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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.

Sunday, November 30

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from our little turkeys to yours!

We definitely had a good Thanksgiving holiday. It started out last Saturday at my aunt Vicky's for my dad's family Thanksgiving/Christmas celebration. I'm so glad we were able to go. We ended up staying in town over night because we stayed later than planned and daddy wasn't in any condition to drive and mommy was too tired! Oh, well. The kids liked the little adventure.

Then we had my sisters, their families and my mom over on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is Jim's favorite holiday and he goes ALL out! There were 15 of us and he made three turkeys: oven roasted (brined first), rotisserie and deep fried (the last two were injected with creole butter!). They were super yummy. We ate later in the day to accommodate nap time. The only downside? Not having enough time between eating the meal and dessert time!

Then yesterday we headed over to DeAnn's for the Thomas Thanksgiving. She went all out, as usual and it was fabulous. The kids just LOVE it at her house. Mac had a tough day (I think it was tummy issues), but thankfully Memere took care of him most of the day for me, which was much appreciated (DeAnn wasn't feeling 100% so I'm sure it killed her to not get her share of Mac time). We were sad to miss the Smith gathering at my aunt Karen's but unfortunately we can't be in two places at once.

We got home last night, the kids watched the end of the Gopher football game with Jim (tough loss!) while I finished cleaning up the kitchen from Thursday (yes, a little delayed, I know!). Then Jim got out the karaoke and we sang for a LONG time. We all loved that, even Mac, who chose to sing along to a few songs!

We hope that all of you had just as wonderful of a holiday as we did, surrounded by those you cherish most. Now, on to the Christmas season (my favorite!). For the first time in years, I didn't go out on Black Friday. So many of the deals were online with free shipping and to be honest, I was underwhelmed with the deals this year at most stores. And, I've been shopping for a month or two, so I don't have that much left! Sweet. Now I can just enjoy all the Christmas activities.

Tuesday, November 25

Solids, Baby!

As mentioned in the previous post, we were cleared to start solid foods with Mac. Jim has been looking forward to this since Mac is breastfed and Jim can't really participate in feeding him at all. So after the doctor appointment, we picked up some rice cereal and spoons. I didn't really know what to expect other than Baby took to the nipple immediately the first time he had a bottle, so I thought he might figure it out fairly quickly.

Is "snarf" a word? If so, he surpassed my expectations and snarfed down a whole bowl! He LOVED it and was not happy when the bowl was gone. I was then able to nurse him and he ate a full feeding there, too. Little piggy!

Jim started out with it pretty watery and it was a mess. He then thickened it up a bit and that was the trick. Baby swallowed it right down, almost as if he knew he didn't want to waste any! Korri loved the whole process and of course, wanted to participate and feed him herself. Finn couldn't have cared less, other than he wanted us to be done so he could have a snack.

We asked how to proceed and what to avoid...and I'm glad we did. In the three-ish years since Korri started solids, the "rules" have changed! Basically, you can start with any solid foods (you used to "have" to start with rice cereal) even meats, eggs, fish and peanuts! The only thing you have to avoid is honey and pure maple syrup because of the spores they can carry. I can remember that. The sheet recommended one feeding per day to start with and doing that at dinner time so baby starts to understand "meal time" ritual. I don't know how much he'll understand about that, but I know he'll like to have something to do during dinner instead of just sitting in the high chair, looking at us.

She basically said to have at it and said that by his 6 month well child, we can have introduced any and all solid foods (finger foods wait until closer to 9 months). I better find the steamer and get the food processor ready for baby food! I haven't made it in a while.

Here are some pictures from the event:
Let's get started.

This "eating" thing is weird, but I sure like it!

Daddy is going for the quick way.

Spitting a little out, but it went right back in.

Big sister giving it a try.

What? Gone? You've got to be kidding me.

Four Month Well Child

Today we had Mac's 4 month well child doctor appointment. Basically, the doctor said he is a super healthy baby! Yeah. I LOVE hearing that and never take it for granted. Here are his stats:

Height: 25.5" or 60%
Weight: 15 lbs 11 oz or 52%
Head: 44 cm or 96%

No, the head percentile is NOT a typo. His head is in the 96th percentile! She obviously isn't concerned about it and said if you have to have a big head or a small is definitely better to have a big head. So, there you go.

I was most surprised by his weight. Jim thought he'd be around 19 lbs and I thought 17.5 lbs. We were surprised (and I was slightly concerned, because that is how I am!) that he'd gained so little. We talked about it with the doctor and again, she is not concerned. Based on his ques, she feels he is getting enough breast milk so it isn't a supply issue. She thinks he might just grow in big spurts and he is not on a spurt right now. She also thinks he reflux probably contributes to him not getting quite as much milk, but feels that too is under control. So, no concerns. And for the record, I don't think I've EVER had a "normal" baby where their weight and height were both so close to 50%, so I'll take it.

He had three shots today, poor guy! But he did great. He cried right away, but not for long. And then he got to eat, so he forgot all about his legs! Although, the first thing Korri wanted to see when she got home from preschool was Baby's band-aids. Too funny. She did say the tetanus would be pretty sore, so I gave him Tylenol when we got home to help with that. And he hasn't been any extra fussy tonight that I could tell.

We talked about a lot of things, but nothing that was overly concerning. She said she sees NO signs of torticollis based on his range of motion and head shape. I was very glad to hear that. I mentioned that not only doesn't he roll over but seems to have no interest in it. She also said it is normal for a baby not to be rolling over yet and it is sometimes closer to 6 months, especially now days that babies' sleep on their backs. For the record, I'm fine with him NOT rolling over (as long as it isn't due to development delays!). A stationary baby is an easy baby to find.

Mac has dry patches on his skin and she said that is super normal this time of year. She just recommended to only wash him with soap once per week and lotion him up. Hopefully that will help and he doesn't develop skin issues like Korri's. I mentioned that his tear duct seems to be all cleared up and she said that we won't really know for sure until he has his first good cold...but I'm happy to not be cleaning junk out of it constantly.

While she said that he is exhibiting "teething behavior" that he most likely won't get teeth for several months. Oh, don't I know it. I've always said that teething and potty training are the hardest jobs of parenting young children. We'll just stick to low doses of Tylenol (now that I know what dosage he should be having!).

Oh, and the doctor gave the go ahead to start solids! More on that in another post. Cliff's notes: we did and he liked it! In reading through the informational handout, a lot has changed as far as recommendations for solid foods even since Korri was a baby THREE years ago! Crazy.

And because you know I hate a post without a picture, In the information handout it mentioned to watch out for baby grabbing things such as glasses...and so it begins (this was last night!):

Friday, November 21

Prima ballerina

Okay, Prima Ballerina she may not be (yet!), but I challenge anybody to NOT find this adorable (Korri is in the purple tutu):

Last night, they let the parents come in for the last couple minutes of dance class. I am amazed at what they have learned in only a few weeks and only 30 minutes for each class. I honestly can't wait to go to her recital in May. I'm probably going to burst open from smiling and laughing too much!

Jim reprimanded me for taking a verticle video. Sorry; but I only wanted to focus on Korri and if I did horizontal, it would have been the whole class. Deal.

Thursday, November 20

I luv my mom

We had our first Donuts for Dads/Muffins for Moms at school this morning. We had to be there at 7:30am...holy early! All five of us went together. I didn't know what to expect other than I was expecting complete chaos. But other than being very crowded, it wasn't too bad!

We got there and put both kids winter stuff in their lockers. Korri went with us until her preschool started. Then we went back to the lunch room area and got in line. Jim took Baby in the carseat to get us a seat and to not have to lug the carseat around. I took both kids to get their muffin or donuts (apparently dads don't have to only have donuts and moms don't have to only have!). We sat down at the table and I noticed there were hand colored place mats.

We settled in and then Finn said that the place mat at my place was the one he did. I looked at it and this is what I saw:

I don't think it gets any sweeter than that. Talk about melting my heart. There are so many things I love about this. Obviously the message, but also his writing, his ability to write a sentence and even the misspelling. I will cherish this forever (I left it there but probably should have stolen it! A picture will have to do).

We struggle with parenting Finn and his attitude a lot (I received my first phone call from his teacher the day before and wasn't feeling too good about a lot of things). I feel like I do nothing right most of the time and I'm pretty sure I yell more than I speak normally. But then I see something like this and it gives me hope that he doesn't hold it against me and loves me so much. I'm not perfect but maybe I'm the perfect parent for him. I needed this pick me up and reminder.

After breakfast, Korri went to her class and we went to Finn's room to have some Free Choice time. After that, we went to an assembly on "teasing." They had different animals and the messages was really good. I'm really glad we went. I never knew how much work parenting a school-aged child would be (homework, conferences, phone calls, volunteering, field trips, etc), but man, I love all of it, too. Here's to many more muffins and donuts together!

Big boy in a big bed

I don't remember the last time I was so excited to do a post! Especially about something seemingly so small. BUT...Baby slept all night in his CRIB last night. Yes, for the first time ever. He did wake up at 3am, which he normally doesn't until later, but I just fed him and he went right back to sleep. I didn't even dare tell Jim where Baby was sleeping until the morning in case I jinx it. I've been thinking about it for a while and knew it was something we were going to have to make the switch to at some point. So last night, I just got the urge to put him in a swaddle and try it (part of the reason I've been putting off is because of his really strong startle reflex, hence the swaddle). I guess I realized that if it didn't go well, I could always put him back in the swing for the rest of the night and I wouldn't be out too much, other than a little time, sleep and frustration, but what mom can't handle that?!?!

I'm really proud of myself for one reason: these are the things that Jim usually does. I'm all about the status quo and if it ain't broke, I sure as heck ain't going to fix it! I always assume my kids can't do whatever challenge/change we come to and Jim assumes they can. I guess that is why having a partner is so nice (oh, and misery loves company, but I digress)! Maybe it was the looming well-child appt next week or maybe it was divine intervention...whatever it was, I feel really good about doing it. It felt so good to lay him down in his CRIB! I, of course, had to take a picture this morning to document the success:

Now, mentioning it here, I have probably jinxed it, but we at least had one good night, of hopefully what is many to come.

Monday, November 17

Fantastic Four

Mac is 4 months old today. He is such a joy and nothing brings me more happiness than him laughing or coo-ing, which he does a lot during the day. He has his 4 month well-child appt next week, so his stats will be coming then. They say that by month 4, babies usually have doubled their birth weight. If that is true, Mac weighs 17lbs 10oz. I bet he is close but we'll have to wait to see for sure. Finn weighed EXACTLY that the day he turned ONE YEAR OLD! Ha, I'll take a big, healthy baby any day.

Fourth Month Baby Milestones:

  • Slow in weight gain to about 20 grams per day
  • Double the birth weight (we will see next week!)
  • Have almost no head droop while in a sitting position (He still has some, but his head is HUGE)
  • Be able to sit straight if propped up (if supported, yes)
  • Raise head 90 degrees when placed on stomach (Yes, but hard to hold it there)
  • Be able to roll from front to back (he has but it was accidental, not even close)
  • Hold and let go of an object (yes, mainly lets it go right away)
  • Play with rattle when it's placed in the hands, but won't be able to pick it up if dropped (doesn't hold on for very long, though)
  • Be able to grasp rattle with both hands (I don't know, but I don't think so)
  • Be able to place objects in mouth (his hands, yes, but I don't know about anything else)
  • Sleep 9 to 10 hours at night with two naps (total of 14 - 16 hours per day) (definitely sleeps that much at night, but doesn't have a "nap" schedule yet. He kind of cat naps all day)
A 4-month-old baby is expected to:
  • Have well-established close vision (I feel like he can see so much more now)
  • Increase eye contact with parents and others (yes, I was slightly worried because he wasn't making much eye contact but that has increased recently)
  • Have beginning hand-eye coordination (he can get his hand in his mouth and occasionally connects with toys when swatting at them)
  • Be able to coo (yes, does it a lot during the day and I LOVE it!)
  • Be able to laugh out loud (yes, so cute)
  • Anticipate feeding when able to see a bottle (if bottle-fed) (he isn't bottle-fed but he does start licking his lips when I get ready to feed him.)
  • Begin to show memory (hmmm...not sure how this would manifest)
  • Demand attention by fussing (yes, but is usually easily calmed if attention is paid!)
  • Recognize parent voice or touch (yes, for sure)
He started teething about a week or two ago. We give him low doses of Tylenol when needed (or when we anticipate they are going to bother him) and the Orajel gel swabs. The evenings seem to be the worst for him, but it might be exacerbated by the fact that he is tired. His plugged tear duct cleared up on its own a few weeks ago. So happy not to have to constantly clean eye goop any more.

We don't do a lot of tummy time but he tolerates it pretty well when we do. While he has rolled over from front to back at least twice, he isn't really interested yet. He loves to lay on his back and play with his jungle gym play mat. He also loves to play in his jumper, which I like because he is completely upright in there (don't have to worry about the flat head!). The other two kids didn't really like the jumper very much, so I'm glad he does, even if his feet still can't reach the ground! That is what boxes are for. The bouncy seat continues to be a life saver. He will almost always go in there if I need my hands free for something. And he has figured out how to move the toys so they go (there is a setting where the music turns off if the baby doesn't move the toys). I use the high chair in the kitchen a lot. He doesn't eat food yet so it is just used as a holding place for him but he likes to be in the center of the action instead of stuck in the living room by himself.

He will start smiling just by me looking at him and smiling. He doesn't work up to a full belly laugh often but he often looks like he is trying to. He says what sounds like "hi" a lot and likes when we repeat it to him. Finn SWEARS Mac said "Momma" the other day (I'm sure he didn't but I'll take it!). The Bigs like to play the repeat game with him on sounds he is making, which is great for him to hear.

Nicknames: Baby, Bubsy, Bubsy Boo, Mac-a-doodle, Mac Attack, MJT-pronounced "midget" (that's all I can think of now)

He still loves his pacifier. He doesn't need it all the time (thankfully) but the second he gets it, he calms down and usually goes to sleep. My other two never could keep it in their mouths (too weak of suck), so this is fabulous. And since we have the clip to keep it attached to what he is wearing, we don't lose it! He is breast-feeding about 5 times per day. The length for each feeding varies greatly (which always worries me with all my insecurities) but he seems to be growing just fine (again, will find out more next week).

He goes to sleep for the night usually around 9 or 9:30 (depending on the night, sometimes closer to 11 or 11:30!). He then sleeps soundly for 8-11 hours! If he wakes up before 7 to eat, he goes immediately back to sleep and sleeps for another 3-4 hours. Sometimes, if it is after 7, he thinks he needs to stay awake but he is pretty tired and usually goes back to sleep within the hour. I'm looking forward to when he has a nap schedule as he just naps on and off all day. BUT he will still sleep anywhere, which is super convenient if we are out and about. He sleeps in his swing at night for his reflux but also because I'm scared to try the crib now, especially since the swing works so well. I mean, why fix what isn't broke?!?! We will discuss with the doctor I'm sure at his well-child, since at his two month well-child, she mentioned something about him needing to sleep in his crib eventually.

Monthly pics:

Saturday, November 15

G to the B in '14

Ha, I stole the title from Stacey, but I don't think she will sue me over it! On Friday night, DeAnn, Stacey and I went to the Garth Brooks concert at the Target Center...and it was phenomenal. I saw him last time he was in town in 1998 and it was everything I remembered and more. I didn't pull out my CDs before going, at the beginning of almost every song, we were like, "Oh, THIS is my favorite!"

Stacey dropped D off at our house (yes, Daddy Daycare was full with FOUR kids for the night!) and then we met DeAnn in SLP before heading downtown. Traffic was awful, but we didn't have too far to go. Once there, the walk from the parking ramp was frigid but I barely noticed because I was SO excited.

I can not believe how many people were there and this was only one of ELEVEN shows he did! There is nobody else like him. Can you imagine another artist taking a FIFTEEN year break from music, announce a comeback tour and sell out ELEVEN shows in one venue? Crazy. They said he sold over 200,000 tickets, which was a record for him and the Target Center, smashing his previous record of 162,000, which happened to be the last time he was in town. Again, crazy!

It was so good to get out and just have fun. I always worry about leaving baby for so long (I think it was right around 6 hours), but he takes a bottle without any problems, so I need not worry. I even had a drink while there and it was fabulous! Oh and the cup was in the shape of a guitar, so I had to bring that home for the Bigs.

If you didn't go, I highly recommend it next time he is in town. And hopefully it won't be another 15 years before he comes back...but with those numbers, I don't think that will be a problem! Thank you DeAnn and Stacey for making it such a great night. I loved spending girl time with you and sharing one of my favorite artists together. And for the record, The River is my favorite Garth song, but there are about 10 tied for second!

Some pics from the night:

DeAnn gave me these boots and I FINALLY got to wear them to a concert. I had happy feet the whole time!