Monday, June 30, 2014

Things to Do in Round Rock: Round Rock Art Academy Camp.

Ava has had a blast this summer so far, between being home and playdates and camps. One of the camps that we've done for a couple weeks is a two day a week art camp at the Round Rock Art Academy. While I have my share of strengths, the creative arts - particularly drawing, painting, etc - are not amongst them. I'm lucky to ink out a decent stick figure. Thankfully, with the help of the Art Garden camp, I was wise enough to delegate Ava's art education to the pros, and I'm so glad I did. On just the first day, she painted this picture of me, and I love it. In fact, it's on my nightstand, where it will likely stay...forever. LOVE <3 p="">

Friday, June 27, 2014

Zilker Park Fun!

We've posted about Zilker Park a time or two, but it never stops being a great way to spend a summer morning, especially when you find yourself with a few hours between things to do! We ended up with some time to kill between getting our Hillary tickets and actually having to be in line on Friday, so we went over to spend some time at Zilker Park, riding the train, playing on the playscape and eating snow cones! The kiddos loved it :)

As complete as I feel our family is, it does make me a bit sad to know that my days with a baby snuggled up sleeping in the crook of my neck are numbered :(

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Little Gym of Round Rock: Jack is a Bug!

As you already know, Ava has long been taking classes at The Little Gym of Round Rock, and absolutely loves it. The teachers, the gym, the curriculum - it's been such a great fit for our family. So when Jack went mobile recently, I figured it was high time for Jack's own introduction to the gym!

The youngest class they offer is the Bugs class, starting around four months of age. We just started a couple of weeks ago while Jack was seven months old, so he'll only stay in the Bugs class for the summer (until he's ten months, when they graduate to the next level), but he's really loved it so far! 

The first week I wasn't sure of what to expect, and it could've gone better. Jack was in what might be rare form for less intense babies, but what was kind of par for the course for him, and we ended up going to sit in the multipurpose room mid-class so I could calm him down. Thankfully the instructor is used to babies and surely had seen it all, so no one even batted an eyelash.

Aside from the mid-class fit-throwing, our first class went great! It started out with us introducing ourselves and our babies, and then leading them through a series of stretches and warm-up exercises. After that, we do an activity incorporating a new motor or cognitive skill; in the case of our first class, we made music and tapped two rods together in different ways. Or, in Jack's case, he chewed on the sticks and then screamed when I took them away. Same difference.

We've also spent time exploring the gym on our own, doing front rolls over rolling gym equipment with our instructor, grabbing the rings and hanging out on the air track. So many wonderful sensory experiences! Each class ends with bubbles, easily one of Jack's favorite parts. He crawls all over the floor trying to pop (or really smash!) them. He also loves the bouncy balls that we practice rolling and playing with, except I think it's because the big white button where they get inflated has led him to believe that they are giant boobies and he attacks them as such.

One of the benefits of the class, aside from the obvious stimulation and development for Jack, is that it is a great opportunity to meet other moms with babies who are similarly-aged and who are in a similar place in their life. It can be really isolating having a young baby, and having support and knowing others are going through the same thing can really help to get you through what can be a lonely time!

We can't wait for our next class!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Why My Abs Are a Work in Progress.

This is what happened the other day when I got down on the ground to do my daily ab workout for June's 30-day challenge:

My abs might not be perfect, but my little family is :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jack: 8 Months Old!

Jack's 8 months old, y'all! 2/3 of the way to his first birthday! Holy. Moly.

In other news, he's doing some cool stuff, namely, pulling himself up and standing with support. In fact, though he's not physically capable yet, he wants so, so badly to walk, and gets so excited when he's standing! He's even attempting to cruise around a bit by reaching between the coffee table and the couch while standing and moving slowly down each. He can also now push himself into a sitting position from crawling, and can go from standing to sitting on his own. It'll be no time before he's walking, running, name it! 

Here's my little snuggle bug on his eight month birthday:

The posed pics:

And then a dose of reality...

In case it's not obvious above, he's teething in a major way. Chewing. on. everything (and grouchy to boot!) C'mon already, teefers!

At eight months, Jack:
- weighs 18 lbs, 5 oz.
- is " long
- has two bottom teeth, as well as the beginnings of some on top
- still intolerant of milk protein in my milk, though seeming to react slightly less. WOOHOO!
- pulling up to standing, and standing with support
- still army crawling, flash lightning style
- wearing 6-9/6-12 mo. clothing
- such a mama's boy! Your face lights up anytime I come into the room or come towards you with my arms out to hold you, and you've started to put your arms up to be held. So adorable!!! I love my mama's boy!
- are starting to do some rudimentary signing and communicating, particularly "all done" during mealtimes.
- are still breastfed only, though you eat a bit of solids at breakfast and dinner. Though I try to give you baby food sometimes, you much prefer to feed yourself, and we do a majority of baby-led weaning style of solids introduction, giving you all sorts of little nibbles from our plate. Some of your current items include tomatoes, french bread, turkey, ham, watermelon (one of your favorites!), bananas, strawberries, oatmeal, eggs, bacon, toast, rice, bakes beans, black beans, pulled pork, and more! You're a great little eater!
- You nurse on demand still, which is still often during the day, and once to twice at night. 
- You sleep curled up on your left side next to me, nursing when you need and usually with your body touching mine. You're so sweet and snuggly.

I love you so much, baby boy! I can't wait to see what this month will bring!

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Little Picasso.

Ava's spent a couple half days this week at art camp, and what she made during the painting-focused day kind of blew my mind. She's been crazy into drawing pictures of me lately, so I wasn't terribly surprised when I head that she chose to paint a portrait of me, but I was, however, surprised when her art teacher handed me this:


For the record, her teacher helped her to trace over her drawing to make it easier to paint, but still - I was quite impressed. This framer is now sitting on my nightstand.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Happy Father's Day (A Week Belated..)

 You continuously amaze me with your attention to and love for our children, and how much they admire and adore you. I love you more every day for it. Happy Father's Day to the best father I know, and the kind of father every child should grow up with.

Friday, June 20, 2014

We're Ready for Hillary!

Friday morning, I woke up thinking it was any other day. I had playgroup on the calendar, but other than that, nothing going on. 

Then, an email from Ready for Hillary! landed in my inbox, announcing that the bus tour would be outside of BookPeople during her book signing this afternoon to show support. Say what? I knew she would be speaking at the Long Center this month, but had no idea she was going to be doing a book signing. 

If you've been reading for a while, or even if you have heard a single word that's ever come out of my mouth, you know I'm a die hard democrat. A liberal, even, if you will. I lean to the left of the left. And I am a BIG Hillary fan. My daughter, even before today, knew her name and had a four-year-old understanding of the reverence with which we speak it. So naturally, I ventured over to see the book signing details and, by some miracle, there was a slight note that there were a itty bitty number of tickets left in store. Friends, I'm pretty sure I've never gotten myself from the couch to the car in such a quick amount of time. Thankfully I was already showered and all that jazz, so we all threw on some clothes, threw some snacks in the diaper bag, and went running out the door to snag one of those tickets! 

I was so nervous the entire drive that they would sell out, especially as I parked and watched multiple other people heading in with the same fervor that I was, but again, by some miracle, we got a ticket! 

Kiddos under ten were allowed without, two per adult, so one ticket for the cost of a copy of her book later, and we had a few hours to kill until we needed to be back. The book signing was to take place at 3pm, though I knew I wanted to be back around 2 to get in line. Luckily, after a trip to the park, ride on the train, snow cone and lunch at the Whole Foods playscape (I figured I needed to load up on my bribes for later...), we made it back around 1 instead, and headed to the car to drop our belongings and get in line. I say luckily because we ended up about 200+ deep in line, with people already queued up around noon when we got back for lunch. What?! Add to that the 95 degree heat and bajillion percent humidity, and I was starting to panic.

Just then, an angel appeared...ok, so just a BookPeople employee, but seriously, I may have pledged my love and devotion to him when he said, "Come with me! I'm taking you inside to go in with the first group because of the baby."


I'm not sure how long I stood there with my jaw hanging open, but next thing I knew we were being whisked to the front of the line and into the air conditioning (hallelujah!) into the "special needs" area, where another mother with a toddler and multiple other differently-abled individuals and those with medical issues were waiting to be the first in the room to meet Hillary! 

There were so many things that could have stressed me out. Ava could've needed to go potty suddenly, Jack could've screamed the entire time, I could've thought that taking two children to go wait for hours in the heat with nothing to do was insane and just gone home, which I considered briefly when faced with the line. But somehow, some way, none of those things happened. Instead, the kindness of strangers and Texans came into play multiple times, from the way BookPeople treated us and handled not making us wait in the heat with the baby, to the others in the room who took turns talking to Ava and playing games with her while we waited for over an hour for Hillary's people to clear the room and prep everything and the dogs to come in and do their sniff search and so on. My kids? They were amazingly behaved. Jack slept in my arms for half an hour, and a kind woman next to me played "I spy" with her when she got restless. It was a really, really great day, and that was before Hillary even came in.

Then, finally at 3, she walked into the room, and the air itself seemed to change in her presence. The crowd broke out in applause and whoops of support, and Hillary was more gracious and lovely than I could've imagined. She shook my daughter's hand and asked her name and how old she was, then turned her sights on me and Jackson, asking how old he was and making us feel like we were the only people in the room. Ava may have handled herself better than I did here, speaking clearly and confidently, whereas I was overwhelmed by her very presence and was like, "Huh? Who? Me?", at least mentally.

Here's sweet Ava proudly caring for our new signed book:

In case I wasn't sailing high enough off of that exchange, I received a text from a friend a couple hours later that said, "Just saw you with Hillary on the CBS News. You're so famous!" 


Having stepped out to run an errand, I called my husband to tell him to turn on CBS, and turned to Facebook to locate the video, if possible. Within minutes, I had it sent to me, and with one last miracle of the day, got to watch myself walk across the screen with my two children, and her shake both of our hands. We weren't allowed photos in the room due to time constraints, so naturally I took screen shots of the video. How. Amazing.

Things to Do in Round Rock: Micki Krebsbach Pool.

The summer has only just begun, and boy have we found a gem! My meetup group recently met up at Micki Krebsbach Pool (here forth just called the "Pirate Pool" at our house, per my daughter's apt naming skills) for an afternoon at a kid-friendly pool, and it was awesome! I always enjoy pools that have toddler/kiddie areas with zero-entry beaches, but have older kid- and parent-friendly attractions also (here, the water slide and barrel rope challenge were awesome!). This place really is fun for the entire family! Ava's already been asking to go back. Here are some pics from our visit, including one of me with Jack in his water sling (Water slings, by the way? Basically the best invention ever, allowing Jack to be strapped to me and kept above water while I am able to have both hands on Ava when needed also. If you're in need of one, I can put you in touch with the woman who made mine both fast and inexpensively!).

Without further adeiu:

What you should know:
-There is an entrance fee, but they accept visa/mastercard. Woot! They also accept cash, obviously. For Round Rock residents, it's $2.50 for adults, $1.50 for kids (even infants). I believe it's an additional dollar per person for non Round Rock residents.
-Micki Krebsbach Pool is named for a young girl who drowned many years back. Please, please, please be familiar with what drowning looks like, as well as the dangers of secondary drowning, and watch and act accordingly.
-Micki Krebsbach Pool is located at 301 Deepwoods Dr, Round Rock, TX  78681

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Things to Do in Round Rock: Round Rock Donuts.

Given how many Austin-area things we've covered, and how much time I've been spending in Round Rock this summer so far, between Ava's gymnastics classes and Jack's gym class at The Little Gym and camps and pools and whatnot, it seemed only appropriate to move some of the "Things to Do..." series I inadvertently take up each summer to the Round Rock area.

Whether you're a Round Rock newbie or a native Round Rock-er (or just someone who's spent a bit of time watching Food Network), you've likely heard of Round Rock Donuts. Though I live less than fifteen minutes away from this notable bakery, I'd never actually visited, thanks to the proximity and allure of Ken's Donuts during my college years stealing my heart. Wanting to right that particular wrong, we made a pit stop this morning on the way to art camp. 

I'm not a big glazed donut fan - I like 'em fancy. Cover them in chocolate, add sprinkles or nuts or coconut, fill them...I like my donuts complicated. But knowing that Round Rock Donuts was famous for their plain glazed (their orange glaze is what put them on the map - yum!), we picked up one of those, as well as a strawberry with sprinkles for A, and a chocolate with sprinkles for me (yeah, yeah, I know I'm not supposed to have dairy, but I'm only human!). Overall, I liked them. I certainly thought they topped Krispy Kreme, but that's not saying much from me, since I'm not a KK believer. I'm glad I tried them, and wouldn't turn one down if someone was handing it to me, but I'm not sure I know what all the fuss is about. Sure, they're good, but they're donuts. Of course they're good. I do think that I'll be back in the future to check out a chocolate frosted cupcake and their frosted tea cookies, though, and, if I'm in the area anyhow, potentially pick up yet another donut :)

Rollingwood Park.

Though I'd been to Rollingwood Park, you could somewhat say I rediscovered it recently, taking Ava for the first time with some friends. The park is almost always quiet - something I love - and offers shade, has a covered pavilion, and a second playscape up above on the off chance of a crowd. Mainly, though? It's just adorable, and great for kids of varied ages.

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