Counters

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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, December 26

One word

My Grandpa Walsh (my dad's dad) earned his angel wings yesterday just after noon at the age of 86. After a week long struggle, the end was a very peaceful release. Like Kristine said, he was able to celebrate the Christmas season with all of his kids, including my Dad. Jim and I were blessed to be among those there for his last breath. My grandma was at his side and moments after, she looked up and said how happy she was for him. What a selfless thing to say and feel and it was truly how she felt. He will be greatly missed (more than words can convey) but he is with my dad in the house that God made just for him.

He was a great man who made a great family. He'll be kept plenty busy keeping an eye on all of us! If I have my numbers right, Grandpa was the father of seven, grandfather to 16 and great-grandfather to 14. The priest asked my grandma how old Grandpa was and then asked her if on the day they got married, if somebody had said he'd be with her until he was 86, would she have been happy? What a good way to give perspective during a very difficult time. I'd take those odds any day! Sorry, Jim, I'm hoping you're stuck with  me for another 50 years!

My aunt Lisa said she was asked to describe grandpa in one word and she said he was simply...gentle! So true and so perfect. But I struggled because he was so much MORE than that, too. He was strong. He was a farmer up until the very end (he told us he was gathering cattle last Sunday!). He was hard-working. He didn't make it out into the field this fall but I'm pretty sure he did last year at 85! He was spiritual and holy. When Lisa, Grandma and Grandpa joined me at Dad's grave on his birthday last year, Grandpa had us say a decade of the rosary...which was the exactly perfect thing for that moment...and it was just second nature for him. He was frugal (which leads itself to a LOT of great stories!) but he worked hard and had something to show for it. He was quiet. He wasn't much of a talker (maybe he can't get a word in with Grandma around!!!) but you always knew what he was thinking or what his intentions were or what he expected. To put it simply, he was constant. He was always there, sitting in his chair. He was who he was and that was good enough for him.

It gives me great comfort knowing that Grandpa and Dad are together. I don't know why, but it does. Maybe I feel like Dad has somebody to spend time with. But neither were big talkers, so they will most likely sit in chairs on a porch somewhere and just observe all that their big family is doing. But they will have each other's companionship while doing so.

There's so much more to say about your amazing life but to put it simply, rest in peace, Grandpa. And if I had to choose one word, it would be "love." I love you! 



Sunday, December 13

Turning the Corner?

After being sick all summer, I feel like Mac has been doing really well this fall/winter. But I knew it was just a matter of time. Last Sunday, he woke up with a runny nose. No other symptoms, just a nose that would not turn off (and wanted some extra snuggles!). Through the week, he had a low grade fever on and off but didn't act very sick and while his nose was running constantly, it was clear and at least wasn't congested.

On Wed, Reagan went home with a fever, but I didn't think much of it since Mac had a cold all week, I figured he maybe just gave it to her (let's face it, babies share germs and colds!). They hadn't interacted very much on Wed (they seemed to take turns napping almost all day), so when Anna said on Thursday that Reagan had Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (a virus that is easily spread by children), I wasn't worried. Then Mac woke up and looked like this on Friday:

It was clearly more than just the little cold he'd had. It continued to get worse over the next day and little red spots developed around his mouth. NOOOOOO! Korri had Hand Foot and Mouth when she was 14 months old and her skin peeled off almost her entire body. I did NOT want this to happen to Mac, obviously.

This was him before bed tonight:

Still cheerful but miserable at the same time. I'm so glad my mom came to spend a few days because he wanted her most of the time (which gave me a little break!). I talked to the nurse triage on Friday and they said it lasts 3-6 days (the blisters can last longer, but don't keep developing). So tomorrow is day 4 and I'm hoping we turn the corner (I've been saying that for a week!).

Also, Mac's is NOTHING compared to Korri's (at least not YET!):



Friday, December 11

Eye I Aye

Yesterday, Korri, Mac and I went to their eye doctor appointments. This was Korri's regular semi-yearly check. Mac's pediatrician wanted him screened to make sure he doesn't have the same problem Korri does, so I got him an appointment at the same time (no need to make two trips into the Cities!). I have to admit, I was a little anxious before the appointment. I mean, nothing horrible would come out (they both can obviously see!) but I hate being blind-sided and I feel like eye stuff does that for me. I always think everything is fine and then it isn't. But worse case scenario would be that Korri's eyes had worsened and she'd need to patch again and that Mac would need glasses (and need to patch). I kept telling myself that even this worse case scenario wasn't HORRIBLE, just inconvenient.

But they both are doing great! Korri's eyes are staying constant (that means her prescription didn't change significantly), which is what they want, so she doesn't have to go back for a YEAR! I'm so happy for her. She will most likely need to continue to wear glasses at least until she is 8 or 9 (and maybe longer) but that is the expectation for now. That is the age when their vision is established so her condition wouldn't necessarily get worse by not wearing glasses. Since one eye is near and one is far, she may always WANT to wear glasses so things aren't blurry. We will cross that bridge when we get to it.

And Mac's eyes have the same vision! What that means is he doesn't have Korri's condition (one near and one far sighted). He isn't seeing 20/20 but since he is so young and since both eyes are the same, they have no concerns at this point. He said we could come back in two years OR just have him screened at his normal well child appointments. I'm all for "normal" things! He was somewhat concerned about the size of Mac's eyes (I mean, let's face it, they are HUGE!). But he measured them and his corneas are within normal range, which is great. He thinks his eyes appear so large because of how his eye lids sit in his eye sockets. No big deal. Yay!

So a great appointment. Both kids had to have their eye dilated and looked like Beanie Boos (especially Mac!) afterward. Google it if you don't know what they are. After the appointment, we treated ourselves to breakfast at McDonald's. It was fun to just hang out with them and not be in a hurry to get somewhere.

Monday, December 7

It was time

Poor Korri has been sleeping in a toddler bed (that uses a CRIB mattress!) and yes, she is almost FIVE years old. We've been thinking and talking about getting her a bigger bed but it was a bigger decision than just "what bed do we buy for her?": do we move her back into her room and Mac to Finn's? Do we get bunk beds for the boy's room and have Korri use Finn's bed? Do we buy three twin beds and call it a day? Do we somehow use our extra queen bed?

Well, on Thanksgiving night, Korri used her last Pull-Up. And I'd had it with Pull-Ups. I mean, she was completely bedtime trained when she was three but then had a set back around when Mac was born and just used them as a crutch ever since. I've had it before, but always caved and went to buy more Pull-ups after washing sheets (or potty mats!) for a week straight.

But this time was different. Our kids respond well to external motivation. We knew Korri really wanted a "big girl bed" so we went with it. We told her that if she was dry for one week straight, she would get a big girl bed (we still weren't sure if that meant getting Finn's or getting a new one). Low and behold...she was DRY EVERY NIGHT FOR FIVE NIGHTS! Do you doubt me that she was using them as a crutch now?

So Jim and I thought, "Crap, we'd better figure out a solution." We went to the furniture store in Hutchinson (that we LOVE!!!) on Friday, planning to buy a bunk bed of some sort. But when I walked in, I saw this antiqued white metal "princess-y" bed and thought, "Korri would DIE for this bed." Jim came in, we discussed and went back and forth and then decided that we didn't need to have a permanent solution for the boys right now (Mac is still, and hopefully will be for a while, in his crib). The bed was super on sale, which sealed the deal.

Korri did have one accident over the weekend in her little bed, but one accident in over 10 days...is pretty darn good for going cold turkey! And her new big girl bed was delivered today!  I was hoping to have it assembled and all made up before she got home from school but the delivery was a little late. Oh, well.

She LOVES LOVES LOVES it! I think Finn was a little jealous, but of course he forgets about when HE got a "new" bed (new to us, anyway!). Without further ado, here she is in all her glory:




With her horse sheets that we got FOREVER ago but couldn't use because they were Twin sized. Now they fit (but I still need to get a comforter/quilt). And to prove how much she needed a new bed, here she is in her old bed:

Ha, head to toe with about an inch to spare. Luckily she usually curls up when she sleeps (unless she is trying to prove a point to me about not fitting in her bed!!). Eventually, we will move her bed back in to her room (where Mac is now) and Mac into Finn's room. Not sure when we'll do that but for now, all is well and everybody can sleep tight (but not too tight since their beds aren't too small!).

Saturday, December 5

All I Want for Christmas

We went to see Santa today in Corcoran. They do such a great job. We were there for about an hour and visited with Santa, did some crafts, had snacks, got prizes and had a reindeer ride...all for FREE!

Despite saying, "Santa!" all week and me talking to him multiple times about sitting on his lap...Mac was not impressed:

Who doesn't love a crying baby Santa picture? I don't think either of the Bigs every cried. There is one where Korri is trying to walk out of the picture, which is pretty cute! Korri asked for a Barbie car and Finn threw me for a loop and asked for a helicopter! He's been asking for a BatCave for weeks! He was confused because they have "prizes" you put your name in for a drawing and he thought that is what you had to ask Santa for. So I made sure he clarified and then he asked Santa for a helicopter AND a BatCave! At least the BatCave request got in there. Mac couldn't have cared less about asking Santa for anything.

Finn even asked that I get him a bow tie "like Mac's!" How cute. Finn picked this one because it was Lakers colors (navy and yellow). Mac also has a long tie but I didn't think there was any chance he'd leave it alone. Korri picked this Christmas outfit out this year and I was happy to see the leggings instead of the traditional dress. So practical for this time of year in MN. Although, I do love a cheesy, over the top Christmas dress!

Then we went out for the reindeer sleigh rides!


Even though Finn insisted he wasn't going to go on the ride, he changed his mind at the last minute. I told him that Mac needed him to help keep him on the seat! This is the best part of this event. The reindeer were Donner and Blitzen, in case you were wondering. Finn was pretty sure they were trying to fly (because they were trying to run at one point!). Too cute.

Friday, December 4

Let it Snow

This has been the weirdest fall/winter! It snows and melts and is chilly and windy but then sunny and warm! Weird, but I'll take it. However, I always say that to make up for the fact that I chose to live in the frozen tundra, I do want a white Christmas. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, it snowed earlier this week and the Bigs were loving being outside and playing in it (clearly, it is the beginning of winter, as I can't bribe them to go outside to play come March!). Well, this afternoon, Anna picked Reagan up a little early and Baby wanted to outside so badly. And I thought, "why not?" I hunted around and put together what passed as appropriate winter clothing for him (minus mittens, he won't leave them on!) and out we went.

It was SO nice out. I was just in a sweatshirt. He did NOT know what to think of it. He didn't like standing on the uneven ground and it was hard for him to move around with all the added bulk. But he LOVED all the "balls" he could find and throw!



Two videos; showing his pleasure and displeasure of this wet cold stuff we call snow!
From Videos
From Videos

We stayed out for about 20 minutes and when my hands started getting cold, I knew it was long enough (since his were bare, too). It was so much fun. I really want to take him sledding but I thought we'd do baby steps first. Maybe next time!

Thursday, November 19

Why me?

Why is it always me? I pulled yet another tooth this morning:


This one was #5. To be honest, it was literally hanging on by a thread, so I just had to grab it, but still! I think we should be good to go for a while now on the tooth front. And now we know what Finn will be asking Santa for Christmas: All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth! He looks so stinkin' cute!!!

And to add to the cuteness, today is the 50th day of school. So we put together this outfit (the hair was his idea):


And no, as you can see, I did NOT roll up a pack of candy cigarettes in his sleeve...per his father's recommendation! I think he would fit right in with the Stand By Me gang.

For posterity's sake, through lots of tears and fussing, Finn lost #4 (and by lost, I mean I had to pull it out!) on Nov 15:

Saturday, November 7

Walking everywhere

We had Mac's school/PT team at our house Thursday morning. I had a good conversation with his teacher because his PT was held up at school and didn't make it until the last five minutes. I told his teacher that I thought he was walking about 40% (and crawling 60%). He is so stable that he is like a Weeble (he wobbles but doesn't fall down!). When he does fall down, he then prefers to crawl. His PT said he just needs practice so she isn't coming back until January!

However, even in the last 36 hours, he is walking more and more. He just lets go of what he is holding and walks over. Or he gets up in the middle of the room and walks over to whatever he can hold onto. I would say he is walking closer to 60%, with that percentage increasing all the time! I love seeing him walking like it is no big deal. Also makes me realize my baby is growing up before my eyes.

From Videos

This is an example of him walking across the whole room! PT said to have bare feet as much as possible, or until the floor is too cold.

I also talked with his teacher about his communication. Clearly his receptive is fine (I can give him clear instructions and he usually complies...put the ball on your head; go over to your high chair, let's go upstairs, etc). She said his vocabulary should explode over the next couple months but in the meantime, to keep mimicking him, narrating everything we do (now I'm putting the milk in the pan and now I'm stirring it, etc.) but also to help him with letter sounds (saying, "ga, ga, ga" etc). No reasons for concerns right now but (as always!) something to work on.

He shows interest in using a spoon but just "pokes" the food with it. If I put food on it, he will put it in his mouth. His appetite has changed...I think it is a control thing for him: you can't make me eat that. Oh, and he "crumples" every food that he can. Frustrating for me, but I just need to re-evaluate my expectations.

Mac assists me when I change him by lifting up his foot to put his pants on and putting his arms in his arm holes of his shirt.  He can accurately point to nose, mouth and head. He understands ear (sadly, because of having to take his temp so often, I think.) I talk about his "hands, toes and feet" every time I dress him, so I wouldn't be surprised if he actually knows them as well.

He LOVES books but still doesn't have a very long attention span and likes to turn pages (and often gets frustrated by ANYTHING!). One of his favorite activities is going down the stairs (yes, by himself!), playing down there for a couple minutes and then coming back up (so yes, he can go up and down independently!). I think he thinks he is either a super big boy OR that he is doing something naughty and getting away with it! Just recently, he "discovered" cars...or more accurately, is now obsessed with them...almost as much as balls; almost.

The "stink eye" comes out often (a frown when he is frustrated or doesn't get his way!).He JUST learned in the last day or so how to "blow kisses!" It might be the cutest thing EVER! Also, if you ask him for a hug, he'll lean his head in for YOU to give him a hug...also super cute.

He only uses his pacifier for sleeping and long car rides. While I'm happy he's weaned down to "just" these times, I have mixed feelings about him having one at all. I know the earlier you take it away, the "easier" it is...but...he goes to bed SO well with it. I think Jim's convinced me to just keep things how they are for now. We'll see! Mac sleeps approximately 12 hours at night (7 to 7, give or take) and takes two naps a day, usually for about an hour and a half each. So he needs a lot of sleep and he has clear queues when he is tired and I try to listen to them for when it is nap time.

Overall, Mac is changing and growing every minute of every day. Have I mentioned lately how much I love this age? It has its frustrations (as every age does!) but it is so much fun to see him growing up and learning new things (even if it makes mommy's heart a little sad, too!).

Sunday, November 1

Happy Halloween!

I think yesterday might have been the best Halloween! You really couldn't ask for better weather (yes, it was still cold but it is Oct 31 in Minnesota after all...and I think it was around 50-55 degrees when we set out, so not horrible at all). Also, I think we should start a petition to always have Halloween on Saturday! It made it all so much easier and festive.

In the morning, while Jim took ALL THREE kids shopping, I baked banana bars and an apple pie. I was dreading the pie but both Jim and Dillon wanted it, so I trudged ahead, with very specific instructions from DeAnn (and maybe a few text questions from me during the making!!). But after all my angst, it turned out really good...but I still think I'm going to leave pie baking to the expert: DeAnn!!!

After maybe having a couple too many drinks the previous night, I could have used a nap in the afternoon, but there wasn't time. Oh, well. There was too much going on to be tired, anyway! DeAnn, Stacey, Dillon and Steve came over before to get ready and take pictures. Then Granum's (Anna, Nate, Mitchell, Nolan and Reagan) came over to go trick-or-treating with us! It was quite the group. Also note to self for next year: don't leave to trick or treat until 6pm! I always want to leave earlier since it is warmer and then you get done earlier, too...but nobody had their lights on when we started out!

As usual (and his preference), Jim stayed home cooking dinner and handing out candy. We made a pretty good loop around our neighborhood and the one behind ours. I love that my kids don't need a ton of candy. I mean, I really think that after they got about 10 pieces, they could have been done! I think we were back home by 6:30 (and we left around 5:30, I think...I clearly wasn't paying attention to the details).

Halloween pics:




I didn't get a pic of Stacey and Steve's costumes but they were pretty epic. Also, who said an angel can't have a beer while trick-or-treating?!?! The mandatory sorting took place after and I let the kids gorge themselves on candy...I mean, it's Halloween after all!!

After the candy inventory was taken, we had an AMAZING dinner of potato leek soup, cornish game hens, mashed potatoes, carrots and bread. Then my kids went to bed and we retired to the living room, in food comas to be sure. And then the cut-throat game of boys vs. girls Trivial Pursuit started (they really could make a reality show of us playing this game!). All was fine until the boys started to lose. Better watch out. AND...the girls won!! Totally legit and with a final answer of Wayne Gretzky (to be fair, I don't know if I could even name another NHL player!!). Better luck next time, boys!

Thank you to everybody who shared in this magical day with us. We all had so much fun. We hope you all had equally amazing Halloweens and that your little goblins arrived safely home after their candy quest with happy hearts and bellies full of their treasures!

Saturday, October 31

Gala

Last night, Jim and I had the honor of attending Bethany Christian Services Annual Fundraising Gala at the Metropolitan Ballroom in Golden Valley. Bethany offers service for pregnancy support, adoption, foster care and many other very worthwhile causes. My friend Sharon works there and we were happy to support her and the work Bethany does.

It was cocktail attire, so we got to dress up a bit:

I couldn't believe I could fit into my black dress!! Ty gave Jim pointers on what the wear. I think we cleaned up nicely.

The evening was really nice and meaningful. It started with an hour of apps, cocktails and information booths. Then dinner and the program. There was several people who spoke about being adopted and adopting children through Bethany and information on their new program, Foster Care.

It was over by 9:30pm, which surprised me. Because Lynn was kind enough to come watch the kids over night, Jim and I got a hotel room close to the event and went back there and relaxed and had a few cocktails of our own!

We hope to participate in the event in the future and we walked away with some possibly life changing information. More to come later...maybe.

Wednesday, October 28

Discharged!

Mac was discharged from Physical Therapy at Gillette Specialty Care today! His PT called me and talked to me after I sent her a video of Mac walking. She said there really isn't a need for him to come back now that he is "walking." I told her that he still chooses to crawl instead of walk but that he CAN walk.

We talked about things to help with his confidence and the things that he will start doing next. I was hesitant to "just stop" services (without even a final appointment) but when I thought about it, there really isn't any need. There is nothing she could do at the next appointment that will make him walk sooner or better. So, we canceled all remaining appointments with the assurance that if I see something that worries me or worries Mac's doctor, to come back for an evaluation. But he wouldn't be considered to be delayed at 18 months because he is already taking independent steps. So we should be good for a while! We still have services through the school once a month, so they can help fine tune Mac's skills and work on walking up and down the stairs.

Mac walked from Jim to Korri (a total of 15+ steps), stopped, turned around and started back! Really, Mackers?!?! Today, he let go of the chair and walked slowly toward me, stopping every time he wasn't stable, steadying himself and then continued on. I mean, obviously he CAN do it. It stops my heart every time I see him walking. I know it will be old hat soon enough, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying every second of it.

So, our gross motor delayed (lazy?!?!) baby is no longer a baby and no longer delayed. He has done an amazing job catching up and is back on track!! I can't wait to see the things you'll do, Baby (yes, we still call him that...deal with it because he'll always be my baby ;)

The Big Boy "requested" to sit in the booster seat yesterday. They grow up so fast.

Tuesday, October 27

Judgement

What would you do if you're being judged by a four year old?

As most of you know, I started working out a few months ago using the Insanity Max 30 program. The program is 60 days, 5 days a week, 30 minutes per day. I started out doing the modified track (same work out, just low impact versions of the same exercises) for two reasons. 1. my knee has been jacked for almost three years now and I wanted to find something I could do that wouldn't hurt/damage it further. 2. To say I was out of shape would be giving myself credit were credit isn't do. Is round a shape? I needed to ease in.

Anyway, Korri loves to watch us work out and sometimes participate, which I love. I want her to know it is good to move your body and can even be fun (ok, lets not get carried away...lol!). Well, when I was doing the modified version, she would make comments about how I wasn't doing it right, or I wasn't trying hard enough, or why wasn't I doing it like Shaun, or daddy does it better than that, etc. I told her that Shaun (the trainer) said to do as much as you can and anything is better than nothing.

But I felt like she was looking down on me for not doing the exercises to their full expression...she WAS looking down on me and judging me for it! And you know what, it made me feel insecure about myself and why wasn't I doing the full exercises. But I powered through and completed the 60 days, albeit modified. And it felt GREAT!!!

Then I started over but I decided to do the full program because I was much more in shape and my knee held up surprisingly well. But I'm still not "in shape," whatever that means. And on the first day, Korri commented something like, "hey, you're doing it right, mommy!" Hmmm... Yeah, suck it, 4 year old!

But now today, she was working out with me (and by "working out" I mean she does 15 seconds of one exercise, rests for a few MINUTES and comes in for a few seconds of whichever one she likes to do next), she said, "Can't you lift your legs any higher?" "I'm holding my leg straighter than you are, mommy." I mean, give me a break! I want her to exercise with me, but I need to gag her or something. I just keep telling her that we all do it whatever way we can and the important thing is that we are moving our bodies and being healthy. Which I'm sure a 4 year old hears "blah, blah, blah..."

It doesn't "really" bother me. I mean, she is four. She has a four year old's body and flexibility. I should get some kind of handicap or something (or wheelchair!). But when you are doing something that is good for you and you are trying really hard (these workouts are NOT easy in the least!!), you want to feel good about it and if there are going to be comments about your working, you want them to be positive and supportive. Oh, well. Again, she's four. I did point out to her this morning that I'm more flexible than she is...which she didn't like. I probably made it worse by doing that but I wanted her to know we are all different and have different strengths. Maybe it will give me motivation to keep doing the workouts until I CAN do them properly and fully and not "max out" until 30 minutes each time!! I'll turn her judgement into motivation. Watch out, here I come (albeit slowly, sweaty and breathing heavily!).

Sunday, October 25

Be Ghoul!

It is that time of year...pumpkin time! We got our pumpkins a couple weeks ago but yesterday was the day to get them ready for Halloween. Jim and I aren't fans of carving pumpkins. It is messy and hard to do! But we got a better carving kit this year and we got decorating kits for the kids, which were AWESOME! Finn picked a dinosaur, Korri picked Cinderella's carriage and Mac "picked" a bat, and by picked, I mean he touched it when we put three options in front of him!


It quickly turned into shirtless pumpkin decorating, but it is still G rated!


Mac wasn't interested, so he and I watched and found other things to do.

The finished products (so cute, if I say so myself...and I do!):




Happy Halloween from my little ghouls to yours!

Friday, October 23

Breathing is important

Korri had a "lung virus" all week. I took her to the doctor on Monday and they told me what to watch for so it didn't turn into something worse (like pneumonia). Wed Mac woke up with a low grade fever. Since he'd had shots the day before at his well-child appt, I prayed that it was from that and NOT Korri's virus. He was a little "off" all day but nothing major. He slept well that night, so I thought we were in the clear.

Until he woke up yesterday, Thursday AM with a higher fever and a little cough. Crap. It isn't the shots! It wasn't bad and the fever had only been for one day, so even though it worsened throughout the day, I just told myself I'd take him in tomorrow (Fri) if it wasn't better in the morning. Even though his cough and breathing was worse than earlier, I handed him off to Jim and went out to Mom's Night Out for dinner (which was GREAT, as always!). I figured he would be in bed when I got home and all would be fine until morning.

Well...Jim called me as I was leaving to drive back home to ask where the thermometer was, which is never a good sign. The other thing that instantly got me worried was that he was holding Mac when he called me and I could HEAR Mac breathing through the phone. I drove as fast as I could home, fully intending to take him to the ER when I got home.

When I got home, Jim was strangely calm. Normally he freaks out and I do nothing. He said he'd done some research and it was probably either RSV or Croup and Mac should be fine. He'd just given him Tylenol so even though his temp was 103.7 degrees, I was hopeful it would go down and he could go to sleep. After five minutes, I decided to call the Nurse's Line at our clinic. I just wasn't comfortable with how he sounded and how he was behaving.

Two signs I knew things weren't good: 1. normally you call the phone service and they have a nurse call you back within X minutes...usually 30-60 minutes. After explaining Mac's symptoms, she told me to hold and had a nurse on the line in 30 SECONDS! 2. The nurse asked a few questions about Mac and his symptoms before asking me if he was grunting when he was trying to breathe. Jim said YES!

Nurse: Stacy, I need you to hang up the phone and call 911.
Me: Really? I can just drive him to the ER, can't I?
Nurse: Stacy, I need you to immediately hang up and call 911. They will have somebody there to monitor him and resuscitate him if necessary.
Me: Ok. Bye.

I obviously called 911 immediately, something I've never had to do before for a health emergency. She asked me the address of the emergency and my phone number and then asked what was the emergency. I told her the information and Mac's symptoms. She said she'd dispatched the sheriff and the ambulance. At which time Mac was hysterical so I handed Jim the phone and took Mac. Within ONE MINUTE, the sheriff was in our driveway. He didn't have child equipment with him but he did a rudimentary assessment. About five minutes later, the Waverly First Responders were here and they started going over his vitals, listening to his lungs, etc. In less than 15 minutes (which is impressive since the drive is 10 minutes!), the Howard Lake ambulance was here. At that time, they took his oxygen level (94, which they were NOT happy with) and started a nebulizer. Mac at this point was completely hysterical, which was just making his breathing worse.

They talked to the Allina ambulance and decided we needed to go to the hospital. I left with Mac in the ambulance. About halfway to Buffalo, we met the Allina ambulance and a paramedic got in ours and rode with us the rest of the way. I can only assume it was because she was better qualified to treat Mac?!?! I'm not sure if things weren't explained to me or if I wasn't paying attention because I was focused on Mac (Jim said as people came into our house, they said who they were. I'm pretty sure at one point, there was close to 15 people in my entryway.). They nebbed him again in the ambulance and gave him blow-by oxygen. By the time we got to the hospital, his oxygen levels were 100, which I can't even believe.




Once there, they gave him another neb (between the three nebs, they gave him two different medicines) and an oral steroid. They didn't really tell me the diagnosis until much later when I asked, but it was Croup. Then they wanted to observe him for 3-4 hours to see how he did after the meds wore off. This whole time, Mac switched between being hysterical anytime somebody looked like they there were even thinking about touching him, much less when they DID touch him and calmly flirting with whomever he thought was NOT going to touch him. What they failed to tell me is that epinephrine (one of the meds they gave him), apparently, is like pure adrenaline, which means Mac didn't sleep the entire time we were in the ER until about maybe 2 or 2:30! Momma was EXHAUSTED. When he finally crashed, he CRASHED! Oh and his fever broke about the same time and the bed and my sweatshirt were soaked. I'll take it as long as the fever was gone.


Finally, around 3, they said they were happy with his progress and that we could go home. They said he shouldn't get worse, now that some of the meds had worn off and he was still stable. They said we needed to see his regular Ped in the morning (Fri), just to check him over and to make sure he was still doing okay. Jim, Finn and Korri got to the hospital around 3:30am to pick us up. All three kiddos were troupers on the way home, especially considering the time. I think my head finally hit the pillow around 4am.

It was exhausting and frightening. Finn had Croup once when he was little but it was NOTHING like this. I mean, it hit Mac quick and hard. His little chest was compressing all the way in just so he could get a breath. While I hope to never have to call 911 again for any reason, I rest assured that we have a good First Response team in our little rural community. And I obviously had an amazing experience when I gave birth to Mac at Buffalo Hospital but now I also really appreciate their ER and the hospital as a whole. Well done for a little hospital in the middle of nowhere! Although an ambulance bay would be nice since it was cold and rainy when we got there, but I guess that is getting a little picky ;)

A huge thank you to everybody who sent kind words, wishes and prayers. We've been through worse, but any time there are scary times, it is nice to be reminded about how many people care about us and take the time to say a little prayer for us and/or our children. Thank you!!! Nobody likes it when their baby is sick.

I brought Mac to the Dr. this AM (I LOVE our clinic and the fact that Fridays our regular Ped is in our office!). She was shocked to see us back (since we'd just been there on Tues!). She said his oxygen levels were still a little low and she didn't like how his chest sounded (um, I told her I thought it sounded a MILLION times better than last night!). She gave me an oral steroid to give him if his chest/breathing seemed to get worse at all over the next couple of days. AND...he had an ear infection. Argh! It was clearly from the Croup. So she gave us an antibiotic and said we do NOT have to go to the ENT for tubes because of it. Good! He is doing better today but it will take a while for him to get over this one...probably a week or so. Patience and lots of love!

This is him this morning, sleeping on mommy's bed on mommy's lap (I got up to take the picture). He was TIRED!

Tuesday, October 20

These feet are made for

...walking! Mac started walking yesterday! Fifteen months and two days. I'll take it!

From Videos

So happy to have that monkey off our backs. He still prefers crawling, obviously, but he spontaneously stands up in the middle of the room and walks over to whatever he wants. I would say he goes about ten steps right now but it won't be long before there are no limits. Very intentional and very sturdy. Now he just needs to practice, practice, practice.

We had Mac's 15 month well child this morning...a great appointment. Jim stayed home with Korri since she isn't feeling well. Mac was 31" long (42%), weighed 25 lbs 2 oz (81%) and 50 cm (99%). I was happy to see the jump in his height percentile (was 24% in July). He also increased his weight percent (was 70% in July) but I'm honestly surprised he didn't weigh more! His head continues to be ginormous, clearly.

We talked about how much he is hitting and how normal it is. I remember this from the other two, but just wanted reassurance! Especially since he seems to hit me the most. I said that he isn't "talking" much and never looks at me and says, "mama." After watching me interacting with him, she said she has ZERO concerns about his language as he is VERY communicative and the words will come. She'd like to see 10 by 18 months, which I think he will be doing. Right now I know for sure he can say banana and ball. I think he knows more than that but that is all I know for sure.

He has 12 teeth, which I already knew. The next ones to come in are the eye teeth and they should be around 18 months, with the 2 year molars following. Argh! I was hoping for a teething break. I forgot to ask about the pacifier to see when we should wean completely (he still gets it when he sleeps and sometimes in the car). I think he is supposed to be using a spoon, which I hardly ever give him (probably because he does have so many teeth and I know he can self-feed so well with his fingers). And let's be honest, a spoon is messier, which I avoid at all costs!

She was impressed with the amount of sleep he gets every day (12 hours at night and two naps during the day), but he really NEEDS that much. In fact, some days I lay him down for a cat nap around 5 or 6 because he is so tired. He isn't drinking the recommended amount of milk every day, but she didn't seem concerned (I have a hard time getting him to drink anything). So I'll just keep offering it.

He got three shots today (I forgot the pacifier, of course!). He let us know he was pissed but, honestly, stopped crying about 10 seconds afterwards! Drama King much?!?! He had a small amount of fluid in his right ear but she was very happy with how they were. I said now we can start over with the counting since it has been 6 months since his first one! She laughed but agreed. Maybe no tubes after all? Finger crossed. His next appointment will be 18 months. I wish all dr appts went this well.

Reading the Costco magazine today (before he threw it on the ground, of course!):

And we'd like to wish Grandpa Ron a very happy birthday today! Wish we could celebrate in person. Love you.

Friday, October 16

Apple Jacks!

Since it is MEA (or whatever they call it now) break I thought it would be fun to hit up an apple orchard. With the exception of going to a private party at Minnetonka Orchard in September (which was not apple related) we hadn't been to one yet this year. So, I naturally picked the coldest day of the fall so far...today! Duh!

Holy burrrrrr! But it was really fun, too. Honestly, the hardest part was finding appropriate cold weather gear for everybody! Sharon, Laena and Braeland met us at Apple Jack Orchards this afternoon. We played on the haystack maze, checked out the animals and then headed over to the corn pit. While the adults and Mac found a sunny spot that was out of the wind (as much as possible), the Bigs played and played and didn't care one bit about the temperature.

We stopped at the cow train for a ride (again, Mac was left in the stroller...I don't think I'm going to get away with that next year!). The ride seemed shorter this year. Maybe because the kids are older or maybe because there wasn't a long wait for it! Last year we went on a hot Saturday and it was PACKED. I didn't like freezing this year but the crowds were very manageable, which I did like.

Then we headed across the road to the apple store...um, I'll take one of everything, please! Okay, must exhibit some self-control. We ended up getting two apple juices (in pumpkin containers), three caramel apples, honey sticks, caramels, a bag of apples and a gallon of apple cider. Okay, maybe not the best self-control but some of it was healthy!

So much fun! I really do love this orchard. Last fall I went to five or six and I always come back to Apple Jacks, and not just because it is close! One advantage to living in the boonies is there are ten orchards within 15 miles of our house!! Thanks for joining us, Motens!