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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, May 30

Messy soccer

Tuesday night was sports class. The previous week had been bitterly cold so I prepared for that and had the kids wear winter coats (seriously!). It ended up being warmer than that, but I think I was traumatized by how cold it was. Korri kept taking her coat off but Finn left his on (hmmm...the one running around and probably sweating!). Regardless, I literally stripped the kids from head to toe when we walked in the door, put them in the tub and their clothes in the washing machine. Next week is tennis, so hopefully that will be less messy than soccer has been!

Marcus, Laena and Korri walking to class from the park:

Finn's team at the end of class (mommy forgot to take pics DURING class, oops!):
Finn is the red blob running toward the camera to the right. They wore pinnies which were WAY too big for them. Finn's big winter coat helped his stay on, though :-)

Wednesday, May 29

Where has the sun gone?

We had a GREAT Memorial weekend. Kind of last minute, we decided to go to Oville Fri-Sun. Even though the weather was terrible (I wish I had brought winter coats!), we had a blast. Ron rented a cabin for the summer, so Jim and I stayed out there and got some much needed alone, relaxing time while Memere graciously watched the kids back in town (which they LOVED, by the way). Here are some pics:

Around lunch time on Sunday, we headed back home because we were meeting with our realtor Sunday evening. We just discussed some of the developments on the selling side and went into more details on options for the buying side.

On Monday afternoon, we had our ECFE friends over for a Memorial Day BBQ. The weather was slightly better than it had been in Oville, but not much. At least the kids were able to play outside for a while. Jim did a great job on the food and drinks (as always). A big thanks to our friends for coming over and playing. Here are some pics:

Update on the house: We've had five showings and two offers. I think that is pretty good considering it's been on the market less than two weeks. Nothing has panned out yet, but fingers (and toes) are crossed. The stress of the back and forth will do me in. I told our realtor to just call Jim and then let me know when everything is final!

Tuesday, May 28

Pics are ready!

Okay, to be fair, they have been ready for a while, but I had the link on my phone and kept forgetting to send it to my computer. Lame, I know, but true.

So, for those of you who want to see, here are Finn's 4 year pics:

jessicahislop.com/finn
passoword: finn4

As always, Jess did an amazing job. It helped that Finn was Mr. Model and was pulling out poses that made us crack up. Feel free to order whatever you want or let me know and I can order something for you. In the spirit of full disclosure, I won't be ordering until we move or decide NOT to move, so it could be a while.

Here is a little preview:

Thursday, May 23

A Little Red Box

We've had two showings so far. The feedback from the first one was that they LOVED everything, but felt the house was too expensive for the market. I know everybody thinks their house is the best, but they will not find another house like ours in NE, so good luck with that! No feedback on the second one yet. I hate the waiting game (and keeping the house clean in the meantime!!).

Recently, Finn is obsessed with country music! One night he asked Jim if he could listen to country music. Jim was like, "um, sure..." The next morning, Finn told me that daddy let him listen to country music and they said, "naked" in the song. Hmmm...I don't even know where he heard the term "country music" because while Jim and I both listen to it, we don't refer to it as such. As far as the "naked" comment...he probably hears worse at daycare. You can't shelter them forever.

It was Jim's birthday yesterday! He came downtown to have lunch with me and then he had to find something to do in the afternoon for the showing. Then, after a drive that made me SO thankful I don't drive in rush hour traffic on the highways, I brought Famous Dave's home for dinner with NeNe and uncle Les! It was pretty low key, but it is hard to do much on a week night when you are showing your house. The kids liked the cornbread and baked beans...oh, and NeNe's cake with strawberry/rhubarb sauce (even if Korri called it apple sauce!).

Tuesday morning, the kids were watching the construction workers outside. So cute. I was working at home because Finn's class had an ice cream social with the senior center across the street from daycare. I'm so glad I went, even though it was very unorganized. The preschool classes planned three songs to sing with actions. ADORABLE! They had the parents stand with the kids, but I wish we could have been in the audience, too, so I could watch! Have Finn sing "I wish I had a Little Red Box" some time. SO CUTE!!

Monday, May 20

Movin' on out

Again, sorry for the long hiatus...guess we've been busy. With what, you ask?!?! Putting our house on the market...which we did last Thursday, May 16.
Holy moly there is so much to do when putting your house on the market, but we did it and the house looks great. Here is the listing with pictures:

http://www.cbburnet.com/property/PropertyResults.aspx?SearchID=6901150

If you want to live in a great neighborhood in Northeast Mpls, this is the PERFECT house. We love it and love being able to walk to the grocery store, three parks, daycare and...bars restaurants! But we are ready for some country livin'! When Becky told Austin we were moving, he told her he knows a house we can move into (the house next to them is for sale!!!). LOL. Austin, I would LOVE to live next door to you, buddy, and so would Finn!!

We have our first showing tonight. So exciting, a little weird and trying not to get our hopes up (it is the FIRST showing after all!!). Sharon is baby-sitting and feeding us since the showing from from 5-6:30 and we have sports class at 6:30. We'll see what the next few months brings us. Now to finalize the pre-approval so we can start figuring out where we are going to go!

Wednesday, May 8

Amazing Joseph!

Months ago, Jim got tickets to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoats at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. He was able to get one of the two tables-for-two in the FRONT row but it was for a Thursday show. My mom graciously agreed to come and watch the kids so we could go.

To say it was amazing, doesn't even come CLOSE to how good it was. Jim had seen it years ago when Donnie Osmond was Joseph but I hadn't seen it before and wasn't sure what to expect. I'm sure it was better with Donnie, but I don't know how it could be! I think it is running through the summer, and I HIGHLY recommend you go.

As you can see, our seats were terrible...

...terribly incredible! Yes, that is the stage right behind Jim! I never noticed the actors shoes before, but I did this time! The food and wine were good. During intermission (I almost wrote "halftime" LOL!), we had grasshoppers...SO GOOD! They always remind us of Ron so we had to send him a picture.

We stayed over night at the Country Inn and Suites that is next door. I was SUPER tired when we got back, so I was pretty lame and went to sleep, but we requested a late check out Friday morning and took our time getting up and ready.
(i.e. have the champagne I was too tired to drink the night before!)

Oh and it snowed AGAIN:
Our back porch on MAY 3!
For our next show, we are hoping to get ticket to Wicked for our anniversary. We were bummed to miss it last time it was in town. Can't wait!!!

Tuesday, May 7

Late bloomer?

I was curious when our crab apple trees bloomed last year because it feels really late this year and they are JUST starting to bud. So I looked at some old photos...

April 22, 2012:

April 23, 2013:

Amazing what a difference a year (and couple feet of late season snow) makes!

Monday, May 6

March thank you

Potty update: Finn was wet this morning, but he wanted to let me know two things: 1. He still wants to go to Choo Choo Bob's (yes, Finn, it isn't like the deal was you had to stay dry UNTIL we went there!) and 2. He WILL be dry tonight. I guess he is determined and optimistic!

March of Dimes March for Babies 2013

This is a week over due. I hadn't uploaded the pictures so I kept postponing my recap. First of all, a HUGE thank you to each and every one of you who made a donation. It really means so much to us, since we know there are lots of worthy charities out there and only so much money to spread to all that are important to you. Thank you! We raised the most we ever have to date: $1515!! In addition to that, Kristine's team raised over $500 so combined, Finn's Team raised $2090!!!! That is a crazy lot of money.

Second of all, we could NOT have asked for better weather for the walk. Finn's Team just getting to Como Park:
Grandma, Jim, Finn, Korri, Auntie Kristine and Zander (and mommy...taking the pic, obviously). We missed the professional group pics...darn it! The kids were good, but got a little squirrelly toward the end, which is to be expected. A snuggle with Grandma makes it all better:
There was over 6,000 walkers, which is amazing.

Third of all, and perhaps most important, your gift doesn't just mean a lot to us personally, it is so important to the March of Dimes. With 1 in 8 babies born prematurely in our country, lifesaving research and programs are needed to give more babies a shot at a healthy life. I've said it before but I will say it again (and again!), I truly believe Finn would not have made it without the help of MANY devices and treatments, but specifically surfactant. March of Dimes helped develop surfactant therapy, which was introduced in 1990, and has reduced deaths by two-thirds! I just want you to know that your donations make a huge difference in REAL ways. In addition to research on how to help babies born too early, March of Dimes also does research on preventing premature labor to begin with. Your donation changed lives.

Sunday, May 5

Potty time

Finn burst into my bedroom this morning to tell me that his overnight diaper was DRY! This is a first for him and he was SO proud of himself. He was also excited because we've had a standing deal with him that if he is dry for 24 hours (that means one nap and one overnight), he can go to Chuck E Cheese's or Choo Choo Bob's! And yes, something flipped and he has been dry for nap over a week! This is HUGE and we are so proud of him. He really is stubborn and too smart for his own good. I have a strong feeling that he has been able to hold it overnight for a while but since he had a diaper on, it was just easier to go in the diaper than to get up and go potty. But now, just like when he day-time potty trained, he just changed his mind and that was that! On a sad note, we did NOT get to go to Choo Choo Bob's today (he picked that over Chuck E Cheese's). We had WAY too much to do around the house and the PODS are being picked up tomorrow, so we HAD to get them filled today. He was a super good sport about it, with the promise that we will go Monday or Wednesday night instead. When he went to bed tonight, I asked if he was going to have a dry diaper again and he said, "YES!"

Korri, on the other hand, seems to have taken a slight step back. She does amazing at daycare because they have all the kids go very often (one day I counted on her daily note and it was SEVEN times!). And, maybe the bigger deal, is she doesn't have a choice. All the kids go. End of story. But when we are home, I ask if she has to go and she almost always says, "no" and refuses to sit down (sometimes reverse psychology works). She had four accidents this weekend and before this weekend, I couldn't remember the last accident she had. I try so hard not to shame her or make her feel bad but I have a really hard time with it when I literally JUST asked her if she had to go, she says "no" and pees in her pants less than five minutes later. I guess I just need to be firm and TELL her to go potty instead of asking and then follow up on that. Oh, my strong-willed and spirited baby girl!! I do have to admit, after her first accident today, she took care of it all by herself (with my instructions): she took off her wet clothes and threw them downstairs, went upstairs and got clean unders and pants (they were pajama bottoms, but pants nonetheless!) and put them all on by herself! Pretty impressive, I think!

For those wondering: all three PODS are filled to an inch of their life due to Jim's meticulous packing ability. A HUGE thank you to each one of you who helped us get organized and packed up. We could and would not have done it without your help. Now to get the inside of the house in order (with what is left!).

Wednesday, May 1

Moving onward and upward

Today we had Finn's annual(?) assessment follow up at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare. We see a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner there who specializes in pediatric orthopedics. We went two years ago in February at which time she had documented several things to follow up with Finn...which was today!

Finn is doing AMAZINGLY well! I didn't know what to expect going there; sometimes no expectations are the best expectations. She was very impressed with his progress and could barely believe it was the same kid. Two years is a big gap when you are only four (and he had only been walking for two months last time)! His feet still tilt in slightly when he is standing, but when he goes up on his tippy-toes, they correct, so that is a good sign. His hips are still slight misaligned, but again, they have improved so much and she thinks the longer he is moving, walking and running, the more they will continue to improve. She was impressed with his running, jumping and hopping ability and said his range of motion for legs and feet was in normal range. Because Finn does complain about leg and knee pain, she wants us to let her know if it gets worse, as there are braces he could use to properly align him if needed. She said that she will leave his case open but unless things change, we don't need to go back!!! 

I feel like this is a big milestone in Finn's (and our!) journey. He still has gross motor delays and somewhat low muscle tone, but I feel like they aren't anything we can't handle. Maybe we can FINALLY leave his prematurity behind? Feeling very good today. You go, Finn!!