Thursday, July 28, 2011

More on Nothing and Everything

A couple years back, well before pre-school friends and a baby sister, Josie and I spent a ton of time together. I was so fortunate to only have to work part-time and we spent a lot of time at the Cincinnati Family Enrichment Center where we met a lot of really incredible women that remain close friends. One of the women I met there was "Miggy" - the hip mama of her NY-transplanted family who landed in Cincinnati for awhile. Miggy and her sweet daughter (known in the blogosphere as "Princess Sparkle Pants") took the same parent/child art class that we were in. I instantly liked her in a "now that's the kind of mom I want to be" sort of way - for all the "wrong" reasons (dang, that girl has an incredible sense of style) and all the "right" reasons (wow, you can just see how connected she is to her daughter within a few minutes of being in the same room).  So, fast- forward to years later. Miggy and I both disappeared from the Center at about the same time. I later found out that we both suffered similar complications in trying to have our second children. (And you'll be happy to know that she got her "happy ending" too. Just wait 'til you meet sweet little "Lamp.")

While we didn't see each other at the Center anymore (and well-intentioned playdates never quite came together) I kept up with Miggy's blog which I found (and continue to find) incredibly refreshing in its honesty and candor. She puts it all out there - courageously and poignantly. And I've been so grateful for her blog and the way she has shared the story of her beautiful family many many times.  (If you've never clicked on the link to her blog over in my blogroll, I dare you to try to read a post and not find yourself going back time and time again for more. Don't be surprised if you learn a few things in the process. And get ready to fall in love with her two sweet girls...and her mad sewing skills.)

So all of this is the long way of saying, this morning I read her post "Nothing and Everything" and it resonated so much with me that I just had to share it.

She says:
It's easy to define ourselves by what we do, but those things don't always accurately portray who we really are... I think my children have done more to chisel away at my ineffectual exterior revealing a truer and better me...Of course there are many days where it doesn't seem that way, many days where I feel like the worst version of myself and wonder who gave me stewardship over two human lives in the first place...but it's there.  The subtle changes, the small and large sacrifices, a little-bit-better me.  In one sense those helpless, beautiful creatures have given us absolutely nothing.  Instead they have taken almost all our time, energy and mindshare, not to mention a fair amount of our financial resources.  And because of that, they have somehow given us everything.

Now that I have been fortunate enough to get to do this parenting thing all over again, it has really caused me to pause and reflect on what it means to be a mother.  For example, I remember when Josie was about Bea's age I started spending evenings making pureed baby food. It struck me as the strangest way to spend my time. How funny, I was actually being a parent. One night in particular, it hit me: "Whoa - I'm a mom. This is crazy. I used to spend my free time doing lots of other things and now I'm staying up too late making homemade baby food. This is insane." For a long time, it felt as though I was "playing mom" and it was a totally common occurrence to joke with friends and family about how hilarious and strange it was that we had a baby. And I'm not sure when it happened exactly. The slow evolution from that to now, where life before Josephine & Beatrice seems like a distant memory.  There are glimpses into that former life, but our new life as parents is largely unrecognizable from our lives before it.

I guess what I am putting out there is this. It's not as though I've been struggling lately with wanting that old life back, because I really don't. And while it would certainly be nice to have a little more "me-time" in theory, I'm not quite sure I'd find it as fulfilling as it sounds once in practice. I guess the reason Miggy's post struck such a chord with me today is that her epiphany acted as the catalyst for my own. To paraphrase the C.S. Lewis quote she shared - at some point, we start separating breaks from our former life as interruptions of that which is "real" or our "own." At some point we realize that those "interruptions" are our life - all of them - the good, the bad &  the heartbreaking, the mundane, the blissful & everything in between. And quite thankfully really there is no going back.

And that was the thought that hit me as I got to the end of her blog post this morning. And the post, like so many she has written over the years, has been bouncing around in my head all day where it has grown and evolved substantially and, like most good thoughts, raised more questions than answers.

So Miggy - thank you. In my growing pursuit to be more present in my life, you continue to give me (and all of your readers far and wide) the enormous gift of your genuine and authentic reflections on raising a family.

And to all of you - those that read our blog and click up the tally on the blog visits - those of you who are new friends and old friends, people I talk to every day and people I haven't talked to in years, those of you who keep reading for the reason unique to you - thanks for being part of this new life of ours.

Maiden Voyage

This morning Josie road off to a Day Four of Nature Camp in her new big kid booster seat. The transition was tear-provoking for us as Lou removed her carseat to make way for the booster. The cow carseat, which will soon become Bea's, is the one that we brought teeny tiny, brand new Sweet Baby Josie home from the hospital in almost four years ago. (And such a sweet memory of it taking a full half hour to do a ten minute drive because new dad Louie refused to go above 25 mph.) Josie is over the moon about growing up, but I can't say we share the same enthusiasm for the idea.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

those little hands

Quite often during the day, Beatrice reaches out for her big sister....
 And Josie always obliges...
This little tiny hand and these teeny tiny fingers are too too precious.

(Dear Future Carri, while it is highly unlikely that you will ever forget the fact that Bea always, *always* wraps her hand around your finger when she's nursing, this is your reminder.)

Over a year

Remember that picture of Josie in the moving box on the front porch of our new house when we moved here last summer?  Well this totally reminded me of that moment - just over a year later - and my oh my how much has changed! With all of those huge changes, one thing remains the same - Josie is still such a silly goose. And she absolutely loves to make people laugh.  (Oh and regardless of how many toys she has, there's simply nothing quite as fun as a big 'ole box.)

Tummy Time

Now that Bea is a rolling machine, she winds up on her tummy quite often. She seems to like it there, at least for awhile, before realizing that she's stuck. I'm hoping the sweet little thing figures out how to return to her back soon because she gets so frustrated. Even Josie is amazed that Bea is old enough to be rolling already: "Now she's rolling, then she'll be crawling, then she'll be walking, then..."

Did I mention?

Things have been so unbelievably hectic around here lately that I've missed some pretty big updates. For example, Sweet Baby Bottle-Refusing Bea started eating solids. It was either wait until she was 6 months old like we are supposed to or let the poor little thing starve to death if I had to be away from her for more than two hours. So - solids it is.  (Trust me when I say we tried every bottle strategy in the book and spent more money than I'd like to admit on various bottles, nipples, etc.) So - yay - Bea is loving her some solids. Here she is with a face full of pears to prove it. 

I need to take some more photos where she looks a little less dear-in-the-headlights about the whole thing. Oh oh  oh, that reminds me - while I gave Beatrice her first bite of food, Josie gave her the second bite and I was able to snap this quick pic on my phone before stopping Josie from totally gagging her.


If you look closely on the bridge of this sweet little girl's nose, there is the perfect patch of sweet little freckles. And I love them.

Monday, July 25, 2011

An invitation

Josie made this invitation for Beatrice today. She wanted to make sure Roly knew she was invited to her big sister's birthday party. How adorable is that?!
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

"a rocket with lots of fire around it...

...blasting off and flying around through the stars" (the picture josie drew on the envelope of a birthday card for a little buddy's party this morning)
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Zebra with a bird on its back

...and lovely eyelashes. By josephine
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the other zebra

By josephine
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Holy Moly, Roly Poly Rolls!

In a blink, Sweet Bea has gone from that simple little video of her finally opening her eyes to the world to this moment today when she decided to earn her name by rolling, rolling, rolling. This is one of the first rolls and then she did it about 20 more times in the next couple of hours.  Go Roly Poly Go!
(On the topic of Roly Poly, I should say that I was thinking there for awhile the Josie was going to stop calling her that as I noticed more and more that she was referring to her as Bea or "Beatrist". But last night when she sweetly asked me to tell her a story, I knew the moniker was sticking around for awhile longer. "Mommy, tell me a story about My Roly Poly.")

So, here she is Roly Poly Rolling. Enjoy!

Get this, stat

This heat is ridiculous. Really ridiculous. And serious. In our daily effort to keep cool and hydrated, this handy pitcher has made that pursuit a little more tasty. Last week, blueberry iced tea. This week, lemon\lime water. Yummy. Now off to get my naked baby from her nap, because it is definitely a diaper-only kind of day. Stay cool out there.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

So much love

These two get more in more attached with every passing day. It is so beautiful to watch.
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The sunflower dance

The sunflowers we planted back May-ish are finally as tall as Josephine. And that my friends is worth dancing about!
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For some reason, we all keep referring to "Totter's Otterville" as "Tottertown." Regardless of its name, it's a pretty good option out there for Cincinnati folks with kids who need to burn off some energy when it's too darn hot to do anything outside (or too darn cold to do anything outside come winter).

On Friday we met our friends Jodi & Keaton there and had so much fun.

Beatrice, as usual, was super chill:
Josie, as usual, was very creative in her style choices:
The highlight of the experience for Josie was the "paint your own face" area:
In her words, "I'm a sweet little mouse." (Yes honey, you are a sweet little mouse.)

The sweet little mouse also enjoyed a little ballet:

And even though we are pretty darn sure that the fever Josie came down with on Sunday can be traced back to Tottertown, it will still remain on our list as a fun little oasis in Northern Kentucky.  

There are some more photos below from my phone that I posted separately. Most importantly, check out the great sign on the door that was also posted throughout the whole place. Turns out, Totter has a peanut allergy. And while we wouldn't wish a peanut allergy on anyone, it's pretty darn cool that Totter has one.  (Thanks so much Jodi for giving us the scoop!)

Two sweet girls, getting big way too fast
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Oh this smile just melts me...every single time.
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Josie...just before she realized she was stuck and had to be rescued by a sweet older girl
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What's not to love about a ballpit?
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Josie insisted on a photo on the sign on the front door. Her words, "this is just so special to me."
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Still jumping, after all these years...

You know, it just occurred to me...

I just hit "publish" on the Jumperoo post below and then returned to my big sea of "blog these when you have time" photos and there was the video I referenced a couple of days ago about our daring backyard pool Splashini.

So, without further ado, here is Josie - still jumping like crazy - all these years later.  And I gotta say, there's a quote at the end of this if you turn it up that totally sums up Josie.

My brave little mama! She totally tweaked her ankle on the grand finale, and fighting tears, says "that was a big rad move" and climbed right back up to jump again - limping and all.  (Be careful sweet girl. Your injuries appear to hurt your mama way more than they hurt you.)

Jumperoo, Take Two!

For those of you who have been around from the beginning, you might remember Sweet Baby Josie loving her Jumperoo. Bea has officially (and already?!) outgrown the swing, so we decided to give the old Jumperoo a polish & shine and let Beatrice give it a whirl. She's still a little young for it, but it's something new and she likes being vertical. She's not bouncing in it yet, but I know she will one day. Heck, it's gotta be somewhat genetic right?

Here is Josie "showing Bea what to do" (which was a lump-in-the-throat moment since that video above seems like it just happened last week and not almost four years ago):

Um, she is wearing clothes although she looks totally naked. 
 And here is Beatrice carefully listening to her big sister's instructions, which included showing Bea a video on my phone of her jumping in the jumperoo. Hilarious.

 And Bea - quite pleased with herself - and looking quite a bit like her sister at this age if I do say so myself:

Friday, July 15, 2011

A future in fashion

Josie put together this ensemble over the weekend, and I forgot to share it here. I love how snugly the phish shirt is tucked into the shorts (you should've seen it from the back) but the best part is undoubtedly my super fuzzy fleece socks with her jellies.

Speaking of Josie's fashion, she put this look together for Roly this afternoon and suggested that I take some pictures of her since it all matched so well.
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From a walk last week

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Muddy puddles

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Splashin'

Oh, the backyard! We love having a backyard. And two kiddie pools, and a swingset, and a climber that Josie has outgrown and repurposed as a diving board.  Life is good this summer for the Schneiders. And after several busy, busy, busy weekends - we finally had a weekend just to hang out in the sun and splash around.  

Josie has become quite a daring little individual and has spent quite a lot of time over the last week trying to outdo herself and break her own records when it comes to jumping into (and sometimes over) the pool. (oh - the video - must upload the video!) Here are some of my favorite photos of our rip-roarin' splashin' good times in the yard (the yard we daydreamed about for a good year before we finally sold our condo and got this house). Enjoy!