Monday, July 20, 2009

2749.6 Miles Later...

The Walker clan just returned from their second vacation this year, a trip along the east coast making stops in Maryland, New York City, and Boston. We traveled a total of 2749.6 miles, were in the car for a little under 53 hours, and visited 15 individual family and friends in four states. While it was fun to see family and friends and explore some of the nation's coolest cities, it was also extremely exhausting to carry out our (once again) way too optimistic and opportunistic itenerary.

We started the trip on Monday, June 6th, at 9:00 in the evening. We discovered during our Destin trip that we travel best when Amelie is sleeping, and she sleeps best at night. So, through the night we drove. We arrived at Kelly's sister's (Kim) house at the southern tip of Pennsylvania areound 6:30 in the morning. After a quick nap, we spent the rest of the morning and day hanging out, watching the MJ memorial, and eating. Kim is in the early throes of pregnancy, so Kelly spent most of the day preparing meals that could be frozen and then easily thrown in the oven for the days that Kim was too sick to care about making dinner. Later, our brother-in-law Josh came home from work, and we spent the rest of the night talking and eating ice cream.

The next day we drove an hour and a half to meet Bobby's grandfather Pop-Pop for lunch and then later meet up with more family for dinner. Although dementia and alzheimer's are hardly laughing matters, Pop-Pop seems to pull it off with a comical grace that keeps you smiling every minute you are with him. His attempt to take us to Ruby Tuesday and instead ending up at what he called I.G. Tuesdays (T.G.I.Fridays) was a great start to our day with him. Between lunch and dinner we filled our time with visiting Mom-Mom (Bobby's grandmother) in the hospital and intense games of Rummicube. We later met up with Bobby's Aunt Diane, and cousins Samantha, Emily, and Emily's son, Cameron. Dinner became different experiences for Bobby and Kelly as he had a blast with all you can eat soft shell crab, while Kelly's turkey club from the day's lunch caught up with her half way through dinner and she ralphed in both the nearest trash can and the sink of the women's restroom. Kelly remained sick the rest of the night, but all-in-all it was a good family visitation day.

The next day was Tangy day. We haven't seen her since she moved back in with her mother, so we were excited to see how life was going for her. We picked her up from her house in South Baltimore, and took her to Baltimore's touristy Inner Harbor for lunch and sight seeing. We ate a lengthy and fun lunch on the outdoor pier of the ESPN Zone. Realizing that she had not been able to do much reading since she has been back, we took her to the huge Barnes & Noble and bought her several books that should satiate her for a while. Dinner that night was back at Kelly's sister's house, so our time with Tangy was abbreviated. However, it was good to see her, and know that things are going pretty good for her.

The next morning was an early departure in order to get to NYC at a reasonable time. My three year college roommate Matthew moved to the city to attend grad school. He lives in Queens with his wife Julie and daighter Jasper. They were excellent hosts and spent the entire weekend showing us about the city like a New Yorker and not a tourist. After arriving in the city (sidenote: don't drive through Manhattan without GPS unless you love getting lost), we quickly unloaded our stuff, refreshed ourselves, and then boarded the subway headed for the Brooklyn Bridge. We walked from Brooklyn into Manhattan which was an incredible walk and view. Maybe the the most unexpected highlight was seeing midget actor Warwick Davis and his entire family pass us on mini Segways! Luckily Bobby had the camera ready, and a pic can be seen below. After the bridge we dined at a cool little mexican/spanish place called La Esquina. Bobby had to stick with the adventurous theme and had the veal tongue tacos. While not for the feint of heart, they satisfied his curious cuisine nature. Later, while the girls watched the babies and chatted back at the apartment, Bobby and Matthew went to a show/concert in Brooklyn to see an indie band called the Japandroids. Their experience was unique as the show was being held in the backroom of a bar in a room called Cameo Gallery. The small room was definitely an intimate setting as it was probably built to hold 75 people, but had easily over a 100 New Yorkian hipsters crowded around a 8x10 ft stage with enough speakers to deafen Helen Keller. However, even though Bobby is old and cantankerous, he definitely enjoyed the whole experience and wouldn't have traded it for anything.

The following day was jam packed from the moment we awoke. After french toast from our lovely hosts we headed out to Bryant Park, where Amelie had her first carousel ride and the summer day was most evidently beautiful. After a quick bite to eat we explored St. Patrick's Cathedral, before heading over to Central Park. Our walk through Central Park took most of our time, and was one of our favorite parts of the city. Because the quality day there were throngs of people everywhere. Finding a secluded place for Amelie to eat was an adventure, and eventually we nestled near some boulders, a half naked homeless guy sleeping on a cardboard box, and a couple making out hardcore, and this was our best option! Ahh...the Big Apple. After hours in the park we headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. our time inside was brief, but we saw some great pieces. The attraction that intially lured us was the monstrous art display on the roof, which accompanied expansive vistas of the Park and downtown. After an hour or two at the Met we began the trek back to Queens for some Thai takeout with the Newtons and a restful evening (sidebar: navigating the rat tunnels dubbed New York transit was interesting with the baby and stroller, but mad props to Bobby and Kelly for handling their biz with expertise). Highlight of the night had to be while waiting for the Thai food, Matthew led Bobby to a Russian grocery a few blocks from their apartment that had hundreds of craft brew choices from floor to ceiling and wall to wall, that could be purchased individually if so desired. Bobby was instantly enamored, and consequently the half hour food run turned into something longer than an hour and more expensive than intended. But what the heck, we're on vacation!

The next day began with brunch at a Mexican joint down the street from the Newton's house called de Mole. Not only was the food scrumptious, but the juices were squeezed fresh and the arrangement of food was aesthetically mesmerizing. After food, the Walker's hit the road headed for Boston. After checking in to our awesome hotel, we walked along the waterfront to get to Quincy Market and the Fanueil hall area. We decided to eat at one of Boston's oldest restaurants, the Union Oyster House. Bobby had to start with some fresh clam chowda', and although whole lobsters were ridiculously expensive both our delicious meals had lobster in them in some form or fashion.

Day two in Boston began with a trip out to Fenway Park for the tour of the stadium. We got a thorough history from a guy that looked like Mickey from Rocky. Being the All Star break, the tour was the only way we were going to get in the stadium. Sitting atop the Green Monster in left field next to Fisk's Foul Pole was one of our favorite parts. Broken subway cars, late busses, and international cabbies tried to slow us to our next destination, the Harvard Yard tour in Cambridge. However, we made it in time to catch the college student led tour and had a good time learning the history of the college in humorous fashion. We concluded our day drifting through Boston Common and the Public Gardens, and then strolling through the magnificent homes and streets that can be found in the Beacon Hill area of Boston. A quick dinner in Quincy Market followed by gelato were the finishing touches on an exhaisting days.

The next morning found us checking out of our room, and packing the car to prepare for our trip home. After that business was concluded we left our car in parking and began the main task of the day, the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a brick path that runs through Boston marking 16 historically significant places. Investigating our nation's rich history in one of the most important towns in the American saga was fun and inspiring. We started in Boston Common and wrapped up several hours later at the USS Constitution, America's oldest commissioned naval vessel. After a full day of walking we were exhausted, which we realized was a problem when we left Boston that night. Driving through the night is tiring, driving through the night and next morning is really tiring, but driving through the night and next morning after spending the previous 10 hours walking several miles through Boston was just not smart. But somehow we did not die, and we made it Bobby's aunt and uncle's lake house in North Carolina only seventeen hours after we left Boston.
We spent most of the day recouping and resting, intertwining sleep, eating, and trip to the dock through out the day. We met Bobby's cousin for dinner that night at a barbecue restaurant that had some of the best BBQ and hush puppies we ever had. Later that night Bobby and Uncle Dalane took off on the jet skis for a little pre-dusk spin around the lake. We rested that night with talking and games, because the next morning was four hours back to Athens to end our ten day jaunt up and down the east coast.

In Maryland we stayed with Kelly's sister, Kim, and brother-in-law, Josh

Two clueless peas in a pod


Pop-Pop loved playing with Amelie, and vice versa!


Hangin' with Aunt Diane and cousins Emily and Samantha

All you can eat crabs! (Bobby ate 30)


Spending time with Tangy in Baltimore's Inner Harbor


Stopping for pics on the Brooklyn Bridge


Midget movie star Warwick Davis on the Bridge!

Kelly and Amelie waiting for the carousel in Bryant Park
Group walking through iconic Central Park Mall


Kelly intertwined in the artwork on the roof of the Met


Sunday morning brunch at de Mole
One of the most tasty and aesthetically pleasing meals we've eaten


Amelie happy to finally be in Boston


Mommy and Daddy happy too!


Dinner the first night at one of Boston's oldest establishments.
Had to go for the the chowda' and lobsta' with a pint of Sam Adams


Started the next day with a Fenway Park tour

Sitting atop the Green Monster


Oldest seats left in any baseball stadium



Memorial Hall at Harvard Yard

Family pic in Boston's Public Garden

Mother/Daughter moment on a Boston Common bench

One of the first stops on Freedom Trail, the Granary Burying Ground

Vacation chaos catching up with Bobby and Amelie so a little nap in Quincy Market

Aunt Debbie loving Amelie's cuteness in NC

Amelie loves lakeside sunsets (so do her parents)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Beach Trip 2009

We love going to the beach! We had our first family vacation with Amelie on a trip to Destin this past week. We went with our good friends Katie, Chris and Bella Green, and Morgan Collins, and stayed in a condo right on the beach in West Destin. This years beach trip was very different with Amelie but still very fun. We had to keep her out of the sun because she is too young for the sun and sunscreen, which can be a challenge. Add in the fact that she needs a nap and feeding every three hours, plus can find any reason to be ornery, and you have a very different trip than we would have had just a year ago. Even with all those factors, we still had fun setting up camp every morning and just hanging out by the beach every day. Everyday was beautiful and basically consisted of beach, naps, food, naps, reading, beach, food, beach, and beach naps.

One of the best things about vacation at the beach is of course seafood, which we had our fill of the first few days. Bobby defintely kept with his theme of adventurous eating the first night out by polishing off a dozen oysters on the half shell, followed by the grilled and broiled platter that contained deviled crap, shrimp, mahi-mahi, scallops, and even more oysters. Kelly kept it simple with mahi-mahi, but that was just fine with her!

Bobby and Chris got to not once, but twice play golf while on the trip. Their first outing they were paired with some retired ex-GE execs who were great to play with. Their second outing was a lot more fun because they played later when it was cooler, and had the course literally to themselves. Between the stoagies, cold brew, and both shooting well, it was a great day of golf.

Because of kids (and old age), late nights usually consisted of two things: quick runs to the closest ice cream store for milkshakes and ice cream, and/or game nights once the kids were asleep. Uno and hotrod Uno seemed to be the favs most nights. One of the night highlights was when Morgan's friend Josh met up with us and hung around for both ice cream and Uno (what a lucky guy to be get both in one night). He seems like a great guy and we enjoyed meeting and getting to know him.

All in all Destin '09 was a blast. We had lots of quality family and friend time. Somehow we came back with neither airbrush t-shirts or tatoos commemorating our trip. Nevertheless, Destin '09 will go down in the annals of great vacations. Enjoy our pics and videos (including Amelie's first time in the ocean) below.
Family picture at the beach (Straw hat c/o '96 Olympics)

Amelie sitting pretty in her chair

Now with sunglasses off

This is what Amelie did at the beach (sleep)
Kelly and Amelie on the docks at sunset

Family pic on the docks before dinner

Bobby's dozen oysters at dinner

Bella and Chris enjoying the parrots
Amelie and Dad playing in kiddie pool

Amelie and Mommy posing by kiddie pool

Amelie modeling her bathing suit from Uncle Daniel

Morgan and Kelly with pre-dinner pina coladas

Group Picture!

Amelie's first time in the ocean
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Amelie in her kiddie pool
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Monday, June 8, 2009

Update on Amelie

We haven't been great about putting up new video and pictures this past week so here are a couple fun ones! First, she is really loving baths now. She kicks and splashes and has a great time! Bobby does a great job making bath time fun. Another video is of me trying to get her to laugh by blowing on her tummy. She had a laugh and then when we got out the camera she stopped but she still made really cute noises. And lastly, we had to include a short video of her watching Baby Einstein videos, which should be known as "Baby Crack" because of how addicted and focused she gets while watching.
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Summer Days




I (Kelly) sometimes have a problem with sitting still. Today was one of those days that I struggle with not be frustrated because I didn't get a lot accomplished...or at least all that I wanted to get accomplished. I really wanted to start painting trim today, but only got as far as sanding a little and putting a little tape up. I really want to get these little projects done around the house but since they seem somewhat insignificant, it's hard to find the motivation to do them. And it's even harder to find the time when so much of my day is consumed with taking care of Amelie. I love taking care of Amelie and wouldn't want to trade it for anything. I have to stop and put things in prespective on these kind of days that I didn't get a lot checked off my list. I need to be more thankful that I'm blessed to not only have summers off myself, but that my husband also gets to have summers off! I love us being able to be home together and not have a ton going on. I love these carefree days and I need to enjoy them while they last! We did try to go to the pool today, however we couldn't find one that wasn't packed with college kids. We are starting to realize how old we are getting when joining a private pools sounds more appealing than our normal pool hopping schemes. Things are just different now there is a little one tagging along! :)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Good job Bobby

Well, yesterday I decided to try and ruin our summer vacation. I was playing basketball and went up for a rebound, but came down on another guy's foot and rolled my ankle all the way over. And, I sprained the mess out of my ankle. It popped when it happened, so I was worried it was more than a sprain at first. But I am pretty sure it is just a sprain. Who knows though because I decided to forego medical attention and just let my wife torture me with ice baths. Anyway here are some pictures a little more that 24 hours later. Good job Bobby, good job.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Daddy Fun

So, one thing that Amelie does not dig too much is "tummy time". We do this so that she can work on her neck muscles and support, but usually after a few minutes she is pooped and cranky. Undaunted, I have finally found something that she enjoys and gets her some great neck exercise. I could explain but check out the video for best explanation. And yes, I always do the Superman theme music for her (though I can't remember if it is Superman or Star Wars because all of John Williams soundtracks seem similar to me).

-Bobby


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I finally did it!


I have been couponing, thanks to Katie Green, for a couple months now. I have been trying to save more than I spend and haven't been able to do it yet. I've done good in that I've saved at least 50% of what I spend each time I go but I really wanted to do better than that! On Saturday, I finally accomplished my goal in saving more than I spent! I spent $45 and saved $52!!! :) I was super pumped! The challenge of trying to save more than you spend has actually made grocery shopping more enjoyable for me. I guess it's my competitive nature coming out! :)
-Kelly

Monday, May 18, 2009

Amelie--12 weeks







Amelie is starting to hold onto things. She hasn't reached out to grab something on her own yet, but when she gets a hold of something she doesn't easily let it go. She also loves to sleep with her mouth open and the other night her tongue stayed on the roof of her mouth.
- Kelly

Amelie Talking

Amelie is talking more and more! I love all the noises she makes! She is mesmorized by the camera so as soon as she sees it she stops what she is doing and focuses very intently on it...but this video is pretty good! :) Enjoy!
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Friday, May 15, 2009

Amazing Sister


Thursday my sister, Katie, came up to Athens to hang out with Amelie and I. She has been helping me out a lot lately and I am super grateful! I'm glad that her school schedule has allowed her the time to be able to come up. I love our lunch dates and being able to hang out and hear what's going on in her life. She came up to help me with Amelie while I had a precancerous spot removed at the dermetalogists. So it was nice to be able to have that done without worrying that Amelie would get upset and I wouldn't be able to do anything about it. They strolled around downtown Watkinsville and enjoyed the nice day. I just found out that she got accepted into UGA for the Fall! I'm super excited not only for the great experiences she will have by being a Bulldawg but also for her being SO close to us! I'm looking forward to more Katie time in the future! :)
By the way, this is an old picture...which I realized with Katie yesterday that I don't take that many pictures any more. I need to get better about taking pictures of friends & family because my photo gallery is definitely lacking!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesday

Amelie can be propped up and stay like that for awhile. Love this outfit!! :)
Lately, she has not liked baths. She cries & cries...or at least when I do them. But daddy has the magic touch. She does great while he gives her a bath.

Walking at the park with the soccer team in the background.





Bobby playing ultimate frisbee. He's the one in the red shirt! Good luck trying to spot him! :)


Silly face! :)





I love how she is SO relaxed after she eats!


























I haven't posted pictures in a while, so I thought I would take a minute and post a couple from this week. Tuesday nights Bobby plays ultimate frisbee with a group of people and really enjoys getting out and exercising while having fun. This Tuesday, Amelie and I decided to join him but to walk around the track while he played. Unfortunately, they were on a different field so Amelie and I would only see them briefly as we passed by their field. The field they normally play on had a little kids soccer practice going on. It was super cute to watch them practice! There were parents sitting on the lawn watching. There were other parents entertaining younger siblings on the nearby playground. There was one dad who decided to introduce his youngest, who was about 3ish, to honeysuckles and how to eat them. It was super cute watching them and listening to a little of their dialogue. It made me excited about one day introducing Amelie to this sweet summertime treat. :) It was a fun evening enjoying the beautiful weather!

Today Amelie is wearing a super cute outfit and I had to take some pictures! She's at a point now where she can sit propped up which is super cute. As I type she is sitting in my lap in her favorite pose of facing me while propped up on my knees and she is pooping. Is it possible that her poop smells like bacon? I did eat a BLT yesterday for lunch...hmmm.....