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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.

Monday, September 29

Use the fitting room!

We were so lucky to have Auntie NaeNae come visit today! She starts her new job on Wednesday, so today was her last day to be able to just "pop" in. We LOVE visits from her and I don't think she minds them either (even if she misses out on seeing Finn).
Thanks to her visit, I was able to complete a project I've been wanting to do for a while: make some crock pot freezer meals! That way when Jim is traveling, I can just grab a bag out of the freezer in the morning, plop it in the crock pot and have a yummy dinner ready for the kids. Otherwise my meals are kind of lame. Since Renae was here to hold Baby and keep him company, I was able to do it all at one time...maybe took an hour?!?! It felt so good. I can't wait to try them and if they work out, to venture into other recipes, too.

We had a new experience this afternoon: I had to take Finn shopping for pants! We've been very lucky to have lots of Austin's clothes, but to say Austin isn't kind to his pants is being generous. Which means Finn gets fewer of them. Plus, Finn is between sizes; too tall for a 4T, too short for a 5T, too "little" for a 4/5 in boys. Prior to this, I've always just bought things he needs and brought them home but I knew I needed to have him try things one. So all five of us headed to Children's Place (my FAVORITE store to buy kids clothes...and I had a coupon!). Daddy kept Mac and Korri busy while Finn and I picked some out (in several sizes!) and headed to the dressing room.

I realized when I told him we needed to try them on and he started to take his pants off in the middle of the store that this was new for him, too! He LOVED everything about trying on the clothes. We walked into the fitting room and I think he would have stayed all day. He said to me, "Mommy, this is like when you were trying on dresses for us to see." Ha, yes it is, buddy. We were able to get two cargo pants, one pair of tailored sweat pants and a pair of sports pants, which I think should be good in addition to what he already has. I wish we'd had more time because I always want to look at every rack, but that doesn't happen when you have three children with you!

Tomorrow is picture day and because we got home late from shopping, I wasn't able to pick out either of their clothes tonight. Since that is stressing me out, I think I'll get up a little early to make sure we have time in the morning. Plus, we need to actually "do" Korri's hair and say a little prayer that it lasts until picture time! School pictures will be a new experience for us, too and I can't wait. I just pray that Finn does a good smile and not his weird, fake one.

Mac has been a little under the weather the last couple of days with a low grade fever but not too many other symptoms. Today the fever seemed to be gone but he seemed sleeping and a little more clingy than normal (which auntie didn't mind!). He is handling it amazingly well, but still, hopefully tomorrow he is feeling better.

Mac's first visit to El Loro:
He didn't seem all that impressed. Maybe he will be when he can actually eat the food! My texas jumbo margarita was FABULOUS (gotta love not being pregnant any more!!).

Saturday, September 27

Ren Fest

Jim, Korri, Mac and I went to the Renaissance Festival yesterday. Shhhh...don't tell Finn! Actually, we did tell him after he got home from school. I have to say, planning around when Finn leaves and gets home from school has been the hardest transition. Since I've been home with the kids, I'm used to going where we want, when we want, for however long we want! We thought we left in plenty of time to beat the bus home...but with unexpected traffic, I think we ended up with a five minute cushion! Yikes.

Anyway, I digress. Jim and I love the Ren Fest but the tickets are expensive and it seems that our fall weekends are always full before we put it on the calendar. But they had a special "Festival Friday" yesterday (normally only open Saturday and Sunday), so we thought, why not? The tickets we cheaper and there were fewer people there, but a lot of the venders were closed. So a trade off I guess.

Before we left, I told Korri about the "festival" that we were going to and said people dress up there. It took very little convincing to get her to wear one of her princess outfits, including her crown.

Once there, she got glitter sprinkled all over her, her face painted and a wreath of flowers (I don't have a picture with the wreath on)!

It was fun to go here with just Korri. We could do all the things that she thought would be fun. Like Mermaid Cove (although she was upset that none were swimming!), Fairy Wing Forest and a fire show!

While Jim and I shared a giant turkey leg (when in Rome!), Korri had...yup, pizza! She is predictable, if nothing else. The weather was absolutely beautiful, if not even a little bit hot at times. Mac was a good boy and once I put him in the carrier and carried him, he slept like, well...a baby! Ha. Korri also got to feed some animals and saw elephants and camels (I told her they weren't doing rides...we didn't have time for that). But she did get to ride a double ended horse.
He started her out slowly, but by the end, she was going higher than I thought possible! She loved it. There was a ton of stuff we didn't get to do, but it is a huge place and we had to be mindful of getting back to the van in time to get home to pick up Finn. Korri had a hard time walking "all the way" back to the van, but she was NOT tired, and don't make the mistake of suggesting such a thing. Once we got in the van, I told her she should sleep for a bit. Her reply: I'm not tired! Okay, then why don't you just rest? Her reply: I'm NOT going to even rest, mommy! Hmmm...I think it took her four minutes to fall asleep, but do NOT be so audacious to suggest she was tired!

We had a really good time. We probably wouldn't go back on a Friday again, even with the reduced pricing and the "no-line" crowds because so many of the venders were closed, including Jim's favorite treat (florentine ice), which was a pretty big disappointment. Other than that, we had a really fun family adventure!

Wednesday, September 24

We have a lion cub

On Monday night, Finn had his first pack meeting for Boy Scouts. Since he is in Kindergarten, he is a lion cub. I think Finn had a good time. It was a little boring in that it was very informational and the boys had to just sit there for a while. But then they got to go play games while the Cub Master spoke to just the parents. I really hope that Finn likes it and sticks with it for a few years, at least.

That being said, holy unorganized! I know I am new to the whole thing but I felt like nobody knew what was going on. The Cub Master didn't have a single thing he needed. At one point, he left to go home and get some stuff during the middle of the meeting! We got the notice to register the DAY BEFORE registration! Nobody came and talked to the classes, so there are only two boys Finn's age, which is disappointing. Especially since the pack expects the two "brand new to boy scout" parents to run the den. I was hoping for more experience and for it to be more official. I told Finn to invite his friends to join, so we will see (he keeps forgetting!). The good thing (if we do end up running it ourselves) is the Lion Cubs don't earn badges so the monthly meetings are more about going over a theme at the den meeting and should be "easy." We will see, I guess.

The being said, since Finn is now a Cub Scout...he is selling wreaths and popcorn! If you feel your front door needs some Christmas cheer or your tummy needs some yummy popcorn, Finn would appreciate your order. The cool thing is that a portion of what he sells actually goes into an "account" in his name that he can draw from to buy things like his uniforms, badges, trips, etc. So in theory, he can "pay" for his own way! I thought that was cool and you know you are helping Finn directly.

Here is a picture of the popcorn order form:

I, personally, LOVE the Chocolatey Caramel Crunch. It is like crack (in that it is totally addicting). Jim loves the Classic Caramel Corn. Whatever you pick, it will be super yummy. Oh, they had the Jalapeno Cheddar to sample at the meeting and Finn will tell you that it was a little too spicy for him!

Here is the wreath information:

Finn will tell you that the cross wreath is the best. He told Katie it was the fanciest! I think they are all beautiful, so good luck figuring out which one(s) you need! If you can't read the images, let me know and I can email it to you.

Orders are due Oct 25 and payment is due at the time of order. You can mail me a check made payable to "Pack 494." The product will arrive the Saturday before Thanksgiving and Finn will personally deliver it, for those who live somewhat locally. If you live far away, but would still like to order, let me know, as there are shipping options so it can be shipped directly to you!

A huge thank you to anybody who places an order. Finn (and I) really does appreciate it.

Friday, September 19

All is good

Mac's 2 month well-child appointment could not have gone better. He weighed 13 lbs 3 oz, which is the 76% and was 23" long, which is the 52%. His head was the 92%...which you can tell by looking at him that he has a big head!

The doctor said that he should be eating between 5 and 8 times a day. He eats between 8 and 10, which probably explains his weight gain! At least it reassures me that he is getting enough and that he doesn't need to eat every time he fusses. She was 100% happy with his stats.

She was happy to hear that upping his reflux meds seems to be helping. So she gave me refills and let me know how often to keep upping it to stay on top of it. Glad she is so proactive and trusts that I can follow instructions (instead of requiring me to come in for a visit and spend another copay every three weeks!).

We talked about Mac's tendency to look to the right and tilt his head to the left. She examined him and while he showed right rotation preference, he could fairly easily look to the left without help. So she wasn't concerned about that. His tilt is much more prominent but she was able to stretch out his neck muscles against the tilt, so she isn't overly concerned and thinks he will out grow it without getting Torticollis. She is very happy with the shape of his head, which is usually one of the first indicators there is a problem.

Mac has two "stork bites;" one on his forehead between his eyes and one on the back of his head, near the base of his neck. A stork bite has to do with the dilation of certain blood vessels and appears reddish/pink. She assured me that they are usually temporary and will slowly fade. I feel like the one on his forehead is already lighter than it was.

Poor little buddy had THREE vaccine shots today and one oral one. He did well, but it broke my heart to hear him crying in pain. I fed him right after and that calmed him down. The best part of the visit for me? Finding out he can now have Tylenol! Don't get me wrong, I'm not a crazy Tylenol wielding parent or anything, but it sure is nice to be able to give it, if nothing else works. It definitely helped this afternoon. The doctor also recommended a warm bath to soak his legs in, so I guess tonight is bath night for Baby! I read through all the vaccine handouts and it looks like his 4 month well-child will have about just as many. Maybe daddy can come to that seems he usually misses the ones with the shots. Hmmm...

Tuckered out after his shots:

I was happy to see on the handout that while they stated it is required to be rear-facing in a car seat until 20 pounds and 1 year of age, it also stated that the AAP strongly recommends until the age of 2! Nothing about extended rear-facing, but I was happy to see the new recommendations in print.

After the appointment, the three of us went to Dairy Queen. Korri wanted a root beer float but when I said I was having a pumpkin pie blizzard, she quickly changed her mind. For somebody who doesn't like pumpkin pie, I sure do LOVE the pumpkin pie blizzard. Go figure! Do you think Korri liked it too?

Yesterday was a crazy busy day. It was cleaning day in the AM, which is a HUGE blessing, but does require a lot of work to get the house ready for cleaning (ironically). Mac and I had our first Baby ECFE class in the AM. Korri had Open House for her Dance Class in Winsted at 5:30 and Finn had Cub Scout registration in Waverly at 7pm. Nothing like feeling like you accomplished a lot!

Thursday, September 18

He turns two!

Mac was 2 months old yesterday! It is so weird because I can't believe two months has already gone by but on the other hand, it feels like he has been part of our family forever. I guess that is a good thing. Here is a list of developmental milestones that most children can do by the end of 2 months (so Mac might be working on them this month).

Social and Emotional:
Begins to smile at people (Mac smiles a lot, sometimes at people but usually at the ceiling fan and his Goldy mobile)
Can briefly calm himself - may bring hands to mouth and suck on hand (maybe, easily calmed when picked up, though)
Tries to look at parent (he has started looking at mommy when I talk to him, even if not right next to him)

Coos, makes gurgling sounds (Yes, and I LOVE listening to him)
Turns head toward sounds (I think so, unless he is having a "conversation" with the ceiling fan!)

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving):
Pays attention to faces (sometimes does and sometime doesn't)
Begins to follow things with eyes and recognize people at a distance (follows things, yes; recognize people, I don't think so)
Begins to act bored (cries, fussy) if activity doesn't change (I don't think so, he usually fusses when he is tired or hungry)

Movement/Physical Development:
Can hold head up and begins to push up when lying on tummy (Yes, doctor impressed with his head strength!)
Makes smoother movements with arms and legs (still pretty jerky)

Mac slept six consecutive hours last night for the first time! You better believe momma was ready for him to wake up, if you know what I mean! As a whole, he is a pretty good sleeper. He typically sleeps between 3 and 4 hours at a time at night, which I think is pretty good considering how young he is. He sleeps on and off all day, "napping" schedule yet.

We took Mac into the doctor last Friday. All week he was extra fussy, was spitting up a lot, seemed to be in pain and was hard to console. He was a whopping 12 lbs 10 ounces!! The doctor upped his reflux medicine, since she thinks he out grew the amount we had been giving him. She said if that didn't help, so call her on Monday and she would switch his meds to a different kind. But he really did seem better, so I figured I'd just wait to talk to her at his well child tomorrow. I also am giving the meds to him more often throughout the day, so I think that is helping to (so they don't wear off). The amount of spit up has dropped drastically as well. Oh, and he is eating closer to every 3 hours during the day, which is WAY better than every hour and a half to two hours he had been doing! He is still a super gassy baby and strains often but I'm hoping he out grows that (and soon!).

Mac has started smiling, laughing and coo-ing. I joke that his best friend is the ceiling fan because he can smile and laugh at that thing for a long time! I caught him having a hilarious conversation with Goldy (his mobile on his crib) the other day. I don't know what they were "talking" about, but Mac sure thought it was funny! If you can get his attention, he will smile at you, but he is usually too busy looking around.

Jim has been gone this week...the first time for a long stretch since Mac was born. I've been very lucky that he hasn't had to travel much up to this point, but I was still nervous for him to leave. Overall, it hasn't been too bad. We've been busy, which actually make it easier, I think (the kids have less time to get bored and fight!). The kids also got used to him always being around so him being gone has been hard on them, especially Finn. Jim gets back tomorrow and all four of us can't wait!

Oh and we had to get a pacifier clip; something I've never had to buy or use before! Both Finn and Korri were serious thumb suckers but other than a couple accidental incidences, Mac hasn't really found his thumb or fingers...or he just isn't going to be a thumb sucker, which is what I think is the case. So weird!! He doesn't always want or like his pacifier either, but usually calms down right away if he will take it. Here's to a new experience, even though he's the third child!!

I'll have more information after his 2 month well-child appointment tomorrow. I can't believe how much he has already grown:


Friday, September 5

Korri's going too!

Yesterday morning, the four of us headed to Korri's pre-admission conference for preschool. Her preschool is in Finn's school...two doors down! Love that. And Mrs. Pam, her teacher, facilitated Art, Craft and Story time this summer, so Korri already knew her, which was fabulous. We had a little scavenger hunt when we got there (find your cubby, find the bathroom, give Mrs. Pam your forms, etc.) and then Korri and the other kids got to play while Mrs. Pam went over the details of this preschool. Korri has preschool Tues and Thurs from 8:15 to 10:50 and there will be 13 kids in Korri's class (seemed like a lot to me but Mrs. Pam said it was a nice break to have lower admission...okay then!).

It is WAY more organized and structured (in a good way) than preschool was this spring that we did in Howard Lake. Korri played really well beside two other girls (they weren't friends yet so they didn't actually interact much) which was fun to see. Korri WILL be riding the regular elementary bus to school but a preschool bus on the way home. I would be more worried about this if Finn weren't with her on the bus in the mornings. They made is very clear the steps they go through to ensure the preschoolers safety and make sure nobody is forgotten. There was SO much information during the meeting but I think at the end of the day, it is all common sense.

Korri's first day is Tuesday, Sept 9. The sad thing is that by the time Korri goes to Kindergarten, the school and the bus will be old hat, so it won't be nearly as emotional or impactful as it was to send Finn. Here's to sending another baby off to school! Good thing we have Mac!

And for those of you whom Korri has talked incessantly about this to for the last year...I submitted her Dance Class forms today, too! Based on the description, it will be ballet and tap. I honestly can't wait and hope she loves it even half as much as she has talked about it since last fall! It doesn't start until the beginning of Oct.

Thursday, September 4

First crash

Finn's second and third days of Kindergarten have gone well. He said he learned to raise his hand, which is a good one to learn! I feel like he also needs to learn to speak up a little more to be heard (he comes home saying teacher didn't answer him or respond to him; sad), but I'm sure that will come. He is very concerned that he hasn't gotten to play with the trains in his classroom. Oh and he loves that he gets to drink THREE cartons of chocolate milk a day (breakfast, lunch and snack). That seems like a lot to me. Anybody else?

Yesterday after school, he and Korri went outside to ride bikes. Within minutes, Finn was back in the house crying heavily. He had fallen off his bike! A first...and he did a pretty good job, too. His knee was pretty scraped up but nothing else seemed to be worse for the wear. He even got to have two band-aids because one didn't cover it. It was important to Jim and me that he get back on his bike before he went to bed, so we all went outside so he could reenact the "crash" for us. We still aren't sure if he hit the curb or was turning to avoid hitting the curb but regardless, he said he was looking backward to see where Korri was...and he now understands why daddy keeps telling him to look where he is going! He did get back on to go for a little bike ride with daddy and Korri and all was fine. A little scary for a short time but he handled it fairly well and recovered faster than I expected. I guess he IS a big boy now. I told him to show me his knee and give me a pouty face:

Wednesday, September 3

Our first day

I was going to title this Finn's first day...but it really was all of Team Thomas' first day of Kindergarten. It ushered in a new era for our household.

Leading up to the first day, we talked about it a bit but I didn't want to overwhelm Finn either. He kept asking if "today" was Kindergarten day. I told him we would let him know the night before at bed time! The night before, he said he had a tummy ache, and I think it was nerves. Who wouldn't have them?!?! There were a ton of forms that had to be filled out and returned. Finn completed his first "homework" which was cutting out, decorating and naming a bear. He went with "Crazy Bear." Finn needed to bring a stuffed bear to go along with the theme, I think. And a blanket for rest time. His supplies were already there and daddy had put the extra items for the classroom in his locker. I lost the bus card for his backpack, so Jim made one and attached it. I filled out his hot lunch card for the week (thankfully, we only have to do this for a couple of weeks until the kids know if they are eating or not). We picked out his clothes (and by that I mean I told him which outfit I wanted him to wear...and he shockingly agreed!). He normally wears sports shorts, so I thought a little dressier the first day would be nice. He put his backpack, sweatshirt and shoes by the front door. He took a bath and went to bed by 8pm! That was a miracle. The ONE thing I forgot was that he was supposed to wear a name tag sticker the first day. Oh, well. He survived and said that nobody else had one anyway (who knows if that is true, but it made me feel better!).

The morning of, we planned on getting him up around 7 but when I got up at 6:30 to feed Baby, both kiddos were already up! Excited, I guess. Korri wanted to come with to the bus stop, so we had to get them both ready. Brush teeth, get dressed, have a muffin for breakfast (all Kindergartners at our school get breakfast at school, so we don't HAVE to feed him if he isn't hungry, which is super nice!), get shoes and sweatshirt on, make sure backpack is ready...and time for pictures! We were ready and outside by 7:15, I think and the bus was scheduled to come at 7:37!

NeNe came over to wish Finn a good first day and helped by watching Mac so I could enjoy the morning. We took pictures (LOTS!) and then walked to the corner. Finn and Jim played Frisbee. We talked with Max and his mom because the bus stop is on their corner. The bus was late, I'm sure because of it being the first day. I think it finally picked him up about 15 minutes late. And then when the bus stopped, the driver said he will pick Finn up at our driveway because he turns around in the cul de sac anyway. Sweet!! Finn hopped right up, turned around and gave me a look that showed that he was a little scared. My heart officially broke. I was okay until that point. Then the doors shut and I lost it. My baby was gone and I couldn't protect or help him. All day long, I kept wondering what they were doing and if he was doing okay (which I knew he was, but I kept thinking about it). Right when we walked back into the house, Korri said she missed Finn and asked when he was coming home!

The bus is scheduled to drop him off at 3:25 and it was super late the first day (like 20 minutes or more!). Just when we started wondering if we had to call somebody, it turned the corner. Thank God! He hopped off and ran up the driveway. He was happy until he saw that Korri had a special treat. Then he said that nothing was fun at school (because he wanted a treat, too!). Bad planning. We went inside and looked through his folder. He had to fill out a mad lib kind of thing and he said that he was sad at the end of the school day because he wanted to come back! Oh, again, thank God! He didn't have a ton to say, but we slowly got information out of him throughout the evening. I think it was all overwhelming, to say the least.

Side note: in the last couple of days, Baby has started being entertained (at least for a little bit!) by his play mat and bouncy seat! Praise the Lord. It gives me some time to put him down and try to get something done. And it is so cute to see him hitting the toys and cooing. He is getting so big...he IS seven weeks old tomorrow, after all!

Pictures from Finn's first day are on our picture website (link to the right) but here are a couple: