Summer 2018

Another summer in the books! Another summer with 3 kids and barely any camp.  It was a lot of togetherness! A lot.




Well…that’s not completely true – the big kids went to a full week of day-long camp in Bloomington and Zev hung with the grandparents while Phil and I went to Hawaii on a week-long vacation (!!!) at the beginning of June.  But since we spent the rest of the camp-money in Hawaii, it was 24-hour ‘Mom Camp’ the rest of summer.



I’ll give a proper Hawaii post sometime – but needlessly to say it was excellent.  And the kids had an awesome time in B-town.  But lets back up.  Right after school got out, the kids had their dance recital!  Wil did dance this year and loved it but is catching on to it being a ‘girl thing’ and doesn’t want to do it anymore.  I’m bummed that hes hitting the age of social pressures. Tae Kwon Do was great last year, but a bit too strict and overwhelming for him.  Dance reminded me of a ‘Fun’ Tae Kwon Do – still doing routines and learning to control your body but in a much more fun environment! Wil and Evie both rocked their recital and it was so much fun watching them. All the grandparents came to watch too!  Thanks guys!




Then we headed to Indiana for the kids to stay with the grandparents while Phil and I went on our 10-year anniversary trip.  Big kids had a great time at camp arrowhead while Zev hung out at the house.  Then we celebrated Wil’s birthday when we got back.




Then we made it back to Chicago for 4th of July activities!





After that, like I said, we didn’t have a whole lot planned!  We did swimming lessons for a few weeks.  Wil and Evie were AWESOME this year.  And I thought it would be a good idea to put Zev in the preschool class, where you technically had to be 3 but I pushed them to let me sign him up (?! Whyyy did I do this??) because he was NOT ready and hes so-so shy and basically just ran out of the pool and I had to chase him every 5 minutes for 2 weeks. I dont have any pictures of Wil and Evie — but they are jumping in and swimming underwater like champs these days.  They still like to stay where they can touch, but are getting more confident every day!



The biggest excitement of summer was Evie breaking her arm. She and Wil were messing around on the swinging rings at the indoor playground one morning and she fell on her left arm and broke her ulna near the elbow.  She was crying and said it hurt – but of course I didn’t believe it was that bad.  Plus her cousins were arriving in a few hours – so we told her to take it easy and she was in relatively good spirits the rest of the day.  The next morning we went to Lego-Land and she still wasn’t using her arm much, so I finally made the appointment to check it out (over 24 hours later!).  We had it wrapped in a soft cast at the childrens ER that night (a magician came to see her in her room!) – then made an appointment at Luries for the hard cast a few days later.  Thank goodness for water-proof casts these days.  It didn’t slow her down a bit.  We still went swimming and enjoyed the rest of summer without complaint from Evie (She was seriously a super-trooper through the whole thing.  Love that girl).



Other than that we kept busy with trips to the park —  trips to the Zoo with friends — putt-putt and lots of ice cream!






We even had a few visitors!   (Hi Harrisons! Hi Andrew!)  And I got to see a few friends! (Hi Leigh Ann! Hi Andrea! Hi Beyonce!)




Now, Wil is off to First grade, Evie is off to Kindergarten, and Zev starts a 2-year old preschool class for a few hours two days a week starting in September.  This is the first year ever all 3 will be in school!!! (Zev only has 5 hours a week, but hey, I’ll take it).




Here are all the left over photos:



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Happy 7 Wil

Wil has lost 4 teeth this year (with #5 dropping any day!!).  I’m still the worst tooth fairy on the block.  With the last tooth — I remembered at 6am and tried to sneak in to do the exchange but Wil was already up and sad.  I snuck around the side of his bed and dropped the dollar on the ground and made him ‘look a little bit harder’ for his surprise.  Then had to make up a story about why the tooth fairy sometimes leaves the tooth behind since I obviously couldnt grab that in plain sight.  I swear for the next tooth — I’ll get it right.


I forget how Wil got into magic tricks (probably youtube)– but I finally signed him up for a legit ‘magic class’ through the parks department in May and he was all about it!  He learned a few card tricks and got a few small ‘disappearing’ tricks to take home.  For his birthday, I purchased a few more for him (which was a hilarious exchange — I had to meet the magician at a random location before one of his other gigs, cash only.  It was a weird google reminder.)  Anyway,  he goes back for his second class in August.  He loves doing magic tricks for guests — but cant NOT tell people how its done, haha.  I’ll try to post a video of him soon.  Hes quite the entertainer. But terrible at keeping secrets.


Wil is still the silliest of the bunch.  Throughout the school year we continued to get calls and have meetings about the best way to channel Wil’s energy and how to keep him focused (and not bothering others).  Hes getting better with coping strategies and doing great with academics.  Hes even trying theater this summer to act out his silliness.  I wouldnt change a thing about him — We just need to focus that social excitement!


Wil is so interested in learning these days!!  Its like he unlocked a secret super-power.  He loves doing new things: math, science, building, reading, everything!  Hes reading books by himself (or to Zev).  Hes constantly asking me for math problems to do in the car.  And for his birthday he got a 800-piece Lego set that he put together within days (was really hoping it would last longer as an activity, ha!).  Now we’re onto learning to tie shoes which he is super pumped about.




Wil has also made huge stride in physical activities.  Last year he was terrified of the two-wheeler and swimming but this year he was the most outgoing in his swim class and so-so-close to riding the bike on his own.  We tried a few different sports — but he seems most interested in golf! I love to see him so confident and excited about things.


Wil was obsessed with venus fly traps for like an entire year — but they only sell them a few times a year and missed them last year.  I called around and was so excited when they were finally in stock.  However — I was completely expecting like one tiny little plant — so I even got Evie excited about getting one and thought Id be Mom-of-the-year by taking a trip to the garden store and buying my kids a dinky little plant.  When we got there I learned these plants are very high maintenance.  They need special water and special care and were like $23 a piece!!! Jeez-o-pete. But since I made a big stink about them, we had to buy two and Ive been trying my darndest to keep them alive.  But its not going well. (PS, in the picture below we tried to feed it a dead fly — you’re NOT supposed to do that….oops).




For Wil’s birthday it was just the fam and great weather — so we packed up and went to the Lake Zurich beach in the morning.  Then did presents and cake after nap.  And finished the day at Chuck-E-Cheese!  It was a great day to be 7.




Here is Wil’s yearly birthday questionnaire:

  1. What is your favorite color? Teal (unchanged)
  2. What is your favorite toy? 3DS
  3. What is your favorite food? pizza
  4. What is your favorite show? Incredibles
  5. What is your favorite thing to wear? Flash shirt
  6. What is your favorite animal? Tiger (unchanged)
  7. What is your favorite song? tu ra looo ra (unchanged!)
  8. What is your favorite book? Avengers book (unchanged)
  9. Who is your best friend? Jayke
  10. What is your favorite game? Donkey Kong (3DS game)
  11. What do you sleep with at night? My Dragon (unchanged)
  12. What do you want to be when you grow up? Police officer



Spring 2018

Hooray for warm weather!! (Except spring was actually pretty cold until like May.  I think Phil was still making weekend fires well into April.)  But at least the time changed and it was light enough to get outside a bit more and we had a random hot day here and there.


For spring break we went down to Btown for a few days.  Phil stayed behind to get in some work days.  But I was able to catch up with Leigh Ann, Celia, and Sarah (!!) who overlapped all the way from California.  I don’t see any of those girls enough – so it was super rare and fun.


The kids also had a great time with the grandparents doing wonderlab, easter egg hunts, playing in the snow and dental appointments with uncle Andrew.


We celebrated Easter in LG and even though they are wearing their springy Easter clothes  – it was actually below freezing.  (My kids do a lot of crazy things for an M&M).


Then I turned around and went back to btown for some dental implants.  Fun fun.  But it was first night away from the kids in like over a year, so it was actually kind of great.  After that, we didn’t have any travel planned for a while so we decided to potty train Zev. Oy.  I know the world doesn’t like to hear about potty training, but it’s a big deal and I think most parents can at least appreciate the significance.  So yeah.  We did it. And it caught on pretty easily in the first few weeks.  And we are now diaper free during the day!  I cant say how thankful I am how ‘Easy’ it was (it wasn’t easy. Phil and I just have thick skin and have dealt with it before, so it seemed ‘Easy’ compared to the first time – I’ll spare details of all the ‘Not-so-easy’ moments).



Other than that we had a bunch of random activities – I took the big kids to a children’s musical of the ‘Emperors New Clothes’ in the area (and got pulled over on the way.  Great learning experience.) Lots of friends birthday parties, we hosted lots of friends over here, and even Aunt Wendy visited for a night before a conference!!


Then we had all the end of the year concerts, picnics, and graduations to celebrate before the official kick off of ‘Summer’!! Woo-hoo! Bring it on.


Here are some additional memories:

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Happy 5 Evie!


Evie is, so far, our most dangerous child (I have a feeling Zev will trump her when he gets older).  But she is much more willing to throw herself into new situations than Wil ever was.  She passed Wil in swim tests this spring and was the first to show Wil how to cross the top of the monkey bars.  She is speeding down our driveway at full-speed on the balance bike and catapults herself into the foam pit at gymnastics without a second thought.


She loves to tell jokes.  Whether they make sense or not.  Here was one of her latest:

evie: why did the fish go to the doctor?

me: i dont know, why?

evie: because he needed more water!

me: LOL, what?

evie: is that funny?

me: i dont know, i dont think so.

evie:  youre laughing – it means its funny





Evie is the best ‘helper’ of all the kids.  She is always the most willing to go run errands – she especially loves going to the grocery store.  And she loves moving everything out of the way in the garage for the lawn mower for dad.


Since she is the best helper — on the weekends whenever we are out and picking up take-out for dinner – we like to have ‘girl dates’.  Which consists of us sitting at a restaurant waiting for food (usually having a ‘special drink’) and having drawing contests.  Kind of like Pictionary but usually with a ‘theme’ of the day. This week it was Mario themed and we drew everything from Mario games and had to guess what each other drew when we were done.


Evie is still our most sensitive one.  She is easily upset by others and can take a while to calm down.  We are working on ‘Even if someone does something you don’t like, it doesn’t mean they are being mean to you’  But it’s a tough lesson to learn.  She takes things to heart. And needs lots of hugs in the meantime.


Evie loves super heroes  (which she plays with Wil ALL.THE.TIME.  She has no predisposition to princesses over-here!).  For her birthday, she requested a GIANT batman cake.  But of course the grocery store couldnt promise me ‘batman’ since it was copyrighted – but they said they could do a cityscape and I could bring in my own cake toppers.  So I found a bunch of cheap lego super-heroes and it turned out great!!  She was so pumped and so was I.  We also had Busia and Dzia-dzia here for the occasion and went mini-golfing.  It was a great day.  We love you Eva-Diva.


Here is your 5-year questionnaire (which i asked a few weeks late, meaning many answers revolve around Incredibles 2 that came out mid-June.  Shes obsessed!):

  1. What is your favorite color? rainbow
  2. What is your favorite toy?  Baby Jack-Jack
  3. What is your favorite food? cookies and ice cream
  4. What is your favorite show? Incredibles 2
  5. What is your favorite thing to wear? Flash shirt
  6. What is your favorite animal? Deer (we had to come back to this 3 times, she couldnt think of anything)
  7. What is your favorite song? Itsy Bitsy Spider (we do this at night with tickles)
  8. What is your favorite book? Super Hero Books
  9. Who is your best friend? Owen and Hugo (Oh man, this group of 3 was inseparable this year!)
  10. What is your favorite game? Cat in the Hat
  11. What do you sleep with at night? My animals! (I asked her how many she had — she thinks 71)
  12. What do you want to be when you grow up? A Mommy.


Zev 2.5

Zev is like a real kid now.  I wish he would have stayed a sweet little baby for awhile longer – but hes a full-on kid.  Hes in a big-boy bed (which he calls his boo-boo- bed, but is really just a mattress on the floor) And hes out of diapers during the day.  How did all this happen so fast??


Along with his big-kid status, he has figured out hes in control of himself and often asserts himself by destroying everything in site.  Anything Evie and Wil are doing, he tries to either take away, or break it, or just hit someone for no reason what-so-ever.  So they arent a huge fan of him (unless they know they are getting brownie points for ‘watching’ him).


Hes also turning into a bit of a ‘runner’.  Like if its ever time to get in the car and go somewhere, he just yells NO and runs away from me in the other room.  But even more troublesome is when I have to let go of his hand in a parking lot in order to unlock or open the door – he will sometimes TAKE OFF.  Its terrifying and Ive practically tackled him in the parking lot to make sure he doesnt make it too far.  But Yeeeesh.  Its been scary.  I might become a ‘leash mom’.  Dont judge.


If you ever try to discipline him, his main come back is yelling ‘poo poo butt’ in your face.  Its as charming as it sounds. Especially in the middle of Target at the top of his lungs.


For whatever reason, he likes telling ‘secrets’ and whispering in ears.  He will sometimes whisper ‘I love you’  But the main things he likes to whisper are ‘Mickey Choo Choo’ and ‘Goofy Hulka-Hulka’.  I think it started with ‘Mickey Choo-choo’ around Christmas when there was a specific clubhouse episode he liked to watch and I would whisper it to get him happy or excited.  Then it branched out to ‘Goofy’ with the ‘Hulka-hulka’ (the sound that Goofy makes when he laughs).


He understands to be quiet when someone is sleeping.  So whenever I tell him to be quiet he says “Someone is sleeping?!”  (I can usually play this off in the grocery store by saying there is a baby ‘over there’).  Then when he wants YOU to be quiet he will say ‘STOP! QUIET! Someone is sleeping!!!’.  But when you ask who, he usually says ‘Uncle Nick’.


Keep being you, Zev.  You’re awesome.

Winter 2018

This winter we finally got all the Chicago snow I was warned about 2+ years ago when we were planning to move here.  The last two winters werent too bad, so I didnt know what all the fuss was about. I finally feel like I am earning my Chicago stripes.  We actually had a lot of fun building snowmen, sledding around the yard — plus lots of hot chocolate and fires in the fireplace. (But now that its april, Im ready for it to end.)

Im really making a push to ‘finish’ this house.  I went on a giant cleaning spree by going through every closet, box, cabinet, you-name-it.  I threw away old mail from Baltimore.  I found Phils wedding ring.  I threw away old training underpants.  I actually have all the wrapping paper and gift bags in one place.  I think we might actually have a place for everything in this entire house!  The very last room I want to finish is the ‘work out room’  but we’re still deciding its multiple purposes.  Then, I swear, I will post some pics of the entire house with some before & after.  I feel like we have made such great progress in the last 2-years and its finally feeling like a forever home.

We stayed busy on weekends by going up to Wisconsin a lot.  I’m finding it easier to hop in the car and drive north than to head into the city, go figure.  First we went to Milwaukee to see my friend Andrea and family who are here on sabbatical from France.  Then we went up to Kenosha to a fun kids museum.  On the Kenosha trip I was with my friend Anne who also has three kids — so with all 6 kids — someone asked us if we ran a daycare, haha.  Its always chaos taking them anywhere (hence the montage of blurry pictures), but we try to have fun.

Zev is seriously a whole new person over the last few months.  He is talking SO MUCH.  He is singing his ABCs and has his own little vocabulary — My favorites are ‘Spicy-ronis’ for pepperoni and  ‘Boo-boo-bed’ for big boy bed (instead of crib). He is also constantly asking “What ISSSS THIS?!” or “I’m NOT DOING THAT!”.  He is still working on sharing. Everything is ‘mine’ these days.  He had a friend over the other day and he wouldnt let him touch anything!  Finally the little boy went into the other room and was watching TV and saw an airplane and went ‘AIRPLANE’ and Zev ran into the room going ‘MYYY airplane!!!!’ (like he stole his toy or something) Oh Zev.

I called poison control for the first time in my life this winter.  I forgot to close the baby-proof cabinet device under the kitchen sink and Zev squirted himself in the face with Windex.  All I heard was crying and then he smelled like it and his clothes were wet, so I called to make sure.  We dont keep anything super hazardous within reach of any child, but still made me nervous! They were very nice on the phone — hopefully dont ever have to call again.


We made it until the end of February without getting super sick.  I was actually feeling a little smug that we dodged it  — but then were knocked out for like 2 weeks.  Ugh.  Wil had it the worst. He even got pink eye after days of runny eyes/nose/everything.  But in true Evie fashion, if Wil has something she has to have it, too.  So — true story — Evie went to school on a Monday and poked herself in the eye with a pencil.  This was accident and totally unrelated.  But the next day when Wil went to the doc for eye meds for REAL, Evie told everyone at school that she was sick and her eyes itched, too, ‘just like Wil’!  The nurse eventually called me and said that Evie needed to go home for pink eye because her eye was red and kept insisting that ‘she had what Wil had’.  AHH!!!  I was literally pleading with the nurse that Evie DID NOT have pink eye and she was lying.  But they made us pick her up anyway and I had to deal with 3 kids at home….Evie was never sick this whole period, I swear.

Ok.  So that was the end of February.   Lets back-up to January when I put the kids in swim lessons against their will (because summer swim lessons were traumatic).  I promised them if they did swim lessons and learned to swim all the way across the pool that we would take them to the indoor swim hotel in Wisconsin.  Swim lessons were going great and I was looking up good deals at the hotel, when I learned they had an awesome Groupon for early march. I booked it for the first weekend of March. The weekend after everyone was sick. And it was non-refundable. Oy.  Luckily all the kids were healthy by that point — but I was definitely not feeling it and Phil was exhausted from a long week of dealing with work, kids, and ME.  But we did it. And if anything – it was a nice escape from the nothingness of their sick-week before. They all had a fun adventure.  But Phil and I could have used a weekend off.

Then Emmy, Sam and Hank came for a visit!  Wow.  After a long few weeks, it was seriously the best.  We dont get to see them enough and its nearly impossible to get all of our kids on a plane these days, so they were nice enough to come to us!  It was so fun just to cook dinner, talk, and hang out for a few days.


We were also lucky enough for Mark & Char to come up and help out with the grandkids while Phil, Sam, Em and I did a St. Paddy’s day beer run.  Ha.  We were way too old for this type of shenanigans, but it was a blast.  And it was so fun to have so many Wozniaks in the same place for a weekend!


So yeah — we had some fun weekends — but I felt like weekdays were long, dark, and cold.  Hopefully some warm weather and outside activities will break us of the winter blues.  Currently our biggest struggle is keeping Wil and Evie happy in the same room.  They CANNOT leave each other alone.   Which is sometimes great when they are playing together nicely.  But mostly its loud, frustrating and exhausting.  Even when watching a show or playing DS, they have to tell each other about what is happening.  Then the other gets mad because they ‘KNOWWWWWW’ what is happening.  I have to tell them to leave each other alone or to stop talking to each other or to do their own thing at least 1000X a day.  My spring is dedicated to keeping them apart as much as possible.


Its April and there are still forecasts for snow in the next few days.  But the 10-year anniversary Hawaii trip is booked.  So all is good.  Here are the rest of our recent photos:

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Holidays 2017

Oh my gosh.  Between Thanksgiving and New Years we did ALL. THE. THINGS.

Thanksgiving food, friends and fire:


Winter fun: decorating, horse rides, lights, santa and snow!



So many activities:  St. Nicks, recitals, performances, holiday parties, friends + celebrating

Christmas: The main event!!  Cookies on Christmas eve, matching PJs, presents galore — Kids LOVE their new Nintendo DSs


Travels + Family + Birthday Celebrations + Friends + Wonderlab +Bowling + Escape Room:

New Years + a trip to the city for Hamilton!

Phew — we’re getting back in the groove and riding high on new presents and activities.  Thanks to everyone for an amazing holiday season!!