Counters

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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.

Tuesday, April 30

Preschool Progress Report

Finn's conference wasn't nearly as interactive or informative as Korri's. She started the conference by saying, "I have a parent waiting already so we'll have to stop at X time." We sat down and basically silently read through the report she had filled out. I felt rushed and didn't even get to bring up all the things on my list that I wanted to talk about. Argh. One important piece of information we found out is that Finn is the youngest child in the Pre-K class. Ummm, that would have been nice to know when he was having a hard time with the transition and acting out! I mean, a child who just turned four IS going to behave differently (and should have different expectations) than a child who is five plus year old.

Anyway, Finn scored an "always" or "almost always" on a lot of categories. For Fine Motor Skills, He shows an interest in pre-writing skills and can easily do a 24 piece puzzle (he does puzzles ALL the time at daycare!!). He can lace holes but not in an in-and-out/up-and-down pattern. He can use scissors with control in a straight line and along a pattern or curved line (we did NOT know this...go Finn!).

Social/Emotional Development: Finn struggles a little bit with sharing and taking turns (again, a byproduct of being the youngest?) and prefers to play independently rather than ask to join in others. This is something I brought up so we talked about. Finn has come home from daycare and upon my asking, has said that he doesn't have any friends at daycare and two of the other boys are mean to him. Debi was surprised to hear this and made a note to work on interpersonal skills with Finn (asking to play with people who are already doing something). Debi has praised Finn for playing so well independently but that is part of the problem. She also suggested Finn get to daycare before breakfast because then Finn has a better transition and day because he is starting at the beginning (and knows where he "fits" in).

Language was very good with the exception that Debi said he sometimes struggles with multiple component oral directions. I know he CAN do this, I just don't think he WANTS to do it (at least that is how he is at home...obviously an area to work on). Finn only "sometimes" converses with others and I think that goes back up to the issue mentioned above about independent play and not joining others.

Considering his age, Finn did GREAT for Reading Readiness! She said that he can "always" compose an original story by dictation! Impressive. He can identify all upper case letters but missed a handful of lower case. This is very common because kids typically learn lower case letters after upper case.

Cognitive Development: He can ALMOST draw a human figure! She showed us the one he drew and it had every part except a defined body (his drawing had a really long head!). I didn't know he could do that at all, so I was impressed. He can count to 14 and then skips a few to twenty. Again, she said ALL kids do this because the teens "don't make sense" so we are supposed to help him with that but she isn't concerned at all. And when we help him, we are supposed to start counting with zero, not one...interesting.

Gross Motor: He almost always participates in music, song and dancing activities. He is able to build a "very detailed" structure with different types of blocks. His favorite large muscle activities are running and games of chase! Ha...that blew us away. Three months ago, Finn could BARELY run and was so awkward when he did. Debi says he has improved a lot and has a much more normal gait. Yay! She said that we could have "races" back and forth on our sidewalk as a fun game to help him continue to improve. For the record, I can still run faster than him ;)

I asked about potty training during nap and Debi said they are already doing a sticker program. If Finn is dry every day this week, he can start napping in his unders! He wants to be able to so badly but isn't always able to stay dry. Nap is better than night, so let's tackle that first :) I didn't get the chance to ask about his constant baby-talking or how he bites his coat and clothes a LOT. But I think these are fairly common issues that should resolve themselves over time (even if they drive me nuts!).

Overall, Finn is doing great. There are lots of areas for improvement, which I would expect based on his age and view as a positive. He didn't score "not yet" on anything except "can copy basic shapes with 50% accuracy." He can do a circle and triangle, but the rest will come soon, I'm sure!

Monday, April 29

Smart and Loving

Where to do I start? I'll start with Korri's conferences on Friday. Basically, Korri's teacher couldn't say enough good things about her! Yes, the same child that we had to go in and meet with the teacher and program coordinator to figure out how to handle only a few months ago! I guess everything does change every few months. Right now, Korri is the oldest child in the Young Toddler room but we will start the transition to the Older Toddler room today. I'm happy because I think this change will help Korri's speech, vocabulary and social skills, but she is my baby and I always have a hard time with change...especially because both Korri and I LOVE her current teacher, Miss Ashley.

Korri basically passed 16-24 month progress report except she still needs to work on identifying and dealing with feelings and emotions (I think this will probably be a life-long struggle for her). They said she only sometimes walked backward or sideways but she does it at home, so no concern. She has established her right hand as her preference and often asks for help getting her socks and shoes on (at home she refuses help and has to do it myself!). I told her teacher to feel free to "strongly encourage" Korri to put her own things on since we know that she CAN.

On the 24-36 month report, she has lots to work on, as should be expected. In addition to needing to better verbalize her feelings and emotions, she needs a little work on taking turns and sharing. She can throw and kick a ball, but had a hard time bouncing it and didn't stand on one foot. She understood all direction words except behind and has started to classify and label objects (i.e. put all the red bears on a pile). She is saying 100+ words (that are intelligible, I assume) and speaks in 3-4 word sentences.

The teachers written recap: Korri is a very smart and loving girl. She is becoming a very good helper and role model! Korri loves participating in teacher-directed activities. Korri si becoming more social with her peers as well. We will continue working w/ Korri on sharing and expressing her feelings appropriately.

Ashley said that Korri is doing great with potty training and only has accidents every so often and will tell them when she has to go instead of waiting until she is asked. She is very nurturing and often helps the youngest two kids in the class by helping them put their clothes on for outside or holding their hand when they walk through the halls! So sweet. And while Korri need to work on her control of her emotions, Ashley has seen a huge improvement with Korri's ability to stop and think about her reaction/actions instead of just reacting and hitting, biting or taking things.

Overall, a wonderful conference. I'm sad to see her leave Ashley's room but like I said, excited to see her in the room with older kids. The teacher in that room was the infant room "teacher" when Korri started, so I think Korri has a special place in her heart. Korri will still get to see and play with Ashley because their afternoon activities are often combined.

Now I need to upload pictures from our March for Babies walk and find Finn's conference report recap and I'll post those!

Friday, April 19

Adopt a Sibling

Have you seen the billboards about adopting siblings? I think they are sponsored by Hennepin County, but I could be wrong. I've seen them a lot recently and the message really sticks with me. But specifically, on the way to work this week, I saw one and it made me think about what a gift family support and stability is. First of all, if I could, I would adopt every child in the foster system in order to give them a good home, but it just isn't feasible for me and my family (at least right now...).

Second, can you imagine losing your parents and then being separated from the only family you have left? Seriously, even writing it brings tears to my eyes.

But third, it made me realize how precious it is to know that (God forbid) something happens to Jim and me, my children will not only stay together, but there are EIGHT people/families that would immediately embrace them and embed them into their family without a second thought (and several more that would if needed!). I never thought about the peace that gives me. Finn and Korri will NEVER be in the foster system and will always have supportive people around them. Wow. We are so lucky. Coming from a family where I have 28 first cousins, 24 aunts & uncles, all four living grandparents, not to mention both living parents, I've never NOT had family around. And I mean a LOT of family. How sad to be in a world where you are all you and your children have and once you are gone, they only have each other.

And then the thought that they would be split up...breaks my heart into a million tiny pieces. It is because of scenarios like this that I want to take all the hurting children and love and care for them. No child should have to experience the pain of losing their parent(s) AND being separated from the only person they have left...their sibling.

And yes, I know, that kids end up in the foster system for more reasons than just their parents die and don't have any living relatives, but it is just food for thought. If you have family and friends in your life that would step in and truly love and parent your child as their own if you were to pass...that is a gift that not everybody has. Take a moment tonight to be thankful for that sense of peace you get to have as you so go sleep (or put your kids to bed!).

The four of us are so blessed and lucky to have such a wonderfully supportive network of family and friends. We love each and every one of you so much!!

Thursday, April 18

One year ago...

One year ago today, I took a giant step for our family, left my stay-at-home mom days behind and started a new job. Can it really be a full year?!?! Wow. Overall, it has been the best decision for our family. Finn and Korri love going to and thrive at daycare. They are exposed to things on a daily basis that I just wouldn't have been able to or wouldn't have taken the time to do with them. Example: Finn and I were doing his "homework" last night which consisted of coloring 6 animals 6 distinct colors each and then writing the name of the color at the top of the page. He did an amazing job at it and surprised the heck out of me (that he stuck with it and could very crudely write the names!). I don't think he would have that ability yet without daycare (or certainly a preschool setting).

Also, they are LOVED at daycare. This was a huge concern for me that they would go to a center and just be another kid in a sea of kids...but they aren't. Korri has truly loved each of her teachers and her current teacher, Ashley, brushes and styles her hair every day, regardless if we already did...because Korri loves her to do it! Serious, if I were in charge of 10+ other kids (there is always an aide in the room, too), I would NOT take the time to do that! Korri snuggles on her lap every morning, too. Finn is older, so it is different but when he walks in his room, all the kids are SO excited to see him and yell, "Finnegan's here!" or some variation. I feel like Finn's teacher pays attention to each child individually and can tell us every night exactly what he did and how he reacted, etc throughout the day (heck, I can't do that with my own two kids!).

Financially, we now have some breathing room, which we did NOT before I started work. Daycare is SO expensive, though, that I don't know how some families do it! I think being able to relax about the finances a little has taken some pressure off of Jim, too, who used to be the only bread winner...which makes for a more relaxed daddy and husband, which we all love.

Professionally, I LOVE being in charge of projects and meeting deadlines and working with people toward a common goal. I love interacting with adults throughout the day, although, it has taken me almost this entire year to develop friends at work (since I'm a contractor, they kind of tucked me in a corner by myself!). I like having the opportunity to stretch my brain and give it a work out. Yesterday, I thought it was going to explode, though, so maybe not quite that much! I like the sense of accomplishment on a daily basis and also when a project is complete, mainly, because of the work I did on it. While I'm not doing marketing at this job, the strategy and planning is the part I loved about marketing, so it is a good fit.

Personally, I REALLY miss staying home with my kids. I miss going to play dates and making their myriad of appointments whenever it worked best for nap schedule instead of Jim's schedule OR really early or really late so I can take the least amount of time off from work. I miss having lazy mornings and pajama days, going to Choo Choo Bob's, the Children's Museum, the park, swimming pools, being able to go places with Jim when he is traveling, going for long walks, making 'moot 'moothies every afternoon, planning and making HEALTHY meals (because they take longer), going to Target in the middle of the day when they aren't nearly as busy, etc. The list goes on and on. I get over this sadness quickly when Finn pushes Korri off the couch and she slaps him in the face...but it is still there in my heart.

It is all about compromise, I guess. And at the end of the day, our family is healthy, happy and stable. I can't ask for more than that and know what a lucky girl I am. Here's to seeing what the next year brings...

Saturday, April 13

Pre-K

Well, we found out yesterday that Finn DID get into the High Five program through the Minneapolis Public School District...but did NOT get into the Spanish immersion school that was our first choice. Darn! I have to say, the whole process is a bit overwhelming, but I guess it is preparing me for next year when it is for KINDERGARTEN! Tear. Finn asked me the other day when Korri will go to Kindergarten. I said not for three more years when she is five. He replied, "Well, I'm going next fall, Korri!" How does he even know that?!?! The things he comes up with often blows my mind...or cracks me up.

While I'm really disappointed Finn didn't get into our first choice school, part of me is relieved because now we will probably opt to just keep him at daycare instead of going to High Five. They have created a pre-K class for 4 and 5 year-olds at his daycare so I feel like he is getting what he needs to be ready for kindergarten (let's face it, academically, he is probably ready now!) but he can stay in an environment he is comfortable with a little longer AND we don't have to worry about how he would get to school every day! Not yet, anyway. Plus, I was told there are TONS of people who don't get into High Five who apply, so maybe another kid who needs it can take his place. And maybe we won't even be living in the district this fall...

Thursday, April 11

Here comes Peter Cottontail

Wow, can you tell that my job is actually getting busier?!?! Two weeks without a post...has to be a record! First things first...

Saturday before Easter, we had swimming in the AM and then headed up to St. Cloud for the day to help Auntie Becca and Uncle Pete move to their new house! I still haven't seen it since I stayed back with the kids while others brought the loads over (oh, darn!) but I think it only took two trips, which is really good. And when we left, there wasn't much left to do. I really liked their townhouse but can't wait to see their new house. The kids didn't nap while we were there, so everybody was really tired on the way home. However, if I remember correctly, only Jim and Korri slept since I was driving and Austin and Finn were watching Polar Express (yes, it is spring, but whatever!). Austin got to come with us for a little bit before his dad came to our house to pick him up.

Then on Sunday, the Easter Bunny came while we were sleeping and left lots of goodies for the kids!
Peter Cottontail isn't new, but a HUGE hit every year. We weren't sure what the Easter Bunny was going to bring, but think what he finally decided on was a good idea: Convertible Roller Blades for Finn and Roller Skates for Korrie. The hard part was that Easter morning, we got up, saw the goodies, had to try them on, get to church and over to NeNe's all by Noon-ish! It was a bit hurried to say the least. But the kids LOVE their blades/skates:
But the bottom one, Finn is only holding on with one hand! Korri was a bit slippy, but did really well on the grass/carpet. We hope you all had wonderful Easter and remember every day that Jesus Christ is Risen!