Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Happy Birthday to one of my Favo(u)rite Canadians!

Happy Birthday, Nathalie!

It's hard to believe it's only been five years since I met Nathalie.  When we met, we were both unmarried and our babies were just a gleam in daddies' eye.

Monte Carlo Bay, 2008

The first day of the EPT Grand Finale our (then) boyfriend and fiance were playing together.  They chatted briefly and I told Gavin I was going to ask Nathalie to have lunch with me.  Over the course of the next fifteen minutes, I chickened out about 5 times.  It's hard to ask someone out!  But I'd been around poker quite a bit recently, and I knew that I liked her WAY better than pretty much all of the other wives and girlfriends I'd met, so, I finally did.
We even had a brief life of crime together (Note the large pile of Stars gear)
Since then, despite the distance, she's become one of my closest friends.  With long hours and not much to do, we explored Monte Carlo together and talked about her upcoming wedding.  She was the first person I told that I thought I'd marry Gavin someday.

Nathalie is easy to like.  She's easy going, friendly and has an incredible whistle!  She's one of the few people who loves to take pictures and document her live as much (more?) than I do.
Poker is an interesting profession.  Amazingly, in an industry with more than it's share of philanderers, cheats, and playboys, we both married loyal, loving, compassionate family men.  Having someone to share the ups and downs of a relationship with a poker player has been awesome.
Great friends are the ones who inspire you to be the best you can be.  Nathalie has been that for me.  Not through inspirational talks or advice, but by living it.  Her and Steve's visit inspired Gavin and I to get serious about learning to cook together, a habit we still love.  She inspired me to start blogging again.  Most recently, her gift of Dr. Suess's ABC's and a memory of her and Steve with their first baby at our wedding shower in early 2010 inspired me to read (and then memorize) the book for Colin.  (Who knew that book had magical baby calming dust!)  I think I'm a better Amy because of my friendship with Nathalie.

Ignore my weird face and look at the concentration on Nathalie's face!
Her love for her family is obvious.  I asked her to stand up in our wedding because her marriage is a marriage with many traits we intended to emulate.   

Although she is miles away, in another country, and we don't see each other much, she's also only an email or a phone call away.  Following her family on her blog makes the distance seem insignificant.  

I was so excited to introduce Emily to one of my long time friends.
Nathalie's youngest daughter is only two months older than Taylor would be.  There was a time when that was incredibly difficult for me, but mostly, it makes it more special to watch her grow up, even if from a distance.  

So happy birthday to one of the most wonderful women I have ever met.  

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