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.

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 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 !!!

Apr 29

Princess Piper Turns Seven

This was Piper’s birthday weekend.  The little princess has turned seven…Taylor Swift Style.

Piper wanted to have an evening out with the family and was insistent that bowling was the perfect thing.  Why not.  I haven’t been bowling in years.  Friday after school and work we packed into the car and headed to the Lanes for a few rounds and a pizza.  It was certainly fun to watch.  Carol and I threw a few balls for the kids but mainly just let them take turns figuring out each and every way you can either throw or roll an eight pound ball down a slipper lane to knock over some stubborn white pins.  All of them did pretty well for not really having any history playing.  Violet whom had never played held her own and came in second to Jacob on the second game.  Isaac threw the only strike of the night while playing with a sixteen pound ball, threw it down the lane and took out the lot of the pins.  Great idea Piper.

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Piper’s party for Saturday has been planned for a while.  A great mix of Family and Friends.  She chose pancakes and bacon for her meal and Taylor Swift as a theme.  Outside of the labor of mixing enormous  amounts of batter and flipping dozens of pancakes, I don’t think it gets much easier to cook for a large group – mix pour flip repeat.

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Apr 20

A Surprise Birthday Indeed

It might have been a few months back but that certainly doesn’t change my admiration for Carol getting one over on me for my birthday.  I was prepared the night before that the kids wanted to go to breakfast at the Rexall Grill for my birthday.  Sounded great to me.  We typically spend the day with each other just hanging out and sometimes have over friends and family.  I recall specifically mentioning to Carol that I was looking forward to just something simple with the family this year and did not really want to have a get together or party – just a cake some time with the kiddos.  Next time, as a husband should know at this point, I will tell her just the opposite of what I am looking for…. :lol:

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Dec 26

Red Delivers Christmas Eve

Christmas this year introduced a new member to our family named Red.  And NO to those of you thinking the unthinkable – the family head count remains at a solid seven, including the dog.  This little persons name, after much enthusiastically and somewhat fanatical debate among existing family members was determined to be “Red”.  Red the Christmas Elf.  He would only be around for a few weeks out of the year, didn’t eat much and pretty much remained stationary throughout the day – at some point during the day, when our eyes were cast elsewhere, he would just vanish until the next morning.  Red had some specific rules about being touched or bothered as well – certainly the kids were to strictly forbidden to touch him and to leave him alone lest he lose his observational and somewhat magical powers granted by the spirit that is Christmas.  Red’s job was to cast a watchful eye upon his family, take score of the good versus bad and report back to some higher power a recommendation as to which list each household member might befit.  Somehow during his strictly “observational” process he would always find a way to cause mischief and leave a mess.

Two nights before Christmas however, Red left something additional in each of the stockings of the Children of the Corn.  A gold dipped envelope containing a silver inked letter from The Man himself.  Now was the time of reckoning.  The time of knowing.  Was it the good list or the bad.  What did Santa think?  What did he know?  When we opened our weary eyes the next morning would they sparkle and shine from majestic reflection of silver and gold or be dim from broken hope and disappointment.

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Sep 05

Leisurely Labor Day

The kids are back in school, summer is at its height and the daily scheduled grind has taken hold.  Thank goodness for the break brought by Labor Day.  We had not ambitious plans and wanted nothing other than to spend some time with the kids and enjoy our time off.  There was plenty to do however that we talked about through the summer but just couldn’t fit in so we planned to take full advantage of our few days of free time and get in some activities with the CoTC.  Specifically we wanted to see the DragonCon Parade, Atlanta Aquarium and Stone Mountain Laser Show.

DragonCon was back in town and while I would have preferred to have purchased tickets and gone sightseeing at the actual show, it was cost prohibitive to take all the kids – even if the cost was right there was no way I was taking them to wait for tickets in the six hour line that literally wrapped around the block.  The parade was a good second and something I had never seen as well.  The kids loved it.  We found a nice spot to watch above the road and behind some glass that we were able to squeeze in to – certainly better than being at ground level with four munchkins that couldn’t see over a shrubbery.  The costumes were pretty awesome and all of us had our favorites.  Jacob took the only pictures with his camera and the rest of us just soaked it in.

Next up was a walk to the Atlanta Aquarium.  We had been planning to take the kids here all summer but just couldn’t find the time to do it.  Labor Day probably wasn’t the wisest choice in timing though as it was packed wall to wall with people.  Crazy.  Oh well, tickets had been purchased already online so at the very least we were able to bypass the ridiculously long entry line and head straight in.  Having been many times in the past we were hoping to see some of the new exhibits that had been added such as the dolphins but they were not open unless you purchased another ticket specifically to view them.  We instead took our time strolling from room to room and soaking up the sites.  Many times just sitting in front of a particular wall and watching everything swim around.  We managed to time our trip to the main viewing room of the large tank in time for the feeding of the massive whale sharks.  The biologist would drop buckets of krill onto the surface and the whales would basically inhale massive amounts of water and filter it through their gills each eating twenty pounds or so of these obviously delicious morsels per bite.

We did not end up going to Stone Mountain as it started raining early in the evening.  With the laser light show changing this year to something new and supposedly now in a type of 3-D where it looks like they are inside of the mountain we were bummed and will hopefully get to check it out before the season ends.

All in all a great weekend with the family.  Lots of time away from the house but also plenty of time at home to just take it easy and chill.

Jun 27

Staying Cool In The South

The South: The heat and humidity can become annoyingly unbearable in the summer, temperatures rising way over 100 degrees.  To stay cool and enjoy our summer vacation we have decided to spend lots of much needed time in the cold refreshing waters.  Mommies and Daddies get to relax and kiddos are able to release wild energies that are built up and have a blast in the process.

It was very entertaining to watch the boy’s play with Jacob’s new flippers.  Isaac spent most of the day using them as paddles on his hands while riding his tube.  Jacob tried them for a short period and decided today wasn’t the day to learn (water guns were way more exciting).  Israel or should I say “Scuba Steve”, (lol) swam around the pool like a wild shark amusing us girls (Piper, Violet & I)

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Jun 11

Happy Anniversary Grandma and Grandpa

We couldn’t be there to tell you in person but we wanted to make sure that you got the message.  Happy Anniversary Grandma and Grandpa.  There aren’t any good songs for an anniversary like there are for birthdays so we took the easy route.  All the munchkins send their love and wish you the best on your special day.

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We took two videos.  Piper was upset at the end of the first because she didn’t get to blow out the candles.  After she calmed down we took another for fun.  Enjoy!!!

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