Happy Mother’s Day!

So Chelsea and I have recently taken up a new hobby.

Archaeology.

Inspired by our love of history, the release of Jurassic Park in 3D, and Buster Bluth, we have immersed ourselves in the art and study of the worlds past. You’d be surprised at all of the amazing resources New York City has for such budding fossil, pottery, and buried-city-enthusiasts as ourselves. I mention this because in our avid pursuit for all things ancient, we were out on a dig and we unearthed our last blog post.

While none of the above story is true, it is true that we apologize for not updating, like, ever.

However, now that I’ve wasted your time, Happy Mother’s Day! As I write this it still technically is Mother’s Day for all of our South/Central friends (i.e., the people who read this blog) and this saves me the painstaking process of coming up with a title for the blog. First things first though, Happy Mother’s Day to our wonderful and beautiful mothers.

Lenore:

Mom Butay

And Kelly:

Mom Farris

It’s safe to say that these women love Chelsea and me with the deepest love possible, and we would like to say that they do an amazing job of showing it. For the last 20 some odd years these fine ladies have shown love, support, and sacrifice to make sure we were healthy, happy, and having fun. We are forever in your debt Mom(s) and we love you! Thanks for being great.

Second things second, today was obviously a special first Mother’s Day for Chelsea, and I would say that it was pretty swell. Some pancakes and bacon in bed, church, homemade lunch, Arrested Development, walk and pictures in the park, family nap, Skyping parents, take out, Jenga, and looking at cute animal pictures about sums up the day. Chelsea is an amazing woman and an amazing momma. For those who don’t know, this past year Chelsea has been juggling an internship three days a week, two sixteen-hour semesters, and a brand new baby in a brand new city amongst other things. I can personally attest that she has done so, with perseverance, grace, and all the while lookin’ real pretty. This last month especially had many a sleepless night of intermittent paper writing and baby feeding. Of course, those nights were not in vain as our baby is healthy and we are overjoyed to say that she has finally made it! This past Thursday was her final day of class and barring another month of internship (to make up for maternity leave) and one summer class she will be Chelsea Butay, MSW. She has worked so hard and been a wonderful wife and mom all the while to her little family, and that little family is really proud of her! Speaking of her family, I’ll stop bragging on Chelsea and get to third things third.

This guy:

Park 6

Where did the last three months go? I have no idea. Though I could give you the stereotypical “It seems like just yesterday he was a newborn,” I rather more feel like we have gotten to enjoy Elijah growing these last three months and that is a blessing. It is a joy to see him learning new things and growing in so many ways. We have gotten to see him develop his own sense of style:

Beanie

Carseat

And also his saliva glands. Those have developed as well:

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And those awesome baby faces:

Dad

With Chelsea in school, I stay home with Elijah four days a week. For the past three months, those days have pretty much run the gamut of emotions from incredibly happy to want-to-throw-things-frustrated. But we are both learning a lot of new things right now, so I cut myself some slack for the frustrated days and try to embrace the joyful times. I feel a little overwhelmed to try and describe all the time we haven’t blogged about, so I won’t. I’ll just say that everyday I grow to love Elijah more and learn something new about him. And how can you not love this guy?

Park 4

Again, instead of trying to catch you up in detail, I will just say that the last three months have been wild and crazy and busy and fun and frustrating and a whole lot of things. Currently, we are basking in the relief that Chelsea no longer has papers and assignments hanging over her head, and trying to get caught up on everything that we have neglected in the busyness of this year.

Looking forward, we are very excited to go back to Alabama and Oklahoma in July! This means Elijah will be meeting some family and friends and grandparents for the first time. On a more personal note for me, it means muchacos, gut grinders, and sprinkled cake donuts (i.e., Taco Bueno, Kilkenny’s, and Daylight Donuts). Amen and amen. Other things we are looking forward to are Chelsea eventually applying for jobs, the summer in New York, and me possibly having some cool musical opportunities on the horizon.

I’m beginning to feel a direct correlation between the lateness of the hour and my moving further away from coherence. I think this may be a good time to wrap it up. I do apologize if I am confusing or general. Perhaps, one of us will blog again soon (HA!) with better details about how life is treating us here. You should know for now that we are well and happy and healthy and having a great time. I realize that, as I finish writing this, it is no longer Mother’s Day. But to all of our West Coast friends (i.e., no one who reads this blog) Happy Mother’s Day and a belated one to everyone else! I will leave you with some more pictures from our little personal Mother’s Day photo shoot in the park. Enjoy!

Park 1

Park 3

Park 10

Park 9

Park 2

Park 8

Park 11

Park 12

Grace and peace,

Elliot, Chelsea, & Elijah

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He’s Here!

In case we haven’t reached you with the good news, Elijah Dean Butay was born exactly one week ago today, and he’s an eight pound, three ounce, twenty inch long ball of happiness.

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Seriously – I don’t know if he’s quite as happy about being out in the cold, air-filled world as we are for him to be here, but it’s crazy how quickly I can’t imagine life without him anymore. It’s incredible that we get to see all the life bundled up in this little guy whose eyes and hands and cutie little mouth we can finally see. We’re definitely still in the beginning of the whole adjustment period, but I figure that adjustment period doesn’t really have an end, anyway, so I think we’re doing pretty well so far.

As for me, the whole thing is totally surreal. I went on maternity leave last Wednesday, went into labor last Thursday, and came home with a baby on Sunday. I’ll spare everyone the details of the whole labor and delivery process (unless you really, really want them), but I will say that our midwife was the best person in the world for our labor. She was with us the whole time & was so comforting/supportive/calm/helpful with everything.

Since we left the hospital, I’ve been lucky enough to get to sit around the apartment doing a whole lot of nothing with these guys:

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Check out that proud dad, teaching baby guitar already. It’s just too much. And of course, by a whole lot of nothing, I mean lots and lots of diaper changing, endless feeding, and a good bit of laundry thrown in there. But otherwise, there’s been sitting, sleeping, Skyping, watching Netflix, eating good food (Elliot made these cookies last night, and they’re. so. good.), and lots of getting to know Elijah.

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Of the ten million things I’m learning from all this, one of the first I noticed is that a lot of the preparations I was so, so anxious to complete before Elijah got here just really aren’t that important. I do hope to have his nursery art hung up sometime soon, and I’d like us to finish a couple of organizational things around the apartment, but in the grand scheme of it all, enjoying and being present together as a family this last week has been so much more important than worrying about whether we have a lampshade on our living room lamp (we don’t). I hope I can keep that perspective in the months and years to come, especially since I’m already freaking out about when Elijah won’t fit in a little ball on my chest anymore. I don’t know if I can handle it.

On another note, Elijah gets his first out of town visitors tomorrow. My mom and stepdad, Mike are coming up for a bit to visit, and we’re pretty excited to get to introduce him to half of his grandparents. We also can’t wait until he gets to meet everybody else; hopefully, it won’t be too long, because he’s just way too cool to keep everybody waiting.

Sorry if this post is a little disjointed, guys. I’m sure you can imagine how much my mind might be racing right now, but it’s safe to say that this has been the happiest, most love-filled week of my life so far. Thanks to everybody who’s offered congratulations and advice and gifts to get us started with all of this. We’re so, so grateful. And since I have a feeling pictures were the main draw to this posts for lots of people, I’ll tack on a few more for good measure.

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We love you guys!
Elliot, Chelsea, & Elijah

Does this thing still work?

Oh. It does work. It must be us then.

Nah, we work too. We just don’t blog enough. Maybe our next blog won’t start with some sort of apology as to why we haven’t updated in AGES. But y’all will just have to wait and see huh? I feel in a strange mood, so I apologize in advance for any incoherence or silliness. Though I imagine by now the silliness is to be expected.

As I sit here in bed in the darkness as Chelsea sleeps, I feel like it must be the middle of the night and lo, it is not even 11pm yet. Thankfully due to our jobs and schedules we haven’t yet become “old people.” Though we do oft go to bed earlier these days. I’m not entirely sure why I used the term “old people” because I am often annoyed at people who claim to be becoming an “old person” when they talk about going to bed at a completely reasonable time; as if to make all the people who stay up until ungodly hours of the night the “normal” ones. It’s not normal to sleep 3 hours a night. And to all those who claim that they run “just fine” on 3 hours a night, I’m pretty sure science still says you’re going to die younger. Or be unhappy at any rate. But enough of this nonsense! You don’t read this blog to hear my middle-of-the-night ravings. But why do you read it? Who am I kidding, you just want pictures.

This is what Chelsea looks like exactly one week before her due date:

Chelsea

This is what I look like exactly one week before Chelsea’s due date:

Elliot

It really does grow. It really does grow.

But in all seriousness it has been a wild couple of months! We are very thankful baby decided to wait at least 39 weeks before wanting out. What with best friend’s weddings and holidays and one week crash course electives to take. I can’t believe the last time we updated was Halloween. Since that time we enjoyed an awesome Friendsgiving with these wonderful people:

Friendsgiving

The couple on the far right are our new friends Dustin and Jenn Talley. We met Dustin and Jenn at our small group and the very first night they graciously invited us over for Halloween. Since then, they have become our magical New York holiday buddies. They had us for Thanksgiving and then we ended up watching this guy over Christmas:

Parker

This is Parker Talley. So for practically every major holiday of 2012 we found ourselves at the Talley house. Which was quite alright with us. But fer realz, Dustin and Jenn are great hosts and even more so great people and awesome friends. As are all of our awesome small group friends from Forefront who threw us a baby shower just last week! Hopefully we will have pictures soon to come, but suffice to say there was a taco bar and cake. Oh and they gave us stuff for the baby too. We are overwhelmed with thankfulness for the amazing love and support of these new friends. We would be sad and lonely new New Yorkers without them.

For the sake of posting cool pictures I decided not to tackle this update chronologically, so rewind to before Christmas. We spent the weekend of December 15 celebrating with some of our best friends in the world, Josh and Megan Weed. Only before the 15th they were Josh Weed and Megan McKitrick. See how that works? Cause’ they got mahweed. See how that works? I put their name in the jok- so anyways, we traveled to Houston and got to spend some much needed time with friends and family. This was our first time to see all our friends from Tulsa since we moved up here, and it was really a breath of fresh air. We are by no means miserable up here, but by golly I do miss my friends a lot. Here’s the happy couple:

Weed Wedding

Indeed that is a live band you see behind them. It was an awesome wedding and we couldn’t be happier for them. Someday you can ask one of us and hear about the wonderful love circle that was Josh introducing me to Chelsea, who introduced him to Megan, and therefore created eternal happiness for us all.

After the wedding, we figured since the 8 months pregnant lady was already out and about we might as well jump on a few more planes, and we headed to Birmingham for a few days. There we got some more good family time and another shower was thrown for us, where this happened:

Monkey Hats

It’s true. We have matching family monkey hats. I’m tempted to say that this rivals a taco bar, but I won’t make any rash decisions. Needless to say, they are awesome, and once again we are amazed by our family and friends. It is a crazy blessing to rack up a hefty bill at Buy Buy Baby and then chop it to pieces with gift cards. It’s the same as the amazement I feel when I look in our kitchen and realize that other people bought us nearly everything we use day in and day out. At the risk of sounding trite, I’ll repeat once more that we are incredibly blessed and we surely would not be where we are if not for our friends and family, old and new.

That about sums up our December. January so far has looked like a fun New Years, lots of cleaning/buying/preparing for baby, and as I mentioned earlier, Chelsea finished up two electives last week and today is the last day of her internship before her maternity leave. Chelsea has been having the mixed feelings of how it feels to carry a full term baby everyday up and down stairs and in and out of subways, and the wanting to finish her classes and be ready at home for baby. Having made it through those things we can almost say that we are ready for baby to actually come! For sure Chelsea has been a trooper. I won’t even begin to delve into my thoughts on the fact that a little human is about to invade our lives forever. It’s a little bit and a lot bit of every emotion. Probably except anger… Or jealousy… Or sorrow… You know what I mean.

One of the things I realize about not updating frequently enough is how many stories I wish I could tell and all the details I want to convey but that would make posts insanely long. That said, we will try to be better about updating in the future! Hopefully since Chelsea is off soon she can give y’all an update as well (guilt guilt guilt). Some things to look forward to:

– Nursery and updated apartment pictures!

– Potentially interesting updates about my creative and musical life/job!

– Baby pictures?!

And so much more. For now I can leave you with our baby name choices! If it’s a boy we are thinking of going with Elliot Chelsea Butay and if it’s a girl we are thinking Chelsea Elliot Butay.

Or maybe I’ll leave baby names for the next post too…

Grace and peace,

Elliot & Chelsea

Happy Halloween!

Well it has been far too long since we posted and I was sitting at home on this Halloween looking at people’s costumes on Facebook and I just thought, “There must be a reason to put on my bee costume.” So this blog serves both as a short update and a reason to once again festively don my bee costume. For those of you who don’t know, the bee costume has a long lineage of being passed on through members of Fusion, my high school youth group and family. By “long lineage” I mean my youth pastor, Daniel McIntosh, wore it one Halloween and then humbly offered it up at a Fusion Christmas Dirty Santa Party.

This is Dmac before he served us communion at our wedding:

So the passing on of the bee costume is mostly someone picking it as a white elephant gift, then my good man Grant stealing it, and finally me stealing it, effectively “locking” it as a gift. If you’ve ever played a dirty santa game then you know what’s up. But that story is neither here nor there… What is almost here is our baby!

24 weeks strong in this ultrasound. We are getting all kinds of ready. Slowly… but surely. The first order of business was assembling this little piece of furniture.

Isn’t it a marvelous work of carpentry? I would say. Truly magnificent.

But in all seriousness Josh Weed, Grant Robison and I built this crib with our bare hands. Like real men. Since I said this would be a short post I will only say that building that crib with those fellas is one of the best memories of my life. Those guys are true studs.

This is the three of us at my 18th birthday:

After we put a nice layer of non-toxic sealer on the crib, it will be finished and we will move on to decorating the room. Speaking of decorating, Chelsea and I carved these pumpkins at a party last week.

Mine is the normal Jack O’Lantern face. The magical work of art that is the second pumpkin is Chelsea’s award winning cat. We have been blessed to meet some friends at our new church home, Forefront. We’ve been attending Forefront on Sunday for almost two months now, and last Monday we finally got connected with a small group, wherein we were invited to carve pumpkins. We already feel welcomed into Forefront’s family and we are excited to grow with them in the Kingdom. As our small group is a married couples group, I have to say it is a bit strange for me to totally associate with married people. I am so used to thinking, “There are those married people over there,” but not so used to actually being one. It’s a craazy. But that’s neither here nor there…

What is here (or was here) is hurricane Sandy. I believe technically by the time Sandy hit us it was actually categorized as a superstorm, but that’s neither here nor- just kidding. I won’t do that again. In all seriousness, thanks be to God that we were kept safe during the storm. Briarwood was relatively untouched save for a gutter outside our window and a fallen tree in the road. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers! We have gotten lots of concerned texts this week and we feel loved. In the meantime, we have been enjoying some unexpected days off. The restaurant I work at is without power, school is cancelled for Chelsea, and one of our trains into the city will reopen tomorrow. There are countless people still without power or a home right now and prayers and support are definitely needed.

Well. Those are the things that are here and there. You may ask yourself, “What about the bee costume?” You didn’t think I would just throw the goods out there in the beginning did you? No! If you want the good stuff you have to read the whole post! Or at least scroll down some…

Happy Halloween!

Elliot & Chelsea

Sweet Home Briarwood

Elliot & I may be some of the world’s worst bloggers, since we’ve gone a month since our first update. Sorry about that. But we have lots of exciting news in exchange for the wait, so hopefully that makes up for it. First, after 1.5 months of staying in condos/hotels/friends’ living room floors, Elliot & I have officially been in our own apartment for a little over three weeks. I can’t even believe it’s been that long already! As everybody who’s ever moved probably knows, it’s easy to get caught up in all the details of what still needs to be done, so all the unpacking/settling in has made the time fly by pretty quickly, hence the failure to post. But that’s all behind us now, because here we are, postin’ it up from Briarwood, Queens. Briarwood is a tiny neighborhood that’s best-known as the former site of United Nations housing, as well as home of the Catholic high school responsible for educating New York’s current governor AND David Caruso from CSI: Miami(!!). Maybe one day we’ll run into him when he comes back to visit his alma mater. We can only hope.

Anyway, we’re doing a pretty good job making ourselves at home in between Elliot’s work schedule and my…not-having-anything-to-do-but-unpack-and-clean-for-three-weeks. We have no couch or dresser at the moment and we’re short at least one bookshelf, but our kitchen is totally well-stocked, our dining room chairs have been painted, and we were so, so blessed by all our family and friends when we got married that we’ve been able to get pretty much everything we’ve needed with gift cards. Seriously, without all the support of the people in our lives, we would be eating ramen and sleeping on the floor. We are really grateful.

And, of course, we don’t only spend our time unpacking or at Target. We make time to watch episodes of Lost on Netflix and cook very tasty dinners together a few nights a week, along with visiting churches, so we’re definitely taking time to enjoy each other’s company and develop some sort of routine together, which is good, since I start school on Thursday. It’s been a luxury to have so much time together, for sure (a two month honeymoon, some might say), but it’ll definitely be nice to have some new stuff added to the mix.

With all that said, we thought we’d give everybody a look at our new home, since some of you will hopefully come up for a visit or two it in the next year, eh?? To preface, our building, neighborhood, and apartment are not without quirks. An upstairs neighbor who regularly throws Indian food out the window and onto the space outside our apartment/our window sill? Yes, we have one of those. And neither one of us has ever lived somewhere with radiator heat, so we’re pretty curious to see what that’s like this winter, but it’s fun figuring all this stuff out with each other. Yay for adventure!

Anyway. On with the tour. Please excuse the maybe excessive detail. Since we can’t have all of you over to show you around and make dinner for you, this is what we do instead. Here’s the outside of our building:

Our street is really residential, which we like, because it keeps things pretty quiet. Our neighbors also seem to do an awesome job keeping their gardens well-planted, so we get to admire lots of nice yards on the walk to our plant-less apartment.

Here’s our front door, complete with the welcome mat given to us by some friendly, anonymous person in the building:

We’ve only met a few of our neighbors, but so far they seem like pretty nice people.

Here’s our little foyer area.

Notice Guard Duck, who made it safely all the way from Elliot’s room in Tulsa. Elliot really loves that ceramic duck. In fact, when he reminded me to mention Guard Duck right here, he actually said, “Let’s all just hug Guard Duck,” and picked him up to take a picture together. Good friends.

This is the dining…area? Hallway? Something.

Whatever it is, we’re so happy to have this little space in our apartment. Most places we’ve seen in the city have eat-in kitchens or combined dining/living rooms, so even though it’s a small area, we’re happy to be able to separate it a little bit from the other parts of the apartment. Of course, these chairs are not permanent. They’re stand-ins while I finish painting/covering the seats on the chairs that came with the table, and they’ve also taken the place of a couch for the time being (thanks for the chairs, Aunt Terri!!). We also have plans to refinish the table, but we’re trying to pace ourselves and not have too much unfinished furniture at a time.

The first room to be finished once we moved in was the kitchen:

We were very ready to be able to cook our own meals and buy groceries, so having a livable kitchen with everything we needed took precedence over everything else in the apartment (except a shower curtain). It’s small, but it has enough space for us, with the help of the big cabinet we found on Craigslist for $30. Heyo! It was a huge hassle to pick up and bring back to the apartment (I begged to just leave it on the sidewalk in Brooklyn) but it’s been so worth it to have all the extra space. Also, check out the Crock-Pot on the counter. BBQ pork sandwiches for dinner. Happy Labor Day!
Here’s our spacious but mostly empty living room:

The dining room chairs have made this their temporary home, along with our board game cabinet, this nice yellow chair we found, and a couple of boxes of decorative things and blankets that are begging for a couch to be draped over.

Here’s Elliot’s work area:

One day, we’ll have some shelves to put those speakers on instead of boxes. But they’ll work for now.

Next is our very short hallway:

Then on the left, we have the bathroom:

I have to say, I really love having a medicine cabinet. It’s maybe one of my favorite things; all the apartments here have them. I guess if your bathroom is big enough to put things in drawers, you don’t need one, but we have no bathroom drawers, so I personally think it is very cool.

On the right in the hallway is our bedroom:

I hope it isn’t the most depressing room you’ve ever seen. We’re just glad to have a bed that’s not on the floor. It’s also still too hot to sleep with a comforter or quilt when you don’t have air conditioning, so the bed looks a little sad at the moment. Still. It’ll come together sometime. Maybe next year we’ll invest in A/C so at least the bed can stay stylish year-round.

And at the end of the hallway is our nursery:

Hey! Yeah, that’s the even more exciting news we have for you (although it’s old news for some). Come January, that awesome handmade (but unassembled) crib in the corner will be home to a lil’ baby Butay!

We’re 20 weeks along as of yesterday, so we’re halfway to meeting this little guy or girl, and we’re way beyond excited! I’ve been able to feel it moving around a lot these days, and I’ve (finally!) started to get a little bit of a belly, so someday soon I’ll be able to give people glances on the subway when they announce that people should give their seats to elderly, disabled, and pregnant people, and maybe I won’t have to stand so much. Obviously, that’s not what I’m most excited about, but I’d say it’ll definitely be a perk.

So those are the main things going on for us right now. Having an apartment, starting school, working, and getting ready for a little pumpkin to join our family very soon. It might seem a little silly to some for us to share so many of these details on a blog, but we sort of figure that, in addition to keeping people up-to-date, it’s also a great way for us to keep track of everything that’s going on right now in our lives. Having so many things going on at once can sometimes keep us from being really focused and present in any of those things, so this is our attempt to keep track of what’s going on, what we’re learning, and what it’s all like, so we don’t get too distracted by everything to be grateful. It’ll be so fun to look back in a couple of years & remember what the very beginning was like for us, so hopefully we can keep this up a little more consistently now.

On that note, since everyone has the big details now, we hope nobody’s too disappointed if the blog starts to fill up a little more with the smaller things that go on in our lives or thoughts. We’re looking forward to all the work and learning this is bringing our way, so we’re happy to have everybody in our lives to share it with. Woowoo! Had to add that after all the seriousness.

We love you guys!
Elliot & Chelsea