to her First Communion day.

Hello from William:  He loves to read the comics, build with legos and take his daily run with dad. He is doing a great job at serving daily Mass and we are looking forward to hearing the results of his evaluation at the Stern Center tomorrow morning right after Morning Mass.

A view of the Adirondacks mountains over Lake Champlain with Luke in the foreground. 
The toy cars lined up for battle - the kids have been lining their toys up into two armies lately and then commencing to fight.  Perhaps the influence of reading Narnia, the Lord of the Rings and the Redwall books aloud together?

It was a busy week for Simple Saints - I finished painting 30 saints to send to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help this week.  They went out on Friday:-)

Other Updates/Highlights from the week:

1. We are in the process of making an offer on the home in Waterbury.  Our realtor has done some preliminary conversations/ research with the other realtor and we will likely be signing an official initial offer tomorrow.  So the let negotiations begin - perhaps we'll have more news to report next week.

2. Phil's weekly Encounter Video will now be available on the Diocese of Burlington's facebook page the feed of which is also posted to the Diocesan Website.

We continue to be grateful for the many blessings God continues to shower upon our family!  You are all in our prayers - please continue to pray for us!

-The Lawsons

Sunday, January 24, 2016

2016 Week 4 In Review

The Week in Pictures
 A glimpse into our schoolroom here in our temporary home...
 The view out the window - that is Christ the King school and the kids love playing with the school children after school.  Also, Christ the King Parish is in that building - so what could be more convenient than walking across the parking lot to a daily 8:30am Mass!  We couldn't ask for a nicer "temporary home" and we are very grateful for the use of the rectory until we find our new Vermont home.
 An evening sunset view out the window :-)
A peek into our classroom on a "typical" homeschool day.  Luke's desk and work space.
 Miriam at work at her desk.
 Thomas hard at work as well :-)
 An evening game of chess - we miss Green Bay Chess club but are enjoying the seeds planted by attending!
 A glimpse into the Atrium at our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd - this is Miriam's group during their presentation on looking things up in scripture.
 A special presentation for William and Miriam to show them how to prepare the cruets for Mass. 
 Thomas learning how to do a new "work."
 Luke learning how to do one of the "works."
 Luke has a presentation while Thomas is hard at work at the table.  I need this to happen in my homeschool more often :-)
 Family Game night playing the Settlers of Catan.

 The kids had fun making things for their stuffed animals this week - Wolf got a super cape and Elephant has a new saddle.
 Miriam made a pie for dessert and she and Thomas are decorating the pie with chocolate chips.  Yes - that's William in the background wearing his fake teeth.
 Miriam's pie.

 Luke's "Bat Mobile" made from his legos.
Hello from John!

A couple more "stuffed animal accessories". 

Highlights from this week:

1. We have found a potential "home" to buy and are praying a novena to see if this is where God wants us to be.  Prayers for things to go smoothly in the purchasing process would be appreciated (for this house or whatever house we end up with).

2. William had his 2nd day of language/verbal evaluations and we look forward to meeting with the evaluators and getting their feedback sometime next week.

3. There is actually a Benedictine Monastery in Vermont and Phil was able to visit it when he went up to visit the Northeast Kingdom(the Northeastern part of Vermont) this week.  I'm looking forward to taking the kids to visit sometime soon.

4.Phil's been giving a weekly video update about his work here in Vermont and it will soon be available on the Diocesan website.

God is so good to our family and we continue to be grateful for His many blessings!  Know that our prayers are with you!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

2016 Week 3 in Review

The week in pictures...
 We participated in the Vermont March for Life from Mass at St. Augustine's Church to the Capitol Building in Montpelier.  It's the first time I've actually been inside a capitol building and only the second time I've been to a State's Capital.
 The day was beautiful!  Warm for this time of year and snowing beautifully.   It was a nice walk with the kids down the streets of Montpelier and a great gift to be able to share in this witness for life.

 Thomas is modelling our science experiment for Catholic Schoolhouse this week having to do with the four states of matter and the density of different liquids.
The kids were just having fun tonight- so here's an action shot :-)

Highlights from the week:

Miriam's 1st Communion date is set for April 19th - her birthday.  She'll be doing her preparation with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd group which meets about a half hour north of where we are living but she is the only homeschooler in the group who will be making her first communion so we asked our pastor if he'd be willing to allow her to have her First Communion on a weekday - her birthday -  at our parish and he was willing.  That way the people we've been going to daily Mass with can rejoice in her first communion as well.

We had a nice meeting with the homeschool group this week and a fun play date with new friends who have kids our children's ages.  Miriam also had her "form B" evaluation at a teacher's resource and William had a more extensive session at the Stern Center.  I'm excited to have some support and extra resources as we work with his dyslexia.  I was impressed with how thorough their questions were and how they tailored the evaluation for William based on my comments.  He'll have 1 more day of testing in the language/ verbal area and then I look forward to hearing their report.

A neat tidbit about the Diocese of Burlington, which covers the entire state of Vermont, is that the first Bishop had a great devotion to St. Anne and the first Bishop of Burlington, Bishop Louis DeGoesbriand, consecrated himself and the whole diocese to St. Anne as well as the Immaculate Conception.  I was excited to learn this as St. Anne is my confirmation saint.

Finally, two more Simple Saints are painted and almost completely ready to go St. Andre Besset and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

2016 Week 2 In Review

Happy Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord! 
We concluded our celebration of the Christmas season with French silk pie (since the ingredients make 2 pies :-)

Our first week of school in 2016 went well!  It's amazing how moving to a new state and living in a temporary home (read most of your personal belongings are in boxes and will be for the next 3 months) has a bit of craziness/chaos involved.  There is still much to do and each week is an adventure but at least now I can look a week ahead at a time rather than taking it day by day or hour by hour.  We remain grateful for the many blessings God has showered on our family and are in awe as we watch His hand at work in our lives. 

Here are the highlights from this past week:

John turned 9 months old today!
 Favorite things - playing with my brothers and sister, being tickled and riding on my little car.   I can stand and scoot backward.  I'm not quite cruising or crawling yet but I can make my car go forward and love it when my siblings push the car really fast.

We completed week 11 of Catholic School House including the art project and science experiment(I had to order the science and art books so we took December off from CSH.  I really miss our Co-op in Green Bay - it's a lot more work to do it on my own without the other moms - but still fun and worth it.   I'm hoping some other homeschoolers will be interested in CSH for next year.

Learning about homogeneous and heterogeneous - washable marker is hetergeneous
Enjoying a snack while checking out the results of our chromatography experiment

Luke got a new tent for Christmas and the kids camped out this weekend.  We made a "camping" special dessert - smores in the microwave :-)

The kids played nicely with their toy animals - all 5 together without fighting or tears ....well at least for a little while....

I was able to have a night out for a women's Bible Study reflecting on the Visitation and learned a few things - I love Scripture studies!  The study is done by Dr. Edward Sri at the Augustine Institute and it was excellent - I really enjoyed the materials.  Cool insights from the study:  Elizabeth's greeting of Mary "Blessed are you among women" echoes the praise of two other women in the Bible Jael (Judges 5:24-26) and Judith (Judith 13:18) at the moment when they crushed the heads of their the seed of Mary will crush the head of Satan (Gen. 3:15).  The Ark of the Covenant spent 3 months in the hill country before entering the city of David just as Mary spent 3 months in the hill country with Elizabeth.  (read Lk 1:39-43,56 & 2 Samuel 6:2, 9-16) and there was more :-)

We looked at many houses this and are still looking for the right house that fits our price range, size needs with a nice yard and isn't more than a 30 minute drive...

Life is good and we love this time with our little ones!  May God bless you and your families!