Monday, February 22, 2016


I am not even sure how to describe the magic that is LegoFest.  Words won't do it justice, and pictures don't really either.  All of my pictures just look like my kids standing around  playing with legos.  Which is what they are actually doing, and we could do that at home, but there was something magical about doing it at LegoFest.   Andrew's friend from Winston-Salem got him a ticket for his birthday in December, so I went ahead and bought tickets for the rest of our family.  The price felt pretty steep at $25 dollars a person, but I honestly felt like we got every penny worth of it back again after our experience.  It was something that my 11 year old boy enjoyed as much as his 6 year old little sister.

We started out playing in the Big Pile of Legos.  After seeing how much fun this was, I am thinking of taking our  Legos out all their presorted by color containers and just dumping them into a big bucket.

There were fun team challenges to participate in together.  After each challenge, everyone who played received a mini Lego kit (the kind at the check out line at Target).  My boys both got 5 and Molly got 6, since she played at the Lego Friends area.  I loved the noncompetitive nature of the challenges.  I love it when everyone is a winner.  I know that isn't real life, but I enjoy living in Utopia on occasion.

In one of the challenges, they had to build a pizza in a relay contest.

In another challenge, they had to work as a team to build a Star Wars ship from ship scraps hidden in a pile of legos.  They only let five team members work together, so on this challenge, Molly joined Shannon on another team.

In the last challenge area, we had 6 minutes to create the best structure we could as a team.

In the Build Across America area, the children each created a masterpiece that was placed in an outline of a USA map.  Ian and Ryan worked together to make a huge minifigure.

The kids became the masters of Spinjitzu at the Ninjago spinners area.

Molly and Caroline had a great time in the Lego Friends and Lego Disney areas, while the boys were in other areas.

Andrew and James created a black wolf in the construction zone and placed it in one of the display cabinets.

And we took a few moments to pose with the incredible statues made from characters spread out through the convention center.

LegoFest was set up in a huge convention center with tons of different stations and activities.  So many that we did not make it to every single one, even though we were there from the time it opened until they literally kicked us out.

Wax Museum

Ryan came home over a month ago bubbling over with excitement.  The third grade was going to present a wax museum.  Each student drew the name of a famous South Carolinian and were to write a report and dress up like the person they had researched.  A "button" would be placed on the wall and when someone pressed your button, you would give your speech in character.  He could do nothing else that afternoon until we had gone online and ordered him a Revolutionary War costume for his character.  He sifted through the dozens of options, being very particular about the details, reading the reviews, etc... and even chose a wig he liked.  Ryan is very detail oriented. He wrote his paper and practiced a lot.  We both learned a lot about William Moultrie and have even planned a trip to Charleston over spring break to visit the fort named in his honor.  This was something Ryan was very excited about.

Then the moment of the wax museum arrived and he got nervous.  Not about the acting or public speaking.  He loves that!  He was worried that someone might make fun of his costume.  So worried that it paralyzed him with fear.  My poor sweet boy.  We finally "convinced" (lovingly, but sternly forced) him into the costume moments before he was to participate.  He walked into the hall and a friend told him he looked cool.  That was all he needed.  Our pep talk had not worked.  Our bribes had not worked.  Our frustrated threats at the last minute when we had exhausted all other tools in our arsenal had not worked.  The affirmation of his buddy was all he needed.  He had a wonderful time participating in the Wax Museum.  The bigger the group surrounding him to listen to his speech, the happier he was.  Ryan did not want to change out of his costume when it was over.

My friend Julie and I took our boys out to lunch afterwards to celebrate.

Here is his speech he wrote.

"Hi, my name is William Moultrie. I was born on December 4, 1736. I am the son of Dr. John and Lucretia Cooper Moultrie. I am a South Carolina war hero . I was a general of the Revolutionary War in the Battle of Sullivan's Island and became a national hero in 1776 when my unit defeated the British Navy.  We made a fort out of palmetto logs and sand. It was only halfway built when we were attacked, but the British cannonballs bounced off the logs or got stuck in the logs. The site of the battle is now called Fort Moultrie in my honor. After the war, I sat in the House of Representatives and was also governor of South Carolina twice. I also designed the first South Carolina flag. I died on September 27, 1805."

 I actually learned a lot right a long with Ryan.  Not being from SC, I never knew why we had a palm tree and a moon on our flag.  I love what the SC flag stands for now that I know what it represents.  I love learning with my kids.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Love Days

In case you didn't know, I kind of love Valentines' Day.  I love having another reason to show my family how much I adore them. I love mushy cards! I love chocolate!  It is one of my very favorite days of the year.

As the room mom in Ryan's class this year, I organized a service project for the kids to participate in for their class activity.  We wanted to show love for others, so we created "Love of Learning" Bags for a local charity that serves homeless children in the area,  The parents sent in enough school supply items so that we could compile 30 bags.  And three other moms came in to help.

We started the party by allowing each student to color a sticker label for the bags and to take turns handing out Valentine cards to each other.  Ryan has erasable highlighters that his classmates like to borrow, so he bought everyone their own and added a card that says "I hope your Valentines' Day Glows!"

 I had them each randomly draw out a job on our assembly line.  We had set up in a multipurpose room at school and the children did a great job either being a "shopper" who filled the bag with each item, or a "storekeeper" who gave out items to the shoppers.

When we were finished, we headed back to the classroom for Krispy Kreme heart doughnuts and strawberry yoohoos while the children opened the cards from their classmates.  The third graders really enjoyed helping others.

I am the room mom for Molly's first grade class, too.  We started her class party by going outside to see the very brief snow fall that occurred during lunch time.  I am so glad that we did, because when the children left two hours later, there was no trace of the snow at all.   Molly gave her classmates fans with a card attached that said "I am your biggest fan!"

 Molly's classroom mascot is a flamingo, so we included our pink friend in the day's festivities.

At her first center, Molly played musical hearts.  Each heart had a fun direction written on the back for all the children to do.  Example: make the ASL sign for "I love you."

At the next center, she made a flamingo heart craft.

Next was the graphing of conversation hearts activity station.  It may be as old as conversation hearts themselves, but these first graders thought it was new and exciting.

The children played with pattern blocks to make Valentine creations.

And for snack, we ate yummy Valentine Krispy Kreme doughnuts and had ice cream floats with flamingo straws.

The fifth graders were a little more low key.  Andrew still had a fun time watching a movie and eating snacks, though.  Andrew gave out pop rocks to everyone with a card that said "I hope your Valentine Rocks!"

Over the weekend, we had our traditional Valentines' Day fun.  We had waffles for breakfast, our "fancy" flank steak, sweet potatoes, salad, bread, and sparkling cider dinner, and chocolate fondue for dessert.  We decorated our front door with hearts, and played our conversation hearts stacking game.  Andrew was this year's winner with 14.  I gave the kids and Chad cards, chocolate, and small gifts.  The children let me read to them all my favorite "LOVE" picture books before bedtime.  I say "let" because one of them thought he was too old for those now.  But he didn't leave the room, so I guess he either really loves me a lot and doesn't want to hurt my feelings, or he kind of still likes to be read to, too.  Either way, I am grateful for my wonderful family and the love they show me 365 days a year.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Lancaster County Science Fair and Lancaster County Spelling Bee 2016

Andrew placed second in the county science fair this year for 5th graders.  He earned an gift card and a medal.  We are super proud of him for his hard work.

The very next day, he competed in the county spelling bee.  An eighth grader from our area won. Andrew did not place this year, and was a little bummed.  His parents and siblings were super proud of him and think he did amazing!  He left with another gift card and a certificate.  The money seemed to cheer him up a bit.