Thursday, November 29, 2012

Early Days

My precious Sweet P,

We knew...we just knew that you were with us from the very beginning, which was such a gift and blessing. It just so happened that you were probably very newly conceived during our trip for Uncle A and Uncle Godfather's graduation back at the end of May. Your presence with us explained why Mama wasn't feeling well throughout the weekend. During the drive I would credit my nausea or fatigue to the windy roads and all that we were doing that weekend, but in the back of my mind I thought it may have been because of you.

The following weekend (a week after your conception), at the very start of your life, Daddy, Mama, and Big brother went down to the valley and made a quick stop in Corpus on our way back home during the weekend. A main reason we were making the trip south was because our friend was being ordained a priest and we did not want to miss such an amazing time in his life. Honestly, Sweet P, that weekend was filled with such gift because of our dear friend. His ordination was one of the most beautiful events we have witnessed to date filled with such amazing Grace and Goodness, and we were so happy to share it with you and Bigfoot.

After Fr. Andy's amazing ordination, he gave his first blessings. We all waited in line anxiously to be blessed by our friend, the newly ordained priest. As he was giving us our blessing, we mentioned to him that you were with us, and he included you in that beautiful experience. Sweet one you have been blessed in a special way, as have Daddy, Mama, and Seph, and for that we will always be grateful to Fr. Andy.

Words really cannot express the overwhelming beauty that we saw that weekend, but we are so grateful that our hearts were there to witness Our Lord's goodness, joy, and love through our dear friend. Fr. Andy was glowing. He was radiating a peace that made me shed tears of joy. I thank God for picking such an amazing servant. So grateful that we were able to be at the first Mass he presided over (again, no words can express the goodness and joy that flowed). And finally, I am so thankful to God for sharing Fr. Andy with our little family.

Dearest Sweet P, your early days were a gift. Thank you for joining us when you did. Thank you for sharing the signs that you did with Mama, so that she could know you were with us. And, thank you for being so sweet!

Love,
mama

PS Sweet one, I'll try to recap our pregnancy thus far on a week to week to do. I marked it all in our calendar, so I just need to sit down and get to it :)


~~~
"The priestly vocation is essentially a call to sanctity, in the form that derives from the Sacrament of Holy Orders.  Sanctity is intimacy with God; it is the imitation of Christ, poor, chaste and humble; it is unreserved love for souls and self-giving to their true good; it is love for the church which is holy and wants us to be holy, because such is the mission that Christ has entrusted to it.  Each one of you must be holy also in order to help your brothers pursue their vocation to sanctity." -Blessed John Paul ll (Rome, Italy, October 9, 1984)

Monday, November 26, 2012

God does not command that we do great things, only little things with great love. -Blessed Mother Teresa

Papa and Nana Time

After our travels for my grandpa's funeral we had another weekend of travel to follow. A weekend that we had planned on. A weekend to spend with my parents. And, any extra time we could get with family after experiencing our loss was definitely welcomed by me.

We met Papa Ram and Nana near a lake in Austin. It was a nice and beautiful retreat from city views. Joseph did well during the drive, it was this preggo mama that was having the trouble.

Pregnancy with our first, compared to this one, was easy-peasy! Nausea was very manageable, I felt great, and was able to get my exercise on like no ones business all throughout the 9 months. This time around, my nausea was unmanageable (majorly), I struggled with very low blood pressure, and I get my exercise in when I can (in other words, rarely). All in all, I do feel good and am grateful to be out of the first trimester, but good night! my little Sweet P. You have kept your mama on her toes! So, aside from my oh-so-wonderful preggo symptoms, we made it to our destination!!

Here's our Bigfoot. He wasn't sure what to think about Papa's hat and sunglasses.
We got enjoy some great pool time. Our little one loves being in the water!!
And splashing!!!
Lots and lots of splashing!
He was getting passed around. Laughter and smiles were plentiful.
Papa and Nana ate up their time with their grandson, and GeekMan and I were able to have some fun times together in the rec area. I dominated in ping-pong, because that's just how life is. Meanwhile, he took most rounds of air hockey. 
After a day full-o-fun, the little guy was pretty subdued. 
We took some strolls and enjoyed seeing all the deer and beautiful nature God has shared with us.
Little guy was good at getting tuckered out with all the fun he was having.
We went to eat at the Oasis (finally!). We've heard about this place by so many friends and family members. 
Bigfoot was not a fan of any of the statues. Not even the puppy!
Daddy was his safety from all the weird statues that surrounded the shopping plaza connected to the Oasis.
As were Papa and Nana. 
Bigfoot was not in the mood for pictures.
But Papa and Nana always take a great one!
We had such a great weekend and were thankful that we were able to spend time with my parents, especially after losing my grandpa. Living far from family makes any together-time great, special, and precious. Time that we love to experience and always are a little sad to leave.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Ay lo que llegamos."

Days after we celebrated our Sweet Bigfoot's first birthday, we got news that my grandpa had passed away. It was all pretty sudden, and for the most part unexpected. This man was a character all my life. He had his struggles, but oh how I know he loved me and all his family. He couldn't be more proud of us all. I know he thought of us often and prayed for us just as much. For awhile I was wondering what all I would write in this post to capture this dynamic man who wore his faults on his sleeve, but my Aunt Rina was able to do so much better in the Eulogy she wrote. As this piece was being read at the wake, all I kept thinking, through my tears, is that I want to have what she wrote so I can remember as well as so I can share it with our children. So, with that, I'm grateful that she gave me permission to share this on our blog. A post for us to always turn back to and remember. And, posting this soon after Veteran's day could not be more appropriate for my grandpa - a man who loved and fought for this great nation.

**

Eulogy by my Aunt Rina
08/05/1931 – 06/25/2012

There are a lot of things about my dad I’d like for you to know.  First of all being a father of six I remember him always being a working man.  We always had food, clothing and BBQ’s when we were little.  I remember my dad always loving to BBQ and having family over at our house.  Knowing that I guess that is where my brothers got the love of BBQing.  I remember him taking us to the San Juan Shrine on Sundays and even taking us to pony rides afterwards.  Or knowing that, come Fridays, he’d splurge and get Mr. Q burgers for all of us.  The big thrill of that was us going and trying to climb the steep walls they had there at the restaurant.  My dad was definitely a restaurant eater. Mom would place his regular orders and we would drive to pick them up just in time before dad got home and definitely after he had his few Falstaff beers!  My daddy loved to drink, well at one time, until the doctors gave him an ultimatum and one day to the next, cold turkey, never took another drink in his life. That was over 20 years ago.  He would often even tell us that drinking was bad, imagine that! 

 My dad to the ones that knew him probably remember him most as being a strong-headed, stubborn person - which, I won’t deny.  My dad too often spoke the truth which most could not understand.  Daddy was a very, very stubborn man. I remember when we would go to the VA he often complained about the pills he had to take and how they each caused him more problems.  I would tell him, “Ok dad, I will tell the doctor” and he would reply “No don’t tell them because for every pill they take away they will give you two more” or worse “Those doctors don’t know what they are doing; they only work for a paycheck”.  So obviously his theory about the doctors medical knowledge was slightly underrated.   I truly believe dad just liked to complain about mostly everything because he just could.  Dad was very tight with his money but had the biggest pocket when it came to giving to people. He was never empty handed with anyone he came across or went to visit.

Dad wasn’t much of an affectionate man.  Never was one to say “I love you” or “I’m proud of you”.  But one of the times that I was in the hospital with him, with every nurse that came in he would mention something about each of us indirectly.  He would mention that his son has a master’s degree and helps everyone because he works with Social Security.  My oldest daughter works for a CPA and is good at it because she’s been there too long.  My daughter has a college degree and makes a lot of money because she has to go all the way to Rio Grande City everyday because here they don’t pay much.  My youngest son lives on ten acres of land and has a big beautiful house too big for him so you should call him (this telling a young nurse after asking if she is married). My youngest daughter has a little girl, that says she’s going to be a nurse to take care of her mom. And this is my daughter Rina; she has her own business and will sell you all kinds of insurance. So by the end of the day after him repeating all the above to anyone that happened to come in after the nurse had heard it several times, I asked dad why do you keep telling these people the same story, they don’t even know us.  He said, Because I know that I wasn’t the best father to my children and I might not have much in life but the pride my children have given me just by what they have accomplished lets me know that I did something right in my life.

My dad didn’t drive fancy cars, but always routinely turned on the truck, floored the engine, wiped his truck clean. He did all this knowing my mom would get upset, but that didn’t stop him.  My dad didn’t dress fancy but guarantee you that in his closet were always white starched shirts along with his starched jeans that only a cleaner could make that stiff.  He didn’t travel much but made his weekly visits to church, Ruben’s grocery, my Tia Marinela’s house and Tio Rudy’s house and at times taking Jaclyn along for the ride.  He didn’t buy expensive things but in his pocket you could bet  had money in it, his comb, pen, and the famous Wrigley’s juicy fruit gum.  Dad was also very precise on how he wanted things like when he would send me to the bank to withdraw his money (as he didn’t believe in using checks).  I had to get exact amount of $100’s, $50’s, $20’s, $10’s and $1’s.  It was amazing how he had his little list of bills that he calculated every month to mark paid in his UTPAU notebook.

Dad was so proud of being from Starr County, loved telling his army stories, being a sharp shooter and how he would put all the tall guys to shame just to proove that even though short he was stronger and better.  He loved talking about the days in the ranch and how things used to be.  I remember when we were younger he’d leave me and my siblings at the ranch  for what seemed like forever, but would say it was because he wanted us to appreciate the things we had at home. I guess because we actually were privileged.  We were the kids that had the new bikes, toys, and mainly the pencil sharpener that it seemed the whole neighborhood would come and use. He was just proud to be from his lineage and everyone who has ever gone to our house will see that metal R & R marker which still stands proudly. It says it all.  Ironically it fit all of us because he named us all with names beginning with R’s.  I don’t know how or when he put it there but it was the beginning of where it was known to us as “meet you at the R&R”.

Dad was very proud of his grandchildren and I saw that when I was spending time alone in his room the day he passed away.  I looked around the room and as many times as I had been in it, all I could see were pictures of every single one of them. Pictures that I never noticed before.  His grandchildren are all grown up but the pictures of them were back when they were babies. This is what he woke up to every day of his life.  The joy he had telling everyone of his only great grandson, Joseph, that with that great smile he would have a lot of girlfriends.  The pride and love he had for his grandkids displayed by their cards and pictures was my dad’s treasure of gold.  Pictures of his parents were right by his side and his only brother Tio Rudy (of which we lost count of how many times they would fight but were right back with each other) were right next to his chair where he sat and loved to watch politics for hours. 

Dad spoiled his grandkids always giving them lottery tickets for Christmas hoping at least one could get back as much as he had spent.  He always had cookies and junk food at his hand for them.  The yearly question he would ask the grandkids “What does Christmas mean?  What does Thanksgiving mean? And his favorite, I don’t think I’m going to make it to another holiday and all ganging up on him saying “Grandpa you said that last year!”  But this time he really meant it.

It’s sad to say that my dad never went to see me or anyone of us at our school functions, open house, never took us to vacations or Disney but it never mattered to me.  What does matter to me was when at the time that I most needed my father, he was there for me telling me the exact words I needed to hear without judgment.  He was there to see me graduate, to walk me down the aisle, to dance with my daughters at their quinceneras, to know that my daughters were in college, to ask how much money my son had made in FFA, to see his grandkids graduate, see Amanda get her masters, his oldest grandson become a doctor, another grandson become a DJ, and another granddaughter who kept running. But, most importantly, it was that I was there when he needed me the most.  


These last few months of spending time with my father, looking forward to our lunches together; how I remember telling him that now it was me holding his hand making sure he was okay. But the best time that I will remember of my dad was spending a beautiful Father’s Day with him.  I remember at church I hesitated to put my arm around him (as I said my dad was not too affectionate) But when I did I told him “I love you daddy and God bless you” and he told me 

“Ya me Bendigo” and held my hand.”  I can still feel his touch and it now looking back feels like him telling me he was ready to go.

One phrase dad would say over and over more than ever before was “Ay lo que llegamos!”  Not really understanding, I asked him one time what does that even mean?  He said you work all your life to make sure that you do what you are supposed to do and no matter what, you come to this….dying!  Ay lo que llegamos!  This is what my dad knew was coming his way.  He had planned this day wanting a VA military funeral, no more doctors, no more pain.  He even had mom included to be buried with him with no knowledge even to me because even after 56 years his resting days is where he will wait for her in the peace he will be surrounded by.  I will miss him greatly; all together his cussing, complaining and stubbornness because no one can do it best as him.

I could go on forever trying to remember more things as I write this for my dad.  From what I was told, my dad knew his time was coming, he got to spend time during his last week with us on Father’s day with Mom by his side, visited with  Tia Marinela, Tio Rudy and Tia Minerva, went to church Sunday and ended the day playing water guns with his youngest granddaughter outside.  They say the greatest reflections of a man are his children, and looking at my brothers and sisters, we each carry a part of our father in us.  So for all of you that see good in us, I say “It’s from the reflection of our father.”

To our Army Hero, Business Advisor, storyteller, and best Daddy I could ever ask for, all I can do is wait to see you someday, Love you Rina…………………….

”Ay lo que llegamos”



**



Thank you so much, Tia, for sharing this. Our little family will treasure it and all the memories reflected in it about Grandpa. Ay lo que llegamos.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Our Bigfoot had a Birthday

Soon after our busy graduation weekend back in May, our sweet Bigfoot blessed us with a whole year and we celebrated at a local splash pad! We had such a great time and were so thankful for all the family and friends that came out to celebrate our precious son's year of life.

The birthday boy enjoyed the splash pad a few times previous so we thought this place would be a perfect spot for some good birthday times. End result: we were right!
Below are GeekMan and one of Bigfoot's Grandpa's. Grandpa and Yaya traveled quite a way, as did, Grandpa Ram and Nana, and Grandpa Wooley and Nonna; uncles and their beautiful ladies as well as Bigfoot's Great Aunt and Uncle! Lots of love from all over this great state!
Family pic with the P side of the fam.
Uncle Godfather and beautiful Amy.
Great Aunt and Uncle!
A baseball cake for our little one that loves his baseball bat and ball.
The A family. Grandpa Wooley and Nonna, Uncle A and his beautiful girlfriend with their little Bigfoot.
Bigfoot with two very special women that love him.
Bigfoot with Auntie Red. They love each other so much! Bigfoot was thrilled to have Auntie Red around!
Nana and Bigfoot playing around at the splash pad.
Grandpa Ram and Uncle Godfather with Bigfoot. So many loved ones all in one place!!
Bigfoot with his Godfather.
Our sweet little one had such a great time surrounded by so many that love him and that he loves. Great memories that we are so grateful for.

Happy Birthday, my little love. We look forward to the years to come! You have blessed us with such an amazing first year filled with so much goodness and we could not be more grateful to you for that!

XOXOXO,
Daddy, Mama, and Sweet P

"Let us go forward in peace, our eyes upon heaven, the only one goal of our labors." -St. Therese of Lisieux



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy All Saint's Day!

I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth. -St Therese of Lisieux
~~~

956 The intercession of the saints. "Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped." CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCHSECOND EDITION

Angels & Saints, pray for us.

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