The Broad Museum and Toddlers

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I’ve been wanting to visit the Broad Museum for some time now.  It’s not the most convenient of museums to go to, but it’s new, free, and has the Infinity Mirrored Room (which everyone knows is perfect for a selfie).  While  I loved the Broad, I’m going to suggest that if you are going to bring an active toddler with you…just DON’T!

First of all, you have to reserve tickets to go to the museum for a set time, and everyone knows toddlers will be cranky for any event that you decide to plan at a specific time.  We hopped online the day tickets became available a month before our visit and surprise surprise, all the good times had sold out by the time our page refreshed.  So we were left with a 4pm time slot.  For those of you who don’t know, 4pm is before dinner and basically wild rumpus time.  “But surely the amazing architecture and impressive collection will intrigue your toddler,” you may be saying to yourself.

Toddlers don’t give a crap about cool architecture or artwork.  In fact they are likely to be scared by creepy paintings and traumatized by violent and/or sexual images.  Which they were.  Roro not so much, but her 3 year old buddy was definitely affected by the images in the collection.  While I’m not a fan of sheltering your child, I will say to come prepared to explain A LOT of things.  While one toddler was being emotionally traumatized, the other (Roro) was really digging the cement floor.  She dug it so much, that she decided to plop herself face down on the floor in the middle of each gallery room and pretend to sleep.  Yes, my friends, she was so into the art she wanted to snooze.  When I tried to pick her up, she turned floppy (parents of toddlers, you know what I’m talking about).  What came next was lots of mom sweating and avoiding eye contact with other museum goers.

Toddlers also don’t care about rules.  Mine kept trying to touch sculptures and stand on their pedestals.  She also doesn’t follow social norms and will just cozy up to strangers browsing on their phones in the middle of the museum.  If said stranger ignores her, she will try to be really cute and giggle.  This is more embarrassing for me than her, as she has no idea she’s being rejected, but I am fully aware that the hipster before her has no interest in children.

So, what was the best part, you ask? OUTSIDE. There was a green lawn outside of the museum and all the kids were just running around.  Roro liked that.

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I’d LOVE to go back to the Broad to contemplate the works and themes of the gallery, but I’m gonna wait til I have a babysitter next time.

P.S. Infinity Mirrored Room selfie was foiled by toddler fears of small dark rooms.

The Broad

221 S. Grand Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90012

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Chicago Part 1: Millennium Park

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For our first big trip with toddler, we decided to head to the Windy City! The flight seemed a tolerable length (4 hours) and it has great public transit (we didn’t want to bring a carseat with us), not to mention the deep dish! We also have some friends from Chicago who were more than willing to make a list of all the must-sees and must-eats, making it less daunting to try and plan.

We stayed in Chicago for 4 days and 3 nights so it was important to us to stay somewhere central to many of the city’s attractions, but also close to public transit in case we wanted to stray to a different area for a day.  We also needed to have a suite with a proper door that separates the bedroom from the living area so that we could stay awake after putting Ro to bed.  These are essential for us, though she ended up in our bed after 2 am each night anyway.  One of the best bargains is the Embassy Suites.  Not only do they have completely separate living areas, they also provide a crib (for free!), offer nightly guest reception aka happy hour (Ro ate their alfredo pasta for dinner one night and loved it!), free wifi for Honors members, and a great AAA discount.  We stayed at this one:

Our first full day we decided to hit up none other than Chicago’s Millennium Park.  It was so much fun! First of all, it had the most epic splash pad I’ve ever seen.  Not only was the walk on water part huge! But the water falls were gigantic, and of course the city skyline and tree top backdrop was so picturesque.

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See that wall–with the face? That’s Crown Fountain (btw that face changes to different faces of the people of Chicago and is a work of public art) every once in a while the mouth with spew water and the top of the wall would be an enormous waterfall.  That’s what all the kids were waiting for.  After Ro was thoroughly drenched, we headed to the Bean.

The Bean is more formally known as Cloud Gate, and is basically a great way to spend forever taking pictures.  All the kids seemed to love finding their reflections and looking at their distorted selves.

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On our way back, we stumbled upon Maggie Daley Park. Which was THE most amazing park for kids.  If you ever find yourself in Chicago with a kid, definitely spend an afternoon here.  If we had known about it, we would have spent more time here, but by the time we made it Ro was a tired mess.  There were so many imaginative spaces and splash pads for the little ones.   It made me wonder why a great city like LA doesn’t have a park that compares to this one for littles.

That was basically our first day in Chicago, of course we ate pizza for dinner, but that post demands it’s own title.  More to come…

National Ice Cream Day

Some genius decided to give every junk food its own day of the year, and people bought it.  Give anyone an excuse to buy a donut or an ice cream cone, and every glutton out there is all over it–including me!

Sunday was National Ice Cream Day and while I prefer a snow cone (when is that getting it’s own day?) I played along for the sake of my husband and daughter.  I know this sounds bad, but I kind of love giving my daughter sweets.  We avoided them for so long, and now that she’s almost two, I feel a treat every once in a while is not so bad.  The joy that a lick of ice cream gives her is so simple and contagious.  Maybe I’m setting her up to be a diabetic, but I can’t stop!  This face:

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It was her first strawberry ice cream, and I dare say she liked it as much as chocolate and vanilla.  Disclaimer: We did not let her eat that entire “kid” sized scoop.  Mama ate most of it, though it was tricky getting her to share.

I look forward to the next National Junk Food eating day, and if anyone knows when snow cones get the recognition they deserve, please let me know.

She’s Got Rhythm

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Moms these days can’t get away with hanging out at home with their toddlers.  They’ve got to enroll their kids in class after class lest their 1 year old fall behind somehow.  I always thought this was a silly notion.  Hey, let kids be kids and experience boredom and creativity of their own devices.  But after seeing toddler after toddler walk sooner, talk sooner, I start to wonder, maybe these classes ARE important.  Needless to say, we’ve experimented with a class here and there to see what appeals to Ro and nothing has had me convinced I need to sign up ASAP.  She wasn’t into the gym classes, she was bored with the music class we tried, and I was about to give up on the search until I found dance.  Yes, unlike mommy, my child is a dancer!

I really should have known, since she can’t control her body movements when she hears a good beat.  Even during story time at the library, when she hears a song that speaks to her she’ll be the only toddler up and grooving.

So when a friend told me about Creation Station in Studio City, I signed up for a trial class.  I fully expected some meltdowns and Ro walking to the door with her shoes to signal “time to go” (she does this in every class we’ve been to).  To my surprise, she was smiling (actually smiling!) the entire class and even waited her turn and followed directions.  THIS NEVER HAPPENS.  The teacher was kind but stern which I appreciated (and may have helped).  She did the whole class eagerly and by the end I was convinced.  Where do I sign up?

It really convinced me that my child has her own interests even at such a young age.  I truly believe it is our job to expose our child to lots of different activities, and when you find one they love, pursue it.  I’m hoping I can be open and understanding of Ro’s interests as she gets older too.  Truth be told, I’m glad she’s into dancing right now, because it’s freaking adorable to watch a bunch of 1.5 year olds dancing around with jazz hands.

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When Life Speeds Up

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There’s something you should know about me…I’m fickle.  I’m not fickle about friends or important issues, but I’m very fickle about my hobbies.  I love starting new things.  Who doesn’t? It’s so fun to learn something new, get a bunch of new gear, and start a project.  But, life sometimes gets in the way of finishing them, and then it’s like, why bother? I can start this other brand new thing over here.  So much more fun! I think that’s what happened with this blog.

I was so excited to start it.  I worked for hours trying to find the perfect images to put in my title banner.  I planned out posts, and took pictures everywhere I went.  Then, my toddler stopped napping for 3 hours every afternoon.  With 1-2 hours to myself during the day, it was clean the bathroom and kitchen, or write a post.  I’m not a fan of living with insects, so the post always got passed up.  Right now, I’m postponing lunch to write this.  Crazy, right?

With an IVF cycle underway, an extremely active toddler, and quilting projects in progress for my soon to be nephews (TWINS!), it seems I never have a moment to just chill.  But, I have not forgotten this blog, it’s just gotten a little dusty with all that’s been going on.  I mean, it’s already summer! I hope with the summer come lots of amazing moments to share with you all, right here.  A once a week post will be my goal.  Promise!

 

Favorite Things: ColourPop Super Shock Shadow

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I thought I’d start a series of posts about my favorite things.  After all, I’ve been whining about Ro and being a SAHM far too much for the title of this blog — ‘Mary’s Loves’.  What better way to lighten things up than to talk about frivolous material objects that I can’t get enough of? Yay!

May I introduce you to the best cream shadows that don’t require a brush and somehow have an intense long lasting color (probably loads of chemicals)? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you ColourPop Super Shock Shadows. I had never heard of the brand until I received a collection of four for my birthday.  I had been looking for a matte eyeshadow forever, and was stoked to find that one of them was a neutral matte.  These shadows are a type of cream that doesn’t require a makeup brush, so I dipped my finger in and pressed some onto my eyelids.  I was in love!

I don’t have a ton of time to do makeup in the morning.  My routine looks a little like this:

  1. swipe some eyeshadow on
  2. apply some liner to my lashline
  3. do a few quick swishes of mascara
  4. take bronzer and basically cover my cheeks with it (this one is the one I usually find I’ve over done once I get into the sunlight)
  5. smear on some lip balm
  6. *if I have time I’ll brush some eyebrow powder in place so that I don’t have invisible brows

Imagine my delight when I find out that I can make step 1 even shorter by not hunting for my eyeshadow brush.  Save 4 seconds? Fantastic!

The best and most addicting part of all is that this line is basically $5 a pop.  I may just have to order a ton of other colors.  From what I can tell, you can only order online since I can’t seem to find a brick and mortar shop.  I can’t vouch for their other products, (though the blush and highlighters look tempting) but trust me when I say these shock shadows are vibrant, easy, and affordable!

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Family Fun: Franklin Canyon

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Looking for a fun place to take a stroll and escape city life for a breather? Want to go on an easy hiking trail (nature walk) or even just a stroll around a lake?  Well, look no further! Franklin Canyon is a perfect spot to do just that.  Not only are there tons of ducks, turtles, and fish, there are also lots of trees to keep your explorations shady and cool in the scorching San Fernando Valley.

I’ve been here a handful of times with Ro, and each time I’m reminded of what a perfect retreat this place is for the both of us.  She’s at that age where she can’t quite manage a hike with me without toppling over the edge of a cliff, but she’s also too big to be carried in the Beco carrier for too long.  The ponds full of ducks and turtles are perfect to walk around and take in a little nature.  Here’s one of the many large turtles you’ll see sunning themselves in the reservoir:

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If you come at the right time of year you’ll see some amazing varieties of ducks in the Heavenly Pond.  We were here in February and were lucky enough to see some Wood ducks, Mallards, a very freaky looking Muscovy duck, and a really pretty tan and white duck.  Who knew there were so many types? It’s almost enough to make me want to get into birding.

The Heavenly Pond is probably my favorite spot at the park.  There are picnic tables, and benches for reflecting, and the kids love walking around it and watching the animals swim around. Added bonus: you can get some pretty heartwarming pictures of baby friends having fun.

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It’s only 10 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Ventura Blvd. which makes it the perfect escape from the noise of the daily grind.  If you don’t have a toddler with you and have a chance, check out one of the many trails at the park.  We’ve done the Discovery trail with  baby in a carrier, and it was a nice little hike that was totally doable.  So, what are you waiting for, pack up your family and get moving!franklincanyon

The Importance of Family Friendships

Growing up, my parents had a handful of friends that had children our age.  These family friends came over for BBQs, went on vacations with us, camped with us, and traded kids for sleepovers (I only realize now, that those sleepovers gave our parents a much needed break to just be a couple).  We are lucky enough to have some of our dearest friends have children around the same age as Ro, as well.  And, we’ve also found a few new friends along the way.

When Ro was a newborn, I felt pretty isolated.  All my friends were working moms with children a little older.  They made playdates, but I felt left out since Ro was a few years younger, which meant we were in a completely different world as their children.  Instead of wallowing in my loneliness, I decided to join a few Meetup groups.  I was too cheap to pay for Mommy and Me classes, and figured, if the Meetup thing didn’t pan out, I could always join a class later (bad idea: most moms join these groups when their children are 8 weeks old and form bonds that an outsider at 6 months isn’t going to get).  As it turned out, I made two wonderful friends from these Meetups.

We all know how hard it is to make family friends, let alone genuine mommy friends.  Somehow these two families met all the criteria.  Not only do we get along, our spouses get along, and our kids play together beautifully.  While our parenting styles are not all the same, we never judge one another (for real!).  If one of us is in a bind, the others are always there to lend a hand.  I’m hoping our three girls form bonds of friendship even though they themselves could not be more different, just like the three of their mamas.

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Easter 2016

Easter is one of my favorite holidays.  It’s one that reminds me of new beginnings.  No matter how dark your winter may have been the spring blossoms and baby chicks renew your hope in what’s to come.  Having a young child makes this holiday infinitely more enjoyable.  To see the excitement of an egg hunt through a child’s eyes is magical.

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Last year was Ro’s first Easter, but she was such a blob back then that I just carried her around hoping she’d notice that kids were hunting eggs.  This year though, she actually got to participate.  While it only lasted 5 minutes, it was so much fun to witness.

Luckily we got to experience two Easter egg hunts!  Our friends host an annual pre-Easter egg hunt for all our littles, and we were so excited to get to participate this year.  This was sort of her warm up for the real hunt on Easter Sunday.  You can see everyone’s eager to get out and collect their goodies, except Ro who has NO clue what they’re lining up for.

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Obviously I had to help her find eggs.  Here she is with her first hidden treasure:

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On Sunday we went to our family’s Easter celebration.  Ro got to experience Dzoo Dzoo for the first time, as well.  (Life is so exciting when it’s full of firsts.) Dzoo Dzoo is a game that Armenian children play outside of church on Easter.  Everyone brings their decorated eggs and sees whose is strongest. You basically hit the egg tips against each other to see which one cracks.  The unscathed egg wins and keeps the broken egg.  The champion has a basket full of eggs and weeks of egg salad ahead of them.  It was the sweetest thing to see her aunt, grandpa, and cousins teaching her how to play.

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Our Easter was full of joyful reminders of how precious new beginnings are.  I hope the spirit of Easter sticks with us for a little while longer.

Kid Fun: The Petting Zoo at LA Zoo

This week we went to the LA Zoo for the third time.  We have a few friends with LA Zoo memberships who let us tag along since I’m too cheap to pay $20 for what will inevitably be a 2 hour trip to the zoo (between naptimes and mealtimes, that’s all we can muster).  We’re lucky to have generous friends.IMG_6231

The first two times we went to the zoo Ro just kind of went along for the ride. She sat in the stroller compliantly and didn’t really have a reaction to the animals.  She was most excited to crawl in the filthy playground at the back of the zoo.  Talk about panic attacks for a semi-germophobe.

But this time it was like her eyes were open for the first time.  It was a true joy to witness her excitement to see all of these animals we read about and sing about at home.  Our first stop was the Petting Zoo in the children’s area.  The moment we entered the gates and she saw the goats and sheep, she was sold. Someone handed her a paddle brush and she was on a personal mission to groom every animal in her path, including herself (germophobe she is not).  IMG_6230IMG_6237

We visited one petting zoo a few months ago, but she was scared of the gerbils and didn’t really want to pet any animals, so I was thrilled to see her fearlessly walk up to animals and touch their faces.  When it was time to leave, I had give her warning for fear of a potential meltdown.  To my surprise, she let me carry her out and even passed on her brush to the next enthusiastic kid entering the petting zoo.  No meltdowns, lots of laughter, truly engaged kid, and a hand washing station right in front of the petting area! All of it made for the perfect activity for this toddler and mommy.