Saturday, May 28, 2011

Our Sweet Anthony

8 months old. Anthony is full of sweetness and laughter and he is so stinkin' tough. I love those baby blues. He has the best belly laugh, he loves to eat, and he adores his big brother. He can't crawl yet, but he is doing well sitting up on his own and he can roll clear across any room and rotate in a full circle with the pull of his arms and the kicking of his little feet. He loves the johnny jump up and would be totally satisfied being outside all day long. He sleeps a lot in his swing outside! He is finally sleeping through the night after his parents forced him into crying it out a few weeks back. He cried for one hour for one night and has slept through ever since (minus a few times he woke up just to poop around 3am!) He is most often heard called the chunky monkey, brute or fatty (hopefully he won't have a complex because of those names). Anthony is seriously filled with so much joy. He makes me better because he is always challenging me to be happy, he makes me stronger because he is so heavy and he makes me thank God every day that he arrived just in time to be best friends with Gabriel. I am so glad that they have one another... having our kids close together was the best idea God has ever had (for little us)! You can just look at the pictures above for a glimpse of our sweet Anthony in all his glory! Man, do we love this little guy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

All shall be well...

He responds, "Finer than a frog's hair" when asked, "How are you?" And I have heard more times than I can count, "Well, it's better than being poked in the eye with a sharp stick!"... usually in response to the donations that come in the mail! And it's also not too unusual to hear him say something like, "Be at peace" when trying to reassure any of his Vandy Catholic souls that God is in control. He is a family man in that he has a deep love for his father and his sister and he is a family man in that he has a crazy love for his Bride the Church and the souls that God has entrusted to his care; his children. He would not be caught dead drinking milkshakes or eating cheese and he has a year supply of soy milk in the fridge thanks to Frances. He always has somewhere around 634 e-mails unread (at least he did today) and he tends to lack in that area we call sleep... he doesn't do too much of that... and I have never known anyone to have a more packed schedule than him. These are only a few small details that begin to characterize my boss, Fr. John Sims Baker.

He had a reputation with me long before I met him... first, just hearing through the grapevine while I was in Atlanta that there was this new super orthodox priest at Vanderbilt, and then while I worked at St. Pius X, Mr. John Saenz sang his praises all day long. I had wondered who this holy priest was. After hearing that he was looking for an assistant and being totally fried after teaching for 3 years, I passed along the word I was interested and he called me... or maybe I called him... I can't remember. All I know is that the conversation ended something like... "No, you don't need to interview. If you want the job you can have it. I need someone to keep me in line and you seem pretty spunky like my sister, so I think you'll do great!" It wasn't long before Vanderbilt Catholic became my new home and love.

Fr. Baker helped Patrick and I through the miscarriage of our first baby, he courageously put up with the deathly morning sickness I had with Gabriel, he brought us the Eucharist while I was in labor, he baptized our first baby, and got through a 2nd pregnancy, baby and maternity leave... all the while being patient and supportive. When he made his vow of celibacy I am not sure that he ever expected to have had so much experience with all this baby stuff!

I will so miss my job. I will not miss the database, the people from Hillmont at meal time or leaving my sweet boys at home while I go to work, but I will surely miss the hustle and bustle of the Frassati House around 4pm on any given day, the number of people I watch walk into the chapel to pray, the number of souls I watch walk into his office for Confession, and the times I see how the sacramental life at Vanderbilt... thanks to Fr. Baker... introduce Jesus Christ to more souls every day. Jesus was right next to my office every day I worked. It was such a gift. I am so grateful for it.

I have been so blessed to be on the inside of this operation. It is truly a gift God has given me for my life... to have worked so closely with such a faithful, holy priest. Thank you, Fr. Baker, first for your fidelity. I have learned to love better and bigger in my marriage after watching how you love your Bride, the Church. Thank you for being a father to me... for always being concerned about me, my family, my spiritual well being, for hearing my Confession any time I asked (even though you are always so busy) and for teaching me with your life the necessity of Christ in mine. Thank you for being an example to my husband and for loving my children.

Forgive me... for never being on time, for stuffing the desk drawers with oreos when I was pregnant, and for double booking you a few times. Yikes.

Thank you for allowing me to serve in this mission with Vanderbilt Catholic to bring Jesus to more souls. After fighting the fact that it was God's will for me to work part time even after having two babies, I have surely now fought the fact that it's God's will for me leave. I promise to visit. I promise to answer my phone if you forget where I keep something, but most of all I promise to pray for you and your vocation as a priest. Thank you for the gift of your priesthood. I have to say that, after spending the past 3 years with you and watching the joy that comes with your vocation, I would be the proudest mommy ever to have a son who was a priest. God Bless you! Pray for me. I'm gonna need it. And always remember that all shall be well...

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Little Peanut, Patrick's Little Buddy: 2 Years Old!

The joy that this kid exudes is totally and incredibly contagious! My life has been changed. These past two years have flown by... two years ago on Mother's Day, my little peanut entered my world and it was never again the same. He contains a brilliance beyond his 2 years and has an impeccable memory and a love for learning about everything all the time. He has managed to memorize most of the books we have read him and he knows about 10 saints by heart... hope to get that on video soon... one crazy example is if you say, "Blessed Kateri..." he responds with, "TekA wifa!" He gets that from his dad. He also loves to be the center of attention and is the life of the party... from his dad too. On the other hand, he has the biggest heart in the world. He is concerned for everyone's well being, he apologizes if he runs into you and he would respond with "Nice to meet you" if you had just met him. He has a love for Jesus, Mary and most importantly, St. Joseph. It is his request weekly at Mass to go visit "Jofus afta da blessing, Mommy." He loves him. Gabriel is super stubborn and determined and only likes to do things if its his idea... that may be from me, yikes, but I think I have passed on some of the big heart part of him too.

He has lately started reminding us to say a blessing at dinner, where he will bless himself and keep his hands folded while we pray. He has started to kneel at Mass when we do. And he prays evening prayers before bed, which involves the Hail Mary, Guardian Angel and then a long list of "God Bless..." and he fills in the blank usually with, "Buzz Lightyear, Mom Mom Pop Pop and Unlce Eddie, along with most of the other family members.

He LOVES Toy Story, especially Woody and Buzz. He loves Elmo. He loves slippers and pajamas and loves bath time. He has begun to play outside more which I love and he likes running in the sprinkler. He talks on the phone. He likes to color and draw. And we have lately begun to do play doh and build blocks.

We have had so much trouble getting him to eat and have recently began occupational therapy, where we have seen so much improvement already. The little man is just too busy to eat and is super picky. They have said that he has textural issues with his hands and mouth so we are working super hard on breaking him of these issues and it has been quite an uphill battle. For just about any meal, he will agree to eat chocolate. But being the good parents we are, we try for real food... he will eat chicken (if fried), french fries, grilled cheese, quessadillas, peanut butter on a bagel and he just ate noodles with spaghetti sauce for the first time ever last week. He will seriously eat chocolate chips anytime, anywhere in any amount... his name for chocolate is "happy" thanks to his mom.

He LOVES his brother. He has been the most caring, affectionate brother I have ever met. He always tells me, "Bring Anthony" when we are preparing to leave... like I was gonna leave him, but so sweet. And he is constantly kissing him bringing him toys and trying so hard to make him laugh. I love it more than anything and could not be happier to have had them so close together. I have realized that one of my greatest gifts to Gabriel will be Anthony.

He does some pretty hilarious things. The other day I put him in his crib for his nap... he sang up there for about an hour... when I went to get him up a few hours later... he was snoring SO loud and when I looked in his crib all I could see were his bare little butt cheeks and his toy story slippers... he had taken all of his clothes off. I could not stop laughing!!

He has started to have to sit in time out... right now this is working wonders... he understands, he cries and then we have not seen him repeat his offenses. We will pray this remains the case.

He is always giggling and always dancing. He loves hide and seek and loves to tickle you. He has been a true pride and joy and I can not thank Jesus enough for this gift of Gabriel Patrick. Oh, the craziest pregnancy and the days I begged God to keep him after previously having a miscarriage. God is so good. Lord, he is yours. Thank you for sharing him with me. Being a mom has been my greatest joy. Happy 2nd Birthday, my little peanut.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Memorable Moments with Our Uncle Fr. Eddie

Anthony Edward was baptized... Fr. Edward's first sacrament. And even with the little man who was named after him!

Our recent trip to Atlanta when Fr. Edward baptized his third baby! Anthony, Claire and Luke have have all become Christians in the past 6 months! Gabriel did not miss the opportunity to pose for the camera.

Gabriel and Eddie were having a very serious conversation on the swing... can you tell?

Celebrating Mass in the Bentley's home for the first time.

Our very first blessing from Fr. Edward... a very emotional moment. Not a dry eye in the house.

Fr. Edward's first Mass. The consecration. What amazing graces!

Our second first blessing after the first Mass.