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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, January 30

Four going on Fourteen

Today my sweet baby "grill" turns FOUR! Four seems so much older than 3, although according to her, she hasn't been 3 in a while because she was three and a half! Duh. For the record, I'm glad to be done with the threes (well until Mac gets there, I suppose). They are tough. I know each age has its challenges but I wasn't sure we were both going to survive the threes. But we did and are better for it, I'm sure.

This week has been crazy busy, so since Jim had a meeting this morning, I thought Korri and I would slow down, snuggle in my bed for a bit and watch Frozen, which we haven't watched in forever, seriously.

I was hoping to take her to the Ice Castle in Eden Prairie for something special to do ON her birthday, but they don't open until 2 or 3 in the afternoon! Well, that wouldn't work since Finn gets home just before 3:30. Darn. So I asked her what she wanted to do and she OF COURSE picked...McDonald's on Buffalo. Why you ask? Because they have a play area. If that's what my birthday girl wants to do, that's what my birthday girl shall do.

We stayed there for almost an hour and a half and she got to have an ice cream cone to top it off. I loved that she wanted to wear her crown from preschool the whole day! (they celebrated her birthday yesterday at preschool and she brought cupcakes and My Little Pony rings to pass out) Then we went home and decided she didn't need to nap (gasp!) but she had to have a good attitude. Then I laid baby down for a nap, went to do yoga in the basement and TOTALLY forgot about hers and Finn's well child appointments! Oops. I know, lame that Korri had to go to the dr on her birthday, but they had an opening for both of them at the same time, so I took it. I was 10 minutes late to pick Finn up from school and we walked into the dr. office only two minutes late. I guess it could have been far worse! But I HATE being late. I'll go over well child visits in my next post.

By the time we got done with the appts, it was after 5pm and we decided to eat at Dairy Queen for dinner. I know what you're thinking; two fast food places in one day. But you know what? Deal. It worked for us and we were on a tight schedule for the evening. Plus, Korri loved it and even got ANOTHER ice cream cone! That "grill" is just like her momma...we'd both eat vanilla ice cream all day long, if we could!

We were on a tight schedule because as part of his 4 week basketball camp, Finn got to go to the HLWW varsity Boys Basketball game and SIT ON THE BENCH  with them during the game! We decided Jim would take Finn and I stay home to clean and get started on Korri's birthday cake. Jim said it was the coolest thing ever. Finn got to go in the locker room for the pre-game pep talk, they introduced Finn when they introduced the players at the beginning of the game and he got to sit on the bench until half time. I never know how he will do with unfamiliar things, but Jim said he did great. I wish I could have been there. What a great way for the district to get boys interested in playing basketball at a young age! When he is in third grade, he will get to play at half time!

While the boys were gone, Korri got to watch Cinderella while mommy cleaned. Then when the boys got home, we celebrated and sang happy birthday with cupcakes at 9:15pm! Better late than never. I didn't start working on her cake (which she "helped" me with after her movie was done and before the boys got back) until 8pm. Yikes! I still have things that I want to finish tomorrow, but it shouldn't take too long. Needless to say, it was an action packed, busy day, but the most important thing is that Korri had a GREAT day.

I think Korri challenges me so much as her parent because there is a lot of me in her. Just as fiercely as she is stubborn and sassy, she is sweet, empathetic and affectionate. She will snuggle any time, anywhere. She is my helper. She dances like nobody's watching and sings songs that she made up like nobody's listening. I love that about her and hope that never changes. Now, if turning four would make her ears start listening better, that would be fabulous! Here's to another amazing year, that I'm sure will fly by all too quickly.

Thursday, January 29

Spring Conferences?

I'm not sure how they dare call them "spring" conference when they are in January, but we had Finn's second conferences tonight (the first set were the beginning of Oct). Overall, he is doing great, which is what we were expecting (and happy) to hear. The difference with this conference is that Finn did a self-evaluation and he went over that with us and told us his accomplishments and goals for the rest of the year. I was very impressed with his ability to do that (since it is hard to do even as an adult!).

He went through a long list of things that he had to rank his performance as always, sometimes and never (and then his teacher did, too). I was most impressed (and proud!) that all the items that had to do with helping others, being kind and listening to directions, he scored an "always" by his teacher. And to me, especially in kindergarten, those are the most important. I wish we could have gotten a copy of the list, so I can remember some of the things on the list. Oh, well.

He said he "never" eats all of his lunch (LOL), practices his rainbow (sight) words at home (he doesn't, because I thought we weren't supposed to, oops!) nor reads at home (um, whatever dude, we read a lot!). I thought those were funny.

The one thing from his report card that we talked about as needing improvement is his ability to rote count to 100. For the testing, he could only count to 59. So I had him do it for me at home and he got to 69 and then couldn't come up with 70. But honestly, he can count by tens and he HAS counted to 100 so I think he just gets bored or distracted. I mean, you sit and count to 100 and see if your mind doesn't wander! Seventy-five percent of his peers can count to 100, so she just told us to try to have him connect counting by tens to counting by ones, when/if he gets stuck. I'm not worried about it but don't mind helping him out with it either.

She brought up that he is having some behavior issues, which just floored me. I mean, this is FINN! Apparently, he and another boy are inseparable during class and are distracting to each other (and she said Finn is the instigator, which again, floored me). But one of the main reasons this is a problem is that Finn isn't getting is work done. Again, while I'm not overly concerned about it, clearly none of his other peers are having the same problem and she felt it was a big enough deal to bring it up to us. So I asked how I can help at home and she said to just stress the message that when it is work time, we work and when it is play time, we play. So now instead of my departing message in the morning being for him to listen, it will be that! He is so cerebral, that I think/hope it will stick and hopefully won't be an issue much longer. Little stinker!

I'm sure there were tons of other stuff we discussed, but I can't remember off the top of my head. He is doing great and has friends, so that is what I focus on. A huge thank you to DeAnn for watching Korri and Mac while we were at conferences, especially since Mac was a little bugger for you. I feel so guilty when I try to get away and he doesn't "behave." Hopefully he grows out of that stage soon!

Wednesday, January 28

Student of the Month

I write with great pride and joy that Finnegan was student of the month for January! His teacher picks one student each month that exemplifies the quality/characteristic they are focusing on that month or a student who has gone above and beyond. Here are the words she wrote in their weekly newsletter today:

Student of the Month
Finnegan Thomas is our January Student of the Month. Finnegan has shown a great understanding of goal setting and accuracy this month. He has shown this in his thoughtful dream and wish statements and his honesty in his self-evaluations. In addition, Finn's handwriting almost always receives an "Awesome Work!" seal of approval due to his diligence. In the morning, Finn is often the last to finish writing his sign-in simply because he takes care and pride in the handwriting that goes into his signature. Finn's work in January and throughout the year has been accurate, insightful and goal oriented. For these reasons he is deserving of our January Student of the Month.

What parent wouldn't love to hear such good things being said about your child. I hope these characteristics continue to be important to him as his school work gets tougher and more involved the older he gets!

Six pics

Jessica has now taken pictures of my family over 20 times! And I know every time, I say she can't get any better but she manages to exceed expectations every time (after TWENTY sessions, that is really saying something). And she's done it again. Mac was much more engaging with this photo shoot than he was for his 3 month but he was still a little reserved (so frustrating for me). But she has captured his personality perfectly.

This time I'll link you over to our picture website instead of the photo gallery (easier access, no password). Take a look:
Mac 6 months

Sorry for the delay in posting. Here is a sneak peek (I can't say these are my "favorites" because I have about TEN favorites!):

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Friday, January 23

6 Month Well Child

Today, Jim, Korri, Mac and I went to Mac's 6 month well child appointment. All things considered, he is doing great. She is always impressed with how healthy he looks, which always makes me so happy. I never take that for granted. Here are his stats:

Height: 26.5" or 40% (60% at 4 month)
Weight: 16 lbs 11 oz or 32% (52% at 4 month)
Head: 45 cm or 90% (96% at 4 month)

So, his percentiles have decreased in all categories, but she isn't necessarily concerned. She wants us to increase solid foods and push high fat ones (like sweet potatoes and avocados) and add baby cereal to it for extra calories. She said that some babies follow an "S" curve for growth and right around 6 months, they plateau and then pick back up later. So while she didn't feel it was necessary to see him before his next scheduled well child (9 months), she wanted to get a naked weight in 30 days, when he goes back in for his flu booster. Hopefully he will be nice and chubby by then! (for the record, Stacey was closest on her guess for his weight at 17 pounds...she knows her godson!)

The Dr. also didn't seem overly concerned about him not rolling over. In fact, she kind of glossed over that. And was NOT concerned at all about not sitting. I have a feeling one day I'll look over and he will be rolling like a barrel and life will never be the same again. I'm not concerned about it...yet, anyway. Finn isn't a good comparison, but Korri did a lot of these physical development milestone a little later than others, too (and she is CLEARLY fine now!).

After discussing his continued tummy issues, she decided to switch him from Zantac to Prilosec. It isn't necessarily a "better" medication but just different. We are to try it for a week and if things are better, stick to it and if not, go back to the Zantac. We'll see. And because of his tummy problems, she completely understands why he is sleeping in the swing, but also made a point to mention that when his tummy is feeling better, we need to transition him back. I know, I know! Argh. There's always something.

At the end of the appt, he got his flu vaccine and FOUR shots! I felt so bad for him but he is a tough little cookie. I picked him right up and went to nurse him, but he stopped crying before I could even get situated. Two of the shots will cause his legs to ache a little, but he's been good today. I'll be sure to give him a bump of Tylenol before bed.

No teeth pushing through yet. He still has dry skin and she recommended putting Aquaphor on it. He can now have ibuprofen...yay!

Here's to plumping this baby back up!

Side note: at my dad's visitation, my grandma (his mom) told a story about how she and her mom wanted to fatten my dad up before my grandpa came home from the service, so they fed him pudding. And as an adult, my dad couldn't figure out why he loved pudding so much. Hmmm...maybe Mac is like his Grandpa Egg and needs a little pudding!

Finn has finally decided he wants to hold Mac:
Brotherly love.

Sunday, January 18

Significantly Six

Half a year. Twenty-six weeks and two days. One hundred and eighty-four days (yes, I counted). SIX months! Anyway you say it, it is crazy to me that Mac is six months old as of yesterday. He is such a happy boy, but also lets you know very quickly and loudly when he isn't pleased with something.

What most babies do at by the end of 6 months:

Social and Emotional
Knows familiar faces and begins to know if someone is a stranger (definitely knows familiar faces and sometimes gets scared of strangers, but not all the time)
Likes to play with others, especially parents (Yes, but his siblings most)
Responds to other people’s emotions and often seems happy (yes, if somebody is crying, he pouts or starts crying, he is happy to sit and play for quite a while most days)
Likes to look at self in a mirror (He loves to look at the cute baby in the mirror and then at mommy and the mommy in the mirror)

Responds to sounds by making sounds (yes, he loves to try to make noises, and gets quite loud)
Strings vowels together when babbling (“ah,” “eh,” “oh”) and likes taking turns with parent while making sounds (I just noticed this week that he is starting to "talk" with more variety of noises. I heard "da da da" and "ya ya ya" for the first time this week.)
Responds to own name (I think so, but we don't use his given name a lot)
Makes sounds to show joy and displeasure (No doubt about that!)
Begins to say consonant sounds (jabbering with “m,” “b”) (he uses "m" not sure about other ones)

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
Looks around at things nearby (of course)
Brings things to mouth (some things, like his fingers, pacifier and MAYBE a toy)
Shows curiosity about things and tries to get things that are out of reach (curiosity, yes; getting things out of reach, no)
Begins to pass things from one hand to the other (not sure, I haven't noticed it)

Movement/Physical Development
Rolls over in both directions (front to back, back to front) (He CAN roll from tummy to back but doesn't like to; I haven't seen him roll from back to tummy yet and shows NO interest in doing so)
Begins to sit without support (not yet, but I think he is getting there)
When standing, supports weight on legs and might bounce (LOVES doing this)
Rocks back and forth, sometimes crawling backward before moving forward (not sure what this is, but I don't think he is doing it)

Mac loves being in his jumper and intently plays with the toys on it. He reaches for toys when playing on his floor mat, but only if they are within his reach or above him. He has shown NO interest in rolling from back to front. He will roll from front to back if we put him on his tummy, but I think that is because he doesn't like being on his tummy for long. He can sit if slightly propped up but otherwise pretty much just tips over. He can stand with some steadiness (with support), which I think is from his time in the jumper.

He "signs" milk when he is hungry, but he signs it when he is upset, too. So I'm not 100% convinced he knows what he's doing, but clearly it is starting to take hold. We also sign "eat" but that is still a new one for him. Speaking of eating, he has eaten carrots and broccoli so far. We have been slow on introducing solids. Mainly because it is just another thing to have to remember and incorporate into our busy day/evenings. But slowly, we are. But he does NOT liking eating solids from me. I think he knows he can get "better" stuff from me so why are we wasting time with this other junk? Speaking of, he is still breast feeding about 6 to 7 times per day. And takes medicine for reflux.

Mac went through a period this month were sleeping was not so good. He was staying awake late and waking up often (thankfully, Jim is a night owl, so he took care of a lot of those awake times). I feel that is getting better and he is back to around 7 hours straight at night. He seems to be sleeping a little better during the day and doing actual naps instead of just cat napping all day. Oh, and I've started putting him to bed without rocking him to sleep every time...and it works a lot of the time! Of course, I usually wait until he is exhausted and sometimes he cries for a bit but I've only had to go in to calm him down a handful of times. He is sleeping back in his swing because during his bout of not sleeping, he would NOT stay asleep in the crib but would in the swing. Hey, whatever works. I'd like to get him back in the crib, so maybe I'll work on that this month.

He LOVES his big brother and sister, especially when they compete with each other for his attention, smiles and laughs. Finn has developed a kind of physical routine that involves jumping, falling or anything similar that Mac just thinks is the funniest thing ever. Finn has just started wanting to hold him this week...of course, Mac isn't as easy to hold now but it works. My favorite is when they snuggle in bed together while watching cartoons.

I've gotten to go out without baby a couple times this month. I think I forgot how nice it is to not have to think about taking care of another human being 100% of the time. I feel like watching all three kids is a lot to ask anybody right now, but I know it will get easier as they all get older. There will come a time when Jim and I can go out (hopefully regularly) again.

We have his 6 month well child later this week, so I'll be updating his stats then.

Here are his monthly pictures:

Wednesday, January 14

Another January?

So, with number three, I just wanted a healthy full term baby that was NOT born in January. I got both and was happy. Well, until the January school newsletter came and Jim pointed something out to me...Mac's half birthday is January 17! And in school, they celebrate summer birthdays on their half birthday. Seriously? All I can do it laugh. Because I literally couldn't have had a baby further away on the calendar from the two I already the half birthday is in the same month (if it were one day later, July/January 18, it would be exactly halfway between the Bigs' birthdays!).

If anybody doubts how full January is for us, take a look:

Jan 3: Sharon (Stacy's friend)
Jan 6: Finn (the one, the only)
Jan 8: Ann (Jim's cousin)
Jan 9: Stacy (me)
Jan 10: Kristine (Stacy's sister)
Jan 12: David (Stacy's cousin)
Jan 14: Grace (niece, and happy birthday today!)
Jan 18: Max (neighbor)
Jan 20: Uncle Les (Jim's uncle)
Jan 24: Uncle Craig (Renae's husband)
Jan 25: Camille (our goddaughter)
Jan 28: Gram's (Jim's late grandma)
Jan 30: Korri (in all her glory)

Count 'em...THIRTEEN birthdays (not counting Mac's half birthday). That is a birthday every 2.5 days. And that is just people in our inner circle. If we go out to extended relatives and old friends, it is WAY more (but we don't personally celebrate their birthdays, so no need to include here). 

Anyway, I just thought I'd share because I think it is yet another example of me thinking I control something and then God saying, "Nope." At this point, I think all future births should be in January and we can just celebrate every single day! Why not?!?! (Kelsie, that is NOT an invitation to have Baby Tucker early!!)

And because I like posts with pics, here is a picture from the other night when we were having movie night (I feel like I should have been sucking on something!):

Monday, January 12

Birth and Birthday

Friday was my birthday. I don't know if the importance of your birthday lessens as you get older, or having a child with a birthday three days before mine changes my focus, but I just don't quite get into my birthday like I used to. Kid birthdays are so much more fun. (Korri asked why more people didn't come over on my birthday!)

Anyway, after getting home from Orlando late Friday night, making Finn's cake Saturday and getting ready for the party, Finn's party on Sunday, his golden birthday and Chuck E Cheese party on Tuesday, funeral on Wednesday and babysitting a 4 month old on Thursday, my birthday totally snuck up on me. Jim, in true Jim fashion, went all out. He let the kids pick out my presents themselves (a magnetic message board, Disney princess washcloths and cookies!) and then got me something that has been on my list FOREVER...a carpet steamer/cleaner! I also think the gifts that get you excited on your birthday changes because I can't imagine this would have had the same effect on me 10 years ago! Can't wait to use it (and know several spots that NEED it!).

Then he invited Stacey and Dillon over for dinner and made Prime Rib and Crab legs. So yummy. He also brought home the prettiest orange-ish tulips I'd ever seen. He picked up a carrot cake from Byerly's, which was good, but had "junk" in it. We are carrot cake purists around here, so I didn't think I'd like it, but it honestly was still good (I mean, let's be honest...I could eat cream cheese frosting on rocks and be happy!).

Then on Saturday (after the kids' first swim lessons in Delano), he made arrangements with DeAnn for her to watch all three kiddos and took me out to dinner at Wildfire in Eden Prairie. Other than the nightmare that was parking (why wouldn't they have valet parking?!?!), it was amazing! I had the Wellington, which was in the top five best things I'd ever eaten. I don't know how I got through 36 years without ever having had it before. I'd go back just for that. Jim got the Porterhouse (I think?) and shrimp. It was so nice to just go out with Jim and not have any other people (i.e. kids) or distractions (i.e. kids). As you can imagine, that doesn't happen too often (okay, EVER) these days. After dinner, we went back to pick up Mac and DeAnn kept the Bigs over night. Again, that was a treat as well (for both us AND them AND her!).

Sunday morning, I was finally able to go to the hospital to meet my brand new nephew, Zachary. He was born on Christmas Day seven weeks early, but is doing well so beyond what I imagined possible. He is just a cutie and when he cries (which I only heard once during my visit), it sounds like he is on mute. For Kristine's sake, I hope it stays that way! I just wanted to eat him up, but won't be able to actually hold and snuggle him while he is in the hospital (just about killed me, but I managed and understand better than anybody!). It sounds like he might be coming home this week, which, again, is a testament to how well he is doing. Truly a miracle in every sense of the word. Now, if my sisters and I could stop having early babies, that would be great (well, I won't have another baby, early or otherwise, but you get my point!).

Then I had to go home to drive Jim to the airport (why you ask? Because his car doesn't have working headlights or a front bumper...). Then go to Chaska to pick up the kids from DeAnn's. Then take Finn to his first basketball practice. Yes, I was going non-stop from 7:15am until 5:00pm. Needless to say, I made sandwiches for dinner and called it a day!

Finn slept in the car on the way to basketball and woke up when we got there. This is NEVER a good idea for him and he did NOT want to go. I literally had to carry him out to the center of the court (yes, with all the other parents watching) and sit him on the ground. I stood behind him (mainly to make sure he stayed) until the coach came over and kind of took him under his wing a little bit. Then all was fine. Next week he will either nap before we go or NOT sleep at all. But he must have had a good time because the first thing he asked me when he got home from school today was if it was time for basketball. On the up side, he participated with a great attitude at swimming on Saturday, which I thought was going to be an ordeal since he told me every chance he got that he didn't want to go. But he did great (other than not jumping into the pool, which he does ALL THE TIME with Jim).

Saturday, January 10

Twenty Questions - Finn 6

Starting at age three, I've asked Finn 20 questions around the time of his birthday. This year I even did it during his birthday week! I chose NOT to direct or influence his initial answers, and he really took time to think about his answers, even if he didn't always answer like I thought he would. Here are his responses:

20 questions: answered by Finnegan on 1/9/2015

1. What is your favorite color? Red, and all the colors of the rainbow
2. What is your favorite toy? cars and legos
3. What is your favorite fruit? Strawberries
4. What is your favorite TV show/movie? Little Einsteins/Planes 2 Fire and Rescue
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? macaroni and cheese with hotdogs
6. What is your favorite outfit/thing to wear? shorts and tank top
7. What is your favorite game? Planes Sky Race Action Game
8. What is your favorite snack? Pirate Booty
9. What is your favorite animal? Giraffe, because he is tall
10. What is your favorite song? This is your birthday song, it won't be very long, hey!
11. What is your favorite book? Thomas Lost at Sea
12. Who is your best friend? Landon, Ben and Nolan
13. What is your favorite cereal? Frosted Mini Wheats
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Jumping in snow piles
15. What is your favorite drink? Lemonade
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas and Halloween
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Kiki
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Captain Crunch (even though he's never had it!)
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Chicken wings with buffalo sauce
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Race Car Driver
Bonus Question:
21. What is your favorite sport to play? Tee Ball
22. What is your best/least favorite part of school? Coming home/writing.

For posterity's sake, here are my comments/thoughts on some of his answers.

1. Red is always his favorite color, usually followed by green. Apparently he was feeling colorful during the interview. 6. If I had to answer, I would say tights are his favorite thing to wear. 10. Jesus Loves Me is ACTUALLY his favorite song. They had just sang the birthday song to him at school, so I think it was top of mind. 11. He really struggled with a favorite book. I wonder if it is because he reads so much now at school?!?! 12. For the first time, this answer was not a family member! 14. I don't think he actually likes jumping in the snow. I would say playing baseball or riding his bike. 18. I have no idea where he came up with that!

UPDATE: 18. He had Captain Crunch at Memere's house over winter break. Mystery solved!

Birthday boy heading to school for the first time as a six year old!

If you are curious as to what his responses were last year, click here to link to that post!

Tuesday, January 6

My baby isn't a baby

He isn't even a toddler or a preschooler any more! I think he is officially a "big kid."

Finn turned 6 this morning at 5:25am. Six seems easier for me to handle than five did. Maybe because he's in school and seems so grown up already. Or maybe because he's been talking about turning six since last summer. I don't know. I'd gotten him a special birthday shirt that he wore for his party and wore to school today.

It says, "Look who's 6" and then has "Finnegan" on the bottom. He loves it and I thought it would be cute for him to have it at school, too. Jim brought cookie and cream cupcakes and Dusty Crophopper rings up to school for afternoon snack.

Then when Finn got home from school, we headed to Chuck E Cheese. Since this is his Golden Birthday, we told Finn he could pick ANYTHING to do on his birthday and that is what he picked. Dillon (and Sam) and Max (and Heather) came to help Finn celebrate and play games, which was perfect. Even though initially I thought we would just go and play, I decided to order a birthday package because it really is a good deal (and then they have a dedicated birthday coordinator that takes care of everything...totally worth it!!).

I made a lame cake for this party (in my defense, I was worn out from traveling and getting ready for his other party). I made a number 6 and decorated it in a tie dye motif with the leftover frosting from his other cake! Lazy, I know. But it was kind of neat and it tasted really good.

I don't think it is a surprise that I don't like Chuck E Cheese and it is NOT what I wanted to do...but it honestly wasn't that bad! There was almost nobody there when we got there and it got busier but NOTHING like it is on the weekend. I even played a few games. Overall, it was a really great night. Thank you Dillon and Max for helping Finn celebrate ON his Golden Birthday!!

Happy birthday, buddy boy. We love you so much. You challenge us and constantly are teaching us how to be better parents and sometimes I think one of us isn't going to make it. But then you flash that amazing smile of yours and do something so incredibly kind and I know that you're going to be all right. Continue to be you and don't let anybody change you. I wonder what your sixth year will bring...Daddy and I love you to Pluto and back and to all the dwarf planets and back.

I have more pictures but they are on my camera, so check out the picture website in a few days for those! Too tired tonight. Good night, all.

Monday, January 5

Six is it

After getting home Friday night, we had one day to get ready for Finn's party, which was on Sunday at Noon! Thankfully, we had put Christmas away before we left, Beth cleaned while we were gone and Memere picked up the entire basement before they went back to Oville! We were in good shape, but had a LOT to do.

Finn picked a Dusty Crophopper theme, even though his mother pleaded with him to do a super hero party. Nope. I guess six is the year you don't get to pick for them any more (or influence their preference like I did last year!!). Of course, I only cared because I had a great idea for a cake. Oh, well, there's always Mac. I had him look at Dusty cakes with me online and he picked one that I was not excited about doing...Dusty landing on an aircraft carrier. But it isn't about me and what I want, so I agreed. I think it turned out fine, it just wasn't very hard. He loved it, which is what matters (chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream):

Even though we had a lower turn out then usual, Finn had a great time. Finn requested chicken wings (Jim was able to influence THAT decision!), cottage cheese and cheesy pretzels. We also had fruit, squash, cheese bread and cheese dip. Everybody said it was really good and I don't think anybody went home hungry. Thank you to everybody who came to help him celebrate.

Saturday, January 3

We're going to...Orlando!

In case you weren't following, the Gopher football team actually had a pretty good season, which means for the first time since 1962, the Gophers were selected to play in a Bowl game ON New Year's Day! I knew as soon as the bowl game was announced that Jim would want to go. Initially I thought he would go with Mike and have a guys trip, but then Borns said their whole family was going. That meant that at least baby and I would be going, too. Jim wanted everybody to go, but flights were RIDICULOUS! So the Bigs got to go stay with Memere over break.

We left super early Monday AM. After Christmas at Renae's on Sunday afternoon, we came back home, packed and headed to a hotel by the airport, so we wouldn't have to leave at 2am from our house! I was nervous to travel with Mac. I just didn't know how he would do and if you know Mac, if he isn't happy, he REALLY isn't happy!
Mac sleeping on the plane.
But fear not, he did great and we even had a connecting flight on the way there, which means taking off and landing TWICE. It was 85 degrees when we landed and after a snafu with the rental car, went to our hotel. After a little break and a rest, we headed out to pick up some Imitrex at the pharmacy for me (I should know by now that I get migraines when I happens every time!) and then went to Giordano's! Yes, Jim's favorite Chicago pizza has locations in Orlando! The service was TERRIBLE and if it had just been a normal night and we could go any time, we would have left. However, once we finally got served and our pizza came, it was delicious. Baby slept all through the appetizer and woke up JUST in time for the pizza to come, of course (even the lady next to me commented on it!). We happened to sit next to Mizzou fans, which the Gophers were playing on Thursday. Funny.
Mac waiting for his piece of pizza.
Tuesday, we drove to Cocoa Beach and met my cousin, Karla and her family for lunch at Sonny's, a BBQ place. Good food, over priced. Then we braved the beach (it was rainy and chilly). Mac wasn't too sure about the sand on his feet but still seemed to enjoy his first trip to the ocean.

Wednesday, we met the Borns on the Gulf side and went on an airboat ride. It was really neat, but it was COLD! I feel somewhat bad saying that since it was SUPER cold back home but cold is relative. After that we had lunch and then headed to the Gopher Pep Rally and Social. To say these events were packed is grossly understated. Holy Gopher apparel convention! It was fun to see, though. We rang in the new year in our hotel room. I even made it to midnight, which Jim was betting I wouldn't. (to be fair, I think I was sleeping by 12:03)
Mac with his head gear on during the boat ride.
Thursday was the big day. We headed to the Citrus Bowl. Parking was easy, the weather was beautiful, tailgating was fun and we were up close and personal with the Gopher marching band. Baby was super excited since it was his first Gopher game. The game started out promising but quickly went down hill. Oh, well. A win would have been wonderful but it really was just amazing to be at a New Year's Day bowl game.

Friday we headed home. After the flight (direct this time!), the guy sitting next to me gave Mac an A+ for behavior! He did really well, all things considered. I wasn't sure how he would sleep in the hotel room while we were there, but he did great. We opted to have him sleep in his car seat rather than a pack-n-play, which I think he really liked. Overall, a great trip with lots of memories.

A HUGE thank you for Memere for watching the Bigs. I know they had a great time and by all accounts told to me, they were very well behaved. I'm hoping next Christmas and break have much less going on (no flu and no travels!).