The Kozel Family

The Kozel Family

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Big Change for Us

 Wyatt and Lily:   The summer of 2012 changed our lives in a big way.  At the end of May, Daddy was offered a new job.  While it was something he thought he might like to do, it was located in Morgantown, WV, which meant we would have to move.  We talked (and talked and talked and talked!) about the pros and cons of moving, and we really didn't know what to do.  We LOVED our neighborhood, our house, our friends, our churches, the school district, and pretty much everything about the area around Bellefonte, PA.  It is a fantastic place to live.

The only thing we ever really disliked was the fact that we were so far away from all of our family.  We've been very blessed to have both sets of your grandparents willing and able to visit us often.  While we could do a 3 1/2 hour drive to Uniontown (and a 5 hour drive to Parkersburg)  with minimal effort right now, Daddy and I started thinking about the future. 

Before long, both of you will be really busy with all sorts of wonderful things.  This is great, but it would make traveling on weekends much more difficult.  While we were happy that Papa and Nona and Grandma and Papaw visited, we wanted more for all of us.  

I grew up playing with my cousins and seeing my grandparents often.  I remember going to Sunday School with Ben in the old Methodist church up in New Martinsville and biking around town with Andy.  We would get into all sorts of adventures in my grandparents' basement, too!    Daddy's grandparents watched him during the day as a baby and after school for years. One of his fondest memories is coming home from school to the wonderful smells of Great Nonnie's cooking!  Daddy's cousins are like siblings to him.  During our many talks, we both expressed that these close familial relationships have had major impacts on who we are today.  We realized more than ever before that we wanted you two to have those kind of day-to-day experiences. 

We wanted your cousins to be some of your best friends.  We wanted you to be able to look over from the basketball court on a school night and see your extended family cheering you on.  We wanted you to have ample opportunities to really KNOW your grandparents.  You are very lucky kids--your extended family is chock full of kind, wonderful, hilarious, good-hearted people.  We just had to get you nearer to these folks!
 So, while we had the perfect situation in Bellefonte for the present, we decided to choose what we thought was best for our future.

I just couldn't believe it when I first saw the sign. 

Be very glad that you two were young for all of this!  

Wyatt:  When Daddy and I explained to you that we were moving, you were very concerned.  Your first comment was, "But I LIKE this couch!"   When we explained that the couch, your bed, and all of your books and toys were coming with us you were totally fine with everything.  You were so excited when we told you that we were going to live much closer to our family!   

Lily:  You were really too young to understand anything at all, so you were cool with the move, too.  You really had a great time helping me pack (more on that fiasco soon).

Daddy and I were the ones that were a mess!  We had spent almost 15 years in central Pennsylvania. That's a lot of goodbyes.  I'll spare you the details--let's just say it wasn't pretty as we broke the news.  

While this was one of the hardest decisions we've made, we ultimately knew that we had to leave our home to be able to truly come back home.   I hope you both love the childhood you'll have with your family as much as Daddy and I loved ours.   xxx ooo   

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lily Turns One!

Saturday, May 26th 2012

Lily!  You are one year old! Whoa!

We decided to have your party in Uniontown so more family could be there.

There were a lot of people who came to share your day with you:
Daddy, Mama, Wyatt, Nona, Papa, Aunt Anita (also the birthday girl that day!), Uncle Chris, Amelia, Great Nonnie, Aunt Lorraine, Uncle Mike, Lisa, Shelly, Shon, Bailey, Lynn, Pete, Addison, Emery, Papaw, Grandma, Ben, Laura, Ted, Sophie, Andy, and Courtney!  We hadn't seen Ben and Andy and that whole crew for a long time (it had been over a year), so it was extra special that they could come and celebrate with us.

Part of the party crew

What is Papaw doing?

Lily, you are still not a fan of people in general.

Great Nonnie and Aunt Lorraine are happy to be celebrating your special day!

I made you this birthday cake.  It turned out better than I thought...I was under a serious time crunch! Since you were a little nervous after the singing, I made the mistake of having you sit on my lap.  After the festivities, we both had to take a shower!   I had cake in between my toes and all through my hair.  You ended up cleaner than I did, you stinker!

 This was a wonderful year.  I'm so thrilled I got to stay at home with you and have a front row seat for all of the action!  (I don't think you would have had it any other way, though.)  I'm happy to say that since your birthday, you've slowly and steadily improved your tolerance for other people.  Even though you were my "barnacle" for the entire first year of your life, looking back I wouldn't change it.  You've challenged me in new ways and have hopefully made me a better mom for it!  I'm so glad you are in my life, Lilygirl!!!!!!!!!!!

Better REALLY late than never...

So, yes.  It's NOVEMBER.  Quite a bit has happened since my last post at the beginning of MAY.  I'm just going to try to tackle it chronologically.

Lily:  On April 4th, you took your first steps alone.  On April 14th, you finally decided it was time to start clapping.  Since then, you've been even a bigger nutcase than I could have imagined.  You are hilariously fun.  

Grandma and Papaw came up to watch a t-ball game.  This was our best attempt at a grandkids/grandparents portrait.  About sums it up, I'd say!

Yes, we used this outdoor cushion storage  bin for a makeshift playpen now and then, especially once Lily was moving and grooving.  You both seemed happy in there.

Wyatt:  On Mother's Day (May 13th) I woke up to find you wearing this shirt.  You had gotten up early, sneaked downstairs to grab a marker, and then you had created this shirt as a surprise for me.  I LOVED it.  It's the best Mother's Day gift I could have gotten!  You were very proud that you were able to do this without anyone finding out (even Daddy!).

 Lily:  You, my dear, are something else.  This was the first day you really started "mothering" your baby.  I thought it was so sweet the way you hugged her and carted her around the house. 

Then things took an ominous turn.  I heard this banging sound in the living room.  When I came to investigate, I found you slamming Baby's head on the glass top table.  Not nice!

You gave her kisses to make her feel better, though.  Let's just say I don't think you'll be babysitting anytime soon!

 Note the kiss above:  very wet with a very open mouth!  Now you've learned to kiss with your lips puckered, but for a long time, it was Saliva City! 

On May 8th our friends Aileen and baby Abram came to visit.  I kept a close eye on you based on your previous baby handling skills (see above) but you did well.  You definitely wanted to pick him up, but you were gentle and listened well.

Wyatt:  On May 18th, your classmates and you celebrated your Kindergarten year at Bald Eagle State Park.  This is the same place we go boating, but over on the beach side.  You spent the morning doing crafty and nature-y things with your friends, and then we joined you for lunch.  Daddy came too, but he had to leave early to go back to work.    I can't believe how much you've grown up.  Kindergarten was definitely a learning experience for you, and I'm so glad we ended the year in a really positive way!

The Kindergarten Crew (Mrs. Haagen's, Mrs. Hockenberry's, and Mrs. Decusati's classes)

Finally able to go across on your own!  You've been working on this!

That evening, we spent some time in the yard.  Call it premature nostalgia, but I decided to break out the camera for a few more shots. 

Mulch and crackers--Lily's favorite treats!

The barn behind our house.  What a beautiful view!

Daddy made these chairs a few years ago.  Isn't he handy!  He used Uncle Mike's pattern for them.

Getting artsy with shadows.

Too bad you don't care for your swing, Lily!   ;)

Lily, your favorite thing to do at that time was to walk up the slide.  You would get about halfway up, and then SLAM, you would fall on your belly and slide back down.  You thought it was great.  I did not.  

A few days later, we decided it was time to plow up the garden.  (We never DID plant anything, but that's another story for another time.) 

Wyatt, you were a big help!  You picked out big clumps of grass and rock.  Lily, you spent your time trying to eat the dirt.  I kept telling you to stop and I watched you very carefully.  I turned my head to pick a few weeds and...

 this is what I saw when I turned back around.  Guilty.

 What a face!

 Yes, that is you out there, Lily!  Gotta love this backyard!
This was mostly May.  Lots of tee ball and outside fun! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Discovery Space

Due to teachers' meetings, our district didn't have school on Thursday, April 26th.  It was a little rainy out and we NEEDED to get out of the house.  I decided to take you both to Discovery Space, a hands-on children's activity center in State College.  We'd never been there before, but I'd heard good things about it.
The beaver house.  You thought it was especially cool because it had a movie playing inside of it.  You also thought the specimen of fake beaver scag was great.

There is a great little walled-off section just for little kids.  Lily, you loved this music area!

Wyatt showed you the ropes.

This display of local rocks was outside a darkroom exhibit.  Inside it, you could see how different rocks glow in blacklight.  You and I thought this was neat.  Lily wasn't blown away.

This was the Invention Bench.  This second grader befriended you and you worked side-by-side for a long time creating your marble run masterpiece.  I was amazed how well you two worked together and with what you could build.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

April Catch Up

Some happenings in April:

We were dressed as our favorite literary characters for Family Reading Night at the elementary school.  Wyatt is Horrible Harry and I am Anne of Green Gables.  I love her, but I'm not sure she is my absolute favorite--I didn't have many costume choices so Anne it was!  Wyatt, throughout the whole night I kept doing double takes wondering who you were!  You looked so different in that wig!
More evidence of Wyatt's secret photography sessions:

Your favorite word is still, "Ooooooo,"  followed closely by "Ohhhhhh."

This picture disturbed me when I found it.  It still disturbs me.   I need to keep an eye on you two a little more, I think.
Other highlights of the month included:
You made and affixed this yourself with pipe cleaners and scotch tape. 
Lily, you are using the"spillproof"lid.   This cracked me up.
My first attempt at pulling your hair up.  You loved your new look. 
Wyatt's first game of the 2012 season.  Go Brewers!
You are getting better and better at hitting from the coach's pitch.  Your attitude is still great, too!

Imagine trying to continue a game when this sucker goes right over your head.  You all finally just stopped and watched it for a few moments.

Playing pitcher

Wyatt, we took you to a specialist about your sleeping.  You tend to gasp and snore a lot when you sleep.  You also sweat like crazy, enough to drip from your hair.  It turns out you need your tonsils and adenoids removed.  We've scheduled the procedure for late June.  Hopefully after that is taken care of you'll have much more restful nights!

Lily, as well as getting faster at walking you also began climbing.  I don't remember Wyatt climbing all that much but you love to try to get up on everything.  I'd be lying if I said I wish this phase would last forever.   You are getting funnier and funnier, though.  And the temper is coming along nicely, too.  You must get it from your Italian genes. :)

 April was a busy month!