2003 in review: Happy New Year!

As usual, this year started out with our annual trip to Utah to ski with Karen's family. The Dill family was with us this year too, and we all had a blast. Greggy really enjoyed swimming in the heated outdoor pool, although he had the unfortunate habit of waking up at 4 AM every day because of the time change.

Kevin, Carol, Dave, and Leo playing bridge in Utah

In February, we hosted a little Valentine's Day party for some of Gregory's friends. Around that time was the start of Greggy's pronoun confusion. To this day, he thinks that his name is "You" which makes everything a bit confusing. For example, if he says "You do it", he means that he wants to do it himself! We had some great snow storms that provided ample opportunities for skiing, sledding, making snowballs, and building snowmen.

Greggy enjoying the snow

We took a mini-vacation with Barb and Jarrod down to Newport, Rhode Island and left Gregory with Leo's parents. This was our last hurrah while Karen could still waddle at a good clip. We took Greggy with us to most of our doctor's appointments near the end of Karen's pregnancy and he was very interested in it. He had his own stethoscope and would listen to Karen's belly and say, "Very good" in an officious manner. We also tried to prepare him by reading him lots of books about new babies and taking him to a sibling class and hospital tour at Brigham and Women's hospital.

Greggy giving Karen's pregnant belly a BIG hug

On April 18th at 11:50 AM, Julia Rose Zelevinsky was born! Karen had such an easy time with the labor that when we went to the doctor to see how things were progressing, we were so far along that they ordered an ambulance and sent us off with the siren blaring. Julia was born about half an hour after we arrived at the hospital. Greggy stayed with Leo's parents and came to visit us in the hospital. He thought that the bed going up and down was sort of neat, but he really just wanted to get back so he could go visit the farm near their house! However, he has become a super big brother, giving Julia pacifiers and toys, singing songs for her, and talking about her a whole lot. Julia was a very quiet baby for her first few months, but became much more active and opinionated as she got older.

Greggy giving Julia a push on her swing

In May we celebrated Greggy's second birthday party. He tends to get very pensive and quiet in new and crowded situations, so it was hard to tell whether he enjoyed it, but he was definitely excited about the Elmo theme and even helped pick out which cake he wanted.

Four generations of Zelevinskys at Greggy's birthday party

Near Memorial day we realized that we didn't really know what to do for a summer vacation. We knew what a well-mannered baby Julia was, so we decided to tag along with Leo's parents to Geneva, Switzerland and some surrounding towns. They were going because Leo's Dad had been invited to give several Mathematics lectures at the university there. The only problem was that they were leaving in 3 weeks! With only minimal panic about Julia's passport and finding affordable plane tickets and hotel, we managed to arrange everything and we had a fantastic time. It wasn't a place we had thought of to visit, but it was remarkably beautiful and we would certainly recommend it.

Julia's hilarious passport picture - look at her hairline!

Our friends Amy and Andy invited us to go camping again this year with their dog Ada, and this year we decided to bring the kids. Although Greggy stubbornly maintained that he didn't like camping (probably since he didn't know what it was), he did admit that he enjoyed the food, the tent, the doggie, the beach, the playgound, the rain, and everything else we asked him about. We went to our friends Ken and Nancy's wedding straight from camping. It was our first real Jewish wedding and we enjoyed ourselves.

As is the Zelevinsky custom, we hold family parties for all birthdays and anniversaries, which is a nice way to make sure that we all see each other on a regular basis.

Leo's grandmothers, sister, and daughter with him on his birthday

In the depths of summer we spent quite a few afternoons at the beach, including going down to Cape Cod for a day to visit Leo's grandparents Vladik and Natasha. We also had Karen's high school friends Sam and Ryan stay with us for a few days so we showed them around Boston a bit. Ryan knew how to make some funny faces which Greggy thought were a hoot, and did his best to imitate!

Hanging out with Sam and Ryan at Quincy Market in Boston

Since Karen was on maternity leave for 6 months, she had the chance to enjoy the Children's Museum, Nantasket beach, Gymboree, library story time, the aquarium, Castle Island, Franklin Park Zoo, and many local playgrounds. Leo also took off 3 months in the fall, and got to have fun with many of the same things, although the beach was a wee bit colder!

Greggy splashing at the beach with his Baba and Auntie Katya

Karen's parents came to visit again around Labor Day (they had also come for Memorial Day) and we had some fun around Boston. Greggy talks about Grandpa and Oma quite a bit, since he loves to look at pictures on the computer and his favorite book for many months was "The Grandpa Book" which was a present from them. In September we attended Matt and Miranda's daughter Dana's first birthday and went to see Leo's cousin Tanya and her boyfriend Niell at their new apartment. Gregory spent most of the time playing under their bed for some reason.

Heather holding Dana the birthday girl with Julia and Karen

In October we drove to to Washington DC for our friends Katie and Ryan's wedding and while we were there, we stayed with our friends the Kulakov's a few extra days to go sight-seeing. Greggy fell in love with the National Air and Space Museum so we ended up going there for two days. He still talks longingly about going back to the "Airplane Museum". We also visited the Natural History Museum and the highlight of that was when he got to pick out some polished rocks to put into a bag and take home. Ah, the joys of childhood! On the way home we stopped by Peter Capek and Mikki Shaw's house for dinner. Gregory latched onto their son Dustin and they built a fort from blankets and played follow-the-leader. It was fun to watch.

Picture with some Tufts friends at Katie's wedding

In October, we visited our friends Nathan and Bridget to meet their two new kittens, Misha and Katja (Greggy likes to call that kitty Auntie Katya as a joke) and Karen spent a day up in Montpelier, Vermont, where Heather was doing a internship for Law School. Another night, Karen went to see a very clever short play written by Leo's cousin Vlad.

For Halloween we took the kids trick-or-treating at the mall. You'll never guess what they were dressed up as: Greggy was Elmo (of course) and poor Julia was stuck with Greggy's old pumpkin costume, although she really wasn't so poor since she looked incredibly cute and received many compliments.

Greggy as Elmo and Julia as a pumpkin for Halloween

Gregory took up an instrument: the harmonica! He sounded like a soulful little cowboy when he played it alone in his room. Several weeks after Karen went back to work, Julia went on a nursing strike. We tried to work through it for 2 weeks, but ultimately Julia defeated us and her nursing days were over. As if to make up for this, a little before the strike she started to sleep through the night! Hooray!

We helped organize a surprise 30th birthday party for Karen's cousin Jimmy in mid-November and also spent Thanksgiving visiting Karen's family in Connecticut.

Jarrod, Barb, Gregory, and Karen at our gift exchange with Langs at Thanksgiving

Barb and Jarrod have moved in with us for a little while while their house is being renovated. We can't wait to see the finished result, and meanwhile Gregory is in heaven to have his beloved Aunt and Uncle live with him. Julia thinks it's nice too, but only when Karen is not around because whenever Mommy is around she wants to be held by her.

Frog costume
Barb and Greggy admiring the construction of her house addition

We went to Canada during Christmas week with Leo's family for some cross-country skiing. Greggy's Russian and Nordic genes seem to be shining through, as he happily spent hours and hours frolicking and skiing in the snow. We felt incredibly lucky because Leo's family took care of the kids a good deal of the time, and we got to really enjoy some of our vacation. In general, a "vacation" with two very young children is not very relaxing, but we were able to sleep-in and take some time for ourselves.

Frog costume
Julia taking a ride on her sled in Canada

Gregory has really learned about friends this year. He talks about his best friends Joshie and Alexander very frequently and loves to play with them, share with them (within reason of course), and hug them. Joshie is the son of our friend Lily, who watches Gregory a couple days a week at her family daycare and who will be watching both kids for us 3 days a week once Leo goes back to work full time in January.

friends friends
friends friends
Greggy playing with his friends Helen, Joshie, Sarah, and Alexander

We loved all the holiday cards that we received this year. We hope all of you have a fabulous year to come and will keep us up to date on all your activities! Please come and see us when you can.

Last year's site: 2002

With Love from Leo, Karen, Gregory, and Julia