Sunday, May 26, 2013

Museum of Fine Arts free weekend

Yesterday we took the girls to the MFA with Adam's parents, Kirk and Cornie. We met them at the T station and took the train in. The museum is free for the whole weekend. Needless to say, we were not the only people who noticed and when we got there there was a line out the door on the Huntington Avenue side of the building and down the block. We got on the end of it. First we heard an MFA staffer explain that anyone who wished to sign up for a membership could skip the line and go straight in. Now that's an impressive bit of marketing. Hats off to the membership department. We didn't think we will make it out there often enough to make a membership worthwhile for a couple of more years though. So we declined that offer. A few minutes later another MFA staffer came along and told a small group of us that the entrance on the Fenway side of the building had a short line and a five minute wait. So ten minutes later we were headed into the building.

The MFA allows people to check strollers at the coat checks. I can not tell you how much I love that. It makes it so much easier to take my girls on adventures if I can check the stroller. I had the girls lunches and the diaper changing kit hanging off one of my shoulders, and I put Olivia on my other hip in the sling. Adam took Alessia, and we were off.

Alessia has a series of books that tell stories using the works of impressionist painters. So we headed straight to the impressionist gallery. She was mesmerized. We pointed to individual works by Monet and Van Gogh and recited lines from the books. From there we wandered through the European galleries, stopping whenever a painting depicted something Alessia could relate to, portraits, food, boats, and landscapes were particularly popular. Olivia is just starting to point, so she had a grand time occasionally thrusting out her little arm and pointy finger and cawing, eyes wide open. She also expressed a need to nurse halfway through the European galleries, so add that to the list of places where I have nursed Olivia.


We realized we only had so much time before the need to eat would take over everyone's mood, so we went to the Asian wing. Both girls were taken with the Buddhas, and we walked through the Chinese furniture exhibition, which is a series of "rooms" and feels very much like walking through someone's house. We pointed out the bed and couch, the tea pot, and the desk. Alessia loved them. It's interesting how certain categories of things are recognizable across time and space.

Lunch time came. We checked out the cafeteria, which was a mad house, and then decided to wait the twenty minutes for a table at the New American Cafe. It was perfect. Alessia sat in a big girl chair and Oliva had a high chair. We had adult conversation while the girls ate the food we brought for them. It took awhile for our food to come, but the girls were calm and the courtyard is beautiful. So we enjoyed ourselves all around.

Both girls fell asleep on the way home in the stroller. We parked them in the backyard and made a cup of tea. Overall a very successful adventure.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Dairy - the last piece of the puzzle

A couple of weeks ago I decided to go dairy-free just to see if dairy was making more of an impact on Olivia's sleep than I was willing to admit. It took me three days to feel full, and I had to start eating more meat than I am used to. After about ten days, we didn't think it was helping, so I started putting parmesan on my pasta. We had two good nights sleep in a row, but again I was putting parmesan on my pasta so I assumed that there was no connection. I then started eating cheese at lunch again, and Olivia's sleep immediately got worse. So, I will be eating dairy-free for a while. This is definitely the hardest. I've gotten used to cooking gluten-free. We have taco night and eat more rice. I've found decent gf pastas and even a bread that is both gf and egg-free and actually worth eating. I have a real avversion to fake dairy products though. If nothing else they tend to be highly processed, and I think I would rather eat more meat than eat that much guar gum and soy lecithin. Even more importantly, I don't enjoy the taste of fake dairy.

I've been eating more peanut butter and nuts and will add more tofu into my routine. I'm also hoping that I will be able to eat more beans. I think beans are a problem for Olivia when her system is upset. If the lack of gluten, eggs, and dairy leads to a happier tummy, then hopefully it will be more tolerant of beans.

So that's that. Here's a picture of the little stinker.



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

We're Going on a Bear Hunt... In Malden

Today we took a walk around Fellsmere Pond here in Malden. It's a man-made pond with fountains, surrounded by trees, rocky hills, and Olmsted-type meandering paths. Alessia loves nature, which is a polite way of seeing she is a dirt monkey whom we should be raising in the country. She loves sticks and rocks, trees and bushes, ducks and geese, and dirt and mud. So, needless to say, she was having a grand time, wandering on and off the path and asking a million "what's that?" questions. About halfway around the pond, she jumped up to a tree "We're going on a bear hunt. We're going to catch a big one. What a beautiful day. We're not scared. Uh, oh. A forest. A deep dark forest. We can't go over it. We can't go under it. We've got to go through it. Stumble trip. Stumble trip. Stumble trip." During that last bit she repeatedly "tripped" and through herself to the ground. All of a sudden the landscape was part of one of her favorite books, We're Going on a Bear Hunt.

Further along, "what's that?" Tall grass. And off she went again. "Uh, oh. Grass. Long wavy grass. We can't go over it...." A few steps in among the trees she sat on the remains of a stump. She plunged her hands into the dark earth. "Uh, oh. Mud. Thick, oozy mud. We can't go over it..." And finally the pond itself was noticed as part of the story. "Uh, oh. A river. A deep, cold river. We can't go over it..."

This is what I love about spending time with a two-year-old. The first time we visited this pond, Alessia picked up about hundred different sticks and noted the various sizes - little, big, reeeaaally big, teeny tiny. Today the pond became the setting of a favorite book, and there is no way to know what the pond will look like next time we go.