Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Gabriel met Santa and Mrs. Claus for the first time today.  He behaved wonderfully and is enjoying his first Christmas season so much that he has decided to stop sleeping well at night.  That could also be because are at my parent's house, so he is in a different bed and a different room.

Kristi and I hope all of you have a joy-filled Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Almost 7 Months and A MANIAC!

Here are a few pictures of some crazy things I have witnessed lately.

Our sweet baby is growing into a crazy boy. This guy can not sit still. For example, yesterday I was visiting my friend Katherine and when getting ready to leave, I put him in his car seat, ran to the restroom and when I came back, he was on the floor playing. Yes, he climbed out! He is crawling, climbing, standing on his head, rolling everywhere, eating everything he can get his hands on, and talking up a storm (baby talk that is). I sometimes feel that he is trying very hard to explain some very important things to me (he uses his hands and everything)... if only I could understand the gibberish.

It is amazing how soon you can see a personality emerge in such a small person. I can already tell that Gabriel has a curiosity about life "beyond his months" and is super determined in achieving goals... he stops at nothing when he makes up that little mind to do something. He also has a sweet gentle side because as busy as he is, he loves to cuddle and be close. As Patrick says, "He is perfect. It must be because he has perfect parents!" Haha. Yeah right... just wait. He is only 7 months. We have the terrible twos to get through and I do not even want to begin to think about having a teenage boy in the house. We'll see how perfect we are then!

As always, I am so grateful to be a mom. Patrick always asks me if I am happy. I think that is good to consider, because being happy is important, but on the other hand I think having joy in your life is even more crucial. I have found that nothing has brought me more joy in life than being a wife and mom. Glad this was God's plan for me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Yesterday was my daddy's birthday! I was so happy to celebrate with him. He even let me help him blow out the candles. I prepared by hanging a birthday sign, picking out a card, helping mommy wrap his gifts... well, I kinda just ate the wrapping paper... and by singing really loudly to him. I tried to be really good all day long, so mommy could make him a yummy dinner and clean up the house from our crazy Thanksgiving trip. I LOVE BIRTHDAYS. I even got to stay up past my bedtime! Now that I know how much fun this is, I can't wait to turn ONE in May. Happy Birthday, Daddy. I love you.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Our Crazy Man is Growing

What a man! Watching TV and holding on tightly to that remote...
he must get that from his Pop-Pop!

6 months and 10 days old. Today our trip to the doctor gave us some new info ... our little peanut is 15 lbs even, getting super tall at 26 3/4 inches, much more active than most 6 month old babies and very laid back. Our doctor called Gabriel a "she" about 3 times (being corrected by Patrick every time, of course!) and by the third time, he said, "I am so sorry I keep doing that. Honestly, he is just a real pretty guy." Patrick and I took no offense and said thank you to him. The doctor also kept asking if he is always "like this?" Letting the doctor throw him around to check out his vitals and then looking in his ears, moving legs to check reflexes, etc... Gabriel just kept smiling at him. We responded and told him, that indeed, Gabriel is always chill and seems to get along with everyone, nothing bothers him and he rarely cries. He truly is going to trick us into having another baby much sooner!

We are so enjoying this new phase Gabriel is in right now. He is up on all fours, rocking back and forth, army crawling everywhere, and loving his solid food... sometimes he grunts while I am feeding him, indicating I am not dishing it in fast enough! He loves shiny things and chews on ANYthing he can get his hands on. There is a video below of him going after the camera... a shiny thing... he stops at nothing till he can grab it.

As always, being a parent just gets sweeter and sweeter. I thank Jesus daily for giving us the opportunity to love and teach one of His children.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Halloween Fun!

Is it really November already? Well, we came in town to visit Uncle Paul, Aunt Jeanne and Cousins Paul and Catherine for Halloween and we trick or treated around the Forum... going store to store was easier than truckin' up hills with all the babies. Gabriel had a great time and was chill as always, just hanging out while his dad and I tried to get candy for him ;) to eat! I thought I would be able to stand it like before and eat loads of candy, but after my 3rd Kit Kat bar, I retired for the night. I guess I am getting old. Enjoy the pics below!Gabriel as the Puffy Puppy (with his pumpkin socks).
Gabriel as a pumpkin... this time we lined the pumpkin with towels...
he didn't do so well when we didn't and he was sitting in all the mush.
There we are acting like Gabriel was going to eat the candy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Squashed It with My Bear Hands!

Ok, so you're probably thinking, "Kristi does not know how to spell" but I meant to write "bear hands," although I did squash that mosquito with my bare hands... they were also my mama BEAR hands.

The other day I was sitting at the kitchen table doing some work and Gabriel was on the floor next to me, talking away and chewing on what he chews on these days... anything he can manage to get his hands on. Since it was such a beautiful day, I had the door to the balcony open for some fresh air. It was just growing dark and I had not closed it yet.

I guess a mosquito had managed to squirm its way in. I HATE bugs. Not only did it squirm in, but it managed to fly right onto my sweet little guy's back. His shirt had crept up some from scooting across the blanket on the floor and the bug landed right on his little love handles. The next thing that happened was truly a miracle, because with NO HESITATION AT ALL, I jumped up and squashed that mosquito right between my fingers.... ahh gross, the chill down my spine I get just thinking about it. But, in the moment the Mama Bear came out of me. And all because of a tiny bug.

I am growing into a die hard Mama Bear. I will protect my child with no fear. No fear of bugs. No fear of guts. No fear of bug guts between my fingers. Ewww. Chills. I think it is a true sign of motherhood.

I believe that this is just a silly circumstance, but in all seriousness and in the reality of life, our biggest protection over our children is prayer. Every night when Gabriel goes to sleep, we pray over him and every morning when he wakes up we ask that his guardian angel protect him. It is the grace of God through our request before His throne that places a wall of armor up around our sweet innocent soul. I hope I may always remember to protect his spiritual well being as quickly as I do with his physical... with no hesitation and with a sense of heroism.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Professional Pictures: 5 Months

Love that bath!
I hate losing.

Can you tell that my gums hurt?
On Saturday Gabriel turned 5 months old. The time has seriously flown. He is about 14 lbs, rolling over from his back to his belly constantly, scooting himself across the whole floor, sucking on his hands, giggling, and totally in love with the song "Sherry" from the Jersey Boys soundtrack. He can not stop smiling when we play it! He always makes us laugh and there is truly never a dull moment. We so love his big blue eyes and feel blessed to have such a chill baby. He never cries... unless he is in the car or is getting rice cereal wiped off his face! Gabriel has been a true blessing to us, teaching us selflessness and a sense of simplicity in this complicated world. Patrick and I grow more and more in love with him every day, while we like to think he is doing the same.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

This Sweet Venture

Who knew I could love someone so much?!
If you look up the word venture in the dictionary it says something like "a risky or daring undertaking or journey" and I would have to say that more and more I am realizing how sweet this venture of being a wife and mother really is... it is similar I would say to running a small corporation (and some would argue: a huge corporation). So, my attitude has changed lately. Instead of being totally overwhelmed I have decided to take on the strategy of turning my home and job as a home engineer into the Bentley Corporation of Love! Sometimes I am totally enamored by the men and women in the work world (although I do work part time)... they seem in this zone to me, trying to organize their time, manage their business, save money, make money and form people into good employees. As mothers, we have a similar job... we always have more to do than time to do it and we are to organize and manage the home: cleaning bathrooms, dishes, clothes, buying birthday gifts, groceries and needed household items, cooking the meals, and at the same time, balancing a life of prayer, loving our husbands, caring for our children and then taking care of ourselves. It is truly an adventure and I would say quite a daring undertaking. In a talk I heard this week, we were encouraged to be a leader in the home, not like our husbands are called to be, but a leader with the heart, making every act of service done for our family an extension of love to Christ. Christ, I fold laundry because I love you. I change the 3rd poop diaper in an hour because I love you. In time, your home becomes a small corporation of love. So, this is my newest goal.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Feast of Gabriel the Archangel

Today is Gabriel's feast day in the Church! It is so exciting to celebrate all the unique feasts we have in the Catholic Church... and how cool... a day to honor our angels that watch over us. This morning we went to Mass to celebrate! Below you can see how happy he was that it was his feast day.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Little Buddy at 4 Months

He is so happy on his belly. He smiles and then gets embarrassed and eats the blanket and then lifts back up again to smile more. My eyes water when he smiles at me like this.
The sweet pure innocence and joy of babies. Our little gift.
The other night we got home kinda late, so his schedule was off. I could not get him to go to sleep. I rocked him and fed him and sang to him and repeated the process more than I can remember. Finally I gave up and decided to get ready for bed. I laid him on the bed while I was getting ready and heard him fussing a little... within a minute he stopped... he was sleeping. All my hard work and he got to sleep himself. (This is the only time we have ever put him in a gown. I don't think he liked it. So I did laundry the next day.)
While I was folding laundry he grabbed Patrick's boxers and starting chewing on them. Then he grabbed Patrick's hat and was trying to eat that too. All I had to do was walk out of the room for one minute. His dad decided he was going to wear it, not eat it.

Above is our first go at rice cereal. He was very confused as you can see, but eventually swallowed! It was hilarious. He finally slept the longest he ever has through the night.
More smiles on the belly! Isn't he so sweet?!
He looks like such a BIG boy in the bumbo. Yes, he always smiling.
Patrick's glasses. He wants to be just like his dad in all things...
so he laughs a lot, wears glasses, and can be very serious about certain things...
I am just waiting for him to ask me for a book to read while he fills his diaper.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

If only the carseat were a tub...

Here is the sweetest, most peaceful baby ever... until you get him in the car. In my dreams I can fly to the grocery store and car seats don't exist. Babies can lay in the tub while we travel and there is no screaming. Gabriel has gained an intense hatred of the car this past month. The whining has turned to horrid and uncontrollable crying. We have tried everything from singing to hanging toys to pacifers to windows down to padding to music to silence to rubbing his little head... nothing and I mean nothing works. It is my sanctification. Some moms have to adjust to in the night feedings, some to diapers, some to spit up... me to screaming car baby. I actually kinda like when I get to spend some time with him at night, diapers don't bother me (I just like to see how fast I can change them), and spit up is nothing. I think I changed my shirt yesterday four times and I just remembered now... it's kinda part of the day... BUT THE CAR IS ABSOLUTE TORTURE. No more silence. No more music. Just screaming. So, I can't stay at home all day. I offer up my car rides and try not to drive like a maniac so I can get out. All that being said... pray for me. I will continue to dream of bath time in the car until my little peanut decides to fall in love with the sweet purr of the engine!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Happy Boy

The video is a little dark, but at least you can hear the sweet noises he makes every morning when he wakes up! He is such a happy baby. And so chill. I just love him more and more each day. Man, God loves me.

This weekend we painted his nursery, finally! His room is almost done, which means soon he will be leaving his bassinet and traveling to his BIG crib. We will post pictures later of the room.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sounds like life to me...

I have one of the best jobs in the world... I work for the Catholic chaplain at Vanderbilt University. It is amazing to watch God work through our chaplain, through the students, through the sacraments... it is quite miraculous. Working in this job could appear to be peaceful, non-stressful, and totally lax, but it is quite the opposite... when you have a job like this, satan tends to hang around a little more often than with other jobs.

So, the other day, we were having one of those crazy days. Nothing was going right, the schedule for the day totally got thrown off, and it came to the point where Fr. Baker just threw his hands up and said, "Ok, I am at peace now with everything falling apart today."

Loved that. I think I will adopt that quote now as part of my morning prayer. Who has a day where everything goes exactly as planned? Who does actually have their whole house dusted and vacuumed with all the dishes and laundry done? Who is caught up with all their thank you cards and on top of it has answered every last e-mail and returned every phone call they need to? Who doesn't have something wrong with them physically? An aching back, a headache, a papercut? Who is caught up with life? Surely, if you have covered all this ground, you are like Jesus or something. So, have peace with the fact that everything has fallen a part. Just like that country song... "Sounds Like Life To Me." There will always be another diaper to change, another bathroom to clean, a phone call to return. But, have peace with it. No need to stress. All things are passing. Enjoy the moment God has you in, for this moment is His will for you.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

He is serious about swim practice.

We crack up every night when Gabriel gets into the bath tub. We rarely get him to smile while he is in there... it's because he is VERY serious about his swim practice. It takes about 3 or 4 minutes for him to realize he is in there and then the kicking does not stop. He would kick all night if we left him in there. It doesn't stop until the towel gets wrapped around him. We have posted bath time fun before, but it just keeps getting better and better... enjoy watching the swimmer do his thing. Oh yeah, and he gets all that serious stuff from his dad. And his really good swimming... that's from me... anyone who was on my swim team could have told you how good I was... haha... and all about the purple participation ribbons I got every week!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Never Tired of Love

God speaks to us in many ways. I am particularly a fan of the way He inspires us on a daily basis with His Holy Spirit whispering softly in our ears to say something when no one else does or to be the first to pick up the item the other dropped or even to just smile when we don't really feel like it. It always gives us a breath of fresh air to obey His call. He does this with the big things too, but I think to hear Him well in those things, we must be a person of prayer and of silence... because that is when we hear Him best. I have to admit I don't always find the time of silence He calls me to, but when I do, I am often graced with His voice. And no, this isn't a voice like a man on the radio or at a sports game. It's simply the voice of God...the peace inside that isn't a feeling, but a knowledge.

Years ago I had an inspiration that I will keep with me always and recently it has hit home a little more in me because now I am a mom. It was a time when God reassured me that He never tires in loving me, ever. He will never be too exhausted to stay awake to listen to me speak or help me get through it one last time. He waits for me to rise in the morning and stays up to watch over me through the night. He adores and loves me in a way I could never comprehend.

Now this is so much clearer to me. I can not love my own child as perfectly as this because I am only human, but I understand now better the love of a parent for his child because I am a mom. Exhaustion is totally overrated when you have LOVE.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

You're Just Too Good To Be True...

Love those cheeks. I kiss them all day long!

This is his favorite outfit to wear to Mass.

Boy written all over his face... he wants to get into trouble bad.

Can't take my eyes off of you!
Literally, I could look at Gabriel all day long. Today he and I danced to the song
his daddy and I danced to at our wedding. Love me some Frankie Valli.
Here are some recent pictures. It has been a while because we have been traveling a ton. After being gone two weeks we are back home and so glad to sleep in our own bed.
The latest with our little peanut: He is sucking on his hands, grabbing things and trying to put them in his mouth, giggling just a little, kicking like crazy when you lay him down, lifting his head up anytime he is on his belly, and standing on our legs every time we hold him. He just wants to get down and run around already... I can tell. He has the sense of adventure his daddy has in him.
Oh, love is so grand. I just can't wait to have another!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Beautifully Handsome

We take pictures non-stop of our work of art...
here are a few in the past week... week 12 of his precious life!
Yeah, we said the same thing... he looks different every day and sometimes like me and sometimes like Patrick, but always beautiful... in a boy like way.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It Won't Be Like This For Long

We had quite the car ride to and from the lake this weekend with Gabriel and while driving in the car I could barely hear the words of Darius Rucker coming from the radio in the background over the crying... but, I did make out the part that says, "If you could just hang on, it won't be like this for long." And although I am no close imitation of Mary, I sometimes like to do what she did and ponder things in my heart... it's the introvert in me...

So... I was pondering Darius Rucker's words... as deep as that can be...

Love surely stretches you. A child surely stretches you. I have died to myself and my desires and wants more now than I ever have in my entire life. It makes me wonder about the sanctification mothers who have more than one child go through... because it is hard. But any vocation God calls us to is going to be and the rewards of your fidelity I have found are immense.

One example:
So, it's 4am and I hear Gabriel grunting in his bassinet next to me. Really? You're not going to sleep through the night? Maybe I will just pat his back and he will fall back asleep. So, I stick my arm over and pat away. No. He didn't. He's totally hungry. Ok, so I pick him up with my eyes still closed and think, burp cloth, I need one of those. As I open my eyes to look for one, there are his little eyes looking back at me. He isn't making any noises anymore because his mom is holding him. I look back at him and say, "hello sweet boy" and then I get the most amazing smile in the world, the one where he squints his little eyes after holding the smile for a while. I am so filled with joy to have woken up in this moment. How is it that I am loved so much? How undeserving I am of this love! How much I love him... it really is beyond me. So, I am hanging on, because it won't be like this for long.

He will grow and he won't wake me up anymore and I will miss those days where the world was asleep and God loved me through the night.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

You'll have to turn your head sideways to see this....


Gabriel gave me the best smiles ever today. After yesterday's visit to the doctor Patrick and I were looking forward to two things... 1) some smiles, since he cried all day and 2) to see if he could pull off what he did yesterday and roll over. We accomplished one and he smiled away today, but the rolling over thing, we will have to work on some more. I think he was just trying to impress the doctor. He already knows he impresses us! Sorry, but I always forget to turn the camera sideways when taking video. You will have to turn your head sideways to see this one! Man, do we love him.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to the doctor!

Well, actually it happened while we were there...

Kristi and I took Gabriel to the doctor this morning for his two-month well checkup and his first round of vaccinations. We weren't really looking forward to the nurse sticking him with those needles and shooting him full of diseases, but we took him because we thought it was the best thing to do.

While we were there, he weighed in at a whopping 11 lbs. (just 1.5 lbs. heavier than his week old cousin, Catherine) and measured 22.75 inches long. He's a growing boy, that's for sure, close to 50% for his age up from around 10% weight when he was born. But none of this is all that funny.

Here's the funny part... The doctor came in and started his routine exam checking his joints and ears, etc. then he turned him over to his belly. Gabriel immediately propped himself up onto is elbows and held his head high looking all around to which the doctor responded, "Wow, that takes some good motor skills to get up on his elbows like that, especially at 10 weeks." Then, to the amazement of all of us, Gabriel rolled over onto his back! All the doctor could say was, "That's impressive." He hadn't ever done that before, so there were two proud, glowing parents in that doctor's room. Atta boy!

Then the nurse came in and gave him 3 shots in his thighs. Not cool, but he's one cool dude now!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

First Trip to the Beach

As you can see at the top most picture, the beach totally wore Gabriel out!
He slept more at the beach than he has ever slept and for the first time
... drum roll please...
he slept through the night while we were there.
Babies LOVE the beach! They are totally relaxed there and the fresh air kicks their little butts. Gabriel enjoyed sitting under the umbrella, hanging in the cabana and for about 3.5 minutes going into the pool and then the ocean. Patrick was not leaving until he experienced both.
And just like he loves the bath, he loved the ocean and the pool.
We had a fabulous time with Mom-Mom, Pop-Pop, Uncle Bo and the Hogans.
I took a million pictures, so a few are above for your viewing pleasure.
It was the break we all needed.
Grayton Beach, Florida... I miss you.