Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year Friends!

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you from all of us!

I cannot begin to explain the enormous blessing that was our nearly two week break from the typical steady drumbeat of work, emails, voicemails, chores, school and daily responsibilities. The best gift we gave ourselves this year was TIME to really focus on being present and being together as a family.

That meant, for the first time ever, I gave myself full permission to completely unplug - from work, from my computer, from emails, from FB and Twitter, and from blogging.  In fact, I didn't even load up my photos onto my computer until tonight, and wow - there are 650+ photos that walk us back through the last two weeks. And, just as important, there are perfect moments not captured on film because we were too busy living them to grab my camera.

So, with that, expect the "12 Days of Schneider Christmas" to navigate from my hard drive to the blog over the next couple of weeks.  Working backwards, I will start with our celebration of New Years!

While I know Lou & I spent lots of New Year's Eve nights out drinking and toasting and smooching at midnight, they all sort of blend together into one big pre-parenthood blur. This New Year's Celebration won't get lost in that shuffle.  I will never forget our 2011 "midnight" at the Zoo where Lou found the perfect perch above the crowd on the empty platform at Lemur Lookout, where Bea slept snugly in her stroller and Josie, Lou & I danced and sang and blew horns and giggled. And the shiny Happy Zoo Years ball glittered, and the fireworks exploded, and the bats swirled overhead and Bea woke up and watched in amazed silence. And Lou & I shared that "yep, this is what it's all about" smile that we have perfected.  And then it was 2012.

And at "real midnight" we laughed out how funny it was that we were eating cereal in our bed while so many of our friends were out toasting with champagne, and we snuck into the girls' room and kissed them both at 12:00 sharp (in keeping with our tradition since 2007), pausing in gratitude for 2011 and looking forward to the yet-to-be-seen blessings of 2012.

Here are some of our favorite New Years 2011 photos. May 2012 be the best year yet!

One last pass through the Festival of Lights Twinkle Trail -

Another favorite moment - the family hunt for night fairies -

Cotton Candy -

Our perch above the masses -

The "Happy Zoo Year" ball -

We had so much fun!

Our little reminder of the passage of time, Bea who apparently only needs a thermos of kefir & a straw now to be happy -

Now, here is the New Year's Baby Panda.  This is important because when Josie asked earlier in the day "Who is the New Year's person? You know, like Santa is the Christmas person. Who is it for New Year's?"  Lou told her (and we didn't know how funny it was until it came out) that a naked baby is the "person" for New Year's.  Josie cracked up and was convinced we were just joking. I pulled up New Year's baby images on my phone, but she still wasn't buying it. This big diapered baby panda at the zoo did the trick.  We waited in line for a little while so she could get her photo with it, but then a very creepy Father Time came in to give the panda a break and the whole line evaporated into thin air.  (There's his creepy hand and scythe which made him look way more Grim Reaper than I think we was going for. Ha, smile kids! Josie bolted.) So, no photo with Diaper Baby New Year's Panda, but she did steal a quick hug.

Later the next day, Josie insisted on taking Naked Baby New Year's pictures of Baby Bea. We couldn't resist and a New Year's Day celebration ensued.


sweet josie insists on being a naked baby too.

I will leave you with a few photos from our last day off today. Josie returned to school and we made three trips there today to hang out with her.  We both were still off today but Josie insisted on going to school. We hung out after drop-off then brought our lunches and the three of us ate with Josie and her school friends and later we returned for snack-time and to play before coming home.   It was such a great day!

And while she was at school getting back into her normal routine, we had some time with Bea to hang out and soak up her adorableness.  These pictures really do capture her personality pretty well - her curiosity, her crazy hair, her sweet expressions.  Oh Baby Bea!