Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in Dallas!

This was our first Christmas as holiday travelers and I have to tell you... it was really pleasant. Traffic was completely manageable, quality entertainment in the car and even some car naps. And who doesn't love a good car nap?

In regards to our mini-van, Olive, well, let's just say that she impressed us more than ever before. You see... we had to get a bit crafty. Two of these guys...
Lead to the creation of this guy... (BIG shout out to my dad for the overhead canopy... saved us!)

Our holiday adventures in Dallas began Thursday evening with a great Miller/May family night. Molly was even able to spend the night with her bestie which she LOVED.
Gabriel tried really hard to stay the night too... we just pushed it right up to his bedtime instead.

Such cute little best friends!
Christmas Eve Mass we were running late yet again--- story of our life--- but we did make it in time to score some seats in the cry room. Score. The May children looked FANCY. Even though we were in the cry room, Gabriel still had to visit the perimeters of the building a few times too. Oh nursery, if only you were open during the holidays!

Christmas Eve was spent at Granta's...

Hard to believe it 'twas the night before Christmas...
Christmas morning was magical (for the grown ups too!)
Gabriel was especially taken with his construction gear...
while Molly rocked Barbie Dream House. This thing is bigger than her. see... Did I mention how much fun we had packing the car to head home?

Great cousin love this weekend...
Christmas night was spent at Grandma's and the day after was spent rounding with Gigi/Haji and the Hoslers...
While Christmas was a bit on the go we really left feeling like we had great visits with so many people we love! All in all, it was one rockin' holiday.
We are hopefully going to attempt two more visits to Dallas before the arrival of one new baby... so stay tuned for more Dallas hoopla to come!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

From us to you

Wishing you all a safe holiday that is filled with love and laughter! And for those of you with blogs/fb accounts---- I can't wait to see your pictures!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Comfort Positions in Medical Procedures

One of my HUGE pillars that I stand behind in the profession of Child Life is the advocacy for comfort positions in medical procedures. While this concept might seem like such a minuscule platform in regards helping a child best cope to hospitalization, in reality, many of a child's first hospital encounters is typically through a procedure (most likely in the Emergency Department). If you can increase the child's level of control from the start, all the while providing him/her with constant support and involvement of caregivers than their overall ability to cope with the full hospitalization is only that much better.

It is like what I believe in all things in regards to children---- start with a successful beginning and you have a better chance of lifetime of positive growth and development. This is why I have a special place in my heart for all you kindergarten teachers in this world too.

Back to comfort positions. The best thing about a position of comfort is that you are allowing a child to be comforted by the person they need most---their parent--- all the while handling a very scary and often uncomfortable procedure in the most supported way possible. It works. Just know--- sometimes it just takes a parent to ask about it in a medical setting. Oh, the power we parents can hold.

Comfort positions can be utilized in doctor's offices, in the hospital and in everyday home-life (hello, bulb syringe and snotty nose... anyone?) Several of my colleagues are specifically presenting on this topic at our professional conference in Chicago this summer (SO WISH I COULD GO!).... so you can imagine my excitement to have an opportunity to support a concept I care so greatly about. (Hint... look for some cute familiar faces :)

Who knows, maybe you will too.

This is the initial cut--- the extended fancy version will be available after conference :)

*don't forget to pause some music on the side

Monday, December 20, 2010

Girl Date

After what seemed like an incredibly productive yet relaxing weekend (insert all presents bought and wrapped!), Molly and I capped off the weekend with a little date night. So often I find myself so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of work, laundry, grocery shopping, running to parks, playdates, etc that I just forget to take the time to spend some quality time with my each of my children. Now that we have more than one child, the opportunity for some 1:1 is a lot less--- and definitely something we need to make more time for. This is something that Kelly and I are both trying to focus more efforts on before the arrival of Miss Lucy. We want to give our kids just a bit more of focused attention before the true new baby fatigue and sibling regression arrives with the excitement of our Bellini.

Last night, Molly and I were finally able to go and see Disney's Tangled. We have been trying to see this for awhile now but with school parties, holiday gatherings and mile long to-do lists, it just hadn't happened. Molly was really excited to stay up late (movie started at 7:30) and enjoy some "girl time". Daddy and Gabey had their own exciting "boy time" at home with trains and Polar Express.

First of all, what a great movie!

Disney yet again does not disappoint. Can I please just tell you how much I love that my daughter too shares in the love that is Disney princesses? So fun to watch these movies with her! In the previews, we were really excited to see a preview for Cars 2. Molly shouted out, "Oh! Gabey is going to be soooooo excited!". Man, does she know her brother or what?! The constant conversation in the car though had to be my most favorite part. I just love that I am at a point where I can have such great conversations with my daughter.

So... as we prepare to meet Lucy, we will also be sure to make time for great little dates with our family of four because time sure flies and we really don't want to miss out on all the greatness that is now. And who am I to ever say no to date night?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Program

This afternoon was Molly's Christmas program at her preschool. Only the 3 and 4-year-old classes perform so Gabey just enjoyed his own party with his class. We were SO excited that Grandma and Grandpa Miller were able to come and watch the performance today.

I do have several warnings:

1. Note, this is a loooonnnggg video that I would normally edit (I actually did cut out some of the entrance) but because we want to give the Dallas grandparents the full performance we are leaving it.

2. Molly is excited about her performance but you will likely not see her smile throughout the WHOLE thing. I think the combination of a million cameras, excitement of Grandma and Grandpa's presence and Mommy/Daddy in the front row brought out the serious intensity that is in Molly's chemical make-up. SERIOUS. INTENSITY. Thank goodness she had her two friends, Ava and Willa, right next to her hamming it up!

*don't forget to pause music on the side...

Movie in the Park

Tonight might have been my favorite event of the holiday season. The Austin Parks and Recs was hosting a movie night tonight at Republic Square Park in downtown Austin. The show was completely free. You just bring your picnic dinner, cozy blankets (we even saw a beanbag or two) and the people you love for some good ole holiday movie watching (Dogs welcome too!). Rosie George didn't make it because let's face it--- it wouldn't have been very enjoyable for anyone else with food.

Crazy to think that yesterday evening was 72 degrees and tonight was 49 degrees. Hello, cold front. Surprisingly, all the movie snuggling kept us really warm ---- and there was always the hot chocolate stand right there if we were to get a little cold. Tonight featured two movies: The Classic Clay Rudolph Movie and the cartoon Grinch movie. We only stayed for the first hour (first movie) because we didn't want to chance our luck with some sleepy May kids. Such a fun night! I believe that this is the only holiday one of the season but they have movie nights all spring and summer too...

We will definitely be doing this next year too!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Share those cookies!

I have had awesome intentions of blogging each night this week. However, I didn't factor in a fun filled weekend and then two nights in a row of ER shifts. So... here we are.

Last week my friend, Ticia, hosted a cookie swap with a group of Moms and kids. I had never been to one before and ooooooohhhh the sugary goodness was just about perfect. Yes, "was" is my sad little verb of choice because you can bet your buns those cookies were all consumed in a matter of two days. Baby Lucy says thank you, Ticia.

The concept is really easy. You bring a batch of your favorite cookies (that hopefully your children won't destroy/consume pre-party) and the recipe. Then you swap them with all the goodies that the other people brought. In the end I had my own carton of 6 different kinds of cookies that were FANTASTIC.

We also had all the kids decorate sugar cookies for Christmas. And yes, Gabriel is eating a spoonful of communal icing right as I was taking this picture. Because my view screen is messed up I didn't know it until I was home... oops. Happy germs, friends.

Do not let Molly's expression fool you=== she is just in icing overload as she licked about 4 cookies clean. FUN ride home. And yes, that awesome McDonald's happy meal watch she is wearing goes EVERYWHERE with us. And... her shirt might be on backwards. Don't judge.
Who loves cookies? (and dirt, rocks, dog food...) THIS GUY!
Molly was really excited to finally meet baby Kasey. Molly had been waiting for her to "pop" out and now that she is here, she just couldn't keep her hands off her. I can't wait for her to snuggle our little Bellini.
Such a good time with friends!
I really would be okay having a weekly cookie swap... anyone?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jill the Christmas tree

Every year we head out to a good ole' Christmas tree farm and find our tree. It is one of my most FAVORITE holiday traditions! We had decided this year to find a tree at a farm close to Austin lest we hit up IH 35 for a nice 3+ hour stint of Yuletide cheer on the top of our van. Looking at our calendar it quickly became clear that in order to get to the tree farm we would need to wait for an open weekend pretty close to Christmas. We were ready for a tree now. Sooooo... we took a nice ole' family trip to Lowes. Not going to lie, it didn't have quite the same level of holiday excitement as the tree farm does but we ended up with a great Christmas tree---for a really great price. Which Molly promptly named Jill.

This year marked the first year that both Molly and Gabriel were really into the whole decorating thing. They did have a little practice round at Nonnie's last weekend which I think helped.

By the end all of the ornaments were located in the same general space which meant some clever ornament relocating once the kids were in bed.
In the end... Jill looked FANCY!

Gabriel really wanted to help put on the tree topper thanks to good ole' Fancy Nancy. We didn't think he would be able to but used it as a little photo op. Let me tell you, he put that star right on the top and completely centered on the tree. He might have found his new Christmas spotlight...because we all know Molly will get nowhere near a ladder.

We sure are enjoying all the holiday memories we are making with our own little family. I don't know about you but I think that having small children around Christmas time is the BEST thing to experience.

Hopping Holiday Weekend

I know that I don't even have to mention that the holidays are here. You know this. Christmas lights everywhere, aisles of toys crowding up the stores and let's not even mention that little dip in the bank account. Yeah... let's not even go there.

Another indicator that the holidays are upon us is the BUSY schedules we seem to be keeping these days! While yes, they are fun and exciting--- it is also REALLY busy. This past weekend was NO exception. 32 hours of fun in Dallas celebrating one special one-year old and one awesome mommy. Great weekend.

Because we weren't leaving for Dallas until Saturday morning, we had just enough time to squuuueeeze in a quick trip to the Sights n' Sounds festival in San Marcos, Texas. This is a family favorite for sure and I am shocked at how much it has grown in just the past 6 years! Luckily, it still had that small town feel that makes it oh, so wonderful! If you missed it this year---be sure to check it out next season.

Such BEAUTIFUL Christmas lights...

can really put you in mood to dance. Carlton style.
And even though, it was a lukewarm 72 degrees it was still a very festive night!

And you bet we didn't resist the May family favorite...

Once we arrived in Dallas it was off to celebrate this big boy! Baby Jack turned one and he had such a fun celebration! It was a circus themed party which sure seemed like the perfect fit for my two clowns.

And... it was a great excuse to see some other favorites too!

The rest of our weekend was pretty much spent preparing for a shower honoring Miss Stella! We can't wait for her to arrive!
Everything at the shower was so wintry and festive. It helps that the high was somewhere around 50.

At least Molly had her best friend to snuggle with and stay warm!

Even Stella and Lucy had some quality belly kissing time.

So busy and yet so much fun. Hard to believe that Christmas weekend will be here soooo soon. We are becoming quite good friends with IH 35.