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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.

Monday, August 31

Snip snip

Another last first...Baby's First Hair Cut!!!

When Finn got his first hair cut, we buzzed it. And I loved it. But with Mac, I wasn't ready for a buzz. He has these adorable curls in the back that I just wasn't ready to say goodbye to (I'm assuming they will be gone forever). I was dying, though, because his bangs and hair over his ears were out of control (I even put a clip in the other day to keep them out of his eyes!!). And I wanted a lock for his baby book (which I don't think I have yet...oops. Third child. I do have a Memory Box, so it can go in there!). So I asked the expert...Renae, of course! She said she could cut a longer lock out of the top and you wouldn't even notice it was gone. Perfect.

She brought her hair cutting stuff to the cabin on Sunday and it was go time. Mac did really well. I mean, he didn't stop moving the whole time, but Renae's had lots of practice with little wiggle worms and I would assume moving is better than freaking out and screaming, which he didn't do. Here is the before and after:
 

SO MUCH BETTER! Now my baby looks like a big boy. It is funny how just trimming it a little bit makes such a big different. And a HUGE thank you to Auntie NaeNae!!

Thursday, August 27

Normal

Normal. Normal. Normal. That is what the ENT said yesterday at Mac's appointment! Ears normal. Fluid normal. Hearing normal. I don't know what I was expecting as an outcome from this appointment, but that was NOT it! So happy.

However, because Mac has had 4 ear infections in less than 6 months, the doctor is still "concerned." He basically said we have two options. 1. do tubes now. 2. wait a month or two to see if he has another infection. Um, I'll take what's behind door number 2, Ben!

So we are waiting. And if I never take him in to the doctor, he won't "have" another infection...just kidding...kind of... Part of me wonders if the chiropractor adjustments are maybe now just kicking in. Or part of me wonders if Mac really truly had that many infections and fluid because he is a screamer. And when he screams, he turns bright red...and so do all the membranes in his ear. Hmmm...I love our doctor and trust her completely, but I might question a little harder next time. Another part of me just hopes and prays that he outgrows it or it was a "fluke" this summer.

We shall see. It isn't life threatening either way, just a bump. But nobody wants their baby to have to have surgery for any reason, regardless how routine and low risk it is. Here Mac and I are snuggling before nap because he wasn't feeling well. Poor Baby.

Tuesday, August 25

Yay, it was a bug!

I remember getting my first migraine when I was five. It was the summer and it was hot. I laid down on the kitchen floor (because the linoleum was cool) in front of the fan and went to sleep. I didn't know at the time it was a migraine, but after years of suffering and years of education and medication, I now know that is what it was.

Migraine sucks. They are debilitating. And they are hereditary (right sisters and aunties?!?!). They typically pass along the female line but it isn't unheard for boys to be affected as well. There are two things I prayed that I wouldn't pass on to my kids: 1. dry skin. I have REALLY dry skin that has bothered me my whole life. Thankfully now I feel like I have it under control but it is still annoying and irritating. 2. migraines. I would give ANYTHING for my kids to never get a migraine. It shuts your mind and body down and there is so little you can do to get rid of them and stop them from coming back. You miss out on a lot because you can't get out of bed. Luckily, I have found medicine that works (most of the time) and feel like I've come to know triggers and symptoms to treat early and often. I feel like my migraines are somewhat managed or at least manageable.

Finn has had at least four "headaches" this summer. He isn't one to complain, so I know they have been bad. For the first two, I figured it was an issue of being too hot or dehydrated or tired. I gave him some Tylenol or Ibuprofen, had him rest and he seemed to do better. However, last week, he had one on Tuesday. It lasted about a day and then went away. BUT he had another on Friday and it was accompanied with a fever, nausea, sensitivity to light and exhaustion. Crap, all but the fever are symptoms of a migraine. He felt so horrible that he had to come home from his "Austin and Finn weekend" at Grandma's house. You know it was bad. We got home, I gave him medicine and made him eat a few bites of cereal...and then he threw up. We put him to bed and watched him over night. He seemed to feel a little better on Saturday but the headache stayed around until Sunday.

Being a good sport, even though he feels horrible and has an ice pack on his forehead.
I'm not going to mess around with headaches or migraines. They can be a symptom of very serious things. So I called the doctor and we went in today (it had been a week since we were there for Mac's ears, so I thought they might be missing us!). While she is concerned enough to have us start tracking his headaches to look for patterns and triggers, she also said it sounds EXACTLY like a bug that was going around! Kids are sick with headache, fever and nausea, feel better for a few days and then are sick again! You have no idea how happy I was to hear that. How often are parents HAPPY to hear their kid had a bug?!?! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let it be that and not migraines.

I'll happily track his headaches (I've done mine for years) and I hope we find they are far and few between. I think that if it is migraines, they will present themselves very quickly once school starts. Here's to a headache free fall (and winter and spring and summer!)!!

Monday, August 24

Up up and away

And just like that, Mac figured out stairs this morning!

From Videos

We've been trying to work on stairs for a while now but Mac was NOT having it. He'd whine and cry and resist until it felt like, "what's the point?" Last week, he tolerated it marginally better but both PTs said to focus on other things and it will come later.

Fast forward to this morning. I was upstairs brushing my teeth and Korri came to tell me that "baby's going up the stairs!" Um, what? I ran over and he was on the landing! I asked Finn how Mac got there and Finn said he climbed. Scary! So I went behind him, Jim went to the top, and sure enough...up he went!

If you look at his technique, he skips a step (putting his right knee on the stairs) but Finn did the same thing and to be honest...it seems more efficient to me, too!

Just like that. Like he's been doing it forever. What's the big deal, mom? What a little stinker! Now we REALLY need to get the new gate installed (the bane of our existence). Watch out world, Mac is on the move and now vertically mobile! Cross one more thing off his "to do" list!

Thursday, August 20

Mom Tip: Too Small Clothes

Okay, I don't know how I've gotten through 6 years of parenting without knowing this "mom tip!" It is courtesy of my friend Sharon who dropped this helpful little bomb on us at our last Mom's Night Out.

First, I love my kids' clothes to be organized. When Finn was a baby, I would re-organize his clothes in his dresser so they would all get worn the same amount (I'm not even kidding!!) Second, their clothes are NEVER organized (anymore!). Three kids in three different sizes equals complete chaos most of the time. The only reason I stay on top of Mac's is because I need to move them on to my nephew who is nipping on his heals size-wise.

I have a tub of too small clothes. I have bags of "next size" clothes. I have piles of "stuff" in the closets. I have tubs from family. I have dirty clothes piles. I have clean clothes piles. My piles have piles!
Too small clothes bins (in addition to a "next size" bag!)
Clean clothes next to Korri's bed.
Dirty clothes pile next to Finn's bed.
Clean clothes on the stairs that haven't quite made it upstairs yet.
Clean clothes on top of the dryer.
See, I'm not kidding. And it makes me feel like I'm naked putting these pictures up for you to see! To top it all off, my kids have WAY too many clothes! I don't know how that happened because I don't buy them much, but we have very generous family and friends who graciously pass clothes on to us, which I LOVE and appreciate.

But if we could organize the ones that fit and pack up the ones that don't, I think it would be more manageable. So back to the "too small" tub. I actually have two sitting in Finn and Korri's room. They are each THIRTY gallons, i.e. HUGE, and over flowing (see top picture above). I need to go through them but I always think I'll wait until the next load of laundry so I get "all" the clothes. You know, because they have to where the shirt that is too small ONE more time. Fine, but remember to put it in the tub when it is clean. Finn actually remembers to do this a lot of the time, but Korri is either clueless or she must want to keep wearing it!

So to say I'm not organized is an understatement. Enter this new tip: when something is too small, put it inside out before you wash it! Hello?!?! Duh! But so simple and beyond genius. Now I can easily and quickly put those inside out clothes in the tubs and not keep clothes we don't need/fit any more in their drawers. I'm so excited to start implementing this. I kind of feel like Sharon's been holding out on me for years, but I'll forgive her due to how fabulous her suggestion is. Thanks for helping me, even if in a small way, get my clothes mountain managed!!

Now, who will watch my three little tornadoes so I actually have uninterrupted time to get this done? Ha, a pipe dream, I'm sure :) Poor Zander is probably wearing 3T clothes that are worn out because I've been so bad at going through Finn's too-small clothes! I need to get on it!

Wednesday, August 19

Fourth double

Four in three months. Argh! Mac was super fussy Monday night. I gave him ibuprofen but while I was doing that, I saw him pull on his right ear. Crap, he has an ear infection. The medicine kicked in and he slept well (thank GOD!!). I called the doctor in the morning (of course I was second guessing myself by this time because he seemed fine by the morning, but I also know better by now) and they got us in with our primary doctor (I'll say it again, I LOVE our clinic!!!) in the afternoon.

It was a quick visit. Yup, double ear infection and she said the right one was pretty nasty. So for those of you keeping track at home, that is four double ear infections in three months. Double argh! So what this tells me is that we were right to make the appointment with the ENT, even though I didn't want to. That appt is next week. It also tells me that tubes might just be the "right" thing to do as well, even though I REALLY don't want them. I've been bringing him to the chiropractor and that obviously isn't helping (or maybe that is a long term solution?!?!). I don't know, but if we are having this many problems in the summer, he will most likely have constant (more so than now?!?!) infections during the winter/sick months and it isn't good for him to be on antibiotics for a long period of time either.

So, he is back on medicine for now (we did go in for a re-check after that last bout and the infection was gone at that point, two weeks ago). Thankfully, he isn't awful when he has a double ear infection. It could be so much worse. I just want him to feel better and BE better.

We are also doing a hearing test at the ENT visit because Mac's caseworker/teacher through the school district said he may be having difficulty hearing and repeating consonance, which I guess is harder to say than vowels. I was saying he mimics us really well, so I don't think his hearing is a problem but squealing or saying things like, "ah!" wouldn't be affected by fluid. Things like "Momma" and "Dadda" would be, which I've noticed he isn't saying any more :(

PT update: Yesterday Mac's school PT and caseworker/teacher came to our house. This was the first time meeting his new caseworker (LOVED her!). It had been 5 weeks since PT had seen him and she PRAISED his progress at least five times during the visit. Yay! I love and needed to hear that. She is happy with him crawling and moving around his environment however he sees fit right now (i.e. not pushing walking!). We are working on getting him to go "feet first" when he is on an elevated surface so he isn't stuck and hopefully reduces the risk of falling once he IS doing stairs and walking. I said I'm glad he is horizontally mobile but NOT vertically yet (i.e. climbing!!). Socially/verbally, I haven't seen Mac look at me when somebody says "momma." But his teacher said, "where's momma?" and he slowly looked over in my direction! It felt good. He does know me (lol, obviously he does!).

And because you know I like a picture in my post, I can't imagine why Mac took so quickly to my Godmother (my mom's sister) at Zachary's baptism?!?!

SOME people say she might look a smidgen like my mom...

I don't know but she has my kids fooled :) Korri's fallen for it too!!

Sunday, August 16

The shirt

I LOVE this shirt. I bought it for Finn for our family pictures in the summer of 2010. Each family "pod" had a different color: Kristine's family was red, Becky's blue, Renae's green and we were purple. Shockingly (LOL!), Finn didn't have anything purple, so I went shopping. And I fell in LOVE with this shirt. There's just something about it. Anyway, I came across it the other day and realized that Mac won't be able to wear it for much longer and thought I'd better get it on him. And then I took the opportunity to do a mini photo shoot with him.

Here is another side-by-side of Finn and Mac in the same shirt:



Finn's photo courtesy of Jessica Hislop Photography! Thank you, Jess, for taking time on your anniversary weekend to find this picture for me. You always go above and beyond. Also, I think I need to work on my lighting ;)

I have to say, I don't think they look super a lot alike in these two pictures. Normally they do. Weird. Their face shapes are very different. I think Finn's cheeks might even be chubbier than Mac's here!

Saturday, August 15

Learning Through Play

How about an impromptu visit to the Minnesota Children's Museum with friends on a random summer Saturday when we have nothing planned and I'm unexpectedly on my own with the kids?!?! I don't mind if we do. You have to understand, I am NOT the fun parent. Jim is the one who takes the kids to the state fair or MOA or out to dinner BY HIMSELF on a moments notice. I do not. I plan things out. I do research. I emailed 100 times to find dates that work for others. I basically take the fun out of things. Okay, that might be harsh, but you get my point.

When our friend Andrea posted on FB that they were going to the Children's Museum on Saturday, I knew it would save my sanity and give the kids something to do. So we went. And had the BEST time ever. All SIX (yes, I said SIX!) kids were rock stars. We got there at 11am and didn't leave until 3:30pm. Its a long time and there was little to no whining and everybody had their listening ears on. I'm SO glad I decided to join them. And the best part is that they got a membership, so maybe we can join them again this winter when we are going stir crazy! Thanks for including us, Andrea, Isaac, Colton, Brody and Maverick!

Here are a few highlights, but I took 94 (you read that right) pictures today, so there will be more on our picture website (link to the right on the blog).



 


We could have stayed longer but we needed to eat and facing an hour drive home, I was NOT up for heading back over to play more once we'd left. I love the Children's Museum. There is so much for the kids to physically do and try. Korri must have painted 10 pictures. Finn spent about half an hour playing with gears and tubes. So. Much. Fun.

Two thoughts about the Children's Museum. 1. It really bothers me that they have NO security. Meaning, anybody can walk in, take your kid and leave. Presumably, parents are watching their child(ren), so this doesn't happen, but when you have three kids to keep track of, you often "trust" they will be in the same spot when you come back a second (or minute) later. I mean, Chuck E Cheese even has a stamp system so kids leave with whom they came. Big miss in my book. I, however, do keep an eye of my kids, but it would be nice to let them meander around a little more.

2. No food? Really? They are missing out on a GOLD mine! I mean, you have a captive audience who needs to eat at a moments notice and melts down when not fed. Seriously, just have a small cafe or something! Sandwiches. Lunchables. Apples. ANYTHING! They would rake in the bucks. I don't get it. We would have eaten there just because it would have been more convenient than leaving and going across the street to Subway (I'm sure Subway doesn't mind that they don't offer food!). I really don't mind because I like Subway, but that isn't the point.

Also, on the "way" back to the car, we made a detour to Candyland! Ever been? It is one block south(?) of the museum. You are missing out. Finn literally fell over when he saw the chocolate counter. Korri pretty much wanted everything. They were told before we went they could pick out ONE treat to have when we got home. And they did with no fussing or anything. I was really impressed. Korri picked a pink lollipop (which she dropped three times on the way to the van!) and Finn picked a bag of...wait for it...caramel popcorn drizzled with chocolate! Yum!

What a super fun day. We wish daddy could have joined us but I had fun sending him play-by-play pictures of the funny/fun things the kiddos were doing.

Friday, August 14

Side by side

We went to the beach last week and Mac worn the exact same swim suit that Finn did the LAST time we went to this beach (Elm Creek Park...LOVE it!). Side note: it is a man-made swimming pond with filtered, chlorinated water and a sandy beach! Perfect! Although I'm pretty sure Mac ate his weight in sand. Why is it so appealing to put sand in your mouth? Yuck.

Anyway, here is Finn, at 18 1/2 months:
 

Here is Mac, at 12 months:
  

This shows me two things. 1. Mac is a LOT bigger than Finn was! 2. Mac needs a hair cut! Look how clean cut Finn's hair is! But then Mac won't look like my baby any more :(

One was better

If you'll recall, Mac's 9 month pictures did NOT go well. I mean, Jess still got some great pictures but Mac was NOT having it. Fast forward to mid-July and Mac did MUCH better. I'm so glad he has outgrown (for the most part) his stranger and separation anxiety. He is still a momma's boy, but he can be around other people and not scream the whole time.

Anyway, we decided it was time to do a new family photo since the last one Mac was not in. I think that went well, It is hard to get five people to do the same thing at the same time, but Jess managed pretty well. As for Mac's pics, he didn't want to look AT Jess but was willing to smile, so I tried to be creative in where I stood and what I did. At least we got some full-on smiles this time!

For your viewing (and ordering!) pleasure:
Mac One Year

Oh, yeah. I did something for Mac's one year shoot that I haven't done before...a smash cake! I figured it was my last chance to do one, I MAKE cakes and it would be cute. And it was! He didn't dig into it too much but man was he ticked when I took it away!

Tuesday, August 4

Darn ears!

It's time. Mac went in for an ear follow up this morning and while the infection is gone (yay!), she was NOT happy with the amount of fluid behind his ears. So, with some coaxing on her part, we decided it is time to make an appointment with the ENT. This doesn't mean Mac has to get tubes for sure, it just means the expert can keep an eye on him. Plus, based on the fact that Mac has had significant amount of fluid in his ears for over three months, she is concerned that he may have hearing loss, which will in turn, affect his speech.

So, we will have that appointment in 3 to 4 weeks (she even referred us to the same one Finn went to, which is nice, but he is hard to get into!). I will keep bringing him to the chiropractor with the hopes that it helps drain the fluid, but this way, I feel all bases are covered. I don't want tubes. I know they are low risk and kids get them all the time, but I just don't. But I also don't want him on antibiotics for the next 6 months. Again, the dr is concerned that if he can't get rid of the fluid during the summer months, this winter is going to be brutal. And I guess when you put it that way, bringing him in every week for an ear infection, isn't ideal either.

So, we will see. It isn't life threatening, just more of a bump on the road.

Mac working on his pole dancing abilities at the doctor's office!

Monday, August 3

Standing!

Mac pulled up to standing unassisted for the first time last night and again this morning. He was in his crib and he grabbed on to the sides, stuck his butt out and up he went! We've been working on this for a LONG time and he'd figured out how to get one leg propped up, but couldn't/wouldn't make the effort to pull his body up. I know most parents probably don't even notice this developmental step, but to us, every little thing is HUGE (and usually a results of LOTS of work).

He also has been working on stairs and he is getting better. There are so many "steps" one has to do in order to be able to crawl up stairs that he often gets "stuck." But yesterday I was at the top and Jim was behind him and he pulled himself up to the first step (with only a little help from daddy!). We have PT at Gillette on Thursday, so I'll be curious to see how he does (and how excited they will be with his progress!).

Also, it is crazy how good Mac is at balancing. It is also a little frustrating because I feel like if you can balance that well, you could probably walk or at least cruise around furniture! But like I said previously, we aren't pushing walking super hard right now so he has time to crawl. The walking will come!

And I found Mac in the bathroom today! To say he is mobile is an understatement. Luckily for me, he likes to do what the Bigs are doing, so I usually know where he is. I guess I have to be better about keeping doors shut!

Korri is at grandma's for a few days, so Finn and I played Candy Land this morning:
Finn (this morning): It is so boring without Korri here.

Well, maybe you should appreciate her a little more when she IS here and not fight so much! Maybe the fighting is what they consider fun?!?! Who knows! And for the record, I won 2 games to 1. Cutthroat Candy Land!

Saturday, August 1

Wright County Fair

Last night, we decided to check out the Wright County Fair. I had little to no desire to go last year (with a two week old and all) but really like fairs. We went late afternoon and man, were we glad we did. The fair is in Howard Lake, which is the next town west of Waverly, nice and close. When we pulled up, there was plenty of parking right across the road from the fair. When we left around 7pm, it was a ZOO! Note to future selves: go in the afternoon again!

I didn't know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised. The food vendors were varied and many. We got corn dogs, shave ice (which Jim said was AMAZING!), lemonade, won tons, corn on the cob and cheese curds. By the time we were getting ready to head out, the lines for food were ridiculous, though. We were a little disappointed with the number of kiddie rides. We would have gotten unlimited wrist bands, but there was only 4 or 5 rides for our kids to go on by themselves. Oh, well. I guess that saved us money in the end. Although daddy did do a few games with them, too!

Korri LOVED the horses...you're shocked, I'm sure. Finn actually really liked walking through the horse barns, too, and finding out what each horses name was! There was a petty zoo, which was pretty cool. Mac just chilled in the stroller, as long as he got his share of the food and drink!

The Bigs got a little squirrelly toward the end, so maybe a little earlier would be better (or make sure they nap before we go!). Overall, it was a lot of fun and I think we'd go back.