Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hallie sings Jingle Bells: Be-a-buss

Hallie loves to sing, especially Christmas carols. Her favorite song this year is Jingle Bells. She has her own way to pronounce the lyrics: "Jingle bells, jingle bells" is "Be-a-buss, see-a-buss".

She has been proudly belting this song for a few weeks, and we've been singing a lot together recently because we've been visiting family and also spending a lot of time in the car with little else to do. A few nights ago I woke up in the middle of the night to Hallie yell-singing "BE-A-BUSS!!!"

Here's a video montage of Hallie performing her hit song during her Christmas morning Froot Loops (which she endorses about halfway through). Then she goes through a bit of a rebellious stage and refuses to perform until we coax her back for one more round. I left the camera running for a couple of surprise bonus songs at the end. Enjoy!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from Will, Hallie, and new cousin Lily!

Merry Christmas everyone! A lot has happened for our family in the past few weeks. Two weeks ago we moved to Texas and spent the week unpacking and exploring our new city of College Station. Last Friday, Aunt Sara and Uncle Jeff had their first baby, Lillian Paige, who is a healthy and beautiful potato. Fortunately, we were already planning our Christmas at their house so we arrived on Tuesday and get to play with Baby Lily for a few more days before heading back to our new home. Erin and Sara got the kids matching pajamas, as you can see they made for a great picture, despite camouflaging little Lily.

I promise I have many pictures yet to be posted but please forgive me for being behind with everything going on. Hallie's bath pics - 2 weeks late - coming next. Have a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hallie "Chestnuts" a nana

Hallie is a terribly picky eater, and there's very little Erin or I can do to get her to eat a semi-balanced diet. But we do our best. She will regularly eat cheerios, raisins, and yogurt, and maybe a cracker or a single chicken nugget for lunch/dinner. Sometimes she refuses to eat anything for several meals. She doesn't even like french fries - is she really Erin's biological daughter?

The good news is she will never go hungry as long as there are bananas in the house. Like her brother was/is with hot dogs, Hallie will get excited about eating a banana pretty much any time one enters her field of view. Bananas probably constitute 50% or more of her daily caloric intake.

On the topic of hot dogs, we call Hallie's 'nana eating style "Kobayashi'ing", or more recently (and patriotically) "Chestnuting". Click that link and watch my hero Joey Chestnut destroy hot dogs and then see the resemblance in the way my daughter consumes bananas.

Monday, December 6, 2010

scootin' and walkin' the baby

Still trying to catch up, working through two months of unposted pictures/videos...
These come from last October, when Will earned a scooter from Grandma Brenda. She promised him one for accomplishments in his swimming lessons. By the end of the summer Will was able to "make unassisted forward progress" in the water, which Grandma deemed scooter-worthy.

Because she is also a good little swimmer (sometimes), Hallie got a gift too. Grandma brought Hallie her own baby to take for walks in its own stroller. She loves doing this.

Here's a video of the two enjoying their new presents.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hallie dresses herself

Hallie loves this skirt, and as it turns out, she can put it on all by herself! She did this when we weren't watching her and was walking around the house, it was a very funny and cute surprise.

She's so proud of herself, as you can see. This posture where she's leaning forward is her camera pose, accompanied by a big "cheeeeeese!"

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Soccer: the rest of the season

Will's first week of soccer didn't go so well, but the remaining weeks went much better. As expected, Will discovered it is fun to kick a soccer ball and play with other kids, just as mom and dad suggested. I think it helped that in the next couple weeks, Grandpas came to his games.

Will is actually a pretty good player - he had several weeks of multigoal games, a couple hat tricks even. Most of the games were pretty entertaining, on one level. A mass of kids and some adults chase the ball around until it ends up in a goal. Half of the goals scored are own-goals, in which a player kicks the ball into the wrong goal because they forget which way they're going. But everyone cheers anyway. The video below basically sums up the action, including an assist Will has on an own-goal for the other team.

Hallie continued to enjoy our soccer Saturdays as well. Here she's practicing her moves (while looking stylish) on her own tiny little ball.

After our first non-crying/happy/successful game, we thought a reward was in order so we went to Chuck E. Cheese's!

Here's the team photo for the Blueberries, Will's first soccer team. We'll be playing again next year in Texas, and maybe Hallie will play on her own team too!

Monday, November 29, 2010


We're back from our victory tour, and the movers come one week from today. December 13th - two weeks from today - is our move-in date in College Station.

During our travels we were quite busy at times and at others didn't have reliable internet connections so I did not get caught up on the blog as I had hoped. My goal is to post a bunch before we move so that we can be up to date and can post pics of our new house and home city when we arrive.

So here's a quick video to start the catch-up. This is from last month (hence, the warm-weather clothes). Here Will and Hallie are playing their version of football outside. What fun.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Three Blind Mice

Erin wrote up the following short Will-ism story:

   We were reading/singing Three Blind Mice when Will suddenly stopped me:

   Will: Are those mice blind?
   Erin: Yep.
   Will: That means they can't see anything.
   Erin: That's right.
   Will: (After a long pause...) And they're also good singers.

Confused? When Erin told me this story I laughed out loud because a few days ago Will and I were rocking to a Stevie Wonder song that was playing on the radio. When the song was over I tried to describe to him how some people are blind but they can still do lots of things very well, like play music and sing like Stevie.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hallie's bath pictures: 19 months

Hello from our "victory tour" - visiting friends and family in our last few weeks before moving to Texas. We're in Madison right now visiting Grandpa Paul and Grandma Brenda. Erin and I spent this past week in College Station meeting with our realtor (we are in the final stages of securing a nice rental property), exploring and absorbing a bit more of the local culture. The kids got to spend a whole week with their grandparents, and they had FUN. Next week we're in Lincoln visiting Grandpa Mike and Grandma Susie, looking forward to that as well.

Here's my piddy girl. We took these pictures last week right after we arrived in Madison, but didn't get around to this post until now with all of our travels. These and the bath pictures for the next few months will be from all different bathtubs as we're travelling for a few more weeks, then moving the 2nd weekend in December. Hallie is looking a bit different as she grows (very slowly), but she's as cute as ever. Here's this month's new "twist": we can twist her hair up in the back, it's very cute.

Hallie talks a lot these days - way more than Will did at her age. She is literally learning how to say several new words every day. Her favorite topic of conversation is no longer shoes. However, it's not far off: she's really into boots ("BOOPS!") now. She has these pink boops and similar ones in several different colors, and wears them well now that it's cold out. Erin always makes sure that whatever she's wearing on her feet matches her outfit. However it is fairly common to find Hallie has taken off her original matching shoes and socks, left them individually in random places around the house, and put on her beloved boops, on the wrong feet.

Hallie takes more and more after her brother. She adores him, and he her. There's the normal amount of sibling bickering, but in all they play very well together. Each morning and after naps where we get her up, she is just as interested in where Weeya is as she is where mama and dada are. She's even taking on some of Will's mannerisms. Above, she's showing some smiles that are borderline goofy, just like Will likes to sport.

Visits to Will and Hallie's page as of this post: 29764

Thursday, November 11, 2010

take your breath away

Will: (Out of the blue, and very matter of factly) "It's so hot in
Texas that it pulls out your breath."
Erin: "What? Oh, do you mean it's so hot in Texas that it takes your
breath away?"
Will: "Yep!" (30 seconds later...) "When do you get it back?"
Erin: "Get what back?"
Will: "Your breath!"
Erin: (While trying to stifle laughter) "What do you think?"
Will: "I think we get it back when we go to Grandma and Grandpa's
where it's cold. We get our breath back when it gets cold."

This follows from the fun recent discovery of Will's that he can see his breath when it's cold.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


One of Hallie's words that she uses quite often is "pretty". This is usually applied to shoes, dresses, and when we put things in her hair. A few days ago, Hallie was sitting on Erin's lap and pointing to her mouth/nose/ears/hair and identifying them. Then she pointed to Erin's necklace.


then her earrings, "PIDDY!", then her wedding ring, "PIDDY". Then she pointed to the hair rubber band around her wrist. "ooooh, PIDDY..."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Moving advice

This evening Will and I read a very detailed book (thanks Mr. Rogers,
for the circa 1970's hairstyles and outfits in your book's photos)
about moving. Will listened intently to every word, and when we
finished reading, he asked me which house we were going to live in
when we move to Texas.

Will: Which house will we live in?
Erin: I'm not sure yet. Daddy and I are going to Texas in a couple of
weeks to pick out the best house for us.
Will: (In all seriousness) Well, check to make sure that the people
aren't living there anymore, ok?
Erin: Ok buddy, we will.
Will: Or you could just ask the movers to check for you.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Duke the cat: 2004-2010

I am sorry to share the news that our beloved cat Duke was hit by a car and died yesterday. It is very sad for our family, but we're ok. Duke and Clementine had been staying with Grandpa and Grandma in Madison for the last 6 months or so while we attempt to sell our house, and I can pretty confidently say those 6 months were the happiest of Duke's life: he and Grandpa Paul were very good buddies, he got to spend a lot of time outside, and he was free from bullying by our kids. Duke likely died doing something he loved to do: chasing and tormenting something smaller than him.

Erin and I got Duke and Clementine when they were kittens from one of her co-workers during the Spring after we were married. Duke was my choice of the litter - he was the one cat that was white (the rest looked like Clementine). Erin warned me when we were going to pick them that the white one would be the most difficult to clean up after in terms of leaving white hair everywhere (she was right), but I fell in love with him so he came home with us.

Duke, the day we brought him home.

For a couple years, we were cat people, and the two cats were our "children". While Clementine was always much more timid around people, Duke was one of the most people-friendly cats you would ever meet. He was totally at ease and loved to lay on his back, as if waiting to have his belly rubbed, and would often fall asleep like this, a very un-catlike behavior.

Duke was also a very curious and mischievous cat. He always wanted to be a part of any activities going on, and would often try to get into things and places where he shouldn't be, often with hilarious consequences.

Duke was always much more willing than Clementine to be "dressed" up, one of Erin's favorite things to do with him.

We are especially sad that our kids lost a great friend in Duke. He has been one of Will's best buddies, right in the middle of many major milestones of his life. Duke was probably his first friend, would hang out with him before he could walk, took naps with him, and comforted him when he was upset. When Will got older and could start to walk and really play, Duke was often his cohort: sometimes being part of the fun, and sometimes being the source of the fun. Though Hallie only knew him for about a year (and most of that didn't interact with him much because she was too little), he was sweet to her too.

Duke will appropriately be buried in Grandma & Grandpa's backyard, next to the burial sites of Pearl and Jingles, Erin and Sara's childhood cats. Next week we're going to Madison for Aunt Sara's baby shower so will get a chance to talk with Will about Duke and maybe will do some kind of memorial for him. Here's an album I made of some of my favorite pictures of Duke. We'll miss you buddy.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hallie's words

One of the rough measures of infant/toddler development is the number of words they use by a certain age. Since the kids had a doctor appointment a couple weeks ago, Erin and I put together a list of all the words we could think of that Hallie uses to present to their doctor. As is fairly common for girls, Hallie is much more talkative than Will was at her age. Here is a list of words that comprised Will's vocabulary when he was about 4 months older than Hallie is now, you can see they are similar.

Hallie's words (phonetic spelling) and any notes:

- Hallie (Hayee/Haddie)
- Will (Weeyah)
- Dada
- Mama
- G-pa/G-ma (bahbah)

Friends from school:
- Miss Aubrey (ahBEE)
- Miss Rowena (weeweewena)
- Miss Lymari (maree)
- Adeola (ayoya!). She talks about her buddy Adeola very often.
- Paula (paba)
- Maxine (sheen)

Body parts:
- Eyes
- Mouth (mow)
- Nose
- Ears
- Teeth
- Piggies

Some of her favorite things:
- Socks (soss)
- Shoes (shee-ooze). This is almost certainly her most oft-uttered word
- Outside (ah-SIYEE)
- Slide (side)
- Shades (sah-dees)
- Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story (BOSS!). She likes Buzz because her big bro talks about him all the time and has lots of Buzz toys and clothes
- Iron Man (Iahmah). Similarly, this is part of her vocabulary because of her brother.
- Ball (abah!). Especially, her tiny soccer ball.
- Bo, the monkey equivalent of Roar (bow)
- Baby (beebee!) - this is her response whenever she sees a picture of herself and we ask her who is in the picture
- Eat
- Banana (nana!)
- Yogurt (yogo/yolo)
- Cheese
- Cheerios (also pronounced "cheese" but with pointing toward the cereal cupboard)
- Apple juice (appy)

Exclamations and manners:
- Hi
- Hello (hiyo)
- Bye bye
- Night night (nye nye). She enthusiastically wishes people good night with this, but also will tell us when she's sleepy - go point at her crib and tell us "nye nye"
- Please (pees!). She's very polite and always says please and thank you.
- Thank you (dee dee!)
- More
- No. Actually, this is her most oft-uttered word.
- All done (ah dyee). This is what she repeats over and over if she's done eating, but also when there's anything happening that she does not like for whatever reason.
- I did it! (she pronounces this very clearly, accompanied with hands raised over head) This is a celebratory phrase for any time she accomplishes something she's excited about.
- Yay! Maybe not technically a word but she says this a lot too.
- Ready (wahdee). Stated when she has her shee-ooze on and is waiting by the door to go ah-SIYEE.
- Pretty (piddy). Applies to all clothing and shoes, and often said when she's having her hair done.
- Uh-oh (ut-oh). Usually she says this after she has thrown some food off of her tray or something she needs out of her bed.

Animal noises:
- Roar (waaahr!)
- Ruff (wufwuf)
- Meow (very high pitched: mowww!)
- Tweet (teet teet)
- Hiss (SSSS!)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

good manners

Will (as Hallie was finishing up her first cracker): "Hallie, would you like another cracker?"
Hallie: Smiles and nods.
Will: "Say please!"
Hallie: "PEES!"
Will: "Don't talk with your mouth full!"

still tiny

Hallie and Will went to the doctor last week for a regular checkup and to get flu shots (which went ok: Will told me he only "cried a little" and he helped Hallie be brave for her shots). Since their mid-summer checkup, Hallie has gained an entire pound, she's up to 19.2 pounds! Something like 75% of baby girls weigh 20 pounds when they turn 1 year old - Hallie is already 6 months beyond that and still teeny tiny. The estimate is she's in about the 20th percentile for height and 1 or 2% in weight. She's still perfectly healthy, and maybe someday all those bananas will catch up to her.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Soccer: Week 1

Soccer is a big part of Erin's life. She's not one to brag so I'll do it for her: she's pretty good. She played at a very high level in high school, playing in international tournaments and even scored a goal in international play. Though I didn't witness the goal personally, by all accounts it was on par with the 1980 Miracle on Ice: the crowd chanted "U!S!A!", Erin was draped in an American flag and there was probably a call from the president.

Anyway, this year Will was old enough and interested enough to play in a youth soccer league, so we signed him up. Because the season started in September, Will was still 3 years old, so he is one of the oldest (and biggest, fastest) kids in the 3-year old league, instead of one of the youngest in the 4- and 5-year old league. This is a significant advantage. All of us were very excited for Will to use his blazing speed and strong kicking legs to destroy every other child in his path. We are also very excited for Erin to be able to live vicariously through her son.

Then we went to Will's first game. The way the league works for these kids is they meet for an hour on Saturdays, practice for the first half of the hour and play a game against another team for the second half. The coaches do a great job of creating a very positive, encouraging environment and for practice they basically play fun games that are loosely associated with soccer (like "hide and seek" where you have to kick the ball as you run to the clearly not well-hidden "hiding" coach). Despite all these efforts and emphasis on fun for everyone, some kids (and I'm talking about one of ours here) are going to be pouty when they're not the winner at everything.

So the first week did not go very well. Will basically cried/pouted the whole time and refused to play any of the practice games despite Erin and I trying everything we could. I think it was a little bit nervousness about not knowing any of the other Blueberries (that's his team name, cute isn't it?) and a lot of just blind refusal to do what mom and dad want him to do. This actually wasn't very unusual: I think every Blueberry had at least one week spent crying on the sidelines for much/all of the practice and game.

We took a few pictures and video, but for the first week they were pretty pathetic so not worth sharing. The exceptions were pics of Hallie. Unlike her bro she was very excited about watching the kids play soccer, and played a bit herself with Erin and I. She even helped try to cheer up pouty Will. Here she's giving him hugs to help cheer him up while Will tries to pout through them.

So at least I got some smiles from one of my kids that kept me cheerful as I went back to work on the dissertation.

Does Will go back to having fun playing soccer and start living up to his soccer pedigree? Check back for an upcoming post on Soccer: Week 2...

Hallie's brother

This video was shot at least a month ago, but is still relevant because Hallie still pronounces Will's name (Weeyah!) the same way, and still gets confused about names sometimes. She's better about the name confusions now, almost always able to correctly identify Weeyah and "Haddee", but gets "dadee" and "mama" confused sometimes. Also all grandpas and grandmas are "baba".

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hallie's bath pictures: 18 months

Hey everyone, I'm back! After a very long couple months, I finally finished and (successfully) defended my dissertation on Monday. So I've had a great week of playing with my kids and relaxing, at least during the evenings. Finally I can get back to more important things like watching football and blogging.

We didn't even realize we'd forgotten to take Hallie's bath pics until a couple days ago, so I took these last night. Apparently Hallie is now old enough to recognize when we're trying to take her picture, and to smile and pose for the camera. Every shot I took had a big bright smile like these here.

As I've been home a lot more the past few weeks, I've gotten to experience Hallie's developing personality as Erin and Will have for a couple months. From what I've gathered, I can summarize her interests thusly:
1) shoes! (sheooze)
2) going outside, once shoes are put on. (aht-SIDE!)
3) going to and down a slide, over and over, once outside. (SAIIIIDE!)
4) speed reading. It's possible that Hallie thinks "reading" means turning book pages as quickly as you can, like a race.
5) singing: Twinkle, Twinkle; the ABCs; Bah-Bah Black Sheep (all the same tune, interchanging words between songs is acceptable); Old MacDonald had a farm. For Will's birthday we went to McDonald's (his choice) and when we asked Hallie if she'd like to go, she replied "E-I-E-I-O". Singing would be higher up on this list, except usually her songs have something to do with the other interests. Last weekend Hallie and her grandmas spent a lot of time singing the song "Hallie likes shoes".

It has been very fun to interact with her as her language skills continue to develop. We have lots of conversations about shoes, Will, and Will's shoes (which she frequently puts on). She can say all of our names, though sometimes she gets a little mixed up. This past week she's been confusing "mama" and "dada" a lot, though maybe she thinks we're the same person with interchangeable names. She's very polite, rarely forgetting to say please ("pees!") and thank you ("dee-dee!") when she wants/gets something. Her manners and interest in shoes make her mom very proud.

One thing she's still not interested in: eating pretty much anything... except for bananas. I took a video earlier this week of Hallie taking down one of her 2 - 3 bananas that she eats each day for breakfast. She makes it looks like an eating contest, it's incredible.

Lots of blog catch-up to do, look for more starting this weekend. As of this post, there have been 28,996 visits to Will and Hallie's page.