Summer 2017

Wow this was the busiest summer yet — and i’m sure it will continue to get busier for years to come!

School was out June 7th — Then the first person got the stomach bug on June 9th…which swept through the house until June 16th.  Aye ye ye.  Loooong week over here.

20170618_194820 (2)

June 17th/18th — Evie’s Dance recital and Fathers Day!! Everyone came up for the occasion and we all had a great time celebrating!!


June 17th — 23rd — Phil was traveling so Mimi stayed and helped with the kids — then Busia swapped out and took over until Wils party.  Thank goodness for Grandmas!!

20170618_155106 (2)20170728_205113

June 24th– Wil’s birthday party!


June 29th — road trip to Btown for Watkins reunion!


July 4th — back to Chicago for the 4th


July 5th – 8th — Wozniaks in town for a visit — Phil and I got to go out on a hike


July 10th — 28th — SUMMERRRRRR in Long Grove!! I honestly couldnt even remember what all we did in our few weeks ‘off’ but pictures seem to indicate we… went bowling, had swim lessons, went to the zoo, paddle boating, and lotssss of bike riding.  It was nice to set our own agenda for a few weeks.


July 29th — Wil’s belt test!with Busia and Dziadzie! — then Phil traveling until Aug 3rd


Aug 4th — road trip to Columbus OH for an extended family reunion — then down to Bloomington for dentist appointments — followed by a Wozniak family reunion from Aug 11 to Aug 14


Aug 15th — back to Long Grove –then school started Aug 17 and Aug 23!!


Phil and I were able to squeeze in a cubs game on Aug 20th, too — an end of summer celebration! Woohoo!



Seriously — I looked forward to school starting to catch my breath!! I will never take routine for granted again… Summer kicked my butt!  Here are all the leftover memories:


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Happy 6th birthday Wil!



How did you get so big? I swear hes grown over a foot in the last year – but I just looked and it was only a couple of inches.  But I doubt hes gained a pound.  Hes a tall, lanky boy these days.  He dresses and bathes himself for the most part. He gets himself his own snacks (but we’re working on cleaning up after himself). He still needs some prompting to try and do new things.  Hes definitely the most cautious of all the kids – he doesn’t really seek out new things, but once hes done it once or twice, he’s totally fine.


Wil did six months of Tae Kwon Do – and was so awesome!  It was definitely outside of his comfort zone – it was very structured, no messing around and he had to memorize so many routines. Over the six months, he advanced from white belt to yellow belt! With each advancement there was a ‘belt test’ where he had to perform 4 to 5 tape routines, recite his Korean terms, and break a board while a crowd of parents looked on!  What an awesome kid! He now wants to take a break and is instead doing gymnastics and dance this fall – but I loved that he stuck with it for so long.

He is so inquisitive and asks soooooo many questions — especially at bedtime.  Its nearly impossible to get out the door when kissing him goodnight.  While I’m at the door he’ll go ‘WAIT…..How do blankets get made?’ and I’ll try to give a quick synopsis of sheeps’ wool and a loom.  Then he’ll go ‘Ok. AAAAND…why do bats wake up at nighttime?’  Like a completely unrelated thing!  So I go into nocturnal animals, yadda yadda yadda.  And then another completely unrelated thing! ‘And how do you make paint and stickers?’ Ahhhhh. I love it but I gotta go to bed sometime!  We’ve started watching age-appropriate ‘hows its made’ videos on youtube and as many science cartoons as we can!


Wil is thorough.  Everything he does needs to be done through completion.  At school when they were practicing their counting – they sometimes had to draw the same number of items in a jar (like if they are working on the number 12, a kid might draw 12 balls) – well Wil would always choose spiders and each spider had to have 8 legs – so he would never get it done in time because he spent so much time making sure there were 12 spiders each with exactly 8 legs – but he would always bring it home to finish it and take it back to show the teacher.  And when coloring – he likes to color the WHOLE page.  Every inch of construction paper will be covered with crayon.


One evening as I was pulling back the sheets for Wil to go to bed a GIANT black spider darted across his bed.  I hate spiders and was terrified but I smashed the spider as quickly as I could — before Wil could see it — knowing he would not sleep well if he thought there were a bunch of spiders in his bed (He doesnt mind spiders — but likes other bugs way more).  As I was grabbing a tissue to clean it up, he asked me what just happened and I said there was a ladybug friend on his bed and I accidentally smooshed it thinking it was a spider.  Then he was ssoooooo mad at me!  He reminded me every night for like a week to not hurt his ladybug friends – I had to bite my tongue every night that I actually SAVED HIS LIFE from the giant spider.


Wil has a very hard time being serious.  His answer to every question is nearly always the opposite of what he means – then he laughs and says just kidding.  The kid has discovered sarcasm and wont give it up!  He likes using silly voices and loves make faces at people (or at himself in the mirror).  He loves making up jokes  – but they rarely make sense.  “Why did the chicken cross the road? To go climb a tree!! HAHAHAH”.  The kid thinks he’s hilarious. And I don’t want to squash his sense of humor – so we try to foster it at home and hone it in so its not disruptive at school.  Hopefully we can keep him focused when it counts — then who knows – maybe he’ll be the next Will Ferrell.


Right now, hes super into bike riding — he’ll go forever with his training wheels, and is very into trying the two-wheeler as long as Phil and I are holding onto him. Hes still a little too nervous to do it on his own – but I bet by the end of fall he’ll have it down.


After 6 years – we finally threw this kid a birthday party!!!  We were so excited to be settled in the new house and able to have people over to celebrate this birthday. The thing Wil wanted most in the world was a bouncy house!  So we invited over family and a handful of our closest friends who he’s gotten to know over the year — a few friends from school and some from after-school activities.  It was open house style so that people could come whenever worked and Wil loved having people at his house and bouncing all day long.  The whole family had a blast!

Here is Wils 6 year questionnaire – (finally done in early September when I finally got around to writing this post!)

  1. What is your favorite color? teal
  2. What is your favorite toy?  Dragon
  3. What is your favorite food? hot dogs
  4. What is your favorite show? Wild Kratts
  5. What is your favorite thing to wear? Mario stuff
  6. What is your favorite animal? tiger
  7. What is your favorite song? tu ra looo ra (unchanged!)
  8. What is your favorite book? Avengers book
  9. Who is your best friend? Cousin Luke (unchanged!)
  10. What is your favorite game? Tickle monster with dad
  11. What do you sleep with at night? My Dragon
  12. What do you want to be when you grow up? Scientist


Happy Birthday buddy — you’ve made our last 6 years an adventure.


Evie is FOUR

Evie. Evie. Evie.


So many stories:

  • Evie loves going to the grocery with me (like nearly every time).  But one time we didnt get a ‘driving cart’ and had to use a regular cart — so she wanted to sit inside the cart (not in the actual designated baby seat) — which I said was fine initially but she kept standing up and sitting on the back edge with her hands holding on in front of her.  I told her plenty of times to sit down and she wasnt being safe.  Finally an older lady even came up to me as I stepped away for a second to get some bananas and told me she needed to sit down because she was making her feel very nervous.  I dont take this type of ‘help’ very well and insisted that Evie was JUST FINE!!  Literally 5 minutes later Evie again tried to sit on the back edge of the cart and actually DID fall backwards but caught herself upside down with her hands and knees over the side of the cart — like she was on the monkey bars!! I seriously thought she was going to crack her head on the cement floor but somehow she held on.  I dont know if the older lady saw us or not.


  • On a separate occasion at Trader Joes — Evie wanted to tag along — but they have those smaller carts and Evie cant sit inside them or in the baby seat — but she still tried to hang on and ride on the side like a normal/large grocery cart (? am I making sense).  Well the whole cart toppled over on top of her! Since shes not the toughest girl — she threw a fit and the manager came over to help her and even gave her a free bag of frozen peas for her boo boos.


  • Evie thinks that the word ‘Oopsies’ make everything 100% better no matter what.  For example —  shes playing rough with Zev and he accidentally gets hurt.  If Evie says ‘oopsies’ then no one gets in trouble and he should stop crying —  makes total sense, right?!  One time I went to get her from her ‘quiet time’ upstairs in her room and discovered she had squeezed out her lotion ALL OVER her hands….and bed… and pillow….etc.  When I asked her what the heck happened she goes “I SAID OOPSIES!’.  Like that was going to magically make everything ok.


  • Evie is the reason we needed to make a ‘No Bikes on the front steps’ rule in our house. I dont really think that needs an explanation.  but thank god she was ok.  Reminder — we have about 50 steps up to our front door.  She wast even wearing a helmet, but somehow walked away with only a few scratches.


  • We have made other various ‘rules’ in our house including ‘make your own decisions’ which was originally intended for Evie because she was ordering everyone around and she needed to know people could do things other than listen to her demands.  But the ‘make your own decision rule’ backfired a bit when Evie went to her room for a while and emerged explaining ‘I MADE MY OWN DECISION AND PAINTED MY NAILS’. Luckily we have the child proof kind that rubs off.


  • Another rule is ‘trying to solve your own problem’ (which is aimed at Wil to try new things) but is terrifying when evie implements it. (perhaps thats how the bike got on the front steps?!  seriously — how did she get the bike all the way up the front steps?!) One time I helping Zev with something and Evie run past us with a step stool and I asked her what she was doing and she yelled ‘SOLVING MY OWN PROBLEM MOM!!’. Luckily she was just trying to get a toy off the counter — but I could see this being an issue in the future.




A million other little things —

  • Zev calls her “She She” for “sissy”.
  • She somehow has the words ‘Leprechan’ and ‘Coyote’ mixed-up.  Perhaps this is cleared up now, but around St. Patricks Day it was particularly confusing. (There was a coyote in the cafeteria?!)
  • Says ‘Thats Why’ instead of ‘because’.  For example: “I went and got a drink of water, thats why, i was thirsty’.
  • I call you Eva the Diva.  or just Eva Diva. you do not like it.
  • Likes me to sing the Paw Patrol Song as a lullaby. So in my sweetest voice every night I am singing “Paw patrol, patrol, they’ll be there on the doubleeeee. Paw patrol, paw patrol whenever youre in troubleeeee……” Its embarrassing. but she sleeps.  i do a lot of things for sleep.
  • Ever since we gave up her afternoon nap — she falls asleep in random places at random times.  Its kind of cute.

She is by far the most needy right now. (Which isnt fair because they all need us equally) — but sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  So A LOT of my time is spent with Evie.  And she is a mamma’s girl, so its always me.  We are working on ‘using our words’ and ‘taking deep breaths’ a lot.  (Both of us!!)



Here was her yearly birthday questionnaire:

  1. What is your favorite color? pink (unchanged from last year)
  2. What is your favorite toy?  drawing
  3. What is your favorite food? apples
  4. What is your favorite show? Ice Age (movies weve been watching)
  5. What is your favorite thing to wear? pink
  6. What is your favorite animal? elephant (unchanged from last year)
  7. What is your favorite song? tu ra looo ra
  8. What is your favorite book? monster books
  9. Who is your best friend? Morgan (her new friend from this year!)
  10. What is your favorite game? Paw Patrols/ Puppies
  11. What do you sleep with at night? Moo moo Bear and Hello Kitty
  12. What do you want to be when you grow up? Nothing (unchanged from last year, haha!!)


Since her birthday usually falls right on memorial day weekend — many people were out of town —  so we opted to have a low key birthday at home.  I got lots of snuggles, we painted our nails, and had a birthday present scavenger hunt! It was a fun day and she (of course) loved a day where she was the center of attention. 🙂  Love you Eva Diva.


Spring 2017

Thank goodness for spring. Having more light was a huge help– maybe I just needed the extra push to do more fun things, but as soon as we had longer days and it started to warm up — we were out and about and things were sooo much better.  We kept so busy! And didnt have any huge trips so it was great to stick close to home and enjoy life after such a long winter.  Here is a sprinkling of what we did:


Beer Run with my friend Anne and Regina Spektor concert with Phil —





Spring Break!!  We took a few days up in Wisconsin at an indoor waterpark,  It was our first multi-day trip as just a family of 5.  The kids loooooved staying at a hotel (even though the first night everyone refused to go to sleep and I ended up at the foot of the king-sized bed with Wil and Evie… and Zev was in a pack-n-play next to my head….)  There was ice cream and arcade games and swimming…. and Phil and I were exhausted.  But hearing them talk about it when we got back made it all worth it. That is the most important thing I learned this spring — “In the moment” kind of sucks right now.  But sitting on the couch and “talking about things we just did” is so awesome and rewarding. (Bonus if there are pictures to look at too).






Easter!! We do egg hunts allllllll week long in this house!




Wil had his first ‘Belt Test’ at Tae Kwon Do.  He went from white belt to yellow-striped belt.  Next up: full yellow belt!  Also — Baby Leah was born!  I squeezed in a quick visit with Zev one weekend to meet her and see their new house.




When we got back from Spring break we noticed a giant sink hole in the back yard.  We started to poke around and realized it kind of smelled…ultimately we discovered we needed to replace our entire septic system.  so yeah.  That was a fun few weeks.  The actual day of replacing the septic system WAS kind of fun — lots of big machines and diggers.  Kids loved it.


Next up was Phil traveling for a week. Oy. But we survived.


Then I hightailed it to Indy to see friends! and even headed down to Btown for an extra night away. Phils parents helped him with the kids and his extended family came for the weekend in Long Grove.


Next up was Memorial Day and Evies Birthday! More on that some other time.


Then finally — Schools Out!  We had a fun week of class picnics and graduations and celebrated with ice cream on the last day!





It was such a great spring.  I loved staying close to home and doing fun things as a family and small weekend trips.  We really appreciate the grandparents making trips to come see us — savings us long trips in the car down to bloomington.  On ‘off’ weekends, we kept busy going to the Zoo, hanging out at friends houses, weekly trips to the library,  and a family trip on the metra to get fro-yo.  Lots of left-over pics:




This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Zev – 18 months

Oh Zev.  You’re growing up so fast.  I cant pretend that you’re a baby anymore — You are running everywhere and talking up a storm.  I dont think I have seen you sit still for more than 1 minute (unless I put on ‘Melmo’ – then I might get 5 minutes of stillness, but thats rare).


Zev is the destroyer of all things.  He is constantly on a mission to find something to break.  When hes fussy – I actually tell the big kids to go build something for him to break — Lego tower, magnatile house, building blocks — anything for him to crush or dismantle seems to make him happy.

He loves to ‘read’ books — he likes turning pages and pointing to things. (Board books only!  If he gets his hands on paper – he will rip it into a million pieces!) He has most of his animal sounds down and is starting basic words like ‘dog’, ‘choo choo’, ‘ninny’.  He thinks that plants are called ‘No no no’ because every time he gets near them, thats what I’m yelling.  So now he points to them and says ‘No no no’! He can say ‘Mama’, ‘Dada’, and ‘Wil (sounds like Wow!)’ but cant quite says Evie, but occasionally copies me when I say ‘Sissy’.


Zev loves baths and makes a beeline for the stairs as soon as I say ‘splash splash?’  I end up soaked after every bath session – he laughs hysterically while splashing and throwing things everything. We went to a waterpark over spring break and it was basically heaven for him.

He never sits still and is always climbing or running.  His favorite thing is to climb up on the couch and run from end to end.  Which leads to him falling off the couch constantly, but it never seems to deter him from doing it again.  He was our first kid that had to go to immediate care and I’m guessing there will be more instances.


Hes 30 lbs (!!) but still wants to be held or in my lap. He is exhausting!  I seriously cant get a single thing done while hes awake because he wants to be right in the middle of anything going on.  He is starting to reach things on the counter and tries to pull everything down.  I have a two hour window during his nap that I try to accomplish everything (or rest).


He is by far the shyest kid of them all.  He’ll cover his eyes as soon as you look at him (or will give the stink eye) and never smiles at strangers.  It takes him a very long time to warm up to people, which made getting babysitters very hard.  He is skeptical of most new things and has the best furrowed brow ive ever seen.


Zev is starting to become a big kid!  He is happy doing most things that Wil and Evie are doing including climbing on playgrounds, watching movies and eating popcorn, coloring, etc.  Its fun to do things with all 3 of them together instead of finding separate activities for them.  I can see an easier and more uniform life on the horizon.  And as much as I’ll miss having a baby in the house,  I’m excited about all the fun times in store for us.


Love you ZP!

The darkest days

This winter was rough.  When daylight savings ended and it started getting dark at like 4:30, I felt like we struggled every night.  It is so hard to keep all 3 kids happy cooped up in the house and they got sick of all 3 of our closest libraries really fast.  We added a few activities to help keep the kids busy —  Wil started taekwondo and Evie started dance.  Evie is also doing an extra day of school for 3 total days and Wil is going ‘long’ days (until 2pm) on M/W.  We also finally found a few babysitters in the area and have been using them on Wednesday and Friday afternoons — It makes it easier for me to run kids to activities and not disrupt Zev’s nap and it gives me a chance to occasionally get some Hopkins work done during the day instead of evenings and weekends.

Phil and I made it into the city a few times — We went to Hamilton (our big christmas present! and it was sooo amazing) and also saw Regina Spektor at Chicago Theater which was beautiful.

We had our first trip to immediate care, ever.  I’m actually surprised it took 5.5 years of parenthood until we had a true emergency.  I’m not surprised it was Zev.  He fell right into a door hinge and needed liquid stitches.  Yuck.

Auntie Em had her baby! Welcome to the world cousin Hank!

Annakate came to Chicago! It was so great to have a day catching up with her.

We introduced Wil and Evie to Mario Cart. It took a few weeks to catch on but Wil is legitimately good now, he has beaten Bmalm several times.  Evie still likes to ‘explore’ rather than race the courses.  But then gets mad when she loses.

We are finally finally finally almost done with all the boxes in our house!! I swear I’ll do a house tour once the last few things are on the walls, and the dining room is done, and the workout room is done….so like…1 more year…But its nice that things are finally finding a place in our home.

Here is a montage of our winter in Long Grove — with lots of leftover holiday pictures as well —

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Holidays 2016

Its April and I’m giving a run down of thanksgiving and christmas.  Yikes.

I feel like I usually look back on events with rose-colored lenses but when I think back to the holidays of 2016, all I remember is everyone being sick.  Mostly me. Which is usually fine — but I was sick FOREVER and then everyone else was sick on and off, which made for a grumpy few weeks. And holidays are not the time to be sick.  You cant lay in bed for a few days and get better — you have to suck it up and be where you need to be.  Which was sometimes great because holidays are when you see people you dont see very much — but man, it was an overwhelming few weeks, when I probably should have been laying in bed.  I will give the highlights — because thats more fun and I dont have pictures of anyone puking.

My parents came for Thanksgiving! I hadnt had thanksgiving with my parents in like 7 years! It was really nice to have them.


I went to my first Bears game!  It was a miserable, cold, snowy day —  but we managed to have some fun.


Then we went to Bloomington for Em and Sam’s baby shower – its always great seeing these two! Wish we could see them more.



The week before Christmas the kids had a million school parties,  concerts and events. We of course went to see Santa.



Then it was Christmas! This was our first year of playing Santa.  We have always gone to bloomington and had Christmas morning at one of the grandparents — so we’ve never really had to worry about having presents, santa gifts, stockings, etc.  I LOOOOVED being ‘HOME’ — especially since this is our first real home.  We made cookies and the kids had ‘reindeer food’ from school.  (Did you know reindeer eat oatmeal and glitter — GLITTER?! F-you school. It got everywhere.). It was awesome and stressful and exciting at the same time.  We wrapped everything in secret and stashed things away and waited for them to be asleep to get things ready (and ate all the cookies).  Luckily we are still at the age where kids didnt have anything big or pricey they really wanted — Phil and I actually just went up to our local goodwill store and bought like $50 worth of toys/puzzles/books and it was a HUGE christmas! We bought like 10 plastic airplanes for 50 cents a piece and individually wrapped each one and the kids thought it was the best thing ever.  So easy.  I know it wont always be that easy, so i’m thankful for this year when its still as simple as that.

Then the day after Christmas we drove down to Bloomington for Christmas with the grandparents.  We overlapped with my sister for a bit and got to celebrate Nick’s birthday! I even snuck out with a drink with friends.  We pack in as much as we can on these trips!


Then we made it back for NYE at the Deviches (which is also Quinn’s birthday!) It was a crazy night 😉 and we were at home asleep by 9pm.


PHEW! Since then — we havent traveled at all!  And spent the rest of winter doing activities around here.  More on that next…