Sunday, June 19th was Helmer's christening day, and a big day for all of us. I was honored, privileged and very happy to be godmother, and it was a joy to carry him to the baptismal font, even if he screamed at the top of his little lungs. It was his nap time, and he was overtired :-)
My youngest brother Svein, Hilde Marie's uncle, is a minister in the Church of Norway, and he came over from Oslo to perform the christening ceremony. He also performed the wedding ceremony for Hilde Marie and Jon Helge in 2008. It's nice to have our own family minister for occasions like these!
Here is Svein to the left, then me with Helmer, Hilde Marie and Jon Helge. In the back are Helmer's sponsors: Geir Espen, Hilde Marie's brother, then two friends, Katrine and Elise. Jon Helge's sister Torunn is also a sponsor, but she lives in Sweden, and couldn't come. A sponsor sounds very commercial, but in this connection they are people who will have a special relationship with Helmer as he grows up. If there is a better english word for it, please let me know!
The happy little family, with Helmer in the christening gown that I made for him. The veil is Hilde Marie's bridal veil. It is fastened by pushbuttons to make cleaning the dress easy. We thought it would be a nice touch to reuse the veil this way. The blue bow is also fastened by a pushbutton, so it can be replaced by a pink one, should the occasion arise :-)
Helmer had a nap during the service,
and then he was back to his cheerful self.
After the service dinner was served for the family and sponsors. Our son-in-law Jon Helge hunts deer, and he cooks the most amazing venison dinners. The meat is so tender, and his gravies are to die for. Since his sister and her family couldn't be there, there were only 13 of us.
For the table setting,
we reused the table cloths and table runners from the wedding.
I made made new place cards though.
Hilde Marie's friend and school mate right from the 1. grade, Katrine, is a florist, and the decorations she made were just perfect. She reused the various bowls and containers that Helmer got flowers in at the hospital. Katrine had also made the flower decorations for the wedding.
Elise, Katrine, Svein, Geir Espen, Jon Helge and
Hilde Marie helping themselves to dinner.
Helmer stayed awake all afternoon, and had fun being played with.
At one point we had to shut both of these two up! :-)
Afterwards there were cakes and coffee. Britt, Jon Helge's mom made her speciality, "Verdens beste" ("best cake in the world"), a delicious yummy sponge cake with meringue, almonds and custard.
The main cake, also a sponge cake with apricot cream and covered in marzipan, was so beautifully decorated, all hand crafted by a professional cake maker.
Helmer with his parents and both sets of grand parents.
Sigve and I with Helmer.
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Tuesday, June 22, was summer solstice. It's the longest day and shortest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. I live too far south to see the midnight sun, but the nights at this time of the year never get completely dark here anyway. Unfortunately, this year it's been so wet and cold, it really hasn't been summer yet.
The sun sets around 11 pm, and rises again just after 4 am. The first hour after sunset and the last hour before sunrise are very light, and in between it's just twilight. Last night the sky was clear, with some foggy clouds on the horizon, so at 10.30 pm Sigve and I drove out on yet another sunset hunt. We do this frequently, and I love our little evening outings. We have found spots around the island for optimal sunset viewings at various times of the year.
* * * * *
Sigve is still doing well. All blood tests are satisfactory, and he is well into reducing the Sandimmun (the medication to prevent Graft-versus host disease) dosage again. He's also back at work full time, which in his case means 12 hour days, at least for the time being, he claims. A lot of changes are taking place at his office, and he enjoys being part of it.
Sigve is now down to check-ups every 3 weeks at Haugesund Hospital, and in August he's due for his big one year check-up in Bergen. I can't believe it's almost a year since life was hanging by a thin thread; physically for Sigve, and mentally for me. Every time I think of it, gratitude fills me, almost to an overwhelming degree. Things could have turned out so very differently, and I know that for many in the same circumstances, it has. I am constantly aware of how lucky and blessed we have been, and still are.
Sigve's amazing and so thoughtful present to me, my trip to Australia, is coming up in a few days. My mind is filled with packing and to-do lists. I can't wait to meet again with old friends, their friends and families, and to make new friends. To see new places, and revisit places I've been to before. But mainly to spend quality time with old friends. I'll be away for a full month, finishing off with a day and two nights in Hong Kong; thanks to good connections, in a 5 star luxury hotel :-)
But even before all that, we're going to a family reunion in Stavanger on Saturday. My mom's youngest sister is celebrating her 75th birthday by inviting the whole extended family; all descendants of her mother, my grandmother. We live spread out around all over Norway, and the last time I saw most of these relatives was for her 60th birthday. My mom died in 2004, and she was the third of 5 siblings; 4 sisters and 1 brother, of which 3 sisters are still alive.
We're staying in the camper van, and at 11 am on Sunday, Sigve will take me to the airport to start my trip.
I am grateful for being back in blog land, after a several weeks long break, on both my blogs. I'll try to blog during my trip, but no promises :-) Updates will probably be more frequent on Facebook, and I'm happy to receive new friend requests. Just remember to leave a message with your blog's name so I know who you are.
I am also grateful for the best husband in the world!