Monday, December 19, 2011 favorite blog post EVER

My daughter, Adrienne, at Muir Beach, November 2011

Today's blog is the best ever!
I had the best, biggest, most wonderful surprise in my email.  
My sweet girl
...a smart, athletic young woman, an architect by trade,
but my sweet girl nonetheless...
wrote a guest post.
A blubbering mess, I have alternated between bawling on Bill's shoulder
and squealing for joy.

But enough from me. Enjoy!!!

Here's that guest post for you, Mom...

My husband (Scott) and I suffer from ‘rootlessness’, as we call it.  Neither of our families lives in the places where we grew up anymore.  It’s been years since I was able to spend the holidays with my Mother (ah, married life and compromise), and it’s been almost a decade since either of our families lived in our childhood homes.  This only recently really started to bother either of us.  Emotionally, I tend to live in the present, and it can take years for things to settle with me.  Just ask my Mother. 

Inwardly, Christmas has always been profoundly important to me, but it’s only been in the past couple of years that I’ve outwardly expressed my joy for this time of year.  I even came as close as putting a wreath on my car last year, but thankfully, Scott talked me down from the ledge.  This need to experience as much as I possibly can of the holiday season has surprised me, but I think I’ve recently begun to make sense of my change in Christmas behavior.  It’s the rootlessness, or the need to connect myself to something familiar.

Last night, I made my Mother’s cranberry coffee cake (recipe below), and as I poured the batter into the bundt pan, I was transported to my childhood.  I was in the den listening to my grandmother humming in the kitchen as she and my Mother prepared Christmas dinner.  I thought about all the Christmases that have passed since and the life that I have lived.  I am so incredibly grateful for the people I’ve come to know, the memories I have made and the many blessings God has bestowed upon me.  I realized that I’m not rootless.  I have roots.  They live in recipes like my Mother’s cranberry coffee cake and my grandmother’s ambrosia.  They live in quotes like “You smell like beef and cheese” from the movie Elf.  They live in sugar cookies and Silent Night and roast beast.  They live in the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Merry Christmas to my beautiful Mother and all our family and friends!  Love you all!  Thank you for giving me roots….And maybe next year I’ll put that wreath on my car. 

1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. (generous) almond extract 
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I prefer almonds, slivered or sliced...and I never measure, but this should be close)

2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp. warm water
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Cream butter and sugar together.
Add eggs, one at a time and mix well.
Sift together dry ingredients. 
Add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream.
Stir in almond extract.
Spoon half into 9" square cake pan (or 10" tube pan). 
Spread half of cranberry sauce and half the nuts on top of batter.
Put remaining batter on top of cranberries and nuts, then add the remaining cranberry sauce and nuts.
Bake 40 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees or until done.
Glaze when cool.


NOTE:  Adrienne got the dessert gene and has become, bar none, the most incredible baker. She said she's making the coffeecake again next week and will take a photo. But who needs a picture of a coffeecake when you have these.

Scott and Adrienne in front of the "painted ladies" (the "Full House" houses)

Adrienne, Scott and Bill in the headlands

Scott: Boys will be boys

One more thing.  Adrienne, I saw these cute brown antlers that you put on either side of the car (on top of the car football flags, you know). And they come with the cutest red fleece button nose for the front grille!  
Think about it!!! Next year! Love you, girl!  

Adrienne is not quite one in this photo; Patrick, three. 
I'm blubbering again.

Merry Christmas!!!


Jeannette said...

Muir Beach...a beach ( much different then) of my childhood....I had to sweep away floods of memories to read the tender thoughts of you two. Yes, traditions are deeper than we realize and good ones tie us to good the fact that we are loved from on high and also in this realm...and it gets through to us sometimes when we least expect it.

Lovely photos...
Happy New Years all around.

GretchenJoanna said...

My, you have been busy through the holidays and even writing blogs, so many that I missed. There's much I want to comment on, but I'll just make space for 3 points.
1) now we are neighbors again!
2) When we were driving our daughter's family from SFO at Christmastime our 10 yr-old grandson pointed out the Painted Ladies along 19th Ave. They learned about them in school in MD!? I don't remember hearing that term for those houses before, and now a few weeks later I hear it again on your blog.
3) I am definitely saving your cranberry coffeecake recipe -- it has all the right elements!

Welcome home.

Celeste said...

Ah, my friend, thank you! Yes, we are neighbors once more. Loved catching up with you, too. My daughter surprised me with the "Best Blog Ever..." post while we were traveling. Touched my was the best Christmas present ever. Now I'm craving collards!