Places to Go - Wonderful Interactive Artwork at the Artisphere (Arlington, VA)


A few weeks ago I brought the kids to the Artisphere to see some of their new exhibits. As always, there was only one other group of visitors in the building. As F summarized the situation, "mom, this place is so awesome, I can't understand why nobody ever goes here." Nor can I F, nor can I.

First off, Elsabe Dixon, the artist in residence through 2015, who works with silk worms. An incredibly friendly Dixon let my kids carry a silkworm by its wings and (even better) bring home a cocoon. Plus, her work is a joy to take in, as the space feels like part studio and part habitat. Dixon mentioned that as part of her her current project she plans on building an even more interactive exhibit in the Artisphere, so keep checking in.


After visiting with Dixon, we started to make our way to the galleries upstairs, but as soon as the kids found the lounge's Yogibo chairs, we needed to break for "chill" time. Have you ever tried one of these? They mold to your body like a comfy sweater. Really, sort of amazing. Now everyone in our family wants their own.

While we relaxed, we checked out a slideshow of Yassine El Mansouri's observation photos. Each photograph features an ariel view of a person surrounded on the floor by all the clothing he/she owns, leading us to various discussions about how much floorspace we would each need to take a similar photo. [T, not very much; whereas P requires a football field for all of her clothing (not really, but almost)].


Eventually, we made it upstairs, where T quickly discovered Dustin Carlson's gas pump sculpture. I'm not sure Carlson meant his work to be interactive, so I told T not to touch the pump, but not before I snapped a quick (adorable) photo of the experience.


In the museum's main gallery, the Think With Your Hands exhibit showcases several shadow box collages by various artists. A small sun/circle symbol resides next to several of the works, for these you can either borrow an ipad from the Artisphere or download an app and the work will in some way become interactive.

While this sounds like a cool idea in theory, most of the artworks' ipad interactions just link up photos of the artist's sketchbook or other works, which I felt distracted somewhat from the actual works on display. But my kids love an ipad, so they found the experience "awesome".

Finally, we meandered to the movie studio, where Kadavre Exquis's "what is dead may never die" played on a continuous loop. The video seemed rather random, making it fun to watch with a group of kids under 10. Since none of us really "got" it, we all had different theories about what it was about (T remains convinced that the videoplayer broke, thus explaining why the images made no sense to him).

All in all we only spent about an hour at the Artisphere (it is a rather small museum/gallery). But it was a really good, fun hour.

The FREE Artisphere is only open:

Wednesday-Friday from 4:00 to 11:00 p.m
Saturday: Noon – 11:00 p.m.
Sunday: Noon – 5:00 p.m.

Parking is free with validation, making it an easy in and out destination. Plus, it is fun. And relatively kid-friendly. Perfect for Thanksgiving weekend. Click here for more information.

Also, if you're looking for kid-friendly museum ideas this winter, don't forget that Smithsonian's Early Education Center offers some wonderful classes for the 6 and under crowd, click here to learn more.


Things to Do - This Untamed Life, Evenings

darcytroutman_november24 (1 of 1)

Don't these late fall evenings seem LONG all of a sudden? Especially with the absence of soccer and other seasonal activities, we seem to have so much time. Some nights these extra moments are such a blessing, as we play boardgames or watch a weeknight movie. But some nights, especially when the kids come home tired and cranky, the hours seem to linger forever.

How about everyone else? How have you been spending your evenings?

Don't forget to click on over to This Untamed Life, to see the rest of the group's recent photos.


Places to Go/Things to Do - Dumbarton Oaks (Washington D.C.), Cherish This Day, & Random Links


It is supposed to warm up a little this weekend, so I'm posting a few photos from our (somewhat) recent trip to Dumbarton Oaks, which has free admission until spring (thanks KidFriendly DC for the suggestion). The kids ran and ran. The adults admired the gorgeous scenery. Everyone hypothesized on how one goes about obtaining swimming pool access (do any readers know the answer?).

And if you're still wondering how gorgeous the gardens really are, check out this article, where National Geographic ranked Dumbarton #6 among the top 10 gardens in the world (Dumbarton was the only American garden to make the list).

HAVE A FANTASTIC WEEKEND EVERYONE!! Don't forget to click on over to Cherish This Day to see how everyone else photographed their week.


* This cookbook looks awesome (because Husk is yummy).

* 22 Vintage Ads Designed to Keep Women In Their Place. Horrible.

* DIY - tiny house from a box. Wouldn't these be so cute as Xmas decorations? You could make little stockings and a tree.

* Ai Weiwei takes over Alcatraz.

* I'm not sure this was meant to be the funniest thing I've read this week. But it most definitely was the funniest thing I read this week. Of course I could be thinking too hard about what I think, "which is very dangerous." (On the other hand, this article points out that they actually said some interesting things).

* A whole blog full of spiralizer recipes.

* She woke up like this. This is awesome - “I have a note on my full-length mirror that says, ‘There is not enough time for hating yourself. Too many things to make. Go.’"

* 21 big batch cocktails for Thanksgiving. Yay!!


Things to Do - 12 in 12 (November 2014)

Tuesday, November 11th was P's 8th birthday, so we took it easy on the 12th.

After you read about our day, don't forget to click on over to Not-So-SAHM and Where the Watermelons Grow to see how their days went.


7:30 am - Why is T asleep in my bed? Why? I'm asking seriously. I awake early because he keeps kicking me. Mean little feet. (And notice how he has managed to wiggle his way into the absolute middle of the mattress).

twelve (1 of 8)

7:45 am - P checks out her new pierced ears. T manages to worm his way into the photo.


8:00 am - Just when it seems like the morning is going smoothly, T realizes his favorite pants are all in the wash. Thus begins, "the great pants meltdown."

twelve (2 of 8)

8:15 am - The girls surprise me by unloading the dishwasher without being asked (they apparently felt bad for me during the "great pants meltdown").

twelve (3 of 8)

9:00 am - After dropping the girls at school, I read the New Yorker while walking the dogs. Leaves are pretty.


10:00 am - Darcy Troutman Photography is experiencing its busiest fall ever (yay for all my amazing clients). So I have a lot of editing and slideshow making to do. The puppy keeps me company.


Noon - Walk to Journey Yoga for an afternoon class, followed by the grocery store. I have to cut my list in half when I realize I can't carry most of it home. After looking at this photo I realize that mostly junk food survived the cut.

[2 pm - 3:30 - work]

twelve (4 of 8)

3:45 pm - Pick the kids up from school. T seems to have recovered from this morning's "great pants meltdown".

twelve (5 of 8)

5:00 pm - My friend, Laurie, is in town for a work trip, so she comes over for dinner before heading back to Charleston. So excited to see her!

twelve (6 of 8)

6:00 pm - T does homework while we drink wine.

twelve (7 of 8)

7:00 pm - The Arlington County School District bought ipads for every student in F's 3rd grade class. She's a little obsessed.

twelve (8 of 8)

8:30 pm - Dan puts the kids to bed, so I can walk around the neighborhood for hours in an attempt to knock Nora out of #1 (if you have a fitbit, you understand).


Things to Do - My Baby Girl Turned 8 (and Had Her Ears Pierced).

ears (7 of 15)

ears (8 of 15)

For the last two years or so, P has wanted her ears pierced (as in "really really really wanted"). But we made her wait until her 8th birthday and now she couldn't be happier ("the best birthday ever", or so I'm told).

If you have a second, click on over to the Stories We Tell to see the whole event unfold.



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