Archive for December, 2009

Slummin’ it at UCLA.

Slummin’ it at UCLA., originally uploaded by walker_fam.


Merry Christmas!

It’s been a while since we’ve had a high-res picture post, so I’m taking this opportunity – after everyone has gone to bed – to put one together.  First, a brief synopsis of our crazy week.

Christmas this year started the Saturday before Christmas, when we celebrated with my family.  Annie had a great time unwrapping presents for around 3 minutes before losing attention and deciding that the basket of toys was more interesting.  A few pieces of brightly-colored crinkly paper later, and she was back and interested in the new toys that were waiting for her.  Her favorite present was the set of large blocks from my parents.

After presents and dinner, the three of us (including the very not tired, but mostly happy, baby) drove around a bit looking at Christmas lights before said not-tired baby became VERY NOT TIRED baby and entered what we like to call the “meltdown stage.”  This is usually preceded by a brief period of silence which we call the “windup stage,” followed by large quantities of fussing.

On Thursday, we trekked up to my parents’ in the late afternoon.  I finished baking cookies for the bell choir while my parents ensured that Annie was not starved for attention.  We ate an early dinner of split pea soup, made with the leftover ham from our Christmas dinner the previous Saturday, before heading up to church for Christmas Eve services.  This year, we decided to only play bells at the two early services, foregoing ringing in Christmas day at the 11pm service.  I was really happy we did this, since I was nowhere near ready for Christmas.  I had a very productive 3 hours after we got back, getting 3 batches of dough rising for rolls, and framing a gazillion pictures of Annie for relatives.

Christmas morning was nice and relaxed.  We got out of the house much later than we had originally hoped, but that was fine.  I decided that the dough that I had started the night before for rolls would probably make quite tasty cinnamon rolls, while also letting me test the dough for quality control purposes.  After munching on our breakfast of hot cinnamon rolls, we had a nice, low-key present opening.  This year, Kristie and I decided that our gift to each other was going to be a trip to Victoria, BC.  (Victoria Clipper is running some great vacation packages, by the way – 2 nights for 2 people in a suite hotel is very affordable)  Annie chose a few small gifts for each of us, and in return received a few nice small gifts herself.  One of her favorites was the spinning top we picked up at a toy store in Ocean Shores during our August trip.

After baking around 82 dozen rolls (at least so it seemed), we headed south to Steilacoom for Christmas with the Albrechts.  I wish I had gotten a picture of the dessert table… it was full of all kinds of sugary goodness, and then Grant brought out his world-famous cheesecake.  Nobody left hungry.  Annie had fun walking around (with assistance) all over the place, and was even tricked into a nap at one point in time.  It was great to see everyone, and Annie enjoyed the attention.  Annie really enjoyed the books she received from people.

We ended up leaving after 7, which worried us a bit – we had a busy day ahead, with an early flight to Los Angeles to visit more of Kristie’s family, and Annie was already moderately over-stimulated.  We all got to bed way too late, but managed to get packed and out the door the next morning.  The flight was surprisingly smooth (no typical TSA over-reaction to security events like the one that had happened the previous day in Detroit), and on-time.  Since we used miles for this trip, we ended up flying first class – it cost us 5k extra per ticket, and with a lap child, first class is the way to go.  Annie was perfect.  She slept for around 1-1/2 hours right at the beginning of the flight (went down before we pushed back), and was happy and babbling the rest of the flight.  She seemed to really enjoy looking out the window on final approach, and REALLY wanted to go outside while we were taxiing to the gate.

Our rental car experience could merit another blog post.  Let’s just say that I’m glad we had a reservation… many car companies at LAX, including Avis (from whom we rented), were completely sold out (something about a Rose Bowl and Christmas travel).  We got to see some fine examples of grown adults acting like preschoolers while waiting for our car, including a woman who threw a temper-tantrum because she didn’t like the car she got.  We ended up with a giant Chrysler 300 (tip to Costco members:  look at their website for coupons… double class upgrades = really nice) that has worked quite well, and is surprisingly roomy when filled with 4 adults and one kid in a carseat.

Christmas in SoCal has been great – we’ve gotten to see a lot of people who haven’t seen Annie since last February.  They all remark on how much she’s grown, and are impressed with how well she’s getting around.  Yesterday, we had Kristie’s grandma and grandpa, and an aunt and uncle over for a late lunch.  Annie enjoyed seeing new faces, and consented to be held by someone other than Mommy or Daddy for quite a while.  She also got to have a little bit of mayo cake with ice cream.

Today, we headed over to Kristie’s grandma and grandpa’s house for lunch.  We spent a good chunk of the afternoon with them, which was really nice.  Annie crawled around in their backyard while I fixed a flower pot that had been hit by an errant golf ball, and got dirty knees for the first time.  She really liked the duck lights in her great-grandma’s backyard, and got a kick out of all the flowers that are still in bloom.  Oh, yeah – have I mentioned it’s been around 60 degrees the whole time we’ve been here?

Tomorrow we head home.  It’s been a quick trip, but we’ll be happy to be home, in our own bed,  getting back into our routine.

Merry Christmas!

Oh, yeah… the pictures. :-)  Quick disclaimer:  I, of course, didn’t have the camera with me during Christmas with my family, so you’re stuck with the pictures I did have.

We decided to do some 8×10 prints for the family, so got Annie into her Christmas dress for some nice portraits in the living room…  she was actually quite cooperative for me for a few minutes, and I was really happy with how the pictures turned out.

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The last two are the “I’m really not pleased that you are putting stuff in my hair and dressing me” pictures.

I love this shot…


“Get your hands off me!”

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One of my co-workers crocheted a really cute hat and scarf for Annie.  Baby in a basket!

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Then we had to go and explore the gate after everything was done:

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3 generations…


Annie with Soon-To-Be-Aunt Sara:


… and Opa:

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… and Tante Kari:


… and Uncle Twavith

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They went around and around and around and around…  Annie is SO close to walking, but thinks that she can get there much more quickly on her hands and knees.  She’s to the point where I can hold one hand and she’ll walk pretty well.  The second we let go, though, she sits and starts crawling.  She’s been a bit braver taking a couple of steps between Kristie and I, or between one of us and the coffee table.

… and Great-Aunt Cathy:


… and Nana:


More pictures are, as always, over on the Psychokitty Pictures site –  I’m sure I missed some here, but it’s very quickly getting much later than I had originally planned on being awake.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


This is what an over-tired (but not cranky!) baby looks like.


Singing in church

Singing in church, originally uploaded by walker_fam.


Christmas dress and Christmas tree



Tree!, originally uploaded by walker_fam.



Colin won a membership to the Seattle Aquarium in a charity auction thing at work. Today Annie and I headed down for her first trip to the aquarium, accompanied by our friends Erin and Grady! Both kids were fascinated by the giant tanks full of various colorful fish, and although neither of them took morning naps, they were both happy as the proverbial clams the entire time because there were so many amazing new things to see!

Checking out the giant fish dome.

“Mom, I’m TRYING to look at the fish–would you PLEASE stop trying to get my attention?!”

“I’m trying to say ‘wow,’ but I can’t quite make the sounds yet!”

I love the ponytail!

“If only were I a little bigger…”

The dome is huge and really gives a nice sense of being underwater.

“Hmmm… how can I get in there?”

I’m not quite sure what the lip was all about, but I’m glad I caught it on film!

I really like this pic, for some reason.

She was SO tired by this point, but didn’t fuss at all. I think she was much too busy.

We got to see the sea otters get lunch–fresh Dungeness crab! They were quite appreciative.

This reminded us that we were hungry, so we went to Red Robin and met Erin’s husband/Grady’s daddy for lunch!

All in all, a very fun day!


Mommy’s chores put Annie to sleep.


Annie can’t talk right now… She’s knitting.

Annie can’t talk right now… She’s knitting., originally uploaded by ceepdublu.

That’s my girl!


Cuties and a cutie!

Cuties and a cutie!, originally uploaded by walker_fam.


Seriously the two cutest kids in the world!


First pigtails!

First pigtails!, originally uploaded by walker_fam.


Bath time!


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Just watching the world go by!

Just watching the world go by!, originally uploaded by walker_fam.