Monday, June 30, 2008

Will's new laptop

When we were in Lincoln a few weeks ago, Will's friend Marie wanted to visit him but unfortunately couldn't because she was recovering from a recent surgery. When we were home for a visit during spring break of last year, Marie was very sweet to Will and got him a toy that was one of his favorites for awhile - a singing frog. Well, now he's pretty much all grown up and into grownup toys, like the Wii or mom and dad's computers. So Marie sent her love, and enlisted Aunt Jenna's help to buy Will a new toy from her, with the condition that we had to take pictures of him playing with it.

So a natural choice was to get Will his own laptop!

He loves it. It has all kinds of letter and number games (that he actually can kind of do, as he gets better and better at identifying letters) and makes lots of obnoxious noise.

He got so excited playing with it that he slobbered all over his shirt...more than the usual amount of shirt-slobber anyway.

Also a fun thing is that the laptop can be folded up and carried around with a handle - so Will can do "work" on his laptop in several different locations during one round of playing with it. Like he sometimes does with his sippy-cups that fold up, he can close up the laptop, then he'll look around at his audience to see how impressed they are that he had made it disappear (usually making this gesture, as in "where did it go?"). Then after building up some dramatic energy, he makes it reappear by opening it back up.

"uh oh, where did it go?"


Friday, June 27, 2008

Grandpa's Bus!

Will really likes buses right now. Ever since his first bus ride, he has been very aware of buses, or any large vehicles, and gets very excited when we see one. Sometimes we'll be driving, and he'll suddenly start shouting "wow! A BUH!" and will continue to do so until we acknowledge the nearest bus-like large vehicle. Even when we were watching planes at the airport, Will would get equally excited if he saw a bus driving by outside. And the shuttle from the parking lot to the airport (which was on a bus!) was just as fun as the plane rides.

So you can imagine the potential for fun when we arrived at Grandma & Grandpa's last thursday and found out that my dad's pet project, his 1970s-era Argosy mobile home, was parked in the driveway. Will was too tired to notice it when we got home that late, but we started talking it up as soon as he started venturing out of the shark tent on Friday. I don't think he quite believed us that there was a bus outside so he resisted for awhile, but as soon as we finally got him to go out, immediate excitement.

He spent quite a bit of happy time "driving" the bus and running back and forth inside it with Grandpa and AJ. Eventually I got too warm and needed to go inside to get ready to meet some friends, but Will made it clear he wasn't going to be done with this experience any time soon. So Grandpa and AJ stayed so the fun could go on for awhile after I went inside with the camera.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

shark tent!

When we arrived in Lincoln late last Thursday, we basically took Will straight to bed, but briefly glanced over and saw this curious monster set up in the living room. It was a present for Will from Uncle Adam and Aunt Chandi, and he loved it. He played in it a lot, and insisted other people climb in with him and play in there as well.

Unfortunately we didn't have room in our luggage to bring the tent home this trip, but the good news is it will be in the truck going up to the Lodge next month, so Will can rediscover it up there!

Monday, June 23, 2008

a trip in a rocket ship

We just got back (late!) last night from a quick trip home to Lincoln to visit Grandma and Grandpa Ferris. Also, A.J. (Aunt Jenna), Unky Grant, and Uncle Adam and Aunt Chandi were there too - so it was the first time since last summer that we were all together, lots of blog-worthy pictures coming from that trip.

Anyway, this was Will's first trip on an airplane! He was very excited, and all in all, did very well. I'd be lying if I said Erin and I weren't at least a little nervous about how he would do in the plane, given his tendency to have issues when he isn't allowed to climb around wherever he pleases or make whatever noise he wants.
For several weeks, we've been telling him about how lucky he is to get to ride in an airplane, and excitedly pointing out airplanes in all his books and when we see them in the sky. Also, every morning Will and I watch cartoons, including his favorite: Little Einsteins. There's a character called "Rocket", which is a rocket, and the kids have to help him get revved up to blast off and fly really fast by patting their hands on their lap and waving their arms about and such. Will really likes to participate in helping Rocket. So when we would watch it I made several references to Will getting a chance to "go on a trip on his favorite rocket ship..." as the Little Einstein theme song goes, and Erin and I have been making sure he understood that he needs to help pat to blastoff.

So the time finally came for our trip in a rocket ship. Will started by helping mom pack things up.

We got to the airport plenty early to be prepared for possible security hassles of us taking a child with us - proving our paternity and all that - and to give Will a chance to eat something and look at and talk about the airplanes.

I should note that Will was something of a terror as we waited to get on our first plane. We got there a bit too early I think and he got very antsy - wanted to run around without holding our hands (which was out of the question) and was just generally wiggly, whiny, and nervous about all the people around. We finally got to board though and he was very excited again.

Both to and from Lincoln we had to take two planes with a layover in Chicago. So that's a total of four flights. Will had to sit on our laps, which was preferable so we could keep him in check. We had lots of juice - when he's drinking it it helps him to pop his ears to help with the cabin pressurization - also loads of animal crackers, and 6 boxes of secret weapons. Except for the end of the second flight, he had no problems with his ears - evidenced by his full diapers, he drank quite a bit of juice, and the sucking fingers helped too.

We made the mistake of letting him sit in his own seat as our plane was boarding for awhile. Then he got really mad when he had to give up his seat - hence the naughty phase of the trip: during the majority of the second flight (Chicago to Lincoln), Erin and I had to hold him down to stop him from trying to escape and stop him from kicking all the seats in front of us.

But the rest of the time he was generally a very good boy. We read lots of books, found as many balls as we could in the Skymall magazines, ate snacks, sang songs, watched SpongeBob on mom's computer, and helped our rocket ship blastoff by patting and waving our arms. Somehow, he was having so much fun on our trip to Lincoln that he didn't sleep at all (much to our dismay) until A.J. was driving us home after midnight (1:00 in his body). But he slept all curled up in my lap on the flight home last night (which was delayed THREE HOURS!) - it was very sweet.

Of the four flights, guess on how many Will pooped his pants? Yep, on three of the flights, he got really stinky shortly after takeoff and mashed his butt onto Erin's and my lap throughout the flight. Had it not been for the flight delay on our last flight, he would have been batting 1000, because he had a monster crap at about 5:00 - one which necessitated an emergency change in clothing - and our flight was supposed to leave at 5:10. Good thing we had three hours to get him cleaned up.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Will does this thing when we let him walk by himself - whether on a walk, playing at a park, or in a store - where he insists on not holding hands, then will suddenly stop in his tracks when we're not looking at him. He stands there for a minute, waits for us to turn and look at him, then he turns around and bolts the other way, cackling like a little maniac.

As cute as this is, it's becoming an issue because he doesn't stop running when we tell him "stop!" You can understand how this can be a problem if we're in a store, or near a street. Last week I discovered a way to reign in this behavior, by introducing Will to the concept of racing.

When he stops and is about to run off, we can ask him "oh, do you want to race?" Then he'll wait for Erin or I to get into position next to him, assume the "ready" position (as shown in the pictures above). And then after saying "ready...set...GO," the race is on. This at least gets him to run in the same direction that we're heading.

The first day we did this was in the middle of last week, and Will wanted to race over and over. After each race, he would do the sign for "more" and point in the direction he wanted to race next, then immediately assume the "ready" position.

Later, when I tried to get him to show mom how we like to race, he was very uncooperative, so we didn't get a lot of great action pictures. Also he got pretty mad at me when he didn't win the race, as you can see in the video.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

first swimming lessons

Erin is a big believer in teaching young children to swim - in fact, she and Sara used to be lifeguards and have taught very little ones - as young as 6 months. She has looked into options for Will to take lessons at the local pool by our house - in Buhr Park, a short walk away - but the timing isn't right for any of them. So she has a plan in mind to take Will to the pool (or lake - when we're in Madison or at the Lodge) regularly this summer and start her own swim lesson plan.

(he's probably peeing in the pool here)

We put on a pair of Dora swim diapers (yes, they still fit him) and his shark swim trunks and took Will to the pool on Saturday and gave him his first lessons. These included blowing bubbles, "1-2-3-jump!"-ing off the side into mom's arms, 1-2-3-dunking underwater with mom, and kicking the water to make splashes.

After lessons were complete, we let him run around the kiddie pool for awhile, which he loved. When Erin suggested taking Will to the pool, I have to admit I was not too interested in going...until I saw this awesome kiddie pool. It's really large and has all kinds of cool things to play with. Like below, Will is turning a wheel that controls a gigantic sprinkler-thing.

He also had a great time playing with these geysers of water that shoot up from all around the kiddie pool.

Before we left he made sure to walk all around and point out all the animals painted on the ground. He was especially excited to find the Buhr Park Shark!

Eventually, Will started getting cold and was shivering a lot so I took him to warm up with some shower-hugs in the locker room before walking home. When we finally got home, we discovered that at some point Will had substantially pooped his Dora's, which was a mini-disaster. Those swim diapers can't be taken off like regular ones - since they have to keep everything sealed to avoid the possibility of leaks, there are no straps and essentially they have to be peeled off. Let's just say it took both parents, three showers, some scissors, and half an hour with Clorox disinfecting wipes to recover from that pants-pooping.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A very nice Father's Day weekend for dada

I had a very nice day with Erin and Will, actually a particularly nice weekend. The fun started on Saturday - we played Wii and the piano together, went for a long bike ride, raced outside a few times, and went swimming at the local pool. I was so tired out from playing that I had to go to bed when Will did!

Here Will is coloring me a Father's Day card (it was a work of art).

In addition to my card, Will got me a new disc golf bag. After I ate my Father's Day pancakes, we went disc golfing at my favorite course. We tried to have a picnic at the park after our game, but a thunderstorm rolled in and we escaped just in time (and drove by laughing at soaked people who were running for cover). After Will's nap we played in the backyard and grilled some awesome brats for dinner, and followed those with a homemade berry pie for dessert. I also went to bed early that night.

Happy belated Father's Day to all the other dadas out there!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

in da hood

To follow Will's clothing obsessions with pockets, shoes, and hats, he is currently very interested in jackets/shirts/sweaters/sweatshirts that have hoods on them. I think he saw me wearing a hooded sweatshirt one time and discovered that hoods were cool. It has helped that lately we've been getting a lot of rain so Will gets to wear his raincoat a lot, and of course we put the hood up to keep his head dry. But he'll also wear his raincoat around the house so he can wear the hood.

It's gotten to the point where sometimes he'll whine and claw at the back of his neck when he's wearing a shirt that does not have a hood on it. The quick fix there is to put on his Hawkeye jacket (in the picture above), which is always accessible. However sometimes it's not enough for just him to have the hood up. If I'm wearing, for example, my favorite red sweatshirt, and he sees the hood on it - he will insist that it be put up. In fact, he always wants to be the one to pull it up over my head.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

call me!

Hi everyone, sorry for the short post but I just wanted to get back on track here - I got back from a fishing trip with Grandpa Mike late last night (we were at the Lodge, didn't have time or internet connection to keep up with the posts).

Anyway, I wanted to share one more of Will's "firsts". He has always been interested in our cell phones, and even will pretend to talk on them sometimes, but whenever we would call anyone and try to get Will to say something...ANYTHING...on the phone, he never would. He would just smile at the thing making noises. Occasionally, if the person on the other end of the phone would ask a question, he might nod his head, and he would wave bye-bye at the phone, but we could never get him to speak.

I called Erin a lot between all the fish we were catching and I had her put her phone in speaker mode so I could talk to Will. A couple days in to my trip, the lightswitch turned on for him and I think he figured out we were talking over the phone. So he started answering all my questions - it was great.

"are you being a good boy?"
"is your mommy letting you play Wii?"
"Yaaah!" (he was lying, she doesn't know how to turn it on)
"will you give your mommy a hug and kiss for me?"
"Yah!" (and he did)

He talked to Grandpa over the phone too, so I think he finally gets it. So if any of you want to call and have a conversation with Will, now's the time to do it. If he's a little quiet to start, ask him what noises cows, doggies, kitties, or lions make.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

bath pictures: 20 months

Hey everyone. Seems like I say this every month, but Will is more fun than ever now. The best thing is that he has something that I can recognize as a developing sense of humor, one which is not too far from my own. Unfortunately, he also thinks it's very funny to directly disobey mom and dad, running off when he's not supposed to, or otherwise arguing with us.

He's very interested in dinosaurs (in addition to his dinosaur toys and shirts, we visited the U of Michigan Natural History museum last weekend, he loved it), big vehicles (firetrucks, construction equipment, buses), and all kinds of animals. We took our first trip to the local petting zoo a little while ago, a good time for all of us. He is becoming more and more dextrous with his hands - he can feed himself very well (although it is not unusual for him to have food all over himself and in his hair after a meal), and can do things pretty well with socks or gloves over his hands. He also looks very cool when he shoves his hands in his pockets. Now, what he shoves his feet in... that's another issue.

The other big thing with Will lately are sports. Every time we can, we watch the Tigers play and Will is becoming quite the enthusiastic fan (even though Detroit has been largely stinking it up lately). He really likes playing soccer, and a couple days ago he played catch with a baseball with my friend Neal and I for almost an hour. Another thing we do a lot now is to look at my Sports Illustrated magazines (which I keep in basket next to the toilet, where else?) and find all the balls. You can see Will's doing that below (we usually don't do this in the bath, but needed the photo-op).

You may remember that Will doesn't necessarily want to get out of the bath when he's all clean - he likes to stay in and play for awhile. So we have adopted a new "three minutes" policy. When we're done washing him, we ask if he's ready to get out - without exception, he quickly answers "no!". So we tell him "ok, you have three minutes," and show him three fingers. We do the same when he has two and one minutes left, and then we take him out in spite of his protesting. The fun thing is that when we show him "three...", "two...", and "one...", he likes to hold up his fingers as well. Except he can't really count higher than one yet. So he can hold up the single finger for "one" - see the pictures below - but when we're on two or three, he just holds up his whole hand with all the fingers extended.

On the right, you can see he's doing a trick - showing us that there's one minute left... under the piggies!

As of this post, there have been 4830 visits to Will's page since December.

petting zoo: part 2

Continuing the story of our trip to the Domino's Farms petting zoo, we join Will as he encounters some young cows. At first he was a little scared, but mom helped him say hello to the cows - which he did by mooing to them ("muuh muuh").

Then we visited the big piggies and laughed at them because they're stinky:

They had a tractor! We packed a picnic lunch and the picnic tables were right by this antique John Deere. It was difficult for Will to focus on his lunch, so we made several trips to sit on the tractor.

After lunch we went on a hayrack ride, which was a short loop around the farm (also pulled by a tractor). Will was excited to see the ducks again, but we could tell he was getting tired (it was approaching nap time) so he wasn't too enthusiastic about the other animals anymore. Check it out - Erin discovered the trick to keeping his sunglasses and cap on at the same time: strap the sunglasses over the cap. It was a valuable discovery.

It was a great trip, and it should be even more exciting to visit zoos in the future!

Monday, June 2, 2008

petting zoo: part 1

Will has been really into animals lately. These days he gets a lot of excitement from trips to the pet store to see the animals there, watching the fish in the tank at the library, seeing a doggie or a kitty or ducks when we go on walks. He always prefers to read books about animals (Touch-and-Feel Farm, Barnyard Dance, Muddy Hippo) and to wear clothes with animals on them. Also he can tell us the sounds that all kinds of animals make, and his lion roar is especially impressive lately.

We've been taking him to the Madison Zoo almost every time we visit there, but I think he has been too young to really fully appreciate those trips - I'll be really looking forward to the next time we take him. In the meantime, there are a few other zoos we have been planning to take him to - there's a good one in Detroit, and another in Toledo - but especially, we've been meaning to take Will to the local petting zoo at Domino's Farms in Ann Arbor. There aren't a lot of animals there, mostly farm animals, but you can get up very close to them and pet/feed a lot of them. so we finally did it over Memorial Day weekend.

There are a lot of great pictures of this trip, so I'm splitting it up into two blog posts. Click here for part 2.

We started off in the barn, where they had mostly goats and some piggies. We got Will some carrot slices to feed to the animals. But we (and he) didn't realize that almost all the animals, even the babies, were bigger than him. So he was a bit apprehensive, and we had to help him be brave enough to get close enough to feed them.

One little goat got out of his pen, and Will got a little too scared when we tried to feed him.

He much preferred to interact with the different birds that were there, I guess they were less threatening than the baby goat. Here he's checking out the chicken coop - where there's also a peacock which he thought was amazing.

The ducks were probably Will's favorite. He has just recently learned the sound ducks make ("cuck, cuck"), and sometimes he feeds the ducks with Ambrose in the stream behind our houses. So he wasn't very afraid of them and had a great time chasing them around.