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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.

Saturday, August 30

Finn's open house

We had Finn's open house for Kindergarten on Tuesday night. First, I must confess that I forgot to bring my no pictures! I was brokenhearted when I realized that. But other than that and the total chaos of the whole event, everything else went smoothly.

First, we went half an hour early for people new to the district. In hind sight, it wasn't overly necessary, but the principal went over the handbook and things that we might not know about their school (like their elementary is K-4 not K-5). Finn's favorite part of that meeting? Finding out they have chocolate milk.

After that, we entered the world of chaos in the commons/lunch area with all the booths and things you had to pay for and sign up for. We first signed up for fall and spring conferences. Is this normal practice to sign up now? Seemed odd to me, but I guess this way, everybody is assigned a time well in advance. Then we paid for Finn's supplies...a whopping $20! LOL. The only things we had to buy beyond that were napkins, Kleenex, pencil box and two folders. I think we can handle that.

Since we didn't have a check to pay for school lunch (who doesn't accept debit/credit cards in this day and age, anyway?!?), we didn't have to wait in that monster line and headed to Finn's classroom instead to meet his teacher. She was giving an information meeting at 5pm, so we were a little early, which was nice. Originally, we thought Ms. Thorsen was the teacher we'd met at Kindergarten registration, but she wasn't. But she seemed really nice and I think she will be a good fit for Finn. We received a scavenger hunt (i.e. check list) when we got there, so we were able to complete that before the meeting started.

The informational meeting was very helpful and gave us a glimpse into what Finn's new life is going to look like. They have little tables instead of desks, which I'd have a picture of if I'd had my phone! Finn saw two friends from baseball, so he thought that was cool. After the meeting, we found Finn's locker (they seem so big!) and then went outside where they had bouncy houses for the kids. We played on those for a bit and then were heading out when we ran into Jackson (from gymnastics) and his mom.

Thankfully we did because she said that preschool had open house tonight, too! I had no idea. So off we headed to Korri's new classroom (two doors down from Finn's!). I wasn't sure if they'd have her information since I'd just turned it in the week before, but they did. And we found out that her new teacher, Ms. Pam (not to be confused with OUR Ms. Pam, Lilly and Levi's mom, said Korri!), is the same teacher who facilitated their craft and story time this summer! We also had to sign up for a pre-admission conference to go over preschool things, I guess. Glad Jackson's mom told us about it!

There is SO much to do and get ready before the first day of school. We were sent home with a whole packet of things to read, fill out and do. One thing is that Finn has to memorize and learn how to punch in his lunch code because apparently they aren't allowed to help them with this. I was a bit nervous, but Jim showed Finn ONCE and he had it down pat...of course! We have a mock-up keypad taped to our table and Finn has to punch in his code before he eats anything here at home! LOL. I hope we figure it all out and have what he needs the first day. Although if we don't, I doubt we'll be the only ones!

Jim ran over to the school yesterday to drop off a check for lunch and drop off the extra supplies we volunteered to bring for his classroom. I didn't want Finn to have to fit baby wipes and paper towels in his backpack the first day. Three things off the list, now on to the other 87!

Speaking of the first day, we never received the postcard from the bus company telling us Finn's busing information, so I called them yesterday. Oh, they never received the information that he needs to ride the bus. Of course. But thankfully, he was able to add Finn to the system right away and tell me his bus numbers and pick up/drop off times. They pick him up on the corner, three houses down from us, which is fine. Pick up is at 7:37 (give or take, LOL). Also, we will find out at our pre-admission conference, but I think Korri will be riding the bus to school with Finn on her preschool days! I wasn't prepared for that, so I'm glad I have a few days to process that.

As with most kids in MN, Finn's first day of school is this Tuesday, Sept 2. Korri's is the following Tuesday, Sept 9. I'm looking forward to getting into a "school" routine and also the few hours a week I'll have alone with Mac. I wonder if Finn and Korri will fight less once school starts. Jim and I were talking about this the other night and I wonder if they just never have the chance to miss each other. I guess we will see. At least they won't be fighting all day for me when Finn is at school!!

I promise not to forget to take pictures the first day of school. I still can't believe I forgot my phone for open house. Boo.

Side note: Baby started smiling this week. So much fun to see. It isn't consistent yet but he's smiled at Finn and Korri, too! They LOVE that.

Tuesday, August 26

Korri's screening

So, Korri had her Early Childhood Screening last Tuesday (a little late in posting, I know!). This screening is a brief, simple procedure required by the state of MN prior to starting kindergarten. It is used to identify potential health or developmental problems in young children who may need a health assessment, diagnostic assessment or educational evaluation. Screening in early childhood supports children's readiness for kindergarten and promotes positive child health and developmental outcomes.

The school contacted us mid-summer letting us know that Korri was eligible for the screening and when they were offering it. Finn did his screening twice due to his early start in life (once in NE Mpls at three and a half and a second time in Howard Lake this past spring). Since Korri went along to Finn's, she knew what to expect and was excited to go. Before we went, we talked about listening and thinking about answers and following directions. I needn't have worried.

Korri has never been evaluated for any of these things (well, except vision, obviously). You have to remember that Finn was constantly evaluated for every aspect of development and I always knew where his strengths were and where we needed to work. But I guess "normal" children don't have that luxury, so I was looking forward to seeing where Korri was developmentally (assuming she'd be smack dab in the middle at 50%).

We walked in and she pretty much owned the place. Everybody loved her and made her feel special the whole time she was there. They first measured her (40"; 75% and 40.5 lbs; 75%). She STILL has a high BMI, but the nurse was not concerned based on looking at her and her body type (compact, muscular bodies have high BMI's).

Then they did her hearing test. Her only resistance all day was that she told the tech she couldn't raise her arm when she heard a noise...but she eventually did. Not sure what that was about. She passed with flying colors. Because she already has glasses, they deferred to her specialist for that and didn't test her (which she was NOT happy about...because FINN got to do it! LOL).

Then they did her development testing. Again, I didn't know what to expect but I did NOT expect what happened! For Korri's age, she should have scored 14. She quickly and easily answered every single question correctly and scored a 24! I wonder how high she would have scored if they'd kept asking her harder questions. Honestly, I was SO proud of her. I always just assumed that Korri was average (what is wrong with being average? NOTHING!). But Jim has always told me, "she is smarter than you give her credit for." I guess daddy was right! Holy moly. I think it helps that she has an older brother (they even commented on things like how well she holds her pencil) but regardless, she can hold her own.

I have a feeling things might get interesting in the Thomas household during the school years but for now, I'm just basking in the warm mommy-pride at how well Korri did. I LOVED that she got to feel special and just mommy and her went (the boys stayed home). My little princess is growing up...quickly! Good job, Baby Grill!

Tuesday, August 12

It just got real

Wow, I think it just set in that my little baby boy is actually going to be going to kindergarten in less than a month. In a school. With other kids. Learning things only "big" kids learn. Riding a bus. Doing all this WITHOUT me. I already miss him and he hasn't even gone yet!

I got a text this morning from a neighbor asking which teacher Finn got. Wait, how would I know? I thought we got that at open house in a couple weeks. Nope, they were mailed out this week. So I went through all the mail on the counter and grabbed the school packet. Nope, just general information. Then I ran out to the mail box (bare feet and all) and yup, there is an envelope from his elementary school. It is all there is black and white. Finn's kindergarten teacher will be Ms. Thorsen. (Jim and I both really liked her at kindergarten orientation this spring) My neighbor's daughter also has her, as does at least one other boy from baseball. Good, Finn will know a few kids on his first day. Do you think they will let me just sit in the back of his room all day? All week? Just the first week? No? First day? No? Fine, I may be okay, but I KNOW Finn will be just fine.

In all honesty, I think he has been ready for kindergarten for two years. Especially academically. But one thing I've noticed more this summer is his growth socially. He stepped right up and joined baseball without knowing ANY other kids and had a great attitude about it (again, refer to our experience with tumbling class a year and a half ago to know what a big deal this is!). And made friends quickly and easily. He is very friendly to people he doesn't know (maybe we should reiterate the "no talking to strangers" talk!). We were at the beach last week and he said hi to everybody who came without 20 feet of him and often started a conversation, even with adults. I was SO impressed, especially since Korri is our outgoing one...NOT Finn! He will be fine. If I write it enough, maybe my heart won't hurt so much!

All of his paperwork is in (I think). He already picked out his backpack (Dusty Crophopper, of course). We have open house in two weeks. He now knows his teacher. I still need to get some school supplies but for kindergartners, you only need to get a few things, as they just "let" you pay for a supply box! So easy. I really think we are about as ready as we can be. I can't wait to see him after his first day and talk to him all about it. Here's to a new chapter in the Thomas household...the school years. (I really hope the kids aren't mean...that is what I really care about)

Meanwhile, here is my "big" kindergartner sleeping on his mommy yesterday. LOVED it.

Thursday, August 7

What's due?

Ha, yesterday was my due date. I can't even begin to imagine how awful I would have been or felt if I'd had Baby yesterday. In all reality, they would have induced me last week at 39 weeks, so I wasn't in "danger" of that, but still. Crazy how things work out. Instead, we've had three amazing weeks to get to know Little Mister and LOVE him so much.

So almost immediately after his two week well child appt last week, his eating behavior changed. He started spitting up large amounts and seemed very uncomfortable and gassy. So, last weekend we got gas drops which I think helped a little but he continued to spit up a LOT. Jim had enough when Baby threw up all over him as we were walking out the door this morning. So he called the doctor and they were able to see him this afternoon. Jim took him, as both Bigs were sleeping in the van, so I stayed with them. The doctor said while it isn't presenting clearly as one thing, it COULD be reflux or (gasp) colic. So we have a prescription for reflux and the doctor said we can keep using gas drops and can use Gripe water if we want (which is supposed to be colic relief). The good news is that he weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs 11oz, which means he is gaining just over an ounce a day (even with the spitting up) and they like to see an ounce a day. Good news!

Hopefully this new medicine will help. If not, we PRAY with all our might that it isn't colic! We've been through the colic ringer with both Bigs and I don't know if I can handle it a third time. NeNe is already on call to come and walk the cul de sac with Baby if needed (she was my savior with Crabby Korri). We will see, I guess.

Today, Pam, Lilly and Levi invited us to a puppet show in Maple Grove. It was SO cute and the kids LOVED it. Thanks for thinking of us. It was nice to get out of the house as a family and have something fun to do. I didn't even know there was an amphitheater in Maple Grove, but there is and it is really nice. Here are the four Bigs watching the show (Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your stair!):

And Mister Mac slept through the whole thing:

Monday, August 4

Be warned...

Clicking on the following link MAY be just too cute to handle. Don't say I didn't warn you!

With no further adieu, here are Mac's newborn pics:

password:  babygan

Sneak peek:

As always, Jessica did an amazing job. Now I have to figure out which one to put on the wall!

Also, I wanted to let you know that I've finally updated our picture website through yesterday, I think (talk about a big job!).

Here is a direct link to Mac's Birth photos (be warned there are a couple graphic ones, but you can see them coming):

Here is a general link to all photos (July has the most updates, also some cute ones in Videos):

Friday, August 1

Two weeks and counting...

Daddy and I took Mac to his two week well-child appt this morning. And the doctor basically said he is ridiculously healthy! Music to this momma's ears, to say the least. It is such a different experience having a healthy baby who eats and sleeps well (don't get me wrong, this momma is still VERY tired, but I count 2-3 hours at night as good sleeping compared to Korri's 20 minutes!).

Based on his stats, we have a big, healthy, proportionate boy:
Height: 21" 70% (birth 19 3/4)
Weight: 9 lbs 2.5 oz 67% (birth 8 lbs 13 oz)
Head: 36.75 cm 76% (birth 35.5 cm)

While his jaundice hasn't resolved, she isn't concerned about it at this point either. She said that it can take 6 to 7 weeks to fully resolve with breast-fed babies and it does seem to be improving. So unless it seems to get worse, she will just check it at his two month visit. She isn't concerned about his eye goop or congested nose and said to keep doing what we've been doing (putting ointment in his eye as needed and suctioning his nose as needed).

That is it. Nothing else! And he was a rock star at the appt. She was very impressed with his alertness (see Jess, he really is just awake a lot!). He let her do her thing but was very happy to get back to momma to eat when all was done. He does spit-up a lot, so we are going to keep an eye on that, but it doesn't seem forced or painful, so hopefully he is just over eating a little or eating too fast and it will resolve itself as he gets bigger, stronger and his stomach can hold more!

I pray for all future doctor visits to go this smoothly!

Big kids are in Oville for the weekend. Sure is quiet here without them. Momma and Mac took a nap together and then snuggled in bed until it was bedtime yesterday. What a luxury and precious time together.

We ran errands are the doctor appt and then had a late lunch. Here is Mac enjoying lunch time!