Faith and Sharing Retreat

Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche, felt everyone, regardless of ability, should be given an opportunity for spiritual growth and expression. Out of that conviction came a retreat and small group experience called Faith and Sharing. In many cities in which … Continue reading

Fashionable Me

Some of Monica’s mom’s friends were planning a fashion show fundraiser. The daughters were going to be the models. Then one of the girls thought of Monica and wanted to include her. The girls had tea at Sally’s house and tried on vintage dresses. Then they all went to The Limited and tried on new clothes. The fashion show was about femininity and elegance and how they have been expressed in our clothing. Also how the clothing of other countries influenced clothes in the United States.

The girls arrived early on the day and practiced walking on the platform.


Then they all got dressed in a special room. There were lots of clothes and accessories. The girls helped each other.


The show started with some very beautiful and very old dresses.

Later there were the dresses from other countries. Monica’s first dress was a dirndl showing the influence of clothing from Austria. (Perfect for that Sound of Music fan!)

After the vintage dresses, everyone had lunch. Monica was seated with the other models, not her mom!


After lunch, the girls modeled the new clothes from the Limited.

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Monica knew just how to stand to show off the dress she was wearing! It was a lot of fun!



2009 – Monica Age 17 – #1 Fan

An excerpt from Christmas Letter 2009

Monica was thrilled to be designated Fairview’s #1 Fan by the school principal at a pep rally this fall. She continues to love high school and all its activities. This fall she helped as a ball-return girl with the JV volleyball team until she had surgery on her hand for a trigger finger. Her classroom now consists entirely of special needs children. So while her academics are now at the right level for her, she misses socializing with her former peers, but she manages, and has a good group of friends throughout the school. This year she and Greg joined our parish youth group and they are both enjoying the activities there. During the summer Monica began to click with the piano after years of random attacks. It is amazing, she now smartly plays some simple classics with great enthusiasm. Another first for Monica was her participating in a special needs dance class. She loves the lessons and the friends.

Fairview Fan

Fairview Fan

Dance Recital

Dance Recital

This year Mary Ellen, Rebecca and Monica went to Florida for our goddaughter, Sarah’s wedding shower. She is Tim’s niece. Later the whole family went down for the wedding. It was beautiful and a great family gathering. The kids were all seated with cousins at the reception and we really enjoyed sitting with Tim’s siblings. We also took time to explore some remote sites in Florida.

Tug of War Team

Tug of War Team

2007 – Monica Age 15 – Braces, Siblings, Thyroid

An excerpt from the Christmas letter 2007

As we share this wonderful Christmas season, we are well aware of the many blessings we have been given and how fast time is passing by. Rebecca attended her last Notre Dame Football game as a student, John is getting too big for our laps, and now I can’t even call my mother to tell her I got home safely. So we are savoring this precious time together. We are savoring each bite of Mom Jakubisin’s nut roll shared with Mom and Dad J over a pot of tea. We are treasuring each meal that all the kids are here at the table. We are even delighting in Monica’s singing of the Christmas carols and Gabe’s and Dan’s long legs taking up the whole living room when the boys are playing Monopoly.

Our children have continued to fill our lives with adventure. Monica began 2007 with our first broken bone. She taught us a lot about compassion and cheerfulness through the winter on crutches and through the summer with a palate expander and braces on her teeth.

Gregory is a great brother to Monica and John and has starting doing some babysitting since he took the Red Cross course last spring. It won’t be long before he is also taller than Mary Ellen. John has taken off with his reading and now, like his siblings, often has his nose in a book. He had his First Reconciliation this month and now begins preparation for First Holy Communion in May. He is also playing basketball and helping Monica with her homework.

Monica loves 8th grade and the social events like the pep rallies, bake sales and school dances. Her education continues to challenge us to pay attention and make sure she is getting what she needs, but she loves her teachers and they love her. She has been on Thyroid medication for a few months now and we know it was right because she is so much more alert and involved. She is preparing for Confirmation now and has asked Rebecca to be her sponsor.

A Sample Note from Monica’s aide:
Monica had a great day. She has been telling us about your upcoming trip to Florida and Grandma. She did a great job on her current event. She is quite a star. She was very proud to show everyone her merit award. Mr. K took the class to the Gym and Monica shot 31 baskets. She knew her spelling words today. A + + She was ready!

2006 – Monica’s Aide Sends a Note

A note from Monica’s classroom aide, Sept 27, 2006

Today in Gym our new student had a fainting spell and an ambulance was called. We were playing softball outside, so all the children watched what was going on. When the ambulance came, Monica knelt down on the football field, blessed herself and said a prayer for the boy. How awesome is that?

2002 – Monica Age 10 – Third Grade

An excerpt from Christmas Letter 2002

Monica’s eyes are also glowing with the love of God. Her inclusive education experience allowed her to participate in the regular parish First Holy Communion preparations and Mass. She is so happy to attend Mass and receive our Lord. She is now coaching Greg, telling him that he too will soon share in this miracle. Monica’s third grade teacher loves her and Monica is learning so much, despite constantly stretching the rules of behavior.

2001 – Monica Age 9 – First Sacraments

An excerpt from the Christmas Letter 2001

Monica loved the routine of summer school every morning and the boys rode bikes to swimming lessons. We also learned a little more time management with Gabe cutting three lawns and Rebecca babysitting 2 mornings a week and doing yardwork/housework for another woman unable to do it herself. Gabe and Dan attended Boy Scout Camp for a week and Dan attended a leadership camp in Pennsylvania. Rebecca was a counselor this year at the one-week girls camp she had attended in Maryland on Chesapeake Bay. I did laundry.

Second grade is an important year for preparation to receive the sacraments and we are so pleased with the special-ed religion classes offered for Monica. We’ve been working on Examination of Conscience with her and just like our older kids did, she reports first the faults of the next youngest sibling! Monica may not always be able to express it, but we can tell she has a wonderful relationship with God and we are so happy she’ll be celebrating First Holy Communion in May with her class. We’re very happy with her regular schoolwork too. Her teacher makes modifications to the classwork so that Monica is challenged to work hard and yet the work is within reach. Monica gets along great with her classmates.