Saturday, January 29, 2011

a little practice... her cincinnati ballet academy uniform before leaving for class this morning
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Friday, January 28, 2011

Three Little Birds

This post as been simmering for quite awhile.  I've made references to our three little birds many times before, and I'm finally ready to tell the whole story. It goes something like this...

As most of you know by now, we have lost three babies on our journey from Carri & Lou to "Four Schneiders." We had two early, first trimester losses - one before Josie and one after. And then we lost Camille in the second trimester after a year of trying to conceive, and that just about broke us.  The morning after we said goodbye to Camille, there were three little birds on the ledge of our condo downtown. This was unusual because, while we had our fair share of pigeons in the city, three random birds on the ledge was a rarity. Instantly, these three little birds became the way we symbolized and remembered our three little babies.

To add to that, we are huge Elizabeth Mitchell fans. No strangers to Bob Marley either, we've always loved Elizabeth's rendition of "Three Little Birds" on the first CD of hers that we bought.  The thing is, that CD ("You Are My Little Bird") was the only thing that calmed sweet Josie and that song has always had special meaning.  The first time I heard it, with teeny tiny Josie in her carseat behind me, I just sobbed.  I was so grateful (and so hormonal) and Elizabeth's daughter is singing along with this little tiny sweet voice, and I just cried and cried. We listened to that CD more times that I can seriously count and every time it got to that track, I always got a big lump in my throat. I'd think about that first day in the car when Josie was so small and I'd think about the day when she would eventually add her own little voice to the track. And then, one afternoon, it happened. Josie was old enough to sing along and her tiny "Don't worry about a thing, Cuz Every little thing is gonna be alright..." came floating from the backseat. And I wept again. The distance between the first time we heard the song and that moment had passed all too quickly.  By then, we had started having trouble conceiving and I took great solace in hearing sweet little Josephine remind me that everything would in fact be alright.

There have been other "three little bird" moments as well. For example, after each loss we looked for a way to memorialize the tiny life.  After the third loss, I was shopping on etsy for a way to remember the three babies and found this "three little birds" necklace that instantly felt right. I emailed the seller to buy it, explaining the significance to me and our losses and she shared her own personal story of infertility and loss and we remain friends to this day.  Here's the necklace. The crystal is a peridot for Josie's birthstone. And we will add another one for the new baby. :)

Yes, those three little birds have provided me comfort lots of times - and in the strangest of ways.  When we developed a bloodclot in the placenta at 13 weeks with this pregnancy and faced a threatened miscarriage, we were sent to specialists at Good Samaritan Hospital. We sat in the waiting room, extremely nervous to find out if we were losing our fourth baby. I went into the bathroom and would you believe - of all things - someone had put three little bird stickers right on the "specimen cabinet." I had to laugh at how funny of a coincidence it was, and just how hilarious that those little birds showed up in such a silly spot. And, in that moment, I knew everything was gonna be alright.

And it all came full circle later when we went to Chicago for Lyla's birthday. Elizabeth Mitchell and her daughter hit the opening notes of "Three Little Birds" at the concert, where we were sitting with The Austins in the front row. And here were the tears again, as I sat there and rubbed by pregnant belly and held my big girl Josie and looked over at my sister with Lyla and Michael with tiny baby Jack.  And again, I knew it would all be alright.

In fact, it's become somewhat of a mantra around here. In the darkest moments of this pregnancy, I had to remind myself: "There are only three little birds." I have no doubt that these little birds will continue to make appearances to all of us for the rest of our lives - in one way or another. And for that, I am grateful.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Two sweet snaps

Josie checking herself out in my Grandma Mimi's antique mirror that we just added to our bathroom.
(Thanks Mom & Dad for hanging on to stuff like this.)
Josie's new petticoat courtesy of 

Friendly Neighbors

We have the most beautiful birds in our yard.  The cardinals are our favorites.  They are so bright and brilliant against the backdrop of all this snow. These two guys were in our giant catalpa tree. Josie loves watching them.  We have a feeder right outside the dining room window and we love to peek out the window and watch all the birds in town take a turn.
 (And the squirrels are pretty hysterical too.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quick Quote

Tonight Louie and I were reading Josephine bedtime stories. She didn't sleep well last night and was very over-tired so I was trying to get through the story quickly. I asked Lou to stop with the additional commentary a couple of times, but he kept it up (he couldn't see her heavy eyelids from his angle). After my third "Louie Shhhhhh," Josie says to him: "Yea Daddy. SHHHH! You should listen to your mother!"
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Blog Books!

When I recently posted on Facebook how excited I was about ordering the 2010 Blog Book for "Three Schneiders," I was surprised to hear how few people knew that such a thing was possible.

Don't get me wrong- I enjoy blogging. BUT...the main reason I blog is to create a record for our family. The blog is equal parts photo album, baby book and family journal. At the end of every year, we use this great service: to convert our blog into book form.  And, personally, they are even more fun in the book form than the blog.

Here are the 2007, 2008 & 2009 books. 2010 is on its way!
 Here's what the inside looks like. I turned to a random page - this is from a trip we took to NYC just before Josie's first birthday. (Wow Molly - haven't things changed a lot since then?!)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Single Digit Sledding

Yesterday, despite having a fever in the morning and complaining of her ears aching, Josie *insisted* that her daddy take her sledding. They played in the front yard for about a half an hour. I heard them coming inside and was so relieved because it was only 7 degrees outside. Oh - silly me. They were actually just coming in to get some sunglasses to help with the glare and make their way through the house and out the backdoor to the car so they could go sledding at the park near our house. Braving those temps was worth it. It's pretty obvious here that they had the time of their lives!
(And I still have no idea how Lou managed to sled and film this video all bundled up as well as he did!)

And - for what it's worth - we've spent a lot of time at Owl's Nest Park since we moved to this neighborhood. This particular hill is right by the little swings.  I can actually remember pushing Josie on the swing and thinking, too bad that hill is so steep and heads straight for the trees, otherwise it would be a pretty good sledding hill.  Suffice it to say, if Mama Schneider would've been with these two at Owl's Nest, ain't no way my baby girl would've headed down this hill.  Good thing her daddy is a little more daring!  And Josephine was beyond proud of herself!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Snowy Week

Here are just a few shots from what has been a very snowy home-bound week for the Schneiders.

"Mom, Can we read some books?"
Cuddle Time on the Couch

Smiling in the glow of a very snowy day

Friday, January 21, 2011

Two Best Friends & One Big Bare Belly

One of the most memorable parts of my pregnancy with Josephine was my Mother Blessing Ceremony. My friend Kristen hosted many of my close girlfriends at her house and we all celebrated my entrance into motherhood by doing a bellycast and henna tattoos and sharing our stories/hopes/fears with one another. I knew I wouldn't be able to have another BlessingWay this time, due to the bedrest. And I was bummed.

Sooo...enter two very, very special people in my life. Kelly & Suzie.  Oddly enough, within just a few days of each other, both of them offered to come over and help to do the belly cast and have our own little blessing. I was touched when both of them used precious time off of work to come spend the afternoon with me to make this little dream a reality. (And as much as I know they would've gladly done it, I'm glad it wasn't Louie and my Daddy-O who had to make it happen.)

Here's how the belly cast turned out. Just PERFECT!

And here are two of the most wonderful friends a girl could have. I love you both more than you know!

And - just for fun - here are some pics from my BlessingWay with Josie.

My henna tattoo (and very round tummy)...
 Josie's Belly Cast (after being painted)...
And I'll leave you with a some more "Birth Art" courtesy of Josie.  Her explanations of her "masterpieces" are even more special than the artwork itself.  When I prompted "Tell me about this picture Josie," she answered: "This is you with Roly Poly in your big belly. Those are your legs. And there's your vagina."  Excellent Josie Excellent.

Quick Quote

This morning Josie had an hour snow delay from school. She gave me two kisses and headed for the door. Then, she turned around, looked at me and said: "Mommy, I'm going to keep your kisses forever. I'll put them in my heart."  
Seriously, she is the most amazing, perfect little girl and Lou & I are absolutely over-the-moon that we will soon have another amazing, perfect little girl just like her to love!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

34 Week Update

We made it to 34 weeks! That's been our goal for the last month, and here we are! It feels good to be a little more out-of-the-woods in terms of the baby's development and safety, but we aren't completely there just yet. (A baby born before 37 weeks is considered premature.)

Our OBGYN was right to caution us away from thinking about bedrest as a long-term thing (it was 10 weeks from the original mandate until my due date). Instead, he advised us to think in small-term chunks.  I can't tell you how much more manageable this makes it feel. So, the first goal was to get to 34 weeks.  That was the long haul, and we survived (although we certainly had our moments).  The next goal is two more weeks. Get to 36!

Once I got to 36 weeks, our new goal will be 38 weeks. But, even if I went into labor today, they would not attempt to postpone the labor. At 36 weeks, I will be allowed to start to phase in some physical activity again. Although, because I want to get to 38 weeks to help delay the possibilities of learning disabilities and increased risks of health problems, I won't exactly be running any marathons so as not to move things along any faster than we'd like to.  It will be nice to be able to help Lou with the preparation for her arrival.  He's been busy sorting, washing, folding, organizing, etc, etc without much help from me.

In other news, while things have been pretty quiet in terms of the pre-term labor signs since the bedrest started, I did start to show more signs on Monday - including contractions. The good news is that when I had my appt yesterday, I am still at 1-2 cm & 50% effaced. There are some other "TMI" things going on that are more along the lines of what you'd see at 38 weeks and not 34, but labor doesn't appear to be imminent just yet.

Thanks for your continued kind words and happy thoughts. This little bun is still cooking! :)

Monday, January 17, 2011


Apparently big pregnant bellies work great as felt story boards for retelling "The Very Hungry Caterpillar..."
And apparently Josie is quite ready for her baby sister  (and has not let this baby doll leave her side since her Grandma bought it for her yesterday)...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"pregnant mommy"

Josie's drawing of me with her in my tummy that she did all by herself and couldn't wait to show me.
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

first ballet class... pink and pig-tails, thanks to the best dad a little girl could ever hope for.
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Bedrest Report, 33 weeks & counting...

It's week three of strict bedrest (and thirteen weeks since the initial modified bedrest mandate). After another great doctor's appointment today, the preterm labor signs are slowing down and the bedrest is working.  Our first big goal of 34 weeks gestation is in our sights & we are all so excited!  While mandated bedrest might sound like winning the lottery to some of you, trust me - it stinks! It's painful, frustrating and oddly exhausting.  I'm not going to complain because, as I've said lots of times before, we are willing to do just about anything to become a family a four. But, suffice it to say that spending 23 hours a day horizontal is no picnic.  Luckily, I have the best husband and daughter on the planet and they've both been unbelievable through all of this. We've had lots of help from family, friends & neighbors and once again we are reminded of the importance of gratitude. 
I've been using all my extra time to get caught up with friends, spend (probably too much) money shopping online, organize lots of things on my computer (like thousands of pictures from the last four years), teach myself how to really use my camera, and of course create the new blog. In that sense, it hasn't been all bad. The funny thing is that when I do look back at pictures, they're all taken from the couch.  Funny stuff. Here are some shots of Josie practicing different faces for the camera.  I love this little girl!

 Lou captured some couch cuddle time - which is another perk of bedrest.

 And here are a couple moments courtesy of Josie that just make me smile. 
A nap for Daisy & Minnie

Hard at work with the stencils
Keep those good vibes coming my friends. They are working!  In other exciting news, we've kicked into full-time baby mode here at the Schneider Ranch.  All the baby gear has been unearthed from the basement and we've taken stock on what we still need; the crib, bedding, stroller & car seat have all been purchased; the plan for the girls' bedroom is moving from theory into action; the changing table & co-sleeper are set up in our bedroom and (in short) it's all happening!  And these are the things that I thought we'd never get to do again. And for each of these things, we are extremely grateful!

Monday, January 10, 2011


Welcome to our new & improved FOUR SCHNEIDERS blog!  
We are so happy you are here.  

This new blog will pick up where Three Schneiders left off and kick it up a notch from there.  The biggest change is the list of tabs just below our header.  I get asked a lot of questions from friends and family about a number of topics and this seemed like a great place to collect and hold all those great links, books, products, etc. Take a look around and feel free to make suggestions for things we can add. 

You will also find Josephine's birth story and the new baby's birth story ("to be determined") as well as old favorites like the "Things We've Learned So Far" list.  We have also honored our journey from a family of three to a family four in the "On Hope and Loss: Our Road to Four" tab.  This page will link you back to the posts from Three Schneiders about our struggles with infertility and loss.  One of the hardest parts of miscarriage is feeling alone, and I hope this page will be a place that brings some solace and peace to anyone else who unfortunately has to experience the loss of a child.

So...welcome aboard!
We'd love to hear your feedback, comments & suggestions.
Thanks for taking the next step of this exciting journey with us.

Four Schneiders Photo Shoot

After Josie's birth, I really regretted not having professional maternity photos taken. After all of our problems with infertility and miscarriage, I grew to regret this decision even more because I was sure I would never be pregnant again. I vowed to get pro photos taken if we did miraculously ever get pregnant, but once we did I still kept dragging my feet. I guess, like so much else over the last 9 months, I was afraid to book the shoot because it felt too risky. It's been so hard to let ourselves get excited and nothing about this pregnancy has been normal or uncomplicated. We are just very guarded and getting these photos taken was a big step toward acceptance and letting go. Finally, I did it. I purchased a "bump and first year" photography package from Krysia Photography and I started to get really excited. And then the bedrest happened.  I seriously wanted to scream out to the universe - Come On! Really?! - and the vision for the family photo shoot started to slip away.  Luckily, the photographer we hired had experienced pre-term birth of her twin sons and completed sympathized with our situation. She willingly came here - to our house - complete with backdrops, camera bags and lighting - to help make my dream of capturing the miracle of this pregnancy come true. And honestly, we could not be happier with the results!  (If you are looking for a family photographer, definitely check out Krysia Photography. I will be keeping a link to this working-mom's business here on my blog and under the "Things We Love" tab.)

Like most great photographs, I think these images speak for themselves. Enjoy.