Creativity Jam: One of Many New Exhibits Opening at Minnesota Children’s Museum

The Minnesota Children’s Museum reopens this week in St. Paul after being closed for several months for a major remodel, and the kids and I are beyond excited! For real, my son was jumping up and down on the couch the other day when I shared the news with him. The museum has been a family-favorite destination ever since I left my desk job to be a stay-at-home mama four years ago. And after a long winter, we are in desperate need of our museum fix.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Minnesota Children’s Museum

{I received a family membership to the Minnesota Children’s Museum for sharing my family’s experiences at the museum with you. All opinions expressed in my posts are 100% my own.}

Why do we love MCM so much? Let me explain:

  1. Change of scenery. I think we can all agree that sometimes you just need to leave your house because the kids are going bonkers, and they are driving you bonkers. A trip to the museum gives us all a break from our normal routine and interactions, and it gives us an opportunity to explore new territory.
  2. Time to reconnect. I will admit that sometimes it is hard for me to play with my children. Dressing Barbie dolls in different outfits, and playing target practice with Nerf guns can get old real fast. I find myself making excuses like having laundry and dishes to do in order to get out of setting up Shopkins and studying how many points a Pokémon card is worth. When going to the museum, I am forced to play. And through play, I am able to relax and reconnect with my kids. There are no distractions of needing to get something done around the house, and there isn’t a Barbie in sight. It’s a win-win for mama and the kids.
  3. Space to learn. At the museum we have an amazing opportunity to play in an environment that is engaging, fun, and creative. The museum gives us access to many activities that we don’t have at home, and it gives us more space to enjoy playful activities together. What I love most about the Minnesota Children’s Museum is their emphasis on learning through play. Exhibits are thoughtfully designed to spark creativity, innovation, and critical thinking. Volunteers are stationed throughout exhibits to encourage children to explore ideas about how things work. And because there are many other families visiting the museum too, kids have a great opportunity to learn to communicate better and collaborate with each other as well.

The Minnesota Children’s Museum officially reopens on Wednesday, June 7th, but last week the baby and I got to take a sneak peek at some of the exhibits while the big kids were at school. The museum designed and built ten new amazing exhibits for kids of all ages, and one of the exhibits that I am especially looking forward to exploring often with my kiddos this summer is Creativity Jam.

Creativity Jam is an artistic space for families to create new projects and expand on projects that have been created by other museum-goers. The exhibit, which is like a giant canvas for the inner artist of each visitor, is located in the atrium near the new Sprouts exhibit and the cafe. It consists of a face-painting station (which has always been a favorite museum feature with my kiddos), a stop-motion video story station, a workspace for creating and building projects, and the big white room.

Play is such an important part of our children’s lives, and ours too as adults and parents. And part of play is allowing ourselves to create. Creativity Jam gives families opportunities to build with a variety of materials that the museum plans to change out here and there. The exhibit allows kids to put stickers and tape on walls and other objects (something they can’t do at home!). It gives children the freedom to use their imaginations and explore ideas with video storytelling. And kids and parents get a chance to loosen up with some fun face painting. The activities in Creativity Jam are engaging for kids, adults, and even toddlers. I didn’t think that my littlest one would be able to enjoy the activities, but she hopped up on a stool all by herself and started building with blocks and playing the piano. Creativity Jam is a great space for truly letting one’s imagination soar.

Do you need some inspiration to find more joy in playing with your kids? Are you looking for a new space you can escape to with your family when you are in need of an engaging experience? Be sure to add a visit to the museum on your summer bucket list. The museum also offers family memberships, which pay for themselves after only a few visits. There are so many new exhibits to explore and adventures to be had with your children at MCM. I know life gets busy, and there always seems to be something that needs to get done around the house or at work. However, play is important too. Play gives us the chance to connect, explore, learn, and create. It gives us the opportunity to feel free to be ourselves, and that’s an amazing feeling.

Please visit mcm.org for more information about the museum’s grand opening, the free block party later this month, family memberships, location, and hours. Let’s make play a priority in our community again!

The third season.

The third season.

She’s here. The wind gently whispers her arrival, and the first set of leaves begin to fall. I push the stroller with one hand, hold my warm mug of coffee in the other, and slowly make my way back home. The big kids are at school now. For the next few hours they will play, learn, and make friends. All on their own. For the next few hours, it’s just me with my baby daughter and baby nephew. We will eat, play, sing, and read. Fingers crossed they will nap well too. Our walk is quite peaceful this morning. It’s just what I need to settle into the day. It’s just what I need to get ready to greet her: Hello, Autumn.

The tree-covered path is still damp from yesterday’s rain. I maneuver the stroller to avoid the muddy patches, but notice that the tires have already begun to collect the first fallen leaves. I watch the brown and yellow colors spin with the wheels as I continue down the path. Some remain stuck to the wheels while others slip off. A gust of wind releases more leaves into the air. I reach out to touch one. It is time to welcome this new season.

The last time the leaves began to change and fall, I was preparing to greet my new daughter. I could hardly wait to see the brilliant shades of orange, red and yellow. I could hardly wait for her arrival. And finally, one October day a big gust of wind came and she was here. I held her tiny body close to my chest while the final leaves fell. I watched her so close, waiting for those first smiles and intentional movements while the snow covered everything around us. Then fresh buds began to speckle the bare branches, and our baby girl delighted us with constant babbling and her growing personality. As the temperature began to rise and the trees became lush with leaves, I watched my daughter learn to crawl, pick grass out of the lawn, and feed herself watermelon. And now, well now I’m listening to her say “Wow!” as she notices the leaves too.

Autumn is beautiful, but the perfectly crisp morning air and vibrant colors never last long enough here in Minnesota. The changing of the leaves will peak soon, and before we know it, the branches will be bare once again. We hold on tight to this fleeting beauty, and we are abruptly forced to let it all go. I watch another wave of leaves fall around us. These leaves that were not here last year and are now suddenly ready to be released from the branches they grew from and clung to over spring and summer. They are released, and more leaves will grow next year, and the year after that. And while I’m reluctant to accept that this season is already beginning to swiftly flee, this new season does bring the promise of space and time for new leaves to grow.

I push the stroller through the waves of falling leaves and acknowledge that this beautiful season with my third baby has already begun to culminate too. She is inching closer to toddlerhood. There are many more firsts to come for her, but this first wave of firsts is so precious. With each child, I held on so tight to their first big moments, and with each baby time forced me to let go so quickly. It all begins, and changes, and passes by swiftly. The leaves continue to fall and glide through the air around me. I collect a few from the damp ground as I make my way back home. These leaves are lovely, and although they are released too quickly, they are mine to press and keep forever in my heart.

Pixies Photography : Becoming Confident in My Postpartum Body

My arms and heart are so full of love for my beautiful children. My children make this life so beautiful. It’s beautiful –not sexy. So what in the world was I thinking when I agreed to take part in a special blogger event at a boudoir photography studio?

findingconfidencepostpartum

Maybe I should turn around. My palms get sweatier by the minute and I begin to feel my body going into full panic mode. I take a sip of water to combat the cottonmouth that has set in and I try to calm my nerves by turning up the radio in my car. Holy s#!+, I’m so freaking nervous! I should turn around and go back home. Seriously, what the hell was I thinking?

This. This is me. Right now my life consists of waking up before everyone else so I can pump and relieve my engorged breasts. I assemble countless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and meals that will ignite some sort of complaint or tantrum. Baskets of laundry waiting to be folded never seem to leave my dining room chair, and dishes line my kitchen countertop. I chauffeur my children to sports and birthday parties and doctor appointments. My clothes are adorned with baby spit-up and drool. And I’m lucky if I get the cloth diapers in the dryer before midnight so they are ready to be placed on the baby’s cute little bottom by morning.

This is my life right now. My arms and heart are so full of love for my beautiful children. My children make this life so beautiful. It’s beautiful –not sexy. So what in the world was I thinking when I agreed to take part in a special blogger event at a boudoir photography studio?

Seriously, I should just turn around and go home where I belong. I should be wearing spit-up on my t-shirt right now instead of slipping into sexy lingerie, right? Wrong. I’m so glad I didn’t turn my car around that night. I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone because I was reminded that being a mom is more than spit-up, and tantrums, and getting up at 6:00 a.m. to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Being a mom is also about feeling comfortable and confident in who you are as a woman. And sometimes you need an amazing and total out-of-your-comfort-zone experience at a boudoir photography studio to remember that. I know I did.

 

The Pixies Photography Experience

pixiesphotoshoot

When I walked into Pixies Photography, I was super relieved to see that I already knew most of the bloggers who had signed up for the boudoir photography event at the studio. And when Pixies founders Kelly and Stephanie offered me a glass of wine, I was double relieved! Yes, I’d love a glass of wine before getting in front of the camera!

We started our night out with some wine, snacks and a tour of the studio to get familiar with the types of settings, props and poses that Kelly and Stephanie use when shooting. I was impressed with how classy the studio space looked and immediately began to feel much more comfortable with what I was about to do. One thing I greatly appreciated was how Stephanie and Kelly turned our fears and reservations about boudoir photography into excitement to get in front of the camera. They were so easy to talk to and their passion for making every client feel beautiful and confident was undeniable.

After our tour, it was time to get ready for our mini photoshoots. Some girls brought their own lingerie, but I couldn’t wait to choose something from Pixies Photography’s wide selection of sexy undergarments. Since I was four months postpartum, I decided to go with a flattering chemise and a pair of my own favorite black heels that I hadn’t worn in years. Then it was time for hair and makeup. Yes, they do your hair and makeup for you! While teasing your hair and wearing fake lashes may not be your thing (it certainly isn’t mine), I was extremely pleased with how the whole look turned out in my photos.

I’ll admit the glass of wine made it a little easier to get in front of the camera when it was my turn for my mini shoot, but when it was time to pose, I suddenly felt a rush of confidence. Stephanie and Kelly guided me through my poses, and they were so encouraging. I felt beautiful, sexy, and proud of myself for allowing myself to do something for me.

My experience at Pixies Photography was exactly what I needed to help me climb out of my baby blues funk. Unfortunately, it’s taken me two months to write about my experience. I’m nervous to share with others that I did this, but at the same time, I want for so many other women I know to have this experience too. This experience is more than just feeling sexy for an evening. It’s more than just experiencing the thrill of doing something out of your comfort zone. It’s about seeing yourself as a beautiful and confident woman. It’s about carrying this experience with you in your next step tomorrow, whether it be in high heels or bare feet. Because there is so much more to you than spit-up, and tantrums, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And while your kids definitely don’t need to know that you had your photos taken while wearing only lingerie, they do need to see that you are confident and comfortable with your body just the way it is.

 

Your Experience at Pixies Photography

I had my amazing experience at the studio, and now it’s time for you to enjoy your own experience at Pixies! I have a special gift to share with you.

For only $149 you get to enjoy the Silver Package (plus more!) at Pixies which includes:

  • Choice of wardrobe
  • Choice of set
  • Professional hair, makeup, and lashes
  • Multiple guided poses
  • Approximately 50 proofs to choose from
  • An 11×17 12 month/6 photo calendar (a $155 value by itself!)

Mention code: Feb169 when booking your appointment to get this special deal!

 

My experience was important to me because I am getting used to my new postpartum body after having my third baby, but the other bloggers who attended the event had powerful experiences too. Read more about their personal experiences at Pixies Photography here:

Darcie at  Gust Gab

Jamie at Toys in the Dryer

Lisa at Twin Cities Frugal Mom

Jen at Wonderfully Unkempt

 

Scary Mommy
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