Friday, May 27, 2011

Last {Sunny} Weekend

Last weekend we spent lots of time outside prepping for our new lives as "people with a yard" - we  attached the rain barrel to the house, got the compost bin started, built the raised garden bed, busted out the summer toys, talked over possible scenarios for the swingset, and daydreamed about the months of June, July and August as Four Schneiders. Beatrice spent lots of time in the Ergobaby Carrier and Josephine spent lots of time in the sunshine.  As usual, Lou spent lots of time working hard and I spent lots of time snapping photos.

In other news, my camera and I are finally hitting our stride.  All those words that used to perplex me - aperture, shutterspeed, ISO - finally clicked! I think this was the combination of knowing my "time off" was ending because I had to go back to work (and mastering my camera was on my time off to-do list) and a beautiful day outside with great lighting that made that "manual" setting a lot less terrifying.  If you haven't been over to Four Austins lately - get your buns there stat. My sister (who made a vow with me at Christmas to get this photography stuff figured out) took some stunning photos on their recent vacation. 

Here are some more pics on my phone from last sunny weekend. We are hoping for lots more this {sunny} weekend.


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Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.9


Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.9


Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.9


Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.9

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Zoo Member's Night

We heart the Cincinnati Zoo (if you haven't already figured that out).  Last weekend was Members' Night. It's an annual event that we highly recommend all members to put on their calendars. The zoo is open from 5pm - 9pm. There's live music, free games, bounce houses, glitter tattoos, food and oh - animals!  Here are some pics from our third Members' Night.

I love the Hokey-Pokey pictures of Lou and Josie dancing.  Seriously, does it get any sweeter than that? I totally had a "wow, life is good" moment standing there in the sunshine watching these two twirl around while holding sweet baby Bea.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Smiley Bea, 10 weeks

Little Beatrice is just like her big sister - all smiles, all the time - and so so close to that first real giggle. Enjoy!

Google Video (that I used for all the early Josie videos on the Three Schneiders blog) recently transferred everything to YouTube. When that happened, it made all of the videos of "Sweet Baby Josie" my most recent videos. It's been so fun going back through them, and I've found that the ordinary, everyday moments of Josie are among my favorites. The changes in her little voice, watching her little brain working as she figured out something new - these are the moments that I am most grateful that I captured.  I'm so thankful for these videos and this blog as a way to record all of this. Thanks for sharing that journey with us.

On that note, here's a video of Josie from around this same age - hilarious but just by coincidence they happen to be wearing the same outfit. :)

Also - good reason here that "Aunt Amanda" became "Tia" - much easier.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The moment we became Four Schneiders

Today, as soon as I hit "Publish Post," I will return back to work after eleven weeks with sweet Baby Beatrice. I've been holding off on sharing this video until the perfect time and right now seems appropriate - a look back at where it all started as the "maternity leave" chapter ends and "the rest of our lives" officially begins.

Here it is - the video of the first five minutes of our family of four! I hope you enjoy this video of Josephine meeting brand-new baby sister Beatrice just a couple of hours after she was born.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sunny Saturday

We spent the whole day today in the new and improved yard. It was a busy day of setting up the compost bin, attaching the rain barrel to the house, and prepping the garden for planting tomorrow. Oh and there was also time spent just sitting and admiring the new lawn. Life is all sunshiny sweet here for the Four Schneiders. Hope your weekend is just as lovely!
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Friday, May 20, 2011


This just in... right up there ^ Bea's official birth story is now posted. Enjoy!

Mmm...mama's milk

So this is Bea's new thing, and it is hilarious. When she is nursing, she spreads out and puts her arm behind her head and looks at me with those big blue drowsy eyes and it just melts me. She did this yesterday during our Tummy Time class at the CFEC and the teacher said, "Well, isn't Miss Bea an appreciative nurser?" Yes she is. Yes she is.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We have a YARD!

Truth told, we've always had a front yard and we've always had a back yard - the problem is that neither of them were exactly in the best shape. The front yard's issues are mostly cosmetic and will be the focus of next summer but the back yard, well, that just needed immediate attention.

Let's just take a quick walk down memory lane.

This photo is from our first month here last summer. Josie is playing in the front yard with the back yard barely visible behind her. You can see whole mess of overgrown trees, shrubs, weeds and chaos just behind the iron fence that still stands.

This is looking out into the yard we just demolished from the side door.  (Technically the thing I keep calling our backyard is our side-yard because we have a corner lot.)  This is how it looked when we moved in.  There were scrubby, struggling pine trees all along the fence to the left, a huge mess of overgrown honeysuckles along the back and overgrown ornamental shrubs along a hump of earth to the right the blocked the driveway from the yard. The old free space was that brown patch there in the middle - certainly not anyone's idea of a good play yard.

This is from the driveway looking out toward the front yard. You can see that big hump of dirt that had to be removed.
From the far end of the driveway - back when we had the Murano and my parents had the gold Jeep. Our house is the one on the left. It used to be a multi-family so there was enough parking space for way more cars than we'll ever need.  The driveway is shaped like a big "L" and the two cars are parked here on the spot that is now grass.

So...we've been talking about addressing the yard for months and Lou sort of just decided to pull the trigger on it last weekend. Josie was set to spend the night at my mom & dad's house and before I knew it Lou was driving a Bobcat down our street and into our back yard. I gotta say, I was a little skeptical but it took two weekends and we have a YARD.  Here's how it all went down.

Rent a big sharp saw to cut the line in the blacktop that will divide the driveway from the new grass -

Work together to dig out the bricks and loosen the roots -

Take some time to play with one of the many interesting discoveries -
Take out the remaining trees -

 Bring on the Bobcat  (used to tear out the tree roots and move the dirt) -

Time to jackhammer that driveway we don't need. Go Louie Go!

The big heap of rubble grows and the roots come out pretty easily thanks to all of this rain -

Josie returns home from Xenia and has this to say about stopping for just a minute to pose in the mud -
 Then cooperates -

And even got to ride in the Bobcat with daddy -
 And make quite a few mudpies -

Here is the yard from the same vantage point as the original picture of Josie in the sprinkler last summer. You can now see beyond the fence all the way through the yard and to the remaining driveway.

The step not pictured here is hiring a local company to carry out the (gasp!) two dump trucks full of blacktop and gravel. We had no idea how much junk this project would make and it cost more than we'd like to admit to get it all hauled away. But, we were still way ahead of the game in terms of saving by doing this work ourselves so no big deal (although it kinda was then).

Awww Man! I just realized that I didn't get any photos of the Dingo - the other big piecesof heavy machinery that Lou rented to spread the big 'ole heap of top soil we had to buy to fill in the rest of the hole from the busted driveway.  There was also cultivation, grading and tilling that took place, and there was a whole heckuva lot of rain that made this job really difficult!

This past weekend, the project switched from demolition to rebuilding. The sod arrived (very very soggy sod) on Saturday morning. It took nine hours from this point to get it done.
It didn't seem like too big of a job in the beginning, but over 200 pieces later and even more rain and Lou was pretty much over the whole thing. Here is the first row -
 Ladies and Gentlemen - we have grass!

A break in the rain and we came outside to keep Lou company. Lou found "Boba Fett" buried in the backyard and Josie spent the next half hour playing with him in the bird bath.
 She got two pairs of boots so heavy with mud that she could barely walk in them -
 And Lou pressed on -

 By the time it was all done, Lou was exhausted and covered in mud. And this sprinkler just taunted him.

One last job on Sunday - roll the lawn -

Like I said, he was kinda over the whole thing -

But, it was done! And we officially have a beautiful, lush, green lawn!

Isn't it lovely?!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

For The Harrisons

In honor of The Harrison Family, we wanted to post the special heart-shaped grape we found this morning at breakfast. We love and miss you! :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

It's the little things...

Sadly, my "maternity leave" is winding down.  Since I work as an independent contractor/consultant I did not have paid maternity leave. And since I had several months off because of bedrest with the pregnancy (and no paid medical leave or paid sick days), our savings is kaput. buns are back in action in just one week. The good news is that I just have to go back to work part time for now (someone schedule an intervention if I top 25 hours consulting on top of my UC gig that runs through the summer). We did find a new nanny and she starts a week from today. The other good news is that I will still be working from home. The bad news is, well, everything that goes along with the fact that I have to go back to work. I've got more to say about this later but for now I'm concentrating on the simple joys of the past couple of weeks to get me over this emotional hump. 

Like finding this drawing of Josie's, asking about it and hearing that "it says I love you Roly Poly and it has a pink sunrise because pink is Roly's favorite color."

Or cracking up at a very upset Josie who yelled "Awwww man, it's WINTER again" when she mistakenly confused all of these flower petals in the yard for snow flurries.

Or checking every day to see what was going to emerge from the cocoon in the front yard and discovering one afternoon that it was in fact world's biggest, hairiest, whoa-who-knew-moths-could-be-this-scary biology lesson right in our own front yard. (Seriously, the pictures do not do this thing justice. It was every bit as big an adult hand. We have witnesses.)

And catching the first baby bubble on film...

And this...there has been lots of this...just figuring each other out...

And who can resist using an evening out as an excuse to don your favorite outfit and do a few ballet moves on the front porch?

So, hooray for the little things! Because I learned the first time around that the little things won't stop just because I have to go back to work.