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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, July 31

Road Trip!

Magically, everything lined up so the kids and I were able to go to Brainerd for three days this week! My two friends from high school, Holly and Heidi, took some time off work and we all camped out at Holly's for three days. It was SO great.

It was just the three of us (well, and Matt, Holly's husband, when he wasn't working) and our SEVEN kids! Crazy. In order of age: Lily (Heidi's-almost 8), Finn-6, Odin (Holly's-6), Odin (Heid's-5...yes, TWO Odin's!), Breck (Holly's-4), Korri-4 and Mac-1. And even though it was a little loud at times, they got along really well.

And man were we busy! Tuesday night Matt gave the kids four wheeler rides. Wednesday we all went mini golfing (randomly to the same place I went with my sisters NINE years ago for our sister's weekend, weird!). And we even got them to nap! Thursday we hung out, went for a walk and then headed to St. Cloud to see Austin's baseball game, which was a blast.

We ladies try to get together twice a year but we've never gotten all of our kids together. I'd never met Heidi's kids, so that was fun to put faces and personalities to the stories I've heard. Holly recently moved and on the way there, Finn asked why they couldn't have moved closer! Apparently two and a half hours is over his limit!

I really hope we can do it again, but I also can't wait until the next kid-free outing as well!

Breakfast at Holly's HUGE kitchen island!
The gang before mini-golf.
Enjoying the BEAUTIFUL weather.
Drinks while making dinner!
Walking down their LONG driveway.
Enjoying Austin's baseball game.
Oh, and Heidi taught Mac how to drink from a straw while we were there! Bonus!

Sunday, July 26

Town and Country

For the first time in a really long time, we headed to Murdock to spend the weekend with my mom. It was Town and Country Days in Kerkhoven (the town NEXT to Murdock) and I figured there'd be lots for the kids to do. Jim was swamped all week with work, so he decided to come out by himself on Saturday.

We left around 3pm on Friday so the kids could nap on the way, which they did, for the most part. We got there just after mom got home from work (I keep forgetting that we live closer now so it takes less time). We had dinner and then headed over to Kerkhoven. There was a lot going on and the kids LOVED it. I have to say, I was/am impressed with the whole event. Lots to do and almost all of it was FREE! Crazy.

The kids played at the park, rode the kiddie train, enjoyed the watermelon feed, watched the firefighter water fights, dunked a guy in the dunk tank (Finn, Korri tried), watched the dance team perform and stopped at the local ice cream shop for treats on the way home! And that was just Friday night!



Saturday, we headed up there in the morning to see what was going on. There was bouncy houses (again, FREE!) for the kids. After that, we headed up to the games area, which turned out to be SO much fun. They got their faces painted (rainbow and a snake) and then it was a mini-carnival area. They had a card and got points for each game they played (I think there were about 15 different games!). At the end, they turned their card in for a prize, a freezie pop and some candy! Again, all free.





By they time they did all the games (or almost all!), we headed home for lunch and naps. Then we headed back to town for the parade. It was a lot more crowded then I thought it would be but after the initial freak-out about the noise (by Finn mainly), it was a lot of fun. I think I'm done going to parades for the year though. I get so sick of Finn having a melt down every time there is a siren or horn or if he gets sprayed by random water. Plus, this was the third parade I took them to, so I think I hit my limit!




We hung out at the park for a bit afterward but it was hot and the kids wanted to go to Grandma's to play, which we did!


It was nice not to be in a rush to get back today. We went to church, which I LOVE doing since it is the church I grew up at and don't make it back there very often. Then we had lunch and played outside for most of the afternoon. Jim was able to help mom with several projects she had around the house, which was a win/win: Mom got stuff done and Jim felt useful! Jim headed back in the early afternoon but the kids and I didn't leave until after 4pm.

Such a great weekend! It would have been more fun for me if I hadn't had a migraine ALL WEEKEND but I dealt with it as best I could (I hope my kidneys/liver are able to recover from all the drugs!). I was super glad for all the help with the kids, that's for sure. Thanks for having us, mom! Hope we didn't overwhelm you too much :) Looking forward to next time.

Friday, July 24

Fun in the Sun

Before heading to Murdock for the weekend, the kids and I had a play date with Pam, Lilly and Levi in Buffalo. We've lived here two years and never enjoyed Buffalo Lake or their splash pad. So upon my suggestion, that is what we did Friday morning.

It was perfect summer weather and other than Levi getting stung by a bee (poor guy...but he handled it really well all things considered), it was a great time!! We started at the splash pad which is simple (just geysers, no buckets or anything).



Korri told me she looks like me after a shower! Ha, because I put my hair up in a towel. Then we headed over to the park for a picnic. It was a bit windy but really nice out. After lunch, we went down to the beach. The wind was coming in, so the water was a little rough and dirty but the kids didn't mind. We played there FOREVER until I finally said we had to leave because we had to pack for the weekend yet!



Mac enjoyed the beach WAY more than the splash pad, He did NOT like getting splashed unexpectedly, which is a little weird since he loves it during bath time. Oh, well. I'm pretty sure he ate his weight in sand, but he didn't mind. We had so much fun at the beach, we didn't even make it over to the play ground. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

This is what summer's all about: fun in the sun with friends!!

Tuesday, July 21

One year check

Mac had his one year well-child appointment today. Overall, it went really well. What didn't go well? Korri got three shots (her kindergarten shots, gasp!) and Mac also got three shots and a blood draw. More on that later.

Mac's stats: WARNING! Novel ahead! Just read the next paragraph if you want the short and sweet of it!
Height 29.2" - 24% (31% at 9 month)
Weight 22lbs 9oz - 70% (24% at 9 month)
Head 48.6cm - 97% (94% at 9 month)

So he is getting shorter and chubbier! LOL The doctor, however, has NO concerns about his growth. And that is not a typo: he went from the 24% in weight to 70%! That is what eating table foods does to you, I guess. And I'm pretty sure his head literally can't get any bigger! Sheesh. Big head; big brains, right?!?!

He is now cleared to start drinking whole milk. I'm not sure how this will go since he still isn't a big fan of sippy cups. He can at least get some water out of them now, but still has no clue how to hold/lift them. I guess its a downside to not taking bottles at all! Along those lines, we talked about weaning. Both F and K weaned themselves (much to my sadness) so I haven't had to make a plan for it before. I want/need to be done by the time we go on vacation the last week in Sept, so she said to plan on being done two weeks before and she thought that was a good time frame, about two months. I'll start by stopping the mid-day feeding and then go down to one (not sure if I'll keep morning or bedtime). In theory, I wouldn't mind keeping morning and night for many more months, as I really enjoy that time with him. So I think it is good that I have a concrete "reason" to have to stop.

Mac trying milk with lunch (didn't go well, we'll try again later!).
She recommended that Mac get his eyes checked, considering Korri had/has her eye issues. Korri's eye doctor didn't seem to think it was an immediate need, so I'll probably schedule Mac's evaluation the next time Korri has an appointment.

Mac still has his hernia and even though it seems to be getting bigger, she isn't overly concerned. She said by Mac's age, only 30% of hernias haven't resolved by now. And by age 3, only 5% haven't resolved. So, we'll just keep watching it (she said internally, it hasn't gotten bigger) and see if something needs to be done closer to 3 years old. Hopefully it is gone by then!

Ears. Yup, I'm sure you'll be shocked to hear that Mac has another double ear infection! That is three in two months. Argh!! She said it is very rare to get ear infections this time of year, so there is reason for concern. We are going to treat him with antibiotics again and then have him checked in two weeks when the dosage is over. Then if/when he gets his fourth infection, she will refer us to an ENT. I REALLY hope we don't have to go down the tubes road, but we've gone down it before and we'll survive. Darn ears.

Vaccines. About a week ago, Korri was really upset about having to get all her shots at her 5 year well child appointment. So I told her I could make an appt at the same time as Mac's and she could get some then and some at her well-child. She thought that was a great idea. Until last night. She didn't want to go. Didn't want shots. Etc. I kept telling her not to think or worry about it now because we weren't even there. When they called us back today, they told me she "only" needed three (I thought she needed 5 but they've combined some). The dr recommended she get them all today to be done with it. I agreed. They came in to draw Mac's blood for hemoglobin (it was great!) and lead (not sure when we get the results of that). I should back up and say that I forgot his pacifier! I had it in my hand but must have set it down to pick up the diaper bag. Not good. I mean, yes, we are weaning him from it, but on a day like today...he should have his nukkie!! He was beside himself and it took a long time to get all the blood they needed.

And then complete chaos ensued. Jim had to leave early to pick Finn up from camp, so I was on my own. Thankfully, our doctor came back in to help since there is one of me and two screaming kids! The second they came in with the shots, Korri started freaking out. I mean FREAK out, hysterical, which made Mac freak out. I could barely get her up on the table and it took all of my strength to hold her. They did the shots and 10 seconds later, I mentioned stickers and she was like, "Oh, sure." She hops down and is fine! Clearly a case of the anticipation being worse than the shots!

Mac was not happy for his shots (who would be with no pacifier, a double ear infection and a blood draw?) and he cried but calmed down pretty quickly afterward. But yikes, I have no idea how long the whole thing took (maybe five minutes?!?!) but it was horrible. Thankfully, now Korri and Finn don't need shots until they are 11, so we are in the clear for them for a long time! We stopped at Dairy Queen on the way home so Korri could get some ice cream. I'm pretty sure ice cream fixes just about everything!!

Monday, July 20

Ahoy, Mac!

Mac's first birthday party was on Saturday, July 18. Not that its about me, but this would be my last "first" birthday and I wanted to do it right. Plus, it is the first summer birthday that I've got to plan. So...in true Stacy fashion, I started planning over two months ago! I wanted it to be special and I wanted to have time to get it just right (whatever that means to a one year old!!).

After quite a bit of stressing, many emails to Stacey and conversations with Jim, I picked the theme: anchors! I thought it was fitting since it was the summer and there'd be water and honestly, I thought he'd be cute in sailor stuff!! LOL. Once the theme was picked, I was off and running.

I got outfits for each of the five of us (really for family pictures but also in the theme of his birthday party). I made from scratch a custom anchor pinata. I started looking for cake ideas, but this wasn't finalized until MAYBE a week before the party. Plus, I "needed" four cakes (one for on his actual birthday, one for his party, a smash cake for his party and one smash cake for pictures!). I researched tons of anchor decorations ideas. I decided to do a photo wall of all of Mac's monthly pictures, which I think turned out super cute. My aunt Lisa made him a custom "one" birthday sign with anchors on it. And I helped Jim come up with a "nautical" theme menu (lobster rolls, chicken salad with shells, jello with gummy fish in a fish bowl, octo-dogs and shells and cheese!). Not to mention the outdoor entertainment, which Jim did, of a 100 foot slip-n-slide and an inflatable pool!

I had so much fun doing it. My friend Andrea said she doesn't do a "theme" for the first birthday because it would be about her instead of the one year old. I thought about that and I was wondering if I was going a little bonkers but then I was like, um yes it is for me! For every other birthday, I do what they want or what "fits" with their current "thing" (in hind site, I would have picked a monkey/banana theme since he loves bananas; but then it wouldn't have been about me, lol). The first one IS for me. It is a celebration of surviving the first year both intact. It is tough. It is so restrictive when you breastfeed for that first year. You feel like you have a permanent growth on your hip (which you kind of do!). You never really sleep well, even when baby is "sleeping through the night." The idea of a shower (or even going to the bathroom!) alone is a pipe dream that will be years in the making. But it is SO worth it and the party is a celebration of all of that and so much more.

We had the party at 11am on Saturday. This was earlier than we'd ever had a party before but we thought it would be nice to be before nap time for most kids and people would still have the afternoon or evening to do other things. This all might have worked out well if we hadn't had a MAJOR storm come through the night before (sirens, tornadoes very close, cuddling in the basement bathroom at midnight, etc!). But with the help of many, we were ready and the party was an absolute success.

I've said it before but I want to say it again: thank you to everybody who helped make Mac's day so special. He is one lucky kid and everybody was so generous with their time and gifts. While it was bitter sweet for me because he's my baby but isn't much of a baby any more, I'm happy that my "last" one was pretty much perfect. Hmmm...now what should we do for his second birthday? LOL Just kidding, I can start thinking about Finn's birthday instead!!! "Only" 169 days left!!
My little birthday sailor.
Mac's monthly picture feature.
Custom "one" sign from Aunt Lisa.
The 100' slip-n-slide.
Korri hitting the anchor pinata.
Opening his very generous gifts!
Mac and Mommy with his anchor cake.
Who needs to get their hand dirty?

Side note: it isn't about me but I am very proud of the fact that exactly one year to the day after Mac was born, I hit my pre-pregnancy weight on the nut! How is that for awesome?!?! The last year has been a struggle for me because I felt massively huge (and I WAS!), but I didn't want my food intake, or lack thereof, to affect my milk supply. So I felt stuck. Then in late Feb, coinciding with when he started eating "real" food, I think, I decided to do something about it. It feels so good. The downside is that I'd gained weight before Mac was born, so I'm not where I want to end up, but I'll take it for now. Here's to achieving milestones and setting goals!

Sunday, July 19

Musical car seats

Today is the day. We are moving Mac out of his infant car seat and into a big boy (rear-facing obviously) car seat! And I'm a little emotional about it. So many changes in the last two weeks and this is just another thing showing me my baby is growing up.

One last time in his baby seat:

We moved Mac into Korri's Diono Radian and over to the passenger side (it reclines too much to be behind the driver), Korri into Finn's Britax Frontier behind the driver and Finn into a Graco Turbobooster (Safety Surround) in the third row. Of course, Korri doesn't understand why she can't be in the third row, too, but aside from the fact that they would be constantly fighting, there honestly isn't room for her seat and Finn's in the third row (darn Town and Country safety latches!).

Somebody doesn't like his new car seat!

We will have this configuration for the next two to three years (we turned Finn forward facing at three and Korri at three and a half) and then we'll have to see what the next transition will be.

Saturday, July 18

The Big O.N.E.

Yes, Mac is one year old. 12 months. Numero Uno. Wow, to think of where we were a year ago. It is truly amazing how much they learn, change and grow in the first 12 months of life. Below are some of the milestones for a 12 month old and my comments on how/if Mac matches up.

Developmental Milestones: 12 Months

From eight to twelve months of age, your baby will become increasingly mobile, a development that will thrill and challenge both of you. Here are some other milestones to look for.

Movement Milestones
Gets to sitting position without assistance yes!
Crawls forward on belly by pulling with arms and pushing with legs he kind of skipped this
Assumes hands-and-knees position yes
Creeps on hands and knees supporting trunk on hands and knees yes
Gets from sitting to crawling or prone (lying on stomach) position yes
Pulls self up to stand yes, but still working on it
Walks holding on to furniture yes, but it is a new skill and usually needs assistance
Stands momentarily without support for MAYBE a second, but does have good balance
May walk two or three steps without support nope, not even close
Milestones In Hand and Finger Skills
Uses pincer grasp yes
Bangs two cubes together yes
Puts objects into container yes, LOVES to do this!
Takes objects out of container yes
Lets objects go voluntarily yes, started playing "ball" last week and is now his favorite game
Pokes with index finger I don't think so
Tries to imitate scribbling haven't tried
Language Milestones
Pays increasing attention to speech  yes
Responds to simple verbal requests yes
Responds to “no” we use other words but yes, responds to them
Uses simple gestures, such as shaking head for “no” yes, a little bit
Babbles with inflection  yes, this is new and so fun to listen to, he really thinks he is talking (usually to the Bigs)
Says “dada” and “mama”  yes, but he still doesn't look at us and say it
Uses exclamations, such as “oh-oh!”  yes, starting to and SO cute
Tries to imitate words CONSTANTLY!
Cognitive Milestones
Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping) yes
Finds hidden objects easily yes
Looks at correct picture when the image is named Hmmm, I don't know
Imitates gestures  yes
Begins to use objects correctly (drinking from cup, brushing hair, dialing phone, listening to receiver) I think so, maybe a little
Social and Emotional Milestones
Shy or anxious with strangers a little but SO much better than he was two months ago
Cries when mother or father leaves  yes, but calms quickly and easily usually
Enjoys imitating people in play  yes, especially his big brother
Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys  yes
Tests parental responses to his actions during feedings (What do you do when he refuses a food?) yes, he's started throwing/dropping food and looks RIGHT at you when he does it...stinker
Tests parental responses to his behavior (What do you do if he cries after you leave the room?) yes, and I'm a total sucker for it
May be fearful in some situations yes
Prefers mother and/or regular caregiver over all others yes, of course
Repeats sounds or gestures for attention yes, and man, can he be LOUD!
Finger-feeds himself yes
Extends arm or leg to help when being dressed yes, a little but he is usually too busy

  

  

  

  


Man, he's changed a ton. Mac brings so much joy and happiness to our family. He is content as long as he is rested and full! His first official word was banana just after he turned 11 months. He loves "sharing" a banana with Jim every morning and if Jim doesn't share fast enough, anybody in a block radius can probably hear him yell, "NANANANANA!" I think his second word is "puppy." We don't use this one a ton but he LOVES puppies and when we go for walks, he often yells at them as well. When grandma brings Chip, Mac can't get enough of him (and while Chip usually doesn't like kids, he tolerates Mac really well).

Developmentally, Mac started getting into sitting one week ago. This was HUGE for me (and for his PT). I always said I just wanted him to be able to transition and I thought he'd be so much happier. And he is much happier now! And the next day (last Sunday) he started full-on crawling forward! He kind of skipped army crawl, creeping, crawling backwards...all of it. He flipped the switch and he was often. He was tentative right away but by the time PT came on Tues, he was showing off like an old pro. He can cruise furniture with help and he can pull up to stand, but not from the floor. His PT would like to see him crawl for a couple months before walking, so we aren't pushing walking as much as we were. Plus, he isn't delayed as far as walking or not walking (yet!).

He is nursing 3 times per day; 8am, 2pm and 8pm, give or take (or when I remember!). I feel like we have started weaning even though I didn't have a plan or really think too much about it. I need to be done by the end of September so that gives us two months. It is bitter sweet for me because I LOVE having that time with him but it was never "easy" for me and let's be honest...it really ties me to him (even though three times per day is WAY better than 10 times). Plus, I have lacerations on one side which makes it excruciating when he latches on and the doctor said there isn't much to do except apply lanolin and give it time to heal. 

Mac loves most foods (especially fresh fruit and carbs!) but if he doesn't like it, will refuse to eat it. Or his new thing, to throw it on the floor. He does this when he is full, bored or wants something else. He gets a firm "STOP!" and if he does it again, he is done. Also, he doesn't/won't/refuses to drink from a sippy cup, so the weaning mentioned above obviously depends on him doing that. He "likes" water but I feel like since he didn't take a bottle, he doesn't quite "get" a sippy. He'll drink water if you hold  regular cup to his mouth or use a straw to drop it in. My other two used bottles at this point so this is new for us. I'm hoping with practice he is figure it out.

And we decided now that he is one, he is pacifier free during the day! I started this yesterday (poor guy, ON his birthday!) and it is going okay, but we have been busy/distracted too. He still gets one in bed and in the car; I'm only human and don't want to endure torture. I see him reach for it on his shirt where it used to be clipped a lot but he seems okay. Well, unless he is tired of course, but then he can have it in bed! Fingers crossed that this transition goes smoothly.

He recently started playing "ball" or "catch" and LOVES it. He thinks he is one of the big kids. And he is really good at it, sometimes even "catching" it in his arms. He also likes to play with Duplos and towers. He likes to play "pick up" which is putting toys in his bucket. Hey, I hope that continues! Except he then likes to dump them out.

I think that is about "it!" Ha. Did I forget anything? We have his well-child appointment next week, so we'll get all his stats then. I read somewhere that they are supposed to have tripled their birth weight at 12 months. So if he did, he should weigh 26.5 pounds. I don't think he is quite that much, but I could be wrong.

Friday, July 17

No more, no more...

Great, I thought today would just be happiness (and stress about finishing his cakes; yes, plural!) but stupid babycenter.com already made me cry. Talking about missing your little baby as they transition into a toddler. FU Baby Center. I'm not having another baby. I'm not having another baby. Repeat a million times. I can see how people have large families though. As soon as you survive the first year (because it IS surviving!), you come up for air and seem to remember mostly just the happy stuff and look back longingly. Plus, I know what's coming in the years ahead since its my third time and cringe (and preemptively cringe for the teenager years, which I don't even KNOW about yet!). LOL!

Happy first birthday, Baby! I wonder how long we will get away with calling you that! Your happiness and silliness brings constant joy to our family.

Monday, July 13

We have a mover!

As of yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, five days before he turns one, Mac can officially crawl! Forward even! I knew this day would come, but man, was it a struggle to get here. I'm not concerned about his walking because he isn't really "delayed" with that. The "normal" range for walking is up to 18 months! So we'll talk in January if he isn't walking yet.

video

In the last two weeks, Mac's development has advanced so much. In addition to crawling, he can get in and out of sitting and pull to stand (not from the floor quite yet but from a stool). He is taking steps to the side and forward with help. I guess he is planning on putting on a show at his birthday party this weekend!

After this video was taken (please note he crawled for daddy!), he pretty much refused to do it again. We tried until he went to bed. But then this today, after having a slow start, he just took off. It still isn't "easy" for him and he has to work at it, but I honestly can say I feel like he is a crawler (not just is able to crawl). And I already miss the days when I could put him down and know where he'd be moments later. I have to change my bad habits for sure!

Friday, July 10

Waverly Daze

Last year we participated in Waverly Daze for approximately an hour and a half and that was it. I was one week away from having Mac and super uncomfortable and had feet and ankles the size of hot air balloons. Luckily, that was our first summer here, the kids were young and didn't know any better.

Well, this year we are all about it. Finn and Korri had a t-ball game at 7:45pm down by the lake where all the festivities take place (the only activity we did last year). Before the game, the kids played on the play ground, bouncy house and made edible sand art (genius!). Their game was so much fun and the kids had a blast. Korri doesn't love t-ball but even she had fun. It probably helped that NeNe and Uncle Les came to watch!

After the game, the kids each got to pick out an ice-cream treat and get their face painted.

Korri wasn't happy with hers because she forgot that she actually wanted a dragon fly until after it was on her face! Oops. NeNe pushed her on the swings (or merry-go-round?), so that made it better.


We hung out until 10:15pm for the fireworks. They were AMAZING! Maybe it was because we had low expectations (small town, small fireworks?!?!) but they just kept going and going. We kept saying, "that was the grand finale" but then they would shoot off more. I'm so glad we stayed, even if it was WAY after bedtime. That's what summers are for, right?

The craziest part? Mac slept through the entire fireworks show. I was so afraid that he would wake up and be scared, but he didn't move an inch, even with the super loud ones. I think somebody was super tired. Finn HATES the loud ones and he had a hard time, even with daddy's noise-canceling headphones on. But he survived.

Overall, a great night. Not sure how many other activities over the weekend we can partake in because of other commitments, but even if it was just last night, it was great. Hoping to go to the parade on Sunday, though. Because we "need" more parade candy, obviously.