The Kozel Family

The Kozel Family

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Festive Happenings

 The whole family went to Daddy's work Christmas party last Friday.  You were so excited because your friend Quentin was there, too.  You first met Quentin at this party when you weren't even a year old yet.  Then you went to daycare and preschool with him, too.  You ended up being best buds.  He is one year ahead of you in school and lives in Bald Eagle school district, so you haven't seen him regularly in a while.

At the annual party, we always start off with some games and snacks.  Then, everyone goes into the garage area for fun with pinatas.  Finally, we come back in to the main area to visit with Santa.

So happy to see each other!  You smiled like this after I made you both say, "Santa has stinky feet!"

Playing musical chairs

Quentin had just knocked the head off the snowman.  You loved it.

Visiting with the big man.  We were all surprised that Lily didn't scream right away.  She did get pretty upset a moment after this photo was taken so I rescued her quickly.

Memories:  Your first Christmas party.  You were very brave!  (I love those overalls.)

  As we left the party, you bid farewell to Quentin with lots of hugs.  You weren't too sad, though, because he is coming to our house next week to decorate cookies so you knew you'd see him soon.

On Saturday, we went to some Victorian Christmas activities.

First on our listBreakfast with Santa.   Since you had just seen Santa the night before, you were more interested in the crafts and games.  As we were about to get our food, we spotted Quentin!  You both just couldn't believe your luck.  You also saw Liam and Ian, two friends from school.  I'm happy to report that we closed down the breakfast and I had to practically drag you out of there.  You were super sweaty, so I know you had fun.  We said goodbye to Quentin (again) and told him we couldn't wait to see him for cookie decorating.

Next activity on the listGo check out the crafts and wreaths at Bellefonte Elementary.  Every year each classroom in the school decorates and auctions off a wreath, with all proceeds donated to Easter Seals.  You had your eye on one covered with candy.  We bid on that one and a few others, and then you went to play with the son of one of the teachers.  I decided to check out the crafts in the gym and who should I run into?  Quentin, of course!  I took him up to the classroom where you were playing while his mom looked at the crafts.  You had a ball checking out the teacher's pet snake and playing a few games.

Final activity for Victorian Christmas Story and craft time at the Centre County Library.  We walked to the library since it is close to the school. Quentin and his mom came with us.  It was great that you were able to spend so much time with him!  You listened to a few stories and made a jingle bell bracelet.   We said our final goodbyes to Quentin and went home.

You wanted me to take a picture of you in front of this "pretty house" while we were walking back from the library.

A quick shoe change at home and we were off to get our Christmas tree!  We always go to Tannenbaum tree farm.

The one

Enjoying the outside

You thought the saw was cool.  I did NOT let you actually use it.

After a long day, Lily is screaming and you are passed out.

I just love spending these jam-packed, crazy days with you and your sister.  You people wear me out, but in a good way.

Oh, one last thing:  I got a phone call yesterday...

And yes, we won the wreath that you wanted the most. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rah, La, Bah, Bah, Bah: The Musings of a Six Month Old

You are changing so much every day.  You sit up completely on your own now, which you are thrilled about.  You have much better hand/eye coordination and fine motor skills, so you are having a lot more fun with your toys.  Your favorite toy right now is an empty water bottle.  I've seen you play with one for over a half hour and be as happy as a clam.  The 1/4 cup from my measuring set is also a prime choice.  We were playing on the floor a couple of days ago and I took these shots.

Your angel face

Your not-so-much-of-an-angel crazy face

I love this outfit on you.  I'd make you wear it every day if only I could get myself to do laundry that often!

Channeling your inner rock star?

About this same time you decided to mix it up a bit. Instead of the usual "Rah, rah, rah, la, la, la," conversation we've been having lately, you started throwing in some "Bah, bah, bahs!"  Wyatt was very excited to tell Daddy about your new "word."

We went to the doctor yesterday for your six month checkup.  Everything went really well.  You're very healthy!
Weight:  16lbs, 9.3oz  (55%) 
Height:  28in  (97%)
I wonder how tall you'll be as an adult.  Maybe you'll be a volleyball or basketball player.  I am quite possibly the worst player of both of these on the planet, so you'll have to get your sporty genes from Daddy.  You have almost outgrown your 9 month outfits!
I asked Dr. Brink about your separation anxiety.  She told me that if you don't want to go to anybody else, it's your loss.  She also told me that you'll grow out of it someday.  I hope so, because you have so many people that would love to snuggle with you!  (I've been practicing our pose for our prom picture though, just in case.)

A handout from the doctor's office mentioned that we should be allowing you to try to feed yourself sometimes.  I thought we'd give it a try last night.

I spoon fed you also so you wouldn't get too frustrated.

The best attempt of the evening.  You were perfectly happy chewing on the handle end of the spoon for most of your meal.

You loved checking out the food, touching the food, and smearing the food. 

I don't think you were quite ready for this "feed yourself" thing.
I'm guessing you got about 1/2 teaspoon in your mouth by yourself.  After Daddy wiped up the floor, he took you right upstairs for a bath.  I was left with the high chair mayhem.  Here is some video evidence of your efforts:

You are just beginning to get up on all fours.  Every time you do it you smile like crazy, as if you know you are showing off.  I think you'll be creeping around before too long!

We will be going to pick out our Christmas tree later this week.  I can't wait for you to see all of the lights and ornaments.  It's probably good that you are not mobile yet.  You will be able to enjoy the tree from a distance.  :)

Thank you for taking such a nice morning nap today so I could record the wonderful new news about you.  Wyatt told me the other day, "Mama, I'm really glad that Lily came out of your belly."  I'm really glad, too.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I'm getting closer to being caught up!

Since we just saw Grandma, Papaw, and Uncle Jim on our Philadelphia trip the week before, we decided to stay in Uniontown for all of the Thanksgiving holiday.   We had dinner at Aunt Lorraine and Uncle Mike's, and the following day we went to Ohiopyle to see the waterfalls.

The best picture we have so far of the three of you.  Amelia just started to crawl, so she was very fun!

The Casani/Kozel/Guappone crowd.  We are so blessed to have such a great family!

Emery was so excited to be able to hold you, Lily!  (and that you didn't automatically start crying)

Wyatt:  See the sweat on your headband?   You were having a blast!  Lily:  You were super serious throughout this entire photo shoot.  This made the rest of the family laugh hysterically.  

Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle

Wyatt, you are such a big boy now.

Another of Wyatt's great photographs.

Addie and Emery are awesome cousins! 

Can you see the rainbow?

Pete is not scared of you, Lily.  He's determined to make you like him.

Thanksgiving was fantastic but exhausting. 

I'm thankful ...
that we get to see your grandparents a lot, even though we live far away from them.
that both sides of our family are wonderful, understanding, and full-contact.
that you are both healthy.
that you are both healthy.
that you are both healthy.  (I'm REALLY thankful for this.)
that Lily's first laugh of the day is usually at Wyatt.
for Wyatt to have a Daddy that likes to wrestle and get sweaty.
for Lily to have a Daddy that tries every day to spend more time with her.
for a husband that I love.
when the Steelers and the Mountaineers win.  Happy Daddy=Happy Me
that Wyatt knows the true meaning of Christmas.
for Lily's two teeth.
that Wyatt tries to eat salad because he knows Lily is watching him and learning.
for time off to enjoy my children.
for the front carrier.
that we still talk about Faith a lot.
for God's grace and understanding as I fumble.
to hear someone call me "Mama" every day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I'm sitting in the dirtiest kitchen in America.  I figured I could take this time while Lily is napping to clean up or to write to my kids.  No brainer!

So, the Philadelphia trip finally arrived!  Grandma and Papaw went with us to join in the fun.  We had a pretty nice ride there, even with our small detour through the Poconos.  Lily, you hardly cried at all.  Wyatt, you had a great time watching movies in the backseat.   

Waiting in the security line for Independence Hall

Thrilled to be in Philly
 Neither of you cared for Independence Hall.  At all.  Too much talking and waiting around.  We decided to bail out in the middle of the tour and head to the Liberty Bell. 

Checking out the clapper

Lily loves her Uncle Jim!
 Uncle Jim stayed in the same hotel as we did.  He was at a conference, so he had to be in meetings all day.  We got to visit with him in the evenings, though.  Wyatt, you had a BLAST with Uncle Jim.  You told me that he is "so funny"!   Both of you took turns throwing this sticky blue toy around the hotel room.  It was supposed to stick to walls and then slowly fall off.  Uncle Jim threw it on the ceiling, and it stuck.  No oozing, no budging.  It would have been there forever if he hadn't pried it off.  You almost peed your pants you were laughing so hard.  You also took turns telling jokes.  You were both making them up on the spot, so they were interesting to say the least.  I think that was my favorite part of the trip.  We don't get to see Uncle Jim very often, so I loved to see you two clowning around. 

We also went to the Please Touch museum.  It was great!
The waterplay area was a big hit.  We went there twice.

A blacklight puppet show

Uncle Jim HAS to be proud of this video!

We have a whole series of these pictures.  This one is a personal favorite.

Lily Liberty  

We ate at an Asian restaurant one night.  Wyatt chose seaweed soup.  He felt very brave and adventurous, and he liked it!

Aunt Chrissy and Big Jim joined us
 We also went to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ.

At the touch pond

Pirate!  This was the fastest facepainting I've ever witnessed.  Two minutes, maybe?  We were all impressed!
 The ride home was brutal.  Lily, you cried almost the entire trip.  Urgh.  Wyatt watched movies and took a nap.  When we asked him how he thought you did, he said, "Lily slept the whole time!"  That boy can watch TV and sleep through anything.
Lilygirl, you are now awake and ready to play.  I'll catch up on Thanksgiving and other happenings soon.  Writing to my kids or playing with my kids?  No brainer!  Now let's see if I can find my way out of this kitchen...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mrs. Wilson and an Unexpected Funnel Cake

On Saturday we went to visit June Wilson.  Mrs. Wilson has been our next door neighbor since we moved into this house, before both of you were born.  She was raised on a farm in Hublersburg, married a farmer, and raised her two children on a farm at the foot of the mountain right behind our house.  She lived there for 55 years and then moved to this house, as her husband was sick and couldn't do stairs anymore.  He died before you were born--I never met him.

Mrs. Wilson is amazing.  I used to try to "help" her with things.  She had this gigantic, heavy cauldron that she used to bring out to her front landscaping every spring.  I, of course, didn't want someone in her late 70s trying to lug that around all by herself, so I offered my assistance.  As we began to move it, I realized that it was WAY too heavy for me, even with full effort involved.  So Mrs. Wilson lugged it to the front of the house by herself, and I learned not to underestimate a small woman with large muscles.

She has told me so many stories.  She once killed a groundhog with a shovel and her bare hands.  She got kicked by a cow years ago and it broke her ankle--that's why she's always walked with that little limp.  She is the youngest of 10 children.  Her sister was her teacher in a one room schoolhouse in Hublersburg.  Mrs.Wilson told me that if she and her classmates were well-behaved all week, her sister would give each of them one piece of candy on Friday.  She said her sister always treated her like just another pupil while they were in school.  Mrs. Wilson always won the family corn-eating contests.  I'm almost positive that she said she ate 20 ears in one sitting.  

Wyatt, you always loved going next door to see Mrs. Wilson.  She had a butter churner that cranked, wind chimes in the sunroom, a cow flashlight, and (your favorite) a red, white, and blue bouncy ball that to you was more special than any other ball on the planet.  When you were a toddler, you two spent lots of time bouncing that ball to each other.  You knew right where she kept it--on a small table in her dining area--and you would disappear inside the house and return with it almost every visit.  I think she loved having someone enjoying her house and company in that "full contact" way you do so well.

This spring, Mrs. Wilson was moved to an assisted living home in Dillsburg, PA.  She was getting forgetful and needed a little extra help to stay healthy.  We've visited her several times.  Her room is filled with cows and pictures of relatives, us, and the farm.  It's about a two hour drive, and with Lily being little and angry about her carseat and Wyatt getting a cold, we hadn't seen Mrs. Wilson since August.  So on Saturday while Daddy hunted, the three of us drove over to Dillsburg.

When we got there, we saw a jazz band setting up in the front lawn.  There were food concessions and a huge bouncy house as well.  We had inadvertently stumbled upon the facility's annual Harvest Festival!  After visiting with Mrs. Wilson in her room for a bit and eating lunch with her in the dining room (Wyatt, you had Oreo pudding that you loved!), we all headed outside to the festival.  The first activity was a hayride.  It was so great to sit on that wagon with you two kids and Mrs. Wilson.  I'm sure that's the first hayride she's been on in a looooong time!  She said it was a "straw ride."  I'm sure she knows the difference, being an official farmer.  I just knew that it was a gorgeous, warm, and sunny day and I was filled with joy.

After the hayride, Wyatt played pin the nose on the scarecrow.  Then we sat down and listened to some old jazz standards while enjoying a funnel cake.  Mrs. Wilson tried the funnel cake, but was not impressed, so Wyatt and I housed it.  Sorry, Lily.  None of that for you, yet!  Wyatt got his face painted (he chose a football) and he and Mrs. Wilson pulled suckers off of the lollipop tree.  They both won prizes out of the green bin, and Wyatt made sure to choose the red four-wheeler toy.  It was identical to Mrs. Wilson's prize.  She's going to keep her four-wheeler in her room so Wyatt can play with it during our next visit.

I'm kicking myself because I didn't bring my camera.  Here are a few pictures of Mrs. Wilson and us through the years, though:
This was at her 80th birthday party.  Wyatt, you were so little!   Daddy had just broken his collarbone in a dirt bike accident. 

Mrs. Wilson's front yard at her party.  We put 80 cows in it!

Wyatt, we took annual pictures of you and Mrs. Wilson at Halloween.  You are 1 in this photo.
Two years old, with Bella
Three years old
Four years old

 This was the first year that she wasn't in the neighborhood for Halloween.  I was sad.

Lily meeting Mrs. Wilson in August.  During that visit, Lily, you just wanted to be with me.  At our visit on Saturday, you were much happier.  You smiled and babbled at Mrs. Wilson and made her day.

Full contact visiting!  We love you, Mrs. Wilson!  xxx  ooo