Sunday, January 10, 2010

If My Kids Can Celebrate Their Birthdays All Week Long, So Can MLK

Now, I know Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday isn't until January 15th, and I know we aren't supposed to celebrate it until the following Monday, when his birthday is observed as a national holiday, but we just went ahead and started celebrating last Saturday.

If you're new around here, you might not know that Martin Luther King is one of Jack's heroes, and someone that he considers a close personal friend. Last year we celebrated King's birthday, complete with cake. This year, I hope to do the same.

So naturally when I saw that the Smithsonian Art Museum was having a family program celebrating Dr. King this past weekend, we packed up Team Stimey and Team Stimey Adjunct (my mom) and headed downtown.

Our first activity was to make "stained glass windows" (which were actually pieces of colored paper glued to white paper and put inside an opaque envelope—stained glass, my ass) with some of Martin's Big Words on the outside.

I think Quinn's Big Word was BORED.

Sam's Big Words were Courage and Great. Jack's was 0/1.000 ?. Yeah, I don't get it either. But at least Jack didn't spend the 25 minutes in the car on the way to the museum counting from one to infinity plus one hundred and two, like Quinn did.

After that, we watched a puppet show about the underground railroad. Jack deemed it sad. I agree. When the lady hosting the show asked what kids in the audience knew about Martin, Sam reminded us all that his birthday is a holiday. Way to represent, Sam.

I'd never been to this particular museum or its fantastic, warm, roofed courtyard before. We really enjoyed getting to run around sorta outside even though it was 30 degrees really outside.

We didn't even have to leave the courtyard to buy a delicious (incredibly overpriced) lunch. Including this delicious cookie.

Fortunately I just bought a purse that is big enough to carry a travel pack
of diaper wipes for crumb and chocolate clean up.

We made more crafts, including wreaths made of cut outs of hands. Although some of Team Stimey made a clock instead.

I'm looking at you, Jack and Alex.

We (and by "we," I mean "not me") also made quilt squares.

Jack made the "Shoofly" pattern, which he called "Shoot Fly."

We finished our crafts with a half hour before the last performance of the day, which, according to Sam, was going to be "singing and dancing." So we decided to actually, gasp! visit the museum. This turned out to be a mistake. It's not so much fun to chase three kids through a museum whilst carrying four coats and a lot of bulky, still wet art.

Finally the time came for the performers, who turned out to be the Washington Chorus Outreach Singers and not, in fact, dancing performers.

Everyone but Quinn enjoyed them, nonetheless.

"They are NOT good dancers," he told me, mid-performance.

But they did have a seeing eye dog on stage, who Jack and
Quinn tried to sidle up to after the performance.

Afterward, we walked five blocks in the freezing cold to buy ice cream. Alex offered to go get the car and pick us up, but he wanted to leave his milkshake with us so that it would melt a little. It was extremely obvious that he didn't trust me, however. He almost changed his mind and took the shake with him at the last minute.

Perhaps he should have trusted his instincts.

Hmmm. Wait. What was I talking about?

Oh, right. Happy early birthday, Martin.


  1. Wow, I haven't been to the American Art Gallery in ages. Or the Renwick. Kids need longer days in school so I can hop on the VRE.

  2. Ha! The "Joey doesn't share food!" Friends episode? So my husband. He would have taken the shake FOR SURE.

  3. You had me at "warm, roofed courtyard ...getting to run around sorta outside."

    Actually, it looks like a very nice family day. I envy you your museums. In my mind, they're not even too crowded, unlike the three or four in Boston we 'frequent'.

  4. In the spirit of the holiday, I hope Alex had a non-violent response to the drinking of his milkshake.

    You are a bad girl. And a funny one.

  5. Brrrrr! You went this last weekend?
    Wow, you guys are brave! It was Fah-reezing!
    And you had ice cream and milkshakes? WOW, you guys are hardcore!

    BTW...I totally would have drank the milkshake too.

  6. Did you have your mom take the photo of you giving Alex the finger while drinking his milkshake or did you make one of your kids take it?

  7. Karen (and not the same Karen who posted to Susan's blog yesterday re the colors 'meme', or whatev.January 11, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    Ahem, that last photo is a tad bit impolite(?)

    I loved the photo of the companion / seeing eye dog. They are so smart, and adaptable.

    These qualities are some of my goals for 2010.

  8. I love that museum! I think we went there last when the Stephen Colbert painting was hanging. By the restroom. (We did do the rest of the museum too, but yeah, that's why we went that day.)

    Good tip about the warm inside/outside atrium ... it is lovely!

  9. Ex-queeze me, did you say warm roofed courtyard. I totally knew that and have completely forgotten about that place. But where did you walk to for ice cream around there ?

  10. that totally has to be your twitter pic. PLEASE!

  11. Too cold for ice-cream!! Cake, on the other hand ...


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