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Happiness and a dash of misery

St. Louis was a blast, despite some rough spots. There were presents, parties, many card games that I lost, too much food, and of course, Santa. There was also a bottle of syrah we had in our checked suitcase that somehow exploded and splintered. There was glittery glass everywhere, ground so fine we had to get rid of the suitcase and nearly all the articles of clothing therein. So Saturday afternoon was spent at the Chesterfield mall Old Navy trying to replace what we lost.

We finally met Jeff's new nephew Luke and we pronounce him adorable! He is absolutely the most smiley baby I have ever seen. And he suffers his sister's fate of being terribly photogenic. Witness, first with Jeff, then Grandpa:


Meanwhile Sawyer is growing pretty. There's just no way around it. I used to describe these children as freakishly adorable but it turns out they're superhuman in other ways. Sawyer, for instance, can read. She's three and a half. I'm not kidding. It's not fake reading, either. She looked at things she had never seen before and could make out the words. Here she is, looking kissable, and not at all like someday she could take over the world on a whim: So the train ride on the way back was less charming, but it wasn't really the train's fault. In spite of all the fun in St. Louis, there was viral nastiness floating around the house and I watched the family succumb one by one, all the time thinking I was hot shit for not getting it myself. Then I got on the train to come home. Gradually I felt my chest start to ache, my throat start to swell and my head start to pound. Years of being exposed to horrible infection at work is not making me mightily immune like I thought it would. By Colorado it was in full bloom. When the train stopped I would send Jeff, still not entirely recovered himself, into the snow to fetch me cough drops, anti-microbial wipes, Theraflu, etc. At Albuquerque I wandered off the train in a daze and in pajamas, thinking that if I could just have one more Starbucks double shot latte I could go back to my bunk and die in peace. A non-Starbucks substitute latte was found and after the caffeine, a shower and more Theraflu, I decided I would probably live. I think this was somewhere in New Mexico:One more thought on the train. You know when you're in an airplane and they tell you to have your seat belt on when you're sitting down and sometimes they won't let you get up at all because the plane is jostling a bit? Well, there is A LOT more motion on a train than a plane and there are no seat belts ANYWHERE. The train lurches randomly and I am bruised from being slammed and knocked into doors, walls, table tops and old ladies. Occasionally I would watch an old person wobble away down the hall during a particularly nasty stretch of rail and I would have to look away because I was afraid of what I would see next. It's brutal, man.

So we are now home and I personally slept about four hours today. Jeff is still asleep, actually. There was food in the fridge when I woke up, so he must have left the house at some point, but currently he is snoring contentedly on our beloved couch, with Phoebe nestled into him.

Here is one last St. Louis picture with us all looking so nice…

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