Yesterday morning, Tess, Steph and I convened at the Beef Palace in Templeton. In case you don’t know, Tess and Steph are my two best friends from high school. Actually, it goes back further than that, seeing as I’ve been friends with Tess since I was four, and remember Steph chasing me on the playground in the 1st grade. Tess was also the Maid of Honor in both of our weddings:)
Around this time last year, Brooke told the family that she was considering adopting a 13 year old girl that she was helping at Family Care Network. On December 16th, after having lived with Brooke as a permanent foster child for over a year, Rachel became Rachel Evangeline Larkin Cone. In honor of her new daughter, Brooke decided to throw a semi-formal party at their home in Paso Robles. There were at least 150 people there, and the activities including dancing, wonderful and heartfelt toastings, and, of course, eating.
Here are a few of the best pictures:
Jesse and I attempted to capture the ordeal that is Christopher’s hard task of making poop 🙂
After saying a temporary goodbye to the Unruhs at the birthing center, Jesse and I raced home to make a mild attempt at cleaning our apartment before St. Seraphim’s “Young-Adult and Young-At-Heart” get-together that we were supposed to host. As a special treat, Demetrios and Debbie, two of our favorite people in the whole world, decided to come. Demetrios also decided to bring along his beautiful Les Paul guitar. This inspired a photo shoot we affectionately named, “Sisterhood of the Traveling Les Paul”
I am proud to announce that our godbaby, Christopher Ellis Unruh, was born yesterday at 2:05 pm!! He was a whopping 9 lbs. 8 oz., and has Courtney’s nose and one of Michael’s dimples 🙂 As soon as Mrs. Voss sends me the pictures from her camera, I will post pictures of him.
Here’s how it happened- from my point of view. Jesse and I got to church early because he was serving in the altar. I, however, was not going to sing in the choir because I am still getting over a cold and sound like a goat.
As it turns out, this was providential, because I was standing in the congregation for the first time in a long time, seeing as the choir is usually standing in the Kliros behind a wall. When it came time for the scripture reading (around 1/3 of the way into the service), I thought to myself, “Courtney and Michael are never THIS late….I wonder….” So I grabbed my purse and headed outside to check my cell phone.
Sure enough, there was a text from Michael, sent 5 minutes prior. I immediately called Courtney’s cell. Michael answered, saying Courtney was very busy at the moment and could not talk. I started squealing. He said that the contractions were coming pretty frequent and that they would be heading to the Birth Center soon. I said, “What, contractions every half hour?” He responded emphatically, “No! Like every two MINUTES!”
Turns out the delivery was not as imminent as it seemed, as this was the frequency Courtney’s contractions almost right from the get-go. When Karen’s mother, who was with me outside while I was talking to Michael, heard that they were coming every 2 minutes but that they were not at the Center yet, she started crossing herself and saying the Jesus prayer. Katie and James Gaspard also heard the news and said, “2 minutes?? That means she can start pushing!!!” This made me think that the baby was going to come ANY SECOND and I quickly sent a note back to the altar with one of the deacons.
Apparently, the note did not reach Fr. Joe and Jesse until RIGHT before communion. Fr. Joe casually walked up to Jesse right before they were to bring out the Eucharist and said, “Oh, by the way, Courtney’s in labor. Contractions are 2 minutes apart.” Then he walked away, chuckling at the obvious distress he had left Jesse in.
Of course Jesse freaked out. He attempted to help serve communion at one of the chalices, but was dancing around and anxiously scanning the crowd for me. Finally, one of the deacons saw what was going on and was merciful enough to take over for him. Jesse ran over to me and whispered, “Kelly, Courtney’s having her baby!” I got a tiny bit indignant and said, “Of course she is! I’m the one who told you guys, dummy!”
Fr. Joe canceled the HS Sunday school so that Jesse and I could leave IMMEDIATELY. We raced the 25 miles to the birthing center, wondering if we were too late.
When we got there at 11:30am, however, we didn’t see the Unruh’s car. Jesse and I started to panic, leaping from the car almost before the key was out. I was picturing Courtney giving birth on the side of the road while Jesse said he was picturing them giving birth on the stairs down from their apartment. We ran into the Birth Center, breathless and frantic. Sarah, the midwife, came out and said, “Can I help you?” We practically shouted at her, “Where’s Courtney?!?!?” She just smiled and said, “Oh, they’re not here yet! You can wait right here.”
I was annoyed with how calm she was until she explained that Courtney had been having frequent contractions from the very beginning and that it didn’t mean she was going to have the baby any second. About 1/2 hr. later they arrived. Michael seemed nervous and Courtney looked as though she was concentrating (I say, “looked” because I haven’t gotten a chance to ask her any of the details about how all of this “felt”. I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant, I don’t mean to downplay it!). After we saw that they were safely at the Birth Center and that Michael was doing alright, Jesse and I ran to get Chipotle for us and him.
I’ll spare you the boring details of Jesse and I sitting on pins and needles for 2 hrs. in the Family Room, eating chips and guacamole, Jesse making disturbing jokes about becoming a “Lactation Consultant” and renaming the Birthing Center, “Crowning Achievment” and “Head Start”. At around 2:05 pm we heard a distinct baby cry coming from the other room- Christopher Ellis! 5 minutes later the assistant midwife came and informed us that it was a baby boy and that they were doing just fine. We could hear them all laughing and talking in the other room, so I was actually inclined to believe her.
10 minutes later, Christine raced in the door. She had driven like a mad-woman, going 75 all the way from Houston (for you Californians, the speed limit is actually 60 and sometimes 55 m/hr. here). Too bad little Christopher couldn’t wait just a few more minutes! About 45 minutes later, the Voss parents arrived, and we all anxiously awaited the moment when we could go in and see them.
10 minutes later, the midwife came and got us. We all got to see and hold little Christopher, who had apparently already pooped all over himself. It was funny hearing Courtney and Michael say, “Honey, you are going to have to learn a few things about 1st impressions…you are NOT going to make friends that way!” Courtney looked exhausted, but relieved and happy. Everyone cried, laughed and rejoiced together.
I’m not sure what happened after that, as Jesse and I needed to get home and prepare for the Young Adult Get-Together we were hosting at our house that night, but Michael called to say that Mother and Baby made it home safely a few hours later.
Praise the Lord! Welcome to the Family, Christopher Ellis!!
Yesterday, I got the CD from the photographer. Here are a few more!
Yay! Some of our family pictures are done! The rest of them are on their way to me in the mail- these are just the sample ones Kalli posted on her blog.
This Thanksgiving vacation was probably the best one I’ve had in a long time. On Friday of last week, my best friend Tess flew in to visit me. Not 3 hours after she arrived, we were picking up Courtney and on our way to a girl’s Night at the movie theater, watching Twilight:) We even took a “Picture of Shame”, because we couldn’t believe we’d chosen to spend our evening sitting next to squealing, twittering junior high girls. Unfortunately, none of them turned out very well- we look pretty hideous in all of them, so I’m not going to embarrass us any further:)
On Saturday, Tess was a real trooper, even lasting through a 2 1/2 hr. Vespers Service! I forgot that Saturday nights are going to be even longer now, thanks to the approaching Advent and the beautiful music it brings:)
A few days later, my whole family arrived by car to stay with us. It’s such a blessing to finally have an apartment big enough to house 6 extra people! Granted, we needed the fold-out couch and my parents used a blow-up mattress in the spare bedroom, but the real advantage was finally having an extra full bathroom! After going out to a wonderful lunch on Sunday after church, we went sightseeing through Euless and even saw the Southlake Carroll Dragon Stadium- a high school football stadium bigger than those at most Universities! Probably has something to do with the fact that they are among the top 5 HS football teams in the US?
On Monday we all visited/toured/got lost around SMU with my brother, Joe, who is considering going there for college next year. After a few dorm tours, we went to the piano recital I was holding at a non-profit nursing home in Ft Worth.
Here is a picture of the students that could make it- I actually have around 8 more that went out of town for the holidays.
From the recital, we all went out to Mexican food and then went home to play our favorite family board game, “Apples to Apples” 🙂
On Tuesday, after a Girls Brunch with the four of us at the Waffle House, Tess decided to leave us and fly home 😦 After dropping her off, my mom and sister and I went shopping. Later in the afternoon, the whole family convened at the Canals of Las Colinas for a family photo shoot with photographer Kalli Barker. I will definitely post pictures the minute she gets them to me.
Wednesday, we all went to see my school, St. Peter’s, in Ft Worth. Not far away were the Botanical Gardens, so we decided to check out those as well. Here are some pictures of the beautiful fall:
The next day, of course, was Thanksgiving! I made a few dishes including the green bean casserole and the squash, but after a few hazardous incidents (including an exploding soda can!!) I stayed out of the kitchen. My mom had to do the majority of carving the Turkey and making the dressing, Keith helped by making pies, Joe by making the mashed potatoes, and Jesse by making his mom’s famous jello salad. Later in the evening, as is Honeycutt custom, my whole family went to see “Australia” and “Bolt” at the movie theater.
On the following day, my family had to leave to drive back home to California. I did nothing the entire day except for mourn while watching TV. It was actually rather peaceful. The Voss/Unruhs invited me over to their place, seeing as Jesse and Michael were gone at the St. Seraphim Men’s Group making beer (yes, they made beer at their Men’s Group! You can even see a few pictures with Michael in them here), but I was too sad to be around happy families and people 😦
Saturday, however, was a different story. Jesse and I decided not to go to Vespers, and instead buy a tree and decorate for Christmas. It was lovely to blare the music and get ready for the holiday season:) To celebrate, we even invited the whole Unruh/Voss clan over for some gingerbread and apple cider.
And finally, yesterday, we went to church. It was great to see the Voss/Unruh clan at St. Seraphim’s for the first time, even though Mr. Voss was at the hotel feeling ill. After church, Jesse and I went out to lunch and made our way up to the Frisco Ikea to return a bookcase and buy a couple flower pots:) The rest of the afternoon was spent watching football, taking a nap and getting plans and phone calls made for the coming 3 weeks before Christmas.
So there you have it- one of my favorite weeks ever! It will be a hard one to top, that’s for sure!