Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tobias is 11 months old

What’s Tobias up do?

People reminded me that I might be sorry I wished Toby to crawl hinting that he’d be more of a handful getting into things. While this may be true, he is such a happier boy now that he is free to explore his environment. He loves throwing, then chasing balls particularly a big yellow punch ball and Guinney’s tennis ball. He has discovered the dog dish – a constant battle as you may guess. However, the way he goes about it is so cute. He’ll sprint-crawl to the dish then ever-so-cautiously place his hand in the water as if he’s testing the temperature. Typically I catch him by this point, but after a few “trials” like this, he’ll begin splashing away!

Now that he’s pulling to stand consistently he finds great joy in the singing Leap Frog standing table. It was one of Lydia’s favorites too – the best yard sale purchase I have ever made by far. Not long after he learned to pull to stand did I find him crawling up the steps. Needless to say, Mark got the stair gates back out just in time to avert disaster. He’s still not doing much “cruising”. In fact, until yesterday he was petrified of standing on his own. He does do “finger-walking” (holding onto someone’s fingers and taking steps) but will go immediately into a silent scream with full-fledged tears if the fingers disappear and he is left to fend for himself. He pulled to stand on my lap yesterday and, one hand at a time, let go. The standing didn’t last long, but it was definitely his first solo attempt. When he’s on a mission he can speed-crawl but when just exploring he loves to do the “bear crawl” – getting up on his hands and feet.

In contrast to Lydia, he actually sits on laps.

He has also really started doing jibberish. He’ll go on and on mixing vowels and consonants and playing with his tongue. His current “word” is “BOOM” – he also exclaims, “Ding, Bahumah, Dahng”. His second word (dog was first) is “Ball”, one of his favorite toys. The Dortenzo family has even heard him repeat, “Lydia”, but Mark and I have missed it so far.

After our beach experience (see the vacation blog for details), I thought Tobias would be satisfied chasing balls in the grass. But, no, he LOVES the sandbox. He crawls in himself and plays with the shovel, digs his toes in, and uses the little seats to pull to stand. Such an unexpected thrill!

Tobes continues to prefer adults to shovel puree into his mouth, but has expanded his “finger foods” to cheese sticks. He has become quite adept at using a sippy cup – perfect timing as he needs the water during these hot summer days and mommy is ready to start the weaning process.
Here he got his first taste of the famous Olympia chocolate-covered pretzels. Can you tell he was in heaven?

His sleepy routine begins by head rubbing followed by left thumb-sucking and right ear-pulling.

And, naturally, yawning...

I love…
• How he twists his hips and shakes his head (kind of Stevie Wonder style) all the while beaming in delight. G-pa is so proud he has rhythm.
• His snaggle-toothed grin (he got 6 teeth this month for a grand-total of 8! WHEW!)
Ok, so he's not exactly smiling here but you can see his mouth full of teeth. And they are even more prominent now.

• How he points to all sorts of animals in books and exclaims, “DAH” (dog)
• His slobbery kisses that he gives spontaneously and upon request.

• The way he loves his big sister and the grin she elicits from him.
• This irresistible grin as if to say, “Am I doing something wrong, mom?”

• When he crawls unto my lap, finds objects, and places them in the hole my Indian-style legs create.
• Snuggling by putting my nose and lips up against his fuzzy head and the occasional smell of drool on his temples

Love you, Tobers!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Willson Family Vacation

With Big Oak coffees in hand, lots of snacks packed, and a car full of excitement, we ventured off to Cape May, NJ for our first "family-of-four" vacation. Only stopped once on the way – a McDonalds in NJ – an hour well-spent refueling (Tobias let us know about 20 minutes prior to this stop that he was starving!) and getting out some 2-year old energy. We arrived in Cape May to sunshine and as soon as we were settled in our apartment, we headed to the beach. After about ½ mile on the board walk we finally found a life guard who reassured us that we did NOT need beach tags, so we took the jogging stroller right onto the beach. Lydia was in awe of the sand and water and hit someone else’s jackpot of large clam shells, which she immediately gathered into her arms and toted to the stroller.

Ate an early dinner at an authentic Greek establishment. The staff was very friendly, the food amazing (stuffed grape leaves – awesome!) but unfortunately Mark spent 20 minutes of the dinner running back to our place to get the travel booster seat and cash. After dinner we strolled through the pedestrian mall stopping at a Kohr Bros for some divine custard.

Tobias didn’t really understand the meaning of “vacation” – like more sleep and awoke at 5:15am Tuesday morning. After meeting his immediate needs I decided to take him for a stroller ride to chase the sunrise. I didn’t remember my geography correctly. The sun doesn’t actually rise over the beach of Cape May. I still got some great photos and Tobias was happy as a clam playing with his toes in the stroller.

We dodged the mosquitoes on the way back in to find Lydia on the sofa watching Clifford on the portable DVD player and daddy snoring away. ☺ After checking the weather forecast we decided this would be the best day for the zoo. We thought going to the beach prior to the schools letting out for summer vacation would be optimal – no crowds. We neglected to consider the Philadelphia schools taking their end-of-the-year field trips and were greeted at the zoo by 10s of school buses. Even though it was hot, we enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells of the wild animals. By the time we reached the zebras and giraffes (what I thought Lydia would ADORE), the kids were both fussy.

(We were all very sneezy in the zoo.)

We retrieved our picnic from the car and found a somewhat secluded picnic table. Too bad the seagulls found us. Lydia kept saying, “I don’t want the seagull to eat my sandwich” and trying to crawl onto our laps. Tobias, on the other hand, was THRILLED with the birds, particularly when one made his squawking noise to warn his fellow gulls that this was his territory. Almost immediately Tobias started mimicking the sea gulls’ calls.
Here we are revived after lunch.

Lydia had her eye on the playground but with 100s of elementary school kids running around and the heat, she was scared off. We decided to return to the park for the reptile house. Who knew this would be the hit of the day?! Lydia was in her glory. She would run from one aquarium to another shouting, “Daddy, Look! I found a lizard! Daddy, Look! I found a turtle. Daddy look! I found a big black snake.” We basically had the place to ourselves, which was perfect because Lydia took it over. Some have asked Lydia her favorite animal at the zoo and she responded, "The big yellow snake."

Tobias wriggling all extremities in excitement!

The afternoons were filled with naps, mommy’s trips to the library for their free Wi-Fi, shopping, reading, resting.

Wednesday morning we headed to the Nature Conservancy. We were greeted by 2 college-aged girls, “Are you looking for the bathroom?” What a strange question. She went on to say, “We have 300 students here today. It’s a popular question.” We responded that we were there for the exhibits. We went up into the tower and enjoyed the view of the bay, checked out a little nature room where we read a book and did puzzles, checked out the aquariums for the summer projects. In that little area a bunch of school kids ran up to Mark saying, “Where do we put the crabs we found?” And “Where is the bathroom?” I guess, even with kids, we blended into the crowd. Since we felt so much a part of the group, we followed them down to the water.

The whole time Lydia said, “I have poop on my shoes” (It was really just bay sludge) but it took priority in her mind.

Whatcha doin, daddy?

Ewww, he found a crab!

Off to the Cape May Lighthouse. It was hot and we were tired, but we took an amazing walk on the beach out to the WWII bunker remains before heading back for lunch. And we were so thankful to see a whole bunch of dolphins who showed off for us.

We ate early dinners each evening (more like afternoon) and headed to the beach for playtime in the sand without worrying about sunburn. As we anticipated, from our experience comforting a screaming 10 month Lydia during her 1st trip to the beach, Tobias was not a fan. When Mark put Toby’s feet in the sand, he was less than thrilled. In fact, he was down right angry. If he got too close to the waves, he cried, too loud. And the wind took his breath away. He wouldn’t even let us put him down on a blanket – he CLUNG to me for dear life. Needless to say, one of us spent our time on the beach cuddling with Tobias while the other played with Lydia. It worked out perfectly and we found something that made Tobias enjoy the beach: seagulls! Reaching for them and exclaiming, "Dah!"

There is something about the ocean that makes me marvel in God’s creation every time.

The morning we left, we walked to a coffee shop in the rain, took a couple hours to pack, and headed out. As we drove through Philadelphia, we decided to check in with our friends, the Manni’s to see if we could visit. Sure enough, they were game so after a quick lunch at Chic-Fil-A (found by our Tom Tom), we spent the early afternoon catching up with our friends, getting the tour of their lovely home, and letting our kids play. They proceeded to sleep the remainder of the way home and Mark and I rode in peace and quiet. What a perfect end to a simply lovely vacation.
Our family self-portraits.