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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.

Thursday, April 20

Different kid, different rules

Proof that there are different rules for different kids? Korri started piano lessons yesterday!! (A mere seven months after Finn started!). And I'll tell you why.

Growing up, my piano teacher (who was amazing!) always started student lessons in 2nd grade. So I had that in my head as a benchmark for when Finn would start. I talked to my music-teacher-friend Andrea and she said she tended to agree unless the lessons were shorter because they don't really have the attention span before that. AND piano lessons are EXPENSIVE!!! I looked through Community Ed and they were $18 per lesson...like over $70 per month! Ouch! And that's for ONE student! Double ouch for two.

The choir director at our church offers piano lessons (for CHEAP!!) and she just happened to have a spot open for Finn at the start of this school year (God always provides!!). Perfect. Well, once Finn started, Korri really REALLY wanted to do it too. I kept brushing her off, saying she could in two years. But she was super interested and would sit at the piano and plunk away, not knowing what to do or how to play. The idea of starting her early stayed in the back of my mind.

Learning the parts of the piano.
I talked to Finn's teacher during the winter session and she said she would consider taking Korri early if she had the interest and ability to pay attention long enough but she didn't have any openings. Okay, it just wasn't the right time. Normally, she ends lessons in April for the year but decided to do a short spring session for a few of her students. So I reached out again and asked if she had an opening and if she thought now would be a good time for Korri to give it a try. And she did and she did!

Playing her first notes!
So, Korri had her first lesson last night. Just like Finn's first lesson, I went along. We had Finn go first so Korri could see what a lesson looked like. She was VERY interested in what he was doing. And when it was her turn, she sat down like she owned the place. She was a super good listener and I could tell she LOVED it. The second we got home, she asked if she could play her new song from her lesson book! Um, yes!


If video doesn't load, try this link: https://goo.gl/photos/zVzh2uRwXQq64jeZ6

And this morning she asked if she could play it more than once before her next lesson (bad habits from her older brother of not practicing?!?!). I chuckled and told her she could practice her song every day! Her huge smile told me how excited she was to get to play and that this was the right decision for her.

So, yes. There are rules and guidelines that should be followed for lots of reasons. But there are also times when you need to look at the circumstances and at your individual child's needs and make the decision to break or change a rule for them. Now I just need to trust them to sit quietly while the other is having their lesson!

Sunday, April 16

He is Risen!

Despite (or because?) the suffering Jesus endured, Easter is such a special time! Jesus dying on the cross so that we may have eternity in heaven with him is so powerful and the ultimate gift. I felt it deeply this Easter maybe in part because Finn and I are going through First Communion lessons and I'm trying to help him experience mass and his faith in a deeper, more personal way. Regardless of why, Easter was fabulous this year (minus Church on Easter Sunday, but more on that later).

John, Kelsie and Tucker came to visit for the weekend. While Kelsie was working Saturday morning, we dyed Easter eggs! Neither Jim nor I WANTED to do it (it takes a lot of prep work, patience and clean up), but I'm so glad we did. Everybody had a fun time.




The Easter Bunny came over night Saturday and hid eggs outside and hid their baskets inside. He must have heard the kids wonder if he was going to write them a note because he did AND put a note at the top of the stairs to not go downstairs without mom and dad (the Bigs got a HUGE hit out of that!). Mac was still sleeping, so the Bigs got to go down and look for their baskets. Korri found hers first (on the mantel behind the plant!) but Finn's took a while (in the hat/glove box behind the front door!).  Then Mac woke up and tried to find his. I swear the Easter Bunny thought he hid Mac's fairly easily (in the book box next to the toy box just behind him in the pic below) but at one point I had to "easi-fy" it even further, after which he found it. They all got a couple gifts and surprise/candy-filled eggs in their baskets and then the Bunny left a big bowl of Easter candy on the table for everybody (weird, that is what MY Easter Bunny did when I was young...Hmmm...). Then Tucker woke up and found his Easter stash (under the end table! So much fun.




Then Jim and I were ready to go back to bed, but the eggs outside weren't going to find themselves, so once it was 50 degrees out, I agreed it was time. But it was freaking COLD! Mac and Tucker found theirs pretty quickly (each kid had their own color...the Easter Bunny must have taken tips from Auntie Becca last weekend!). Finally, we came in with Korri needing to find one and Finn two (it was just too windy!). They eventually did find them all (note to Easter Bunny: under the rain spout was the hardest one to find!).



After the egg hunt, we got ready for church. Now keep in mind, we hardly EVER all go to church together. Usually Jim stays home with Mac. But I mean, how bad can he really be in church? Well, let me tell you Easter morning service in NOT the time to find out! Church was PACKED so there was no place to take him when he was screaming his guts out...multiple times! If you ever doubted the power of prayer, you better believe it was the only thing that kept him alive during the whole service! And now it will be months again before he is allowed back. Seriously, I thought I was going to lose my mind. The better solution would probably be to take him ever week so he gets used to it but I get so much more when it is just the Bigs (and when they leave for half the service for Children's Liturgy, which Mac isn't old enough for yet!). I didn't get a picture of us all decked out in our Easter clothes (ARGH!!), but here is Mr. Mac all dolled up before Church:

After church we ate lunch and took a much needed nap (I think I slept for almost two hours!!). Then the kiddos and I made Resurrection Rolls. Have you heard of them? They represent Jesus rising from the dead. Basically, you take a marshmallow, coat it with butter and cinnamon/sugar and wrap in premade dough. Then you back it and when it comes out, where the marshmallow was (the marshmallow representing Jesus), it is hallow, representing the empty tomb! I liked the message, it was fun to do with the kiddos and they tasted AMAZING! Like, I'd make them any day for any reason!! But hopefully they become a tradition.

Then we had Easter dinner with Lynn, DeAnn, Les, John, Kelsie, Tucker, Wiggle Ann and Landon! I love that we can all fit at our table (keep in mind our table is HUGE and the kiddos sat at the kiddie picnic table).

NeNe and Memere with their babies:

Sending each of you peace, love and Easter blessings. "And this is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life." 1 John 2:25

Tuesday, April 11

Sampler

So, as all of you know, Mac has a summer birthday, which is GREAT for throwing birthday parties but not so great when thinking about school. Will he be ready when he's five? Should we hold him back? He could be challenged if sent on time or bored if held back. He might be a giant in comparison for his peers if we hold him back, which I don't want (but at least he's a boy!). See?!?! This over analysis goes on and on (and on!) in my head.

Well, we signed Mac up for preschool for this coming fall. But part of me still felt like he is so young! Let's be honest, the trend is to hold back summer kids, especially if they have August birthdays...which means with his July birthday, he legit could be the youngest kid in his class. Anyway (more over analysis!), our ECFE program offered a Preschooler Sampler this spring for kids who are age eligible for preschool in the fall. It is once a week for four weeks. I drop him off at 8:45 and pick him up at 10:45. So it gives them a taste of what preschool will be like. This is the description:

At the sampler class your child will have the opportunity to experience all the activities the preschool curriculum offers, such as activities that build thinking skills, group time, music, free play and large motor play. The OWL Literacy Curriculum will be highlighted.


Mac had his first day of Preschool Sampler yesterday. For those of you who know our morning schedule, to be up and out the door by 8:20 is NOT an easy feat...I had to wake the poor lad up! He was a little confused when we got there because it is the same building as our ECFE class (it is one classroom down from ECFE). We signed him in, hung his coat in his locker (that had his name on it and everything!! So official.) and walked in to the new room. He saw a reading nook that had a canopy over it and immediately said, "Look, momma, a hideout!" And he was off. I waited a few minutes and then had to beg him for a "hud and a tiss" (i.e. hug and a kiss) before I left. It may have also helped that three or four of his friends from ECFE where also in the Sampler, so there were a few familiar faces.


And...shocker (not!), he did great! I even got two thumbs up from the teacher when I picked him up. He told me he played with dinosaurs. I'd love to be a fly on the wall...or have a live video feed! Ha, and I'm honestly NOT a helicopter parent!!! Just curious. Plus, I really enjoyed my two hours of freedom (I got to spend it with my husband before he left for a week-long business trip)!!

Monday, April 10

Easter Birthday Birthday Party!

What happens when you have two birthdays that fall the same week as Easter? You combine your celebration, that's what!

After much ado, we decided that the Walsh sister Easter celebration would be combined with Katie's first birthday and Austin's 11th birthday and we would do it ON Austin's birthday the Sunday before Easter.

We were happy to host at our house and fun was had by all. We started out with the Easter celebration. We ate a big Easter meal (ham and potatoes, of course!) at 1pm followed by an indoor egg hunt. The weather predicted rain but then didn't rain until MUCH later. Oh, well. I hid the eggs based on a difficulty/age ratio and I think every had just enough of a challenge.


After opening their eggs, eating the candy inside and playing with their treasures (all provided by auntie Becca!), we sang happy birthday to the birthday kids and had birthday cake, which I was honored to make for Katie (Austin prefers DQ cake, which Auntie Kristine provided!).


The cake is supposed to be a giant cupcake with a ladybug for the top part. Ben thought it was a bumblebee, which I think is pretty close to a lady bug. I'll take it. It matched the party decorations that I, I mean, Becky picked out ;)


Then people just hung out and the kiddos and big boys played outside for a bit (until the rain finally arrived complete with thunder!). Oh, and Auntie NaeNae set up her mobile salon and cut hair, which is so darn convenient!!

Honestly, it was a pretty relaxed day filled with family and fun. We even had all twelve grandchildren present at one time, which only happens about once per year. (a picture was taken but I don't have a copy yet!!) Happy Birthday and Easter to all. Now I'm starting to gear up for Easter celebration #2 this weekend with the Thomas clan.

Monday, March 27

Be Our Guest

Since the Bigs are on spring break this week, I wanted to find some things to do to have a little fun (and not just sit at home and annoy each other all week!). I also REALLY wanted to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie so that is what Korri and I did today! I asked Finn if he wanted to go and he didn't, so he and Mac went to NeNe's to play instead (I mean, it would have to be a movie he REALLY wanted to see to pass up time at NeNe's!).


The plan was for Jim and I to take Korri, but darn work reared it's ugly head and Jim had to stay back. Argh. But...I LOVED spending the time with just her. I feel a little spoiled since we had tea together on Saturday! Oh, and even though she didn't wear it then, I'd gotten Korri a Belle dress for last summer when we went to Beauty and the Beast play. So, she wore it today instead...and was the Belle of the Ball...pun intended!


I mean, honestly, does it get cuter than that? No, no it doesn't. She got a lot of compliments on her dress, which she loved hearing. The movie? Really good! Since Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie (no, it isn't strange for a grown woman to have a favorite Disney movie, so back off!), I knew I'd be critical...but it lived up to the original animated movie. There were a few variations, but nothing that altered the story. And the sound track is hands down amazing! Loved it! Will probably have to buy the movie when it comes out.

Now, we are making plans for the much-hyped, long-awaited Cars 3, which is supposed to open June 16, 2017. Now THAT is a movie Finn will skip NeNe's for ;) I'm debating if Mac is old enough to go. I mean, yes, he physically can, but he won't even be three yet. But I think he'd LOVE the movie. We'll wait and see. Finn was five at his first movie and Korri was four...so I guess three would be on track for Mac!!

Sunday, March 26

Mad Hatter

Yesterday, Korri and I went to our very first afternoon tea! It was everything we both hoped it would be and more! We went with our friends Pam, Lilly, Sharon and Laena, which made it even more special. Even though it is a little spendy, we will for sure be back. Great memories (and I hope traditions!) were made.


After months of trying to figure out WHERE to go and weeks of trying to coordinate WHEN to go, we finally made a reservation at the Mad Hatter in Anoka. Sharon had been before, so at least she knew what we were doing. Side note: somebody looking for a business adventure should open a Tea House in the west metro! How is there not something like this in the Minnetonka area? Weird.

Laena, Lilly and Korri
Anyway, the Mad Hatter offers tea service and brunch in an historic mansion on the Rum River. And it is BEAUTIFUL! We wanted a place that embraced having younger patrons there and this place actually has a "Children's Tea" which was perfect. They catered to what the girls would like (like having strawberry lemonade in a tea pot instead of tea!) but then offered the moms a full tea experience! Very fancy and fun. We all highly recommend it if you're looking for a fun, memorable experience with the young lady in your life...or best friend, or mother or sister, etc. Seriously, a great experience.


Korri loved all the details. She loved that all the teacups were different. And we loved getting her outfit together. I'd gotten her a new dress a few weeks ago, which was perfect for this occasion. We added white tights (it is still chilly outside!), her white sweater (that now looks dingy next to her dress!) and a white cami for underneath (she has issues with fabric on her poor dry skin). She asked me if she could have white gloves for tea! And since I found some for less than $10 on Amazon, I quickly agreed. How cute that she knew gloves were appropriate for tea?!?! And Daddy had put her hair in a side ponytail, which was perfect and elegant.


What a great afternoon with great friends! It also inspired me to possibly host an afternoon tea at my house. I mean, it really wouldn't be hard to do and would be fun to get dressed up and use the fancy china! We'll see :)