recovering from ailments with tonics, broths and good spirits

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Our house has been filled with the sounds of dry coughs, CM looking at me blankly and saying, “Speak up, please, I can’t hear you,” and CP wailing when I put eye drops in his eyes. Both boys are recovering from pink eye and ear infections — and so am I. Well, I was spared the pink eye. The three of us are working our way through our prescribed antibiotics (CM is the winner, he’s done). Our pediatrician said she doesn’t like putting babies on amoxicillin, “so you know I think it’s pretty bad if he needs it.” Oh, it’s a jolly place here in the desert.

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So, inspired by my new cookbook At Home In The Whole Foods Kitchen by Amy Chaplin, I made homemade vegetable broth for soups; I juiced the last of our pomegranates (it wasn’t a strong season, but man CM loves pomegranate juice — I wish I had more to give him); I made almond butter and almond milk for kicks (also, almond butter at our local grocery store goes for $15 a pop?!).

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And today I wandered through the aisles in the Asian store, looking for miso and seaweed. I bought kombu and wakame and made my first batch of miso soup tonight. There is something about trying new foods — and making warming soups in the fall — that soothes me and my soul. I think about nourishing my boys and wonder what they’ll remember about cooking together and if they’ll have any favorite meals.

The weather has been beautiful here despite the coughs and exhaustion. The leaves on our backyard trees are turning yellow and the skies are blue and the mountains are beckoning me in a fierce way.

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Before I came down with Round 2 of my cold, I ran my first 5K in years — a local race — and I caught the race bug again. I’m ready to sign up for a 10K in Death Valley in January. It felt so good to run and feel my heart pump and feel competitive even though I wasn’t racing. I called my friend S. that afternoon and told her I finally felt like myself again — a run, time with my book (Brooklyn by Colm Toibin), time to call her.

And everything else is coming together. Work feels easier and easier. CP crawled for the first time this weekend. And he’s sleeping beautifully. And CM is in an insanely sweet phase — I want to bottle him up and never forget this phase. I can’t believe he’s almost three.

So even though being sick is not fun, never fun, we’re getting through it well — and I’m looking forward to getting back outdoors, hitting the pavement running and making more and more soups and pies and holiday treats that make our house smell warm and inviting — and healing.

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