Let Us Begin

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today.

Jack: Jack-Jack, Jack Knife, Cadillac Jack, Super Jack

John Cummins IV ~ Jack: Jack-Jack, Jack Knife, Cadillac Jack, Super Jack

I will never forget the moment we found out that we were expecting Jack.  It was the feast of the Epiphany and the greatest gift two newlyweds could hope for.  My heart was instantly transformed to love like only a mother can and we went from being a couple to a family.  Even before I laid eyes on him and first held him in my arms on September 20, 2008, I was completely and totally, head-over-heels in love.  He has been my delight ever since.

Jack is constantly making me laugh and surprising me with the unbelievably hilarious things that come out of his mouth.  He is one incredibly articulate three year old which is no surprise considering the fact that his very first word was “turtle” clear as day at only 9 months old.  He loves to learn and is always tackling new things.  This kid is forever on the go and is the definition of extrovert, considering everyone he meets a friend and being happiest when surrounded by family, especially his best friend and cousin Norah (Mowah).  He is a joyful and affectionate big brother to “his Gabriel” and wants nothing more than to “be just like Daddy” or maybe a superhero when he gets big.  He loves the Lord and has the sweetest spirituality teaching me just what a childlike faith looks like.


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For all the saints…

Can I just say that I LOVE the saints.

The stories of their lives and model of holiness are a constant source of inspiration and encouragement in my life.  I can’t seem to get enough of learning more about them and reading their writings.  Somehow it always manages to put my life in perspective, offer hope and exhort me to fortitude and perseverance.  I pray that I will one day join their ranks and that my family will too.

That being said, I didn’t want this All Saints’ Day to pass us by without really entering into the celebration of the saints lives, honoring their love of God, and seeking their intercession.

I thought it would be fitting to have the boys dress in honor of some of our favorite patrons in addition to the superhero costumes the wore to go trick-or-treating.  I don’t mind them joining in the wholesome parts of the secular holiday but wanted the HOLY day to be celebrated too.  That being said, I had a lot of fun putting together some outfits representing holy men and angels of God.

Here are my little saints in the making:

We have Jack donning his $1 Store shining armor as St. George…






































and Gabriel representing his namesake – the Archangel Gabriel, lillies in hand…














“Be Not Afraid!  Behold, I bring you good news of great joy that shall be for all people…”
























Such a little angel…  I was really happy with the wings that I tackled during nap time one afternoon while armed with a stack of dessert sized paper plates, scissors, and a hot glue gun.  Here’s another look…

I can’t take credit for the idea; however, it is just one of the many reasons why I love Pinterest.  These wings are cool, not too girly, easy to make and inexpensive ~ total score.  Check out the tutorial here.

I actually made another, bigger, pair with full sized plates intending Jack to be the St. Michael the archangel.  He took one look at those wings and declared,

Mommy, I am NOT an angel!

No amount of convincing seemed to make a difference.  He wanted to be a tough guy.

You can’t get much tougher or cooler than St. Michael if you ask me.  I mean come on! This is not just any angel we are talking about after all, this is the warrior who cast satan and the fallen angels from heaven, our defender and protector in battle.  Still, he refused to don his seemingly wimpy wings and I had to be content with St. George in armor that had been meant to be for an archangel…


It seems that after getting warmed up with his little photo shoot as St. George and seeing how cool Gabriel looked in his angel costume, Jack decided that wearing wings and being an angel might not be so bad after all.

So take two: here is Jack as St. Michael the Archangel…

























That was the face I got when I asked for his best tough guy look…














Very cool Jack.  You can be one tough dude and holy too.  There’s nothing wrong with that.


St. Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.  

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.  Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.  May God rebuke him we humbly pray and do thou oh prince of the heavenly host cast into hell satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.  Amen.

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Lightning McQueen

This All Saints’ Day there were two little saints that were on the forefront of my mind and heart

and two saints in the making that I wanted to help celebrate them.


This was the conversation that I had with Jack…


Me:  Today is a very special day.  It is All Saints’ Day.  Do you know who the saints are?

Jack:  They are people who really love God.

Me:  You are right.  The saints are the people who really love God and who are in heaven with Him.

Jack:  like our family?

Me:  Ummhmm.  Do you know who in our family is a saint in heaven, who really loves God?

Jack:  Baby “Ronica”

Me:  You are right.  Baby Veronica and Baby Kolbe are our family in heaven who are saints.  Today is their special day.  They want to give you and Gabriel a present to remind you how much they love you and that they are praying for you to really love God so that you can be saints in heaven someday too.


A little background may be helpful to understand the significance of the gift given to our boys…


Early in the morning of October 17th, after Baby Veronica passed from me and from this world, I climbed back into bed and sobbed.  Hearing me, Jack woke up and came to my bedside.

“Mommy, please don’t cry.  I don’t like it when you cry.”

dear, sweet boy…

Johnny explained,

“Jack, mommy is just sad because the baby in her tummy went to heaven”.  

“That’s why mommy is sad? because the baby is in heaven with Jesus”?

“You are right Jack, it is good that the baby is in heaven with Jesus.  We are just sad that the baby won’t get to grow up here with us in our house anymore”.

Beginning to understand the implications of what we were telling him, he leaned over to whisper loudly in his daddy’s ear,

“but daddy, the baby still is in mommy’s tummy, right”?

“No Jack, the baby isn’t in mommy’s tummy anymore”.

“But I wanted to find out if it was a boy or a girl”!  

“I know.  We did too buddy”.

With that, Jack went off to sit by himself on the stairs and Veronica’s big brother cried.


His tears were those of brotherly love and experiencing the loss of what would not be now that our baby was no longer growing inside of me.

…feeling her kick (He had already been pressing his hand to my belly certain that the rise and fall of my breathing was her tiny kicks and refused to be corrected.)

…hearing the swish or her heartbeat on the doppler (He had been with us to see that reassuring flicker of light on the ultrasound screen less than a week earlier that had so filled all of our hearts with joy.  He couldn’t wait to not only see it with his eyes but hear it with his ears too)

…and what he had been talking about ever since, the much-anticipated ultrasound that would let us know if this baby was a brother or a sister. (A favorite topic of conversation, always initiated by him, had become his guess as to the gender of his new sibling.  He had told me that he thought the baby was a girl.  When Johnny tried to ask him about it later though saying so you think the baby in mommy’s tummy is a girl?  Jack responded saying yes, I think the baby is a girl … or a boy.  hahaha.  well, pretty safe on that assumption).

..Later, he would express his concern for who would hold her and try to process the fact that it wouldn’t be him by telling me how frustrating I was when I offered that Jesus and Mary and the angels were holding her.

At only three years of age, our sweet Jack’s grief is real.


And so I pulled myself out of bed to join my crying son on the stairs and let him know that it was okay to be sad.

“But, but, but mommy!  I just really wanted to find out if it was a boy or a girl!”

“I know baby.  But you know what, Jesus told mommy that the baby is a girl.  We know that you have a little sister in heaven.”

“Okay mommy.  I just need you to hold me…”

and I wrapped my firstborn in my arms holding him close

…”and mommy, I need my Lightning McQueen.”

and so we searched the house for his favorite toy car.


I decided right then and there that the new movie Cars 2, Lightning McQueen’s encore appearance on the silver screen, would be a wonderful gift to help get him through what was going to be a trying time for our family.

I tried to buy it the night before Veronica’s burial, hoping it would be something that could offer comfort and distraction after coming home from the cemetery.  I was disappointed to learn that it wasn’t available in stores yet at first until I was told I would be able to get it on November 1st …

All Saint’s Day?  Perfect.

And so, to celebrate our saints and as an ongoing reminder of their love, prayers and heavenly consolation for all of us, the least of which are not their brothers, Jack and Gabriel were given Cars 2.

The look on Jack’s face when he pulled it out of the gift bag was classic.

We laid out a blanket, turned out the lights and of course, popped popcorn.

Even Gabriel, who never watches anything on the television was transfixed

although he was undoubtedly more excited about the popcorn.

Baby Kolbe and Baby Veronica, pray for us.  




(Disclaimer to my catechetical friends out there: I do recognize that All Saints’ Day is intended for those canonized saints recognized by the church and that All Souls Day is to celebrate all of the other souls who have died in Christ and would be more applicable for our saints; however, thought this would be easier to explain to the kiddos and the video didn’t come out until All Saints’ Day ;)




Our family had a very “SUPER” Halloween…

Of course, we had Jack as Spiderman.  What else?

Gabriel as Captain America looking intense with those beautiful brown eyes of his…


And then there are the crazy parents of our little superheroes… Ta-da!

As Wonder Woman …

and Clark Kent mid-transformation into Superman.

We were sporting the homemade costumes I somehow managed to pull together that afternoon.  I have to say I was pretty proud of myself for how they came together.

Jack LOVED seeing us in costume.  When he first saw me, he was speechless for a second before saying, “Mommy, you look like a superhero!!!”  He continued to address me as “Superhero” instead of mommy for the rest of the night.

As always, the more the merrier.

Here are all the Arizona cousins together for a night of trick-or-treating fun.


Captain American and a lovely ballerina …

(sad but true this poor attempt was the best I was able to get of Gabriel and Stella together)

Then we have Spiderman and a beautiful flower…

Wait, let’s take one where we can see who the masked man is…

As far as Jack and Norah are concerned, everything is better together.

They were good sports posing for pictures but enough is enough.  Time to pound the pavement …



For the duration of the evening, Jack would only respond to “Spiderman” and called Norah his “beautiful flower”.

They had a blast going door to door and pleaded for “just one more house” several times before finally caving.

With bucket and basket overflowing, we headed home and check out their stash.

I love the look on Jack’s face … “oooooooooo” …  hahaha.

Let the sugar-high commence!

Hope you and yours had a Super Halloween too!



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