Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Good Life

Our favorite neighbors invited us to be in this fun video shoot capturing "The Good Life" in Cincinnati for Crossroads.  Check out Josie and her little buddies spinning on the tire swing, our family and friends around the bonfire, and Baby Bea and I roasting a marshmallow near the end. We really do live in an amazing city! (Thanks Jennie for including us in this fun video!)

Friday, June 22, 2012

CCM Young Actors Camp

It was a pretty easy decision for us when Josie's best friend's mama told us about UC's College-Conservatory of Music Young Actor's Summer Camp.  The girls had so much fun at Theatre Camp with puppets, costumes, face painting, singing, dancing and acting.

Here's Josie from her first day of camp:

And the surprise I got when I picked her up from the Circus-themed day of camp:

These are the images from her big production in the courtyard at the end of the week. She was SO excited! And we were SO proud of her. 

First they sang "Be Our Guest" - complete with moves (scroll to bottom for video). This was the big finish.

Then they did a little play about a runaway circus donkey that meets animals in the woods. Josie and Lucia were the squirrels. Perfect squirrels, aren't they?

 Bea was impressed:

Here the young actors are taking the big bow:

 And finally, the videos! I give you Josie's acting debut:

"Be Our Guest:"

"The Squirrels" (with bestie) in the Runaway Circus Donkey Play:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Butterfly Show Time Ya'll

Hey everyone, who doesn't love the annual Butterfly Show at Krohn?! Seriously, it's one of our favorite Cincinnati traditions.  You know the drill - here are the photos. Enjoy!

(Not quite as spectacular as last year, I confess but the butterflies were a little less cooperative  and a little less technicolor this year.)

Before heading in, we did a community art project. The idea was to color your own butterfly to add it to the giant wall of butterflies. Bea had a better idea, and just pulled other people's butterflies off and stuck them back on. Whatever works Darlin'!

Here is Josie adding hers to the wall: 

We had to recreate the shot from last year of the butterfly on Bea's head. But, the only way to do that was to make sure she had no idea it was on her. Lou brilliantly got the butterfly to land on her hairclip and then clipped it into her hair. 

Josie was very patient, but it took the butterflies awhile to cooperate. Finally, another mom shared that bubble gum attracts them and boy was she right! Josie kept sticking her finger on her gum and the butterflies would come right to her. 

Here she is giving one of the first butterflies that visited her a big kiss. (I love this picture of her! It is just "So Josie.")

Can you not just hear the giggle?!

Apparently butterfly legs tickle!

Bea tried and tried to hold (errr, smash) a butterfly. This is as close as she got. Finally she found a water fountain to play in and the butterflies became way less interesting.

Our sweet girl was so worn out, she was literally doing the sign-language for "bed."

Family photo (thanks Mariah!):

A little trip through the rainforest before heading home (I love how the girls walk hand-in-hand):

(We heart Mariah & love when she joins us for adventures.)

However fleeting, they did sit on the butterfly chair together:

More water! Yay!

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, Back to the car we go (Sometimes I walk and look ahead at scenes like this and I think to myself, "Man I have it good! So much to be grateful for!"):

So, another great trip to the Krohn Conservatory on the books. Next year, Bea is SO holding a butterfly! (And we are bringing loads of bubble gum!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Father's Day 2012

The Schneiders love an excuse to celebrate a member of our foursome! Josie had big plans for Father's Day that started about the day after Mother's Day: "Oh, I know what Daddy wants to do on Father's Day! He wants to take us to the pool with the mushroom!"  Other ideas included getting Daddy new pair of Toms (since his other fave shoes turned his pink with the suds at the carwash) and buying Daddy a CD of his (read: Josie's) favorite new band: The Okee Dokee Brothers (that is a heckuva good Children's CD for those of you who like folksy kids stuff that doesn't necessarily sound like kids music).  Luckily, we were able to make all of Louie's (read: Josie's) Father's Day wishes come true. Add to that the fact that we let him sleep in until a whopping 9:30am and well, our Father's Day was pretty close to perfect.  

The gifts came wrapped in this lovely Christmas paper that seemed perfect for the occasion according to a certain 4 3/4 year old. 

 Bea was extremely interested in unwrapping (not surprisingly because ripping paper is one of her favorite activities at the moment):

Big hugs from a joyous Josie upon being told that the best thing about Father's Day was being the dad to his two girls:

Louie's card - hand-selected by Josie (actually one of those free cards that come in the mail that Josie found in our art closet and insisted was the perfect Father's Day card):

Lovingly signed by Josie and Beatrice:

We spent much of the morning while Louie was sleeping in working on this masterpiece that Josie dubbed "Toad on a Lily Pad" (science lesson to follow another time, but it's the thought that counts, right?):

Come rain, shine or pop-up showers, we were going to take Daddy to the "mushroom pool" on Father's Day. We all sat at the window watching the rain come down in our swimsuits, but alas the clouds parted and we headed to the pool! (After a trip to UDF for ice cream to kill the rest of the 30-minutes-post-thunder rule that the lifeguards reminded us of on our first attempt through the gates.)

This really is the perfect pool for non-swimmers and will probably be the site for Josie's 5th birthday in August! (Save the Date: looks like it will be on Sunday August 4th this year!) It was a little trippy to take almost-five year old Josie here when the last time we were there was her SECOND birthday party. Crazy! 

Here's a quick little video of the scene:

Threat of rain or no, it was a beautiful day at the pool. Both girls love the water and, dare I say, Louie actually got some time to relax!

Lou is still all of the things that made him great last Father's Day! Even when the times get tough (and boy was that the case more times than I care to count) Lou maintains his tireless, unending commitment to our family. We are SO grateful that every second of his day that isn't spent in his office is spent with us! Truly, I love that our girls are growing up in a house where they know they are always the top priority. 

And, while I'm on the topic of Dads, let me just say that I don't think it is a coincidence that I landed such a wonderful husband. I think there really is something to the connection between growing up in a house with the same kind of Dad that Louie is. Those of you who are lucky enough to know my Daddy-O know that I hit the Father Jackpot with that one growing up. To this day, my dad is still an endless source of strength. As I've said, we've been to the depths of the ocean and the depths of the Phish Pit together (and some pretty deep mud in Coventry but that's another story entirely) and through it all, he has always had the humor, wisdom and perspective to get me through the best and worst of times. Thanks Daddy-O!  (Remember: One Show At A Time.)

Here's one of my favorite pictures of my Dad and me together on our first diving trip together in Hawaii. I think you will all agree that "Hang Loose" is kinda his middle name. (Oh Dad - sounds like a great idea for a tattoo...just saying. Sorry Mom!)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Last day of preschool

Josie's last day of preschool was very eventful. We wanted to make the day special for her. We started with a favorite breakfast of Daddy's homemade waffles, that she promptly filled with blackberries.

 Once we had all sufficiently overindulged on waffles, we headed to the front yard for the annual last day of school photo shoot. These photos really capture just how much she has grown.

On the porch:

With "the peace tree:"
Sidebar: Oh no! I literally just realized as I was typing that once we move we won't have the peace tree as our metric for growth anymore. Ugh, there's the sinking feeling. Well, here's to establishing new traditions! (I should mention we still have no idea where we are moving and the whole process has been an important lesson in who we are and what we value. But I digress...)

Bea was SO excited to be romping around outside so early in the morning!

And both girls spent lots of timing just prancing through the yard celebrating the approach of summer vacation!

A little celebratory round of "Ring Around the Rosie" was in order.

Bea is still working on the right timing for "all fall down." And sweet Josie, who is so patient with her, helps her up every time - even if that means 10 "all fall downs" in a row.

One more random thought to share.  This was a bit of an out-take, but it really struck me as I was going back through the photos. This is pretty much my view from my seat at our kitchen table. Our New Year's Resolution this year was to eat our meals at the table together. Out of convenience, we had been eating at our island since we moved into this house. It seems ridiculous now. Josie, Louie and I all lined up and Bea in her high-chair. There really is something simple and powerful about sharing meals around the family table. And, mid-June I am ready to call this the first New Year's Eve resolution that has actually stuck!