Curious boy

One of the reasons I wanted a tripod was to try to get more video of Walter. Every time I get out the camera lately, Walter makes a beeline for me and I can't get anything because he's too interested in the camera. I thought maybe if I wasn't holding it he might not know it was there. This is how the first use of the tripod went:

So the tripod hasn't solved our problem – yet. He's just too curious about new things! I can't fault him for that...



Just when I think I've run out of things to blog about, I pick up my camera and material appears! Here are a couple of photos of Walter and his buddies at home...
This monkey was an Easter gift, hand-made by Gramma. Walter likes to take him for walks around the house.
Puppy love
There are far more hugs than tail pulls these days. He's starting to understand how to be gentle. Still, I think Walter is enjoying this hug more than Molly.


Happy birthday to me!

It's my birthday! I'm having a great time celebrating. We had a big, fun, family dinner last night, and a quiet, just-the-three-of-us dinner tonight. Nate cooked tonight, which means New Orleans Take-Out – a perfect birthday dinner. (If you're in Madison, try their shrimp po' boy. It's delicious.) The boys made my day, with some new Green Day tunes for my drive to work, and they gave me a tripod! Woo hoo! I've got some serious picture takin' to do now. I can't wait to use it. No serious photos today though. Here's Walter after his red beans and rice dinner. He's a messy one... 

Fancy 'do


Pickled beans, at last

Last summer, while on maternity leave, I found myself with nothing to do (aside from caring for an infant) and a garden overflowing with green beans. I got a recipe from a friend for pickled beans and decided to give it a shot. I worked while Walter napped and when I tasted those pickled beans, I was thrilled! Not only were they delicious, but I had actually, successfully, accomplished something other than showering or feeding a baby. You really can be a mom and do other things at the same time! It sounds so silly now, but those first few weeks of life with Walter were so much different than I thought they would be. 

This summer, I planted beans, of course. But I also planted hot peppers and dill, in anticipation of pickling beans again. Unfortunately, the bunnies hopped right over my garden fence and ate every single bean I planted. So Nate put up a taller fence and I replanted. And those darn bunnies hopped over the fence again and ate every single bean sprout out there. So Nate put up an even taller fence and I re-replanted. This time the bunnies stayed away, but my beans were about a month behind. Just before we left for vacation I was finally able to pick beans from my garden. The first thing I did when we got home was pickle those beans. And they are yummy!

Bean fixin's

Pickled beans

On a semi-related note, we've been teaching Walter animal sounds.
A cow says, "Moo."
A pig says, "Oink."
A duck says, "Quack."
A bunny says, "Mmmm! These beans are delicious!"


Road trip

We're home! And we're glad to be back. It will be nice to have Walter back on a regular eating and sleeping schedule again. He did great on the road, but we're ready to have things back to normal.

I gave myself a little photo project for our vacation. I wanted to put together a photographic alphabet, and that's just what I did:

A to Z

It was fun searching for and collecting letters everywhere we went. I'm really happy with the results. And so, from A to Z, here's our vacation, with a few extras photos thrown in too.

A - The tram that took us to the top of the Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch

B - The Babe Ruth Exhibit at the Louisville Slugger Museum
C - Neon lights at Fourth Street Live, Louisville
D - The desert creatures exhibit at the Nashville Zoo
E - Yes, it's backwards. A letterpress printing block at Hatch Show Print, Nashville
F - Neon lights at Fourth Street Live, Louisville
G - The tiger exhibit at the Nashville Zoo
H - The Galt House, historic hotel, Louisville

Hotel Bed

I - The Steinway piano in RCA's Studio B, Nashville
J - Jimi Hendrix star on the walk of fame, Nashville
K - Ticket window at the Indianapolis Children's Museum
L - Louisville Slugger Field
M - Nameplate for Imperator, a champion horse at the the Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington
N - Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville
O - The Grand Old Opry, Nashville


P - Parking garage, Louisville
Q - Nashville Zoo
R - Red Rocks at the St. Louis Zoo

St. Louis Zoo Carousel

S - Dinosaur exhibit at the Indianapolis Children's Museum
T - Hatch Show Print, Nashville
U - Tiger exhibit, Louisville Zoo
V - Louisville Zoo
W - Gateway Arch, St. Louis
X - Seat letter at the Ryman Auditorium, Nashville
Y - Indy Race Car at the Indianapolis Children's Museum

Indy Car

Z - The Cosley Zoo, Wheaton, IL

Click on any photo to get to Flickr, where you can see more photos from the trip.


From the road

The Billmeyers are on their first family road trip! We started off last Friday night and have been driving and sightseeing ever since. Here's a list of what we've done so far:
- Visited friends in Wheaton, IL, plus a trip to the Cosley Zoo (Thanks Becky and Martin!)
- The Indianapolis Children's Museum
- Louisville Slugger Museum and Louisville Bats game
- Louisville Zoo
- Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame
- Hatch Show Print, the oldest working letterpress shop in the US (that stop was just for Mama)
- RCA Studio B Tour - Walter played the same piano Elvis played during recording sessions

Right now, I'm using the WiFi in the hotel lobby while Walter naps. Nate is back in the room, hiding in the bathroom until Walter wakes up. There are a few inconveniences about travelling with a one-year-old, but he's been doing really great so far. He's been a really good car rider and a pretty good hotel sleeper. There have been a few bumps along the way, but no more than what we would have had at home.

My camera is back in the room so I'll leave you with just this one photo for now. Our cooperative little boy, during a naptime drive.

Road trip

Still to come, the Nashville Zoo, the St. Louis Arch and the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, IL. I'll share more photos when we return.


Look Ma, no feet!

Oh yes, it has already come to this...
Our tall, thin boy has outgrown his footsie pajamas, but only in length. They still fit around that skinny little body just fine. The next size up is a bit too big. Our solution: cut off the feet! (The pajama feet, not Walter's feet. What kind of people do you think we are?) The result: Capri-length jammies! Socks, optional, for those cooler evenings. 
Look Ma, no feet!
Walter, when you are old enough to care, I won't make silly home alterations. I promise!


Rainy Saturday morning

The rain kept us away from our traditional Saturday trip to the Farmer's Market, which made for a long morning cooped up inside. When Nate (finally) rolled out of bed, he suggested we head to Jacobson's, our local butcher shop, to pick up some steaks for grilling tonight. Jacobson's happens to be located inside Brennan's Market. Why didn't I think of this before?! Nate headed straight for the meat counter while Walter and I ambled around, sampling the "chin drippin' peaches," juicy mangoes, and the Riesling Cheddar and Triple Cream Havarti cheeses. Walter was in free sample heaven! And those samples are so good, you can't say no to buying a little bit of everything. We came home with our steaks for dinner and some mangoes and cheese for lunch. Ok, it's not quite as fun as the Farmer's Market, but a darn good alternative. I think we'll be going back to Brennan's on other rainy Saturdays, and probably a few times in between.


Yes or no?

Walter's best, most consistent form of communication is the head nod and shake. He's very good at answering yes or no questions. The hard part is figuring out which question needs asking. Which means many of our conversations go like this:

Me: Do you want milk?
Walter: Head shake
Me: Do you want strawberries?
Walter: Head shake
Me: Do you want fishies?
Walter: Head shake
Me: Do you want blueberries?
Walter: Head shake
Me: Do you want banana?
Walter: BIG NOD

SCORE! Banana it is!

A little break

When I came home from work the other day, I was greeted by this:

Sitting with Daddy

How cute are these boys?! Just taking a break, sitting together, doing nothing. Good thing my camera was handy. That little break didn't last long. They never do – this kid is always on the go!


Zucchini overload!

Dear Bunny Rabbits,
If you have any room left in your little bellies after eating all of my green beans, please feel free to devour my zucchini plants as well.

Farmer Stephanie

If any local readers are interested, I have lots of zucchini to share. I bet Nate would even deliver it, just to get it out of the house! He's had his fill of zucchini casserole, zucchini cake, zucchini bread, etc... Leave a comment, we'll hook you up.


Saturday mornings

Nate and I have an agreement: I get up with Walter on Saturday mornings; Nate gets up with Walter on Sunday mornings. This way we both get at least one day a week to sleep in. I love this arrangement because I get the morning of the Farmer's Market. Walter and I have started a little Saturday tradition of heading downtown to the Capitol Square, nice and early before the crowd gets thick. Walter rides on my hip in the sling, which gives him a good view of everything. We stop at the Steep & Brew stand for a cup of coffee, then head around (counterclockwise, of course) to the Sugar River Country Bakery stand for a scone to share, though Walter usually eats most of it. After that it's just a nice walk around the square, stopping for goodies here and there. Maybe some cheese curds or sweet corn or flowers. We usually pick up some summer sausage for Nate, but we forgot today. (Oops! Sorry Nate!) We often stop to listen to a street performer or two. I'm always amazed at the talent we stumble across. This morning we were wowed by a young woman, singing and playing her guitar. It makes for the perfect morning for all three of us. Nate even gets a nice quiet house to sleep in. I wish the farmer's market was a year-round event. What will Walter and I do on Saturday mornings from November to April?