Back in October, we celebrated Nemo’s baptism. It was really special for me. It was much later than I would have liked, but we managed to have lots of friends and family make it to celebrate with us.
Nemo was baptized at our church and as usual with my big, Irish-Catholic family, ours was the biggest crowd. My sister (aka Aunt Meg) was Nemo’s godmother, and our dear friend (who is also Mabel’s godfather) agreed to serve double-duty as Nemo’s godfather. Mac and I both feel very grateful they accepted. When it comes down to it, it can be hard to find people who are truly good Christians, who walk the walk, instead of just talking the talk. Add to that, the somewhat inane requirements of the Archdiocese of New York, and it is nearly impossible. Thankfully, we didn’t have to look far for two excellent examples of how he should live his spiritual life.
The ceremony was wonderful. Nemo was cooperative and happy (he was also the oldest of the babies being baptized that day). He wore the same christening gown worn by me, his godmother, and his older sister. I was teary-eyed as we blessed him, and welcomed him into the church. It was also very moving knowing that the ceremony was creating formal, and sacred bonds between Nemo and his godparents. The sacred chrism the deacon used to bless him left him smelling divine all day.
After the ceremony and lots of pictures, we then went back to our house for a big party!
It was the first time since we moved into the house in March of 2011 that we had a party and really used the outside space. We lucked out with gorgeous weather. It took a lot of effort, but we got out all our second-hand lawn furniture, deck furniture, etc. and had people out enjoying the yard, deck, and porch. (Ironically, we had to scramble to put it all away again the next weekend because of Hurricane Sandy). Just like I remember doing as a kid, all the cousins were outside running around, playing ball, blowing bubbles, and generally having fun.
I tried not to go overboard and stress about the party. I wanted to remember the reason we were gathering to celebrate and not get caught up in the preparations. Thankfully I had a lot of help. My mom made most of the food (penne a la vodka and a swiss cheese chicken casserole-type dish), I made some roasted veggies. We put out some chips and dip. There was apple cider, wine and beer, sodas, and some juice. From our local Stop and Shop, I got a veggie crudite platter, cold cut platter with rolls and salads, and called it a day. My mother in law made several desserts, and we had the cake (see below) and a veggie platter (also from Stop and Shop). I did splurge and have a coworker of my mom’s come and help during the party. While we were at the church, she was at our house heating up all the food, doing all the prep, and welcoming any guests who arrived early. She stayed for the duration and even did most of the cleanup. It was the best money I spent on the party. Having her there was crucial for me to enjoy the party- I didn’t have to be in the kitchen the whole time, I could visit with my guests.
There were a few things I did put more time and effort into.
For decorations, I made a bunting (you can see it behind us in the first photo- perhaps I’ll do a follow-up post about how I did it) that said “God + Bless Nemo” (except with his real name, the + was a cross). The bunting was time consuming, and thankfully Aunt Meg helped. I made something similar for Mabel’s first birthday and displayed it on her second birthday as well. You can see it here. When it isn’t her birthday, the portion with her name hangs in her room. I intend to do the same thing for Nemo.
Another thing I focused on was the cake. I searched the internet for inspiration photos of cakes and Aunt Meg and I liked this one the best. I took the picture to our local bakery, Homestyle Desserts Bakery, and they created the beautiful and delicious cake you see in the pictures, for a price that was surprisingly low given how it looked and tasted. The cake was probably Mabel’s favorite part of this whole shebang given that she came with me when we placed the order and the ladies at the bakery gave us a huge plate with 5 or 6 slices of cake to taste test. In the end we went with chocolate cake, cannoli filling, and buttercream frosting. I was really amazed at how yummy it was and got many compliments from party guests.
The other thing I splurged on was Nemo’s outfit (whopping grand total of $26). I had picked up a little Janie and Jack seersucker suit from Once Upon a Child before he was even born, for only $10. It was sized 3/6 months and I figured it would work for his christening. I had seen on Etsy, onsies with ties sewn on, and I had a color scheme in my head. I found a few inspiration photos and contacted Connie of threeKdesigns to see if she could make the one I was imagining.
She did an awesome job! She gave me a choice of fabrics based on my inspiration pictures and got it just right. Here and here are the inspiration photos I sent her. I liked the salmon color with the beige stripes of the suit. You can see the finished product in the picture above (for a close up of the fabrics, click here), for only $16. I’m looking forward to getting more of these for Nemo in the future.
So, that’s Nemo’s christening celebration in a nutshell. I know I spent more time talking about the planning than the actual ceremony, but I can assure you, the day was all a celebration of him and his spiritual life. It was a chance for lots of extended family and friends to meet him for the first time. He was awake for most of the party and happily passed along so everyone could get a snuggle. It was so special to me to gather our friends and our family together for such a joyous occasion.