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Zev is 2

I cant believe the last 2 year have gone by so fast. We have had so many changes in our life between the time I was pregnant with Zev until now.  Hes just been along for the ride the entire time.  Between all the moves, I barely had time to make sure he had clothes that fit or see if places were properly baby-proofed, but he managed to survive.  And now, in the last few months, with Evie and Wil at school 5 days a week — I finally get some time where I can focus just on him.  I still havent signed him up for a single activity but we do make it to library story time here or there — so that counts, right?

Zev is saying new things all the time.  He will copy anything you say to him.  Which is hilarious when Evie whispers things like ‘poopy butt’ in his ear — which he’ll then repeat over and over like a parrot (but then she swears she didnt say anything at all).  He knows to say ‘please’ when he really wants something. He knows to say ‘ME TOO’ when I’m asking the big kids what they want to eat or play — he will not be left out! When he has nothing else to say he just runs around the house saying ‘I love you’ or “I ruv roo”.

 

He started taking his naps on a little floor mattress and has been totally cool with it.  AND has given up on his pacifiers.  He eventually bit a hole in every single one and would spit it out and say ‘yucky’, and I stopped buying new ones and he just gave up on them!  Dont know how we got so lucky.  Evie would cry bloody murder without her beloved ‘ninny’ — but somehow Zev is just fine without them!

 

He loves to be outside and help dad in the yard.  We have these two large locust trees in our yard that have these black pea pods that come down in the fall.  When there are just a few, Phil and Zev would pick them up and put them in a box to carry to the woods.  But eventually there were just too many to pick up or rake and Phil has to mulch them with the mower.  But it was pretty hilarious to see Zev freak out every morning when new pea pods fell  — he would yell ‘MORE PEA PODS’ and try to pick them all up every morning but there were thousands! He was flabbergasted.

He does so many more things on his own compared to my other kids.  It might be because I cant watch him as well as I watched the other two (Im severely outnumbered when Phil is at work!).  But Ive also probably relaxed a bit over the years and let him figure this out on his own.  I put him on a tractor ride that I would have never in a million years put any of my other kids on.  It was definitely aimed at preschoolers, not toddlers.  It went way too fast and counted on the kids to hold on and stay in their seat (both of which are ‘iffy’ directions for a two year old).  But he survived.  Hes also already going down the hill on the scooter — I at least put a helmet on the kid.

 

Zev was the shyest of all my kids — maybe because Ive been at home with him the last 2 years.  He would always hide when strangers said hi and would cry if I left him with anyone. But hes starting to come out of his shell.  He’ll say hi to other moms and has a few little sibling friends he’ll play with at playdates.

 

He currently loved all things toy story (“woody-buzz”), mickey mouse, or sesame street (“Melmo-abby”).  He loves dancing — he squats real low and swing his hips around.  His favorite song is Old McDonald and you’ll hear his just “E-I-E-I-O — woof woof here” all around the house. Hes also entered into the ‘terrible two’ phase where he will throw a fit if I take something away or say no.  At least its easier to handle the 3rd time around.

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Now that we are at ages 2, 4, and 6 — life is much more manageable.  I feel like we are coming out of the fog of the baby years and are starting to really have some fun.  Zev likes to do whatever the big kids are doing and they are all finally starting to play together.

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We had an extremely busy fall with phil traveling, visitors and some sickness — so I wanted nothing more than a quiet birthday weekend celebrating my ‘baby’  — eating cake and lots of snuggles.  The big kids had a great time decorating the house and wrapping presents for him and Zev loved all the commotion and activities. It was a nice low-key day as a family.  Happy Birthday Zev — you add so much happiness to our lives.

 

We Did Disney

We went to Disney World!! And lived to tell about it. Phil and I had been thinking about doing it before we missed a good ‘window’ with Wil and Evie — but were scared to take Zev as well, but my parents were down to go — so we decided to make a big family trip out of it!

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Wil had an early fall break at the end of September.  So we flew down on a Thursday and stayed at the airport hotel that evening — then spent Friday through Monday at Disney.  Friday we woke up early to get over to the new hotel, drop bags, then get on the bus to Animal Kingdom.  The kids were getting pretty restless after traveling most of thursday and on buses all of friday morning — but we finally made it to our first attraction around noon on Friday afternoon.  We hung out at the Dinosaur playground before it was time to do the Dinosaur ride.  We had to rider swap a lot because Zev wasnt tall enough — but he was able to do smaller things like the ‘Dumbo’ type rides.  We also lucked out with him napping in the stroller for a while since we couldnt make it back to hotel that first day. Once he was awake he enjoyed the bird shows and ice cream 🙂

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We avoided a few thunderstorms while in shows like the Lion King and in Pandora land.  Pandora land was super cool! We got fast passes for the new River ride but unfortunately didnt make it onto the Flight of Passage.  We made it on the Safari — but had to high-tail it home after that because kids were breaking down.  There was no way they were going to make any of the night shows.

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The next morning we were up bright and early for a full day at Magic Kingdom. We had great weather in the morning and did nearly all of fantasy land in one swoop!  We had a few things we knew the kids would want to do — but kept options open in case Evie wanted to meet princesses or anything — but she was all about the roller coasters!  It was awesome.  We did Goofy’s barnstormer 3 times in a row when no one was in line.  We were in walking distance to magic kingdom so it was easy to be there early with less crowds and easily make it back to hotel for nap time around noon.

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We headed back to Magic Kingdom for our Seven dwarfs Fast Pass around 3.  Then Wil and Evie had reservations at the Bippity Boppity Boutique — while the Dads found activities for Zev. Evie was a bit unsure of the boutique but eventually got into it, Wil loved it!  They made a great princess + Knight pair! After that we killed some time and avoided some rainstorms in Adventure land with Aladdin and the Tiki Room before our Thunder Mountain Fast Pass.   A few months ago I worried that we wasted a Fast Pass on Thunder Mountain, not sure if the kids would be able to handle a big roller coaster — but after a full day of rides once we got there — I knew it would be a hit.  And they loved it!!

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After that the kids were getting grumpy again — so we headed back to the hotel and watched the fireworks from the balcony instead of trying to stick around for any of the shows in the park.

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On Sunday — we slept in and spent some time at the pool before our Character Breakfast at the hotel.  I wasnt sure how much the kids would be into the breakfast since they didnt care too much about meeting people in the park — but once they were there — they loooooved it.  I love these smiles.

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After a quick Zev nap and more pool time, we headed back to magic kingdom for our last few rides.  Kids liked the Pirate of the Caribbean and Zev loved the Buzz Light year ride.  We headed back even earlier on Sunday to spend more time at the pool before bedtime!

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Monday morning — we packed up, headed back to the airport and made it home by 5  that night to get ready for school the next day!!

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It was such a whirlwind and we were completely exhausted, but Wil and Evie love talking about it and had a genuinely awesome time. I’m so glad we brought Zev in hindsight — he had a great time too — even if he wont remember it.  And we definitely could not (would not) have done it without my parents. (THANKS MOM AND DAD!).

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I feel like I’m part of a club now that I’m ‘on the other side’ of this trip.  I had no freaking idea how big and involved this trip was going to be when were throwing around ideas to go last spring.  But once it was a go, my Mom (super planner extraordinaire) had hotel reservations, bippity-boppity boutique and character breakfast planned exactly 6-months out.  Then I worked on the itinerary and fast-passes 60 days out.  We were researching food options and stroller rentals a few weeks out.  Nearly everything we did was planned before we left, which was really overwhelming at the time, but once youre there — you just follow the plan (and take care of 3 children under 6….).  Piece of Cake!  Without the pre-planning we definitely would have missed out on something — but I really feel like we did it all.

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And now we’re riding the post-vacation high — where we get to sit on the couch and do nothing and just look at pictures and remember the happy times (and not how hard it was!). We’ll go back in like 4 years when Zev is old enough (and tall enough) to have a good time. Until then — I’ll look at the pictures daily and be thankful for the good trip we had!

 

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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.

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

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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!!

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June 24th– Wil’s birthday party!

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

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July 4th — back to Chicago for the 4th

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

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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.

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

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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

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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!

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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:

 

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Happy 6th birthday Wil!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

 

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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!!)

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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:

 

 

 

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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).

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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’.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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Love you ZP!