10 Things I Am Thankful For in 2017 (with 10 photos)

If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times: Life is just flying by too quickly. I actually started to type 2016 in the title above. How can 2017 almost be over? What a year. If I don’t preserve some of these memories, I am worried I will lose them. So, I’ve scrolled through my phone and picked out 10 pictures that sum up our year. Here are 10 things I am thankful for in no particular order.

1. Adoration. Sometimes the kids will come with me and draw or write in their journals. I love seeing them at the feet of our Lord.

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2. Servers-Gus learned how to serve this year and he has done a great job. We had a server’s retreat and 22 our boys came and played Mafia, Murder Mystery, Flashlight Dodgeball, as well as went to Adoration and prayed a Rosary while walking around the perimeter of our church property.

3.  Road Trips-This year we had the painful realization that Gus and Jude would be teenagers before we knew it, so we have been trying to build up some more emotional capital in their relationship accounts. We have had some great adventures together, including a road trip to Benedictine College and their first battle at Laser Quest.

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4. Soccer-My second year of coaching their team. Once again they got to name the team, and they did not disappoint with our name: Industrial Chaos.

5.  My bride-When Jackie is canonized someday, this is the image I would like on her holy card. She is my best friend, my teammate. Some of my favorite memories with her from this year would be our dates to Abuelo’s and The Monarch. We also co-presented a class on Married Saints at the Regan Institute, and we are still talking to each other afterwards!bride

6. Silver Dollar City- We will have lots of memories from this day, but I think the overall favorites were Lost River of the Ozarks and Fire in the Hole. Jude, Gus, and I went on Outlaw Run, Zelie, Gus, and I did PowerKeg, and all the kids did Thunderation, so it was a fun day of roller coaster indoctrination.

7. The CO-OP-Another summer of working harvest here in Kingman.

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8. St. Joseph Catholic School-Every morning, I get to welcome the kids to school, and this fall, I have been able to enjoy the beauty of these trees. This new job has been such a blessing. I love my 96 students. Conway Springs is a great community with caring families. The teachers and staff I get to work with are amazing. We have had some challenges, but mostly, I just feel very, very blessed to face those challenges alongside such great, capable souls, for the benefit of such wonderful little souls.

9. Packy Puppy. He is just too cute these days, and is really trying to learn all about the world around him, exploring and pointing to things and asking, “DAT?” He loves communicating: Momma, Daddy, Zelie (which sounds identical to Daddy somehow), Jude, Hat, Hot, Shoes, More, Ball, Book, Boom,  Door, Dog, Hi, Night Night.

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10. Prayer Time. We are thanking God for our many blessings! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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The Triumph

One of our favorite wedding photos was taken as we drove away in Jackie’s dad’s 67′ Triumph TR4A. So when Jackie’s little brother was married earlier this month, and the Triumph was just sitting there, we could not resist recreating the picture.

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And then of course, we needed to take an updated picture chronicling the effects of the vow we made 12 years ago.

“Are you prepared to accept children lovingly from God and to bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?”

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“We are.”

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Christ Circle Round Us

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It’s fun to imagine we have two sets of twins and a Paschal.

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Merry Christmas! We hope the day is full of joy for you and your family!

Our annual slideshow:

I wish I could take credit for the music selection and the timing in the last minute, but that was all Jude and Gus’ handiwork.

2016. What a year. A lot of people are trashing on 2016. Sure, we had a weird election and a lot of celebrities died. But that doesn’t make a bad year. Ultimately, it is you and I that decides what kind of year we had. And I would say, 2016 was a year of mercy.  This was the year God blessed us with Paschal. This was the year God provided. This was the year I finished my Masters and Jackie wrote a book. This was the year we went on two adventures with Zirk the Cosmic Space Chicken. This was the year my friends adopted their two new children. And I received a new godson and my first goddaughter. I have had two of my favorite classes in all my years of teaching, my ninjas and my knights. 2016 was good.

I had this one moment in 2016. It was so singularly beautiful. I was taking Paschal for a walk in the field. It was late October but there was no need for a jacket. Glowing autumn afternoon sunlight was shining across the grass, warming my face. I felt at peace, as I  soaked up the grace all around me and carried this little beating heart beside my heart. That is how I will remember 2016.

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I debated, do I not take a picture so I won’t risk ruining the moment? Or do I preserve this moment so I can always remember what it felt like? In the end, fear of my faulty memory won out.

Looking ahead to 2017, we don’t know what the future holds for our family. But we have decided to take a step away from the blog. Perhaps we’ll still post a few times, but we are feeling the desire for a little more privacy, and will be unpublishing most of our old stories. Thank you to everyone who has read and enjoyed and been so kind as to share compliments with us. We have enjoyed sharing our little family life with you all, and discussing ideas, folk, work, and place. God bless you in 2017. Peace be with you, dear friends!

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A New Child of God

Just a few Baptism pictures today. Paschal has set our record for baby who spent the shortest amount of time with Original Sin, receiving his first sacrament at 5 days old. With harvest coming, we wanted to get this done, and our awesome family showed up with food to make it a stress-free, enjoyable evening. Thank you, awesome family! Let’s see, we had…(quick tallying) 25 cousins running and crawling around and fishing and playing baseball and frisbee) so it was a full, fesitve night.

Before the Baptism, we were trying to remember which of our kids screamed during the pouring of the water, and which slept peacefully through it, but all we could remember was that Zelie filled her diaper immediately before. But Paschal takes the prize for sweetest reaction. He was awake and I was bracing for some holy screams, but when Fr. Chad poured the water the first time, this little gentle smile spread across his face. Then another smile on the second pour, and a third smile for the Holy Spirit. It was wonderful.

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My sister Mary and brother Daniel are the extremely thoughtful godparents. And here’s our first picture as a family of 7. baptism2

Uncle Daniel and Fr. Chad stayed late to play Acquire with me and the older boys and Jude really enjoyed getting to spend some extra time with his godfather. Few things make me as happy as seeing my kids so happy when they are spending time with their godparents. Final photos that are too cute not to share: Packy wore the same outfit I wore at my Baptism and babies with bow ties are too adorable, and my godson Elijah after catching his first fish that night.

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“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” -Matthew 4:19

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Paschal Angelo

Paschal Angelo Arnold

Born June 1st, 5:05 p.m.

8 lbs. 8 oz. 19 ½ inches long
(I got this post ready this weekend and had put in a placeholder weight and length, and they ended up being spot on! What are the odds of that?!)

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I realize these are all pretty much the same photo. But to this proud papa, I couldn’t decide amongst all the cuteness (and the expressive Italian hand gestures already!)

His patron saints:

St. Paschal Baylon-patron saint of cooks. Franciscan friar who was assigned kitchen duty, when what he really wanted to do was pray in the chapel. The host would appear floating in the kitchen. Paschal would kneel to worship our Lord while angels prepared the meals.

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Paschal shares a name with one of his little cousins that our family lost to miscarriage and heaven gained, who now intercedes for us.

St. John XXIII-Born Angelo Roncalli. Saved thousands of Jews during WWII. Joyful and humorous pope who opened Vatican II. Appointed first cardinals to Japan, the Philippines, Africa, and Mexico.

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“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”

Angelo is also a family name- Jackie’s grandfather Michael Angelo Bevilacqua, and my great-grandfather, Angelo Pollice.

All went well during the birth. Jackie called me at work. I was home by 12:30. Jackie’s mom came to pick up the other kids around 1:30. Midwife arrived around 3:30. Packy arrived around 5. By 6:30, it was just us and our new baby enjoying the quiet of our home. Jackie did have 2 calls from telemarketers during that time, and you will be very disappointed to hear she did not take advantage of this golden opportunity to say, “I’m in labor right now” to silence their sales pitches.

Please keep us in your prayers. If you would like something specific to pray for, Packy is a little tongue-tied, so please pray that he will be able to nurse well.

They say the love of parents is not a finite amount that must be divided when a new child arrives. Rather, a new child multiplies the love that already existed in the family. I have always marveled at this multiplication of love, and I feel it acutely tonight. Packy looks so much like Gus when he was born. It is so surreal, like getting to go through a time machine and hold Gus again. I look at my new son, and my love for Gus increases, as I remember how small and helpless he once was. And my love for Packy grows as I think of the young man he will become, all the memories we will have together. And my love for all my other kids is magnified as I hear their enthusiasm over the phone, and as I imagine what kind of big brothers and big sister they will be. And my love for my bride overflows, as I look at this strong woman who has blest me with these wonderful souls, and has made me a father.

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