Gimme Some Oven

Currently

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Ali, Barclay and Teo in a Kansas City shirt

This post has been a bit of a surreal one to write. Because, to be honest, I still can’t quite believe where life has us currently.

Nine months ago, we were newly pregnant and over the moon to be expecting a second IVF baby around my birthday at the beginning of May. We were celebrating our 5th anniversary of living in Spain, applying for permanent visas to be able to stay much longer, and looking into purchasing our first home in the city. We found ourselves in such a sweet spot of daily life here in Barcelona surrounded by dear friends (including the cutest little circle of buddies for Teo), fulfilling work we both loved, and a happy return to post-pandemic traveling around Europe.

But shortly thereafter, our hearts broke when our doctor suddenly went quiet during an ultrasound one day. We ended up having a d&c just down the hallway from where we delivered Teo, which was unfortunately followed by months of additional complications, a barrage of doctor’s appointments, some truly awful medications, and ultimately one additional surgery. For months it felt like we were stuck in this frustrating grief time warp, finding it difficult to move forward emotionally while my body was still clinging to the pregnancy physically. Thankfully we eventually made it to the other side of things and were given the green light to continue again with fertility treatments if interested. So after talking with our doctor and giving things a lot of thought, we decided this spring to undergo a second full round of IVF in the hopes of bringing one more babe into our little family. (More on that below.) But in the midst of all of that, life took another sharp left turn that we didn’t see coming…

Our family is now moving back to Kansas City in June. ♡

To say this move is unexpected and bittersweet would be a understatement. I have to admit I’m still working to wrap my mind around it most days, since it’s just such a complete 180 from what we had envisioned for these next few years ahead. But Barclay and I have always said it would likely be our parents’ health that eventually drew us back to the United States. And when things recently took a difficult turn for one of our families, it felt clear to us that we wanted to be back as soon as possible to help. So after taking turns making a number of trips back to the States over the past few months, we now have one-way tickets booked for our entire family in less than two months.

Our days are currently spent swimming in a sea of logistics, trying to piece together the puzzle of an international move with two adults, a toddler, our sweet elderly pup, and all of our belongings. It has been…a lot. (Especially in the midst of IVF plus everything else going on.) But our friends and family back in the States have gone above and beyond to help us sort through various details of getting resettled and have generously welcomed us back with such open arms. And our wonderful crew here in Barcelona has firmly decided it’s not a forever good-bye and that we’re simply going to squeeze in as many good times as possible together here before we leave. So emotions are running high in our home right now, but we’re trying to remind ourselves when logistics get overwhelming that everything will somehow eventually sort itself out, and above all, we are counting ourselves enormously lucky to be surrounded by such a loving crew around the world.

Anyway, clearly, lots to catch up on! So for anyone interested in reading more about the latest chapter of our IVF journey, adventures in purchasing a house (and all the things!) from overseas, plans for our remaining seven weeks here in Europe, plus a special garden update from Mali, here’s the latest and probably final update I’ll probably sharing from here in Barcelona.

Our embryo transfer in Barcelona

Our embryo transfer two weeks ago was such a happy day.

IVF, Take Two

When we first found out last summer that our embryo transfer was successful and we were pregnant again, I have to admit that my very first thought was — thank God we don’t have to do another full round of IVF again. (Famous last words in the world of infertility!) Of course, after our miscarriage a few months later, we found ourselves right back at square one with zero remaining embryos and hearts hoping more than ever for a little sibling for Teo. So we reluctantly decided to dive back in for one final full round.

But I feel like it’s worth sharing that our second round of IVF ended up feeling light years easier than our first. ♡

As some of you might remember, our first round coincided with the exact week that Spain locked down and everything in Barcelona (including our fertility clinic) was suddenly forced to close and new pandemic panic was at its peak. Add to that the fact that our hearts were already fragile going into the process after a long stretch of infertility. And as the very first of our friends to navigate the whole process, man, we were just so damn anxious every step of the way.

Well fast forward three years later and it now feels like everyone we know has done IVF lately! (Ok, small exaggeration, but seriously more than a dozen of our close friends and family members have gone through the process since we did.) It also just feels like fertility treatments are so much more openly discussed and common now. So between our own familiarity with the process, plus the daily reminder looking in Teo’s eyes that this science can indeed create little miracles, IVF 2.0 for our little family has felt so much easier and lighter and — dare I say — even fun at points?!

Our doctor totally feels like a friend now, which definitely makes our million appointments all the more enjoyable. On a whim, I also decided to try conquering my lifelong fear of needles and administer all of my own shots time round, which I’m sure is no big deal to many but felt genuinely empowering to me. Barclay and I also decided to commit to a strict anti-inflammatory diet for many months leading up to and during the process (basically no gluten/dairy/sugar/alcohol/caffeine), which we think may have actually made a significant difference in achieving better retrieval and fertilization results than we were expecting.

That said, we did just find out over the weekend that our first embryo transfer officially failed, which is never easy news to hear. But we were fortunate enough to have multiple viable embryos this round and will hopefully have the chance to try a second transfer in May. So we’re hoping, hoping, hoping that we might get lucky and be able to bring another tiny family member back home with us in June. ♡ Vamos a ver.

My brother in law picking up our dog Fiona

My sweet brother-in-law picking up Fiona at the airport in Denver after a very long journey back home.

Kansas City, Here We Come

Wow, wow. There are so many things I could say about this move right now, but here are a few of the biggest updates lately:

  1. We bought a house! Sight-unseen! Whew, talk about a tricky time to buy a house with market inventory at a record low in the Midwest and prices being so high. There were hardly any new homes coming on the market when we started considering a move home and we were beginning to lose hope that we would find something we liked. But three weeks ago, we got word about a lovely 93-year-old house that was about to hit the market. So we put in an offer literally a few hours later (before they were even allowing realtors in the house, eek!), stayed up until 4am to negotiate and sign all of the contracts, and ended up getting it. We’ll close the week before we arrive and are excited to be back on the Missouri side again.
  2. We’re also re-buying allll the things. We currently own essentially zero home furnishings, having given away or sold everything we owned before moving abroad, followed by 6 years living in furnished rentals in Barcelona. So we will be repurchasing e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g again from scratch — from mattresses to mixing bowls to mops to a mower, you name it — which feels at once very exciting and also very overwhelming, lol. I’m taking the lead on all things house-related right now, while Barclay is working hard to quickly purchase two cars, all of the various kinds of insurance, phone plans, figure out daycare details for Teo, etc. It’s definitely a step more complicated trying to figure everything out from overseas, but our new family motto is “we’ll eventually figure it out.” I really hope so! ;)
  3. Fiona already made it back. Our sweet elderly dog Fiona was diagnosed with cancer last summer just after our other pup, Henry, passed away and probably doesn’t have much longer left with us. She never really took to city life here and loves nothing more than wide open spaces. So we made the decision to send her back early to Kansas City to stay with some dear friends who have a lot of land to live her best life rolling in the grass and soaking up as much sunshine as possible until we return. We miss her so much right now and can’t wait to be reunited and have her be the queen of our new backyard.
  4. We’re ready to show Teo KC. More than anything, the thing that excites us about this move is getting to bring Teo home to KC. We can’t wait for him to finally have regular in-person time with his grandparents and grow close to so many of our longtime friends and their kiddos. And there are plenty of Midwestern things — grassy backyards, awesome playgrounds, easy-to-visit swimming pools, fireworks, Kansas City bbq! — that we’re excited for him to experience too. I have to be honest that it’s hard right now for my mind to see beyond how much we’re going to miss everything he loves, and especially everyone he loves, here in Barcelona. But I know that this next chapter will be special for him in so many new ways too.
  5. It’s all still feels deeply bittersweet. All of that said, moving’s just hard. Change is hard. Whenever people ask us how we’re doing lately, we say it’s all of the “ands.” We’re deeply sad to be leaving our community here in Barcelona…and we’re really excited to be back near longtime friends and family again in KC. We’re nervous about of all of the changes ahead…and we also feel peace that this is exactly where our family needs to be right now. We feel a bit crazy leaving Barcelona at a moment when things are basically the best they’ve ever been…and yet we realize that’s exactly how we felt about KC when we took the leap of faith to move away six years ago. Love and grief are always two sides of the same coin, right? So even though it feels incredibly hard to leave right now, we know that’s because we’ve had the gift of falling in love with two places on earth that now feel like home.
Santorini Greece

Our trip to Santorini five years ago was still one of my all-time favorites. Can’t wait to return to Greece!

Adventures Ahead

Well one thing Spain has definitely taught us is “aprovechar” opportunities to travel whenever we find them. So with less than two months til we move, we’ve decided to make the most of our remaining stretch in Europe!

As this post goes live, we’re going to be landing in Morocco for a bucket list trip to celebrate my 40th birthday. (Camels, souks, desert glamping…a dream come true!) Later this month, depending on how scheduling for our next IVF transfer unfolds, we’re hoping to head out to visit some friends in the Costa Brava and maybe also squeeze in a quick trip to Vienna. At the beginning of June, we’ve booked tickets to take Teo to Athens and Crete to soak up some Grecian sunshine. Then just before we move, a bunch of girlfriends have organized a trip to Stockholm for a final hurrah until we meet again.

It’s going to be a crazy whirlwind of a few months, but I’m so excited to squeeze in a few more European adventures while we’re on the continent. If you have travel recs for any of those destinations, I’d love to hear them!

Digging a fresh water well in Mali

More than 100 community members in N’Korobougou came to celebrate as the truck rolled in to dig a fresh water well for the new garden.

Another Garden = Completed ♡

Finally, I’m excited to share the wonderful news that construction on the community garden that so many of you helped to support has officially been completed. The new garden is thriving!!

271 local women are now able to earn steady income year-round in the N’Korobougou Garden growing fresh and healthy produce to feed their families and support their community. Thanks to the new (and, importantly, sustainable) water well that was successfully drilled in the garden, clean water is now available to the gardeners and their local community for all 12 months of the year, which is an absolute game-changer in this part of Mali where fresh water is typically scarce each year during the 8-month dry season. Now that the garden has a consistent water source, all of these gardeners are able to earn a considerably higher year-round income working in the garden than they had before. And they have been so excited to diversify their crops now that the longer growing season allows them much more flexibility.

This garden is also already making a significant social impact in the community. In this part of Mali, it is common for women to be responsible for all aspects of the daily operation of the household and caring for their children, in addition to working outside of the home to try and earn additional income for their families. So now that the women of N’Korobougou Garden are able to earn significantly more income while also working less hours per week, they have reclaimed precious time from their day to focus on other priorities. They have already began creating new savings plans for themselves, micro-loan programs to support one anothers’ business ventures, and invest in community priorities that are important to them, such as funding salaries for teachers in their local schools.

The garden is also already making a dramatic difference in the health of the local environment. There is no question that rural communities throughout this region are inextricably linked to the health of their land. The worse their land fares, the worse the community fares. For the past few decades, nearly all local gardeners had to resort to cutting down trees during the 8-month dry season to sell as firewood or turn into charcoal, a practice which yielded low profits and had unfortunately had devastating consequences in the area with regards to deforestation. Now that they can earn an income working in the garden year-round, the women of N’Korobougou have shared with us that they no longer cut down trees because growing fresh produce is simply easier and more profitable. This will have dramatic impact on the native tree population in the coming years, improving the quality of the soil, access to foraged foods, animal habitats, prevention the erosion of the precious top soil that remains, which will (full circle!) also improve access to fresh water for the entire village.

I want to thank you all again for your support in helping to launch this garden. The stories we are hearing from the women of N’Korobougou are beyond encouraging, and it’s such a privilege to be able to partner with you all and The Wash Project to help this special garden grow.

“Before, the dry season used to bring food insecurity, but this dry season is different because we now have crops in our garden to eat and to sell. This new garden has a welcomed change in our community because it has created jobs for 271 women. We can only thank The Wash Project, because this partnership has given us hope and freedom.”

– Maïmouna Doumbia, member of N’korobougou Garden

Beautiful drawing of Kansas City and Barcelona

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135 comments on “Currently”

  1. Sometimes when it rains, it seems to pour all the time . I myself had a rough year where it was just one thing after another. But rest assured, once the clouds clear, there is much light and good things on the way. I wish you all the best on your next adventure! And I look forward to more recipes and more tales of your adventures in the US!

  2. Wishing you safe travels as you journey to KC. I hope for nothing but the best for your family. I’ve enjoyed following your European adventure, thank you for sharing it with us. ❤️

  3. Your life updates have been very much missed on this blog. My sincere sympathies for your losses. How heartbreaking it must be to leave Barcelona. I’ll leave my political biases out of this, but what a time to move to a red state. Especially after the glory of life in Western Europe. I hope the transition is a peaceful one for your family and perhaps not a permanent one.

  4. Blessings for all the best while you are still there in Spain and when you get back here to Missouri!!

    From Maryville, MO

  5. Alison, My goodness this news is head-spinning. Can’t imagine all this at once but can imagine you and your sweet family will make it through with excellence and grace. The show-stopper is buying a house, unseen! So brave! I envy your determination. Welcome back to Kansas City, Barclays! Praying for a smooth transition for everyone. Judy B

  6. I am so sorry about your miscarriage and all the stress you have been going through.. I have really enjoyed your blog from Spain and it has made me want to travel to Spain.
    Now, on another note, I am a chiropractor/naturopath and specialize in GI disorders. One thing that is a major cause of miscarriages is gluten. You might do some research into gluten and get off of it. Dr. Peter Osborn and Dr. Tom O’Brien both specialize with gluten issues. There is a lab that is the authority on gluten testing called Cyrex Labs. They have lots of info on their site for lay people.
    Don’t go through traditional medicine to be tested for gluten – there are 23 proteins in gluten and traditional medicine only tests for one of the 23. Anyway, just felt the need to let you know you are cared about!!

  7. I truly enjoy hearing about you and your family. I wish you the best of luck moving back home and all the very best in getting pregnant again. Safe travels and look forward to hearing more about your life events and enjoying all of your recipes too.
    Take care,
    Maureen

  8. Long-time follower – I know your no-knead bread recipe by heart! LOL Best of luck with your move, with IVF and transitioning back to the US. Enjoy your travels in Europe – safe travels.

  9. Good luck with everything! Hope you have a safe and uneventful journey back to the US. :)

  10. I’ve loved your stories and your recipes for awhile now. I have actually made only a few of the recipes, but the ones I’ve tried are wonderful, every single one. I am only one person and entertain every so often and really like your descriptions and suggestions too.

    You have a beautiful family and obviously have many friends to support you as well. I’ve been to Barcelona, although many years ago and was shown the city by a graduate architect student from the University. I married a Greek/American and spent many summer vacations in Greece when my children were young. I can totally understand how you feel and only wish now that I had lived in Greece when I was first married. May you and your family remember those wonderful times and grow to have more back in Missouri.

  11. Years ago, when we had a big move ahead of us, a neighbor of ours told us that it’s good to repot every once in a while. You are doing that big time! Wishing you and your sweet family all the best in your next adventure. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Thinking of you all as you take one step at a time in all these beautiful and unknown adventures. You are a strong family and you will eventually figure it all out! You’ve me it work through so much, and you will do it again. Sending the biggest hugs, Ali <3

  13. Ali,
    I’ve enjoyed all your post and followed your adventures. I pray your IVF treatments work and you can have another lovely baby.
    Digna

  14. I am always amazed at your ability to face life’s unpredictable twists and turns with grace and a positivity. Truly, you have had more than your share of challenges, but you and your precious family always manage to handle them and move on. This time will be no different and I offer my prayers and good wishes to help you navigate this new path.

  15. I went to Morocco in March and I loved it! Best of luck with everything.

  16. Wow! So many emotions reading about this journey you are about to encounter and I’m not even the one doing it! Life has a way of throwing us curve balls every now and then and the best one can do is take it one day at time, one hurdle at a time and never be afraid of reaching out to family and friends for a little help. It sounds like you have a great support group and a plan for the future. I wish your darling family a safe move and please keep us posted along the way.

  17. Wow! I have been following your site since before you moved to Spain. Wow! You guys have had quite the journey. Good luck for the future and I can’t wait to read more.

  18. Thank you for the update and for the beautiful reflection on love, family, change, and grief. Blessings to you as you navigate the next few months!
    Love, A stranger cheering on your family from afar.

  19. Felicidades me alegro lo deseado y devurlta EEUU para una nueva vida, se que todo esltara con ayuda de
    DIOS, al que veo que en el confian, es cierto, yo confio mucho en EL, de Barcelona estuve en total 7 meses
    divididos, recurri muchos lugares Españole, ademas Andorra y parte de Francia, Europa es un museo universal,
    Les agradesco mi comunicado, Gracias, mi nombre es Patricio Lira Droguett y vivo en Chile, Santiago
    Oriente.

  20. Congratulations! Be sure to check out the Bitzinger sausage stand by the Opera House if you make it to Vienna.

  21. I admire you and your husband for many reasons. First of all, moving to a different country with a different language, culture, habits is pretty gutsy! It’s not typical of young American couples unless they are sent overseas by a government agency. As a Canadian, my husband went to work in the Congo for a few years in the seventies and I moved there with 2 young children. So I can understand you both a little bit. Secondly, your hard work in trying to have a child is admirable. In my eyes you are the perfect couple, if one can say such a thing! And thirdly, but not least, your cooking articles and recipes are very much appreciated and often used. A lot of work on your part is involved and I just wanted to tell you today that I appreciate it very much! Good luck back to Hallmark city (I’ve been there all the way from Montreal!)

  22. Hey Ali, I’m in Barcelona. If I can help anyhow, let me know

  23. I still remember when someone in the office said, “Have you seen Alison Ebright’s food blog?” My response: “What’s a food blog?” I’ve been following you since that beginning and loved so many of your recipes over the years. Welcome home to KC!

  24. I had to take that same very horrible medication for a similar experience, and wouldn’t wish the experience upon my worst enemy. Sending hugs. <3

    • Ugh, SAME. I wish more people talked about how brutal those meds can be. I’m really sorry, Ali.

  25. What a brave and wonderful life! I love your recipes and hope your trip home is safe and uneventful.

  26. You will never regret being there for your family-my dad just passed away, and I am grateful to have been with him every step of the way-and for my mom, too. The Maya Angelou quote “every storm runs out of rain” popped up in my insta feed a few weeks ago-felt timely and comforting. Wishing you peace.

  27. Wishing you and your family all the beast as you navigate life back to the states. A new chapter awaits, and like you said. This is not forever goodbye. Wishing you and your family all the best while navigating all the things for your move back stateside.

  28. Thank you for the update on life and the gardens. I love your updates and while it’s bittersweet that your have to return to the states, I hope it all goes smoothly. If you can’t return to the ex-pat life in the furore, hopefully you’ll get to travel more at least. Sending happy thoughts for your next transfer as well.

  29. Been loving watching your journey and wish you the best of luck on your adventures. I enjoy your writing.

  30. Wow! Huge news. I totally understand the bittersweet feeling as I recently moved from SF to NYC to be closer to my parents after a difficult diagnosis for my Dad. Wishing the best for you and your family!!!

  31. Wishing you and your family nothing but happiness from one IVF momma to another! Glad to read you’re taking some fabulous trip while abroad soaking it all in. Also loved your perspective on the second round of IVF – a relief you’ve had such a different experience the second time around!

    Safe travels!

  32. Sending all the love, all the peace, all the tranquility, all the fertility, and all the creature comforts as you navigate these next few months. 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

  33. Such wonderful adventures you all have experienced. It’s all part of our journey; health, sickness, life, & unfortunately death. Enjoy the rest of your travels in Europe & your journey back home. Wishing you three a beautiful 4th

  34. #Ali, Barclay,Teo strong

  35. Did someone draw that beautiful card for you? The one merging KC and Barcelona? I would love it if you would share her name … thank you!

  36. Wishing you all the best in all your endeavors!!

  37. Hi! I’m Shawna (Barclay grew up up the street from us). I see H at the gym occasionally (we have a good supportive group) and he is always open and ready to talk and process all that’s happened to J. I think that’s a good, healthy sign. I’m so sorry for all of you that it’s happened. J has always been generous of her time and talents with my family through good times and hard times. If there’s anything I can do to help you and your family please tell me. I am sure this time is hard but I’m glad it feel right. Just know you have a supportive community waiting for you – and we love your parents. Good luck with the transfer. It will be a wonderful happy development during a challenging time. H is a loving, devoted husband. I’m sorry this has been so hard on him. I know having you here will be a boost! Please say “hi” to Barclay from Shawna.

  38. Wishing you all the best with everything and sending comforting hugs and lots of love. 🩷

  39. Best wishes to you and your family during this time! We are in a very similar season as my husband graduates dental school and we prepare to move across the country. So many mixed emotions, very bittersweet but trying to soak in all of our favorite things and find peace in knowing that this is what we’re supposed to be doing at this time. Much love xoxo

  40. Wishing you all the best with your many, many ups and downs right now! Kansas City is blessed to have you back! 😊

    I’ve loved following you and the delicious recipes you shared with us.

  41. My heart goes out to you. Grief really is the correct word to use when it comes to leaving a place that you love so much. We had to relocate for work a few years ago and I have to admit it still hurts when I think of everything we had to leave behind. I’m glad that you at least already have friends and family waiting for you in Kansas City and hope that the transition can be as peaceful as possible.

  42. Best wishes to you and your family!

  43. Thank you for being transparent and sharing your life, ups and downs. I love “catching up” with what’s going on in your life. Even though I don’t know you I have followed you for years and all your joys bring me happiness and all your low times bring me tears. You are such a bright light. I love your recipes and your website. It is my go-to at least once a week. Thank you for all your hard work and again for sharing your life. The best is yet to come for you, Barclay and Teo. Good luck with your bittersweet move and I can’t wait to hear an update. God Bless!

  44. I could not read your post without thinking to myself (age 82) that when one door closes another opens.
    You are doing what you felt you needed to do at this time in your life. You definitely will miss Barcelona and the Eurpopean life. I am from Missouri/Kansas and left the area to go to Florida a long time ago. I wanted to be the near water! Now I find I miss the woods! But no matter where you go YOU will make it work for You and your family. Family is important .

    Have Fun Carry on.

  45. Wow what a change!! Sending you blessing and good vibes for all the changes coming to your family! While bittersweet to leave it just shows what a beautiful life you’ve built abroad. Thank you for continuing to share your personal journey with us all <3

  46. Sending you much love during this time of transition, healing and hope. As a person living in Kansas I look forward to seeing KC and the Midwest through your eyes, which is a tiny consolation to me, as I so enjoyed living vicariously through your time in Barcelona.

  47. Heading home! We just visited Kansas City and were very impressed! Best wishes for you all. It’s been wonderful to follow your expat life complete with baby. And I know another little one is in your future. Con cariño.

  48. I have that same green KC shirt, ha! Thank you for sharing – best wishes back to KC!

  49. All the best on your travels and relocation. Prayers for your family. Hopes that this path will bring you even more that life has to offer you.

  50. I have loved your recipes and the bits of life that you share for years now. I have prayed for you, rejoiced with you, and mourned with you. What an overwhelming time of life you are in! I’m so very sorry for your loss and praying with you for the blessing of another child – SOON. Thank you for sharing your lives with us. I’ve loved learning about Spain and would love to see Barcelona for myself one day. Thinking of you and praying for all the details to fall into place so that this huge move will be as smooth as possible. May the Lord continue to bless your sweet little family and help each of you through the days to come.