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

Thursday, April 29

Sitting up some time soon?

We had EI on Tuesday. I mentioned while we were "playing" that I thought Finn's feet looked kind of flat. I had never noticed it before, but just happened to notice. Well, she said that she's been watching it and hopes that the more he stands the better it gets! Um, hello! If you have something you are "watching" with my kid, could you please mention it to me? I mean, this isn't a big deal, but I'd like to know. She said that if it doesn't correct itself, there are shoes we can try that help with it. Not a big deal, just another observation.

We had ECFE class yesterday afternoon. We were late because Finn decided he would rather sleep and who was I to argue? He is so mobile now! He scooted/inches his way all around the room during play time. It is so good to see and I am very glad he has such a healthy attachment to me that he is comfortable moving away and knowing I'll be there when he comes back (or rather, I go to get him because he got into something he shouldn't!).

Then auntie Becca (to clean) and Austin (to play) came over. We played football outside and then Jim, Finn, Austin and I walked to the liquor store (I don't see anything wrong with bring kids there...do you?) and then to River park where we threw rocks into the river (one of Austin's all time favorite activites). Then Jim made some super yummy homemade potatoe salad and grilled hotdogs for all of us (plus Pete) for dinner! Auntie brought home made chocolate chip cookies and Finn ate 3/4 of one. Granted they some what small, but I think we have a sweet tooth, chocolate lover on our hands! It was a great evening.

This AM we went to PT. We had a different person today. We've had her once before, but not for awhile. It is good to get a different perspective and suggestions. We worked really hard on Finn transitioning from knees or side to sitting. He is SO close to being able to do it. He was in a good mood, so that helped a lot. I think he doesn't like it when we are in the open room instead of our own room. We'll see.

This afternoon we went to Preemie class and Mr. Finnegan sat up by himself TWICE!!! I told you he is super close. I was very happy and everybody clapped for him (which he of course loved). Today there were four kids, so it was a good mix of ages and good discussion. Jane and Deb (Finn's EI teacher and PT) stopped by at different times during class (their offices are in the same school as our Preemie class). Finn loved the extra attention, but wasn't sure at first why there were there at Preemie class and didn't like when Jane helped another baby roll over.

Tuesday, April 27

Super trooper

Finn is doing great! He is a tough little guy. He slept through the night last night, or at least didn't get up. He was awake when we went to check on him when we went to bed, but he wasn't fussing or making any noise. He HATES the ear drops, or rather being held down for the ear drops. There was a bit of white crusty stuff in and outside his left ear this morning, but Jim thought it might be from the drops. The doctor said the right ear only had a small amount of fluid but the left ear was full of thick mucous. Just reconfirms that now was the right time for tubes!

Maybe the surgery mixed up Finn's sense of direction, but this was Finn this morning...
...under the futon! I'm not exactly sure how he got under there, but he definitely needed help getting out! That confirms he is back to his normal, curious self!

With all the excitement the last few days, I forgot to mention that Finn had his first experience with the ice-cream truck last weekend (Sunday after his party). It was mommy's first experience with one, too. Sam and Dillon were over and we could hear him coming down the street. So we grabbed our money and ran across the street, almost getting hit by a car...oops! Hey, it's ice-cream, man! I got an ice-cream cookie sandwich, my favorite, Sam got a bomb-pop and Dillon got a batman popcicle! Finn shared with all of us and he loved it, of course! Jim finished all of our treats, but didn't get one for himself. It was fun and a nice break to the afternoon.

Today is a special day. Our friend Logan, who we walked for on Sunday, would have turned 7 years old today if he hadn't been born too early. Happy birthday, little man. You will forever be in our hearts.

Monday, April 26

We're home

Three hours from getting to and leaving the hospital! Not bad. We got to the hospital right at 9am. Finn did really well. He was of course hungry and kept signing "eat" while we were waiting for surgery, but we were able to keep him preoccupied with the toys and watching the other kids. We got in for surgery right on time.

Jim held him while they put him under and then we left the operating room. We went down to the cafeteria to grab something to drink and within 20 minutes, Dr. Soumeck came in to say everything went well. The recovery nurse brought him out maybe 10 minutes after that!

Then we went into the secondary recovery area and were able to leave just before Noon.
Finn was ticked in recovery because they had given him sugar water and he didn't want the formula. So the nice nurse gave him extra sugar water. Now his tummy is rock hard because he ate so much liquid!

We have to do ear drops three times a day for 5 days and we have a follow up appointment with the doctor in three weeks. He doesn't need ear plugs! He needs nothing as long as he is in water with chlorine and he needs cotton balls with Vaseline for his bath as long as the tubes are in. Finn is a little cranky, but they said that is to be expected. I'm thinking a long afternoon nap might be in order!

Thank you to everybody for your well wishes and prayers. It was relatively painless (for Finn and us!). Now fingers are crossed that these work and all is well long term.

Sunday, April 25

March on!

Wow, what a day! I was a little nervous about the weather since it was sprinkling all morning, chilly and windy. But once we got to the starting location for our March for Babies walk, it was decent! A huge thank you to mom (took this picture), Renae and Kelsie for walking with us. It really means a lot to me (us). It was a very profoundly touching and memorable day. For all the babies like our friend Logan who didn't make it, for all the babies like Finn who did and show very little residual effects from his prematurity and for all those babies in between who struggle with different challenges, this walk actually makes a difference. It felt good to participate.

The walk started at Boom Island, which is about two miles from our house! Too funny. I left my phone at home, so I wasn't sure we would be able to find our friends Matt, Amanda, Taylor and Gavin...but we did! They were walking right in front of us at the start. The walk was just under 4 miles and the route was beautiful. Finn was very tired when we arrived, but did NOT sleep the entire walk, which shouldn't surprise me, but it did...and he wasn't even very crabby! Too much to see and point at, I guess (and two aunts and a grandma to keep him entertained!).

After the walk, we headed over to get a group picture taken (I don't have a scanner, so I can't include it here, sorry!). Then the Children's NICU reunion as on site as well. I was looking forward to the reunion, but didn't have high hopes about seeing anybody we knew. But it was fabulous. We got to see Peter and Joshua (roommates in the ICC), Jill our social worker, Dr. Brassel, one of Finn's doctors and Kolton and Jonathon (roommates in the NICU). The only one we didn't get to see was Noah, which bummed me out a little bit.

I left the reunion with a great feeling in my heart. These boys, and so many others, all survived and it is because of past walkers and their contributions. The money you all helped us to raise will help babies just like them in the future. It is really amazing. A HUGE THANK YOU TO ALL WHO MADE A DONATION TO OUR WALK!!!! You can still donate if you wanted to and kept putting it off! http://www.marchforbabies.org/sjwalsh97 They accept donations (and we get "credit" for them) through the end of May, I think!

I'll be up at 6:30 tomorrow to give Finn some apple juice before surgery! Milk until 3am and clear liquids until 7am. I didn't think he could last until surgery with nothing. Fingers are crossed that all goes well. We'll try to update as the day goes by, but might not have access.

Saturday, April 24

Another one? Seriously?

It's his ears! We went in for Finn's pre-op physical yesterday afternoon and guess what? He already has a double ear infection again! He was just checked and infection-free on Tuesday. So I guess it is his ears that have been bothering him and causing all the crabbiness. The doctor did not give us another antibiotic because surgery is so close, so hopefully draining the fluid helps the infection. If not, maybe the surgeon will prescribe something on Monday. Argh! Guess this just confirms that tubes NOW is the right decision. Poor guy.

Is it possible for children to develop "lab coat anxiety?" Finn is fine until the nurse or doctor come in the room. Then he starts getting fidgety and then when he has to go on the table, he freaks out and is inconsolable...even if nobody is touching him or examining him. I feel terrible. He does better if he is sitting on my lap, but most professionals prefer the table for the exams. I don't know if Finn thinks he will always get shots when he's on the table or what.

OMG! The Ark's house is amazing! We went to visit the twins (and Maia and their mom, of course!) yesterday before the doctor appt. They had a professional stager come in for a consultation to get the house ready to put on the market. Not that the house was bad before, but holy cow, looks like a different house! Heck, I'd buy it if we could get out from under our ridiculously over inflated mortgage! Ha, ha. If anybody is house hunting in the Brooklyn Center area, let me know and I'll pass along their info.

Thank God for aunties! Finn had been saying "auntie" all day yesterday, so we called Auntie Becca (although, in hind sight, I guess it could have been any one of them!) and left a message saying Finn was asking for her. She called back and offered to watch Finn so Jim and I could go to a movie! What an angel. We dropped Finn off and went to the movie "Date Night" with Steve Carrell and Tina Fey. Awesome movie...super funny. The movie theater by Becky's house has a restaurant in it, so we even got to eat dinner, too (and we got there a little early, so Jim got to play pinball...he was in heaven)! Thank you, auntie Becca (and Pete)!!

Oh and Austin had his 4 year well-child check and when we got there, he had to tell Jim and I that he got a shot and didn't even cry! It was really cute. What a big boy :) And he had to remind us that he is still 4 (just in case we forgot!). Man, I love that kid.

Friday, April 23

You crack me up

Finn has had a tough couple days. I don't know if it is his ears or if he has growing pains or if he is just crabby. But I hate not giving him Mortin. Jim came home last night, so I got a little break (and some companionship!). Sadly, I'm actually getting used to being a single mom during the week. Earlier in the week, I talked to Jim about him traveling so much, and he said it will get better in about three months! What?!?! Yikes.

Finn knows how to "tell" a joke! As you all know "Austin" was his first word. Well, he can now say "Auntie" as well, but it sounds a lot like "Austin." My sisters have been trying to get him to say "Auntie." Now, Finn looks straight at them and says, "Austin." And then laughs and thinks he is so funny! I love it. Of course, he thinks everything he does it pretty funny and has a little chuckle he does (different from when he actually laughs), like "ha, ha, ha." What a goof!

He must have just discovered his tongue. He sticks it out constantly. I think it looks cute, but Jim thinks it makes him look like he has a few screws loose! Whatever! Of course, I haven't been able to catch it on camera yet. He stops every time I take the camera out. Little bugger....I'll get it eventually!

I forgot to mention that Finn and I got to go to Psycho Suzi's again this week! It was our friend, Leah's birthday on Tuesday and she celebrated with happy hour at Psycho's on Wednesday. I thought it was very thoughtful to have it right down the street from our house so it was easy to get Finn there! Ha, ha. It was a tad chilly, but I had bundled Finn up, so he was fine. And he was the center of attention as well (Sorry Leah, hope he didn't steal your thunder!). A yummy tiki drink and red rockets for mommy!

We had our first Preemie class today. I have to admit, it is really weird being there with an older kid. I think I'm dealing better with having a preemie because things just don't seem so "urgent" to me. Not sure if I'm explaining it right. Anyway, there was a baby who was 13 weeks old (7 adjusted) there! So tiny and so cute. I could have just put him in my pocket and brought him home with me...but I didn't, don't worry! It makes me realize that I have no idea how small Finn actually was any more...because this baby looked ridiculously small and he was TEN POUNDS! Yikes.

Speaking of small and cute, we are off to see our favorite twins today! Can't wait to see their house all staged and ready for showings!

Thursday, April 22

Quit hitting yourself

We met with the Occupational Therapist for the Early Intervention team on Monday. She came with our teacher to assess Finn's eating and texture issues. I happily admit, he has come a long way in the last two weeks and is pretty good at self feeding, especially his treats. Because Finn is progressing so well, she is not concerned at this point, but wanted to stay on as part of the team for future assessments. She said to keep trying to feed him textures and giving him lots of opportunities to touch and play with things that feel "different" from what he is used to. I was a little shell shocked because the last time I tried went so horribly, but after working and talking with her, I feel better. She said to just keep trying! Oh and at this point, she does not think a feeding clinic is necessary (yay!).

We introduced Finn to whole milk on Friday! And he loves it. He isn't completely sure about drinking it out of a sippy cup yet, but from a bottle, he doesn't even seem to notice it is different than his formula. That is one thing I am very thankful for...he has always drank whatever we gave him (breast milk, Neosure, Similiac, Target brand, etc.). I think once this monster can of formula is gone, we will just do whole milk! On the one hand, I couldn't be happier to be done with forumla (yuck, I hate the stuff), but on the other hand, it is just one more step away from babyhood. Next it will be getting rid of the bottles. Where does the time go?

Finn was a crabby boy yesterday, which is unusual for him. Whiney...yes, but crabby...not usually. He pulled on his ears several times and I KNOW there isn't an infection since he was seen two days ago. BUT I can't give him Motrin because of the upcoming surgery. Poor guy. I did give him Tylenol in the afternoon and that seemed to help a little. Tylenol just isn't as effective at Motrin. ECFE in the afternoon was interesting. We finally had to leave early because nothing made Finn happy. I think he just needed time to himself and a nap. I did manage to ask about Finn hitting himself. Lately, he hits himself in the head with his hands or whatever he is playing with. The teacher said this is normal and another way for them to experience a new sensation and explore their environment. She said to not make a big deal out of it unless, obviously, the toy is big or harmful in some way. Good to know, but I still don't like his whomping himself! Oh, well. He is a boy afterall, right?!?!

One more thing, I entered a photo of Finn in another photo contest! I know, I'm terrible, but this one is locally sponsored by the Star Tribune and there are "only" 2000 entries. Starting Monday, April 19, they feature 200 new photos each day for 10 days, Monday — Friday. Five winners from each day of voting will move to Top 50. Finn is in Round 4, which is today Thu, Apr 22 2010 10:00 AM - Fri, Apr 23 2010 9:00 AM. Registered voters can vote once per hour (it takes two seconds to register!). Starting at 10am this morning, click on the link and then click on "vote now." Find Finn's picture (which is on page 15) and vote for him once an hour until tomorrow at 9am (well, you can sleep at some point, I guess!). Let's try to get him in the Top 50!!!

http://startribune.upickem.net/engine/Welcome.aspx?contestid=15579

Wednesday, April 21

Surgery #3

Finn and I went to the ENT yesterday morning and Finn is getting tubes...on MONDAY! First things first.

The ear infection from earlier this month had cleared up but both ears were still full of fluid. The doctor said we had two options. 1. wait a month and see if the fluid cleared on its own or 2. get tubes. I asked what he recommended and he said normally, he would have us wait but because Finn was a preemie (and they tend to have ear problems) and because he is concerned about Finn's hearing, he recommends tubes right away. I knew Jim was okay with getting tubes, so I agreed.

We went to scheduling and she asked when we were available. I said earliest available (the Dr had said they were scheduling about a month out), but we are flying in early May and I didn't know if we should wait until after that. She said they recommend getting the tubes BEFORE you fly to help with the pressure. SO, she called Children's and squeezed us in on Monday at 10:30am. I'm not looking forward to another surgery, but honestly, this one is so minor compared to his others that I think I'll be able to handle it. Plus, I checked with Jim and he can be in town and available (thank God!).

The only glitch we had is that Finn needs a pre-op physical with our pediatrician before surgery and there wasn't any openings with such short notice. They did some rearranging and are able to get us in on Friday at 2:30pm (not with our doctor, but I'll take it!).

We aren't sure if Finn will be out of swimming lessons for a week or more (I really wasn't prepared with the proper questions!). I talked to the doctor's nurse and she said he may need to be fitted for ear plugs, but to talk to the doctor about it on Monday before his surgery. Just one more thing to figure out, right?!?! The good news is they can fit him right there in the doctor's office and we should be able to go home with the plugs.

Tuesday, April 20

Gone forever

Is something different? Other than Finn's sad face in the second picture?

The major news is that my baby had his first hair cut!! Left is before and right is after (duh!). We were going to do it on Sunday, but we decided to do it after his party on Saturday. Thinking I had another day to prepare myself, I was not ready. But looking back now, I would never have been ready. Auntie NaeNae sat him down, put a cape on him and started buzzing! I got a decent sized lock for his baby book, of course.

Overall, Finn did really well...much better than I thought he would do (and better than I did at the beginning anyway!). He HATES things that vibrate...vacuum cleaner, food processor, blender, etc. And considering the clipper was going to be so near him, I thought he would freak. He wasn't too sure what was going on and Auntie got about 90% done before he started losing it. So, she stopped and then touched the rest up on Sunday morning. What a professional!

He looks so old! And so cute! I honestly love it. Washing and drying his hair last night was super easy and I didn't have to think about how it was going to dry. This is a big step away from babyhood.

Before she left on Sunday, auntie also cut mommy's hair...about 2 1/2 inches! And it is PERFECT. It JUST fits into a pony tail and she thinned the heck out of it, which I really needed. She has skills, what can I say?!?!

Monday, April 19

THANK YOU

Thank you just doesn't even come close to the gratitude we feel towards all of our wonderful family and friends. I hope that capitalizing it makes it seem bigger and more important some how! This was a huge day for me (I know I should say "Finn") but something lifted off my shoulders. I feel like maybe I can start feeling like a "normal" parent now instead of a parent of a preemie. I know there is no such thing as "normal" and Finn has a long way to go to "catch up" still, but I feel like a new person and a new mom. God continues to amaze me with all of His blessings and the people with which He has surrounded us. None of you will ever truly know how much your support has carried and lifted us through the last year and few months. With tears in my eyes, again I say, "THANK YOU!"

Okay, on to the birthday celebration and pictures (which is what all of you want anyway!). Everything could not have been more perfect. The weather was perfect, Finn napped at the perfect times and was happy and tolerated everything well, we had an amazing turn out and must be the most blessed people ever. The only things I forgot were 1. ice cream for the cake (boo, I like ice cream with cake!) and 2. to wrap and give Finn his presents from us (oops!). Neither one was a big deal, so I call it a success! Oh and I locked my keys in my car when picking up the balloons, which sucked, but since the party place was close to home, Jim came to my rescue.

I think you'll agree that the cake was AMAZING! Auntie Kristine out did herself this time!Everything on the plate is cake or fondant (except the candle and two dowels for structural support!). I don't know how she does it. Finn loved it when he saw it (as did everybody for the matter). I think it was the show stopper.

Finn wasn't too sure what to do right away when we put the cake in front of him, but quickly figured it out and made quite a dent in it. He loved the chocolate cake (no surprise there!).

He doesn't look too messy in these pictures, but he managed to get yellow frosting and chocolate cake all over himself and his clothes. So after a quick sponge bath upstairs and a wardrobe change, we moved on to opening presents.

Holy presents, Batman! Everybody was very very generous to our little boy. He got so much stuff, I don't think he will be able to use or play with everything he got in a year (well, maybe Austin can help him!).Finn got the concept of ripping the wrapping paper a lot better than he did this winter. The only problem was that he wanted to open and play with each present and forget about opening the rest! We were able to divert his attention and move things along. We had lots of little helpers, too! Finn is one very lucky boy to have so many people who love him.

We have one more major thing to mention, but I'll wait until tomorrow! Hee, hee.

Friday, April 16

Chocolate monster

We had PT with our new physical therapist, Julie, yesterday. It started out very rocky, but by about halfway through, Finn warmed up and even flirted a little bit. We'd had Julie once before and it is hard to get a good impression after only one appointment, but I think I like her. I told her Finn's doctors concerns about his gross motor skills (or the lack there of) and she agreed. So, we are going back to weekly PT at Gillette (instead of every other week). I feel that even though it is obviously a pain to go more often, it is a good decision at least until he is crawling and making moves towards walking. We will get there eventually even if Finn is kicking and screaming, figuratively speaking of course. I also asked about the Occupational Therapy/feeding clinic stuff. There hadn't been any follow up (I guess that happens where there is a transition), so hopefully next week we can find a little more out.

My friend Jess came over last night and brought Finn a wonderful birthday present (thanks again, Jess...he LOVES it!), pizza for dinner and cupcakes for Finn's birthday! He didn't make a huge mess, but managed to eat quite a bit of it. He is a choco-holic and I don't know how since Jim and I don't really like chocolate that much. He'll have to get his fix from aunties and grandmas, which I don't think will be a problem.

My mom came last night and is staying until tomorrow. So nice to have the extra help, especially with Jim being gone. And Finn loves having her here. Sam came over again today and thatched (or de-thatched...not sure which is appropriate) our yard. Man, did it need it! He did it twice (or maybe three times) and is coming back to do it again. Oops, guess that's what happens when it isn't done for over 2 and a half years! He also left his pressure washer. I can't wait to get working on the deck and clean the siding, but it'll have to wait until after the party. Boo. It feels so good to get things done! Thanks, Sam :)

Daddy's on his way home right now! Yay! Poor guy, I have a list a mile long to give him when he walks in the door. Hee, hee.

Thursday, April 15

Happy second 1st!

Most kids only get one first birthday, but Finn gets (and has earned!) two! It is his adjusted first birthday today. Man, what a crazy 15 1/2 months it has been, but I honestly wouldn't change our long, curvy and bumpy road because it has gotten us to today and we have a wonderful, happy, fun little boy...who may actually start crawling any day now :) Happy birthday, little man. Mommy and daddy love you more than you'll ever know.

In the last day or so, Finn has officially started army crawling. It is the funniest, most awkward thing ever, but he slowly inches forward and is so proud of himself. As with all things with Finn, he does it when he has the right motivation. So far, puff treats seem to work best! Is it wrong that I let my son eat off the floor in the name of learning to crawl?!?! I'm picking my battles and eating on the floor isn't one of them...yet anyway!

A belated happy birthday to Grandpa Egg (my dad) whose birthday was yesterday. And also our favorite Stacey whose birthday was also yesterday! Sorry the Twins game was soggy and they lost, but hope you still had fun! Our favorite Indiana mom, Meytal shares Finn "adjusted" birthday today...so happy birthday to you, too! Too bad we can't celebrate together today. My aunt Angie's birthday is tomorrow, so an early happy birthday to you, too! Sheesh! I'm telling you, April is birthday craziness...July must be so hot, people stay in the A/C! Ha, ha.

We had ECFE yesterday afternoon. It was a good session where we talked about doctor visits and being your child's advocate. It is a touchy subject for me, obviously, but I was able to not dominate the conversation and just add comments/suggestions where appropriate. One mom of preemie twins had just gotten back from their well-child visit and was upset about their lack of weight gain. I know EXACTLY how she felt. But they are very healthy and active, so they will be fine. Her doctor just told her to add butter to everything...weird! I told her to add fortified formula to their milk, seems a little healthier to me than butter!

Auntie Becca and Austin came over yesterday after class. It was rainy so we didn't get to play at the park, but we decided we didn't want to make dinner and headed over to Psycho Suzi's where Pete met us for dinner. Yummy! We don't eat there often because it is kind of expensive, but their drinks are to die for and I'd eat the red rockets (mini corn dog type things) every day if I didn't mind weighing 400 pounds!

Jim is gone again this week. This time he is still in MN, but gone until Friday. Hopefully he will get back at a decent time on Friday since we have to get ready for the big party on Saturday!

Tuesday, April 13

I have a new "honey"

I've been slacking a little in blogger world. Sorry! Jim's flight did get in on time on Friday night, so we were able to spend some time with Austin at Chuck E Cheese. Austin's birthday party on Saturday went very well. He had a blast and got lots of great presents. He even got a pinata filled with candy and toys. Finn liked all the kids running around and he LOVED the balloons.

Auntie Kristine took Finn home with her for the night after the birthday party so Jim and I could help John celebrate his birthday, which was on Saturday. Did I mention April is a SUPER busy birthday month for us? We met John and Kelsie and Jim and John's cousins Dave and Matt at Dave and Busters for dinner, drinks and lots of games. I hope John had a good birthday!

Sunday Auntie NaeNae and Nick stopped by on their way back home for a quick visit...and to color my hair. Thanks, sista! It really needed it. Jim is so funny, later Sunday night he says, "The color looks really good and makes you look so much younger!" Um, no, that would be because the gray is covered up! Ha, ha. Too funny. Then Memere came to stay over night! Finn was completely on family overload...but loving every second of it. Memere watched Finn so Jim and I could get some groceries and pick up a new faucet at Home Depot.

Which leads me to the post title...my "honey do" list is getting done but not by Jim! Our friend Sam does, well, everything around the house and construction (he did our master bathroom and finished our basement) and he came over today to install our new kitchen faucet! I'm so happy. The sprayer hadn't been working for months and Jim tried to hook the hose up to the faucet on Saturday (don't ask me!) and afterwards the water was spraying in every direction any time you turned it on! Oh, Jim! Our new faucet has the sprayer built in...LOVE IT! Sam also installed a new back screen door (something that has needed to be done since we moved in TWO AND A HALF YEARS AGO!). And now he is coming back later this week to de-thatch our lawn and let me borrow his power washer so I can repaint both decks. I love when things get done! If you need somebody to do things on your "honey do" list, let me know and I'll pass along his information. He does amazing work. I've never been disappointed yet! Oh and he fixed my vacuum cleaner for me, too!

Last night Auntie Becca and Austin came over for a little bit before basketball (Pete and Jim play on a city league team together in Plymouth). Finn and I couldn't go because the game didn't start until 7:15 and I knew Finn would be a bear before the end. They have one or two games at 6:15 which we should be able to make.

Finn loves to play with balls and here he is playing with Auntie. I think Austin was in time out for this picture, but it is cute nonetheless! Glad you guys came over.

Friday, April 9

4? It can't be!

As usual, Finn and I have been busy bees. I like to schedule things to do when Jim is gone, but this is getting ridiculous...just kidding. I love having places to go and people to see...my cup runneth over.

We had ECFE on Wednesday afternoon. I eventually had to wake Finn up to go. I was going to let him sleep (he had gotten his shots in the morning and was pretty tired), but finally at 1:15, I woke him up since class starts at 1pm! Luckily we live about 10 minutes or less from class. I learned something new at class, which is EXACTLY why I love going. We talk about sleep, or the lack there of, all time in class. Well this week, we were talking more about sleep "schedules" and the teacher mentioned that it is very common for babies to wake up in the morning, eat and need their morning nap right away. I never knew this and couldn't figure out why Finn was crabby after being up for an hour or so. Well, now I don't "feel bad" putting him down for his morning nap a little earlier! Hmmm, who knew?!?! Sometimes you just need an expert to tell you your instincts are "right."

Yesterday Finn and I went over to visit Stacey and Dillon, who didn't have school yesterday or today. It was a great visit, as usual, but the time always goes by too fast. It must have tuckered Finn out because he fell asleep on the way home (which he normally doesn't do) and slept for two more hours when we got home! He woke up just in time for Grandma to get here! He was in heaven all night...undivided attention. Then it got even better when Grandma was still here this morning when he woke up! When I see how happy Finn is when his grandparents are here, I wish we didn't live so far from them...but we aren't moving any time soon ;)

Oh and of course a REALLY SUPER BIG happy birthday to Finn's favorite person in the whole world...Austin! My little tiny itty bitty nephew turns 4 today! Where does the time go? Wasn't Becky just pregnant? Nope, I guess not :) Grandma is spending the day with Austin today and then coming here to watch Finn tonight so Jim and I can go to Chuck E Cheese to celebrate with Austin (Austin's "real" party is tomorrow). Hope Jim's flight gets in on time!

Thursday, April 8

15 month well(?) child

Finn and I went to his 15 month well child appointment yesterday. I know all parents say this, but how can he possibly be 15 months old already?!?! His doctor and I really treated it like a 12 month well child appointment, so we talked a lot about food, milk, development, vocabulary, etc. She was astounded at the number of words Finn was saying, which made a momma proud! He may not be crawling, but he is talking ;) I can now introduce whole milk, but keep using formula for a while, too, just to make sure he is getting enough calories and nutrients. Yay, some day in the near future...no more formula!!

We also talked about Finn's problems with textures, both touching and in his mouth, and his inability to self feed. She was fairly concerned, but not concerned like there is a huge problem, more concerned like, let's get this figured out. So she highly recommended Finn go to a feeding clinic. They have one at Children's, but it has a long wait to get in. I told her I'd mentioned it to his PT at Gillette, so I'm going to see what they have to say next week at PT. He is making small improvements in that area, so I don't know if it is completely necessary, but I'm not an expert by any means. In all honesty, we probably should have done this months ago, but I kept hoping he would "just get it" on his own. Oh, the powers of self doubt as a parent.

I mentioned that he is still hacking and a little snotty from his respiratory problems three and a half weeks ago. So she looked back in his chart and said that his croup test came back positive! I have to admit, I was angry. Why didn't they call to tell me? Babies, especially preemies, often can end up in the hospital from croup. Argh. Thankfully that didn't happen, but I still would like to know so we know what we are dealing with. Anyway, she said that if he isn't better in a week, to bring him back in. I feel like he is slowly getting better and coughing less and less each day, so hopefully that won't be necessary.

Finn had been pulling on his ears for a little over a week but I didn't bring him in because I thought it was still just the fluid in them. WELL...nope, he has an infection in both ears! Again, I wish he showed more signs of discomfort so I would know when I should bring him in. So he is back on antibiotics and she said it is time to see the ENT. Finn has had four ear infections since November, which is a lot. Plus, it seems like the fluid just isn't clearing up, so the infections will just continue. I just want to fix it sooner rather than later.

She also suggested going back to PT every week just so Finn "gets" the gross motor stuff quicker. I explained that on top of Gillette PT, EI PT comes every two weeks, too. She said that was probably fine, but again, I'll discuss with PT next week. Oh, so much to remember! I really like it when Jim is able to go along to these appointments because there is so much information to remember.

The important thing to remember is that Finn is healthy. His height and weight curves remain steady, which is what we are looking for. Okay, I'd like his height curve to jump up a bit, but you can't have every thing :) His head was 18.11 which was around the 20% percentile for his ACTUAL age! Poor guy has a large noggin. He was 27.2" long, which was between and 1st and 3rd percentile for adjusted age. He weighted 20 pounds 1 ounce which puts him in the 10th percentile for adjusted age. He also got three shots, which he made very clear that he didn't appreciate. He's just truckin' along.

Wednesday, April 7

One thing after another

Finn initiated and signed "eat" the other day! He didn't want to take an afternoon nap (which seems to be a common occurrence lately) so we went for a walk to the store. I knew he was tired during the walk, but he hardly ever falls asleep in the stroller (at least he is still good while he is IN the stroller!). When we got home, I picked him up and said, "nigh night, Finn?" He looked right at me and signed eat! Which was funny because it WAS time for him to eat. I said, "Yup, you're right, let's eat and THEN go nigh night." I love being able to at least primitively communicate with him.

And he fed himself yesterday afternoon! Well a treat, not the whole meal! I was cleaning for the Pampered Chef party and he was playing in the living room. We had put puff snacks in his eggs so they made noise when he shook them (but if he opened them, there would be no choking hazard). So there were several puffs on the rug. I looked down and he inched forward to grab one and tried to put it in his mouth! This is HUGE for us. We have been trying so hard to get him to do this. Jim found the proper motivation (thin mints of all things!) the previous night, so we knew Finn could do it. The problem now is that he can't release them properly, so they don't usually end up in his mouth and he gets frustrated. I don't mind helping him when he is trying so hard. Plus, the more he does it, the better he will get!!! Every baby step is a milestone for us!

Tuesday, April 6

On the road again

Well, daddy is gone again! He is in South Carolina today through Thursday and in Michigan Thursday and Friday. Then flying home in time to go to Chuck E Cheese with Austin for his birthday! Then he is going to Grand Rapids, MN Wednesday through Friday the following week! I'm really hoping that there is a travel break after that! It is hard being a part-time single parent. Luckily, I have the best family and friends who keep me occupied while Jim is gone. And I'm lucky because Finn is such a good boy. He definitely knows when Jim is gone, but at least he doesn't act up because of it (not yet anyway!).

Jim and Finn went on a "boys" trip to Home Depot last night. Jim needed to look at what they had for styrofoam and he took Finn with. It was a nice little break for me! Here are my big boys with their big boy hats on: We got this Gopher hat for Finn maybe 9 or more months ago. It is an "infant" size and just now fits him! And he left it on the whole time they were gone, Jim said! Now if I can just get him to leave his sunglasses on, we'd be set. He likes to play with them too much.

Since Finn has teeth now, we decided we should start the good habit of brushing his teeth regularly. So the Easter Bunny brought him his very own (age appropriate) toothbrush and toothpaste! Jim did it with him first and then he grabbed the toothbrush and brushed his teeth by himself! He even did the back and forth motion!

I uploaded pictures to our picture website so they are current as of yesterday. Have a look. Lots of Easter pics! (link also on the left)

Monday, April 5

Inch worm

Lots to talk about. Maybe I'll pace myself and save some for tomorrow. First and most importantly, Finn crawled last night. Okay, not fully, but he was working SO hard to get to his Easter egg and he was able to go about a foot and a half forward to grab it. It was the closest to crawling I have ever seen him. He just couldn't coordinate getting his knees under himself, supporting his body with his arms and moving every other one to go forward. But he is getting it! It is an Easter miracle! Of course, no video. Sorry. We were so caught up in the moment, we didn't even think of it. Here is one picture Jim snapped at the last minute (don't mind Jim's toe!):We celebrated Easter with my mom's family in Bloomington at my cousin Joe's place yesterday. This was an important event in Finn's life because this was the first family event he got to attend! Many of my aunts, uncles and cousins had never met Finn, so it was a fun day to introduce him to everybody. I forget how big my family is until we all get together like that. We didn't make it to Christmas or Thanksgiving this year, so last Easter was the last time I had seen many of them and it was great to catch up. Oh and before going to Easter, the three of us went to church and Finn was a super naughty boy! To his credit, he was really tired and just wanted to go home to bed. He was sleeping seconds after Jim put him in bed; which made us a little late to Easter because we were planning on going right there instead of stopping at home for a nap...oh, well. Children have schedules of their own.

Here is Finn's Easter basket. The Easter bunny didn't come last year as seeing how Finn had been home from the hospital for one week at that point. So Jim and I got to pick a basket out this year...the closest one to a duck that we could find (I think it is actually a chick...but Finn doesn't really know the difference). The Easter bunny made up for last year. Finn got eggs filled with puff treats, a chick and a bunny that make animal noises, a nerf mini football, a light-up rubber ducky, and his very own toothbrush and toothpaste! He loved all of it.

We did a little "Easter egg hunt" in the living room and Finn loved that, too. We just put the eggs around the room and he went to get them. Here Finn is "finding" one of his eggs:Finn discovering all the wonderful things in his Easter basket. Don't mind the naked baby pics (I can't remember why Finn didn't have any clothes on...oh, well!)
Finn playing with this light-up rubber ducky (it was a big hit!).

Believe it or not, this IS the short version! Ha, ha.

Friday, April 2

Naps are for babies, um yeah!

I got through April Fools without one prank being pulled on me! Yay. I don't like April Fool's Day because I'm such a sucker. We had PT in the morning. It was our last appt with Katie so it was a little bitter sweet. At least Finn decided to cooperate and not cry the whole time like last session. We brought her flowers because I want her to know how much we appreciate everything she has done. Finn was a super star. We worked on transitioning into and out of sitting and pulling up to standing. As with all things with Finn, if we found the right motivation, he did great; which tells me he CAN do these things, he just choses not to most of the time. Argh. I also talked to Katie about Finn's inability to self feed. She asked an occupational therapist for some quick input. The OT said that, yes, at 11 1/2 months, Finn should be self feeding, but she didn't have time to sit down and eleborate or get more details. Katie was going to talk with her and put a recommendation note in Finn's file. He may need to do the feeding clinic, at which point if he does, we will stop PT for three months. Argh...which one is better? I'm sure they will help with some input.

Then yesterday afternoon Lorry and Emma came over to play and for dinner. Lorry got a new car...a Chrysler 300C...which was AWESOME! I took it around the block and man does that thing have power. It was funny. She was showing me the features and I kept thinking, "wow, this is a lot like my car." Um duh! They are both Chryslers!

Finn's new thing this week is not taking an afternoon nap. Which would be fine with me if he didn't NEED an afternoon nap. Then he is crabby all afternoon and evening and ends up taking a nap between 6 and 6:30! Argh. Thank God it is nice out and taking a nice long walk makes him happy (at least WHILE we are walking that is!). I don't know if it is because he is still getting over the respiratory infection from two weeks ago or if he may have another ear infection or the fluid in his ears didn't go away. I just don't know. We have his 15 month (holy crap...15 months already?!?!) well-child appointment next Wednesday, so I'm hoping whatever it is can wait until then. That is one thing about Finn, I wish he would complain and show signs of distress a little more when he is in pain or hurting. He just doesn't really complain, so how do I know if it is worth a trip to the doctor. Argh!