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 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 !!!

Sep 05

Jacob’s 11th Birthday

Jacob is now well on his way to becoming a teenager.  Turning 11 in May you would believe he was rounding the corner to 13 already.  I think I have even heard the first evidence of a squeak…Next comes girls right?  Sigh.  But I digress.  Happy birthday Jacob!  ;-)

Jake wanted to spend some time with his buds this year, also something new, for his big day.  On top of a military theme, it was shooting time at the local Laser Tag, pirate ship, multi-level, dark, smoke filled battle arena.  There were about eight of us altogether and along with the other players about twenty or so in total, it was a blast.  In stead of hiding and sniping while others searched frantically for “that guy”, the laser guns along with the added smoke in the arena allowed you to see both the targeting laser and the shot.  Red lines flashing everywhere during the height of battle and sometimes that solo red line tracking through the smoke looking…waiting…for another victim.  Even the wall in the arena were against you should you stand still for to long, automatic lasers alarms would warn you to get a move on and only then start firing, rarely missing their mark.  Several rounds later we emerged for fresh air and to collect our scores and focus our attention on the more important things like arcade games.

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Oct 12

The Ninjas

Jacob wrote a story recently for school about some time we spent playing in the yard.  I thought instead of writing something up along with the pictures and video I would just use his story.  Let him know what you think.

2010 was the year that I got my dad two katana swords for his birthday.  Which I thought was really cool.  The sad thing is that I didn’t get to play with them until last Saturday.  Also because it was one year since I had got those swords. They’re really cool and it was worth the waiting!  They are made of white oak which is a very strong type of wood. One of the swords is over half the weight of the other!  I could barely lift it.  Well, anyway I asked my dad, “Can I get the ninja swords out and play with them?”.  “Gosh, I totally forgot about them!”, dad replied. “Well, all right.”

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Jul 22

Family Beach Trip – Buckets of Energy

After a day in the car the kiddos were revved up to get out and burn some energy.  I think they would have been happy doing anything but we decided that a good dip in the ocean would do them all some good.  It takes a while to get us all lathered up in sunblock and out to the sand but we eventually made it right around the time the sun was a massive ball of fire directly overhead.

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Jul 19

Family Beach Trip – Arrival

Today we left for our family vacation at the beach. We had plans to be in bed early and on the road by four so that we could get the kids out of bed, still sleeping, drive most of the early morning and arrive around lunch with an afternoon of swimming to look forward to. But after finally getting into bed somewhere near three-thirty four didn’t sound so appealing. We did eventually get on the road but not until after nine. Not too far down the road, right before pulling onto the expressway, Carol was curious if I shut the garage door. Of course I did…right? We had to go back into the house several times for this or that prior to leaving and neither of us could remember if we shut the door the final time. We called in a favor and the thought paid off – sure enough I had left the door wide open to the world.

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Jun 28

Cooling off at the Duluth Fountain

We had a great time this past weekend spending some time cooling off at the Duluth Town Center Fountain.  The Sun was blisteringly hot and the air might as well have been dripping water, but the water coming from the fountain was refreshing and cool.  We grabbed some Chick-Fil-A along the way, ate on the curb, and headed in.  Once they all got used to the water they had a great time.  Isaac didn’t need any warming up and was racing in circles as fast as he could swallow his chicken and fries.  Piper was on his tail but needed her hand held for the first few minutes – that was until she got wet and started play.  Violet needed a bit more prodding and she wasn’t having anything to do with me taking her through.  Carol grabbed them all took them on a few laps to get them all good and soaked – that’s all it took to get Violet all revved up as well.

Apr 11

Full Throttle

Jacob received a remote controlled car for Christmas this past year.  One that can drive over nearly anything, spin in circles, do wheelies, and glow in the dark.  Piper loves this car.  She has only just started learning how to drive it with any control, but half the fun is figuring that part out.  Her and Violet both took the car for a turn around the house.  I followed them around with the camera while they had a blast.  One turn for Piper and one for Violet.  About a week after this we saw the same car on Woot and decided to get one for Piper as an extra gift for her upcoming birthday.

Nov 06

Suprise From Grandma Donna

With a high level of excitement and glee, Jacob and Isaac, got to go shopping.  They each received a gift card from their Grandma Donna.  We gave them the option of saving it for later, surprisingly an option they have taken in the past, or using it now.  They opted for the latter so we headed out toy shopping.  With a figure in their head, limiting how much they could spend, they rummaged through the toys at Walmart for thirty minutes.  The decision was complex of course.  The selection had to be just right.  Had to feel perfect.  Jacob went patiently from one item to the next, meticulously inspecting its value, Nerf Swords, to G.I. Joe, to H.A.L.O to Lego.  He finally settled on a pair of Lego sets that complimented each other.  Isaac on the other hand created a moderate sized collection of his choices in the middle of an isle (wish I would have taken a picture) and mulled over the ultimate choice.  Back and forth went the decision with the price climbing in to the hundreds of dollars and then back down into teens.  With twenty-five dollars to spend it was a hard choice: does he get one larger toy that is “cool” or get a few smaller ones that offer more opportunity for play.  At the end, with the clock ticking, he panicked and left his gathered assortment of mix matched items and narrowed his focus between Lego and a selection of Star Wars characters.  Opting for the Star Wars route after some counseling from his clock watching oppressors.

Thank you Grandma Donna.  Jacob and Isaac had a great time getting to shop for their gifts.