Scott’s Story: Part 1

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It started in the wee hours of August 29th, 12:45 am to be exact. I awoke with a startle to find him slung over my body, whispering into my face briskly, “I have to go to the emergency room. But don’t worry. You stay here. I Googled the closest ER and Wills Eye hospital is the closest.” I stopped him. “What is wrong with your eye?!” And so it began. Nothing was wrong with his eye. But he was not lucid, and was in fact suffering from acute appendicitis. I called the boys’ dad who rushed to our house immediately to watch over them while they slept and Scott and I began our journey, which started in the Pennsylvania hospital ED. I think they initially assumed it was food poisoning. I mean, in all fairness, I promptly emptied the contents of my stomach into the unsightly red biohazard bin immediately upon being lead back through triage and into the ED. Hours of fluids later, Scott was still in major pain with nothing but Toradol to soothe him as we do not take narcotics in our household.   A CAT scan was ordered, seemingly to “just make sure it wasn’t his appendix.” and the bariatric contrast drink was drunk by the patient. His counts were normal, but the scan 2 hours later showed acute appendicitis. No one was more surprised than the ER attending doctor. And Scott. Poor guy kept thinking and saying that he was a wuss. Well, we would find out time and again that, in fact, he is one of the strongest men in the world. Yup. In. The. World.

(Pre and Post Op)

Scott had his appendix removed laparoscopically the following morning at about 11am. The doctor reported at the time that it had not yet perforated and was a simple straightforward removal. Scott came home that afternoon at about 4pm. He experienced no complications from the start and we were able to visit his parents in Massachusetts the following weekend.

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He was sore and a bit weak but otherwise on the mend. Two weeks went by. We received no report regarding the pathology of the appendix and were told that we would receive a call if anything abnormal was revealed.  We never received a call.  We would later find out that his appendix was partially perforated at the time of removal.

Three weeks post-op, Scott began presenting with low-grade fevers and systemically feeling “off.” We thought it might be related to our petri dish kids; a bug he was fighting off as he was not experiencing any specific pain.

A few days later, I ran the Rock N Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. My “cheer squad” was waiting, among them, my Scott.

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I took one look at him and knew I needed to speak with a doctor immediately. From the finish line, I attempted to reach his surgeon. I called three times and was rerouted to the main hospital line all three times, dead-ended with no one who seemed to care, let alone help us. With no other options, I called Scott’s general practitioner who practices within Jefferson. I immediately received a call back from the physician on call who advised us not to wait in the emergency room, but rather to see Scott’s surgeon the FIRST THING Monday morning (the next day). The doctor also advised that if Scott’s fever spiked or the pain became unbearable (at this point it was just a constant annoying pain at a 3 or 4 level) then we SHOULD go to the ED. He stayed in bed for the remainder of the day. I tried the surgeon once again, only to be rerouted to the hospital’s main line once more.

After an unrestful night of sleep I called the surgeon’s office the next morning starting at 7:58 through 8:13, approximately 19 times. They were supposed to open at 8. In the meantime I called his GP an made an appointment with them for 10AM if I could not get a hold of the surgeon once again. Finally at about 8:15 I reached the receptionist and explained the situation, asking the nurse to call me urgently. I asked when she could talk to me, offered to wait on hold, was denied and told she would call me “shortly.” 15 minutes later (shortly, in my opinion) the nurse still had not called back so I called again. This time the receptionist yelled back to her in the room that I needed to talk and the nurse said that I needed to make an appointment for the following day (Tuesday) because she was “busy.” She refused to speak to me. I asked the receptionist what I should do. Should I go to urgent care? Should I show up at the surgeon’s office and demand to be seen? Should I go to the ED? She said, “Ma’am, I cannot tell you what to do.” I hung up and we headed over to Scott’s GP. I called the surgeon ONCE again and was refused care, advice  or even a phone call. FYI: the nurse NEVER called me back until the surgeon TOLD her to, and as Scott was being wheeled in for emergency surgery (spoiler alert?).

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Round Two

We went to Scott’s GP at 10am. We saw a lovely doctor who was more than concerned. She immediately sent us over to the Jefferson ED as she is within the Jeff Health system. We arrived and waited. Of course. Scott ended up laying on the same gurney in the same ED room (thank heavens he wasn’t one of the ones in a bed in the hallway) for over 24 hours. And over the course of these hours, we spend many of them awaiting “transport,” begging doctors for consult and wondering what the hell was taking so long. The fear of an abscess bursting is fierce. Something is wrong with our system. Scott was sent to CAT Scan at about 2pm.

to be continued…

I Speak Robot: Using Play Talk to Promote Literacy Development

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I know. I know. Suuuuuper research-y title. But i didn’t want it to just be I speak robot. Because, well, I don’t😉  In our house, with three boys (going to do a post to update you on this soon!!) we have a LOT of playing that occurs.  All day.  Every day.  As an educator, I have, of course, spent countless hours figuring out how to turn these play events into a learning-based event.  Look, NOT all play is for learning.  Play for play is SUPER important for social, emotional and educational development. BUT, again as an educator and MOM, I can’t help but to turn some of these authentic play events into a learning situation!
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According to Fromberg and Gullo (1992), play enhances language development, social competence, creativity, imagination, and thinking skills. Frost (1992) concurred, stating that “play is the chief vehicle for the development of imagination and intelligence, language, social skills, and perceptual-motor abilities in infants and young children” (p. 48). (source)
So.  I wanted to share some ways that I encourage literacy development through play.
The most important device you can use is QUESTIONING.  The typical line of questioning  I use in play talk are applicable to (almost) any play situation.  Most of the times I allow the children to play on their own and then I “interrupt” with my questions (gently) but sometimes I create learning situations for them such as baking and science experiments. Here are a list of 10 simple questions you might use the next time you catch your little involved in play that would be conducive to talk/play learning.  The particular situation I based this blog post on involved this little cutie and his new Robot I got him (he later named it Chace-bot…duh!!!).  So, you want to mix a variety of open-ended and straightforward questions and you can tweak each question to cater to the specific play situation…
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1.  What is his/her (your robot’s) name?
2.  Why did you decide to name it that?  What does its name start with? (letter/sound)
3. What special things does he/she (your robot) do?
4.  Does he/she (your robot) eat things?  What kinds of things?
5.  What is the silliest thing he/she (your robot) can do?
6.  Is he/she (your robot) a good guy or a bad guy? WHY <— super important
7.  Is it real or pretend?
8.  Where does he/she (your robot) live?
9.  How does he/she (your robot) feel?  (this is good at getting at a child’s actual feelings regarding a situation that is tough to discuss)
10.  Show me something that he/she (your robot) can do.  Have them explain.
I asked similar questions to these cuties as they played Legos.  Obviously I adjusted the questing based on their ages.  Another activity I LOVE to do with the boys is baking/cooking/food prep.  This is a GREAT time to engage in conversation with your child.  We LOVE to do simple food prep activity like making fruit pattern skewers.
Starting color patterns at a young age can go a long way in terms of forming a solid number sense foundation.  These can be used for counting too.  And think outside the box. Don’t just ask “how many pieces of fruit are on there?” but rather “How many strawberries are on there?”  or “How many of the fruits are NOT red.”  This can be tricky, so try to be cognizant of your child’s age and developmental level.
We also love doing make your own pizzas!
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They key is to not just dump the ingredients on the table and go empty the dishwasher (although soooo tempting) but to stay present in the activity.  Ask questions like:
1.  What are we adding now?
2. How much of this should we add?
3. Will this make our food taste sweet? Salty?  Sour?
OK, I have to go take care of my boo, but I will be back soon with a juicy post! XO
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Racing with my mind AND body

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Excuse the tardiness of the post.  My/Our life is so insane I legitimately cannot make this stuff up.  But the funny/amazing thing is that I/we have NEVER been happier, and continue to be.  We have learned over the past month that our health is THE most precious thing and it can be taken in an instance.  It is all about recovering from the bumps in the road and sticking together as a TEAM!  OK, so here is the long-awaited post-race post!!!!

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I am so happy.  I had one goal for this morning’s race and I CRUSHED it.  My goal was to be able to function after 13.1  Literally.  I am tired of feeling like absolute ass after a race and it putting me out of commission for the remainder of the day.  And I know exactly why that happened, I’ve analyzed the hell out of it for my own betterment because if I didn’t get that under control, my racing life would be far shorter than I desired.  (written Sunday evening)…

Now after even further reflection, I will tell you what I did RIGHT to make this race ROCK!

  1.  Drank 2 litres of water the day before and was mindful of my water intake the week prior
  2. Got up a bit earlier to chill a bit before the race, watch the elites and get into my groove (rather than running into my corral, 10 minutes late to the starting line- this is a reason I went out so fast usually as well)
  3. I went out SMART.  Like JOGGING smart.  I REFUSED to do to myself what I did in the Philly 10k (of out with two 7-minute miles and then hit the wall HARD in the form of puke-age and and exhaustion).  Ummmm can we laugh about the fact that even though I got to the start line super early I STILL forgot to turn my GPS on (Garmin) so I was STILL doing the “hold your arm in the air thing” for a while before I crossed the start.  Kinda funny.                                                                    img_2872
  4. I fueled like I do when I am training, which although it seems couter-intuitive, meant eating NOTHING pre-race.  I NEVER eat before running really, and I think in past races I thought I “should” because everyone else did, but I think it actually made me sick as my stomach just isn’t used to it.  I ALWAYS have a cup of coffee and then I run.  MY body just functions better with NO food for the first hour of physical activity.  When I am training, I normally eat a light breakfast bar (my favorites are the Nature Valley almond butter biscuits) either immediately following my daily 6-miler or if I am particularly hungry, I will eat a few bites while running.  So, for the race I packed one of those in my belt and actually did not end up eating it until I was an hour through the awesome Guster concert after!
  5. BELT! I went back to wearing a fuel belt. It took about a mile to get used to but having two bottles of water on me was AMAZING and I KNOW it contributed to my success.  Being able to grab water and sip whenever was AWESOME. AND get this, I decided to flip the belt around so the bottles were on my back side.  The middle pocket held my ID, almond butter biscuit and my phone (for tunes).  WELL, I often get major lower back pain while running (and in life in general; I have a larger chest and lean over to breastfeed a lot, etc.) but the middle part of the belt pressed SUPER hard against the top of my sacrum throughout the whole race and it felt SOOOO GOOD!  Every time I needed a recharge I would arch my back a bit and let my phone press into my lower back for relief!  Sounds strange but it was a pleasant surprise!!
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FINAL STATS- Ave 8:54, FINISH in 1:56. THRILLED with my placements!

So, let’s be honest too; knowing that my WHOLE cheer squad would be there at the end with me was an ENORMOUS plus for me and helped me be successful for sure.  These guys below are my EVERYTHING.  Pictured are:  My kids’ Daddy (who is one of my BEST friends, and to whom I am forever thankful), my three beautiful kiddos and my Love.  Great things have happened for us, primarily today…I promise I will be filling you all in a bit more soon (I get many questions daily, understandably).

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Anyway, I can’t believe I was able to rock through the hour and a half Guster show after.  I mean, like jumping around like a mad woman🙂  The boys kinda loved the tunes too…

Oh, and everyone has been taking turns trying on mama’s medal!  I am SOOOOO happy with this race and feel SOOOO lucky to have been able to complete it successfully.  And yes, I am already looking for a bib for the November half…LOL!

August Running & Do I Actually LIKE Running?

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I know.  It is already September 12th, but the end of August was nuts, so this August run update is coming late!

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So.  August. It was a good month. A great month.  I am literally feeling so blessed that I feel like I am walking on clouds.  THANK YOU G-D!!!  OK, moving on to more running.  Regarding the “do I actually like to run?!”  I truly get this question daily.  From everyone to random strangers, to my best friends and family.  And here is the answer: it is complicated.  I see running and I as being in a long term relationship.  We are SUPER tight and I am in love…but some days/months/years…it sucks lol.  So, long story short, I don’t like running…I LOVE it.  And…I am a RUNNER!  But day-to-day, I don’t always WANT to run.  Guys, it is hard!  And there are for SURE times when I do NOT like running as much as my norm.  Here are some of those times:

  1. Getting back to training-  I feel like getting back to training after a time off, be it from an injury, pregnancy or any other break is SUCH a tough challenge.  I can’t decide if it is worse mentally or physically but I know that this is my LEAST favorite time period for running.  I try to remember that it won’t always feel so shitty…and it won’t. I promise!
  2. Typical poop runs- Look, it happens.  And the worst part is spending said shitty run trying to figure out why your run feels so yuck.  You know you’ve been there!  Some reasons that I have been able to pin down:  getting a cold, menstrual issues, mental/physical exhaustion, etc.
  3. When I have other stuff I need to be doing- Guys, I struggle SO much with this.  It is SO challenging to carve time out of my day to run.  I stay at home with the boys and there is not a ton of down time.  When I do finally get the time to run, I often spend a LOT of said run thinking of what i SHOULD be doing instead (i.e.:  laundry, prepping something for the boys or my new job, etc.).  Anyone else have that issue?!

Anyway, so the answer is YES  I do actually like running.  Especially when I am in “good running shape.”  I always qualify this as meaning that I feel consistently good at a 8:35 outside pace (I run slower on the treadmill for fear of permanent joint damage) and a tempo pace of a little less than 8s.

tempo run is a faster-paced workout also known as a lactate-threshold, LT, or threshold run. Tempo pace is often described as “comfortably hard.” Tempo running improves a crucial physiological variable for running success: our metabolic fitness. (source)

I LOVE when my body just feels like it is working so well together and I can think about things other than how painful it is🙂  THAT is my “good running shape.”  What do you qualify as being “in good running shape?”  What indicators do you use?  As an aside, I actually do NOT use races to necessary qualify my current running condition. I feel like they are too small a snapshot to aggregate a “current running shape” picture. Oooook, enough running ramblings for now!  I will be back soon with a non-running post soon. Promise🙂  Maybe.

Wait! One more thing:  the RnR Philly half is this coming Sunday and guess who is SUPER undertrained!?  I know.  170 miles in a month does not SEEM undertrained, however my longest run was only about 9.  I have done some two-a-days that have equalled 11 but no more than 8-9 at a time! Argh! How did this happen?!  13.1 should be interesting!  XO!

Running (Williamstown) Lately, and that Time he No Longer Wanted his Appendix.

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You guys.  What a crazy end-of-August it ended up being!  But, we left that month feeling more blessed than EVER! Our family is now minus one appendix, but beyond thankful!  So, the guy got SUPER sick last Sunday night and we ended up in the ER all night, CAT-scanned and sent to emergency surgery to remove his (about to perforate) appendix.  Really.

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Funny because I took that picture of him jumping in the air w Zach on his shoulders mere hours before the craziness began.  So insane how one moment things are wonderful and the next…

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Yea.  So, we are SUPER glad that is behind us.  He was/is SUCH a trooper!  We don’t do pain meds here, so he is surviving on Advil and tons of TLC🙂  COULD. NOT. BE. PROUDER.  So, we had plans to visit the Berkshires where his family resides.  We had been SO stoked to go and not sure if it was going to still be a possibility after the whole appendectomy thing.  But, we were given the green light and were able to go!  We ALL absolutely LOVE it there.  There are SIX cousins total and it is a BLAST!

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One of my FAVORITE things to do when we are there is to explore on foot!  I did an easy 4-miler on the treadmill before we headed out on the 4-5 hour drive there, so the next day I was ready for some outside town action!  I LOVE visiting Williamstown.

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It is an adorable town and running it ROCKS.  The first day I did a 6 miler using a beautiful “River Walk” in the area to do mile repeats.

Then, the next day, I asked Scott’s dad to plan a run for me around 6 miles.

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He drew me a map, warned me of the hills, then sent me off to my death.  Really.  LOL.

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The hill on Stratton that nearly killed me.

I can’t even with the “Keep Hill” road sign.  Seriously though, this woman was coming down the hill and kinda waved at me and I waved back.  I only then realized that she was pretty much waving me to my death lol.  Those hills in the Berkshires are NO joke!  BUT, it is LOVELY to run on dirt roads; feels GREAT on my feet.  Also, it was closer to a 7-miler🙂 and thank GOD I had my GPS.

Those views, though!?  Right!? So beautiful.  But the hills killed me and let’s be honest; my inner thighs were already sore as all hell because I could not get off of these amazing EZ-rollers.  Get yourself one now.  They were SOOOOOO fun.  I know.  Grow up.  But truly…TOO much fun.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know how our last few weeks have been going!  I also HAVE to show you this jump shot I am OBSESSED with that I snapped today when running the BFB:

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John/Jess’ Crappy 10K Race (AKA Run, Puke, Repeat)

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Hello hello! I come to you REFRESHED as my awesome guy allowed me to sleep away the morning while he put himself on kiddo duty (swoon).  But, earlier this morning?  I was BANGED UP!  So…The Philly 10K.  This year was the third annual one and I had been wanting to run it since its inception however I never bit the bullet and signed up; summers can get super busy and at least this season it just completely slipped my mind.  So.  When I returned from the beach after (almost two weeks) I decided I REALLY wanted to run it and that I could use it as a great training run for the upcoming RNR Half in mid-September.  I ended up grabbing a bib off of someone (I know, sometimes frowned upon) and went to the bib pick up party yesterday.  Thanks, so much, JOHN!

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The “John” on the bib was bothering me so I gave it a patch!  :) 

All went well and I was stoked to run.  Super stoked.  I did have a bit of trouble feeding and hydrating yesterday though.  We were out and about almost all day so between the heat and activity I just didn’t do enough of a good job with that nutrition portion:/  I also slept like poop last night.  And, because I decided on Friday to run, I only took off Saturday and my legs were FAR from fresh due to a BRICK workout Friday pre-deciding on racing today.  My brick workout was 7 miles with a half hour Elliptical cross training and 10 minutes of core strength.  So yea, that does not make for fresh legs.  I was also coming off two super high mileage weeks (42, then 27 this week) and felt flat.  OK, yea, it sounds like I am setting up for a crappy race review.  I am🙂  Here is the ugly mile breakdown:

(Max pace 6:31 WOAH and Average pace 8:39 BOO)

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Bueller, Bueller?  It seemed like forever. Always does.

mile 1- 7:24.  Lady.  You are NOT an elite runner.

mile 2- 8:02.  Still trucking like a rockstar….

mile 3- 9:11 (puke stop 1) Slowed down for some water.  Ripped my visor off. Took one sip and had to pull over to empty my stomach.  Yuck.  Not going to lie, the whole cheesesteak area stench wasn’t helpful.

mile 4- 9:23 (puke stop 2)  Another awesome pullover, this time near some rank dumpsters, to dry heave.  Fun times.

mile 5- 8:49. Pull it together, Lady.  Tune in.  Zone out.  Get it done.

mile 6- 8:42.  Um yea so the whole “sun in my eyes the entire last mile kinda sucked.”  And holy crap it was HOT.

Final chip time: 54:18

Lessons learned:  I am NOT a 7 mile pace runner.  I shouldn’t try to be.  Positive splits hurt me this time.  Learn to hydrate/feed better.  Try to have maximum fresh legs.  Let’s be honest too; it was HOT.  Like super hot and (woah) humid.  When I walked out my door to head on foot to the race (it was blocks from my house!! Convenient!!) I was SHOCKED at how hot it already was!

On a high note though, eye spy with my little eye…

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A glimpse of some abs!  

Yay!  Core work is working!  OK, so on a final and serious note, I am SO thankful to have been able to race today and to have such an amazing support team (for everything, not just running).  OK…no more cheese.  I promise😉

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With my gorgeous sissy at the finish!  Her man rocked the race (his first 10K)!

 

My Little Lego Lover

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I don’t know where he gets it.  My brain certainly doesn’t work like that.  Or does it?  I can’t exactly remember when Zachary started his love affair with Legos.  And trust me, it is nothing short of that; a true obsession.  He talks about (and I assume thinks about) Legos all day every day and waits with baited breath until he can “build” again.  I mean, we even had a major Lego-themed birthday party!  I remember that it came on quickly, and that he didn’t start with the typical progression of Mega Bloks, then Duplos then small Lego kits, then larger.  He just kind of dug into a normal 6-8 year old Lego kit, himself, and never stopped.  I have tried to video tape him before, because it is absolutely fascinating to see his little brain process through it all and to hear him vocalize his process.  And now I find myself purchasing this AWESOME Lego backpack for preschool (per his request) and figuring out how to refinance our home in order to keep up with his voracious appetite for everything LEGO🙂

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So yea, about a half a year ago when a fellow parent came to me asking to help him teach Snapology courses (Snapology programs provide a fun and safe environment for children to learn science, technology, engineering, math and literacy concepts using LEGO® bricks and other similar building tools) I was more than happy to do so.  For many reasons, but a big one being so that I could wrap my head around what Zach’s excitement was all about!  It has certainly been helpful for that and now I am able to at least follow Zach’s builds🙂

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OK, So now we talk finances.  In all honesty though, this stuff can be expensive!  His most recent build was this “Scooby Doo Mystery Mansion” that he was promised if he had a good summer at camp (as an end-of-season gift; I always make him EARN his Legos).  This baby cost us $70+ bucks!

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And yea, he made me position it outside his crib so he could gaze lovingly at it while falling asleep.  True story.  I wasn’t exaggerating!

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As for the other kiddos, I have a post planned discussing their “current jams.”  Here is a hint:  this one is a SUPER gymnastics and swimming star and LOVES anything Super hero or Transformer.

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And this one, well, he basically likes whatever his older brothers have that he can’t have🙂 Sound about right, huh?!

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Anyone else’s little ones TOTALLY into Legos?!