Lego London

My Lego London collection has become quite extensive! The pieces that “belong to me” (even though most of them were group efforts when it came to assembly) are on display around our living room. It makes me happy to see so many iconic London landmarks in Lego in our home! Three of them are Lego Architecture sets: (little) Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the London skyline. We have two large-scale architecture sets, as well: (big) Big Ben and Tower Bridge, which is the first Lego set Ryan and I built for us, and not for the children. I also have London buses in two sizes…a promo set from last year, and the large-scale bus I built this summer (there are also an additional two buses that came with Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace).  For photo purposes, Turkey lent me his Mini Cooper (and the tiny promo set that matches it), and Ryan shared his TARDIS, neither of which are usually in the living room with the others:

As always, I will anxiously await any other London sets that Lego decides to make…except for the modular buildings, they’re my favorite Lego builds!

2017-18 School Year–Week One

The first week of the 2017-18 school year is already behind us! This year, I have two ninth graders, a fifth grader, and a Kindergartener!

We started on Tuesday, so it was a short, four-day week. And the first day of school is always mostly fun…finding out what’s in this year’s schultüte, handing out books and organizing desks, taking lots of pictures, and building a Lego set. The latter took several hours, as it is the largest Lego set (the Lego Ideas Saturn V), that we’ve ever built in school. It was a fun project that everyone got to help with (we intentionally started before Moose’s first day of school so he could participate), and was educational, thanks to the fantastic extra details in the instruction book.

On Wednesday, we had a pretty full day of school, beginning most of our subjects for the year, from high school geometry and biology to fifth grade math, spelling, and vocabulary, all the way down to reading Ramona the Pest out loud and Kindergarten handwriting. But then we took a break from our work on Thursday to go on our first field trip of the school year, to see The Discovery of King Tut at the St. Louis Science Center. It was a fantastic exhibit, full of extremely well done replicas from Tut’s tomb, and was also a great way to kick off our history studies for the year, as everyone is going to be studying ancient history in one way or another.

Today we finished off with another regular school day. The only subject we haven’t started yet is our various literature studies (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to start for Turkey and Bunny, and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for Ladybug), which we will add to our schedule next week. I’ll close with something new for this year…I chose a Bible verse to be our theme for the year for the first time ever, and I think our chosen verse of Philippians 4:8 is an especially good reminder with all the chaos in the world right now:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Chickadee Thursday

Today we had our first field trip of the 2017-18 school year! We went to explore The Discovery of King Tut at the St. Louis Science Center. Chickadee was especially interested in the replica of Tut’s mummified remains, but that doesn’t make for a very good picture, so here she is in front of the replica Rosetta Stone:

We also visited the Missouri Botanical Garden:

And a bonus picture from our first day of school…the Lego Ideas Saturn V we built is almost as tall as Chickadee!

First Day of School 2017

Today was the first day of the 2017-18 school year!

We started with everyone’s favorite first day of school tradition…opening the schultüte:

Of course I took a lot of pictures:

After everyone looked through their new workbooks for the year (and put them away), we had a short Matins service. And then we started on our other favorite first day of school tradition…building our new Lego set for the year. This time, it was the Lego Ideas Saturn V rocket, the biggest school set we’ve built so far (it took about four hours!!!)! Since we started school before Moose this year, he got to join in the fun, too!

That’s about it. We didn’t do any real work today…that can wait for tomorrow. We’re looking forward to all the new and interesting things we’re going to be learning this year!

Lego London Bus

For almost a year, I have been anxiously anticipating the release of the Lego London Bus, so it’s no surprise that I was at our local Lego store when they opened Monday morning, for the early VIP sale. I couldn’t wait to get started with section one of four!

And then my building came to a screeching halt. Steps 1-12 were missing from my instruction book. It took every ounce of patience I had to wait for Lego to get back to me and eventually e-mail me a PDF of the instructions so I could get started!

They were very responsive, and today I got started. It didn’t take long to complete those first twelve steps, but I don’t think I would have been able to figure it out without the step-by-step instructions!

I love Lego instruction books. There’s always something new. I don’t think I’ve seen this tip before, but it was helpful since there were some very similar bricks in the set!

It didn’t take too long to complete the entire first section, which included the first of many stickers, and great details like the driver’s seat, a few passenger seats, and even a fire extinguisher…safety is important, even when dealing with Lego!

On to section two:

This part of the build was very interesting. All of the lower-level seats were installed, and I also added a used ticket box and umbrella holder. The bonnet even opens, and there’s a brick-built engine inside!

The set comes with two sets of vehicle registration plates, one retro and one modern. While I went with the yellow and white retro plates, here’s a look at the more modern black and white version:

The third section of the build included many of the same pieces as the second section:

And this was probably the most tedious part of the build. I had to make another set of passenger seats, for the upper deck of the bus, and it seemed like I would never be done with all of them!

But I did finish eventually, and was able to move on to the last section of the build:

The final step included the completion of the upper deck and the top of the bus, as well as some other external details. I love the banners on the sides of the bus. There are again both retro and modern options, and this time, I have one set of each on display!

The top is even removable, for those rare, sunny London days!

There are tons of tiny details inside, including both a newspaper and soda can that have been left behind, a piece of “gum” under one of the seats, and even stickers that give the appearance of the seats being slightly worn!

It’s just a beautiful set!

We have quite a few Lego London landmarks now…it’s hard to imagine what they might come up with next, but I hope they keep going with the London line!

Lego Big Ben–Night Five

Tonight we finished Lego Big Ben!

We started with section six:

Have I mentioned how much I love the instruction book? Like the Lego Architecture series,  in addition to directions for building, this book contains information about the landmark being built, and I learned a few things along the way!

We’ll just call section six “The Addition of Fancies.” I especially love the tree out front!

Looking good, and even without the clock, it’s totally recognizable!

We weren’t done, though. On to section seven!

We built the clock face:

And “Big Ben,” the largest of the five bells in the tower:

And then we put them together:

And added the top of the tower:

And Queen Elizabeth Tower, housing Big Ben, as well as part of the Palace of Westminster, was complete!

Now we have big Big Ben, and baby Big Ben…I love how the Lego Architecture set looks against the bigger landmark:

And they may not be to scale, but the double-decker bus I built last year looks great with the new set!

Next up is the upcoming larger scale London bus, which I hope to build later this month. We’ll have all the big Lego London landmarks, then…I can’t help but wonder if there’s anything left that they want to build!