Archive for July, 2013

Looks like I made it as far as Tuesday before pooping out…Ooof.  I’m tired tonight.  Feeling especially large.  Sick of waking up three or four times a night to the sensation that my bladder is in a vice.  I caught myself waddling in the reflection of a store window today; it’s as if my sore hips are preemptively protesting the fact that they’ll soon have to pass an 8-pound baby between them.  I tried to correct my gait, to straighten my back and move with more grace, but this took too much effort and so I went back to my belly-out pregnant shuffle, weight clumsily shifting from side to side.  I dramatically flopped down on the couch when I got home this evening, propped up my swollen feet, and wondered to myself how on earth I’ll make it through the next few weeks.  How quickly my pregnant glow has waned…  This isn’t how I wanted the final stretch to play out.

The thing is, I don’t know when or if I’ll get to do this again.  I certainly hope we’ll have a second (or maybe even third?!) shot at pregnancy, but only God knows if that’s in the cards for us.  And even if another little Schnell does someday find a home in my uterus, I’ll never feel this particular baby’s kicks again.  It will never be new like this again, I’ll never have this quiet, child-free space to focus on the life growing inside me.  My mom has told me to rest, to let the unimportant stuff take a back seat for now; I’ve responded to this advice with an uh-huh while carrying another load of laundry down the stairs.  But perhaps mother knows best.  So I slowed it down tonight, asked Shane to take care of dinner, cancelled my plans to hit the gym for a swim.  Instead I’m being still, reveling in the alien-like ripples of my belly as the baby wiggles and squirms and lets me know that all is well in-utero.  I’m taking a few minutes to rock in the glider of our nearly-complete nursery and dream about what it will be like to see our child in that empty crib.  And when I feel a foot kicking at my ribs, I’m ever so gently pushing back, telling our little one to hang tight for awhile longer, because mama really, truly loves having you in there.

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I have always loved my weekends somethin’ fierce, but I’m treasuring them now more than ever.  It’s getting harder and harder these days to make it through the work week.  By Friday, I’m running on empty.  Thank goodness for a two-day chance to recharge.  Does a pregnant body good.

Shane and I have started a new kind of pre-baby “to-do” list, filled with the fun outings we want to do before baby Schnell arrives.  Topping that list was a nice dinner out with the gang, so we gathered at Hunger in Fremont on Friday night with the Chens and the Rusts for drinks and seafood and dessert.  I’ll miss these three-hour meals where we eat until we’re stuffed and laugh until we cry.  Then again, parenthood hasn’t kept our friends from a night out on the town, so perhaps we just need to start looking for babysitters now.  Oh, and they’re all pointing my way as an attempt to “include” me in the picture (always the photographer, never the photographee…).

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Saturday was another gloriously sunny day, so we hopped in the car and headed north to Magnusson Park.  Despite the fact that this is one of Seattle’s largest parks, we had yet to check it out, so we spent an hour walking along the water and wandering among the trails.

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Saturday afternoon was lazy – reading and naps and back porch lounging.  We packed a picnic dinner that evening and spread out a blanket on the lawn of Jefferson Park to eat olives and cheese and cherries and listen to the Giants game.  The perfection of a Seattle summer evening is not lost on us.

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Saturday’s lounge-fest left me with some energy to burn today, so we went to the gym after church for a swim, and hooray!  I have found my new pregnancy work out!  Got my heart rate up and fired up my muscles, but without the achy hips and swollen hands and feet that come with long walks.  I have recently started longing for the days back when movement was easy and painless – my exhilarating runs along the lake are a distant, distant memory.  But in the pool, all this extra weight I’m carrying isn’t a burden.  And I’m more buoyant than ever!

It was another quiet afternoon at home – I spent some time in the nursery, arranging trinkets on shelves and reorganizing the closet for the umpteenth time.  This is the fun part of nesting.  The not-so-fun part comes next weekend, when we wash windows and scrub the kitchen cabinets (brace yourself, Shane!).

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We caught the last of the day’s rays on our back porch, toasting to a perfect weekend with sparkling lemonade and frozen grapes.  Hallelujah – I’m refreshed, recharged, ready for the week ahead.  Realistically, I suspect I’ll be itching for another weekend by about 3 pm tomorrow, but whatever.  I’ll enjoy this Vitamin D high while it lasts.

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Another summer weekend bites the dust. Literally! We headed to Poulsbo Saturday morning with the Rust clan for the World Concern Mud Run – a 5k obstacle course riddled with sloshy mud puddles, organized to raise funds for clean water projects in developing countries. Here are our fresh, clean runners, pre-race:

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And post-race – check out these dirt-caked studs! Crawling in the mud isn’t something Shane would typically pay to do, but he registered for the race out of a desire to channel his inner “fun guy” and support and great cause. And he embraced the event with such gusto – I’m pretty dang proud of him for stepping so far outside his comfort zone for this one.

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That said, he was still given strict orders not to touch me until he’d rinsed off! Nance gave Jason the same orders, but he couldn’t resist trying to sneak in for a kiss.

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The kids were a little bummed to have missed out on the run, so they staged their own mini-race once the guys were done. Gryffin was off like a bullet before I could say “Ready, set…”. He’ll be giving Shane and Jason a run for their money in the not-too-distant future!

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We ate burgers on the lawn and then spent a couple of hours hanging out by the lake. Shane and Isaiah shared one of their precious buddy-buddy moments while Jason shot off the end of the monster water slide.

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Sun-soaked and sleepy, Shane and I crashed for awhile when we got home, ordered pizza for dinner, and then watched the Giants beat the Diamondbacks. Pretty stellar day.

Today was Jack’s turn to show off his stuff – Shane, La V, and I headed down to Seward Park this morning to watch him crush the SeaFair triathlon. With hardly any training and a new-baby sleep schedule, he killed it! We celebrated his victory back at their house with banana bread french toast and mimosas. This whole spectator thing I’ve got going on is pretty great – no pain, all gain!

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Shane and I came home and conked out again for an epic nap. Unfortunately, we both awoke feeling stuffed up and groggy – Shane is officially under the weather and I’m fearing that what I thought was allergies is actually a cold. We cancelled our afternoon plans for a visit with our newest baby friend and instead holed up inside to drink OJ and watch baseball. Felt like such a waste of a perfect summer day, but I’ll do what it takes to put myself quickly on the mend – pregnancy is tiring enough on its own these days and sick time doesn’t figure well into the packed few weeks I have left at work. Thus, I’m heading to bed early tonight (while it’s still light out!). G’night, all.

We’re in the midst of one of those sun-shiny periods when the the rain and gloom of winter (and spring, and fall…) are a distant memory and I come to believe that Seattle is in fact the happiest place on earth. I check the weather forecast and smile to myself, giddy over the long, warm days and all the good stuff that comes with them.

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Because this is how we do summer:

Impromptu trips down to the lake on Saturday afternoons to play in the water and lay in the grass.

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Evening walks up to Jefferson Park to watch the sun set over our city.

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Hours spent lounging on the back porch, reading baby books and eating frozen grapes (my belly makes a perfect snack table these days).

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Firing up the shaved ice machine after dinner, topping our fancy snow-cones with sweet milk and fresh fruit.  And maybe following this up with a coconut popsicle.  Gimme a break – I’m pregnant and it’s hot outside.

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I’m considering this post a letter to my future self:  when it’s November and you’re vitamin D deficient and tired of the rain, just remember, these glorious summer months are always worth the wait.

There aren’t many aspects of the pregnancy “diet” that I begrudge – I’m not a huge sushi eater, good pasteurized cheeses are easy to come by, and the switch to decaf hasn’t bothered me at all.  I definitely miss my runny egg yolks, but Shane’s doing his best to perfect his breakfast scramble.  And then there’s that whole “no alcohol” thing…  My pre-pregnant self wasn’t a big drinker, but dang, there have been a lot of evenings lately when my mouth waters at the thought of a perfect margarita or a glass of crisp white wine – summer is a tough time of year to go dry.  So I’ve been consoling myself with an assortment of homemade fruity beverages, served in fancy glasses with citrus garnishes.  These are the chart-toppers:

Watermelon lime frosty:  Recipe found here, I skipped the agave/syrup, since the fruit is plenty sweet.  This is the best beverage I’ve made all summer – so good!  And apparently, per Shane, excellent with a shot of tequila (the whole “mocktail” concept is lost on him).

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Ginger beer:  I made a super-potent ginger-lemon concentrate by running lemons and fresh ginger through the juicer, then added 3-4 tablespoons of the concentrate to a glass of sparkling water.  Spicy and tart – add a little agave nectar or Stevia for sweetness.

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Fruit-infused water:  Good for those times when I want to gulp down a big glass of water after a long walk.  Add chunks of fruit and herbs to a carafe of water, muddle it a bit, and leave it in the fridge for a day or so to let the flavors sink in.  Watermelon lime is excellent; lemon mint a close second.

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Fruit juice coconut creamsicles:  Not a beverage, but too good a summer treat not to mention.  Recipe found here, and I’ve been trying my own variations of juice and sliced berries.  Latest fave is cranberry-cherry juice with lime zest and blackberries.

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Not going to lie, though – still very much looking forward to toasting to baby Schnell’s homecoming with a (small) glass of champagne!

It’s been a grand couple of days – heaping loads of sunshine, quality time with friends and family, a Sunday full of rest.  Glorious.

Mitch and Kathryn rolled into town with the girls on Friday afternoon.  We spent the evening on the back porch, the guys toasting to the weekend with beer and fresh oysters, the girls with bowls of ice cream.

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We kicked off Saturday with a bakery run, and then made our way to Jefferson Park for a playground fix.  Morgan’s face absolutely lights up when she sees a swingset – she could spend all day in one of these things.  And apparently Uncle Shane loves his swing-time as well…

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At 11 am, the water fountains came alive and the girls squealed with laughter as they raced through the spray.  Talk about unbridled summer joy.

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We spent Saturday afternoon with friends and family at Lincoln Park, celebrating baby Schnell’s upcoming arrival.  It was all we’d hoped our baby shower would be – lots of laughter, blessings for our little one, and dinner hot off the grill, set against the backdrop of a gorgeous Seattle summer day.

(photos by Jason and La Verne)

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We were spoiled with an abundance of gifts, from snot-suckers to beautiful blankets, but our favorite present by far was this personalized piece of artwork, brainstormed by Nance.  The leaves on this tree are made up of the thumbprints of the people at the shower – it will hang in baby Schnell’s room as a reminder that he or she has a huge family of people that already love him or her, people that have walked alongside us in our journey to become parents and will continue to walk with us as we cross over from waiting to raising.  I asked Shane on the car ride home last night how we managed to get so lucky, to be surrounded by people that are so full of generosity, of genuine kindness, of a willingness to cry hard with us when we need a shoulder and to laugh even harder with us when we need to let loose.  And to think that our baby will enter the world with all of these incredible people at his or her side – there may have been a happy tear or two falling behind those sunglasses of mine.

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We made it home in time for baths, books, and a quick snuggle on the back porch before bed-time.  Ahhh, Morgan – kill me with your sweetness, why don’t you?

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We said good-bye to Mitch and his family this morning, after one last run to the neighborhood playground for a go at the swings and slides.  As usual, I’m already missing those Jarrell girls like crazy.  It was fun to have them in our house for a couple of days, to see them first thing in the morning, to nap with Morgan in the afternoon, to get out and enjoy our neighborhood parks in a whole new way.

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The flip side to all that fun was that it left me totally tuckered out, so I Sabbathed well today: naps, baseball, reading, Thai take-out for dinner.  I found myself wondering what life will be like when we have kiddos in our house that don’t leave on Sunday mornings.  But then I rolled over on the couch and went back to sleep.  We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Happy Fourth, indeed.  I love me a mid-week holiday, and we made this one count.  Shane met up with the guys early this morning for a bike ride and run, and I enjoyed a leisurely morning at home, doing a little baking and catching up on the latest Princess Kate news via the Today Show (have you ever seen a smaller 9-month baby bump?!).  Shane came home around 10 and we and drove over to Jason and Nancy’s for a brunch bonanza – mimosas (gosh, I miss champagne…), breakfast sandwiches, and several hours of doting on Jack and La Verne’s sweet baby Nico.  Shane can be pretty intimidated by the fragility of newborns, but once he was finally coaxed into taking the baby in his arms, his fears waned as his heart-strings were tugged.  That’s one crazy-adorable little boy.

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Shane has been complaining lately about his limited wardrobe, and I had a Banana Republic coupon I couldn’t bear to waste, so we headed to the outlets in the afternoon to get my man some new duds.  He scored big – one pair of jeans, two button-downs, and four t-shirts for $120!  I seriously lamented the fact that they don’t have a maternity section.  Although technically, I suppose I could be wearing Shane’s clothes these days – I’m quickly closing the weight gap between us!

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After an impromptu test drive of a Prius V at the Toyota dealership (we were in the new car market for all of 45 minutes, but that quickly passed) I spent the evening working on our nursery mural.  Per my typical overly-ambitious tendencies, I grossly underestimated the amount of time this project would take, but it’s nearly done and it looks good.  Our kid better like gray and white.

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Shane made tacos for dinner and I sighed a contented sigh as I put my feet up, propped my plate on my (festively clothed!) belly, and gave thanks for good friends, for good food, for a blessed day off.  Happy Independence Day, folks.

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Camping season has begun!  But for me, sleeping-on-the-ground season has almost come to a close, so when Jason and Nance asked if we’d be up for a mountain getaway this weekend, we jumped at the chance for one last hurrah in the great outdoors.  We scored a great river-front site at Verlot Campground in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and had camp set up by lunchtime on Friday.  Shane and Jason took the kids for a hike in the afternoon and then shared this moment of rest, pondering deep thoughts while watching the river run by.  I lazed around, reading and digging into our cooler o’ goodies.  This is how weekends are meant to be kicked off.

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Burgers for dinner, s’mores for dessert, a bout of intense laughter as we watched Jason play “Hot Chalaka”, where he tossed a glowing hot ember from hand to hand, and whew!  I was tuckered out and so thankful for the cush set-up in our tent, complete with thick sleeping pads, a body pillow, and a pile of blankets.  I will never be a backpacker, as packing light is not my forte, but I give myself props for building a pretty comfy bed over hard-packed dirt – with the exception of the 3 am run to the bathroom to address the issue of my squished bladder, I slept great.

We were itching to get out for a hike after breakfast on Saturday and chose a relatively easy trail down the road from our campground.  The G-Man was our fearless trailblazer, always scrambling a few steps ahead of us to give us the all-clear.

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We turned back before making it to our lake destination, as the trail got  steeper and rockier as we went on, but the trek still wasn’t lacking in the way of scenery.  The drive down the mountain was gorgeous – amazing to think that bustling downtown Seattle was just over an hour away.  I reveled in the feeling of being so “away from it all”.

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We ate lunch on the lawn of a beautiful little picnic area right off the main road.  That view!  And that soft green grass!  And the sun!  So many reasons for giddy exclamation points!

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We enjoyed a mellow afternoon back at the campsite, lounging and snacking and skipping rocks down by the river.

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Jason was the only one of us bold enough to brave the achingly cold water – I was content to sit on a warm rock and dip my toes in.

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We closed out the day with s’mores round 2 (and 3, and maybe 4?), and another rousing game of Hot Chalaka.  Oh, and a tip:  throw a couple of slices of strawberry on your next s’more, right between your melty chocolate and gooey marshmallow.  You’re welcome.

We took our time packing up camp on Sunday morning – I think we were all a little reluctant to say good-bye to our river-side retreat.  The guys got in a good round of frisbee, the boys did about 45 loops around the campground on their bikes, and Nance and I each took an introverted moment to slip away with our Kindles.

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Some of my earliest memories are of family camping trips in the mountains of Colorado, hanging out with my dad as he fished by the river and sitting around the fire in the evenings.  My brother and I got filthy and drank Tang with our lunch and had loads of fun.  Here’s to hoping we’ve got our own little camper on the way!

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