Thursday, July 19, 2012

Legos and Confidence

The National Building Museum had had a Lego exhibit for freaking-ever, but somehow, I didn't take Helen and Connor there until a couple of weeks ago, and then I took them back last Sunday! If you're sitting in the DC area and haven't been yet, you have until September 3. It's worth the trip.

Helen fades in and out of being interested in legos, and Connor loves them, except he loves the sets because his little brain just wants to organize those buggers into something that makes sense. I want to organize those buggers into one giant mess of a box at some point and watch his imagination run wild, but right now, our legos are all divided by which set they belong to. Connor makes random things out of the two containers of basic bricks that he has, but the sets (with their oh-so-many cool pieces) remain intact. He gets this gene from me, so I can hardly complain about it.

Our first visit to the NBM was inspired by a playdate with my friend Stimey. Back when it wasn't 100 degrees every day in DC, we decided to meet up some day after school let out. As the date approached, I was super excited for the playdate, but not super excited at the thought of being outside. As it turns out, I do not like 100 degree weather unless I am neck deep in water. So we went to the one indoor place where children that span from 4 - middle school could find something to do. Brilliant, we are.

Connor took the opportunity to build a rather large yellow house.

Connor, carrying bricks to his design center.

Then, he noticed my friend's son making a lego army of robots, so he decided to get in on that action.

Cool, eh?

Helen spent her time building completely random things that were prone to breaking apart.

Let's brick here, one brick there, voila! I just made a refrigerator, or a car, or a piece of pizza.

The best thing about Helen's stream of creations is that she would finish one and then insist that I put it "up high" so it could be on display. I really think she looks at her haphazard creations and sees an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower. What a way to look at the world! Confidence - she has it in spades.

Here's one of the more stable of Helen's creations, along with Connor's yellow house, now guarded by the lego robots. They are placed on a shelf, that kids at the exhibit have decided is for display. The woman monitoring the display disagrees, and starts busting up the creations occasionally. I begged her to wait until we left, after she informed me rather curtly that I wasn't supposed to be putting legos on the shelf. Thankfully, she allowed these two creations to stay while I snapped a photo and ushered the kids out before they saw their creations be turned back into the big lego bins.

We wore ourselves out, but because no outing  with me this summer goes without some sort of forced march (more on that later), we rode the metro one stop, hopped off to see the gates of Chinatown, and then walked to a nearby bookstore to snag a free book from their summer reading program.

Despite the searing heat, and the fact that a local news guy interviewed me for having my kids in hats - slow news day, I assure you, we had a ball.

So when the Gulick Group invited us to see the exhibit again last Sunday, we were all over a return visit. Gulick Group is a sponsor of the exhibit, and as part of that sponsorship, they had one of their homes (which they build in surrounding neighborhoods) built in lego. It's their "Winthrop Model", which looks very cool in lego, so it's probably even cooler in real life. This home is stunningly similar to the home of the people I nanned for in Kansas many years ago. Really. There's a 3 car garage on the left side, there's a library, and there's a morning room (along with all the more mundane elements of a home, like a kitchen and dining room, living room, and bathrooms). I have decided that I need a home with a morning room. Perhaps that's what I'll refer to my screened-in-porch as from now on.

Connor and his friend Elliott built a greenhouse while they were at the museum, and if you vote for it on Facebook, they might get to split a prize of $50! I think you click here!/gulickgroup and then "like" the photo I submitted.

And Helen built a car house (you can't see the wheels - because they are imaginary - but that house drove all around the "street") that has a water fountain at the top (the little red piece in the corner). She, too, could win $50 if you vote for her creation.

Both visits were a blast!

Next up: A trip back to the Building Museum to play golf!


Thank you, Gulick Group, for inviting us back to the Building Museum. We had a ball!


  1. When you get to Kansas make sure you take some time and go to the lego adventure place in KC - at Crown Center. We enjoyed it and the landmarks of KC built out of legos. The aquarium was pretty cool as well.

  2. I'm glad to see you survived the heat. I was a little worried when you were headed off to Chinatown. :) That Lego display is the best! We had a blast with you guys!