Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year from Allie, Glacier, Mike and me. :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Allie TV

Mike got a video camera for Christmas, which is going to change the face of this blog. From now on, there will be no more words. Only videos of Allie! Allie blinking. Allie turning her head to the side. Allie looking down. All Allie all the time. Here are just a couple to get you started.

Allie being held.

video

Allie falling asleep.

video

Allie waking up.

video

Don't worry, there's more where that came from. Luckily for you, the majority of the videos we take have to be censored out for one of two reasons: 1) ridiculous baby talk that makes us sound like utter nincompoops 2) gratuitous kissing of the baby (I realize watching the videos that I must be obnoxious to be around with my kiss-a-second mothering technique).

Over the holiday weekend, we got to spend time with family who have lots of baby experience. Mike and I are baby newbies, so we don't really know how to guage her personality, as we have no comparison. But over the course of the couple of days, she was diagnosed as: sweet, pleasant, good tempered, and (in my father-in-law's words) "the most pleasant tempered baby I've ever seen." Awwww. It makes me all warm and cuddly. I hope you enjoy the videos!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Of Snobs and Nerds and Self Confidence

I used to be a snob. I was an English major, after all, which is synonymous with "young snot." I was conditioned to admire e.e. cummings and sniff at j.r.r. tolkien. To drink coffee at coffee shops, not to play strategy games at home.

And then I married a nerd.

My husband is a bonafide Star Wars lovin', Risk 2210 playin', Terry Brooks readin', World of Warcraft Night Elf. At my family's pirate-themed party, he came as a CD pirate. He watches Star Trek reruns while playing League of Legends. And just recently, I caught him speaking Jaba the Hutt's language to my daughter, God help her.

And I love him just the same. Actually more. I have a lot to learn from nerds, and you may too. (Although, I must say I did make my husband throw away his Darth Maul boxers upon marriage, a decision which I stand firmly behind.)

I just finished reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. In a study of introverts, they found that oftentimes young "nerds" who are ridiculed for their Dungeons and Dragons pastimes actually are introverts who have an immense power of focus and passion. They are excellent at sitting still and taking in large amounts of information with passion. It may earn them ridicule as kids, but as adults, they are invaluable assets to companies and teams. (Think Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple.)

But besides just having focus and passion, my nerdling husband has taught me another thing they have that I could have used a lot more of: hutzpah. It takes backbone to like something that you know may get you a swirly at school the next day. While I was busy worrying about what would make me socially palatable to the powers that be, my husband was enjoying himself and being himself. He had the self-confidence to dismiss the preconceived notions of cool around him and simply do what he likes. Novel, huh?

And that is why, although I still do not like Star Wars or Star Trek and probably never will (though I have gained a love for Tolkien and Douglas Adams), I can enjoy and embrace my husband's nerdliness. Rather than conforming, he embraces his passions with gusto and good humor. And that is refreshing.

Growing up, I was what you would call "painfully shy." If you have read this post about my friend-making abilities, you may have already intuited that I am not exactly an extrovert. When I was in first grade, the teacher had me go to a group class to teach me how to talk in front of others - I was too shy to speak up or participate in class. I don't remember the class, but I don't think it particularly worked. I was asked routinely growing up and through much of my young adulthood, "Do you ever talk?" (On a funny side note, my husband was continually asked, "Do you ever stop talking?" And both of us are introverts for that matter.)

Painfully shy. It's such an apt phrase. Because I was so shy it hurt. It hurt to be in a class and fear that the teacher would ask you a question and everyone would look at you and notice how dumb you were. It hurt to be on the playground, trying to tag along with a group of girls you were afraid to be with but also afraid to be without. It hurt to feel like you were always on the outside looking in. Why it hurt, I don't know and it smacks rather of the melodramatic, but it did.

Now as an adult, I'm far more comfortable in my skin, over a long slow process of growing up, I suppose. Thinking back over my childhood, I hope to raise my daughter to be comfortable with who she is. To have the confidence to do what she loves. To be OK being different. Even if that means she likes Star Wars.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from all our babies to yours!

Elias, Haylie, Mclane, Kael, Aiden, Alexandra, Kara, Caleb, Bethany, Seth, Abby

(Look out world, we got a video camera for Christmas!)

video

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Very Denver Christmas

Last weekend we celebrated Christmas early in Denver. Allie was followed the whole time by the paparazza (i.e. Aunt Tara), but she was glad to get to model her reindeer jumper.


She was later subjected to the indignities of posed holiday photos, such as Baby in a Drum. (Doesn't she look like a little chubbalo!?)


Baby with Christmas Bow on Her Head. (Doesn't she look like a little monkey? I think she's part chimp.)


And Baby with Video Box on Head. My family tried to recreate one of their favorite photos of Aunt Tara with this very same box on her head from 1979. Allie was a sport through it all.


We also celebrated my husband's 30th birthday. Hooray! He looked at me yesterday and said, "I'm a legitimate man now, but I'll always look back fondly on the times when I was just a boy toy." Today he even took a bath with no bubbles! Oh, they grow up so fast.


Happy Weekend and Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wanderlust: Victoria Edition

My second foray into the unknown, scary international world after Juarez was...Canada. Don't be deceived by their benign exterior. It's a scary place and I have the scars to prove it. Literally. Despite my poor track record with Canadian travel, my visit to British Columbia is what first ignited my desire to someday live in a foreign country.


My parents had bravely decided to take their bratty 15- and 16-year-old daughters on a road trip through the northwest to the tip of Washington and on the ferry up to the tea-land of Victoria. My first impression as a bratty teenager was: "These people think they're British." I suppose that is why it's called British Columbia, after all. And I suppose all the royal trappings are to some degree for the tourists.

The focus of our visit was definitely tea. We had tea here; we had tea there; we had tea everywhere. It's not so much that we like tea as that we love the idea and experience of tea. Porcelain pots on white lace. Dainty spoons and the hush of decorum. The tea room I remember most was all aclutter with royal paraphernalia. Princess Diana plates and Prince Charles tins (this is pre-divorce; am I dating myself?). We ordered the homey and British sounding Welsh rarebit, having read of it in children's books and imagined what it must taste like. We should have probably stuck with the books. The reality of cheese gravy on white bread didn't quite live up to childhood imaginings. But we loved it all the same.

For our stay in Victoria, my parents had searched and searched and found a quaint little bed and breakfast that looked like it had all the charm and hospitality of a Currier and Ives print and offered a "full Irish breakfast." We'd never stayed at a bed and breakfast, but had drooled over my aunt and uncle's tales of their magical stays in inns across the country.

We arrived to find the sweetest elderly lady as our hostess. It was a grand old house that looked like what I imagined the home of Anne of Green Gables' wealthy aunt to have looked like. But the first thing we all noticed was the smell. It smelled like my 95-year-old great grandmother's home in Nebraska - a mix of moth balls and old linens. We loved my great grandmother, but we were paying $100 a night to stay here, after all.

Smell notwithstanding, we all headed up to our rooms to settle in before dinner. As I washed my hands in the bathroom (or washroom as those Canadians would have it), I couldn't help but notice that the ridges of the decorative rose soaps were caked with brown dust. I was pretty sure they had been there since 1978. That night, as I slipped between the pink covers in my thoroughly floral room, I couldn't help but notice the crumbs that tickled my legs. I jumped out and swept off the multitude of crumbs that filled my allegedly clean bedsheets and tried not to think of who had been there before me or what they had been eating.

I told my parents, the most meticulously clean people you are likely to ever encounter. We tittered about it and marked it up to funny chance. But at breakfast came the crumb that broke the meticulously clean family's back. Besides being meticulously clean, we also love food. We had been drooling over that full Irish breakfast for months. We didn't quite know what Irish people ate for breakfast, but we imagined thick french toast, luscious sausages, sweet scones and clotted cream.

Dreams are so often better than reality. The full Irish breakfast consisted of microwaved eggs, Wonder bread toast, heat and serve sausages and orange juice. We tried to hide the disappointment on our faces as we forked the humiliated eggs into our mouths. I'm not a big orange juice fan, so I took several sips of mine, but then left the rest. As Idene (as I recall her name being) cleaned up the table after breakfast, my germophobic family all watched in horror as she took my half empty cup of orange juice and poured it back into the pitcher. I wondered if I had been drinking the backwash of the same mystery man whose crumbs I had slept in the night before.

That was it for my parents. We had booked for three nights, but my parents, the most socially inoffensive (and meticulously clean) people you will ever meet, couldn't take two more nights in Idene's questionably clean home. They searched the phone book for hotels and we high-tailed it out of there like the mounties were after us.

Later on, we always puzzled over the guest book we had read with interest the night before. Page after page of guests raving about how this charming little bed and breakfast was the best they'd ever visited. How they wished to return time after time. We couldn't help but notice that many of the guests were international, including Africa. All we could figure was that her previous guests had been living in mud huts in Africa and considered Idene's a considerable step up. Perhaps we sound like spoiled American brats. But we were used to staying in Motel 8's, and we had stepped it up and paid extra for this special trip.

After we were safe from the crumbs and juice of Idene, we found ourselves at the inn my dad had hurriedly found in the phone book. It was magical. It was an old Tudor-style house with rooms furnished in period pieces like old four-poster beds. Although all the linens and furnishings were old and threadbare, they were clean, and we felt like we'd stepped into another world of knights and ladies and Anne Hathaway's thatched roof cottage (a replica of which we visited earlier that day - Shakespeare's wife, not the actress, mind you).

From here, we went on to what was undeniably the highlight of the trip: Butchart Gardens. Even though we were hard-to-impress teenagers, my sister and I couldn't help but be entranced by this garden's beauty. We strolled through the huge grounds which had once been a quarry, through the Italian section and the Japanese section, and the English section. After we were thoroughly exhausted, we had high tea on the grounds.

I'll always remember gazing out over the perfectly manicured green lawns and at the vibrant colors of the flowers adorning the sun room in which we had tea. We drank cream tea and ate scones with clotted cream and raspberry jam. And I can distinctly remember thinking, even as a short-sighted 15-year-old, "This is the life."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wanderlust - Juarez Edition

I have a love of places. I want to go everywhere and see everything. When this wanderlust began, I'm not sure. But I can remember driving with my parents to Texas with nothing stretching out in front of our dash but wheat-colored plains and a few distant volcanoes. I loved that feeling. Of escape, of adventure, of making it to that next dot on the horizon. Thanks to a commenter on my last post, I decided to chronicle my various travels around the world. I'll start with my first international trip - Juarez. (Photos courtesy of Pinterest. I'm not addicted. I swear. I can stop anytime...)

I've been assured by many Mexicans (two to be exact) that Ciudad Juarez does not in fact count as Mexico. But it does to me. My trip there as a little girl was my first taste of the foreign and exotic, even if it was just a step away from El Paso. At that time, the word Juarez didn't conjure thoughts of beheadings and drug wars as it might today. My sister and her husband were stationed in El Paso and took us to the old city of Juarez for a day.

The main thing I remember is blue, cobalt blue. We went to a glass shop where the walls were lined with cobalt rimmed glasses of every shape and size. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen, and I wanted to touch every one. I decided then and there that my glasses as an adult would be blue-rimmed margarita glasses (not that I knew then what a margarita was). My husband vetoed this idea upon marriage, not thinking margarita glasses were quite right for every day use, but I did get my cobalt blue plates in honor of Juarez.

My sister took us to a marketplace full of colors and purses and dresses. My mom and I went into a dress stall where there was color after color of fabric adorning the walls. I found a crisp white and red embroidered dress. I was sure it would make me the most beautiful and exotic woman on the planet. I learned my bargaining skills young. When my mom asked the shopkeeper how much the dress was, she feigned that it was far too much money. I, terrified that she was going to ruin the whole deal and lose me my chance forever at exotic beauty, cried out, "No, Mom, I have $25!" Guess how much we got the dress for?

Years later, I returned to Juarez on one of those spur-of-the-moment, poorly planned college road trips. It was the year 1999. My friend Erin and I decided that it would be a fabulous idea to drive to Juarez for Thanksgiving weekend. She had a minivan, and we headed out, driving down and down that brown stretch of I-25 that for me always represented freedom.

The first night, we had planned to camp at Elephant Butte campground off the highway. It was dark and nearly all of New Mexico looks the same anyway, so we missed the turn. No matter, we thought we'd just pull off into a promising looking lot and spend the night sleeping in the van.

We pulled off the highway onto a gravel road and turned off into a bare patch of land. The perfect secluded spot for a good night's rest. We were joking and laughing and creaked open the van doors to inspect our spot. The first thing we noticed was the silence. I walked around the front of the van to survey the landscape. There was an arroyo directly below us and a bare hillside on the other side of the arroyo. What we saw on the other side froze us in place.

There was a large group of people - perhaps 50 or so - all standing as still as can be in a circle. They were facing one another and their arms were resting straight against their sides. No one spoke. No one moved. It was as if they were in the middle of some kind of ritual.

Our fear stuck us in place. But as soon as I could unglue my lips, I whispered, "Go, go!" and were clambered back into the car as quick as could be. Erin started the van and we whisked off that gravel road as fast as a prairie road runner. I can't explain why, but it was the most terrifying moment of my life.

I was so scared, I couldn't think of sleeping in that van off the highway in this clearly God forsaken land. On a chance whim, Erin called a friend whom she knew was from New Mexico. It just so happened that he was at his parents that weekend in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. We weren't that close, but I didn't care. I wasn't getting out of that van. When we finally got there late at night, his parents let us sleep in their travel trailer. I laid on the top bed of the trailer, staring at the roof that was a foot from my nose, imagining being sacrificed in a New Mexico pagan ritual. The next morning, we walked down to the Rio Grande River that ran through town and laughed at the experience and talked about boys before starting out again on our journey to Juarez.

By midday, we'd made it to the border. As we neared, we realized we had no idea what to do once we got there. We thought we'd improvise. Just minutes over the border, we were nearly in a car wreck and we wondered what in the world you did if you got in a car wreck in Mexico. We decided to stay close to the border. We found a nice restaurant where I ate mole and where we were the only diners. Erin found a place to buy vanilla. But we were too shaken up from our near human-sacrifice and car wreck experiences to be very adventurous, and turned back rather early.

It was easy getting into Mexico. It wasn't as simple getting out. At the border, a burly man waved at us to pull out of the line into the inspection area.

"Why do you have a minivan?" he asked once we were out of the car.

We tried to explain how Erin was a church employee and regularly carted college kids around and nannied a family of five. Nonetheless, they did a thorough search of the van for drugs. Surely a couple of 20-something girls wouldn't be so uncool to be driving a minivan, unless, that is, they were drug traffickers. But after a thorough search, they found we were clean and sent us on our way.

We spent the night in Santa Fe at a friend's house. In the morning we ate French pastries at my favorite bakery in Santa Fe and drove home. (I might have the order of these nights mixed up, I can't remember.)

They were just short trips, but my adventures in Juarez were just the beginning of a life-long thirst to see, to risk, and to explore.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What I Wasted Three Hours Today Doing

Today I came as close as I'll probably ever come to being an early adopter: I joined Pinterest. So many people I admire have been sucked into the Pinterest orbit that I thought I'd give it a try, though I really didn't understand the allure of "pinning" photos on the internet. What I learned: It's addicting.

Pinterest is like a video game for women: hours of mindless entertainment. (OK, for me, it's mindless; it may be highly engaging and cerebral for you.) You can search for lovely photos of foods, clothing, decor, etc., and start your own little bulletin board of things you love. I, being a lover of the world and places, decided to start pinboards of places I've been and places I'd like to go.

What's the purpose? I have no idea. But because I just spent three stinkin' hours on it, I'm going to show it to you to somehow redeem that time. So click here to make me feel better about my life.


And now I will become an early abandoner. I fear if I spend any more time on Pinterest, I'll be sucked into its vortex and forget that I have a baby upstairs laying on the floor crying and a husband who needs a kiss. Goodbye.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sophie and Allie

Back when I was early in my pregnancy, Mikey and I decided on a giraffe theme for our baby room. I saw the sweetest giraffe stuffed toy and my mom said not to tell anyone else, because she wanted to have the great pleasure of buying it for Allie.

I'd forgotten all about it, and sometime later my mom and dad excitedly presented us with a gift. They waited with bated breath as I unwrapped the present and then said, "What's this?"


My mom was crestfallen. Mom: "It's the giraffe you asked us for!" Me: "No, it's not. I've never seen this giraffe before." Mom: "Sob, sob, sob."

Apparently my mom and dad thought I wanted this very exclusive teething giraffe and looked high and low for her. Her name is Sophie and she's quite in demand. They went from store to store and couldn't find her and finally ordered her online and had to pay shipping for what ultimately resulted in a $30 glorified chew toy. But my mom thought it would all be worth it to see the glow on my face when I opened that present. (Now, Sophie's influence has spread and you can buy her at Toys R Us and many other stores.)

Anyway, the point of all this is: Allie seems to have entered the early phases of teething. Not exactly one of those development milestones you just can't wait to arrive. She started drooling out of nowhere last week and now wants to chew on anything she can get her little gums on. The unfortunate part is that she's still too little to really get anything in her mouth. Even Sophie's chewy legs don't quite fit. She also can't quite use her hands to hold anything in her mouth. So for now, she'll continue trying to desperately cram her two fists in her mouth at once.

She is fussier than usual and all of a sudden is nursing for much longer periods. I don't know if that's something babies do when teething, but I theorize she's doing it for comfort. (In fact last night she nursed until she spit up because she ate too much.)

I told you that long convoluted story mainly to justify posting that cute picture, and now I'll post another one.


In other baby related news, many people have been asking me how working is going. It's great! You know, I worried for so long about having to work with children and now I know that was a total waste of my time and energy. I really enjoy having work to focus on so that I remember there's a world outside of diapers. I was frankly getting rather bored on maternity leave, so I'm so blessed to have a job I love that's so accommodating. I also have a pretty ideal set up - working at home with the baby, so I don't have to worry about getting out the door at a particular time in the morning or arranging for child care. Mike helps a lot, and that makes a big difference. Some days it's stressful when she needs more attention and I have work to get done, but in general, I love it.

Diaper update: I'm still not loving on these cloth diapers. I do love that I'm not buying an endless line of diapers and then throwing them away, but I frankly find the cloth ones rather annoying. It's funny because I haven't met one single cloth-diapering mother who has said that. Every single mom I've ever talked to who tries cloth diapering has said that were so glad they did it and they really liked it. Maybe they're just better people than me.

The gross factor isn't actually bad at all in terms of washing them. It's no more icky than just any regular diaper (especially as she's still exclusively breastfed). So that's not a problem. But they are ginormous. (As you've seen.) This means that when she poos (forgive me, mother for using that word), it gets all over her upper thighs, because that's how far down the cloth diapers come on her. It's a much bigger mess. It also means that when she's doing "tummy time," she's resting on a ginormous diaper and her little legs don't even touch the ground (so much for a leg workout). It also means that when she's nursing, her head is way lower than her hips which are artificially propped up by her ginormous diaper. I do like the most expensive cloth diaper we bought, but we only have one of those.

So, I'm not trying to rain on anyone's diaper parade. But just my two cents, I don't love them. We'll keep using them. (We use them about 50% of the time.) But I won't be starring in any cloth diapering commercials.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Church Greeting for Germophobes

I like serving as a greeter for church, but I don't like shaking hands during cold and flu season. So I found the perfect solution!

A baby! They come in handy in so many ways. And don't you think church attendance would go up if all greeters wore bunny slippers? (Adorable dress compliments of Krissy Thomas.)

Last night, I taught my parents how to Skype so they could see Alex more often. It went something like this.



Just kidding, parents. Love you. ;)

(You're more like these two...)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Kittens

Do you remember when I used to do Video Fridays? You do? You're my real friend. I thought I'd regress back into my adolescence with some fun Friday videos.

Finally a video both my husband and I can like, catering to our own unique interests.



'Cause I am Jehovah's most secret witness...I loved the last episode of Community. And although I appreciate their mockery of Glee's over-sexualization of women (re: Annie's song), I have to point out that it's still sexualizing women, even if it's ironic - just as an ironic mustache is just as vile as an earnest one.



And wouldn't it be nice if I had a third video? You're taught in writing classes that groups of three are always nicer than two. But I don't, and that's that.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I Used the Word "Precious" Today

I couldn't help myself. This is what I came home to after working at Starbucks in the morning.


"Precious" might have to become a regular, non-ironic part of my vocabulary.

And while we're on the topic of precious, last night Mike read me to sleep while Alex laid in his lap. He read the Christmas chapter of Little House in the Big Woods, one of my favoritest of books. With all the recent posts I've read lately against Santa and gifts (as inevitably come each year via blogs, Facebook, etc.), I felt it was the perfect defense of the beauty of Christmas traditions:

"They played so hard all day that when night came, they were too excited to sleep. But they must sleep, or Santa Claus would not come. So they hung their stockings by the fireplace, and said their prayers, and went to bed.

[The children] lay there whispering till Ma said, 'Charles, those children never will get to sleep unless you play for them.' So Pa got his fiddle. The room was still and warm and full of fire-light. Ma's shadow, and Aunt Eliza's and Uncle Peter's were big and quivering on the walls in the flickering fire-light, and Pa's fiddle sang merrily to itself. It sang 'Money Musk,' and 'The Red Heifer,' 'The Devil's Dream,' and 'Arkansas Traveler.' And Laura went to sleep while Pa and the fiddle were both softly singing...

In the morning they all woke up almost at the same moment. They looked at their stockings, and something was in them. Santa Claus had been there. Alice and Ella and Laura in their red flannel nightgowns, and Peter in his red flannel nightshirt, all ran shouting to see what he had brought.

In each stocking there was a pair of bright red mittens, and there was a long, flat stick of red-and-white-striped peppermint candy, all beautifully notched along each side.

They were all so happy they could hardly speak at first. They just looked with shining eyes at those lovely Christmas presents. But Laura was happiest of all. Laura had a rag doll.

She was a beautiful doll. She had a face of white cloth with black button eyes. A black pencil had made her eyebrows, and her cheeks and her mouth were red with the ink made from pokeberries. Her hair was black yarn that had been knit and raveled, so that it was curly...

She was so beautiful that Laura could not say a word. She just held her tight and forgot everything else. She did not know that everyone was looking at her, till Aunt Eliza said:

'Did you ever see such big eyes!'"

I can't wait to see the magic and wonder and excitement in my own little girls eyes each Christmas morning.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Who's Your Daddy, Part Two

Because this post was so popular with many of you, I decided to post one more picture in the "Who's Your Daddy" genre. Mike regularly walks up to me and poses like this, as if to say, "Look how cute we are!"


Baby's eyes seem to be getting lighter blue...perhaps we'll have an olive skinned, blue-eyed beauty?


In other news, we got the most fabulous Christmas tree the Van Schooneveld residence has ever seen. Here is Mike unintentionally modelling it, as I took practice shots for our family photo.


And a parting shot. Baby has a hard time keeping her legs in her sleepers. She always pulls them up and gets them stuck. Like this.


She thinks it's pretty funny.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Afro, the Nose and the Author

I know I've shared this story before, but I will share it again.

One time when I was about 8 I was at Girl Scouts with my friend Erica. We were making friendship bracelets or some other such project to equip us with real-life skills. Erica was African American, and her hair always went through various evolutions in a given year. This particular day, Erica had an afro. A big one. I believe its circumference was about 18 inches on her elementary-school head.

So, I looked at her and said, "Your hair is big."

I didn't mean anything by it, other than that her hair was big, which it was. Demonstrably so.

She quickly said back, "Your nose is big."

That is one of my most vivid memories, and it started a lifelong hatred of my nose that I live with to this day. When I look in the mirror, I see my nose as if it's all that is on my face. Sometimes I wonder if that day started a lifelong angst with her hair for Erica.

In any case, it just goes to show how one small thing can stick with a child for years, for better or for worse.

Here is my for better story: One Thanksgiving at around the same time, I had written a silly story about a turkey who didn't want to be eaten. I'm sure it was nothing in particular. But my grandmother told me, "You should be a writer!" I remember being so touched - that she believed I actually had talent and could be a writer. And that was the beginning of my lifelong desire to be a writer.

Wess Stafford is the president of Compassion, and he just wrote a book called Just a Minute: In the Heart of a Child One Moment Can Last Forever, about the profound influence you can have on a child with the words you say in just one minute. The words we say to anyone - adults included - can have such an impact.

I know this is especially true for me. I'm a bit sensitive. I'm even sensitive about being sensitive. (If you tell me I'm sensitive, I'll probably get offended.) So I'm very excited to read his book and be reminded of the life-giving words we can offer to others each day!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The 6th Annual Van Schooneveld Christmas Quiz

Merry Christmas!
and welcome to
The 6th Annual Van Schooneveld Christmas Quiz


It's that time of year again, when we mask our laziness with wit by replacing the age-old Christmas card with the Annual Van Schooneveld Christmas Quiz. Yaaayyyy!!! Take our little quiz to find out if you're a creeper, a stranger, or the founder and president of the I Heart Mikey Fan Club. If you think this one was too easy, check out our past quizzes: 2010, 2009, 2008.


1.
This year, Mike and I brought a miraculous bundle of love dripping with golden sunshine into the world using the following method:
a. co-ed naked hypno-birthing in a hot tub with an attendant name Skye Lark
b. the rhythmic method
c. mail order baby
d. 24 hours of labor followed by c-section

2. We named said rainbow baby:
a. Alexandria Noelle
b. Alexandra Noel
c. Alexandra Noelle
d. Alexandria Noel
e. Cornelia Dogmar

3. In June, I traveled for work and had my first real work-trip mishap. Namely...
a. parasites in Burkina Faso
b. appendectomy in Canada
c. wild elephant mauling in Rwanda
d. tonsillectomy in San Francisco

4. Mike continued working hard at our ice cream shop, Glacier Ice Cream. He got a couple great wholesale accounts in:
a. Pueblo and Woodland Park
b. Fountain and Castle Rock
c. Falcon and Woodland Park
d. Pueblo and Falcon

5. Amber changed jobs in January and is now working at home as a:
a. senior editor
b. project manager
c. domestic engineer
d. marketing writer

6. Rather than one big vacation, Mike and I took several short trips this year to:
a. Yellowstone, Salida, and Breckenridge
b. Estes Park, Vail, and the Great Sand Dunes
c. Breckenridge, Moab, and Crested Butte
d. Moab, Estes Park, and Santa Fe

7. Mike remodelled which rooms in our home this year:
a. basement, baby room, and kitchen
b. baby room, baby bathroom, and master bath
c. mud room, master bath, and baby room
d. baby room, office, and baby bath

8. Mike and Amber coauthored a book together called:
a. He Love That Goat: One Man's Journey to Find His Lost Love
b. Sense and Salinity: Achieving Vitality Through Sea Water
c. Glorious Appearing: What's the Bible Got to Say About Procreating?
d. Miniature Marvel! 7 Steps to Mind-Freaking Your Baby
e. We did no such thing.


7-8 - President and Founder of the I Heart Mikey Fan Club: You are the guy my neighbors caught in our backyard with a camera last weekend, aren't you?

5-6 - Facebook or Blog Creeper: We can't see you, but you see us...

3-4 - Hi, Friend. Merry Christmas!

1-2 - Hey, Stranger! We should hang out.


1. d - 24 hours of labor followed by c-section. If you, oddly, want to know all the nitty gritty, read it here.
2. b - Alexandra Noel, though it was awful close between that and Cornelia Dogmar.
3. b - appendectomy in Canada. Read more of my harrowing adventures here.
4. a - Pueblo and Woodland Park. Stop by Exquisite Tastes in Pueblo and Mtn Scoops in Woodland Park to try our gelato!
5. d- marketing writer. I joined Compassion Canada's marketing team as a writer.
6. d - Moab, Estes Park, and Santa Fe
7. b - baby room, baby bathroom, and master bath. Mikey's still working to tile our master bath floor. Does that man ever tire?
8. e - we did no such thing. I was too busy laying on the couch eating bonbons. Though "Miniature Marvel! 7 Steps to Mind-Freaking Your Baby" is in development for next year.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bunny Feet


Thanks for the bunny feet, Auntie Chrissy! They're keeping me nice and warm. Love, Allie

Friday, December 2, 2011

Chronicles of a Sleeping Baby

I now have roughly 13,892 photos of Alexandra sleeping in her bouncer. That is, after all, what she does roughly 94.3 percent of the time. Here are a couple of her recent "sleeping in the bouncer" portraits.



Oh, and just for good measure, a poorly lit bath photo.