My friend Mrs. P-M recently had a baby and one of her friends organized a group of us to rotate making dinners for the new parents through a website. I think this is such a clever idea, and a perfect idea for second or more children in lieu of another shower. The organizer had included in the set up that the new parents may or may not be up for guests joining them for dinner, and to be mindful of how long you linger after the meal. I thought it was a great tip to include so that the parents aren't in a possition of having to say, "We're too sleepless; it's time for you to leave!"
The first opening I was able to find happened to also be the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Since my friend is just as Catholic, if not more so than me, I knew she'd appreciate a little nod to the saint.
Since it was October and full fall weather I knew I'd want to make a soup and decided a vegetarian one would be most appropriate in honoring the patron saint of animals. One of my favorites is a carrot soup with orange and ginger from my Williams-Sonoma Soup cookbook. It is tasty and a good autumn color.
I also brought my little St. Francis statue to use as a centerpiece for the table and some nice crusty bread with an herbed goat cheese. My friends had recently moved into a new house so it was my first time there and after dinner I really enjoyed snuggling with a 6 week old baby. My son was not too upset that I was holding a baby instead of playing on the floor with him, so I hope that is a good sign for when his baby brother arrives.
After we returned home I read to him from the book St. Francis of Assisi by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Several years ago St. Philip Neri parish, which hosts an annual Muddy Boot Festival had Kennedy as the keynote speaker. I bought tickets for myself and my parents. He is an impressive speaker and very motivational to get into action to make changes in our world through his work with the Riverkeepers. Certainly encouraging us to watch more real news and less celebrity news. After he spoke he was signing his autographs on his children's book on St. Francis since he and his father were named for him. The book is a little too long for a 3 year old to sit through, but I enjoyed reading all of it.
So a very low key feast this year, I'm sure our future will include me dragging the family pets to school for a special blessing of the animals. That was just not something I had the energy for while pregnant.