Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Half-Priced Admission at Wazoo's.

If you're looking for a fun way to get through this wintry weather this holiday break, look no further than Wazoo's - South Austin's premiere bounce house and play area for children, where "Fun is Inflated!"

Wazoo's is open everyday from 10am-8pm, and kids up to twelve are welcome to play, with a special toddler area designated to keep the littlest ones safe! Admission is $8 for the entire day (including readmission if you need a break to refuel!), but you can get half-price admission from this coupon. If you don't want to have to leave and want to make a day of it, outside food and drinks and welcome, and food and drinks are available to purchase inside as well! Wazoo's also boasts five large party rooms and have some of the best rates in town for birthday parties! Come enjoy the open layout - perfect for being able to spot multiple children - and see what all the excitement is about! 

WonderKids Club Trial at The Little Gym of Round Rock.

As you know, we are big supporters of The Little Gym of Round Rock and The Little Gym of Austin at Lakeline. Ava started taking gymnastics at one-year-old, but only when we started classes at The Little Gym when she was two-and-a-half did she really start to come into her own and increase her skill levels by leaps and bounds. So when I received an email recently notifying me that they were going to be offering a new class for three- and four-year-olds called WonderKids Club, well, my interest was certainly piqued!

The class was described (per their website) as, " enrichment program that extends The Little Gym experience…a three-hour interactive learning experience, structured play session, and exploration of their innate sense of wonder."

After reading that, we knew we wanted to check it out, and so this past Monday, Ava attended the trial class to get a feel for what WonderKids Club is all about. Check out our experience:

During the first hour, the children enjoyed a plethora of hands-on activities, including making musical instruments out of Play-Doh (Can I just say how grateful I am for her to play with Play-Doh somewhere other than my carpet?!), playing those "instruments" and using their imaginations to create music, and spending time at two different Lego creation stations (Again, anything that keeps Legos off my floor - and inevitably from under my feet - is good with me!).

After they'd had some time to work with the different building activities, they then gathered for a circle time, featuring the story, Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Suess, sitting still with the promise of an hour in the gym to follow!

Ava loved her trial class - she's at the perfect age to really enjoy both the structured learning and, of course, active time in the gym. For me, the class was set up perfectly, with an hour of learning activities in the multi-purpose room, followed by an hour in the gym, and another hour of activities, and I know I could certainly use the three hour block of time it provides parents to get their week started off on the right foot! 

WonderKids Club is offered Mondays, from 10:15-1:15, and is specially designed for children ages 3 & 4. You can buy a ten-pack of classes this week for $150, before it returns to the regular price of $200 for a ten-pack. One of the best things about this new class at The Little Gym of Round Rock is that enrollment is flexible, with your ten classes being scheduled at your convenience. Planning to be out of town one week? Have a sick child, or just feel like not having to attempt to get everyone ready and out the door one week? No problem! You can schedule your classes at your convenience, without being locked into a regular weekly schedule! Call (512) 687-4141 today to sign up, and save 25% on enrollment through this Friday, December 20!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Of Mice and Music: A Jazz Nutcracker by Tapestry Dance

Last week, I posted about an upcoming event we were really excited about attending this past weekend - Tapestry Dance Company's Of Mice and Music: A Jazz Nutcracker. For those who are new readers, I have an almost four-year-old little girl, and she is fascinated by dance. So much so, that we took her to The Nutcracker at The Long Center before she was even two-years-old, and she sat mesmerized by the performance. Now that she's a bit older, however, it's not as easy to keep her attention unless she's really engaged by something, and so I was worried about the potential for disaster that comes from bringing a preschooler and newborn to a formal performance.

As it turned out, there was no need for worry at all! I had heard amazing reviews of this performance from friends who had attended the previous year, and one of the big selling points for me to deviate from the typical nutcracker ballet was the fact that it's a shorter performance, with a running time of around an hour. Anyone who has spent a millisecond in a preschool classroom knows how critical it is to know when to wrap things up, am I right? Tapestry's performance was the perfect amount of time to be worth the effort it takes to get two children out the door in their Sunday best, without losing my child's attention. 

Not only was the length perfect for her age group (I saw many other families with a similarly-aged child), but the energy was appealing to the whole family. The Nutcracker is a beautiful, timeless story, but the ballet can move a bit slow for an antsy child. When you throw in the tap-tap-tapping rhythm of the dancer's shoes at Of Mice and Music, however, you have a captivated audience, tapping their feet along to the rhythm in the rows. The remarkably talented cast certainly didn't hurt things, either ;)

The venue was also spectacular for the show - it was in a reputable location, but still small enough to be intimate and for there to not be a bad seat in the house. In fact, there was open seating at the performances, making a great live experience accessible to everyone! No balcony seats for this show!

Speaking of accessibility, one of my daughter's favorite parts was getting a chance to meet - and take a photo with - the cast after the show. Such an amazing memory for her to have of this experience!

All in all, I would highly recommend checking out Tapestry Dance Company's Nutcracker performance when it returns next year! It will certainly join the repertoire of our holiday traditions!

Friday, December 13, 2013


My children are starting to look eerily alike:

Same pillow, same age, same tongue movement, same "staring into your soul" eyes. Spooky, right?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Tapestry Dance Company Presents: Of Mice and Music: A Jazz Nutcracker!

While Ava is still young, we've been giving a lot of thought to holiday traditions. Seeing as how we live in a different state than my family, and we won't be going to visit David's family this year seeing as how we have a newborn, a lot of those traditions are being established with just the four of us, centering around things to do over the holiday season in Austin.

A couple of years ago, as well as the year that Ava was born, I went to see Ballet Austin's production of The Nutcracker - a show we enjoyed very much! This year, however, we decided we wanted to see something slightly different, so on the recommendation of a friend, we are taking the kids to see Tapestry Dance Company's production of Of Mice and Music: A Jazz Nutcracker!

As the name might suggest, Tapestry Dance Company is The Long Center's resident tap and jazz dance company, and North America's only professional tap dance company! We are surely in for a treat, then, when the show commences this weekend!

From the show's description:
"Tapestry's annual and critically acclaimed holiday celebration!  A jazz, tap dance take on Tchaikovsky's classic with live music by Blue J and the best of Tapestry's professionals with a window into our academy best!"

You can catch the show this Friday and Saturday at the Stateside Theatre at the Paramount, located at 719 Congress Avenue, Austin, TX  78701. Showtimes include an evening performance both nights at 7 p.m., as well as a 2:00 matinee Saturday afternoon. You can find more info and purchase tickets here.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Who's Hungry? (Giveaway!)

So it's been a while! Oopsies! Something about a baby and a preschooler and two jobs and all that jazz has been keeping me on my toes. In fact, that's why I'm posting today. With my recent return to work, and with me being off all dairy products for little man's tummy, I've been having a difficult time finding things to eat while on the go, and boy am I ever on the go! That's where - surprisingly - McDonald's has been coming in.

Over the past few years, McDonald's has made some huge strides towards offering healthy alternatives to traditional fast food (though I'm still a sucker for their fries!). I was recently given the opportunity to visit one of their locations and tour the facility, as well as getting a preview of their healthier kids options they've recently introduced, including low-fat strawberry go-carts, a grilled chicken wrap, and bottled Dasani water. I had a great time previewing all of the tasty food, but the absolute best part of the day for this dairy-free mama was finding out that all of their items are customizable! Did you know that? Typically, when I think of fast food, I think of things being pre-made and not able to be special ordered for food restrictions and allergies, and apparently, that is just not true! Case in point: One of the things we tried out was the premium Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie. I was bummed that I wouldn't be able to have one, but as it turns out, they made both Ava and me one without any yogurt and with just juice AND it was delicious! The best part? It was Ava's first taste of a smoothie, and she loved it!

That's just one example of how you can custom order any of McDonald's food to your specific dietary needs - something that has become increasingly important to our expanding family! My current favorites and recommendations for others who are dairy-free? I love their Chicken and Bacon wrap (just ask for no cheese and no garlic sauce, which cuts both dairy and calories!), as well as their Southwestern Chicken salad with crispy chicken, no cheese and their Italian dressing - delish!

If you're wanting a chance to try out some of their new choices yourself, here's your chance! I'm giving one lucky reader a chance to win a $25 McDonald's Arch card! Enter below!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Jack's First Smiles!

As a reason to be extra thankful yesterday, Jack decided to show us his first little grins at exactly five weeks yesterday:

Now THAT little face I'm thankful for :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Jack: One Month Old.

Wow, how time flies! I swear this past month has gone by as fast as a day of my pregnancy did - isn't that how it always feels when you're awaiting something awesome?! 

Jack turned one month old yesterday, and had his one month well check this morning. As for his stats, he's a tiny baby, at least compared to my off-the-charts big girl! At one month, Jack weighs in at 9 lbs, 5 oz., and is 21 1/4 inches long, putting him in the 37th and 36th percentiles, respectively. His head is even smaller, measuring in at 36.5 cm and in the 16th percentile! Ava was smallish too, though, in the first few months, so he may still start getting higher in the percentages! 

As for how things are going around our house and adjusting to life with Jackson, well, let's just say he's been a more challenging baby so far than Ava was. While Ava was admittedly a terrible sleeper, Jack is a bit of a screamer. Coupled with reflux and the fact that he spits up every single time he eats, and we're talking about the dreaded "C" word: colic. I don't know how you parents out there that have colicky babies do it, let alone how you had more if your first was colicky. Oy vey. This past Wednesday, he screamed for six straight hours, making for one very exasperated mama! And, since he's still nursing every couple hours - max - there's really no respite from the crying. Thankfully, at this age he sleeps better than Ava, usually waking up at 1:30 and 4:30 and then 5:30, etc, so I get at least one good three-hour stretch usually, but not always. Sad when that's considered good, but since that's the only time he doesn't cry inconsolably, I don't dread the night the way I did with Ava, except for my constant fear of SIDS and other things out of my control.  If anyone has any tips for colicky babies, I'm open to hearing them. So far we've tried Colic Calm, gas drops, Gripe Water, block feeding, stretching out nursing periods, keeping him upright for 45 minutes after feedings, wearing him, swaddling, shushing - you name it! I did attend my very first Babywearing meeting this past Friday, and was shown by a saint of a woman how to use my Maya Ring Sling. It certainly provides another activity to try when he's crying, but it doesn't always work. When it does, though, it does and he gets some much needed sleep, and I get a much needed break from a hysterical baby. I'm really glad he's my second, since I have perspective that this period is short and will eventually end that I didn't have when I had Ava.

We've also put Jack on Prevacid since he has some moderate to severe reflux, but unfortunately it hasn't helped much. It isn't hurting, though, so we're keeping him on it in the hopes that it'll help a bit until his digestive system has had some time to mature. He had an ultrasound at two weeks for pyloric stenosis, but are repeating it Wednesday since he is still showing signs and projectile vomiting, and sometimes it takes four weeks to show up on ultrasound. Wish us luck, since surgery is not something I want to have my one-month-old go through. Fingers crossed it isn't anything serious!

On the more positive side, Jack is having longer periods of quiet awake time, where he looks around quietly and isn't screaming hysterically, and he's so adorable when he does. He's particularly interested in fans, overhead lights and skylights (I've seriously considered blowing some holes in our roof at this point….), although his absolute favorite thing is being on his changing pad in his room. He hates diaper changes, but he loves to just lay in there and look at his bulletin board, complete with pictures Ava has made for him. So sweet! He also likes his bouncer and I can occasionally get him to stay asleep in it so I can get some things done. If not, though, the Beco and the Ring Sling are a huge help! He also seems to sleep better when we're out - the louder the place, the better - so we try to use that as a way to help him take regular naps and get things accomplished! I guess he got used to the chaos while I was pregnant!
As for Ava, she's an AMAZING big sister. She's so cute with him, and instead of deciding she doesn't like him because of the crying, she instead is extremely empathetic, saying things like, "It's ok, sweet baby. It's ok, Jack Jack!" in her best baby talk voice - so, so cute! I'm so in love with her as a big sister. And Jack adores her also - he looks for her when he hears her voice and stares at her frequently!

Wow - this ended up being a way longer post than I had originally planned. As a thank you for actually bothering to read any of this mumbo jumbo and for any feedback you can offer on colicky babies (even if it's just to say that it gets better! Please tell me it does!?), here's an onslaught of pictures of his first month:

Friday, November 22, 2013

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