Archive for December, 2013

  • Chapter Thirty Seven- Milwaukee Art Museum: Play Date With Art

    I earned my stripes the other day.  I took all four kids to the Milwaukee Art Museum by myself.  And it was perfect.  In a messy-with-permanent-markers-all-over-your-face and excuse-me-ma’am-I-think-your-baby-is-crying kind of way.

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    The MAM’s Play Date With Art program is fun and just  what we need: a semi-structured and staffed activity with art and music.  Upon arrival, Jim (I think he’s a volunteer greeter.  We’ve chatted with him before in the cafe and my kids like him a lot) helped herd my crew to the east section of Windhover Hall (the lobby).  Thanks Jim!

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    Next, the amazing MAM staff got us setup with markers, transparent paper and mirrors.  The theme was “mirror mirror”, and the project was to draw self-portraits using the layers of paper.

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    Remember the face painting with permanent markers reference above?

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    We spent time drawing, lining up scissors, decorating the frames, and generally playing.  The staff were really great in helping the kids with their projects, and are just generally friendly and interesting people.

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    They have story/song time twice throughout the morning, and we sang a mean version of ABCs.

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    Just to prove that I was there.  Shortly after this someone came over and told me my baby was crying in the stroller.  Luckily she was only a few feet away from me, and another mom (who had a baby of her own strapped to her) had stepped in to jiggle the stroller and pacify my kid.  Camaraderie, I tell ya.

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    Shannon, who works for MAM, is my favorite.  She always remembers us and my kids love her.  Shannon’s just on point all the time, in a genuine way.  She and Little T played some mirroring games after Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.

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    Just prior to my kids losing it (meaning they didn’t!), we went to the cafe to eat our peanut butter and jam on it sandwiches.

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    Little A spent most of the time lining up craisins on a rice cake,

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    …and then shoving them in her mouth.  A very creative substitute for a plate.

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    We chair danced to the second round of song time, which we could hear from our table.

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    And then I took a picture of what I thought represented my life at this time: kids and chaos, and also my most favorite thing.  Coffee in a ceramic mug.  The serenity of doing something for myself amidst my duties of being a mother was beautiful to me.  Then as I clicked the shot, Little A stuck her finger in my coffee.  Which is also beautiful.

    These last shots were just for fun, because meltdown hadn’t occurred yet and we were killing a few minutes before nap time.

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    I’m so lucky to have such awesome kids.  And such opportunity to do things like go to the Art Museum.  And share it with you.  Thanks for spending time with me.

    Peace in the new year,

    A. Storm

  • Chapter Thirty Six- Badger Cross Wisconsin CycloCross State Championships

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    Because life is crazy and one of the twins just got sick, this week’s post will be told mostly in photos.  I went to see the CycloCross State Championships.  Check it out.  It’s badass biking in often extreme temperatures.  This event was host to some well below zero weather.  I learned all about the ranking and history of the sport.  It’s a fun and laid back sport for some, and very competitive for others.  It’s not uncommon to see costumes and beer among athletes and spectators alike.  Obstacles like sandpits, hills, and small fences are in abundance.

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    Some serious awards!

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    The honor system in effect, yo.

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    This is a cool book by a cool guy who called me a photographer.  I didn’t correct him.  Do you know about the Bike Fed?  You should.

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    They have a junior’s division, too!  Cool to see young kids having fun and competing.

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    So THAT’S what those pockets are for.

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    Alright folks, that’s all I have.  There’s so much more interesting information about this sport, like how athletes are ranked and how the races are timed.  But like I just said to Little A a few minutes ago, that’s the best I can do.

    Peace!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter Thirty Five- Mitchell Park Domes

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    Last weekend we went to the Mitchell Park Domes for a family outing.  We needed something cheap, indoors, and not a petri dish of germs because we have a 5 week old baby.  This was the perfect space for the kids to walk (ok, run) around and not get into too much trouble.

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    First, we killed some time by walking on the small concrete wall/balance beam.

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    Next we went into the Floral Show Dome, which had the theme of the Nutcracker Suite.  Very festive and not too creepy for the kids (it’s real easy for life-size mice and soldiers to get creepy).

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    Can you see all 6 of us in the reflection?

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    This last one is an attempt to capture the not-so-dreamy parts of our adventures.  I’m making an effort to represent how our trips really are.  And if that means snapping a photo of my kid before I comfort him, I guess that’s what I have to do (now before you call child protective services, keep in mind that all I did was say “keep your hands off the tree” before J started crying).  It’s easy to only document the good and pretty parts of family.  Because when it’s a disaster, you rarely have your camera out and are available to take photos.  You’re busy trying to get 4 kids into their carseats so we can go to the Domes and have some damn fun and no we are NOT calling off this trip!

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    This photo doesn’t represent the true feeling of the day.  It was just really sunny so everyone’s squinting and looking like they’re frowning (except me).  Anyway, the Floral Dome has changing exhibits.  Our favorite is of course the train show exhibit.  Because come on, TRAINS!

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    These people had the right idea in lying down and just gazing up at the dome.  I’m sure it was really relaxing for the woman to have the twins poking her feet and wondering what she was doing.  Why is it that the second an adult lies down, kids automatically climb on them?

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    Next we went to the Desert Dome.

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    Poor J had a rough time here, too.  He stuck his finger on a cactus right after I said “keep your hands off the cactus, guys”.  Papa to the rescue.

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    We hit up the beautiful yellow brick wall for some photo ops, of course.

    The Tropical Dome is closed for maintenance until mid-January.  Boo.  But I suppose it takes a lot of work to keep that thing in good shape!  Next time…

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    All in all it was a success.  I’m sure we’ll be back.

    Peace,

    A. Storm

  • Chapter Thirty Four- Milwaukee Public Library, Central Branch

    For my inaugural trip with all four kids, I went to the Central Library for story time (with a babysitter…there’s no way I could have done this adventure on my own).

    We parked on 9th, and went in the back doors.  I’m not sure why I always use this entrance.  I think I parked near it once and assumed it was the best way.  However, upon using the front entrance since this trip, I’ve realized that I’ve been missing out on some amazing beauty and architecture.  So just use the front entrance…

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    Anyway, we walked in and Little A proceeded to greet EVERYONE in the very very silent part of the library by shouting “Hi!!!!!!” to anyone whose gaze she met.  Or didn’t.

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    The children’s section of this library is huge and fun and has a lighthouse.  Do I really need to keep going?  I will…

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    A very nice lady met us and some stories, and even had the kids interact by choosing colors and putting them on the felt board when called upon.  We sang some songs and generally had a nice story time.  It was a pretty small crowd during the songs and stories.

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    Afterwards, the kids all went to explore the train table, toys, puppets, puzzles and lighthouse.

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    I followed the girls up the lighthouse (a very tight squeeze for an adult!).  This is the view of the children’s section from the top of the lighthouse.  By this time, it was a really busy place!

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    We played some more, ate a snack (provided free of charge by the library), and did the hokey pokey.  Little A and Little T were champion dancers and never wanted it to end (“MO’ POKEY!  MO’ POKEY!”).

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    And some of us just played with trains the entire time.

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    Check out this library.  It’s beautiful and has some really amazing free offerings for kiddos.

    Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving…

    Peace,

    A. Storm