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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, December 26

One word

My Grandpa Walsh (my dad's dad) earned his angel wings yesterday just after noon at the age of 86. After a week long struggle, the end was a very peaceful release. Like Kristine said, he was able to celebrate the Christmas season with all of his kids, including my Dad. Jim and I were blessed to be among those there for his last breath. My grandma was at his side and moments after, she looked up and said how happy she was for him. What a selfless thing to say and feel and it was truly how she felt. He will be greatly missed (more than words can convey) but he is with my dad in the house that God made just for him.

He was a great man who made a great family. He'll be kept plenty busy keeping an eye on all of us! If I have my numbers right, Grandpa was the father of seven, grandfather to 16 and great-grandfather to 14. The priest asked my grandma how old Grandpa was and then asked her if on the day they got married, if somebody had said he'd be with her until he was 86, would she have been happy? What a good way to give perspective during a very difficult time. I'd take those odds any day! Sorry, Jim, I'm hoping you're stuck with  me for another 50 years!

My aunt Lisa said she was asked to describe grandpa in one word and she said he was simply...gentle! So true and so perfect. But I struggled because he was so much MORE than that, too. He was strong. He was a farmer up until the very end (he told us he was gathering cattle last Sunday!). He was hard-working. He didn't make it out into the field this fall but I'm pretty sure he did last year at 85! He was spiritual and holy. When Lisa, Grandma and Grandpa joined me at Dad's grave on his birthday last year, Grandpa had us say a decade of the rosary...which was the exactly perfect thing for that moment...and it was just second nature for him. He was frugal (which leads itself to a LOT of great stories!) but he worked hard and had something to show for it. He was quiet. He wasn't much of a talker (maybe he can't get a word in with Grandma around!!!) but you always knew what he was thinking or what his intentions were or what he expected. To put it simply, he was constant. He was always there, sitting in his chair. He was who he was and that was good enough for him.

It gives me great comfort knowing that Grandpa and Dad are together. I don't know why, but it does. Maybe I feel like Dad has somebody to spend time with. But neither were big talkers, so they will most likely sit in chairs on a porch somewhere and just observe all that their big family is doing. But they will have each other's companionship while doing so.

There's so much more to say about your amazing life but to put it simply, rest in peace, Grandpa. And if I had to choose one word, it would be "love." I love you! 

Sunday, December 13

Turning the Corner?

After being sick all summer, I feel like Mac has been doing really well this fall/winter. But I knew it was just a matter of time. Last Sunday, he woke up with a runny nose. No other symptoms, just a nose that would not turn off (and wanted some extra snuggles!). Through the week, he had a low grade fever on and off but didn't act very sick and while his nose was running constantly, it was clear and at least wasn't congested.

On Wed, Reagan went home with a fever, but I didn't think much of it since Mac had a cold all week, I figured he maybe just gave it to her (let's face it, babies share germs and colds!). They hadn't interacted very much on Wed (they seemed to take turns napping almost all day), so when Anna said on Thursday that Reagan had Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (a virus that is easily spread by children), I wasn't worried. Then Mac woke up and looked like this on Friday:

It was clearly more than just the little cold he'd had. It continued to get worse over the next day and little red spots developed around his mouth. NOOOOOO! Korri had Hand Foot and Mouth when she was 14 months old and her skin peeled off almost her entire body. I did NOT want this to happen to Mac, obviously.

This was him before bed tonight:

Still cheerful but miserable at the same time. I'm so glad my mom came to spend a few days because he wanted her most of the time (which gave me a little break!). I talked to the nurse triage on Friday and they said it lasts 3-6 days (the blisters can last longer, but don't keep developing). So tomorrow is day 4 and I'm hoping we turn the corner (I've been saying that for a week!).

Also, Mac's is NOTHING compared to Korri's (at least not YET!):

Friday, December 11

Eye I Aye

Yesterday, Korri, Mac and I went to their eye doctor appointments. This was Korri's regular semi-yearly check. Mac's pediatrician wanted him screened to make sure he doesn't have the same problem Korri does, so I got him an appointment at the same time (no need to make two trips into the Cities!). I have to admit, I was a little anxious before the appointment. I mean, nothing horrible would come out (they both can obviously see!) but I hate being blind-sided and I feel like eye stuff does that for me. I always think everything is fine and then it isn't. But worse case scenario would be that Korri's eyes had worsened and she'd need to patch again and that Mac would need glasses (and need to patch). I kept telling myself that even this worse case scenario wasn't HORRIBLE, just inconvenient.

But they both are doing great! Korri's eyes are staying constant (that means her prescription didn't change significantly), which is what they want, so she doesn't have to go back for a YEAR! I'm so happy for her. She will most likely need to continue to wear glasses at least until she is 8 or 9 (and maybe longer) but that is the expectation for now. That is the age when their vision is established so her condition wouldn't necessarily get worse by not wearing glasses. Since one eye is near and one is far, she may always WANT to wear glasses so things aren't blurry. We will cross that bridge when we get to it.

And Mac's eyes have the same vision! What that means is he doesn't have Korri's condition (one near and one far sighted). He isn't seeing 20/20 but since he is so young and since both eyes are the same, they have no concerns at this point. He said we could come back in two years OR just have him screened at his normal well child appointments. I'm all for "normal" things! He was somewhat concerned about the size of Mac's eyes (I mean, let's face it, they are HUGE!). But he measured them and his corneas are within normal range, which is great. He thinks his eyes appear so large because of how his eye lids sit in his eye sockets. No big deal. Yay!

So a great appointment. Both kids had to have their eye dilated and looked like Beanie Boos (especially Mac!) afterward. Google it if you don't know what they are. After the appointment, we treated ourselves to breakfast at McDonald's. It was fun to just hang out with them and not be in a hurry to get somewhere.

Monday, December 7

It was time

Poor Korri has been sleeping in a toddler bed (that uses a CRIB mattress!) and yes, she is almost FIVE years old. We've been thinking and talking about getting her a bigger bed but it was a bigger decision than just "what bed do we buy for her?": do we move her back into her room and Mac to Finn's? Do we get bunk beds for the boy's room and have Korri use Finn's bed? Do we buy three twin beds and call it a day? Do we somehow use our extra queen bed?

Well, on Thanksgiving night, Korri used her last Pull-Up. And I'd had it with Pull-Ups. I mean, she was completely bedtime trained when she was three but then had a set back around when Mac was born and just used them as a crutch ever since. I've had it before, but always caved and went to buy more Pull-ups after washing sheets (or potty mats!) for a week straight.

But this time was different. Our kids respond well to external motivation. We knew Korri really wanted a "big girl bed" so we went with it. We told her that if she was dry for one week straight, she would get a big girl bed (we still weren't sure if that meant getting Finn's or getting a new one). Low and behold...she was DRY EVERY NIGHT FOR FIVE NIGHTS! Do you doubt me that she was using them as a crutch now?

So Jim and I thought, "Crap, we'd better figure out a solution." We went to the furniture store in Hutchinson (that we LOVE!!!) on Friday, planning to buy a bunk bed of some sort. But when I walked in, I saw this antiqued white metal "princess-y" bed and thought, "Korri would DIE for this bed." Jim came in, we discussed and went back and forth and then decided that we didn't need to have a permanent solution for the boys right now (Mac is still, and hopefully will be for a while, in his crib). The bed was super on sale, which sealed the deal.

Korri did have one accident over the weekend in her little bed, but one accident in over 10 pretty darn good for going cold turkey! And her new big girl bed was delivered today!  I was hoping to have it assembled and all made up before she got home from school but the delivery was a little late. Oh, well.

She LOVES LOVES LOVES it! I think Finn was a little jealous, but of course he forgets about when HE got a "new" bed (new to us, anyway!). Without further ado, here she is in all her glory:

With her horse sheets that we got FOREVER ago but couldn't use because they were Twin sized. Now they fit (but I still need to get a comforter/quilt). And to prove how much she needed a new bed, here she is in her old bed:

Ha, head to toe with about an inch to spare. Luckily she usually curls up when she sleeps (unless she is trying to prove a point to me about not fitting in her bed!!). Eventually, we will move her bed back in to her room (where Mac is now) and Mac into Finn's room. Not sure when we'll do that but for now, all is well and everybody can sleep tight (but not too tight since their beds aren't too small!).

Saturday, December 5

All I Want for Christmas

We went to see Santa today in Corcoran. They do such a great job. We were there for about an hour and visited with Santa, did some crafts, had snacks, got prizes and had a reindeer ride...all for FREE!

Despite saying, "Santa!" all week and me talking to him multiple times about sitting on his lap...Mac was not impressed:

Who doesn't love a crying baby Santa picture? I don't think either of the Bigs every cried. There is one where Korri is trying to walk out of the picture, which is pretty cute! Korri asked for a Barbie car and Finn threw me for a loop and asked for a helicopter! He's been asking for a BatCave for weeks! He was confused because they have "prizes" you put your name in for a drawing and he thought that is what you had to ask Santa for. So I made sure he clarified and then he asked Santa for a helicopter AND a BatCave! At least the BatCave request got in there. Mac couldn't have cared less about asking Santa for anything.

Finn even asked that I get him a bow tie "like Mac's!" How cute. Finn picked this one because it was Lakers colors (navy and yellow). Mac also has a long tie but I didn't think there was any chance he'd leave it alone. Korri picked this Christmas outfit out this year and I was happy to see the leggings instead of the traditional dress. So practical for this time of year in MN. Although, I do love a cheesy, over the top Christmas dress!

Then we went out for the reindeer sleigh rides!

Even though Finn insisted he wasn't going to go on the ride, he changed his mind at the last minute. I told him that Mac needed him to help keep him on the seat! This is the best part of this event. The reindeer were Donner and Blitzen, in case you were wondering. Finn was pretty sure they were trying to fly (because they were trying to run at one point!). Too cute.

Friday, December 4

Let it Snow

This has been the weirdest fall/winter! It snows and melts and is chilly and windy but then sunny and warm! Weird, but I'll take it. However, I always say that to make up for the fact that I chose to live in the frozen tundra, I do want a white Christmas. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, it snowed earlier this week and the Bigs were loving being outside and playing in it (clearly, it is the beginning of winter, as I can't bribe them to go outside to play come March!). Well, this afternoon, Anna picked Reagan up a little early and Baby wanted to outside so badly. And I thought, "why not?" I hunted around and put together what passed as appropriate winter clothing for him (minus mittens, he won't leave them on!) and out we went.

It was SO nice out. I was just in a sweatshirt. He did NOT know what to think of it. He didn't like standing on the uneven ground and it was hard for him to move around with all the added bulk. But he LOVED all the "balls" he could find and throw!

Two videos; showing his pleasure and displeasure of this wet cold stuff we call snow!
From Videos
From Videos

We stayed out for about 20 minutes and when my hands started getting cold, I knew it was long enough (since his were bare, too). It was so much fun. I really want to take him sledding but I thought we'd do baby steps first. Maybe next time!