Everything Is Awesome!

Out of all of the amusement parks available to Southern Californians, Legoland is my favorite, hands down.

Or hands on, as it were.

We hadn’t been in years, but our spring break company included a five-year-old legomaniac, and when everything is awesome, you gather the master builders and go.

It was nostalgic and new and delightfully nerdy to watch my massive boys take their little cousin and introduce him to the way of the Lego.

We rode the rides and shot the laser guns and climbed the fortress and drove the boats. We ate the barbecue and got a drivers’ license and pulled to the top of the towers of power.

But more than anything, we explored what the imagination can do with a little piece of plastic.

Miniland is getting an upgrade, and there was an entire section devoted to Star Wars.

Be still my heart.

Photos. Enjoy.

Earth

Endor

Naboo

More Naboo

Death Star

Tatooine

If you know my house at all, you know we have a closet filled top to bottom with Lego bits. I’ve given boxes of them away once in a while, but somehow the closet is never diminished.

Now we know why.

My boys spent a significant amount of time and money shopping for the perfect little pieces that they can’t get anywhere else.

How they know which tiny bits they don’t have, is beyond me.

The boys found out about a new trick up Legoland’s sleeve: if you bring along a mini figure, you can ask any park employee to trade with you. They have three or four mini figures attached to their name tags, and if you have a good eye, you can spot highly collectible ones, just hanging out there at the turnstile.

The boys went nuts.

Four trades in, they had what was apparently the world’s coolest mini figure. Who knew.

We passed the visitor information booth.

An employee inside had an entire Star Wars battleship on his name tag.

The kids went in for the kill but came up empty.

Come to find out, the battleship was the actual name tag. Rats.

I walked around wondering if the employees would trade socks with me if I demanded it.

Or maybe wallets.

Goodness knows mine was wearing thin.

We posed with Batman. We posed with Lord Vader. The giant Bionicles weren’t as giant. Our last photo shows my kid posing at its kneecap. But this week, my ‘kid’ was up to its shoulders.

The legendary Fireman Show was gone for good, and we tried to convince our little cousin that putting “the wet stuff on the hot stuff” was a solid piece of Legoland information, but he was too busy attacking suspicious looking tourists with his foam sword.

Somebody’s gotta keep the place safe.

Finding Scooby Doo Lego was the frosting on our plastic cake. I’m happy to report that Daphne’s curves are finally in the proper shape, and Fred is still a square.

Scooby is going home to Canada later this week, to meet another little puppy named Stella.

Their job is to save the world from snowbound extraordinary people.

For at least the month of April.

“I am your father!”

 

Don’t Make Me Come Back There!

We were all finally old enough!

Old enough to ditch car seats and strollers. Old enough to have manners in a motel parking lot while dad negotiates the bed count. Old enough to set up tents. Old enough to know before we’re going to throw up, that we are.

Old enough to know not to make rude faces as we creep past cops in a small town speed trap.

This time I planned ahead.

I was prepared enough for a NASA space launch.

We had a small TV and VHS player with new movies next to it. We had all the right snacks and a handful of traveling games. Some kids had cameras. Others were going to keep a journal.

I had packed each kid a secret box. Each contained things that I normally wouldn’t allow in the house, let alone the car, but we were finally old enough.

Dry erase markers for playing tic tac toe and drawing on the windows.

Candy. Tiny bottles of bubbles. Flavored Chapstick. Balloons. Silly Putty. Dollar store goofiness.

But I wasn’t just born a parent yesterday.

I, myself, was finally old enough to know that road trips with kids are a risky business and like playing Double Dutch, timing is everything.

I had the secret weapon all ready in the front dash.

At mile 50, the donuts and hand wipes were dispensed.

At mile 100, the secret boxes and more hand wipes came out.

At mile 150, I turned around to address the masses who were just on the edge of “now what?”.

I fanned a pile of cash between us and stared them down.

Silence was immediate.

“Kids,” I began calmly, as Hubby maneuvered through big city freeways, “this is your vacation cash. I’m holding ones, fives, tens, and some twenties. Watch carefully.”

I handed each kid a five.

“That’s for paying attention. Well done. Every time I catch you guys behaving and helping us have a good time, I hand you money. Spend it on whatever you want.”

This was such a big hit. I made sure each kid ended up with the same amount in the end, and made sure to hand plenty out on the first couple of days, to get the attitudes and the planets aligned.

For kids who didn’t even get allowances, this was pretty great.

We could have given it to them before the trip, and they would have put it into pockets and not thought much about it.

This made a game of it, had them earn it, made them appreciate it, and kept entitlement at bay.

It’s never again been that easy to get cash out of the mom ATM.

Because now, doggone it, they’re finally old enough…to get jobs.