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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.

Friday, January 29

Bye, bye Austin

Yesterday was my last day of watching Austin on a regular basis. Very sad for me. I just wanted to snuggle with him all day! We had a low key day and in the afternoon, Austin, Finn, Jim and I went to the mall run around for a while. Austin did a good job of listening and it was nice to have some time out and not freeze to death.

On Wednesday we had a relaxed day, too. I like having things to do and places to go, but I also like having "do nothing" days, too. Stacey came over to hang out for a while. She looked great and had a lot of good things to say. I love spending time with her. Hopefully it will be regular now that she has a little extra free time during the day (or we can visit her, too!).

I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but Finn loves to SING! He will start doing it on his own and then if we mimic him or sing a tune back to him, he will copy us! It is so cute and I just love it. I sing all the time to him, so I really like hearing him sing back.

The big move day is tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 27

Three car seats

And now I know that three car seats will fit in my back seat! I watched Austin and Quinn yesterday and Mike met me to hand over Quinn. I was worried when Mike struggled a little to get her seat buckled in, but no need. They all fit! Fun was had by all and I hope Quinn didn't mind being called "Maia" all day by Austin! Now I know a small bit about what it would be like to have three kids under the age of four...except they all get along :) Quinn's daycare mom is about ready to have a baby, so I get to help out while she is on leave and watch Quinn for a couple days a week for a few weeks. I'm bummed that this is happening right when Austin is leaving me because they play together so well and I know Quinn has more fun with Austin than me (I'm not a loud, bossy boy to keep up with!). But having two at a time instead of three might save me a little sanity, too! Ha, ha. It will be nice for Finn to still have a little person around to watch and "play" with.

We had Finn's eye doctor appointment yesterday. The report is basically that all is well...for now. They did several tests and he did well on all of them. They didn't dilate his eyes so no update on the progress of his far-sightedness and due to the degree it was last time, he needs to be seen again in 6 months. If we notice him crossing his eyes TWICE during that time, we have to bring him in (so if you see him do it, let us know!). Crossing his eyes is a sign that it is getting worse and he is having a hard time focusing. Worse case scenario, I think, though, is that he will need glasses. We'll cross that bridge when/if we get to it. His far-sightedness could be from prematurity, the ROP and/or genetics (as his mother was also very far-sighted as a child).

Tuesday, January 26

Walk with us?

As all of you know, the subject of premature birth is very important to us. Our friends Amanda and Matt were also affected by prematurity several years ago with the birth and passing of their first son, Logan, born at 22 weeks. Every year, the March of Dimes sponsors a March for Babies walk to provide funds to help moms carry to full term and to improve the health of babies. The Muhlbauers have walked in this walk every year since Logan was born. Now we are humbled and honored to join and walk with them for Logan, Finn and all the babies who are born too early.

You can help! We'd love you to join us and walk along side us on April 25 at Boom Island in Minneapolis. It is a 4 mile walk and may be the most rewarding thing you do all year! Just click on our website to join our team. Or if you are unable to join us, please take a few minutes and click on our website to make a donation. A donation of ANY size is greatly appreciated.

With your help, some day all babies will be born full term and healthy. That is my hope, anyway! We have been so blessed and it is because of donations and research from people in previous years. Please help to make other families have the same storybook ending that we have!

http://www.marchforbabies.org/sjwalsh97

Monday, January 25

There's always next year

We ended up having a somewhat quiet weekend after the weather prevented us from traveling. Mommy was able to go out with Ryan and Leah for a purplely (or two!) Saturday night. Daddy graciously stayed home with Finn (Finn was in bed, but even though Jaros is only a couple blocks away...SOMEBODY has to stay with him!!!). Ha, ha. I cut myself off at two because bad things happen when I cross over to three. They were so yummy and being out with R and L is always a great, relaxing time.

Then on Sunday we had Mike, Katie and Quinn over to watch THE GAME. Yet again, we were disappointed with a Vikings heartbreaking loss. But with five turn overs, they really didn't deserve to win. I just would LOVE to see my team in the Superbowl for once! Argh. There is always next year ;) Ha, ha. A phrase Vikings fans are very used to uttering!

Daddy switched out Finn's exer-saucer for his jumper. Finn would tolerate the exer-saucer but didn't LOVE it. So we thought we'd try the jumper. He seemed to really like it. It is still a little high for him (his feet BARELY touch the ground on the lowest setting). But there is lots to do and see while in it, so hopefully it will keep Finn occupied for a while. AND he did jump a little in it, something which he has not really don't up until now. Yay!

Saturday, January 23

Movin' on out

We had a blast last night at the Timberwolves game. Ironically, they played New Orleans and the Vikings play New Orleans tomorrow! Here is Finn's second meeting with Crunch (the first time was at Children's), but this time I had my camera! Finn loved all the lights and action and noise. A couple times it got too loud for him (we had a bunch of tween-age girls behind us so they were screaming at points), but he quickly recovered. We stayed through the third quarter and then headed home (I'm not even sure who won...terrible, I know!). I'm also very glad Becky, Pete and Austin came with.

Major life change: it is with mixed emotions that I announce as of next weekend, we will be roommate-less! Becky and Austin have found an apartment in Maplewood near her school and will be moving on 1/30! After almost two years of living together at our house (and a year together at Kristine's prior), it will be weird...for all of us, I think. On the one hand, it will be nice for each of our individual families to have our own space and lives but on the other hand, it was so nice having them around (and not being alone when Jim travels!). The saddest part for me is that Austin and Finn won't get to see each other every day. Austin is Finn's favorite person in the entire world (auntie probably comes in a close second!). I know they will still see each other, but due to the geographical separation, I will no longer be able to watch Austin during the week, either! Talk about quitting cold turkey! Congratulations, Becky. This is a huge step for you and I/we couldn't be prouder.

On a disappointed note, we (all of my sisters and their families) were supposed to go to my Grandma Walsh's for Christmas this afternoon (it is hard to find a time that works for all of our schedules!). But we had to cancel due to the weather. It is raining now, but is supposed to turn into ice and then snow. Not a good combination when you have four cars traveling 2.5 hours each way. We might have been fine since we were going to stay over night at my mom's and by tomorrow, the roads should be better. But, no reason to risk it.

Off to swim class in a bit!

Friday, January 22

Best day ever?

Wow, we had a BUSY day yesterday. It started out with Austin and I running to Walgreens while daddy stayed home with Finn (thanks, daddy!). Then we all played "imaginary" in our bed the rest of the morning. Okay, that sounds indecent, but it was totally fun and innocent, I promise! Then lunch and down for an early nap for Austin because his friend Maia was coming over to play in the afternoon. Then auntie NaeNae came over. Then Maia came over (the 2 yr old sister of Finn's twin friends). Then Austin woke up. Then for the next three hours, we played and played hard (and had a lot of fun). Then auntie colored my hair (thank you SO much Ernie, because it really needed it!). Then Maia went home. Then daddy came home from work. Then bath for Finn. Then bed. Yikes! It was a great day, just super busy! On days like that, I'm so glad I'm a stay-at-home mom and CAN have days like that.

Finn is STANDING...without assistance! Okay, it is only for seconds at a time and he obviously can't get into the position by himself, but he is doing it consistently, and once he is propped he stays and he doesn't stick his butt way out any more! I can't believe it. Jim is so good at "making" him try new things and figure things out. I try to be, but the nurture takes over and I don't want him to struggle so much (probably residual feelings left over from the NICU days, I can't help it!). I am working with him regularly on crawling though and he is tolerating it much better. Progress, that is all we can ask for!

On a fun note, we are taking Finn to his first Timberwolves game tonight! I'm a little (okay, maybe a lot) apprehensive, but Jim really wanted to and we are pretty much experts on keeping germs away by now (we'll load up on Clorox wipes before we go!). Tip off (is that what you call the start of a basketball game?) is at 7pm, so we will stay as long as Finn tolerates it. Finn and I got 6 tickets when we were at Children's for his NICU follow up appointment (when we met Crunch and some players). We are going with Becky, Austin and Pete so it should be a fun, family night.

Thursday, January 21

One more down, two to go

Finn got his third dose (of five) of Synagis (RSV medication) yesterday. Due to the amount he needs, they have to do two shots which is always tough. I think it is harder on me, than Finn, though. He was fine about 30 seconds later, especially when he got some juice for all the hard work! He had a mild fever later in the evening and was a little crankier than normal, but nothing too bad. He is done for now until next month.

As far as how Finn's solid eating is going...it is fabulous. He eats fruits, veggies and whole grain baby cereal (along with formula in a bottle) every day and other than a couple texture issues (which we just corrected with baby cereal), we haven't found any that he doesn't like! He even gobbled up lima beans this weekend! I am amazed at his appetite and palate. He still will not feed himself. He likes the puffs and the crunchies and will eat the biter biscuits when we bite pieces off for him. He will sit there and cry and open his mouth even when there are several snacks on the tray in front of him but will not even attempt to pick them up. Becky suggested the baby toast because it is bigger and might be easier for him to hold/pick up. Target didn't have any, but I will give them a try as soon as I find some. I'm sure in the near future I will be wishing for these non-feeding-self days, but it would be so much easier if he could do it himself.

The other thing that I find weird about Finn's eating habits is that he never stops eating or shows any signs of being full. Is it possible for a baby not to know when they are full? He has never stopped eating when I've fed him...ever. I keep giving him more until I can't imagine he has any room left in his little tummy. A couple times he has eaten so much that he puked a little afterward. I'm sure it is fine, I just wish he could give me some indication when he is full because I feel like I'm depriving him...but seriously kid, enough is enough :)

Wednesday, January 20

Rub a dub dub

I forgot to mention that Finn is now in the "big" bath tub for baths! Well, it is a blow up tub IN the big bath tub, but it is a transition from the infant tub, which he was using up until this past Sunday! I know, I know, but it was so easy to put it on the counter and wash him up in it. Now he is in a blow up ducky (from Memere), which he loves. The beak makes quacking noises, so he thinks it is pretty cool. The sitting space in the new tub is smaller than the infant tub, but that doesn't seem to bother him, just makes for less room for his toys! Some day, on to the big tub. Scary...for dad and me, anyway; probably not Finn ;)

Thank you for all the very helpful feedback on yogurt and other breakfast foods yesterday. This parenting thing is so much easier when those of you who have gone through it before offer advice and suggestions! I did a little research as well because I like to know WHY you can or can't do something instead of just taking somebody's word for it. If you know me at all, I'm sure that shocks you ;)

According to several sources and specifically Babycenter, "you can introduce yogurt to most babies as early as 6 months. But if your baby shows signs of an allergy of any kind – hold off until you’ve checked with your baby's doctor. And if you notice that your child shows any signs of milk intolerance, check with his doctor.

If you're wondering why yogurt gets the okay sooner than milk – which you should hold off on introducing until your child is 12 months old – it's because the active bacterial cultures found in yogurt, break down the lactose and make it easier to digest. The process of making yogurt also modifies the milk proteins, making them easier to digest, which is also why cheeses are okay for babies."

Tuesday, January 19

Stand by me

Finn got two walking toys from Christmas from his aunties. Well, he isn't even close to walking, so he has been playing with them on the floor. However, last night, Jim had Finn up, standing behind one of them...unassisted by Jim! It was only for a few seconds, mind you, but keep in mind, even a few weeks ago, Finn wasn't even putting any weight on his legs! I wish we had gotten a picture...but daddies aren't the best at thinking of that! Oh, well. I'm sure there will be more opportunities. We have a sneaky suspicion that Finn will walk before he crawls. His PT says not to worry about it, so we aren't. As long as he is progressing, which he is, we are happy.

At Finn's doctor appointment, his doctor said we could move up Finn's solid feedings from two a day to three a day. So, I've been thinking of possibly doing something like yogurt in the morning for him. I haven't done any research on this. Do you moms out there have any idea if this is something I can/should do? Finn's adjusted age is 9 months and he hasn't had any problems with any food he has tried. I know he can't have milk, but I think I've heard yogurt (especially the non sweetened kind) is allowed and good for them. Plus, if he eats yogurt regularly, I'm hoping we could stop using the probiotic because the same stuff is in yogurt (and probiotics for kids are EXPENSIVE!).

Monday, January 18

Like father like son

Well, if there ever were any doubt about whether or not Finn was Jim's son (which I hope there wasn't, but just in case...), there is no doubt any longer. Finn goggled up pizza yesterday like nobody's business! We ordered Domino's pizza during THE game because we wanted to see if they had really changed and improved their pizza (it is marginally better, but we probably won't order it again) Finn kept eating and eating it. At first, he kind of gagged when he tried to swallow because he didn't chew it enough, but he quickly caught on. Since it was Domino's, now I'm sure Jim wants to introduce Finn to "good" pizza. Aye aye aye! Like father like son!

Saturday, January 16

We got shot

Daddy and mommy got shot yesterday...with the H1N1 vaccine that is! It is something we've been needing to do for a very long time but there was such a shortage, we weren't able to get it. I heard a couple weeks ago that Walgreens was offering them so I called and we were both able to get in yesterday. Finn and I went in the afternoon (although as you'll recall, Finn got his early this fall) and daddy went after work. Finally, we are all set for this flu season.

Finn is scooting backwards all the time now! For a while, it was just on a smooth surface, but he was doing it in the office this morning. I think that is a precursor to crawling, so he is on the right track.

We are off to our second swim class this morning. We moved to the 11:30 class because there were almost 20 families in the 11:00 class, which is a LOT. This one should be less full...just hope Finn isn't too tired or hungry.

Friday, January 15

Cloud nine

Finn is 9 months adjusted today! Here is my run down of where he is at and his developmental progress.

What to expect from your 9 Month Old:

Most babies should be able to . . .

Start crawling no
Sit without support yes, but can't get into or out of sitting position by self
Pass object from one hand to the other yes
Respond to own name yes
Mouth and chew on objects yes
Reach for spoon when being fed yes...so annoying ;)
Turn away when finished eating no, maybe I don't feed him enough...
Say mama and dada to both parents (usually isn’t specific) yes
Stand while holding on to something no
Look for dropped objects yes
Pull up to standing position from sitting no
Clap and bang objects together yes
Combine syllables into word like sounds yes
Separation and stranger anxiety may begin yes, just recently...was hoping to skip this step!

Some babies will probably be able to . . .

Use thumb and finger pincer grasp to pick things up no, but shows signs of starting
Walk holding onto furniture no
Stand alone momentarily no
Wave goodbye yes
Drop object and then looks for them yes, I don't know if he drops with purpose, though
Understand the word no (but usually doesn’t obey it) yes, we use "gentle" and are trying to reserve "no" for emergency/safety things
Begin to identify self in a mirror yes, loves to see himself in mirror

Some babies could possibly be able to . . .

Say mama and dada to the right parents yes, just recently he is doing it consistently
Play patty cake yes, if we are doing it with him
Play ball no
Drink from a cup independently yes
Stand alone well no
Say one word other than mama or dada he talks all the time, not sure how purposeful it is, though

Thursday, January 14

Dirty car

Apparently mixing being tired and loud new things doesn't make for a good experience. I needed to get gas today on the way home from our play date and since it was so "warm" (you know, above 25 degrees!), I decided to get a car wash. Well, it was Finn's first car washing experience and had a complete melt down. It probably also didn't help that Austin started screaming at the top of his lungs when the sprayers started because he was having fun. Oops! Maybe no more car washes for a while! I'ts okay for a mom to have a dirty car. Before the incident, we had a fun play date at the Arks. The twins are crawling all over the place. It is so cute to see. Maybe Finn picked up on a few pointers!

We had Finn's one year well child appointment yesterday. The doctor was/is VERY pleased with him and his progress. She said that an untrained and many trained eyes would not be able to point him out as a preemie (other than being obviously small for his age, obviously!). That made me feel good. He weighed 18 lbs 3 oz and was 26 inches long (they must have measured his height wrong last week). We stopped at visited with our Social Worker from the hospital, which was nice. Finn's primary at the NICU wasn't there (again!), so we couldn't see her. We didn't have time to stop by the ICC. I wanted to do something special like bring in cupcakes for Finn's birthday, but they are really strict about visitors in the NICU and I couldn't get a straight answer on whether or not we would be allowed entrance or not. Oh, well.

After the appointment, the three of us went over to Rosedale so I could get my hair cut! I grew it out for Kristine's wedding and since that was in September, I obviously really needed a cut (and a color, but Renae is going to do that!). She took a lot of the length off, layered it and thinned it. It JUST fits into a pony tail, which is what I wanted. I might go a little shorter next time, but this was good for now! Jim even said he liked it and said, "it isn't THAT short!" Too funny. Afterward we went to dinner at Red Lobster. I think it was our first time going out to dinner as a family (we went for drinks after Kristine's civil ceremony at Champps and Finn and I went to Santorini's for Kristine's birthday). Finn was tired by the end, but did a great job. Thank goodness for graham crackers. Now if he would just feed himself, we'd be all set!

Finn might not be crawling, but he is scooting backwards! I don't think I mentioned that yet. If he is on a smooth surface and on his tummy, he keeps pushing backward until he gets where he wants to go. It is really cute and he is so proud of himself for getting around. EI PT said that he is also trying to get up on his knees (which I think I did mention), but he just doesn't have the strength or will power to hold his upper body up at the same time. It will come.

Tuesday, January 12

Gummy no more

Finn and I had lunch with auntie Kristine yesterday. She had the day off and I wanted to return some things at Target, so we met her in Maple Grove. We went to Noodles & Company, which is so yummy, but both Jim and Alex don't really like it, so we don't get to go very often. Finn fell asleep from Target to Noodles, which was MAYBE a five minute drive and stayed asleep for quite a while once we got there. Then we "surprised" auntie Kristine for her birthday last night. Becky, Pete, Austin, Finn and I met Kristine and Alex at Santorini's in Eden Prairie for Kristine's birthday dinner. The food was really good and other than Finn's teeth hurting him, he was a good boy. Good place selection, auntie!

Finn cut his first tooth this morning! He now joins the ranks of a chomper kid!If you are looking at him, it is the bottom right tooth. He has been cutting this tooth for a few days. It was different than the "normal" teething we have been experiencing for...oh, I don't know...NINE MONTHS! He had a fever and since he is on an antibiotic for his ear infection, we knew it wasn't due to an infection some where. Plus, he was grinding on his fingers and sucking constantly on his lower lip. One down...how many to go?!?!

Austin, Finn and I met Katie and Quinn at the Como Conservatory this morning. I wasn't sure how much there would be to keep Austin occupied, but he had a blast and was super good. Although, he said he did not like the monkeys (we ventured outside to see the monkey exhibit, which was indoors, but you had to go out to get there). Definitely a place worth going to again. Austin wants to go back when he can see the birds and butterflies. We were disappointed they don't have any on display this time of year.

Monday, January 11

Swim suit model

Swim class was great. The pool was warm, which I think Jim and I might have appreciated more than Finn! We did a lot of kicking, and reaching and pulling with the arms, moving around in the water, showing him how to blow bubbles (which he is obviously too young to do).
The first picture is Finn all dressed for class. I LOVE the second picture. It was when we were done with class and walking into the locker rooms. Finn is so happy. Then only "problem" was the class had WAY too many people. There was between 15 and 20 families. They opened a class at 11:30, which we signed up for. Hopefully that will have fewer people.

Finn continues to eat the homemade baby food I make for him. He recently tried and loved mangoes (I had a hard time not eating them all myself!) and California blend (broccoli, carrots and cauliflower). It was the first time he tried cauliflower. He liked the blend, so I think that is good. The texture is a lot smoother than straight broccoli.

Jane, the EI PT, stopped by for a visit this morning. She was very impressed with Finn's progress and his NICU follow up assessment. She also pointed out how much he is getting on his knees when he is on his tummy...not his hands, just his knees. He is slowly getting there.

Saturday, January 9

Waterbabies

Finn has his first swim class today! I am so excited. We are going to the Courage Center in Golden Valley and he is taking the Waterbabies class. It is a class for infants ages 6-36 months and their parents. Parents get in the water and work with their infants on safety, water adjustment and swimming skills such as kicking, blowing bubbles, reaching and muscle control. It is a half hour class and both Jim and I are going with him. Their pools are 92 degrees, which is appealing with an infant (most other pools are much cooler). It is important to me that Finn enjoy water, which is why I signed us up for the class...although if it is anything like how much he likes his bath, I don't think I need to worry! I can't wait to see him in his little swim trunks! We are allowed to take pictures and video during the last five minutes of class, so I'll be sure to share.

After class we are going over to Kristine's to celebrate January birthdays. We have FOUR in the span on one week. Finn's (1 on 1/6), mine (31 on 1/9), Kristine's (33 on 1/10) and Grace's (10 on 1/14). Crazy. Should be a fun afternoon.

You can tell your priorities change in many different ways when you become a parent. One way I've realized is the fact that you are more excited for your babies first swim class than you are for your own birthday, which happen to fall on the same day!

Friday, January 8

Be a nice boy

Finn's lesson of the day: be a nice boy.

1. no poking people in the eye (he poked Austin in the eye this morning and Austin was quite put out by it, "I'm going to go tell mommy and Pete what Finn did.")

2. no grabbing people's eye glasses (he does this constantly to daddy and it drives daddy nuts)

3. no breaking necklaces (he pulls on mine all the time, but is good about stopping when I say, "gentle" and touch his hand)

4. no pulling hair (unless you like a girl, then it is an acceptable way to let her know...when you are WAY WAY older, like 20!)

That's enough for one day. There was a #5 to the lesson, but I can't remember now. Not sure how much of the lesson sunk in, though, especially when the teacher (mommy) can't even remember all the points ;) There will be a test tomorrow! Better practice, buddy.

I got my first question about Finn's helmet today. We were at Target and the check-out lady asked if he'd had head surgery. I was caught off guard, especially since she didn't mention the helmet as the reason for her asking. He had his hood on, so I forgot that you could even see it. I didn't know what to say. I quickly recovered and just said it is to reshape his head. Weird, but I survived. The helmet, in general, isn't as bad as I was anticipating it would be. I'm just thankful that Finn likes wearing it.

Thursday, January 7

Birthday boy pics

I better get pictures uploaded before I get yelled at again! I was reminded yesterday that I hadn't uploaded any pictures for January. So I've been working on that today (on top of going to PT with the terrible road conditions and having Austin today). Honestly, the reminder shows that people care, which I'm happy about. But I'm sure you want to see birthday pics, too!

He was a good boy last night. We never know how he is going to be that time of night.
In the first picture, I think I snapped his chin when I put the hat on. Oops! Because he didn't mind having the hat on the rest of the night. The second picture is a close up of the birthday boy! Austin (and Auntie Becca!) got him the birthday balloon. He loved it, especially once he realized he can punch it around.

Auntie Kristine, Alex and Grace came over. We, including Auntie Becca, Pete and Austin, had Finn do cake, ice-cream and presents first just in case Finn got tired and didn't want to do it later.

He really wasn't too sure about the cake. I don't think he liked the texture on his fingers and he gagged on the cake when I put a small piece in his mouth. Now, when Jim gave him frosting, I think Finn found his great love, even though he just got a tiny taste. Too funny. I was hoping for a massive mess, but that didn't happen. I'm sure it will be different in April. He seemed to "get" opening presents more than two weeks ago probably because he got plenty of practice at Christmas.

I forgot to mention yesterday that our poor birthday boy has his second ear infection. I asked the doctor to look when we were at the NICU follow up clinic and sure enough, he had one. It is so hard because the ONLY symptom he had was once or twice a day, he would touch his right ear. I guess I shouldn't doubt myself, but it is so hard to know when you should go in. Anyway, he is on amoxicillin, so hopefully that clears it up.

We had PT today. In hind sight, we probably shouldn't have gone. I realized when I got up that it had snowed, so I planned accordingly. We left a little early, and with two small children, that isn't an easy feat. Well, we saw between 10 and 15 accidents just on our side of 94 and it was glare ice. I was going less than 20 mph at one point and people started breaking and it was impossible to stop. Austin kept asking me questions and finally I had to have a "no talking" rule in the car. Luckily, we made it there in one piece and only a couple minutes late. We talked a lot about the NICU follow up clinic assessment, but of course I forgot the results sheet at home. She keeps reassuring me that Finn is doing amazing and to look at what he IS doing instead of what he ISN'T. I get that, it is just hard when you've been going to PT for 6 months and your baby scores lowest on that one part you are supposed to be helping with. They also adjusted his helmet, so now it fits a little better.

Sorry, kind of a lame post, but in a hurry. Sam and Dillon are coming over for dinner tonight and Sam is going to fix our master bath toilet! Yay!

Wednesday, January 6

Big day, big boy

Well, today is the day. One year ago today, Finn decided he'd had enough being on the inside and wanted out of there and started an almost three month long wait to bring him home. I know you'll think I'm crazy, but I got up and took this picture exactly at 5:24. This is the moment he turned one. Amazingly, that was about the same amount of time I was with him last year at that time too, as he was whisked away to another room almost immediately. This day will have a lot less uncertainly than last year. Wow, we have a one year old. That is so crazy. Finn decided to celebrate by wanting to get up 7:30 this morning. As an example, yesterday he slept in until 10:15am. Oh, well. I guess he was just excited!

We ended up going to the NICU Follow Up Clinic yesterday. I called them back and asked if Jim had to be there and they said no. It was a great visit. Finn was a little tired because he decided he didn't need to nap yesterday (he maybe slept for an hour and a half ALL DAY!). They used the Bayley Scales of Infant Development to measure him on Cognitive, Language and Motor skills. He scored at the 9 month level (50th percentile for his adjusted age) for cognitive (how an infant perceives, thinks, and gains an understanding of the world).

He scored at 11 months and 10 months (84th percentile combined) for receptive and expressive communication, respectively. Receptive communication refers to the way a listener receives & understands a message from a communication partner. Expressive communication refers to how one conveys a message to a communication partner by gesturing, speaking, writing, or signing.

He scored at 8 months and 6 months (8th percentile combined) for fine and gross motor skills, respectively. Fine motor skills are small movements—such as grabbing something with your thumb and forefinger—that use the small muscles of the fingers, toes, wrists, lips, and tongue. Gross motor skills are the bigger movements—such as sitting and walking—that use the large muscles in the arms, legs, torso, and feet.

Overall, they were very pleased with his progress. I was kind of expecting these results. They have told us since the beginning that his social skills (cognition and communication) would be closer to his actual age than his physical. I was a little surprised at how far behind he is physically, but the doctor said it is probably due to his weak muscle tone. It isn't severe, but is very common in preemies as early as Finn was. I asked what we could do to improve, and he said we are doing it by going to PT. The Follow Up Clinic will ask Finn back in about a year. If they were overly concerned, they would ask him back in 6 months instead.

They also took his stats. He weighs 17 lbs 10 oz, which is the 11th percentile for his adjusted age. He was 25 5/8 inches, which is less than the 3rd percentile for his adjusted age. His head was 18" which is the 70th percentile for his adjusted age. So he is short and has a big head. Ha, ha!

Oh and Finn got to meet Crunch, the Timberwolves mascot, and two players yesterday on our way out of the clinic. They were there to see some kids and we were in the elevator with them. I wish I'd had my camera along. Oh, well.

Happy Birthday, buddy. You bring so much joy and laughter into our lives. I never knew how much fun having a child would be until you came along. You are a fighter and have defied all the odds to be a healthy, happy little man. I hope you continue to grow and develop and teach us how to be the best parents we can be. We love you more than anything. In hind sight even with the unexpected hardships, I wouldn't change anything from this past year (well, okay, maybe the whole breast feeding thing!). Thank you for being such a wonderful little boy.

Tuesday, January 5

Best laid plans

Things never go as planned. Jim let me know last night that he had to be in Hutchinson today for work, so I had to cancel the NICU follow up appointment for today at 11am. I'm not exactly sure what the appt entails and I want Jim to come along for it. Then I got a call from the doctor's office and they scheduled Finn's one year well-child appt with the wrong doctor, so we had to reschedule that until next week. Sheesh. The best laid plans, right? At least I got Finn's cake ordered and we closed on our refinance yesterday! Yay. I wish it were a little warmer out today. Now that we don't have plans, I'd like to run some errands. On the bright side, Finn's new replacement size 12 month bunting (fleece "snow" suit) arrived. Can't wait to use it and stop stuffing him in like a sausage in the 3-6 month one we've been using!

In case you've been wondering why you haven't heard of a party or haven't been invited to one, we decided that we are going to celebrate Finn's birthday in April for his adjusted one year instead of now. It is the peak of flu and RSV season right now and it just isn't worth the risk (plus he is still getting over his cold). We are having a small cake tomorrow and I got him a little party hat (the one seen in his one year pics). If we run out today, I might stop and get a couple more decorations just to make it festive. It was a hard decision, but it is the right decision.

I can't believe what I bought yesterday for my little man...SIZE FIVE DIAPERS! Yes, they are for 27 pounds plus and he is less than 20 pounds. He has been consistently either wetting through his diapers at night again or his diapers have been exploding! Have you seen the little gel particles in a diaper when it comes apart? You don't want to. They are impossible to clean up. He is currently using size 4 Pampers Extra Protection night time diapers. I'm hoping size 5 will absorb a little more. I was hoping this was behind us because it is very frustrating. On the bright side, I think it bothers me more than him, as he doesn't seem to mind too much if he is wet or not!

Monday, January 4

Dad's day out

Finn and Jim had their first play date on Saturday! Jim and Finn went to Underwater World with Mike, Quinn, Scott and Teddy!
It was a dad's day out. Jim said Finn LOVED it and just kept staring at everything. Too bad it was so cold out. Jim had to park really far away, but was able to get a ride back to his car from Scott. Crazy.

Then on Sunday, we watched Quinn so Mike and Katie could go to the Vikings game.
She was a lot of fun and really good. It is amazing how much more energy a two year old has then a one year old and how much more energy it takes looking after them. At the end of the visit, Jim looked at me and said, "I'm really tired." Ha. I guess that is why you work your way up to a two year old when it is your child!

We put Christmas away last night (except the garland on the banister...oops!). I guess it is true; kids love the boxes the most!I love this picture. It is really important to me to have Christmas stuff put away before Finn's birthday. Jim thinks I am over reacting because Finn is one and wouldn't know anyway, but I don't care. Now we have to find homes for all of our presents and reorganize the living room. I'm glad we got a toy box for Finn for Christmas. It will come in handy with all the stuff he got! He went from having two O-balls, a rattle and a move-and-crawl ball before Christmas to a room full of toys and books now! Too funny.

Today Finn's EI teacher came by. She was very impressed with his improvement with sitting and communicating. She thinks it is curious that he isn't putting food (or toys for that matter) in his mouth so we'll see what his doctor says on Wednesday. I'm sure it is nothing, but doesn't hurt to ask! She also suggested going to the Como Conservatory for a great winter day activity and I think it is a great idea. Anybody want to come along? We will probably go one day that I have Austin, so a Tuesday or Thursday, but not this week for sure! We have a crazy week ahead of us.

Monday: EI appt, ordering Finn's b-day cake and closing on our mortgage refinance
Tuesday: cleaning lady comes and NICU follow up appointment
Wednesday: Finn's birthday! One-year well-child appt
Thursday: PT and Sam and Dillon coming over for dinner
Friday: nothing!
Saturday: Mommy's birthday, Finn's first swimming lesson and b-day party at Kristine's for January birthdays (Finn, me, Kristine and Grace)

Yikes! I'm tired just from writing it. It brings me back to the days when Finn first came home from the hospital and we had tons of appts to go to. Anyway, we hope the new year is treating you well so far!

Saturday, January 2

They're ready!

Finn's 1 year pictures are ready! Jess must be superwoman or something. They are amazing. If you want to take a peek, just visit www.jessicahislop.com/clients/Thomas and you will be able to view a slide show of all the pictures. If you want to see photo ID's, pause the slide show, place an order, etc. just click on "proofing" and enter the password: 1year. Enjoy! If you want some super good pictures taken, give her a call/email/visit her website/etc. You will not be disappointed.

Also, I promised a picture of Finn's helmet after Jim doctored it up. Here you go (I'm sure you're shocked at his choice of stickers!):

Friday, January 1

New Year and new pics

Sheesh, Jess is fast! She already has a preview of Finn's one year pictures on her blog! If the rest are even half as good as these, I can't wait! Jess's website A side note: Jess, I honestly can't thank you enough for taking Finn's pictures for us this past year. You have captured moments in his life that we would have otherwise forgotten. You have a special ability to truly capture the spirit and soul of whomever's picture you are taking. And Finn made sure it wasn't always easy! I feel priviledged that you agreed to take Finn's pictures. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I'm sure my arm can be twisted into a shoot in April to commemorate his adjusted one year "birthday!"

The Gophers played in the Insight Bowl yesterday. It was on the NFL network, so we had to go out to watch it because we don't get that channel. We were prepared to take Finn with us, but Auntie Becky volunteered to let him stay home with her instead, which made it much easier. Plus, do you know how freezing it was last night?!?! Yuck. Anyway, we watched the pathetic Gopher performance at Park Tavern with Mike, Katie, Sondra and Beth. Boo, Gophers. They lost to freaking Iowa State (sorry, Amanda, but the Gophers really should have won).

We headed home and hung out with Becky, Pete and Austin the rest of the night. I took the best video ever of Austin when we got home. I'll have to upload it soon. Austin got to stay up as long as he was listening and obeying. He was probably the best behaved I have ever seen him...and he even made it all the way to midnight. I don't think he stopped moving once after we got home...was probably scared he would crash! We woke Finn up right before midnight so all six of us brought in the new year together with a champagne toast (sparkling grape juice for Austin and watered-down apple juice for Finn). It was a very nice way to ring in the new year. Thank you to all of you who helped us get through 2009. It was far more challenging but also so much more rewarding than we thought it would be. Here's to seeing what 2010 has in store for us!