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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, September 26

Progress

When you are on a journey with a specific end goal, it is easy to get frustrated when all you look at is point B. I've been on a weight loss journey for over 6 months. It started out as "Operations Lose Baby Weight" which I did. Now it is "Operation Get to Goal Weight." But I've been stuck and have seen little movement on the scale over the last two months. Losing weight is so hard for a million reasons, but especially when you have small children and a baby who still needs so much of your time (i.e. limited time for exercise and plan healthy foods).

But I saw something on good ol' Facebook that made me take pause recently and look back at how far I've come. No, I'm not where I want to be but I've lost FIFTY-FIVE pounds!

 

I think we'd all agree that I look so much better but I also FEEL so much better. I was packing this morning for vacation and I could fit into most of my clothes that I wore on our honeymoon (not all...yet!). That felt good and made me realize what a huge accomplishment it is.

No, I may not reach my goal weight for a couple more months and when I do, I will be ecstatic. In the meantime, there is still reason to celebrate. Here's to not wanting to die because I have to wear a swimming suit IN PUBLIC in 24 hours! And here's also to continuing to reach for your goal, even when it is really hard and you want to quit...but don't!

Wednesday, September 23

Better Late than Never

For those of you who weren't able to come in May to experience Korri's first dance recital in person (or if you did and want to re-experience it!), I FINALLY have the DVD! I forgot how stinkin' cute it was. For your reference, Korri is in the front on the right side (stage left?) for both dances.


Ballet "My Mother":
From Videos
Tap "Broadway Baby":
From Videos
Dance class starts tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 22

I did it!

Operation Get Four Car Seats Installed In The Van was a success! However, it wasn't without frustration, either. I HATE installing car seats. If I weren't such a car seat safety freak, I'd probably just have all my kids sit on the floor in the back and play (okay, never, but that is how much I HATE installing car seats!). We have pretty easy ones to install, too (well, with the exception of Mac's because rear facing is more complicated than forward facing). I thought I would just "switch" Korri's to the third row and install Reagan's (which is an infant carrier and SUPER easy to install) in the place that Korri's was. Easy peasy. Two minutes and done. Right?

I must stress that Korri's seat used to be Finn's and it was installed in the third row for a long time (until we switched Mac out of his infant carrier). It should have been a quick install. I mean, we've done the EXACT same install a million times before. BUT...since it is me, I could NOT find the top tether latch ANYWHERE! I googled it but couldn't find information for my exact van model and year. I looked in the manual but there was not ONE mention of WHERE the latch was. I looked everywhere and took everything out of the back. Nope. Nowhere to be found. Of course, I'm feeling like a complete failure at this point and since it was before 8 am and Jim (because he is super good with car seats for some random reason!) wasn't feeling well, I decided to just stop and try later.

About an hour later, I finally woke Jim up to ask him where the tether goes. He kindly got up, looked around and found it (EXACTLY where it should be, of course!) in a matter of minutes. ARGH ARGH ARGH! Did I mention I HATE installing car seats? After that, it literally took me less than five minutes to install Korri and Reagan's.

So, I did it! (with help, but whose keeping track?) We have two rear facing seats in the second row captain's chairs and a five-point harness and tall-back booster in the third row! Sweet. And I'm very certain they are all installed correctly and the kiddos are safe. Sweet. We will see how it goes to have Finn and Korri next to each other (cringe!).

The second thing I accomplished today was a trip to run errands with all three kiddos (Korri, Mac and Reagan) by myself. And it went perfectly. Of course it was sprinkling so I couldn't just get a cart and wheel them in (I didn't want wet baby butts!), but because Reagan weighs about five pounds less than Mac, I was able to just carry them both in. Then Mac was stuck with the front spot of the cart and Reagan got to sit in the big part (only because she listens better than Mac and I knew she would sit down!). We got groceries at Cub, which I always start out with stop at the Kid's Cookie spot. The lady next to me checking out even commented on how good they were through the whole store, which validated what I was already thinking. Again, I did it! I knew it wouldn't be a problem (or I figured as much) but until you do it, you never know.

So, it is 11 am and I accomplished installing four car seats properly in my van AND running errands with a 4 year old and two 1 year olds. What did you do this morning?!?! LOL

Because you know I need a picture, Mac enjoying Grandma's pumpkin and chocolate muffins!

Korri's been bit by the baking bug, so I think we are going to attempt homemade blueberry muffins later today. After I get my kitchen back in order and cleaned (because I clearly didn't have time for that this morning)! Fun times :)

Monday, September 21

Best day ever

Korri said Saturday was the best day of her life! MAYBE a bit of an exaggeration, but let's rewind. Korri told me several weeks ago that she wanted a girl's weekend at Grandma's house. I thought, "well, I'll mention it to mom and see what happens." It just happened to work out for Korri to go to her house this last weekend. While she was packing, she had one request: can I make sprinkle cookies with Grandma? I'll ask her, honey, but I'm pretty sure you can!

Korri is the kind of kid who just needs to feel special (don't they all?!?!). She needs undivided attention but when does she get that? Not often. She had Grandma all to herself ALL weekend and I'm pretty sure it was heaven on Earth for her. I'm thinking Grandma might have needed a big nap Sunday afternoon after Korri left, though! (although Mom did say it was easier to just have one at a time!)

They made a strategy for Saturday on Friday night. Korri lined up the sprinkles on the counter so they'd be ready for the cookies. Then she got to do something she's NEVER got to do at Grandma's house...play with the toys ALL BY HERSELF and not have to share! Big deal to a 4 year old who normally has to play with boys when at Grandma's house (since she is the only girl!). Saturday they BAKED! And Mom let her do a lot of it, which she LOVES. They made sprinkle (i.e. sugar) cookies, apple crisp and pumpkin muffins! They read lots of books while waiting for the cookies. Then painted nails and did Korri's hair! And Grandma got her a new dress, which she got to wear to church on Sunday morning. I'm sure I didn't even hear about everything, but it sounds pretty darn good to me.

Nothing makes me happier than when other people make my kids feel special. Mom definitely accomplished that this weekend. Thank you so much, Mom. You really are the best and we are so fortunate that we get to have you for a mom and grandma!

Here are some pics of the epic girl's weekend:
Getting sprinkles ready!

Playing in Grandma's basement all by herself!

Making cookies!

Reading while waiting for the cookies.

Enjoying the cookies!
Oh and Korri said she wished it could be girl's weekend for 100 days. I told her it probably wouldn't feel as special after 100 days!

Sunday, September 20

Another girl!

Before you freak out and start rumors, no, I am NOT pregnant. However, we are adding one little girl to our household! Four days a week during the days, anyway. Let me start at the beginning.

I am a big believer in God putting things across my path for a reason, especially when I'm not looking for something. I am naturally a planner and a worrier so when things come up in life, I try to just remember that God has a plan for me and to trust what I feel He is guiding me to. Easier said than done but I do try. So, when two weeks ago, my friend Anna called and said she was in a panic about somebody watching her daughter, Reagan, I thought, "I can do it!" It would be for two weeks, three days per week. I love helping people out and I figured, "why not?"

Reagan is one month younger than Mac. She is super sweet and a LOT quieter than he is! But she can MOVE like crazy. I'm hoping she is a good influence in the walking department for Mac. She ended up coming 5 days over the last two weeks and it was pretty easy to get into a routine. It helps, too, that she is a really good napper, so I can even get my workout in some days!

Then Anna was offered a full time position! Did I want to babysit full time? What things would be road blocks for me? Would it even change our routine that much? I talked it over with Jim and the number one thing that was making me hesitate was feeling "stuck" at home. I didn't want to deal with installing and un-installing a car seat every day or every day I wanted to go somewhere. I do most of the errands and appts for the household, so I knew I'd need to be mobile. (we still have our double stroller, which helps a lot!)

Anna and I talked over the details, came to what I think is an equitable arrangement for both of us (including us just putting one of her car seats in our van all the time!) and just like that, our family increases by one, during the day, anyway. I'm excited because Reagan really is super sweet but I also think it will be good for Mac to have somebody his age around to play with. Oh, and Korri LOVES Reagan, so it seems like Korri is the one watching/playing with her a lot of the time. And Reagan seems to love the attention. Win/win!

We will see. It starts tomorrow! Here's to being open to unplanned things and a new adventure!




Monday, September 14

Back to school

Korri's first day of Pre-K was today. It wasn't too much of a transition for either of us because it is the same preschool she went to last year. The only difference is this year her class is for 4-5 year olds (last year was 3-4 yo), it is in the afternoon instead of morning and it is three days a week (MWF) instead of two (TTH). So some changes but nothing too big. Perhaps her hardest difference will be that her best friend is in another section so they won't be together this year. I see it as an opportunity to make new friends!
Getting her shoes on!
Korri's first day of Pre-K
Mac woke up from his nap JUST in time for a couple pictures.
A quick 'moochie from mommy.
And a 'nuggle from daddy.
And she's off.
And just like that, she was gone. No turning around. No wave. Just a big girl, on her way to school. Last year, she got on the bus with Finn but she managed by herself just fine! Oh, and I asked her if she wanted a pony tail or piggies...and she said a braid! The girl knows what she wants.

She's back!
Cute hate she made at school.
 She had a great first day. She had to tell me which friends were in her class again and that she made a few new friends already! I don't worry about this girl's social skills. So friendly (hopefully not bossy!). But she was tuckered out! She passed out in the van on the way to our friends' Isaac and Andrea's last night to watch the Vikings. And she was OUT! She must have needed it. Maybe my "big" girl isn't quite so big yet.
A "little" tired from school.

Saturday, September 12

All done

I'm not as emotional as I thought I'd be. Maybe it will sink in tomorrow. Maybe that just means it was the right timing.

Because Mac and I had our last nursing session this morning. At almost 14 months, he is now considered weaned!

I have mixed feelings about it. Happy for many reasons and also a little sad. Sad because he's my last. I'll never nurse again. Sad that this is one more reason that he doesn't "need" me any more. Sad to miss that time with him when it was just the two of us without any distractions. He never stops for more than two seconds any other time of the day! Sad at yet another sign that my baby is growing up.

Happy, too. Happy that I was finally able to nurse one of my kids until he was one year! Happy I nursed him until I wanted him to be done and he was ready to be done. After a long bumpy road, my other two weaned themselves at 9 months, which left me feeling like I failed in some way. Happy that he can now have sleepovers and be away from me all night (NeNe, when do you want him?!?!)! Happy that I'm not the only one who can get Mac up in the mornings...hmmm...we'll see about that! Happy that Mac eats "regular" food so well that I don't have to worry about him getting enough. Just happy.

He still doesn't do well with a sippy. I mean, he CAN drink from them, he just doesn't like to be bothered. I guess that will have to change. He is supposed to get between 12-16 oz of fluid per day. With nursing, I think it was close. But now, I'll be lucky if he gets half that. But if he is thirsty, he'll drink!

Here's to my baby growing up. Here's to me sticking it out when breastfeeding wasn't easy. It was NEVER easy for me (supply issues, plugged ducts, cracked nipples...you name it!). Well, until he went down to twice a day and then once a day. I guess that was easy! Here's to the "reason" today is the last day...Jim and I go on vacation in TWO WEEKS!!! Really happy and excited for that!


UPDATE: I was okay on Sunday, emotionally and physically. But Monday was a little different. My body was showing the effects of not feeding Mac, which I think triggered an emotional response. I just wanted to feed him for relief and "just because." But I didn't. Today is Tuesday. I think it will get better each day.

Thursday, September 10

Nailed it


Our first practice spelling test. Nailed it! (Finn did, not me. I still struggle with a few!) He did WAY better than I thought he would. Not that I thought he couldn't do it, but spelling is HARD and he's NEVER had to do anything like this before. Here's hoping that tomorrow the real test goes as well and that it is a sign of things to come this year! (this momma is dreading homework like the plague).

Tuesday, September 8

First First

Today was Finnegan's first day of First Grade. Wow, he seems so old and seasoned and just KNOWS what to do and where to go (it helps that he has the same teacher in the same room as Kindergarten, maybe!). The whole "getting on and riding the bus" thing didn't freak me out this year like it did last. While the start of a school year will probably always be overwhelming with a mountain of paperwork and supplies and checks to write, etc, this year was FAR less stressful on every front than last year.

Last night before bed, Jim told Finn to get his backpack ready. I was like, "um, yeah, I did that already!" I had to affix his bus tag to his backpack. Write the check for milk money. Make sure all the forms were filled out and in the folder. And probably the most important, make sure there was a snack! He had his outfit picked out since last week when we were going through clothes, so that was easy. He did have a hard time falling asleep last night, which he usually doesn't, but I'm sure there were jitters and nerves. (he told me after he got home today that he was a little scared before getting on the bus...awwwww!)

He set out his breakfast last night, but was too nervous to eat all of it this morning. An apple pouch was all he could do, but I figured it was better than nothing. Pictures took a lot less time this year, too! LOL. I took a million last year. This year I kept it to the basics. Easy Peasy. Well, I mean...I'm me...I still took plenty :)







My back to school prayer for you, Finnegan:

Dear God,
Thank you for the gift of my child. Please watch over him as he goes back to school, and protect him from negative influences.
Help him be a light to others, and help him show love, care and respect to his friends and teachers.
Please protect him from bullies, but if he faces one, give him courage to stand up for himself and for others.
Help him to remember when he is scared or afraid, You are there with him. As much as I love my child, You love him even more, and I know You will be watching out for him.
Amen

Here's to another amazing year filled with friends, fun, knowledge, growth, imagination and learning. Share your shining light with everybody, Buddy Boy!

Monday, September 7

Low Key is Key

We had a very low key Labor Day weekend, which was much needed. Saturday, we had a lazy morning and then headed out to Jordan MN to go to MN's Largest Candy Store! It was packed, but since it is so large, it didn't seem THAT bad. And it was so much fun to look at all the treats, many of which you can't find anywhere else. The Bigs were told they could each pick out one treat. Finn picked a carton of Lego building candies. Korri picked a tub of chewy Sprees (and a packet of Pop Rocks, per mommy's allowance). Mac had to make due with just riding in the stroller, which he didn't mind. And Jim got pretty much everything else in the store! LOL, not quite that bad, but he enjoyed making his selections. We will be back for sure, just not on a weekend!

That evening, Stacey and Dillon came over, which was long over due. Dillon was a rock star, helping clear the table and even did the dishes! Such manners! It was a great visit, as always.

Than on Sunday, we headed to Benson to visit my grandparents (my dad's parents). My sisters joined us and we had a great afternoon there. The kids played, the adults chatted. Perfect. Jim was able to help Grandma with her computer so it felt good that she can use her email again. Of course we waited to leave until the "big" storm hit, so we pretty much drove with it the whole way, but it wasn't horrible (driving back from Wisc Dells was WAY worse!).


Today, we just hung out at home and NeNe came over for a visit. Perfect! I sometimes feel bad when we don't have plans but sometimes not having a lot to do is exactly what we all need. Plus, it was a great way to get ready for school tomorrow!!


Friday, September 4

I did it!

And to add the cherry to the top, here is Mac standing up independently in the middle of the room:



I love watching this and how at the end he says, "I did it!" Yes you did, Little Buddy! So proud of you and all the progress you've made. My heart sings.

Mac the rock star

There are so many times in life and as a parent when things just don't seem to go right. You worry, you argue, you worry, you get frustrated, you worry, you fight, you worry, you cry, you worry, you doubt yourself...you get the picture.

But yesterday was NOT one of those days. I was loving life! It was for many reasons (wonderful time with friends, beautiful weather, starting month 2 of Insanity Max: 30, etc) but the main one was Mac. He had a PT appt and he ROCKED it! I told his PT when she met us in the lobby that she "was going to die." And she did! He is crawling up stairs (still working on coming down safely), cruising, standing independently, squatting, walking with a push toy, walking by holding two (and sometimes one!) hands! Most kids learn to walk and then learn to stand but of course, Mac has to do things his own way and as long as he's learning, who cares?!?! She was so impressed that we canceled his appt in two weeks and won't be back for a month! At which time she feels strongly that he'll be walking (or at least taking steps) and it MAY be our last appt!

I do worry about my kids a lot (probably more than I should) but I want to do right by them and if I'm not their advocate, who will be? It wasn't "normal" for Mac not to be rolling over at 9 months and I'm so glad Finn's PT strongly recommended getting intervention right away. Would Mac be where he is today without it? Hard to know. But I don't care. We did what needed to be done and he no longer has delays! If he isn't walking by January, then he will be considered delayed in gross motor again but I feel strongly that won't be the case. I feel like I can finally take a deep breath and just BREATHE!!!

In my vast experience (LOL) of parenting, I absolutely LOVE the age Mac is right now the best: between 12 and 18 months. They are learning so many new things, they don't say "no" yet, they are able to communicate enough to be understood most of the time, they are (finally!) sleeping well (my kids at least!), they can play independently for a little while and so many other reasons. The only downside, if you want to call it that, is that he is heavy. I have an issue with my left shoulder that is only made worse by having to carry him everywhere. But that will be short lived, as well, because once he starts walking, he'll probably lose his baby fat (tear) and I think he'll be GONE!

Mac working on taking steps forward at PT yesterday.

Tuesday, September 1

Riverside Resort

Last weekend, my sisters, our families and my mom had a relaxing weekend at Riverside Resort near Richmond, MN. It was nice and close to home (exactly an hour for us!). The cabins were spacious, well kept and the beach was nice (although a little small...which was fine since there wasn't many people there). We all arrived Friday afternoon. Some left Sunday night and others left Monday morning. The best part? Mac was a total "grandma's boy!" Between Renae and Mom, I think I took care of Mac about 25% of the time. Sweet! I much needed break for this momma.

It was a great weekend. Thanks, Mom, for inviting us!!

Here are some photo highlights (more on our picture website):