As Michael and I boarded our plane, heading to the US for Christmas, we thought back to last year and how excited we were to visit our families and share with them our news that we were pregnant. It seemed like that was just yesterday, and yet there we were one year later, this time focused on how to get our 5 1/2 month old baby boy to sleep during the first 10 hour flight. Thankfully, Culhane was awesome during our travels – sleeping 8 hours in the “bassinet” on our overnight flight and then snoozing again for most of the second flight. He also happened to instantly adjust to South Carolina time, despite the 3 hour time-change – we are very grateful to have a good little traveler on our hands (at least so far)!
We arrived in South Carolina on Thursday Dec. 19 and were met by my sweet grandparents who were very excited to meet their great grandson for the first time! They took us to my parents’ house where we got all settled in and reunited Culhane with his grandparents. He definitely remembered them after having just seen them in São Paulo for Thanksgiving.
On Friday we were so excited to welcome Michael’s parents to South Carolina! My parents hosted a party on Friday night to let our extended family meet Culhane and see Sharon and Ollie and it was so much fun.
Lots of photos in front of the tree!
The next day we toured Sharon & Ollie around downtown Columbia with a visit to the statehouse, my dad’s office and USC’s campus. Next we went to nearby Congaree National Park, for a 2 1/2 mile stroll. Saturday night my parents took us all out for a very special dinner at Garibaldi’s – the restaurant that Michael took my parents to when he asked them if he could marry me!
Then, Sunday morning was the main event – Culhane’s baptism! We had him baptized at my grandparents’ church, St. Peter Lutheran Church, where my niece, Augusta Clare, was also baptized. As I mentioned, the Harpers brought Culhane’s baptismal gown which had been worn by Ollie’s mother and her siblings (starting around 1890), Ollie and some of his cousins, as well as Michael and all of his siblings. Culhane was the first of his generation to wear the gown and Sharon went the extra mile to make it even more special. She had a long slip made (the longest, bottom layer in the photo below) which included the monograms of everyone who had ever been baptized in the gown. She also had the gown cleaned and had an “extender panel” added since our little guy was older than the other babies had been. Anyway, it was so over-the-top amazing and special and we absolutely loved it.
With the Zais and Fincher side of the family.With the Harper side of the family. Culhane looking like the future Pope in the fabulous coat!After the service we all headed to The Blue Marlin where my parents had reserved a special room for us to gather and celebrate together. And what a fun surprise when we arrived only to see that Culhane’s amazing godparents, Mike Saign & Moira O’Connell had sent a beautiful cake for us to enjoy! (Also, to their credit they were planning to be at the baptism, but we changed the location from Phoenix to South Carolina at the last second!) Sweet Augusta Clare.
We were all sad to say goodbye to Sharon & Ollie that night, but it was so special to have them there. More on the rest of our time in SC and then our time in PHX soon!