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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).

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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).

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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.

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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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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??

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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’.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

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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!!

Day in the Life – 2017

Its been over a year since my last Day in the Life.  Phil was traveling this week, so this was a fun way to keep me distracted for a day.  Here we go…..

December 14th 2017

2:00am — Zev is up.  He no longer just cries — but now screams a very specific ‘MOMMMMMMMMMMM’.  I go in and cover him up.  He goes back to sleep.

6:45am — Since Phil is gone, I set my alarm to make sure I get downstairs to take out barney before the kids are up.  Start making coffee and Evie comes down at 7:00.  I hear Zev crying a few minutes later.  I put on a show for them and get breakfast going.  Evie has some cereal at the table and Zev is snacking on dry cereal on the couch.

7:30am — still no Wil.  I go up and get him and grab the kids clothes for the day.  Hes finally downstairs around 7:40 and eats a waffle. Zev has a diaper.  Im rushing to get Wil’s lunch and snacks for both big kids in their backpacks.  There is snow outside meaning Wil needs to take boots, snowpants, and hat to school or hes not allowed past the black-top during recess.  His snowpants from last year didnt fit, so I bought new ones that he still needs to try on.

8:15am — Bus (is supposed to come) in 4 minutes and we’re still trying to finish hair, teeth, and advent calendars.  (god forbid we forget the advent calendar.)  Wil still hasnt tried on his snowpants!!!  But we make it in the car by 8:20 after lots of yelling.  We sit at the end of the driveway in the car and I remember that my tire alert came on the night before.  I was so scared I had a leak and that the tire would be flat this morning, but luckily its fine — but still needs air.  Bus comes at 8:22 and I have 8 minutes to get Evie to school, but we make it.

8:30am– drop off Evie at school and call the tire place to see if they’ll help me fill tires because i’m dumb and its cold and I have Zev and dont feel like trying myself.  Ive been going to the same place since I got here, so luckily they ‘know’ me and are willing to fill my tires for me.

9:00am — Back home. Do a Zev diaper.  Answer texts I havent answered in forever, write some emails, make some calls. Take barney out and clean up from the morning — Zev hangs out and watches a show and plays with cars.  I clean out the fridge and make a grocery list. I finally eat something myself.

10:00am — Out the door to the grocery.  Its cold enough outside (10 degrees!) that I can shop and still do other things and the groceries can sit in the cold car! Score! I get some kringles for mom and dinner items.  Then we head to the library for a bit before picking up Evie.  We get to evie’s school a bit early so Zev plays in the car until she comes out.

11:45am– Home with Evie and Zev.  Bring everything in and put things away.  Make lunch for everyone.  PB sandwiches, strawberries, and a few cheetos.  I have a few bites of chicken salad.  Take barney out. Head upstairs to put Zev down for his nap, do another diaper.

 

12:25pm — Zev is finally asleep.  I go to the basement for a quick run while Evie watches a show.  Then we played a bit in the basement before heading upstairs for a shower – Evie does makeup while she waits for me. Then Evie and I made graham cracker houses for playdate tomorrow! We’re going to decorate then with icing and candy.  Yum.  We finished up just as Zev started making noise.

2:20pm — Went and got Zev.  Evie and Zev have gummies on the couch and watch a show while I run down to take barney out. Do a Zev diaper and take out the trash. We get a package and they take some of our snacks! I got this idea from Celia last year and its been a huge hit:

2:55pm — Head outside and wait for Wils bus.  He has a good day (and says I wont get any calls).  When I go check his backpack – literally the only thing he ate were crackers.  I go ‘are you starving?’ he was like ‘YEAH’ so he ate the rest of his lunch and snack.  I turn on the lights since its getting dark out already.  Everyone watches the end of a show then start ‘playing’ which is actually more like fighting. I hand out a few ‘strikes’ — then make the kids turn on christmas lights around the house and play upstairs.  It doesnt go well upstairs — I hand out a few more strikes. If they get 3 strikes, they dont get dessert.  They finally settle down a bit and I do Zevs bath and a diaper while the big kids play in Wil’s room.  Then after Zevs bath, they are all playing nicely together upstairs together (?!). I’m suspicious — but sneak downstairs to get their dinner ready real quick.

4:30pm — Go get kids for dinner — everyone is acting nuts again.  I run downstairs to take out barney and hope they dont kill each other while eating.  We have to leave at 5:00 so I’m starting to yell about eating food, going to the bathroom and getting shoes on.

5:05pm — Finally getting in the car. Late for soccer but we were there for most of it.  Its the same coach that Evie has on Saturday mornings, so he lets her join in for a while, but when they started the scrimmage, Evie got intimidated by the big kids and played in the hallway with Zev instead.  I let each kid earn a ‘star’ if they were good at soccer (which cancels out a ‘strike’).

6:20pm — Home.  Take out Barney. Take turns upstairs with the big kids doing showers while the other ‘watches’ Zev.  Put on PJS.  Everyone is hungry so we have some sandwiches and/or  eggo waffles. Put on ‘Elf’ (even though Evie is protesting).  Start a load of laundry.  Do a Zev diaper.

7:00pm — ‘Treat time’ — then I sat and watched Elf with them for a solid 20 minutes (!!) which was nice.  Then we head upstairs for teeth and bedtime.  Evie and Wil played while I put Zev down.  Then I do bedtime with Evie while Wil plays.  Then finally Wil.

8:20 — Back downstairs.  Take out barney one last time.  Switch the laundry.  House is mess and I’m starving.  Dont clean but made some food.   I’m so tired.  Go upstairs and watch a crown episode and go to bed. Lights out around 9:30?

 

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Take away:  Still doing diapers (8/day is pretty normal).  We are taking out barney a ton (He has been going in the house if you dont take him out every 2-3 hours).    It was lonely without phil — I dont think I really talked to an adult today? I never have time without a kid (as in there is always one awake that Im responsible for) but I did get a lot done while they played or watched shows.  I dont have to watch them every single second anymore.  I mean, I got a workout mid-day with two kids home, thats a definite improvement! And I didnt really help the older two with many bathroom things.  I helped them in and out of the shower — but they did most of that by themselves.

I definitely need to eat more vegetables.

The main thing that gets me was that is was a BORING day  — like maybe its not that different from past posts — but maybe I was more interested back then? I was bored even writing all this. Ive been doing the same sh*t for 6 1/2 years, so im over it.  It is basically just a lot of ordering people around all day.  Blah.  I definitely need to seek out some evening/weekend stimulation.  Phil and I are starting to look into a 10-year anniversary vacation though — so that is one thing I am definitely looking forward to!!  Let the day dreaming begin!

Fall 2017

I Loooooove Fall!!

Well….I love the few weeks that it is still relatively warm and there are still leaves on the tree.

Phil had two pretty long work trips in October, one of which was to Hawaii (!!), so we packed in as many fall activities as we could on the few warm weekends.  I feel like most of these pictures are from three 2-hour outings. Which is basically ‘Fall’ in Chicago.

 

Quick run-down of autumn:  The kids adjusted well to school, we had an awesome trip to Disney World, then in October I think we got together with other families or had visitors every weekend. We celebrated Zevs birthday, racked in a boatload of candy on Halloween, then dreaded daylight savings time ended and its now dark by 4:00pm. Ugh. Life. Over.

 

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Other stories and memories Ive been racking up:

–At the beginning of the year I had to fill out a questionnaire for Evie’s school and they asked what motivated my child.  I couldn’t think of anything but “Winning”, “Revenge”, or “Treats”.  I ended up writing “Verbal Praise” but its not true. (Unless I am giving another child verbal praise then shes says, “And me too, mom, right?”)

 

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–Wil is starting to spell which is awesome and hilarious.  This is ‘Next Christmas’.
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–Evie always has to be “right”,  even when she is obviously wrong. (Example: 2+2 is FIVE WIL!!!!!) And it drives Wil bananas.  But I started giving Wil the ‘OK’ sign from across the room as a sign to drop the fight and that I know he is actually “right” but its not worth fighting over.  We’ve actually been doing this for 6+months with Wil and it helps calm him down, and funny enough, I just started doing it with Evie when Zev is acting crazy!!
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–Evie has done this to herself at least 3 times — HOW??
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–I have had a few calls from school about Wil’s behavior (as usual).  The teacher’s have all been super nice and just trying to help and make sure we are all on the same page to get him focused.  But I have come to dread when I see his school’s phone number pop-up on my phone.  One day when I saw the incoming call, I took a deep breath and answered — and it was the school nurse saying that he bumped his head on the playground and came in for an ice pack. THANK GOODNESS.  I was so relieved it was just a head wound instead of him acting up.
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–Zev LOVES to talk these days.  But you HAVE to acknowledge him.  He will say ‘Thank you’ or ‘I love you’ or the newest phrase “I LOVE THIS SONG!” over and over and over and over and over — until you say ‘OK Zev — Me too.’ or ‘I love you too’ or ‘youre welcome’.  I guess that first year of life being put in corners and being completely ignored are catching up to us — HE WILL NOT BE IGNORED!
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Still trying to get out on walks before it hits negative degrees.

–Evie loves to play cards — especially ‘Go Fish’.  But (as you expect) she cant lose or all hell breaks loose.  I have at least tried to give her an advantage by ‘guessing’ which cards I have by giving her math problems.  So if I have 7s, I’ll say “I’ll give you a hint — whats 9 minus 2”  Then she magically guesses what I have and never loses! Go figure.
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Long afternoon at IKEA

–Daily routine: Kids are up at 7:00.  Wil’s bus leaves at 8:19 (hypothetically — dont get me started on the bus system — its up to 20 minutes late).  Then I have less than 10 minutes to get Evie to school.  But then I just have Zev until 11:30 when I pick-up Evie.  Then we do lunch and Zev takes a nap from 12:00ish to 2:30, where I just have Evie.  Then Wil is home at 3:00.  So its relatively easy from 8:30 — 2:30.  Then all 3 are together until bedtime at 7:30. (Oy!)  We tried to stay busy this fall with dance, gymnastics, soccer and many many play-dates.
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–Phil went to Hawaii!!! That was a tough one to swallow at home with the kids — but Im happy hes in a position where he could do awesome things like this.
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–Wil is losing teeth! And I am the WORST tooth fairy ever.  I cant go into his room while he is sleeping without completely freaking out.  I start to go in but then start to laugh.  I am so nervous about being caught!!  Phil has to do it.  And then on one tooth — we forgot!!  We just said the tooth fairy was super busy that night?!!?  Ugh.  We’re the worst. But the tooth fairy paid double the next night.
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–I got to meet baby Lilah!!
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So yeah — Fall was happening around here!!  Here are all of the ‘left-over’ pictures:

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