Hello friends! It’s know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, so I’m going to do a quick catch up.
First, some exciting news: Aaron got a job! As you might know, he was working as a history professor for the last five years at different colleges in the midwest (most recently at Miami University of Ohio). When we moved to Washington, Aaron decided to hop off the academia train (don’t get me started) and try to figure out how to transition to a different career in which he could use his academic skills and do interesting and good work. So now he’s working as a research analyst for the Washington state legislature! Neat, right???
Anyway, he started working in November, and the transition has been tough. For the previous 6 months Aaron stayed at home, applying for jobs, doing all the chores, and taking on a lot of Ansel care. But then he got a job in Olympia, which meant that we would both have full time jobs (yeah! and boo! at the same time). Since his job is about a 45 minute commute each way, I have been responsible for the morning and afternoon routine and daycare drop off/pick up. It’s taken me awhile to get used to my new schedule and making sure I can do everything I need to get done during the day.
I recognize that having a two-working-parent situation is something that most families balance all of the time. And single working parents do it all on their own, which is a modern-day miracle. And I am here to salute all of you, because balancing work and family feels like an impossible challenge. Like, Hollywood should make super hero movies about parents who work and are great parents and manage to keep a clean house, a rich social life, read the paper, and do pilates (all without “hired help”).
There are no super heroes here. I am like if “Kathy” from the comic strip became a parent.
But Aaron and I are starting to get in a good groove now. He was able to adjust his schedule so that he goes to work earlier and gets home a lot earlier, which is a huge help. Maybe we still don’t get as many showers or eat as much kale or clean our bathtub as often as we should, but whatever. I honestly don’t care (or I’ve deceived myself into not caring, which works just as well).
Which brings me to this carrot cake. I made it for my dear friend Taryn who is going to give birth in April. If I’m going to help usher a friend into parenthood, she better get the best damn cake.
Taryn got a cake from one of my absolute *favorite* cake recipes. I have probably made this cake at least a dozen times and it always turns out beautifully. It is the carrot cake recipe from the Joy of Cooking cookbook and it includes a boatload of spices, carrots, walnuts, pineapple, and golden raisins. It consistently delivers a moist*, flavorful cake, with a wonderful texture. Plus, I made plenty of cream cheese frosting to cover it with, which is the classic and perfect accompaniment.
*Yes, I said “moist.” I have no problem with this word. Would you rather I used “damp” or “dewey”??
And the theme of her baby shower was “children’s books,” so I used one of my favorite children’s books for inspiration: I Am A Bunny, by Richard Scarry.
I have always loved Richard Scarry’s books and drawings, so this was a very enjoyable project for me.
And I think Taryn enjoyed it too!
Of course, as I was driving it over to her baby shower the cake fell over TWO TIMES (I was not smart about packing it in my car). Fortunately, it had a cover on it and it only fell on it’s side, so when I got to the baby shower, I was able to smooth out the sides and it looked fine. CAKEtastrophe averted!
It was delicious! I could seriously eat this cake every day.
And, since I haven’t posted in a long time (but I’ve still been making cakes), I wanted to quickly share some other treats that I have made since November.
First, Ansel turned two! I made him an applesauce cake (my attempt for celebrating in a bit of a healthier way). We enjoyed it with some friends and their kids.
Then there was Christmas and New Years.
For New Years, I made a coconut cake and a grapefruit pie with a Ritz cracker crust.
The grapefruit pie was so funky and awesome. It was from a Momofuku Milkbar recipe and had passionfruit puree in it. It was delicious and tart and unique, although a little on the pink side.
Then I also wanted to ring in the New Year with coconut cake (one of my favorites and a cake that I had never made before). I used a Martha Stewart recipe and it was wonderful, like eating a fluffy coconut cloud.
We were lucky enough to host friends and family for New Years and had a wonderful time.
And it’s been a good 2018 so far this year. Ansel is starting to get very interested in the “potty,” so we have potty-training in our future. Heaven help us.
Good thing Ansel is adorable and Aaron is patient because I know it’s going to be sh*t show, so to speak.