Archive for May, 2014

Shane and I tag-teamed baby duty all weekend, so Memorial Day was officially designated a family fun day – the Schnells were pumped and ready to take Seattle by storm.  Admittedly, we were not so pumped about being up at 6 am and spent the morning seeing how long we could get Jules to just hang out in bed with us, but after breakfast, a little play time, a morning nap, and our usual getting-out-of-the-house rigamarole, we were off!  We landed at Kubota Gardens with the Chens for a picnic lunch on the lawn.

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Seeing these two munchkins together makes me so deliriously happy.  I wish I had a photo of the gymnastics Shane and Jack were doing behind me to get Nico and Jules to synchronize their smiles!

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After lunch, we took an easy stroll through the park, pausing for a couple of family photo ops.  I’ve only been to Kubota during the fall, so it was fun to see it in all it’s lush springtime glory.

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We headed home around 2:00 and conked out – all of us.  I love family naptime!  Jules logged a solid two hours of z’s and seemed ready for another go when she woke up, so we got back in the car and drove over to Seward Park for an evening walk.  This girl really, really loves being outside.  And I love showing her this incredible place we live in.

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Jules dined on peas and strawberries while enjoying last of the day’s rays, and then it was time to head home for bath, books, and bed.  The day had been busy in the mellowest way possible, and we enjoyed the satisfied sense of restfulness that comes with feeling like you’ve done a lot and done nothing at all.  Mondays don’t get much better than this, huh baby?

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I felt the art itch last week and pulled out my nail polish and paper scraps during Jules’ afternoon nap for a quick project.  This marbling technique is super-fast and easy.  Results are unpredictable and a little hard to control, but that’s part of the fun.

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You can check out a full tutorial here.  A couple of tips:  I had better luck layering colors on top of one another in multiple “dips” (like the pink and gold image above), rather than trying to swirl colors together in the water.  I tried several different kinds of paper and found that anything too absorbent didn’t work well – my best results were with watercolor paper.

I’ve already used a couple of these for recent special occasions, adding doodles or bits of collage for extra personalization.  Art itch scratched, for now!

The Mr. and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary on the 20th.  Eight years ago we were honeymooning in Costa Rica, enjoying a chance to sun-soak and snorkel and recharge.  We were looking forward to making a home in our cozy Capitol Hill apartment, thrilled that from there on out, after several years of dating long-distance, there would be no more wishing each other good night over the phone.  It felt like such an enormous gift, getting to go to sleep with Shane by my side.

Eight years and one baby later, I’m dearly cherishing going to sleep, but I’m afraid the “with Shane by my side part” fell off my gratitude radar some time ago.  I get swept up in my roles as architect and mama and orchestrator of all things domestic, and I forget to remember how lucky I am that I get to be Shane’s wife, too.  We enjoyed a little marital reboot on Tuesday as we ventured out of the house sans baby for dinner and drinks at our new favorite Mexican joint.  Jack and La Verne hooked us up with their amazing baby sitter for the evening, and although we spent the short drive to Georgetown anxiously wondering if Juliette was still sleeping, and then wondering what she would do if she woke up crying and a stranger came into her room to soothe her, and then wondering how long the baby sitter would wait to call us if she couldn’t get Jules to stop crying, and then wondering how quickly we could get home from the restaurant if we got the dreaded mayday phone call, once we were seated at our table and sipping our first round of margaritas, we were asking each other why we don’t get out together more often.  We savored our chile verde and chorizo tacos and we focused fully on each other as we checked in and reminisced.  And we came home to find that Juliette had snoozed through the whole thing, crisis-free.  A complete date night success!

Happy anniversary, buhb.  You are a better husband, father, and friend than I could have ever dreamed of.

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Our little mop top hit eight months on Wednesday!  It’s been a big month of small-but-sweet pleasures – giggles, lunch dates, new flavors and faces.  I don’t know if it’s the sunshine or the sweet potatoes or the long afternoon naps, but Juliette is growing even faster than the dandelions that have suddenly sprung up all over our yard!  Her toes are already scrunched in her 12-month footy pajamas, and there are days that I pick her up and have to check her pockets for rocks because she feels so much heavier than she did just hours before.  I’m thrilled to see her thriving, but dang it, the changes just come soooo fast.  Too fast sometimes.  So I’m still squeezing her into a couple of my favorite 6-month onesies, and I can’t bear to part with this duck towel that we’ve been wrapping around her since her very first bath.

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“Wait – you’re putting these pictures on the internet?!”

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We gave Jules her first “swimming lesson” a couple of weeks ago – there’s a great new pool a couple of miles from our house with a dedicated children’s area and we went for a family dip on a rainy Saturday.  She was a little bewildered by the whole thing, not knowing what to make of all the splish-splashing kids around her, and she clung pretty tightly to Shane and I as we cruised through the water.

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But the trip was totally worth it, just to see her strut her stuff in her swimsuit!  Oh, Jules – you are too much.

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She’s more and more easily amused these days, gracing us with her giggles during post-bath “armpit nom-noms”.

Daddy is still hilarious.  And a little scary, no?

She’s become a pretty great date, and we often head out for family lunches on Shane’s Fridays off and bakery runs on Saturday mornings.  The fact that she can sit in a high chair rather than my lap is pretty huge – I no longer have to spend the entire meal trying to rescue my food from the grip of our grabby girl!  (Those chips and guac are for me, not her!)

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Her stellar sitting skills also come in handy at the grocery store, as she’s now able to hang out in the shopping cart – this has revolutionized the way we do Costco!  Plus, she holds my wallet for me.  So helpful, that girl…  (I think this is her “how could you possibly need another photo of me?!” face.)

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We’re adding new foods to her menu each week – she loves mangos and berries and scrambled egg yolks.  Yogurt, not so much…

Peas are usually a hit, but yesterday she protested for some reason.  This squishy face gets me every time – ok, baby, pears it is, then!

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The expressions on this girl!  Kills me.

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Her hair is becoming more and more red and increasingly unruly.  There are some mornings that we can’t help but laugh when we lift her from her crib, as she bears a striking resemblance to drunk Nick Nolte.

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Juliette’s teacher at daycare is quite the baby hair stylist – seems Jules is always sporting some kind of new ‘do when we pick her up in the evenings.  Baby buns, tri-pony’s – anything to tame those wispy locks.

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And those blue eyes!  The red hair is from the Schnell side of the family, but we’re still stumped on where she got her blue-gray gaze.

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We’ve had some pretty incredible weather this month – sunshine and barefoot temps and long hours of daylight.  So we hit the parks hard, as swing sessions and games of airplane are guaranteed smile-makers.

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Seriously, girl loves her swings…

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This stuck-out bottom lip has become part of her trademark facial expression.

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I know, so many photos

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Doesn’t she look like she’s striking a pose for a school photo here?  Turn a little more, tilt your head a bit, smiiiiile…

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Happy eight months, baby!  Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got in store for us next month.  Crawling, more new faces, maybe sleeping through the night…?

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Happy Mother’s Day!  I spoke to my mom and my grandma on the phone today and longed to be with them so we could share coffee and memories and prayers – I’m blessed to come from a line of bold, faithful, nurturing women.  Virtual hugs were exchanged with Shane’s parents tonight via Facetime and I was reminded of my mother-in-law’s incredible warm-heartedness as she cooed and laughed with Juliette.  The moms in my life have given me so much to live up to.

This is the first year I’m part of the celebrated demographic, and as I read my Facebook well-wishes and ate my French toast and snuggled with Jules, my head reeled with the still-sinking-in reality that I’m a mom.  After all those childhood years I spent changing diapers on my Betsy Wetsy doll, after all those adolescent prayers for my future husband and children (no joke!), after our long and difficult period of infertility, I’m now mama.

I’ve wondered if I have the drive or the skill set to be an architect; I’ve questioned if I’m creative enough to be an artist; I’ve wandered down dimly lit paths of self-doubt as I asked myself what I could or should or want to be.  But from the moment Juliette was placed in my arms, motherhood felt so wonderfully right on me.  Even in the midst of utter exhaustion, heart-wrenching worry, complete vulnerability, I’ve found some of the deepest, truest joy I’ve ever known – loving and caring for that little girl is my best, most fulfilling work.  Even the small stuff buoys me with pride and satisfaction – a fridge well-stocked with freshly puréed baby food, a rocking session and perfect arms-to-crib transfer after an inexplicable fit of 3 am wailing, a blow-out of a diaper after three days of coaxing our constipated baby to please just push it out. Plus the chest nuzzles and the two-toothed smiles and the exciting moments when something new is learned or discovered – this gig is good. I could do without the mountains of sweet-potato-smeared laundry, but other than that, I’m livin’ the dream.

And today was extra-dreamy: a sleep-in and homemade breakfast courtesy of Shane; an afternoon filled with sun, swings, baseball and boba; post-bath giggles as I kissed Juliette’s squishy thighs…I don’t know that Happy Mother’s Day even captures it.

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Another ten on ten – ten photos over ten hours on the tenth of the month…

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Best bedhead ever.


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Embracing the baby clutter that usually drives me crazy…


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Our yard has exploded with springtime color this month.  Shane thinks our planters are an overgrown jungle – I’m calling them “perfectly lush”.


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These two blue-eyed pig-tailed girlies enjoyed a snack together at Brian and Nicole’s garage sale fundraiser.


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Gryff was pretty stoked about his 50-cent ball cap.  Looks so good on you, bud!


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Stopping to strike a pose on our way inside.


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Nap-time craft-time (more on this one later!).


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Post-nap swing-time.


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Gray day.


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Baby in bed, dinner eaten, table cleared, day is done…