Three weeks ago, we finally got to meet her—our baby girl. She was born on August 2, in the wee hours of the morning. She weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and she was 20.5 inches long. Her name is Avery Raleigh, and we are completely in love.
First—thank you so much for all of the encouraging comments and emails on my last post. I’ve got a lot of cheerleaders for this final leg, and it’s pretty great. Second—and, really, I hate to keep harping on this, but I’m guessing some of you might be wondering: I’m still pregnant. And that’s all I’ll say about that.
In other news, a few weeks back, on the weekend after the Fourth of July, we had some friends over for a barbecue—our first in our new place. Kevin made his bourbon-glazed ribs, I boiled corn and chopped a few summer tomatoes for a simple salad, and we set the table with some fresh flowers.
I’ll start this conversation how I start just about all of them these days: I’m still pregnant. Depending on the audience, reactions range from dejection (grandparents-to-be) to relief (co-workers) to sympathy (women who have recently been 100 months pregnant, when it’s 1,000 degrees outside). These reactions and my own impatience notwithstanding, the fact remains: I’m still pregnant.
I had big plans to distract myself last weekend by ginning up some nesting instinct (mine kicked in weeks ago, and disappeared after a short, but productive, stay) and stocking our freezer. Corn chowder, baked ziti, and some pizza dough were on my list. Perhaps I’d even buy some peak summer produce at the farmers’ market and freeze some purees for the baby’s solid food days, which will strike in the dead of Chicago’s winter.
As it turns out, moving is some difficult business. After five years in our old place, we moved about a month ago, in a weekend that re-defined exhaustion. We’d spent the prior weeks slowly packing up our place—each glass, every book, all those pairs of shoes—into boxes. We hired men to actually move those boxes (I was 7-months pregnant, after all), but the real work began when we arrived at our new place. We’ve been unpacking and settling in since we arrived—going on four weeks now. With the help of Kevin’s parents and my parents (and those burly movers), most of the work was behind us after the first two weekends. Since then, we’ve been filling in the gaps here and there.
In my real estate history, five years is a long time. Aside from childhood homes, I’ve never lived anywhere nearly that long. So, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised by the big, hot tears on my cheeks when, over this past weekend, Kevin and I picked up a few final things from our old place, left our keys on the kitchen counter and said goodbye. In my rush to sell that place (Not enough room for the baby! Too many stairs!), I seemed to have forgotten how much I had loved it, and how much life—and what a good one—we had lived there.
As you may have noticed, over the past few (ahem, or maybe more than a few) months, my posts have been sporadic. The time between updates has slowly stretched and, to be honest, there have been times when I wondered if I’d return. Sometimes the thought of walking away would carry an immense sense of relief: one thing off my over-crowded plate. But, more often than not, the thought made me sad. There have been a lot of reasons for the less-frequent posts (one of which is more visible than others), but every time I’ve returned to this space, I’ve been grateful that I didn’t let it go. I draw so much energy and inspiration from this site, and it’s something I don’t want to fade away.
A lot of things have fallen into place for us recently (we’re moving, for one thing!) and a very welcome slow-down at work is finally here. So, I’m hoping to be able to post a bit more frequently over the next couples of months, and then we’ll see what happens when the baby arrives later this summer.
Last Friday night, I returned to Chicago after a three-week work trip. To say that I was glad to be home would be an extreme understatement. I missed my husband, my city, my kitchen, my food, my easy routines. I spent the weekend reacquainting myself with all of these things, reveling in them and appreciating them all as though they were brand new. The weather was pretty uncooperative, but that didn’t stop us from walking miles and visiting the farmers’ market (opening day in Lincoln Park!) and churning ice cream and sliding a bouquet of peonies into a mason jar.
It was a spring weekend to make up for the several that I had missed while I was away.
First, thank you so much for the comments and emails and kind words about our exciting news! It was such fun to share the news here, and to hear from so many of you. It makes me miss this site even more, which is unfortunate timing, since things are a little crazy around here lately. Aside from the whole baby thing (the proof of which is growing by the day!), work is a whirlwind and is about to take me out of town for a few weeks. I’m thinking the solution is this: I’m going to shake things up a bit here, and do a couple of photo-focused posts. Today, it’s eggs two ways.
I have a good excuse.
For weeks, I’ve been meaning to tell you about this hot fudge sauce, which is decadent and thick and glossy and everything a hot fudge sauce should be. The recipe has been on the docket since Valentine’s Day, in fact. I had a post planned, half drafted in my head. I intended to come clean that my annual protestations about Valentine’s Day were something of a hoax. For several years running, I’d posted a chocolate dessert in honor of the mid-February holiday (“holiday”?), so there was no denying that I was on board for at least one part of Valentine’s Day: the chocolate part. That would be the post’s title: “The Chocolate Part.” I quite liked that.
With February upon us and January behind us, I think I can finally bring you a recipe that is truly a beacon of health, without running the risk of appearing to be a New Year’s resolution cliche. With grains and greens and beans and citrus, this soup is certainly January fare. I would know. I ate the soup for lunch and dinner umpteen times last month.
Every January, I end up on a citrus tear. I’m not much for resolutions, and January is far from my favorite month (I grew up in Minnesota, and I live in Chicago, after all), but I do love the sunny spectrum of citrus that shows up at the grocery store this month. Weekly, I haul home a heaving bag of ruby red grapefruits. Each morning, I top segments of their tart flesh with yogurt and granola. A pair of clementines accompany me to work every day; a crate of the little orange guys rarely outlasts the stretch between our weekly grocery trips. Less frequently, but still dependably, I get hankerings for key lime pies, the urge to make a citrus-hued curd, and an inexplicable desire to squeeze blood oranges until my hands are stained with their brilliantly-colored juice.
And always, there is a lemon cake.