Monday, June 16, 2014

Mommy and Me Adventure: LACMA

Someone once said to me dealing with a squirmy toddler is like trying to put an octopus in a string bag. I thought that was the perfect description.

My octopus and I had a mommy and me day at LACMA this past weekend. We've gone a couple times with mixed results. Crying babies and quiet galleries are not the best combo, but curious toddlers and modern art seem to mix surprisingly well.

LACMA has a really great program called Arts for NexGen. Anyone 17 years old and under can get a free membership and bring one adult with them. There are also a number of arts programs through the museum that they have access to through NexGen.

It makes for a really great Mommy and Me Adventure Day. Em is partial to the contemporary art. It tends to be bolder and bigger and grabs her attention better. It also tends to be lower to the ground, so exploring the galleries involved a lot of me playing defense and blocking her from touching art under the scrutiny of many museum employees. 

I don't know why but I was surprised by how much she really dug it all. Even the more traditional paintings.

The outdoor courtyards and restaurants are also great for taking breaks. Milkscoops (aka vanilla ice cream) at Coffee + Milk were a big hit.

It was a Saturday, so they also have an outdoor concert on one of the lawns. We hung out there and Em danced to some Latin beats before we headed home. All in all a pretty great day.

Minus, the wiggle tantrums. I don't know if it's possible to spend four hours at a museum without at least one meltdown. I know it's a very normal thing to deal with, but it always feels like my child is the only one not keeping it together. I don't have a problem with her throwing herself on the floor and getting it out of her system (outside of the galleries) but I would be lying if I said I wasn't aware of all the eyes watching her performance art. Maybe that's not a bad way to look at it. She's just adding her own spin to the museum experience. "Octopus in a String Bag" by Em.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Popsicle Quest - Summer 2014

I've never been good with New Year's Resolutions, or diets or quest-based video games. I start off very positive and ready to go but eventually I lose my momentum and the will to carry on. It's why I'm not sure I would survive a zombie apocalypse. Knowing this about myself I decided to set a goal for the summer. Something simple. Something I might actually enjoy. I decided to make a different popsicle every week.

It's amazing, as Americans, how complicated we have made even the simplest of things. When I was a kid filling up an ice cube tray with orange juice and toothpicks and freezing it was the best thing. Little orange frozen squares of goodness. But that doesn't cut it in 2014. Now there are atleast fifteen different popsicle cookbooks on Amazon and of course the Zoku. Who wants to wait a whole day for pops when you can wait seven minutes instead?

But I don't want to drop $50 for something I can do for free. You'd be surprised how hard it is to find the old school - stick it in the freezer pop molds in a store. Eventually I found one for $5 at Cost Plus World Market.

Started off simple. Apple and oranges. It took 24 hours to get them frozen to the right degree and a little bit of work and the help of a knife to pry it out of the mold. But when I handed an apple juice pop to Em she was as happy as I remember I was as a kid.

Popsicles are simple joys. They are also a mess. Tell a two year-old to hold one up straight so it doesn't leak all over the couch and see how much luck you have. Eventually I sat her on my lap. I figured it was better to soak myself than the upholstery. That lasted five minutes. I put her on the ground and watched sticky puddles of apple juice form on the floor. But she was happy. And it was worth it.

The first pop was a success. Let's see how long I can stick with this.