Nate has been working with Walter on clapping and it seems to be paying off. He decided to try out his new trick on Christmas Eve and has been practicing ever since. I'm not sure that he even knows he's doing it yet, but it won't be long before he can really give us a good round of applause. And after 17 million performances of "Head, shoulders, knees and toes," I certainly deserve it. 


Funny girl

I had to giggle at dinner tonight when my niece, Kyla (almost 3 yrs old), decided she was a "bad octopus" and went about the business of stealing her dad's imaginary presents and his imaginary crown. How do kids come up with this stuff?

Busy, busy!

We've had a busy week with lots of Christmas cheer. We started last Sunday at Jess and Erin's house for the Billmeyer Christmas. Erin made homemade pizzas (yum!) and we all had a good time opening presents and playing games. Grampa helped the girls play with all their new toys. Walter had such a good time he didn't even take a nap. But he sure slept good that night!

We went to Green Bay on Christmas Day to visit Grandpa and Mary. I was little worried about how Walter would do sleeping in a strange place. He adapted pretty well and, except for a little bit of crying at 2am, we all got a decent night of sleep. Better than I expected, really. We had lunch at the bakery on Friday - they really do have the best chicken salad sandwich around. And we visited the railroad museum. I wish I had brought my camera there. Walter had a good time checking out all the trains. We had a foggy drive on Friday night but we made it home ok.
And it's not over yet! Grandma and Grandpa Bredel and Uncle Eddie will be coming to visit on Tuesday and are staying through Saturday. So there's more Christmas to come...


10 things

A few of the blogs I read have recently asked the question, “What 10 things are you loving right now?”

Here’s my list:

1.  A snow day! Working from home in my pj’s with Nate and Walter to keep me company.

2.  Getting Christmas cards in the mail.

3.  Walter’s hair – he’s getting more of it and it does this cute fluff thing in the morning.

4.  The perfect ratio of peanuts to m&ms to raisins in my snack mix. Yum.

5.  Books by Sandra Boynton. She is hilarious.

6.  Stockings hung by the chimney with care. Walter needed a stocking so I made new ones for all of us.

7.  A sleeping dog – tired from burying herself in the snow.

8.  Walter’s victory stretch after a long nap. It’s like he’s saying That. Was. AWESOME!

9.  Nate being in charge of snow removal at our house. Thanks Nate!

10. Comments from you! What are you loving right now?


A "Great" visit

Walter got to visit with his Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Billmeyer today. They came down from Wisconsin Rapids to spend the afternoon with family. Walter looks pretty comfy on Grandpa's lap!  


Tall, skinny...

Walter had his 6 month checkup today. He's healthy and right on track with his development. He was sociable and smiley for the nurses and only cried a little when they gave him his shots. Four this time – he's old enough for a flu shot now too. 

Here are his stats:
Weight: 15 lbs. 6 oz  (13%)
Height: 28"  (92%)
*For those of you who were asking, the percentages show how Walter compares to other kids his age.*

And a little video from Walter today too. He had some things he wanted to say...


6 months!

Walter is 6 months old today. It's been another fun month with lots of changes. He's become an expert at sitting unsupported. His hand-eye coordination is getting better and better every day. His most accomplished feat so far is to get his pacifier in his mouth all by himself – and then let go of it so it stays there! He has found his voice and babbles a lot. It's fun to hear him waking up in the morning, talking to himself and playing in his crib. Nate brought him to my office yesterday and there is no sign of stranger anxiety yet. He was happy to be passed around and pulled the hair of anyone who was in reach. Click here for a few photos from the last month. We take him in for his 6 month check-up on Tuesday, so I'll have the height and weight stats then.


I am loving this chair

Whoever invented the hook-on chair is a genius. Now that Walter is big enough to sit in this chair, I can finally do things in the kitchen again. It’s so nice that he can be right up where all the action is, instead of way down in his exersaucer or across the room in his highchair. I can make dinner, do dishes, open my mail, etc... Papa John's is about to have a noticeable decrease in pizza sales. 
Last night Walter helped his dad make brownies. Even Molly is learning to live with it. Her food and water happen to be right underneath Walter’s dangling legs. 



I admit it. I have wiped Walter's nose with a tissue and then put it in my pocket. Only to pull it out five minutes later and wipe his nose again. (Which he hates, by the way. The fastest way to make him cry is to come anywhere near his face with a kleenex.) This is something I remember my grandma doing. Although in her case, the tissue was stuffed up her sleeve. Give me a few more years...


Squeals of joy

Even though Walter has been dealing with the pain of teething, he's been showing us his happy side - and loudly! He has learned to squeal. And now that he knows he has this ability, he's giving it all he's got. He loves to squeal and laugh while he plays. We try to tell him to use his inside voice, but the squeals make us laugh too. I guess we're encouraging this new habit. It's just so much fun!



After months and months of excessive drooling, Walter finally got a tooth! He was chewing on my knuckle tonight and I got a sharp little poke rather than his usual gummy bite. After Nate and I felt his gums several times, we confirmed that, yes indeed, that's a tooth. Our mild-mannered kid took it all in stride. He was a little restless in his sleep last night and has a little case of the sniffles, but those seem to be his only symptoms. We'll see if this puts an end to the drooling. Somehow, I think we're not out of the woods yet.

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's a little belated, but it's been a busy week. We hosted the big feast this year and had lots of fun with all of our visitors. Walter got to spend his first Thanksgiving with all of his cousins, aunts and uncles, and lots of grandparents. He seemed to enjoy having a house full of people. He had to miss out on the turkey this year, but was happy enough with his bowl of butternut squash. Next year he can fill his plate and eat too much – just like the rest of us. Thanks to everyone who was able to join us!



Nate has been making movies while I'm at work. He's getting Walter started with sports already. Like we didn't see that coming.

Sitting up

Walter has become an expert at sitting up. Just last week he had a very wobbly sit and would topple over pretty easily. Now he sits up, totally unsupported, and plays.

Of course, there's still an occasional fall...



This t-shirt seemed appropriate today. (Another great find at threadless.com) Walter slept wonderfully, but I tossed and turned all night. Too many things on my mind – a big "to do" list, work stuff, holiday stuff, etc. In my pre-baby days I would have popped a pill and been out in minutes. I guess I need to learn some better sleep habits. Am I too old for the cry it out method?



Tonight we were feeding Walter his apple puree and doing our usual chatter about what a delicious meal he's getting. "Apples are so yummy!" "Do you want some more apples?" "Yum, yum, yum!" And he responded by saying, "Apples!" We both heard it and, just for tonight, we choose to believe our son is a genius. 


Thank you Walter!

In spite of the cold weather and the fact the the local radio station is already playing Christmas music 24 hours a day, I perked up this morning when I realized that the eggnog latte is back on the menu at coffee shops everywhere. And this year, instead of feeling guilty about consuming almost 500 calories and over 20 grams of fat in one cup of coffee, I can easily justify it because I am a nursing mom. And when you add in those 16 grams of protein - that's just icing on the cake. 


Preventive care

Nate: Did you give Walter his iron today?

Me: No.

Nate: You better. I don't want him getting Armenian.

Me: Um... do you mean anemic?

Nate: Yeah, whatever.


5 months

Walter is 5 months old today! He has gotten so much stronger in the past month. He is getting better at holding himself up in a sitting position. When he is on his tummy, he pushes himself waaaay up with his arms. He's still drooling like crazy with no teeth to show for it. On the sleep front – some days are good, some are bad. He's definitely learned to settle himself to sleep, but we still have occasional nighttime wake-ups. I'm sure that will be the case for a while. Nate figured out that the trick to a long nap is to keep Walter warm in a cozy sleep sack. The exersaucer and peek-a-boo are favorites for play time. And he still finds Molly captivating. Sometimes it seems like he is cheering for her to fetch her ball. He is getting ticklish and he gives up laughs and smiles easily. Click here to see a slideshow of photos from the past month.


Protective instincts kicking in

Under normal circumstances, when I see a bug inside the house I yell for Nate to come immediately to my rescue and kill it. My tone varies from calm to screaming depending on how close the bug is to me. You can imagine how freaked I was when Walter was playing in his gym and right there next to him was a spider! Nate wasn't home. I couldn't yell for help. And I wasn't going to let that spider get any closer to my baby. So I swooped in and killed it myself – with my bare hands! Now that's love.



Walter got his first taste of veggies today. After a couple of weeks of rice cereal and oatmeal, he finally got to eat something with a little more flavor – acorn squash. He liked it. Believe it or not, some of the squash actually ended up in his mouth. Good thing it was bath night. 



Walter has discovered Molly. He stares at her, follows her every move, reaches for her. She must be the most fascinating thing he's ever seen. Molly, on the other hand, is simply hoping he'll drop some food.



My sister and her hubby are expecting baby number two and they just found out that she is having a boy! She had her ultrasound on Tuesday. Everything looked great, baby is healthy, and come March, Walter will have a boy cousin to pal around with. We're all excited to meet the new little guy. Congrats Kristin and Jeremy!


Happy Halloween

We got Walter all dressed up for his first Halloween last night. We took our little dragon to visit his cousin Kyla (the unicorn). Then we headed over to Grandma and Grandpa's house for dinner and to see his cousins Emma (Belle) and Ginny (Snow White). 

Since we went out visiting, we didn't hand out candy at our house. Now that big bowl of candy is just sitting on the counter tempting all of us.


Monster attack!

We got Walter a puppet today. I think he likes it. What do you think?

So far, so good

Walter seems to be doing well with his new sleeping arrangements. He has learned to settle himself a bit faster each night. I guess those experts know what they're talking about after all. 

And another positive note – Nate fixed our washing machine! My hero! He got the part on Friday and we were back up and running in no time. It's nice not to have to haul laundry around and impose on others just to have clean clothes. There are some things about college you don't want to go back to...


Bedtime battles

Since I went back to work, less than two months ago, Walter’s sleeping habits have gotten progressively worse. For a couple of weeks he was sleeping all night. Then there was one wake up, then two, then three, etc… And this weekend he decided he didn’t need to sleep at all. We must have been up with him 20 times a night. After 3 or 4 nights of that nonsense we decided something needed to be done. After all, there’s no reason both Walter and I need to be crying at 4am. So after polling some parents who have been through this and consulting several books on the subject, we came up with our solution. To just let him cry. A brilliant plan? Or an evil one? 

Last night we put him to bed and rather than going in to give him his pacifier when he cried, we just let him wail. He lasted about a half an hour and finally fell asleep. He woke up at 3am, cried for about a half an hour and went back to sleep again. Even with this little interruption, we all got a pretty good night of shut-eye. And, if the books don’t lie, it will only take one or two more nights of crying and he will be magically transformed into a wonderful little sleeper.

Do I feel guilty letting him cry? Of course. I guess in a couple of days we’ll see if this experiment worked and I’ll find out if it was all worth it. And thirty years down the road, when Walter is all grown up, he and his therapist will trace all his issues back to this traumatic experience. But for now, maybe we can all just get some sleep.


Starting solids

We started Walter on "solid" food this week. The first couple of tries we made the mistake of following the directions on the package - 1 part rice cereal, 4 parts milk. Seriously? The consistency was only slightly thicker than the milk itself and he stood no chance of actually keeping it in his mouth. It dribbled right down his chin. Tonight we tried a thicker mixture and he gobbled it up like a pro. It was like he had been eating from a spoon his whole life.


Trying something new

I decided to take a crack at this whole video thing. I promise I'll get better at it, but this was a fun first try. Here's Walter showing off his rolling skills. This is as far as he travels on his own so far. I'm sure we'll be running after him in no time.



It's getting cold outside - temps in the 50s. Walter needs to be bundled up when we take Molly for walks. Here's a photo of him all strapped into the stroller and ready to go. This is one of the first hats I knit - a couple of years before Walter was born. I'm happy to have such a cute head to put it on!



Grandpa and Mary came to visit on Sunday. As always, they brought yummy treats from the bakery. Walter had a great day and had tons of fun playing with Grandpa. 

Kristin, Jeremy and Kyla came over to see Grandpa and Mary too. Lucky for us - they invited us over to use their washer! We got a couple of loads done last night. Ours won't be fixed for a week. I explained the washer situation to Walter and he responded by pooping all over his pjs. His solution to the problem is to make his clothes so dirty they need to be thrown out instead of cleaned.


Murphy's Law

Being tired makes everything seem harder than it is. We had a bad night of sleep last night and a bad day of napping today. And after two diaper blow-outs requiring two full outfit changes (two and a half if you include my jeans), our washing machine broke. Proving that "if anything can go wrong, it will."


So Tired

I think there is a direct correlation between my moodiness and the number of times Walter wakes up at night. Last night - a 2am feeding and a 5:30 cry for his pacifier. What happened to that sweet boy who slept straight through from 10pm to 7am? He had a good couple of weeks there and I (naively) thought we were in the clear. A good night's sleep for everyone for the rest of our lives! OK Walter, I get it. Lesson learned. The funny part is, the only person I am really tolerant of in my tired state, is the cause of my tired state. Nate, you are a saint for putting up with me.


4 month checkup

Walter had his 4 month checkup today. He's still tall and skinny, weighing in at 13 lbs 6 oz (20th percentile) and 26 inches (85th percentile). His development is right on track and they assure us he will be a master at rolling over in no time. He had to endure another round of vaccinations. After a couple of heartbreaking screams he calmed right down and is currently sleeping like a baby...


You have something on your chin...

The drooling has gotten out of control. The minute I pick Walter up, my shoulder is sopping wet. The front and sleeves of his shirts are constantly soaked. And almost every photo I take looks like this.

Or this.

Or this.


A friendly reminder

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Today we are having a "pink" day at work to raise funds and awareness. So in the spirit of things, I thought I would give you a reminder. The next time you're in the shower, give yourself a feel-ski and check the girls for lumps. 


A new trick!

Walter has been perfecting a new trick this week. He has finally found some muscles in those long legs of his and he has learned to stand! (Supported, of course.) And he can do it for whole seconds at a time. I've never been so proud...


Who's a good girl?

Poor Molly has been a little neglected since Walter arrived on the scene. We haven't had the time or energy to brush her as often as we should and the dog hair in the house was out of control. Walter's sticky little fists of drool attract dog hair like magnets. So in an effort to keep Walter from coughing up fur balls, Molly got a day at the groomers. Shampoo, cut, style, mani/pedi, the works. I'm sure it was more torture than spa-like, but the results were great. Hello Gorgeous!



Welcome to Tall Tales! I have finally decided to start a blog to make sharing Walter's photos, stories, etc. a little easier. I'll try to post as often as I can and keep you all updated on what's new with Walter - and the rest of us.

I'll start you off with a couple of photos from today. Walter is helping Dad cheer on the Brewers. While Nate heads off to the game, Walter and I will be checking the score from home, between naps. 

And check out Nate's new 'do. He decided he'd rather not bother with combing his hair at all, so he took the clippers to it. I was nervous, to say the least. His head is LUMPY! I'm not talking about the occasional bump or flat spot. I'm talking mountains and valleys. But it turned out ok. Unless the light hits it in just the right way, you really can't see the lumps. Now he and Walter really look alike.