Our beautiful baby girl.
On October 11th 2017 at 9:07 pm, Natalie gave birth to our baby girl, Elle Gail Schnellback. She came five days late and was 7lbs 10oz at 20 1/4 inches.
We chose the name Elle because we liked it. Plus, neither of us have ever met an Elle. Nat didn't like it at first, but it grew on her. It also means she in French - not that we're French or anything. We had a ton of girl names: Lillie (our favourite until we picked Elle), Lucy, Olivia, Scarlet, Veronika, Mia, Eleanor, Evey, Marin, Helena, Piper, Ava, and Saoirse (but Saoirse Schnellback just doesn't roll off the tongue). Her middle name Gail, is after my late mother Gail Lynn Schnellback. Elle's nicknames are Ellie, Ellie bean, Ellie belly, Ellie bear, mousecake, lil E, big E, princess buttercup, and ham (because Charlie is cheese).
She changed my life from the minute my eyes met hers. Such a sweet, gentle soul. I love her so much.
When Elle came out, she had the cord wrapped around her neck. The doctors and nurses assessed and handled it quickly. Elle came out and wasn't crying. She was limp and very blue; all babies are blue, but I was super worried. They moved her very calmly to the baby table and three nurses began rubbing, cleaning, and hand pumping oxygen to her. Internally I was losing it, but I had to remain composed to keep Nat ok. All the nurses were super calm and collected and were continuing to care for her as if everything was fine. Then, after what felt like an eternity, she cried. It was the cutest cry you've ever heard. I filmed the entire birth (of course I did), and after watching it again, it wasn't as long as it felt. It was less than a minute, but it was the longest minute of my life! Her Apgar score was 5 and 9, the 5 is low but normal because she needed assistance breathing.
Everything was perfect; ten fingers, ten toes, pink puffy lips, and big, beautiful, almond-shaped, blue eyes. What an angelic baby.
This pregnancy wasn't as troublesome as when Nat had Charlie. When Charlie was in the womb, Nat was put on high risk because of a Marginal Placenta Previa and high blood pressure. Charlie was induced two weeks early because of this. We were minutes away from having a C-section, and then Charlie came out; it was a little tense. Elle in the womb was the complete opposite, she was as snug as a bug and stayed an extra five days in to bake. This time it was a summer pregnancy for Nat and the heat got to her. She kept nice and cool with the popsicles again and craved sour candy. This is what she posted on Facebook mid-summer:
When Charlie was a baby we got REALLY lucky. He rarely cried, slept well, and was an all around chill baby. Everyone told us the second one is way worse, and I was really worried. Why are we doing this to ourselves again?! But it seems we hit the jackpot and popped out another dream baby.
This baby can sleep! She sleeps a good 12 hours every night. She might wake up once to feed, but then she's out right away. Charlie usually wakes up at 8am and wakes mom and Elle up, but Elle would sleep to 9:30-10 if she could - especially if she's on the heated waterbed with us. We've never had her cry uncontrollably either. She's even more laid back than Charlie. It's amazing. Sleep feels good again.
Elle was almost one pound heavier and a smidgeon taller than Charlie, although she did stay in a few weeks more than him. They look pretty much the same as babies except Charlie had rounder eyes, a Frair Tuck hairline, and a bum chin. She has such a feminine appearance. Beautiful.
The two get along so well. Charlie has become very independent and helps out a lot, he's always takes her dirty diapers to the garbage for us. He loves her so much. Elle loves to watch him goof around and laugh at him, he keeps her entertained and he's good at it. They are two years and four months apart much like Natalie and her brother who are two years and five moths apart, and my sister and I are two years apart. Hopefully Charlie and Elle will make great friends like my sister and I.
Elle, at the time of writing this blog, is almost five months old (and sleeping). I've taken 359 photos and 108 videos. And thank god for the iPhone live photos. No more taking multiple shots just to get a smile. Now I can take one picture and scrub the frame to the moment of the smile.
Nothing has changed in photo and video quantities since Charlie, just that I'll probably need a bigger hard drive pretty soon. I made a couple of vids as Charlie grew up such as the Making of Charlie and Charlie: Year One. So I have to do them for Elle too - I can't do just one kid, that's not fair. But finding the time to write and edit now is very difficult with two kids. Nap time tends to be my moment of opportunity.
We now have a million dollar family. We just need that million dollars. A girl and a boy, it's perfect.
We're doing it all over again with Elle, and it's so worth it.
Here's the video I compiled with pregnant Natalie in a time-lapse of Elle in the belly. Charlie kind of steals the show here:
And finally, right after Charlie was born, I started gathering meaningful quotes, words of wisdom, and rules of life. I started to make a list to practice and teach him these principles as he grows up. When Elle was born, I continued adding to it, now with her in mind.
The following list is what I've collected (and a few of my own), that I will always teach Charlie and Elle as they get older to become well-rounded, appreciative, positive, respectful, human beings:
Have fun, take chances.
Don't be a people pleaser.
Take pictures and video of everything.
Never answer an angry word with an angry word. It's the second that makes the quarrel.
Buy high quality tools, so you only have to buy them once.
Never hit anyone unless they are an immediate threat.
Never go to the movies on the first date.
Learn to wet shave.
Nothing looks more badass than a well-tailored suit.
Learn to ride a motorcycle. It'll change your life.
Shave with the grain on the first go-around.
Always look a person in the eye when you talk to them.
Be courageous and take risks. You may not always win, but losing makes you humble and makes winning that much more special.
Buy a plunger before you need a plunger. It's better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.
Exercise makes you happy and healthy. Run, lift, and play sports.
Brush your teeth before you put on your tie.
Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.
Offer a lady your seat. Always be chivalrous.
A small amount of your pay check should go directly into your savings account every month.
Call Mom and Dad every other week, Grandma at least once a month.
Never wear a clip-on tie.
Give a firm handshake and look them in the eye.
Compliment her shoes.
Never leave a pint unfinished.
If you aren’t confident, fake it. It will come around.
You can tell the size of a person by the size of things that bother them.
Be conscious of your body language.
Never talk bad about yourself.
The only reason to ever point a gun at someone is if you intend to shoot them. Period.
Always stand to shake someone’s hand.
Never lend anything you can’t afford to lose.
There are plenty of ways to enter a pool. The stairs ain’t one.
In a negotiation, never make the first offer.
Act like you’ve been there before. Especially in the end zone.
Request the late check-out.
When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.
Don’t fill up on bread.
You marry the person, you marry their whole family.
Never turn down a breath mint.
Eat lunch with the new kid.
After writing an angry email, send it to yourself, let it marinate, then delete it.
Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win.
Ask more than you answer.
Never have sex with anyone that doesn’t want it as much as you.
Go for the opposite sex even if they are out of your league. You may end up surprised.
Manliness is not only being able to take care of yourself, but others as well.
Go with the decision that will make for a good story.
When you walk, look straight ahead, not at your feet.
Nice guys don’t finish last, boring guys do.
Never stop learning.
Find your passion and figure out how to get paid for it. Never do what you're good at for free.
Trust, but don't be deceived.
Life is so much easier with a sense of humour.
No matter their job or status, everyone deserves your respect.
The most important thing you can learn is personal responsibility. Bad things happen and you'll make mistakes; it’s your job to overcome them.
Don’t spend a lot of time imagining the worst-case scenario. It rarely goes down as you imagine it will, and if by some fluke it does, you will have lived it twice.
The first one to get angry loses.
Do what needs to be done without complaining.
Always tell the truth, there is less to remember.
Life is all about balance. Be kind, don't let people abuse you.
Play a sport. It'll teach you how to win honourably, lose gracefully, respect authority, work with others, manage your time, and stay out of trouble. And maybe even throw or catch.
Always go out into public dressed like you’re about to meet the love of your life.
Don’t change yourself just to make someone happy.
What you habitually think largely determines what you become.
If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. If it's easy, everyone would do it. Hard is what makes it great.
Have patience. Luck favours the prepared.
If you have nothing nice to say, come sit beside me and we'll make fun of people together.
Never judge a day by the weather.
Do things that you're scared to do. Overcome your fears by facing them.
It's not what you know or who you know, but what you know about who.
Confidence is sexy as hell.
Always have a romantic sense.
Strength doesn't come from what you can do, it comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn't.
Do whatever you want to do, but be the best at it.
Do not listen with the intent to reply, listen with the intent to understand. Learn to listen.
Trust your instincts.
No one is on their deathbed wishing they spent more time at work.
Be patient. No matter what.
Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame. Say nothing of another you wouldn’t say to them.
Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
Laugh at yourself frequently.
Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Don’t risk it frivolously.
Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
Admit your errors freely and soon.
Remember that love forgives everything.
Write down your dreams.
Always tell the people you love that you love them.
Never give up on your dreams.
Take your life and make it the best story in the world.
When Charlie was turning one, I shot a film with him at certain locations throughout Calgary and surrounding areas in the summer of 2016, so when he gets older, he could look back and see how much his hometown has changed and see what he was like at age one. Well, if I did it for Charlie… I had to do it for Elle. Shot in both Calgary, Alberta and Maui in the fall and winter of 2018. She wasn’t quite walking yet. Take a look…