Monday, October 21, 2013

Mouse Countdown!!

So....this is 10 days.  Four Schneiders are heading to Disney World! (Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog.)

The reveal: 

(I love how Josie is worried about missing school & Bea is wondering if they'll have a Farmer's Market.)

The backstory: My job rocks the house. The tricky bit for the kids is that my job requires about 4 weeks away a year. The super-duper mega bonus, we often get to piggy-back family trips on top of my work travel. So, big conference in Orlando = big surprise trip to Disney for the kids. And, get this, Lou is doing an expert witness interview at the airport as well, so his flight will be covered too. (Woot.)

The details: I'll be at the conference Sun-Weds and then (SuperPapa) Louie will fly down solo with the girls to join us on Wednesday evening. We'll have 3 full days at Disney - Thursday, Friday & Saturday. We'll fly home together on Sunday.

The ask: We are super overwhelmed by the entire thing.  Our kids barely know their Aurora from their Arielle but that's not going to stop us from soaking up everything we can at "The Happiest Place on Earth." They do both LOVE the Mouse. I went once as a kid and Louie has never been (gasp).  We welcome suggestions, "don't miss"es and "don't spend the money on"s.  We're trying to keep costs to a minimum (with the recognition that 'minimum' is relative when it comes to Orlando).

Friday, October 18, 2013

these days.

These days have been a little bit of everything and some days have been everything all at once. We've had some insanely stressful peaks and some nice slow-time valleys. High moments of celebration and accomplishment and joy and and low moments of worry and sickness and overwhelm. (Bea's been fighting 'walking pneumonia' for a month & Josie's asthma has been flaring.) Mostly things have been great, but I will be the first to keep it real and admit that it hasn't all been sunflares and sisterhood around here lately.  The frantic pace of back-to-school and back-to-activities, coupled with the busiest time of year for my job, has definitely made for some "how on earth are we going to keep this ship afloat?!" conversations. But, alas, we keep on keepin' on and keepin' on we shall.  Here are some photos to show what we've been up to these days.

There's been soup. Lots and lots of soup.

And big fat visitors to the front yard.

And days when I have 4 or 5 devices running to keep everything together.

And breaks for giving into little bursts of inspiration and converting those into little acts of kindness.
A lamp we jazzed up & gifted to Josie's new classroom

The girls remain in love with each other 99% of the time.

The greenhouse has created a fun way to relive summer when the plants need watered, since it's now too cool to run through a hose outside.

We've had bike rides.

And park trips.

 And quiet moments together.

And a Sunday when we washed the car with dishsoap.

And some changes to our bedtime routines.

And family walks to school in the morning.

 And afternoon trips for coffee & a bunny visit.

We rearranged several things in the house to turn what was kind of a "den" (the room with the TV) into what the girls have dubbed "The Learning Room" - further pushing the TV into a little corner of the room so it's even easier to ignore.

We're really enjoying Josie's new experiences in the grades 1-3 montessori classroom. Montessori education just couldn't be more right for our family!

We've let some things go, in this case, some furniture that was originally purchased for Josie's nursery. Craiglist remorse is a real thing, but it's okay.

Bea has taken a cue from Josie & is just soaking up books like crazy.

There has been a ton of jump-roping. And hula hooping.

We hit the one year anniversary of living in our house, and we are finally finding some time here & there to get the garage organized. (Look out basement, we're coming for you.)

The girls are constantly trying to impress us with how strong they are, and honestly, these girls are pretty damn strong. Go girls!

Both girls are showing a strong interest in taking photos. They've been using an old digital camera and occasionally grab my cellphone and snap a few. Bea took this blurry little gem of me cooking dinner, and I think that's pretty sweet.

Speaking of dinner, we continue to keep the girls involved in any way we can. Making their own pizzas is a huge favorite.

 We've been looking for ways to say "yes" as much as we can.

The back porch has been converted into a wee-one art studio.

I'm been trying to be more intentional about printing photos and also blogging more regularly (if you haven't noticed). When I don't, I miss it.

We made our first batch of cookies for this baking season - Snickerdoodles!

So many Snickerdoodles that we had to deliver them to neighbors to save us from ourselves.

We have some new childcare routines to help prepare Beatrice for what will be her entry into montessori school this time next year. Here are the girls having a picnic with Grace from her school one afternoon in the front yard.

I made a new friend!

We've had some rainy days that made for great excuses to practice our puzzle skills.

We grew 'wildflowers' that finally bloomed, only to find out that they were 12 foot tall dandelion hybrids. Hilarious.

The girls have now added "don't step on the lava" to their childhood play repertoire.

We implemented Family Meetings before bed where we lay out all the plans for the next day from outfits to meals to calendar items, because it's the only way to keep everything straight.

The book project I've been working on for more than a year launched last week. I'm SO proud of the book and SO honored to be a part of such meaningful, important work to improve educational opportunities for all students. (Leaving the classroom was a hard decision for me, and my work these days confirms that I made the right decision.)

So, even though there are plenty of moments that feel a lot like this (literally and figuratively):

We're working really, really, really hard on this.

And so far, that's feeling pretty good.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


{Photos of Beatrice, representing moments with Beatrice and aspects of Beatrice that are just too hard to capture with words.}

Bea's first Self Portrait

Bea's First Family Portrait

Oh this girl and all her silly, sweet, naughty, independent, creative, amazing awesomeness!