Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Dog's Life

Jason is off on a guy's golf weekend, so mother and I took Eli & Josey up to the lake for a couple of days. Being a retriever, Josey loves swimming and playing at the lake. Two summers ago when she first started going up to our lake place, she got to where she would jump off the pier into the water. Last year, when there was no water to jump into off the pier, she mostly just played in the dry lake bed. I guess she is out of practice jumping in now, cause today she was a little timid to do so. I'm sure it won't be long before she's back at it. Enjoy this photo story of her adventures with a tennis ball:
Josey playing with the ball

Josey running down the pier, ball in mouth
Uh oh, ball fell in water. Josey contemplates jumping in...
Then she contemplates taking the stairs into the drink...Finally she decides to take the easy route, going in via the beach...
And she got her ball back!
Back to playtime!

Friday, May 30, 2008

One Year Ago Today

Party Animal

Although he has been celebrating his birthday for a week now, Eli is officially one year old TODAY! Last night my parents, brother, and sister-in-law came over for dinner and a party. We kicked off the night by watching Eli open his gifts. He got some fun toys and books and his Uncle Darryl and Aunt Jesi gave him a 2007 United States Mint Uncirculated Coin Set. Then it was time for him to eat cake. He played in the icing for a while, then went for the face plant into the cake! You can't read it, but his shirt says, "It's About Time I Got Some Cake to Go With All of That Milk!"
People keep asking me if I can believe a whole year has gone by since he was born. I just tell them that my mind and body feel every second of this past year! I love having a one year old. Eli is so much fun and is really beginning to learn and grow and do so much more everyday. He notices everything and is incredibly social. He wants every person at the grocery store to stop and talk to him. He'll smile and wave at everyone and almost seems sad if they don't notice him. He still has no interest whatsoever in walking, he has 6 teeth (three on top, three on bottom), he likes to crawl and climb, he'll eat most anything, and he still likes to sleep for 13 hours a night.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Beach Trip

Jason's brother, Jim, lives in Orange Beach so the Walker family goes there as often as we can. This year we went down for Memorial Day weekend, Friday through Monday. If you've never been to the Alabama gulf coast beaches, I highly recommend it. We have soft, sugar white sand beaches leading into beautiful emerald water. Jim's condo has an indoor and outdoor pool, so we enjoyed lots of pool time as well. On Sunday morning Jason and two of his brothers went golfing, then that afternoon Jane and I did some shopping at my favorite store -- Old Time Pottery. There is wonderful outlet shopping in the area, as well as great restaurants, and plenty of entertainment for the kids.
We decided to celebrate Eli's birthday since he was there with his brothers and two of his five cousins. He ate cake, opened gifts and enjoyed himself in general. It was also Eli's first time to get in the water and boy did he love it. He didn't want to get out of the pool! Jane had gotten him a floatie (pictured below) which he could ride around in and enjoy the water. We were thrilled at how much he enjoyed being in the water, we plan to give him all the water time he wants!
Hugh and Grant had a fantastic time also, they spent lots of time playing with their new water guns, swimming, and hanging out with their cousins.
Here are some pics from out trip...although they are probably self-explanatory, I've captioned them for further explanation!

Walker Cousins
Hugh at the beach
Eli & his folks
Eli opening his birthday gifts

Cake Time!
Want Some?
Eli LOVED this floatie his Mama Jane gave him
Grant at the pool

Eli at the beach
Eli's first time in the pool...wondering if he'll like it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Secret Garden

I wanted to share some pictures of the beautiful flowers that are currently in bloom in our yard. Some of the lovely things in our yard were left to us by the previous owner. She had a man come weekly to take care of her yard and flowers. However, the majority of the current beauty of our yard is Jason's doings. I'll have to post some before and after yard pics for you some time, the work was so extensive the neighbors thought we were putting in a pool.
I know all of these plants I've photographed have fancy names, but I don't know them all so I won't even try. Some are just blooming out and some have begun to fade, like our azaleas and dogwoods (not pictured). And the Knock Out Roses you saw in the Mother's Day post below. I hope you enjoy this stroll through our yard:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Weekend!

In his bestselling book, The Five Love Languages, author Gary Chapman talks about the importance of keeping your spouses "love tank" full. In order to fill your spouses love tank, you must express love to them in the way they will most respond to it -- through their love language. The five languages of love, according to Chapman, are:

Words of Affirmation (tell them how wonderful they are and why) Quality Time (spend time with them doing what they love to do) Receiving Gifts (buy them something they want) Acts of Service (wash the dishes, cut the grass, do something for them) Physical Touch (this means hugs and cuddles guys, not sex!)

Usually spouses will have different love languages from each other, so we have to discover what ours is as well as theirs. For me, I thoroughly enjoy receiving gifts from others, however that is not what most expresses love to me. Also, I deeply appreciate it when someone goes the extra mile to do a special act of service for me. And I can't get enough of those times when Jason comes and snuggles with me on the couch. But, what really makes me feel loved and valued is for someone to just tell me so. Tell me how much you love me, encourage me. Tell me I look pretty, tell me how delicious my home cooked meal was, tell me you think I'm a great wife or mother or friend, tell me you appreciate something I did. Tell me you love the person I am, not just the things I do. When people speak words of affirmation to me it fills my heart with love.
So, back to Mother's Weekend (formerly known as Mother's Day). Jason can confirm this, but I have never been high maintenance when it comes to holidays. Keeping it simple is fine with me, and since I'm not a 'gifts' person there's not a lot of pressure to spend a lot of money or come up with the perfect present for me.
All that changed this Mother's Day. About a month ago I pointed out to Jason that Mother's Day was coming up. I reminded him that since last Mother's Day I have been pregnant twice. I have given birth, taken care of a newborn, gotten pregnant again, endured morning sickness which lasted all day everyday, and have been making preparations for having two babies in one nursery in a few short months! I told him I had earned Mother's Day this year and that my expectations were HIGH!
Now, with regard to the love languages...I was so worn down I needed them all! Not just words of affirmation, I wanted gifts, service, physical touch, and quality time too! Yes, I was quite demanding, but legitimately quite needy and let me tell you my great husband stepped up and spoke love to me so clearly my love tank might stay filled until next Mother's Day!
A brief recap of our weekend (mother's deserve much more than one day!). On Thursday night he took me to dinner sans Eli at our favorite restaurant - Sinclair's in Old Cloverdale. Thanks to a severe thunderstorm and some downed power lines our evening lasted a bit longer than expected, but we had a wonderful meal and great time together. On Friday I got a huge, beautiful spring mix of flowers. On Saturday he brought me a fun gift first thing in the morning then he proceeded to take care of Eli all day long: feeding, changing, play time, even taking Eli with him when he went out to run errands (which involved grocery shopping). Saturday night he grilled out steaks for us which we enjoyed on the fabulous new porch he just finished remodeling for us. Side note: Josey got herself a steak and potato birthday dinner Saturday night to celebrate her 2nd birthday! After dinner he gave me another sweet gift and gave Eli his bath and put him to bed. Sunday morning he gave me a precious card in which he had written some very kind words (yes, of affirmation). He had also gotten Hugh & Grant to make me the two most wonderful cards ever. Grant even drew a picture of our whole family, complete with baby girl Walker! Then it was a great day at church then to my folks' house for lunch. We walked in from their house and we all passed out for a nice Sunday nap. Then, as an extra he walked in the door from work on Monday and I passed Eli off to him and I headed out the door for a 3 hour girls night out dinner with some of my friends from church. And of course during this entire special weekend he gave me plenty of words of affirmation, which I always love!
So, here's to my husband! He always gives and gives to me, expecting nothing in return. What he gets as a result is an adoring wife who cannot do enough for him!
Here are some pics from our weekend:

Jason giving Eli a bathDarryl & Jesi feeding Eli at Sunday lunch
Daddy holding Eli

Josey enjoying her birthday dinner of steak and potato!
Girls Night Out group (13 kids amongst us and two of us are pregnant!!!)
The beautiful Knock Out Roses Jason planted in our yard (which have nothing to do with our weekend, just thought you'd like to see them!)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Weekend Fun

Eli, Josey, and I picked the boys up from school right at 3PM on Friday and headed to the lake. They were in the water before I could get out of the car! They swam until about 7:30 then came in and joined Jason and my folks for grilled hotdogs. It rained on Saturday morning, but it was still beautiful at the lake. The lake is full of clear, cool water and it was great just sitting on the porch enjoying the view.
Around 11AM Jason and the boys headed to town for the pinecar derby at church. Hugh and Grant did a great job with their cars and had a good time at the race. I went to a baby showers are so much more fun now that I have a baby of my own. I can appreciate all the neat gifts and I know everything the new mother to be is going through.
It's 8:30 now on Sunday morning and Eli is still sacked out. He picked up something at the nursery last Sunday and has been sick the past few days so I stayed home with him while everyone else went to church. You'd hardly know anything is wrong with Eli, he still has his sweet, happy disposition. I'm sure he'll be waking up soon ready to eat and play.
Grant & Hugh's cars are on the far end
Here's a picture of H&G with our Children's Minister, Jeremy

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cute Cousins

My good friend Tammy, who became my cousin after I married her cousin Jason, had a baby boy about a week after I had Eli. So, Michael and Eli are basically the same age and we have enjoyed watching them grow up together. Tammy and her family (which includes a pastor husband, Paul and a beautiful daughter, Mallory) were in town recently and we met up for lunch. Here are a couple pictures, one from when our boys were two months old and one when they are almost 11 months. They'll both be celebrating their first birthdays soon!