This afternoon I was anxious about lunch. My advisees, (9 students who I support and advise throughout the duration of their high school experience) wanted to go off campus for lunch. Not just that, but they wanted to go to Shake Shack which is notoriously crowded. Of course, the idea of lunch off campus was totally appealing, but the reality of getting everyone there, fed, and back in time for their next class was intimidating. Despite my concerns, I went with it. Why not? I mean my time with them is so limited and we enjoy our time together so much that I got in the car and drove over to our luncheon.
Once there it became apparent that they not only invited me to lunch to enjoy burgers together but also to celebrate the baby-to-be. They brought “It’s a Boy” balloons and a celebration cake that said “Congratulations” in blue to the table and were too cute with their surprise. They giddily shared how they planned the whole thing and how they tried so hard not to ruin the surprise. There thoughtfulness was truly touching. The night before this surprise, I had shared with David how hard it feels sometimes to be the first friend in my primary friend circle to have a baby. Not only will a baby change the friend dynamics but I sometimes feel like this momentous event in which my body and my life will forever be defined as “before” and “after” baby is moving by fairly unnoticed. Of course, I in no means expect constant celebration but it sometimes feels that talking about the baby-to-be among friends isn’t always popular. Rationally I know that life gets in the way of life and that everyone is busy with the events, family, and moments that are most directly connected to them, but it meant so much to me today to celebrate and share with my advisees. I am going to be devastated when this group of talented, kind, and funny students graduate in another year but I am so thankful to have gotten to know them so well and to share in their journey, just as they have shared in mine.
While we have lived in our home for almost two years, we have not taken a paint brush to a single wall. The house was almost new when we settled in and the builder’s cream colored walls have been “fine” for us until this point. I suppose part of our hesitation around painting has been deciding which colors to commit to. We are not in love with our current living room furniture, so can we really paint the walls now not knowing what our future couch will be like? This has been our typical rationale. Then we found out we were having a baby and everything changed. As soon as we heard the news, I turned to David and said “We should really paint the nursery don’t you think?” Surprisingly he agreed right away. We waited until we knew if we were having a boy or a girl and then decided to tackle the color game.
Staring at shades of gray and blue is not an easy task. The nuance of color left us a bit confused as to what to select. Every time we were convinced we had selected our paint, we would look “one last time” and find another four paints that might be better selections. Too confused, I left the decision to David since in the end he would be the one actually painting the room. He selected three colors for the room that followed the concept of sea, sand, and sky. Early Saturday morning, David and Laura got to work on the baby room while I napped and ran errands. They worked efficiently and fast and just after lunch the room was complete! Even though it is the only room with color on the walls in our home, I am totally in love the with space. Clearly, we need to add more color to the rest of the house now, but I am so excited to have the nursery painted so far. Time to just sit tight until the little man arrives!
No explanation. Just a moment captured.
Last night David and I were set to watch a marathon of Homeland. Finally realizing that our local library could save us a great deal of time and money, we have started to borrow television series instead of splurging on them ourselves. We donned our pajamas and curled up on the couch together each with a big bowl of our vegetable barley soup. Covered in blankets, we enjoyed both the warm meal and the good drama. Of course, being pregnant meant that our “marathon” of Homeland episodes was actually just one for the night as the meal combined with my sleepiness were the perfect combination for an early bedtime!
5 garlic cloves diced
4 onions diced
6 carrots diced
4 parsnips diced
6 celery sticks diced
1 cup of barley
1 bunch of kale, washed and torn roughly
2 cans of 28 oz diced tomatoes
6-8 cups of water
red pepper flakes, black pepper, salt
Cook the barley according to package. In a large dutch oven or deep soup pot, heat olive oil and add the garlic. Toss together until garlic is fragrant. Add all of the vegetables (carrots, onions, parsnips, and celery) and mix together. Add spices. I went heavy on the red pepper flakes and pepper to ensure ultimate flavor. Cover the vegetables and left cook for about 12-15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Once the vegetables are translucent and cooked through, add the diced tomatoes and water. Bring to boil, and then simmer together for 15-20 minutes. Add in the kale and the cooked barley. Enjoy!!
The picture associated with this meal does not do it justice. I should have taken the shot before David carved the chicken, but the smells of the delicious meal had permeated the house for 90 minutes and we were ravenous to begin dinner. The chicken’s photo shoot was rushed but boy oh boy did we savor this meal. We actually even broke out into a little “fight” over the potatoes and whose plate was perhaps being too potato gluttonous! So even though this picture is a bit underwhelming, we had to post about the meal in order to add it to our growing list of delicious dinner options.
1 4lb chicken
1 stick of butter
1-1.5lb of fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
4 carrots, cut into 1-2inch sections
2-3 yellow onions, cut into quarters
1 head of garlic
In a roasting pan create a “bed” of carrots, potatoes, and onions. Pour 1 cup of chicken stock over the bead of veggies. Rinse the chicken and stuff the chicken with the lemon cut in half and the head of garlic cut in half . Seal cavity with a toothpick. Bring the stick of butter to room temperature and smear all over the chicken, even between the skin and breast meat if possible. Generously sprinkle pepper and salt all over the chicken. Bake the chicken for 30 minutes at 425, then flip the chicken over (add more chicken broth if needed to avoid burning vegetables and baste chicken), bake the chicken for another 30 minutes, then flip the chicken over (add more chicken broth if needed to avoid burning vegetables and baste chicken), bake the chicken for a final 30 minutes. Take out of the oven and wrap tightly in aluminum foil for 20 minutes to let the juices set. Carve and serve with the roasted veggies!!
I have decided that the best way to beat the winter blues is by making summertime lunches. With another snow storm approaching, we have decided to focus on our countdown to our “babymoon” in 18 days!! In just a little over two weeks, we will be packing our suitcases full of shorts, bathing suits, and tank tops and heading away from this arctic chill that won’t shake Boston and onto the sunny beaches of the Caribbean. While I still enjoy my belly warming meals for dinner, lunchtime has become a time for light, crisp, and citrus infused meals. While David and Laura painted the nursery upstairs (I will post pictures soon!), I busiest myself in the kitchen tossing everything “summer” into a salad bowl. The final result was exactly the slice of summer I was aiming for.
In a salad bowl toss together:
1 diced apple
1/2 diced blood orange
1/2 diced avocado
1/4 cup dried cherries
1 cup yellow tomatoes cut in half
1/4 cup diced strawberries
drizzle of fig balsamic dressing
Salad is best paired with Girl Scout Cookies, preferable Thin Mints and Caramel Delights…
No explanation. Just a moment captured.