Sunday, November 30, 2008


Every other year we spend Thanksgiving down at Orange Beach with Jason's family. November is a great time to be at the beach, the temp is usually comfortable enough to really enjoy being outside (it was in the low 70s this year). We arrived on Thursday in time for Jason to fry up a turkey and for my mother-in-law and I to finish off the sides. The kids spent a lot of time in the indoor pool, even Margaret got in on the action and had her first swim. On Friday the guys (Jason, two of his brothers and his dad) went golfing then Friday afternoon we had a birthday party for Hugh's 10th birthday which was that day. Friday night while the kids swam, Jason and I got to sneak away for a nice dinner. We went to Louisiana Lagniappe, which is now my new favorite restaurant in Orange Beach. Lagniappe, pronounced LAN-yap, is an old Creole word which means a little something extra. It is located in San Roc Cay, right on the Bay. The beautiful interior decor is only trumped by the delicious food. I had crab cakes and fried shrimp and Jason had cajun shrimp. You're particularly in luck if you're a fan of grouper, as they serve it up every delicious way imaginable. Next time you're in the area, I highly recommend it if you're looking for a nice night out...don't take the kids, this upscale experience is one for the adults to enjoy.
Hugh & Grant on the beach:
Walking the beach:
Eli just kept walking right on into the water up to his knees, then he freaked cause he didn't realize what he was doing:
Eli & cousin Bailey
Eli wanted More Cake!
Hugh's Party:
Jason and two of his three brothers (Craig, Jim & Jason):
Margaret, Hugh, Eli, Grant:
Jason and the guys went golfing on Friday:

Bailey, Craig, & Carson:
Jason, Craig, and the Walker cousins:
Margaret Jane in her first bathing suit!
Eli was ready to hit the beach:
Hugh requested homemade cranberry sauce so I made some for him:

Eli climbed his first tree:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Our First Thanksgiving

The picture above is from our first Thanksgiving together, November 2004. We celebrated the day at Jason's brother Jim's condo in Orange Beach, AL. We also celebrated Hugh's 6th birthday. We will be in Orange Beach again this Thanksgiving and will celebrate Hugh's 10th birthday. Thought you might enjoy seeing these pictures from our first Thanksgiving.

Jason's brother Jim taking out the Apple Pie:
Hugh's birthday lunch at The Original Oyster House:
Jason & Jim:
Ronda cooking up some sweet potato casserole:
Hugh & Grant:
Making Hugh's birthday cake:

A Day is as a Thousand Years

If you've ever been a new mother raise your hand. Now, if your child is older than three years raise your hand. Okay, I'm talking to YOU!
They say (whoever they is) that at some point after giving birth a woman will forget the worst parts of labor and delivery and opt to get pregnant again. Should she not forget the worst of it, the theory goes, no woman would ever have more than one child. The same must be true for the newborn years. (did I say years?) Women, (and in the case of very involved fathers, men) tend to forget how hard it is to have a newborn once that little cracker gets to be about three years old. It is at that point that they start hovering around new mothers, smelling their little babies, getting all googley, and saying those words I hate to hear, "Oh, it goes by so fast".
Have you ever said this to a new mother? Keep reading cause I'm really talking to YOU! As a new mother in the throes of late nights, diapers, and feedings I can tell you it does not go by so fast. In 2 Peter 3 the Bible says that "...with the Lord one day is as a thousand years..." I can say that with a newborn one day is as a thousand years as well!
Now, I have no doubt in 5...10...30 years I will sit around with my girlfriends as we watch our babies graduate high school, get married, and have families of their own and we will all get misty eyed and say "where did all the time go?" "IT WENT BY SO FAST". But, trust me, that ain't happening now.
So the next time you are tempted to tell a new mother how quickly this time goes by, please don't. She does not want to hear it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Warning: opinions expressed below

Yesterday we took Margaret up to Children's Hospital in Birmingham. She's been a noisy breather since the day she was born. Very noisy. Eli was the same way but our doctor was not concerned so neither were we. We never got him checked out and sure enough he grew out of it. Now, everyone around us panics a little when they hear Margaret. They want to know what is wrong with her. Does she have a cold? Is she in distress? Can she be fixed? Because as my brother never fails to mention - she struggles for every breath!
As you know from my previous ramblings, Margaret is a wonderfully happy baby. She eats well, sleeps well, and is generally a very content baby. So, I have not been worried about her noisy breathing. However, at her 2 month appointment her pediatrician suggested it might be time to take her to Children's for a pulmonary evaluation. I tried to talk him out of it, because I believed there was nothing wrong with her. But I caved in when he said we could wait 4-6 weeks before taking her to Birmingham in the event her breathing cleared on up. However, when you're referred to a specialty clinic you take whatever appointment you are given. We went yesterday.
It was the first time either Jason or I had ever been to Children's Hospital and we were very impressed. The facility is very nice, filled with beautiful kid-friendly artwork, murals, and toys. Since Christmas is upon us, there were about 30 Christmas trees in the main lobby. My comment was, "this is a great place to come unless you have a sick child".
Now on to the point of my post. Margaret is just fine. There is nothing wrong with her save for a tiny baby esophagus which the doctor said will strengthen and expand as she grows and she will outgrow her noisy breathing. No surprise to us. But, here's what I feel the need to comment on. There was tiny Margaret Jane, lying flat on her back in nothing but a diaper, her arms bound above her head, her legs wrapped tight to make them immobile, starving because she had to stop eating at 6AM, and being force fed barium (a liquid the patient drinks so stuff will show up on the x-ray). She was very upset and screaming her head off. The nurse turned to me and asked, "is she usually this fussy?" I let that one slide. Then, the nurse conducting the test said, "we are watching the monitor for acid reflux". Then, almost as if she was excited to find it she said, "Yep, there it is. She's got acid reflux". Jason and I looked at each other and if he hadn't said it I would have. He said, "Well, if you strapped me down to a table naked and force fed me barium you could give me acid reflux too". And all day long everyone kept asking us if Margaret spits up. Okay, people, here's the deal. Babies spit up. All babies spit up. Why do we have to hang a label on spitting up? Do some babies have a more severe spitting up condition that makes it difficult for them to ever eat or sleep? Of course. Let's get those babies help. But talk about over diagnosing something. We weren't there because she spits up, we were there because she breaths like Darth Vader. Stop trying to find something wrong with her! I won't go through the laundry list of medical issues that I believe are grossly over diagnosed in our society today since I'm probably offending enough people with my acid reflux rant. But, why do we have to put a label on every bodily function then throw a bunch of medicine at it? It would have been so easy for the medical staff at the hospital to convince us that something was wrong with Margaret, especially if that was what we wanted to hear. It was an interesting game that could have gone either way. We could have left there with a prescription for some pills to give our healthy two month old, or as it happened we ignored the suggestions that something minor could be wrong with her and we just left -- very thankful our child is healthy as we were surrounded by some very sick little children. Props to the doctor we saw (after 2.5 hours of waiting) because when she mentioned the acid reflux from the test we told the doc that MJ doesn't have it. She took our word for it and said, "Yeah, I could diagnose anybody with acid reflux from those tests".
My point exactly.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Hugh!

In the Walker family we feel one day is simply not enough to celebrate a we celebrate birthdays all month long! November is Hugh's birthday month. He is 10 years old on November 28! His celebration started this past Sunday when he got together with some of his buddies for pizza and a movie - Madagascar 2. His birthday will continue with a big party at the beach during Thanksgiving. Here are some pics from the pizza party:

Jason & the birthday boy:

Eli giving Hugh a birthday kiss:
Eli holding court at the party:
Hugh, Grant, & Eli:
Hugh & his buddies at Mellow Mushroom:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Margaret Who?

Today is my Dad's birthday, so Jason and I had the family over for supper. I made my usual chili & cornbread. We had a wonderful evening visiting, eating, and watching a little college football. Mother's best girlfriend from high school, Becky, is in town from Geneva so she came for the party. And, my standing joke is that Eli is SUCH the center of attention in our lives these days I refer to our baby girl Margaret as 'Margaret Who?' cause it's truly all about Eli! Here are some pictures from our fun birthday get together:

Eli insisted he help Daddy open his gifts:
Mother and Margaret Who:
Here's my signature dish, chili topped with cheddar, cornbread, sour cream and chives:
Jason, Me, and Margaret Who:
Hey, here's Darryl & Jesi w/ Margaret Who, I guess she did get a lot of camera time tonight:
Jason and Darryl playing pool before supper:
Sweet Josey puppy is also an oft forgotten member of the family in light of the true star, Eli:
Eli's favorite person at the party was BY FAR his Daddy Ron:
Here's Mother's girlfriend Becky with Margaret, Becky held MJ a lot tonight!

Another pool shot with the dining table & Jesi in the background:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Margaret Jane at Two Months

Margaret Jane had her two month check up yesterday and she is doing very well. According to the blasted growth chart (which you know I hate), she is on track to be tall and skinny. We'll see. She was just sweet as pie for her appointment, up until it was time to give her three shots. She quickly calmed down, then slept for several hours afterward.
If you've been anywhere near my daughter, you've heard her breath. Even if you've been down the street from my daughter, you've heard her breath! (If you recall, Eli was the exact same way - loud breather and he got over it completely -- eventually.) The doctor hoped her breathing would have gotten better by now, so he wants us to take her up to Children's Hospital in Birmingham for a heinous battery of tests to see if she has a problem. He does not think she has anything serious and he believes this will clear up soon. So, we're going to wait about 6 weeks until we take her up there and pray it clears up in the meantime.
Margaret is a very content baby who eats and sleeps well and smiles a lot.
Happy 2 Month Birthday Margaret!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Kids Are Funny

Had to share these three funny things our kids said lately:

1. I cooked some Toaster Strudel for breakfast this morning. I cooked them in the oven, and Jason asked me if we have a toaster. I said, "No, we got one for a wedding present but it caught on fire". Hugh's eyes got really big and he said, "It caught on fire at the wedding"?

2. Eli crawled up onto the couch to sit by Jason. Smelling him, Jason said, "Eli, you stink". At that point our little one year old looked up at him and said, "I know, I pooped".

3. Since they live with two girls, I've been training our older boys to knock before they open any door. I was in the nursery when Hugh came in and asked, "Is anyone in the bathroom"? I said, "I don't know, did you knock"? He said, "Yes, but no one answered".

Kids are funny.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Last night we took the kids to the Fall Festival at our church. Eli isn't quite old enough to get what is going on, but he sure got that people kept handing him his favorite treat...Tootsie Pops!
Eli dressed up as Scooby Doo. We taught him to say Rut Ro (he couldn't get the Raggy part). He was very cute in his costume and didn't even mind the Scooby hat on his head as long as the strap didn't cover up his mouth and prevent him from enjoying his juice. Margaret Jane was a pumpkin as you saw in the pictures from the Pumpkin Patch. Hugh & Grant were ghosts this year, we stopped by and Trick-or-Treated with them on our way to the church.

This is Scooby in his carseat en route to the festival:
Eli wasn't sure who was behind the masks...he had to lift up Grant's mask and when he saw who it was he just giggled with excitment!
Daddy Ron met us there to enjoy the fun:

This is Margaret Jane and her cousin Thomas. No, that is not a ghost standing behind them, I had to edit out a random woman who got in the shot and I'm not very good at iPhoto editing.

Life with two babies

It's been an adventure having two little ones to take care of every day. Two in diapers makes for an entire day of holding, feeding, changing, playing, etc. Some days are just plain exhausting, but every day has it's funny moments:

Here Eli is doing his favorite disobedient act, climbing up onto the coffee table and walking around. He knows he's not supposed to do this, but it seems any time I'm feeding Margaret Jane, this is just what he wants to do. Sometimes he'll stand up there, raise his arms in the air and say "Get DOWN".

Then there are times when sweet Eli decides he will help me clean house and he'll dust the table:
The other day I tried to take some cute pictures of Margaret, it was not going well anyway...
And then Eli came onto the scene and it was over!