I have been blessed. I have been blessed with a beautiful life and the latest adventure has been motherhood. George Augustine was born on November 15, 2012. The past ten months have been a sleepy, amazing journey into parenthood. I could say all those cliche things about how your heart grows and you never knew how much you could love another person this much. And that is definitely all true but mostly I am just struck by how fast it all is going by and I want to hit the pause button just for an instant so I can freeze this memory of his baby days.
I keep saying that if I were to start a new blog on life with a new baby I would title it “Love and Milk”, because these early days are really mostly comprised of these two things. And at the end of the day all he really needs from me is a belly full of milk, my loving embrace and attempt at singing a lullaby. And as I lay him down I tell him “Kali̱nýchta Georgie, sagapó̱” (Goodnight Georgie, I love you). Greek side note: goodnight in Greek is pronounced cahlee-neet-ah, and I love you is pronounced saw-ga-poh.
This first year of his life is full of so many developmental milestones and he is growing so quickly that I can’t help but recognize the reality that someday soon he is going to be an adult with a life and talents all his own. I am struck by this Cracker Jack box kind of feeling. What will he be? What will he look like? What things will he like? I am then instantly transported back to present day and I squeeze him extra tight and soak up his baby smell and sweet babble sounds.
In the first few weeks of caring for a tiny newborn I could hardly imagine having a second child. But now as I watch his tiny newborn hands transform into toddler hands that grasp everything around him I can understand now why you would crave that tiny newborn presence in your arms again. These early days are so very precious, especially as a first time mom. Mostly they have been an education into everything from breastfeeding to sleep schedules and communication.
If I were to sum it up into a job title it would definitely be teacher. I think that is partially why this current phase is so equally mentally and physically trying. At ten months he is crawling everywhere, and soon to be walking, all at full speed. But he is also so much more aware of everything around him and I know he understands a limited vocabulary, although he has yet to really say his first word.
So for now I am just relishing these baby days where he just loves me, without hesitation and judgment. I don’t yet have any annoying habits and all he knows is that I love him. And I have milk whenever he needs it. I love my new job. But I also am itching to write again. So now that we have a somewhat reliable morning nap going, it is time to dust off this blog and clear the cobwebs from my mommy brain. Yes, mommy brain is real. I have the list of “oops” moments in the past few months to prove it, but more on that later.
Just in time for your holiday baking! This is a super easy recipe and can be served as a accompaniment to coffee in the morning or as a sweet anytime. These cookies are subtly sweet, so they are sure to please any crowd. Makes 12-15 cookies.
¼ cup hazelnuts or almonds, or a combination of both
10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/8 cup superfine sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp brandy, or Metexa Greek brandy
¼ cup cornstarch or arrowroot
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (Note: you can use whole wheat flour, but the end result will be a little “heavier” tasting)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or lightly butter. In a food processor, chop the nuts finely but without reducing them to ground nuts. In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk and brandy, then stir in the nuts. Sift the starch and flour over the mixture and stir. Add more flour if necessary in order to create a firm dough. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a clean working surface. You may wish to lightly flour your hands. Break off a small piece of dough and roll into a small ball, then place the ball on the clean surface and roll into a 3 inch log, tapering into pointed ends. Shape into a crescent and place on the baking sheet. Repeat until all the crescents are made. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the cookies are firm but not too brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
Pour the orange-flower water into a small bowl. Place the powdered sugar into a large bowl. Dip the crescents into the water quickly and then into the sugar to coat them completely. Store them loosely in an airtight container.
Well, we had a blast at the Greek festival this year – from Greek wine to gyros, Greek pastries and of course dancing! Something new this year was the addition of a wine lounge in the front courtyard area. They had a tasting menu for both white and red Greek wines for $6 for 4 tastings. Typically that area of the festival is used for sweets and coffee, and judging by the line to get in I would say that the wine lounge was a great idea!
After the wine lounge we walked to the rear of the church to the beer garden, dance floor and to partake in some delicious Greek food. Dessert too of course! We saw this awesome 60′s white Vespa adorned by a Greek flag in the beer garden, I just had to take its picture, it was too perfect.
After dinner we jumped into the fun on the dance floor for a couple of Greek line dances. For the first time I really started to feel like I knew what I was doing! Which for me is a big deal. I usually feel a little lost on the dance floor. Guess I am starting to get the hang of it!
My Dad shared with me a very interesting video. As part of the Blue Zones tour, a group visited the small island of Ikaria in the Aegean Sea to discover why this location is home to some the longest living people in the world. Having been to Greece and now living as part of a Greek family, I found this clip not only interesting, but very accurate to the Mediterranean lifestyle. One thing I learned that I had not thought of before, was about the health benefits of drinking goat’s milk. Something new to add to the repertoire!