On June 24th, our family and friends gathered to celebrate Grace Jane’s Baptism.
This day was also my husbands Grandpap’s (Dudt’s) birthday. Sorry if that’s grammatically incorrect.
This day was also John the Baptists birthday. Really!
The priest who conducted the ceremony went to school with my father in law.
The word “Grace” is an integral part of the baptism ceremony.
Coincidence? Perhaps. But maybe just some more signs from God that our little care package was blessed.
I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming emotions I was feeling that day or all the tears that decided to come during the ceremony. It’s no secret that I am a major crier and pretty much generally an emotional mess- but I wasn’t expecting to feel how I felt when we got to the church. Baptisms are joyous occasions and not a tear was shed at Lilly’s own event. But every moment of the past four months seemed to culminate and come to a head as we walked into our church. I felt like we had reached a milestone, like we had overcome many battles, and were starting fresh right then and there.
I felt loved, surrounded by all the people that have been taking care of our family since Gracie’s birth- emotionally and otherwise. But most of all I felt this fierce sense of protection for my babies. Looking at them, not just Grace, but both of them, and acknowledging how much I love them was literally painful. I will do anything to make their lives happy and healthy. And when the priest blessed Gracie’s ears- “so that the deaf may hear” or some such words like that, sacred words that are part of every Catholic child’s Baptism- I just lost it. Brandon was squeezing me tight, knowing me well enough to know the tears were coming.
But they were happy tears, tears full of love and hope and happiness.
The second best part of this day was the party to follow. There is nothing more healing (to me) than gathering all your friends and family to eat, talk and visit. Everyone is busy. And we all have hectic crazy lives and crying kids, doctor’s appointments, ball games, work, shopping, errands… The sheer amount of things we all have going on is incredible. But it is so wonderful to gather everyone together for a few hours and totally relax. Eat good food, drink some wine, laugh at the little kids playing together, chat about recipes and babies and vacations.
And I thank all of you for making that happen for us.
Do you like that cross cake? My Dad decorated it! It’s a family effort, people.
As promised, here are some of the recipes from the event. Thank you Mom (again) for all the help and for being my menu sounding board for all of these parties. I love picking recipes with you and testing my ideas.
These are so easy. Like, honestly, I feel silly even calling this a “recipe”.
Half a block of cream cheese.
10 oz jar of lemon curd (you could make your own… but why bother?)
Pre baked filo shell tarts (you can also put this filling on a graham cracker crust (homemade is best!) or into little parfait glasses.
Blend the cream cheese and curd until smooth. If you like things thick and set, add one packet of unflavored gelatin. If you liked them how I had them, skip the gelatin. The dump it all in a piping bag, cut off the tip, and squeeze a little in each tart. Top with a fresh raspberry/blueberry/blackberry/kiwi etc. and you’re all set to go! These freeze fantastically, just pull them out a little while before your party and they’ll be perfect.
2 Bottles of White Wine (I’m no wine connoisseur but I’m pretty sure anything will do)
1 medium bottle of Apple Juice (low or no sugar added- we’ll be adding/controlling the sugar in this recipe)
1 Bottle of Seltzer Water
2 Pints of Raspberries
2 Granny Smith Apples, diced into 1/4 inch cubes (skin on)
Big Bunch of Fresh Mint leaves, torn by hand
2 Limes, cut into thin, round slices
1/4 Cup of Sugar
Add raspberries to bottom of serving jug/bowl. Sprinkle on half of sugar. Add diced apple. Sprinkle on rest of sugar. Sprinkle on torn mint leaves and cover with slices of lime. Pour in seltzer water slowly so you don’t disrupt the layers. Add juice and wine in the same way. Chill for a few hours, then drink!
Bowtie Pasta Salad
1 lb Fresh Spinach
8 oz Bowtie Pasta (Farfalle)
2 Medium Tomatoes
8 oz Feta Cheese
1 Cup Black Olives
2 Tbs Parsley
1 Tbs Red Wine Vingegar
1/2 Vegetable Oil
2 Tbs Sugar
1/2 Tbs Salt
1/4 Thyme, Rosemary, Marjoram, Pepper
3 Cloves Garlic
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool. Slice olives into rounds. Chop tomatoes into 1/4 inch pieces. Chop fresh baby spinach into pieces. Toss pasta, spinach, feta, olives and tomatoes together gently in a bowl. Mix vinaigrette by adding all ingredients to a small bowl and whisking to combine. Pour dressing over salad ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Please notice the stickers on my first born daughter’s face… she’s a free spirit.
Pork Tenderloin Marinade (for 4 tenderloin pieces)
2 Cups of Orange Juice
1 Cup of Soy Sauce
6 Cloves of Garlic, minced
2 tsp. Pepper
3 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 Green Onion or Shallot, chopped
Combine all ingredients in large ziplock freezer bag and shake to combine. Add tenderloins and marinate overnight.
My girl loves to twirl.
Many more special moments were shared this weekend. Like having my Grandpop (my Dad’s Dad) come to Pittsburgh for the first time in decades and hearing Lilly call him “Great PopPop”. I wish my Grandmom was alive to hear that.
And secretly spying Lilly try to teach Grace to click her tongue- then telling Grace “I’m so proud of you!” with a tiny hug and kiss.
Putting my girls in matching dresses for the first time ever.
Seeing my sweet cousin, Sarah, rock her Godbaby to sleep. And seeing the precious pin she picked out for Grace to wear.
Watching Lilly’s eyes light up to see the tiny two layer cake my mom brought for her to decorate.
Seeing Lilly play hockey with her Uncle Mike in the driveway.
I could go on forever. Because honestly? They’re all special moments. But thanks for reading, thanks for sharing, and thanks for making Gracie’s day as special as it turned out to be. We are truly blessed.