Thursday, October 29, 2009

Birthday movies

Here are some vids we took on Will's birthday:

Will (and dad) open his cool red guitar. Good thing because he's quite the rock star lately (you'll see what I mean in an upcoming post).

Here is a quick video of Will feeding the baby goats at the petting zoo. The same baby goats that he was quite afraid of last year.

Singing and blowing out the candles on his rocket cake!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Birthday boy

A few weeks ago we celebrated Will's 3rd birthday. On the day itself we had a very nice family party, and a week later we had a pirate party for all Will's friends (more on that party in a later post). Anyway, as a 3-year-old, he clearly understands the role of presents in birthday celebrations. Thanks to everyone who sent something - he had a great time opening all his presents and playing with his gifts.

Among some of the cool gifts which we played with right away were a birthday ribbon and a new pirate towel. He wore the ribbon the rest of the day to let everyone know it was his special day.

Check out Will's sweet new guitar! Thanks Grandpa! Dad had some fun with it too.

After a birthday breakfast, we went to the petting zoo. This was the first time we had been to the Domino's Farms zoo in over a year.

It was Hallie's first trip.

We told the petting zoo admissions people that it was Will's big day so they gave him free admission - and a free ticket for a pony ride! He wasn't so sure about it, but we thought about it for awhile and met the horse, then Will decided he was brave enough to ride.

After the pony ride, we headed home for birthday cake. Mom made a sweet rocket ship cake, isn't it impressive? Yes, it is, but wait until you see the pirate cake...

Friday, October 16, 2009

My sweet baby likes to eat

Ok, she finally gets it. In Hallie's most recent bath pictures post, I related some of our adventures in getting her to eat "solid" foods. Last week, she finally took down her first entire bowl of rice cereal. For whatever reason, it took Hallie much longer to figure this out than it did for her big bro.

So having mastered rice cereal, we now get to move on to other, more interesting baby foods. Will chose her first non-cereal food: carrots. This past weekend she got to eat them for the first time, and it totally blew her mind. She also had pears yesterday and today, and this weekend she gets to try peas!

If only there were some nutritional value in piggies...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Big. Boy. Underwears.

Oh you hadn't heard yet? Will's a big boy now and he only wears big boy underwear. Or "underwears" as he calls them. We're still working our way through the occasional accident, but at this point I can confidently declare Will to be potty TRAINED.

It has been a long journey since we got Will his first potty a year ago. A few weeks after introducing the chair, we were off to a great start when he had his first potty pee. After celebrating appropriately, he settled into a good routine of sitting on the potty and reading books like his dad. But it didn't last - we weren't consistently getting him to sit on the potty, and he didn't slow down his diaper production for a long time. We started bribing him with candies (for pees) and donuts (for poops) and even got him some cool choo-choo underwear that he could wear when he was done with diapers but these motivators only got us sporadic success. This past summer, we started getting serious and tried a few more interesting techniques, which showed some success for pees but we still were having trouble with poop.

This brings us to about a month ago, when Erin adopted a plan she had read about, where we tied in several things Will has been interested in lately: race cars, stickers, and Chuck-E-Cheese. Below Will is holding his "Poops and pees for Chuck-E-Cheese" racetrack, which hung on the fridge for several weeks. There were 10 spots on it, and each time Will successfully pooped in the potty, he would get the usual donut, but also got to put a car sticker on one of the spots on the racetrack. We took these pictures when he got to put on the 10th sticker (it took much longer than we hoped it would to get to #10).

So that night we went to Chuck-E-Cheese! YEEAAAAAAAAAAAAH! He even got a high-five from Chuck himself when he told him why we were there.

Afterward, we thought about starting a new racetrack, but weren't too keen on having to keep doing this every couple weeks if he started getting better at using the potty, not to mention the number of donuts we would be feeding him. Also, we didn't want the situation where he was only going in the potty for rewards, and not for himself. So a few weekends ago, Erin and I followed a "potty training boot camp" program Erin found online. I was skeptical that it would work, but was really just along for the ride - this was Erin's plan. And it totally worked. The 3-day program started with us "throwing away" all of Will's diapers (i.e., making a big show but stashing them in the shed until Hallie has need for them), so they were no longer available as a crutch.

The next three days involved constant contact from either Erin or I or both of us, allowing him to tell us when he needed to use the potty instead of telling him when he needed to go. This did however require near-constant reminders for him to tell us when he had to go, and catching him each time he started having an accident and getting him to the potty ASAP. It took him about a day and a half before he started keeping his pants dry, and we could stop constantly running loads of laundry and scrubbing the floor. It was pretty stressful for him - we had to be patient and he was easily upset that weekend - but I am very happy with its success, and I think he's pretty proud of himself. And now he gets to wear his cool big boy underwears.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hallie's bath pictures: 6 months

It's that time again. Here's 6-month-old Hallie in her new bath chair. She has the sweetest smile - I don't quite recall how smiley Will was at this age, but compared to him, Hallie is much more photogenic. Where we will take 20 bath pictures of Will for everyone one that's any good, almost every picture of Hallie looks like this. Not only is she a very smiley girl, but she laughs a lot now too.

She's getting better at eating, though she's not as good as Will was at 6 months. I like to think that it's just because she's so smart. For example, she has resisted allowing bites of rice cereal into her mouth since we first started feeding it to her in the last month, spitting out each bite until I figured out a trick where I would put a bite of food in her mouth and immediately insert a sucker to get her to swallow it. She caught onto this pretty quickly and has since adopted several techniques to avoid the spoon from entering her mouth in the first place. She makes raspberry (spitting) sounds continuously when she sees a spoonful, and continues even after we are able to force in a bite, which makes quite a mess. She also puts both hands (and sometimes her feet) in her mouth to prevent any cereal from getting in there. Through all this conflict she keeps smiling at you though, it's hard to be frustrated.

She's also getting wigglier, and has started to move a bit on her own. She can sit up in her bath seat all by herself, but it requires holding on like in the pics above. Sometimes she bounces around a bit in excitement when you dump water on her. She'll lounge like that for a bit...

Until she realizes she's stuck, then she lets you hear about it...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Two ways to make Hallie laugh

Hallie has a very sweet little laugh. She started laughing semi-regularly just in the last month, which is about the same time - 5 months - when Will started laughing too (though our records show his first confirmed laugh occurred when he was a little over 2 months old). When your babies start laughing it gets so much more fun to be a parent. Anyway, there are two things that really get Hallie going.

1) Do this tongue sound, she thinks it's hilarious:

2) Tickle her piggies!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Will's bath pictures: 3 years

Today is Will's birthday! Believe me, he knew it too. We've been talking about being three for more than a month. We had a great day today, some fun activities, great presents, and a rocket cake. We got some pics and videos which will be posted soon. So here is Will in the bathtub on his 3rd birthday. As he gets older, it somehow gets harder for us to get him to both look at the camera and smile long enough for the thing to take the picture. So we got a couple good pictures tonight, and to supplement, here are some pics taken a few weeks ago when Hallie first joined Will in the tub in her bath chair.

So this post is sort of the beginning of a new era of bath pictures with both kids. Not only is it more efficient to get the kids ready for bed, but it's more fun for both of them - Hallie loves having her brother there to smile at her, and Will likes helping us wash Hallie.

Three-year-old Will is a very big boy. Since the last bath picture post he has started preschool, which he loves. Next weekend we're having a birthday party for him and lots of his school friends are coming to our house for the first time, should be fun. Here's the biggest news: he wears big boy underwear now! Last week we successfully completed an intense 3-day potty training "boot camp", and for a week now he has been peeing and pooping exclusively in the potty. We're very proud.

He's still very much into swords, pirates, fishing, racing, and motorcycles, all kinds of dude-stuff. He loves watching Spongebob and several more educational TV shows which we let him watch, most notably a reading show on PBS called Superwhy. Even though he doesn't know much about them, he also loves Spiderman and Superman (he has pajama-costumes of each and likes to fly in them). He is getting quite good at reading, recognizing his name everywhere (you'd never guess how many times the word "will" appears on signs in public places until you take a walk with Will), and also several other key words (like what "I-O-W-A" spells - it helps we have several shirts with that word on it, and that when the Hawkeyes score a touchdown the crowd chants the letters). He sings songs all the time, often making them up on the spot and often involving "tooting" or "poop" - sung over and over to see if dad will laugh or scold him. One thing I've found as a parent is that sometimes there's a very fine line between things that you can have a good laugh at, and those that require discipline (here's a good example).

Will is a very caring big brother, he loves making Hallie smile, and he's good at it.

As of this post, there have been 19089 views of Will and Hallie's page. That's over 10,000 views since this time last year.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hallie being Hallie

Well, this isn't a particularly interesting clip, sorry about that. Fact is, my laptop died last week so I haven't been able to import any new pictures/videos very easily, so this is the last of what I had yet to post. Basically just gives a glimpse into everyday life for Hallie these days - looking at, grabbing, and chatting with things.