I would like to write a very thoughtful and thought-provoking post, reflecting on the soaring highs and dismal lows of 2005, and how we’ve emerged a stronger and more loving family as a result. And we have. But it’s late, and I’m still sick. So I’ll have to leave the eloquent posts to someone else.

This is Liam, taken yesterday. He’d just woken up from a nap, as can be told by his disheveled appearance. The purple smudges under his eyes show you just how sick he’s been. And yet I had to post this, because isn’t he just the cutest thing, sick or not, that you’ve ever seen?

Meisje wants to say Happy New Year, too. She would also like to remind everyone that until two years ago she was the light of our lives, and that she is still the adorable, loving, well-behaved, and incredibly beautiful dog she’s always been.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Christmas 2005

Well, we still aren’t feeling up to snuff in the Ohlsson household, but I figured the grandparents had suffered long enough for a glimpse of the boy. So I’m sitting at the computer coughing and blowing my nose while I write this entry. What a dedicated writer I am, eh? I’m nursing myself through the experience with an Irish Cream liquer. Our last of the year, as tomorrow we begin project “get fit in the new year” and Irish Cream, sadly, is not on the acceptable food list. But that’s another story altogether.

The day before Christmas, Liam decided to get a headstart on unwrapping one of his presents by himself. He managed to rip the paper so he could see what was inside. An airplane!!! After that, there was no stopping him, so we allowed him one present. It was a Fisher-Price airplane from Gramma and Grampa M, and he loves it!! Me, I’m a little concerned about all you hear in the news about drunken airline pilots. What message are we sending our kids? Here’s proof of this sad statistic: even pilots for the kid-friendly Holiday Flight Airlines have been photographed lying down on the job, presumably too drunk to stay at the controls.

The rest of the gifts waited for Christmas Day. As we were still feeling lousy, I’m afraid there are few pictures of the event. Liam enjoyed unwrapping the gifts much more this year, although he got extremely frustrated if there was too much tape and/or paper standing between him and his newest toy. Although sparse by most kids’ counts, Liam’s small pile of gifts made him quite happy. From us he received: a Magna Doodle, a wooden ring counter, a Little Tikes tow truck, and a breakfast set, as well as a plethora of books. If you’re not sure what “plethora” means, maybe you should buy some books for yourself.

Here are a couple pics of Liam enjoying his breakfast set. He loves to work the kettle, make the toast, and serve us.

On Monday we cooked our turkey and had our Christmas dinner — more because the turkey was thawed and had to be eaten than that we were feeling better and ready to have it. Never fear, however, we are on the mend. Jesse sounds pretty much normal, I’m getting there, and although Liam has a way to go I think he’s on the mend as well. It hasn’t been the most fun Christmas I can recall; however, we are all safe and together as a family, and we ask for nothing more. Merry Christmas!

No pictures, no incredibly witty remarks, just word for those that care out there that we are still alive — sort of. Jesse came down with a horrendous bug (flu?) after having been home for a couple days. Bad throat, rattling cough, aches and pains and fever, etc. He literally spent two days lying in bed. On day three he started to improve, and… you guessed it, Liam and I are now sick. I took my turn spending most of the day in bed today. Luckily J is recovered sufficiently to look after the two of us.

Yesterday Liam had another one of those *firsts* that go into baby books — he threw up for the first time. (well, there was the time that he regurgitated the homemade custard, but that’s not quite the same) Poor little guy, he was just so miserable. We all went to the doctor’s office, but naturally about all they had to say was “gee, that’s too bad. take some tylenol. have a happy christmas.”

We will *probably* be delaying Christmas until the 26th. J has to work Christmas Eve (meaning he’ll get home at 7AM Christmas morning and be dead tired, and I don’t know if I’m going to be up to cooking/pie-making/etc. And since Liam doesn’t know the difference, we might as well wait until we’re all feeling a little better.

Well, that’s it from us for now. If you don’t hear from us within a couple days, dial 911.

Ahhh, the bliss of having Liam’s daddy and my husband home at last. We’ve spent the last few days just settling in and enjoying being with one another again. Liam has been just as good as gold lately, and he’s so glad to have his dad home. Updating our internet public has been the last thing on our minds. However, here’s a quick bit to catch you up:

Jesse brought me home a present!! The stone is Liam’s birthstone, and it’s just the sweetest thing I’ve ever been given. Perhaps a little difficult to tell in the picture, but the band is white gold and the curved pattern is gold… gold. The stone is amethyst.

It snowed yesterday!! Hours and hours of snow — we got about three inches, which is a lot of snow for Belgium. While Jesse slept off his jet lag, Liam and I built this terrific snowman. The flowerpot hat was all Liam’s idea, too.

Finally, the obligatory photo of Liam looking adorable. It’s the end of a long day, and he’s still looking — and acting — adorably. Thank heavens things are back to normal!

how to make beer bread


    1 cup wheat flour
    1 cup white flour
    1/2 cup oatmeal (not instant)
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    12 ounces of beer (that’s one bottle, people!)
  1. Crawl up onto the table, even though mom just suggests the chair. Assemble all ingredients.

  2. Measure the wheat flour into a large bowl. Spill some on the table.

  3. Measure the white flour and oats into the bowl. Condescend to let mom measure out the smaller ingredients.

  4. Pour in the bottle of beer. Get. every. last. drop.

  5. Mix gently. Pour mixture into a sprayed loaf pan. Have responsible adult place in oven at 400 degrees F (208 degrees C) for about forty minutes. Enjoy!

Sorry that there are no pictures of the finished product. It goes fast! This will make a dark, hearty loaf that will go nicely with a bowl of soup. And for those of you that don’t like beer (Mom), relax, it doesn’t taste like beer. Try it, you’ll like it!

channeling Erik Estrada?

Everyone knows how Liam likes to play with his belly button,right? Some kids have a pacifier, others a blankie, still others a thumb. Liam — he’s got a belly button. Well, he’s just discovered that if he pulls hard enough at those snaps on his jammies, he can actually get unencumbered access to his favorite body part. Doesn’t he look like a seventies macho man, with his jammies undone all the way to his waist? And those slippers could TOTALLY be red velvet and the hottest thing on the disco floor.

How cold was it?!

First of all, sorry about the delay in posting. The blog went down for some unknown reason last night, and only just now became accessible again. Now, on to the post.

It’s been really, really cold here as of late. No, not sub-zero, as those of you in Wisconsin and New York define cold. But pretty darn cold. How cold was it?

Liam’s playground set was covered in a thick coating of frost that didn’t melt off the entire day. Seriously. Incidentally, this photo was taken at 8AM. And it’s dark again by 5PM. Such are the days in the northern latitudes.

Mrs. Grinch

I am supposed to be working on my Christmas cards right now. Pfffft! How can I possibly do that when there is some sad sap British reality television show about to start — get this, about ballroom dancing. Picture American Idol, but with dancers and nice judges. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to watch. Kind of reminds me of a generation of family fun entertainment that’s gone forever now in the states. No worries, however, Jesse. I will at least work my way through the address book deciding who to send to this year.

That’s right, folks. Chances are, if you’re reading this, then you’re not going to be getting a card. Why? Because cards are too expensive, mail from here is too slow, and I’m too disorganized. Most years we do a Christmas letter, summarizing all the joyous events of our year. But to be honest with you, it’s been a rather tough year and I don’t feel up to a chipper letter at the moment. More like a deep, introspective letter. And I’ll be kind and spare you all that.

No need to spare you of this, however. Here’s a shot of Liam trying to chase the camera down. Here comes trouble!

Goings On

Well, to fill our vast readership in on all that’s happening over here:

    Liam’s back to regular sleeping hours. As a result his general mood is much improved. I fear, however, that the tantrums are here to stay. Now that he has discovered their power, he’s not giving up so easily.

    I bruised my heel (again, and worse) just last night, and am now limping all over the place. It’s worst in the morning when I first crawl out of bed. Seriously, I considered going down the stairs on my backside, it hurt so much.

    In the afternoon I sat down and put my leg up with a wince, explaining to Liam that “mommy’s foot hurts.” He promptly leaned over to kiss it better.

    We’ve inherited a dog for a couple weeks. Her owners are lucky enough to be vacationing at home in Scotland, so Dini has come to stay. She and Meisje are grizzling over food bowls, et al. I’m sure in a couple days they’ll be best friends again.

    Along with Dini, we also inherited some new old toys for Liam. Here’s a pic of him in his scrumptious new sweater (thanks, Morag) playing with Tractor Tom.

The countdown is on: One week from today, Jesse will be home. Thank God.