Thursday, November 28, 2013


I haven't posted all month. Not because I don't have plenty to be grateful for, but more because it's taking everything in me to get through the day-to-day of my life lately. I have watched friends and family post their daily list of things they are thankful for and I keep telling myself that I need to sit down for a few minutes and just put down my thoughts. Of course, that never happened.

Then, as I was prepping for our Thanksgiving dinner last night, I realized I do have something to be thankful for, something that is near and dear to my heart. Cheesecake.

For the past 10 years, I have spent almost every Thanksgiving with my in-laws. Sometimes my family joins us, and some years we have brought in friends who didn't have anywhere else to go. But no matter the crowd, I make the same marble cheesecake.  It's not my grandmother's recipe, nor is it some sort of gourmet find. In fact, I don't even know if I can call it a tradition yet; it's really more of a ritual, marking my own transition to the holiday season.

Last night, as I dug out the wrinkled and stained recipe, I noticed the date I had originally printed it: November 23, 2003, the first Thanksgiving I spent with David, the first year I invited his parents into my home. We had been dating just a few months- I can still remember how nervous I was when we sat around the table and how overjoyed I was when I realized my dessert had won my future father-in-law over. The way to any man's heart, especially an Italian's, is through his stomach. 

As I measured the sugar and blended the eggs, I could hear the scraping of Morgan's stool as she dragged it across the kitchen floor. In a matter of minutes, we were working together, chatting above the hum of the mixer. She asked me questions about the recipe, I told her that it's her grandpa's favorite. She asked to lick the spoon, I obliged.

The cheesecake wasn't done before Morgan went to sleep, which meant she didn't get to see the finished product. As she stood over my bed this morning, she whispered, "Happy Thanksgiving, Mom. Can we go see our cheesecake?" We made our way into the kitchen, and Morgan gasped as I opened the fridge, "It's just so beautiful, Mom! And we made it!"

And so this year,  I am thankful for cheesecake. For the way it connects my family, the way it connects me to my daughter, and for the way it reminds just how full and wonderful my life is.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Toothless Wonder

Morgan has her first loose tooth. Ever since one of her friends lost a tooth this summer, Morgan has been wiggling her teeth daily. She has tried to convince me on several occasions that her tooth "broke off in the night" and that a new one grew back while she was sleeping. On the day she wiggled her tooth and it actually was loose, you would have thought The Publisher's Clearinghouse Prize Patrol had just showed up at our house with a check for $1 million. I, on the other hand, immediately began checking the Tooth Fairy's going rate. Times have so changed.

As we get ready for yet another milestone this year, I could remember all of the unfortunate experiences we have already had with teeth in our family:

January 2009: Morgan had just started daycare and was promptly bitten on the face by some bully 7 month old. I briefly considered pressing charges.

April 2009: Morgan cuts her first teeth...

And then immediately uses her new found chompers on me. I again consider pressing charges.

December 2009: David and I celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary -

Were we decide to share David's new party trick with our family and friends. They briefly considered pressing charges.

In discussing her loose tooth, Morgan asked whether David and I had ever lost any teeth, I explained that we all lose our baby teeth and then keep our adult teeth forever. Unless you're David, who smashed his face into the bottom of a swimming  pool when he was nine. After 2486 patch jobs, our dentist decided he just needed a new tooth. When Morgan excitedly asked what the Tooth Fairy brought him, I told her a $4,000 bill and a bone graft. She's stopped wiggling her tooth.