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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.

Wednesday, March 27

Dry overnight?

Another potty update (ha, you guys are going to get so sick of these!): Korri woke up dry this morning! Dare I even hope?!?! I couldn't believe it, so we ran into the bathroom and she peed and peed and she really was holding it! I was/am so proud of her. Now if we can get her to stop having poopy accidents on a somewhat regular basis...

Sunday, my wonderful and amazing husband offered, out of the blue, to take Finn, Korri and Dillon to Chuck E Cheese so Stacey and I could have some catch-up time! And I didn't even ask him to! They were all exhausted when they got back, so I think they all had a lot of fun.
And the time spent with Stacey was priceless...with three kids between us, time alone is hard to come by!!

Monday night was Finn's last tumbling class. He was in a good mood on the way over, but when we walked in, I realized there was a location change for our class and knew this could set off Finn and his bad attitude. Luckily, last week, Finn, Laena and Braeland checked out the big gym after class (they had adult volleyball leagues), so it wasn't completely new to him. I explained that class was in a different room and he kept asking why the mats were in the gym, but he was fine! Of course, the fact that there was a lone basketball sitting in the corner when we got there made him extremely happy.
He also found this bouncy ball. Wait...isn't this supposed to be tumbling class?!?!

He participated right away and all the way, so I was even able to read a little bit of my book during class. Too bad it was the last class, but regardless, I am super proud of him for getting over (or learning how to deal with) whatever had him freaked the first couple of classes. Korri was beside herself when she was left at home again. She wanted to go to 'umbling (she doesn't say her T's when they come first!). So cute. There is a 2-4 year old tumbling class that I want to sign her up for BUT it is at 4:30 and it would be really tough to make it work. Argh.

Last night, Karyn and Pam came over for my PartyLite party! It was so much fun. Lorry, the Candle Lady, did a great job and brought Emma along (which ended up being a saving grace because Jim had a last minute work dinner he went to!). If anybody wants to place a catalog order, my party is staying over until Sunday so let me know! You can order online or I have catalogs and order forms :) Jim is so excited to get more wood wick candles...the ones that sound like a fire place when lit. Karen booked a party for April and their new item for April is a really neat wind chime...guess I know what I'll be getting at her party!!

Korri LOVED having Emma over (who just turned 9...future babysitter!!). Emma even put Korri to bed while I was putting Finn to bed. Crazy. The first thing Korri asked this morning was, "Where's Emmy?" Ha, close enough.

Sunday, March 24

Artoo Cake

Well, the cake looked like...R2D2! Overall, I am very pleased with the end results. I was disappointed with how the Rice Krispie legs turned out but it was a first for me and I guess you learn as you go. I forgot my extra butter cream otherwise I would have filled in the space between the legs and the body. Oh, well. I'm fairly certain the person who ordered the cake was happy, so I guess that is what counts. I haven't heard what the birthday thought yet! So, here it is:

Now, I'm on to my next cake(s) which is in two weeks for Laena and Braeland. I'm also trying a new technique for their cakes, so I'm hoping to be able to practice this week.

Update: Korri pooped on the toilet for me! She's done it on and off for other people, but always refused when I tried to get her to. Well, the last time we were at ECFE, she pooped in her pants while I was at parent time and nobody noticed or told me. I was so upset about the whole thing. So this Friday, I told Korri very clearly what to do if she had to go poopy (tell a teacher when you have to poopy and they will get mommy). I also told the child educator what happened last time and asked that somebody keep any eye on Korri to see if she had to go or not. Well, halfway through parent time, they told me that Korri had to go to the bathroom. I ran over to her room and she was standing in the bathroom, waiting for me...and then she went poppy on the toilet! I was so happy and excited for her. I told her how proud I was of her and all the teachers said what a good job she did. Progress...yay!

Friday after work, we took a family "bike ride" around the block. It was so refreshing to be outside. It was a little chilly with the wind and the sidewalks weren't completely melted yet (hard to ride a bike through an ice lake!). When we got back home, the kids played and Jim and I worked on picking the ice off the driveway. LOVE it. A glimpse into evenings to come. Can't wait!

Saturday morning, we had the first day of swim class for the spring session. It was a big reunion! There were 8-10 kids in Korri's class, which was a huge change from her previous session where there were 3. In Korri's class is Zander (her cousin, duh!), Levi (friend from ECFE) and Santi (also from ECFE). Crazy. Finn's classes started out in the big pool, which they haven't done before...and Jim said he did GREAT! Korri and Zander both were trying to swim all over the pool...very comfortable with the water, even if Kristine didn't want to dunk Zander under and was "forced" to by me...Zander loved it for the record! Can't wait for classes to come.

After swimming, while I finished and delivered my cake, Jim packed the kids and brought them over to NeNe's for an over night. The kids and NeNe have been wanting an overnight for a long time, but it never seemed to work out except this weekend. So, Jim and I figured we could find SOMETHING to do by ourselves! We went to see Oz the Great and Powerful at St. Anthony Main, which is a very old-school theater. I liked both the theater and movie a lot, however, I would NOT want to go to that theater when they were busy (no close parking and THREE bathroom stalls in the ladies' room for all movies!)! After the movie, we had reservations at Fogo De Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse in downtown. We loved it; the drinks were sweet with a punch, the salad bar diverse and the meat...ever lasting! Seriously, you could literally eat until you burst (or died for that matter!) here. It was pretty expensive, so I don't know if we'll be back any time soon, but it was fun to try something new. We were back home and in bed by 10:30, I think...lame, I know! Thanks NeNe and Uncle Les for having a sleepover with the kids. They had a blast, from the stories we heard on the way home (well, until they passed out!).

Thursday, March 21

Time flies when you're busy

All good things must come to an end, I guess, so we are back to our regular routine...which is also good, just different. Holy moly this week has flown by. Monday night was tumbling. As always, I have anxiety about it before we go due to Finn's past behavior, but he did great this week. He was hesitant, but participated fully. I think it helped a ton that there were only 5 kids there...three of which were Finn, Laena and Braeland! This pic is Finn doing a new move...a forward lunge-type thing.
One more week and then tumbling is over. Sad. Laena and Braeland won't be there this coming week, so that will be interesting. Then we have a three week break from activities before the Spring Sports Sampler starts. I don't know if it will be outside, but Finn has done really well at these in the past...that's what I tell myself to not worry so much about potential behavior problems :)

Tuesday night was NeNe's birthday!! Happy belated birthday, NeNe. The family (NeNe, Uncle Les, the four of us, Kelsie and Ann) all gathered at El Patron in St. Louis Park. It is VERY similar to El Loro (maybe same owners?!?!). We told Finn it was El Loro so he wouldn't be confused. LOL. Dinner was good, as always and it was fun to celebrate NeNe's birthday with her.

I think I mentioned previous that I've been sick since our flight from Miami TO Barbados. It hasn't been bad (just a cough and some nasal congestion). Well, since we got back (I think the warm moist air helped while we were there), it has gotten considerably worse. I finally couldn't take the sinus pressure yesterday and left work early. Jim convinced me to go to the doctor, which I NEVER do unless there is the potential that I may die. I didn't think I was going to die, but did wish at times I would slip into a coma until I was better! Seriously, I don't know how you chronic sinus sufferers (i.e. Kristine and Kelsie!!) deal. I would wish for a migraine ANY day over how I felt yesterday. The doctor agree that I had a sinus infection and gave me an antibiotic that would also treat a chest infection too, just in case. She also suggested Sudafed instead of the decongestant you can get on the shelf. I started all of that last night, slept for 11 hours and feel much better today. THANK GOD!!!

Now my entire focus: baking, decorating and delivering my first "paid" cake order! I'm really excited, but a little nervous, too. I think I have everything I need except stuff for Rice Krispie bars (need those for part of the cake). I REALLY hope it turns out and that I have time to really get it to look like I want since it is for a surprise 30th birthday party. Wish me luck! More to come...

Monday, March 18

Home again, home again

I'll finish the recap of our vacation.

The Award Ceremony was BEAUTIFUL. We walked into the ballroom/hotel/veranda to a full orchestra playing! Talk about spectacular. The veranda where we would be sitting was bathed in blue lights. It was really beautiful. Dinner was a HUGE buffet. Then they gave out the awards. I felt so proud of Jim. He is such a hard worker and even though he gets frustrated, something like this shows him that it IS really worth it. Then there was dancing. So beautiful. I'd brought a cocktail dress, but was told it wasn't "dressy" so I just wore a more casual dress...I wish I'd worn the cocktail dress. Oh, well. WHEN Jim earns President's Club again, I'll know :)

Thursday, most people left to go home, so we got time to ourselves. The next three days run together for me, but on Friday, we went shopping which was fun. We went to dinner at Scarlet, which had a VERY cool decor, and to Beach House on our last night. We had a bad experience at the Beach House, so unfortunately, that is what sticks in our minds, since it was our last night in Barbados. Oh, well. Overall, an amazing vacation with the perfect amount of activities and lazy beach time.

Our flight left Barbados on Sunday morning at 7am, so we got up at 4:15 to grab our taxi which was arranged for 4:30! Holy, moly! We had NO problems at the airport...well, with any of our flights on the way home, for that matter. We were concerned about customs because Jim has had problems before, but we went right through, the lines were manageable and our flights were on time! We were thankful for that since we had three legs (Barbados to Miami, Miami to Chicago and Chicago to Minneapolis) and one delay would have disrupted all the rest. A HUGE thank you to Kelsie for picking us up at the airport and for John watching the kids. We walked in our door at 8pm to two very happy and silly kids. I couldn't get enough of them. We let them stay up for a bit, put them to bed and followed shortly after. Man, traveling really takes it out of you.

We are home, safe and a Winter Storm Advisory...of course! We were hoping it would be spring when we got back. I guess we picked the wrong week. The warm, sunny weather is but a memory with only sun tans, extra pounds and tons of pictures to show for our superb vacation! When is the next one?!?! LOL.

From the stories we've heard so far, the kids had a blast while we were gone...although they sounded a little self-distructive with all their bumps and bruises! We are so lucky and grateful to have such wonderful people in our lives that we can go on vacation and not have one single worry about our kids and know they are loved and completely cared for. Thank you mom and Kelsie for taking on the task of watching them for us. Knowing they were with you, made our vacation that much more relaxing. And thanks for all the little updates and pictures! I loved getting them :)

Friday night, we took pictures of the sunset (like a HUNDRED pictures, but it was so pretty, we couldn't help ourselves!):
This is a panorama feature on our new cell phones. Pretty neat. It seems the last few trips have been to beaches on the east side of wherever we were staying, so I wanted to be sure to get some pictures of the sunset.

Wednesday, March 13

Bajan rum punch

Jim has had his (and my!) fair share of rum punch since we got to Barbados on Sunday! Bajan (pronounced Bay-jan with a soft "j") is what people from Barbados call themselves. Their rum punch is really good and delivers a strong "punch" if you aren't careful.

Since for whatever reason, I'm not able to upload pictures to our picture website, I thought I'd share a few here. We arrived in Barbados on Sunday to a "Meet and Greet" service which whisked us through customs (easiest customs either of us have ever done!). Then there was a shuttle (providing water and beer!) directly to the resort. We were welcomed at the resort with a mini welcome reception of three kinds of rum punch and appetizers! It was all very nice. Then we had some free time to check out the beach and resort before heading over for the Welcome Reception...all you can eat/drink from 6:30 to 10pm. We met a lot of Jim's coworkers and, as I mentioned before, Jim had a LOT of rum punches. We headed to bed pretty much right after the reception for, other than the obvious reason, the simple reason that we were really tired from traveling since 9am on Saturday! (Thanks again, Holly for driving us to the airport!)

Monday was a free day, so we just lounged around on the beach all day! It was great...exactly what I like to do on vacation. We decided to go to dinner at Daphne's, which is an upscale Italian restaurant next door to our resort. They didn't have fettuccine alfredo (Jim's favorite) but upon asking the chef, they improvised and Jim loved it! We headed back to the hotel bar where Jim pretty  much drank every rum punch on the island! I called it quits around 11:30 and Jim stumbled home around 1:30...with the help of a coworker and her husband! Sheesh.

Needless to say, Jim was in no condition to get up and participate in the planned excursion Tuesday morning, so I went by myself and Jim stayed home and slept! I'm glad I had met several people prior so I didn't feel awkward going by the Mount Gay Rum plantation and into town for shopping! I had a BLAST and Jim slept until 12:30! We relaxed in the room for the afternoon (I think I got a little too much sun!) and then went to the company sponsored dinner at a restaurant called Cin Cin (pronounced Chin money!). This place was amazing! We literally sat on a balcony over the sea for dinner, which was lit from underneath! Amazing drinks and food and great conversation (I sat next to Jim's boss's boss...yikes!). We had one drink at the hotel bar when we got back and then turned in early.

This morning, we were at it early again (don't people who plan things know that we like to sleep in on vacation?!?!) for a company sponsored lunch on a catamaran. It was so much fun! Jim and I even went snorkling and saw sea turtles! I wish we'd had a water-proof camera. Later, I even jumped into the ocean from high on the boat and floated on a mattress for a while! I am so proud of myself for being so adventurous, including taking an open mouth shot from the bar! When in Rome... And I'm impressed with how relaxed and go-with-the-flow Jim has been! Much like Tuesday, I got too much sun, even with sunscreen, so I'm hanging out in our room...which is "lame" in Jim's mind! Oh, well. A cool shower will feel wonderful! More adventures tonight at the President's Award Ceremony and then everybody leaves we'll get three days all to ourselves. Yay!

Here are some random pictures, since I couldn't upload them (darn!):

Thursday, March 7

Potty, tumbling and hair

Well, Korri has been potty training for one week...and honestly, it is going really well. She has had some accidents, but very few in relation to how often she goes potty and how early she is in the training process. She even pooped in her potty chair once for Jim :) I've been doing some reading and "they" say that children typically poop-train before they potty-train (not counting sleep time). Really?!?! I don't think I know one kid who poop-trained first. Weird. Overall, Korri is good about going potty by herself (with often reminders from us), provided she has pants on that are easy to get off. Grandma should have a fun week with lots of potty breaks! Thankfully, Korri will still wear a pull-up, so if they are out and about without easy/quick access to a bathroom, all hope isn't lost :) And she CAN hold it, too, for a little while, which is nice (provided she hasn't already been holding it when she tells you she has to go!).

Finn and I headed to tumbling on Monday night for class #3. Much to Marcus' disappointment, we opted to have Korri (and daddy) stay home to avoid any more stress to an already potentially volatile situation (and it is good for each kid to have one-on-one time with each of us). Again, we talked about expectations and consequences on the way there. Like last week, Finn was having fun before class, but then clammed up when it started. He was standing by me, sucking his fingers and leering at the teacher/coach. He didn't want to sit with the other kids, but with my prompting (and mild threatening), he slowly walked over and sat BEHIND Laena...close enough! He quickly warmed up, scooted beside Laena and Henry and was fine. Ah, big sigh. I'm not sure if he is getting comfortable with the environment, his overall attitude is getting better or he really doesn't want to go to bed if we leave early...but regardless, this week was much better. Here's hoping...considering he will miss next week while at Grandma's!

And, I got my hair did! Jim and I went to the movie Safe Haven last weekend (thanks, Erica, for babysitting!) and I LOVED the main character's hair. So, I made an appointment for a place in my building and went over lunch on Tuesday. While I was a little apprehensive because it was at a "barber," the stylist who helped me was a 70 year old Lebanese man named George who reassured me he was a cosmetologist, not a barber (and his up-to-date license was on the mirror)! LOL. Since I needed a color anyway (darn grays!), we decided to lighten it up a bit and cut off about six?!?! inches. It is a little longer than I was thinking and a little darker, but I like it! He layered, thinned and textured it, so it is a lot more bouncy but still fits in a ponytail AND I can tuck it behind my ears (VERY important for me!). Overall, I am happy with it and while I prefer my baby sister to do it, would even potentially go back. Maybe another shade lighter for the summer?!?!
This picture makes me realize how dark my natural color is because it is a LOT lighter than when I started and I think it looks dark!

Sunday, March 3

Reasons My Child is Freaking Out

As you all know, things at our house have been tough for the last couple months. Attitudes and illness are running rampant and patience is at an all time low. That being said, Stacey shared a link, that I just HAD to put here...if nothing else, so I can refer back to it as needed. And there are SO many I could add to it, but it IS hard being a child and I needed a reminder of that.

46 Reasons My Three Year Old Might be Freaking Out
Some of these are total guesses. Educated guesses, but guesses nonetheless. Seems like it’s hard being a kid.

His sock is on wrong.

His lip tastes salty.

His shirt has a tag on it.

The car seat is weird.

He’s hungry, but can’t remember the word “hungry.”

Someone touched his knee.

He’s not allowed in the oven.

I picked out the wrong pants.

His brother looked at him.

His brother didn’t look at him.

His hair is heavy.

We don’t understand what he said.

He doesn’t want to get out of the car.

He wants to get out of the car by himself.

The iPad has a password.

His sleeve is touching his thumb.

He doesn’t understand how popsicles are made.

The inside of his nose stinks.

Chicken is gross.

A balloon he got six months ago is missing.

A puzzle piece won’t fit in upside down.

I gave him the wrong blue crayon.

The gummi vitamin is too firm.

Netflix is slow.

He jumped off the sofa and we weren’t watching.

He’s not allowed to touch fire.

Everything is wrong with his coat.

There’s a dog within a 70 mile radius.

A shoe should fit either foot.

I asked him a question.

His brother is talking.

He can’t lift a pumpkin.

He can’t have my keys.

The cat is in his way.

The cat won’t let him touch its eyeball.

The inside of his cheek feels rough.

Things take too long to cook.

He has too much food in his mouth.

He sneezed.

He doesn’t know how to type.

The DustBuster is going to eat him.

His mom is taking a shower.

Someone knocked over his tower.

He got powdered sugar on his pants.

The yogurt won’t stay on his spoon.


Saturday, March 2

Is it Friday? It Feels Like Wednesday. Thank Goodness It's Actually Saturday.

Wow, I almost feel like an author.  Stacy asked me to make a "guest appearance" and post something on our blog - I reread some of my previous posts and I'm almost certain I can't live up the expectations - that dude could write; I'm positive that I've lost some amount of that mojo.

This week has been long and trying but alas ended on great note.  It is almost incomprehensible how quickly our children grow up.  Korri managed to be without her diaper all day and did not have a single accident; this being her first full day without a diaper, that fact is unbelievable.  I'm extremely pleased and impressed beyond words with her accomplishment - she must get this from her mother because I often feel the same way about her.  With Stacy it isn't so much her use of the toilet I'm impressed with, it's all the other incredible things she does!  The girls in my life are beyond amazing.

This morning I had the pleasure of taking the kids to ECFE.  I think it was probably the first time I had done so by myself.  It was a joy - the kids were wonderful during the play time and it was nice to speak to other parents about what they are going through if only to remind me I'm not crazy with what I feel about raising two young children - well at least not that crazy.

I finished the day off with a compression of conference calls for work to make up for the time in the morning and it was definitely stressful but worth it!  I extended my quality time with the kids during the evening while Stacy shopped for some items for our vacation the week after next.  They happily helped in cleaning up the house - although their enthusiasm for the cleaning may have been fostered by the offer of candy...

Stacy and I are both looking forward to the trip to Barbados.  I'm still wondering if we will have more fun than the kids who get to spend time with Grandma, Aunt Kelsie and Mamere.  It will probably be a tossup.

Thank you to those of you who have made it this far through my post.  I hope my rust didn't impinge on whatever pleasure you normally get from reading this blog.  For our regular followers, don't dismay as Stacy will make her return shortly.  And in keeping with my sign-offs from this publication, I must say again how much I love Stacy and appreciate her efforts in keeping these posts regular and interesting.  If this sappy note made you puke take solace in the reality that it will probably be some time before I author another post!