Friday, November 14, 2014

And the Child Grew and Became Strong in Spirit

And the child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him.
- Luke 2:40

On Sunday, September 28, 2014 our Eric James was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Petersburg, Florida - the same church where Eric and I were married in 2007 and Ellie was baptized in 2012. It was an absolutely perfect day! I have been waiting to share the whole thing with you until we had pictures (our go-to Tampa-area photographer, Jason Angelini, photographed the whole event with us), and now we do, so I can't wait to tell you all about E.J.'s big day!

(All pictures courtesy of Jason Angelini Photography unless otherwise noted.)

The day really was perfect from top to bottom. Both kids slept well and woke up happy, and we even had a few minutes to cuddle in bed before starting the getting-ready madness.

I've shared this one before, but I'm sharing it again because it is one of my most favorite pictures of my kids.
(Personal photo)

Like his sister, mother and grandmother before him (among many other members of our clan), E.J. wore our family's heirloom baptism gown. It has been in our family for over 60 years and at least three generations have worn it (possibly a fourth, but we cannot confirm). It was so meaningful to me to see another of my babies wear such a precious family keepsake.

The family baptism gown

We left the house slightly later than I had planned, but we were still in much better shape timing-wise than we were with Ellie's baptism, when we strolled in as the service was underway, problematic because we were the first order of business. This time, we arrived before things actually got started, although there was less pressure anyway because the baptism was in the middle of the service. We arrived, greeted our friends and family who were already there and took our seats at the back of the sanctuary.

The baptismal font, ready for our E.J.!

Ellie sat in the row behind us with my mom, and it should be noted that she was nothing short of a perfect angel during the whole ceremony. She had brought one toy with her and she happily played for some of the time, and the rest was spent sitting on Grammy's lap and sucking her thumb.

Sweet Ellie during church

Ellie playing in the pew

Also angelic: the baptism baby himself. Considering church was starting right when he normally naps, he was amazingly good. He fussed a little bit during the first half of the service, so Eric stood at the back of the sanctuary and held him and that did just the trick.

E.J. and his daddy

Look at that face.

When it was time for the baptism, we grabbed Ellie and moved to the baptismal font at the back of the church. We were joined by E.J.'s godparents: my cousin Molly, and Eric's friend John.

The godparents

And so the baptism was underway. It was a beautiful service, and E.J. was so good. Admittedly, he was a little fussy while the pastor was speaking, and he didn't love the water and blessings, but he was more "mildly inconvenienced" than really mad about anything so we'll go ahead and call that a stellar performance. Ellie was also very good through the whole thing, though she did want to reach down and fuss over E.J. as much as possible.

Admiring our little guy

Ellie just wants to hold his hand!

My mom on video duty

Baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

Wiped clean

Marked with the cross of Christ

He's not quite as excited as we are!

When the ceremony at the font was finished, we moved up to the front of the church to present E.J. to the congregation.

The newest member of the church!

I have to say, I'm so glad that we found this church "home-away-from-home," if you will. It has been really nice to have a church to keep coming back to for all of these big events for our growing family, in a location that allows our extended family to be a part of our celebrations, too. I fell in love with this church when we were planning our wedding and I'm so pleased it has played such a big part in our married life, too.

Our celebrations at Trinity Lutheran Church: wedding in 2007, Ellie's baptism in 2012, and E.J.'s baptism in 2014

As these things tend to do when you're caught up in the moment, the whole baptism seemed to fly by, and I was very glad my mom recorded it on video for us to watch back later. If you'd like to see the main event yourself, here's the video:

VIDEO: E.J.'s Baptism
(If you can't see the video above but would like to, click here.)

Both children maintained their excellent behavior through the rest of the service, leaving their parents rather impressed. I nursed E.J. after the baptism portion and he slept through the rest of the service, and Ellie just went back to happily hanging out with Grammy.

All worn out from his big moment!
(Personal photo)

Ellie and Grammy

After church we gathered family members and godparents for some posed portraits in the church.



Then, it was off to my dad's house to celebrate! Heather, Eric and I decorated the house the night before with streamers, a banner and some Bible verse signs I made. I also put out the photobook I made of E.J.'s birth and first days for people to flip through.


For lunch, we picked up some Sonny's BBQ and a cake from Publix. My mom also made a delicious cheesecake dip.

Yummy lunch!

Before we really got down to the festivities, I changed E.J. out of his gown and into his party outfit...

Somebody is ready to de-gown!
(Personal photo)

That's better already!
(Personal photo)

(Personal photo)

Cute little shoes!

...and we took a few minutes for some quick family portraits.

Our family! 

Cutie pie 

 Ellie and E.J.

Silly kid!

E.J. also made sure to greet his Nonnie and Gramz, who were unable to make it to the church, but we were very glad to see them at the celebration!

E.J. and his Nonnie

Love these ladies!

E.J. with his great-grandmother

He also had his first official meeting with his Grandpa and Grandma Suellen.

W. Men

E.J. and Grandma Suellen

The rest of the party was pretty casual: just eat and hang out!

Fun times with friends and family!

E.J. made the rounds, as a good guest of honor tends to do, but eventually ended up snoozing in Auntie Kelley's arms. What a doll!

E.J. and Auntie Kelley

So sweet!

Eric also made a lovely toast to thank everyone for coming and for being such an important and special part of our lives. Then, we cut the cake.

His toast was great!

We couldn't resist a cheesy cake-cutting pose!

Speaking of cake, Ellie was just the cutest. She knew we were having cake at the party and she developed serious cake tunnel vision. She climbed right into her high chair as soon as we got to the house and waited patiently (or, you know, relentlessly asked) for her cake. She was not sad when the big cake moment finally came!

At last!

That is one happy girl!

And that was it! Everyone ate and hung out and then slowly our guests said their good-byes. We got things cleaned up, the kids down for (much-needed) naps, then Eric ran off to play a little golf while Heather and I went for mani-pedis. Do we know how to wind down from an exciting morning or what?

It really was such a wonderful day. I am so glad that we have been able to have both our children baptized in our old hometown with our families and friends in attendance. It means so much to us to have so many great people to celebrate our family with. Thank you to all of you who made the day so special for us and for E.J.! We love you!

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