Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Beloved

We always say that we love attending weddings because of its reminder of what we have as husband and wife. It's easy... so very easy... to forget in this crazy life. We were blessed again tonight to attend a wedding of sweet friends of ours, Erica and Charles. Oh, the purity of the wedding was as white as snow. Weddings are so different when the souls are in a state of grace and well prepared. It's so beautiful and we always feel honored to receive such an invitation. Tonight we heard our reminder throughout the homily while Fr. Baker spoke about another homily he heard during the Dominican sisters 1st profession this summer. He said the priest looked at them and said, "This is not about you at all... it's about our Lord Jesus and what he is accomplishing through you." So true. This crazy life, this amazing vocation, this marriage is about Christ. Fr. Baker said he is reminded at every wedding of Christ's love for the Church when he sees the love of the groom and bride for one another. He reminded us that marriage is not only about loving, but as Jesus calls us his "beloved" we are reminded to "BE LOVED." Part of every love story includes the reception of love. We must receive it. I think so often we are confused and think that our calling to Christian discipleship means we must love and love and love, but we must also allow God to love us. It was a perfect reflection tonight for me... to think about how God has loved me... to remember how I am loved. If we could spend time every day BEING loved and truly take on the name of his beloved, how changed we would be. What a sweet name to be called. So, be loved.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

waiting on our Lover

As this new Church year begins with my favorite season, Advent, I have reflected some on what all this means. Advent meaning "coming," we discover that we are patiently waiting. For the promise to be fulfilled. Our Lord never disappoints. He promised and He keeps his word. Come, Lord Jesus. He will come on Christmas day. What does all this mean? I have had the honor of being graced with 2 small souls who have won my heart from the minute I knew they existed. I never imagined I could love anyone is such a way, but I do and because of the grace of these lives I now understand more than ever the love of our Almighty God: the joy He finds in us, the goodness He finds in us despite our weakness, the desire for us to be with Him, His great jealousy, and His ever faithful merciful love which concludes with giving His life for us. It all began with his day of birth; the day Mary said, "Yes, Lord" and Our Heavenly Father freely gave us His son. How incredible! How undeserving we are! So, we wait for him now. We prepare the way for Him to enter into the manger. We try to love more fully. We try to have a spirit of not complaining and not thinking of ourselves. We try to remember the intensity of God's love for us. It is a passion we can not comprehend. How can anyone be unsatisfied reflecting on the passionate love of Christ for us? We are loved. He came as a tiny baby on a cold winter night in the midst of smelly animals in the stable. He came from the most humblest of beginnings. We are humbled and grateful. How and why do we not love you more, Lord? Thank you for this Advent. Give us hearts of great joyful anticipation as we await you. Let us never fear anything because we have you, the sweet Love of our lives. Come, Lord Jesus.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween, you crazy monkey

The Bentley family... the mom, the monkey, the banana,
and we are not quite sure what Patrick dressed up as...

Gabriel and one of his very best friends, Ania. He just loves her. But, we have taught him well... he won't touch her!! Love that little chubby ladybug.

Gabriel drove us all around last night! He was so good. Loved the peoples' homes who had dogs more than the ones who had candy. I asked him to say trick or treat at one house and he responded with "ruff, ruff." And Patrick loved the homes who had beer... yea, they were giving out beer with their candy!

One of our first stops... nice butt.

My three boys... so cute... and so stinkin' scary weird. It was a work of art of Caleb. Patrick allowed him to paint however he wanted on his blank canvas!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Anthony has arrived!

On September 21st Dr. Barrett told me that I was still measuring too small and that I needed another ultrasound... after confirming that my fluid was fine and the baby was fine, she proceeded to tell me that he could be up to 8 lbs because of the size of his head. She suggested the option of inducing because after trying for 1.5 hours to get Gabriel (my 5 lb baby) out, she didn't think I would have the hips to get Anthony through. If I waited any longer it could mean a c-section. So, we opted for the induction because I was already 4 cm and 80%. Two days later on September 23rd I found myself sitting in the passenger's seat of our trailblazer at 5:30am in the morning on our way to Baptist Hospital. I was already hungry and looking forward to the few popsicles they would offer me when I arrived! At 6:50am we were registered, I was in my totally stylish hospital gown, they had failed had one IV and had finally placed a second IV in my right hand and Dr. Barrett arrived to break my water....

Water broken at 6:55am... and so we waited... for two whole hours. Patrick put it the DVD to Friends Season 3 and we sat and laughed while I attempted to feel any pain at all. Still no contractions. After 2 hours Dr. Barrett ordered some pitocin since I was already 5 cm. Soon after the contractions began. They weren't even close to the ones I had with Gabriel. They were about 6-7 minutes apart and only lasted for about a minute (with Gabriel I was in horrible pain every 2-3 minutes and the contractions were over 2 minutes long). I kept thinking to myself, this is such a breeze. And it remained that way. By the time I was 7 or so cm I knew I couldn't wait much longer if I wanted to opt for the epidural, so I called in the BIG honkin' needle and they numbed me up. My left leg was much more numb this time, but still the perfect epidural because I knew when every contraction came. This was about noonish. And at this time, the Bentley's arrived and my dad and brother showed up. It was nice to see them for a while to pass the time. It took me another 3 hours to get to 10cm, so by 3pm, I was ready to go.

I told Patrick, "OK, tell the nurse that I am holding him in." He went to get her twice and by the third time, I was about to start pushing on my own. She finally came in and said, "Alright, let me check you out." 10 cm I was and ready to push. Oh no, there wasn't even an instrument table. She called again for one and Dr. Barrett arrived about 4 minutes later. Let's start pushing. So, anyone else would think that this was going to take forever. My first baby got stuck and he was only 5 lbs and this one was predicted to be 8. I was ready for anything. I started pushing and in 9 minutes, which is a total of 3 rounds of pushing, he was out. No complications, no nothing. Perfect delivery. And in 9 minutes.

That day the nurses at Baptist Hospital called me a rock star and in my own little heart I will always recall Anthony's birth as the day I was a rock star! I don't know if I have seriously ever been so proud of myself. I also have to give a shout out to St. Gerard. We have had his statue present in our home for about 4-5 weeks now thanks to the Legion of Mary in Nashville and he has truly been intercessing for us to have a safe, quick and healthy birth. We also thank Mary Our blessed Mother for her prayers that we asked for in the morning before our contractions began. Love her!

So now it's the adjustment... of being a mother of two, of sharing my time, of loving both, of still being a good wife, cook, housekeeper and working my part time job when this 6 weeks are up. It is always by the grace of God that we accomplish that which we think there is not enough time for and that we do it with peace and selflessness. Thank you, sweet Jesus, for this third gift of life you have given to me and to Patrick. The amazement and the joy is again something I could never express with words.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gabriel, Oh Gabriel

I really just adore him. He is the sunshine in my life. Every morning I wake up to hear him singing and every night when he doesn't want to go to bed and is still in the best of moods, I am reminded how lucky we are to have such an easy going, laid back, loves to party little boy. Yesterday he walked around all day with a rosary around his neck... seriously... he already has a devotion to Mary... I love it. This morning he walked around with a bucket on his head. He just totally cracks me up. We have dance parties quite often and he loves to hug and kiss me. While I read to him before his nap today, he looked up at me three times and leaned in for a kiss. He is so sweet.

I am starting to realize that he will soon not be the only little man in my life, so I am trying to soak up every last minute with him and enjoy our one on one time while I can. I know this new guy will sleep a lot, but it just won't be exactly the same again. It is bittersweet... but as many moms have told me, you love each just as much but differently. So, I look forward to having a small taste of God's love in my own heart... how is it that He loves each of us so much, but still in such a specific detailed love made especially for us. I pray for this grace with my two boys.

Above are some pictures from my cousin, Rachel's wedding. Gabriel looked like such a stud. He hung out with his Daddy in the 107 degree weather while the ceremony took place and he waved to me as I came down the aisle...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

My other little boy...

So, after the question a few weeks back when the women in line at the grocery store asked me if one day she would see me on TV like the Duggers, after I said I would love more kids after this second one, I have seemed to strike up lots of similar conversations in line (even with only one kid and one on the way). Today was my favorite yet... and maybe I am just totally pumped about having kids, but the lady in line made it very clear to me that she was "Done after three. I was just not going to do that to my kids and have more." I am not quite sure what she meant, but I just thought of Mother Teresa and how she said, "Saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers. It just doesn't make sense." Who knows if we will ever be able to have more, although I hope we are, but I had never thought till today that anyone thought it such a huge bitter burden. Sure, it's hard, but doesn't it just make more people to love? I guess I am too laid back and like to fly by the seat of my pants a lot more than most... it's just that I feel pretty normal... lots of kids sound fun... hmmm... maybe this next one will show me differently.

It's pretty exciting to know I will be the mother of two little boys soon... if you would've asked me years ago where I would be now, I would have never guessed that I would be living in a house with three boys! But, us girly girls get a taste of dirt and adventure thanks to God's sense of humor.

Our little boy, Anthony, is due September 29th, 8 1/2 weeks from now. He has, hands down, been 3 times more active than Gabriel ever was in the womb. He never ever stops moving... that is why I am awake right now and Patrick is sleeping. Anthony will not stop moving, therefore I am awake. He is already head down with big feet sticking into my left side... although I can already tell that his feet will be smaller than Gabriel's when he arrives. Yesterday we had another ultrasound because Dr. Barrett was telling me I was measuring too small. We were not surprised to know that he is at the perfect size, right in the 48% for his "age" in the womb and all is well. During the whole ultrasound his little hand held on tight to his big toe and he played around. Then by the end we were able to get about three shots of him looking like the "thinking man" with his little fist up on his forehead. I got some thinking men in this house, let me tell ya.

It is finally getting real to me. We are having a baby. You would think with this belly in front of me it would have sunk in sooner, but it hasn't. I am finally realizing that our family is about to grow. It is so exciting I just can't be more thrilled to have another person here to love.

It is so amazing, this gift of motherhood. There is nothing like it and I wouldn't trade it for any comfort or cost in the world. It's totally exhausting, but totally fulfilling. Oh, thank you, Jesus, for all the blessings you have given to me and for all the pains you have borne for me.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Braggin' on my man


I started this on my anniversary... as life goes, I finish today...

Today (July 7th) I have been married for 3 years. Wow! Time super duper flies by so fast. Patrick and I were just working on setting up another couple yesterday... it seems this has been the tendency we have because we just love being married. We want to play cupid all the time and help others find marriage cause it's so awesome. We also just gave a talk on dating at Theology on Tap a few weeks back, which I would say was motivated by the same reasons... if it's your vocation to be married... whoop... let's get ya moving in the right direction because it doesn't get much better than this... to be striving towards Heaven as a married couple.

Of course, the world is stuck sometimes into the old ball and chain attitude where marriage is such a drag, and it totally can be if you can't continue to forgive, encourage and pour yourself out into your spouse. It just gets tougher, but God's grace comes through living a sacrament and it rains down and makes it all holy... many days I can feel the grace.

So today I will brag some on my sweet husband in celebration of the last three years. I have been blessed to have a man who I have seen work his butt off to provide for me and our family while going to class, grading papers, teaching, and working at the golf club. I love that he sees the big picture and is getting his PhD so that we will continue to be provided for down the line. Watching his brain swirl around all these papers, research and numerous statistical analysis that I can not even begin to understand impresses me every day. He is much more brilliant that I thought he was when I married him. I have seen him pour himself into teaching and really loving the experience of watching his students learn, which I totally get since I was a teacher.

I also love that he is a man of integrity and sincerity. He is so honest sometimes I question whether a filter needs to be put in place, but I love that he always tells me what he is thinking because it makes life so much more simple for me and us.

I love that when he says he forgives me he really means it and he never brings up the offense again. Never holding a grudge is something I so appreciate.... even when I bring it up again he pretends he has no clue what I am talking about. It is the biggest way my marriage has allowed me to learn of Christ's love... merciful. It has taught me how to forgive in a genuine way.

There are so many other things, but I would have to say that the most special element my husband has added to our marriage is the faith and trust he has in what God will do with our family. He has suffered bravely through a miscarriage with me and rejoiced in two other pregnancies with me. It is a gift to have a husband be thrilled to have another life come into ours. Being open to life in our marriage and practicing NFP for various reasons here and there has allowed us to become closer than ever and the freedom we have experienced in leaving our fertility in God's hands has been filled with grace that we experience every day in all aspects of our life with one another. We are never chained to our own plans, but only to God's... there is much freedom, but not without struggle of course, in working together to live in the Truth. The blessings are countless.

So, Happy Anniversary to my sweet husband, who I love so much, who I prayed for before we met, who I can not wait to spend another 5o plus years with! God is so good.

Friday, July 2, 2010


We have started a pretty awesome tradition in our home, which I just love. We daily crank up the tunes and have a dance party in the living room. Patrick usually starts it, I follow, and Gabriel takes only seconds to realize, "Oh, man, my parents are dancing like crazy people again." He gets over the embarrassment pretty quickly and joins in with his head nods, his bouncing, swaying and clapping of hands. Quite honestly, we go nuts and dance all over the room... we act like we are experts, but trust me, no one would ever hire us for their music video.

Anyway, after the party, we turn the music down and get about our day... one of us leaves for work and the other stays home to be the parent and housekeeper. The itunes music plays at random in the background while we go about our day. So, today, I am in the kitchen. Gabriel has just eaten and is stirring imaginary food in his bowl, I am unloading the dishwasher and cleaning dishes, and then I hear it.... Usher begins... his famous song called "Yeah." Now, you are thinking... this is a horrid song with lots of bad words and the story line is just totally awful. But, if it were 5 years ago in a small gym at Berry College you would have found me dancing to this song in front of hundreds of people... "seriously" I remembered. I can not believe I did such things. Then I flash back to reality and look at my sweet son, look at my dishes and it takes no effort to see this huge belly sticking out in front on me. I am married, with almost 2 kids, taking care of a house. I started cracking up.

What's the significance? It was just a small moment where God opened my eyes and said, "Look where I have brought you." It was a sweet gift to know that through his grace I made it here in this moment with a life so full. So, the truth is, there was nothing significant about it. It was just a moment where Usher reminded me of the woman God is growing me into through my vocation as wife and mom and it made me happy. God has brought me a very long way since those days in the gym performing to Usher. I am so grateful that my performances are now only for the private audience of Gabriel!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Our Little Peanut at One Year Old

Swinging in his new swing outside in the front of the house... gotta love those baby blues.

The two pictures above are Gabriel on his first birthday. So sweet. May 10th, 2010.

This is the most common picture you will get of our son...
pushing a toy around with rosaries wrapped around him. He seriously has a devotion to Mary.
He screams at me if I take them off of him.

I was folding laundry to walk out of the room and find him in the drawer... I am not sure how it got so closed, but he wanted to stay in there. I couldn't get him to come out.
He spends most of his time trying to climb into drawers and cabinets. I thought it was weird at first, but realized that this is just the boy in him... climbing and finding hiding spots.

Alright, this is our totally sanguine, social butterfly...
I mean it's late at night, we had company over so he was entertaining,
refused to go to bed and when all was said and done,
he kept telling us he wanted to eat again,
so in an effort to not starve him (although he had already eaten plenty) we tried again.
He started to close his eyes on about the second bite and by the third bite it was all over.
He was sleeping on his tray.
We took him out and carried him up to bed without a peep from him.
Ohh, the joys of our little social guy.
He just totally wore himself out! It's tough being the entertainer!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

It's been a while...

As we get through this crazy summer, I have to remember to record the events of this humid, busy, and joy filled time.

Patrick and I have been constantly tag teaming this summer. Patrick is working two jobs now, so when he is home I am gone working for Vandy Catholic. He has been up many early mornings and home late at night. I am trying to keep the house together while making sure my back stays in place. My back pain has surely been the biggest struggle and cross of this pregnancy. I have to constantly remind myself how pain and suffering can be used for good. I am pretty often only getting through the pain by offering if up for some very special intentions that I always have on my heart... I know God is using it for what He needs it for. All in all, despite some of the tough things, Patrick and I are enjoying the moments we do have together and are loving our hilarious Gabriel grow... he is becoming quite a maniac these days.

Gabriel is taking his first steps!! It will not be long before he is taking off all by himself... but for now it tends to be about 6 steps and then to his knees when he realizes crawling will get him there faster. He is opening and emptying EVERY cabinet, drawer, and closet we own. This is the maniac coming out. I am having to basically clean out every single one of sharp objects, things that can be swallowed, etc. Unfortunately, Gabriel decided to eat a small metal washer two days ago. I about had a heart attack. I called Patrick at work to tell him and his response was, "Don't let him play with metal, Kristi." OH YEAH, I put the little tiny pieces of metal in front of him and told him to play with them... seriously. Anyway, after speaking with my doctor friend, we realized that only if the metal was sharp or larger than a quarter did we have to worry... so the days have been filled with checking poop for a washer... good job, Kristi.

The pregnancy is going well... almost 25 weeks and getting big. I need to take some pictures of this huge belly, but time seems less these days. When I went to the doctor a few days ago they were actually worried I was going to go into pre-term labor, but after a little stress and some tests, everything turned out fine. Oh, craziness. Never a dull moment. So, Anthony is growing just fine and I have now finally gained some lbs. Since my last visit I gained a 6 whole pounds. This is good. I can not wait to meet him. As painful as labor is, for some reason it is just about the biggest high in the world! Whoop!

So... we truck along in this summer of 2010, while we watch our one year old crack us up, await our second sweet baby boy, and fight to spend some quality time together amidst the work schedules we are balancing. Thank you Jesus for the joy you give us in our marriage and through our children.

I promise to post pictures later today!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Our Sweet One Year Old!

On Monday Gabriel turned ONE! How time flies! It has been the sweetest experience to be a mom and for Patrick to be a dada (as Gabriel says). We have already seen God's grace in this journey as parents. We don't have a lot of expertise under our belts, but we surely see the purpose in God's plan for children to be part of our marriage... always a life giving love. We have grown closer working as a team to love this son of ours, while Patrick working on his PhD and his second job, me working for Vandy Catholic, and trying to balance the rest of life... keeping house, exercising, eating well, and staying attached to our sacramental life. Gabriel has been such a source of selflessness for us and we are grateful. Time doesn't seem to be taken for granted anymore. Three days after Gabriel's first birthday we were able to give him the news that he was going to have a little brother! This is another part of our trip to Heaven... another little boy to love... we couldn't be more excited. God, again, you will never let us outdo You in Your Greatness and Generosity. We love you.

Happy Birthday, my sweet baby boy, Gabriel Patrick.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Last Year

One year ago at this time I had cleaned every last inch of the apartment. I had all the laundry done, every dish clean, every piece of furniture dusted, every inch vacuumed and my bags were finally packed. Right about this time, Patrick and I had just returned home from buying a rocking chair and we were cleaning out the cars... shop vac, dusting, etc. Everything was just about ready and I started feeling the lower back pain. I tried to stay on my feet all day because the doctor had said three days earlier that I would be in labor within the next three days. As soon as the lower back pain started, we rushed to bed, not knowing how much sleep we would get. The first contraction woke me up the next morning, May 10th @6am. It was the biggest high... to deliver a baby that day... we are starting the countdown tonight to Gabriel's very 1st BIRTHDAY!! Time so flies. We are so blessed to have this sweet baby boy... and can't wait for our next little one in September.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nashville Flood 2010

The last 5 days have been crazy here in Nashville.  If you have seen the news at all, we had torrential rainfall during the weekend.  At least 25% of Nashville's annual rainfall fell in a matter of two days overwhelming one of the cities two water treatment facilities, leaving 14,000 homes without power and killing at least 18 people.  We were generally unaffected by the rains with the exception being trapped at work for 5 hours on Saturday afternoon.

When I woke up Saturday morning, I had a message from my manager that the golf course was closed but that I needed to help set-up for a wedding that evening.  I arrived at work at ten to 2 and there was water running across the entrance, but I made it across in the Honda just fine.  Not more than thirty minutes after I arrived, there was waist deep water running across the entrance, and the water was shoulder deep by 3.  There were about a dozen people at the club, and the golf pros set out driving the cart paths looking for a way out but were largely unsuccessful.  By around 5, the wedding had been moved to a nearby hotel, so I was just waiting to be able to leave.  The water finally receded by 7:15, so I finally left.

Below are some pictures of the flood.  All of these locations are within 5-10 minutes driving of where we live.

These are of the flooded water treatment facility:

These streets are right down the road.  As you can see, both are flooded:

Here are a couple boats that were swept away by the flood waters.  I should note that we don't live near a boatable body of water, so this is unusual:

Coast Guard to the rescue:

The water likely covered this taxi.  The driver must be airing it out:

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Gabriel Patrick at Almost One Year

So, this is the first time I remember seeing blood. He hurt his mouth and was bleeding A LOT according to me... but then again I thought he had a temperature the other day when it read 97.9 degrees. Anyway, you can see the traumatic leftover tear he has, but he is still trying to smile for the camera in the midst of the pain!

Just the sweetest little face... he so looks like his dad.

This is our son who has been drinking out of a straw for months... people totally crack up when they see it. He LOVES drinking from his sippy cups with straws. So cute.

He was looking at his Daddy and laughing... he just adores him. Probably because he is strong enough to throw him around and make a waterfall/whirlpool in the tub. I have seriously never heard so much noise and water splashing at bath time! Mommy is a little bit less likely to soak herself and the whole bathroom... but, that makes Daddy "funner!"

Can you see his 2 bottom teeth? ... we finally have some! Yea!

So, I put him in his highchair today while making my lunch. I turned around after hearing him sing and clap for a while and saw this incredibly chill kid hanging out with one leg on the tray and leaning back like he was driving a cool car. It reminded me of how my brother use to drive. Oh, how silly he is!

Here he takes after his mom. Whenever we put him out back in the grass he tends to hold both legs in the air because he can not stand his legs or feet to touch the grass.. maybe it tickles. Here is the leg hold in action... he will hold it like this for ten minutes if we leave him there. We laugh so hard everytime. We have to work on this so he acts like a real boy and plays in the dirt.

A day when he was talking up a storm and helping me dust bust the kitchen. He is this pleasant all the time... even when on his most recent sleep strikes. Love 'em.

Friday, April 23, 2010

3 Poops, No nap, and an Ice Cream Cone

Life as a mom has a unique way of humbling us and making us feel insane, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I decided to write about yesterday because after seeing a good friend of mine who I haven't seen in a while I realized that even if no one else reads my blog, she finds comfort in knowing that there are other moms out there who have those days where they (as she said:) "die to themselves and die to themselves and the next day wake up and do it all over again." So, Maria, this one's for you.

Yesterday. Gabriel woke up in a state unlike many other mornings. Normally, I hear him talking and playing and sometimes even singing up there in his crib. Not yesterday. Yesterday he woke up screaming. A screaming as if pain was associated... so unlike other days, I took no time to slowly open my eyes and crawl out of bed. I didn't even allow this pregnant bladder to go to the bathroom before bolting up the steps to find out what could be wrong... nothing I discovered. He just decided to cry today. So, I tried to change his diaper, the whole while he screamed even harder and tried to flip around while I got poop all over myself, the ground and him and his outfit. It was fun. After changing him I realized he was pretty hungry or at least I thought food would ease the pain.. it did for a short while... then he pooped again. It was one of the grossest poops I have ever seen and smelled. It was half way up his back, all over his butt and covered his little guy (private part). It took about 12 wipes to get it all off and I sat considering a bath for quite some time until realizing that all this pooping had me running behind. After that I thought the day wouldn't get much worse. I had Encounter with Christ at my house yesterday morning and he did pretty good with all the distractions, but since his nap is usually at 11am and Encounter lasts till noon, he was overly tired. SO, I rocked him for a very long time... he fell alseep, I put him in his crib and he woke up. I thought, surely he will fall back asleep... nope... after 20 minutes, still awake, still crying and totally ticked at me. So, I got him out of his crib, giving up on the nap and tried to cheer him up for the next 20 minutes, while wiping snot off of me and him.... yuck. He was hungry again. So, I fed him. He eats like a vulture... HUGE bowls of food... tons. So, we sat and ate for about 40 minutes. Within 10 minutes of being done we had another poop... oh yes, just as grand and awesome as the last. At this point I decided to declare insanity because I just could not handle one more poop like this in my lifetime... at least yesterday I decided I couldn't. SO I changed it. That took about an hour and after he was clean, I laid on the ground next to him and just laughed. It is 1pm and I have had 3 poops and no nap. What better way to cure a little insanity: I pulled out the ice cream cones and chocolate and vanilla ice cream I have been craving every day of this pregnancy and I called Patrick and told him about our day so far... and he said, "What are you eating while you are telling me this?" "An ice cream cone," I said. He laughed so hard. "What!?" I said. "You are hilarious. I hope that helped." "It did," I said. We hung up the phone and I thanked Jesus for ice cream and the amazing sugar cones for the ice cream to go on top of and I licked that ice creamed and crunched that cone, while Gabriel (my well fed, well pooped, non-rested baby) played on the floor with his toys and giggled to himself while making car noises.

This is my life. This is what Jesus uses to make me holy. I have Jesus to thank for all the days of sleep strikes, poops and ice cream cones.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Last weekend was our 3rd Three to Get Married retreat here in Nashville. The preparation and prayer and planning was super intense. With over 20 speakers, 12 couples, and the camp people to deal with I would have to say that it was purely God's grace that won us such a peaceful weekend. It wore me out so badly that I ended the weekend with the stomach flu... pregnancy and exhaustion don't go well together!!

With all that being said, I once again was amazed throughout the weekend at God's providential love within each and every couple who was there and each one who spoke. Each had been given such a different path in their marriage and to watch the fidelity through it all was simply uplifting. We had speakers who had converted to Catholicism, some who had spouses with cancer, some with 3 kids, some with 10 and others who were infertile. Some speakers who struggled with in-laws, some with how to raise their kids, others who were newly married, and none who were normal. It was amazing to see God's work in their hearts and lives and relationships. Each one had such a unique story which one way or another they all recognized as their path to holiness.

It was a reminder to me about the story I am living. What will the next page read and how have the previous chapters gone? What will the heavy crosses be and how will we get through? In the end, I don't think it matters as long as Christ is our center. Fr. Baker stressed throughout the weekend that marriage makes no sense whatsoever if you have no relationship with Christ, no goal of Heaven and you haven't decided to completely abandon yourself to Jesus. Of course, you could live life without having these things, but the bottom line is that your life will be pretty boring and pretty predictable. He sent quite a challenge to the couples to live always in the state of grace and to follow ALL of the Church's teachings instead of picking and choosing those you like. There is a wisdom in the Holy Spirit who has inspired the Church. Will we trust Him?

SO bring it. Lord, we abandon ourselves to you. What is it that you will ask of us? How can we be an image in our marriage of Christ's love for the Church.. the ultimate sacrifice.

We haven't been married quite three years and let me tell you, Christ has sent us on a roller coaster ride... it has required lots of trust, but the gifts from Him are countless and really quite hard to believe at times. He will never let you outdo Him in generosity.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cutie Patootie

Gabriel loves crawling under the desk when I am working. He usually manages to make quite a mess... tearing out all the coupons I have organized, pulling all the printer paper out, one sheet at a time, and then somehow getting stuck under there. This is him about to assume his position under the desk! See the look of pure joy (and mischief)?

Yes, he is stuck in a box. How did he get in there? We have no idea. I was sleeping (Patrick lets me sleep in now on the weekend when he is home, since I am el prego) and Patrick went into the kitchen to get his coffee... he came back to the living room to find Gabriel stuck in the box. We are already being very adventurous!

Smile for the mommy!

Look how much he just LOVES his Daddy! Admiration at its best.

Ok, I know, I am an airhead. I taped it sideways again... if you really want to see our little peanut, you will have to turn your head sideways. Sorry. Otherwise, you can just listen to him copy me... I love it! This particular instance, he decided to sing his words a little bit... he must get that from his dad.