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Fall 2018

I’m writing this in January — so its hard to remember Fall — I’m relying on pictures and my calendar to fill in the details.

Evie adjusted to the bus and new school like a champ and already made a bazillion friends.  We joke that she is a bit challenging at home, but whenever we get reports from school it sounds like shes an angel.  (Wish we could get some of that angel dust at home!!)


On the contrary — Wil is always the silly one at school and has to have constant reminders that he’s there to learn  — but super helpful at home, especially playing nicely with Zev.



October was ROUGH. Phil traveled 3 times + everyone was sick at some point.  Barney was actually the worst, making for some very long, messy days. But we finished off the month with Zev’s birthday (with Busia and Dziadzia!) and Halloween.


This fall’s extracurriculars were cub scouts and golf for Wil.  But then Wil was the youngest in his golf class and he was a bit nervous of all the big kids, so he switched to a baseball clinic with 1st and 2nd graders that was a better fit.  Evie is rocking gymnastics.  And then both big kids had swim. Still nothing outside of school for Zev — but maybe we’ll start something for him this summer.  We are not allowed to take pictures at swim or gymnastics.  So this is the best we have:



Zev was a little nervous about school the first few weeks, but eventually drop-offs were all smiles and he would look forward to going!  He (and I) even made a new friend who we meet up with on non-school days.  Yay for playdates (and adult interaction!).

As for the adults  — we made it out of the house a few times! First, Phil made it over to Cleveland for a family friend’s wedding.  And September was a Cubs game downtown with friends (Mimi and PopPop came up to help watch the kids! Thanks guys!).  In October we went to the Chicago Comedy Company to see Alonzo Bodden (no pic! darn.). And in October I ran my long grove 6-miler.


There were lots of other fall activities:  hay rides, apple picking, pumpkin carving, trick or treating, corn mazes, leaf piles, scarecrows, spiderwebs, and the ever-popular ‘corn box’!


Here are all the left-over pics from Fall:

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Day in the Life 2018

Wednesday October 24, 2018.

6:57am — Wil comes into my room and says good morning.  His clock runs 3 minutes fast because he’s the oldest and gets to wake up first.  I have no idea why/how he/we made this rule.  But this is when the day starts.  Its actually amazing that I have not already been up with Zev — he normally wakes up at 4-5am scream-crying and needs to be tucked back in every 5 minutes — and then eventually sleeps until 7am.  But he managed to sleep all night! Yay.  Anyway — Wil crawls in bed and snuggles for 3 minutes until Evie comes in — and then they head downstairs to put on a show while I wake up and get Zev.

Big kids are watching Cat in the Hat Halloween special — Zev joins them and we decide on oatmeal for breakfast.  I get things started and then head downstairs to take out Barney.  I come up to grab coffee but realize I never prepped it the day before — but I still have half a pot from yesterday.  I pour + microwave a cup.  I hate microwaved coffee.  Especially day-old microwaved coffee.  Oh well. The kids always put blankets over the metal chairs because they are so cold in the morning.



Kids eat breakfast while I make lunches for the day and grab clothes from upstairs.  Evie changes her mind on lunch half-way through making it — so I re-make things.  We remember that Wil has homework to do — so he works on that.  Then Evie decides she needs to do homework, too, so I find a few worksheets for her.  I lose track of time and start yelling at Wil to brush his teeth and put on shoes with 3 minutes to spare.

We make it outside for the bus with seconds to spare….but then the bus was 10 minutes late.  So I’m stressing out and running inside to check on Evie and Zev every few minutes.  And Evie still comes out twice crying that Zev ‘keeps saying “MARBLE” over and over in my face!!’.  Finally the bus comes and I run back in to find Evie hiding in the front hallway — trying to do her worksheets away from Zev.  Poor girl.

Since Wils bus was late — I only have 5 mins to get Evie ready for school. I try to clean up things and help her get ready as quick as I can, while also helping Zev get settled with some sort of activity.  I ended up brushing her hair outside as we wait for the bus.

8:20am.  (Yikes its only been 1.3 hours and Ive written 400 words.)  I can finally relax a second and go upstairs to get myself ready for the day while Zev watches a show, or was he playing tablet? I dont really care…. I clean up breakfast, straighten things up from the morning and get Zev dressed.  Then we head out to drop Zev off at his 2-year old preschool.  Thats right.  ALL 3 KIDS GO TO SCHOOL NOW.  Granted — Zev only goes for a total of 5 hours a week.  But its the most amazing development of my life.


8:45 — We’re in the car on the way to school — I drop Zev off without a single tear today!  Sometimes it takes a few hugs and tears before I make a run for it.  But today was a good day!  Hes actually adjusted way better to preschool than I imagined and it gives me hope and confidence that I can start looking for jobs outside the house again!!! I stop at the grocery on the way home and listen to NPR podcasts in peace the whole way through the store.  Once home, I unload things and take Barney on a long walk, but its a lot colder than I thought — I end up running on the treadmill instead when we get back.  At some point, I threw some frozen enchiladas in the oven that I had saved for this week and some chicken breast for salads for the rest of the week.  Again – this is all SANS KIDS — listening to things I want to listen to.  Please know how amazing this is.



10:00 — Done working out and I get on a cleaning kick since Phil’s parents are visiting this weekend.  Ive been cleaning for days straight.  We were all horribly sick last week and I just havent cleaned in way too long, so I’ve been a mad-woman these days trying to make our house less of a bio-hazard.  In addition — I finally have permission to clean Wil’s room.  He make these elaborate ‘houses’ in his room for his legos and animals and gets very upset if I ‘break’ (CLEAN) them.  So we had a long talk about putting everything away so I could vacuum then he can rebuild them later this week.  Anyway — it literally look me like 45 minutes to straighten up his room.

11:00 — I’m running out of time before needing to get Zev.  I quickly water plants and fill the bird feeders before heading back to preschool.  We get home around 11:45 and make lunch before heading up for nap time. I grab his ‘surprise’ M&Ms.  He guesses the colors the whole way up until I finally tuck him in, then sing a song and give him a back scratch.

12:30 — Once Zev is tucked in, I hop in the shower real quick.  When I get out, I still hear zev signing to himself in his room (…I’ll have a snappy new day…snap, snap!..).  Take Barney out again, clean, clean, clean (dust, sinks, stairs, organize coats/gloves for winter).  Then finally remembered to EAT something!  Made a giant plate of enchiladas from this morning and sat down to watch a quick show — but ended up just looking for a show for 20 minutes and never watching anything…whomp.

2:30 —  The easy part of the day is over.  Its 2:30 and time to get Zev up.  I run downstairs to take Barney out real quick and give him his ant-diarrheal medicine (a dog with inflammatory bowel disease is as much fun as it sounds).  Get Zev — give him gummies and a tablet while we wakes up. Eventually he decides he wants to go outside to wait for Evie’s bus.  We make it just in time, around 3:05.  Evie does gymnastics outside while we wait for Wil to get home, around 3:15. Then its time to go through bags, eat the rest of the lunches we didnt eat, and chill out for a bit.  Everyone has a tablet or watches a show while we relax and talk about the day.  This is actually my favorite time of the day.  As great as it is to be alone —  my crazy mom brain really loves to have them back under this roof knowing I can solve all their problems and hug and kiss them anytime I want.



4:00 —  Tablet time is over.  They put up a fight but know the rules.  Since we are pressed for time this evening, I make Evie and Zev take a bath prior to dinner.  Wil did his bath last night while Evie was at gymnastics, so hes fine given our crazy week.  Wil watches Zev while I get Evie started and vacuum upstairs while the boys are playing.  After Evie is dressed — we switch and Zev comes up while Evie and Wil play downstairs.  I really have no idea what they were playing or doing — but I didnt hear any screaming?  So its all fair game.


4:30 — Its make your own pizza night!  So after Zev got cleaned up we all headed down to roll out the dough and basically just make a giant mess.  Kids do homework, putty, and workbooks as we wait for the pizzas to heat up.  I might have put a piece of broccoli on their plates when we sat down to eat?  But it might have just been pizza.  I dont fight a lot of fights when Phil is traveling.  I simply try to survive and keep everyone alive (fed, clean, healthy….but veggies is pushing it).


5:10 — I clean up the massive amounts of flour in the kitchen and take out Barney again before getting everyone in the car for Wil’s drawing class.  We spot a UPS truck on the way there!!!  The kids are obsessed with counting UPS trucks.  There is a daily count — but then there is also a lifetime count which I think is currently at 6079?  There is a UPS hub down the road so every time we see it, we add like 2000 trucks.  Anyway — we make it to drawing and thankfully there is a playground outside the park district building, so Evie, Zev and I can play while we wait for Wil. Drawing is from 5:30 – 6:30 and it starts to get dark about half way through, so we wait inside the rest of the time.  Wil is drawing ‘monsters’ for halloween — He loves this class and seems to be really into it.

6:50 – We make it home a bit before 7:00.  We scramble to get PJs on, put on the Halloween light, get our 7pm dessert treat (on the dot!), and put on Mr. Rogers.  But by 7:05 everyone is snug and happy on the couch. I am freaking LOVING Mr. Rogers on amazon prime and the kids are obsessed too.  They love it! We usually do 1 a night — but on very special occasions we have a ‘two Mr. Rogers night’.  They cant seem to get enough and its such a calm and informative show.


7:30 — Usually we head upstairs as soon as Mr. Rogers is over, but Phil is back from his meetings and we finally have time for him to skype with the kids — so we take a few extra minutes to say Hi to Dad and tell him about the last few days.  He’ll be home tomorrow so the kids are getting extra excited to see him.  We head upstairs for potty, hair, and teeth.  I tuck Zev in first — one book and a few ‘Silent nights’ with a back scratch,  a drink of water and a few times ‘checking on him’ (i’ll pop my head in a sing itsy bitsy by the door and say ‘i’ll be right back’ until he falls asleep).  Then Evie — which is usually 5-6 songs, a few back scratches, and an ‘I’ll check on you in 5 minutes’ (but 95% of the time she is already asleep). Then Wil, which is sometimes a quick ‘How its made’ Youtube video, followed by one song and back scratch.  Then I check on him every 10 minutes until he is asleep. Wil and Evie are usually asleep by 8:30.  Zev is a wildcard who can be asleep by 7:45 or stay awake until 9.  Luckily this particular night was a good night and all was quiet by 8:30. I take Barney out one last time and close up the house.  I dont think I ate any of the pizza from earlier — so I make another small plate of enchiladas and head upstairs.  I end up watching ‘Private Life’ on Netflix for about an hour – then lights out.



Take away:

I did dishes and laundry and trash — but thats not even worth mentioning these days.  I was planning on early voting, texting friends back and ordering zev’s birthday cupcakes, but none of that happened. I freaking love these kids, but am so tired of parenting, especially while Phil is away — Im tired of fielding every question and breaking up every fight. I had very little adult interaction today (maybe none?) but we’re having dinner with my friend Anne tomorrow (her kids are the same ages as ours and her husband works with Phil — so we’re all besties, YAY).

ALSO — NO DIAPERS — I still have to help Zev take his pants on and off in the bathroom, help wipe when needed and we do pull-ups at nighttime.  But its a huge improvement from years past! Also noteworthy — I didnt do any work!  I finished up all my Hopkins work over the summer, so thats once less stress-monster on the plate.  But it also means I’m itching for something new.  Ive actually already been looking and applying for a few things.  So stay tuned!




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Happy 10-year anniversary to us (post only 5 months late).  And a huge thank-you to our parents for watching the kids for entire WEEK so that we could get away and spend time with each other.  Oh my gosh — it was such an amazing trip.  I dont know where to start. We started planning everything probably a year or so ago, just throwing out ideas on where to go and what to do.  We thought about France & the Alps.  We thought about Peru & the Andes.  But ultimately decided on Hawaii to hike the Kalalau trail on the Napali coast in Kauai for a few days and then relax the rest of the time. We reserved our gear, purchased our camping permits, and researched everything we could to prepare ourselves….but in April there were massive floods to the north side of the island and the trail closed indefinitely (and is still closed today).  We held out hope as long as we could but it was clear we needed to find alternative plans on the island.  I was honestly in low spirits in the months leading up to the vacation since we had put so much thought into the camping trip.  But, as you can imagine, Hawaii turned out being awesome anyway??! We hiked a few different shorter trails plus did a paddle board excursion AND got to shower at the end of every day.  We had a great time.

We got there Friday and stayed on the southwest side of the island.  The plantation that we stayed at had these huge Banyan trees and an awesome driftwood beach where people would make these sculptures out of things that drifted ashore. (I tried my hand at it, and rocked it).  That night we checked out Arts night at the closest town that had a (terrifying) suspension bridge that Phil loved.



Since we were jet-lagged, we got up bright and early to hike on saturday.  We drove up the west side of the island to Kokee state park and stopped at Waimea Canyon on the way.  We were there by 6:30am and only one other couple was there.  Then we made our way up to the Kalalau look-out.








From the Kalalau look-out you were able to hike the Kalepa Ridge.  It was one of the more terrifying things I have ever done in my entire life, but it had amazing views.  Ridge = instant death on either side.  I would literally crawl on my belly to the cliffs to see the views — and Phil would hop over boulders to the 2’X2′ space above a 4000ft drop.







We of course packed some beers


And hung out for an hour taking pictures and loving life:





That tiny dot on the cliff is Phil.  Hes insane.



Sorry for so many pics — I parsed it down from 600+ to like 150 to like 95…..but thats as low as Im going.  Every single one seems worth it (to me). Its funny that we originally planned on hiking down to the beach at Kalalau — but instead ended up hiking 4000 miles above to look down on it.  We actually saw a few helicopters flying BELOW us with Napali Coast spectators.  But I like to work for our pictures 🙂


By the time we hiked back out — there were tons of people starting on the trail and at all the look-outs we stopped out on the way up.  I’m so glad we started early — we were practically the only ones hiking when we were out. We spent the rest of the day hanging by the pool, drinking POG, and checking out the town.


The next day we did a coastal hike to Makauwahi Cave.  The day before we were at like 4000 feet.  This time we were at like 50 feet. It was a hot one.  With not a lot of shade.  But that meant unbelievable views of the ocean.


We hiked about 3 miles along the coast (some of which was on the Hyatt golf course?  which was weird?)   But then got to the cave (which might actually be a giant sink hole, but it turned into a cave? I forget.  The picture right above is from the rim above the cave opening…anyway…) — and then you had to craw through this tiny 2-foot opening that led into the cave which opened into the space above. Whatever it was — it was cool.





Then we hiked the 3 miles back.  This picture below is so weird — Phil is actually on a cliff at least 100 feet up – – but it looks like hes at sea level.


After the hike — we checked into the new hotel which was a bit swankier and we did a whole lot of nothing for the next  few days.  There were a lot of mai tais.  A massage.  Poke bowls.  Burritos.   A pedicure.  Lots of pool time.  Crappy cable movies.  Awesome Hawaiian shirts.  Early morning yoga and chats with my mom.  And a fancy dinner + champagne.  Oh man.  It was phenomenal.  I think I read an entire book?! After a few months of writing this post and re-visiting it so many times, these days are the most bittersweet.  I loved our excursions, but it was so nice to do ‘nothing’ with Phil.  We havent been in control of our days in a long, long time.  I miss these days the most.





We finally got off our asses and went back out on Wendesday.  We had booked a self-guided paddle board adventure.


It was an awesome eerie morning with a few sprinkles but super calm waters.  We went two miles down the river to a docking spot then hiked an additional 1.5 miles to a waterfall only accessible by the trail, which included crossing a few knee-deep rivers!  We were some of the first people on the water.  But as we learned, paddle boarding is way slower than kayaking and approximately 100000+ tours groups passed us along the way to Secret Falls.





The sun finally came out and we hiked to the falls — but it was packed by the time we got there. I’m still thankful we did it independently rather than with a kayak group — because we definitely passed a few groups on the trail (who stopped to talk about every single flower they passed and always had to stay with the slowest person)….  anyway — the falls were gorgeous, but very busy! We still got a few solo pictures of Phil since he was one of the few brave ones to actually go up and under the falls.





Hi Phil!

The way back was UP the river and windy and took us like 3X as long and I dont want to talk about it — other than there was shaved ice, pizza, and beer once we returned the boards.  Thank god.

The next day was our last full day — we slept in but made our way to the beach by 10 or 11.  Our hotel didnt have a beach, but we had access to the two big resorts on either side.  (side note: when we picked our resort, we looked at all the ones around us but the one we picked was rated as the LEAST family friendly.  It was perfect.)  The other resort beaches were packed, but we saw a few people brave their way to a little volcanic rock island out in the water and we made our way there, too.  We didnt bring our phones, so very minimal pictures but it was so cool to see the little pools of water filled with wildlife and got to see so many fish on our way there!



We went out to the little island out on the right side. Soooo many fishys.


After some more pool time, and mai tais, we got ready for our Hawaiian Luau!  It was a bit touristy — but also so, so fun.  Given it was our last night we were definitely ready to live it up and despite arriving a few minutes late we somehow snagged two seats at the front table. The bartenders and waitstaff knew us purely as ‘Chicago’ (as in “Chicago needs another round”) and kept us well supplied all night.  We had a a silly, fun night and stayed way past it was over just hanging out, chatting with performers, and watching the whole thing be shut down.









The next day we hated our lives for about 2-seconds — then remembered we were still sans-kids in hawaii.  But we did have to check-out by 11 and our flight wasnt until 9pm.  So we had breakfast and packed up and explored the island a bit more before heading to the airport.  We saw Spouting Horn and Opaeka Falls all while killing time.  (We also drove all the way to Polihale beach but it was clear when we got there that our rental car would NOT make it the additional 1+mile drive on the rocky road.  We werent about to get stranded a few hours before our flight.  But we were bummed to not see it.)




Sea Turtles! Gotta zoom in reeeeeeeal tight.



Our 9pm Hawaii flight meant us arriving back in Indy at 5pm the next day and immediately celebrating Wils birthday.  Quite a shock to the system.  But also a reminder of how thankful we are for 10-years together — and an amazing family for watching our amazing kids.  Thank you everyone!!!!  Life is good.

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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



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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).


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.


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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.

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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!!

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