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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, December 31

Super star

I have to say, Finn was a super star at his photo shoot yesterday. I wasn't very optimistic going in because he has a terrible cold and he has been refusing to sit lately. But, nope, he was mega happy and sat practically the whole time. Like I always say, kids will make a liar out of you every time. I'm glad it was for the better this time! I usually leave feeling like we didn't get many good pictures, but this time, I wonder if we got any bad ones! Can't wait to see them all, Jess ;)

After pictures, we headed over to Stacey and Sam's for dinner. It was a really nice relaxing evening and it was 10:30 before we knew it. Jim had a blast playing with all of Dillon's Christmas toys, most of them being of the dart gun sort. Jim said he can't wait to buy Finn that kind of stuff. Sheesh! We even got in trouble by Dillon at one point because he could hear us playing with his toys after he went to bed. Oops!

Today, I am going to test drive a car. Hopefully I love it and the financing goes smoothly. It took me over an hour to get to Jess's yesterday and while it was mostly due to traffic and the light snow, it was also my bad tires. I can't wait for all-wheel drive.

From our home to yours, we hope you have a wonderful and safe New Years Eve!

Wednesday, December 30

In the market

I am officially in the market for a new car. Yuck. I hate car shopping. I hate doing online searches. I hate going to dealers (especially when it is so cold!). I don't hate test driving, but it takes so much time. Boo. The tires on my car are terrible and the only way to fix it would be to buy snow tires, which we don't want to do. Plus, it is just passed the warranty and it seems that is when things start going wrong (the e-brake light just starting coming on randomly when I'm driving!). So, we are looking at an all-wheel drive option. We went to the Ford dealer in New Brighton yesterday with Austin AND Finn! If we found a car, we wanted to be able to check car seat room. An hour and a half later, they completely low balled us on the trade-in-value of my car...$4000 less than blue book. Thanks for wasting our time! Jim went to one other dealer later in the evening and now I have to go to test drive another one today or tomorrow. Just put a new(er) car in my driveway for the same payments I have now and I'll be happy!

Last night Finn and I went over to Lorry and Emma's to celebrate Christmas. Even though it was a short visit, it was nice and relaxing and Finn LOVES Emma! He wouldn't take his eyes off her (or her hair...I think he was formulating how he could get in a position to be able to pull it). When I told Jim how much Finn liked Emma, he said, "I guess Finn has another girlfriend!" Finn has a lot of girlfriends ;)

Today, we are off shortly for his ONE YEAR photo shoot! How did this happen? I can't believe we are so close to his first birthday...exactly one week away. Finn has a cough and is congested, so my fingers are crossed that he will cooperate and take a few good pictures. Pictures to follow!!!

Oh, and Finn is tolerating his new cap really well. Today we do two hours on, 30 minutes off and leave it on for naps and night time. Then tomorrow starts the regular schedule. Jim "doctored" the cap up a bit, so I'll have to post the pics as soon as I have time!

Monday, December 28

A great day for a hat

I made it through yesterday. I saw it coming, I wasn't looking forward to it and I prayed and willed myself not to lose it. And I didn't. I was very emotional at times; heck, I still am even today. But just like in 2008, I got passed it. Jim's entry is so true: the worst thing of today is nothing compared to what could have been the worst thing of that day. I have the privilege of being the mom to a wonderful, happy, funny, goofy, healthy, cute, chubby little boy. I honestly couldn't ask for more.

A little snip from Jim's entry on December 28, 2008:

"Thankfully there were no changes today thus far. Stacy remains stable; the baby's fetal monitor tracings are looking good and we're happy, given the circumstances, that we aren't yet officially parents. We're getting ever closer to the end of that first vital 48 hour period since the baby was given the steroids to help develop the lungs faster. Hopefully we will make it to that point (6:00 am Monday morning) in our current condition and when we do we will engage upon the next critical stage.

At that point, assuming no changes prior to then, Stacy will go off of the medication (magnesium sulfate) which has been preventing the contractions and delaying the labor process. She will remain in the critical pre-birthing unit until at least noon for observation after that medication ceases. During that time (or anytime after of course) it is very possible that the labor may continue to escalate as it did prior to the magnesium in which case we'll move forward and prepare for delivery. It is also very possible that the labor might remain stalled and stable as it has been - in that case we will move to the "garden" which is a unit outside of the critical pre-birthing unit where women who are in Stacy's situation go for their "baby's to grow"."

So much uncertainty. I think that was the hardest part, not knowing what was going to happen from minute to minute. Willing with all your heart for anything but the worse case scenario to occur.

So I am grateful for the opportunity to announce that Finn got fitted for his cranial cap today and we brought it home with us!

He did really well considering he was super tired and the appointment took over an hour. And mommy forgot the diaper bag at home so we didn't have a bottle or juice or diapers or camera or anything...duh!. He likes the "hat" and played with it a little bit. I showed him in the mirror what it looked like on him and he thought it was funny. I think it kind of looks like a sports helmet. We gradually will work up to wearing it full time. Today, the schedule is one hour on, 30 minutes off and not wearing it during naps or bed time. Thanks again, Auntie Kristine for coming along and having your camera. The moral support was much appreciated.

Sunday, December 27

The Worst Day Ever

Don't be confused by the title; no I'm not Scrooge or writing to complain about a bad Christmas or something - in fact Christmas this year was wonderful all around. The title is in commemoration of December 27, 2008 - one year ago today Finn decided it was time to get the heck out and Stacy went into early labor. This kicked off a 10 day period of what I can only describe as sheer terror followed of course immediately by his nearly three month hospital stay.

I had planned on writing some moving entry in memoriam of that horrible day gone by but couldn't quite find the words that seemed fitting. I would type some memories and feelings but it didn't really convey things as well as the original entries did. Instead what I will be doing every day from now to Finn's birthday is reading the old posts from one year ago - this will be a better commemoration of what happened than any new posts could possibly hope to be. If you're interested I invite you to join me in doing this. As such, and to get us started, take another look at what I said one year ago today as a reminder of where we were at then and how far we have come now:

"Well, so this is my first post and unfortunately it doesn't get to be a fun one. Stacy went into early labor this morning. Needless to say if you've been looking at the ticker our little baby boy is really LITTLE.

At this point, they won't be able to stop the labor or delivery but they're trying to do everything they can to delay the delivery as much as possible. That will give the baby extra time to continue to develop and he needs every hour and hopefully day that he can get.

Right now I'm writing this from Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. The eventful day began at 4:00 am on our trip to North Memorial Hospital - I only passed one car in a no passing zone - didn't go over 45 mph and only ran two red lights. When it was determined that the baby was going to have to be delivered and it is only a matter of when the decision was made to transfer to Abbott this morning at 10:00. This was a bit safer of a trip in an ambulance with lights and sirens - Stacy in the back and me in the cab. No they didn't let me drive or even hit the siren or horn buttons.

The good news is that Abbott is associated with one of the best childrens' hospitals around and is connected to them by tunnel. Immediately after the baby is born he will be transferred over to Childrens' Hospital's NICU where hopefully if things go well he'll stay until he gets stronger and gets discharged at would have been between his 36th week or delivery date.

It will be a bit of a rollercoaster and we will try to keep everyone updated with all the ups, downs, twists and turns."

Well, I hear Finn crying right now - even when he cries or is sick like he is now a look back in time to one year ago helps us to keep it in perspective and realize that the worst thing of today is nothing compared to what could have been the worst thing of that day.

Friday, December 25

Sick Santa

As promised, here is our very own little Santa Claus:
Kind of hard to see the outfit, but I didn't take too many pictures (as I wanted to enjoy the experience with Finn instead of being behind a camera all night). Others are sending me theirs and I'll post on our picture website when I get them.

Finn did really well in church yesterday, but was tired even though he had just gotten up. He slept a little on the way to DeAnn's, then took a nap when we got there and was in bed shortly after 8pm. We thought it was a growth spurt or teething, but found out last night he is sick! No wonder he just wanted to sleep. We knew he had a little cough, but everything came to a head last night when we got home. He had a temp of 102, stuffy nose, congested, uncomfortable, crying, etc. He was up again around 6am and again around 8am. His temp was down to 99.9 at 8am, so that is good. Poor little boy! Why do these things always happen when you least want them to? I hope he can rally today so he can enjoy the Walsh Christmas tomorrow.

Merry Christmas to you all and a very happy birthday to Jesus!

Thursday, December 24

Let it snow

I am the first person to wish for a white Christmas. It just isn't Christmas without the white stuff. Even a little light snow falling on Christmas is great. However, I think this is a little excessive! Total snowfall accumulations by Sat AM are likely to be within the 16 to 22 inch range here in Minneapolis. Good thing we are staying in the Cities for Christmas. We were supposed to go out to Oville today, but plans changed Tuesday night. Now, we're thinking that was a good thing afterall! We are going to mass at 4pm (Finn's only second time going!) and then heading to Burnsville for the Thomas Christmas at DeAnn's house. I charged both my camera and video camera batteries, so we should be set. Finn will be wearing a santa suit! Can't wait to share the pics. Tomorrow will be a low key day with the three of us having some family time and then my family is coming over to our house for the Walsh Christmas on Saturday.

Sending the warmest Christmas wishes to you and your family. May God shower his many blessings on you this Christmas! If you are traveling, be safe. If you're staying in, be happy. If you have to go out, be a kid and make a snow angel!

Wednesday, December 23

One shot, two

Finn got his second dose of Synagis today! Of course, with a little drama. I swear the pharmacy company can't do anything right and they have an entire department and program just for Synagis! They act like they've never done it before. They forgot to mail it out to me, so they had to send it to arrive today. Well, the nurse was supposed to come at 9am, but we had to move it to 2pm with the package arriving between 10:30 and Noon. It finally arrived at 1pm, which means we had to miss Jim's holiday party at work. Oh, well. The good thing is that Finn got his shots. Yes, two of them. He is one kilo too big for one syringe. They weighed him at 17 pounds, 6 ounces, but I think their scale was a little off and that he is a little bigger than that. I guess we'll see at his one year well-child check in TWO WEEKS! Yikes.

I finally bought my last Christmas gift today and started wrapping. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, I know! And I found my new favorite store: Creative Kidstuff! I say I "found" it because I first looked for the one in Maple Grove, couldn't find it, looked in Minnetonka, they moved and finally found one in St. Louis Park. I was about ready to scream. Anyway, I got Austin's present there today. It was the first time I'd been in one and I could easily max out my credit cards there. They have educational toys and games and stuff like that for babies and kids. Austin would flip in there. I found something I wanted to get Finn (okay lots of somethings, but one in particular), but I controled myself and I'll wait until after Christmas just in case!

The NICU follow up clinic called me back today and we made an appt. I'm not sure what they do or why it is offered, but I'm looking forward to seeing what they have to say and how they think Finn is doing.

Tuesday, December 22

Better start wrapping!

We had PT yesterday afternoon. Finn's torticollis flipped again and now he is tilting to his right side. Argh, so frustrating. Katie said not to do the stretching right now because whenever we do, he flips to the other side. We are hoping his neck will get strong on its own and correct itself. We've started calling him "Torti." In the meantime, we are supposed to work on helping Finn get into the sitting position and get on his knees so he knows how it should feel to crawl. He doesn't really like either of these, but I know he can do them because he did a PT. Overall, he is doing really well. Katie isn't a speech therapist, but she was very impressed with Finn's verbalization yesterday. Uh, did anybody doubt my son would be a talker?!?! Ha, ha.

The follow up clinic at Children's called me yesterday as we were leaving PT. I have to call her back and set up an appointment for Finn. I'm not exactly sure what they do. I'll find out more after I talk with her.

In the last week or so, Finn has started making roaring noises. It is hilarious. We called him Monster Finn when he does it...and he gets really loud, too! Every time I try to get something like this on video, he stops doing it, so don't hold your breath that I'll be able to post a sampling!

We, Jim, Finn, Austin and I, went over to Arks for dinner last night. We picked up Thai on the way over. So yummy, although who knew medium hotness would melt the inside of your mouth?!?! It was nice going over there in the evening...a little change from the usual. And Lily is crawling like a champ. She is only a little over 6 months adjusted. Crazy! I was hoping Finn would get some tips from her last night. I guess we'll have to see. Maia and Austin kept each other busy and Juliette slept the whole time. Thanks for a great night, guys!

Well, I have Austin today and I need to stop at Walgreens for prescriptions and the mall to get two last presents. And start wrapping. I haven't wrapped one present yet! Oops. What's the rush, right? Hope this snow that is coming doesn't impede our drive to Oville on Thursday.

Monday, December 21

Mikey likes it!

He likes it. Finn really likes it! We have been trying to get Finn to eat the puff treats and the biscuits with little success. We thought it would be nice if he would snack on them while we were eating, so we could start having meals together. Well on Saturday, we put a puff in his mouth and he ate it. The puff is in his mouth in this pic and he is figuing out what exactly to do with it. He still won't pick them up and put them in his mouth, but if we offer it, he will eat it. Progress.

Then on Sunday, Finn was reading with Memere and trying to grab the book so Jim handed him the biscuit...to which Finn opened his mouth really wide and started gumming it to death!We were shocked. Up to this point, he has played with the biscuit in this hand, but never put it in his mouth, other than when we put it in there for him. He proceeded to naw on it until there was only a soggy nub left. As you can see, he was a mess. His face and hair were covered and his jersey, undershirt, jeans and socks were all covered, including Memere! I guess they might be "highchair only" treats going forward! Oh well, it was really cute. Good thing it was bath night :)

Saturday, December 19

Do ya wanna pizza me?

Jim likes to get little things for Finn when he travels for work. He couldn't resist this t-shirt when he was in Chicago:It reads "Chicago: Do ya wanna pizza me?" I'm sure you can see why Jim loved it!

Green beans went well on Thursday. I combined them with his cereal and he finished them. Yay! I knew he liked the flavor so we just had to get over the texture problem. He tried homemade peaches and peas Friday for the first time and like them both. I read an article the other night with guidelines about how much formula vs. food babies should get at the different age ranges. I realized that Finn is not getting nearly enough formula and probably too much food (the range for his age was 24-32 ounces of formula per day and he was getting 12-18!). But he eats and eats and eats baby food like it is going out of style. So Friday I started lunch by giving him a half bottle and then feeding him food. It worked great. He still wanted the food, but was satisfied much sooner. This way he is getting more formula and eating less food! It worked again today for lunch. Perfect.

Finn is having a slumber party with NeNe tonight. I think he is really excited. Hopefully he is a good boy for her! Now mommy and daddy can let loose at Pete's graduation party tonight! Congratulations, Fire Fighter Pete!

Thursday, December 17

Tricky mommy

Finn finally ate some of the homemade baby food yesterday. Becky fed Finn the night before and mixed the food with the cereal for each bite. So I thought to myself, why not mix the veggie/fruit in the bowl with the cereal? For lunch, I mixed the raspberries in with his cereal and he ate the rest of them. Then for dinner, I did the same with spinach. At first, Finn was ticked. I think he thought it was the green beans. After screaming for a few seconds, he stopped, swallowed and started laughing. He ate all the rest of the spinach, so I was happy. I guess if I have to do it this way for a while, so be it. Today's challenge: GREEN BEANS! After that, I'm not sure what I'll take out of the freezer...maybe take it easy on him and do carrots! How long can I leave the veggies/fruit in the frig after I take them out of the freezer?

Finn got to go to Psycho Suzi's last night! He had been there once before, but in the summer when we could eat outside. Auntie Becca had her last final of the semester yesterday so the three of us decided to go out to celebrate (daddy was working late). Even though it is still weird for me to take him out places, he loved it. It is somewhat dimly lit, but they have red christmas lights everywhere, so between that and the constant noise of people talking, Finn was in heaven. We weren't there long and Finn stayed in the protection of his carseat the entire time. Alls well that ends well!

Wednesday, December 16

How Finn is doing?

I didn't do this for Finn last month, so here are the milestone for 7 and 8 month olds. The following milestones are listed under the FIRST month in which they may be achieved. I've written whether or not Finn is able to do them or not, along with comments for some.

The Seventh Month:
■Sits without support, may lean forward on both hands yes, but only for short time
■Bears full weight on feet yes, but only for a short time
■Bounces when held in standing position no
■Bears weight on one hand when lying on stomach yes
■Transfers objects from one hand to another yes
■Bangs objects on surfaces YES!
■Able to fixate on small objects yes
■Responds to name yes
■Awareness of depth and space begin I think so
■Has taste preferences yes, likes everything except the homemade baby food I make!
■"Talks" when others are talking yes

The Eighth Month:
■Sits well without support no
■Bears weight on legs and may stand holding on to furniture no
■Adjusts posture to reach an object yes
■Picks up objects using index, fourth, and fifth finger against thumb maybe occasionally
■Able to release objects no
■Pulls string to obtain object I think so
■Reaches for toys that are out of reach yes, and moves toward them
■Listens selectively to familiar words not sure
■Begins combining syllables like "mama" and "dada" but does not attach a meaning yes
■Understands the word no (but does not always obey it!) no
■Dislikes diaper change and being dressed he likes diaper change, but he does like to be naked more!

I'd say that overall, he is pretty close to right on track.

Tuesday, December 15

Movin' movin' movin'

Finn is growing and changing so much so quickly. He was on the floor by the computer last night and he moved all over the room and finally worked his way out the door! He wanted to touch and explore everything in the room (as you can tell by his mess!). Before he would have been content to play with whatever he had in his hand. He isn't on his knees yet, but he still manages to move in every direction. He is a VERY determined little boy, which I love and also dread for when he is older and can say things like "no"!

He also knows several of the sign language that we do to him, although he can't mimic them back to us yet. He is still a little young for that as babies can usually do that between 10 and 12 months. He knows "eat" and "milk" (bottle) really well. He freaks when we do one of them. We also work on thank you, more, please, mommy, daddy, and all done. I might sign us up for a class in January. It is kind of expensive, but we enjoy doing it with him and I know it will come in handy when he is a little older.

Finn's extra wide belly is going away :( Don't worry, he is still plenty chubby evidenced by his two (or more!) chins, but I noticed when I was changing him this morning that his belly doesn't stick out the sides so much any more. They told us this would happen as his body lengthened and as his organs moved more into his chest cavity (something about there not being enough room in there when he was born or something). Well, it is happening. I'm sad to see the budda belly go, but it is also nice to see his body shape look more like it should.

Our big boy is 8 months adjusted today. He is almost right on track for a full term 8 month old, so we couldn't be happier! Where does the time go?

Monday, December 14

Christmas cookies

We had a Christmas cookie bake-a-thon on Saturday at our house.

Kristine and Grace came over. Everybody got to pick one cookie recipe they wanted to make. We made ginger snaps (me), peanut butter balls (Jim), toffee (Alex, even though he had to work and couldn't come along), cake cookies (Becky), cupcake cookies (Grace), sugar cookies (Austin) and peanut butter blossoms (Kristine). We ended up making over 300 cookies and two trays of toffee. Now my question is, who is going to eat all of it? Not me, I hope! It was really fun and we organized it so things kept moving along...would you expect anything less when Kristine is involved?!?! On days like that, I really wish we had a double oven. I was beat by the end of the day, though.

Finn's EI teacher and PT came today. They were both impressed with his progress over the last two weeks. In the last week, he has really "gotten" the whole idea of sitting and can sit by himself...although he is still a little wobbly and after a few minutes, just tips over. But it is so much better than it was. Good job, big guy! Because of Christmas break, we won't see them again now until next year (ha, I love that one!). I wonder what Finn will be doing by then.

Saturday, December 12

Lots of new things!

Finn has had a lot of firsts and changes in the last few days. First, upon Becky's suggestion, we got Finn the Nuby sippy cup and gave it to him on Thursday, I believe. He LOVED it. Thanks, Becky. It has a soft spout, so it is a good transitional cup for babies who are used to a bottle. Now I wonder if he likes that more than the bottle because he has been chewing on the bottle the last couple days!

Which brings me to my next point, I switched Finn's nipple from the VentAire slow flow to the VentAire fast flow. We had stuck with the slow flow upon the recommendation of the lactation consultant because of Finn's weak suck. But he has been playing and chewing on the bottle which makes feeding time frustrating (unless you have all day!). It seems to help, although the extra flow definitely is messier (he drips all over!). He still chews on the nipple, but now when he chews, he still gets some milk so the feeding session still progresses even when he is playing.

Jim and I went on a babyfood making marathon Thursday night. We made blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, green beans, spinach, peas, peaches and carrots! Let's just say Finn should be set if we were to be snowed in for the rest of the winter (okay, not quite, but you get the idea!).

Yesterday he tried (strained) blueberries for the first time...and LOVED them (pic on left)! I thought they might be a little tart or something, but he gobbled them up. The homemade green beans on the other hand...not so much (pic on right). I think the texture wasn't fine enough. He took three bites and gagged. So I think we will either puree them longer or strain them because he liked Gerber green beans.

Upon Nicki's suggestion, we also got some of the baby biscuits since he was having such a hard time with the puff treats (he didn't like the yogurt bites when he tried them at Mike and Katie's). He still doesn't understand that he can put it in his mouth and eat it, but at least with the biscuit he holds onto it and it occassionally gets in the general area of his mouth. We'll just keep offering them to him and I'm sure eventually he will get it.

My doctor's nurse called and said that my ultrasound results were normal. Yay! That means my uterus was not the reason for going into pre-term labor with Finn and I won't have to have surgery. But now we still don't know why it happened. We may never know, which is hard for me to accept. When we want to start trying for our second child (again, not any time soon!), we will meet with the perinatologists who will make a pregnancy and birth plan for us so that hopefully we do not have a repeat with #2. Knowing how God likes to joke with me, I'll probably go two weeks over next time!

Jim and I went to Ryan and Leah's for our 3rd annual holiday party/cookie exchange with them and Doug last night. As we always do with them, we had so much fun. Leah made so much yummy food that I was still full this morning when I woke up. I kept having to remind myself that it was okay to make lots of noise because there wasn't a baby sleeping in the next room. Some habits die hard. Thanks, Becky, Pete and Austin for watching Finn for us.

Oh, and I broke my toe on Thursday while making baby food. Who'd have thunk making baby food is dangerous? I was talking to Jim over the food processor noise about what I want to get my sister for Christmas (we draw names and keep it a secret). A few seconds later, Pete came upstairs and it hit me that Becky might have heard, which she did! So I was running over to the stair door and tripped on Austin's stool. It hurt really bad, but I thought it would be okay. Well, the whole thing was purple and black yesterday morning when I got up. Yuck. It is the middle toe on my right foot, so at least it isn't the big toe or pinky toe! Like Jim always says, I'll be fine because it is a long way from my heart :)

Thursday, December 10

Snow-tastrophe

We survived the snow-tastrophe over the last couple of days. Nothing like hunkering down and staying home if at all possible. Thanks to Becky, Pete and Austin for shoveling yesterday! One of the many advantages of being a stay-at-home-mom is I don't have to deal with crazy snow-induced commutes! At least it finally looks and feels like Christmas around here (although my outside lights quit working yesterday and you're crazy if you think I'm going to go out and try to fix them!). Now if we can manage to stay inside for another day or two, we can avoid the crazy wind chills, too. -20 wind chill this morning. Burrrr...

Yesterday I finally had the appointment for an ultrasound of my uterus. It was one of of the factors that could have led to the pre-term labor with Finn, so the perinatologists wanted to rule it out before we even start thinking about having our second child (not that we are doing that yet or any time in the near future!). If there is something wrong, I would need to have surgery and you can't get pregnant for at least 6 months after having the surgery. So, why not get it taken care of now, if it is a problem. The results come back in a week.

Finn is talking up a storm. I mean, he has been cooing and talking for a long time, but now it has a lot more purpose and he thinks he is having a full blown conversation with you (or with a toy, or the TV or whatever happens to be around). There are a lot of "da, da, da, das," which is different than his "da, da" when Jim is around. I can't explain how it is different, but it is. And a lot of "na, na, na, na." I've tried several times to get a good sample on video, but the little stinker stops as soon as I start taping.

We tried the Graduates Puff treats last night. Did not go well. Finn just doesn't understand that he is supposed to put them in his mouth and gets really ticked when you put it in his mouth for him. I thought these would go over better than the Cheerios because they dissolve a lot faster, but not fast enough, apparently! Oh, well. I'll keep offering them to him and eventually he'll figure it out. It was also his first time using the big boy tray on his high chair. Made him look so small and his little t-rex arms had a hard time reaching it!

Wednesday, December 9

Watch me, Finn

Yesterday we got to visit Finn's favorite twins and their two year old sister Maia (and their mom Becky, of course!). Lily was showing Finn how to sit like a big boy.At one point during our visit, all four kids were napping AT THE SAME TIME! I don't think that has ever happened before. It was kind of nice. On our way over to their place, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up stuff for Christmas cookies. If we are snowed in for days on end, I figured I better get baking (plus, I have a cookie exchange Friday night so I can't put it off too long).

Then I had to wake Finn up (mean, mommy!) so we could go to the doctor...for his second H1N1 shot. He was kind of funny about it. He got a little ticked at the nurse when she held his legs down, cried when she poked him and then started sucking on his bottle and he was fine. UNTIL I took the bottle away so we could go (far too many kids and their germs running around in the waiting room to let him finish eating there) and he cried all the way to the car. Funny little man. Both seasonal flu shots=check. Both H1N1 shots=check. Monthly Synagis shots scheduled=check. I think we are in good shape! Now if I could just find a place where I could get the H1N1 vaccine, that would be fabulous.

Monday, December 7

Hi ho the Cheerio

Finn had his first Cheerio the other day. And was NOT the least bit impressed. He wasn't sure what to do with it and kept spitting it out. Then it started to soften and he ended up swallowing/eating two. We bought some Sweet Potato Gerber Graduates Puffs to see if he likes them more. Haven't tried them yet, though. I wish we had gotten a picture of Finn eating the Cheerio. It was classic.

I got up early for a dentist appointment and called to schedule Finn's head scan...and we were able to get in today at the Maple Grove location where we also had a PT appointment! Yay! PT went extremely well. We had Katie, who we haven't had in ages. I told her I was a little concerned that Finn wasn't improving with his sitting and of course he did amazingly well with sitting at the appointment! Little bugger...but I'll take it. She thinks he is working me! He was tilting a lot so she said to increase the neck stretches and showed me some new things to do to improve his neck strength. There is always something! Then we had his head scan after a short break. He was super duper tired (he didn't agree with me that he needed a morning nap before PT) but did very well. He has to sit really still and they only had to start over once because he moved. I thought that was good for his age and considering Austin was in the room making noise that he just HAD to check out. Now they will make his cap and we go back in the Monday after Christmas to get fitted. It all happened so fast, for which I am very grateful. They were also able to schedule all the follow up adjustment appointments to coincide with his PT appointments, so no extra driving or appointments for us. I'm so happy.

Finn is still getting over his cold. Last night, Jim got up with him because Finn was coughing so much it sounded like he was choking. I got up and made a one-part-juice-ten-part-water bottle for him so he could maybe swallow some of that junk (and added a little Mortin to help calm him down). It seemed to help, even though he coughed on and off the whole night. Poor guy. He seems much better today.

Jim and I went shopping yesterday afternoon/evening with Finn and Austin! The boys were very well behaved and we got a little Christmas shopping done (and I made a stop at VS and embarrassingly enough, am finally able to put away my nursing bras). It is amazing how much more energy it takes shopping with a 3 1/2 year old than with just Finn! Now I know why people use those harness things. It would have come in handy :)

Sunday, December 6

Eleven? Seriously?

Oh, and Finn is ELEVEN months old today. I can not believe it. In one month, our little baby boy will be one year old. Where has this year gone? Okay, to be fair, three months of it were spent in the hospital, but still. I am so happy and thankful for everything that has gotten us to this point so that we CAN celebrate and look forward to this momentus event coming up. Hopefully he will catch on to the whole sitting thing by then so we can at least say he could sit when he was one! Ha, ha.

Evening out

Jim, Austin, Finn and I went over to Mike and Katie's last night. We all had a blast and Becky and Pete were able to go on a real grown up date. I don't think Austin, Quinn and Teddy stopped running the whole time (except when they had to eat dinner of course). Finn was a really good boy, too. I never know how he will be because he usually takes a short evening nap (which he refused to do at their house) and evenings are his crabby time. But he just watched all the commontion the kids made and rolled around the floor. Perfect night, perfect company, perfect kids. You can't ask for more!

Today we are just taking it easy and waiting for the Vikings game tonight!

Saturday, December 5

Decision made

Even though we don't feel Finn's mis-shapen head (plagiocephaly) is severe, we have decided to go ahead with the CranioCap for Finn. It COULD get better on its own as his head gets bigger and it COULD become completely unnoticeable once his hair grows in. But we won't know that until it is too late to do something about it. So for us it really boiled down to these factors.

1. Speak now or forever hold your peace. Lets say he is 16, is self conscious about it and wants to do something then...he can't. Any corrective measures have to be taken now or nothing can be done later.

2. No harm, no foul. It is a non-invasive procedure that will cause him no pain or discomfort but will potentially correct something that could cause him concern in the future.

3. Hair today, gone tomorrow. If he were to ever go bald later in life (sure Jim and both of our dads have full heads of hair, but baldness runs in both of our families), it could be a big embarrassment for which there is no solution.

4. Gets worse before it...gets worse? Because Finn is still not sitting independently and spends a lot of time on his back, our fear is that it could continue to worsen and the cap would at the very least prevent that (and hopefully make it better).

5. Show me the money. Between our insurance and MA, we are fairly certain that the expense is covered and there will be no out-of-pocket expense for the device and subsequent follow up care.

6. To decide or not to decide. In the past, we have felt like we have made "wrong" decisions based on misinformation or indecision or lack of trusting our instincts or whatever it was at the time. Regardless, we don't want to look back at any point in the future and wish we had done it.

Now we have to make an appointment for the inital scan of his head so they can start making the cap. Once it is made, we will have to go back in for a visit so it can be custom fit to Finn's head. The nurse I talked to yesterday thought the whole process would take about three weeks, give or take. The doctor thought Finn would need to wear it for about 3 months. On the bright side, it is winter and if we are uncomfortable with people looking at him (not that Finn would have any idea of why they were looking or even that he goes out very often), we can always stick on his stocking hat! Jim is hoping to be able to put Gophers on it. Not sure how that works!

Friday, December 4

Yet another decision

Finn still has his cold and a low grade fever (nothing over 100 in the last two days, though!). I am amazed at the amount of stuff that comes out of his nose. I'll sucker it and two minutes later, it will need it again. Poor guy. I woke him up for his appointment today and he had snot all over his hand and face (he was sucking his thumb). Yuck!

We had the appointment for Finn's head shape (craniofacial, I believe) today. I'm glad they were able to squeeze us in, but I'm a little (or a lot) frustrated. The doctor basically said that having a mis-shapen head does not affect his brain or his development and it is completely up to the parents if they want to take corrective measures or not. I want some guidance! What do you recommend? Is his case considered bad or will he out grow it eventually? What kind of results can we expect? Will the corrective measure slow his development at all? If we go ahead with corrective measures, Finn would have to wear a cranial cap for 2-3 months for 23 hours a day. Our PT had said the optimal age for the cap was 4-6 months, which Finn is obviously outside of that range, but the doctor today said 7 months is what they prefer. Finn is 7 1/2 adjusted, so that shouldn't be a problem. The doctor said it would not bother Finn to have it on. Jim is traveling, so we'll talk about it when he gets home later tonight. Just one more thing to consider and pray about and hope NOT to make the wrong decision about!

Wednesday, December 2

Not today

I called Finn's clinic to see if he could still get the H1N1 vaccine if he has a fever and the nurse said no. Apparently nothing over 98.6. Well, it was 100.7 with Tylenol after his morning nap, so I decided to reschedule the appointment. I was able to get in next week, so it isn't a big deal. I just wish Finn felt better. He had so much junk in his nose this morning, I couldn't get it out with the sucker, but I could hear it. I think his tummy is a little upset, too, probably from all the drainage, because he is burping and spitting up more than normal (and tooting, too!). I hope it is a short bug and he feels better tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 1

Super Mom?

First, I am so excited for our new USB hub to arrive. Our computer came with four USB spots on it. Really? Who only needs four USB plug ins? With our wireless internet and memory thingy Jim installed to make the computer faster, that only gives us two left. What about our printer, two cameras, video camera, and both of our portable hard drives? I'm tired of having to switch them out all the time. It isn't a big deal, just looking forward to the added convenience the hub will provide!

Second, I made baby food for the first time today! It is something I've been wanting to try (I am the one who registered for the food processor after all and while Jim uses it all the time, I had yet to use it for my own purposes), but just haven't had the motivation or inspiration to try. Well, Jim bought the world's biggest squash for me for Thanksgiving and needless to say, I had plenty left over. So, I jumped in with both feet and made squash baby food. It was easy! I ended up making almost 30 ounces from a quarter of the squash (I told you it was a big squash). I don't think there is anything wrong with Gerber baby food (in fact, that is all Finn has eaten!), but there is something special about making your baby's food. I kind of feel like Super Mom. Hee, hee. Now maybe I can venture into some other foods, too (since the one down fall of Gerber is they have limited varieties). Any suggestions on the best way to cook the veggies to keep the most nutrients?

Third, Finn has a little cold (stuffy nose, tiny coughs and sneezes). He had a low grade fever even while on Motrin this morning. I'm not concerned about him, necessarily, only that if his fever doesn't go away, I believe he won't be able to get his second H1N1 vaccine tomorrow. Fingers are crossed (and I'm keeping him hopped up on Motrin and Tylenol!).

Monday, November 30

Tree decorations

Austin, Finn and I spent a little time this afternoon putting "decorations" on the tree (that is what Austin calls ornaments...so cute).Finn's EI teacher, Deb and PT, Jane came for their visit today. Finn was not a good sport as he decided he didn't need to nap before they came. I keep telling him that I actually do know what is best, but he just doesn't listen ;) It was still a good visit and Finn did really well putting weight on his knees and practicing crawling. Part of me can't wait and the other (much larger) part is just so not ready for crawling, standing, walking (the list goes on and on). They both thought he had changed so much in the two weeks since they'd seen him. He is getting to be such a big boy.

Since we are trying to refinance our house, an adjustor stopped by today. Our fingers and toes, and anything else that can be, are crossed. If they appraise our house for a decent value, we could save as much as $300/month! Um, hello! Sign us up. Not sure how long the whole process takes, but I'm not holding my breath.

Jim's mom stayed over last night, which was nice since Jim had to fly out yesterday for work travel. I even got to run to Target! Finn was down to one container of baby food and I was also able to use Nikki's coupons to buy more formula! Hey, they are $5 off each container...every bit helps. Thanks, Nikki! Memere also helped keep Austin occupied while Finn had his EI visit this morning, which was super helpful. It isn't that Austin is bad when they are here; he is just 3 and wants some attention, too. I can't blame him for that.

Saturday, November 28

Lights, camera, Blu-ray

Black Friday was good to us. I got up and left the house by the crack of...noon. I just don't see the point in getting up at 4am and freezing outside in a long line forever. I'd rather be snuggled up in bed. But I met Kristine and Grace in Maple Grove and we did a little shopping...very fruitful shopping. I was able to get an awesome deal on a Blu-ray player for Jim...he was seriously like a kid in a candy store when I brought it home. He had to go out to get "something at the office" and maybe stop at Best Buy next door to get a Blu-ray DVD.

And, way more importantly, I got a new camera! I feel like I sold out because I ended up not getting an SLR (bye, bye Canon Rebel...tear). They are just so expensive and I think they do far more than I need a camera to do (Jess don't be disappointed in me...like you said, I'm happy with my professional photographer!!). Maybe some day... Here is the first picture taken with it:You probably can't tell a huge difference online, but it is very noticeable in person. The two things that I hate about my current camera are 1. shutter speed; I miss too much of what Finn is doing and 2. all pictures seem to be washed out and/or blurry. These are two pretty important things when you are using a camera. So, we went to National Camera (again!) and explained what I wanted. It was between an Olympus (the brand I have now) and Nikon. The Nikon was more expensive, but he said it is basically the best camera before moving up to a bigger (can't just throw in your bag) sized camera. So I went with the Nikon Coolpix S630. It was between the blue and the "red" which was actually fuchsia and if I have any hope of Jim taking pictures, I decided to go with the blue! Merry Christmas to me!!!

Friday, November 27

Back to Thanksgiving

We had a great day yesterday. It started out with a lazy morning and then we started decorating for Christmas. We didn't get much more done than getting the Christmas tree up, but it is a start. Finn LOVES lights, so here is Finn's first glance of the lit tree:Then we decided to go over to Auntie Kristine's for the afternoon. It was really nice and relaxing and Alex smoked a chicken and a duck...yummy! Finn had his first taste of meat for dinner...turkey and sweet potatoes (baby food):

He loved it, but in all fairness, Jim and I tasted it and it just tasted like sweet potatoes! That was Finn's big Thanksgiving dinner. Finn decided that he didn't have to nap at Auntie's house, so we had to leave around 5pm...and I don't think he slept the whole way home either! Little bugger.

Once we got home, Jim put Finn by the tree to let him play and investigate.We might have a problem once he gets more mobile! He loved it and stayed under there for a long time. What's not to love; lights above you and sequence beneath you! He might have found heaven on earth. We hope your Thanksgiving was full of wonderful food, family and fun!

Thursday, November 26

Here comes Santa Claus

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Now that Thanksgiving is here, we can move on to Christmas, right (Christmas songs nonstop until the afternoon of Christmas Day...yay!)? This is what we did yesterday afternoon:It doesn't get much cuter than that! Jim and I were toying with the idea of getting Finn's picture with Santa this year but kind of concerned about germs and long lines and all the kids. So, we ran some errands yesterday and stopped at Rosedale. We happened by the Santa area and there was NOBODY there! Um, hello. It was meant to be. Finn did okay. He was super tired and had one smile that she missed. He wasn't completely freaked out by Santa, but wasn't sure what was going on either. I don't care. I think Finn and the picture are both adorable.

We are going to work on having Christmas throw up at our house today. I'm not sure how much decorating we can get done in one day with a baby, but we'll try! I love Christmas. Have I mentioned that before? Now, where are my Christmas CDs?

Wednesday, November 25

May your stuffing be tasty

I just received this Thanksgiving wish from Stacey and wanted to pass along to all of you:

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

On a very happy (and thankful) note, Finn just received his first dose of Synagis! It was two shots and he did well...cried for a few minutes. The nurse just left and he didn't have any allergic reactions (thankfully, since his old doctor didn't order epinephrine...have I meantioned lately how happy I am that we switched Finn's doctor?!?!). Yeah! Now hopefully each monthly shot will go smoothly...

Let's see what it is

Well, PT was interesting. We focused mainly on his head tilt and rotation. She was very reseptive to my thoughts and concerns (Finn's two regular PTs weren't in the office so I couldn't talk with them!). The flatness on the right side of the back of his head is mild but she brought their in house specialist to look at it and the bump on the back of his head. Given that the specialist has never seen a bump like that, she recommended we be seen by a specialist. They aren't concerned at this point, just being precautionary. Due to Finn's age, if they are going to do corrective measures, they'd need to be done immediately as he is on the edge of the age window where these measures will be most effective. When they are younger, the skull is still pliable to a greater extent than when they are older. So I called when we got home and the first opening that doctor had was in three and a half weeks. Then I called Finn's pediatrician and got the number for Children's Head Shaping clinic and was able to get an appt in two weeks. I was on the phone all day yesterday, but I think everything is in order.

FYI: got Finn's laundry done yesterday, but not put away but did get some of my laundry put away. Oh, well. You can't do it all!

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” -Frederick Keonig

May you all have a wonderful, safe and happy Thanksgiving and spend a little time thinking about and appreciating what you have. I know I will :)

Tuesday, November 24

Words can't express

Grace, my step-niece, is spending the day with us today. It is nice to get some one-on-one time with her and this way she can have all the "Finn time" she can handle! Maybe I'll actually get some laundry done and put away...

Finn's eczema seems to be better. I've been using Cetaphil all over his body and Triple Paste, which according to the tub is premium therapy for severe dry skin and eczema, to treat the troublesome spots (got it at Target in the baby section and it is super thick). I need to get better about putting in on in the morning, too and not just after baths, but he is so darn hungry, that I don't want to make him wait forever. I can usually at least get his feet or legs. It is something!

We have PT this morning at 10:30. I was hoping to talk to his PT about his pediatrician's concerns and recommendations about Finn's torticollis and head shape, but we aren't going to either of our regular PTs today. Darn it. We've only seen this PT once before and I don't think she will be familiar enough with his treatment/history to warrant this discussion. Maybe I'll see if one of the other PTs are there and just have a quick chat. Or just wait two more weeks, but I'd rather not. Finn seems to be regressing a bit in the neck control/head tilt area. Hopefully we can work on a few things today, at least.

Oh and I actually have a confirmed appointment with the Home Care nurse to come on Wednesday to administer Finn's Synagis! Words can not express how happy and relived I am. FINALLY!!! And he is scheduled to get his second H1N1 vaccine next week. Then he will be all set and ready for flu/RSV season, with the exception of his monthly Synagis. Amazing how all this fell into place right after we switched doctors. Hmmm...

Monday, November 23

Happy delivery

Finn's Synagis (his RSV shot) is in our refrigerator! It was delivered on Friday. Oh happy day. And I actually talked to the home health care company this morning. She is having some difficulties communicating with our insurance (shocker!), but she is planning on coming out on Wednesday to give Finn his first shot (he gets them monthly until April). I am so happy. It "only" took 9 weeks to get it scheduled. Now, I'm realistic enough to "believe it when I see it" but it is progress in the right direction. Fingers (and toes) are crossed!

Finn didn't wet through this morning! It is the second time trying the Pampers Extra Protection Size 4 diapers (they are HUGE on him). The first time his skin was damp, but his PJs weren't soaked. And this morning, the diaper was full to the brim, but he wasn't wet at all! I really hope these will work. Thanks again for all the suggestions! We have so many varieties of diapers to use now. Oh, well. We should be good for a while.

We got Finn's blood work results back and his doctor said the labs looked good and his hemoglobin was normal. Yay!

We had Thanksgiving with Jim's family yesterday. We aren't able to go to Ortonville on Thursday, so they were able to come to our house for a "little" celebration. It was wonderful but too much food. It was very nice and relaxing (probably because I wasn't cooking the food!!). Jim deep fried one turkey and rotisseried the other. Finn got to try mashed potatoes with gravy (less than a spoonful) and three tiny bites of pumpkin pie. He LOVED the pumpkin pie, wasn't too sure about the potatoes! We veto-ed Grandpa's request to give him Coke :)

Saturday, November 21

Killer Kiki

Wow, try to follow that post! Thank you, Jim. You are a wonderful husband and father.

Things are really good. Becky, Maia, Lily and Juliette came over yesterday for a play date. I think it was their first play date with all of them and it went really well. I had Austin, so he was a perfect host and played/shared very well with Maia (Austin is 3.5 and Maia is 2). The twins even napped while they were here. Hopefully they can come and play again. Austin kept talking about his friend Maia after they left. So cute.

Finn loves his security blanket (Kiki, a small blanket with a stuffed pooh in the middle with a soft rattle in his head). We introduced a security blanket a while back for something to sleep with and give him comfort. I didn't have that as a child and I wanted to see if he would latch on to one item. Well, we weren't really sure how attached he was to it other than the fact that he would grab it and pull it over his face every night. So we brought it with to the pediatrician appt to ask her opinion on the "killer Kiki" as Jim put it. She said it was fine, as it is a breathable material and we pull it away from his face when he check on him. But, the interesting part is when I pulled it out of the diaper bag, Finn went crazy. He reached for it like it was his life boat, grabbed it and rubbed it on his face. I guess he is attached to it and loves it. It made my heart melt. Good thing I was able to find two more on Ebay so we have some back ups for when they need to be washed and if/when (God forbid) we lose one! Thank you Auntie Vicky for the "killer" Kiki. He also has another monkey Kiki from Auntie Kristine that he loves, but that strictly stays in the crib.

Finn learned how to clap and I got it on video yesterday! I'll have to try to post it as soon as I have time. He did it fleetingly for Jim Thursday night, but I missed it. Then he did it all day Friday along with saying, "Dada, dada, dada." He is learning so many things all at once, it is hard to keep up. He also "fake" laughs, which is adorable. And if you mimic him, he will keep doing it. I really hope I can catch that on video some time soon.

One thing of many that we got out of our pediatrician appt was that Finn can go out in public, still not crowds or groups, yet, though. So, we went to Target and Old Navy on Thursday. It is a pain to have to lug a heavy car seat and diaper bad in and out of the car, but it felt so good to be ABLE to run a few errands. I still have to be super careful about germs and people, but as long as I'm careful he is allowed to go out! He was a super good boy, even though he was tired. Next errand, mommy needs a new bra (TMI, I know!). Victoria's Secret, here we come;) Shamefully, I'm still wearing my nursing one.

Oh and our Christmas cards are done! Jessica is going to drop them off some time today. I'm so excited to see them. This is the first time Jim and I have sent out a Christmas card...I hope we don't forget anybody on the list! If we do, please let us know and we'll add you.

Thursday, November 19

A Year in the Life of a Blog

June 16, 2009 and from an airplane is the last time I posted an entry on our blog. However, I thought that this moment required me to return from my hiatus and to pen (or type as the case may be) a new entry for my adoring fans of whom I know there have to be at least a couple thous...alright a handful.

One year ago today my beautiful, intelligent and apparently clairvoyant (based upon what transpired shortly thereafter) wife decided that it was time for the Thomas family to have a blog. That's right, on November 19, 2008 Stacy published our first post which was titled "Your Pregnancy: 18 Weeks". It's a good thing we didn't wait much longer because she was only able to get six more weekly updates in before Finn said you're done with your pregnancy updates lady.

Stacy thought it would be a good idea to start a blog after we began telling people she was pregnant so we could share our journey through the pregnancy and ultimately starting our family. Who would have thought that just a little over a month later it would become such a powerful tool to keep people informed about Finn's impending early birth and later his progress and perhaps even more importantly such a source of support and inspiration as we navigated those trying waters.

Looking back at the older posts as I did today to craft this message is very emotional - the sadness of the uncertainty and fear contrasted with the joy of the love of family, friends and even strangers and eventually the birth of a son, his successful discharge from the hospital and ultimately his ongoing growth as an infant. With all that I'm glad this is electronic and not pen to paper or I might have been at risk of smudging the ink! The wonderful part is that we will be able to remember everything, good and bad, that transpired so much better because of this documentation.

Thank you so much to everyone who follows our story and has supported and been there for us over the course of the last year - I'm not sure anyone will ever truly know how important that has been to us and continues to be (i.e. Diaper Watch 2009 - people obviously still care!).

Stacy, thank you for starting Our So Called Blog and doing such an awesome job at keeping it updated and enjoyable. Lord knows what with all my travel I sometimes need it to know what the heck is going on at home myself! I love you and Finn so very much and am glad that our story will always be here so we will never forget any of it.

Wednesday, November 18

New doctor in the hiz-o!

Finn has a new doctor! We had the new patient visit at Children's Pediatric Clinic yesterday morning and LOVE the doctor we met with. She listened to and addressed all of our concerns (we had a whole list!) and because it was at Children's, she had all of his medical history at her finger tips. Second guessing yourself doesn't help anything, but man, I wish we'd made this switch months ago!

She was happy to note that Finn's chronic lung disease is no longer an issue, as we haven't had any problems with his lungs (other than a little apnea, of course) since we left the hospital and we would have, if it were still present. Yay! She is, however, concerned about Finn's torticollis. I thought we were somewhat past it, but she said it is still very noticeable and at his age, something more significant should probably be done. Not sure what that is, but she has referred us to Children's PT/Rehab/Head Shaping department. I think I will see what his PT at Gillette has to say before switching.

She ordered a blood draw to check his hemoglobin, which we have been asking to have happen for months. This is precautionary just because he had such low levels when he was younger. As you can tell, she is very proactive, which is what we were missing before. Finn was a super stud! He didn't even flinch when they pricked his finger. He kind of looked at the technician like, "is that all you got?" He even gave her a smile afterwards. He is such a flirt.

Oh, AND we were able to schedule his follow up H1N1 shot! His old doctor told me that they probably won't have any left by the time he needs his second one. Really?!?! The doctor and Children's Home Care are also working with our insurance to get Synagis (the RSV shot we've been waiting 8 weeks for)...hopefully administered yet this week! I was so happy, I almost started to cry right there in the room. Seriously, I'm in love with this doctor!

Finn weighed 16 pounds 14 ounces and was 26" long. Both of these are in the 10-25th percentile for his adjusted age. And his weight to height percentile continues to be at the 50th. (I didn't ask what his head circumference was) Good job, big guy!

Daddy got a new XBox.

Uncle John fed Finn baby food for dinner; a first for John. He had never fed a baby before...and Jim didn't take a picture or video :(

Yesterday was mommy's one year anniversary of getting laid off. So she went out for drinks to "celebrate!"

Finn has his last ECFE Incredible Infants class today at 1pm. I'm sad to done with the class, but so glad I was able to find a less crowded one that we could go to. Next spring, we'll be back!

Busy day.

Hiz-o = house for those of you not in the "know." ;)

Tuesday, November 17

Diaper Watch continues

Diaper Watch 2009 continues. I have tried everything. I honestly think I've tried every single suggestion people have so kindly given and Finn is STILL wetting through at night. First, we moved up from size 2 to 2-3 in Pampers Swaddlers. Then to size 3 in Pampers Baby Dry. Then I put the diaper on backwards to see if that would work. Then to Huggies Overnights. Then to Luvs (they say they have a leak shield which I was willing to at least try). Nothing. Poor baby wakes up every single morning soaked, usually from mid chest to his knees. I've contemplated putting two diapers on him, but haven't yet. Seems kind of weird and extreme. I can't really point "it" in any direction, as it pretty much points where it wants to. Argh. I feel like everybody else found a solution, why can't we?

Finn continues to have dry, red, irritated dry patches of skin. They don't seem to bother him, but nothing really bothers him, so how would I know? I recently tried Cetaphil lotion my friend Steph suggested. We are on day three of it, so hopefully it works. I SO wish he hadn't inherited dry skin from me. My "strong" chin, sure, but not my dry skin!

Oh and I FINALLY found Finn's Social Security card! I was so happy, I started dancing (Jim can attest to this). I lost his card months ago and hadn't written the number down anywhere, so we were pretty much stuck. Then I was going through the "to shred" pile in our office and I found Finn's SS card, the title to my car and one of Finn's birth certificates. Naturally. Isn't that where you keep these things? I've since written his number down in my "passwords" spreadsheet so at least I can find the number, if not the card, when needed. Now I just need to find the key to the safe so I can actually put them away. Oh, I wish I were better at getting and staying organized.

Monday, November 16

All I had to do

If I had known that all I had to do to get a new dishwasher was to have Jim do dishes twice in one weekend...I would have done it months ago! Our dishwasher isn't exactly broken, I mean, it does function, but it doesn't function well. We always have to rewash about half of the dishes and the top tray is broken and falls on you when you roll it out. So, Warners' Stellian was having a warehouse sale this weekend and we decided it was worth a gander (thanks, Pete, for watching Finn!). I had in my head to just get a "decent" one, but of course, once we started talking to the salesman, we ended up with the top of the line. But I am so freaking excited, you wouldn't believe it. It will be delivered and installed next Monday...this is going to be the longest week of my life (okay, not really...remember my hospital manditory bedrest stay; that was worse!). I guess I've waited this long, what is another week. I wonder if I can add the dishwasher owners manual to my online reading list...probably not. Oh, well, I still can't wait to read it!

Finn was a little stinker yesterday. Not sure what was wrong; probably his teeth. But he slept for a total of less than two hours all day! I couldn't believe it. Is this what other moms feel like every day? He went to bed early last night and talked for a while after I put him down (I thought he would just crash). Little bugger. Oh, well. He got to watch the Vikings over at Kathy's (Lorry's mom) house and meet Kathy (I can't believe this was their first meeting!). We drove separate and Jim brought Finn home at half time for his (short!) nap. Kathy's is where I could ALWAYS be found every Sunday watching the Vikings. It felt like the good ol' days.

Saturday, November 14

Too much at once

I put Finn in the excer-saucer Thursday night for the first time. He wasn't sure what was going on and about a minute later, got overwhelmed and lost it. Keep in mind the TV was on, I was trying to get his attention for a picture, Austin was next to him making normal kid sounds and the rattle drum on it is VERY loud. I think I'd be overwhelmed, too. But I tried again two or three times yesterday and he still isn't too sure about it, but tolerated it for periods of five to ten minutes at a time. Of course, I was sitting right next to him, but I want him to feel secure in it. I think he isn't too sure about having constant pressure on his feet either. He'll get the hang of it after a couple more times.

Daddy made it home last night and is at the Gopher football game (last home game of the season...yay!). Then we are having the Messicks over for dinner. Jim is making cornish game hen, which I love and haven't had in a long time. Yummy. Good food and good company...you can't ask for more than that.

Friday, November 13

I did what?

Happy Friday the 13th! Jim's out of town so I won't be forced to watch any scary movies. Yay!

Finn had PT with Melissa yesterday. It went really well. We are now scheduled every two weeks instead of weekly and as we were walking in, Melissa said it felt like it had been a long time! She said he is doing really well. While she is no longer concerned about his torticollis, we have to still do some exercises to continue to strengthen his neck muscles. Since up to this point, the purpose of the PT was focused on his torticollis, she decided to do a development assessment of him to see what other areas he may need some help with. She was very happy with the results. He scored in the 25th - 50th percentile for his adjusted age and the 5th for his actual (which coincidentally are the same ranges as his weight!). We will continue working on tummy time, sitting and rolling but now she wants us to start working on having him put weight on his feet/legs. I brought in Austin's excer-saucer from the garage yesterday and cleaned it up. Melissa said it would be good for putting weight on his legs and getting used to standing. So, we'll see how he does! He tolerated it when he tried the twins', but you never know.

I think I gave Finn a rug burn! I noticed a mark on the back of his head when we got to PT. Melissa thought it was just a rash or something. But when I got home, I looked closer and it looks like a rug burn. I put a little neosporin on it because it is supposed to help things heal 7 days faster (or something like that). Hope you can use it on babies... Sometimes if he is too far from me, I will pull him a short distance by his legs to get him closer (like a foot). I think in doing so, I must have given him a little rug burn. If there is anyway to feel more guilty about something, I don't know how. It doesn't seem to bother him, but I feel terrible. I guess from now on I'll move my lazy butt to him instead.

Thursday, November 12

Incredible Infants

We had Finn's Incredible Infant's ECFE class yesterday. We weren't able to go last week because of our visit to Auntie NaeNae's. Here is his class: From left to right: Andrew, Elisa, Benny and Finn (and their moms, of course). Andrew and Benny just turned one and Elisa and Finn are fairly close to the same age (Finn's adjusted age). So the big boys literally run circles around the other two, but everybody has fun. It is nice that it is such a small class so I don't have to worry nearly as much about germs. Next week is our last class. Boo.

Wednesday, November 11

Simple, precious things

Shocker of all shockers...Finn got the H1N1 vaccine yesterday. Finally! His doctor called around 2:30pm and said that they had just received a very limited number of vaccines (the ones approved for babies) and if we could bring Finn in before 8pm yesterday, he would get it. So, I called Jim, I impatiently let Finn wake up from his nap, I brought him in and Jim met us there. I am so relieved to get one thing FINALLY taken care of. Well, he is supposed to get a follow up vaccine in four weeks, but they said they probably won't have any at that point. Argh. This doesn't change our desire to seek out a pediatrician for Finn, but does make me feel a little better about things. We did talk to his doctor about switching, so at least it is out in the open. One down, two to go (Synagis and home health care).

Finn kissed me yesterday! I kiss him pretty much none stop during the day. He loves it and what mom doesn't like to kiss their baby? When I kiss his mouth, he just opens wide and smiles (or laughs occasionally). Yesterday, I was kissing him, but my attention got distracted. He leaned forward and put him open mouth on my cheek and sucked a little! LOVED IT. Oh the simple, precious things babies do. Makes the world right.

We had a play date with our favorite twins yesterday. It was cleaning day, so Becky kindly took us in for the morning. Finn always has so much fun over there; probably because there is so much going on. But he does not sleep well; probably for the same reason. Oh, well. Just makes for a longer nap when we get home. Thanks for having us over, Becky. Next time maybe you can venture over to our house with all three girls?!?! Depends how brave you are (and if you have cabin fever like I do!).

Tuesday, November 10

New pediatrician?

We have an appt with a new pediatrician for next Tues! It is at Children's clinic and Jim was told that all the Drs there have experience with preemies. All of your recommendations for pediatricians is much appreciated. Thank you. It is much appreciated. I figure at this point, maybe Finn will actually get Synagis and H1N1 before next spring. I called the home health company that administers Synagis yesterday and had to leave a message. It has been 7 weeks since the paperwork was sent in by Finn's doctor. It is either unprofessionalism or negligence on both their parts. Ridiculous and shame on them.

We have been eating up this B-E-A-utiful weather! Sixty degrees in November?!?! Austin, Finn and I were even able to go to the park yesterday. I'm guessing it is probably our last trip this year (other than being bundled up and snow covering the ground!). Finn's teacher did say to be sure to take him outside during the winter and the fresh air will do him good. I'll have to remember that. Just the idea of getting us both bundled up and ready seems like a big feat for probably a short stay outside. But considering how much he loves being outside, I'm sure I can make the sacrifice.

Monday, November 9

Quiet weekend

We had a pretty quiet weekend. Mommy and Finn had Saturday all to ourselves. Becky and Austin spent the day at Auntie NaeNae's in Paynesville on Saturday and Daddy went to the Gopher game with Mike. Then on Sunday, we put away all the Halloween decorations and started going through the stuff in the garage with the hopes that eventually we can park a car in there! Felt good to do both of those things.

Memere came to visit Sunday night and watched Finn (we REALLY had to twist her arm!) so Jim and I could go to Target and out to dinner at El Loro. It was nice to get out. At one point at Target, I thought Finn was in the cart...I guess that's a sign that I'm with him ALL the time.

Today, Finn's EI teacher, Deb came to play and see how Finn is doing developmentally. She was sick last week and reschedule for today, which I thought was nice (considering she and Jane the PT will be coming next week as scheduled). She was impressed by how much Finn has changed developmentally in the three weeks since she saw him last. It was good to hear. I'll be curious what PT says this week since this is the first appointment since we started going every two weeks.

Still no news about the home health care, Synergis or H1N1 vaccine. Jim will be making a few calls today about finding a pediatrician for Finn. Not sure if that will help at all, but we feel it is time for a change. We probably should have found a pediatrician for Finn right away (as opposed to a general practitioner). Oh, how easy it is to second guess yourself as a parent. Where is the neon flashing red light that says, "Right decision this way?"

Saturday, November 7

Video star

I just updated a few videos of Finn. Sorry it has been so long, but it is a complicated process and takes a really long time, plus my internet needs to be working consistently and it has been spotty as of late. But I'm glad to share them when I have the time and resources. Here is the latest one of Finn on his 10 month birthday (the others can be found on our video website, link on the left):
video

Friday, November 6

Ten; can it be?

Finn is TEN months old today. This first year is just flying by. But at the same time, it seems like a life time ago when we were going to the hospital every day to see him, too. He is doing so well; we really couldn't ask for more. He did this for me this morning:And he can hold it for a few seconds all by himself. Then he usually pushes backwards so he can lay down. Lazy boy! But if I hold his arm or legs, he can sit for a while. And he is tolerating tummy time! I never thought we'd see the day. In fact, I looked in on him this morning and he was awake, playing, on his tummy, lifting his head. Hey, I'll take it. Today, he started making this twirling noise with his tongue. He thought it was pretty cool because he kept doing it. I just love all these little things they do. It is funny that something so small can bring so much joy to my heart. I can't even imagine what was important in my life before he was born. Hmmm...

Amanda, Taylor and Gavin came over today and brought Austin and I lunch! So sweet and I know Austin had a ball. He had to take a nap after they left and he told me he wanted to go to their house when he woke up! I love the things kids think up and say. It is nice to have a friend with kids around Austin's age (they keep each other busy). Thanks for the wonderful play date, Amanda! We'll have to schedule another one soon.

We had our last Preemie class yesterday afternoon. I'm sad because it is very nice to talk to other parents who have been through something similar, even though everybody's journey is a little different. They will have the class again in the spring, but due to germ issues in the winter, they don't schedule a class during that time. Along those same lines, I decided not to sign us up for winter ECFE. It is just not worth the risk. Boo...but we'll figure something else fun to do, I'm sure.

Thursday, November 5

Slumber party

We stayed over night at Auntie NaeNae's last night and got back this morning around 11am. It was so nice to spend the day with her, plus my mom came after work and stayed over, too. Finn got more than his fair share of attention, that is for sure. The apartment is really easy to get to and nice and big. Nick, Renae and I played Wii last night; Mario Racing, Price is Right and Carnival Games. Oh, my arm is sore today! It was a lot of fun, though. As long as the weather stays nice, I hope it is the first of many trips for us. Oh and I forgot my camera, so hopefully mom and Nick can email me their pictures.

Finn seems to be getting better. He still has a cough and sounds terrible (and he sticks his little tongue out when he coughs, which is adorable). But his congestion seems to be a little better. Here's hoping...

We are going to Preemie class this afternoon. I checked with the teacher and she said as long as Finn is on medication, he can come. Yeah. This is the last class until spring, so I'm glad we can make it.

Jim continues to be in DC. He flies back late Friday night, which means his flight will be delayed and he will fly back Saturday morning. They are doing construction at the MSP airport so flights get backed up. You'd think they'd be able to plan for that a little bit. Oh, well. I am going to the Wild game tonight with Ryan and Leah (Auntie Becky is watching Finn...thank you!). I think the last game I went to was almost a year ago when I met Leah! Wow, time flies by. Should be fun.

Wednesday, November 4

Momma can you hear me?

We discussed, argued, talked and disagreed about it. But I finally have to agree with Jim. Finn understands and says, "Mama and dada." I thought it was just random sounds for a long time, but Jim has been saying for about two weeks that Finn can say Momma. Then, one night when Finn was sick, he was out of sorting and whining a little. He was on my lap, but facing away from me and kept saying, "Mama, mama, mama." I finally turned him and said, "Finn, Momma's right here." He looked at me, turned away and started saying, "Dada, dada, dada." (Jim was in the other room) It was very purposeful. Yesterday morning, he was talking in his crib and while I was getting his bottle ready, he started to get mad. It completely sounded like he was yelling/crying for me ("Mama, mama, mama"). Crazy. Aside from instances likes these, I came around to Jim's way of thinking because Finn's PT yesterday said it is very normal for a 9 to 10 month old to say these two words (speech is considered a social skill and socially Finn CAN be doing things according his is actual age) and she experienced him saying them and completely agrees with Jim. So, I finally acquiesce and agree, too. Our little pumpkin is growing up so fast (they all do, I know, but I'm just not ready!).

Finn is still sick and slept ALL DAY yesterday (he was often awake, but did not want to get up). I guess he needed it since I think his congestion and coughing has been waking him up during his naps. Sleep heals, so have at it, Finn. I think he is on the mend, though. You know how colds always seem to have to get worse before they get better and he definitely sounds worse ;) Since this will be Finn's first major illness since coming home, if we can get through it without a trip to the ER/hospital, I will be SO happy! Fingers are crossed.

His diaper rash is almost completely gone (yeah!). As long as I get the poop off his skin as soon as possible, it seems to help it to not come back. Stacey also got us some "miracle" cream, and I used it yesterday for the first time (smells good!). Thanks, Stacey! Finn is still wetting through at night. I haven't tried Huggies Overnights (Thanks, Mindy for the suggestion) because I haven't been to the store yet. But they are on my list. Wearing the diaper backwards did not help at all. I haven't tried pointing "it" down yet, as I don't think it would really work...but I should try.

We are going to visit Auntie NaeNae today. Yay! I figured if Finn can handle a 7 hours car ride to and from Chicago, he can handle an hour and a half to Paynesville. Plus she always comes to see us, so I thought it would be nice to go visit her for a change. Can't wait to see the new place!

Tuesday, November 3

Ear infection? Maybe.

Well, Finn's cold continued to worsen and finally yesterday afternoon I felt that I had to call the doctor. Of course, she is out this week (seems like she is ALWAYS out when we need her). But I talked to the triage nurse and she said he needed to be seen and was able to get us in last night at 7:20. Both Jim and I were thinking RSV, but thankfully it was not that (at least at this point anyway). The doctor said his lungs sounded pretty clear, which is good, but his right ear was slightly pink. If Finn's health history and inability to go into the doctor were different, she probably wouldn't have treated him for anything. As it were, she treated him for an ear infection and gave him his second flu shot (yeah...two vaccines down, two to go!). Almost ten months before getting his first ear infection...I wonder how many Jim had by this point?!?! Hope our little boy gets better soon! Although, his voice sounds different and he loves trying to make noises with his hoarse voice. Too funny.

Yesterday, Finn had his Early Intervention appointment. His teacher Deb had a cold, so just his PT Jane came. He was a little tired, but lasted almost a whole hour. She thought he looked good in terms of rolling and showed me some things for sitting. She also showed me a trick to get him to put weight on his legs and help him balance and another trick to get him used to the crawling position. I'm not ready for him to start crawling or standing any time soon, though! Our baby is getting so big.

Speaking of getting big, Finn has gone through a MAJOR growth spur this last month. We weighed him last night at the doctor's office and he weighs 16 pounds 13 ounces! That means in 40 days, he gained TWO AND A HALF pounds (since his 9 month check in September). He has definitely gotten longer, too, as I notice it when I feed him in the rocking chair before bed and his legs stick out a lot more. His 3 month pants are the right length, another sign his little legs must have gotten longer, too. His clothes size is all over the map. He can wear 3 month sweat pants, his 6 month jeans are too tight and his 6-9 month undershirts seem a little small! Aye, aye, aye. He continues to LOVE pulling his socks off, or just trying to, anyway. He doesn't care if he gets them off or not, but when he does, he sucks on the sock. What a silly boy. He loves playing "high five." In reality, he just likes to slap his hand up and down, so we put our hand under his. It is a fun game we play.

We want to get Finn a toy box for Christmas. Any suggestions or ideas? It will be going in our living room, so we'd like something in a wood tone that could double as a bench with plenty of storage (have you seen all of Finn's stuff?). Not sure where to start.

Monday, November 2

Catching up from the weekend

Halloween was a lot of fun. Austin and Finn got dressed up; Austin as Diego (from Dora the Explorer) and Finn as Spock. All of us (Becky, Pete, Mike-Austin's dad, Kristine, Jim, Finn and me) went trick or treating with Austin. I don't think there has ever been such a big entourage for one kid to trick or treat. Finn loved it, as he got to go for a walk in his stroller. It was chilly, but the day turned out pretty darn nice for the end of October. Austin was so brave this year. Last year, he was a little too young to understand what he was doing. This year, he even went up to some of the houses by himself and remembered to say "Trick or Treat" and "Thank you." The funny thing was he couldn't tell which way the door was going to open, so he'd be standing on the wrong side some time. Too cute. He is growing up!

The party was a ton of fun. Finn ended up staying at our house. I was apprehensive, but it ended up being fine. He didn't make one peep all night. We had about the same number of people as last year, but this year people came and went so it never got too crowded. We brought Pete's ping pong table in from the garage (and moved the kitchen table into the living room) so we could play beer pong. SO much fun. I had never played before and lost mightily, but still had a blast. Last year we ran out of beer (though we did not have a keg) and this year we had about half a keg left. We'll have to find a happy medium next year. I didn't go to bed until 4:30am, I think. First, thank goodness I only drank beer all night which helped prevent a hangover the next day. Second, thank goodness for daylight savings and an extra hour of sleep. Third, thank goodness the Vikings played at 3 instead of Noon on Sunday! Katie and Quinn joined us for part of the Vikings game. It is fun to see Quinn with Finn and also to see what Finn will be like in a couple of years.

Sunday, November 1

Halloween recovery

We had a slow day today. I wasn't really hung over, just super tired and lazy. I'll do a more thorough update tomorrow, but here are some Halloween pictures as promised:

Captain Kirk, Crabby Spock and Uhura

Baby Spock

Diego (Austin) and Spock (Finn, duh!)

Spock going "trick or treating"


I'll upload more pictures on our picture website tomorrow. Off to bed for me! I hope you all had a fun Halloween.