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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, March 28

Did you?

I'd like to know what percentage of Minnesotans grilled and ate dinner outside tonight? I mean, honestly! It was 59 degrees with only a slight wind and sunny...and no bugs! PERFECT.

The first night of many, I'm sure.

And earlier we played with the sidewalk paint the Easter Bunny brought. So much fun, but we wish we'd had more (or a smaller driveway!). We'll have to make a note for the Easter Bunny next year!

Here's hoping you enjoyed this beautiful day as much as we did!

Happy Easter!

After our emergency shoe shopping trip to Target on Friday, we packed up and headed to Oville for the weekend. We don't always go to Oville for Easter but since Lynn's birthday was ON Easter this year, we thought it was a great opportunity to kill to birds with one stone. The weekend was great with the exception that I 1. packed Mac's suitcase but failed to get it into the van. Yup, no suitcase (i.e. clothes, diapers, pj's, etc!) for Mac. 2. only grabbed two of the Easter bags with goodies in them for Sunday...and apparently there was at least two more that I missed! Sheesh. Talk about a bad packing job on my part.

But all's well that ends well. Thankfully, Tucker isn't much smaller than Mac, so he had some clothes Mac could wear AND Memere decided to run to the store and buy him a few things, which was very generous. Then she found an outfit of daddy's that Mac wore on Sunday, which even though the pants were too short, was ADORABLE! And Tucker wears the same size diapers as Mac, so while I had several in the diaper bag, we were able to borrow a few from Tucker. It could have been much worse. And as for the Easter stuff, while I was disappointed, the kids didn't have a clue that there should have been more stuff. It really and truly isn't about all the "stuff" but spending time with family and talking about the true miracle that is Easter.

My little Easter bunnies before church on Sunday (Finn even has dress pants on...the deal was he could wear his Spiderman shoes if he wore dress's all about compromise, I guess!):

Memere reading the Easter stories to the kids during church service Easter morning (yes, I took a picture at church but I guess that's what you get to do when your mother-in-law is the paster!!):

And while we were at church, the Easter Bunny came! The kids were very concerned when he didn't come over night. They had a blast with the egg hunt. Almost all of my pics were blurry because they were running around like crazy!


And finally, Jim made a big Easter dinner for Lynn's birthday after church, which was super yummy. Than after the food had settled, we sang happy birthday to Lynn and had some German Chocolate cake, her favorite:

Overall, a great weekend. And thankfully we have today off from school, too, to recover from all the fun! We hope you had a great birthday, Lynn. It was nice to be able to celebrate with you. Love you! And a very Happy Easter to all of you. There is no better reason to celebrate than Jesus Christ has Risen Today!!! (okay, yesterday!)

Friday, March 25

New Shoes Part Two

I guess it wasn't just me who needed new tennis shoes. When your seven year old son (because this would NOT happen with a daughter, or at least not MY daughter!) says his school shoes are a little worn out, please take my advice and have him bring them home immediately! I don't know if it's just me, but this seems a bit more than a little worn out:


I mean, wouldn't at least a quarter of his foot have been showing?! So, we made an emergency trip to Target this morning and he stuck with the same theme and is now the proud owner of new Spiderman shoes (sans holes):

I'm just thankful for two things. 1. That his feet are still small enough that there are Velcro options (he upgraded to a size 1, which I think is the last size for "normal" Velcro shoes...meaning not special order!). 2. That his teacher didn't call child services for neglect...but she could have given me a little heads up! Sheesh.

I told him this is the last pair of Velcro shoes I'll buy for him. Goal for the summer? Learn to tie his freaking shoe laces! Korri might learn before him at this rate. And he couldn't care in the least...boys!

Tuesday, March 22

Jump Rope for Heart

For the second year in a row, Finn is participating in Jump Rope for Heart through his school now through April 1. Family and friends are welcome to support him by making an online donation. Cash and checks are also acceptable (made payable to American Heart Association). Thank you for any support you are able to give. As you know, Finn's grandpa passed away in February with complications of his heart. Finn will be jumping for you, Ron!

Sunday, March 20

85 birthdays!

We wish a very happy 85th birthday to my grandma Albie. This picture is from our visit last September.

We were honored to be able to have breakfast with her this morning in Benson. Along with us and my grandma, my aunt Lisa's family, my aunt Vicky and Tom and my uncle Bob and Mary (15 total!). Quite the group for a small diner! My uncle Eric told Finn that Finn has 78 birthdays to catch up to Grandma's 85 birthdays! Too funny. I wish the visit could have been longer, but when it seems like Mac is going to hit the wall, it is time to go (and I think we left JUST before he did!).

Last night, we stayed at the Best Western in Willmar, so avoid having to get up at 6am today! The kids had a blast in the pools and I even got in with them! Mac is a total fish! Which reminds me that we HAVE to sign up for swimming lessons. And Grandma came to visit us there and decided to stay over night with us, which was a big treat for all of us.

The bright side to an early morning birthday celebration? We were home by 12:30 and have the rest of the day at home! Busy weekend, but lots of fun.

Friday, March 18

How many more?

Why does it always have to be me? I said before I had kids that I'd do anything BUT teeth. They creep me out. I can still feel the roots ripping from my gums...and I haven't lost a tooth in 25 years. Gross.

But yet again, God has made a point to prove I'm not in control. Good morning to me:

I pulled number six out this morning (and "pulled" is a bit of an was just hanging on by a thread). But I'm fairly certain (I'd have to go back and check) that I've pulled out at least the last three! Come on! Adult Finn will know that I have unconditional love for him simply by my doing this act, I guess. I just hope Korri pulls her own out. I can totally see her doing that. Fingers crossed.

How many more does he have to lose?

Thursday, March 17

Lucky Leprechaun

Happy St. Patrick' Day to all of you! I've always thought being born on a holiday would be terrible. Having to share your birthday with something else...I mean, it is YOUR day, right? St. Patrick's Day is my only exception. It would be the perfect holiday to be born on. Everybody is already celebrating and you would just join in on the fun festivities! I love St. Patrick's Day.

Anyway, we wouldn't be us without doing something fun for St. Patty's Day. Finn came home from school yesterday and wanted to build a leprechaun trap. He did it last year for school and I think was a little disappointed they didn't do it this year (he even asked his teacher about it!). So, he and Korri went to work each making their own traps. Korri just put stuff together and put lots of glitter glue on it. Finn, however, had a very clear idea on what he wanted. We worked together through some of the engineering concepts and for doing it mostly by himself, I was pretty impressed (last year, we kind of did it for him and he just claimed it as his own!). Well, I forgot to get a picture of them before but this is how the kids found them in the morning AFTER the leprechaun had been here (Finn's on the left and Korri's on the right):
It was their idea to put them by the door, which I thought was pretty clever. They both LOVED coming down and checking them, although Korri did NOT want to open hers (because she was certain there would be a leprechaun in there!!). But they did and each found:
Chocolate gold coins! He must have liked their traps. I don't know how their traps didn't catch him. There's always next year. So much fun.

Then for breakfast Korri requested banana pancakes, so we made them green! I took a picture but the green didn't really come through. Trust me, they were green!

I tried to get a good picture of Mac in his Irish shirt, but he was being a stinker. This was the best I could do:

Finn had a field trip and had to wear his class shirt and Korri declared it a pajama day, so neither of them wore green. Boo. Although if you ask her, Korri will tell you there were green snow flakes on her pajamas (mind you, they were CHRISTMAS pajamas!).

And finally, I made chicken and rice for dinner guessed it, green rice! Finn wouldn't try the rice but Korri and Mac loved it. Just regular brown rice with green food dye. Hopefully all the dye gets our of our systems! Maybe I'll try green eggs and ham next year!

So we had a pretty good St. Patrick's Day. I was bummed that Waverly had their parade last weekend because we were out of town. Oh, well. There's always next year. And Jim and I usually try to have a pint of Finnegan's Irish Amber every St. Patrick's Day since Finnegan was born. Not this year, but I'm sure it still counts if we do it another day. Maybe on our date on Friday night! (yes, a real live DATE. So excited! Thank you, Lynn!)

I'll leave you with one of my favorite Irish blessings:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Friday, March 11

Tantrums and transitions

Yesterday was a big day for Mac...he graduated from PT! They are so impressed with how much progress he has made with his gross motor skills (well, with EVERYTHING!) that they didn't feel it necessary to come back for the April meeting! We are supposed to keep working on going up (and then eventually down) the stairs standing up. He HATES doing it right now, so they said to just keep trying on and off. Based on his history, she doesn't think he will just do it on his own but he could start to copy his siblings. We'll see, I guess (I'm not overly concerned about this because he won't be five going to Kindergarten going backwards down the stairs!!). One more thing...but that is a minor thing.

She liked that he was "jumping" on the pillow on the ground and on her little trampoline that she brought along and that he is running, just not very quickly or smoothly yet. It will come. I also told her that I thought of her when he was walking on the uneven ground when outside the other day...and he did really well! She loved that.

From Videos

I mentioned that he holds his right hand in a fist whenever he bears weight on it. While she said it is unusual, but because he can use the hand in a normal way (holding a spoon, playing with toys, picking things up, etc.) she wasn't concerned. But if things changed to let her know.

It is bitter sweet. I am beyond happy that Mac has done so well with the help of physical therapy but it is nice to have a monthly check in on how he is doing and what he should be doing. Kind of like mini well-child visits! But he is very healthy and strong and seems to have caught up developmentally in all areas. I guess I just hope that continues!

And before they came over at 9am, he had two tantrums...a first for him (well, having ONE was a first, let alone two!). The first one had something to do with cereal, the bowl or the milk...I think. I have no idea what the second one was about, but I'm sure equally trivial. While I know the Terrible Twos are right around the corner, I've been enjoying this reprieve. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I LOVE the sweet spot between around 12 and 24 months (give or take). They don't have tantrums yet (without a clear reason, at least), they don't talk back and they are so sweet and loving!

This is Mac winding down from his second tantrum (NOTHING compared to how he was earlier, of course!):
From Videos

I was afraid the Terrible Twos had shown up in force...but after his PT team left, he took a monster nap AND was gnawing on his nukkie like crazy. So, it might have been a combination of being tired and his darn two year molars (come in already!!!). But at the end of the day, we have a very strong willed boy, so I'm sure the Terrible Twos will be a blast, regardless of when the monster named Terrible Two comes uninvited and won't leave or listen to reason!

Here's to tantrums and transitions!!

Mac "cleaning up" the frosting from Tucker's cake:

Thursday, March 10

Kitty in a basket

I shouldn't "ruin' the surprise of Korri's dance routine for her recital, but they let the parents come and watch this week. It is beyond adorable (and I LOVE that Korri's skirt is tucked into her tights in the back...classic!).

From Videos
They haven't practiced this one too much yet but keep in mind, this is the 3-5 year old class! I wonder how many of the kitty will STAY in the basket at the recital?!?!

Also, a super big birthday wish to Tucker on turning the big O.N.E. today!! Can't believe it has been one year already. We love you so much.

Wednesday, March 9

New shoe day!

I don't know about you, but there is little better than a new sock day. Right, Renae? I mean, they are so soft and cushy and perfectly white. LOVE new sock day (I may even have a dance dedicated to the event). But I learned today there is something better than new sock day! What can that be, you ask? New SHOE day! Let me explain.

I've had the same running shoes since before Finn was born...I think eight or nine years. Yea, people YEARS! To say they were on their last "leg" was an understatement. I mean, the seams were ripped, there were remnants of Pop-Tarts inside of them that I couldn't get out (thanks, Korri!), the treads were worn out and when I wore them, my legs ACHED. I emailed my friend Amanda, who is a runner, TWO YEARS ago to get advice on where to go to get new shoes. Of course, I waited until they were literally falling apart to actually figure out a solution.

I didn't just want to go to a department store and pick out a new pair. As you may remember, I've had fairly significant knee problems for the last three or so years and I have short, wide feet with a high arch. I really wanted somebody to find the "right" shoe for me.

So upon Amanda's recommendation, I called TC Running in Maple Grove and got all my questions answered. They do a gait analysis right on the spot and based on that, recommend shoes that fit your foot and your situation. Oh, and the analysis was FREE! I preferred to go Gear West, since it is closer, but they charged $50 for the analysis. Now, if I were a serious runner or had major problems with my would be well worth it. But the fact that I have fairly "normal" fee and knew I'd be spending more than I ever had on a pair of shoes as it was...I wasn't going to add $50 to that total.

I asked Lorry to come with me. She runs a ton, I needed some moral support and at the end of the day, I still needed somebody else's opinion about the colors, right? And I kind of needed somebody to hold my hand. Anyway, we went yesterday (Korri decided to tag along) and it was the BEST experience. The guy was super helpful and really knew his stuff. I wear a 7.5 street shoe but apparently running shoes run small because I ended up needing to try on 8.5's! I think I tried on more than five but less than 10 pairs and once I tried on THE pair, every other one I tried on I just compared to them. So after talking to him about arch support (because I couldn't FEEL the support in THE ones, I didn't think they were right), I knew I'd found my pair (and Lorry found a new pair of trail shoes, too!). Score!

Anyway, I know it may not seem like a big event to most people, but I've been waiting forever and it is something I actually NEEDED. I worked out in my new shoes this morning and LOVED them. For once, my shins and calves weren't sore during or after. Jim and I are doing Insanity right now (we have about halfway done) and when I'm done with that, I think I'm going to see if I can go back to running (if my knee will hold up). We'll see.

Here's to treating yourself to what you need and getting pleasure out of the little (albeit expensive!) things in life. Now I may need to come up with a new SHOES dance, too! Oh and there were four colors to pick from in THE ones. Korri picked these for me (even though there was a pink/purple pair!):

Saturday, March 5

Kindergarten Festival

This morning was Korri's Kindergarten registration and let me tell you, it was NOTHING like Finn's. I volunteered at the one last year since I was a current Kindergarten mom and I was very impressed with the changes they'd made. For Finn's, we went on a week night, were separated from our kids (they went with the two of the kindergarten teachers) and the parents sat in the music room with the other kindergarten teacher and were talked at for two hours. I mean, the information was somewhat helpful, but for the most part, kind of a waste of time.

Well last year (and this year) they made it be a fun activity (i.e. a "festival") for the kindergartners and their parents. There were t-shirts and snacks and then activities in each of the kindergarten rooms with each teacher interacting with all of the kids as they went from room to room. Then, they took a picture of all the kids (or the ones who came, obviously) of the class of 2029! Doesn't that sound like a fake year?!?! LOL I wonder if our parents thought the same thing about the Class of 1997 when Jim and I started kindergarten in 1984! (we're getting so old!)

First, a HUGE thank you to Beth and Joel for watching Finn and Mac. It was clear that this was an event for the kindergartners and not their siblings. The boys had a blast and Beth said Mac stopped crying before I even shut the front door! Of course! My instructions were: Mac likes balls, books, snacks and Finn! Yup, that's Mac in a nutshell. We are so blessed and thankful to have friends like them in our lives.

Second, Korri had a blast! Other than the format being different this time, the other thing that was most different for me was that everybody knows Korri! This is her second year in preschool and clearly makes a good impression on those around her (which is a good thing!). She knew so many of the kids and two of the three kindergarten teachers know and love her (Finn didn't have any interactions with the other teacher, so we don't know her well).

The one thing I did miss was the question/answer part. I feel like I missed out on some information. Like the fact that Korri's class is projected to be the biggest one they have and how they plan to deal with that. Where do you put all these kids? How many classes/teachers will you have? How many kids will be in each classroom? Finn's current teacher, Ms. Thorsen, will be going back to kindergarten next year, so she tells me what she knows, but it would have been nice for the principal to address some of that. I guess I'm just glad that I'm not the one who has to figure that out!

It was so much fun for Jim and I to spend time with just Korri. I mean, that never happens, as you can imagine. She loved the activities and seeing everybody and all the special attention. She already knows the building and classroom since her preschool room is in the same hallway, but a refresher and looking at it with "future kindergartner" eyes I'm sure was fun for her. To feel like one of the big kids. Here are some pics:

Here's to #2 going to kindergarten. It will be here before I know it.