Let me back up a bit here. The last three months of 2015 were a little, well, rocky over here at the ol’ ALFS home. I always have a hard time figuring out exactly how to explain rough times on here. The blogging world can be completely deceitful. It’s not all brand new kitchens and homemade food and smiling happy well mannered kids 24/7 here, although that should be obvious to most. Yet there is also a sense of privacy I do want to maintain for myself and my immediate loved ones. It’s a balance I’m still struggling to find as I continue to grow as a writer: what to say, what not to say. Yet what I have learned about myself is that I’m much more prepared to write about it all once it’s in the past.
When you’re in something things are hazy and confusing and tearful and why for some it may feel great to just blast away at the computer and get it all out I internalize. It feels safer that way. Even reaching out to friends can be difficult for me. For awhile the only one that truly knew what was going down is the one phone call I make each morning: mom. And I told her this.
Mike is sick.
Like, kind of scary they don’t know what is wrong sick.
It’s a long story with many layers that can be summed up best like this: he is pretty darn allergic to ammoxicilian. Like, not in way where your throat closes up and you die, but a sneaky it’s shutting down your liver ever so slowly yet effectively kind of way. Obviously, he did not know. And over the course of the last three years many pieces of the puzzle have now been linked together and eventually solved.
So, October through December was spent getting him well. That involved a lot of rest, a lot of quiet, a lot of unknown, a lot of patience, and a lot of holding down the fort so to speak. Our lives were spent week to week with testing and waiting for the doctor to call with the results. Anticipating news, elated when it was good, tears and frustration when it was not.
Yet guess who got better just in time for Christmas? Heck yeah, M was on the upswing.
It took a lot out of me though. Way more than I thought when I was living it. And then Christmas hit and obviously, was amazing, but it was not exactly the calmest of times. The 26th came and I just……crashed. Like, napped everyday for a few days really didn’t get out of pajamas crashed. No regrets there.
Yet after a few days my OCD kicked in and it was time to get the house in order and the family packed up and off to Florida we flew. The sunshine felt great and the time with family was divine and M was on his feet, all good things.
And then January hit. To be honest, I was viewing January as sort of a recovery period for our little family. Coming off of three months with a sick husband, December crazy in general, and another trip I was so looking forward to the structure. The routine. The boring.
Please be boring. I love boring.
It has not been boring.
L’ s best friend had a scary sledding accident. Another dear friend’s mother had a life threatening fall. Another friend’s mom is fighting breast cancer. Just when I thought enough is enough my iphone lights up with one of my dearest friends husbands name.
Never a good sign when the husband who never ever calls you is calling you. And it wasn’t. Like hospital worthy news for multiple days.
This has meant a lot of unboring things. A lot of kids to be watched, a lot of meals to be made, a lot of phone calls and texts checking in, flowers to be delivered, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I thrive on these things. These things are what I truly desire to fill my days with and they are one of if not the most important reason I structure our family schedule in a way with room to breathe. We refuse to overbook because I want to fill my time with things such as these. These moments are what matter.
As good as they are though, it’s a lot. The worry alone is enough to drain you. I want all my dear friends and family in one piece, please. And I can handle the bumps here and there but this sure was feeling like a lot all at once. Just when I was thinking about it all and pondering if I could possibly fit in a 10 minute nap I was hit with this text:
Tears, really. It didn’t even occur to me to make that connection. I can get so caught up in teaching my kids to say please and to be kind over and over when in reality the crazy days of rotating kids in and out of our home and delivering meals and phone calls to the florist with them in the car on the way to baseball, well, they were living it. No amount of boring or sleep would be worth giving that up. None.
So bring it on January. Hit me with all you’ve got because we are not backing down here. I’m not stopping until everyone is back together in one piece, safe, at home, and eating this roasted tomato and white bean soup. Hands down, best soup I’ve made in years. So good I almost, just almost, didn’t want to give it away.
- 6 celery stalks, cut into 1 & 1/2 inch chunks
- 3 carrots, peeled, and cut into 1 & 1/2 inch chunks
- 1 large onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 TBS fresh rosemary, minced
- salt & pepper
- olive oil
- 6 roma tomatoes, cut in half vertically
- 1 TBS fresh thyme, minced
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 15 oz can cannelini beans, drained, rinsed, and smashed with a potato smasher or back of a spoon
- 1 15 oz can cannelini beans, drained, rinsed and left whole
- 3 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- fresh basil, roughly chopped
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
- On one baking sheet lined with foil, toss your celery, carrots, onion and garlic with salt, pepper, olive oil and the rosemary.
- On another baking sheet lined with foil, line up your tomatoes and sprinkle with salt, pepper, olive oil, and thyme.
- Roast both trays for 30-40 minutes until tender and slightly browned. Allow to cool.
- Process all vegetables in a blender or food processor and dump into a large soup pot. Add in your chicken stock, smashed beans and whole beans. Bring to a simmer.
- Stir in your fresh spinach and basil and continue to simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.