Gimme Some Oven

Currently

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Ali Martin and her son, Teo

Bon día from Barcelona! ♡

I’ve been looking forward to sitting down and writing an update here for ages and somehow kept getting pulled in other directions. (Seems to be the case with most of the things on my to-do list right now while chasing a very cute and very speedy 13-month-old around all day!) But this morning, I’m sitting next to our sunniest window with an iced pink latte in my hand, a snuggly pup in my lap, and Barclay’s out for an adventure with Teo and the pups…so I thought it was time for a chat!

I don’t know about you all, but this spring feels like the first time I’ve been able to get outside and take a deep breath and fully enjoy this beautiful season in years. Two years ago, of course, we were trapped inside our tiny flat all season long during Spain’s strict lockdown. One year ago, we were sleep-deprived zombies navigating life with a newborn during the pandemic. And just one month ago, we found ourselves quarantined yet again after our whole family (and nearly all of our local friends) caught the new subvariant, which hung on for quite some time.

But today, Barclay, Teo and I are all symptom-free and finally back to feeling better. And for the first time in over two years, Spain officially just lifted its mask mandate this past week…which feels downright surreal. People have been extremely diligent here about masking up during the pandemic, so this is literally the first time we’ve been able to go places and actually see people’s faces in what feels like an eternity. It been so refreshing. And while we all obviously still have a long way to go before we’re completely out of the woods with the pandemic, this spring feels like the recharge everyone in Barcelona has been waiting for. So as they say in Spanish, hay que aprovechar…time to take advantage and soak it up!

Our plan for our little familia this season is to do exactly that. We’re actually taking off for Paris tomorrow (our first time there together as a family since we’ve lived in Europe!), then I’ll be heading out on a solo trip to see some dear friends in Bucharest next week (my first time in Romania), followed by a long family trip back to the States in May (we’re changing things up and including a stop at my sister’s in Chicago, which I’m super excited about), then we have a summer full of hosting and adventures around Europe ahead. Our travel-loving hearts couldn’t be more thankful and happy to be getting back out about again. And while we’ve learned over the last year that traveling with a baby is definitely a very different ballgame, we’re pumped to bring our little dude along for the ride too. So excited to have a calendar full of things to look forward to again.

Wherever in the world this may find each of you today, I hope that you are well and that you’re able to soak up a bit of spring sunshine this week. And without further ado, here’s the latest from our little home here in Barcelona.

Collage of Ali Martin, her husband Barclay, and son Teo

Love our little family sooo much

We Have A 1-Yr-Old!

And just like that…our baby turned one. ♡

Actually as of two weeks ago, Teo’s now officially a thirteen-month-old. And while I know that new parents are famous for gushing that each new stage is “just the best,” I’ve gotta say, thirteen months has been a delight so far.

Well first off, I’m thrilled to report that we’re all now sleeping again (omg) ever since Teo did a 180 this past January and went from multiple wakes each night to suddenly sleeping for the most glorious twelve-hour stretches. Barclay and I feel like we’re now able to form complete sentences again. And now that he’s sleeping well, Teo has turned into the cutest little morning dude who lights up with a huge 8-toothed grin to start each day.

He’s on the go nonstop now, pausing only for snacks and story times and the occasional snuggles, which has proven to be quite the workout trying to keep up with him. He’s still absolutely obsessed with spending time outside, shrieks with delight anytime the dogs come near, can almost always be calmed with a song, loves waving “hola” to everyone in Barcelona from his stroller, can’t get enough of the Paco books, and continues to hang out in the 95th percentiles of the Spanish growth charts (our big boy!). I’m also pleased to report that he loves mealtimes just as much as his mama. And if he had a food blog, it would currently be devoted to sardines, meatballs, berries, bone broth, pasta pasta pasta, and chia pudding on repeat (which I’ve decided is the glitter of the baby food world, those pesky seeds end up everywhere).

That said, as a friend said recently, each new stage of parenting is definitely “different hard.” Trying to navigate this new world of toddler parenting, stages, milestones, nutrition, teeth (lol, I definitely underestimated what an accomplishment sprouting each of those teeny tiny teeth would be!) for the first time has definitely felt like such a learning curve. Some of the extra layers that come with expat parenting have also admittedly been more challenging than we expected (hello, navigating cross-cultural differences, ironing out legal stuff in both countries, learning the ins and outs of a completely different educational system, trying to stay connected with family overseas, etc). I feel like I regularly find myself passing by parents on the street being like — “Wait, do you have any clue what you’re doing? Because I am full-on wingin’ it over here. 😅”

But of course, the saving grace of this season has been having amazing friends come alongside and remind us that no one knows exactly how to do this whole parenting thing. And that the joy and adventure of it all is getting to figure it out together. Feeling very relieved and thankful for that lately, and lucky to be surrounded by friends who love us and our little guy so well. Cheers to parenting being a team sport.

Fiona and Henry

Henry snoozing + Fiona smiling

Pup-Date

It’s been wayyy too long since I’ve shared a proper pup-date here. ♡

At 13.5 and 12.5 years old, Henry and Fiona are now the beloved senior members of the house. Henry has been blind for five years and also recently went deaf, yet he continues to fearlessly navigate his way around the house and scale the coffee table anytime he suspects there might be some tasty food available for the stealing. Fiona continues to be her sweet and timid self as always, and prefers to spend her days out on our terrace sunning her belly in the Spanish sunshine as much as possible. Both dogs now now have their siestas regularly interrupted by certain a little human who always always always wants to play, but they have been mercifully tolerant thus far with all of the pats and pokes and “hugs.” They also believe that they struck gold having a high chair magically show up the house, and still can’t believe their luck with all of the free food now raining down three times a day. (A definite win-win, we never have to clean up!)

That said, this is our first time as adults caring for dogs in their golden years, which has us feeling lots of deep feels lately. Both Henry and Fiona now have long (and growing) lists of medical concerns that require a pretty intense amount of care. And watching them continue to slow down and whiten around their noses and no longer be able to do so many of the things they once loved has been bittersweet. It’s becoming clear that we may not have much time left together, which feels impossible for our hearts to imagine. But what we do know is that these two pups will forever be a part of our little family. We are still so incredibly grateful that they braved the long flight over to Barcelona to make this place feel like “home,” we’re grateful that Teo has had the chance to fall in love with them, and right now, we’re just grateful each continued day of furry snuggles that life will continue to grant us.

The Wash Project Bridge Building in Mali

Building a 150-meter bridge stone by stone

A New Bridge

As part of my commitment to share more regularly about where a portion of the profits from Gimme Some Oven are being donated, I wanted to let you know about a new project we are supporting with The Wash Project right now.

The Wash Project team in Mali was recently approached by the community of Tentoukoro (located near the Benkadi community gardens) urgently in need of a bridge. When the 4-month rainy season begins there each June, the two rivers bordering Tentoukoro rise to the point that they are incredibly dangerous or impossible to cross. This effectively turns the community into an island for a third of the year, cutting off access to essential services such as health clinics, schools, and markets, as well as neighboring communities. Recently, one of the leaders in the community lost her young daughter because the high water in the river prevented them from reaching the hospital in time to treat her, which has been a deep source of grief for the community.

Leaders from Tentoukoro shared with our team that they would be willing to provide all of the labor (which is an enormous commitment for a project of this scale) to build a 150-meter bridge that could provide safe passage during the rainy season. They just needed engineering direction and help with the cost of materials, which is estimated to be around $13,000.

Using the funds leftover from your generous donations to the Benkadi Gardens project, alongside a portion of this quarter’s profits from Gimme Some Oven, I’m thankful today to report that we were able to provide the financial support to help make this bridge happen. ♡♡♡

As you can see in the photo above, construction is already well underway on the bridge and the project is on track to be successfully completed before the rainy season begins this year. And it has been amazing watching the community organize and work literally day and night to build it stone by stone. They are extremely motivated and excited to see this dream of theirs become a reality. And as you can imagine, the ripples of impact of this new bridge will be far-reaching.

I’ll be back soon to share some more updates and photos, so stay tuned if you would like to follow along. And as always, thank you so much for your support of this site which is helping to make this project possible.

Teo Martin and his Sant Jordi Dragon

Teo and his “drac” (dragon!) on Sant Jordi Day

Feliç Sant Jordi!

Finally, Teo and I just want to wish you a very happy Sant Jordi Day from here in Barcelona! This magical holiday filled with dragons and princesses and romance and sword fights continues to be one of our absolute favorites here in Catalonia, and pretty much the entire city of Barcelona was out and about this past weekend to celebrate. We all gifted each other new books, Teo passed out roses to our neighbors, and we even narrowly made it home in time to dodge a crazy hailstorm…which made for quite a memorable holiday! Always so fun getting to take part in the local traditions here.

Wishing each of you a lovely week ahead, and stay tuned for some of my favorite Tex-Mex recipes comin’ in hot this week!

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62 comments on “Currently”

  1. I’ve missed your updates, Ali! Teo is just the cutest. Have fun in Paris!!!

  2. My baby boy is only a few weeks younger than yours, and you are speaking my language right now! “Different hard” is the best way to put it. I LOVE this stage where he learns something new everyday, but it is so full of adjustments on my part! We’re all definitely winging it! Our babies would get along so well – mine loves food and books too! Wishing you all the best on your travels this summer! You’re such an amazing mama!

  3. I love your life update posts!

    If you’re so inclined, I’d love a post (or IG story series) about flying with a toddler! Any and all tips and tricks welcome!

  4. Hi Ali – should you and Barclay make it to KC on your stateside swing, we won’t be on the block any more. On Tuesday Diane and I are moving back to Evanston, Illinois, where we moved from 25 years ago. We’re building a little home in the heart of our old community. Keep the recipes and updates coming!

  5. He is just adorable.

  6. Good for you and your family! So glad that you are out in the sunshine once again. I just finished reading a novel, “The Bucharest Dossier” by William Maz. It was a thriller, and easy way to ready about history that you might enjoy if you have the time.

  7. Wonderful to hear this personal update. Truly warms my heart.

  8. Wonderful to read your update and enjoy your photos. Thank you!

  9. Thank you for you and your family for all the kind and loving help uou give to your community, Be very proud of yourself!!! Teo is toooo cute. Have a great vacation.

  10. I am so happy for you and your family. Your baby is adorable. Thank you for your post.

  11. Oh My God, he is so cute!! Have a great trip to Paris!

  12. Such a glorious update! Full of info, SOOO well written. Very happy for everything, future and past, and your little one looks like an angel.
    Blessings!
    Teri

  13. Reading your update about your precious family and adventures made me smile today. As always, thank you for sharing your stories with us Ali!

  14. Your little guy is as cute as can be!! Gosh, he is 13 months already!? Enjoy Paris..(lucky you)

  15. Your little one is adorable! Enjoy all your upcoming travels….AH! Paris in the spring time, sounds super.

  16. None of us knows what we are doing. We are all winging it!!! <3

  17. Teo is simply a beautiful child!!!! He is so precious!!! I am interested in all the news about Barcelona, Spain, as I do not know anyone living in Spain. I do have friends in Texas who are interested in moving their family to
    Spain. The USA is shaping up to be a very contentious place to live due to political battles. Did you learn to speak Spanish before you and your husband relocated to Barcelona? How did you find a “home” in Spain?
    Is your husband a native of Spain? Are you living within a group of expats in Spain? What is the weather like there? Is it comparable to Texas? Apparently, travel is not an issue with you and the family. Thank you for all the information and especially the pictures of your little boy. He is soooo sweet!!!! P.S. I love your recipes!!! I am a single, senior citizen and cooking for one of course. I do have a backyard garden where I grow, gr beans, corn, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, melons, squash, and cucumbers, etc. I LOVE VEGGIES!!!!

    • Ali gathered allll of her “How on earth did you move to Spain???” posts here – https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/life_category/our-move-to-spain/ – you’ll absolutely love them! SO much fun to read all about her adventures!

  18. What a great post! Teo is just so gorgeous and adorable! So happy for you. It can definitely be exhausting, but it’s so worth it. All the best to you & your family.

  19. Thank you. It is great to get caught up on you three. (5)
    Teo is gorgeous. He takes after the two of you!!!!!
    Fondly,
    Suellen

  20. Love all the sweet picture’s of your beautiful family. I also enjoyed reading all the updates you posted. I find it a little difficult to read because I have Macular degeneration. It would help if the letters were darker and larger like the
    ( LEAVE A REPLY ). Keep up the good work and God bless your family.

  21. Thank you for this heart-warming update. I’m always up for finding out how you are doing in wonderful Barcelona. Now, with Teo in your life, I’m even more in awe of you living in a foreign city.

  22. Awesome update with wonderful photos, thank you.

  23. Spectacular post. Great updates on your family, fur-babies, projects and travels. May God bless your… family, fur-babies, projects and travels. Love and best wishes from the low desert, Arizona.

  24. Thanks for the update and pictures of your adorable little boy!!

  25. Having raised both of our girls abroad along w/little dogs I esp. liked this up-date. Teo is absolutely adorable! We went over in 1974 to work in missions behind the iron curtain & came home only 4+ years ago so appreciate so much your hearts!
    May God hold you & this little bundle in the palm of His loving hands.

  26. I truly adore all your blogs Ali – the Martin family has been in my heart and soul since 1987, and watching your little family grow allows me to see them as well as the next generation. Thank you so much for sharing your lives with us ~ Nancy

  27. Your little boy is darling!!

  28. 🙌🏽💕💃🏻

  29. So wonderful to hear from you and read you! I am from Montreal, Canada where spring is just about here and I wish I was in Barcelona again. I would want to visit you for a coffee!
    Téo looks so much like his dad except for his big blue eyes.
    Continue your interesting work and good travels.

    Suzanne Kovacs 🤗

  30. Thank you for sharing your lives with us!! I can’t wait to travel to Barcelona!

  31. What an adorable little man!! You live in one of my favorite and most beautiful cities in the world.
    Thank you for the lovely update.

  32. What a little darling. Hard to believe he is already a year old. So happy to hear you are all doing well.

  33. YES Tex Mex!!! I am from Tucson and am finally learning how to prepare Authentic Mexican dishes.
    Your baby is beyond beautiful and thanks for sharing. I so loved being a mommy.
    I love your recipes and am so glad to hear from you. You have the very BEST recipes . Thanks,, take care and enjoy!
    Gayle Rush

  34. You baby is sooo cute!!! Nice to hear from you and nice to hear that all is well! Love your recipes. Have a wonderful and Blessed year!! Safe and happy trails!!

  35. What a wonderful update! and your little guy is so cute!! his smile just lit up my day!
    I love hearing about your travels and your life in Spain. Its made me think about doing longer trips in places where we can enjoy the local life. You will love Paris – I was there in April 2018 and long to go back some day.
    Until your next post…..

  36. Thank you for sharing! Your baby is beautiful!

  37. Thank you so much for the wonderful update. Teo is beautiful, enjoy every moment of this time, they grow up all too quickly and all of a sudden they are telling you what to do lol! I totally understand the bittersweet emotions concerning your aging pups, enjoy every moment with them as well. The bridge project is such a worthwhile one, it will change so many lives, kudos to you and Barclay! Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your amazing lives!

  38. Precioso tu bebé, está bien grande. Felicitaciones.

  39. Wonderful to hear your update!!! Wishing you great adventures with your beautiful family.

  40. Your son is such a cutie. They grow up so fast, enjoy every minute.

  41. Ali, both you and Barkley have been blessed, and Teo is the luckiest 1 year old in the world, with such a talented mother and dedicated parents he can’t help but be as happy as he looks now in his photos. Thank you for sharing your joy, pets and above all, beautiful son. Enjoy your travels.
    Digna

  42. The impact you are making with The Wash Project for these communities is awe inspiring. Thank you for being such a force for good!

  43. I feel you on the learning curve of this stage of parenting. So much to learn in so little spare time. Actually, make that, zero spare time. 😂 Looks like your little man is doing great though!

  44. Good to hear that you’re doing so well.

  45. Love hearing about your adventures and of course the Teo updates. Brings back memories of living overseas and learning the language and customs not to mention the opportunity to learn to purchase meat at the market and figuring out how many kilos of something I needed. Who knew how many kilos 2 pork chops would be / I was used to buying a particular number and had know idea what the weight might be.

  46. So happy you’re doing so well and loving your life as a new family. Please keep the recipes coming. This site is my first stop for all things cooking. Love your update today. Teo is beautiful.

  47. Beautiful post🥰 Thank you for sharing your life with us…so very appreciativee. Que Dios bendiga a tu familia🥰🙏🏼🥰

  48. Teo is absolutely adorable. I was very pleased to discover all of the photos you posted. I enjoy reading your recipes and learning about all your adventures in Spain. Best wishes for a continued beautiful life.

  49. Having had over six dogs and fostered over nine dogs to better homes…..please know and keep in your heart that they love you as you do them and they will ALWAYS be in your heart forever….my husband never had a dog, and didn’t want one until we got a house…..and yet we had six total in the end!!! He tells everyone now that he is the dog lover of the family…a true convert! And enjoy the babe, he’s so adorable and just relishing you both, it’s so obvious!!!! Love your posts always, wishing you all the very very very best!!

  50. Thank you for sharing! So beautifully and thoughtfully written, as always, Ali. <3 loverin