If You Build It, They Will Come

Camp Stimey held its meet-up this week at the Building Museum in DC. Somehow the fates—and the lure of a Lego Architecture exhibit—combined to make this the most popular Camp Stimey Meet-up ever!

Oh, it was star-studded, y’all! Laurie made her second Camp Stimey appearance, thus elevating her status to Camp Stimey Junior Counselor. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah and her kids came. Robin and family came. NG and her adorable twosome came. Sue and two of her party of six were there. Kristen managed to be chill and fun even with an extra child in tow. (Also, I may or may not be responsible for her youngest careening into a table edge. As mentioned last summer, this camp doesn’t carry enough insurance.) Also, my friends Anne and Lane came with their tiny baby girl, whom I got to meet for the first time. (Please tell me I didn’t forget anyone.)

Isn’t the baby cute?

Naturally, my camera battery died a quick death shortly after arrival. Plus, Quinn, who was surly upon surly took possession of my phone (with camera) at the bench where he set up shop playing Angry Birds.

Nonetheless, I did manage to get a few shots. Like this one of Sarah and Laurie building Lego structures with some kids.

Wait. Where are the kids?

The exhibit itself was really cool. There were several giant replicas of famous buildings made entirely out of Legos. Most were taller than my kids, which was very impressive to them. I think my favorite was this one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.

Obviously just a detail.

Although it is free to visit the museum, entry to the exhibit is $5 a person. When you get to the exhibit door, a kindly museum employee tells you that the structures are not glued together so it is very important that no one runs or touches anything.

I almost turned around right there.

Fortunately, jumping up and down excitedly was not forbidden, so Jack was allowed to stay.

Happily, just past the precarious exhibit was a room full of Legos. And when I say “full of Legos,” I mean, “Holy Christ! I’m never going to be able to drag Jack out of here!” There were tables upon tables of loose Legos for kids people to build with along with display surfaces upon which to put your finished structures.

Camp Stimey represent!

Weirdly, Quinn got bored quickly. He started yelling about being hungry and annoying. Okay, he just yelled about being hungry. I added that annoying part. Before he got too annoying though, he and I built our cat Izzy out of Legos.

Sam built a quite incredible little building himself, but no one built anything quite as impressive as Robin’s son, who made a rilly, rilly tall tower.

Incidentally, Sam NEVER plays with Legos at home.

Occasionally Jack would disappear and a group of us would be all, “Jack? Jack? Where’s Jack? WHERE IS JACK?”

Inevitably, he would be under a table looking for a specific Lego piece.

Somehow, I managed to capture the exact moment that Jack’s heart broke when I told him that he couldn’t take his Lego creation home with him.

Poor guy.

I wish I had taken a photo of the tables with all the kid-made Lego creations on it. They were amazing. About an hour before closing, museum staff came by and started breaking them all up. I was a little bit aghast, but also felt a weird compulsion to help. Although dramatically toppling all the buildings and towers (and at least one Lego penguin) would have been a lot more fun than the methodical way the museum guy was doing it.

After we’d been there for two and a half hours, I realized that we hadn’t visited any other area of the museum, thus negating my original motive of visiting the Building Museum to teach my kids about simple machines.


I had a great time today! Thanks to all the Camp Stimey campers who came out to play! It was fantastic to see all of you!

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