Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Old MacDonald had a Farm

Will has a new song to add to his repertoire: Old MacDonald!

Actually, he just sings the most fun part: e-i-e-i-o

Monday, April 28, 2008

give me back my hat

Will hasn't always been the biggest fan of wearing hats - whether they were sun hats, winter hats that Grandma made (although he quickly learned to like those), or his dad's or uncle's caps. But he always looks so cute in them so we've spent a lot of time posing him, putting on a hat, then quickly snapping a picture before he could take it off.

A few weeks ago we were shopping and Erin found what I would call the best clothing item for Will to date: his own-sized Detroit Tigers cap. You can see him wearing it in last week's disc golf post. While he seems to like this cap very much, since we bought it he has instead grown especially interested with my Tigers cap. In fact, when we both wear our caps (because that's really cute, when we match), he insists that not only does he get to wear my cap, but that I also have to wear his cap.

No kidding - he does this all the time. If I don't want to look like(as Erin says) SpongeBob and so take off Will's hat when we're in public, he scolds me and points at the cap and at my head until I put it back on. It's pretty funny, I guess.

Friday, April 25, 2008

a new disc golf season

Did I ever mention I like to play disc golf? Will likes it too, and I have taken him golfing with me several times - pushing him along in his stroller with the off-roading 20-inch wheels (it is essential to have the 20-inchers). Last week we went, and I think it was the first time I took Will with me this year. It was a much different experience than when I would take him last year - when he was content to sit in the stroller, chew on his mini-discs and laugh at me when I would hit trees with my disc. This year, since he is now so demanding about being able to walk on his own, he insisted on walking along with me - he did not want to ride in the stroller. I was impressed - the 18-hole course we played is about a mile and a half long, and he walked along for almost half of that. Of course, this also made the round take roughly three times as long. I was finally able to convince him to sit in the stroller for a stretch of holes by giving him some raisins, but he finished the last couple holes on foot.

While he walked along, he always insisted on carrying not one, but two discs - one in each hand. Much time was spent "throwing" the discs (which basically meant dropping them) and then bending over to pick them up. Occasionally he would let me know that he needed to swap out and get a different disc from my bag - which was attached to the back of the stroller.

A few times I gave Will tasks to go out and fetch some of my discs - this gave me some clearance to throw my discs with a full windup (and not worry about hitting the guy). He would very enthusiastically retrieve them for me.

I love these pictures below - Will is standing on a tee-pad - this is where you throw from to start the hole (it finishes in the basket-looking thing on the left side of the picture at the top of the post). After I threw from here, Will climbed up there as if to say, "ok, my turn to throw!" In a perfect example of imitating me, he sized up the hole for a minute, then took a running start and threw the disc...straight down onto the concrete. He even grunted some when he threw it. I was so proud.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

first bus ride

Last week, a couple of the guys who work with me in the lab were presenting their projects at a banquet on campus. "Uncle" Shameem and I were planning on going to the banquet from the lab - which required a short bus ride. When I mentioned to Erin that the event was open to the public, that there was free food involved, and that getting there required a bus ride, she got very excited.

You see, riding the bus was a very special activity for Erin as she grew up. Often when Grandma Brenda was working, Grandpa Paul used to take Sara and Erin on bus rides all the time. From what I've heard, they used to get on the bus and ride it until they got back all the way back to their original stop, possibly even riding for multiple laps. The girls would politely ask other passengers if they could push the "stop" button for them when the bus approached their stops. I think sometimes ice-cream was involved, which further sweetened the experience.

So Will and Erin joined us on the bus and it was great fun. Will learned what a "bus" was and we pointed out several of them along our ride. Will was a little nervous at first, with the loud noises and all the people - the tension peaked when Shameem casually responded "no" to a casual question and Will thought it may have been directed towards him and got a little upset. After a few minutes Will seemed to enjoy himself though. It was a pretty new experience for him, because whenever he rides in the car he has to be strapped into his seat, by himself, in the back. And he can't see out the windows very well in the car. So he got to see a lot more and wiggle around a bit. Mostly, however, I think this was really fun for Erin.

Monday, April 21, 2008

a fun trip to Cate's house

This past weekend we took a quick overnight trip to Chicago for a get-together with Jon & Bri, Kristin & Mike, Carrie & Jason, and Will's girlfriend Cate. It was great to see our friends and we had a lot of fun, we wished it could have been a longer trip.

Last time we visited Cate, Will was much littler. Cate has always played very nicely with Will, but I think this time they could interact a little more. Here they're making sweet music together. In the picture on the right, Will is singing to Cate. It sounded a lot like the "dada" song.

Carrie and Jason made some fantastic fajitas for dinner, and we had margaritas. So the party had a bit of a Mexican fiesta theme, and Will dressed for the part (or at least Kristin helped him with his sombrero for long enough to get a picture). He did not let me put a little Mexican mustache on him though.

Some amount of time after Cate and Will went to bed, the following pictures were taken with my camera. This must have been when Jon and I were putting the hurt on Jason in Wii tennis.

We had to leave after breakfast the next morning to time the drive within Will's nap schedule, so it was a short trip but we had a great time. I hope we can get together with everyone again in the near future!

P.S. - Kristin, since we never opened those Harry Potter beans, I'll save them for your wedding.

Friday, April 18, 2008

the answer is NO

Enjoy this montage of Will's current favorite word!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Will tickles dad's piggies

We played this game a bunch this weekend. First Will goes and hides behind the chair, then he yells "dada!" until I go discover him. Then he immediately runs around behind me, laughing hysterically the whole time, and tries to tickle my feet. Very funny.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Will and dad go to the barber

Until recently, it has been not that big of a deal to cut Will's hair, and we have done it on our own 3 times. These haircuts have been documented: first haircut, last November, and most recently, last February: (1, 2). After that February cut, Erin swore it was THE LAST TIME that she would cut it - he had gotten too wiggly. In Will's defense, mom maybe tried a little too hard to give Will a fashionable salon-quality haircut - I was more in favor of the flowbee method. Still, I always had to admit he looked pretty good when all was said and done and both Erin and Will had stopped crying.

So anyway, I actually have not gotten my haircut professionally very often over the past few years, instead going with the tough guy look most of the time. But when I do get my haircut for conferences and other isolated events where I need to look professional, I've always gone to my friend Li-Chen Chen. Li-Chen speaks little English, but it's always pleasant to have mostly one-sided conversations with her when she cuts my hair. Even if it has been a year since my last haircut, she always remembers me and asks about my wife and son and how my studies are going, then pretends to understand me as I describe my latest research ventures. I figure she always remembers me probably because I've got to be her only non-Chinese regular customer. She really is a very sweet woman.

Last Saturday the three of us went to see Li-Chen together and Will and I both got haircuts. Li-Chen was very excited to meet Will and he got the royal treatment - he got to sit in the racecar chair (which was literally a plastic car strapped to a backless barber chair with leather belts) and watch a cartoon (which I think was in Chinese). The barbershop was packed and everybody was very excited to have Will there. He only cried a little and was a very good boy, sitting very still. Then, when he was done he got a butterscotch sucker! I think it was his first piece of candy ever and he liked it very much and made a pretty good slobbery-sticky mess of it.

BUT WE FORGOT THE CAMERA!!! So we'll just have to try to remember it for next time. I needed to make this post now though, to document another of Will's "firsts".

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Will goes wee, wee, wee all the way home

The weather has been slowly getting warmer, and Will has been very excited to play outside. During the last week he's taken to pointing at the door and whining to go out. He's like the cats.

On particularly nice evenings over the last few weeks, Erin has been walking over to get him from daycare, and Will has started insisting on walking home by himself. He actually will make it all the way home, with only minimal pick-ups to get around puddles (although sometimes Erin just let him splash in the puddles). It takes about 25 minutes to get home, not only because his legs are so short, but because he stops to point out and comment on every car that passes and every animal (dogs, cats, squirrels) encountered.

Also, he insists on carrying his cow lunchbox the whole time.

I got to pick him up from daycare a week ago and at Erin's suggestion I walked home with him. It was very fun and I captured some blog-worthy footage.

Monday, April 7, 2008

bath pictures: 18 months

Will is one-and-a-half! And he is a ton of fun. Everything we do with him has an element of a game to it now. You can see this at bath time - for Easter he got these pills which grow into little foam dinosaurs in warm water, which he absolutely loves to play with in the bath. And put in his mouth. Between playing with the dinosaurs, reading books, and splashing, it's hard to get Will to agree to get out of the bath anymore - only the prospect of eating a bunch of cookies has him considering getting out willingly. Most nights go about like the video below.

As the video shows, Will really uses the word "no" a lot now. He can get on a roll - you can keep asking him questions and he will answer "NO" more and more emphatically, it's very funny. He's also using more signs (his newest ones being "please" and "thank you", what good manners), and makes more connections with them. For example, he uses the "done" sign reliably to let us know he's done eating and wants to get down, but he also uses "done" whenever he wants to be done doing whatever we're doing. So when Erin takes him shopping and he wants to leave, he starts signing "done" frantically, even as he starts to cry. He also signs "more" (as in, "I want more food") when he wants us to repeat things, like songs we'll sing to him, or games we'll play. In the picture below, he's signing "more" so Erin would keep playing peekaboo with him, which she was doing to try to get him to smile for the bath pictures.

This past month Will had fun with Grandma Brenda and some things she brought for Will. The new red chair has been especially fun for Will to have. It was good that Grandma visited so Will could work on his kissing (he's also practicing with mom and dad and other things) because we're going to visit his girlfriend Cate in a couple weeks. We're going to Chicago for a "welcome back" party for our friends Jon and Briana, who are back in the midwest after a couple years in boring California, and we'll be staying with Carrie, Jason, and Cate. Cate should be really impressed - Will's much older than the last time we visited, and cooler. He also knows how to be silly and make a girl laugh. But the real kicker, Will is working on a special dance move that he's going to perform for her, and one which Jon will especially like. PS - It's much more advanced than these and these and these moves.

As of this posting, there have been 3232 visits to Will's page.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


ok, ok. relax, Grandmas. Last night Erin and I went out on a date (and Will got to play with Jenni and Steven) so we weren't home to take Will's 18-month bath pictures. We would have taken them tonight but the three of us went to a dinner hosted by our friends Katrina, Arleigh, and Megan and we got too caught up in the NCAA tournament semifinal game, then stayed too late so when we got home we had to put Will to bed without a bath. Tomorrow, I promise, we'll take the pictures and you can expect the 18-month bath picture post on Monday.

To tide you over until then, here's some video of Will in the bath, doing some good splashing. Also Will makes a few good conversational points in between splashes, pointing out his piggies and other things.

Friday, April 4, 2008

kisses for mom and dad

Erin and I get lots of kisses from Will (he's been really into kissing lately), which probably strongly contributes to why I've been so sick this winter. Usually he's too cool to kiss on the lips and instead just thrusts his cheek at us when we ask for a kiss. But on this particular evening, he was really kissy.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Will learns that March Madness is great

In our family, we're not really much for basketball fans outside of cheering for the Hawkeyes, who have needed a bit of cheering lately. However, the annual NCAA tournament (which always starts in late March, hence "March Madness") is a very important family event, with dramatic implications for the balance of power between Will's parents. Erin and I always create tournament brackets (before the tournament starts, we pick the winners of every game from the opening round all the way to the championship game) and enter them in someone's pool (where generally, whoever picks the most games correctly wins a friendly amount of money). Usually, we're both pretty competitive in that pool. But winning the pool isn't as important as the individual contest between Erin and I. Whoever's bracket scores better between the two of us wins the right to choose every aspect of a date night - locale, food, activities - with absolutely no arguments or complaints from the loser. If I had ever lost in the past (haven't, by the way, hahaha), this may have meant I would have had to watch the movie Legally Blond and give foot rubs, which really wouldn't be so bad. But this year Erin has already told me if she wins we'll be watching Disney's High School Musical, and I think I'd rather hammer my toes for an hour and a half than watch that.

Anyway, this heated competition makes each game of the tournament interesting, especially the ones where Erin and I predicted different winners. Will got a chance to get caught up in the excitement last weekend. He parked his new red chair right by the TV so he could watch both the game and mom and dad reacting to it.

He looks like a little man, in his chair with his remote. He just needs a cold beverage and some nachos.

GO, teams on dad's bracket!