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Current Location:my Dad's work
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Subject:Daddy's work!
Time:03:12 pm
Current Mood:gigglygiggly
We got to visit Daddy today at his work. I am really proud of my Dad and his new job. He took me inside and introduced me to all of his work friends. They were all really nice to me. Ed even gave me a car to play with - and then he let me take it home! Joe has some pretty cool motorcycles that vroom all by themselves!

Daddy has been working really hard at his new job. He leaves before we wake up and then he gets home at dinner time. I know that it is really hard for him, and sometimes I am not very nice when he comes home. I know that he loves me though. He calls me from work during the day to check in on me - and then he takes me to the park sometimes at night.

I hope Mom takes us back to visit Dad again soon!

Will

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Subject:CA: The List
Time:02:52 pm

I haven't had the time I need to blog sufficiently about our move here to CA. However, in response to a friend's email I created this list, which I thought explained our first three weeks living here really well. Enjoy!

Number of times we've ridden the bus: 2
Number of times we've eaten as a family: 14 (plus weekends)
Number of times a kid has fallen into the pool: 1
Number of times a kid has escaped and run down the street: 7
Number of museums we've been to: 5
Number of times Will has told us that he hears the doves: ENDLESS
Number of story times we've been to: 4
Number of kid proof door handles we've bought: 7
Number of door handles in the house: 9
Number of friends the boys' have made: 4
Number of new teeth Walker has: 1
Number of celiac disease books I've purchased: 6
Number of celiac disease books I've read: 3/4 of 1
Number of new recipes I've tried: 5
Number of times I've seen Wicked: 1
Number of nights Will has slept with us: 7 (and counting....)
Number of times I've mowed the lawn: 3
Number of times I've moved the lawn with Walker on my shoulders: 3
Number of times we've played hide-and-seek in the backyard: 2
Number of trips to the beach: 1 (I know, we're lacking in that area)
Number of times I've been glad that we are here: every day
Number of times I wish we were somewhere else: every once in a while (usually when paying for parking or looking at smog)
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Current Location:family room
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Subject:The New Room
Time:03:06 pm
Current Mood:indescribableindescribable
It has been a long time since I have updated our blog - and it is long overdue. Since my last post, which was 39 weeks ago, so many things have changed. I'm writing this in June but I'm back dating in order to put other entries in the right order.

Walker is no longer a baby - not by a long shot. As of today he is almost twenty-two months old and is quite the toddler. Each email that I get from the 'Parent Center' with developmental updates on what a twenty-two month old is like, I cannot help but laugh at how much he is like the typical toddler. He has his mood swings (especially thanks to three incoming teeth) and giggles a lot. He climbs everything and one of his favorite things to do is hang onto the door handles and swing like a monkey.

Will turned a three a couple of months ago - and is in full speed towards adulthood! We signed him up for preschool the other day and I'm not sure if he is going to make it through the summer as he is so excited! He told us the other day that he favorite things are (in order of favorite): fans, propellers, windmills, and semi-trucks.

Of course our largest change has been our move from our home in Utah to our new home here in CA. The boys have done incredibly well with the change. Every once and a while they ask for their old home and everyday they ask for one of their friends or family. It is easy to explain where the friends and family are, and it helps that they both know how to work the phone enough to call. It is harder to explain where their old home is - and why we cannot go back there. Given that I feel the same way about seeing people and my old home, it is a conversation that always tugs at my heart.

Still we are all adjusting really well - and are getting to know are new backyard which includes the ocean, Disneyland, museums galore, and places to visit around every corner. The boys ask each day what 'adventure' we are going to have. I have lots of pictures to put up - but first things first.

The best part of a new move for me is getting settled physically settled into the new place. Given that our new home is the home I spent most of my life in, the boys were familiar with it, E was already living here, and of course I was 'at home'. E and I wanted the boys' room to have the feel of their old room with a little new to note the change.

When we opened their door they were so excited - maybe it was to see their beds again. More likely it was the fact that most of their toys were out in the open and easily accessible! They have spent hours playing in here, reading stories with Papa and KK, and listening to E sing his songs.








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Current Music:NPR
Current Location:kitchen table
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Subject:New discoveries!
Time:10:17 am
Current Mood:busybusy
My goodness! Time sure does fly and when you find yourself getting behind it seems that time speeds up. It has been far too long since I have been on here updating everyone on the adventures of our two-some. Since I last wrote a lot has happened, but most importantly- Walker turned one!

I have a lot of updating to do, but since that seems a bit overwhelming at the moment I figured I would just put up some pictures from our recent fun yesterday. One baby step will make all the difference!

I learned two news things from my boys yesterday. While on the phone with my best friend TJ, who has a little one only a day older than Walker, I mentioned that Walker hasn't been able to drink through a straw yet. Well he must have been offended by that announcement because the next thing I know is he is pointing to Will's straw and asking for one. (Ok he doesn't ask he just groans) So I get one, accompanied by a yogurt smoothie, to see what happens. Not only can Walker drink through the straw, after a few minutes of figuring it out, he CHUGS! Walker downed that smoothie faster than I can eat a Krispy Kreme donut! It was gone in less than ten seconds. He was quite thrilled and went on to eat the rest of his and Will's PBJ.



During this I had given Will one of Walker's teething rings, since we are trying to learn to share and it goes both ways. Well Will had also discovered something new. The teething ring makes for a pretty cool crown! The great thing about this is that once he finally got my attention (Mom! Mom! Look at me Mom! Mom, look at my face!) and I asked him what he was doing he said,

'I'm a Queen!' This announcement just about put me in stitches, which of course made Will even more assured that he is a Queen!



As you can tell our house continues to be full of energy, excitement, and well new discoveries! I hope to have some updates posted, especially Walker's birthday pictures, in the next little bit and will keep you all posted on things!

Much love,
Momma B
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Current Location:sitting on the coach next to Eric, like it should be
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Subject:When children attack....
Time:12:55 am
Current Mood:beyond exhausted
Eric took Walker to the Dr for his 9-month visit. Yes, we are a little late. Knowing that brought a ton of relief to the poor nurse who was wondering how to break the news that Walker's head had taken an enormous size leap in only three months. Learning that he is actually 11 months old calmed her right down.

As the Doctor finished the exam she reminded Eric that we needed to make sure to continually babyproof the house. She knew, as anyone who is around Walker for five minutes knows, that he is non-stop motion. When Eric walked in the door he mentioned to me her advice, and specifically commented on the fact that their art table might be of particular hazard.

A few hours later I shut the kids in their room so I could vacuum. When I turned off the vacuum and heard relative silence, I knew immediately something was wrong. I'll have to check but I'm pretty sure the 'Worst Case Scenario Survival Guide' has not come up with directions on what to do...

when children attack!!

(I'm thinking of calling this 2WW, instead of WW2)










By the way, Walker's Dr appointment went well! He is in the 50% for weight, 75% for height, and 95% for head. Just as advanced as Will was at this age! It's those heads. Hey, I can say that, I'm their mother!

Love to each of you,
Shell
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Subject:July 4th Pictures are finally up!
Time:01:08 pm
I finally took some time (trust me, it's hard to find!) to get the July 4th entry in! The boys sure had fun - and Will & Walker enjoyed it too!

Love,
Shell
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Current Music:none
Current Location:Mom's lap
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Subject:Four things you should know about me!
Time:03:49 pm
Current Mood:accomplishedaccomplished
Not to be underdone by my younger brother, and given that I am changing just as much as he is, here are the four things I think you should know about me. And unlike Walker I did not need any help from Mom! (though any spelling errors are HER fault!!)

Four Things You Should Know About Me, by WPB.

One (Uno, Un, Yat): I play favorites. Don't be offended if I don't want to sit on your lap, don't want to color with you, or start crying when you make any sort of suggestion that involves me and you versus someone else. I do this with my Mom and Dad. I do it with everyone. I even do it with my food. If you treat me nice, and not just nice but better than anyone else, well then you are my favorite. And you know if you are one of my favorites, don't you. My two favorite things? Peanut butter sandwiches, and me! Good self-esteem, check!



Two (Dos, Deux, Yih): While I might play favorites so that I can get the best bang for my buck- I love my family. I never want to leave Grandma Steph's house, or have Grandma KK there. At night I ask for Papa Paul to read me stories, even when I know he's not here. I remind myself of 'mui cuidado' like Grandpa Karl says so that I'm careful. No one sings songs as good as my Dad and no one makes me feel better after an owie like my Mom. And while he bugs me when he takes my toys, no one makes me laugh as much as Walker.



Three (Tres, Trois, Saam): I am fascinated by how things work. Where Walker is go-go-go with his body I am go-go-go with my mind. I can sit and read book after book after book. I can sit and spin a wheel around and around, just watching it turn. I go through most of the day with each a book, a car, or a puzzle in my hands. I'm easy to babysit (hint, hint) for that reason! I just sit and entertain myself!



Four (Quatro, Quatre, Sei): I am smarter than you (especially you Mom and Dad) give me credit for. Walker surprises people by out-thiking their diversion tactics. I surprise people by out-thinking them. Period. Ask me where Illinois is, or Louisiana. Or one of the other thirty states that I somehow know. Listen to me try to reason with you. Watch me read all of the letters off the freeway signs. You'll be surprised at what I can tell you.
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Current Music:none
Current Location:Mom's lap
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Subject:Four things you should know about me!
Time:01:37 pm
Current Mood:bouncybouncy
Mom says I've been doing a lot of changing lately. It's true. So we thought it would be a good idea to update you on the four things you should know about me, in case you don't know them already.

Four Things to Know About Me, by WRB

1) Stay out of my way. I know what I want, where I'm going, and how to get there. If you get in my way I'll surprise you with my resourcefulness. I can climb over things, pull myself up, or move you right out of the way. Plus, if I'm really frustrated with trying to get something I'll growl at you.


2) I'm just moments away from walking. I've been walking around with the aid of the stroller, hippo, and stool for the last two months. As soon as I figure out that I'm capable of walking life as my parents now know it will be over. See the above. It will just get better!


3) I don't say any words yet but I mimic almost everything that gets said. It might not sound right but there are the same amounts of syllables and similar phonic sounds. Grandma KK loves it because I say 'What's that' when someone says it to me. Just because you don't understand me doesn't mean I'm not making sense. Mom and Dad sometimes think there is an echo when talking to me. And I just love to 'talk' on the phone!



4) I was aptly named. Walker for the Walker side of my family. They're loud, opinionated, and busy-busy-busy. Ryan for my Uncle who is just like me, except bigger. He's tough and hyper and makes funny bodily noises. He also is just as loving and tender as he is tough - and I love to be cuddled in between my bouts of adventure. I'll climb right up into someones lap to get a hug before I wiggle my way back down to the ground to play. Do you do that too RyRy?
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Current Music:unwrapping of presents
Current Location:Shell's birthday party
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Subject:Happy Birthday Shell!
Time:01:26 pm
Current Mood:excitedexcited
Happy Birthday to Mommy,
Happy Birthday to Mommy,
Happy Birthday dear Mommy.
Happy Birthday to you!

Will and Walker went shopping with me to pick out Shell's birthday gift. I chose my gift and let gave Will some directions for picking out a gift to give Shell from him. I took him to the jewelry aisle and told him to pick one thing. He came back with two. Both anklets. He made the final decision based on the fact that one had a heart and the other did not. Good call Will.

Will and Walker then got to decorate the bag for Shell. We got a picture of the boys with Shell opening their gift but I wish I had pictures of Will trying to choose the gift. It was classic William - he was very deliberate.

Happy Birthday Shell/Momma B.
We love you,
Eric & the boys

PS- for any of you out there who are curious, Shell celebrated the 7th anniversary of her 21st birthday.



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Current Music:soothing silence
Current Location:computer chair, watching for spiders
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Subject:Spiders...
Time:06:50 pm
Current Mood:teary-eyed
Have you ever watched a spider crawl? Their long legs stretched out, tip-toeing their way across the floor or up the wall. No announcements really of their coming and going. These quiet creatures exist in our world, most of time without us even noticing. In the past few days I've seen more spiders that I wish to think about. What is so striking to me about spiders is that these soft, tentative creatures have such a way of sneaking up on you and causing great amounts of trepidation.

I sat today in Will's room, adjusting his new shoes on his feet. Size 5. They are a little too big but these Thomas the Tank Engine sneakers are fully equipped with a Thomas picture on one side and train track style Velcro buckles. Will, of course, loves these shoes. Immediately he was up, running around the house 'This is how we run', and no doubt imagining that he was racing around a track like Thomas.

As he left with Eric he'd stop every few steps to look back down on his shoes. I'd look at the shoes too. I'd look at this little boy with his size five tennis shoes. And I realized how much these shoes tell me how fast he's growing. It sounds strange, I'm sure, to those of you who don't know me well or don't emotionalize things like I do. Somehow these shoes, along with every new thing he explores or learns, are like spiders. Quietly tip-toeing their way into my world, making me notice how fast my first born is quietly growing...

...which like the spider, causes great amounts of trepidation.
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Current Music:birds chirping
Current Location:red picnic bench
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Subject:Diving lessons!
Time:07:07 pm
Current Mood:energeticenergetic
I bet none of you know what a great diver I am! In fact, until today I did not even know.

But the story of my diving day starts before my dive, so let me tell you. Mom invited some of her friend, and therefore some of my friends (I like how that works) to come swimming today! Walker and I love to swim but it is so much better when I have my friends here. So N and A came over with AG. The weather was a little gloomy but the pool felt great! My friends and I were having so much fun. Here is N showing us his signature smile:


And here is A. She looks like she's screaming but she's not mad. She kept making me laugh!


This is AG and his Mom. His Mom is really nice and lets me come over a play a lot. She even thinks I'm nice!


After we swam for a while I got done. I'd been swimming the night before and wasn't really excited to be in there for too long. So Mom took me inside and changed my clothes. She also let me bring out a couple of trucks. I think she was just being nice but not being so smart.

About five minutes after we'd been back out there I drove my truck right into the water, and took my first dive! I was not very happy about it and have told everyone I can about it. Fortunately N and A's Mom was right there and got me out of the water fast. I was pretty mad, especially when Mom did not really react and immediately went to go get the camera. I cheered up though as soon as I realized how funny it was. Plus Mom showed me the picture and you all know how much I love seeing myself!



We got to have lunch together too! My days are a lot better when my friends are around. It was funny because AG asked for ketchup for his carrots. I thought that was weird at first, especially because I don't like to eat my carrots. Then I saw his genius! You use the carrots as a ketchup delivery system! Just dip, eat the ketchup, and reuse. Brilliant! By the end of lunch we were all doing it.




It was such a fun day and I am hoping that my friends will come back this week and swim some more. We'll have to see if I can get Mom in a good mood!

Love,
Will
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Current Music:snap, crackle, pop
Current Location:Grandma Steph's house
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Subject:I'm a Yankee Doodle Sweetheart!
Time:11:49 pm
Current Mood:chipperchipper
Hi Friends,

It has been such a glorious day! I cannot believe that I've missed lots of July 4ths before this one! I mean, watching Dad, RyRy, and Victoria get so thrilled just to light things on fire was worth all the wait! Not to mention how cool the fireworks were!

There are lots of pictures so I'll let the pictures do most of the talking. I just can't wait now for the 24th of July when we get to do some more fireworks!

Happy 4th of July to each of you!
Love,
Walker Ryan

Grandma Steph made us a really good dinner. I had a little bit of everything!


It wasn't long after dinner when the firecrackers got started!
Will was a little scared of them.



The party then moved to the street! PARTY!!!


Here's the newlyweds getting their flame on:


Will really wanted to watch the firecrackers but from a distance. I was so bummed because had they given me a firecracker I would have loved it. I only got to watch.




Mom finally let me get kind of close. I just wanted to grab on and, well, probably eat them!

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Current Music:just the noise of the vacuum
Current Location:my bedroom
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Subject:Housekeeping 101
Time:11:22 pm
Current Mood:productiveproductive
I know my Mom and Dad do a lot around the house, but really how hard can it be? Mom thinks I'm afraid of the vacuum, but really I just know that if I act afraid them I get out of the housework. Today though I had to show her how to do it. Every day she vacuums but I just know the better way to do it.

Let me demonstrate:

First, you get the vacuum out and stretch it:


Then you take the vacuum and drag it around on the floor:


And then you vacuum in all of the hard to reach places:


That is Housekeeping 101. You can thank me later Mom!

Love,
William
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Current Music:Robbie Williams
Current Location:kitchen table, playing Canasta
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Subject:A day in the life...
Time:10:24 pm
Current Mood:accomplishedaccomplished
They were both worried. When they had heard that Eric and I had offered to both of them Laura and Debbie almost said 'No way'. What had we done to worry them so? We'd volunteered to watch their kids. Neither Eric or I thought anything of it but we hadn't really thought of the fact that we'd have six kids ranging in age from 9 months to 4 years. Only then did we both have a moment of reconsideration.

But oh were we all wrong! This is what the life as a kid should be. Will and Walker were thrilled to have the house full of their friends and Will was particularly eager to have fun and show off his toys.

So we entertained A & N, brother and sister, and M & S, also brother and sister. Oh what fun!

The kids did a great job playing together in the front room and Will's room. I was so glad to have most of Will's toys finally put to use. In fact I think some toys had never been played with until today!



After they played for a while the fighting about toys started - so we shifted the fun from the toys to lunch. It was fun to watch each kid eat. Each kid ate differently and it was a relief to see that Will wasn't the only picky one! Lunch was the good ole' standby of peanut butter & honey sandwiches plus fishy crackers and fruit cups. Someone once told me that after having kids I'd no longer be able to eat peanut butter (one of my faves). That hasn't changed- but my desire for a fruit cup no longer exists!

The best part of lunch was listening to M & N, who are the same age, talk to each other across the table. They know each other from our playgroup but this was the first time that I've seen them interact in a pseudo-adult conversation. Will and A just kind of stared at each other.

The post-lunchtime activity one was hilarious to watch! Eric and I had made shortbread cookies while they were playing before lunch and after lunch we decorated them. Just as each kid eats differently each one has their own artistic flair. Some ate their cookies, maybe they were completely dissatisfied with their work. Others dumped as many sprinkles on them as possible. Will, well he licked the big red circles before putting them on. Quite a pretty picture.



S and Walker kept themselves pretty well entertained. They sure seemed to communicate well given the fact that neither of them really speak, especially Walker. While the others were frosting (aka eating) cookies S and Walker were taking a nap together. Walker in the swing in his room and S in the crib. I wasn't sure that it would work, but it did. Of course that gave me lots of confidence to put into action the plan to have Will and Walker share rooms now.

The kids all seemed both happy and sad to see their parents arrive. I took pleasure in the fact that everyone had a good time - and of course I feel all ready to do it again!

At the end of the day THIS is how the boys' room should look:
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Current Music:none
Current Location:Ekstrand Family Room
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Subject:Happy Father's Day!
Time:11:25 pm
Current Mood:contentcontent
My boys have been fortunate to have so many men in their lives to support them and love them.

Happy Father's Day to:

Eric - I am so glad that we get to experience this journey of parenthood together. Our boys love you, as do I.

Grandpa Karl, Papa Paul- the two best grandfathers two boys could ever have!

GreatGrandpa Ted 'Pop' and Robert 'Bob' - who act like the world exists if only for Will and Walker

And all of the wonderful other men who are part of the lives of William and Walker.

With appreciation,
Shelly

Here is a picture from our Father's Day celebration in So. Cal with the Ekstrand clan.
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Current Music:NPR
Current Location:the couch
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Subject:CA & DC Trip
Time:11:19 pm
Current Mood:exhaustedexhausted
I know many of you are excited to see pictures of the boys from their trip with their Ekstrand Grandparents in CA as well as the pics from Eric and my trip to DC.

Just getting home we've been really busy and we need some time to catch up! I'll update this page as soon as I have the pictures as the time.

Meanwhile, enjoy the old entries, catch up if you haven't read them for a while.

And always feel free to leave a comment. You don't need to have a Live Journal account- and we'd love to hear from you!
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Current Music:the ocean sounds from the machine
Current Location:snuggled up in my bed
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Subject:He's married!
Time:08:59 pm
Current Mood:sleepysleepy
Our Uncle Ryan got married today! How exciting. He married a girl named Melissa and she's really fun. She has come over to our house a couple of times and we've seen her lots at Grandma Steph's. I think she'll be a great new member to our family and I know that Mom is excited to have another 'in-law' and now has both Michelle and Melissa!

Here are some pictures from the day today and from the rehearsal dinner last night. Neither Will or I were in a really good mood today so we don't look too excited- but we were!

Congrats RyRy and Issa!

Love,
Walker (and my Dad, my Mom and Will)

Ryan and Melissa at the Rehearsal Dinner- aren't they cute!



The happy couple!


Dad and I at the wedding:


Pop singing 'Itsy Bitsy Spider' to me:


Mom and will singing along:


Will showing us some attitude:


Me showing some attitude, I'm an angel!


Mom, Will and I having fun:


We were both so tired, we did not even make it home before we fell asleep, and we were only 2 blocks away!


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Current Music:Hey Diddle Diddle
Current Location:in my bed, in my room
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Subject:My bed, my castle...
Time:11:57 pm
Current Mood:tiredtired

(and yes, I am totally and completely asleep- it is amazing that I could take the picture and type this blog all while being asleep!)
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Current Music:just my own laughter
Current Location:kitchen table
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Subject:His obsession....
Time:10:09 am
Current Mood:gigglygiggly
She asked for it. Shell totally asked for it this morning.

In an effort to teach Will the proper, or at least close to proper terms for body parts, he has learned the word 'boobs'. And he has exhibited the use of this term many times. Well this morning was the best.

Shell and I were playing a game of Canasta while eating breakfast and somehow Will got talking about boobs again. Yes, this is our breakfast conversation. Well after he went through who has boobs and who doesn't (it's his way of differentiating between boys and girls) Shell looked over and said...

'Will what is your obsession?'

His response:

'It's called boobs.'

Men around the world were then heard rejoicing.

I almost fell off my chair laughing. Shell just looked shocked and is probably rethinking this whole 'teach him proper terms' thing.
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Current Music:just the z's
Current Location:taking a nap in my crib
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Subject:Walker's World
Time:03:05 pm
Current Mood:tiredtired
Well it is finally my turn to write! My Mom tries really hard to let Will and I both have a turn with this but sometimes I am just not really in the mood or I don't have a lot to say. This week is different for me though because I feel like the world this week was just made for me. Everyone seemed to notice me and everything seemed like it was out just for me.

I did have a few favorite highlights from the week. The first one is that my teeth are coming in. I am getting my two bottom front teeth. I'm really excited because I like to eat my Mom and Dad's food so this means that I'll be able to eat even more. In fact I think all the good food that my Mom and Dad made this week was actually just for me. Here is what my two new teeth look like. Burritos, popsicles, cookies- watch out here I come!


Here is what I look like when my teeth hurt. It is not so much fun.


Another of my favorite highlights this week was having lunch with my Dad at the water fountain. We met Dad for his lunch hour at the Gateway. The fountain there is lots of fun. I wasn't too sure about it myself at first but I did warm up. It was fun though because Will was really excited to play in it and he's usually much more of a weenie than I am. It was so nice to have time with Dad and also play in the fountain. See what fun we had:





The last highlight for the week this week was having Mom curl my hair. Yeah, I know it sounds girlie but if you tease me I'll keep your butt- trust me, I can. My Mom is really excited about my curly hair and when she noticed that it made a nice curl she had to take a picture. I loved having all of the pictures taken with the camera!



For now I think I should close. I'll add one more picture of me having fun with my Aunt Victoria who came to keep Mom and us company. Dad put his hat on my head and I looked so cute.

Love,
Walker 'Turbo'
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Bennion Boys
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