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Life in CA Mommy Discoveries

MyMommyology #FieldtripFriday: California Science Center

I love that my girls love Science.  I find that I appreciate it a little bit more too now that I’m an adult, and I enjoy our little exploration trips together.

The California Science Center is always a favorite to go to.  One, because it has the Endeavor housed in it.

Our very first visit here. We’ve gone back multiple times since.

Sam has always been fascinated with the study of space and planets.  For a time being she said she would grow up to be an astronaut.

Meeting Astronaut Col. Mike Mullane, getting their Space book signed and asking a million and one questions about being outer space.

I thought that was pretty cool, until I saw Gravity.  Since then I’ve made it my mission to bring space to her instead (… and maybe slightly change her interests.)  😉

There are a lot of facts about the Endeavor and its missions and its history in that museum, and each time we go, we visit and try to learn something new.

A look inside the Endeavor today.

Beyond that however, there are other parts of the Science center that the girls love — especially all the biological exhibits.  There’s even a rot room (ewwwww), which talks about the decomposition of materials.

Why we have to go back here EVERY time we come is beyond me.

We like to watch the IMAX shows as well.  We’ve seen the one on National Parks, and another one on the Pandas!

They’re as tall as the beaver!

The California Science Center also has roving exhibits.  Up until next month, King Tut is on display.  I remember we took a survey about what it is we’d like to see, and I think my girls did put Egyptian history.  So it’s a nice little perk for them to know that they’re “heard” somehow.

A replica of King Tut’s tomb

There are stations outside the exhibit displayed too, for the kids to learn about ancient Egypt.

Learning hieroglyphics.

King Tut however is a little dark, both in ambiance and in content (it does talk about buring live guards with the king), but somehow the girls had missed all of that in favor of other Egyptian artifacts and pieces.

Listening to the docent explain the actual jewels and gems on display.

The California Science Center is one of many museums located in Exposition Park.  When you exit the back, there is a Rose garden in the middle of that and other museums, like the Museum of National History (we will save this for another #fieldtripfriday)!  We haven’t gone to much more outside of this, as each time we visit, the girls always choose to go back!

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The gift shop at the California Science Center has some cool STEM-related toys.  Be prepared to spend!  Any purchase of tickets beforehand too will facilitate your entrance to the museum.  Sometimes the ticket lines outside can get long.

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Life in CA Mommy Anecdotes Mommy Discoveries My Mommyology Recommends

MyMommyology #FieldTripFriday at La Brea Tarpits

Walking away from LACMA on the right, you’ll find the La Brea Tarpits.  You can’t miss it, you smell the tar and the sulfuric gas as you walk towards it.

Interesting site, stinky smell.

I first heard of tar when we lived in North Carolina, hence the term:  Tar-Heel.  I never would’ve guessed that a whole fossil site was within driving distance from where we now stay!

And fossils — that’s the magic word for my girls.  While they have never watched the Ice Age movies, their books and their love for science and animals have led us to understand a little bit more about the past that is buried beneath our feet.

It’s quite the joyful experience for me when we discover something new together.  The learner in me enjoys taking them to these new places  — and it’s such a treat when I learn something new along with them.

His name is Zed!  So. Cool!

Who know about the vast number of dire wolves in California?  There are 400 on the wall there so far.

Or that a Columbian Mammoth that’s the most complete they’ve found (so far)?!

They all say “so far” — because there are still ongoing excavations.

Paleontologist beware: Curious child in front.

The girls got to ask questions from a paleontologist who was at Project 23, the most recent dig site.  Ever the naiveté, here I thought they’d found everything there was to be found in the last century.  Apparently not!  They claim to have found 3.5 million fossils to date, and the count continues to grow.  It’s a reason to go back — because you never know what’s new to be featured a few months from now, or even a few years from now!

Considering it was a small museum, we spent a good portion of our day there (apart from a quick lunch break across the street), studying a bunch of the fossils they’ve discovered.  Plus, my children like to read all the descriptions.

The Observation Pit where a pile of predators seemed to have gotten caught.

The girls were fascinated as well by the Fossil lab where the scientists were at work on some of their current finds.

Like a scientific fishbowl.

It’s like a big prehistoric jigsaw puzzle with no guide — and they find things out as they go along.  Or they use the parts they find to figure out the story behind why all those fossils are piled one on top of the other!  A predatory kill perhaps?  So much tar has to be cleaned off though!

The Tar is fascinating as much as it is scary.  It’s still bubbling the girls said.  You could still fall in?!  *clutch children closer*

Souvenir photo for the win.

#FieldtripFriday tip:  Buy your tickets ahead of time so you can go straight to the entrance.  Add $5 to attend an Ice Age encounter.  The girls enjoyed it because there was a talking Sabertooth.

And finally, the photo fossil book is a worthy keepsake souvenir.  Thanks Maga! 😉

 

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Life in CA Mommy Discoveries My Mommyology Recommends

MyMommyology’s #FieldtripFriday: Huntington Gardens

Except, this particular field trip happened on a Monday.

With Maga in town, and the girls out of school, we thought we’d continue our field trips here and there.

A good friend recommended we take her to the Huntington Botanical Gardens, just because it’s beautiful.  So we packed up the car and drove out there for the day.

I’d say off the bat, that a membership there would be worth it if you can go three or more times.  The gardens are very open and spacious, and a good place to let the kids run around and be outdoors, especially during the summer months.

And on that note, when bringing children, I would encourage packing a backpack of food, drinks and snacks.  You technically aren’t allowed to take any outside food into the grounds, but there is an area before you enter where you can sit and eat before exploring.  If anything, we found the food inside the cafes and tea houses were a little overpriced for what it was.  

There is a lot to see — beginning with Huntington’s old home with all the European Art collection.  My kids were not as interested to stay in the building (granted that everything else was outdoors), but we did go into the hall where the Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough was located.

The room where the painting resides.

We were able to go around a little bit and explore the library.  The girls sat on typical chairs the Huntingtons would sit on back in their time.

Chair templates

Needless to say, we didn’t enter the American Art museum because the girls just wanted to stay in the gardens.

The Rose Garden is very colorful, and reminds me distinctly of Beauty and the Beast’s Gardens.  Who knew there would be more than one type of rose?  I didn’t.

Using the panoramic view of the iPhone.

We also downloaded a QR scanner on our phones to learn a little bit more about the roses in that garden.

My personal favorite was the Japanese Garden.

Beautiful view, with a little moon bridge and all!

The docent explained that the Japanese Garden was a surprise gift by Mr. Huntington to his wife.  She didn’t like it at first but then she eventually grew accustomed to it.  They used to have tea in the Japanese tea house up the hill.  This was transported out of Japan during the great earthquake in the early 1900s and brought here.

I love that the girls get a little bit of history as they appreciate some natural beauty all around them.

The Japanese gardens also have a Bonsai Court — my guess is it’s Jamie’s favorite since she said “all the trees are smaller than me!”

So cute these tiny trees!

We walked past the Chinese Gardens too, and some Lily Ponds to get to the Desert Gardens, which was sprawled very widely.  There were a lot of cacti.  And a lot of animals as well — I think the girls liked these gardens best.

I would go to the restrooms before heading over to these gardens — you wouldn’t want to rush through cacti when you need it!

Entering the Desert Gardens

Before we left for the afternoon, we went through the Brody Botanical Center, which housed a learning lab for the kids.  It was pretty humid inside, but the girls still loved going around and trying the different experiments that were laid out.

My scientist loving every minute of it.

They loved looking through the microscopes and magnifying glasses to learn about the seeds and plants.  There was a whole lot of information to take home.

At the end of the day, our heads and hearts were full as our feet were tired.  I feel like a massage at the end would be a great profit-generator for them.  You can’t deny though, you’ll definitely get you your steps in!

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Life in CA Mommy Discoveries

MyMommyology’s #FieldtripFriday at LACMA

Friday is here.  It brings back memories of #Fieldtripfridays we took during our summer days.

One favorite that we talk about to this day, was to LACMA, or the LA County Museum of Art.  You know the place with the famous lampposts outside, where everyone takes pictures?  Yeah…. everyone except us of course.

See, I don’t know much about art, and that is one thing I want my kids to appreciate.  They love museums and little exploration trips, so when we go, I have to remember to try to see things from their eyes, and have their agenda in mind.  We just go with the flow.  Sometimes it means not being able to see everything, and that’s okay too.

I tell them though that I expect to hear three things they discovered or learned on the trip.  It could be anything at all, from what they saw, to what they learned about themselves.

We entered the different LACMA collections with the question, “What is art anyway?” And together decided that some of these pieces weren’t art really… and some were.  Like for instance, Monet’s paintings.  The girls have learned about this artists’ style at school, and clearly thought — this was art.

The Claude Monet area – and his contemporaries.

Then there were many different historical collections.  We spent a lot of time at the Egyptian Art Collection (which is closely linked to Egyptian mythology, a current favorite interest).

Peekaboo. I see you…

There was art bigger than them too.  Modern Art they called it, and often times the girls said, “huh?!”

Mom, it echoes! (echoes, echoes, echoes….)

And art that we didn’t understand.

Why, they asked. Why?

I have to admit though, it made for good conversation.  Why is this on display?  What criteria did they use that it passed?  And so many other questions, which was a pleasant surprise.

And just parts of the museum that looked good in pictures.

Okay, maybe not the Urban Lights. But we did get… “pillars”. 😉

There was a Kids’ art space too, the Boone Children’s Gallery where the kids made their own art and explored different media.

This was clearly an inspiration as when I got home, I found them outside, creating their own art, and using different media!

Jamie stuck with the traditional beach scene.  But she also managed to paint my tiles in the process.

 

So that’s where my toilet paper rolls went…

In the end the girls said, “art is what you make of it mom,” which I thought was very profound.  It could have also been said so that I stop asking questions.  Either way, I’ll take what I can get.

LACMA is a museum that we would visit again and again if we could.  It didn’t hurt that kids 17 years and under can go in for free.  Plus, we didn’t finish one or two areas.  If I know my kids, they’d want to see what they missed.  It’s like a book that you can read over and over again — you always get something new each time you go.

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Here’s a tip:  When visiting LACMA, pack your own food and snacks and leave them in the car.  We went back for it when the girls were hungry and ate it in the open space outside. 

 

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ExperiMOMent Life in CA Mommy Anecdotes On Becoming a Better Mom

Summer Shenanigans

I suppose it’s best to start with that.  It is after all, summer time in California.

In the past summers, the girls would continue on with classes and camps for a most of the day.  In the period where Sam was in year-round school and Jamie was on a traditional schedule — their schedules didn’t match up.  It got too complicated to juggle them around, and the easiest was to just keep them in camps and school.  They were learning and they were busy.  Done and done!

Eventually, we moved homes, and Sam moved to a traditional calendar school.  Suddenly, summer lined up, but Jamie wanted to stay in her school with her friends (they would have splash day every Friday and pizza), and Sam and I thought we would try out different camps for her around town.  It all worked out and the ladies (big and little) were happy.

By Fall 2016, it was my husband who complained — he’d finally gotten the bill for all the camps.  Wooops.

I’m surprised he didn’t pop a vein.  Or maybe he did.

And to his point, summer is supposed to be a time for the kids to relax, chill and get bored.  My problem he said, is that I always have them doing something (why…. yes.  I didn’t understand.)  They have to learn to do nothing (it took me a while to process that, but…. ok).

So for the summer of 2017, we said goodbye to week-after-week of camp, and just picked one half day camp both girls wanted to do in the same location.  It was the happy compromise between doing “something” and doing “nothing”. The husband was happy, the girls were a little less “on schedule”… but guess what.  It meant more for me to do!

Hence, #mymommyologysummercamp was born.  Trust me, I had no idea what I was doing.

We went around the house for the most part and unearthed gifts, activities and toys they hadn’t touched over the school year and popped them open.

The was definitely some Lego.  And game boards!

Ticket to Ride time.

Somehow, we got some geography lessons in with Little Passports.

We love our Little Passports!

And some science in with our Tinker Crates (more on that next time).

Jamie and her claw machine game.

Of course, I had to inject some Filipino lessons here and there.  Hearing the girls read the words is painful and hilarious at the same time, but hey, a little progress here and there should be good?

Thank you, Amazon.

One of our milestones last year was Sam finally learning how to bike (we had to get the gross-motor skills going too), and I’d like to think that was my personal favorite moment.  We’d been waiting for dad to get out and teach her to do it, since that is not part of my parenting skill set.  But anyway, we got it done (pat self on back)!

Looking for a bike to practice on.  We ended up waiting and asked Santa to bring one.

Last year was the first time we purposely didn’t schedule anything on Fridays.  So the girls and I ventured out into different places around town and did our version of #fieldtripfriday!  We’ll save those discoveries for some later dates.

#fieldtripfriday posts are coming!

By the time I got the girls back into school last fall, I was EXHAUSTED.  It seemed to work its charm on the girls though because they said that they liked that summer “best” and “would love a repeat next year (eeeeek).  Strangely enough, I find that they remembered most of what we did in those sporadic trips here and there.  Maybe my husband was onto something about “doing nothing”…. ? 😉