Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas at the Lake

Christmas has come and gone, zipping past in a blur that seems to get faster each year. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that it already happened, but over all, Christmas this year was a wonderful time.

Last year was Norah’s first Christmas. She was 5 months old and understood nothing of what was going on. This year, we made it just about halfway to the enthusiasm that I’m so looking forward to as a parent. She recognizes Santa and points to him with vigor. She knows reindeer and can pick Rudolph out of a group. She is excited by images of snowmen and understands that they have carrot noses. And she knows just what to do with a wrapped present. All that’s missing is the ability to understand stories and anticipate events and we’ll have entered that all too short period of time in which Christmas is truly magical.

I can’t wait.

We opted to travel to the Lake to spend one last Christmas at MoMa’s with Jet and his girlfriend, M. In anticipation of Norah’s better understanding of the season next year, we have made it clear that Christmas Eve will from hence forth find Little Lutine snug in her own bed. Grandparents and aunts and uncles are welcome…but Christmas is now being past down to the next generation and we all get to work around her holiday

I would be lying if I said this holiday was relaxing. Enjoyable? Absolutely. But see…MoMa has a cozy little house that is packed with knick-knacks. The Christmas decorations truly put you into the spirit of the holiday, but time spent there with a toddler boils down to basically running around constantly moving things and redirecting Norah’s attention to safer toys. There was no deep sigh of holiday relaxation until the wee girl was asleep…and even this was stressful since she doesn’t like falling asleep anywhere but in her own room. She shrieked and wailed. Her kicks and flailings could be heard over the baby monitor, but we stayed strong and waited her out. However, even once the monitor went silent, there was no promise of sleep. We listened to more screams from 2 to 4 am in the middle of the 23rd to 24th night. She in her Pack-n-Play and Moonshot and I beside her in bed…she saw no reason that we should not be holding her. But holding her only enraged her more. So, she went back and forth from bed to Pack-n-Play, from Pack-n-Play to bed. This delightful routine led directly to a grumpy daughter the next day whose tolerance for being led away from various decorative items was markedly reduced. And also to grumpy parents whose tolerance for their daughter’s fits was greatly reduced as well.

I should say that in all, Norah did very well. It’s a lot to ask a 17-month old to deal with, so I’ll not judge her too harshly. And I’ll also say that by the time we packed up to leave, she had learned which items in her Grandma’s house were toys and which weren’t. And she slept soundly on Christmas Eve…so we were all in good spirits for the actual event.

CoolSanta brought Norah her first trike this year. She can’t work the pedals, but she loves to sit on it and scoot about. We had planned to get a cheap plastic Big-Wheel type thing…but thanks to Costco we were able to swing a cool Schwinn retro thing. She rounded the corner from the bedroom, scanned the room and ran straight for that tricycle. She climbed right into the seat and started making “vroom” noises. Ah, parental bliss.

She got lots of art supplies this year. Magna-Doodles and water markers…perfectly times for her new love of scribbling. And also lots of mimicry toys. Small pots and pans, an assortment of truly impressive fake food, and a little vacuum that apparently actually works. We’re introducing the new toys into her world one at a time so that she gets a chance to really look at each one beyond the sensory overload of Christmas morning.

As for me, I came away with a spiffy new bicycle from Moonshot and her family so that I can resume my dream of biking the Katy Trail, an assortment of cool new clothes, tickets to see Wicked at the Fabulous Fox Theater with my wife and few other cool odds and ends.

This weekend will find us in Iowa with Moonshot’s family. Even though I already got the bike they got me, I suppose I’ll still go up there to see them and give them some gifts ;)

And finally, since I haven’t processed any of the Christmas pictures just yet, I’ll leave you all with the shots we sent out with our Christmas cards this year. They may be repeats for many of you, but I think you can never stare at Norah’s cuteness too much…

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Our Beautiful, Snowy Prison

Things have been a bit busy around the Grenstead lately. Between road trips, work schedules, various bouts with viral attacks, Rock Band at the O'Fallon crew's, and this little thing called Christmas hovering over's been a bit of a whirlwind.

But rest assured...we're still alive (and as of this moment, all healthy) even though you haven't heard from us in a while.

St. Louis was blanketed in our first snow of the season this weekend. It's timing was particularly unfortunate since it meant our extended family Christmas with MoMa’s side of the family was canceled. However, that didn’t me from marveling as I always do at the beauty of new fallen snow.

I skipped the cozy, snow-covered house shot since you all remember what that looks like and instead went for the subtler joys of the season.

Photo by Moonshot

Moonshot, unimpressed by my photo-journalism

I suppose I could put down the camera and help shovel...