Monday, August 30, 2010

you're invited

[Erin, guest-blogging - this is another email sent to busy daddy at work]

You're Invited...

... to a musical remake of The Lion King, starring Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the Alien from the Claw Game!

When: Every evening, around 7:30pm.
Where: The bathtub in the upstairs bathroom of the Ferris residence.

To whet your appetite, I've included below a snip-it from one of the songs featured in this show.

Can You Feel the Love Tonight, by Will Ferris

Woody (singing about Buzz): "So many things to tell Buzz, but how to make him see, the truth about my past, umpossible - he'd turn away from me."

Buzz (singing about Wood): "He's holding me, he's hiding, but what I can't decide. Why won't be be the king I know he is, the king I see inside.

Woody, Buzz, and the Alien: "Can you feel the love tonight, the peas the evil brings. The world for us, in perfect harmony, with all his living things."

You don't want to miss this show! Contact Erin Ferris for more information or to reserve your seat today.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

stories from mom to dad about our kids

I've been working very long hours in the lab these days, trying to run a major experiment which requires developing an operating room simulator (check it), and simultaneously writing my dissertation. The extent of my interaction with the kids for the past few weeks has been for an hour or so each morning. The mornings are nice but I'm really looking forward to spending much more time with Erin and the kids after my defense on Oct. 11.

Here are three stories that made me laugh and miss my kids a lot lately. Erin was kind enough to write these up and email to me, so we could share them with you.

Will: Mama, when I'm a grown-up, will I sleep in your bed and you'll
sleep somewhere else?
Erin: No, when you're a grown-up you probably won't live with me anymore.
Will: Who will I live with?!
Erin: Maybe by yourself, or maybe with a roommate, or maybe with your
wife and kids.
Will: NO! I want to always live with you! Can I always live with you?!

Of course I told him that he could always live with me. :)

Every night in the bath, after I wash Will's hair and face he washes
his penis and butt by himself. His routine is pretty straightforward:
stand up, pump soap from the dispenser into his hand, lather, wash his
penis, wash his butt, sit and "swish" to rinse. I was cleaning the
bathroom while they were in the bath tonight, and in the mirror I
caught a glimpse of Hallie swishing her butt around in the water. I
turned around, and caught the entire show - she stood up, (attempted)
to pump soap from the dispenser, washed where a penis would be if she
had one, washed her butt, and sat down to swish once again. She went
through this process, from start to finish, seven times. She has a very
clean butt right now.

Hallie's first nine words, in the order she learned them: Dada, NO,
bye, hi, Will, roar, banana, outside, and, wait for it... SHOES.
That's right, shoes. That's my girl!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lodge highlights

About a month ago we were in Wisconsin, taking our annual trip to the Lodge. It was a great trip, but this year everyone is moving and starting new life phases so only Grandma and Grandpa could make it when we could. It wasn't as wild and crazy as it has been in past years, we missed the kids' aunts and uncles.

We started the trip with a stop off to see Grandma Brenda and Grandpa Paul in Madison and show off Hallie in her glamour sunglasses. We were excited to see our cats Duke & Clementine, who have been living with Grandma & Grandpa for the past 6 months or so while we're trying to sell our house. Duke is much nicer these days, he's allowed to go outside much more often than when he lived at our house. So he was very sweet to Hallie, who said "hiyeee!" to him a lot while we were there.

When we got to the Lodge, it was everything we were hoping for: beautiful weather (with a few storms thrown in to mix it up), fishing, playing in the lake, and relaxing. This trip we met a new friend: Black Smokey the bear (Will named him). Black Smokey was a juvenile black bear who appeared to have hurt his leg so couldn't move very fast. He discovered Grandpa Mike's deer feeder and Grandpa - who like most of us had yet to have seen a bear at the Lodge - discovered him cleaning it out very early one morning. We all got out to watch him and take lots of pictures before he ran off, but he came back repeatedly during our stay to check in. Will and Grandpa made sure to keep the feeder stocked for him.

Will and Grandpa and I took the Mario kart into the forest and found the tallest, straightest tree we could, chopped it down and we all stripped it and made a flagpole for the Lodge. Doesn't it look great? Will got the honor of hoisting the flag for the first time.

This was the first trip in which Hallie was old enough to play outside, and she had a great time. Most of the time she hung out with Grandma Susie and bossed her around. This picture looks familiar...

We also took Hallie on her first boat ride. She seemed to like it considerably more than Will did. I think the tiny infant lifejacket fits her better than it did Will.

Oh yeah, the shark tent is at the Lodge! Hallie and Will played in this a lot - in fact, it was central to many games they invented/played together throughout the trip.

Here's a video of some of the silliness that went on with the shark tent, and another Lodge toy: the early-90's-era electronic keyboard, complete with awesome demo music.

Inspired by the fun of the shark tent, Grandpa and Will and I went camping (in a much larger tent) down by the lake one night. It was Will's first time "camping out", and he loved it. Grandpa and I had more fun than we thought we would too. We made a camp fire with the girls and roasted marshmallows, then stayed up late playing cards, telling stories, and listening to the frogs. One interesting discovery that we made when it got dark was that the Lodge shirts that Uncle Adam made us all for Christmas glow in the dark! That was pretty cool to find out.

I hope we can all make it next year, or sometime again soon. It'll be much harder to make the trip from Texas, at least keeping it an annual trip. But I'm sure we'll figure out a way.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hallie's bath pictures: 16 months

Yay, Hallie's not afraid of the bath anymore! We have many people to thank for this fact: Grandmas, who have both made extended visits in the past month and are willing to go the extra mile to make the bath seem less scary; Erin, who bought some sweet bath toys to make the bath more fun (as you can see in these pictures - yes, funnels are super fun); and Will, who has assumed the role of distractor/bath game inventor to keep Hallie occupied in the tub.

Hallie is clearly a very smart little girl, she is learning quite a bit and demonstrates it the best way she can. Her vocabulary right now consists of "no", "dada", "whee-o" [Will], "hayee" [Hallie], "nana" [banana, maybe], and "bye", and she uses those words fairly reliably. Except she usually responds "no" to any question you ask her, even when she means yes. You can sometimes tell if she really means "yes" by the tone in her voice and how quickly she says it in response to your question, as in "no, don't ask me any more questions; yes, of course I want a cookie". So "no" means both no and yes to Hallie, the same way that "dada" refers to either dad or mom.

Another evidence of Hallie's expanding intellect is how interested she is in reading books these days. She will frequently approach Erin or I clutching a book and that means we'd better sit down quickly and catch her because she will turn around and immediately plop down on her butt and expects a lap to be there for her. She has a collection of baby books that she "speed reads" - never gives you enough time to explain what's going on, pretty much seeing how quickly she can turn each page. But you can quickly say a word or two about the pictures on the page, and she will still reliably make a "roar" sound whenever there's a lion (she learned this from her brother), and makes a high pitched "hi!" greeting and touches/pets any picture of a cute kitten or other baby animal.

May God have mercy on your soul if you engage in reading time with Hallie and are not prepared to read the same book at least 8 times. If you, for example, need to get up after the second time through Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? (current favorite, has a lion in it) to go to work or wipe Will's butt, she will cry like she's never been more wronged in her life. And she holds a grudge for awhile, sometimes complete with stink eye.

Her physical coordination skills are also coming along very well. She's going to be quite the dancer (both classical and jazz styles). And she gives excellent high-fives. She doesn't do it so much anymore and I lament not catching it on video, but she used to let you know she wanted to five by approaching with her hand on her head behind her right ear - like she's winding up to throw you the hardest five she could muster. Even though they are actually excited/dance poses in the pictures above, we think she might have been responding to Woody's high-five pose there in the pic on the right.

Here you go: smart and coordinated. This is Hallie's response to the question: "Where's Hallie's nose?" Close enough.

Visits to W&H's page as of this post: 27,487

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Our fun 4th

I guess I must get really busy around the July-August months each year, because we always take a bunch of pictures during those months, but it takes me weeks and weeks to get them posted (like it did for last year's 4th of July post). Anyway, we did have a fun 4th over a month ago. Here are some pics from it.

First of all, look at this picture of Will, and the two pictures below of Hallie. Notice anything in common?

Give up? Check out the shorts. Will got confused when we were setting out the outfits for the two kids... for our trip downtown to see the parade!

It was a good one - lots of people were there and there were plenty of exciting vehicles/floats/people marching in costumes to keep the kids excited. And everyone was throwing candy. We had a great spot for candy, on the sidewalk of a T-intersection, so there was no "other side of the road" to compete for the attention of the candy throwers.

Mocacycle, cool.

There's Mikey from mama's work!

Classic Ann Arborites and their silly bikes.

The swordfighters had a float again, much to Will's delight.

Out buddy Dan came to watch the parade with us, and helped coach Will in candy-gathering. Then each kid had a train to ride on.

We played all day outside.

For dinner, we grilled hamburgers, like true patriotic Americans. Hallie was my sous-chef while Will ran around playing with the neighbor kids. She had changed into her ballerina outfit by this time for some reason. For fun, that's the reason.

We let Will stay up late this year to see our neighbor Mr. Chen's outstanding fireworks show, which in previous years was always starting too late for him. Last year we tried letting Will go to sleep, then waking him up for the fireworks. It didn't work. This year, however, Will had no problem staying up and had a great time. Although I think he was less interested in the fireworks, and more excited about his light-up shoes which Erin got him as a special treat for just such an occasion.

I think this video was from the night before the 4th (my keen detective eye noticed he's wearing the same shirt and mustache from the Top of the Park festival). But close enough to sing "Happy Birthday" to America and a good excuse for cake. Will's a little confused about the concept of our country having a birthday, and who/what he's singing about, but it's all good.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

grown up teeth

While helping Will brush his teeth the other night, Erin asked him if he knew that eventually all of his baby teeth would fall out and be replaced by grown-up teeth.

His response: "Uh huh, I know... Will they be gold teeth?"

Where the heck did that question come from? Add it to the list of Will-isms.