Monthly Archives: December 2010

Christmas in Shrewsbury

I should probably write a real post about Christmas, but I’m just now not feeling like death warmed over and it’s five days out so I don’t think that’s happening. How about some pictures?

If only we hadn’t been dying of the plague, we might have been able to enjoy the beautiful snowfall we got Christmas Eve.

Our stockings were hung by the chimney on the front door because we live in an apartment with no fireplace. Lorelei has a hand knitted one from great-grandma.

Ornaments hung with ribbon because I didn’t want any hooks to fall off and then be eaten by the small child. Glad we only had the tree up for a week, today she discovered that she could take the ornaments off the tree.

Shiny presents! Despite the “only buying gifts for the baby” rule we made for ourselves, we had a lot of gifts to open this year. We are very blessed in friends and family.

Opening one gift on Christmas Eve…

A xylophone! This is her current favorite toy, unfortunately for me. So loud.

Christmas morning means wrapping paper hats…

…and bows on butts.

Of course, Lorelei had to help Daddy unwrap his presents. While holding a knit banana. Yes.  A knit banana.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate it.


Fever and Flu, Fussing and Feuding

Before we went to Ohio for Thanksgiving, our little blue car developed a smell. Whenever we ran the heater – which is a lot since it’s winter, duh – there would be a faint burning odor vaguely reminiscent of maple syrup. Unfortunately, since we noticed the problem literally the day before we were due to leave, we couldn’t do anything about it. Vowing to keep an eye out for signs that the engine was overheating, we went on our way. Since the car was under warranty, if anything went wrong we could take it to a dealer when we got there. Luckily, it was fine and we didn’t take it in until we were safely back in St Louis.

It was a very, very lucky thing. Can you say, massive heating system failure? It was at the dealer for more than two weeks. One of the parts that they needed was sold out at every dealership in the country and when they did get a shipment, the parts were damaged en route and kept breaking when they tried to replace them. Awesome. Finally, last Wednesday, the car was ready to be picked up.

Think that’s the end of the story? HAHAHAHA.

So, last Wednesday, I put Lorelei down for her usual nap and my friend Julie came over to knit. She napped for two hours – a little shorter than usual but not bad – and then woke up for lunch. An hour later and she had reached DEFCON Level 1 crankiness. The warning bells in my head were going crazy. ALERT! ALERT! TODDLER ABOUT TO LOSE HER SHIT! So, I put her back down for another nap. She hasn’t taken two naps during the day in at least a month and certainly not that close together.

Turns out, she was sick. An hour into nap number two, I go into check on her and she felt really hot to the touch. More concerning, she didn’t hardly stir when I felt her head. Usually, the slightest touch will rouse her from a nap. I was supposed to be meeting Brian at the dealership to pick up the car and return the rental but I really didn’t think it was a good idea to try to go anywhere with a sick kid. So, I called him and asked him to come home early and do the car return himself.


Oh, he couldn’t come home because he was in a meeting with a coworker. A coworker. Not a donor. It wasn’t even a time sensitive meeting. It could have easily been rescheduled but he “didn’t realize it was such a big deal.” I probably made it into a bigger deal than it was, but I’m going to chalk it up to being pretty much homebound for two weeks and having a cranky toddler. Oh yeah, getting into a ridiculous fight with the husband is always high on my list of things to do.

When he did get home, she was awake and crabby and I had reached the end of my coping abilities. Holy crap, the whining. Somehow, he convinced me to bundle her up and go with him to the dealer and then he proceeded to take the longest possible route to get there. When we arrived, maybe two minutes after they closed, the place was completely dark. So, we had just spent twenty minutes in the car – plus another ten while one of the people from sales tried to find any of the service people – with a cranky sick baby for nothing. Awe. Some.

By the next afternoon, I was also completely out of commission, flat on my back with the flu. Lorelei, by the way, was already almost completely better by that point. Thanks to the what-do-I-have-to-say-to-make-you-realize-that-I-really-really-need-you-to-come-home-no-really argument from the day before, I was rescued from trying to care for the little one when all I wanted to do – and all I was capable of doing – was lay in bed under layers of blankets.

And then Brian was taken out by the illness.

The two of us spent most of Christmas Eve either asleep or half asleep on the floor in the baby’s room while she played on and around us. Christmas day was slightly better. Brian is fully recovered, of course. Asshole. I’m getting there although yesterday was not pleasant. My eyes were watering and swollen looking. I could barely open them without being in pain.

Oh yeah, winter is great. Stupid flu season.

From Our Family…

To those who celebrate, have a very Merry Christmas!


We have officially become those people. You know, the ones who send a family photo with their Christmas cards. (We haven’t yet reached the newsletter phase, but I’m sure that will come.  I just hope that when it does I can write one as brilliantly snarky as this one.) I got this crazy idea in my head that we should go to the Botanical Gardens (yeah, I know I talk about going there a lot) and taking our cheesy holiday pictures there. The plan was not entirely well thought out.

For starters, it was cold. Outdoor shots were out unless we were okay with all of the shots being of us in giant winter coats. Uhhhh. No. Also, it’s the dead of winter so there isn’t exactly a lot blooming outside. Fortunately, there was always the Temperate House and the Gardenland Express (annual holiday model train exhibit).

Taking the picture in the Temperate House was made even more difficult due to Lorelei’s preoccupation with fountains. Also, we had to rig up a “tripod” – we don’t own a real one – using the stroller and turning on the self-timer.

Off center shots and Lorelei sticking her finger in her mouth were just a few of the side effects. We did manage a half-way decent shot of the three of us that went out with the card. I’ll post that one later this week. After a semi-successful family shot, I tried to get a few pictures in the train exhibit.

There were a lot with Lorelei trying to pick her nose.

And, of course, she hammed up for the camera. Big grin!


I have been up since 5:30 this morning. Not by choice, of course. Since Lorelei is almost sleeping through the night I would rather not disturb her schedule if it can be avoided. Unfortunately, I had to drive out to em effing St Charles to pick Brian up from one of his studies at 6:30 this morning. Having one car saves us lots of money, but it is a giant pain in my rear end sometimes.

So, after dragging my ass out of bed and pulling on yesterday’s jeans and Brian’s fleece, I approached the sleeping bear small child with great trepidation. Waking Lorelei up before she is good and ready can go one of two ways: 1) epic tantrum or 2) mild tantrum. Either way, I was going to be treated to some crying.  Lucky for me, this morning was a mild tantrum and I managed to change her diaper and pull on a hoodie without too much difficulty. I gathered up the cloth diapers and put them on the porch for pick-up. This is a chore which usually falls to Brian; since I’m the one who normally changes said diapers, I don’t want to deal with the poop diaper receptacle more than is absolutely necessary. UGH.

Just after 6 am, Lorelei was bundled into the car with her blanket and her owl and I fully expected her to go to sleep. When I stopped at Starbucks for the necessary unless I wanted to fall asleep at the wheel pumpkin spice latte, she was still awake. As the asshole on the interstate tailgated me instead of just going around me (and the car in front of me who was the one who was the real problem), she was still awake. When “Tusk” came on the radio – by the way, is that not one of the most random songs – she was still awake. Pulling into the lot?  You guessed it. She was still wide awake.

At almost 10 am, Lorelei has been up for four hours and she is incredibly bouncy. She’s spent most of the morning wandering around the apartment, pulling stationery out of the desk, chasing the cats, attempting to unravel a roll of toilet paper, etc. She’s only sat still long enough to eat breakfast, watch an episode of Gabba and play with her shape puzzle. Even then she was pretty bouncy.  Bouncing along to the music on the TV show and bouncing and clapping whenever she sort of kind of got a puzzle piece in the right place.

What is she doing now? Stumbling drunkenly around the hallway with Brian’s Santa hat pulled down over her eyes. I would take it away from her, but it’s a) really cute and b) she would be pissed if I even tried.

It’s okay, though. My friend Rory will be here in just a few hours and I feel like bouncing myself!


Apparently, the only way to eat yogurt is to stick your tongue directly into the container.  Good to know.

Comfort Food

It must be something about the weather.   There’s a chill wind in the air that stabs right to the bone.  It’s the weather for dressing in too many layers and snuggling under layers of blankets.  It’s the weather for eating.

My comfort foods aren’t the traditional fare.  I like mac ‘n cheese, but it’s not what I go to when I’m feeling down.  Meatloaf, enh.  Give me a big plate of mexican food with refried beans and rice and guacamole.  That’s my comfort food.  Or perhaps a mess of fettuccine with shrimp and scallops in a decadent cream sauce.  I’ll eat that in a heartbeat when I feel blue.

I can’t say I’ve been one hundred percent good at staying gluten-free the last few months.  I try, but I still fail almost daily.  I console myself with the fact that I usually only do it one meal a day and it’s usually not too bad.  Cutting back has really helped me feel less sick and I do notice when I cheat but it’s not as terrible as it used to be.  But this cold weather and my Christmas blues have lead to some serious backsliding.

This week I’ve made: Chicken Pot Pie with the perfect pie crust.  It really is perfect, so flaky and delicious it is worth every single intestinal pain.  I would take a bath in the gravy, made with a whole cup of flour.

Tonight, in addition to the brisket that I just roasted in the oven for five hours, I’m making some cobbler.  Blackberry cobbler full of sugar and delicious delicious flour.

Next year, I’ll wake up from my food coma and get back on track.  But right now I’m going to revel in sugar-filled deliciousness.  What about all of you?  What are your comfort foods?  Anything that can derail you from your diet?

Blue Christmas

“You’re ruining my Christmas!” I declared, stamping my foot a little.

I was standing off to the side of one of Target’s aisles, trying not to get in the way as other shoppers bustled past, carts overflowing with presents and wrapping paper and decorations.  My own cart, by comparison, held one roll of the cheap wrapping paper and a couple of small toys.  Brian was on the phone and we were deciding what presents to buy Lorelei.  I had called him to help me decide which of two possibilities to get her; but, as we were talking, I realized that I wanted to get her both.

Christmas is my favorite holiday.  I love the smell of fresh cut pine trees and baking cookies.  I love picking out funky ornaments and putting out the Christmas towels.  My favorite part, however, is buying presents.  I don’t care about getting presents myself, give me one or not, I’m not going to think anything less of you.

I love making a list of all the people who are important to me that I want to get something special and jot down ideas.  I’ll wander into stores I normally never go into.  I’ll buy fancy coffee and soup mixes from Harry & David.  I’ll spend hours (small exaggeration) sniffing everything in Lush.

This year, however, we decided to only buy presents for the baby and our parents and Brian’s grandmother.  If we didn’t limit ourselves, we would end up going overboard and spending more money than we have in our budget.  It sucks to be  a responsible adult, but it was the sensible thing to do.  I think I’m taking it harder than Brian is.

If I can’t get presents for everyone, I at least want to get lots of gifts for Lorelei.  It’s almost a given that she’s going to like the boxes and paper more than the gifts themselves, but I need to have my fun.

Walk in the Snow

I remember when I was little and playing out in the snow meant piling on the layers.  Turtleneck, sweatshirt, parka, long underwear, snow pants, hats, mittens.  Even with all those layers I would still be freezing.  These days, the only time I put on that many layers is when the temperature is in the single digits and I plan on spending more than five minutes outside.  If I’m heading to the store or mall and the only time I plan on being in the elements is the minute it takes to walk from the apartment to the car, I skip all those extra layers.

Lorelei, however, isn’t allowed to get away with that.  We bundle her up like Randy from A Christmas Story. Her coat is so big and puffy that she can barely put her arms down.  Somewhere in the depths of her sleeves, her tiny fingers are tucked into mittens that are slightly too large.  Tights and socks are stuffed into pink cowboy boots and covered with a layer of heavy sweatpants.  Then, and only then, is she ready for a walk in the snow.

The last time Lorelei saw snow – real, cover the ground snow – she couldn’t walk.  She couldn’t crawl.  She could barely even sit up.

But now, she can take hesitant steps in the fine white powder.

She can slip and fall on her butt

She can wriggle her way back into a standing position.


All the cabin fever and hair pulling, eye stabbing boredom is forgotten.  My little girl is growing up so fast and I’m really lucky that I get to see it all happen.

Weekend Snapshot

It snowed last night.  We still don’t have our car back from the shop and, although we have a perfectly serviceable rental, I think we’re homebound for the time being.

That doesn’t stop us from talking a little jaunt around the complex.  Pictures of Lorelei’s first walk in the snow are still to come…