Archive for July, 2014

It’s been a grand few days – loads of sun, burgers hot off the grill (a couple of times!), and lots of quality time with my mom, who left today after a week-long visit.

Jules was pretty stoked to have Grandma join us on our Thursday bakery date.  I was thrilled to see her quickly warm up to my mom – partly because it was so sweet to see them light up each other’s faces, but also because I appreciated the help lugging around my increasingly heavy little girl.

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On Friday we got our coffee fix at Cafe Vita…

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And spent an hour laying in the sun at Lakewood Park, watching the clouds float by and popping over to the swings when Jules got antsy.

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Shane, Jules, and I spent Friday evening at Safeco Field for my company picnic.  We took part in the pre-game funk of hot dogs and beer…and then left half-way through the first inning, as Jules started to show the first signs of a meltdown.  This is our life now, I suppose – baby’s sleep trumps all.  Still, it was a beautiful evening at the ballpark!

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Saturday afternoon we set out for Seward Park to dip our toes in the water (that belly!)…

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And meet up with my cousin Kelsey, who’s visiting from Maryland.  We picnicked on the grass and then took a long walk up through the woods.  80 degrees, beautiful blue water, views of downtown and Mount Rainier, dappled sunlight in cool, shady forests?  Kelsey and her boyfriend quickly fell in love with the PNW.

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We dined al fresco at home last night – turns out Juliette is a big fan of outdoor eating (probably because she can throw her food on the floor without mama making a fuss).

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We capped off the day with one last go on the swings at the neighborhood playground.

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Breakfast at Geraldines has become something of a weekend tradition for us – we grabbed a (big) bite there this morning before my mom caught her train down to Oregon.

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I’m always a little down when my mom leaves, but Juliette doesn’t have a lot of patience for my moping around, so after saying our good-byes we were off to Luther Burbank for a park pick-me-up.  Jules was really into playing in the water this time around – we had so much fun splish-splashing in the lake, sitting in the sand and feeling the miniature waves lap at our toes.

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Chilling out under a tree eating strawberries with dad was pretty great, too.

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Shane and Jack powered through a 42-mile bike ride to Red Hook Brewery this afternoon and then La Verne and I met them there with the babies.  We toasted to a perfect weekend with beer and burgers – happy, happy SUNday, folks!

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I think I’ve said every month that this parenting gig just keeps getting better and better.  And then…we hit month 10.

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Ok, that’s perhaps a little overly dramatic.  Our baby girl is still full of plenty of sweet smiles and silly spunk, but she’s also showing the first signs of serious attitude, wailing when she doesn’t get her way and tossing her eggs on the floor when she decides she’d rather have strawberries for dinner.  I understand she’s a little young to be told to mind her manners, but c’mon kid!  I scrambled those eggs (and cleaned that floor) with love!  JUST EAT IT.  (Please.)

But back to sweet and silly!  She really is a riot – she’s up to all kinds of new shenanigans, constantly drawing forth laughter and applause from Shane and I.  Emily let us borrow this little music table, and although the irritatingly catchy ABC song rings in our heads for days on end, we still pull it out all the time for Jules to play with, because look at that goofy grin and head bop!

She figured out how to push herself up from laying to sitting about three weeks ago and it seems like she’s hardly been horizontal since.  Diaper and clothes changes have become an aerobic workout for the both of us, as she kicks and wiggles and squirms the minute we lay her down.  She seemed a little bewildered the first time she sat up in her crib after a nap – we watched on her monitor, and she just looked around for several minutes, like she was seeing her room from a whole new perspective.

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This new popping-up thing meant it was time to adjust that mattress height and move the monitor out of reach.  I was a little heartbroken when I laid her in her crib the night we lowered her mattress – I leaned over to give her a goodnight kiss and realized my lips couldn’t reach her, she was so far down in there!  Seems like it wasn’t that long ago that we were putting our swaddled little caterpillar to bed, knowing we’d come in later to find her in exactly the same spot we left her.  And now our little rascal is threatening to escape!

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She’s such a busy, busy bee.  Army crawling is suddenly for chumps – she’s motoring around on all fours, quick to go after whatever she’s got her eye on (again, Mr. Fox gets the shaft).

Shane caught her first cruising session on camera this past weekend – she kind of looks like a drunk baby deer on those wobbly legs, but I expect she’ll be running around in no time.

The fact that she can get around so well has made life both easier and harder.  Easier, because when she wants to join me in the kitchen while I’m getting lunch ready, she just crawls on over, rather than fussing as she waits for me to come get her.  But harder, because suddenly everything at a height of two feet and lower is fair game for grabby baby hands.  I certainly don’t keep my cookie stash on the bottom shelf anymore!

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We’re just coming off a pretty hot streak of weather (hence the fact she’s not wearing any clothes in any of the above videos), so we’ve been regularly hitting the wading pools and beaches, trying to get Juliette used to being in water outside of the bathtub.  The Volunteer Park wading pool was a hit – she had a great time chilling in the sun with her little buddies.

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She was a bit more skeptical about the waves at Chism Beach Park.  She tolerated putting her toes in, but every time I sat her down in the sand, she looked up at me with her poutiest why would you do that? face.

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Papa still takes the cake as the funniest guy in town.  Jules was in pretty bad shape on Wednesday evening after a day of super-short naps, but Shane easily turned that frown upside down with a little peek-a-boo.

Oh, that hair!

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And those eyes!

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Happy ten months, baby!  I’ll work on embracing your…errr…determined side.  You work on eating those eggs.  Deal?

Juliette is becoming more observant, more curious, and more opinionated with each passing day.  She’s tossing her toys by the wayside and making a mischievous break for our phones or remote controls or whatever other baby no-no’s we’ve unwittingly left lying around.  And oh, do the crocodile tears flow when we take said remote control or iPhone away from her.  She’s suddenly very interested in what I’m eating and has all kinds of ideas about what should be on her own plate (the tight-lipped turn of her head when I offer her freshly made baby food is not a welcome development).  The older she gets, the less it feels like parenting is just about keeping her fed and dry and as happy as possible.  As her personality really begins to shine through, it’s hitting me:  We’ve got to teach show this little girl kindness and generosity and patience.  She’s watching us.


And what else do we want to show her?  What does it mean to be a Schnell?  Nance wrote last year about what it means to be a Rust, and she’s spot-on when she says, “Our family will have a culture, a way of being, whether we plan for it intentionally or not.  So I’d rather give it some thought ahead of time rather than looking back in 25 years and wishing I’d done things differently.”  What’s at the heart of Shane’s and my being?  How do we give and receive love?  What brings us the most joy, tugs the most fiercely at our hearts?  As we watch Jules grow, there will (hopefully) be moments when our breath catches in our throats and we proudly nod and say, “Yeah, she got that from us.”  What will those moments look like?  What matters most?  This is a start:

We jump at the chance to help out our people.  A ride to the airport, a home-cooked (or picked-up, at least) meal, a shoulder to lean on when the going gets tough – we are ready and willing when friends and family need us.  People matter more than to-do lists or money or naps.  I fail at putting this into practice sometimes, but Shane inspires me over and over again to live out our love.  I feel so lucky that Jules will be learning about friendship from her incredibly loyal dad.

We laugh hard and often.  There is always room for silliness in our home, room for dance parties and funny faces and made-up songs.  I have been pulled out of many a funk by Shane’s air guitar.  And now we’re doing the same for Jules, bending over backwards to draw forth a giggle, because a good belly laugh is so good for the soul.  We were heading out to a friend’s house a couple of weeks ago and Juliette was completely over being in the car before we’d even finished buckling her car seat straps.  So Shane hopped in the back seat with her, perched her stuffed puppy on top of his head, and blubbered his lips like a madman.  A car full of teenagers pulled up alongside us just in time for the show.  They smirked their too-cool-for-school smirks, but Shane felt no embarrassment, no shame – we’re a family of damn proud goofballs.

We do our best.  We work hard at school or at our jobs.  We aren’t the slacker lab partner or the project team member that people don’t want to get stuck with, because we are thorough and conscientious and we follow through with our commitments.  We are not perfectionists and we are not without limits, but we make ourselves proud, however that looks.

We love the outdoors.  We’re not hard-core backpackers or mountain-bikers and our hikes are usually more like short walks with lots of snacks involved, but when we have the choice between staying inside and watching TV or heading outdoors to play in the park or just lay in the grass, we go out.  I’m convinced that we live in one of the most beautiful cities in the United States.  We don’t take that for granted.

We are San Francisco Giants fans.  I know, is this really at the core of who we are?  I note it because I know how important (and fun) it is to have a shared pastime.  Shane and I have wildly different interests, but baseball is one of the few things we both really rally around – we find so much joy in going to a game together or letting the voice of Jon Miller whisk us away to AT&T Park, filling us in on the latest happenings with Buster and MadBum and Timmy.  And so we’ll do our best to raise Juliette to love baseball, too.  We’ll let her watch The Sandlot and enroll her in tee-ball as soon as she’s old enough to run the bases (but no pressure, baby!).

Here goes, kiddo.  Looking forward to watching (and helping) your inner Schnell shine through.

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The ten on ten challenge slipped my mind last month, but today was a great day to have my camera in hand!

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I pulled out all my tricks to get Jules to hang out in bed with me as late as possible today.  Late, as in 7:15 am.


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It’s Bakery Thursday!


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Bright, bright blue.


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Snack time with her best bud.


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Beach baby.


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Blue part two.


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Totally tuckered out.


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Dining al fresco.


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Summer dessert.


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Camera shy.

It was a quintessential summer weekend – afternoons spent laying on a picnic blanket and dipping our toes in Lake Washington, dinners hot off the grill, watermelon and sparklers and swings, oh my…

Shane and I both wrapped up our work weeks on Wednesday evening, so we kicked off our long holiday weekend on Thursday.  Jules and I met up with La Verne and Nico for our standing bakery date in the morning and then headed right back out after morning nap for pizza with papa.  The three of us swung by Lakewood Park on our way home for a little playground action – the swings are still a sure-fire baby-pleaser.

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We spent the evening at Jack and La Verne’s, celebrating Nance’s birthday with brats and beer and chocolate cake.  The look on the babies’ faces says it all – who are these nutty people?!

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Nico and Jules are becoming fast friends.

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Ok, so maybe Nico’s a little nutty, too (in the best possible way, of course)…

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We partied hard until…wait for it…7:30!  A new record with the babe!  Followed by the fastest ride home/bath/bedtime story ever, so that we could get Miss Charming tucked in before she turned into a howling, rotten pumpkin.

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On Friday afternoon we drove over to Bellevue to check out Meydenbauer Beach Park, a pristine stretch of lawn right on the lake.  I was worried it would be packed because of the holiday, but we had no trouble staking our claim on a perfect patch of shady grass.

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We spent the evening at Chez Rust, eating more brats and drinking more beer and lighting the fireworks that Jason had picked up outside city limits.

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It was all fun and games when we were just dealing with smoke bombs and sparklers, but once the bigger guns came out, the boys became a little skittish.

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Juliette remained pretty chill through it all, not really caring too much one way or the other.  Oh, how this kid has mellowed with age!

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Saturday brought more sunshine and more time to hang with the gang.  We convened at Seward Park around lunchtime for tacos and storytime.

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Gryffin and Isaiah hopped in and out of the lake all afternoon while Jules “waded” a bit, not sure what to make of the chilly water.

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Jason could not be any sweeter to Juliette.  And it’s taken nine months, but she’s finally coming around.

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C’mon babies, throw me a bone here!

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Jason and Nancy gave us their old baby backpack and we decided to take it for a spin on Sunday at Tiger Mountain.  It was borderline hot that day, and it felt good to hang out in the shade of the woods (with a sweaty baby strapped to your back, huh, Shane?).

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We stopped at a bench for a picnic lunch and then headed back once we realized we’d hit the end of the trail.

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Jules decided at this point that she was done being in the backpack, so Shane carried her the mile back to the car, stopping every couple of minutes to let her touch ferns and pine needles and mossy tree trunks.  I hope she loves green as much as I do.

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We made it!

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Oh…summer.  So so so sooooo good.