Category Archives: family

For my mom – Mother’s Day 2016

Note: This essay is published at Mile High Mamas for their mother’s day essay contest, but I have permission to share it here too. 

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I love this quote from the Disney© Movie, Odd Life of Timothy Green, “There are 2 people in the world who want you more than anything. They will do their best, they will make some mistakes, and you only get them for a short time, but they will love you more than you can ever imagine….”

I only realized how much my mom sacrificed for us after I became a mom almost 9 years ago. She was 25, and married off to a man she hardly knew (arranged marriages back in the day).  Then, she was immediately setting sail (okay, she flew) to a country almost 10,000 miles away from her home for a new life.  She left behind all she knew, the languages she spoke and the people she loved.  Over the last four decades, she also moved all over the country for dad’s career, and stayed at home for us.  She shuttled us to all our activities and school events.  When we were sick, she stayed up all night worrying and caring for us.  Her love didn’t end when we went off to college.  She was always thinking of us.  Mom sacrificed so much for us.  She’s my hero, not just this Mother’s Day but every day.

This mother’s day is especially special for us.  Mom recently started a journey that will be both difficult and have its triumphs too.  Mom is private about her life so I won’t share more but we know she will do great! She is the strongest person I know because of all she did for us and all she sacrificed.  Only a strong person can do that! My mom is unique and special, and loved by all who meet her.  While I may not have mirrored everything she did, I am better off because of the choices she made for us.  This mother’s day, I want her to know that she is my hero.  Because of her sacrifices, I am here, living in a country with amazing opportunities.  I am all that I am because of what she taught me and how she cared for me.  I have her personality, her smile, and people often mistake me for her when I call them.  There is a saying that “we live on through our children.”  Well, if this is true, mom, I have lived and breathed you for 43 years, and will keep doing so as long as God allows.

Thanks for being one of two people who wanted me more than anything and doing your very best.  Your children and grandchildren are proof that you do more than your best.  Thanks for making mistakes along the way.  We made better choices as a result of them.  God has given you to me for 43 years and I pray he loans you to us for much longer.  After all, he still wants you to teach your grandchildren a few things we didn’t want to learn.   Finally, thanks for loving me more than anyone can ever imagine.  Now that I am a mom, I actually don’t have to imagine.  I only hope I can be half the hero for my children that you are for us.

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Denver Art Museum Samurai Exhibit – Now through June 5th #SamuraiDAM

20160306_131418*warning: some of the images appear strange or rotated using Chrome.  Sorry about that.  It is a Chrome issue.

We visited the Denver Art Museum’s Samurai Exhibit today, on opening day, and it was a treat!  The Art Museum is iconic in Denver, and showcases some of the most amazing works of art you will see.  Do not miss this special, limited engagement exhibit while it is in town.  Now through June 5, DAM is featuring the Samurai Exhibit.

DAM 1 The Exhibit: The exhibition Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection tells the iconic story of Japanese samurai through 140 objects from one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of samurai armor and accoutrements in the world.
Surrounded by murals and war regalia, visitors will be immersed in the life, culture, and pageantry of samurai in the 1100s through the 1800s. Exquisitely decorated suits of armor, helmets, weapons, horse trappings, and additional battle gear will be on display, demonstrating masterful craftsmanship.Samurai will highlight the artistic inspiration for these elaborate suits of armor.

The exhibition is curated in collaboration with the Denver Art Museum and The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection, Dallas. An exhibition catalog, Art of Armor: Samurai Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection, will be available in The Shops and online.

DAM 2DAM 3

Once you exit through the gift shop, the kids receive a sticker to make a seal.   Cross over 14th using the bridge (level 2) where you will arrive at the North Wing and the Samurai-themed kids activity area called the “Just for Fun Family Center.”  Parents can relax here and the kids can dress up as Samurai, make hats with their family crest/seal, and practice building sculptures with soft, large, hand-sculpted wooden rocks made by Sam Mobley.  In this area, kids can play games, draw, and cut loose.  The mural backdrop by artist Jena Siedler transforms you to Japan while you relax and play.  We had a blast today at the Denver Art Museum!

DAM 4Logistics & Information:   The exhibit is family-friendly, but I recommend kids ages 5 and up will enjoy this, and not so much the younger kids.  The museum provides you an audio guide at the entrance, and there is a separate number series for families versus adults to hear.   For the family guide, a “tengu” speaks to you about the pieces and trains you and the kids how to be a Samurai.   In folklore, the Tengu is a half bird, half man, and you meet him at the end of your audio tour.  The experience was fun for my kids, and they stayed engaged throughout the exhibit.  It is quite an extensive collection, and we were very impressed with how well it was displayed, explained, and laid out.   The exhibit is handicap accessible, and easy to push wheelchairs and strollers throughout the museum.

DAM 5Denver Art Museum does a great job with crowd control by doing timed entry for the special exhibit.  This ensures everyone enjoys the exhibit without being trampled, or overcrowded.  I wish other museums in the area would learn from this and follow suit.  It is so pleasant to walk around, read placards and enjoy the exhibit, rather than being shoved and so crowded-in that you cannot see a thing.  I absolutely love the Denver Art Museum for this reason, and this exhibit and the entire museum is enjoyable as a result.

You may buy your tickets on site, or online (by time), and it is not included with the general admission, so plan accordingly.  Members get a special rate, and there are senior, military and other discounts available.  Youth under age 18 are FREE at the Denver Art Museum but there is a $5 fee for them for this exhibit.   Photography is permitted in this area, but no FLASH photography is permitted.  The audio guides are well worth it!

The Museum is located near Civic Center Park, and there is ample garage open, but on Sundays, street parking is free.  Check the events calendar.  You can also park at the post office/federal building for $5, and walk a few blocks.  There are plenty of private paid lots as well.

Required Disclosure:  My family and I attended the Denver Art Museum’s Samurai Exhibit for free in exchange for an honest review and posting information about this special exhibit.  The opinions expressed here are my own.

Don’t miss this Groupon Deal (active now) for The Museum of Art in Denver or click below, and search for other great deals:
Once you click here, search for Denver Museum of Art. There is an amazing membership deal right now, you can try clicking here too.

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My Reality*

*Note:  This post is published today at Mile High Mamas for their feature story on motherhood and the choices we make.  Thanks to Mile High Mamas for allowing me to share this and reproduce here, and thanks to my friend Eileen who helped me edit this.  Who knew getting it down from 2000 words to 600 something could be so hard?

“Women’s libbers say we can have it all. I do not believe that we can have it all at the same time. Life is give and take. For me, I cannot immerse myself in my career without falling short in other areas. This is not a pessimistic approach or a judgment against those who chose their careers over staying at home. This is my reality and I would not change it for the world.”  Amber Johnson, Mile High Mamas

She’s not wrong, but my reality is a bit different and I wouldn’t change it for the world, either. Being a parent is a tough balancing act that takes a lot of work, and this women’s libber believes you can have it all, if that’s what you want.

I am an “older” mommy.  I had a professional career when I chose to get married, and even later still, when I chose to have children.  Actually, I have two careers; I am an attorney and a JAG for the Reserves. Working now for 17 years in both careers, I have seniority, have moved up the ranks and earned promotions, and I am successful as both a professional and a mother. I am doing what I love and have amazing kids to boot!  I have great employers that are flexible, and understand that my family comes first.  I can achieve balance.  That’s why I didn’t take a break.  I did not want to lose the employers I had, and frankly, it’s not easy to jump back into a career like mine.

Another great thing I have is the perfect husband – well, perfect for us, that is.  There is no division of labor.  We both do it all! Our mutual respect makes our reality work.  Our house may not be clean when you surprise us, but we are raising two great kids.  They are smart, funny, and support their parents’ choices to work (my husband also had a20150320_112821 career when we married and then had children).  They see the independence in me, the can-do attitude, and they emulate that.  Which is why I often wonder why I am asked to justify why I chose a career after I chose to have kids. My husband is never asked that.  For me, I don’t choose either/or.  I choose to have it all as long as I am able.

I acknowledge that I can do this because of him. He does way more than his fair share of household chores and shuttling the children around.  I am lucky to have an employer who allows flexibility for all its employees in the year 2015- what a concept! We are also lucky that we picked a school that has an excellent schedule for our dual working household.  My children have never gone without.  I had a longer maternity leave and was able to nurse both kids upwards of a year, and they get to go on some pretty amazing trips at an early age because of my work.  I haven’t missed a single field trip, play or gymnastics meet.  With 17 years seniority, I have plenty of leave and I take time off when I need.  When my parents needed me in 2012, I was able to fly out each time and help them as well!

I hold no judgment against your choice to have a single income family, and we ask for the same in return.  I want my kids to succeed in all they do, but I also want that next promotion, and I am not ashamed to admit it.  So that’s why I choose it all, not because I want to escape my family (because I don’t), but because I am driven and I love serving my country too! I hope my girls one day say what a great role model they had in me.  But mostly, I hope my girls will grow up in an America where no one will ask them, “why do you choose to work,” or “why do you stay at home.” That would be a great reality, indeed.

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The Game is Afoot at the DMNS #SherlockinDenver

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*Please note: This article was written as a guest post for Mile High Mamas, and is posted here.  For Denver activities and more, check out their website.

221B  Baker Street has been transported to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science from now until January 31, 2016.  This interactive international exhibit has several parts, but starts with the history of this character and and includes a replica underground train station (circa 1895) where you can receive detective’s notebooks (available in English and Spanish), and go station to station to learn about the different techniques and aspects for solving crimes.  At each station, you stamp your detective notebook or receive a decoder (read the instructions or ask for help), because each station is different.

Gathering techniques and punches in your book
Gathering techniques and punches in your book

At the end of the station, you get a special decoded message from Sherlock Holmes that tells you what to do next. The game is definitely afoot, as you examine a crime in a Victorian-era home, stamp your book so you can take clues with you and then walk the streets of London to gather clues. At each of the final stations, you analyze all the evidence with hands-on interactive stations.  Thegameisafoot

The various stations, include a sitting room at 221B Baker Street, depicting the very room where Dr. Watson and Sherlock discussed cases.  The various stations make it fun for adults and children alike to enjoy solving a case and exploring the concept that “things are not always what they seem!”

crime scene
crime scene

Be prepared for some fun, interaction, and a whole lot of Sherlock Holmes.  If you love a mystery and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creations, you will definitely enjoy this exhibit at the DMNS.  But, be careful and observe every detail, because “to a great mind, nothing is little.”

InvestigatingtheEvidence
Analyzing the evidence

 

A few things of note for this exhibit specifically:

  • You can take strollers, photos, but no flash photos, please.
  • Admission to this exhibit is extra, even for members.  But, special member discounts apply. 
  • Some of the content is not suitable for kids under age 10.  It depends on the child and what they can handle.  It’s a murder and analysis of evidence from a scene.
  • It is a complicated exhibited, so ask for help.  Plenty of amazing volunteers and staff are there to assist.
  • Attend on less busier days if you can, so you can truly enjoy this exhibit. Crowds make this exhibit tougher to enjoy/use.
  • It is open daily, except for Christmas day, December 25.

For more information, visit International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes

*Disclaimer: I wrote this piece for DMNS and Mile High Mamas as a guest blogger.  I received compensation in the form of free admission for my family.  The information and any opinions posted here are my own.

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Brick Fest Live is coming Aug 28-30 to the Denver Merchandise Mart

bfl-denver-120x90Do you love Lego bricks as much as we do?  Then don’t miss this!  Brick Fest Live is coming to the Denver Merchandise Mart August 28-30.  Get inspired, educated and entertained with LEGO bricks!  Play with huge attractions built to set your imagination free and witness mind-blowing creations made entirely of this timeless toy at the Brick Fest Live.  Save $2 with code:  DENFAMGUIDE, or http://www.coloradokids.com/coupon.php?id=23051018 #brickfestlive  brickfest2index

Come and build with us!

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