Archive for March, 2014

  • Chapter 49- Mitchell Park Domes (again)


    I’m starting to think that The Mitchell Park Domes should have their own category over there on the right side of this page.  It’s really been a lifesaver for us this winter.  And this week we met up with a bunch of friends for an impromptu birthday gathering for one of Little T’s classmates.


    We hit up the trains first, and started by oohing and ahhing over the trains.

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    Then we spent most of our time running around like crazy people.  The gentlemen running the trains were very tolerant and so were the other folks visiting the dome.  Well actually, they all left once we took over.   That was very tolerant of them.


    Everyone under age 3 took at least one giant spill.  Luckily Little A had a few layers of leg warmers to pad the falls.

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    The birthday girl even got a ride on this sweet cart!

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    We went to the Desert Dome next, but I didn’t snap any photos because I was busy catching up with an old friend from high school while trying to keep one eye on my brood.  By then it was like 10am and kids were STAAAAARRRVING.  So we set up shop in the lobby and ate snacks and birthday dirt cake.  My kids will have chocolate faces in every photo from here on.


    The birthday girl received the most unique present I’ve seen in a while…a hard boiled egg.  Amazing what 4 year olds come up with, right?


    And she loved it!  I guess kids are more in tune than us adults sometimes.


    And to clarify, there were 4 moms and a zillion kids (plus one attached to my person).


    I wonder how many times a day the staff has to tell kids not to jump on the heaters.


    Tropical Dome and it’s waterfall were next.


    We forgot to bring coins to toss into the pond, so we used magical invisible pennies instead.


    Then more running.  Played hopscotch on the sidewalk, and cooled down outside without jackets (it was like 90° indoors for some reason).



    Happy Birthday to our 4 year old preschool buddy, and Happy Spring to everyone!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 48- Madison Children’s Museum (Travel Edition)


    On Sunday, we packed up the whole family and drove to the Madison Children’s Museum.  I’ll spare you details of the oh-so-enjoyable car ride from Milwaukee to Madison and focus on our time at the museum.  We got in for free because we have a Milwaukee Public Museum membership, and then met Theo’s brother and his family.  We dropped off our jackets and went straight to climbing, riding, running, playing, discovering and exploring!

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    J was feeling a little needy, and spent most of the time attached to Papa, so we’ll count that day as some sincere father-son bonding.

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    Cousin C was excited to have so many of her cousins with her.  She kept saying in amazement “ALL!?” as in “We’re all there together? There are so many of us!”


    J and Theo tag-teaming it for the morning.

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    Little T made it up and through a climbing structure that had every parent wondering if they’d have to somehow squeeze themselves up it to rescue their child if the kid was somehow paralyzed with fear.  But no kids got stuck while we were there, and everyone enjoyed it!

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    There was some sort of vintage game section, with arcade games that Little T and Cousin C quite enjoyed.  We breezed through this part because it was next to the stairs and elevator that were beckoning our names.


    Then we headed up the elevator to the rooftop garden.  After a few steps outside we were back inside looking at turtles, snakes, rats, chickens and more.

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    The staff in the rooftop garden were happy to help.  They let my kids pet the rats and chicken, taught us about what the animals eat, and made small talk.

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    It was a whirlwind trip.  We arrived late and at peak traffic times so there were a ton of kids in the museum and we didn’t have time to see it all.  I think I got in one mini conversation with my brother in law, and that’s it for adult interaction.  He asked how I possibly take all four kids out by myself.  I didn’t have much of an answer other than “it just works out…most of the time”.

    I’m planning on going again during the week.  I think it’ll be more relaxed and less rushed (especially if we leave Milwaukee at a reasonable time) so the kids can explore the many different sections and experiences.

    Get ready for us, Madison.  We’re coming back!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 47- Soup Brothers


    I’d been craving soup, and had two out of four of my kids with me over the lunch hour, so we made our way to Soup Brothers for lunch.  They’re open at 11am Mon-Sat, staying open till 7pm Mon-Thur and close at 3pm Fri and Sat.


    We ordered from a selection of 6 or so soups and sandwiches each.  Little T and I split a ham & cheese sandwich, and spinach & fennel soup.  Because I like strange things, of course.


    Inside this small space is decorated with lots of oddities, complete with a Mac graveyard of old monitors and iPods.

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    We took pictures of each other and tried to catch the rainbows reflecting on our faces and the table.


    Little T met her first 8 Track player and rotary telephone.

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    Then our food was ready.  The soup was amazing, served with sour cream, rice, green onions and pepper on top.  I was immediately excited to come back and have it again, but talked to some other diners who recommended the roasted red pepper bisque (with the tip to add shrimp for an upgrade).  I guess I’ll have to make a few visits so I can try everything.  I heard something about cabbage and cilantro  as a topping for another soup, so I’ll need to figure out which those go with and put that on the list, too.  Did I mention fresh baked bread served with all soups?  But back to the spinach and fennel…the fennel wasn’t overpowering, but Little T still wasn’t a fan.  And really, what 4 year old would be?  She did love the sandwich (though the toasted bread was a little hard for her mouth) which had mustard and cucumbers inside, along with her strawberry soda.  Lucky day!


    By the time we left, the place was packed with about half of the customers taking their food to go.  We made small talk with Richard, the owner, who was impressed with Little T’s style,  and we made plans to come again.

    Have a good weekend!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 46- Supermercado El Rey


    I’d heard on Radio Milwaukee about the El Rey grocery store, and that you can get lunch within the market.  So while running some errands sort of near 16th and National, I made my way to the Nuevo Mercado El Rey.


    There are a few different locations of El Rey, but this market has a deli, meat counter, produce section, bakery, dry goods section and restaurant.  I browsed around and looked at pinatas, then found my way to Taco Loco to get some lunch.


    I wasn’t quite sure how to order, so I caught the eye of a woman behind the counter to ask if I should just sit at the counter.  She motioned “yes” and I took a seat.  She handed me a menu over the divider, and I decided on the tamale plate and a horchata to drink, just because I’d never had it.  A minute later the woman handed me some salsa (pico and hot) and chips, by reaching over the plexiglass divider.  Both salsas tasted fresh and bright.


    A nice gentleman sat next to me at the counter, and we struck up conversation about the food.  Gil was familiar with El Rey, and we talked about the authenticity of the market and how it’s the right place to go for the best Mexican food in town.  I learned a little about him (he works for La Nueva Ritmo, a Spanish radio station), a lot about local food, and he was nice enough to pose for a picture with me.


    Another few minutes and a waitress came by with my tamale plate and horchata.  Both were great.  The horchata was a rice water, flavored with cinnamon and other spices, and served over crushed ice.  The pollo tamales were soft and flavorful, and were just what I wanted.

    Gil and I continued to talk about other Mexican restaurants in town, and how Cempazuchi is known for their Oaxacan influence.  I learned that Oaxaca is famous for their seven moles, all different colors and made by different methods of cooking the peppers and adding spices.  When Gil comes to El Rey, he simply takes a look at what’s cooking that day and orders what’s freshest and most appetizing.


    It was a really enjoyable and quick lunch, which combined fresh and delicious food, visiting a new community, and chatting with a stranger.



    A. Storm