Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Montessori Work Day

On Sunday it was Josie's last Parent/Child Work Day in the 3-6 classroom. For three years now, we've visited twice a year to spend the afternoon getting to share in her montessori classwork with her. It's always a really special day, and it's also been an interesting way to track time.  I remember visiting the first time as the mother of an only child who was just days from being the youngest child in a whole classroom of kids. Kindergarten felt like a lifetime away. And I remember sitting on the floor as pregnant as can be with Beatrice and needing help to get off the floor.  I remember when Bea was still infant carseat-bound and slept in the classroom next to the class bunny's cage while we worked with Josie. And now, there's Josie - the kindergarten, big-sister version of her teeny, tiny only child self - at her last Parent/Child Work Day in pre-primary while Louie and I work in shifts to keep a very active and school-eager little Bea busy enough so Josie can get the undivided attention of one of us at a time.

In classic Josie fashion, she was a pure joy on Sunday afternoon - flitting from work to work like a little montessori butterfly.  She showed us bits and pieces of math and language - how she is working on multiplication and addition, her journal with handwritten versions of moveable alphabet masterpieces.  She punched out a profile of Lincoln with Louie and then showed me how to polish wood and grind cloves - two different ways - so we could come home and make clove tea.

She's a gem that Josie.  A happy, bright, glowing (and growing!) gem...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A lovely long weekend

A long weekend is a huge blessing. A long weekend that doesn't kill our budget is an enormous blessing. After spending years as an hourly consultant, any time I took a day off, it lcost me a day's pay.  That translated into almost never taking time off. So, suffice it to say, I don't take an actual paid holiday for granted.  This is cause for major celebration people!  We got in as many activities into our long weekend as our long weekend could handle. Since Josie had both Friday and Monday off of school, I actually took most of Friday afternoon off as well (it's true!) so we had a really lovely long weekend that included a trip to the zoo and our favorite park. AND we hosted the mother/daughter book club at our house this month (which will get it's own separate post soon).

Here are some photos from a super great weekend!

The girls and I spent Friday afternoon crisscrossing the city combining errands with fun adventures. We went to see our friend Julie at Sewn Studio who graciously donated two bags of Cincinnati's best fabric scraps for our book club craft on Saturday. We stopped by the glass studio to pick up the hearts we made on my birthday. We spent an hour playing with toys at King Arthur's Court with the hidden agenda of figuring out what piques little (soon to be birthday girl) Bea's interest these days. And, of course we stopped at Starbucks for a Triple Grande Vanilla Nonfat Latte and two kids temp hot chocolates (a special treat beyond the usual plain steamed milks they usually get).

On Saturday, we played and prepped for our Mother/Daughter Book Club (here's the sneak peek).
I put finishing touches together while Bea napped and Josie had her first group piano class.
(Note to Lou - send me those videos!)

The bookclub was SUPER fun. We are just getting into the swing of hosting people at our house again, now that we are finally settled into our new place.  We've also vowed to start doing Sunday brunches for friends once or twice a month. So far, that's been super fun. But I digress...

Anyway, Saturday night was good for cuddling!

We started off with big plans for Sunday, but decide to chuck our busy bee instincts out the window and spend the day in our pajamas. All of the watercolors from the book club were still handy, so we spent a solid hour on Sunday morning with all four of us around the kitchen table listening to a great "kid's roots" playlist on Spotify and turning out masterpieces.
Like any trip to Michaels, we came home from our Saturday AM trip there with an extra project. Long story short, Josie saw a ceramic bird and wanted to paint it. I said we should get two and they could represent both girls. She wanted to do one for Lou & me, but there were only two birds. And, well then we ended up with an Owl Mama and a Gnome Papa.  Pretty fair representation, am I right?

While our painted family dried, we took the sunny afternoon as an occasion to finally clean and organize the greenhouse because (woop woop) we can start our seeds SOON!

Our garden family found a new home in the greenhouse. (How well did Lou paint his gnome?)

And, sometime during the process of showing the plants some love, Josie & Bea decided it was high time to have a birthday party for Dear "Iguany." (Josie's very favorite stuffed animal which is an admirable feat when you are one of a zillion members of the "Animal Army.") Iguany came all the way from our last vacation way back in St. Thomas.  The girls made in cards and a "cake" and wrapped him presents. Then we all sang happy birthday! (Being a parent really is super fun!)

On Monday, we went to our old haunt - First Watch downtown - for a yummy breakfast then headed to the Aquarium on President's Day - like every other family in the tri-state area. There was literally an hour long wait just to get to the door (even for members). We gave the Aquarium a big "peace out fishies" and drove over to the zoo, which ended up being much better.  It was the perfect mix of crisp, sunny and pretty quiet that makes me LOVE mornings at the zoo!

Tell me this guy isn't the exact one from "The Princess & The Frog" Movie?!

Do you own "The Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed"? If not, get it.
 Then you'll be just as excited as we were to find these at the zoo. 

After letting Lou return to his lawyerly duties, the three Schneider girls decided to skip naptime and head to our favorite park - Lunken's Land of Make Believe. (Or what will always be known "The Pig & The Whale" according to Josie.)  It was windy as all get out, but sunny and bright.  I love chasing the girls around the park.

My girls have fierce smooches!

It was so warm on the way home that we popped open the sunroof and sang songs at the top of our lungs. I snapped this quick pic on DeSales Corner out the room - a beautiful end to a beautiful long weekend.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The little birthday that could

There's nothing particularly special about turning 36. I mean, it's no 21 or 50.  Because of this fact, there was no particular reason I'd expect this birthday to go down as the best birthday to date.

(A close second was my awesome 30th birthday that many of you attended, where I was newly preggo with a baby Josie, then spent the weekend doing girly stuff with my sista. And the only reason this one tops that one is because I got to celebrate this one with the involvement of two little ones that didn't actually exist yet back then.)

Anyway, a certain Mr. Schneider set out to make this birthday really special. It was the first birthday I'd been able to celebrate without a baby in my belly or a baby home that is breastfeeding - in quite a while (as in years, yo). It was also a really big year - with big highs and big lows - to celebrate and remember. And, well, you all know that doing things like going above and beyond just falls under the umbrella of "what I do" according to Louie - so going above and beyond is exactly what he did!

In no particular order, my birthday weekend involved:
  • breakfast in bed
  • a special gift & homemade cards from the girls
  • two cakes
  • brunch with my parents
  • an afternoon and evening out with Louie - where we learned how to blow glass & ate our weight in sushi
  • a professional, two-hour massage
And here are some highlights, courtesy of the phone that I kept by my side to capture all the awesomeness, as it happened.

It simply does not get better than coffee in bed.

Except breakfast in bed.

Especially when that breakfast in bed is promptly consumed by the little girls who helped make it.

And, remember it snowed like crazy on my birthday, and that was a snowy surprise for all of us.

Here's Cake Numero Uno (so I could blow out a candle on my actual birthday). You'll notice the tooth marks of certain nearly-two-year old who couldn't resist it.

And later ...a two hour massage (after a brunch with Grandma & DD who then watched the kids so I could get away for this).

I really cannot even capture here just how awesome it was to learn how to make these glass pieces. It was really fun to work together on something creative. And, it was fun to do something that felt really intimidating at first. (I totally made Lou go first!)

 Think of it as sticking a giant honey dipper repeatedly into a 2700 degree oven! Seriously, it's so hot in there that it's blinding.

After dipping the glass, it's time to add color. We decided to make four hearts - one representing each of us.

It's my turn! :)

After several trips to collect more molten glass on the stick, and turning turning turning always turning, then it's time to start shaping the hot glass with various tools.

After playing with glass for a couple hours, we went for sushi to Green Papaya. It was SOOO good!

 After all that fun, there was still nothing better than being back in the company of these two!

Lou & the girls picked out this lovely bead and bell chain for me which hangs so perfectly over my favorite spot in the house - the window seat overlooking the back yard.

Here is my super special cake from a super special friend. Isn't it GORGEOUS? It was just as delicious as it was beautiful.

Here are the finished hearts - which will soon hang in a sunny window in the house, just as soon as we figure out how to secure them. These puppies are heavy!!

A very happy birthday it was indeed!!!