Thursday, January 27, 2011


Mornings and I have never really gotten along.  My childhood is filled with memories of loud music, bright lights, and cold water (among other things).  I don't blame my parents for the tactics used against me to pull me from my nice warm bed.  I simply refused to get up.  People would tell me (with a laugh) that one day I would appreciate mornings and would no longer sleep in.  Well, college came and besides the occasional 8 am class, my bed was still one of my favorite friends.  I thought I had proved all adults wrong. There was nothing like waking up at 10:30 or 11 am and then eating lunch!  
My enjoyable relationship with Morning began while I studied in Rome.  I had a morning course that made me rise early (before most Romans and tourist), hop on a bus and wander through Roman streets to arrive at the location of the lecture topic.  The class would then continue to walk from site to site listening to Professor Varner discuss the historical, architectural and artistic value of each viewed item.  Now I had a reason to get up with the sun.  I wanted to down a quick cappuccino and chocolate croissant on my way to class.  I also could not wait to absorb the history of capitol of the world with minimal distraction.  There was something about a quiet Rome...a Rome where the working Roman pedestrian was not out yet and the tourist was still snug in his bed.  It was at this time when Roman birds were singing and espresso machines steaming.
A handful of years after my first Roman experience (seven actually, yikes!), mornings have a different value to me.  I now have a little baby bird who chirps (sometimes fiercely) when she's finished laying in her nest. Her songs get me out of bed and Auggie and I come to her rescue.  After she eats we are all pretty content.  The Katherine bird plays with her choice of toy and Auggie squirrel hunts out of the dining room window.  I make a cappuccino, slowly drink it and sometimes am reminded of Rome. 
So it is true.  I no longer sleep in and I do appreciate mornings.  However, my gift of sleep has not left me.  Given the chance to snooze till lunch time...I know victory would be mine.

Auggie on Squirrel Patrol

One of my morning cappuccinos

The Roman Forum in the early morning (note, there is no one in the forum!)

A pretty window

Santa Maria in Trastevere (would walk past this church multiple times a day)

Inside Santa Maria in Trastevere

An early morning stroll in the Borghese Gardens

Flowers in Trastevere

A morning tour of the Vatican Gardens

Katherine and Lars

Katherine in her Bumpo, oh so cute!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Heaping Spoonful of Sugar

Sugar. I typically don't use it when I'm in the kitchen.  A spoonful is more than enough to sweeten my daily cappuccino.  However, this past December I went through sugar extremely fast.  Lemon sables, cranberry pumpkin bread, wassel, chocolate cinnamon marshmallows and rum chocolate balls only begin to describe the reason why two bags of sugar were bought and used.  Baking (and using so much sugar) made me begin to think about this substance and how it applies to my life.  First, one of Katherine's many nicknames is Sugar (Butterfly, and LaLa are just a few others). Second, I like to give lots of sugar (kisses) to this roley-poley newborn, to Randy and to Auggie.  Last, my life is sweet.  It's been a lovely year with a new home, new baby, new job, new experiences and much more.  What a blessing 2010 was to my little growing family.  Now, every morning when I make my cappuccino and add the spoonful of sugar, I will think of my life, thank God and smile. 

And now...a slideshow of Christmas.  Enjoy!

A delicious yet fuzzy picture of Boeuf Bourguignon, the main dish of the first Christmas celebrated at the White House.

Katherine Sugar LaLa Butterfly enjoying her Christmas stocking stuffers.

The appetizers to the second Christmas at the White House.

Auggie Clause...on his best behavior...

lemon sables

cranberry pumpkin bread

Randy working on the beef tenderloin before it was baked in a salt crust.

salt crusted beef tenderloin

garlic and thyme infused mashed potatoes, cheese corn casserole, garlic and ginger cream cabbage

beef tenderloin leftovers