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.

Monday, November 12, 2007

tupperware cymbals

Combining Will's love of musical noisemaking with his love of tupperware, Grandpa taught him to play two tupperware bowls like cymbals. This is great fun - now all the time Will pulls these, and other kinds of tupperware, out of his cabinet and bangs them together.

Another thing which we didn't capture in the video, the bowls/cymbals also have another use - if you hold it over your mouth (or mom's, or dad's mouth) and talk into it, it sounds funny. Even better sound if you "roar" into it.

Friday, November 9, 2007

foot piano

We know Will has piano-playing skills, but a couple weeks ago Grandpa Mike helped him discover a new fun thing to do with the piano, which creates much more noise: play it with his feet.

Now whenever he sits on my lap to play with me, he always wants to climb up and stand on the keys... thanks Grandpa! :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Grandma's hats and mittens are practical...and fun!

When Grandma Susan was visiting a few weeks ago she spent a lot of time knitting to make sure Will had several excellently fashionable hat and mitten options for the approaching Michigan winter. We tried several times to get pictures of him wearing full ensembles but it doesn't work too well since as soon as you put the hat on his head he immediately goes to work trying to take it off (as you can see in the first picture below).

This gray/red hat has matching mittens, and match his snow suit perfectly. So there will definitely be more pictures in which he's wearing this hat, but hopefully making a nicer face.

Here's the other hat/mitten set. This one is long and looks very cool and colorful, but we discovered that we need to roll it up or it ends up sagging down over his eyes like this.

Grandma discovered a trick to get him to keep his mittens on for a little while and have some fun. We would hold the mittens open for him, he would slide his little hands in, then Grandma would sing "pattycake, pattycake, Will has mittens!" and clap our hands. Will does some clapping for a little while, but before too long he shakes them off, as you can see in the video above.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

tooth update: top teeth

It's been awhile since our last update on Will's teeth, but that's because there hasn't been anything new to report. Well, Erin just called me at work to let me know she discovered Will's two top teeth are starting to come through - so he'll have two teeth in the middle of his top gum and two on the bottom, like a rabbit.

Monday, November 5, 2007

bath pictures: 13 months

For those of you who were afraid we would stop posting bath pictures when Will turned a year old, do not be: they will continue, at least until Will is old enough to bathe himself. If I still have to wash his piggies, I feel he's probably still young enough to post pictures of him in the bath on the internet.

Most of the interesting things in Will's life for the past month have revolved around his birthday and playing with birthday presents. He (and Erin and I) of course really appreciate all the presents, but he has some clear favorites: the Thomas book - for which I have already had to replace the batteries due to high usage, the zoo fun land, and the many sets of matching hats and mittens that Grandma Susan made for him (I joke - there are only two sets and they go with different outfits - look for an upcoming post on those).

Because Will has two solid teeth now, he eats almost anything that doesn't pose an allergy risk, as long as we break it into small pieces or at least supervise. So he now gets a lot of leftovers which he can grab to feed himself and to rub in his hair, such as spaghetti. I'm not sure if we made a mistake or not but we introduced him to Erin's banana and pumpkin breads, and now if he knows there's a chance at getting some of that as part of a meal, he won't eat anything else. Seriously he's eaten more of each of those breads than Erin and I combined over the last month. He also really likes bananas and asks for them all the time (I think Will knows these as 'nanas' but it could just be the latest utterance he's trying out). Some mornings he eats almost a whole banana. Most other types of food get slapped goalie-style (if you're trying to spoon feed him) or thrown on the floor.

This is our first disciplinary challenge as parents - scolding him when he throws his food on the floor. He has to know what he's doing is wrong, but he just does not get it when you sternly tell him "No!" after he throws a bean or pear slice on the floor. yet, anyway. Maybe he just doesn't take me seriously when I try to yell at him - just looks at me like "what are you going to do about it dad?". It's pretty funny sometimes, and hard not to laugh - sometimes he thinks he's fooling me. For example he'll watch me out of the corner of his eye when I'm doing the dishes or something as he eats. Slowly, in a way I'm sure he thinks is discreet, he'll quietly extend his little arm and drop a piece of food on the ground. Then after I scold him and bend over to pick it up, he'll drop another piece while I'm bent over.

Other notable events during this past month: of course, his first haircut (sorry Uncle Adam). I really am glad Grandma cut it, I think it looks great now and I think he's cuter than ever. Also, Will's first Halloween since he was aware of himself. At some point in the last month, Will learned to give hugs and he gives them all the time now. Also, several variations of peekaboo are very popular right now - more details on this fun in a later post. Given the rapid progress in Will's mobility, I thought he would be walking by now for sure, but not quite. It has to come soon though, he's pretty close. He can stand on his own and keep his balance for a few moments, and he likes when you hold his hands and walk him around like this. In the meantime, his crawling is very fast - he can basically go 0 to 60 in under 5 seconds. This past month he had a great time in the game of "I'm going to get you!" - being chased around the living room by Erin, Grandma and Grandpa, and I.

Will is quite the little reader. He can entertain himself for a long time with a shelf of books. Erin took him to Barnes & Noble the other day and surrounded him with children's books and it was like Christmas morning for him. He reads any time he gets the chance, even in the bath. In the pictures below, you can see him deeply engrossed in Ted Gets Wet, one of his (and my) favorites.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Will, the roaring and dancing lion

Will was a lion for Halloween (with a much cooler costume than last year's spider costume). Halloween came just in time because in the last week he has figured out how to roar. It's kind of a whispered, raspy "rarr", and sometimes comes out like "daaa", but it's definitely the sound a lion makes. Unfortunately, I couldn't get him to reliably do it once the camera was in front of him, but the video below isn't too bad. Will really enjoyed all the trick-or-treaters coming to the door, and spent a lot of time playing (and dancing) in his costume.

Roaring lion

Dancing lion