Archive for September, 2013

  • Chapter Twenty Six- Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

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    Now here’s a ratio I can handle…one adult to one child.  We met my lovely mother-in-law at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center (SANC) on Saturday morning for a nature hike with the kids and it was a perfect morning.  The weather was cool and sunny and we didn’t take the stroller.  We could have for most all of the paths we chose, though.  Everything was either paved or mulch.  Since I’ve written about SANC before, I’ll quickly recap that it’s a mere 15 minutes north of downtown, and prices are super reasonable.  Make sure to check in inside the (super cool LEED certified and beautiful) main building when you arrive.  Get maps and even check out a pack with cool exploring tools inside.  Oh, and while you’re in the building, say hi to the turtles and other small animals.  Or if it’s winter and there’s a fire going in the fireplace, pull up a rocking chair and sit for a bit.

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    Very close to the parking lot is the observation tower.  If you’re 8 months pregnant and/or have toddlers with you, send your husband up with your big kid while you collect pinecones.

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    Nana, Little T, Little A, and J.

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    Next we hiked  to Mystery Pond (after going around in a tiny circle, I may or may not have read the map incorrectly).

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    Not bad, eh?

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    So much exploring to do!

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    Theo pointing out the green frog to Little T.

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    Can you find it?  I’ll send you a postcard if you can.

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    And hi little box turtle!

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    Discovering snails…

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    Another frog!

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    Can you see it above?  Again, postcard to your mailbox if you tell me.

    And just so you know, when your husband grew up with a small pond in his yard, he turns out to be a really good nature guide and small animal finder.

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    The ampitheater was a great place to play.

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    Little T working on introducing her Papa.  “And now…here’s…Papa!!!!!!!!”

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    A Storm totem pole.

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    Practicing taking a bow.

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    And this is the view that captured Little A’s gaze for most of the time we were at the ampitheater.  Beautiful!

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    Continuing on the trail.

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    And on the Log Cabin Playspace (below).  There are three playspaces at SANC, all used by the nature preschool.  So if you visit, make sure to be respectful of the facility and remember that a bunch of little kids will be coming back to it in a day or two.

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    Such a morning out in nature made for un-prompted hand holding.  Big sister wanted to keep little sister safe in the parking lot.  Yes.

    It was a beautiful way to spend our Saturday morning.  The kids napped HARD that day and did some bonding and exploring.  We got exercise and breathed fresh air.  The only downside is that our dog couldn’t join us.  Unfortunately, no pets allowed in this nature preserve.  We certainly would have had a wet and cold dog had we brought him.  And the animals that we did see (ducks, frogs etc) would definitely have avoided us if we had our dog with us.  So I can’t be too mad at SANC 🙂

    Oh, and after the hike we stopped at Maxfield’s (where I became the center of unwanted attention.  It’s hard not to feel like a freak of nature when everyone is gawking at your (“giant!” or “tiny!” or “low” or “high”) pregnant belly and brood of small children) on Brown Deer Rd. and I let the twins eat packets of jam and butter for an appetizer.  No shame in getting some much needed calories in them.

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    Have a great week everyone!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter Twenty Five- Radio Milwaukee & Stone Creek Grand Opening

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    So remember how last week I was all “I’m only going to do boring stuff in my home for a while so be prepared”?  Well I was wrong.  My brother called me up to ask if I wanted to attend the VIP grand opening of the new Stone Creek Cafe and Radio Milwaukee building.  Um, a N/A party?  My favorite radio station?  Coffee?  And I’ll be home by 8pm?  YES!

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    Christopher (my brother, pictured below) introduced me to Eric Resch and his lovely wife Melissa, who were two of the nicest people I’ve met.  Eric owns Stone Creek and is excited about this new cafe, as it’s Milwaukee’s first and only manual brew coffee joint.  You can tell something’s different when you walk in, and it’s the lack of machinery.  And cool aesthetic.  And interesting crowd.  And location to Radio Milwaukee’s new digs.

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    That last pic is for you, Little T!

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    I actually stopped and didn’t move for a few seconds.  Then laughed.

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    Eric gave us a tour of 88.9 Radio Milwaukee’s new place, and it’s exciting.  I’ve been listening all summer and wondering when the move was going to happen.  The DJs have been talking about “space for community to be involved” and they’re right.  The studio pictured above is open to the public for viewing, and the big garage-like space looks just ripe for listening parties and more.

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    We also got to see the rooftop performance space, complete with a green roof (succulents covering much of the roof) and a killer view.  As we were watching the sunset agains the Fifth Ward, Melissa said something along the lines of “isn’t Milwaukee a good place?  I mean, it’s actually pretty cool.”  Which is why I started this blog.  Because this city has a ton to offer and I’m determined to be a part of it, and to help my neighbors and friends do the same.

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    This photo is looking down from the roof to the sidewalk cafe, complete with cozy firepit.

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    This was such a fun night.  I got to see the product of the Sound Foundation efforts at 88.9, meet some great folks, taste some delicious coffee, and hang with my brother.  It’s always exciting to learn about local businesses, too.

    Best of luck to both Stone Creek and Radio Milwaukee, thanks for having me!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter Twenty Four- Bookworm Gardens (Travel Edition)

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    My wonderful parents helped me out and took the kids for a few days.  Turns out that caring for three small children when you’re hugely pregnant is tough work.  Hence the break in posting.  That said, thanks to my (many many) readers for sticking with me.  My posts may be less exciting for a while, but I’ll try to keep up with once a week.

    Anyway, to pick up the kids after my two days of rest, I met everyone at Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan.  This is an awesome place that I hope to visit again in the near future.  It’s free and not terribly far away.  And beautiful!

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    The theme is of course children’s books, so your kids and run around and climb on things and be reminded of the stories you tell them at home.  We had a very short visit (I’ll get to that in a minute) and only saw about a third of the gardens.  There is a learning cottage with bathrooms and a gift shop, and a patio with table and chairs for your picnic lunch.  There is also plenty of shade which is DREAMY when you’re pregnant!

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    Visiting the Magic School Bus…

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    …Winnie the Pooh…

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    …The Three Bears…

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    …and One Leaf Rides the Wind.   We spent most of our time at this really cool tea house and rock garden.  Little T and J played lots in the rock garden, raking, moving stones around and generally being Zen-like.  Little A went straight for the shoes at the tea house cause the girl LOVES shoes.

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    Then she poured herself some tea.

    Then she sat in the tea and got her pants wet and the world ended and we had to go home because everyone was miserable.

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    I wish I had a better ending to this adventure.  But I don’t.

    I was talking with some family the other day about how everyone who blogs or has an Instagram account looks like they have a perfect or at least really beautiful and interesting life.  And then how we judge ourselves for not living up to those standards.  Now, if you’ve ever thought that my life is particularly beautiful or interesting, you’re partially right.  I get to do awesome things with my kids, friends, and family.  But in general these days you’ll catch me trying desperately to get my kids to stop screaming, and we leave the house as a group almost never.  Most of my time is spent vacuuming up dog hair and cleaning up spilled milk and counting the minutes until my husband gets home.  It’s ok, though.  I’m not complaining.  This is a challenging time, with young kids and being pregnant.  I’m ok with my kids playing inside a lot because it’s all I can do.  We make the most of it and have fun.  But I need to be honest and say that most of our adventures these days are eating peanut butter and jam on it sandwiches, or playing in our living room.

    Which is to say that my kids actually are developing great imaginations and finding ways to not be bored indoors.  In the 5 hours it’s taken me to write these few paragraphs (side tracked by lunch and above-mentioned screaming kids), I’ve had the pleasure of eavesdropping on all three of them playing some game in a large cardboard box that includes Little T giving instructions to the twins (“Ok, bakers, that’s enough sugar in there.  Ok, bakers, let’s make…so we got to put this in there…”) and everyone laughing sporadically.

    I can’t complain about that.

    So that’s my adventure for the week.  I’ll keep posting, perhaps about adventures in our home, but I’m not going anywhere.

    Enjoy the new season and best wishes for all the kids starting school,

    A. Storm