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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, 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 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?!?!