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March 17, 2010

The Children's Museum in San Jose

I know what you are thinking, and if you weren't, you will be after this post:  do they do nothing but traipse about museums and parks day in and day out?  I suppose, on one hand, that sounds like a pretty good idea.  After all we are out and about, learning about the area in which we live, and the kids get in as much local culture as they can before we leave.

On the other hand, it might sound like we do nothing else.  After all, I was recently told that I "could be working right now".  Yes, this came at me like a bullet out of nowhere during week 5 of Peter's training in DC.  I was on a walk, explaining to someone how I wasn't working right now.  More to the point, why, oh, why do I always manage to sound so lame..."Well, I just want to stay home with Nicholas right now."  I hate feeling guilty for explaining that I am not working, because my husband already works extremely long hours (let's not forget LEAP, we love you, but you wear us out sometimes), has a minimum of a 40 minute one way commute (sometimes two hours each way), and can travel frequently without much notice.  Nope, why factor that into the equation?

Mind you, I am not complaining about the job...just about folks who assume that I am sitting around eating bon-bons all day long because I have the luxury of staying home with Nicholas (oh, and did I mention the cost of daycare here?).  Though I can't complain about the cost of part-time care, as I have found a reasonable sitter for my volunteer days (2x/month) at Cait's school. 

Last year at the Intro to Middle School night, we had the opportunity to sign up for Parent Patrol.  It is one of the few volunteer opportunities in Middle School, and gives you the chance to wear a nifty black vest and bribe your child with candy.  The parents who volunteer assist the lunchroom monitor by keeping an eye on the students as they eat and then as they (for the most part) chat or toss a tennis ball outside after lunch. 

IMG_1590 IMG_1591 Peter was able to cover for me last week, and this left my Thursday free for me to take Nicholas to the actual topic of this blog post:  the Children's Museum in San Jose.  We went with my friend, L.,  who runs the walking group and her son, C., who is three and walks on water in Nicholas' mind.  Our entrance fees (and TWO books on fire trucks) were birthday gifts from C. and L. To say that Nicholas was ecstatic is an understatement.  Not only were we spending the entire morning together, but that also included a round-trip in the same car.  Can one say non-stop toddler talk? 

IMG_4029 IMG_4033 IMG_4036  We have actually been to the museum before, and I am fairly sure I utterly and completely forgot to blog about it. Oops, check the end of this post for pictures!  The museum is about an hour from us, but traffic was extremely light and, despite leaving a bit late, we arrived in time for a brief concert.  Well, more of a story-time, as the musician 'told' the story with musical accompaniment.  Nicholas loved it, but was extremely frustrated by it the fact that he couldn't see.  The seats were aligned just so, and the parents sitting in front of us completely obstructed his view. We lasted 15 minutes, enough to get the idea, and then headed out to visit the fire engine (for the first time).

IMG_4046 IMG_4051  Frankly, I am surprised he bothered with the rest of the museum.  I probably haven't mentioned much recently (too busy pointing out trucks) but he is obsessed with trucks and trains.  Garbage day is heaven and yet the bane of my existence.  Heaven forbid we miss a sighting.  Trash truck, trash truck, trash truck (to be fair, today we only saw the 'cycling truck). Fire trucks are equally as exciting, especially when lights and sirens are involved.  Amazing that we got him away from the truck and managed to investigatethe rest of the area.

I could describe each exhibit in detail, but I think instead you can look here or visit for yourselves.  Lest I list something as fabulous (the circular boat that Nicholas instantly tried to row) that could be of no interest to your child, or as frightening to Nicholas (the ambulance, believe it or not) and other wee ones might have to be carried out of it at the end of the day.  Ironically, the area that captured his attention most was the sand pit in the toddler room upstairs.  He must have spent thirty minutes totally fixated on pouring the sand through the funnels, and in and out of cups.  Two rather large spacious floors of exhibits with everything from street lights to (plastic) pizza-making, and my guy wants nothing more than oodles of time in the sand pit (well, table to be exact).

The morning went quickly, and before we knew it we were headed back downstairs for a photo-op with the fire truck and a bit of running around outside to burn off that last little bit of energy.  We lunched on the ride home (poor L. is probably still vacuuming up dried cranberries...) and Nicholas fell fast asleep when we were back in our car and on the way back to our house. 

IMG_1166 IMG_1167 IMG_1171 IMG_1176 IMG_1177 NOTE:  If you visit the museum, I highly recommend bringing any sort of lunch and/or lots of snacks with you.  There is a restaurant/snack area, but expensive and may not have what your child's tummy desires.  There appeared to be no regulations regarding food (assuming you/your child cleans up any messes), and light snacking in the toddler room was immensely preferable to fighting for a table in the food area.  On a nice day (winter days can mean heavy rains), there is plenty of room outside for a picnic. 


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LOVE the new blog design.


It's so pretty and sleek and clean!

And pay no mind, Dearie, to those of you who are grouching about you "not working."



Thanks (on all accounts!)! Hey, what can I say, you inspired me :-)

You are in MY town!!!!! I LIVE there!!!!! (When I'm not living in all these other crazy places). I grew up in San Jose and take my kids to THAT museum every summer. I grazed over this post for info and now am going back for the full read. I know you're living in DC right now (yes?) so must just be passing through my hometown. But, oh, how nice to see familiar things here today. **Happy Sigh**


Naoma, I knew you were from CA, but (big oops!) missed the San Jose part! We are actually living in San Ramon(40 minutes outside of San Fran) for another few months. Peter is attached to the field office here until we move to VA or MD in June (and he goes to Iraq in July :-( He was just in DC temporarily for HTT.

I would buy a membership to the museum if we weren't leaving, the kids just love it!

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