8.30.2013

Friday Things

Ahhh, the first day of school is in sight!  We had our meet the teacher day yesterday and got our school supplies.  Also, our school does the Staples SchoolKidz program where you can order your supplies in one big box at the end of the school year for the following year.  Holy lifesaver!  Every single item was accounted for and they even include labels with your child's name for labeling all the random crap.  WIN.  I did not have to stalk the aisles looking for just the right pencils, the right size set of crayons - a weight has been lifted, I tell you.  

I loved this post from Jen Hatmaker on surviving summer.  And just as I'm limping toward the finish line of summer, I'll be limping towards the finish line at the end of the school year, too.  It's a necessary, yet endless cycle.  By the end of May, my kids need a break from all the homework and some unstructured time - lots of quality together time.  



So much togetherness, we even started dressing the same!  We've lost our individuality!  Or, I dress 3/4 of our household and I like navy stripes...

And by the end of summer, that time is no longer quality. we need the structure and the break from each other and all of the endless SNIPING and FIGHTING and RESTLESS ENERGY OMG.  Ahem, on to fun random internet things...

Oh how I love Buzzfeed.  This 37 Essential Life Hacks is a revelation: I think #17 is my favorite.  I wish I had this information when I was in college.  Also, it's no secret I love Trader Joe's, this 23 Reasons Trader Joe's Is The Best Grocery Store That Ever Was is legit.

Those tricksters at Trader Joe's are always giving me deeeeelicious samples and making me buy MOAR STUFFF..




This sauce immediately went into my cart this week.  I think we'll slather it over our leftover carnitas for sandwiches in the near future.

OK, I need to talk about the VMAs...  How spectacularly awesome is Justin Timberlake??  I for one think that should be the most talked about portion of the show.  (Okay, except for this perfectly timed mashup with Sunday's Breaking Bad: from Huffington Post) JT's performance was at least fifteen whole minutes of singing and crazy awesome dancing.  I'm getting tired just thinking about it.  I juuuust missed the boat on being an N'Sync fan, as I was well into my 20s when they hit it big.  But do I have a vivid memory of being absolutely RIVETED by the an HBO N'Sync live concert special when I was about 26 and still living with my best girls in our Chicago apartment on Newport.  At the time, I remember we felt a little ashamed to be crushing on this Justin kid, mesmerized by his dance moves.  Boy, does he still got 'em.  I really had no love for Suit and Tie when it came out, but I have mad love for Mirrors and the video is a rather emotional one to watch.  That kid (yeah, he's a kid to me) deserved his moon men awards and a lot more attention from the weekend than we're giving him.  I've just gotta add it to the playlist.







Happy Labor Day weekend!

2013 Playlist
Wake Me Up by Avicii and Aloe Blacc
Hey Now by Martin Solveig
We Come Running by Youngblood Hawke
Take You Higher by Goodwill and Hook N Sling
Justice and Independence by John Mellencamp
Glowing by Nikki Williams
Easy  by Porter Robinson (and Matt Zo).
I Could be the One by Avicii featuring Nicky Romero
Pair of Dice by Tiesto
Ain't No Stoppin' by Ferry Corsten (featuring Ben Hague)
Come and Get It by Selena Gomez
Apollo by Hardwell featuring Amba Shepherd
This Head I Hold by Electric Guest
Castles in the Sky by Ian Van Dahl
Feel this Moment by Pitbull, featuring Christina Aguilera
Into Your Arms by the Lemonheads
Just Give me a Reason by Pink
I Love It by Icona Pop
Little Secrets Passion Pit
Sovereign Light Cafe by Keane, remixed by Afrojack
Clarity by Zedd
Years by Alesso
Something Good Can Work by Two Door Cinema Club
She Wolf by David Guetta, featuring Sia
Alive by Krewella
Illmerica by Wolfgang Garnter
Drowning by Armin van Buren
Give Me Your Hand by The Ready Set
Language by Porter Robinson
Cry for You by September
You Are My Diamond by Tiesto - featuring Kianna
Arguru - Deadmau5
We Are by Jus Jack & Oza, featuring Aeone

8.28.2013

Orcas Island (San Juan Islands) with the Kids

After our first attempt at a mini family vacation last year, we were looking for a slightly less 'rustic' outing.  We thought we could handle more than an overnight with the kids and wanted a bit more bang for our buck.  What I really wanted was a place with a pool.  Spending afternoons taking turns with my husband sitting poolside and playing with the kids sounded like a real vacation.  Since we do love a ferry ride and hiking, we decided on a getaway to Orcas Island.  

From Seattle, the drive to the ferry at Anacortes goes by really fast in just over an hour.  No distractions were needed for the kids on the way there; they were excited to get on the ferry and were nonstop chatterboxes about looking for whales.  In the summer, I highly recommend getting to the ferry about two hours prior to departure.  We thought that since it was an off peak travel time (as indicated by the WSDOT website) an hour would suffice.  We made that departure by the skin of our teeth.  Gah.  




The hour and a half sailing to the island also went by super quick.  We brought our lunch, watched the beautiful scenery and did some puzzles!


There are puzzles of all sizes on different tables throughout the ferry - very cool.


After driving onto Orcas just after two o'clock, we drove straight to Moran State Park (don't forget your Discover Pass) to check out the amazing views. 




 Lucky for us, the top of Mount Constitution (the highest point on the San Juan Islands) can be reached by car.  We drove past all of the day trippers that descended upon the town of Eastsound (that we'd explore another day) and drove up the winding roads to the observation tower.




Pro-tip: if you have a toddler that's a 'runner' - just be careful, there are some areas they could go a-tumbling down the mountain.  Luckily, my 'runner' has grown mature enough to ask permission before wandering off.  And then subsequently whine incessantly when we said that, no, he could not go down past the rock wall that was there to keep us from falling to our doom.  Not that this stopped a group of teens that were there.  Oh man, the teen years... *shudder*  

There are hikes a plenty at Moran State Park, with varying levels of difficulty.  So we drove back down the mountain and did a few miles near Cascade Lake.  It was a nice hike, but I think on this outing we finally came to terms with the fact that our three year old daughter just ain't into it.  Pretty much every family hike we do, my husband and I end up carrying her (increasingly heavy) form on our shoulders.  Not fun.  Quite the opposite of her brother at the same age, but what can you do?  We gave it about three miles and decided to call it a day and check in to our hotel.


Path from our building to the mansion which now houses the resort's restaurant and museum.

Rosario Resort is located on the grounds of the Moran Mansion which was built in the early 1900s by Seattle Mayor and Shipbuilder Robert Moran.  It's also on the National Register of Historic Places.  Plus, they have two pools!  Decision made.  From the outside, the buildings look a little dated.  But, once you open the door to the rooms, they are VERY nice.  


Kindle time
The Bayside suites were a really great deal: one room with two queen beds and a separate king bedroom (each with their own flatscreen tv) and a nice little porch with a partial view of the bay.  


Breakfast alfresco
And there are deer that roam the property that are pretty much domesticated.  Definitely a highlight of the trip for the kids.


Just petting some deer, no big.


The beds were super comfortable, not that we did much sleeping...  Even though baby girl is out of her crib and used to a regular bed, sleeping at a hotel was just too exciting for her to drift off.  We would have just left the kids to their own devices and play until they passed out, whatever the hour.  But big brother actually wanted to sleep and kept getting mad at her.  So yeah, we took turns sitting like a sentry each night (with kindle in hand) in a, thankfully, cozy overstuffed chair at the foot of their beds until she finally drifted off around midnight.  Maybe we should go somewhere with three rooms for next year's family vacay?    

Of course, as we got closer to the date of our trip it was clear that a nice little bout of crap weather was rolling in just in time for our arrival.  


Raaaaain. Womp, womp.

This was just the push we needed to bite the bullet and make the (costly) whale watching tour reservations, since our lazy pool afternoons were looking unlikely.  If you are ever planning a trip up to the San Juan Islands (Orcas, San Juan or Lopez) keep an eye on Groupon (and the like) for whale watching deals.  I'm a little sad I didn't, but I'm glad I called the charter operator directly to make the booking (Deer Harbor Charters, had a great experience).  The owner was able to give me advice on which boat I'd want to go out on with small children.  We might have ended up on a smaller one if I'd made the earlier/more convenient online reservations.  I cannot imagine if we had been on an even smaller boat, thank God I talked to the guy, plus he gave us a discount for staying at the Rosario.



Despite the cold sideways rain, and the hellish 90 minute return trip from seeing the whales (it was too cold to hang out on the sides of the boat and I didn't think to bring any games/distractions for the kids), it was SO worth seeing these amazing Orcas.




Now, we weren't as close as the picture appears, since my husband was using his zoom lens to it's fullest.  I'd say we were about the length of a football field or two away, as that's as close as you're allowed to get.  I think if we go back to the San Juans, I'd try first to take a picnic to Lime Kiln Point State Park and try to watch them from land.  I read this suggestion in this NY Times article, which could make for a much closer view of the whales.  And we'd definitely pay to go out on a boat again, especially if we had a normal sunny summer day!


Raincoats went on pretty quickly, and going stir crazy in the stuffy cabin was preferable to standing in the wind and rain on our way back to Orcas.

My last bit of advice for visiting the islands would be to make dinner reservations for ANY restaurant at ANY time on ANY day of the week.  I did a fair amount of research on visiting Orcas and nowhere did it stress the importance of reservations.  Silly me, I assumed that since we were eating rather early (5:30ish with the kids) during the week that this would not be necessary.  So much for all the research I did on the restaurants to try.  We wandered from place to place trying to get some dinner after a very long day without real food.  We did a big brunch at Rosario before the whale watching trip, and then only ate snacks.  The earliest anyone could seat us was 8:30pm.  Um, no.  So we ended up eating at the burger/fish n' chip joint at Rosario for the second night in a row.  It was good, but we really wished we could have experienced more of the food Orcas had to offer.  Oh well.  We did enjoy our one lunch in town at Chimayo.  Excellent Mexican fare.  




The town is adorable and we had lots of fun during the daytime perusing all the shops.  I highly recommend stopping by 'Orcas Arts and Gifts by Suzanne' with kids.  The shop owner gives a gift to every well behaved girl and boy.  My son talked to her nonstop after he was told this news, as if the goal was to entertain (which, come to think of it, is often his goal in life).  Since they were both very good and didn't break anything (which was a feat in that store) she gave big brother a shark tooth (ermagherd!) in a little bejeweled pouch and my daughter a small pearl, also in a little sparkly pouch.  This was probably the best part of the vacation for them - right up there with petting wild deer, staying in a hotel and, oh yeah, whale watching.

8.25.2013

This Weeks Eats 8.25.13

Last week's recipe experiments turned out very tasty!  I'll definitely make the Buffalo Chicken Burgers again and the peanut sauce for this Thai Crunch Salad was to die for.  I switched it up a bit and made Thai Chicken rice bowls instead.  We just grilled up some chicken, sauteed the veggies a bit and put it all over rice with the peanut sauce drizzled over the top.  


I think I would like to turn every meal into a rice bowl.

This week I'm finally trying the Martha Stewart recipe that's taken over Pinterest in the last few months - the one pot pasta deal.  Will report back with my findings...


I'm linking up with Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers, be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!

8.23.2013

Friday Things

How funny is this 'hot dog legs' tumblr??  I admit I'm guilty of taking this picture myself...


dunno how hot dog-esque my legs are, though.
Alas, I think my pasty Seattle legs have seen the last of real summer weather and it's a good thing we spent all day at the beach earlier this week - looks like things are taking a turn...


Yep, after a wee bit of rain this weekend - it looks like the highs barely peek into the 70s for the foreseeable future.  Although, I am glad the best running weather is upon us!  Speaking of which, it's gonna be perfect for everyone heading to Oregon for the mother of all relays.  It's that time of year again: Hood to Coast weekend and if you want to follow some of the action, check out #NuunHTC and #HTC13 on Twitter - many great gals are running for Nuun again.  AND, this year Oiselle is teaming up with Every Mother Counts (yes, including Christy Turlington-Burns) to run the mother of all relays for the first time.  Meet the team here and follow their shenanigans: #RunEMC and #MotherFlockers Yeah, I will be reliving my own relay experience and keeping my fingers crossed that #PartyLikeAFlockStar gets picked for next year's HTC lottery - second time's a charm?  

I am absolutely loving this song Wake Me Up by Avicii and Aloe Blacc.  It's so fun to see a mashup of something so blues-y with the techno.  Enjoy it now, because I fear it's already beginning to be overplayed on the radio... 




Happy weekend!

2013 Playlist
Hey Now by Martin Solveig
We Come Running by Youngblood Hawke
Take You Higher by Goodwill and Hook N Sling
Justice and Independence by John Mellencamp
Glowing by Nikki Williams
Easy  by Porter Robinson (and Matt Zo).
I Could be the One by Avicii featuring Nicky Romero
Pair of Dice by Tiesto
Ain't No Stoppin' by Ferry Corsten (featuring Ben Hague)
Come and Get It by Selena Gomez
Apollo by Hardwell featuring Amba Shepherd
This Head I Hold by Electric Guest
Castles in the Sky by Ian Van Dahl
Feel this Moment by Pitbull, featuring Christina Aguilera
Into Your Arms by the Lemonheads
Just Give me a Reason by Pink
I Love It by Icona Pop
Little Secrets Passion Pit
Sovereign Light Cafe by Keane, remixed by Afrojack
Clarity by Zedd
Years by Alesso
Something Good Can Work by Two Door Cinema Club
She Wolf by David Guetta, featuring Sia
Alive by Krewella
Illmerica by Wolfgang Garnter
Drowning by Armin van Buren
Give Me Your Hand by The Ready Set
Language by Porter Robinson
Cry for You by September
You Are My Diamond by Tiesto - featuring Kianna
Arguru - Deadmau5
We Are by Jus Jack & Oza, featuring Aeone

8.22.2013

My Take on Runner's World Hummingbird Muffins


It's been awhile since I've shared what I've been baking lately and it's not for lack of trying out different recipes.  I've been falling back on all the usual suspects, but I did discover my new favorite banana bread recipe this summer, as well as these amazing Hummingbird Muffins.  I found this recipe in the April issue of Runner's World and they are a huge hit with my family.  I add whole wheat flour, substitute milk (or you could use kefir or buttermilk) in lieu of oil, ground flaxseed if you don't have protein powder and walnuts instead of pecans.  Enjoy!




Muffins:
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk (or kefir, buttermilk or canola oil)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup of ground flax (or 2oz of vanilla protein powder)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
  • 1 15-oz can of crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 mashed bananas

Crumble

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (or pecans)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl beat sugar and honey with eggs. Whisk in milk, applesauce, and vanilla. Gradually mix in flour and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Whisk everything well and add walnuts, pineapple, and bananas. Whisk until combined. 

Prepare 15-18 muffin tins. Fill each about 3/4 full - almost up to the top. 

Combine all crumble ingredients. Sprinkle each muffin with the crumble mixture. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

8.20.2013

July 2013 In Pictures


Yep, I realize August is more than half over - just doin' a little catch up!


Bubbles
Playground
Beach Fun
First Shwings Race
Swinging with Dad

First Movie Outing
Sharing a Chair (!)
Hammock Time
Library Girl
Complex Sandcastle Structure

Annual Raspberry Pickin'
Pony Ride
Favorite Remlinger Fun
Selfie with Furbaby
Sleeping with Book Buddies

Aftermath of Mudpie Making 
Favorite Ragnar Photo
Finish Line
Hospital Time
Taking a Turn in the Hospital Bed 

Bedtime Story Reading
Checking out an old Firetruck at the Car Show
Hungry Pug
Chalk Flowers and Bees
Climbing a Tree

8.18.2013

This Weeks Eats 8.18.13

Ahh, back to normalcy and I'm so very glad to be menu planning - again.  I had hoped to have something to say about the food on Orcas Island; alas, our little vacation was great, but it was also quite the comedy of errors in regards to missed opportunities with meals and other things (I'll have the travelogue up soon-ish).  Let's just say that we're happy we planned to have the weekend to recover.  We did decide on forking over lots of cash to go on a whale watching tour, and that certainly did not disappoint!


I've got two new recipes on the menu for this week, hopefully those will not disappoint either - how's that for a segue? 
I'm linking up with Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers, be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!

8.09.2013

Friday Things, Gone Fishin'

Well, metaphorically 'gone fishing.'  I'm doing another hiatus on the blog next week; although, this one has been planned for awhile.  We're doing a combination of staycation/small road trip vacation instead of hanging at Children's Hospital for a week!  I've got lots of great stuff from the internet for today to make up for it, and I can tell you at least one thing that will be on our weekly menu next week:


Portillos!

We're finally trying the Italian Beef kit!  The cooking instructions are a bit more intimidating than the hot dogs, which is why we've shied away.  But, we could put off our cravings no longer.

Lately, Friday Things might as well be called Oiselle things, but there's been so much great stuff goin' on!  Here's the latest blog post announcing all the new VolĂ©e Team members.  Check it!

OK, in case you missed these internet gems:

Fascinating and fun facts about one of the best tv shows ever: Friends, of course, from Buzzfeed

Speaking of tv, it's no secret that I'm a big Sons of Anarchy fan, and the fact they made a parody on Sesame Street cracks me up.



(Also, the Cookie Monster take on Icona Pop is pretty hilarious.) Since gun running biker gangs are fair game, perhaps the crazy life of a science teacher turned drug lord is next?  I'm hopeful that they'll give a nod to one of my other all time favorite TV shows, Breaking Bad.  Walter White and my boyfriend Jesse Pinkman are back THIS SUNDAY.  Thank the lord.



I get a lot of "oh, is your son so excited for Shark Week??" because of his shark obsession and, puhleez people, I'm not showing him most of it!  I've DVRed a few shows, but in my opinion, most of it is a bit much for a six year old.  This shark cat was fun for the whole family.




Stephen Colbert is also a favorite in this household, and his rendition of Get Lucky by Daft Punk is destined to be a classic Colbert Nation moment.  And Robin Thicke did his thing on the show after Daft Punk did not.  I'm not a huge fan of Blurred Lines, he totally loses me with "what rhymes with hug me?"  WHAT?  Seriously, what innuendo rhymes with hug me??  The 'F' word?? No. That does not rhyme.  BUT, Jimmy Fallon can do no wrong, and you've probably seen this - but, just in case...



My favorite is when he does this bit with Carly Rae Jepsen.

For this week, I'm adding Hey Now by Martin Solveig to the playlist - a repeat artist from last year's list.




Happy weekend and happy WEEK!


2013 Playlist
We Come Running by Youngblood Hawke
Take You Higher by Goodwill and Hook N Sling
Justice and Independence by John Mellencamp
Glowing by Nikki Williams
Easy  by Porter Robinson (and Matt Zo).
I Could be the One by Avicii featuring Nicky Romero
Pair of Dice by Tiesto
Ain't No Stoppin' by Ferry Corsten (featuring Ben Hague)
Come and Get It by Selena Gomez
Apollo by Hardwell featuring Amba Shepherd
This Head I Hold by Electric Guest
Castles in the Sky by Ian Van Dahl
Feel this Moment by Pitbull, featuring Christina Aguilera
Into Your Arms by the Lemonheads
Just Give me a Reason by Pink
I Love It by Icona Pop
Little Secrets Passion Pit
Sovereign Light Cafe by Keane, remixed by Afrojack
Clarity by Zedd
Years by Alesso
Something Good Can Work by Two Door Cinema Club
She Wolf by David Guetta, featuring Sia
Alive by Krewella
Illmerica by Wolfgang Garnter
Drowning by Armin van Buren
Give Me Your Hand by The Ready Set
Language by Porter Robinson
Cry for You by September
You Are My Diamond by Tiesto - featuring Kianna
Arguru - Deadmau5
We Are by Jus Jack & Oza, featuring Aeone

8.08.2013

Tips for an Extended Hospital Stay with Your Six Year Old


I thought using the term 'surviving' an extended stay at Seattle Children's hospital would be a misleading title on two fronts.  For one, Seattle Children's is a wonderful hospital, I'd hate to give any impression to the contrary; and two, my son's issue was not immediately life threatening - 'surviving' seemed too dramatic a word.  Long story short, his ureter (the tube goin' out of your kidney toward the bladder) was getting squished by a blood vessel and causing his kidney to become inflamed (hydronephrosis).  It's something that he grew out of when he was very small, but I suppose that the pesky blood vessel started growing again in an inconvenient way.  OK, so, since we now know the backstory, and how things went down - here are some handy tips and totally hilarious and heartbreaking pictures that I have to share of my brave little guy.  


Oh yes, we've added a hammerhead and bull shark to his collection - as well as this one that GLOWS


Take care of yourself, so that you can take care of your kid.  I was clearly not the parent to be with my son going on two hours of sleep after Ragnar.  I was quite the sight walking into the ER donning my pink shorts and neon orange compression socks looking like a weepy deer in the headlights.  The staff are amazing and, after chatting with me, led me to the restroom so I could compose myself.  They also tried to give me some Gatorade after I explained what I'd been up to over the previous 36 hours.  Once I spent some time with my family and talked to the doctors, I took my daughter home so that I could get some much needed sleep and my husband could focus on my son.  Then, over the course of our five day stint, we would take turns staying overnight on the convertible sofa in the hospital room so that we could each recharge and be at our best for my son (and not want to throttle him after so much togetherness, either).  It probably goes without saying, but pack like you did when you were birthin' them - bring comfy pjs, a pillow, snacks, toiletries, etc. etc. 

Suck it up, buttercup.  Yeah, I was most certainly taken aback seeing my kid hooked up to an IV and in pain.  It took everything in me not to break down into a blubbering mess.  But I knew I needed that time in the bathroom before seeing him to pull myself together, and there would be several other times that I had to just step out of the room and cry.  My boy never once seemed scared and I think it's good to remember that most kids his age don't have a real frame of reference for being in the hospital.  As far as he knows, it's just a place where people go to get better.  Most of the credit here goes to the amazing nurses who make them feel so at ease, while being firm and completely transparent when they explaining things.  He was suuuper impressed that a 'robot' was going to go into his 'tummy' and fix it!  


And hospitals are places with magician clowns that can pull things out of your ears, naturally.
It's kind of like being on 'island time' in the hospital, be prepared to wait, and wait, and wait some more...  Most of us moms remember our own hospital stays for the birth of our children and this experience wasn't much different as far as how timely things happen.  "The lab tech should come by in twenty minutes for bloodwork" translates to about an hour.  "We should know by tomorrow morning" means, by the afternoon or evening.  Now, this wasn't always the case, but it was more the norm than not.  We were admitted on Saturday and were supposed to get on the schedule to get him a stent to ease the blockage in his ureter by Sunday afternoon, and we'd hear something by Sunday morning.  Aaaaaand, by Sunday late afternoon it was conveyed that we were lost in the shuffle.  So we rescheduled for Monday, but put a request in for the 'permanent fix' surgery if it was possible (where they would take out the portion of the ureter that was blocked and put it back together).  Of course this became a possibility on Monday and then we were scheduled for Tuesday; for those counting, that's three nights in the hospital without any surgery happening.  Which also translated to: don't eat, now you can eat, don't eat, now you can eat, etc.  Poor little guy's tummy was ALL out of whack.  Which brings me to...


Goofy stuffed mouth smile, mmmm...  Jimmy Johns


Bring some favorite foods and scope out food choices nearby.  Each time he was given the green light to eat, he wanted Jimmy Johns (we taught him right).  So, thankfully, there's one near Children's.  Although, we would have driven an hour to get him a slim #4 with cheese.  And I didn't have to drive far to discover and devour Veggie Grill.  In hindsight, I'd have brought more foods from home that would make him happy.  But toys? Oh yeah, we were alllll over that...


Methodically putting his Legos together


Coloring books, sticker books, books for reading, and most importantly, LEGO MINIFUGRE SETS are your friends.  Or, you know, whatever your kid is into: Polly Pockets, Star Wars action figures, etc.  After a particularly trying moment where we had to have several nurses help get a blood sample (yeah, one of those moments where I had to leave the room and go cry afterwards), they offered up a Lego toy for being so brave - a little minifigure car set.  He spent a nice quiet half an hour building his car and then another half an hour playing with it.  Most people that know my son know that he's the active type, to say the least.  I need to get him out and run him like a lab most every day to keep the cranky away.  Not a bad thing, for sure, but it's bad when stuck in a hospital room for five days.  Legos didn't occur to me, because we have such vast quantities at home and they just seemed to unwieldy.  Enter the minifigure sets!  After that, on my morning 'off' my daughter and I picked out three more boxes at Target to give him one per day.  But, his inner lab still needed to be appeased...


Ermagherd, sloooow DOWN - pic is blurry because he's haulin'
and we found some Seafair Pirates on one of our walks!

Don't be afraid to walk, walk, walk, and walk some more if they're hooked up to an IV cart.  Every day we went on epic walks around the hospital.  I feel like I know every nook and cranny, every elevator bank, every fish tank, every Starbucks, and every play place.  Yes, Seattle Children's has a totally awesomesauce playground and playroom that we'd visit at least twice a day.  Not only do they have stuff for the kids to play with (train tables, play kitchens, pool table and xbox for the older set) but shelves full of DVDs, books and toys for the kids to take back to the rooms.  We had quite the menagerie of dinosaurs going in our little corner of the hospital, as well as a few movies (yes, it's inevitable) and some new fun books to read.  


on the playground
working on one of many art projects/crafts


Try to make life as normal as possible for both kids (if you have more than one).  It was really hard to keep a semblance of normalcy for baby girl.  Naptime went out the window for her because that was usually the best time for us all to be together.  Usually we'd wake up in the morning, touch base with each other and then get through lunch with whichever child we had slept with the night before and then be together at the hospital after lunchtime until just before dinner.  So, we kept the pre-hospital time as normal as possible for her with trips to our usual parks, the Children's Museum or the Zoo.  Yeah!  We finally caved to a zoo membership.  As for my son, we tried to hit the playroom just after breakfast and some morning cartoons, and did our usual bedtime routines (bending the rules, of course, and doing three or four books instead of the usual two) even if that ended up being two hours later than normal.  


checking out the toys at the hospital playground


Bring an extra large shopping bag or extra duffel bag for all of the crap you will accumulate.  All those art projects, Legos, stuffed animals purchased at the gift shop (like the aforementioned hammerhead and bull shark - we also lucked out that our Children's Hospital is themed after sea life), and medicine take up SPACE.


This is mainly motrin and acitaminophen - we're set for a few years.
being sprung from this joint! good thing we had a wagon for all of our sh*t


We finally did have that surgery, the big laparoscopic fix on Tuesday evening and, rather than going home in the evening the next day, they had us stay until Thursday morning.  Those last two days were quite the opposite of the first three, in that I was trying to get him to take walks and be active.  He was still foggy from being sedated, hopped up on painkillers and naturally his muscles hurt where the three little incisions went for the 'robot.'  It was really tempting to sit with a book and let him snooze.  But tempting him with walks to Starbucks for a smoothie, or a cup of whipped cream (yes, the baristas would make a tall cold cup filled with whip and then top it with caramel and/or chocolate sauce for the kids) was just the ticket.  I am not above bribery.

I vividly remember seeing the families with kids in scrubs as I'd go for routine ultrasounds and clinic visits when my son was tiny.  I couldn't imagine being one of those families holding a pager as my baby was whisked off to surgery.  Being on the other side of things, I know that it is not the end of the world for the majority of families and that these kids will be on their feet before you know it.  I probably should have focused more upon the faces of the children (which can be hard) than those of the parents at Children's.  Every single kid there is a superhero, it us adults that are sniveling piles of jello.  


Yeah, remember this?  I really handled his first day of Kindergarten well...