Name Sonya Jongsma Knauss
Kids Four daughters: 3, 4, 8, 10
Works Editor, MilwaukeeMoms
Favorite part about being a mom Learning new things every day from my girls
Least favorite part about being a mom Juggling way too many things at once
Famous for Watching the city channel at work. Riverwest beer run champion
On twitter @milwaukeemoms
It was with a little nervousness that I decided to take Anneke, 11, to see Boulevard Theatre's "It's Your Mother." Especially since it was a typically chaotic week in our family.
The night we went to the performance, I was working at home after coming home early so my husband could make it to a 5 p.m. neighborhood meeting (I'm usually at the office until about 6). Then, he had to hurry home right after his meeting so we could leave.
To complicate matters, the 3-year-old was lying on the couch with a medium-grade fever she'd had since the previous night (with few other symptoms, other than lack of appetite), the 9-year old was at Tae Kwon Do, and the 5-year-old was asking for a peanut butter and honey sandwich even though I was about to heat up some leftovers.
The audience that night included playwrights Patricia Durante and Betsy Tuxill, and the cast of 15 included one man and 14 women. The show is made up of 10 vignettes, interspersed with 20 voice mail messages, many of which are funny though a little bit caricatured at times.
Kate is the fourth of four girls, and she is extra loud, just to make sure she gets heard. She doesn't have an inside voice.
I suppose it's only natural she thinks motorcycles are a riot. So, when I had an opportunity to take a peek at the new Hollywood exhibit at the Harley-Davidson museum, I decided to take her along. To the delight (?) of our tour guides.
The Hollywood exhibit sort of registered on her radar screen. But Kate doesn't care much about celebrities, and there was plenty of other stuff to check out:
The first unexpectedly entertaining item was floor, which was rescued from a former factory. She pretended the yellow markings were sharks and the rest was water. She also took advantage of the wide-open spaces (which, by the way, would be great if you've got a kid in a stroller or need to accomodate an adult or child in a wheelchair) to do a little running around.
Kate also liked spending time in the kids' area (above and below), which is relatively new at the musuem.
What surprised me was how much she liked just wandering around and looking at the exhibits. Although, I had to stop her from crossing the line and trying to climb on the displays...
The big wall of motorcycle pictures, below, made for 15 minutes of fun as she hunted for various characters (Santa, the Pink Panther, etc.) or tried to spot the sidecars in different pictures.
When we got tired of walking around, we spent a little time on the beanbags in the kids' area, reading a few books. We also learned that the museum has kids' activities every Sunday and custom designer our own motorcycle (via computer).
Last Friday, I ventured out to Elm Grove with little Miss Kate to see a kids' theater production at Sunset Playhouse.
Those of you who know me know this is somewhat adventurous of me: I sometimes consider Bay View too much of a drive from my near-north side Milwaukee home, and I feel like everything I need is (or should be) within a few minutes' drive. My workplace, the kids' school, good places to eat and drink -- almost everything except Trader Joe's.
But, in another role that seems so far away and long ago, I used to work with Sunset Playhouse director Jonathan West, and he encouraged me to come and check out a show. So, we did. It was based on the children's book "Goodnight Lulu."
At first I was surprised that there were showings on Thursday and Friday mornings at 10:30, along with the weekend line-up, but clearly it makes sense to have both weekday and weekend showings. The Friday show was packed with moms and little kids, and maybe a handful of dads and grandpas.
When we walked into the "bug in a rug" studio theater space, there were busy kids and moms working on crafts to be used in the audience participation portion. Kate made herself at home and soon had a great-looking cow, mostly according to the template, but with cat-like whiskers extending from his nostrils. Cute.
We soon realized that the regulars had brought snuggly blankets and stuffed animals, and some kids were in PJs. Kate hopped on my lap which was just as good as a blanket and settled in to enjoy the 45-minute show.
The three-person cast did a really nice job of playing a farmer, a mother chicken, and her little Lulu, who's afraid to sleep in a new place while their chicken coop undergoes renovation.
Not only could they act (the chicken walks were priceless; after having spent time at my aunt's chicken coop recently, I was impressed by how nicely the actresses mimicked the motion), they also could sing. Even better, the farmer with his guitar had no problem getting kids to sing along and enjoy the show.
Kate was starting to get a little antsy toward the end, but the time-frame seemed just about right. I was charmed by the "audience participation" segments where other, braver children kept raising their hands to answer questions but didn't really have anything to say.
Afterward, Kate was telling Maddy about it. I asked her how she would describe it. She was pretty excited and succint: "We saw chickens dancing!"
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
I wasn't really worried about getting H1N1. I'm generally pretty healthy and had just finished a bad three-week cold a few weeks earlier, which I figured was my share of illness for the season.
Besides, my two oldest daughters probably had swine flu when it was going around their school in Milwaukee in late May, and it was the mildest flu they ever had. And none of the rest of us got it.
Boy was I in for a surprise when I got laid out for almost a full week right after Thanksgiving with the worst flu of my adult life.
Maybe it was the stress I've been feeling lately about so many things, but whatever the case, my body was ill-equipped to fight off the bug, and I spent the better part of four straight days in bed with a fever, drinking tea and Emergen-C. The good part? The kids didn't really seem to get it.
Except for one Tuesday afternoon spent with my 3-year-old where I was pretty certain she was coming down with it (though she was fine and playing again by the evening), I was amazed by the fact that the girls just went about their daily lives without even a blip.
My husband wasn't so lucky, though. The two of us spent the week ill, with four mostly healthy and rambunctious kids. Imagine how fun that was!
A few kind friends brought over some meals, but as you might guess, it was a little hard to keep up with the regular cleaning, laundry and other things we're usually both busy with.
I woke up this morning, for the first time in days, feeling some actual energy coursing through my body. Ahhh. I'm still catching up, but it's good to be back.
If you're looking for ways to stay healthy this season, check out Dr. Amy Thrasher's tips.
MilwaukeeMoms readers have been offered special access to a Pretty City sample sale on Wednesday, Nov. 4, from 6 to 9 p.m. at SUITE Milwaukee, 1103 Old World Third St.
To attend the event for free (instead of for $20), simply enter "metime" without quotes in the section that asks for the offer code.
When you click on "apply code," the credit card field will disappear.
Here are more details. Enjoy!
By the way, we'll also be giving away freebies to our Facebook fans starting this month. Every Wednesday, check out our fan page to see what you could win. We'll be dipping into our stash of books for kids and parents, DVDs, CDs, toys and more.