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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, October 31

Gala

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 28

Discharged!

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 27

Judgement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 25

Be Ghoul!

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


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


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

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




Happy Halloween from my little ghouls to yours!

Friday, October 23

Breathing is important

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 20

These feet are made for

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

From Videos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 16

Apple Jacks!

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

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

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

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

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






Tuesday, October 13

On and off

Mac has been playing with his toy riding toys a lot lately, but usually just pushes them from behind. Well, I'm not sure if it is because Reagan rides on them or if he just "figured" it out, but in the last week, he has figured out how to get on and off! Usually backwards (because of the seat being higher in back, I think), but he doesn't care!

From Videos

Just another "little" skill he is learning. I honestly don't think it will be long before he is walking. He took two independent steps twice at PT last week. Last night Jim was holding something out to him and he took one step toward it. He CAN do it but just isn't confident enough yet. I forget sometimes that he isn't walking, though, because he stands so well!

Oh and a little self bragging: I finished Insanity Max 30 yesterday! It took me over 60 days, with vacations and kids, but I did it. And to make the milestone even sweeter, I not only doubled my initial time on the Cardio Challenge from Day 1, I didn't Max Out and went the full 30 minutes without stopping. This is HUGE! The longest I'd gone before Maxing Out (going to the point of exhaustion, resting and starting back up again) was 15 minutes. It felt amazing. Now I have to decided if I'm going to redo Max 30 but not modified (I did modified so I wouldn't hurt my knee, but it held up really well) or get crazy and do the full Insanity program. Argh! I don't know. I also "itch" to get back to running, but am hesitant because of the knee. I have two days to decided since I earned the rest days!!

Thursday, October 8

Fall Conferences

We had Finn's conferences on Tuesday. My schedule was all messed up from the vacation and the hurricane that I was like a chicken with its head cut off (especially since we got home around 2am that morning!). I sent Jim, Korri and Mac to dance, which was canceled because of conferences and I brought Finn with me, which I wasn't supposed to do, but ended up being fine. Argh.

Regardless of all of that, Finn is doing great in First Grade. He has the same teacher as last year, Ms. Thorsen and has 17 of the same kids in his class as last year! He gets along with other students, has a positive attitude and solves problems. Part of me wanted to make sure we were talking about the same child! One area for improvement is listening to and following directions. Apparently, he likes to talk to his neighbors. Hmmm...I wonder if my mom ever had a conference when she wasn't told the same thing about me?!?! So we talked about appropriate times to talk and times that are NOT appropriate. Hopefully that helps.

She went through all the details of his scores and all that, but at the end of the day, she feels his is at mid-high for reading and mid-high to high for math. You can't ask for more than that. He can read as high as a second grader in the second month of school. He tested kind of low on math, but she said her entire class did, so she probably offered the test at a bad time (tired, distracted, hungry, etc.). He scored 86% but the highest score she had in her class was 89%. She did say that in general she often puts him with certain students who need extra help because she sees him being a leader and being able to help others. That surprised me only because by his nature (so far at least) he is not a natural born leader like some kids are. So I'm thankful she trusts him and is giving him opportunities to develop those skills.

I look forward to his next conference in late January because it is directed by him, just like last year. Korri's preschool conferences are the beginning of November.

Wednesday, October 7

That time of year!

Finn's school fundraiser started today and goes through Oct  21. If you feel so inclined, please take a look and place an order.

http://www.helpsupportourschool.com/index.asp?PID=2566728

Product will be delivered to our school (for me to pick up and then deliver to you) on Nov 18. You can also select to have it shipped directly to you.

Proceeds from this sale will be used to support the cost of grade level and school wide field trips, additional technology and learning extension opportunities for classrooms.

Finn thanks you for your kind support! (he can send an email directly or call you if you want him to make a personal request for sales!)

Pumpkin Patch

Okay, it wasn't a pumpkin patch so much as the garden of Jim's employee, but there were pumpkins, no crowds and they were free. You can't beat that. And we ended up with EIGHT pumpkins (not sure how that happened!). Maybe we'll actually carve them this year (ah, probably not!).





And this was them walking back to the van: (I don't know why videos are so hard to upload on here. I'm probably doing it wrong. Anyway, the first one didn't work, this one should)
From Videos

Life's moments don't get much better than this. Some day (VERY SOON!) Mac will be walking and this moment in time will be long gone.

Mac checking out our haul (on the front steps for now, provided it doesn't freeze!):

Tuesday, October 6

It was the best of times

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Since we hadn't been on a vacation sans kids in over two and a half years, we thought it was time. I'd lost most of the baby weight. Mac was done nursing. Finn was back in school (although in hind sight, him NOT being in school might have been easier!). This fall is our 8th anniversary (okay TODAY!), so we thought we should go. After a few suggested places from me, Jim picked the Turks and Caicos islands. I'd heard so many lovely things about it and even though it is a little pricey, we went in the "low" season, picked a studio suite that wasn't ocean view and saved quite a bit.

The best of times is that it is beautiful. The resort was very nice, well kept, lots of pools, a bar that was open almost all the time and access directly to a BEAUTIFUL beach. I mean, almost as perfect as Eagle Beach in Aruba...almost!

It was pouring when we arrived but we were able to get out on the beach for a little bit late Sunday. Then had beautiful weather Monday and Tuesday.

Then, Hurricane Joquin hit. It was the worst of times. Okay, it honestly wasn't THAT bad. I've never been in a hurricane warning before, but the actual hurricane made landfall just north of TCI on the Bahamas (glad we didn't go there!). And while it rained a ton (somebody said we got over 12 inches in two days!) and the wind was super loud, I feel like I've been in worse weather in MN! My point is that it could have been so much worse. Never did I worry about my safety.

But we had crappy weather for three days, which does stink when that is half of your time there. Well, unless your flight is canceled on Sunday and you have to re-book for Monday. Then you get an extra day!!

Overall, we had a great time. It was super relaxing. We got plenty of sun. Had more than our fair share of drinks. I even rented a bicycle and road into town to do some shopping on the second Sunday (so adventurous of me!). I don't know if we'll be back, but I'm glad we went (I just wish we'd gone this week instead of last week and the weather would have been PERFECT!!).

A HUGE thank you to DeAnn for watching all three kids all week! I know it was a lot but I know they loved every second of it. Also, thank you to my mom for being able to jump in and take over when we didn't come back as planned!

And a very happy anniversary to my wonderful and loving husband, Jim. It has been a crazy busy 8 years but I wouldn't change it for anything. We been through a lot but also know now that we can handle a lot. Just think, in eight more years, we will have a 14 year old, 12 year old and a 9 year old. So weird!

Here are a couple pics: