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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.

Thursday, July 28

Be Our Guest

Yesterday, Jim and I had the pleasure of taking Finn and Korri to Beauty and the Beast at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater! To say it was amazing, doesn't even come close. It was such a treat to share something so special to us with them. Jim and I first went to the CDT when we were 16 as a field trip to see Phantom. It was amazing and started a love of theater for both of us.

Usually, there are age limits to be able to attend the shows, but when they get kid friendly musicals, like Beauty and the Beast, they lower them quite a bit (I don't even think I saw an age restriction when I ordered the tickets). I wish I'd known that when Little Mermaid and Mary Poppins were there!

We highly recommend it. I think it goes through September?!?! The next show is Camelot, which Jim and I can't wait to see as well.

Thursday, July 21

Finally finished!

Holy crap. Put a fork in it, I'm done! It may have taken me over a week and a half and I may have lost whatever sanity I had left, but I'm done editing, labeling, organizing and reducing the pictures from the National Lampoon's Thomas vacation.

I had more than 1,600 pictures to go through, thanks to my and Lynn's obsession with taking LOTS of pictures. And I couldn't simply sort them because the dates were off between the three cameras that were used (so frustrating!!). But when the trip is over, that is all you have to help you remember all the amazing things you did. That is how I justify my craziness. Anyway...

If you're interested, take a look:
Seattle or Bust '16

Monday, July 18

Two year check

Mac and I went to his two year well child appointment this morning. It went amazingly well (gotta love that!). The doctor walked in and said, "just the two of you?" I know, it is usually a circus (I had all three by myself in January and they each had an appointment!). The Bigs stayed home with daddy this time.

The quick and dirty:

Height: 34" - 49% (43% at 18 mo)
Weight: 33.2 lbs - 94% (90% at 18 mo)
Head: 51.75" - 99.5% (99.7% at 18 mo)

So he's getting bigger all over! Ha. Except his head went down .2% (hey, I'll take it!). I was happy to see his height percentile go up a bit and was a little surprised his weight did, only because he seems to be thinning out a bit. But if he's growing taller, it makes sense that he'd be getting a little heavier, too. I looked online and a two year old male in the 50% weighs 27.5 lbs (a 3 year old in the 50% weighs 31 lbs!!). I just wanted to check. The dreaded BMI conversation came up and she said she is super happy with his growth and his percentiles (I just had to double check!).

She checked his hernia and said it looks like it is getting better but if not corrected by 3, the surgery to correct it would very minor (one stitch). So, we'll see at his next well child!

I asked her to check his two year molars and they are all through the surface. Hooray! However, they could still cause some discomfort as they continue to come in.

I brought up that he seems to be allergic to ketchup and told her the story about the first time it happened when we were with my sister, Becky (Becky said Ben has a similar reaction to ranch dip). The Dr. said that this is a very normal reaction to ketchup and ranch (how random?!?!) in kids and to NOT worry about it. It isn't life threatening and won't escalate to not breathing or anything like that. She said to have him stop eating it and wipe it off his face when it happens and it should go away. Perfect.

Not much else. I mean, I wish all well child appts and dr appts were this easy. Maybe we should have another baby to keep the dr busy...okay, maybe not! With the exception of flu vaccines, he doesn't need to go back until he turns 3! It seems so far away. We'll see her in the winter for the Bigs well childs, though, so not complete withdrawl!

Mac got a cookie from McDonald's after for being such a good boy at the appointment (okay, really, mommy  just needed some caffeine but it was a good excuse!). And it must have been exhausting for him because he CRASHED during the less than 15 minute drive home (including cookie eating time!).

Development milestones most children can do by his 2nd birthday (and my commentary on where Mac currently fits in).

Social and Emotional

  • Copies others, especially adults and older children yes
  • Gets excited when with other children yes
  • Shows more and more independence yes, but he still has moments when he wants mommy or wants help
  • Shows defiant behavior (doing what he has been told not to) yes!
  • Plays mainly beside other children, but is beginning to include other children, such as in chase games yes, he plays chase with the  Bigs, he likes to do what they are doing


  • Points to things or pictures when they are named yes
  • Knows names of familiar people and body parts yes, he knows almost every body part I can think of to point to!
  • Says sentences with 2 to 4 words yes, I don't think I've noticed 4 word sentences but for sure 3 
  • Follows simple instructions yes, when he wants to
  • Repeats words overheard in conversation yes, like 'uploading' yesterday while we were trying to figure out his new puppy!
  • Points to things in a book yes

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Finds things even when hidden under two or three covers yes, I think so, he's pretty determined when he wants to be
  • Begins to sort shapes and colors hmmm...he knows colors but I don't know if he SORTS them...
  • Completes sentences and rhymes in familiar books yes
  • Plays simple make-believe games yes, his favorite is to feed you pretend food...shocker!
  • Builds towers of 4 or more blocks yes, with his Duplos
  • Might use one hand more than the other hmmm, I think right but haven't paid much attention
  • Follows two-step instructions such as “Pick up your shoes and put them in the closet.” yes
  • Names items in a picture book such as a cat, bird, or dog yes

Movement/Physical Development

  • Stands on tiptoe yes
  • Kicks a ball yes
  • Begins to run yes, he's been running for a while
  • Climbs onto and down from furniture without help yes, Reagan helped him figure this out when I watched her! 
  • Walks up and down stairs holding on yes, he can but I prefer him to go on his tummy still
  • Throws ball overhand yes
  • Makes or copies straight lines and circles yes, he can MAKE them, I'm not sure if he would copy me, if I made them first.
Overall, he is really doing great. He calls Finn "Guys" or just started calling him "Finny" the other day, which is adorable. He says a "t" sound for "k" so he calls Korri, "Toto" for his version of "Koko." It was "Tutu" for a while. Jim likes to point out what he calls kitties...say it in your head!

He LOVES reading books. I mean, LOVES. Like, enough is enough already! (but I really am glad he does). And he sits still for the whole thing. He has many "favorite" books but I'd say his top are Llama Llama Red Pajamma, Thomas the Tank Engine Shooting Star and any Sandra Boynton book are his go to books. 

He loves to sing and has recently started to sing along when I sing to him, which I LOVE. Jesus Loves Me, Bye-O (a song my family sings) and recently Take Me Out to the Ball Game are his favorite songs.

He knows almost all of his colors, but won't necessarily repeat them when asked. He doesn't know pink, white or black, I think. Yellow is his all-time favorite. He loves to color. He also loves to get his nails painted (because it is like coloring!).

He goes to bed really well, even though he says, "no nigh-night!" emphatically until he is settled in his bed. It is hard to judge "usual" times in the summer, but I'd say he normally sleeps about 12 hours at night (maybe 11?) and takes one 1.5 hr nap each day. The time on that depends on his mood and what we have going on. His first words every morning are, "eat eat?" Meaning, I'm ready for breakfast! He still sleeps in his crib and I hope he does for at least another year or until he is potty trained and has to get up to go potty.

He shows a lot of interest in potty training and goes in the potty chair often, but not regularly. I'm not pushing it because I know boys usually train later, I don't want the hassle of potty training for the next year and a half and Finn trained right before he was 3.5, I think, so I'm using that as my litmus test. It will happen when it happens.

He LOVES puppies. Since we don't have one, he is a little cautious around them, which is good, but he gets so excited whenever he sees one. He loves balls and any sports. Right now, his favorite is baseball, but I think that is because of Finn and Korri's summer rec schedule. He says "hutball" for football, "hoops" for basketball and "baaaaay-s ball" for baseball. He just got a set of golf clubs (thank you Auntie!) so I think that will quickly be on his favorite list as well. He recently started liking robots and does a "robot dance" that is hilarious. He likes cars and trucks and calls them "uh-uhs" and "tuts" respectively.

He's a good eater, obviously, but is also opinionated about what he'll eat when. He loves carrots and gravy. Okay, he loves gravy the most. Although he might like fresh fruit even more. I have to be careful he doesn't eat too much or I pay for it with his diapers the next day! He asks for "na-ney" (candy) almost all day, which is annoying. He also loves "toe-teys" which is cookies.

His laugh is contagious. He loves playing with the Bigs. He loves to be outside. It is even better if we are at the park and he's swinging (my other two didn't like to swing). He LOVES to swim (I really need to sign him up for lessons!). Even though he is still rear facing, he does really well in the car, as long as it is less than 3 hours (we found that out the hard way on our road trip!).

Mac completes our family in a way I never knew we needed. He is so much "easier" than he was a year ago. He usually goes with the flow. He can do what we do, even if we may need to modify things a little. He is easy to love. I can't believe he is two. It goes fast. Love you so much, Baby. Some day we won't call you that any more, but I'll be a little sad when that day does come. 

It is true.

Mac is two! Yesterday, at exactly 11pm, Mac turned two.
From Videos
I told him he had to be nice all day and the terrible two's couldn't start until night time! LOL I wanted to make the day special for him, even though we already had his party.

We had one little gift for him to open, an interactive puppy! It takes some figuring out, but he loved it.

I had planned to pick up some donuts, which he loves, for breakfast, but that didn't happen. Sorry, Baby. The kiddos and I had a birthday party to get to (and a present to buy on the way!). Auntie Kristine has a huge play set and sand box and they rented a bouncy house for the day. So needless to say, he had a blast at Zander's birthday party. Since he has his 2 year pictures next week, Auntie NaeNae graciously gave him a cut before we left.

So grown up! Then I stopped and picked up a Ding Dong because I felt we HAD to have him blow out candles and sing ON his birthday but I sure as heck wasn't going to make another cake!

He loved it. Then they took a quick bath and he was in bed before 8pm, which for the summer is pretty good! Considering he is two and didn't really fully understand that yesterday was his birthday, he had a great day. We were all exhausted from this crazy, but good weekend.

Here's to another crazy, amazing year!

Sunday, July 17

Mac's Paw-ty!

The last two years haven't always been easy but it has always been rewarding. Mac is such a huge blessing to our family. He literally has the best laugh I've ever heard. He is FUNNY (just ask him!). Those eyes...need I say more? He lets us know exactly what he wants ALL THE TIME! He is as loving and cuddly as a giant teddy bear.

We had his puppy themed party yesterday, Saturday, which contrary to the weather reports, was beautiful. We set up three pools in the back yard, including a big water slide pool, that kept the kiddos busy pretty much all day. I think Mac swam for over 3 hours total! He was in hog heaven. I went a little crazy (like usual!) on the theme, but it is fun for me to do and Mac LOVED all the puppy stuff.

His puppy birthday shirt. His siblings each got a puppy shirt, too, which they didn't wear much because they were swimming. Duh!

His puppy cake. Let's just say the homemade fondant I made did NOT work, so after tears and an emergency trip to Walmart on Friday, the rest of the cake was...well...a piece of cake! This is the first cake I've done without doing any buttercream decorating. Also, I LOVE this cake. Not because I made it but it is so sweet and Mac was over the moon for it. He did NOT think he should have to wait for his party to eat some, but he did!

The puppy themed food. We did a build-your-own hot DOG bar, which was a big hit from what I heard. I went a little overboard with the puppy food: scooby snacks, leashes (Twizzlers), pup-corn (kettle corn), puppy chow (obviously! And a huge thank you to mom/Kathy for making it!), pup-tato chips with dips, etc. So fun!

The decorations. No cats allowed sign on the front door. The Bigs drew paw prints up the front sidewalk. Puppy streamers and puppy face balloons. And more. Again, so much fun (for me, at least).

The back yard. I got a great deal at Kohl's on this water slide pool. It was a HUGE hit. But no homemade giant slip-n-slide this year. We also had the kiddie pool set up with Mac's new climber slide (his present from us) for the Littles. And we had the fountain pool set up but I didn't get a picture of that.

And finally singing to the birthday boy and cake. After blowing out his candle, he promptly pulled off the paw and took a huge bite of straight fondant! He loved it. The cake was White Velvet cake with almond buttercream. I'm not sold on the cake. I might just stick to white cake. We'll see.

A HUGE thank you to everybody who came to help celebrate this amazing little boy. Even though he (and we!) continues to call himself "Baby," he is not a baby any longer. He is definitely a little boy. He is ALL boy. He never stops talking. Listens to way more than you think he does. And doesn't stop going. Ever. I know the "terrible twos" are coming, well, they've probably already started, and I know he's going to put us through the ringer when they do, but bring it on. I now know that two is so much better than three, so I just need to keep reminding myself of that!

Here's hoping this puppy party curbed his appetite for an actual puppy. Probably not, but maybe!!

Monday, July 11

Back to Life

Back to reality. The age old struggle of being happy to be home but sad that vacation is over.

Saturday we got back to Oville around 6pm and decided to walk down to dinner (trying to get a little exercise). After dinner, even though we were all pretty tired and it didn't start until 7:30pm, we decided to go to Uncle John's baseball game. I'm SO glad we did. They kids had a great time (Finn had his glove and chased foul balls for a quarter each!) and the Rox won when Uncle John took the game winning bases loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth inning!

Mac LOVES baseball and found the perfect seat with a table (i.e. sitting on the feet part of the bleachers)!

Sunday, we went out to the lake for lunch before we headed HOME.

We left around 2:30 and got home around 5:30pm. Amazing how "short" the three hour drive felt when it usually feels so long!!

Mac ran over to his LEGOS and said, "Toys! Open!" I think we were all glad to be home.

Saturday, July 9

Vacation Ends

Friday, Day 13, the agenda was driving from Butte, MT to Dickinson, ND, which is about an 8 hour drive! The hotel we left this morning had bunk beds for the Bigs, which they LOVED. Honestly, these kids just want a fun hotel and they'd be happy!

We stopped at Cracker Barrel for lunch, which was super yummy. Two things worth mentioning. 1. Mac ate SO WELL! He decisively ordered mac and cheese and sat quietly while he ate it all and didn't make a mess. I was impressed because if you know him at all...he normally eats like a tornado! 2. Today was the turning point. Ten years from now, somebody will ask when Finn started eating us out of house and home. Today is that day. He didn't want anything on the kid's menu, so I started reading the regular menu to him. He knew immediately that he wanted steak. So we ordered him a full entree of steak...and he ATE IT ALL! And was so happy. I ordered from the kid's menu and my seven year old son ordered from the regular menu!?!? And it wouldn't be Cracker Barrel without sitting in the rocking chairs!

When we got to the hotel, the kids realized there was a water park in it! I mean, it wasn't that big or special but the kiddos LOVED it! So, we swam for about an hour before bed. It was a long day in the car, but the swimming made up for a it a little bit.

Saturday, Day 14 and "Going Home Day," Lynn and I took the kids swimming again before we left the hotel. Jim was tired and I figured it would be worth the extra hour in the schedule to finish off vacation right. After all, our next stop is Ortonville and the end of our vacation :( We stopped at a rest stop and the family next to us shared their watermelon with us!

A huge thank you goes out to Lynn for coming with us, keeping the peace and constantly helping with the kids. This trip would have been much tougher if you hadn't come along. It was great to create these amazing memories with you that the kiddos will remember forever.

I learned at least one thing on this vacation, I like green, lush landscape. While I loved traveling and seeing how quickly land changes from prairie to mountains, from green to dessert, from dust to pine trees, it unnerved me when everything was dry and brown for hours and hours (mainly parts of Montana and North and South Dakota. I need moisture, I guess! I kept asking Jim if they were just going through a dry period. He's like, "I don't think so..." It is funny, too, that the minute we crossed back in Minnesota, I felt like everything was just so ordinary...when in reality, it looked exactly the same as before we crossed.

I've only posted pictures taken with my phone, so I have tons of pictures to go through on my camera. They'll be on our picture website before too long (hopefully!). Hey, I have a birthday party to organize and get ready for. I'll leave you with this panoramic from Teddy Roosevelt National Park from Friday; our last picture of the beautiful vistas:

Now the question remains, where's the next National Lampoon's Thomas Vacation going to be?

Thursday, July 7

Vacation Days 10-12

Tuesday we visited Leavenworth, a short 35 minute drive from Wenatchee. The entire town center is modeled on a Bavarian village. Very cute with lots of shops and restaurants. We spent most of the day there, eating, shopping and walking around. The kids really seemed to like it.

The mountain views are breathtaking and the weather cooperated perfectly (a little cooler and partly cloudy).

We went home in time for patio time (duh!) at Debbie's and the kiddos got some good quality time with Nana and Papa.

And Samir (after two Scotches in!) painted Mac's finger nails!

Wednesday, we had a breakfast date with Nana and Papa for popovers at their house! Yummm!!

Then Mac stayed home while the Bigs, Jim and I went to see Finding Dory! It was so cute and it was nice to just take it easy and watch a movie. And while we were gone, Papa made homemade ice cream for dessert! Double Yummmm! We stayed for patio time and dinner at Nana and Papa's, which was fabulous, as always. Mac got some quality snuggle time when we got back to Auntie Debbie's!

Today, Day 12, we pretty much got up and headed out (we left before 10am, which is early for us!). We drove to Butte, MT today, which is about a 7 hour drive. The kids did great in the van. We stopped for lunch and to get out at a rest stop for a bit. We arrived at the hotel at 7pm (we lost an hour with the time change), which left just enough time for a swim before bed! Since it was a lot of driving today, it felt good to get some of our energy out in the pool! Oh, and Finn can now swim without a life jacket (as long as he can touch!), which is HUGE for him. So proud of him to keep trying at something he doesn't like to do (don't get me wrong, he LOVES swimming, just not figuring out how to actually swim unassisted!).

Monday, July 4

Vacation Days 6-9

After a 6-ish hour drive and a stop at a rest stop to run around and have a snack, today we arrived in Wenatchee, where Jim's grandparents and aunt Debbie and uncle Samir live. We were all excited to be done traveling for a few days. It was super hot when we arrived, but Debbie had patio time ready for us, including drinks and snacks!

We also went to a new state for me: Idaho!

Saturday, Debbie and Samir headed to Seattle for Dave and Marika's wedding so we had the day to ourselves. Lynn, Korri and I decided to get our nails done! Pedicures were a first for Lynn and Korri! They both loved it and the pampering was very relaxing. We took it pretty easy the rest of the day.

Sunday, we got up and set out for Seattle as well. We wanted to get there early enough so the kiddos could swim for a bit before the big wedding, which they did. Our hotel offered us a shuttle to the wedding venue and Mac LOVED riding on the "bus." I think it was his favorite part of the whole trip! The wedding and everything associated with it was beautiful and perfect. Nana and Papa finally got to meet Mac, which was super sweet. Unfortunately, we had to leave before the party got started because it was almost 10pm and the kiddos needed to get to bed. Bummer, but the pictures looked like everybody had fun.

Monday was July 4th! Happy Independence Day! We went back to Wenatchee right away in the morning. We hung out with family, had patio time, watched old family movies and Jim and Samir went shopping for a "couple" fireworks! They gave us a good show (and that way we didn't have to GO anywhere to see some)! We only had two tipped over and went out. Another tipped over and kept going...and almost shot itself directly at Samir. Luckily, he was armed with the water hose! We hope everybody had a fun and safe Fourth of July!