Birthdays, Spiritual and Physical…

Two Sundays ago, we had a busy day.

Our two oldest got baptized after accepting Christ as their personal Lord and Savior  a few weeks earlier on May 7th, and Darth had a birthday.

The night before, we were driving home after visiting with friends and family, and Beth and I were discussing what final preparations needed to be done that night while the kids were listening to Christmas music in the back (Yes. Christmas music. I live with Beth and five kids… I just go with it now). This conversation was happening in English, which has been Mami and Papi’s secret love language. Our oldest son, in the fourth row, asks our oldest daughter, in the second row, what we were talking about. She turns around and says in Spanish, “After Mom and Dad put us to bed, Mom has to go to the store and buy drinks, paper plates, and napkins, and Dad needs to go to the back yard and finish setting up the tables and chairs.”

They know English!

When did that happen? I guess there’s a time in every parent’s life when they get that moment of pause and realize that conversations had in front of their children are no longer secret. After all, kids don’t pop out of their moms talking (Except for that really funny SNL skit with Will Ferrell).

Faced with this realization, we decided we would go ahead the next day with our plans of me translating in the baptistery, even though I became like one of those little plastic swords or parsley you get with your meal at a restaurant… just there to make the things that matter look good. The other detail that didn’t go according to plan was the lack of water… Yup. We realized Sunday morning that we forgot to fill the baptistery up. I think my brother, dad, and I estimated that this sucker takes over 200 gallons, so simply turning on the faucet doesn’t result in instant gratification or even room-temperature water (un poco frio)! We started filling it before Sunday School, and it was getting close by the time service started. We did decide that, with four people in the water at one time, we could displace what we didn’t have time to fill (Thanks Archimedes – you are proof that most great moments of brilliance happen in the bathtub).

We went upstairs, and got changed. It is my parent’s job to help those that are getting baptized on Sunday mornings, so it was nice to have them there to share in a personal moment before the actual baptism. Also, a sweet young college student that we were blessed to share our house with before we had kids was up to encourage our kids and take pictures too.

We weren't on vacation, but we did the vacation pose anyway. It seemed appropriate.

We weren’t on vacation, but we did the vacation pose anyway. It seemed appropriate.

Then, the part of the service came. It was so cool (pun only slightly intended). We all got in, and our oldest girl and I were on the side as my son moved to center stage.

The two questions I translated:

1. “Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?”

2. “Are you being baptized today to give evidence of your faith?”

Si and Si! Baptism!

The oldest, getting dunked.

The oldest, getting dunked. (My dad ready to assist in the background).

He then traded places with big sister, and the same questions and responses were given. Baptism!

Y big sister tambien!

Y big sister tambien! She didn’t come up as gracefully…

It was great to look out and see our family in the crowd… our physical family and our church family. It is so amazing to see how many people have embraced our kids. They needed Jesus (first and foremost) and a Mom and Dad… but they got so much more! After the service, we took a ton of photos of them and just a few of the people that love them so much, but we had to get home and get ready for our second big event – Darth’s party.

Priority one – Put the guest of honor to bed! We thought that the grumpiness of a sleepy child mixed with a very self-centered day may prove to be a dangerous cocktail.

After that, Beth and I busied ourselves cooking and keeping the other four kids entertained while we waited for guests to arrive. As people trickled in, we turned on the water for the kids, set up some fans for the adults, and began a three-hour grazing period. We got a slip-and-slide and some other fun water toys for the kids to play with outside, and they had a good time. Some things that didn’t quite go to plan:

1. After a very moving sermon about prayer that morning, guess who has two thumbs and forgot to bless the food… This guy! Although, it isn’t totally my fault. Darth has never had that much attention in her life, and she froze a bit on us. The idea was after singing “Happy Birthday” and blowing out candles which, coupled with a prayer, was suppose to herald the commencement of food. However, we had to deal with a three-year-old that just woke up from a nap and was quite disoriented with a throng of people looking at her and singing. I imagine it is what Ted Williams will experience when they finally de-thaw him.

2. Beth imagined a rousing game of water-balloon fighting in the midst of the party. She sat up most of the night filling water balloons and putting them in our metal trough that I bought from Tractor Supply for various jobs around the house a few years ago. Sadly, these water balloons were not the pregnant bombs we had intended them to be. We chose quantity over quality, so they would bust if we filled them bigger than an apple. Also, something happened overnight, because that morning, two thirds of them had burst. Does that dampen (no pun intended) a child’s spirit? No. Our water balloon war turned into a Hillbilly bathtub. About half the kids decided to sit in the feeding trough with the nasty rubber floaties from former water bombs at some point throughout the party. I even think I got a thank-you from one of my boys for the picina (swimming pool). Anything for you, son!

3. The great people at Wham-o, know exactly how long to make a slip-and-slide. It is approximately 15 feet. Beth and I thought we would leverage the gently sloping grade of our back yard, buy two slip-and-slides, and connect them for about 30 feet of delight. I spent about two hours the day before carefully cutting and connecting the two slip-and-slides. We tested it to make sure there were no leaks or other unforseen issues. No problems! Unfortunately, I had no way to empirically measure (with children staying clean) the coefficient of friction of the average 50-pound child. As I watched kids at the party, all would get a running start, land on their belly, and slide for about… ummm… I’d say… about… yeah… 15 feet. The back half became a waiting room for those that looking for an opening in the Hillbilly bathtub.

Birthday Girl... after adjusting to popularity.

Birthday Girl… after waking up and adjusting to popularity.

Yes. That's the back seat of the van and a ladder... We had to get creative!

Yes. That’s the back seat of the van and a ladder… We had to get creative!

Our water park was a big more sophisticated than Duck Dynasty, but not by much. Notice the "swimming pool off to the right".

Our water park was a bit more sophisticated than Duck Dynasty, but not by much. Notice the “swimming pool” off to the right.

Beth and I debriefed afterwards. Things didn’t quite go according to plan, but it was a fun and beautiful day in the life of our family. I did the math, and we only have 65 more birthdays left! Hopefully there will be more baptisms too! I won’t forget to pray for that!

At the dinnermesa,



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