Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A New Road.

For the past several months, I've been a stay-at-home mom, a position I have coveted for years and have adored while I've had the chance. While I'm still going to be a mostly-stay-at-home-mom, I've accepted a part-time position...teaching at the children's school!

Can I just take a moment to say how fortunate I've been since my children were born? Despite a continued need to work, I've had only jobs that have kept me within arms reach of them, easing my nervous mommy mind and aiding in my journey in extended breastfeeding and other attachment parenting processes. In case I haven't said it recently, I am so, so very thankful.

I won't be flying solo teaching until next Tuesday, but I have been shadowing the current teacher for the past two weeks, and I have to admit that I'm really loving it! I'm in the nursery classroom, with the 1- to 2-year-old toddlers, and I adore it! I've always said that I find 18 months - 3 years to be such an amazing age - the emergent language skills, increasing independence (while still being cuddly), and their fascination with the world around them are some of my favorite qualities! I was nervous about the fact that I'll be finishing out this school year with Jackson in my class, but so far, he's adjusted well. The first half hour of the first day was difficult, with him trying to figure out why I didn't leave at drop off, but still wasn't holding him, but he's been great ever since. Our one big challenge is his wanting to nurse when he gets tired after lunch, but thankfully we have a short day (four hours), and I'm able to redirect him until school is out successfully! Next year, he'll be in the 2's class while I'll still be in the nursery, so that should be easier for both of us! I will admit, however, it's fascinating to see him in action at school. For all the tantrums he saves for me at home, he's really well-behaved at school, and his social skills and verbal skills are on par with all of his older classmates :)

Here's to new adventures, and for continuing to be a part of a community I love!  I am so thankful for this opportunity!

Friday, April 17, 2015

ROBOTS-4-U S.T.E.A.M Education Summer Camp - Save 60% With Code!

S.T.E.A.M. education: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math!

ROBOTS-4-U Summer Camps Now Enrolling - Where Fun, Thinking & Learning comes to Life! 
www.ROBOTS-4-U.com @Robots4U - Facebook.com/Robots4Usummercamp

DYNAMIC ART & DESIGN Summer Camps Now Enrolling - Where Technology Meets Creativity! 
www.dynamic-art-design.com @Robots4U #DynamicArt - Facebook.com/DynamicArtClass

Campers having a BLAST, while learning and playing in a dynamic environment. Learning about Robotics and Science, in an independent and exciting way!
Visit our WEB Sites Robots-4-U.com and Dynamic Art Design to see dates and locations for these day camps.

- Robot / Science / Engineering / Day Camp / Challenges

- Camps Girls and Boys - Aged 7 to 14

- Robot Camps and Dynamic Art Camps offered during June, July and August

- Hands on Learning, Self-Paced. Beginners to Expert!


- 1 week (5 days) long

- Days: Monday to Friday Times: 9:00-11:30a.m. and 12:30-3:00 p.m.

- CAMPERS RATIO: 1 Instructor to 16 participants
-Register early as camps do fill up quickly!

- Each Camper Individually uses a ROBOTICS or DYNAMIC ART Kit. Robot kits do not go home with campers but are available for purchase!

Save 60% off of this amazing, enriching and educating summer camp with the code USF1550r, and enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Body Worlds Has Arrived at The Texas Museum of Science and Technology!

For the first time ever, Gunther von Hagen's Body Worlds exhibit has arrived in Austin! 

Having been on exhibit in over seventy different cities in the past twenty years, Body Worlds rolled into the Texas Museum of Science and Technology last month, where it will stay through mid-September. An original and unique exhibit, Body Worlds gives a firsthand look into the anatomy and physiology of the human body, using corpses that have been donated to science and treated by the process of plastination, for the purpose of education and research. 

Plastination is a fascinating process, one that consists of five steps and takes over a year to complete! Though I'll admit to feeling a bit wary of the idea of viewing actual human bodies in the exhibit, I must say that the plastination process makes it look like a really fantastic scale model - nothing disgusting about it!

I was really excited to be taking Ava to see Body Worlds since she's at an age where she's both very curious about the functions of the body, and she's also very athletic. A lot of the bodies in one of the sections are positioned in athletic stances, and some of the figures are those of flamenco dancers or ballerinas, highlighting the differing muscle development of athletes. Seeing as how it's the middle of baseball season in our household, Ava particularly enjoyed the figure that was holding a bat, ready to swing, and it made the explanation of the different muscle groups and what she was seeing so much more relatable to her. She was very curious that evening as she went to swing her own bat while practicing about what was happening underneath her skin - pretty neat for a five-year-old!

© Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS, Institute for Plastination, Heidelberg, Germany, www.bodyworlds.com.
All rights reserved.

Though she really enjoyed viewing the musculoskeletal system, I find the circulatory models to be the most fascinating. Seeing the complicated interweaving of blood vessels definitely made me feel a certain pride in my own body - it is shocking even for someone my age to think of all that is going on under the surface. 

I was initially concerned that the exhibit may be a bit too old for her, but she's been talking about it ever since we left! I struggle with how much information to discuss with her about things like smoking and other vices at her age, but viewing the black lung and seeing on screen what happens when plaque build up causes a heart attack provided the perfect opportunity to start to drive home the point that our actions have consequences, and many of those consequences accumulate in our bodies. I overheard her discussing the lung, as well as the slice of the brain that had a hemorrhage, with my husband, and I will admit I felt immensely satisfied. What a perfect way to introduce young people to the inner workings of their body, and the different ways in which we can choose to harm or help it along.

© Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS, Institute for Plastination, Heidelberg, Germany, www.bodyworlds.com.
All rights reserved.

Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life is on display through September 20, 2015, with exhibits open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets may be purchased in advance at TX MoST, or at the box office. Admission is $21 for adults, $18 for seniors/students with ID, and $16 for children 6-17. Under 6 is free. Group rates are available for groups of 15 or more, as well as for field trips.

The new Texas Museum of Science and Technology can be found in its interim space at the former Soccerplex, located at 1220 Toro Grande, Cedar Park, TX  78613.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Baseball Opening Ceremonies and Ava's First Game!

Baseball season started a couple weeks back, and it kicked off with a bang with the opening ceremonies. My in-laws drove up for the occasion and to see the kids, which made it extra special for Ava! We're so lucky to have them within driving distance for things like this! Here are some pictures from opening ceremonies, and also Ava's first game, which followed the ceremonies and made it so we spent FOUR HOURS at the fields that morning. She had a great time, though, and did great! 

Here's from their first game vs. the San Francisco Giants! We won 9-3, which totally made Ava's day, since it was her first foray into competitive sports, and she really still only understands them in terms of winning and losing. We're working on the whole, "It's not if you win, but how you play the game (and have fun!)" aspect of sports ;)

  And of course, the joys of being a baseball mom :)

Free Mug at Color Me Mine in Bee Caves!

Looking for a fun way to get out of the house with your kids, while still staying out of the heat? Look no further than Color Me Mine, Bee Caves premiere ceramics painting studio! Color Me Mine has hundreds of ceramic shapes to choose from, including unique shapes from Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. films and Angry Birds - something you won't find anywhere else! They also boast a design center featuring over 22,000 images to help kickstart that inspiration and help you make the most of your visit, as well as over sixty colors to paint with and friendly, helpful staff! 

Color Me Mine also provides a great setting for a birthday party, bridal/baby/couples showers, school painting programs, and community fundraising! 

Come in today and receive a free mug!

Monday, April 13, 2015

On Children in Church.

I was at church yesterday morning - a place that, at 30, I truly enjoy being. I enjoy the community, the ritual, the sanctity, the peace, and - most importantly - I want to pass that along to my children. Imagine my horror, then, when during the peace, a woman whom I've attended church with for six years now (though admittedly is someone I know only by name) reached in to hug me and wish me God's peace and noted, "You know he should be in the nursery, right?"

While I now have a slightly bitter diatribe prepared, at the time all I could come up with was, "Umm..?" When I finally picked my jaw up off the floor, I was able to indicate that, yes, I knew about the nursery, but I liked him to be in here, taking it all in.

"Well, he's not," she stated, in no uncertain terms. 

I don't know if you've been reading for long, but if you have, you know I have no problem expressing myself. I'm not easily shaken, and stand firm in my beliefs. Yet still, with this overt statement that my child was not welcome in the chapel, it took me a minute to find my ground again. In fact, after the peace, as we sat through announcements, and birthday and anniversary blessings, and prepared for communion and the like, I was so upset by her comments that I took my son into the nursery to change his diaper, and left him there while my daughter and I returned to the chapel. We continued through the service, rising to take communion, and though it may have been more peaceful for a few, I felt unsettled. It's not uncommon for mother's to feel this way when separated from their children, so I dismissed it, but when we received communion, Ava looked at me sadly and asked, "But when is Jack Jack getting his chip?"

We immediately bolted to the nursery and returned to receive communion as a family.

I've gotten off topic, but all this is to say this: I'm sorry if the presence of children in church can be distracting. I'm sorry that my five-year-old sometimes sits in the pew next to me and reads to my one-year-old from the Bible stories in the kid's area in the back (note: there is a KID'S AREA inside the chapel!). I'm sorry that my daughter talks through the service, but do you know what she's asking? She's asking about the stories. She's asking about the resurrection. She's asking about the significance of the cross hanging up above us. She's asking about the lyrics. These are discussions that, while potentially ill-timed, are so important. In fact, though they may not be active adult participants at this time, and they may not sit perfectly still, enthralled by the sermon, they ARE taking it all in. They are getting a feel for the rituals and rites of our church. They're learning the words to some of our most storied songs. They're putting dollar bills into the collection plate and learning why. They're bearing witness to the love and the joy and the sadness and pain that is our history. And someday, when they're grown and leave my home and are out in the world without my constant input and guidance, they'll be looking for familiarity. They'll be exploring their history, and how it impacts their future. And they'll need a place that feels like home. It is my most important wish that, when that inevitably happens, that they will look to Him and find it in His house, rather than outside of Him. So yes, my children can be noisy. Sometimes those goldfish crunch louder than one would think possible. Once, Jack even had a blowout that was embarrassingly audible during the sermon. But please, bear with us, and remember: Wherever you are in your journey of faith, you are welcome at this table.

Bluebonnet Pics: 2015!

One of my favorite things about spring in Texas is the appearance of the beautiful bluebonnets! Though I'm always sad that their presence in short-lived, isn't that one of the best things about them? Knowing that they'll only be around for a few weeks always makes me appreciate them to the fullest while they last. The only downside to that is that if you want to get family photos in them (and every Texan does!), you've got an expiration date. Luckily, I had the wonderful Erin from Time in a Camera on my side, and she got some fabulous photos for us!

Thank you, Erin! These are truly photos we'll treasure forever!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ava Starts Little League!

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but Ava is a power hitter when it comes to playing in the backyard with the t-ball. In fact, she hit so hard when we first got it, that she split the little plastic bat right down the center and in half. Naturally, needing an ultimate scholarship for college, we signed her up for little league, ready to hone that talent early! ;)

Our season started last month, and while Ava remains as excited as ever to hit, she's not as psyched about learning the rules of the actual game. Adding to this was the realization when we got our team list that she's the only girl on the team, but with a quick pep talk, she quickly embraced this status! I see a few boy crazy years in my not-distant-enough future!

Here's my gal at her first practice:

And when she got her uniform! Go Yankees!

And then from her first few practices:

Game on, Yankees! 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter 2015.

I know it's the wrong season, but Easter always makes me feel like singing, "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" I just love, love, LOVE Easter. I love all that it stands for - the resurrection, and Christ's love for us. I love the season, and the weather, and the bluebonnets in bloom. I love traditional Easter garb, and the big hats and bonnets of ladies at church, and the kid-friendly activities like Easter egg hunts, and the bunnies and chicks. I just love, LOVE, Easter. Here's a little look at how our Easter went this year:

Baby's first Easter egg hunt on his own, first cascarones, first Peeps - oh my!
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