I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas. We certainly did.

The festivities began last night with Christmas Eve dinner at Grammy Jane’s house with the traditional Cioppino, sourdough, and homemade chocolate sauce over ice cream (thank you Graunt Margie and Gruncle Howard). Dinner began at 6pm and Walker usually goes to sleep at 7ish so it was going to be the first time we were going to be entertained elsewhere after bedtime. Walker slept soundly up in Grammy’s room and we were so prepared that we brought the baby monitor to hear him if he called out to us (you see, the house is quite large and Walker isn’t used to having us be on a different floor). We laughed and joked and pal’d around (a skill the Walker Clan has developed over many years). Even Uncle Thayer made it at the last minute after flying in from an exciting adventure in Honduras where he went down 2400 feet in a homemade yellow submarine towing a severed pig’s head with the hope of luring a 15ft shark — Don’t ask (you can read about it in a future issue of Outside Magazine). He regaled us with many fascinating stories which thankfully didn’t involve him having to scramble out of some risky situation.

This morning everyone (Granddaddy, Gigi, Grammy Jane, Uncle Thayer, Walker, Daddy, Mommy and kitties Wilson and Moxie) spent Christmas morning at the beach. Now, being Jewish and an only child, I didn’t really do Christmas morning so it’s meaningful to me to start a Christmas morning tradition at our house. You see, we did have Christmas but being an only child, Santa came to the house on Christmas EVE while we were out at dinner. Apparently the adults wanted to make sure they could sleep in. I recall being in San Francisco when I was a little girl — my sister Hilary was about 5 or 6 and my brother Thayer was an infant. Hilary left Santa cookies and Jane told us we weren’t allowed to come wake them up until after the sunrise. This story came to mind this morning when Walker woke up at 6:15 and we watched the sun come up over the trees. I wondered what I would define as sunrise — when the first light appears in the sky or when you can actually SEE the sun in the sky. Hmmmm.

So everyone came over this morning and we began the traditional egg pancake with berry sauce, bagels (remember, we are Jewish), and apples (these were $2 apples which will not likely be part of the tradition — quite good but really, $2? for an apple?) Uncle Thayer showed us photos from his trip and about two hours later, we finally made it downstairs to begin opening presents. Channel 36 played the Yule Log and Christmas carols until noon and it was the perfect backdrop for our stockings and present opening until simultaneously the Emergency Broadcast Network system siren sounded outside and the TV switched over to some Judge Judy type show. Talk about mood killer. But being a flexible family, we overcame that challenge and powered through present opening. About half way through the present presentation, Walker just couldn’t keep his little eyes open and he crashed on Granddaddy’s shoulder. He must have been exhausted as Granddaddy has a boisterous laugh and there were a few hearty guffaws which made Walker look up with a combination of annoyance and confusion but didn’t actually wake him up. Finally, at 1:30 the final gift was opened. Phew.

A highlight of the morning has to have been when my father and brother opened a present from Larry. Thayer received a box that said it was the “Salt of the month club” and my father received a 146 piece “Make your own umbrella” box. Thayer immediately got the joke and looked at us and I simply pointed to my father across the room and said “watch.” For the next few minutes, my father read the box (“everything you need to start umbrellin'”) and tried to look excited about his gift. As he opened the box to extract all the pieces to get started, I took mercy upon him and told him to read the inside flap of the box which in large letters reads “GOTCHA.” Of course, the boxes were a joke from our friends at The Onion. The whole scene was a gift for all of us to share and I’m sure will be the gift that keeps on giving as we’ll get some mileage out of this story. (I didn’t mention that last night Dad told us a story of how he couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t get his new G5 tower computer to read a CD or DVD only to find out that he had the computer upside down.) Oh yes. I have many good stories from this Christmas. They are the gifts that keep on giving.

The rest of the afternoon was quiet and Walker, Larry, Gigi and I went to an early dinner at McCormick and Kuleto’s. We were lucky to get a table and Walker was a VERY good boy during a long dinner. He spent much of the time giggling away at Daddy and Gigi.

It’s now late and Mommy is tired. Walker hasn’t spontaneously started sleeping through the night despite the fact he is now A HALF, is eating semi-solid food, or has had his first Christmas. So, I’m going to hit the sack. Merry Christmas to all of you. We wish you a happy holiday and hope you had a wonderful time with your friends and family. Thank you for taking a few moments to share our Christmas blog.

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