Monday, December 31, 2007

elephant towel

Hey everyone, we're back from our Christmas vacation to the Lodge. It was a great trip and a wonderful Christmas but we're glad to be home. Lots of pictures and stories to come, but I also have a lot of work-related catching up to do since we were "off the grid" for a week, so here's a short quick post to get back in the swing.

Will got a couple of new towels as presents for Christmas and they're great. Here he's stylin' his elephant one. Fun stuff.

Check out these elephant teeth!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

missing Uncle Adam and Aunt Chandi

We're really looking forward to seeing all of our family for the holidays...except, sadly, Uncle Adam and Aunt Chandi, who can't make the international trip to the Lodge this year. We'll miss you guys. So you won't feel so left out when we post all the pictures of Will with AJ and the weinerboy we'll feature you two here as the top post for a week. Maybe Adam can photoshop some Santa hats or something on themselves in these pictures.

Don't worry, Will will be giving you several calls with Christmas greetings over the next few days...

Christmas '07...part 1

Hello everyone. This blog post comes from Indian River, MI, where we're staying the night at a lovely Holiday Inn Express (they just better have nanas at the continental breakfast tomorrow). We're on our way to the Lincoln Lodge for the Ferris family Christmas, via the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We're looking forward to going over the Mackinac Bridge tomorrow morning on the way.

By the way, Will's asleep right now - in order for Erin and I to avoid having to basically go to bed at 8:00 with him, we put his crib in the bathroom so he can't see/hear us. It's fun to reminisce about the last time we stayed in a hotel and used this technique.

Since we'll be pretty much in the middle of the forest for the better part of a week, this will be the last blog post until after Christmas. By then we should have tons of pictures and stories to report, which we will obviously do via Will's page.

To tide you over until then, here are some pictures from the Mueller/Ekena/Ferris Christmas we celebrated last weekend at our house. Merry Christmas and Love to everyone.

In the spirit of Christmas, Duke decided to be friendly with Will, and Will shared his presents with Duke in return.

Grandpa got me my first soccer ball!

Santa gave mom these sunglasses and Will made sure to try them out for her first.

Will's just discovered the joys of coloring, although he is terrible at staying in the lines.

Aunt Sara and Uncle Jeff got Will not one, but TWO singing fridge magnet things which were very well received. They both have lots of songs that can be played at the push of a button, to Will's delight.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Will wears holiday accessories

Unlike our cats, Will is pretty cheerful about wearing Christmas-themed accessories. Here he is wearing a Christmas cape (mom's apron).

Here, a nice festive Christmas scarf.

And here he is putting on the matching hat, or at least trying to.

Monday, December 17, 2007

the sleepiest boy in the world

It's not too uncommon for Will to fall asleep in the car, especially if we're heading home from somewhere around his nap times (about 10 AM/1:30 PM). Usually if I have him when this happens I let him sleep for a few minutes in his seat when we get home, put away his stroller/bags/whatever, and then have to wake him up to bring him in. He almost always wakes up when I'm unbuckling his carseat. Last week we went to the doctor, which can be very draining, so when he fell asleep on the way home he was REALLY out. He didn't wake up at all when I pulled him out of his carseat, and laid on me like a sack of beans as I carried him inside and sat him on the couch. He looked too sweet so I didn't try too hard wake him up. Then I got busted when Erin got home a few minutes later because by letting him stay asleep at that time (it was around 12:00), it was going to mess up his afternoon nap, which it did.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Will gets in the holiday spirit

Will helped us set up our Christmas decorations. It was very fun for him - lots of colorful, shiny, fragile things. Fortunately nothing has been broken...yet.

Here he's admiring our fake tree and helping to decorate it. He got himself all tangled up in the lights, it was pretty funny.

This is a tree ornament that Erin and Will made for me last year when he was a really little guy. It's an imprint of his hand. Here he's testing to see how much bigger his hand is now.

Grandma and Grandpa Mueller and Aunt Sara and Uncle Jeff are coming tonight to celebrate Christmas with us this weekend, then next week we're going to the Lincoln Lodge for another Christmas celebration. We talked to Santa and he agreed to bring Will presents twice, as long as there are extra cookies involved. We'll take lots of pictures and post 'em.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Funny lip noises

Will gives kisses now and I was trying to get one here, with Erin ready to capture it on camera. Instead Will thought it would be a good time to make some funny lip noises (you know, the ones where you hum and use your fingers to flick your lips up and down). Kind of like Grandpa Mike's trick, but Will does it himself. Sometimes he can stay entertained and make this noise for a good half hour or so.

Monday, December 10, 2007

do you need a tissue?

When Erin or I is home alone with Will and we need to take a shower, it can be an ordeal. We usually put the safety gate up at the top of the stairs, and shut all the doors except the one to the bathroom and the one to Will's room, so he has a zone of safe places to play while we shower. He sometimes will stay entertained by himself reading books in his room or pulling animals out his cradle and talking to them. But this only lasts a few minutes, until without fail, he will crawl into the bathroom to see what we're up to. Then he pulls the curtain back to see what you're up to, and stands there and chats for awhile. Putting the curtain back inside the shower tub is not an option with him, and he'll let you know so if you try to pull it away from him. As water gets all over him and the floor, one strategy is to throw some of his bath toys out into the bathroom, which he will go investigate, buying us enough time to wash/rinse our hair if we're fast.

Last week we were going through the normal shower activities as I just described, when suddenly I realized it had been more than enough time for him to go get the toys I had thrown out, and to return to the tub, but that he hadn't yet done so. As you can see from the pictures here, it was because he found something else to occupy his attention. I quickly jumped out of the shower and ran to get the camera while he worked on this project.

PS - we now have to put the tissues out of reach, and also have to leave the toilet paper roll off of the spool and on the counter, because yes, he also likes to unravel the whole roll of TP.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Will fetches - Uncles Adam and Grant will like this one

Will and I play with his "throwing balls" a lot. He's getting better at throwing them, but really the most fun is fetching them from across the room and bringing them to me. After he brings them to me sometimes he climbs on my lap to sit there and watch while I try to juggle them, but sometimes he wants me to throw them somewhere in the room so he can fetch them again.

Anyway, when he fetches, he prefers to throw the balls into my lap, as you can see in the video below. This can be dangerous, given that he can throw with some velocity and his aim is not great. Also, Will is starting to consider several things, not just the throwing balls, as throwable/fetchable and so he will bring them to me in this way. Let's just say that I have had "the wind knocked out of me" a few times when Will has surprised me with some toy violently deposited in my lap - perhaps, as Uncle Adam suggests, as karmic retribution for years of attacks I delivered to Adam and Grant growing up.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

bath pictures: 14 months

It is getting harder and harder to get a nice picture of Will in the bathtub because he has apparently inherited his mom's problem with keeping her eyes open when a camera flashes. Literally I think I took about 30 pictures to get about 3 in which his eyes were open (and he was smiling). But I think this one is pretty good.

Well I've been pretty busy over the last month so I tried to post a high quality, rather than high quantity of Will events. The biggest news, of course, is that Will finally took his first steps. Looking back at previous bath pictures posts, I think I've been reporting he's been this close to walking for about 3 months (see the bath pictures index on the left side of the page), so it's good he finally did it.

As the seasons change we have different things to play with outside. Earlier in the month Will had a good time playing in the leaves in our backyard, and riding his tractor. In Michigan the Fall season doesn't last too long apparently so we're already in a cold winter wonderland. Fortunately Will has some warm hats and mittens, and ones which match his coat. Fortunately there's plenty to do inside too, like hang out with dad, play peekaboo, play music with Grandpa Mike and Grandpa Paul, or call his grandmas.

With the Christmas season coming we've been getting in the spirit. Mom has been teaching Will a lot of Christmas carols. Along with the songs Will plays on his Thomas book, he has a few other books that play carols, and sometimes he plays them all at once (sensory overload, as Uncle Jeff put it). When we were in Madison for Thanksgiving we got Will's picture with Santa (but he didn't smile). Also we set up our Christmas tree (and Will helped - look for an upcoming post on this).

Baths are getting more fun now that we have all these sweet toys. Here Will is playing with his ducky that Aunt Jenna got him for his birthday.

Also we brush his five teeth in the bathtub now.

These teeth.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Will chats it up on the phone

This is a good one.

Will has always been interested in our cell phones. Recently Erin and I have been setting our phone keypads on "lock" and letting him go to town on the phone. Otherwise all his random button pressing usually ends up deleting something important or logging onto the mobile internet, which costs us a bit. We also will call his Grandmas sometimes and put the phone on speaker mode with the hopes that he will say a few things. But more often what happens is he insists on holding the phone and eventually hangs up on the person. Anyway, when we were hanging out this weekend we called a few people and I let Will play with my phone a lot.

I was surprised to see him start doing this, quickly grabbed the camera and got some great video clips. The last part of the video is especially good, when he starts walking around the table and is still yapping away. If only I could get him to talk that much when we actually call someone. Enjoy.

Monday, December 3, 2007

dude weekend

Mom went shopping with Grandma and Aunt Sara this weekend in Chicago, so Will and I did dude stuff all weekend. It was awesome. We played disc golf on Friday, but other than that it was very cold and snowy/icy so we didn't go outside much. We set up a fun play zone in the basement - brought all the toys down and also we brought the tractor inside for a special treat.

We did all the things dudes do when you're hanging out: wrestled, chased the cats, drooled on ourselves, watched a lot of football. I guess we also watched Dora a few times, which is kind of like the "chick-flick" of cartoons, but other than that only dude shows.

Also we had fun playing video games.

I spoiled Will a bit with apple juice (served in a bottle - mom would not approve!) and other dude drinks.

(PS - this is not a posed picture - he actually grabbed the empty bottle from the table and stuck it in his mouth on his own - apparently Will and I have the same taste for good beer)

Also, this caterpillar rocking horse thing which our friend Beth got for Will has been very popular lately (probably because he's finally large enough to sit on it). For the ultimate good time, Will brought his hippo or dad's video game controller with him while sitting on the caterpillar. Because that's what you do on dude weekends - you indulge yourself by playing with all your toys at once.

Later we made cookies - my favorite, Grandma Susan's recipe for gingersnaps - and they were a big hit. Admittedly I gave him too many cookies, but that's what you do on dude weekends.

tooth update: 5 teeth

last update

It is very difficult to get clear a big, toothy grin, but he's getting more of 'em. The newest tooth is in the front on the top, bringing the total to 3 on the top, and two on the bottom.

Will alternates between (liking / not liking but tolerating / not tolerating) getting his teeth brushed. Currently he puts up with it when I brush them for him, but there's a technique you have to follow - for whatever reason he likes having his top teeth brushed but hates when you try to brush the bottoms. So you have to prime him by brushing the top teeth for awhile, then quickly turn the brush over to get the bottom two really quickly before he pulls away.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

rockin with Chuck and Grandpa

One day last week when we were in Madison, our good friend Chuck came over to say hello to everyone and hang out for awhile. Grandpa and Chuck got the guitars out and rocked for awhile, which is always fun for everyone. Will was enchanted - he just sat and watched them play for a long time, sometimes bobbing his head along with the music. We tried to get him to play the drums with them but he was too focused on the guitars. Later, I played some on the piano with them and Will sat on my lap until he got too frustrated that I wouldn't let him climb up on the keyboard to play with his feet. The jam session ended with Will having a breakdown, and needing to be taken upstairs for a nap, when I pulled him away from Grandpa's electric guitar amplifier - he had discovered there were buttons and knobs on it and so was pressing/turning them incessantly like he does. This made the guitar sound pretty unpredictable with the amp being switched on and off over and over, and volume/tone knobs being turned. It was pretty funny for awhile.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

nap buddies

Our cats, Duke and Clementine, really like to hang out in Will's room, possibly for no other reason except that we always have to shoo them out of there when we put Will down for a nap or for bed. But once in awhile they'll find a really good hiding place in his room and we'll miss them. Sometimes we'll wake up in the middle of the night to a scratching sound - one of the cats who managed to hide well enough would be trapped in the room when we shut the door, then would scratch on the door until we let them out. Amazingly and fortunately, such events almost never wake Will. However, there have been several naps cut short by Duke jumping into the crib to get more comfortable, and inadvertently stepping on Will.

A few weeks ago Erin went in to wake Will from his morning nap (the one where we only let him sleep for half an hour), and found Duke snuggled up to him. They were taking a nap together. Since their normal demeanor towards each other usually involves Will (innocently) terrorizing Duke, and Duke retaliating with a bite or scratch, this was a nice change. How sweet.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Another haircut for Willie

Hello everyone. Things have been a bit busy for ol' dad lately (well, not entirely true since I did almost no work for the better part of last week). But the blog posts lately have been a bit scarce (although the last one was a pretty big deal). I've got a solid collection of pictures from the last couple weeks to show everyone so there should be some good posts coming soon.

Yesterday we had a professional photo session with Becky, who did the photography for Aunt Sara & Uncle Jeff's wedding and who we have recommended to many of our friends. Got lots of pictures at the Wisconsin state capitol building for our Christmas cards. Despite my excellent photography skills there are very few pictures that include Erin, myself, and Will which look good because we're not often around other people to take our picture. So we get a lot of shots like this, which look pretty good but commonly cut someone out of the picture because I am holding the camera out at arm's length and guessing where it is pointing. I am especially excited to see how the photo session turned out.

So anyway we all got spiffed up for the session and we thought Will should have another haircut because he looked like this:

which is pretty awesome-looking if you ask me but you can't argue with how good he looks with a new haircut. As it turns out, Aunt Sara is a fantastic hair stylist and she agreed to cut Will's hair the night before the shoot, despite his protests.

We put in a team effort to distract Will so he wouldn't be so upset: mom talking to him, Grandma holding out various things for him to put his hands in and dad and Uncle Jeff making faces at him from across the room. And the haircut turned out really nice. You'll have to wait to see the results of the photo session but trust me, he looked very cute.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Will walks!

Will took his first real steps today! We knew he was getting very close so we've been taking chances to encourage him - having him stand and hold onto something, and holding our arms out a few feet away for him to come to us. Usually he just butt-drops and crawls over, but a few times last weekend I got him to take a half-step and fall into my arms. I didn't count those though, we needed at least 2 consecutive, free-standing steps.
We're in Madison visiting Grandma and Grandpa Mueller for Thanksgiving. Erin and I went for a long walk this morning while Will played with Grandma. She discovered that her little red footstool was perfect height for Will to sit on. When she sat near him and held her arms out for him to come to her, he stood up from the stool and stumbled over. As soon as we got home from our walk, we got him to do it a couple times for Erin and I - it was great.
Sure enough, as soon as I got the camera out he stopped doing it. So the first part of the video below shows several "misses" - where he almost stood up but not quite. Finally he stood up for Grandma and stumbled over to her and I caught it on video. Enjoy!

Friday, November 16, 2007

highchair peekaboo

Here's just one type of peekaboo that is currently popular. Will hides behind his highchair, then peeks out and gleefully announces himself ("dada!"). Grandma Susan and Will played this game a lot when she was visiting a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Will plays in the leaves

These pictures are from a few weeks ago, but we've done a lot of this lately for football saturdays - played outside in the leaves while dad grills stuff. Will doesn't quite understand what to do when you put him in a pile of leaves - I guess I expected he would frolic about and roll around in them, but he basically just kind of lays there trying to figure out what the leaf pile is. I guess it gives him plenty to investigate. He does a lot of taste testing to see, for example, if red leaves taste the same as yellow ones.

He also likes to tear around on his tractor in the backyard lately. Kristi and Mike got him this toy shortly after he was born (they also hail from Iowa so they understand the importance of a little boy having a toy tractor), but he's only recently grown into it. Will's pretty good at climbing on the tractor by himself and pushing off with his feet to scoot all around the yard. He's not great at climbing off of it yet, but eventually he tries and it usually results in a crash.

As some of you know, our cats are constantly looking to escape from their prison: our warm, safe house where they have unlimited food. So we let them out whenever we'll be in the backyard but we have to put the leashes on them so they don't run away forever. We don't tie the leashes to anything, but wearing them has some kind of psychological effect on the cats so they don't try too hard to find a hole in the fence and bolt. Anyway, Will gets a kick out of chasing the cats in the backyard and grabbing their leashes. The cats do not like it.