Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Wilbanks' Family!
We had a great first Christmas with Walker. We went to all 3 of the grandparents' houses and celebrated with lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. It was also very special to be home for Christmas this year, for the first time in 2 years. It meant a lot to us to get to see everyone.

Happy 3 Months for Walker (on Christmas Eve)!
Our family on Christmas day ... the Wilbanks' family got a Wii and we had a blast playing together. I am the master bowler. I currently hold the record with a score of 221. YES! I was good at boxing for about 5 minutes, until Janet and Chris both knocked me out.
My little man is looking so LONG these days. Walker is a big boy! He weighs almost 13 pounds now (we found out because we went to the doctor with a cold, but he is fine). He laughed aloud for the first time last week, which was hilarious. He is quite ticklish!
Walker loves to swing now. He falls alseep in the swing and he can reach out and touch the little plastic animals. He is so much fun to play with!
Walker is so funny holding his hands together. He has found all kinds of new uses for those little hands, including batting at his toys and grabbing mommy's hair!
Here's his cute little velor "Baby's 1st Christmas" ensemble, which he covered in spit-up in about 3 minutes flat. He likes to spit up on whoever holds him these days.
It was probably a little too hot for his Christmas clothes, but we had to put him in them. It was almost 80 degrees on Christmas day, which was ridiculous!
Walker is always so fun when he's getting a diaper change! This is him in between Christmas outfits. He spit up all over one, so we moved on to the next.
Kirra told me, "I love you(r) baby!" and she wanted to hug and hold him, which made for an adorable pic of the two of them.
Cousin Sydney finally got to meet little Walker for the first time. She was so excited!
Kirra rocked a very sassy Christmas outfit, including fancy patent leather lace-up boots.
Kirra got a microphone for Christmas, which is so fun!! She sang "America the Beautiful" and "Jingle Bells" for all of us. She wasn't a bit shy either.
All the Walker grandkids: Brandon, Chelsea, Walker, Kenzi, Sydney, Kirra and Nicholas
I think there are 16 of us now on the Walker side of the family.
Walker with Aunt Julie, Mommy, Aunt Ashley and Uncle Kyle
(and Belle and Mei-mei, of course)
Kaylie provides excellent entertainment for Walker
My mom (Granny) with all her grandkids: Tyler, Noah, Walker, Kaylie and Connor
The weather in Deland was so warm, I really think we could have gone swimming in my sister's pool.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Photo Shoot

We did a fun little photo shoot with Walker the other day. He was in such a good mood and was talking to us and getting so excited. I was literally standing on the Wilbanks' bed to take the photos of him while Papa John was making him smile. The photos are adorable! He is really changing. Everyone says he looks mostly like Matt, but some people see a little of his momma in him too.


Our little family
Dad and Walker both fell asleep on the couch, and it was precious. We were so lucky for about 2 weeks because Walker was sleeping 7 hours a night. It was amazing! Then, in the last week, he has been back to waking up 3 times at night. We're not sure what's going on, but we're hoping he will get back to the all night sleeping again soon. We were totally spoiled by it!
I could watch him forever while he is sleeping. He just looks so dang cute!
Here's one of the times when he found his thumb. He is constantly sticking his fists in his mouth now, but it's not often that he finds his thumb.
Bath time is a lot of fun these days. Walker contentedly looks around
and enjoys the warm water.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Many Faces of the Walk-man

Life with Walker is so much fun! I know I always say that, but it's true because he is constantly growing and changing. He has some interesting new sounds that crack us up. He uses these little squeals to get our attention. And he makes the sweetest sounds when he is eating. He also smiles a lot now. One of his favorite times is talking and responding to us while he is on his changing table. He kicks and kicks and gets so excited! Plus, he has found his hands now and is constantly sticking them in his mouth. We think he is searching for his thumb (oh dear!).


We also dedicated Walker at church on Nov. 23, which was a very special day. And he did so well during the service! His first day at church was the week before, and he has done really well in the service each week. This Sunday was his first day in the church nursery, and he did great. During his dedication, he was awake when we were on stage and he just looked around and checked out what was going on. It was fun having all the grandparents at church that day, plus it was my first day singing with our worship band since Walker was born.


I have to say that I prefer baby pj's for Walker because they are adorable, so babyish and probably the most comfortable option for him. We did, however, put him in this cute little Nike windsuit, which included some sweet Air Force 1's (courtsey of Uncle Herb). He looks like a little baller. We can only hope that he will carry on the Wilbanks basketball legacy one day and join the ranks of his daddy, Papa John, great Uncle Mark, and cousins Andy and Jordan.


Thanksgiving was a lot of fun this year, especially because it was Walker's first and we had not been home for the holidays in two years. We first went to the Walker's for lunch, then the Wilbanks for dinner. Then I participated in the craziness of day-after-Thanksgiving shopping on Friday. and we went to Deland to be with my mom, two sisters and their families and my Granny on Saturday. On Sunday we went to Ocala, where my Granny lives, and we spoke at a church there that evening. We finally made it home on Monday. It was a little crazy but we loved getting to be with all of our family!

Walker fell asleep with his Granddaddy
Walker and Grandma with his cute bib, "I'm thankful for my Grandma!"
Cousin Chelsea--she's a freshman at UNF! Go Ospreys!
Walker all bundled up with Granny
Listening to cousins Noah and Kaylie as they sing Christmas carols to make him smile

Walker likes playing with his Great Granny! He's so fortunate to get to know her.
Walker enjoys his days with Jamma! They always have fun together playing and reading and singing.
Papa John is so proud of Walker. He is a "Walk hog"!
Matt's Aunt Jeannie (Janet's sister) came to visit from South Carolina. It was a special time for Walker to get to hang out with Jeannie and Alec.
It's a tradition for all of us to go shopping together on day after Thanksgiving wearing matching shirts! Aren't we so cute? Ha ha ha! It was especially fun because I hadn't been in two years. Momsie, Wendi, Angila and me (my step mom and two of my sisters)

Plus, Walker finally got to meet Bailey and Larry (from Philly), Kecia and Brian (from Atlanta), and Casey and Charles (from Cocoa), which I was thrilled about! Melissa and Amanda came over too, and it was so nice to be all together for a couple hours. Kecia lives in Atlanta, so we don't get to see her very often. We always have tons of fun when we are together. She's been my best friend since I was a sophomore in high school, so we have lots of history. We are so blessed to have been friends for so long!
Bail and I have been friends since the 7th grade. We go WAY back to the days of dressing like a boy in middle school. She lives in Philly and is getting married next year. We are so excited for her and Larry!
Here's Melissa, one of my dear friends from college. She was nervous about holding Walker at first, but she he did great with her. My first Thanksgiving in Ethiopia, Melissa, Amanda and Kecia called me to say hello and it really made my day!
Here are Amanda and Kecia. Amanda was a nanny for several years, so she has the magic baby touch. She's not scared of babies, and she even got to experience Walker filling up his diaper while she was holding him. I think it was his sign of love.
It was great to see Kecia and for Walker to finally meet her and Brian. Brian was actually the one with the baby touch. He picked Walker up and rocked him until he stopped screaming. We usually find that most folks give him back to us immediately after he starts crying. But not Brian! We told Kecia it was a sign that they need a baby too. :) They just got married in April of this year (when three of my best friends got married in the same month!), so I think they will be waiting a little while.


This past weekend we had our 2nd date night since Walker was born, and we went with two other couples to St. Augustine to eat dinner and walk around to look at the lights. It was a blast! It was weird, though, because I kept seeing cute little babies and thinking of Walker. But we know it's good to get out and have fun together, which we did!

Nate and Jill (on the right) and Chad and Morgan (on the left) have been friends since college. We are all amazed that's it's been 10 years since we met. We had so much fun at the "fancy" restaurant. We laughed so loudly that we decided we are more of Applebee's type folks...or rather Arby's? We aren't well behaved enough to hang out for too long in a nice restaurant.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

8 Weeks Already?!

Walker is already 8 weeks old! The time is flying by (just like our parents always say), and he is growing so quickly and becoming more and more expressive, which is tons of fun! He is definitely showing us his own personality these days. Looks like he is going to be at least a little stubborn (just like his mom AND his dad) because he already knows what he wants and the best way to get it.

He has been really good on family outings, such as shopping for several hours and eating at PF Chang's for Jamma's (Janet's) birthday. He definitely has a preference for being held. When we are out and he falls asleep in our arms, he doesn't like to be put down in his seat in the stroller. He likes to be held the entire time, which usually isn't a problem because we all love to hold him close. He's quite a snuggler!

I love this photo because he looks like he's resting on the arm of the couch. Plus, he is wearing one of my favorite pj's (can't believe it's a 3-month outfit). It's a gift from my friend Sarah, who lives in Oklahoma and who came to visit as a surprise for one of my showers. The outfit is appropriately covered in elephants since Sarah's hubby works as an elephant trainer at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Pretty cool! Love the matching hat! And I'm ridiculous because I like to make sure he has the matching bib and blanket when we take him out.

Last Saturday was Walker's first party, a bridal shower for Aunt Ashley. She and Uncle Kyle will be getting married on January 24th--YEY! Walker was so good hanging out with all the ladies. Looks like he is going to be a ladies' man!
This was Walker's pose during most of the shower. Apparently, female chatter and wowing over gifts makes him a little on the sleepy side.
Here's Walker with Aunt Julie, Mommy and Aunt Ashely at the shower. In case you are wondering, it has been pretty cold here lately (it's 44 outside right now!), but it was very warm last weekend, so Walker got to break out his summerish clothes again. This little hoodie outfit is terry cloth, so it's a little warmer than it looks.

This was a tough week because it was my first week back in the office. Although I love my job, it was something I was dreading and having so much anxiety about for the last couple of weeks. I was fortunate because I went in to the office for two days, then I got to work from home during the rest of the week.

This was Walker's 2nd day at Jamma's house! We are truly blessed to have our wonderful families in town to help take care of Walker. And he is having a blast at Jamma's house!! I cried the first day, but we are so comforted in knowing he is in such good hands. Jamma is having a great time hanging out with the Walk-man!! They do lots of activities like reading and singing and playing.

Can you tell it was freezing outside this week? We had Walker bundled in at least 3 layers here. He is truly a "Habesha" (Ethiopian) baby--Ethiopians always bundle their babies in multiple layers, no matter the temperature outside.
We've had so much fun with Walker this week. Getting to know him is just amazing. He is incredibly alert. I'm sure he is staring at a light in the room in this pic. That's one of his favorite things to look at besides our faces. I also think he's gonna be a Momma's boy! Everyone says he responds most to my voice, which is very flattering. No worries--he loves his Daddy too! I'm still amazed when I see photos of us together because his hair is so blonde and his eyes are such a dark blue. I just love it!

Okay, so this activity is sleeping, which Walker does well (at times). Actually, he started sleeping a little better at night this past week. We got 2 nights of 4 hours at a time, then 2 nights of 5 hours at a time, then--deep breath--6 hours in a row! We were amazed and refreshed. You know life has changed significantly when 5 hours of sleep in a row sounds like heaven!
I couldn't resist including this pic because you can see that Walker is getting some chubby rolls, which I just love! Those little thighs are adorable! We've already had to let out his car seat straps a couple times to allow for his growth.
The is the famous "burp face," which his Aunt Julie and Aunt Ashley just love. Usually he has wide eyes, but here he is falling asleep. He just loves to be burped in this position. He does not, however, like the over-the-shoulder burping. That just makes him fussy!
This is a fun pic of Walker enjoying his bouncer. He loves hanging out and even sleeping in the bouncer. We don't know what we'd do without it!
Here's another cute smile, this time after a bath. Bath time is getting much more exciting now that he's enjoying it a little more. He barely ever cries, except when we take him out to dry him off.

Here's a BIG yawn!
And the frequent wide-eyed look that really makes us think he's interested and listening to what we are saying to him.

So fun! He is smiling, cooing and even starting to giggle a little too.
Love that toothless grin!
Walker absolutely loves his floor gym (not sure if that's what it's called). It lights up and plays Mozart and has lots of colorful hanging toys. He stares at the animals and smiles and kicks. It seems like he is going to be an active boy, which his daddy will love. We're already wondering if basketball or taiji will be a future interest.

This is one of our favorite sleeping positions. Looks like he's had a hard day.
Another cute sleeping pic. He is so expressive with his little hands. And he is getting the cutest tiny dimples on his hands.

This is a sweet kiss from cousin Kenzi! We got to go on a date night for some yummy thai food--my fav!--one evening recently while Walker hung out with his Grandma, Aunt Wendi and Kenzi.