Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Quick December Catch-up

Not much to describe here at the Dawson house... but I happened to borrow my parent's camera, which means I have pictures for you.

 Having more children = more laundry. There are an additional 5 piles on the couch in the background.

 We are praying family prayer with the advent wreath, and Jacob sets up all the chairs for us; then he proceeds to spend the entirety of prayer time switching from one chair/lap to another.

John Paul is like a super brother! Seriously, he is such an awesome kid. We are so blessed to have him in our family.
 Micah Man is meeting one milestone after the other, sitting up, crawling, and pulling up has happened in less than one month... not joking. This is a first for us. John Paul and Therese sat up at 5 months then crawled at 8. Jacob sat up at 5 but didn't crawl until 10 months (which was such a beautiful thing.) This guy...
 If you are wondering, these sets of pj's are worn pretty much every night by all three.
 Is this kid cute or what?

 David and I gave another Domestic Church retreat this past weekend... isn't David so handsome? Sigh...

Our friends the Franco's were participants in the retreat and brought their BEAUTIFUL baby Gianna, who is 2 weeks older than Micah. As Michael said, "Well, they've already attended a married couples retreat together...

And the rest of these are just some shots from around our little lives...

 (This one is Father Nathan Long, our dear friend telling the children the story of Queen Ester for the Jesse Tree)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Advent... an invitation to anticipate

It's always somewhat of a difficulty for me... in these days between Thanksgiving and Christmas when we hear and see "ALL CHRISTMAS 'TIL CHRISTMAS" it feels like I have to be very purposeful in avoiding seeing and hearing it. Why do I do this? I do it because there is a VERY big difference in the the weeks BEFORE a baby is born and the weeks AFTER a baby is born... if you've ever been pregnant or awaited the adoption of a child, I am sure you can relate. I do it because there is such grace that comes with accepting God's invitation to anticipate the coming of the Christ-child... the grace comes through the very short, but very powerful season called ADVENT.

Look at the language that comes with Advent: watchful, vigilant, hope, waiting, anticipation, preparation, journey, rejoice, conversion... Come, Lord Jesus (implying, of course, that He's not here YET).

 I have small children who see Santas EVERYWHERE (which is another controversial blog post entirely) lights, music, Grandma got ran over by a reindeer, etc.... but I really value my family recognizing and living the difference between "All Christmas 'til Christmas" and "From Advent to Christmas." I don't just want to "white knuckle" through Advent and never leave the house so that we're not overexposed to too much Christmas. I don't want my children to resent the season of Advent because they don't get to do the stuff other kids get to do. I have to get creative (which does NOT come naturally to me).  So I thought I would share a list of some things (that other people thought of) that we do in our family while I figure out how to joyfully accept this invitation...
  • We wait to put up that Christmas Tree until the 3rd weekend of Advent or "Rose Sunday" as we call it in the Catholic Church (and when the kids ask why our tree is not up yet, I simply answer, "because it's Advent, not Christmas")
  •  We let the children journey toward Christmas using a Jesse Tree, which has ornaments that are specific to the old testament stories and people that lead up to and participate in the birth of Christ..
  •  We pray each night (or almost each night) around the advent wreath with the candle(s) lit for family prayer. We sing "Oh come Emmanuel" instead of the other song(s) we usually sing to end family prayer.
  • We don't listen to Christmas music constantly (sorry LA 929, the Lake), but instead we attempt to be intentional in teaching them the Christmas Carols so that when the Christmas season DOES begin, and all throughout the 12 days of Christmas (it's not just a song, who knew?) we can sing and listen to the songs as much as we want! NOTE: Radio stations will stop playing Christmas music pretty much after Christmas day, so you'll have to provide it yourself.
  • When we see Santa here and there, we remind them that Santa is a nickname for St Nicholas, who WAS A REAL PERSON!
  • The kids actually ask if it's Christmas yet... so we answer them with "It's Advent. Jesus is still in Mary's belly"
  • We keep the decorations to a minimum, save this:
      • After Christmas even we change to statue that is the center of family prayer from the one above to this
        (notice Jesus is out of her belly... the kids go nuts of that)
  •  We go absolutely CRAZY with excitement in the last week of Advent (which follows Rose Sunday).
  • We avoid putting presents under the tree at until Christmas Eve. I notice the kids are usually less focused on "what am I getting for Christmas" when there aren't any presents under the tree.
Why do we do this? Because there is joy and excitement that comes with Anticipation! I LOVE the feeling I get when I hear the readings in mass! It totally prepares us... it's like, "Get ready people. You know that long awaited savior that you and your ancestors have waited for for years and years and years? Well guess what? He's on the way! It's gonna blow your mind! It's gonna be greater that ANYTHING or ANYONE you could ask for or imagine."  We have the awesome advantage of already knowing that the God-man is coming as a humble little baby... on a silent night. AH!! It's so exciting! Please help yourself to some of these advent ideas. I can promise you that it will bring REAL joy on Christmas morning that can last for 12 full days instead of crawling to the Christmas morning finish line where you swear you'll hit someone who even whistles "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas"

God is inviting us... Anticipate!

"Rejoice, Rejoice, Oh Israel. To the SHALL COME Emmanuel"

Monday, November 4, 2013

FINALLY a magazine that's worth reading!!

Verily magazine is a recent publication that a friend is generously letting me read once she's finished. Rarely have I read a magazine cover to cover, and even more amazing, rarely has every article, picture, advertisement be appropriate, tasteful, important, and addressed to me AS I AM, and not AS I SHOULD BE.

The tagline is "For who are are and not who you should be" They do not alter ANY photographs, their articles speak of healthy relationships, modesty, Truth without pushing Christianity (but I'm willing to bet EVERY one of the writers is a strong Christian) and they cover important world issues as well. There's style, grace, relationships, culture, news, it has it all... and without some half-naked woman or hard alcohol on the front cover.

 This is an image from an article about motherhood being the most important job and that your college (and beyond) education is NOT wasted on being a stay-at-home mom.

Imagine a magazine that pushes this idea (left).

This (right) is the picture for an article in their most recent issue about learning your body's natural menstrual cycle, for many reasons other than family "planning".

A quote by Henry Nowen? Seriously, is this magazine too good to be true?!

This article impressed me the most: it addresses the danger of "the villainess mystique" and how this new trend in learning a villain's "back story" leads us (our children) have a blurred understand of good and evil (i.e the problem of relativism). So grateful to see that they are not afraid to address this really scary issue in today's culture.

They even tackle the universal problem of "what is a modest bathing suit" 

I could go on and on. The point is this: There is a magazine that us ladies to read, enjoy, and read life-giving words, receive genuinely feminine fashion tips, and feel like we women are in this together rather than against each other. So grateful for this magazine. Check it out...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Feast of our familiy's Souls in Heaven...

Tomorrow is the feast of All Saints!! Get ready for pictures of St Michael, Mary, JP II, and either Juan Diego or the Holy Innocents (Can't decide if I want to be that dark with a 5 month old).

November 2nd is the feast of all Souls, so I thought I would share this with you...
I thought I would show you something that John Paul drew while we did school today. We were learning addition... like DAY 1 addition. The first time to use the concept in Math, and as an example, I talked about the 6 Dawson family members on earth + the 2 Dawson members in Heaven = 8 members all together in our Dawson family, then he few this...

He said, "It's a picture of you with Agnes and Andrew in your belly. They're dead now, so they're not there. They're in Heaven now."

It's amazing how God blesses us with the precious thoughts of our children...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Domestic Church - www.domesticchurchfamilies.com

On the off chance that anyone who reads the blog and has heard my writing about Domestic Church and is interested in what I'm so fired up about, here is a webinar that was done with David and a few other family life directors around the country...

I should warn you that it 56 minutes, but the first 7 explain how it came to Louisiana (through David) and what being involved actually means.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Jacob is TWO!!

Where to begin? The 2 yr birthdays are always a big deal to me... mostly because I have always had the next baby before "the baby" turns 2. Because our children are all exactly 19 months apart, we have always had a 5 month old during the 2 birthday extravaganza...

So... Jacob Joseph Dawson. Who is he? "Mr. Compassion" I always call him, even though he gets middle named quite frequently for doing something he shouldn't, he is quite to say "saw-wy" with a hug and sloppy kiss. His first year of life was no joke...  but now, he's a fantastic sleeper and eater (except when he's done eating and turns his plate/bowl/cup over or throws the food on the floor). He loves being a big boy and can tell you so, "I bee bowah"

He says many things (now whether they are intelligible requires David's and my presence to tell you that they are actual words). Some of the cutest are "Baw" - Mom , Paw Paw- John Paul, Dacob -Jacob, Bikah - Micah, Beeeeg Qu-uck - Big Truck,  Ma Boo Bah - Magic School bus, etc etc etc

 Chick -Fil-A Cow Appreciation Day - 9 months
A famous face he made for a while- 9 months

Jacob is our sweet sweet boy. He's also been the first one of our babies to have an overnight hospital stay! And as of today, he's the first baby who's choked and needed the Hymleck... yes you read that correctly. He choked and I ran out into the street screaming for help bc my best wasn't working. Then I prayed a Hail Mary for help... out came the chicken.

 Jacob at 5 Months... which is how old Micah Philip is TODAY!

Here's Jacob at 1 Year!

And our sweet little man, big brown eyes, curls in the back. I just can't get enough of him! What a treasure. What a gift. Praise God for our 2 year old Jacob Joseph!

His party planning consisted of a conversation that went something like this: Me: Wanna go to Gatti's for Jacob's birthday? David: that sounds good. Me (about 2 hours after that): wanna call some people to meet us there? David: that'll be fine.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How to do the pumpkin Patch... Dawson style

Go 30 minutes before closing...

 Jacob will be 2 on the 22nd

 Big brother!

 Treasures in a haystack

 And then your battery in the camera dies.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Micah is 4 months!

A lot has happened in this last month... here's a few of them:

David was off on a Monday and when I asked if he could help me with school (which I thought meant to play with the others while I taught), he went to the classroom and started school. He got so much done that we've not had much to do this week... he was/is an excellent teacher! (And that's an icepack on his back; nursing a back injury)

And I couldn't help but capture a rare moment: Jacob "doing school" at the little table I moved into the classroom. He usually is at my leg or trying to get into John Paul's chair while he's working. He was "reading" Bob books.

JD and Rhonda Monlezun (cousins) offered us their super swing set! He said it, "something I mow around now" and they took HUGE leaps and bounds to get it to us (in the rain and the dark while being eaten alive by the mosquitoes). Now... my kids don't come inside anymore, Therese and John Paul have both learned to swing themselves... and Jacob can "swing like a big kid"! Thanks JD and Rhonda!

And our Micah Philip is 4 months old! He's 17 1/2 pounds and 26" long! That makes him 90th percentile in both length and height! Surprised? Neither are we.

According to Dawson tradition, the men feed the first solids...

Sweet Micah Man, as I call him...

He loves his siblings!

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!