Jul 01

Lego KidsFest Atlanta – Everything is Awesome

Saturday was a blast for all the kids as well as Carol and I.  We picked up tickets to the Lego KidsFest in Atlanta a few months back securing our time slot to go and play.  Even though we read the various reviews online, looked at photos of past events and read up on various blogs…..we weren’t prepared for the total amount of awesome this event had packed inside.

Setup like a typical convention, Lego had a “section or booth” for each type of Lego that they sold.  Everything from the new stuff from the Lego Movie, the Builders Series, Mixels, Lego Friends, Bionicles, Lego Chima, Duplo, Lego City, Star Wars (LOTS of Star Wars), etc….they had everything.  There was even a section for Technic and MindStorm but we never found them due to other distractions (OMG SO MANY THINGS TO SEE AND DO).  I was so looking forward to building something that I could program and control with my phone that didn’t cost me $300 to play with – maybe next time.

The various booths were not really the main attractions.  Each booth area was surrounded by building areas either related to a particular type of Lego or a blend of several.  We got lost in each one building our creations that would be put on display for the rest of the event.  We got sidetracked watching the various family competitions to create and build something unique out of a box of mixed blocks in a set period of time.  It was fascinating to see what people can dream up quickly and under pressure with little plastic bits.  One competition was to build a bridge that spanned about two feet.  After the building was done in a fifteen minute period the bridges were set between two chairs and slowly loaded with weight.  Some instantly broke apart and collapsed into tear stained pieces while others were built like real bridges and stayed intact with 10-15 pounds of weight on top before slowly cracking and slipping into the sea of destruction below.  Pretty amazing.

One section that was a lot of fun was a picture mural where everyone received a six inch empty white square and had to come up with a super hero design using 1×1 Lego Blocks.  Surprising this was harder than it looked.  The kids had some pretty ingenious ides.  Jacob created the Batman symbol, Piper made the UniKitty from the Lego Movie, Isaac build a Lego sign with lots of color around it, Violet and Carol designed various star patterns.  I tried to be crafty and copy a QR Code that linked back to EternallyChaotic but the square wasn’t quite big enough.  Instead of defaulted to ISI – you know because what better super hero symbol than your name :)

Our favorite bit was a HUGE outline of the USA on the floor surrounded by tables and tables full of Legos.  The ideas was to work as a team and build something, anything, and place it on the map of creations.  We opted for a building with a huge tower on top that held a massive wrecking ball.  Violet insisted all day that we needed to build a wrecking ball.  We worked diligently, somehow as a team, to construct a massive base building and a tall tower with a crane and wrecking ball swinging from the top.  Carol hijacked a massive bucket of bricks, found us a corner on the floor away from the crowds and got us going.  As the kids got bored or wanted to do something else we sent them out on scavenger hunts to find various pieces so that they could continue building our awesome tower.  When it was done and after a few scary moments of carrying it to the map we set our creation down in Indiana – Georgia was full up and that was option number two.

After our creation we headed for the sea of bricks, a MASSIVE dump of sharp pointy colored Lego that for some god awful reason we just perfect for playing in, or making Lego Angels, or swimming, or otherwise getting lost within.  Crazy people.  They even made me get in and enjoy myself.  We didn’t get to play long here as our time slot was ending and the best part was still to come.

Last stop, of course, is the gift shop.  How can you not pick up some of the really cool stuff that you have been playing with all day.  Wait a minute.  I think Lego knew all along that immersing us in their world for half a day, filling our heads full of unmade creations and then strategically placing a HUGE store full of gold plated wonder on the way out would somehow make parting with our cash all that much easier….OH they are so sly :)  The kids eyes were bigger than our bank account but we reeled them into reality and left as happy builders.

After having seen the Lego Movie now about twenty times (thank you Plex) the stupid song that incessantly gets stuck in your head certainly has it right for this event…..We all certainly thought so.

EVERYTHING IS AWESOME….EVERYTHING IS COOL.

Nov 19

Halloween Pumpkin Carving

Every year we have fun carving pumpkins.  I love watching the kids come up with their ideas on paper and then transfer for that thought and imagination to their pumpkins.  The concentration that they have drawing their scary or fun faces and then carving them out is amazing.  Here are the works of scary art for this year.

Mar 24

Easter Treasure Hunt

The Easter Bunny worked furiously through the night preparing and testing the treasure routes, hiding eggs all along the way.  I wonder if there was any confusion this year as there were in years past, hiding eggs but forgetting where the next downstream one was to go.  Probably!!!

After a quick breakfast to take up any precious room that might otherwise be used to store extra chocolate, or for the hideout of a recently digested Peep – they never do quite die and I am certain that one day there will be an uprising we will all regret – the treasure hunts began.  This year though it was to be a bit tougher for each of the explorers; Jacob was getting older, Isaac was up a good challenge, Violet could now read and Piper was becoming the princess of puzzles.

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Feb 10

Grandma Levels Up

Today is the big day.  According to the kids it might be a day that is Millions, if not Zillions, of years in the making.  A day that has emerged from either somewhere near 10,000 BC or near the beginning of time, depending on which expert on such topics you ask.  This particular day has waited more 20,454 days to emerge from wherever such days might come.  A moment that has somehow squirmed its way through nearly two BILLION seconds of history, 1,767,225,600 specifically – but after 1.5 BILLION who really counts anyway, until it landed square in the lap of today.

Today just so happens to be Grandma’s Birthday.

Happy Birthday Grandma.  We all love you !!!

Nov 24

Surreal Dream

I had the most surreal dream last night – so surreal and so “real” that I thought I would write about it.

As with all dreams, I have no idea how or when it started, why it included either Adam or myself, why we were there or any other thing that a sane person might ask, such is the way of the dream.  We needed to eat and Adam knew of this Thai place that supposedly was awesome.  And so it was that we arrived at a market.  It was magnificently large on the inside and we walked, following his knowing lead, through isles of food, throngs of people and various arena style combat games happening all around, to this small dingy area in the back where many men were standing around focused on the the ceiling.  The ceiling was a conglomeration of metal hung somehow from the ether above but the details of such mattered not.  What did matter was that the structure was obviously meant to hang the swords of the patrons while they dined. It was a grid, a large one at that, with various levels above each other.  The grid was another game, or more specifically the arena “floor” of a game played where you climbed through the overhead maze and chased another player while maneuvering through the lattice in what could only be described as a real life game of Baduk or “Go”, constantly positioning, gaining ground and leverage, all the while out-thinking your opponent, pushing them to the edge where they must submit or fall.  The old man already hanging there had crooked teeth and a knowing smile of one who had put others in their place over and over – the master of the grid.  The old man held a U shaped crowbar easily in one hand, a tool that allowed him greater mobility through the twisted metal structure, while hanging from the crook of his knees challenging those below him.  Adam and I slowly passed under and through this area, pushing through the crowd that watched as a challenger made his way up into the grid, a match was about to unfold above them as Adam lead us to his favorite spot to dine in the back corner.  Continue reading

Nov 21

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

While visiting in Indiana over the summer Carol and I took the kids on a super secret road trip to somewhere cool and exciting near Dayton, OH – or specifically the National Museum of the United States Air Force.  When looking up things to do this seemed like a good option.  It was reasonably close to Indy to accommodate a day trip, there was no entry fee, they had food onsite and best of all it was chalked full of anything and everything that could, did or might one day fly.

There is no pamphlet that could ever come close to doing this place justice – no way – no how.  This is the best museum I have ever been too related to aviation – ever.  I think it might even top or at minimum rival the Smithsonian in D.C. – hard to say though since my visit there was in eighth grade.  Regardless, the Air Force museum was top notch from the moment we entered when they opened until we were ushered out the doors when they closed.  A long day of walking, reading, sightseeing and generally staring in disbelief at the sites surrounding you in three massive hangers. Continue reading

Nov 20

Violet’s 5th Birthday

Violet turned five this year while we were visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Indiana.  Surrounded by grandparents, and great grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, second cousins and various other people whose relation isn’t quite known, Violet had a great turning of age.  Lots of kids, lots of food, lots of gifts, and most importantly lots of cake…although I bet if you ask Violet it would be the gifts that won out, with the cake a close second.

Violet had a blast and I think we even found a genuine moment of both awe and surprise when she pulled out “Dreamlight“.  She had been talking about this “thing” for a long while but there was no way daddy was shelling out $50 bucks for a glorified flashlight shoved into a stuffed animal – we did that as kids and while the stuffed animal might not have liked the extra orifice that was created, the effect was the same.  Thankfully, Mommy Carol found a great deal on one and Violet’s precious “Green Kitty” was spared the agony that was certain to come otherwise (granted they make flashlights much smaller nowadays…)

On top of the normal birthday cheer it was great to be able to celebrate with the extended family.  We don’t get to see them very often, let alone during birthdays or other non-holiday events, and it was refreshing to celebrate with everyone.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY VIOLET !!!