Monday, September 30, 2013

An Excursion to The Dino Park!

We've covered some serious ground in Austin when it comes to fun things to do as a family, so this past week, we chose to take this show on the road to Cedar Creek in Bastrop Country to visit The Dinosaur Park, an outdoor dino museum/exhibit we'd heard good things about. My moms group was able to reserve the park for the morning with a certain amount of reservations, and so A and I packed up a picnic and went out on our way to visit and catch up with some friends before this baby arrives! The only downside was the heat - when we left it was a staggering 97 degrees outside (!!!!!) - but we made it through and blasted the air in the car :)

First, we started out having a blast on the playscape while we waited for everyone else to arrive. I'm not terribly punctual these days, but still managed to be one of the first one's there - shocking!

After we'd had some fun digging for dinosaur fossils, we gathered our group and headed out to begin the excursion, which winds it's way through a scenic forest, displaying dinosaurs and with a scavenger hunt to find different related items and/or fossils, including a dinosaur claw, related prehistoric reptiles, and more!

Though it was a hot one, we had a great time, and it was well worth the $5 admission we paid to get in!

If you make the trek out to Cedar Creek (about 20 minutes southeast of Austin), two things to keep in mind. First and foremost, Union Chapel Rd comes out of nowhere - so watch out for it right after you pass the big pecan store on the other side of the highway. That brings me to my second thing, and that is you should absolutely stop into the pecan store (formally known as Berdoll's) - they have some great Texas paraphernalia and amazing pecan products that they make in their own backyard! YUM. You can also take a picture with this little</> big guy, if you're feeling brave. Ava was feeling up to the task, that is, until I went to click, hence the tears :(

The Dino Park can be found at 893 Union Chapel Road, Cedar Creek, TX  78612.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Playing Catch Up.

Mommy's little ham, dressed up in an 18-24 month giraffe costume - lol!

My cutie pie with braids! Aww!

Relaxing on her "pillow" :)

What better way to spend an afternoon than the library?

My long-legged ballerina swimmer at a pool party mid-September! 

Not. Afraid. Of. Anything.

I always hear she looks like Shirley Temple - I totally see it :) 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Preschool Update!

Ava loves loves LOVES preschool. Usually. And she's doing GREAT as far as the learning and manners aspect goes. 


We've been having some separation anxiety issues on the way to school. I know this is normal, but it breaks my heart. Frequently when I drop her off, she tears up and says things like, "I just never want to be apart from you!", while kissing me repeatedly and saying I love you over and over :( I will say, though, that last week - her third week of school - went much better, with her not crying. I know when kids first go to school, and especially at the start of the year, this is common, but the sad face and the, "I want to be together with you every minute!" kills me a little :( 

The other thing that is on my mind about preschool is that Ava, who I consider to be a really social child, has been really isolating herself at school, specifically on the playground. As a child who was painfully shy and socially awkward, I want to encourage her to socialize, while not pushing her or making her feel as though she's doing something wrong, because she's not. She frequently reports sitting on the bench while at school on the playground, rather than playing with anyone. I know it's the beginning of the year, and the kids are all still getting to know one another, but I worry about her not forming social relationships and being outcast from her peers and this being pervasive in her school experience. I was made fun of and bullied and isolated at school, and while I know those things aren't the case with her, is the fact that she chooses to play alone, or sit on the bench and try to engage the adults instead of the other kids, an issue? Should I be doing something differently to encourage her to play with her peers? As I mentioned in my last post, I have volunteered as room mom for her class, and was planning to try to set up a group playdate to kind of break the ice with the kiddos, and potentially some one-on-one playdates with a couple of the kids that she seems interested in being friends with, but should I do more? Less? Am I worrying about something completely irrelevant and normal? Advice, please!

Friday, September 20, 2013

And So It Begins...

I have always been one to take education seriously, and have been looking forward to the day when I had my own children and was able to be involved with them and their schooling. My mom was awesome - she stayed home with me, and was involved in all my school projects, etc - setting the example that parents are just as important a part of a child's education as their teachers.

I somehow didn't realize that this urge - the need to be the overachieving parent going the extra mile - would consume me starting with preschool. That's the only possible explanation, right, for why I would, a month out from having a baby and someone in charge of running three different households in some capacity, volunteer myself as Ava's class's room mom. I mean, REALLY?! I couldn't tell you what came over me, only that I thought it sounded like a great idea at the time and totally within my abilities.

Another thing I thought sounded like a fantastic idea at the time? Volunteering to bring Ava's bunny, Babs, to "B" show-and-tell yesterday, despite the fact that it was a logistical nightmare both for myself and my poor, unsuspecting husband. Um....

What it is, at heart, is that I want so badly for her to love school and love learning as much as I did as a child, and to me, an active parent, especially given her anxiety about being away from me, is the way to ensure that early on. But someone please remind me of that when I'm knee-deep in nursing pads and diapers and eight days post-op and I have to tend to Ava's school's Halloween party....

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thank You, President Obama!

You may be asking yourself: Why did President Obama buy you a breast pump? And, while I'd love to claim we're secretly BFFs, the direct answer is that he didn't. But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, my insurance went from not covering it whatsoever with Ava, to covering a top-of-the-line breast pump in full! That's right, friends. Not even a co-payment required, and I went from pump-less on Tuesday, on the phone with my insurance for about five minutes giving them my due date and obstetric information, to pump in hand (prior to my due date!!!) a mere six days later! Say what you will about our President (my own remarks tend to be quite positive, obviously), but empowering expectant mothers and providing them the opportunity to have every chance at success with breastfeeding is not only an amazing thing for women, but also an amazing thing for our health care system. Breastfeeding as a preventative measure could save an unfathomable amount of money on health costs. 

Thank you, President Obama!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Our Little Squash: 34 Weeks (and Belly Pics!)!

How far along: 34 weeks

Net weight gain/loss: 24 pounds

Maternity clothes: yes, though hoping I retired the maternity swimsuit this past weekend. Shouldn't bathing suit season be over?

Stretch marks: not yet 

Belly button: fully popped 

Sleep: It's hit or miss. Either great, or awful. Either way, I need a lot of it!

Baby movement: Insanely active.

Gender: still a boy...

Food cravings: nothing - I haven't been feeling like eating lately...

Food aversions: no real aversions - I feel less nauseous than I have this entire pregnancy lately - but no real desire for food, either.

What I miss: not feeling so exhausted and run down all the time.

Looking forward to: figuring out this baby's name!

Best moment this week: Still fitting into my size S maternity swimsuit, and finishing up hanging stuff up in the nursery.

Milestones: baby can recognize simple songs that I sing :) He tends to love the sound of Ava's voice, mainly because she's a.) loud, and b.) high-pitched and excited most of the time, so he gets quite active when she's around!

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