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Entries in Lego (7)


Superhero Christmas in March

It has happened. I have started walking into rooms having completely forgotten why I was headed there, I go to add something to my reminder list and forget what it is before I get there, and in February of this year I discovered a carefully hidden Christmas gift that Jon never received because I forgot entirely where I had hidden it, let alone that it actually existed or that I had bought it in the first place.

So Christmas revisited our house this morning. Christmas in March. Christmas in the form of super silly fake Lego superhero figures.

It was pure spring holiday gold.


Making Valentines a family party

Saints and massacres aside, in the B.C. years (the years before child), Valentines Day felt like an importantly romantic celebration. We couldn't afford a meal out back then, let alone jewelry or romantic getaways, but we did what we could with what we had to share an amorous evening bordering on schmaltzy. Special meals for two with champagne consumed in candle lit ambiance with the ceremonial delivery of cards and/or often flowers. 

But these are the A.C. years, the years after child, and the romantic Valentines Day has all but completely faded into a thing of our past. Now the "holiday", if it can be called that anyhow, is about choosing the right cards and accompanying candy to give to the multitude of children in our homeschool group. It's about crafts and potluck foods. It's about wearing red (or pink or purple) for the class party on the day in question. 

Romantic it is no longer, but has the day really changed? It was always about love, the form of love has just changed a bit through the years. No longer looking like bubbly and kissy balloons, it has taken the form of a family affair, which is the focus of our love and attention at this moment in life. So after the class party and the almost offensive influx of sugar in our systems, we spent the rest of the heart holiday weekend sitting in front of a fire assembling every Lego set in the house (and through three lives of Lego collectors that is a lot), consuming hot cocoa, Mexican food, and, at the very last, going out for delightful family dinner. 

And, in the time A.B. (the hours after bedtime), there was some enjoyment of champagne (or sparkling wine, for those of you keeping track).


Lego airport

Before leaving for vacation I always try to get all the chores done, the house, clean, the important jobs taken care of. It's supposed to make the return to the norm easier on the other side. Why is it, then, that coming home from vacation is always such a mess? I'm sure that landing after midnight had a little to do with it this time, but by and large, it takes me at least a few days, if not a whole week, to recover from a week away. Only some of it is the laundry (how do we amass twice as much laundry per amount of time when we're away from home?), there's also the unpacking, and the vacuuming (because I do understand how the dog's shed twice as much hair per time when we're away), and just the reacclimating, I guess. And this time there was also wedding picture editing to get done, and a book sale to prepare for.

All this to say that, in spite of my careful planning to return to our regularly scheduled weekly activities by Wednesday, we didn't actually get to them until Saturday, and that's never regularly scheduled anyway. Calvin did practice the piano and complete the previous week's math, and we did get our chores done, but other than that you could call this our first try with unschooling. Wednesay and Thursday Calvin was pretty much on his own, and in that time he designed and built an airplane out of Legos. Then he added an airport. And to top it al off, he wrote of instructions for the project on his computer. All self driven. It was a fun experiment of sorts, but at the end of the two days we were both ready to return to our regularly scheduled program.

A designer at work...

A brand new passenger jet

(perhaps a flight I'd rather not be on)

I'll bet those passengers are thankful to be pulling up at the gate...

As the passengers disembark, let's get a good look at the pay phone in the airport. That's right, a pay phone.

After that flight, the first passengers into the gate stopped off at the pub to check out the rotating taps

A quick turnaround—the representative at the gate is already announcing boarding for the next flight

There they go, boarding via the jetway


Tinkering with robotics

I love when inspiration hits (think: "You got chocolate in my peanut butter!" "You got peanut butter in my chocolate!")

This weekend: Lego Mindstorms meets Tinker Crate.

It started with a zoetrope assembly, then the question "Do you think we can rig Tracker to run it?", followed by a lot of planning, a fair amount of trial and error, a smidgeon of frustration, and much rejoicing at success.


The Mayas

Yesterday was our montly book sale. Calvin and Jon came to help first thing in the morning, but with Calvin finding a new book to take home every ten minutes, I'm not sure how much help that really was. Between finding books, though, he had a long conversation with the board president about penguins, the difference between the northern and southern hemispheres, the human migration to the Americas, and finally the Mayas. When I got home from the sale (after Jon and Calvin came back to help close the sale and clean up) Calvin and Jon had been, in addition to straightening and shopping, building a Mayan city. They finished it today. A temple, a ball court, farm lands, and even sacrificial altars, the city is now complete. Calvin alternates beween playing "classical era," when the city is inhabited and lively,  and "modern era," when the city is being excavated. It's pretty awesome.