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Nearly half a million babies (1 in 10) are born premature in the US each year which is higher than that of most other developed nations. This is the journeys of our first born son, Finnegan, who was born 14 weeks early and weighed only 1 pound 15 ounces at birth. Of our daugher, Korrigan, who was born a healthy 7 pounds, 7 ounces at 37 weeks. And of our second son, MacKeegan, who was also born at 37 weeks at a whopping 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Our continued adventures reminds us daily how good God is.

Sunday, December 9

Two Firsts

Korri and Mac had their first ever Karate Tournament yesterday. Finn was supposed to go as well, but ended up throwing up over night and had to stay home (in all honesty, I don't think he was THAT bummed to miss it!!). All three kiddos worked hard to prepare for the tournament and went to extra classes to be ready, even if mommy had to "strongly encourage" them to.

Mac's age class was first. He ended up being the only one in his division (they usually have three or four "compete" against each other) because one was sick and the other was late. So...he got first place ;) I think nerves got to him because in class, he is super loud but as you'll see in the video, he was super quiet to start with and was very adamant about staying that way. Oh, well.

He was happy to get first and is pretty sure he "won the tournament!" He also said before Korri went that he was positive that Korri would get first place, too! He can be so stinkin' cute!

Then it was Korri's turn but the girl she was competing with was late, so Korri had to wait until last. But I think you'll agree that she did AMAZINGLY well!

Normally at this level, the instructor judge shows each move and then the kids do it. But Korri just stepped up and did all three of her moves without any help! She blew me away. So much confidence and great technique.

Overall, it was a bit of a crazy morning with Finn being sick and figuring all that out and Jim needing to get some things done. But Grandma was able to go with to the tournament to watch, which was really special. I don't love adding things to our schedule (like a weekend tournament!) but it was so fun and fulfilling to see my kiddos out there doing what they love and doing it well. Needless to say, karate has been a great thing for our family.

Hopefully next time Finn will be able to compete as well.

Saturday, December 1

Nov Student of the Month

We have another Student Of The Month at the Thomas household: Korri earned the honor for November for Responsibility and Healthy Lifestyles! (She also earned it once in First Grade) Each teacher picks one student each month that exemplifies the quality/characteristic they are focusing on that month or a student who has gone above and beyond.

I also love that each teacher writes a little paragraph telling WHY the student was chosen. Here is what Ms. Ingram wrote about Korri:
Korrigan is a great listener in 2nd grade. She shows respect and attention to teachers, adults and students in our school. Korri always makes sure other students feel welcome and included in and outside of the classroom. She is courteous and kind to all. Keep up the GREAT work, Korri!
Picture with Korri and the other November Students Of The Month (3rd row, first on the left):

Korri gives us (me, specifically) a run for our money (it probably doesn't help that she is VERY much like her momma!!). She is strong-willed, opinionated, stubborn and can be disrespectful. But she is so much MORE than that, too. She really does have the kindest heart of anybody I know. She is smart and keeps trying even when facing something difficult. She loves to help others, even her brothers if she's in the right mood! There's a saying that sums up Korri and my relationship: I want my daughter to grow up to be a strong woman...I just need to be able to live with her in the meantime!

I am so happy about the 180 she has done since last year. She did great academically last year but cried 4 out of 5 days every week morning about not wanting to go to school. It was a LOT to deal with. This year, she LOVES it (I think she's said maybe twice she doesn't want to go and it was probably because she wanted to go back to bed!). God definitely gave her the perfect teacher for HER this year...very nurturing, which she needs. Plus, I think 2nd grade is just easier than 1st grade...or 1st grade prepares them better for 2nd grade than Kindergarten does for 1st.

Anyway, we are in a good place and she is clearly thriving. Love you so much, Toto! I hope you believe in yourself as much as I believe in you.

Sunday, November 4


Yesterday, I was honored to become Iverson Charles' godmother!

Being a child's godparent is such a blessing. I love the special relationship it creates and the extra guidance God helps me to provide. Here is Iverson with both of his godparents (his Godfather is Isaac's brother Noah) and also with just me:

I also think it is really neat that Iverson is Andrea and Isaac's fifth child...and Iverson is my fifth godchild! It was meant to be. Hence, Cinco! It might stick.

I dearly love all of my godchildren: John, Emma, Camille, Tucker and now Iverson. You are each amazing human beings and I'm so thankful to be part of your lives. I'll always pray for you and be here for each of you no matter what you need.
“On this day of baptism may God, who loves us all, smile lovingly upon Iverson, so innocent and small… and may He guide Iverson throughout the years ahead as blessings light the pathway where those tiny feet are led.”
And finally, Mr. Baby Hog with Iverson:

A quick shout out to the Johnson family: we are so blessed to have you in our lives and to truly be part of your family. There are so many good quotes about friends being family, but this is my favorite and applies so much to you with us:
"Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what. There's a point in real friendships when you stop being friends and become family."

Thursday, November 1

May the Force be with You

Other than Finn, we are not big Star Wars fans in our house. In fact, I'd even say we are NOT fans. However, Finn REALLY wanted to be Finn from Star Wars for Halloween this year. The last couple of years, we've dressed up together as a family (Batman one year and dinosaurs last year), so I tried REALLY hard to change his mind.

But, it kind of stuck and before long, Korri really wanted to be Rey and Mac wanted to be Yoda. I waited as long as I could to order the costumes in the hope that they'd change their minds (I REALLY wanted to go as Hotel Transylvania characters), but finally had to give in. The things moms do for their kids! LOL

Of course, we didn't get a family picture, but here are costumes (Mac changed his mind to Luke Skywalker at the last minute once he realized Yoda's costume came with a walking stick instead of a lightsaber!):

So we had Finn, Luke Skywalker, Rey, Princess Leia and BB8. Jim REALLY REALLY didn't want to go as Star Wars, but came around when he found this costume! It was cumbersome to walk in, so he made it to the end of our block before heading back home, which was fine so he could hand out candy.

And you seriously could not have ordered better Halloween weather in Minnesota than it was last night: between 45 and 50 degrees with no breeze or humidity! I was even warm at one point when we were walking around (the coffee and Bailey's might have had something to do with that; in addition to my super warm The North Face winter coat!).

After a rocky start (Finn and Mac both were crying for different reasons when we first headed out), we had an amazing Trick-or-treating. We met up with Angie's family, which was a blast until Mac missed the curb and fell and cut up his hand. Thankfully, I could leave the Bigs with Angie and take Mac home to get fixed up (nothing warm water and a Band-Aid couldn't fix).

And the spoils:

I do love that while my kiddos love getting candy as much as the next kids, they aren't greedy and when it's time to be done trick-or-treating, they are fine being done...even without a full bucket. Mac was pretty sure he got one thousand pieces! This year we went longer because we met Angie's family but normally we are done after an hour or less!

And our school has a "buy back" program where you can donate your candy and it is sent to soldiers. So we let them each keep 10 of their favorite pieces and the rest gets donated. And honestly, other than taking a LONG time to pick exactly which ones they want to keep, they don't even complain about it! Trust me, we do NOT need this overflowing tub of candy sitting around here! (daddy hasn't taken his spoils from it yet, though!)

And can you guess which one did this? So organized!

So, if they still want to do the family costumes next year, we are thinking Harry Potter. We'll see, I guess! Maybe I'll be a Dementor since I feel like I suck the joy out of their lives! Ha, well, not all of the time ;)

And our kiddos can't wear costumes to school, so this is my compromise:

Monday, October 29

Student of the Month

We have a Student of the Month at our house: Finnegan has earned the honor of Student of the Month for October! (He earned it once before in Kindergarten.) Each teacher picks one student each month that exemplifies the quality/characteristic they are focusing on that month or a student who has gone above and beyond.

This is what his teacher wrote:
Finn Thomas is our October Student of the Month for Cooperation. Finn is very polite to all people in the building. He is always finding ways to help others and includes new friends when they want to join him. Finn has a drive to do well in school and encourages others to follow in his path. He has a kind heart and makes sure others feel comfortable and welcome in our classroom. We are lucky to have you in our class, Finn!
Picture of Finn with the other October Students of the Month in the school (Finn is in the back row, second from the left):

We may have our challenges with this kiddo at home, but it brings us great pleasure to know that he not only keeps it together at school but also thrives and sets a good example for and helps others. I was telling a friend just today that my goal is simply to raise kind humans...and it looks like we might actually be doing that!! So proud of Finn. Keep up the good work, Buddy Boy, and continue making this world a better, kinder place.

Love this boy more than words can adequately express:

Monday, October 15


Mac has struggled with articulating his "k" and "g" sounds since, well, forever. He occasionally says other sounds wrong...but I think he's just being lazy with those. When Mac was between 2.5 and 3 years old, my friend Jess, who is a speech therapist for young children, told me not to even really think about it until he is 4 because they most likely wouldn't do anything to correct it until then anyway. Okay, easier said than done, but she's the expert and I totally trust her and her advice.

Move forward about a year and last spring, Mac had his Kindergarten screening and they flagged him for articulation (duh!). But since he turned 4 over the summer, they had me come in at the end of school last year to get everything set up to test him this fall, if it were still an issue. It is/was.

Well, that testing happened over the last month and the school speech therapist called today with the results...he doesn't qualify for services. Now a bunch of conflicting emotions went through me. I'm so happy he isn't "bad" enough to need services, but I feel like he still needs help, so now we are stuck int he middle in "no man's land." I talked with her for a bit, which was somewhat helpful.

I'll get the actual report on Wed, but she said to qualify you need to score 70 (percent, I'm assuming) and Mac scored 90. Again, good news! She said that once they test you, they won't test again for a year and she thinks once he's in Kindergarten, it will all come...but we could test again at any point during his next school year. The older you get, the threshold for qualification changes (which is why they waited until 4 to test him to begin with!). Mac's pediatrician told me at his well child appointment that at this age, if they can understand over 75% of their speech, they usually aren't worried. And I think most people can understand almost 100% of what he says...because he is great at verbalizing and communicating. She said I could come in and meet with her and she can give me tips and tricks to try at home. Thank you, but I still felt like crap.

Jim didn't answer when I called him, so I did the next best thing...text Jess to get her thoughts. Thankfully she is the BEST and called me right away and we chatted. Basically, Mac CAN make those sounds but just isn't (when we have him exaggerate the "k" sound, he can) and that is a good thing. If he physically couldn't make the sounds, we'd have a much bigger problem to deal with. She also said that "k" and "g" are harder to learn because they are in the back of the throat and his substitutions ("t" and "d" respectively) are common and appropriate. I felt SO much better after talking with her and she basically said to try to work with him for 5 minutes a day in a fun game-playing way and that it will come. I really appreciated her perspective and advice.

As any other parent knows, any time your child struggles or lags behind in any area, it is hard. And if anything positive came out of our early journey with Finn, is that I learned how to advocate for my children and know when things aren't right. Mac's articulation isn't "right" but at least I know it isn't a huge deal right now. We can check into private speech therapy but that usually isn't covered by insurance and gets really expensive real quick. So we are back into a "wait and see" holding pattern. I don't like waiting.

In the meantime, I'll just keep loving this beautiful face. I told him right before this picture that I was going to kiss his face until it fell off! He thought that was hilarious! And yes, he's wearing PJ's and one of my workout headbands!