Raising a family in Southern California allows for a lot of adventures. From a mother's perspective, it is ideal because the weather is almost always beautiful, so being outdoors is almost never an issue. And when you have two little boys, getting outdoors is key. Another important part of raising a family in Los Angeles is location. Location location location. We happen to live in an area known as the Miracle Mile, which is full of fun places we can walk to. Since I have a 5 month old and a 4-year-old, we keep our radius small so that the kids (me, really) don't get overwhelmed and we're always a short walk away from home for nursing, naps, or emergency blow-out situations.
Our adventure is a typical one for us: a family walk (about a mile from home) to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, otherwise known as LACMA. LACMA has an amazing program called NEXGEN, where kids are allowed to become members for free, and one adult is free with their membership as well, so we can basically go see any exhibit or activity that isn't in a limited run (where you need to buy a special ticket). The LACMA campus is adjacent to the famed La Brea Tar Pits, so we walk through those to chat with the mammoths on our way to the museum. Charlie also loves to "climb the tree" and "roll down the big hill." Basically there are about 50 kinds of fun in one spot, depending on his mood that day.
After a stop at the tar pits, we visit the Children's Art Room where you can paint and make messes and someone else cleans it up! Because I have a car-obsessed 4-year-old boy, we also visit the Metropolis II exhibit by Chris Burden (it's like a matchbox car city on steroids that runs for an hour on and then an hour off on the weekends and is impressive even to grown ups). We walk under what Charlie calls "the big rock" but everyone else calls Levitated Mass (I call it the Pisa of LA because tourists are constantly taking photos of themselves "holding up" the rock which is kinda lame. But I did it in Pisa, and I'm sure the locals there think that's lame too, so I'll look the other way...) And then we head to what we call the "yellow noodles." The noodles is actually an art installation that you can walk through and play in and everyone, young and old, loves to play hide and seek and take selfies in it. I have a taken a series of photos with Charlie in the noodles since our first visit there when he was around 18 months old, and with Calvin since he was in my belly, and shared them on instagram with the hashtag #charlielovestheyellownoodles so I could compare all of them over the years (or as long as instagram and hashtags are in existence). We also did a family photoshoot there just before I got pregnant with Calvin since it is one of our favorite places.
A visit to LACMA is never complete without a visit to the "pretty lights." We like to play hide-and-seek and take photos, and if you have the chance to see it at night it is breathtaking (but we're rarely out after dark with the kids - it's the plight of parents everywhere). And then we hop across the street to have lunch at one of the many yummy food trucks parked along Wilshire Blvd before we walk home, or to our next stop....
Calvin wasn't up for hide-and-seek on this particular visit. And by the time we got to the next stop on our adventure, Charlie was in full meltdown mode too. So while we usually hit up both of our favorite spots during the same weekly outing, on this week (probably because I was going to share this with you, and kids know when you need things to go well and always choose that moment to MELT THE CRAP DOWN, am I right?) we hit them up in two separate trips. Real life, people!
So the next stop on our adventure, our favorite treat spot in the city is Milk Jar Cookies. I promise I'm not exaggerating when I say they are the best cookies I've ever bought.
It's also the cutest little bakery that you ever did see. Try as I might to avoid it, I always end up stopping right before lunch or dinner and totally ruining our appetites for anything but cookies. But we try to limit ourselves to once (sometimes twice; almost never three times) a week, so I figure it's fine. I'm not winning a parent of the year award, or losing my baby weight, but whatever. The cookies are worth it.
Once we're good and sugared up, we walk home to try to get a family nap (see how well I time that sugar rush and the nap time?) While it isn't the most adventurous day you can have in Los Angeles, any morning out with two littles in tow is an adventure. And when the boys are older and don't want to go on family adventures with us anymore, it's the sugar highs and the cookies I'll remember, not the naps and meltdowns. Family adventures make memories.