Sunday, March 11, 2018

Out and About

Spring is on the horizon here and we can see signs on it poking through the ground and budding on the trees. I'm definitely ready to thaw out and see the blooms burst.

This last week we visited storytime at the Hirshhorn for the first time and it was AMAZING! The leaders were patient, encouraging, and so attentive to the 20 or so kids in attendance. They easily integrated appropriate works (it is a modern art museum after all) into book choices for the kids along with several applied crafts after reading. And then they supplied a parent handout to further incorporate ideas from the lesson of the day for exploration and discussion at home. We will definitely return and I highly recommend to any visitors with kids.

I felt like a woman liberated a few days later when Scott and I escaped for a night of bar hopping (yes, more than one location-wild woman here) downtown. We enjoyed drinks and charcuterie at the W Hotel's rooftop POV Terrace, with views of the monument, Treasury Building, and White House. Then we hopped over to Off the Record inside the Hay-Adams, a must-visit (at least, so I've been told by neighbor locals) where we shared a table with a few lobbyists and overheard some very interesting name-dropping. Drinks and the company were perfect, and really, just a nice time to be out and about in DC with a buzz of energy and activity while our babes were watched by our angel neighbor and friend back home.
This weekend we also finally made our way down to the District's Wharf, which is in the southwest quadrant. It's a newly developed area with a beautiful pier, trendy restaurants, hotels, and boutique shops. I can see how it will be mighty popular come the warmer months. We went for an early St. Patrick's Day fest and enjoyed the authentic music, pierside swings, and Ben and Jerry's ice cream, as one does when it's 45 degrees outside.

Sunday, we continued the St. Patty's celebration while watching the National St. Patrick's Day Parade down Constitution Ave. It had it's fair share of celebratory bagpipes, public safety officers, and dancing, but in my heart of hearts, nothing will ever top the Fullerton Founders Day Parade of 2015 :)
After the parade we checked an item off that's been on Henry and my own bucket list for a while-the Old Post Office Tower. From the 270-foot observation deck you can see most all of DC's landmarks-the Washington Monument, White House, Capitol, Pentagon Smithsonians, Supreme Court, and Lincoln Memorial. We even could see the intersection of part of the parade route. For those who may visit, it's an easy 10 minute venture and directly across the street from the Federal Triangle Metro stop.
Twas a great weekend to get outside, see new sights, and enjoy the city.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Resident Tourist: Newseum

While I frequent museums with the kids each week, I rarely have an opportunity to read anything beyond the headlines in the exhibits. It's been on my personal bucket list for a while to get to a few museums solo before our time here comes to an end, and high on that list was the Newseum.

A non-Smithsonian venture, the Newseum celebrates all that has to do with the first Amendment-freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition. I had intended to be gone a few hours on Sunday and be able to see the National Archives as well, but instead, spent over three hours moving at my own pace through the six levels of this amazing museum.

With my communications background, I found much of the content fascinating. Some highlights: the front of the museum has a front page from every state represented, as well as most major countries inside. I choked up no less than five times in the Pulitzer Prize photographs gallery. Many images were quite iconic but others I had never seen and/or known the backstory and was moved to tears learning more about the stories and context of the images. And, I was impressed to see an image from the Orange County Register among the collection.

The Newseum also has a fully-functional television studio that has hosted President Obama and regularly featured ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, among other broadcast notables. Pretty cool to stand inside those walls. And, on the lighter side, they also have an interactive exhibit where you can pretend to be a newscaster. Of course I did that, too.

Other exhibits took a look at the Civil Rights movement the past fifty years, and how student protests have continued to be main forms of free speech. 

Exhibits also focused on the accessibility of news. Standing on either side of the Berlin wall and looking at maps as to how much freedom of the press actually existed in Berlin at that time and now, globally, was sobering. 
The museum had an amazing 9/11 gallery reflecting a timeline of events that day, journalists' stories and videos of capturing the events as they happened, and an antenna that used to reside atop World Trade Center. Their discretely placed tissue boxes were much appreciated.
Other highlights of the visit included an entire gallery dedicated to front page stories spanning three centuries. Headlines included Napoleon returning to France to the Titanic's sinking and both royal weddings of the last 30 years. It was fascinating to read (those in modern English anyway), along with exhibits on war reporting, women in news, and how the FBI is fighting modern terrorism in a pre and post 9/11 world. There's also an amazing panoramic exhibit on the top floor, flanking Pennsylvania Ave, with picture perfect views and a detailed timeline of the headlines that made it "America's Main Street."

Being non-Smithsonian the cost is around $25 for adults, but the first weekend of the month is free for Bank of America customers (credit cards, bank cards, even my Alaska Airline's credit card applied!) but it's definitely worth the money. And Wolfgang Puck's restaurant is next door and also the supplier of the cafeteria, where I had lunch. Win win!

Monday, March 5, 2018


Well, February came and went with nary a post...oops! The kids and I were having too much fun surprising family and friends with a trip to California!

And by surprising, I do mean in Darth Vader masks of course.

There were plenty of dart gun fights...

Playing the back of Grandpa's truck, wagon rides, games of smash ball, and wine...lots of wine...

We made a trip to the beach and pier...

And also just hung out at home. Some of us were repeat visitors to the cracker drawer.

We visited the Great Park (which I hadn't even done as a resident) and rode in the balloon. Henry has developed my love for photos in goofy signs and requested the one below in the earthworm (maybe?) cutout...

We met up with missed friends!

And had plenty of playtime on the pirate raft, swing set, and bikes.

My in-laws even treated me to a fabulous cooking class at PREP Kitchen Essentials (highly recommend to OC locals!) and while it's never enough, we spent time with aunts, uncles, and cousins.

We even made it to Irvine Park for some railroad fun...

Not pictured-a surprise baby shower appearance, a rare dinner date with my best friend, visits to our house, playdates, a few lunches with friends... and then coming home to our favorite guy. It really was a perfect February <3 p="">