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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.

Friday, October 31

Happy Halloween from Spidey, Princess and Viking

We had a blast on Halloween! I lost my camera, which is why I'm just posting this now (and back-dating to Halloween!). I had gotten Finn's Spiderman costume last year, but at the last minute, he decided to go as a Vikings football player, which turned out well because the costume was still too big this year! Oops. Toddler costumes were too small and "Boys" sizes were too big. So, what 'er ya gonna do?!?! Maybe he will wear it next year again! After months of convincing, Korri went as a Flower Girl Princess. What is a Flower Girl Princess you ask? A princess dressed up in her flower girl dress from her auntie's wedding last spring!! I figured why should I buy her a costume, when she has this gorgeous dress that still fits her (even with enough room to put a sweater underneath!). But we added accessories and a crown, so she was a princess, too! She looks adorbs, so that's all that matters. I randomly found Baby's costume online and while I would have been fine using one of the many baby costumes we have, it was too perfect: A Viking! His, too, was too big, but I knew I'd need to put layers underneath and I didn't know if it would run small or not. Oh, well. He, too, was a adorbs!

Stacey and Dillon (aka an Outsider, I think!) came over to go trick-or-treating with us. I'm so glad they did. Jim was able to stay home and do his favorite part of Halloween: hand out candy (which happens to be my least favorite part of Halloween!). We handed out glow sticks and full-sized candy bars this year because otherwise Jim gives handfuls of the "fun size" to each kid and we go through WAY more that way. We stopped and picked up Max and his dad on our way by so we were one big happy trick-or-treating gang. After three houses, Korri asked if we could be done because she already got some candy! Oh, I wish, baby girl, but the boys wanted to go to a lot of houses. Last year we just went up and down our street but this year, we even ventured to the other neighborhood. Thankfully, the weather wasn't too cold. It was a great Halloween.

Lots of pictures on our picture website, but here are some highlights;






Wednesday, October 29

Son of God

Mac was baptized on Sunday. What a wonderful day and event. I've always thought there is something special about baptism, so innocent, so refreshing, rebirth. I wish we could all stay so pure and close to God. Mac was a rock star. I kind of like it when babies cry a little when the water is poured over them, but nope, Mac just laid there patiently. Mac is so lucky to have Stacey and Mike be his godparents. They are both amazing people who will have a great influence in his life. Thank you to them for taking on this significant responsibility! Also, thank you to everybody who helped us celebrate Mac's big day. It really means the world to us to be surrounded by such good family and friends. Here are a few pictures:





Just as our other two did, Mac wore the same baptismal gown that Jim wore for his baptism. I just LOVE the symbolism and significance of that. For Mac's baptism cake, I wanted to try some new techniques and flavors (since I could do whatever I wanted!). So I made peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting filling. And I decided to do a two tiered cake and cover it with homemade fondant! Luckily, my friend Andrea had just made a cake this summer so she gave me lots of tips (and I always ask my expert cake maker, Becky, a ton of questions!). 

The top tier has a negative impression of a cross, surrounded by flowers. The bottom tier has a quilt pattern, edible pearls and Mac's name. Anyway, it was labor intensive, but I think it turned out pretty good (very close to my vision, anyway).

Oh, and Mac received a blanket made by a lady from the parish and an incredible wood chest made by a man from the church! Both are beautiful and so thoughtful.


My favorite picture from the service (courtesy of Kelsie):
Just an incredible day.

Monday, October 27

She's done it again!

I know I sound like a broken record, but yet again, Jess has worked miracles! Mac pretty much refused to smile at his 3 month pictures. I wasn't overly concerned about it because I knew his pictures would still be cute (I mean, how COULDN'T they be?!?!) and he hadn't been really smilely yet in general, so I didn't know any of his "tricks" to get him to smile. Oh, well. Jess clicked away and we left it at that. I was pretty sure she got ONE pic of him smiling or semi-smiling.

Fast forward to yesterday. Jess sent me his pictures yesterday morning...right before baptism! LOL, so I didn't get to really look at them until later. But low and behold; he is smiling or at least happy in most of them! I think she has a magic camera. Or maybe photoshopped another kid's smile on Mac's face! Anyway, let's get to it.

Here are Mac's 3 month pictures:

www.jessicahislop.com/mac3months
password: 3monthsold

Sneak peek (two of my favorites):


Saturday, October 18

Mac is three!

Mac turned 3 months old yesterday! So crazy how fast it is going. I was thinking about it yesterday and with Finn each day and each month went by so slowly (especially in the beginning). He was our only, he had special needs and we could devote all of our breath and energy to just him. Then with Korri, who had severe colic, each day drug by so slowly but each month zipped by (she was two before I even blinked). But with Mac, each day AND each month is going WAY too quickly. I want to savor every single second but then I look up and there he is...three months old already!! And so quickly outgrowing those newborn/infant tendencies. I want to remember each and every second.

Anyway, here are some milestones for the "average" 3 month old and my comments on them regarding Mac's development.

Movement Milestones
  • Raises head and chest when lying on stomach (To be perfectly honest, I don't put him on his tummy much, shame on me! But he has been able to hold his head up almost since birth. Not sure about his chest.) 
  • Supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach (He can if you put his arms under him) 
  • Stretches legs out and kicks when lying on stomach or back (Yes, stretches and kicks a lot) 
  • Opens and shuts hands (Yes) 
  • Pushes down on legs when feet are placed on a firm surface (Yes, did this at his two month well-child appt and Dr was impressed) 
  • Brings hand to mouth (He does but not as often as he used to now that he prefers the pacifier) 
  • Takes swipes at dangling objects with hands (Yes! He LOVES playing on his play mat and swatting at the purple parrot above him) 
  • Grasps and shakes hand toys (Not independently, but can for a short time if object is put in his hand) 
Visual and Hearing Milestones
  • Watches faces intently (Not really, he still doesn't like to look directly at people very often) 
  • Follows moving objects (yes) 
  • Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance (I don't think so, but how can you tell?) 
  • Starts using hands and eyes in coordination (Starting to, he was trying to touch a toy in front of him and couldn't reach but kept trying!) 
  • Smiles at the sound of your voice (Not very often, but he is very stingy with the smiles...unless you are the ceiling fan or Goldy Gopher or you catch him in a really good mood) 
  • Begins to babble (Yes and I LOVE it so much) 
  • Begins to imitate some sounds (I find us imitating him more than he imitates us, but then we just go back and forth copying each other) 
  • Turns head toward direction of sound (Not always. He gets pretty focused on certain things and can't be bothered) 
Social and Emotional Milestones
  • Begins to develop a social smile (Yes, but like I said, a little stingy with showing it) 
  • Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when playing stops (I haven't noticed crying when play stops but just recently started liking to "play" on his mat or when Korri plays with him) 
  • Becomes more communicative and expressive with face and body (I think so. He now has a pouty lip when he is mad or about to cry...LOVE it.) 
  • Imitates some movements and facial expressions (Haven't noticed this yet) 
For the most part, Mac is a GREAT sleeper. He often sleeps for 7-8 hour stretches at night (once even NINE!), although not for the last week or so since he's had a little stuffy nose. Hopefully we get back to that. He also has started not wanting to go to bed for the night. I used to be able to just feed him at 8:30pm and he'd go to sleep for the night. Not any more. Again, I hope it is a phase and we'll get back to easy bedtime. And he still sleeps in his swing (not swinging or vibrating) but for now, it works best with his acid reflux. I think his doctor will want to transition him to his crib soon. [cringe!]

We had Mac's 3 month pictures with Jess on Thursday and they went really well. Except Mac didn't want to smile at all! I think we got at least one full smile and maybe a half smile too. Oh, well. Good thing he is so cute with or without a smile. Can't wait to get them back.

Mac likes his jumper! I don't remember either of the other two liking it but he will sit in it for 10-15 minutes at a time (which I think is a long time for this age). I like that it changes his position and sits him upright and still supports him. He doesn't really play with it or jump in it yet but looks around and talks to the parrot hanging over him.

He is still a good eater, although since he got his stuffy nose, he thinks eating for 6-7 minutes is a full feeding when before it was closer to 20-25 minutes! Makes me frustrated but I think he is getting enough (he looks like it anyway!) and it seems to be getting better over the last day or so. Still...best eater out of my three by FAR! I think Jim is looking forward to starting solids so he can participate more with feedings. We will discuss with the Dr. at Mac's next well-child appt in Nov. He stills get reflux medicine three times per day and it seems to help.

He has already out grown his 3 month clothes! I seriously think he was wearing that size for MAYBE two weeks! Man, he is a fast growing boy. I refused to put him in 6 month clothes when he was 2 months old, so I'm glad most brands have a 3-6 month size, which seems to fit him fairly well right now...today anyway! Who knows about tomorrow.

I don't have his three month picture ready yet but here is a recent one of his new favorite pastime...drooling (we call him Drool Beard; the most feared pirate of the seven seas):

Friday, October 10

What's a square?

We had our first parent/teacher conference on Thursday night. And overall, it went really well. I didn't have many expectations since this was a first for us but knew Finn was doing well. Finn was not there (thanks Memere for coming to watch the kiddos!). I liked that so we could talk freely and not worry about what Finn hears. For the winter/spring conference, Finn will be there and he will be telling us his strengths and weakness. Interesting.

She started out by telling us how much she enjoys and gets a kick of our Finn. Awww...that made me happy. She also said that several other teachers stop her and say that they notice Finn (in a good way!) and that he cracks them up! Good, as long as it isn't disrupting. Apparently, Finn wearing tights under his shorts is a huge hit!

The short of it is that Finn earned a positive mark for all of her 8-10 expectations/goals (they either receive a positive mark or "needs to improve"). He is doing amazing with literacy (in the top third of all kindergartners at HLWW). He, however, is borderline needing extra help with math because...he didn't identify a square or triangle! This is what frustrates us about Finn is he thinks it is, I don't know...funny, to not answer correctly. He didn't identify any 3D images (like cone, sphere, etc.) but he isn't expected to at this point...but he's known what a square is since he was two! Argh. So we are going to work with him at home so he answers correctly next time he is tested.

Otherwise, no surprises other than that fact that I don't know how she gets everything done! Based on what she told us, it seems they are there 24 hours a day. They are learning far more than I remember learning in kindergarten but still have time for fun time. She said this is an interesting group for her because they all want to learn all the time (more so than any other class she's taught...which is a good thing, I think!). We get report cards at the beginning of November, so we'll see how he is doing then.

Oh and she was surprised to hear our concerns about Finn's behavior at home because she hasn't seen ANY of it at school. I guess we are his soft place to land...lucky us?!?! Seriously, I was glad to hear that, though.

Already trained?

Korri is an enigma. She has been daytime potty trained since right after her second birthday. She has been about 90% night time trained for about 9 months (right around her third birthday). I'll give her that she has had a LOT of changes in the last 6 months. But for the last month, she has been wet EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, even when we wake her up to go potty, sometimes even twice! It has been beyond frustrating, not to mention doing all the laundry is exhausting.

We'd been throwing in words like "pulls-ups" and "diapers" here and there and finally I decided I had enough. She isn't being "naughty" but she also just doesn't seem to care. Well, except when she is soaking wet in the middle of the night and says she is sorry over and over (which, of course, tears my heart apart). The most frustrating thing is I KNOW she can do it. She could stay dry all night well before Finn did. She can hold it and if she can't, she is 100% capable for getting up to go potty (even though she still wakes me up to do so, which is fine with me!). So I gave her one more chance. If she was wet Wednesday night, I was going to buy Pull-Ups Thursday at the store and once she started wearing them, she had to wear them at night until she is dry for one full week. And she was wet, so I bought the darn Pull-Ups.

She wore it for the first time last night. Baby slept from 11:30pm until 6:00am (holla!), so I didn't wake her up to go potty like I normally do when he wakes up to eat. And she was DRY this morning! What?!?! She said she got up and went potty by herself when I asked her this morning, but I'm not sure I believe her (she ALWAYS wakes me up when she gets up). While I'm very glad for her being dry, it is beyond frustrating, too. Here's hoping that in 7 days, we'll be back to wearing unders and NOT wetting the bed. Kids: they always keep you on your toes, if nothing else!

And because I like a post with pictures, we went to Fall Harvest Orchard on Wednesday with Pam and Levi. It is super close to home but we'd never been there. We all LOVED it. Sadly, they are selling it so this might be the last year (anybody want to pool $550,000 to buy it together?), but we enjoyed it while we could! And we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day.




And, a super big happy birthday to Big Ben who turns TWO today!! Where does the time go?

Monday, October 6

Seven year itch?

Happy 7th Anniversary to my wonderful husband. Wow, the last 7 years have been a whirlwind. We bought our first house. We got married (obviously). We had our first child who was born early and had a rough two year journey (but is thankfully perfectly healthy now!). We underwent a remodel project that completely finished our basement and created a master ensuite upstairs. We had our second child who had severe colic and would NOT sleep for the first year...and she still doesn't like to sleep. I went back to work after being a SAHM for three and a half years and the kids went to daycare for the first time (it was VERY traumatic for me at least). We sold our beloved home in NE, and while that is a simple sentence, it was NOT easy doing so with two small children! We then found, bought and moved into our dream home out in the western frontier in Waverly. We had our third (and final!) child and a week later, Jim resigned from his job of 15 years! And finally we all started a new venture when we sent our oldest to Kindergarten this fall.

And these are just the highlights! Crazy. But there is nobody else I'd rather experience all these things with than you, Jim! We love fiercely, we disagree loudly, we bicker constantly...but we fit together perfectly. I never knew how crazy wonderful these last 7 years would or could be. That being said, I think we've earned a few "quiet" years...or at least different than the first 7 have been! Probably won't be "quiet" until they all move out. I love you so much.

For our anniversary, Jim and I went out alone for the first time since before Mac was born! Thank you to DeAnn for coming over and watching all three kids! We went to Birch's in Long Lake and it was wonderful. Jim even liked it and he can be hard to please when it comes to food. I think we will be back. Jim got me seven presents, one for each year, with the last one being tickets to go see A Christmas Carol the weekend after Thanksgiving! So thoughtful and I can't wait. For all the ups and downs; laughs and tears; smiles and frowns...I am one lucky lady and I wouldn't trade my life for anything. And I think that "seven year itch" has been scratched! We are good with how and where we are in life. What will the next seven bring?

Friday, October 3

Dance at dance?

So, they WILL dance at dance class right? Last night was Korris first night of dance class. But because all the girls ordered shoes, it was pretty much just for trying on shoes to make sure they fit. Korri was not a fan, as the only thing they did was stretch, I think. Oh, well. I told her next week they will actually dance. She is super excited about that (even if she HAS to stretch first). We got a little backpack to put her ballet and tap shoes in so they will be ready every week (and we can find them). The teacher said that after a few classes, they will let the parents in for the last few minutes to watch a little bit. I can't wait for that!!

We brought Mac to the doctor this week. He had a low grade fever for 4 days and was lethargic (i.e. was sleeping a LOT). So the nurse said to bring him in, even though I was sure it was nothing. The doctor did a thorough exam and took his temperature twice and couldn't really find anything wrong. Then she looked at his weight gain and said, "oh, he is probably going through a growth spurt!" She said to come back in today if he wasn't better, but he seems fine to me (I stopped taking his temperature since it wasn't a big deal). So my "little" buddy is growing...AGAIN! I just switched his clothes out to 3 month MAYBE two weeks ago and now I already feel like I should move up to the next size. While at dinner this week, there were twins next to us who I heard were 2 months old. I said I wasn't going to tell that mom that Mac was 2 months old, too! I'm sure the twins were early but holy small, especially compared to Mac!! I don't mind. My big baby is eating great and sleeping even better. I'll take it over my first two who didn't.

Because I can't have a post without a picture, here is Korri trying on her snow gear:

She said, "I'm going to go outside and wait for the snow." However, here is Korri 3 minutes later practicing her Gopher cheering: