Well hello again. It feels a bit conspicuous to be back after the longest absence since I started this blog back in 2009—but there’s been a lot going on over the past 6 months that made being present here difficult, even though I deeply missed the creative freedom to write + share recipes with you in my cozy little corner of the internet. I’m going to share a bit about what’s been going on, so if you are only interested in the recipe (and I take no offense to that), you can skip down here. Otherwise, pull up a seat and a cup of coffee because this will take a minute.
The last time I shared here was in December, which ended up being a really hard month for me. I shared a bit about this last summer, but in July I had a miscarriage, and we’ve been trying to get pregnant again ever since then. In December, when I found out I wasn’t pregnant (again), it hit me incredibly hard. It felt like I miscarried all over again. I don’t know if it was just me finally truly processing what had happened (I threw myself into work over the fall so I wouldn’t have to think about it as much), or all the short dark cold days getting to me, or the family and child-oriented holiday stuff everywhere, or seemingly everyone I knew getting pregnant left and right, but I was a mess. I couldn’t stop crying. It physically felt like I was carrying a heavy iron weight inside my chest all the time. It’s hard to describe, but I guess the simplest way to say it was that I just didn’t feel like myself. Like my personality + spirit was completely suffocated in a gulping wave of depression.
With encouragement from family + friends, I started seeing a therapist in January, which has helped a lot. I also made an appointment at an infertility clinic, and started going there in March for treatments, which has been really helpful. Forewarning, I’m going to be open about my infertility here, so if this is a trigger or you’re uncomfortable with that, this is the place to stop reading. You also might be wondering, “why are you even talking about this on your food blog?” And my answer to that is that there is no ‘good’ place to talk about infertility. Sure I could post about it on message boards dedicated to it, but the only people reading about it are folks dealing with the same issue in that moment. And I think it’s helpful for everyone to be a bit more informed about it, because it’s absolutely THE most isolating experience I have ever been through. And I wish I had heard more about it before it happened to me, so I didn’t feel so deeply alone + broken. I can count on multiple hands the number of friends that have gotten pregnant on accident or immediately after actively trying to conceive within the past 2 years, and when that’s all you’re surrounded by, you feel like a total failure. Luckily (for me, not her), I have one very close friend who dealt with infertility several years ago, and she has been a rock for me through this. Honestly, I don’t know if I could have made it through the past year without her. So I guess I’m sharing this here so folks everywhere can be a bit more sensitive to + understanding of those around them who are going through miscarriage and infertility. And why the heck not talk about it on a food blog (google tells me we’re mostly women here on this site, so I know that many of you have gone through the same thing).
After seeing the doctor, I learned I have much fewer eggs than the average woman my age, which is why it’s been so difficult to get pregnant over the past 2+ years. So we did a round of IUI in April, and we’ll do two more rounds over the next couple months, and then we’ll move on to IVF later this summer if the IUI’s don’t work. Another reason why I couldn’t keep up with posting is because with infertility treatments, there’s also a LOT of doctor appointments + moving parts to keep track of. So during my first IUI round, for example, I was seeing my acupuncturist 1x week, my fertility doctor 1x a week, calling to make said appointments since many of them depend on your cycle days, taking herbal supplements for fertility, taking prenatal vitamins, taking fertility medication on specific days of my cycle to get me to ovulate more, testing for ovulation at the same time on specific days of my cycle, making sure to exercise, getting good sleep, eating really healthy, no alcohol (obviously), and doing guided fertility meditations everyday. So basically, every day during treatment is almost completely centered around the treatment, everything from what I’m planning to eat that day or the next day, or trying not to get stressed about work, ties into a deeper reasoning of why I have to be extra careful and about literally everything. The mental load of undergoing fertility treatment is enormous, and it’s really hard to have the bandwidth to focus on much else aside from the day-to-day essentials.
In addition to all the infertility things going on, there was also a lot of stress related to the homestead. The plan was to have the house design locked in and submit the plan to the local governing board for approval around Thanksgiving, so that way with the roughly 4 to 6 month turnaround on plan approvals, we’d ideally be approved by May and be able to break ground laying the foundation in spring, and have the house be water-tight by fall when the rainy season starts. The house design process took longer than we anticipated, the initial design was beautiful but over budget, so it took about 4 weeks to get the new in-budget design locked in, and we sent the plan to the county at the very end of December. We immediately heard back that the house site needed to be moved to a lower-elevation part of the land, and that the building was too tall, which was a bit gut-wrenching at first.
There are really specific limitations for building in this particular area, like housing color, number of windows, etc, so we went into it knowing that some things would very likely have to change, but moving the site of the house was hard emotionally since I’d become so attached to the idea of having the house on a little hill where we’d be able to see almost all of the land from the home, which would be a great vantage point to keep an eye on potential little ones. But, it wasn’t meant to be, and that’s fine, honestly. So we had to do some major redesigning to take the garage out of the basement (which would lower the technical height of the home) and move the house to a lower-elevation area of the land. So after all the redesigns, we ended up submitting the plan to the county in late March, which means we’ll hear back in late summer, which will be too late to start building. So we have to wait until next spring to break ground (if the design is approved, which I really really *really* hope it is.)
And also during that time, we were going through the construction loan application process. We’d gotten all our documents in (and if you’ve ever applied for a loan, you know how many documents you need to get sorted), gotten our rate lock for 90 days, and then found out we wouldn’t be able to build until next year, so we’ll pretty much have to do the whole loan process again next year with our new updated financial documents from this year. This was a huge blow, because with the economy going crazy, it’s going to be much more expensive since the interest rates have gone up a lot and the cost of absolutely everything construction-related is surging because of shipping + gas prices. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to afford it, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how the numbers pan out from work this year and what the interest rates end up being.
And lastly, in January I started a podcast all about home + garden design with my friend Sam called Feels Like Home. We’ve had a blast doing it, and it’s been really nice to focus on garden + design-related topics and interview interesting people, and also just chat with each other about house stuff we’re nerdy about 😀 We just wrapped up season 1 last month, and we’ll be back with season 2 later this summer, so you can go ahead and play catch up in the meantime 🙂
So yes. In short, it’s been an absolutely *insane* past 6 months. But, I’m feeling a lot better now and am genuinely excited about the future + what’s in store. From the homestead to the fertility treatments, I’m feeling really optimistic about things. And really grateful for the opportunities and the options that exist today for folks like me. Focusing on the positive feels so, so much better than dwelling on what went wrong or what could possibly go wrong in the future. So I’m staying optimistic, guys.
And because when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, I wanted to share a little something sweet and sour for the late spring with you all. I made this lemonade with rosemary blossoms, but if you don’t have any handy you can use any kind of edible flower, like lilac, rose, lavender, or elderflower instead. Feel free to get creative and make a little floral lemonade with whatever edible flowers are available to you right now (just, you know, make sure they’re food safe. Many flowers from commercial florists are chemically treated, and there’s TONS of toxic flower varieties out there so only use ones that are edible. Basically, use common sense!)
Everyone has different tartness preferences, so if you want your rosemary blossom lemonade a little more on the sour side, feel free to add a touch more lemon juice. Or vice versa if you want yours super mild. The choice is yours, my friend. And with that, I’ll leave you to it. Thank you for reading through my torrent of words and for still being here. I appreciate you guys more than you know. And I hope to be back much sooner next time with more “normal” stories + recipes to share. Talk soon + enjoy the last bit of spring!
Rosemary Blossom Lemonade Recipe
Rosemary Blossom Lemonade
- 1 cup honey
- 1 cup water (for the blossom syrup)
- 1 cup fresh rosemary blossoms (or other edible flower)
- 1 cup lemon juice fresh squeezed
- 2 1/2 cups cold water (for diluting)
Rosemary Blossom Syrup
Bring the honey and 1 cup of the water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring every few minutes. Allow the syrup to boil for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
Place the rosemary blossoms in a small heat-proof pot. Pour the syrup over the blossoms, then stir to make sure they're covered in syrup. Place the lid on the pot and let the mixture infuse for 2 to 3 hours. (I'd be cautious about letting them infuse for too much longer, as the sugar in the syrup combined with the heat can speed-start the decomposition process of the flowers, and the delicate aroma and flavor of the rosemary blossoms can turn into the smell and taste of an old vase of flowers, unfortunately.)
Place a fine mesh sieve or mesh strainer over a large bowl and pour the syrup and blossom mixture into it, straining out the blossoms. Compost the blossoms in your yard or bin. Pour the syrup into a clean glass and allow to cool to room temperature.
Rosemary Blossom Lemonade
In a pitcher, stir together the syrup, lemon juice, and water. Add ice to make it extra cold and refreshing, and serve.
I think it’s wonderful you’re sharing for yourself and the benefit of others. We all need to talk about women’s health issues more and be more open with each other. It helps us all to feel more “normal” and connected.
I completely agree, it’s so much better for everyone when we talk about it more openly. Both for those going through it, and for the society + people around them. Thanks for your support, gabrielle!
Beautiful Eva. When I say “faith” I’m not about the traditional words. . But I have absolute faith that you will weather these life storms and come out smelling like a rose… or better.
Thank you Susan <3
Always such beautiful imagery and styling. You have a wonderful eye.
I’ve been going back and re-watching your coursework. Thanks so much for making it lifetime access. I often need to refresh myself on the materials and it also helps to get me re-inspired when I’m feeling “blah” about my work.
You definitely have a lot on your plate these days. Sending you good vibes, good wishes and good luck on all fronts.
Have a nice weekend. xoxo
You are so kind, Lisa, thank you so much for your sweet words! I’m so glad you still go back to the course for inspiration + that it’s served you so well. Makes me so incredibly happy to hear, my friend <3
Thank you for sharing your infertility experience. I, too, have diagnosed diminished ovarian reserve. Infertility has been the hardest and, as you said, most isolating experience my husband and I have been through. We miraculously became pregnant naturally on our own after three years of trying to start our family, and we had our sweet girl in August 2020. The pain of infertility never goes away…know that you are not alone! And please keep sharing as much as you feel comfortable; I think it’s so important to raise awareness and to let others know that they aren’t alone in their pain. Hugs!
Thank you so much Stephanie! And I’m so sorry you guys had to go through this too, it’s just the hardest stuff. But I’m so so happy that you were able to conceive and have your sweet little lady in 2020 (what a year!) Sending you a hug and thank you so much for sharing your story <3
The male readers are glad you’re back too! Haha. In all seriousness, while I can’t understand what the journey of infertility is like, do keep in mind that the depression/anxiety/stress you’ve endured, you are NOT alone in that, even if we as a society are not good at acknowledging that. Your blog has always brought me great joy – here’s hoping I can return just a bit with this comment.
Thank you for being brave enough to share your story. It’s important to have these conversations. I got pregnant at the age of 39 very quickly and assumed that that’s the way it worked for everyone. But I was so wrong. My two sisters in law (who are younger than me) had 5 miscarriages between them. It’s difficult for those who carry to full term successfully while people they live around them suffer through miscarriages. I’m glad you gave yourself time and space to grieve your loss and happy to see you back in my inbox. Take care.
That should have read “people you love” (not “live”!
That should have read “people you love” (not “live”)
Hi new friend. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I read every word you wrote. I am glad you are back. Please keep me up on everything. I am so sorry for your loss. It has happened to me. It hurts allot. I love your blog. It is very healthy in my opinion to be open like that. It is very important that we keep negative out and positive in and at times it takes work and awareness to do that. I am going to start looking into meditation to clear my mind so that I can focus on my creativity. Ok enough about me. I will send all positive energy to you. Thank you again for your blog.
I’m so sorry you’ve gone through miscarriage, too, it’s such a deeply devastating loss. But you’re right, it’s true that it’s so important to focus on the positive, and I think that time + healing has helped a lot with that, too. There are still hard days but they are fewer and more far between now. Meditation really does help with that, as well. Thank you so much for your openness and sharing about your experience, Karen, it is so helpful to be open and talk about those things, both for us, and for others so they don’t feel as alone on their path. I appreciate it so much <3
blessings to you. never being able to have children due to a surgical removal of all my parts my hope for you. is that all your dreams come true, fertility wise and for your new home.
Thank you so, so much Debra. And I’m so deeply sorry you have had to go through infertility as well. It’s a hard road. I’m staying positive and hoping for the best, and your kind wishes and support mean the world to me. Sending you a hug.
I know what all of that feels like, including the depression part, so you are not alone in this. I will tell you, after many failures and then finding out my beloved husband had nothing left, and then trying donor sperm, a laparoscopy, and only a 40% chance of successful surgery and being unable to work for months, all for donor sperm, after that, we gave up. Long story short, we adopted a beautiful, 6 week old baby who is now a beautiful young woman. You may not be able to see the end of your trials, but there is one, and it might turn out to be exactly what you want. I wish you good luck with everything. You are very brave.
Thank you so much for sharing that, Alene. Someone else said in another comment “Motherhood at it’s heart is about raising a child, not giving birth to one” and that really resonated with me. Whatever happens, I know I’ll become a mother to somebody, someday. How that happens depends on fate and luck and a mixture of all those things, but I know in my heart it will happen one way or another. Really grateful for you sharing your story and helping shed light on your beautiful adoption. Gives me a lot to think about <3
Thank you for your heartfelt and poignant sharing. You are trying to balance alot of plates–and some of the plates are extraordinarily fragile. Remember that you are surrounded by love, keep asking for help and enjoy the bounty from your garden. Blessings.
Thank you dear Deborah, I definitely need to remind myself to ask for help sometimes. I have a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality that isn’t super helpful when you’re going through a traumatic experience, and am learning + getting better at asking for help and being okay with letting go of being “in charge” of the situation, and just letting things work out however they’re meant to. And the garden truly has been such a therapeutic space for me, I’m so grateful I have that physical spot to go to and relax.
‘Broken and isolated’… that is exactly how I felt years ago, when after 2.5 years I still could not get pregnant. And the more I thought about it and stressed over it, the worse I felt, as others around me became pregnant. My breaking point was when a friend became pregnant and was annoyed because she wasn’t ‘ready yet’. I sobbed for days, then just had to accept what was and find ways to bring joy and beauty back into my life, and focus not on the journey but on the desire (children). It eased my heart a little bit. Today, I have two beautiful, healthy, grown sons, and that ‘waiting time’ no longer matters; it just makes me more grateful for them. I wish the very same for you, soon.
This resonates with me so deeply. Every time someone I know has told me they’re pregnant, I’m happy for them but simultaneously *so* deeply sad for myself, and end up sobbing as soon as I’m not physically around them anymore and have some privacy. It’s just such a hard situation to be in, socially, mentally, and emotionally (and physically, once the fertility treatments start). I’m so glad you were able to have your two sons, and stories like this give me a lot of hope. Thank you so much for being so open, Amy, and sharing this with me, it means a lot <3
Life certainly delivers punches to the gut sometimes! Keep sharing! Other people do need to hear. Keep fighting for what you want and let the people who love you hold you when you can’t hold yourself up. I am so grateful that modern medicine can help people become pregnant. There are a few children wonderful children I know that wouldn’t be here otherwise. If the fertility treatments in the end don’t work, please don’t give up. Motherhood at it’s heart is about raising a child, not giving birth to one.
That last sentence really resonated with me <3 I'm definitely open to other paths to motherhood if the fertility treatments don't work. I just want to be a mom to somebody <3 And I'm also so so grateful for modern medicine, it gives hope and possibility to a lot of folks who wouldn't be able to conceive otherwise.
Eva, it was great getting a recipe from you today. I had noticed recently, not getting anything from you but just thought you were probably busy. Today I realized that I started following you because of your recipes, and then later decided your photography was what was your even greater strength. But the beauty and truth of your writing is really your greatest talent. I never have seen dealing with fertility explained in such a personal, honest and touching way. It was brave of you to share those feelings with those of us who follow you. Thanks
Thank you so, so much for these incredibly kind words, Robert. Feeling so lifted up by what you wrote <3
Just last week, when I was driving along the Columbia Gorge with my husband on the way from Tucson to Seattle (to visit family up there) it hit me that I had not seen a post from you in months. I so appreciate knowing all that you shared. Thank you for your honest and full sharing. And of course, as always, the food inspiration. I will be sending good thoughts your way. May your dreams come to pass!!!!
Thank you sweet linda! Hoping for the best + staying positive 🙂
Hope everything works out for you guys, I always enjoy reading your posts and looking at your beautiful photographs of your food. Best of luck with everything.
COMO SIEMPRE UNAS FOTOS PRECIOSAS Y LLENAS DE PERSONALIDAD
y una bebida refrescante, deliciosa y saludable
Your courage and strength at what you have gone through is amazing. And sharing what you have learned and telling others what your path has been is truly the kindest and most thoughtful gift you could us. Thank you.
Your post really resonated with me. I was dealing with infertility for a year and a half, while every one of my friends was getting pregnant, by doing basically nothing. Its so frustrating and also as you mentioned, isolating. I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about it, and the physical part is also so consuming. Constant doctors appointments, can’t drink with friends from treatments, etc. Thankfully after several rounds of IUI we are pregnant. I wish you and your partner the best, and thank you so much for being so open about this. Its incredibly brave.
Dear Eva! I can only say you are doing great!!! After all what you’ve gone through these past months, you are optimistic and that’s the way to make things happen!!! Sending you lots of love💖
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