Archive for August, 2015

Getting into a Groove

Wow its been a crazy few months.  But I finally feel like we are getting this down.  Its kind of nuts that we just picked up shop and moved half way across the country. It feels like we are starting from scratch, but at the same time – its all the same.  I guess because we are trying to keep the kids in a consistent routine and keep them immersed in activities that are familiar to them.  My day still consists of dishes, laundry, trash, making dinner, and fitting in work emails when I can. The kids still follow the same general routine as they always did.


Hanging out at home:





We found a few libraries that have preschool-aged programs, we got a pass to a splash pad over near Phil’s work, we’ve found a plethora of playgrounds, and a nice gymnastics center with classes for both Evie and Wil. We even found a beach up at Lake Zurich that the kids love.   We are able to fill the days and weekends with really fun activities which has made the transition so much easier for them.


So many playgrounds:





Great libraries:





Water and Gymnastics:







Some things are definitely different from Baltimore.  We are still getting use to driving ‘a long way’ to all these places – everything is usually about 2-5 miles away (instead of the typical ‘few blocks’ in Baltimore).  I need to figure out some better car games to play to get from point A to point B without all the whining. I’m still trying to shake some old habits from Baltimore — I saw a leaf in the back yard and thought for sure it was a dead rat; and when it rains – Im still nervous the basement is going to flood. Also – one really weird side effect of moving – all my dinners suck.  The combination of new ingredients, new oven, and new stove has caused me to ruin quite a few meals.  I was on auto-pilot for so long in the old kitchen, I need to go back and revisit some of my go-to recipes in the new place. However, there have been some really nice things as well – like when we forgot to close the garage door one night – and everything was still there in the morning!  That would not have happened in Baltimore.



I’m starting to figure out grocery and target runs.  There is the fancy grocery store a few miles away that is fantastic, but I love the convenience of the Jewel that is less than half a mile from our house.  There is an amazing bakery down the road —  Phil takes the kids on saturday morning in their PJs to ‘surprise’ me with donuts with they get home. We found a place that has Barney’s special dog food (with a prescription? Have you ever heard of needing a prescription for dog food?! I digress…).  The burbs have not delivered on good restaurants quite yet.  Maybe we just havent found them. but I do miss all the quaint little spots from Canton and Fells Points.  Everything around here is either chain, or just sub-par.  We were able to make it into the city one night for a date night where we had a great meal.  Phil had arranged for my parents to come up and watch the kids and surprised me with tickets to the orchestra.  It was a much needed night of being an autonomous adult and it was so nice to have the city at our disposal.






I’m still getting use to being at home full-time with the kids.  There are days where I would do anything to fly Liz to us for a week (and I know the kids feel the same!).  Going from 2 days alone with the kids to 5 days alone with the kids — without the ‘escape’ of going to work and talking to adults, and eating a quiet meal without little people constantly berating you — has been extremely challenging on my mental health.  I’ve been trying to be outgoing and strike up conversation with other moms at the library or playgrounds with hopes of making a connection, but it still feels awkward.  I was actually lucky enough to meet up with Christina from Baltimore when she was here visiting her parents.    And the kids and I made it into the city once to meet up with Annakate and Hadley and their little ones.  It was so nice to hang out with old friends without any stress. And on days where I dont feel like venturing out, I settle for phone dates with long distance friends who hook us up with sweet water tables AND butterfly kits (thanks Cel!):







Its been really hard to continue working without any additional babysitting.  I try to work at naps and after bedtimes, but often dont find enough time, so most of my work has to be done on the weekend, which is NOT what I had in mind.  I finished up two major manuscripts that were submitted, and am working on 2 remaining open projects that I hope to hand off within the next few months. Maybe once work is not hanging over my head, I can focus on my new gig as ‘stay-at-home mom’.  Phil’s job is working out really well though.  He feels really comfortable in his new position and feels like he is starting to become useful.  He enjoys having a good friend at the same company (different division) and they sometime schedule ‘juice dates’ via the internal messaging system and talk about incredibly dorky interesting things.  Best of all – he is able to be around in the mornings if I need him and hes home by dinner nearly every night.  Today he was home before 5 and took the kids to the park while I made dinner alone in the house!  It was amazing. Its really nice going from a 40-minute commute to a 10-minute commute.


So yeah – we are getting into a groove! Moving always has its challenges and we are still figuring out our new life in the burbs, but there is soooo much potential here.  When Phil and I were downtown – I couldnt believe that this was going to be our city for the foreseeable future.  It is so fun to be in a place and imagine what it will be like to take the kids places when they are older.  I’m really really excited to finally be ‘home’ and start putting down roots.



Read Full Post »

Well this post is about 2 years too late, but I wanted to make sure we documented Em and Sam’s amazing wedding in Colorado.  So on their anniversary, I am happy to recount one of the most beautiful weekends in Woznation history 🙂

We flew from Baltimore to Denver on Wednesday morning, and then rented a car to drive to Telluride, CO. Wil had just turned 2 years old and Evie was about 2 1/2 months old.  It was a very, very long trip.  I dont have any horrible memories from the plane trip, but the extra 7+ hours in the car did a number on us.  Wil had stomach issues, and Evie was still nursing every few hours, so we stopped A LOT.  We finally arrived late Wednesday night and settled into a great suite for the next few days. The next day we hung out with family, walked around beautiful Telluride, and helped with wedding details.  Phil and I had a quick breakfast date and after naps, we rode the gondola up to Mountain village.  Wilek loved it.





Phil even snuck in a quick solo hike during nap time:


On Thursday night we kicked off the festivities with a party out at Alta Lakes ( http://www.altalakes.com/ ) with all of Em and Sam’s friends.  Phil and I helped organize this in the months leading up to the wedding weekend and all their friends helped chip in money for the rental, food, drinks, and shuttle back to town.  Plenty of out-of-towners were here by that time, and it was such a beautiful place to all get together. People trickled in all evening – and snacked on some awesome food made by one of Em’s friends/bridesmaid.  Then by sunset we all hiked up to the scree pile to watch the sun go down.  After that things got a little more serious — plenty of drinks, games, and fires. It was awesome.






Things got a little sloppy towards the end. Some sort of game that required you to stick your head in an ice bucket?  The details are a little hazy…



We had arranged a shuttle back to Telluride around midnight for those who werent spending the night at Alta.  I headed back on that while a good 20+ stayed out at the rental house. Mark and Char watched the kids while I was away. I think that was Phil and my first evening away from the kids, so it was very appreciated. Plus, they had a blast with some of the bigger wozniak cousins.



On Friday, after people recovered from Thursday night, we started preparing for the wedding:



And had an awesome rehearsal and rehearsal dinner:







Saturday was the big day!!!  Everyone was up early to help set up the reception venue and do last minute details.  I remember everything being very chill and relaxed, but thats easy for me to say since it wasnt my wedding.  I think I made a crack about Sam looking stressed out – but was totally kidding – because he seemed to be taking everything so well, but I guess he was, indeed, freaking out.  But everything went perfectly and we all had a great time getting things ready, getting make-up and hair done, and getting pictures:



Then it was time!! This was seriously the most beautiful wedding on the most beautiful day.  It was slightly windy/cloudy leading up to the ceremony, but then the winds died down and the sun came out right as we got started.  The land was owned by friends of Em and Sam and was just outside of Telluride. So many friends and family members from the midwest were able to come, and it was so great to meet Em and Sam’s local friends.  Wil never made it down the aisle as a ring bearer, but he did a good job practicing before hand. Em gifted Sam a new rifle with an engraving for their wedding, which made it into multiple family photos, haha.  All the boys looked wonderful in their suits, but Em stole the show in her beautiful dress.  And of course Gussy-Roo-Puppy-Pants was part of the ceremony. 🙂










1382204_10103333852839049_634578144_n   100_6392



And then we partied down!  Em and Sam went on a little joy-ride in ‘Little Red’ around Telluride before arriving at the reception (an old time fire truck from the station Sam volunteered at).  The reception was so fun – it was a great night and everyone hung out inside and on the porch outside with twinkle lights hung all around.  There were little mason jars that you could write your name on for drinks.  Lots of speeches, including a little impromptu one from big brother Phil.  At some point I left to meet a babysitter that Em helped me find.  She took the kids back to the suite for bedtime and hung out with them until I got back. We spent the rest of the night dancing away and hanging out with good friends and celebrating the happy couple. Then most of the crowd hit-up the Telluride bars, while I headed back to check on the kids. The party continued well into the night.










It was an epic night.  Sunday is a bit of a blur, but I remember lots of pizza and naps. We all just hung out and recovered in the rooms, remembering all the great moments from the night before.  The drive back to Denver wasnt as bad since we left late at night and the kids slept over night, then we took a crazy early flight back to Baltimore on Monday morning.  It was an amazing weekend for an amazing couple!  We love you Em and Sam! Happy Anniversary!

Read Full Post »

New House

We cant thank Brian enough for finding us an awesome rental house.  There were a few places I saw online that seemed ok from the pictures, and then Brian would check them out and give us a big fat ‘NO’.  I was starting to get nervous and wanted to pick a reject, until we saw this place and Brian gave his approval.  Thank goodness we listened and waited to him.  This place is perfect for us for the next year while we start to search for a long-term home.  Here is a tour of the new place —


View from front door, south side of the house, facing the street:


Looking back at the main room from the piano:


Turn the corner to the dining room on the west side of the house:


Walk straight into the kitchen, with a window on the north side of the house:


‘Eat-in Kitchen’, the kids love it 🙂


Turn into the play room on the north side of the house with sliding doors out to the back yard:


Looking back at the playroom.  Man we love this space.  It keeps the main family room free of the kids clutter and gives them a room where they can throw balls, build and knock down towers, scream, dance, and do whatever they want!!


If you head up the stairs, there are two rooms on the north side of the house.  Evie is on the east:



Wil’s room is on the west:


Then directly across from Wil’s room, on the west side of the house is a guest room:


Down the hall, on the east side of the house there is a guest (kids) bath:


Then the master bedroom is the entire south side of the upstairs.  We are able to have our bedroom set and office-area up there.  It also has a nice sized walk-in closet and master bath:


Blank walls.  Still working on filling out the space –

20150724_095310Master bath:


We arent totally in love with the curb appeal of this house, but thats the least of our worries:


Most of the yard was fenced, but Phil needed to put up some stakes/fence on the sides.  Its been working out great.  Its amazing to be able to open the door and let Barney out to run around:



I left out a few pictures of the garage, laundry room, and downstairs bath (which is so awesome to have, given we only had upstairs bathrooms in the row house).  There is much more livable space, but slightly less storage, other than the garage. I love living in a neighborhood where the kids can run around in the back yard or outside on the sidewalk without me worrying about them. I love having a garage/drive-way so that I always have a close place to park and unload groceries and kids, especially on rainy days. Living in a house is getting me that much more excited to start looking to buy a home soon!

Read Full Post »

4th of July 2015

We had a fabulous 4th of July weekend in Chicagoland!!  The kids had only been here for a week before we had a wonderful long holiday weekend together.  The weather was great, and we really enjoyed spending time as a family after nearly a month of living in different states. We love being close to good friends in the area, too.  Unlike when we moved to Baltimore and knew no one and had no clue on what to do or where to go — our friends here have been so awesome about making us feel welcome in the area and helping us find things to do.  On Friday, we went to a cook out at Kursten’s.  There were tons of kids there, with lots of children-friendly games and plenty of adult beverages and activities as well:




Then on Saturday we went to the Barrington parade, where we happened to set up shop only a block away from Jared and Karen.  Its so great to run-in-to good friends 🙂  Wil and Evie loved the parade — people threw out candy! (Unlike the towson parade last year!) and they had lots of characters, music, firetrucks, etc.  It was a good parade.






After naps, we shucked corn and ate watermelon – two July 4th staples in this house.  Then hung out at a new playground (can I just quickly mention how awesome the parks are around here?!  Great playgrounds and clean air-conditioned bathrooms! Amazing!).





Once we got Evie to bed, Wil and I snuck back out to the fireworks.  We had only attempted the fireworks once before, and Wil was a bit too young to really ‘get-it’.  But this year Wil had tons of energy and was really excited.  We got there a bit early and fought off a lot of bugs.  Wil kept asking to get back in the car and go home, but I made him stick it out until we saw at least the first 5 minutes. I was worried we were going to have another fireworks ‘flop’.  But once they got started he loved it! We figured out we would be able to see them from the car, so we watched the rest bug-free and with radio.  It was truly awesome.




Holidays are getting much more manageable and exciting. Especially my one-on-one time with Wil this year.  It gives me a glimpse of future holidays when all the kids are old enough to enjoy things.  I can’t wait!

Read Full Post »