My sister started the conversation with a casual, “what are you doing in September?” It was February and I don’t usually plan that far ahead, but I commented that I’d probably be going to the blogger retreat I go to every year. She handed me an envelope with a sly smile suggesting there was something to look forward to in the fall. She was getting married. I knew it! I opened it carefully, expecting to be receiving a wedding invitation. They’ve been together now for 14 solid years. While I loved my way through 3 long-term relationships–and a lot of bad dates–my kid sister was still kicking it with her main man. But traditionalists, they are not, and as I slipped the card out of the envelope and stared at the ultrasound photo, tears of happiness streamed down my face. I choked out the only words I could think to say in that moment, “I’m so happy for you”! It was true, I was thrilled. But it was nothing compared to what I felt. The truth is, I can’t even begin describe the ways in which my life changed in that moment. From wanting to protect and care for my sister more than I ever had before, to understanding more clearly what I wanted in my own life. He’s here now–6 months old and growing more engaged with the world around him each day. And he’s perfect!
Becoming an aunt has been one of the most remarkable things that has ever happened to me. I’ve always had a soft spot for children, but I never knew that I would feel so differently when they came from a part of me. He was made of my sister, who was made of the same mom and dad as me, and that somehow makes me feel like he’s mine. I once said to my sister that I couldn’t even imagine how much she must love him because I had never loved anybody that much before. If there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that this guy has my heart.
It’s this heart full of love, and a kind of knowing (albeit second hand), that makes me so excited to be celebrating Em’s baby shower today. I’m not a mom yet, but I know love differently now, so it was impossible for me to plan my contribution to her baby shower without thinking about the little nugget in my own life. Em, I’m so happy for you and I wanted to share this story in the hopes that you would know that your little piglet will be loved more than you can even begin to imagine, starting with you and your family and reaching out into the world to the people like us in the blogging community. We’re a kind of family too, and we’re all so happy for you! We can’t wait to virtually meet this little guy!
For more celebrations of Emily’s baby shower, check out the posts from all of our other friends who joined in:
Pepita Red Pepper Salsa with Sweet Potato Chips
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Notes: The salsa and sweet potato chips are best eaten the day that they’re made.
Pepita Red Pepper Salsa
1.5 fresh red bell peppers, trimmed, seeded, and cut into chunks
Half a small onion, cut into small chunks
¼ cup + 2 tbsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds), raw or toasted
½ a jalapeño, seeded, veins removed, and cut into small chunks
½ cup of cilantro leaves
2 tbsp freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
¾ tsp salt, or to taste
Pepper, to taste
Put all of the ingredients into a food processor or Blendtec twister jar (I’m not an affiliate, I just like the jar.) and pulse until coarsely chopped. Taste and adjust by adding more lime juice, olive oil, salt, and/or pepper, as needed. Put in the fridge to chill for an hour.
Sweet Potato Chips
2 large sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp refined coconut oil
Chili powder and kosher salt for sprinkling
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°F and position rack in the center of the oven.
Slice the sweet potatoes into uniformly thin slices (a mandoline is a great tool for this!).
With a pastry brush, brush some oil onto a baking sheet. Lay the potatoes out in a single layer and brush with more oil Sprinkle with chili powder and a generous sprinkling of salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until starting to brown on one side. Flip over and sprinkle again with salt and chili powder. Bake for another 5-8 minutes until browned and crispy. (The baking time will vary depending on how thin your potatoes are.)