St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Friday, July 22, 2011

A little bit of the past

This link takes you to my great uncle Daniel C. Kavanaugh (pictured here); his sister Myra, who became a Reynolds was my great grandmother.  I can see how my father resembled the Kavanaugh side of the family as he aged.

Scroll down to Kavanaughs to read about the family in Nebraska once they settled there from Ireland.

Lazy hazy days of summer

I am so excited about this:   History Timeline/Notebook from Home School in the Woods…….it’s just so beautifully done.  I’m thrilled to use it this year with Michael and Mark.  And I also received the Primary Language Lessons in a workbook form listed in the same post I linked to above. It is a nice book that Mark will definitely benefit from.

In the meantime, while day dreaming about the school season ahead, I am preparing for our VBS. Today, while it’s pert near 100 degrees out, I’m lacing yarn through name tags and organizing craft materials.  This weekend our team meets for the last time before our VBS begins on August 1st.  This year we are doing Parade Around the Our Father with St Joseph of Cupertino.  Our wonderful young Deacon Jonas will portray the saint a bit for the children in the lesson’s station.  I think the carnival theme will be nice and different for the children this year.  We recreated Rome one year – catacombs and all, and last year, the high seas, so I’m ready for a parade!

Staying indoors and staying cool….working on patience and trust, letting go and letting God…….

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Saints Shine Like the Sun

What we find ravishing in a small child is his transparency. He attracts us without our focusing on ourselves. In some way, he makes an infinite presence tangible to us and binds us again to the divine Source like a sacrament of light. For how many fathers were the tears welling up in their eyes in the presence of their grace-filled child the divine dew that made prayer rise in their heart.
At certain times, the child, in truth, enlightens and purifies us by making us permeable to this mysterious flux which invades the being in a state of openness. Works of art, in their own way, produce a similar effect, like everything that is truly transparent here below.
The proud hurt us because they are opaque. They lock up everything within themselves and imprison us within their own limitations.
Saints free us by allowing a divine light to shine within themselves. In each one of us there is a mystical vocation, most of the time unaware of itself. Our personal self crushes us and we need to be “healed” of ourselves. We are truly happy only when we lose sight of ourselves and disappear into what is beyond ourselves. We would like to have our bondage point in someone else. We are obscurely worked upon by this aspiration which drives saints to identify themselves with God by placing their true self in Him: “And now, it is no longer I who live, God is the one who lives in me.” That is, basically the motto for all of them and it is also ours inasmuch as we discover again this childlike quality of the soul beatified in the Gospel.
Father Maurice Zundel
(+1975) Swiss mystic, poet, philosopher, liturgist and author

St. Arsenius the Great - Saints & Angels - Catholic Online

St. Arsenius the Great - Saints & Angels - Catholic Online

Monday, July 18, 2011

Timeline ideas from this great little place:

Home School in the Woods

I’m excited to have found some wonderful timeline producing products there. for our history/geography studies.  We have failed miserably through the years at keeping our history/historical figure timelines.  This time, I think we might do much better as it is far more simplified, and looks like it will be beautiful.  I’m getting the Record of Time notebook – just beautiful, and the Creation to Christ figures as my 7th grader will be studying Rome and Greece this school year.  I purchased the Artists activity lapbook making one for my 2nd grader, as he isn’t into the history as much at this point, just starting with the “known”, family history, and moving into early American history by 3rd grade. 

These great products have a lot of potential.  If you bought the entire history on CD rom, you could easily integrate your church study/history/geography and probably art/literature together.  What an interesting thought?  Knowing how much my autistic son loves books and books he creates, I could see a large binder system of this in his future…….


Sunday, July 17, 2011

What’s in my mind these days….

Summer is just whizzing by and has consumed me with helping my daughter prepare for college, vacation bible school, swim lessons and library programs and an attic re-modeling project.  In my spare time, er ahem *cough *cough….I’ve been researching everything I can in regard to high functioning autism due to my 7 yr old son’s diagnosis last Fall of 2010, and I have discovered some awesome, amazing wonderful people out there in the world who call themselves geeks, techies, and non-socials…some are non-verbal, some are verbal to a point and not very social and some are just well, non-conventional, and some are definitely verbal.  All made in the image of God, that’s what my mind and heart reminds me.  There is such talent and gifts hiding within these special people and God saw fit to bless us with two such special children, one who suffers from Obsessive Compulsion Disorder  and the other who is high functioning autistic.  Both have beautiful minds and we are working on cultivating all that can be tapped within them through broad social interaction and experiences outside of family, and broad classical curriculum, so the beauty of God’s ages – Salvation history both before Christ and after Christ can be theirs to know and cherish.  Thus I’m working on their curriculum with some special choices here and there to develop their special gifts.  Michael has great analytical gifts and we will work on some special reading comprehension with him to cultivate those skills more and Mark needs better critical listening and analytic skills to develop so we will work on narration; story-telling, re-telling (narrating back), and writing skills.  I see great things for these two special guys as we embark on a new school year ahead.  While other children may excel physically and in special sports or activities, these two will just have to excel intellectually and spiritually as their comfort zones still remain there for the time being. 

So, lately here’s the short list of what I’ve been reading and watching:

A Mother’s Courage, Talking Back to Autism (DVD, 2010)

Temple Grandin (HBO made for TV movie, 2010)

Twin: A Memoir, by Allen Shawn (book)

The Way I See It, by Temple Grandin (book)

A couple books for children to understand about Autism/Aspergers

All Cats Have Asperger’s Syndrome, by Kathy Hoopman

Waiting for Benjamin, A Story about Autism, Alexandra Jessup Altman

I am still very compelled to just continue our homeschooling without connecting with the local school system, although the Ohio Autism Scholarship is within our reach if I do so.  Still, I feel that the benefits we receive from the homeschool community are far greater at this point, where both these boys can connect socially and with enrichment courses, and gym weekly and I can be present to help especially Mark make the proper social interactions where he is deficient due to his autism.  Speech-language therapy and functional language therapy may be a whole other matter, and that we can take care of privately as insurance will cover so many sessions.  Then I am the one left with the extra work and indeed I am preparing myself both with knowledge and spirit.  I feel the spiritual preparation is more important by far than the information I need to apply.  And so I continue to pray and contemplate and place this situation I find myself with homeschooling special needs children in God’s hands.  As I received counsel from our pastor recently regarding my state in life and this challenge that faces me, he was more than convinced that without weeds, without antagonists, without the bad among the good that we strive for, we would have no saints, and we are all called to be saints….something I will ponder a while longer as I strive harder to “trust” in God’s design for us. 

I discovered that the old board game: Operation, is perfect for Mark to develop better fine motor skills – he loves it and is intrigued by it, and the buzzing doesn’t bother him at all, but does challenge him to try more carefully with those little tweezer implements,

And I just ordered this sweet little curricula for Mark’s language arts this year, as suggested by a friend who also has an autistic son:  Primary Language Lesson, Emma Serl, only this format is spiral bound to lay open flat and workbook form so the student can write right on the pages (not a separate notebook which is a frustrating step for some autistic children).

These two resources bring a smile to this mom’s face :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Virtual Nerd

It’s good to know it’s there if you need it!   Looking ahead for extra help with Algebra – looks very clear and good.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Project

Our attic project is shaping up.  It’s taken more time than we had hoped, but should be completed in approximately two weeks, maybe three.  Probably just in time for our oldest son to start get settling in for his third year of college.  Part of the attic will serve as his art studio, as he just needed more space to spread out.  It just made sense to give him the entire attic as his art studio and bedroom.  His old room will become our bedroom, finally after a time of mom and dad being room-less in this house.  Still, it was worth the sacrifice and wait, as our house has been long paid for and we are trying to live as economically as possible. 
I will post more updated photos as my daughter uploads them later.  All the electric and insulation is complete; drywall and finishing touches are next.  I have old newsprint Mickey Mouse wallpaper, and some traditional stripe wall paper arriving soon, and I have been sealing up the wooden stair case (10 steps long), and the landing of the attic for a nice entry way look.  It’s hard to believe this attic, has a full walk up staircase and is approximately 436 square feet. 
Old drywall, yuk!! glad to see it go!             Drywall gone
atticolddrywall                     atticdrywallgone
Chimney sealed & painted                        Stairs leading up to spaciousness
atticchimneypainted                         atticstairs
I will post more current pics when I return later today, as my daughter gets them uploaded, such as fully insulated, and stairs sealed with polyurethane.
-------Here's More:

New Insulation and couple views

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A special day for a special gal

This lovely young lady, my only daughter, is turning 18 tomorrow.  I can’t believe it myself, it seems like just yesterday I was 11 days overdue with her, (but who was counting?) 95 degree weather. I was swollen and dehydrated.  I walked around our town’s homecoming festival, all evening and was still out and about at this same time 10 pm on July 6th. My husband was at my side, and my parents had our only other child, our firstborn son, just a toddler staying with them, sensing that it was very hot out, a Friday night, and I was well, 11 days overdue.  Something was bound to happen!  And indeed it did…..but not until 5 a.m on the 7th.  I wasn’t at all rested but awoke from a light sleep in labor….naw…..went back to sleep….after doing this well into about the 7 o’ clock hour, I decided to wake my husband and tell him, I think this is it.  We called ahead to the doctor, who said, hmmm, I think this is it too, so don’t take too long, but you can shower and get ready and head into the city.  It seemed to all happen so fast after that….I did hurry along…I felt pretty miserable pretty quick and on the ride to the hospital I was quite sure I was going to have the baby in the car.  Well, I managed to not do that, and forty minutes after arrival, we had our Jamie Catherine handed to us all dewy and overdue…overdone red skin and black hair with tints of light brown here and there.  And so our daughter was born.  Not short of a miracle this one, her middle name given for the patron of St. Catherine of Laboure whom I had solicited for help during this pregnancy.  A couple months into the pregnancy we were told I had partial placenta previa, and if it didn’t correct itself just enough, just enough for the placenta to clear the birth canal, I’d need to undergo a C-section.  I was okay with that.  However, by 5 months pregnant I was bleeding and put on bedrest, and it happened again around 7  months, and I kept the prayers going, as if my hands were held up to the heavens in constant prayer like that of Moses in battle….So, not only did the placenta “just clear” and I mean “just clear” the birth canal enough that I was okayed for a normal birth, she became overdue.  Incredible, when I consider I nearly lost this one around 5 months and again at 7.  Does God work in mysterious ways?  I’d say. 
So, with this special young lady in my life turning 18 tomorrow, around 9:24 a.m, my gratefulness to  St Catherine’s strong intercession for her namesake, and my praise to God Almighty for his great and glorious deeds….all these years later, God is ever so worthy of praise and awe. 
Happy 18th birthday Jamie Catherine!

Every Autism Mom is a Star: But there is only one Eustacia Cutler

Every Autism Mom is a Star: But there is only one Eustacia Cutler

Monday, July 04, 2011

Something new I’m looking into…

I don’t know much about it yet or how it works, but I’m looking into it for Mark primarily due his autism – possibly Michael due his OCD and sensory issues.  Just sharing a little bit of it here directly from their website:


“Through its innovative Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) Program, RDIconnect gained a worldwide reputation for designing family-based programs. Currently, RDIconnect provides programs for an entire range of developmental difficulties.

Our Mission

Different meanings of the word "relationship" in Relationship Development Intervention provide a gateway to understanding our company mission. We are dedicated to developing tools and training programs that empower parents and helping professionals in the following ways:

  • Empowering family relationships, so parents can act as the primary guides of their children's mental, social and emotional development
  • Creating powerful learning relationships, that seamlessly integrate home and school, teachers, parents and students in a productive learning environment
  • Building effective minds, through carefully understanding each learner's unique bio-psycho-social needs
  • Designing a dynamic curriculum that engages learners in productive cognitive challenges that stimulate neural integration
  • Fostering worldwide, online community relationships of parents and professionals, dedicated to furthering a common mission
    Our Philosophy

    The good news: Brains change throughout life!

    The brain is a dynamic entity. Neurologists agree that the brain develops the potential for rapidly making different kinds of connections as needed, based on the types of challenges presented. Through careful, systematic remediation, we can help the brain develop more normally.

    Remediation implies that we are embarked on a long-term marathon, not a sprint; a systematic process of correcting deficits to the point where they no longer constitute obstacles to reaching one’s potential and attaining a quality of life. Remediation provides children a second chance to master areas where developmental disability would otherwise lead to life-long marginalization and failure. When we remediate, we purposely focus on the person’s greatest areas of weakness. On a neural level, remediation in RDI means deliberately developing the brain’s capacity for integration and productive neural collaboration.

    Parents can learn to guide their children's neural and mental development. If you encounter obstacles to functioning as an effective guide for your child you are provided with support and training that is carefully staged and tailored to you, your level of readiness, learning style, unique culture and your real-life circumstances.

    Our programs provide a step-by-step, manageable approach for those engaged on the front lines of helping children of all ages develop the powerful mental processing and sophisticated neural collaboration needed to succeed in 21st century environments. All of our programs are designed so each learner can begin and progress at his or her own level of readiness.”

  • To learn more about this follow the link:

    Friday, July 01, 2011

    New discussion group…

    ….this is a newly launched discussion group for moms who are Catholic-home-schooling their High-functioning Autism/Asperger’s syndrome children.  Already it has been a great support and resource!  A friend on the ModgFamilies loop* and myself founded the group this last week to meet the needs of mom’s with this awesome challenge.

    Follow the link for more details:

    Catholic Homeschooling for Aspergers

    *Mother of Divine Grace Homeschool Support Group