Toddling Toddler

Posted February 17, 2011
Posted by Michele

Knowing that my months of raising an "infant" were coming to a close, I looked up the definition of "toddler" in the dictionary the other day to see exactly when that transition happened. A year? 15 months? 18 months?  Well, here's what I got:

TODDLER [tod-ler] -noun: one who toddles

That's very helpful, dictionary, thank you.

You can watch these videos we took last Sunday and decide for yourself: what do you think? Is Luke a toddler yet or not? :) :) :)

Happy 1st Birthday, Luke!

Posted February 17, 2011
Posted by Michele

I know, I know. You can’t believe how fast Luke is growing. Well, me neither!  Time goes by so fast when you're watching a little child grow up. And yet, somehow having a one-year-old makes me feel like I’ve grown much more than just one year older myself.

We were very excited to host our first ever Williamson family get-together last weekend.  In honor of Luke’s first birthday, the family drove all the way to Grand Rapids to see him! What a loved little guy he is.

Here is the fabulous lion cake that Grandma Williamson made for her first grandbaby:

Apparently Grandpa Williamson didn't get the memo that you're not supposed to match the birthday boy on his special day.

Sadly, my camera died during the party and I wasn't able to get any pictures of the family, or of Luke eating his yummy cake.  You will just have to take my word for it that the cake was delicious and we all had a wonderful time.  Thanks everyone for coming to celebrate Luke's big day!

Made in Michigan

Posted February 17, 2011
Posted by Michele

It has been a very busy past few weeks for us as we have been preparing for Luke's birthday parties. I say parties in the plural because somehow it worked out the best for us to celebrate Luke’s birthday THREE times instead of one.  What a spoiled little kid! Three times the birthday cake, three times the fun, three times the work for Mom and Dad, but hey we're so excited for our first child's birthday party that we don't mind the extra work.  Besides, our house hasn't been this clean in a long time!

First, we hosted a “Made in Michigan” party a week before Luke’s birthday to celebrate Luke and (after the kids were in bed) to have a tasting of Michigan wines.  Here are the pictures from the day.

Luke and Daddy had fun hanging out before the party.  Sam takes every opportunity to teach Luke how to be a real man.  Today's topics: how to play the guitar and how to wear a cowboy hat.

I made a yummy cake for the occasion, thanks to my Mom's old fabulous birthday cake book:

Luke had a blast playing with his buddy, Logan:

The birthday hat, however, did not go over very well:

Uh, Mom, isn't there more cake?

Finally, someone to laugh at his jokes

Posted February 07, 2011
Posted by Michele

Sam has always had an interesting (read: annoying) sense of humor.  Look, when it comes to puns, you either love em or you hate em.  I married a man who is definitely in the "love em to death" category.

Well, at least he now has someone to laugh at his jokes.

Luke's First Snow Day

Posted February 03, 2011
Posted by Michele

The sun was shining outside my window this morning, making the 18" deep snow sparkle brightly with thousands of diamonds.  "We're going outside!" I exclaimed to Luke, who looked at me briefly before getting back to his work of emptying the entire contents of a cupboard out onto the floor. 

I never felt like spending the money to by Luke a snowsuit, but luckily I was given a used snowsuit from Sam's aunt.  If it looks to you like this snowsuit was made in the early nineties, well, it was.  Style diva as I am, I am not one to turn my nose down at "free".  So into the snow suit Luke went for his first time ever this morning.  Of course I had to document the whole process:

"Mommy I can't sit up in this thing!"

"Wow this snow is deep!" (This picture was taken during our first 30 seconds outside. That's why he's still smiling.)

"Okay it's starting to get cold now."

"This is not fun!"

A result of my torture: Luke's first snow angel.

"I think I'll enjoy this stuff more next year."

So we finished off our outdoor adventures with a walk through the neighborhood with Luke in the front pack and Toby on the leash, which everyone enjoyed thoroughly.  Happy snow day!

On the Move

Posted February 03, 2011
Posted by Michele

Last Sunday, I jealously watched my niece Becca (Luke's age) snuggle against her mother's chest, calmly, quietly, and awake, for HALF AN HOUR.  Wow.  That's 29 minutes and 55 seconds longer than the longest Luke cuddle I've ever had.  Luke is not a snuggler and he does not like to sit still. His motto seems to be that any moment stationary is a moment wasted.

This becomes more and more true for Luke as his walking skills improve.  He can now walk across an entire room as long as he has the aid of a walking toy. What's a walking toy, you say?  Well, my definition would be a toy with wheels and a handle at baby chest level, designed to help babies practice their walking skills.  Luke's definition, however, seems much broader than that.  Anything and everything that can hold him up while he pushes it along the floor has become a walking toy.

When Luke crawled over to a laundry basket I had left on the floor this morning, I thought that he was going to begin a favorite pastime of emptying all of the clean, folded laundry onto the floor.  But this is what he did instead.
Oh the joy of walking!

Birthday Blossom

Posted February 02, 2011
Posted by Michele

I am not much of a plant lover.  I have nothing against plants, it's just that they don't seem to like me.  My flower garden is constantly suffering and I can never seem to keep plants alive indoors for more than a few weeks.  

My dad gave me a beautiful orchid on the day of Luke's birth, which I cherished.  When the blossoms started to fall a month later, I decided to do something about it if I could.  I did some research online to get help.  I learned that my plant was not dying, just that the blossoming season was over, and if I kept watering it it would eventually regrow and blossom again.

All year long I have been watering it faithfully.  I was very excited when a little green shoot came out of the dirt back in the fall, but nothing seemed to happen for a few months.  Slowly, however, the little plant grew and grew.  And this morning I woke up to see:

a beautiful flower, blossoming on my birthday.  It's very special because Luke's birth orchid will be in full bloom again just in time for his first birthday.  I'm not always this sentimental, but come on, isn't that sweet??

Look at that hair!

Posted February 02, 2011
Posted by Michele

When you see a baby, you have to comment on something. Most people say something nice like, “What beautiful eyes!” or “What a charming smile!” or “What adorable little fingers!”  With Luke, it has always been, “Look at that hair!” (Although we hear “Oh my gosh look at those chunky legs” almost just as often.)

I find his little cowlick to be quite adorable myself.  Whether or not he keeps his high hairline on both sides like his Grandpa DJ and his DJ uncles is yet to be determined.  In the meantime, we are enjoying having something to talk about with strangers that does not involve comments about “thunder thighs” :)

Last week we made a mean Mohawk during bath time, and my little man looked so cute I just had to snap some photos:

Luke's first word

Posted February 02, 2011
Posted by Michele

I was on the phone with Sam last week and I said to Luke, "Daddy's on the phone!" Luke looked at the phone, looked at me, and said, "dada!"  Coincidence?  Okay,.... maybe.  BUT he has continued to talk to "dada" on the phone several times a day, via a play phone, a remote control, a graham cracker, or anything else he feels like holding up to his ear.  When Sam is home, we make sure to reiterate that "dada" is actually a person and not just the telephone.  And I think he's getting it!  What makes me extra happy is that "mama" arrived a few days later.  Every time Luke uses one of those two words, we get so excited that that's about all he says now.  

I brought Luke with me to school last week.  He does not have much stranger anxiety, but when he's at school he is a quiet as a mouse.  Although the kids were trying and trying to make him say something, he would not open his mouth.   That was, until advisory class.  I had Luke in the front carrier and was telling my students how Luke said "dada" for the first time.  When Luke heard the word come out of my mouth, he looked up at me and started cracking up.  The class roared with laughter.  Then Luke went on a stream of "dada"s for the next ten minutes, interrupting me every few seconds while I was trying to give instructions to the class.  I don't think they caught a word of it.

I do have one video in which Luke says "dada":

Cruising Away

Posted January 13, 2011
Posted by Michele

"How did he get over there?" 

That's a phrase we hear a lot lately around our house.  Luke can't walk more than a step or two, so how does he manage to make his way from the family room all the way into the kitchen? If you think the answer is crawling, think again.  Luke would rather stand up holding onto a chair all day than crawl anywhere.  Crawling is functional, but cruising is fun.  For those of you who aren't familiar with toddler lingo, "cruising" is walking around a room by holding onto things, usually furniture, for support.  I say usually furniture, but Luke will cruise along anything that he find convenient, including adults' legs, Toby (not very effective), and now, the wall. 

So now we've finally discovered how Luke is mysteriously appearing in other rooms: he's using the walls to get around.  Here's a series of pictures we took to illustrate his strategy.

Step 1: Keep your eye on your destination.

Step 2: Grip the wall with your fingertips.

Step 3: Carefully keep your balance.

Step 4: You've arrived!

Now where to next?