Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Peter's Baptism!

DH here as guest blogger again.

On Saturday we baptized our dear little Peter! Nikki and I are so happy to welcome Peter into the Church. The sacrament of baptism is such a beautiful, wonderful gift. Our family is blessed to have this little boy become a Christian.

He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:18)

In light of our adoptions from China, Mark 16:18 has always struck me as rather apropos. How wonderful it is to be able to bring a child from such a distant country into the family of God.


If you look closely at the photo below, you will see Peter grabbing at the water as he is about to be baptized. Father Gregory remarked that he has never seen a child want to be baptized as much as our little Peter. :)



Here is Peter with his favorite person. For some reason after we returned from China, I have become chopped liver and Nikki reigns supreme.



God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. This prefigured baptism, which saves you now. (1 Peter 3:20)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Confirmation!


DH, guest blogger extraordinaire, here.

Last Tuesday evening Banana was confirmed by Bishop Campbell! Banana was well-prepared for reception of the sacrament and I am very proud of her work in learning the faith. The priest who conducted her confirmation interview said her definition of the virtues was the best he had ever heard from a confirmand (person being confirmed).


In his article on confirmation, Msgr. Charles Pope remarks that “Evil triumphs when the good remain silent.” How true this is! How important is it for all the confirmed to speak the truth in season and out of season; when it is convenient and when it is inconvenient.

 

Banana chose St. Therese of Lisieux as her patroness. At St. Patrick Church (our parish), there is a quote by St. Therese that reads: "If you are willing to bear serenely the trial of being displeasing to yourself then you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter." How I pray that Jesus *always* finds Banana a pleasant place of shelter!

Monday, April 9, 2012

He is Risen!

He is risen indeed, alleluia, alleluia!

I honestly don't think that in our earthly life we will experience anything closer to heaven than Easter Sunday morning Mass celebrating the Resurrection of Our Lord. Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones, or the lack of sleep from basket and dinner preparations, or the joy of having made it through Lent, but I was moved to tears. 

It is simply heavenly to see the little ones decked out in their Easter finest. Little girls in pastel dresses and white patent leather mary-janes, and little boys in vests and ties.To see the altar dressed in gold linens, the statues and art unveiled, the fragrance of hundreds of flowers adorning the altar and church. When the opening hymn began with the triumphant sounds of the brass quartet, and the congregation began to sing Jesus Christ is Risen Today, I was overwhelmed with the notion that this was a glimpse of heaven. There must have been angels all through that sanctuary.

Of course, we are still dwellers of this earth and our Easter Mass experience brought with us ample reminders of the work we are called to do while still here.

 Little Peter fussed till he finally gave in and fell asleep, after twice letting his dad know in no uncertain terms that he was to be held by Mom.


We have a cardinal rule of Mass survival that states that the feet of children under three never touch the floor in order to avoid the inevitable fall from the kneeler and accompanying head bump. We foolishly broke that rule and of course little Gabe took a good spill. 


Then there was Joseph, who looks so angelic in this photo, he was calmer than normal because he wasn't feeling well. We thought he had done fairly well until we heard after Mass that when we weren't looking he was poking the backsides of those waiting in line to kneel at the communion rail, particularly the women (we also have another rule of Mass that we sit in the front row whenever possible). Yes, that's my son.


After Mass we enjoyed a wonderful family dinner, Grandma's much too generous Easter egg hunt, and homemade carrot cake. The weather was beautiful, the food delicious, and it was another memorable family celebration. Of course at the end I fell into bed exhausted, but so incredibly thankful for such a beautiful day.



I could've written this post about Easter... I too need the full fifty days of Easter to unravel the mystery of the Resurrection! How wonderful the Church in her wisdom gave us so much time to celebrate. I think any mom who tries to pull off a holiday celebration knows that it is hard to contemplate or ponder the meaning of anything when you're so busy trying to coordinate baskets, and dresses, and meals, and somehow clean a house when seven little ones are so bent on it's destruction. I even remarked at our soccer games on Saturday morning (yes, as if this weekend weren't busy enough, we had our first spring soccer games too) that it was a good thing we had an octave of Easter because that was the only way we were going to have time to dye eggs. I just couldn't fit it in earlier. 


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Good Friday

On Holy Thursday my mom came over and watched four of our youngest children so that we would be able to attend Mass. It was a beautiful liturgy and I was thankful to have the opportunity to make it through the whole service without feeling battle fatigued and beat up from four little ones crawling over me. At one point I thought to myself that it was nice to meditate on the music of our amazing parish choir instead of just feeling thankful that the singing was drowning out the babbling of whichever kid was making noise at the moment. On the way home though, I also thought that, as much as I enjoyed that Mass, I do think there are amazing graces poured out to us even when we can't concentrate on the liturgy because we are too caught up in trying to keep our little ones from becoming too much of a distraction... Little did I know the next day would prove that all too much.

We took advantage of dh having a day off (his vacation is extremely limited with the trip to China and a delivery coming in early August) and scheduled Peter's first appointment with the International Adoption Clinic on Good Friday. We took the earliest appointment so that I could be home in time for dh and the older girls to make it to our parish meditations on the seven last words. The plan was that I would meet him later for the communion service. That appointment turned into a four and a half hour ordeal. It was crazy. This is our third adoption, our seventh child, all I wanted was a thorough once over to know he was healthy. Instead it was psychologists, therapists, nutritionists, and the works. At one point I was advised to let little Peter hold a spoon while I fed him with another spoon. I nodded and smiled politely at this pretty 20-something with no children while in my head my stream of consciousness is shouting, "I have seven children, a college degree, a brain, I've clearly figured this out.... How much am I paying for this advice?... This is why I dragged myself, a one year old and a two year old out all morning?"

After making it home, seeing dh and my best helpers off to church, I had five minutes to scarf down lunch after being too ambitious in my Friday fasting at breakfast (although pregnant, I try to strike a balance with fasting) before the little ones started waking from their naps. My arms ached from holding a fussy little one for four hours. It was a doctor's office and I really didn't want him crawling on the floor. He, however, is not used to being held for long periods of time and had simply had enough. I tried to feed a few non-nappers a late lunch. By the time I finished cleaning up, settling down fussy babies and toddlers, and maneuvering my ever-growing belly into the back seat of an over-crowded minivan to buckle five kids into car seats, we were half an hour late. Still we pressed on.

We got there and before even entering the church I had to detour to change more diapers. We went in, eventually found dh and girls, and within 10 minutes I was out again. Little Peter liked the feel of the empty baptismal font so for a few minutes peace, I held him up letting him run his hands over the dry concrete. Then I felt something dripping down my arm. He had thrown up in the empty font. The day had been too much for him. I stood there, trying to get little Gabriel to follow me, keep Peter from getting more nastiness on the floor (or me), and make my way to the restroom for some paper towels and such. Thank goodness our parish is such a mecca of large families because a Dad of 11 saved the day for me. Knowing too well I needed a hand, he helped clean that font.

I made it through that service, came home, and crashed. Well, I crashed after making my bed because a little one had an accident after coming into our bed in the middle of the night, folding two loads of laundry, picking up two little kids' bedrooms, and making a grocery list. There were, however, many graces that came from pushing through. Even though there was very little meditation on the via dolorosa, there was a small sharing in the crosses given me. I wish I had carried them more willingly and with less complaining, but I am still a work in progress.




Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Peter's First Few Days at Home

I think that I am going to need dh to chime in more often if I am ever going to be able to post more regularly on this blog. I certainly enjoyed his posts while he was in China, so maybe I can convince him to pop in every now and then (hint hint)...

Peter's first few weeks home have been pretty non-eventful for us. I, inevitably after the stress of dh's trip, got sick. The early spring has my allergies on overdrive and I had stopped taking my allergy prescriptions for fear of their effect on growing baby girl. That caused a sinus infection and an ear infection. Just another spring in Ohio. While it might have been normal for us, it was filled with firsts for little Peter.

His first experience with an over abundance of toys.
Probably his first experiences learning to share those toys as well. Although I do think the sharing part has been harder on the older boys who have now had to renegotiate who gets what. This is especially true for one Gabe-y Baby who isn't used to not officially being the baby.

His first of many conversations with one of his sisters.
The boy does now have four older sisters, I sometimes call them hens, who cackle and chirp all day long. They also dote on his every need. This little one will no doubt be well versed in female conversation.

His first trip out doors in Ohio spring weather.
He loves the outdoors. He points out the window and follows anyone he can right out the door. He didn't take to the grass, at least not yet. Being outside is a little tough until you can walk.

His first jelly doughnut.
Obviously he loved it! 

His first trip to the park.
Where he spent most of his time just taking it all in, intently watching all his siblings play.
He particularly watched his older brothers, I'm sure taking notes...
Soon enough I am sure he'll brave the slide alone and then before you know it he'll be doing this