The outfit that Enzo is wearing in this photo was pants when he wore it for his baptism in the United States back in January. He had grown a lot since then. At almost nine months old, we wanted to celebrate his spirituality and arrival with his Italian friends and relatives. The Church was kind enough to perform a blessing for baptized babies. Although you cannot have two baptisms, you can have your already baptized baby blessed all the same. The Mass was said in honor of Enzo’s late grandfather for whom he was named and at the end he was blessed by the priest. Later in the evening, we had a cocktail party in Enzo’s Italian nonna’s garden. A good time was had by all, and now we all know that the Catholic Church can bless already baptized babies. Enzo should be well covered because he was blessed at a special Mass for babies when he was three weeks old, at his baptism when he was four months old, by a priest and friend of Antonio’s family when he was six months old, and now at this Mass when he was almost nine months old. We learned one other interesting fact during this blessing and celebration. Many Italian friends and family gave us baby books to keep track of milestones as gifts. While American baby books ask parents to keep a lock of hair in an envelope, the Italian ones ask for you to keep baby’s favorite pastina in an envelope. This place was made for Enzo, the eating champion! To join the celebration, visit the “Italian Blessing” photo album.
Don’t worry. This photo is an optical illusion. My husband is actually holding baby boy up and those clothespins are just for show. I cropped my husband’s hands out of the picture, so that it would look like baby boy was airing dry with the laundry. In the photo album, “Enzo in Casa,” you’ll also find photos of the baby in a laundry basket. Lots of new parents spend lots of money on professional photos. We did. But there are plenty of interesting and fun photos that you can take yourself with a little creativity. For example, for Enzo’s baptism invites we formed a “v” with his cute little feet, took a photo of it, and spelled out the word love using his feet for the “v”. We also put him in our suitcases while we were packing for Italy to get an adorable shot of him amid our clothes as though we were packing him up. And I’ve had him hold up or sit next to many a happy birthday sign to wish his best to his nearest and dearest on their big day. You are limited only by your imagination (and your baby’s willingness to participate, of course).
Enzo has been a beach bum of late. I’ve been taking him to the beach near my mother-in-law’s house in Ischia, an island off the coast of Naples. A trip to Ischia is incomplete, after all, without a few days on the beach. Since the first time we went a few weeks ago, Enzo has been fascinated by sand. He looks at it on his hand as if he’s a scientist making a completely new discovery that will enhance humanity. We brought a Winnie the Pooh bath tub with us and filled it with ocean water, and he enjoys sitting in it, splashing water onto his sunbathing cousins, and dragging sand into it. He also likes digging into the sand with a shovel and sand toys. He recently tried to sweep the garden, too. While his cousin was carrying him, he picked up the broom in the garden and started dragging it back and forth across the patio. He definitely has some of nonno’s landscaping genes. In fact, if it were up to Enzo we’d live in a tree in the backyard and eat all day there. Sounds like nonno has found someone to move with him to Buceto (the woods in Ischia). If you want to join Enzo on the beach, you can check out the “Beach Baby” photo album.
Baby boy can hardly wait to eat grown-up food. Whenever we’re eating, he can’t take his eyes off the table. He tries to get his hands into everything. And he eats his own food as if it were the most delicious thing he’s ever had (and I suppose it is, for now). His meal times come replete with the noises of pleasure – mmmmhhhmmmm, oooohhhh, aahh. After about one month of diarrhea and losing weight in Ischia, he is back to his old self and we can finally feed him his faves – sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, turkey, and the rest – again. He can’t get enough of it. And if he could, he’d probably eat us, too. In fact, he sometimes tries to bite his cousins’ arms and legs, which is only fair because everyone gives him love bites. His cousin Giulia calls him a cuginavore (eater of cousins). Now, if only he would get a tooth – at least one – he’d be all set for chomping the good stuff, including pizza and tomatoes and bread, all of which he seems to long for. Teeth or no teeth, he’s still trying to get at the pasta (see photo above when we visited our friend’s restaurant Trattoria Il Focolare in Cretaio in Ischia). For more fun photos of Enzo from the last few weeks, check out these photo albums -
Enzo at San Francesco Beach – This is Enzo’s first time in the sand and really getting to see the ocean. This is also my new favorite beach in Ischia. It was always in the running, but now I’ve decided to give it top billing for its sunshine, ambiance, and view of Forio in Ischia. We had taken Enzo down the shore in Jersey during the winter, but it was so cold and rainy that we spent most of the time in a restaurant on the Boardwalk and we never went on the sand. He still hasn’t dipped into the ocean yet. Maybe next week, depends on the weather.
Enzo on Walk in Ischia – Spending time with his Italian cousins is a main priority for Enzo, which is why he was so happy to take a leisurely walk in Ischia Porto (with Ischia Ponte in the background) with cousins Giulia and Laura. Zia Paola was driving the carriage to boot. And Mamma tagged along.
Enzo at Focolare – Here, you’ll see Enzo loving the outdoors and dreaming of the food he will eat when teeth finally make an appearance at our friend’s fabulous family restaurant in Ischia.
Party blogs are my new addiction. People are so creative in coming up with themes and menus for parties, and the photos and descriptions have really inspired me. Even if you’re not planning a party, you might find the recipes worth trying. I couldn’t resist the photo of the homemade soft pretzels on my favorite new blog, Catchmyparty.com. The recipe was so simple and the results were delicious. These bad boys (see photo above) took under two hours to make. I imagine it would take about two and half hours to double the recipe and get 16 pretzels, as opposed to the eight I made. You can also make them as pretzel bites, but I have not tried that yet. To get the brown color, you boil the pretzels in water and baking soda and coat them in egg yolk before baking them. Works like a charm. And they taste just like pretzels you’d buy at a pretzel shop in the mall, and they taste better than the ones you buy in the street in New York, most of which are frozen and reheated. Plus, you can control the amount of salt and butter, and there are no additives. These pretzels were so good, in fact, that my Italian family wants the recipe. That means these things are amazing because they’re pretty particular about their food. Now, the recipe suggests making two dipping sauces – one cheesy and the other of Nutella and whipped cream. But we just put some butter on top while the pretzels were still warm, and my nieces spread Nutella on them when they ate them. Yum!