Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Texas SB5 (Or, Alternatively Titled, The Attack on Women's Rights in Texas).

Oooh, ladies. If you're not a fellow Texan, you've still probably heart about SB5, which is being heard currently in the Texas Legislature's Special session. If not, though, let me fill you in on the very basics: Governor Rick Perry, abomination that he is, wants to close all but FIVE abortion clinics in the (quite vast and populated) state of Texas.

Now, I'm a mother. A currently pregnant mother. A mother who once faced an unplanned pregnancy and chose to keep the baby. And I love babies and motherhood and families and all that jazz. But I firmly believe that no one should ever be forced against their will into parenthood OR pregnancy. For some people, adoption is a great answer to an unplanned pregnancy. For others, abortion is the right answer for them. It may not have been the answer for me at that time, but believe me folks, had I been in a different place, or five years younger, or with someone other than my now husband, it very well may have been. That's not important. What is important is that I was allowed a choice. I was able to consider all the options, and figure out what was best for me. That's MY choice, NOT Rick Perry's. And as someone who is currently 22 weeks pregnant and still throwing up on a regular basis, I will attest to the fact that pregnancy can be an extremely difficult and negative time, and should not be forced upon anyone.

As a mother, I hope that Ava never finds herself in a situation where she has to choose, mainly because I know the heartbreak and emotional toll it means to be faced with such a choice. But if she does? I fully support her right to choose whatever SHE wants, whatever is best for HER, without anyone else getting involved and trying to tell her what she can and cannot do with HER body. I would take her, and hold her hand, and in the same way that I thank God every time I drive by the clinic that I chose to keep the baby that turned out to be Ava, I'd be thankful every day that she was able to have that choice, legally.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Favorite Thing Friday.

Well, hello. Favorite thing Friday is something I seem only to be able to keep up with while pregnant, but when it's such a shopping-heavy time (maternity clothes, baby items, things to keep me comfortable/from going insane, etc!), there are lots of new favorites. So many so that I can't decide on which is my favorite diaper bag this week. That is where YOU come in. I've narrowed it down to two bags that I love, and would love to hear what you all think about them. Have one? I'd love to hear your feedback, especially!

Here's option #1:

And option #2:

Thoughts? I will say, the second one has a very stupidly placed side pocket, that zips vertically. What is the point of that? Otherwise, room-wise and size-wise, they seem pretty similar. So go! Opine away!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Special Moments.

Lately, Ava has been absolutely adorable. Well, sometimes, she's wretched. You know that old adage, "There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of the forehead. And when she was good, she was very, very good, and what she was bad, she was horrid." Yeah, that's Ava. She's usually (~95% of the time) a saint. Like, wow. I'm so blessed. But when she's not as good (I don't support referring to children as bad - it really bothers me - so "not as good" it is), she reallllllly puts some effort into it. Anyhow, enough about that. This post is about the super adorable things she does, one in particular that came to mind just now when I saw this song mentioned.

Ava loves loves LOVES the song, "Hey Ho" by the Lumineers. In fact, she has a LOT of opinions about what music she wants to listen to, and enforces them frequently, but again, beside the point. So the other day, she was exhausted and falling asleep in the backseat when the song came on in the car. Despite her eyes being shut and her being completely unresponsive to her name, every single time they'd get to the "hey ho" part, her little lips would mouth, "hey! ho!" all the way to the end. Ha! She's so stinking cute!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Texas Tuesday: Five Things to Do With Kids in the Summer in Austin.

Howdy, y'all! It's Texas Tuesday (hence the deep South intro), and I have to admit, this is one of my favorite weekly installations! If you see here, here, and here, I love participating, but am happier still to be co-hosting this week! If you're new to the Texas Tuesday link-up, here's a bit about what's going on from the hosts, Amanda at Princess of the Panhandle, and Crystal at Mason's Mama:

What is Texas Tuesday?
A chance for you to show off the awesomeness that is TEXAS!! You can blog about anything; restaurants, vacation spots, venues, concerts, your hometown, shops, fashion, sports, etc. The linkup is not limited to Texans, we just ask that the post is about Texas.

Masons Mama

As you all know, Austin is my all-time favorite city. I write constantly about how much I adore living here, and how family-friendly it is. I couldn't imagine raising my family anywhere else. Now that we'll be adding a new baby to the family, I thought today's post should be about my top five favorite things to do in Austin with your child(ren):

1. Kids N Play - During these hot summer months (not to mention the hot spring and fall months, as well!), finding a place you can play indoors without breaking the bank is a big challenge. With Kids N Play, as well as many other bounce houses across town, children under one are allowed to play for free, even if they're your only child! How fantastic is that? While they clearly won't be able to bounce in the bounce houses (unless they're nearing their first birthday and are early walkers, like A!) Kids N Play has a great floor space with an awesome baby gym type structures to create little play areas and crawl spaces for children! Not only that, but they also have a great room, complete with blocks, a kids table, baby books and more, so if you're there with children of multiple ages, everyone will be sure to be entertained!

2. Austin Parks & Rec Splash Pads - Not only are these gems free (with a couple of exceptions), they're also a great way to beat the heat and enjoy some water play without the complications that come with getting the whole family ready for the pool. To be honest, there've been days where we've been hot and not had a swimsuit handy, and I've let her play in the splash pad fully clothed to cool down. They're a pretty laid back space :) Two of our favorites are the Pease Park Splash Pad, as well as the Ricky Guerrero Park Splash Pad. You can check the full listing of locations and, if applicable, cost here.

3. Austin Parks & Rec Pools - If you do have the time (And patience. And stamina.) in your day to take the family to the pool, Austin Parks and Recreation has many options for you to choose from. While there is a fee associated with many, some - such as the West Enfield Park Pool - are free! Free. Pool. Summer. Are there any three words that go together better? You can find a full listing, as well as fees and hours, here.

4. Rockin' River Aquatic Center - I was hesitant to include this one, because I feel like it's a bit lesser known and secretly want to keep this gem to myself, but it is too much fun to pass over! Though not technically in Austin (it is located about twenty five minutes north in Round Rock, near the Dell Diamond), a trip to Rockin' River makes for a great way to spend the dog days of summer. Boasting two large water slides (for the 48" and over crew), a baby water slide that culminates in a foot of water for the little ones, a lazy river you can ride tubes around until your lazy heart is content, and a zero entry beach area that opens up to a water playground. All the fun of a water park, with far less cost and right in your own backyard! Yes, please!

5. Alamo Drafthouse Kids Camp - Last, but not least, this list would be completely remiss if I failed to include the free movies for kids (and accompanying adults!) at Alamo Drafthouse theatres. In case air conditioning and sitting down for an extended period of time aren't enough of a draw for you, Alamo also has a full service kitchen and bar - and I can attest personally to how delicious it all is! You can find the full schedule of movies (and a menu!) here.

Have a post pertaining to Texas? You can link up below!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

I'm too exhausted for words, but wanted to share a (albeit abbreviated) pictorial look at what an awesome father David is to our sweet girl, and soon-to-be baby boy!

The day he became a father:

And some gems from her first year:

And her second year:

And her third:

I cannot wait to see what great moments we capture in the future, and to watch you become a father again in the fall. We love you!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Phone Dump Friday Returns.

I've been in major nesting mode lately, that is when I'm not retching or falling asleep, and that extended to my computer the other day. Having realized I have a ton of pictures that I take on my phone but that then get stored in iPhoto without any further attention, I thought it was time for the return of Phone Dump Friday! 

Here's the first installation:

Lest you think she only play with girly toys, here's proof she's well-rounded:

And also, she's quite the little athlete. Just in a dress :)

She's also quite the little roller skater these days, inside and out!

For everyone keeps telling me I'll love having a mama's boy so much, I think I know a thing or two about having a kiddo that wants me near them at all times. This is honestly how she sleeps.

Sunny summer days!

Happy Friday, everyone! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

"Mommy, Do You Love Me?"

Lately, this question has been asked of me multiple times daily. I'm not sure where it's coming from - I haven't flown off the handle suddenly or anything that would make her feel potentially unloved - but I'm guessing that it has more than a little to do with the excitement surrounding the new baby and the fact that I've had some complications this week that have made me less accessible to her. Either way, every single time she asks, it hurts my heart.

When I turn it around on her and ask, "What's the answer to that? Does mommy love you?" she breaks into smiles and nods yes, so I know that despite the question, she's not actually questioning my love for her. But in a sweet moment of cuddles when we woke up this morning and were laying together on the couch, she asked a different question:

"Why do you love me?"

Oh, sweet, sweet girl. For so many reasons. And rather than covering her in kisses and telling her one reason and going on with our morning, we stopped for a minute and laid together in one another's arms, and I told her just the smallest bit of the millions of reasons why I love her.

You have made me a mommy. Before you, I was a lot of things. A woman, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a girlfriend, a nanny, a student - the list could go on and on. But nothing is more central to my identity than that of being a mother, and while I gave you life, you gave me life in return through that. Being a mom? It's hard work. It's endurance, and patience, and faith, and exhaustion, and a million different verbs rolled into that small word. But more than anything, to me, it is everything. I was born to be a mother, and more specifically, your mother. It's the greatest gift I have ever received, and you not only gave it to me, but taught me how to parent. You've taught me how to be a mother.

From your very first day on Earth, you've reached for my hair. Initially, while nursing, and you continued to twirl it and touch it throughout our two-and-a-half year nursing relationship. But you also grab for it while cuddling on the couch with me when tired, or sick, or just in need of some "schnug" time. To self-soothe in your sleep, you twirl your own hair, so much so that from the back? It's at a completely crooked angle that I refuse to cut. I love this about you. I love how vulnerable and innocent you seem in those moments, when the remainder of the day you spend being brave and courageous and absolutely taking my breath away with how much older you seem than your age.

You're brave. I'm brave too, now, but I wasn't always. I was a scared child, fearing all sorts of things no child should ever have to think of. Part of this is due to the way in which we parent, but you are brave and independent by nature - qualities that will serve you well in life.

You are kind. You kiss your baby brother in my belly, despite what I know must be your fear about his arrival. You cuddle with our animals, and tell them you love them. You give love freely, telling me multiple times a day that you love me. I hope you always are so generous with your heart.

You are so breathtakingly beautiful, there are no words in our language to describe it. While this doesn't affect my love for you - I would love you even if you had two heads and three eyes and no legs - my heart routinely skips a beat when I look at you. People often tell me how much you look like me, and I consider this the ultimate compliment.

You are such a happy child. You're always singing, dancing, hugging, kissing, clapping, smiling and just celebrating life around you. Even on my worst days, you change my perspective and remind me of how wonderful and novel life really is.

So, in case you ever wonder, yes, my darling. I love you more than all the stars in the sky, more than all of the salt in the sea, more than all of the trees in all of the forests. And nothing you can do will ever change my love for you.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Going Bananas: A Scare at 20 Weeks!

Baby is the size of a banana this week! 

How far along: 20 weeks

Net weight gain/loss:  7.6 lbs.

Maternity clothes:  Not sure why I resisted so long :)

Stretch marks: none yet

Belly button: still an innie

Sleep:  can't get enough, but still adjusting to not sleeping on my stomach.

Baby movement:  more than ever!

Food cravings: Sour Patch Kids and French Toast Sticks from Burger King. This kid knows what he wants!

Food aversions:  lessening, happy to say :)

What I miss:  my flat tummy :(

Looking forward to:  four. more. months.

Best moment this week:  our 20-week ultrasound today!

So here's the rundown on the past 48 hours. I have been having some bad cramping and back pain, and it started getting to the point where I was nearly doubled over in pain yesterday. I called my doc Monday and he said that was normal (?) and to take some Tylenol, rest and drink fluids - which was laughable since who can rest when chasing a toddler and working full-time? - but I tried my best to obey his orders, basically benching myself as soon as I walked in the door Monday night. Tuesday morning I took it easy, but the pain started to get bad as I was up on my feet more and as the day went on, and then I saw what no pregnant woman wants to see, EVER: blood. Terrified, I called my doctor, boss and husband, and off to be checked out we went. 

I was so grateful that his busy office was able to fit me in, and they did an ultrasound to check on baby and check his heart rate and all other indicators of distress, and pronounced baby healthy and happy. I mentioned that my urine sample seemed to have blood in it as well, which seemed to confuse them (did they not look at it? It looked like cranberry juice!), but they said I tested negative for a UTI. I was sent home, put on pelvic rest, and told to "take it easy". Annoying. Thankfully, I was going back in the AM for my anatomy scan, so I knew they'd be able to keep an eye on things.

After two extra strength tylenol and a heating pad wouldn't help with the pain, I went to bed at 7:00, hoping rest would. All night, when I woke up to go to the bathroom (which is unfortunately a very frequent occurrence), it was tinged pink. Knowing that blood in my urine and back pain was indicative of an advanced UTI, regardless of my lack of symptoms, I asked them to test my urine again this morning when I went for my twenty-week ultrasound. They did, and again pronounced it negative.

We had our ultrasound (pictures in a second), and all looked great! They measured everything and checked the length of my cervix, and baby boy is shut up tight in there, so that's great news!

The bad news, though, is that my doctor was wrong. From his office, I went to my GP, knowing that something was clearly not right and bothered by the fact that my OB didn't seem to care about BLOOD IN MY URINE, and within minutes, was told I had a raging (yet asymptomatic) UTI that needed treatment to prevent kidney damage and harm to the baby. UM, a.) DUH, and b.) how the hell did my doctor not catch that? I don't understand. Either way, I'm on antibiotics now, hoping to feel better ASAP, and baby boy is fine, so a happy ending all around. Just annoyed with my OB. 

On a happy note, here are some pictures of baby boy: 
Still a boy!

He looked directly at the ultrasound wand - creepy cute!

Baby's little profile:

And a 20-week belly picture from this morning:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Our Trip to China!

Don't I wish we went to actual China. Ha! No, rather Ava spit out this jewel the other day, when I took her outside roller skating down the street to the wall separating our subdivision from a main road:

"I think we in China, mommy. There's the big wall!"

Kids are SO adorable.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Halfway There!

As of today, I am halfway through this pregnancy! Like I said on Facebook, though, the first person to say, "Wow! It's just flying by!" is getting punched in the face. Unless it's one of you. Because I love you guys. But seriously, it kills me when people say that. Um, yes, I'm sure the past nearly five months have flown by for you, seeing as how you haven't spent everyday vomiting, your tailbone doesn't feel like it has been relocated, you sleep however you want and you can eat whatever you please without someone inside you throwing a fit, and you don't look like you have terrible style and an out of control beer gut! Anyways, just don't say it :P

Anywho, halfway there! Cheers to that! May the next 19.5 weeks  (feel free to come a couple weeks early, son!) be significantly easier and quicker than the last 19.5!

Friday, June 7, 2013

San Antonio Yet Again: The Witte Museum.

You'd think we actually liked hanging out in San Antonio with how often we've been there of late, right? While I can admit there are some fun things to be done there - the SA Zoo, Japanese Tea Gardens, Children's Museum, and now, the Witte Museum - we're not actually that enamored with the city. It's just a.) close, and b.) D's family LOVES it. The latter is the reason we found ourselves down there this past Sunday, since they had come up to see A's dance recital and wanted to take a trip the following day. 

While I recognize the value of having "nothing to do" while exploring a city, having a toddler (and being somewhat of a type-A person myself) doesn't really lend itself to a complete lack of structure, so we paid a visit to the Witte Museum in Brackenridge Park. I had heard really amazing things about it, and our visit the last time had been thwarted by a last-minute weather change, so this time I knew it was a must on my to-do list!

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about our museum visit. I will say that the dinosaur exhibit was cool, but not necessarily large enough to warrant the additional $5/person cost. Then again, with the animatronics I'm sure it was a really costly project, so I get it. In fact, I'll let you be the judge:

Aside from that, my disappointment has only to do with the fact that forty minutes in, my in-laws were already looking at their watches expectantly, and I'm not a person who enjoys being rushed through. I definitely didn't get to see half of the museum, and seeing as how what we did see was child-oriented, it wasn't exactly what I had in mind. That being said, Ava had a ball, and if you're looking for a fun, hands-on, learning experience for your child this summer, the Witte Museum is great for that purpose! Just realize that the HEB Science Treehouse makes up the majority of the child-geared exhibits, and happens to be outside (AKA go early! it's getting hot!)

Here are just some of the things you can expect to do with your child:

We only had time for one indoor exhibit after the science treehouse, so we chose to go with Texas Wildlife, thinking it would be the most interesting for Ava. We were correct for the most part, but unfortunately there was a, ahem, circle of life portrayal that upset her and made her cry :(

Though the Witte was the main part of our visit, we also enjoyed some time on the Riverwalk with A's grandparents, ate some BBQ at The County Line, swam at their hotel's rooftop pool, and met some nice firefighters that let A meet their arson dog and take pictures on their truck and with their mascot. Aww!

 Happy vacationing, Central Texans!

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