Archive for May, 2014

  • Chapter 61- Rural La Crosse (Travel Edition)

    For Memorial Day weekend, we headed to the La Crosse area to visit family.  I can’t showcase any of the sites, events, businesses or parks of the area, because all we did was play outside our family’s home.

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    Kids ran in the sprinkler.

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    Ran down hills.

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    Helped feed some horses.

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    And some goats.

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    Watched the horses and didn’t understand why we couldn’t run around with them.

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    Chased some chickens, even though chickens are NOT for chasing.

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    Said chickens huddled on the ramp trying to get back inside and away from a bunch of two year olds.

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    We pet some young chickens.

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    Said hi to more.

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    Found eggs!!!  And ate some of the most delicious omelettes in the morning.

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    Enjoyed the view.

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    Breathed fresh air.

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    Made wishes on dandelion heads.

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    Took a hike to the cabin that my husband built.

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    Made grass whistles.

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    Rode up to the Sound of Music hill.

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    Marveled at how green the grass and trees were, and how blue the sky was.

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    And attempted another family photo.

    What did you do over the weekend?  Do you feel refreshed?

    See you from Milwaukee next time!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 60- Riverside Theater

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    After hearing about the movie “Searching for Sugarman“, I saw that Rodriguez was coming to The Riverside Theater.  My sister-in-law and niece were big fans, so I suggested a ladies night out with my husband’s side of the family.  Woot!

    We ate at La Perla, after attempting two other restaurants (no, I didn’t have the foresight to make reservations anywhere).  The margaritas were delicious, and the conversation was flowing.  Flowing so much, that we got to the show more than half way through.  Oops!

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    We gave this nice lady our tickets, and she’s the same woman who checked my ticket for the RadioLab show I attended while like 39 weeks pregnant last summer.

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    The music was great.  It was a mix of Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, and Jim Croce.   You really should check out the movie to understand the story behind this man.  The basic synopsis is that he had two albums in the 70’s, which weren’t hugely successful.  However, unbeknownst to him, he was an enormous success in South Africa, though it was rumored that he had died.  Skip forward to the 90’s, when fans realized he was still around, and his music career was revived.

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    My niece got her picture taken with the lady sitting next to me, who had some killer dance moves and a fabulous sense of style.

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    Got our picture taken with this guy from the theater who was not impressed that I would be blogging about the concert.

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    Had a beer from the bar.

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    Got chased up some secret stairs.

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    Enjoyed the night lights of downtown Milwaukee.

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    Played in a revolving door.

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    This.

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    And this.

    Actually, most all of these photos were reenacted.  And I didn’t get chased up any stairs.  Those beers were empty glasses we found on the bar after the show.  I was too chicken to take photos throughout the night, so my camera stayed in my bag until I was nudged take it out after the concert ended.  All because I have yet to feel comfortable photographing adventures other than trips with my kids.  I feel weird taking pictures of my food, or trying to capture candid moments in public settings.  My sister-in-law, Jamie Heiden, who is a professional photographer and amazing and you should check her out, told me about Street Photography.  Knowing that there’s an actual art to this makes me feel less strange about attempting to do it.

    Thanks again for reading.  You all have been so supportive and encouraging and I appreciate it like you wouldn’t believe.  Hopefully I can take you on even more exciting journeys with me…we’re starting to do some planning for a much bigger adventure as a family.  So stay tuned!  And the ladies of The Morning Blend  asked me to be on again, here’s the link to the segment this morning.

    A. Storm

     

     

  • My TV Debut!

    Today I got to meet some really  nice ladies on The Morning Blend, and share a bit about my blog and my life. photo 1

    You can watch the video, where we briefly talked about the fact that I have a million kids, our amazing community, my rather unique name (which led to the photo below), and the article I wrote for Metroparent Magazine.

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    Thanks for all the kind words, everyone.  I’m pretty lucky to have friends and family like you!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 59- Discovery World

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    Because Little T had been begging for a year, we bit the bullet and got a membership to Discovery World.  It was actually sort of reasonable, compared to the daily ticket prices.  We only have to go three times to make it worth the annual fee.  But we went on a Saturday morning, hoping it wouldn’t be too busy.  And it wasn’t!  We even found free street parking right in front of the building.

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    First, we hit up the Milwaukee Muscle exhibit.  We pulled levers and pushed buttons and Little T even rode the flight simulator.

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    Next we headed upstairs for a whopping two minutes before the twins were bored and we needed to move on.

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    We spent a good amount of time exploring the Challenge (a replica of a Great Lakes Schooner that sailed in the 1800’s), the Simple Machine Shipyard, and City of Freshwater & Liquid House.   These exhibits were much better suited to two year olds.

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    We took the elevator to the Sullivan Pilot House which is really just an open room with some tables and chairs.  It appears to be open to visitors, so we took that as an invitation to walk through and head outside to an upper deck with an amazing view of the city.

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    We made our way downstairs to the Reiman Aquarium.  It should be noted that most kids between the ages of like 1-3 do NOT like walking across glass with water and fish beneath it.  It’s actually quite terrifying.

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    But once you help your kids get over the feeling of falling into deep water, you get to see (and touch!) fish of all kinds.  The tanks are enormous and the variety in species is amazing.

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    We headed outside to eat some lunch in the grass.  The kids ate PB&Js, and Theo begrudgingly ate the hummus wraps and tabbouleh I brought for us.  That’s what you get for not packing your own lunch…

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    We found a crab claw, ran around in the grass, and called it a day.

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    We’ll be back for more, Discovery World!

    Oh, and this is happening this week.  Turn your TVs on Wednesday morning to watch me try and stay composed on The Morning Blend! I’ll be chatting about the blog, and the recent article I wrote for Metroparent Magazine.  Check out their printed June issue for my top ten picks of places to go with your kids this summer.

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 58- Wehr Nature Center

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    Last week we met up with some new friends and explored Wehr Nature Center for the first time.  Here’s Little T doing her best Vanna White impression.

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    We parked and went inside to pay the $3 parking fee, then found our friends and hit the trails.  The trails we made it to were either paved with wood chips or were boardwalks.  The trail system seemed quite extensive, but having little ones makes kept us pretty close to the visitor center.  On our walk, we saw a handful of other hikers on the trails, and even a few runners.

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    Right behind the visitor’s center was Mallard Lake.  We headed to check it out immediately, looking for fish and frogs and anything else the kids thought lived in water.

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    Spring!!!

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    Getting six kids to pose for a timed picture is SO easy.

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    Little A and her new friends…

    And speaking of new friends, hopefully Jamie and her two adorable daughters weren’t scared away by the epic temper tantrum Little J threw at lunch.  Or by having to hold Baby S while I managed the dirt-in-the-eyes situation.  Or by any of the other chaotic happenings that occurred.

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    A post-meltdown lunch break.

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    Right outside the visitor’s center is a small playspace that the kids loved.  It’s complete with a small rock to climb, a sandbox, a playhouse and brooms to sweep up the wood chips.

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    Just prior to the aforementioned dirt-in-the-eyes episode.

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    Sweeping?  Sharing?  Yes!

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    In all, it was a great morning.  For $3 we got to do quite a bit, and there’s still a ton of space for us to explore next time we visit.  We also made new friends, ran into our neighbor, got our hands dirty, and breathed some fresh air.  I’ll call that success!

    A. Storm

     

  • Chapter 57- Milwaukee Public Museum & Milwaukee Public Market

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    On Saturday I went on a Special Date (or “Feshil Date” as she says) with Little T.  We put on our sunglasses and headed to the Milwaukee Public Museum’s theater and planetarium to see the 40 minute long movie “One World, One Sky” (hosted by Big Bird, Elmo, and their Chinese friend Hu Hu Zhu).

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    After stopping for a quick photo with the mammoth, we headed to the theater.

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    Little T and I were both surprised and slightly disoriented to enter in the dark (because yes we were a few minutes late).  The best way I can describe the Dome Theater is that it’s like an egg.  The stadium seating is very steep, and the enormous screen stretches above and behind you.  Pretty intense.

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    The film was great, and perfect for a 4 year old.  Sesame Street characters, the concept that we all see the same sky above us, no matter where we live, and incredible visuals of the moon and stars.  I was sold.  I can’t wait to go back and watch more science films on this screen!

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    Because it was a special date, Little T got to choose what we did next.  She wanted to head to the exhibits and see butterflies, boa constrictors, and dinosaur bones.

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    That day was a special event in the Streets of Old Milwaukee exhibit, where docents were dressed in costume, dancers performed, and a few other things happened which we didn’t see.  But the old timey theater was open and we stopped in to watch some old cartoons, and some George Méliès films.

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    We walked around a little bit but our time was limited and our stomachs were hungry, so we headed down the escalator and decided where to eat.  Little T wanted either noodles or a PB&J sandwich, so we decided on Mexican.

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    We headed to the Public Market to share some nachos at Margarita Paradise.  A nice guy named Marco served us our delicious food and drinks.  Little T had Fanta for the first time and pretty much thought she was in heaven.

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    The morning was so enjoyable.  Spending one-on-one time with my kids doesn’t happen too often, so when it does we savor every moment.  When we were leaving the market, I asked her to recap our morning.  And you know what she said?  “Everything is just so cool, Mama”.  Right you are, babe.

    Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mamas out there…keep on doing an amazing job!

    What do you have planned for Mother’s Day?  Or, what do you dream about doing if all the stars align (I won’t judge if you say that you just want to be alone, because I know alone time is pretty hard to come by)?

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 56- Hoyt Park

    On a day too cold for spring jackets and no hats, we took a family walk around the trails at Hoyt Park.  I don’t have too many pictures because we were all sort of freezing and preoccupied with keeping moving/warm.

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    We parked at the Hoyt Park & Pool, and walked through the Beer Garden grounds.  We found some trails and sticks and threw rocks in the Menomonee River.  Afterwards we headed to the playground at the park and stayed till our fingers were too cold.

    Short post, but we’ve never been before so this’ll have to do.

    Looking forward to a longer stay next time!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 55- Milwaukee Art Museum and O’Donnell Park

    Because last time we went to the Milwaukee Art Museum and didn’t have enough time after the Play Date with Art to visit the Kohl’s Art Generation Gallery, we made a special trip to the MAM last week.  We picked up Uncle Will and Auntie Rae and headed out the door.

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    We had to make a stop in a random hallway of course, to test out some awesome poses.  We headed upstairs and found our friend Jim, who works in the lobby a few mornings per week.  He was nice enough to let us crash his coffee break in the cafe.

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    Then made our way to the kids’ gallery.  We made stories on the giant felt canvases and made some stop animation videos, you can watch them here and here and here.  We chatted with Jess, one of the super awesome employees in the Education Dept, and had lots of tears about wanting to be held.  Anyone else out there going through that stage with a 2 year old?

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    This was Little T’s favorite drawing.

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    Because the meltdowns just kept coming (though you wouldn’t guess it from the dreamy pictures, right?), we called it quits inside and headed to the lawn to eat some pickles and sandwiches and apples.  It was the first time I’ve ever seen the Burke Brise Soliel (wings) open and close, pretty cool!!

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    We then walked across the bridge that crosses Lincoln Memorial Drive, which I’ve NEVER done before.  What?!  How have I made it this long without checking it out?  It was a great view of the city.  And I love taking the kids downtown, exposing them to the city.  Makes for lots of opportunities to talk about little things like…how the world works.

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    When we made it across the bridge, we were at O’Donnell Park.  It’s a small grassy area by the Children’s Museum.  We played and ran up and down the tiny hill and jumped off of concrete benches.

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    And someone was particularly grumpy the entire day and refused to get in the Storm family photo, so this is the best we could do to prove that we were all there.

    Here’s to less grumpy and less fever-ridden days….

    A. Storm