Happy Birthday to a Great Nephew!

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Julien Blows out Candle

Hello friends! Well, here I sit on a grey and dreary day, so it seems like a good time to dash off a few words about one of the recent events I had the pleasure of taking part in. November 11th marked the 2nd birthday of my cool little nephew Julien. I’ll say this right off the bat. The first year and a half was a bit of a struggle as Julien was a bit of a cranky-pants a lot of the time. I say that with the greatest amount of love possible though :-). He just tended to cry a fair bit. However, he’s settled down remarkably, and like his sister before him, is turning into a pretty interesting little person. Helena and Julien are now quite fun to watch and interact with, particularly when it comes to seeing how they view the world around them. For example, at the moment, Julien is all about wheels and watching them go around. It’s very cute to see him flat on the ground watching the wheels of his toy train going around. Anyway, back to the birthday festivities. Not only would he be celebrating his birthday, but his baptism was also slated to take place on the same weekend. For that reason, lots of family and friends could be around to celebrate. To see some pictures and video of the weekend, check out the folder I put up on flickr. Afterwards, I can share a few more thoughts of the weekend with you.

With the birthday and baptism on the same weekend, and the fact that some of us had the Friday off for Remembrance Day, it was a weekend chock full of family fun. Before it all started, I took advantage of some nice weather on Friday to do a full biking loop in Gatineau Park before my dad and his wife were slated to arrive at our place. While there were some family members at my sisters for the actual birthday on Friday, we just spent a quiet night with dad and Nicole in order to catch up fully. It was great to chat with dad all about what was new with him and with us, as we seldom get to see each other in person. Of course, Skype helps bridge the miles pretty well, but it’s still nice to have the actual company on occasion.

Saturday was the full family birthday celebrations at my sisters place. Much of Patrick’s family from Toronto made the trip down for the weekend, so the house was full of aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, and well-wishers. We were treated to a nice feast of chili (two kinds), as well as cheese and crackers and other finger foods. However, the piece de resistance was not 1, not 2, but 3 homemade cakes courtesy of Julien’s grampy, John Hill. They were to mark the zero birthday, the 1st birthday, and the 2 birthday, and went over smashingly well. I had at least one piece of each 🙂 As with the night before, much of the time was spent just catching up with all the various family members. Our day had actually started our quite a while earlier, when Deanna and I took dad and Nicole to the War Museum to catch the special exhibit on War and Medicine before it was gone completely. For that reason, but the time we finally took leave from Andrea’s place, we were all pretty pooped (and very full!). Given that we had to all be up and fresh for church in the morning, we had a pretty early night.

Sunday morning rolled around, and we all got to work preening and grooming ourselves and getting into our ‘Sunday best’. Ironically, my dad had brought up about 4 dress shirts, but not a single tie. Lucky for him his son now has a pretty good collection. We had a quick bite to eat, and all headed off to Julien’s baptism church. The church is actually an Anglican church just outside the fence surrounding the Governor Generals grounds, and serves as the church for the Governor General’s Foot Guard. There are even 4 seats of honour reserved in it specifically for when the Governor General pops in for a sermon, which apparently is about once a month. As luck would have it, I was asked if I could be the photographer for the event as well. Sadly, due to a lack of lighting, many of the pictures I took were a little to fuzzy to use, but at least a few turned out nice enough in my opinion.

The service itself was a pretty nice sermon with a lovely choir singing in the back. For one hymn, they even sang completely acapella in beautiful 4-part harmonies. It was nice to hear something like that for a change. For his part, Julien behaved very admirably the entire service. He didn’t make one peep, and seemed attentive the entire time, with a nice big smile and wide eyes for most of it. Even as he was being baptized, there was no complaining or crying. It was nice to be a part of this ceremony. However, admittedly, it did make me just a little sad that I had missed Helena’s baptism, seeing as I am her Godfather. However, since it was in Switzerland, it just wasn’t very feasible at the time from both a monetary and vacation time perspective.

Once again, there was a lot of family present in the service, and afterwards, there was even more fun to follow. My sister had booked an upstairs room at The Courtyard restaurant in the market for another little celebration. Sadly, the service at the restaurant was a bit lacking, and led to a rather prolonged meal and some frustrations on both sides of the table. However, that certainly didn’t put any damper on our fun, jut made for a rather surly hostess. This event once again saw a few more faces around the table that I hadn’t seen during the rest of the weekend, which meant there were plenty more conversations to go around, including discussions on unicycling and barefoot running! For all my love of the Internet and technologies, there is still something to be said about spirited discussions in person with relative strangers!

All in all, it was a great weekend, and we were very happy to be a part of all the celebrations for Juliens 2nd birthday. Ironically, even though we live in the same city, our schedules and commitments often makes it challenging for my sister and us to get together very often. In spite of that, every time we do get together, I’m reminded how lucky I am to have such a great big sister, and what a great family she and Patrick are building. Congratulations to both of you! I’ll leave it there, but don’t forget to hug whoever you’ve got in your life right now, and remind them how happy you are for having them in your life!

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