I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
- 3 John 1:4
On Sunday, July 29, Ellie was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Petersburg, Florida - the same church where Eric and I were married five years ago. We wanted to have her baptized in Florida so that all of our families could be in attendance, and the day ended up being so wonderful that I know that was a perfect choice.
The day started out kind of hectic. We had been up late the night before, preparing my dad's house for the post-baptism party. Then on Sunday morning, Ellie refused to go back to sleep after her early morning wake-up. We know from far too much experience that Ellie not going back to sleep after her early morning wake-up spells disaster (read: super grumpy, excessively meltdown-prone baby) for the rest of the day. Eric jumped to the rescue and put Ellie to sleep by bouncing on our exercise ball while I got ready for church, and then I took over with Ellie while he got ready. All that plus the arrival of out-of-town family members at the house (and all the hellos and such that come with that) meant we left for the church a bit later than we planned.
Getting Ellie dressed was a task in and of itself. She wore a family heirloom gown that has been in my family for over 60 years. It was worn by my mother and her siblings, I wore it and so did my sister and cousins, and now Ellie has worn it. It consists of a silky slip, followed by a starched half-slip that has to be secured by safety pins, and then finally the top layer is the beautiful white eyelet gown. She also wore a gorgeous white eyelet bonnet that, although brand new, was a perfect match to the vintage gown. She completed the ensemble with pink ballet shoes.
(Note: Unless otherwise noted, all photos in this post are courtesy of the wonderful Jason Angelini Photography!)
Ellie's baptism gown
Her sweet little pink shoes
The gown and bonnet
Because I didn't want to stuff the very delicate gown into her car seat if I could help it, I dressed her in her slip and shoes at the house and then we finished things off with the eyelet layer and her bonnet when we arrived at the church.
Trinity Lutheran Church on a beautiful Sunday morning in July
We arrived at the church a few minutes after the service was supposed to start, but I am positive they actually got started a few minutes early. The baptism was the first thing after the opening hymn, so as soon as we arrived we rushed down to the front pew just in the nick of time. Actually, as soon as we sat down they called us to the front, but my sister (Ellie's godmother!) had driven separately and had not yet arrived! As we were walking up to the front I saw her coming in from the back of the church and was frantically motioning for her to hurry to join us. All this drama, all thanks to a baby trying to refuse a morning nap, am I right? I felt so terrible that we were late. But hey, if I know anything about Ellie, I know that she likes to make a leisurely-yet-dramatic entrance!
Eric carrying our baptism baby into the church at the very last minute
Heather! Hurry up!
Love Ellie looking right at the camera. The girl is a ham, what can I say?
And so the baptism ceremony was under way. Ellie did a fantastic job - she didn't mind the water at all (I didn't think she would; the girl loves a bath), and only fussed slightly when the Pastor put his hand on her head. Otherwise, she hung out, chatted a bit, and just looked around. She also looked so beautiful in her gown, although the silky underneath layers sure did make her slippery!
Inside the church
Ellie being baptized
Marked with the Cross of Christ
Ellie was very interested in the flame on her baptism candle!
Her baptismal cloth and cross
Because it did go so fast, I was very thankful that my mom recorded it on video. If you're interested, you can watch the whole five-minute baptism below.
VIDEO: Ellie's baptism
After the baptism we took our seats again, where Ellie proceeded to "talk" through an entire responsive reading. We will definitely have to work with her on appropriate church conduct later, but for now we all just found it very funny and very cute.
Family at church
The talking soon turned to fussing, however, as our "I Must Be Constantly Entertained" baby grew tired of sitting in the same old pew with the same old toys. So, she spent most of the rest of the service walking around with her daddy.
Ellie in Daddy's arms
Kisses from her Nonnie
Greeting family during the sharing of the peace
The end of the service - well done, Ellie!
After the church cleared out, we did some portraits with Ellie and the Pastor, her grandparents, her parents and her godparents.
With Pastor Tom
Ellie and her grandparents
Ellie and her godparents
Ellie with her proud parents!
Although she was getting tired, Ellie really hung in there, and even gave us some smiles!
So much excitement for one morning!
(personal iPhone photo)
Back at the house, it was party time! All of our preparations came together quite nicely. For decor, we used streamers and fun tissue circle things in the trees outside. Inside, I printed out Bible verses and placed them around the house with pictures of Ellie. There was also a set-up on the desk in the family room with more pictures of Ellie, a photo album of pictures of me as a baby (including pictures of me in the same baptism gown), and the book I made of my pregnancy and birth story blog posts. I also made a "God Bless Ellie" banner to hang in the doorway. We had Sonny's BBQ for lunch and a cake from Publix, plus brownies and fruit salad. Everything was perfect.
Details of the reception
We took a few more portraits of Ellie before she changed out of the baptism gown and into her party dress. She was pretty tired and hungry by that point, so she wasn't super excited about this plan, but she sure did look gorgeous in that gown and bonnet so I am glad we got a few more portraits of her.
Left: Momentarily distracted from her dissatisfaction by the possibility of eating her gown
Right: Never mind. Gown-eating aside, now she's just mad.
Kisses from Daddy
Eric thanking our guests
Cutting the cake
Friends and family at Ellie's party
By the end of the party, the Girl of Honor was officially wiped out.
Cuddled up with Auntie/Godmother Heather for a little nap
It really was a great day. Thanks again to everyone who helped make it so wonderful for Ellie and for us. We are so blessed that God has entrusted this beautiful gift to us, our sweet baby girl. It meant the world to us to give her back to Him and to have so many loved ones there to share the day! We all love you, dear Ellie!
Our Elizabeth Alice
Jesus, Gentle Shepherd,
Keep this child close by your side;
Let your light be her companion
And your love her constant guide.
Hold her hand throughout life's journey,
Be her friend and guardian too;
Teach her well and bless her always
As she follows after You.