Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas pics

We had a really great trip down to the St. Louis area for Christmas weekend and packed it full of visits with family and friends. Christmas Day was spent at grandma and grandpa's house where we all feasted.
The spoiling of Ellie continued as she raked in wonderful gifts from so many people. Thanks to ALL!
Ellie reciprocated by serving up some delicious "watermelon juice" with her new toy tea set. She even shared some with cousin Tyler.
And Ellie was happy to pitch in to help anyone nearby who was opening a present. So thoughtful.
We got a visit in with Brian's dad and sister, Sarah. It was great to see you guys!

And much of the rest of the weekend was spent horsing around at Brian's mom's house — where one of Ellie's favorite things to do is find a phone and pretend to call "paw-paw." This was the safest phone in the house for her to play with because the buttons get stuck and prevent her from actually calling someone!She got some quality play time in with both her grandma and her grandpa — and she misses you guys already!

Week 34 con't

The doctor's visit today helped me put aside fears about showing signs of pre-term labor. She said the baby is definitely head-down already and the pressure from his weight is probably what's causing me so much discomfort. Apparently this is quite common in second and subsequent pregnancies. She checked and made sure I wasn't dilated at all yet (I'm not) and found that my stomach is still measuring normal, as is baby boy's heart rate. All good news.
Only bad news was that there's not much I can do to ease the pains. Tylenol is OK to take but hasn't helped much so far. I'm also supposed to try to find a supportive belly band to help counter some of the gravity of my growing belly. And she said to spend less time on my feet... which isn't too easy to do with a toddler running around and work and trying to get the place ready for baby boy. I'm going to do the best I can, I guess. But I'm not good at sitting around, especially when I keep coming up with things to add to the "to-do" list in my head. I have a hard time letting go of the idea that I can do too much all the time, but I guess the time has come for more delegating to Brian. He's actually insisting on it... so who am I to argue?
The doc also said I should quit running, although walking is still OK. I guess the 667 miles I logged running this year is going to have to do! (I'm pretty proud of that stat since it's higher than my 2010 total and this year included almost 8 pregnant months!)
Anyhow, things are fine and the discomfort I can deal with as long as I know it's not a sign that something's really wrong.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Week 34: Cantaloupe

Whew... this week has kicked my butt. We had a great holiday weekend — pictures to come — but when we got back into town on Tuesday I still had a 4-day work week ahead of me. I'm working the night shifts through Saturday. I don't mind working NYE since I wouldn't be going out anyway, but staying awake at the office has become a challenge for me. I am totally exhausted and have been dealing with some ongoing pain (of varying degrees) in my lower abdomen for most of the week. I'm going to the doctor tomorrow to get things checked out, but it sounds like it might be from the baby moving down into the birth canal a bit early. Whatever he's doing in there it's certainly uncomfortable for me! But, of course, all worth it in the end. I just want to make sure the pains, fatigue and chest pressure I've been feeling are all still in the "normal" range of pregnancy woes and not a sign of something wrong.

On a less-whiny note... here's the update from the experts this week:
Your baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds (like your average cantaloupe) and is almost 18 inches long. Her fat layers — which will help regulate her body temperature once she's born — are filling her out, making her rounder. Her skin is also smoother than ever. Her central nervous system is maturing and her lungs are continuing to mature as well. If you've been nervous about preterm labor, you'll be happy to know that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine. They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, they usually do as well as full-term babies.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Go Packers!

Along with enjoying the holiday today, we'll be cheering on the Packers in tonight's game. Ellie has become one of the team's youngest fans this season. Glad we're raising her right :)
Here's hoping for a Christmas "W"!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend! Merry Christmas from the Wallheimers!
Ellie got another early taste of Christmas this past week when we exchanged gifts as a trio.
Hard to say what her favorite was of the stuff from mom and dad and Santa, but this shopping cart was a big winner!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Artist at work

While Brian painted the downstairs bedroom, which will be used for baby boy for the first few months (until he and Ellie start sharing a room), Ellie created some paintings of her own. Such concentration!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Week 33: Pineapple

Everything checked out great again at this week's doctor's appointment. I have one more two-week appointment and then they will be spaced just a week apart for the rest of the pregnancy. It's getting so close! Dr. George decided to schedule another ultrasound in Week 36 to check on baby boy's size. If he's measuring big then we might talk about another early delivery for me. I'm fine to welcome our little one out sooner, but am prepared to go with whatever doc thinks is best.
The baby got his first Christmas presents over the weekend — some Green Bay Packers bottles and pacifiers from Aunt Jen and Uncle Dan! So cute :)

Here's the update this week from the experts:
This week your baby weighs a little over 4 pounds (heft a pineapple) and has passed the 17-inch mark. He's rapidly losing that wrinkled, alien look and his skeleton is hardening. The bones in his skull aren't fused together, which allows them to move and slightly overlap, thus making it easier for him to fit through the birth canal. (The pressure on the head during birth is so intense that many babies are born with a conehead-like appearance.) These bones don't entirely fuse until early adulthood, so they can grow as his brain and other tissue expands during infancy and childhood.

White (early) Christmas

We got snow in Rockford on Saturday, the day that my family celebrated our early Christmas at my mom's house. It was less than an inch of snow but made everything very beautiful and festive. Ellie enjoyed "helping" shovel.
And we went for a walk in the white stuff.

My camera battery was dying, so I didn't get shots of the present opening at my moms. Ellie was very spoiled by my siblings and mom... SO many great gifts. Here she is giving her new Cookie Monster toy a hug and kiss during the drive home — this one's a double-winner because Cookie Monster actually eats the toy cookies he came with, and he has a backpack just like Dora. We're also super excited for Ellie's new art easel, tons of art supplies, a new Packers pillow pet, puzzles, books and other toys. Did I mention that she's a very lucky girl?
Merry Christmas to all the Schneiders (and Lewises and other extended family we won't get to connect with this year)! And we can't wait to see all of the St. Louis family this weekend!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Discovery Center

While up in Rockford this past weekend for my mom's birthday and an early Xmas celebration with most of the siblings, we got a chance to take Ellie to the Discovery Center museum. This place is amazing, with two floors of exhibits designed for kids of all different ages. I can't believe how much cooler it is than when I was young — and I was pretty impressed by it then!
Ellie definitely enjoyed the bubble stations and the train tracks.
But the water play tables were her favorite! Shocker :)

And here she is cheesing it up for the camera with mom, who could barely fit in the train seat...

Friday, December 16, 2011

More fun with food

I got a shot of the aftermath from our latest round of chocolate-dipped pretzels. At least this time I was smart enough to take Ellie's shirt off first. She's pretty happy from having just consumed 3 pretzels for every 1 that made it on the tray!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Week 32: Jicama

Eight weeks to go! I'm excited about the milestone and hoping that everything goes smoothly in this homestretch. Please keep my friend Mary in your thoughts and prayers as she deals with some complications in her pregnancy and is on bedrest. She's due a couple weeks before me but was just diagnosed with preeclampsia.
I've been feeling pretty good, just get out of breath easier because baby boy is sitting high in my belly right now and restricting my lung capacity. He's staying super active even if I'm slowing down a bit!

From the experts:
By now, your baby weighs 3.75 pounds (pick up a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus. You're gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. In fact, she'll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb. She now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). Her skin is becoming soft and smooth as she plumps up in preparation for birth.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Parent-teacher conference

Brian and I went in this morning for a meeting with the head teacher in Ellie's room. She got a glowing report during the conference! And it was really helpful for us to get feedback from Dena and to ask some questions. We asked about whether it's time to take Ellie's potty training endeavors to the next step, and Dena said the teachers there would work with her today to see how she did on a half-hour schedule of trying the potty. Brian and I have faced much resistance at home when we try to get Ellie to go first thing in the morning and right after nap. She only wants to use the potty when it's her idea... but she's smart enough and aware enough to realize when she has to go. In fact, she often announces it! So now we just need to keep up the positive reinforcement, I guess. It's a work in progress but not something we're stressing about too much. She's got time.
It was nice to hear from Dena how advanced Ellie seems in her language skills. We don't have any other kids around regularly to compare her to, but we've certainly been impressed by the way she picks up on stories and songs and just about everything we say. Sounds like we're not the only ones :)
Hopefully this is the first of very positive parent-teacher conferences we have!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I'm familiar with losing socks in the laundry... but this was the first time I saw a load that added feet!

Friday, December 9, 2011


Ellie really wanted to visit the park this week... so Brian and I bundled her up for a quick trip over there. Temps were only in the upper 20s, so she we kept her on the move and then scurried back home!

Week 31: Oranges

Another week and another positive review at the doctor's office. It seems our little guy is growing fine and has a strong heartbeat. While my weight is up more than I'd like, my blood pressure is fine and no one seems concerned at the doctor's office. I think I'm just one of those women who gains a lot with pregnancy. I'll definitely be up more than the recommended 30 pounds when this is all said and done since I'm already up 29! But I'm still exercising and eating well... so, oh well?
The doc said to make sure I'm monitoring for daily movements from this point on. This little guy is so active that I can't imagine that being an issue!

This week, your baby measures over 16 inches long. He weighs about 3.3 pounds (try carrying four navel oranges) and is heading into a growth spurt. He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his skin. He's probably moving a lot, too, so you may have trouble sleeping because your baby's kicks and somersaults keep you up. Take comfort: All this moving is a sign that your baby is active and healthy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Ellie has been making progress on potty training. She uses the potty almost every day at least once (usually to go pee and then earn a sucker as a reward). And she even went poopy on the potty today for the second time ever! Sorry about the details and verbage... but it's just easier to talk about it in Ellie-speak.
I couldn't resist getting a pic of Ellie the other day when she insisted on needing a book while she tried to go pee.
But I was quickly sent packing by an indignant Ellie!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Baking babes

I've enlisted Ellie in some of my recent baking/treat-making endeavors. It's something fun we can do together now that the weather's not so nice for daily trips to the park. Plus, I love the idea of fueling her baking spirit from a young age. I love the memories I have from growing up of baking with my mom and sister.
Of course, when Ellie helps in the kitchen these days it's actually more of a hindrance. There's definitely more mess to clean up at the end of the process... but that's what rags and vacuums are for, right?
Here's Ellie helping me mix up a recent batch of chocolate chip banana muffins. They're a household favorite!
I discovered another kid-friendly treat option the other day. I melted some chocolate chips (4 oz.) and peanut butter (1/4 c.) and let Ellie help me dip mini pretzel sticks in it, put them on parchment paper and into the freezer. After dipping and placing dutifully for a few minutes, Ellie discovered that she could "accidentally" dip her fingers in the chocolate and then have to lick it off. Smart girl! So there was a lot of the chocolate mixture dripped onto the table and Ellie by the end of the process, but it was worth the clean-up to have that fun — and get to eat the pretzels later!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Here are a couple videos I caught at Ellie's latest gymnastics -- or, as she calls it: 'nastics -- class. She's not quite ready for the Olympic team yet... but maybe in a few years.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Festive weekend

We had a Christmasy weekend spent putting up and decorating our tree, cheering Brian and our friend Amy on at the Reindeer Relay, and visiting the Dickens Christmas festival in downtown Lafayette.
Ellie's technique was to put 50 percent of the ornaments on just two of the tree branches... so mom and dad had to help redistribute when she wasn't looking. But she had a great time decorating and keeps asking when we get to do another tree.
Brian and Amy did great in the Reindeer 10K Relay run over on Purdue's cross-country course. It was super sloppy thanks to all the rain we've gotten recently. Ellie also enjoyed running in the mud and wearing daddy's jacket.
The highlight of our trip downtown (at least for Ellie) was the orange sucker stick she got from the candy shop. It was fun to see some carolers, performers doing scenes from A Christmas Carol on the street and hit up a couple of the shops.
And Ellie got to do the honor of putting the star atop our tree! What a big girl.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Ellie and Brian and I spent some time Friday night at our friend Colin's house. We babysat while his parents went to a work holiday party, and we all had fun!
Brian was able to quickly diffuse the situation when Colin realized both his parents were gone by offering a horsey ride around the living room. I think he enjoyed the practice for boy-parenting :)
And Colin even shared some of his pudding snacks with Ellie. What a gentleman. Cute to watch these two get a little better at playing and interacting with each other... even though there was still a fair share of toy grabbing and shouting. But, in all, a fun Friday evening for the toddlers and parents.

Friday, December 2, 2011

One (uno) more

Here's a short video I caught of Ellie and Alora reviewing their counting in Spanish during the Thanksgiving break. So studious.

Rest of the fun

The rest of the holiday weekend was filled with more fun, family activities. A dozen of us went to see the new Muppet movie on Friday afternoon. It was Ellie's first movie! And she did... OK. Ellie definitely enjoyed the candy and excitement of the outing more than the actual feature. She and I had to flee the theater a couple times during the show when her loud talking and general antsy behavior started to get disruptive. But we all still had fun :)
On Friday morning I recruited willing family members for the first Schneider's Stuffed Shuffle. We ran a 5K course starting and ending at my mom's house. (Brian would have run if he hadn't been up most of Thanksgiving night with a stomach virus... but instead he kept time at the finish and passed out Gatorade.) Since we've got some speedsters in the family — i.e. Ben and Candice — the race winner was decided not by who finished first but rather who guessed closest to their actual finish time. Candice won with a guess that was only about 20 seconds off. I finished last, but faster than my projected time. Ellie participated in the race as part of the walking contingent, which included my mom, Aunts Pat and Jacki, sister-in-law Sandy, niece Alora and nephews Mason and Jay.
It was a really good time and hopefully we'll continue the tradition at future holidays.
(From left: Cousin Alex, siblings — Candice, Ben, me, Maggie and Chris)

Thursday, December 1, 2011


We all had a great Thanksgiving up in Rockford this year. Ellie was a huge fan of daddy's turkey (the 24-pound beast he made using a new, special brine recipe) and the chocolate chip pie! Her only disappointment, somewhat humorously, was when she took a bite of the sweet potato casserole thinking it was hummus and came away disgusted. Our little weirdo apparently wanted hummus instead of the sugary, buttery potatoes.
She had a lot of fun during the evening playing peek-a-boo with cousin Izzy and Aunt Pat...
And tracing hands on her new Aqua doodle with Izzy and Eliot, among other games.
We've started a new generation of the obligatory "cousins" stairway photo at the holidays, too. Here's the clan from this year with a smiles shot...
... and a goofy one!