Saturday, August 22, 2015

Brand New.

If you're reading this in any kind of blog reader I'm begging - no really, begging! - you to click through to my blog. Even better if it's on a computer, not a phone.

That way you can see my fancy new blog design, courtesy of the incredibly patient, incredibly talented Rebekah Louise. We have been working on this since, oh, the end of May and she has put up with every delay, every quibble, every search for the perfect font. Turns out, I'm kind of picky about how I want things to look in this virtual space, if I'm given the option. 

So, make yourself at home here. I'm still working on updating all the tabs and re-labeling posts to show up correctly, etc. etc. 

But it's nice to have someplace tidy and neat - even if it is only my virtual home.

Friday, July 31, 2015

End of an Era

Two years, nine months, and five days ago, I gave birth to my first child.

I had been waiting to become a mother my entire life: I have always been very maternal and couldn't wait to have children of my own. Unlike many of the narratives of first-time moms that I read these days, Susannah's early months were delightful. I loved each new stage, and treasured my days with her in our little home. Yet I'd be dishonest if I didn't admit that a huge reason that I had such an easy transition into motherhood was...


She lived with us for the first five months of Zuzu's life - what a help that was! I had a pediatric nurse just steps away from my bedroom door, someone to ask about fevers or hiccups, a second set of hands at dinnertime, another set of arms to hold my baby while I took a shower or a nap or a walk. I'm no fool; I know that I had what very few women have today - real and constant support from another woman while I learned to be a mom.

Her friendship fundamentally changed my motherhood, because she was present to me even beyond those five months. For almost two years, nine months, and four days, she has been a near-constant presence in my household. We have shared meals, late nights, heartache, vacations, clothes, cars, and burdens. We were one another's ride to the airport and "I've landed!" text. We have cleaned each other's bathrooms, done one another's laundry, and advised one another on everything from hair color to spiritual struggles. We have fought - with one another and for one another and against the powers of Hell.

From one baby in Italy...

To two babies in my living room...

No one is better at snuggles than Auntie Jen.

And now she's moving.

She's moving to pursue her dream job in our favorite city, Washington DC, and I'm so proud. I am so damn proud of the woman she has become over these two years, nine months, and four days. These years have been transformative for us both - we have, in so many vital ways, started to fully embrace the women we are called to be. She is strong, beautiful, and full of joy. I am in awe of the way she carries Christ to the world and, to be honest, a little envious of her fire right now. I was hoping she'd stick around a little longer so my tiny little ember of zeal that's barely hanging on could catch some of her heat...but she goes where she's called, and I know I'll still be able to see that flame even from here, even from one thousand forty nine miles away.


Steubenville Orlando!

 Naples zoo....

I'm saying goodbye - goodbye to the woman who has had the greatest impact on my mothering that isn't related to me or the actual embodiment of supernatural grace (that'd be Mary, obviously). I'm saying goodbye to Zuzu's godmother, my children's second mother, the always-set third place at my table, my afternoon visitor, my best friend. Oh, I know, it's not really goodbye - but it's goodbye to this time that has been so savored, so sweet, so precious.

So raise your virtual glass with me to toast this time - this woman - our friendship: here's to the memories that will never fade and new ones yet to be forged, to new adventures yet to be known, to friendship that endures beyond distance and time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Sorry, but...

Thrush is back, so I am not.

Lying low while I rehabilitate myself once again. It's definitely not as bad as last time, but I'm also not taking any chances. Once again it snuck up on me while I wasn't paying attention - I shrugged off a few symptoms here or there, powered through some pain, then woke up one morning and said "oh crap."

Word to the wise: even if you have a lot of other things going on, please pay attention if your "ni-nis" hurt.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Welcoming DGO to the RCC, Part III: The After Party

For preparations that I did differently that simplified my life, see here.
For the baptism liturgy itself, here

This post was delayed by an out of town trip and then everyone getting sick...this week, we'll see what VBS does to my posting spree. 

After parties are apparently soemthing that we Orams really like - we seem to have one for every major event! After the baptism (which was held in the morning for optimal toddler cooperation), everyone headed home to take naps, and I had the bright idea of meeting up at the beach in the early evening for more fun. 

And it really was. 

Father Joe borrowed Annie's (David's godmother) kayak and started paddling around...inevitably striking up a conversation with the Latino family next to us (he speaks Spanish). And then, with parental permission of course, started taking kids for rides around the you do. 

Funny story: I had been the one communicating with everyone so we could all meet up in the same place, but I guess I didn't do a great job of relaying all the information to everyone else. Tom is playing with Zuzu in the water when he sees Annie come by in her kayak. "oh my gosh!" he says, "what are the odds that you guys are here right when we are??" ...quite small, dear. 

Zuzu had tons of people to play with her, which meant I just got to sit back and enjoy. 

Then we got to see the sunset on our merry band. We didn't want to leave, but we're all a bit too old (or young) to sleep on the beach I think.

We gave the babies their last salty cuddles before tucking them in and heading out. Salt, sand, and chrism - not many combos better than that.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Welcoming DGO to RCC, Part II

In the first post, I talked about what I planned differently in advance that made the baptism more personally meaningful and enjoyable for me. 

We also did the actual liturgy itself a bit differently! We started in the narthex, which is the area outside the actual sanctuary. This is where our main holy water font is and where the Liturgy of the Word and the baptism were performed. Then we processed into the main sanctuary for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, symbolizing David's entrance into the Church!
Waiting for Tom, I believe!

If I could look anymore like my Grandma Dorothy in this picture, I'd actually become her
It is unconventional to do the liturgy this way, but I loved it because it felt so communal. We were all gathered there, in a circle around the font, and it felt like what it should be: a group of believers coming together to witness a babe's entrance into the Church! It wasn't a performance with an audience and since our parish is quite large, the small narthex made the small group of twenty or so people gathered feel much more intimate. I loved that I could look around and see the faces of so many people who love and support us - some of the same people who will love and support David throughout his life and journey of faith. 
Notable absences were all of my siblings and Tom's family - although since it was Mother's Day weekend, it was understandable! Especially for Tom's family, who had only just welcomed Tom's newest nephew, aka David's built-in best friend. 

Zuzu's Easter dress does double duty

David's godfather, Matt, did one of the readings and Jen read the intercessions, while David's lovely godmother Annie (8 months pregnant with her third child) sang a setting of the 66th Psalm written by Tom. Talk about emotion - my heart was so full seeing this celebration. The priest who baptized David is Fr. Joe, Zuzu's godfather and Tom and I's best friend from when we were in school together at the Catholic University of America. Back in the day, Tom, Joe, and I used to skulk out around DC and NOVA, generally getting into theological arguments and trying to find the best bar. Eight years later, Fr. Joe is baptizing Tom and I's son and I'm holding back tears. 

The newest Christian! 

Sibling love

Processing in!
The gifts were brought up by two members of a family that we love so much. Incidentially, they really saved my biscuits this morning when they gladly agreed to pick up the cake and drop it off at the reception room! But imagine how bad I felt when I realized we hadn't paid for it in advance. Of course, because they are classy and wonderful, they brushed off my apologies and offered checks with the greatest of ease. This community blesses us beyond measure. 

When Fr. Joe called for a Eucharistic minister, Jen stepped forward and lo, another blessed moment where I received the Precious Blood from my best friend at the baptism of my son. 

The pictures afterwards were a wonderful conundrum of encouraging hungry toddlers to stand still, ushering people in and out of the frames, and general hilarity. It reminded me of our wedding, nearly four years ago, in the same place with so many of the same people - the same community welcoming us and supporting us, just like they promised to that hot July evening. 

After that, it was party time! We didn't get many shots...too busy having fun! 

Zuzu and Augie, her buddy 

Next up: The after party...on the beach!