New wardrobe

Walter is looking so stinkin' cute in his new fall clothes. I love that everything is just a little too big right now. Come spring, he won't have enough sleeve to cover his arms.
Big laughs


You say tomato...

He's still lovin' the cherry tomatoes. (Playing with them, not eating them.) I keep them in a bowl on the counter and Walter stands there, pointing and grunting until I give him a tomato. I'm really looking forward to the day he can say, " Mama, can I have a tomato, please?"
More tomatoes


The results are in

Well, it looks like we'll be saying goodbye to those pants. Thanks, to everyone who commented, both here and in person. It was a fun little experiment, having a poll on Tall Tales. It was a silly subject but it was still fun to have you all participate and comments are always fun to read. I'm starting to think that matching father/son outfits are a great idea! Kidding! Kidding! But I really do like the idea of saving some pants to be made into shorts next year. Anyway, Nate and I can now move on to more important topics like who's turn it is to do the dishes and who gets to be in charge of the remote control.

We have decided that when Walter is old enough to choose his own clothing, we might gently steer him, but the decisions will be mostly up to him. There may come a day when capri pants don't seem so bad.


Polling the readers

The debate of the day at the Billmeyer household: capri-length pants for boys – yea or nay?
I know, I know. We have such intellectual discussions around here. Walter did a little modeling for us and now we would like to know what the rest of you think.
Is this the most adorable style of pants you've ever seen on a little boy? Or does he look ridiculous? Leave a comment with your vote. I'll post the results in a few days and let you know if these pants will stay in the rotation or go in the Goodwill pile...



It's been a busy weekend with lots of visitors. Duke, Molly's doggie cousin, stayed with us while his parents were on vacation. It was great for Molly to have a pal to play with. They did a lot of this:
And that led to a lot of this (which we all enjoyed):
Tired puppies
We also had a visit from Grandpa this weekend, complete with a trip to the park and to Culver's for frozen custard – perfect Grandpa activities.
Notice Walter's wet bottom – he was kind enough to dry off the slides for the rest of the kids.

And, of course, Walter and I had our usual Saturday morning fun – a trip to the Farmer's Market and some general goofing around.
Attack the camera

Goofin' with mama
Now, a quiet house. Nap time...


15 month check-up

Walter had his 15 month check-up today, and, despite being right in the middle of nap time, he did great. He wore his sad face to make sure the doctor was aware of how this was affecting his sleep schedule, but he only cried after getting his shots. Three of them today, and an appointment for a flu booster and H1N1 vaccination a month from now. The doctor says he's very healthy and right on track with his development.

Here are his 15 month stats:
Height: 32.75" – 90%
Weight: 21 lbs. 12 oz. – 13%
Still a tall, skinny boy...


A trip to the farm

With all the produce coming in from the backyard, Nate and I decided to buy a chest freezer. And with all that extra freezer room, well, why not buy some meat, too? I've been reading a lot lately about the benefits of grassfed beef, pastured poultry, buying locally, etc. So we did a little research and found the Trautman Family Farm, located just a few miles away in Stoughton, WI. We made a trip out to the farm last week and met with Julie Trautman, who told us about the animals while Walter chased the chickens around. (That was the first time I had ever heard him cluck!) Their small family of 5 – the kids all 12 and under – keep the farm running. They raise grassfed beef, pastured pork and poultry, free range pastured eggs, and grassfed organic dairy. We decided to buy 1/4 cow and 1/2 pig, both of which will be harvested in just a few weeks.

We also took home a small chicken (frozen, from the last harvest) to see if it might be more "chickeny" than what we've gotten from the grocery store. I cooked the chicken tonight with another Julia Child recipe – a simple roast chicken and veggies. The difference between this chicken and the grocery store chicken was amazing! There was hardly any grease at all, and the veggies cooked up very nicely in the juices. Of course, Walter wouldn't touch it. You never know on any given night what he'll eat, or won't eat. Maybe he was remembering his chicken friends from the farm. Oh well. Nate's review: "It's good. It just tastes like chicken." Well, that's chicken for you.

Cleaning house

A few months ago, Walter discovered the vacuum cleaner, but he didn't stop there. He has since found the broom and the duster. And if you hand him a napkin, he'll "clean" whatever is in front of him. The other day he found the tiniest scrap of paper on the floor, picked it up and ran to the garbage can to dispose of it. Where he learned this crazy behavior, I'll never know...


Picking tomatoes

Hiding in the tomatoes

Walter's obsession with cherry tomatoes continues. He begs for one, takes a bite, makes a face and spits it out. Then begs for another. He's been very helpful in the garden, picking any tomato he can find whether it's ripe or not. We usually end up with a nice collection of green ones along with the red ones, but there's plenty to spare. I had no idea one cherry tomato plant could yield that many tomatoes. They just keep coming, so we'll let Walter "taste" as many as he likes.

Taste test


Creative energy

I've been a little stuck for ideas at work so I've been searching for inspiration. I've found that my creative process opens my mind up to all sorts of ideas. (Until recently, I didn't even realize I had a creative process. Now that I'm paying attention, I do recognize some patterns I follow when working on a project.) So, along with those work ideas, I've been stumbling across ideas for all kinds of projects. Who would have thought that my research for a brochure layout would lead me to a new knitting pattern or a Christmas card idea or a new game to play with Walter? But it happens so I might as well embrace it. I've started a project list. And it keeps growing. And growing. And I'm excited about each and every item on that list. I don't even know where to start. I love this stage where I have too many ideas. I'm sure I'll only get around to a handful of those projects, and actually finish even fewer. But the possibilities seem endless. I think I'll see what's in my yarn stash – Walter could use a new hat and mittens.

Don't worry. I have a bunch of ideas and sketches for that brochure, too.


So big!

Watching Walter play, I'm suddenly amazed at how big he is. He's strong and coordinated. He climbs on everything and has great balance. He can pick up and carry multiple things at a time. Then he pulls a throw pillow off the couch, picks it up over his head and topples over backwards from the weight of it. Oh, yes. He's still my little boy.


Spoons and applesauce

We have two apple trees in our backyard. They're young trees and in the past we've gotten only a few apples – enough for a couple of pies and a few for eating. This year – holy cow! We have apples! I've been spending this Labor Day weekend making and freezing pies and canning applesauce.


As it turns out, Walter is a big fan of my homemade applesauce and it seems to be a good food for practicing his spoon skills. I'm hoping he masters utensils soon. Right now, every meal ends up looking something like this:



Expanding vocabulary

Walter's current means of communication is a jumble of signs, grunts, and random syllables. He makes sounds that sound like words sometimes, but it's so sporadic that I have to think it's just a fluke. And yet, he communicates with us really well. He's able to tell us what he wants, and while it's not always efficient, (the head nods and shakes) it's downright adorable.

He is making progress with words. Mama, Dada and Molly are pretty common things for Walter to say. When he looks through his book of animals he makes a very quiet, almost whispered, "roar" when he sees the lion, and a loud "hoo-hoo" when he sees the owl.

His face is really expressive and I like to imagine what he would be saying if he could talk. Like this morning when he saw my t-shirt:
Oooh! Look Mom, there's a cow on your shirt!
And that time he bit into a cherry tomato, seeds squirting everywhere:
Why did you make me do that? Can I try it again?
And the first time he sat on his little potty chair without a diaper on:
Whoa! Guys, this is weird. Really weird. I think I'd like to stand up now.

It's fascinating to me to see him discover new ways to make sounds. I think we're close to hearing some real words from him. I won't be imagining his half of our conversations for much longer.



Now that we've pulled the video camera out again there's just no stopping us! Walter is a little less distracted by it now so we managed to get a couple of silly little clips.

In this first one, Walter shows off his new skills in the water. He learned to blow bubbles while swimming with Gramma and Grampa. And what do you do after blowing bubbles? You stick your ear in the water, of course!

And this one just plain makes me proud. He's such a boy...