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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.

Monday, December 30

2013 - a year in review

Here is a video clip that Google Plus put together of various pictures and videos I've taken over the last year. I thought it was really neat to see and I hope you enjoy as well (I hope you can view it since I'm linking directly from the source).

https://picasaweb.google.com/106162675812290445107/122713?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCLX3zonl5emekQE&feat=directlink
12/27/13
https://picasaweb.google.com/data/feed/base/user/106162675812290445107/albumid/5962166230944882113?alt=rss&kind=photo&authkey=Gv1sRgCLX3zonl5emekQE&hl=en_US

Saturday, November 9

Monster Cookie Bars

What you need:
1 stick Butter
1 cup White Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
3 Eggs
1-½ cup of Chunky Peanut Butter
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
4-½ cups Oatmeal
1 package (12 Oz. Size) Mini Chocolate Chips
1 package (12 Oz. Size) of milk chocolate M&M's (we prefer Reese's Pieces)

Make it:
1. Combine the butter and sugars, blend well
2. Blend in eggs one at a time and baking soda
3. Add peanut butter in mix and blend until smooth
4. Then one cup at a time, mix in oatmeal
5. Slowly add in the M&M’s and chocolate chips (if you are using a mixer, don't over mix or candies will break)
6. Spread in a well greased 10x15 pan for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees– do not overbake! These taste better just a little on the soft side. Store in an airtight container.

So much easier than cookies...and just as good (if not better because they stay chewy).

Monday, September 9

Magic

Other than almost burning down the house on Friday, working from home is going well! I decided to take a quick break to bake some banana bread (or :boo-nana bwed," as Korri says!). Let's just say I should have 1. used bigger pans (it spilled all over). 2. attempted to clean up the spillage right away. 3. NOT tried running the clean cycle immediately after baking the bread with the spillage still in it! The entire main floor filled with smoke but I set up a relay system with the fans and it blew it out rather quickly. But man, that smell stays around for a long time. On the bright side, other than looking funny, the bread was really good (even JIM said so!).

Maybe I should complain (I like to call it venting!) more often...Korri slept through the night both nights this weekend! Sweet. She still gets up early, but I think we may need to consider room darkening shades for her room. Overall, the transition to a big girl bed went about as well as we could have hoped. Now I hope that trend continues. This is how I found her when I went to bed last night...half on and half off!


AND...Korri didn't cry this morning before daycare or during drop off! I am so proud of her. She was somewhat distracted because it was raining out and her feet got wet, but I'll take it! Finn has a mildly bad cough (does that make sense?!?!), so I don't know if he is sleeping very well and seems out of sorts. I mentioned it to his teacher when I dropped him off this morning. I thought about bringing him into the doctor late last week but Jim thought it was just a cough...then it got worse yesterday and this morning, he was wheezing. Oh, I hate sick kids...darn new daycare germs! It isn't nearly as bad as the adjustment to our old daycare...remember that? Korri's skin practically blistered and fell off! See, things can always be worse. Jim made the kids some "honey tea" for their coughs and I thought it looked funny, like they were drinking coffee:


And finally, once I realized that I wouldn't be able to watch the Vikings at home unless we got cable, the DirectTV guy came and installed it on Friday. What an ordeal that was, but the best part? It went out at Noon yesterday...yes just before kickoff of the Vikings game! Jim worked his magic (I'm SO thankful he is good at that stuff!!) and was able to finagle a signal to our basement TV and we got to watch the last 3 minutes of the first half and the second half, if you can call it a second half! Terrible game and we missed the only parts that were worth watching. Oh, well.

Thursday, September 5

Because people keep asking

Yes, I have a new work schedule! I met with my boss and his boss last Thursday and we decided it was okay for me to work from home...part time. On a trial basis with an evaluation after one month, I will be working in the office Mondays (because Jim usually doesn't travel until Tuesday if he can help it) and Wednesdays (because it is my heavy meeting day) and from home the other three days. I think it is the most I could hope for right now and we'll see how it goes. I looked into the bus option but am hesitant to pursue it. I like having the flexibility a car gives you but I DON'T like driving the whole way (I would get on in Wayzata, I think). We'll see how that plays out. Oh and no update on the permanent position. I guess we'll just wait and see.

Bedtime update: if I'm completely honest, which I don't WANT to be, things are better. Going to bed is MUCH better and most nights, Korri only gets up once to go potty...even if she JUST went potty! Oh, well. I'll give her that one little concession. And things are fine until midnight or so. Then she gets up for who knows what reason! Last night I was up with her FOUR times and Jim was up with her TWO! Seriously. And then she was up at 6:15 and I said, "heck no!" I told her she had to go back into her room until it was light out (thank GOD it is getting light later now!). It worked and she didn't wake up until after 8! I'm just not used to getting interrupted sleep like this. I know it will get better (or at least HOPE it will). I think the other thing that is hard for us is that Finn is and always has been such a good sleeper that we don't know how to deal with this "new" behavior. Hopefully we figure it out together and if not, the knob locks I ordered from Amazon should be here soon and then she'll HAVE to stay in her room!

Overall, daycare is going great! Finn is 100% adjusted and LOVES it (although he does talk about his "old" daycare once in a while). Korri is having a really hard time with drop off and the time leading up to drop off. As soon as she hears the word "daycare" she starts crying and says she doesn't want to go. Then once we get there, she clings until we hand her over to her teacher and then she screams. I know it is part of the transition (hey, this little girl has had a LOT of transitions over the last two months!) but it breaks my heart. She asked me this morning if she could just stay home with me. Oh, I wish, little girl, but I'd get NOTHING done!

Because I hate a post without a pic, snuggles with Finn this morning!

Tuesday, August 27

Big girl bed!

One of the promises associated with us moving was that Finn got to transition to what he calls "Austin's bed" (a twin sized bed) and Korri transition from her crib to Finn's toddler bed! This is about 6 months earlier than Finn did, but in addition to it being a bribe (shame on us!) for her to want to move, she is also potty training at night and needs to be able to get out of bed. So, necessity, I guess, but I feel like she is too young and I had anxiety about it.

Night #1: After talking to her endlessly over the last few months about how when you have a big girl bed, you need to stay in it and not get out, etc, I hoped she was ready. She did okay, but bed time was really late and both kids pretty much passed out, I think. She woke up around 1pm soaked through but did stay in her bed until we came to her.

Night #2: She was braver and got up from bed, but stayed in her room and did NOT want to go to sleep. She finally did and woke up at some point (can't remember when) to yell for me and then go potty in the bathroom. She has a potty chair in her room, but prefers to go in the toilet.

Night #3: Would NOT go to sleep and would NOT stay in her room! She couldn't open the knobs at our old house but can here. She finally fell asleep (who knows what time?!?!) on the floor of her room. Oh, well. At least she was sleeping. She slept through until 4am, until she needed to go potty. Progress, I guess.

Night #4 (last night): We talked again about how big girls stay in their rooms (I've given up on the hope that she will stay IN her bed) and after Jim put her to bed, she needed to go potty (she has mastered stalling...something Finn hardly ever did or does) but stayed in her room until I open her door. She had to point out immediately that she stayed in her room and I told her that she did a good job. And she slept through the night (or the lack of sleep finally caught up with me and I didn't hear her?!?!).

Definitely progress. I hate change. I hate transitions. We had such a nice routine before we moved, but there is hope that things will calm down again. Finn loves his big kid bed and looks so darn tiny in it! It has rails, but we thought they would be harder for him to get down and he doesn't fall out of his bed often, if ever, so we didn't install them. He was sleeping IN his bed with the light on and door open when I went up to bed last night. Hey, at this point, as long as he is sleeping, I don't care!

I have pics of Koko in her big girl bed, but they are on the camera, of course.

Yesterday was the first day of their new daycare. Jim dropped them off because on Sunday night at 9:30pm I found out I had to go into work for a meeting the following morning! Argh. My drive sucks (about an hour and 15 minutes). Jim said the kids did well at drop off and were so excited to get there. When we arrived to pick them up, they wanted to tell us all about their day and show us all the projects they worked on. Finn's note said, "We thoroughly enjoyed having Finn in our classroom!" And that his favorite activity was meeting and playing with new friends. Success! Seriously, our kids are amazing. I love their ability to adapt and enjoy new things. Korri's note said they learned about "Y" and the number "6," and her favorite activity was making a caterpillar (which she talked about several times after we left!). I'm sure we may still have some transition issues, but day #1 at daycare was a HUGE success!

Monday, August 26

Homeless no more

We are no longer homeless! Well, thankfully family took us all in so we weren't ACTUALLY homeless, but we are home owners again. In true form, the sellers had to cause problems right until the bitter end (even as we were signing the papers...thankfully they weren't there, though). But, we should not have to deal with them again and we have a wonderful house and yard to live in, so we can't complain too much.

We signed the paperwork Thursday afternoon and all of our PODS were delivered before we got back to the house. Pam, Marty, Auntie Becca and Uncle Pete (with families!) all came over to help unload the PODS. Holy moly...they were efficient. Jim and I started unloading at 5pm and ALL SEVEN were empty by around 8:30! Not bad at all! Thank you SO MUCH for coming over during the week to help. We could NOT have done it without you.

Friday morning, we made a list of things we needed and headed to the store. And when we got back, we found out that the previous owners had given us keys to the front door deadbolt but NOT the handle! So, for an hour and a half and one trip to the hardware store, Jim broke in the door...yes, as in the lock was smashed in and the door was splintered vertically! What a fiasco that was. The kids (along with Memere and Grandpa) arrive early afternoon. It was SO good to have them back with us and they absolutely LOVE the house. It helps that the basement has all their toys they haven't seen since April and is otherwise empty, so they can play and play unhindered. Lynn helped a ton and then they headed back home for what I assume is some much needed peace and quiet (who can blame them?!?! LOL) on Friday night. My mom came after work (only a little over an hour from her work...sweet!) and pretty much unpacked 90% of our kitchen by herself over the course of the weekend. She is amazing. We still have lots to do, but at least we can live somewhat normally, if not still very unorganized :) NeNe and Uncle Les came over on Saturday; she helped wash and organize our china and Les was the self-appointed Installer (towel racks, CO detectors, ceiling fans, etc.).

We are SO happy to be in our house TOGETHER. And we are so thankful for all the help we've gotten over the last few days (well, actually last few MONTHS!).



Austin, Lilly and Levi watching a DVD and enjoying the cushions and open space in the living room.
 Finn and Korri playing downstairs (didn't take long to get this messy, trust me!!):

Wednesday, August 21

What Should a 4 Year Old Know?

I have to admit, I sometimes get caught up in the who does what and how much and how often and how far, especially as a parent. And I HATE that I do. Why is it that we somehow take our worth as parents and feel like we've done a good job if our kid is "above average" with something? I have done a really good job of NOT comparing Finn to his peers with his gross motor skills. It was hard but the day (VERY early on) I came to terms with the fact that Finn WOULD do these things, but just on a different time frame, I could give it up and not stress about his physical ability (or lack thereof). I still brought him endlessly to physical therapy to give him the helping hand he needed, but it was with a sense of nurturing, not pushing.

But I think to offset it, I took great pride in his AMAZING speech, vocabulary and intellect. Like, "See, I AM a good parent, because my kid...blah, blah, blah." How faulty that way of thinking is, but it is so ingrained into our society, that I truly don't think we think about it. I AM proud of Finn's (and Korri's too, for that matter!) ability and I DO worry about his inabilities, but none of it is a reflection of me as a parent. I've learned to be a strong and ever-present advocate for my children and THAT is what you should take pride in as a parent. I'm there. I notice. And I DO something when needed. I ask lots of questions to people who know more than I do on any topic, I get help when needed, I seek treatments or therapy in areas where they struggle, I encourage them when they think they can't do things, I point out how strong, smart and beautiful each of them are, I hug and kiss them every single day and I tell him how important they are and how much I love them.

A friend on Facebook shared this article and it really got me thinking. My kids ARE happy and know they are loved. I say "I'm sorry" to them when the situation warrants it, which lets them know they are valued and that it is okay to question adults. I think THAT is truly the crowning achievement as a parent. I want to create an environment for my kids where they can grow up to be well-adjusted, happy adults. One-upping each other as parents isn't going to accomplish that goal! Here's to raising "average," happy children. Feel free to read if you want a reminder on just that!

What Should a 4 Year Old Know?

Monday, August 19

Cornfest 2013

Thursday night, Kelsie and I went to a movie..Airplanes! Yes, the new animated Disney movie and no, we didn't have kids with us. But it did make me miss my kids a lot. This movie is in the same spirit as Cars, but it is rated PG (Cars and Cars 2 were G). Finn has yet to go to the theater to see a movie and I thought this one might be a good option. But Finn is very sensitive, especially when it comes to movies and noise, so I wanted to see it first. There were some scary moments but nothing violent. Personally, I think Cars 2 was FAR more violent. And it was super cute with the message about perseverance and overcoming your fears. So, I think once we are moved in, Jim and I will take Finn on a date (Koko will probably get a date with Nene!). I can't wait. Both Jim and I LOVE going to movies and I'm looking forward to the day when we can do it as a family, especially for something to do in the winter. Thanks for the date, Kelsie!

Jim and I headed out on Friday a little early since it was Cornfest weekend! We LOVE Cornfest and now that we have kids, it is even more fun. And to make the weekend even more special, Grandma Kathy came, too! The weather was beautiful and while the kids were somewhat crabby on and off, they were pretty good considering they've been displaced for over three weeks and their schedules were a little off. And to make it even more super duper extra special...Austin and Ben were staying with Grandma Mary so we got to spend some time with them, too! It really was just a great weekend. The kids played Bingo and Austin and Finn did the dunk tank (they let Finn go up and push the lever!). The food was really good this year (has been hit or miss in the past) and Finn and Korri both liked the chili cook off. I honestly think my kids thought the Lakeside park was the best part...which they can play at any time! Oh, well. The more physically fit in our family (i.e. Kelsie and uncle Les!) even ran the 5K Sunday morning. Then, as always, the weekend is capped off with the parade. It was nice that Austin helped Finn and Korri get candy because it was during their nap time and both were super tired by the end. Austin has it down to a science and his hands can hold a LOT of candy!

Great weekend, but man, were we tired when we got back to the Cities! Here are some pictures:









Wednesday, August 14

New addition to the family

I hate everything about buying a new car, except taking it home.


That being said, we spent all of last night buying a new...Town & Country! We figured, "why ruin a good thing." Especially since we really loved our van that was totaled last month. We decided to lease, which means we were able to afford a brand new one! Sweet. This will be my ride for the next three years, barring any unforeseen circumstances. It has a lot more get-up then the 2010 did, so Jim likes that. I've only driven it around the block...because we need to save miles on it now, which is not something we normally think about. But we bought extra miles into the lease and we have Jim's car, so we should be fine. Jim returned the Enclave today...sad to see it go. Man, that was a nice vehicle!

One thing done. Now we just need to actually buy our new house and we should be set...for a LONG time :-)

Thursday, August 8

Zand-man time

Update on closing? We are now closing on the last possible day the sellers could pick...August 22! I'm trying not to be bitter, but man, they jerked us around with this whole process. I just can't wait until we have the keys and can move our stuff in...and more importantly, live together as a family in our new home! If you are free and want to help unload the storage PODS or help unpack boxes, let me know! We'll take any help we can get.

Update on the van? Total loss. The computer was ripped out from under the hood, so just to buy a new computer, and wiring to hook it up wasn't worth the expense. We really didn't want to have to buy a new car right now, what with trying to finance a house and all, but the value it more than we owe, so we should be able to replace it fairly easily. We just need time to find something. We have to turn the rental in next Wednesday, which doesn't give us much time considering Jim is gone until Friday, then we are heading right to Oville when he gets back. We'll figure it out (of all the stress we've had, this is just a tiny blip). I stopped at the auto body shop early this morning to empty it out. Kind of weird, but I got everything (I hope!), including Finn's DVD from the DVD player.

Tuesday night, Jim and I met DeAnn and Les at Figlios. It was a first for them but a favorite of ours. We had a great time and amazing food, which ended in a huge storm coming through, which was kind of cool. Then, Jim and I decided to take advantage of the location and go to a movie. We saw "We're the Millers." Super funny.

Last night I got to spend the evening with Zand-man! Kristine wanted some help going through some paperwork of dad's, so I volunteered to come over. I got the better end of the deal: help Kristine look through papers (albeit dirty/messy papers!) for a couple hours in exchange to get to play with Zander for two hours AND they fed me dinner. Sweet! I found a piece of paper (Dad saved EVERYTHING but at least seems to have been very organized about it), which he "signed" Dad, so I took a picture of it (future tattoo, possibly, and if not, a great find!):

I couldn't keep my hands off poor Zander...if I can't have my kids, Zander is a VERY close second. LOVE that kid :-)


Monday, August 5

We're gonna win Twins!

Friday, Jim came home and we started the crazy time that was this weekend. We got a room at the Holiday Inn in Maple Grove since they have a HUGE swimming pools/water park area and the kids were joining us on Saturday. Then Saturday we had a lazy morning before the kids (and grandma) got there around 4pm. Man, was I itching to see them and kept walking back and forth to the elevator (stalker much?!?). Holy moly had I missed them. I swear they each grew an inch. Friday night, they got to stay over night at Grandma's house, which was super fun for them, but one night was not enough time! As soon as they got to the hotel, we hit the pool. I didn't take pictures but it was awesome. They had three swim areas: hot tub (that wasn't too hot!), kiddie pool that was maybe a foot and a half at the deepest and the big kid pool complete with basketball hoops, a monkey bars type thing and two four-story waterslides!

Then auntie Kristine, Zander and Austin joined us for dinner (the dinner break was NOT appreciated by the kiddos!). Then what did we do? Went swimming again, of course! Jim convinced Austin to go down the water slides with him...and then he some how convinced me to do it, too...twice! There were three slides, all of varying heights, in the kiddie pool, so Finn, Korri and Zander were in heaven. I'm pretty sure they would have stayed there until they actually fell asleep if they'd been allowed.

Sunday, the five of us got up, packed and went to the Twins game! It was the annual March of Dimes Twins game, which we always enjoy because we get to walk on the field before the game...it never gets old. This year, we were the SECOND family so that was pretty cool. Finn COULD have been the kid to hold TC's hand around the field, but he was too chicken...and Korri was terrified of him. How do you teach your kids to be a little more adventurous?!?! Mom joined us and it was the first time she'd been to Target Field...and the last time she'd been to a professional sporting event was 45 years ago, she said! Crazy. Well, since most people never get the opportunity to walk on the field, she did it right! The weather was perfect and the kids did really well...except the game was at 1pm...yup, nap time! We left a little early because the kids were about to crash. After we got back to MG, mom gave Jim a ride back to his car at the hotel and he said Korri was sleeping before they got there...which was a FIVE minute drive!

Oh and Christmas came early when the new car seats arrived Friday night. Jim and I divided and conquered and it didn't take TOO long to figure them out. Hope we installed them right! Korri was super excited because she now has a cup holder...which means she gets to have beverages in the car. Finn felt the need to point out to her that he has TWO cup holders in his new seat! Brothers!

Thank you so much, Mom, for toting the kids back and forth and for spending the weekend with us. Having you there was so much help and made everything so much more special. Also, thank you to Lynn for helping get the kids back and forth, too. So much planning went into this weekend.

I did okay last week with the kids being gone, but I'm really struggling now. It is a long time and we only were with them for about 24 hours this weekend. Jim is traveling until Friday, so we can't even take Friday off to go see the kids early. Oh, well. This too shall pass, but it is hard.

Sorry for the super long post! But here are some pictures from yesterday:





Sunday, August 4

Single and fancy free

Tuesday night, Jim and I went to Pittsburgh Blue for a belated celebration of selling our house. I'd heard mixed reviews about it and since Jim's LOVES Murray's so much, I was skeptical. But I shouldn't have been. It was amazing! I would go back in a heartbeat and Jim said his steak was one of the best he'd ever had. Pretty high praise from him.

Then I was single and kid-less for the rest of the week...very weird feeling. Jim was on a business trip and the kids were still in Oville. I went to happy hour at Granite City with my friend Jess on Wednesday night. It had been FAR too long and it was so good to catch up with her. The beer and apps were good (and cheap!), too. Thursday, I treated myself to getting my nails done and running errands ALL NIGHT! I think I got home from shopping at 9pm! I was tired, but man, it was nice to run around without having to deal with crabby kids or car seat buckles!

Friday, I randomly stopped at Underground Target (i.e. Salvation Army in downtown) and found these total steals:
Four brand new, metal, padded patio chairs for less than $40 each! I looked online and the cheapest I could find were $65 each at Target, but there were out of stock. Sweet...and they JUST fit in the Enclave. Now if only we had a patio/fire pit area to put them on! Hmmm...

Update on van? No real update, but they don't think it is totaled, which is good...but who knows how long it will be until it is fixed?!?!

Tuesday, July 30

Long doesn't cut it

The kids LOVED staying at the hotel and while Korri didn't sleep the first night (that kid has NEVER been a good hotel sleeper!), we all got sleep the second. Friday was a BIG day. We said goodbye to our house and signed all the paperwork. We are no longer home owners (for the short term, anyway). It was sad for me when we walked out of the front door for the last time and it was sad at the closing when we were talking to the wonderful new owners. Sad but good. Then we went to daycare for Finn and Korri's going away party. I did well for a little while and then I just lost it. I LOVE that place and they LOVED my kids. I took lots of pictures and we promised to come back for a visit once life settles down (will it ever?!?!).

Then we left for Ortonville (via the Lowry Bridge, of course, so Finn could say goodbye!). We stopped to eat in our new town, Waverly, and it was really good food made entirely from scratch (good sign of what is to come, I think!). Then we got into a car accident in Darwin! Seriously, the saying "when it rains, it pours" doesn't even come close to the roller coaster we have been on for about two months. We, thankfully, are fine, but our van is not.
Even though it doesn't LOOK that bad, it was un-driveable and potentially totaled (haven't heard back on that yet). It was 100% the other driver's fault, so we won't have that headache to deal with. We were stuck in Darwin (a nothing town with nothing in it except a ball of twine) for over FOUR hours. The kids did great and we were able to get back on the road with a rental.

To say Friday was a long day doesn't even come close to how long it felt. But we survived and had a great weekend in Ortonville. The kids are there now, most likely having the time of their lives. I miss them but it was so nice to be able to go to a movie on a week night last night without having to make plans for who is watching the kids! And a huge thank you to Kelsie for letting us stay with her until we can move into our new house...closing on 8/16!

Tuesday, July 23

Transitions

Our house is almost empty! We officially close on Friday, but we are moving out tomorrow and staying at a hotel for a couple days until the weekend.The kids, Korri specifically, is having a hard time with the change. She just doesn't understand why our house looks the way it is, why we are packing everything up and why we aren't sleeping in our new house already?!?! It is tough. She keeps asking me where the new house is and then saying, "really far away?" But I think they will love staying at the hotel, so we just have to get through tonight...the LAST night at our house.

Well, the jerky sellers rescinded their offer to let us store our stuff in their garage! We were SO mad, but bounced back and made a contingency plan. We had more portable storage boxes delivered on Monday and we are still having movers load our things, but they will just load them into the storage boxes instead. Kinda stinks, but a pretty good plan B. Jim was able to fully load one of the boxes last night with all of our remaining boxes, so now they will just need to load up all of our furniture. Other than the excitement about a new place, there is nothing fun about moving...all the last minute throwing things into a box drives me nuts. I'll be super sad tomorrow but also kind of happy to be putting it behind us. I don't do well with transitions, if you haven't gathered.

Jim went to the Waverly house yesterday for the inspection. Overall, he said it went really well with no big glaring problems and we should get the official report today. We are completely at the mercy of the appraisal now. We can't move up our closing date until we get the appraisal back and because of the new laws around home buying, the only thing our lender can do is request a deadline to have the appraisal back to them...which they've set as 8/2. So if all goes well between now and then, closing COULD be moved up as soon as 8/5, but I'm thinking it will be some time between then and 8/22. I guess we'll wait and see.

We decided that this Friday will be the kids' last day at daycare. Jim's mom has offered to have the kids at her house until we close in Waverly, which is very generous, but hard for me (we will obviously visit them on the weekends). I was hoping the kids could keep daycare consistent during this transition, but again, let's face it, transition is harder on me then them! It would be too hard to stay at somebody's house WITH the kids and an extended stay hotel is just too expensive. This way we save on lodging AND daycare, so I guess that is a plus. I started crying yesterday morning when I told daycare Friday would be their last day. I plan to bring treats so they can have a little going away party.

On Friday, we had an impromptu dinner at El Loro with the Motens. It was a crazy, fun time!

Friday, July 19

Little KidKare

Korri had her follow up eye doctor appointment earlier this week and things are fine! I was a little worried that her sight would have reverted back since we stopped patching, but it didn't! She doesn't need new glasses at this point (the ones she has will work fine) and she doesn't need to be seen again for 6 months! Yay!

This morning, the four of us got up super early and went out to tour the daycare center near our new home. The place is awesome and makes me feel so much better about switching. And the best part (if you ask Jim)? You don't have to pay if you don't go!!! Seriously?!?! In addition to the lower rates (we save almost $200/wk!), that is going to save us so much money. They don't have a Pre-K class like what Finn is in now, but they follow a Pre-K curriculum so he should still be challenged. The kids seemed to really love it and everybody was so nice when we were touring. We took home registration information with the soft date of 8/12 to start! After, we drove by the new house so the kids could see it...and found out the daycare is THREE miles from our house. Sweet. Finn said he liked the house, but we obviously weren't able to walk around or go in. And I found out that unless you come to our house from the west through town...you have to drive on a gravel road to get to us! Hey, I guess we wanted the country!

So, I've been feeling crummy with sinus pressure all week but didn't have any other symptoms of a cold. I've been popping nasal decongestant like candy. Finally yesterday my coworker mentioned something about allergies and a light went on in my head...I have allergies, duh!! I've had allergies my whole life, but they are mild and usually in the spring, so it didn't even cross my mind. I guess more nasal decongestant for a while!

And because a blog post without a picture is boring, here is Korri and Prancine yesterday morning:
Prancine was involved in a poop accident last weekend which lead to her first trip through the washing machine, so the kids thought it would be best to put a diaper on her. You never can be too careful when dealing with unicorns!

Thursday, July 18

Movin' movin' movin'

Movin' movin' movin'...the Thomas' are movin'! (don't even pretend you didn't sing it to the tune in your head!)

We made an offer on a house in Minnetrista (a low ball offer to be fair) and they didn't bite. So after a full day house hunting blitz last Saturday (literally ALL DAY...our poor realtor!), we decided to make an offer on a place in Delano. It had just come on the market and was over priced. We made a fair offer but they wanted to wait it out for a better offer. Good luck with that. Then after some soul searching, we decided to make an offer on a property in Waverly (about 15 minutes west of Delano on Hwy 12). After several rounds back and forth, we now have a signed purchase agreement! Now we just need to get passed inspection, appraisal and closing and it is all ours!

The owners don't live there, so we are pushing for the soonest possible close date to minimize the length of time we are displaced. In the meantime they have agreed (verbally!) to let us store our stuff in their garage until then, which will save us SO MUCH TIME AND MONEY!!! That being said, we are moving out of our house 7/24, cleaning on 7/25 and closing 7/26. I am so sad to be leaving this house, even if it is for good reasons. We were married there, had lots of great times there, both of our kids were born there, etc. And we LOVE the neighborhood. But hopefully we will love our new house and neighborhood just as much (oh, it is on a cul de sac and the rumor is that I LOVE cul de sacs!).

Here is some info on our new digs:

The address is 7000 62nd Circle, Waverly, MN 55390 (change your address books!). It is on Carrigan Lake but isn't "lake front" property as there are wetlands between our house and the lake, even though we own the wetlands. It is on over 2 acres of land, which is what we wanted with LOTS of outdoor living space. I told Finn he could play baseball and football in the yard at the same time! Here are some pictures:






The thing that I am struggling with the most is daycare. We are touring a daycare center in Montrose (the town just east of Waverly) tomorrow morning. I'm sure it will be fine, but leaving our daycare is going to be SO difficult for me. As you all know, it was hard for me to decide to go back to work and put my kids in daycare, but we were so fortunate to find such an amazing place that really and truly loves our kids. Korri's teacher mentioned us moving last night when I picked her up and I instantly started crying. Sheesh...its going to be a tough transition...for mommy!

Anyway, the closing is set for 8/22 right now, but our lender is pushing everything through so it can possibly be sooner. Keep your eyes pealed for our house warming invite if/when we ever get moved in! Can't wait to share it with all of you. We'll bribe you with beer to get you to come all the way out in the boonies!

Wednesday, July 3

Minnetrista?

Life doesn't stop just because you're sad...

Since we will be homeless in three weeks, we've kicked house hunting into high gear. It was with trepidation that I finally agreed to expand our search outside of the Delano school district. We just weren't finding THE house there and Jim absolutely refuses to build (which in principle, I agree with him on...). So, after doing research on schools in the western "metro" and beyond, we added several and are now on overdrive to look at all the new options.

That being said, do any of you have any thoughts, impressions or feedback on Minnetrista? We looked at SEVEN houses there last night and found three that we really liked and could see ourselves living in. The three houses are in the Waconia school district, which is one of the top school districts that we're considering. The houses were in the far southwest corner of Minnetrista out on Hwy 7, next to St. Boni. We know nothing about the city or area so any insight would be appreciated. We are also hoping to look at several houses in the Howard Lake/Cokato area tonight on our way our of town.

My fingers are still crossed that something comes on the market in Delano that is just perfect, but being realistic, it probably won't happen in the time frame we need. Oh, well.

Sunday, June 30

In loving memory

In Loving Memory of
Gregory D. Walsh
April 14, 1954 - June 25, 2013


It is such a healing gift to be surrounded by your love for my dad, my sisters and me and our families. It brings us girls all such great happiness to see how much dad affected all of you and how much he will be missed. This clearly came as a great shock, so please bear with us as the four of us are still adjusting to living in a world without a father.

Greg was known as Son. Brother. Father-in-law. Nephew. Uncle. Cousin. Business Owner. Friend. But the two names he held dearest were Dad and Grandpa Egg. He would tell anybody who would listen how much he loved his girls. Growing up, he would nap on the floor in the living room...with four small children. Yeah right! We would climb all over him and wrestle with him and play this one game...try to put your finger in his hand while he was "sleeping" without him grabbing it. I think he won every time, but that was the fun part...getting caught by him. 

Occasionally when mom would have to work late, dad would have to figure out meals (which he never actually "figured" out). This is how "garbage stew" was invented and I don't think the world is a worse place for it now becoming extinct. Basically, I think dad's thought process was, "put all leftovers from the fridge in one pot, open a can of beef stew, heat, stir and voila: dinner." Yum?

And he was ALWAYS there to fix any and everything: the toilet, the rutty driveway, the rotten garage door, the squeaky floor, the car when "somebody" crashed into a telephone pole, the OTHER car that stayed in our family for WAY too long and had something break every week, it seemed. And dad (even once we were in college and beyond) would figure it out. He loved being needed and if he showed his love through acts of service and helping others, he really truly and deeply loved us girls. It is funny how things that annoyed you, now become what you hold onto. Dad liked things quiet and orderly and when they weren't, he would let us know with a "say girls!" Oh, that irritated me so much but now, I'd give anything to hear it one last time.

Being Grandpa Egg. While many probably think being called "Grandpa Egg" is a little weird, I think he secretly thought it was the neatest thing because it made him special. After all, who else is a Grandpa Egg? It wasn't because he had a weird shaped head or anything...Austin, the first grandchild, couldn't say "Greg" and shortened it to "egg" which stuck like glue. In fact, I don't even know if my kids know dad's real name! He wasn't one of those grandpa's that took the kids fishing or threw a ball in the backyard. He preferred to sit back and took great joy in watching them have fun and run and laugh and play. When Jim and I talked to our kids about Grandpa Egg going to heaven, Finn was worried that when Finn goes to heaven, he won't know anybody there. But Jim told him that he wouldn't be alone because Grandpa Egg would be there.

We would like to thank each and every one of you for coming. The support that has been offered to us over the last three days has been amazing and a blessing. We could not have done it without the continuous presence and support of Grandma and Grandpa, Vicky, Lisa, all of dad's siblings and the funeral home. They've held our hands, answered questions, given opinions and recommendations, done things that we weren't able to do and took care of things that we may never even know they did. 

No, dad was not perfect. Who of us is? He was terrible at communicating, had questionable grooming habits (at best!), he always had a beer in one hand (usually on ice?!?!) and he rarely made an effort to keep in touch or get together. He was however, a great listener, a thinker, a handsome son-of-a-gun when he cleaned up, a hard worker, a man of integrity and more than anything, he was my Dad. For that I am ever grateful.

You will be dearly missed, dad. I love you for who you were and who you weren't. No matter your short-comings as a father, you were MY dad and I wish you were still here and able to watch your grandchildren grow up. And I wish more than anything we could have looked at you, said goodbye and given you one last kiss. But you are free now and can be happy. I will miss you forever. Please watch over us and give us a helping hand whenever you are able, just like you did in life. I love you, dad!

Thursday, June 27

My dad

As most, if not all, of you know by now, my dad passed away. He was 59 years old. He was found at his home on Tuesday, June 25 around 1:30 pm. My mom called me with the news at exactly 4:05 pm (isn't it weird how certain details like that are burned into your brain). An autopsy was performed and we should be getting the preliminary results of that in the next day or so but it will take 5 weeks to get the full report, although "natural causes" are suspected.

Visitation is at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Murdock, MN tomorrow, Friday, June 28 from 5 to 7 pm, with a parish prayer service at 6:30 pm. After the visitation (probably around 7:30 or 8) my sisters and I (and our significant others) are planning on going to the DeGraff Liquor Store to have a drink to salute dad. Please come and throw one back with us if you are around! He would have loved having us all there. His funeral will be at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Murdock on Saturday, June 29 at 11 am, with visitation one hour before the funeral. A light lunch will be served immediately after the funeral, followed by burial services at Saint Francis Cemetery in Benson, MN.

We've been going through lots of pictures over the last day and a half and here are a few:
Dad with Finn and Korri at Austin's birthday party, April 2012 - Now one of my all-time favorite pictures!

Dad and Mom practicing walking me down the aisle at wedding rehearsal, October 2007

Dad and Mom walking me down the aisle at my wedding, October 2007

Dad (with Grandma and Grandpa) visiting when I was in the hospital before Finn was born, January 2009

Austin with Grandpa Egg (sorry, not sure when!)

Me, Finn and Grandpa Egg, April 2009
You will be dearly missed, dad. I love you for who you were and who you weren't. No matter your flaws as a father (because doesn't everybody have them?!?!), you were MY dad and I wish you were still here and able to watch your grandchildren grow up. But you are free now and can be happy. I will miss you forever. Please watch over us and give us a helping hand whenever you are able, just like you did in life. I love you, dad!

Wednesday, June 19

Lil Slugger

Last night was Finn's first night of t-ball! He had mixed feelings about it and after his lack of participation last summer AND Jim not being able to attend, I did too! But Coach D does an amazing job of getting the kids to pay attention and participating. Last year, Finn had a really hard time running around. The grass is tall, his legs were so short and he wasn't very skilled at running yet. However, last night, he joined right in and ran with all the other kids even if he was one of the slowest...I don't care because he did it with NO complaining!!! After warming up, coach was talking about the bases and asked Finn to demonstrate how to run the bases. Finn was SO proud, you could totally tell and he did a great job. I have a feeling T-ball is going to be much more fun this summer!

Here Finn is batting and running the bases. I think the bat was a little too heavy, but he managed. I love how deliberate he is about stepping on each base!

Oh, and Korri did a great job of sitting and watching, even though she was very upset with me that I "forgot" to bring snacks. Oops! I didn't think it was necessary since they had JUST finished dinner, but I'll remember next week :)

Tuesday, June 18

Dry again!?!

We didn't pressure Finn about potty training, but did mention it once in a while and had standing incentives in place, should he decide he was ready. One of said incentives was if he was dry for 24 hours (that means one nap and one overnight), he could go to Chuck E Cheese's or Choo Choo Bob's. He earned this incentive six weeks ago (and we are/were SO proud).

All that being said, Korri basically potty trained herself just after she turned two. I realized she was often dry during the day and switched her to panties with very few accidents! I wasn't ready since Finn was about a year older when he daytime-trained (although I've been told girls train earlier). We hadn't even put any incentives in place to get her to do it (perhaps having an older brother who does it is incentive enough!)! Same for the above mentioned scenario...which she accomplished YESTERDAY! She was dry for nap on Sunday and she was dry when she woke up yesterday morning. I was shocked and made a HUGE deal of it. I just can't believe it. She might be nighttime-trained before Finn (which is fine and NOT a competition).

But since I wasn't even THINKING about Korri being able to do this, we hadn't put in place any incentives, which Finn immediately said to Korri, "Now you can go to Choo Choo Bob's!" Huh. I guess he was right, but I thought he'd forget about it. Nope, we had a showing last night, so I had to come up with something to do with the kids and immediately, Finn said that we had to go to Choo Choo Bob's because Korri had a dry diaper...and Korri agreed! I even tried to steer her in the direction of going to the mall or park or something else. Nope. So we headed over to Choo Choo Bob's and played for about an hour before going next door to the cafe for dinner. The kids were great. Korri got to pick something to take home and she picked...Koko from Chuggington! LOL. I think this is her very first train that is her own and she did NOT want her big brother to even touch it.

These kids of mine keep growing up so quickly! Where is the pause button?!?!

P.S. They both had potty accidents at daycare yesterday which NEVER happens. In both cases, they were playing too hard and didn't want to stop. Who can blame them?!?! LOL