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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, September 29

First day

Tuesday was Mac's first day of school! Okay, full disclosure: it was ECFE but (sadly!) still his first time going (other than tagging along to F and K's class when he was an itty bitty). I knew I wanted to find a week day class and after looking around at all the local options, decided on Tuesday mornings in Watertown (about a 15 minute drive for us). We had to miss the first class because of an appointment, so this week was our first time going.


Since I have Reagan on Tuesday, she is signed up for the class, too. And they both LOVED it! I'm sure it helped them having each other there, but they LOVED all the new toys and when it was time for me to separate...no problems at all (I wasn't expecting any but you never know). Also, it helped that it was during snack time ;)


If you ask Mac about school, he'll say "lots toys and snack!" Ha, that's my boy! Today in the parent time, it was just house keeping stuff like filling out forms so hopefully next week we can get into some topics. I know it was only one week, but this program seems really well run. I think it was a good choice!


I know taking "first day of school" pics of Mac was a bit much, but I don't care! They are super cute :) At least I didn't make a sign! Lol see, I have some restraint!

Friday, September 23

Go Lakers!

This week was homecoming week at our school. There were three dress up days.

Wed: Pajama Day (a perpetual favorite at our house!)
 

Thurs: Color Day (Kindergarten=red and 2nd Grade=green)

Fri: Laker Day (navy and gold)

Finn was especially happy to convince me to let him wear his "Laker" shoes (I ordered them online but they were too big!).

Go Lakers!

Thursday, September 22

Fall Harvest

As you may remember, we tried to go to Fall Harvest Orchard last week, but it was closed and settled for Apple Jack Orchards with the promise to go back to Fall Harvest this week on Thursday when they were open! So Mac and I met Pam, Levi and his grandma there this morning!


It had been two years since we've been there (see above pic!) and it changed owners during that time. It remains very similar to how it was but I'd forgot how much there is to do! It may have also helped that it was a little chilly and damp, so there was almost nobody else there (you know how much I hate crowds!).

The corn pit was definitely the biggest hit but the wagon ride, the animals and the pumpkins were high on the list as well. We didn't even get to go on the train! Next time. I told Pam that I think it was the first time we'd gotten together where we only had two kids between us! Usually I have my three, she has Lilly and Levi and Sharon with Laena and Braeland, too! Anyway, we had so much fun. I mean, we were there for FOUR HOURS and Mac was so busy that not once did he say he was hungry! A record for him, I'm sure. Also, he crashed on the ride home, which is only 10 minutes :)








Wednesday, September 21

Another first

Tonight was another first for the Thomas family: Finn's first piano lesson! Having well rounded children is important to Jim and me including exposing them to music and instruments. Since I took piano when I was young, I knew I wanted my kids to learn how to play (if not well, at least to be able to read music and understand the concept). I'd always heard that 2nd grade is the best time to start but I had NO idea how to go about finding a piano teacher (unfortunately, while my friend Andrea was a music teacher and piano teacher, she lives in Plymouth and has four small children...needless and sadly to say, NOT an option!).

There was a listing in the Community Ed booklet this fall, so I thought it would be perfect. Until I realized they charge more than I was willing to pay. But I should know better than to worry and remember that God has a plan. I was having a play date at my friend Rochelle's house and she mentioned that her girls were starting piano lessons at our church! Perfect. But she was pretty sure the teacher's schedule was full. Argh! So I got the teacher's contact info and she said that she did have one opening at 5pm on Wednesday. Done, we'll take it. Since this was late Tues that we talked, we decided to wait until this week to start.

One hurdle done. On to the next. We all know and love Finn. But knowing him the way I do, I KNEW he wouldn't want to go to piano lessons. The lessons were new. He didn't know the teacher. He'd never played before. He'd never been to the room the lessons were in. Etc. I know this is how his brain works. So I mentioned it last Tues and almost every day with a mini-fit as his response every time. I "reminded" him not to terrorize him but to get him used to the idea so it didn't feel so "new" to him. Even on the way there tonight, he was like, "I don't like piano. I don't want to go. This is boring." Etc. I asked him if he wanted me to sit with him during his lesson since it was his first and he said yes. As we were walking in, I pulled out a tool we used to use with him WAY back in the NE Mpls days. I said, "Finn, I know how you feel about going to this lesson but I need you to participate right, all the way and with a happy heart."


And he did! He did SO well. I mean, I was emotional during his lesson! He paid attention. He didn't fidget. He answered her questions. God is good and really does answer prayers. As parents, Jim and I struggle with Finn's behavior (reactions) so often, that I realized I sometime walk around with a "cringe" feeling, just waiting for his next fit. But not only didn't it come, he had FUN! And learned how to play a song before his first lesson was over (albeit a four measure song, but a song nonetheless!). On the way to the car, he told me five times how much he didn't like it. But then I started telling how fun it was for me to watch him and to see how good he was at it and I think he realized that he DID have fun!And she was GREAT with him (also, we found out she is his best friend's aunt, so that may have helped ;)  By the time we got home, all he wanted to do was play his song for daddy, which he did!

I know this is a little thing. I mean, it is piano lessons after all. But it was just a really good experience and I needed a "win" with him. I hope he likes it and excels at it, or at least tolerates it until I'm comfortable letting him be done. After watching that lesson, I think I may want to do lessons again! I haven't played in almost twenty years but I didn't realize how much I missed it until I was there. My grandma started taking piano lessons late in life and is now an avid player. And while I may be an old dog, it isn't a new trick for me since I took almost ten years of lessons when I was young. Hmmm...we'll see!

Monday, September 19

Avast Ye

Today was "Talk Like a Pirate" Day and the Kindergartners at Korri's school dressed up to celebrate. Korri wouldn't even be just a "normal" pirate. She was a Pirate with Panache, think pink and glitter! Since Korri can't wear any eye patch because of her glasses, we found a pirate scarf hat on Amazon for her to wear instead. Then, I looked for a pirate shirt but couldn't find anything that would work, was in a decent price range and would get here before she left for school today. So...


We made her an outfit for FREE! Gotta love that. She found an old white shirt and we cut the hem to look ripped and worn. Then I printed off an image of a skull and cross bones and traced it onto the shirt with permanent marker. Then we filled in some of the area with glitter glue! I have to say, for flying by the seat of my pants, it turned out super cute. We both loved it. Then we added black pants (she thought they were capris, which would have worked better, but oh, well) and sandals. We were going to add a sash from Finn's ninja costume but forgot. Oops. She still looked adorable and we both had a blast making it together!



Before school Finn taught her to say, "arr, matey," "walk the plank" and "shiver me timbers." We couldn't think of any other things pirates say! But I looked some up and if you didn't know, "Avast Ye" in pirate speaks means "Pay attention and check this out" which I thought was very appropriate for a post title!

Friday, September 16

Kitty in a Basket

For those of you who weren't able to come to Korri's dance recital or those of you who did and want to relive it, I finally have the videos! For your reference, she starts out in the middle (the one with glasses). So stinkin' cute!

Uptown Girl (ballet):
video

Kitty in a Basket (tap):
video

We had dance Open House last night and she doesn't understand why class doesn't start for TWO WEEKS!! Gotta love her enthusiasm. Korri requested "So Long Farwell" from Sound of Music as one of her songs this year, so we'll see if her request was granted or not (I told Korri to ask her instructor about the song last night, but she was too shy!).

Wednesday, September 14

Apple Jack

Yesterday, we met Pam and Levi at Fall Harvest Orchard for a play date...only to learn they aren't open during the week! Argh. Levi's heart was broken, so...I quickly Googled other local orchards and Apple Jack Orchards was open! Well, part of it was open, which was good enough for us. And it was only 15 minute drive. Perfect.

The weather was beautiful, there were only a few other kids there and Levi, Mac and Reagan had a BLAST. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE orchards, especially when they aren't super crowded? We played outside, went inside to look at all the treats and have an apple donut (of course!) and then went back outside to play some more. It was perfect. Other than they don't have pumpkins out yet for purchase, which bummed Mac out. We found a crate of mini pumpkins, which he loved just as much, though!

We didn't get to do fall play dates last fall because Korri had preschool MWF and Levi had it TTh! Don't have to worry about that this year. Next Thursday, we are hoping to actually visit Fall Harvest (and yes, I checked and they ARE open Thursdays!!). Here's to a great start to a beautiful fall!


Here's a little animation of the day: https://goo.gl/photos/Q5xYLiXaoDxw2ZQA9

Monday, September 12

Be kind and never forget!

Its been a tough week in Minnesota and around the nation. Last weekend Jacob Wetterling was finally found and brought home after a nearly 27 year long nightmare for his family and all Minnesotans. It has been an emotional week for most of us. My family was blessed to be at both the Twins game and Gopher football game this weekend where they honored Jacob's memory, which was and is so touching and moving.

Also, the the fifteenth anniversary of that horrible day of the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania has been looming and is finally here. All the negative attention brought to it by stupid professional athletes didn't help with all the feelings people were experiencing.

We needed a little levity after all of that! So for the third row in a year, we ordered pizza on 9/11 and it was delivered by a Waverly Fire Department fire truck to our front door! A portion of the sales and all delivery tips will be donated to the Minnesota Fallen Fire fighters fund. What a great way to connect with the community and honor and remember those who ran into the buildings as everybody else was running out on that fateful day.

 

I know it is a small gesture but my kids LOVE doing it and it is a great way to open the conversation about WHY a fire truck delivered our pizza. Thank you Waverly Cafe and the Waverly Fire Department for helping us honor great Americans!

I saw the following quote somewhere on social media at some point this weekend and it sums things up perfectly:

Be kind and never forget!

UPDATE: Pretty exciting that the total raised actually exceeded the pizza sales, $720 will be donated to the Minnesota Fallen Fire Fighters fund!

Saturday, September 10

2 for 1

A while back, I found out that there was going to be a University of St. Thomas night at the Twins game on a Friday night. We hadn't been to a Twins game all year and I thought it would be fun to go as a family and to kind of celebrate the first week of school (and the fact they are both LOVING it so far!!).

Then, Jim's season tickets played out so he had them for this weekend's game...so we decided to make an adventure of it! Jim bought two more tickets for the Gopher game (he "only" has three season tickets) and found an amazing deal on a hotel right by TCF Stadium! Perfect. I packed stuff for everybody during the day and we headed out when the Bigs got home from school.

The kids were excited and in good spirits (never a guarantee). We had no difficulty getting to the hotel and checked in. We settled in and then headed over to the game. One big part of the adventure? We rode the train (Light Rail) over to Target Field, which Mac thought was amazing. If you ask him now what a train says, he'll say, "Ding, ding" instead of "Choo, choo!" It worked perfectly and the ride was a first for me as well (I know, how have I NOT ridden on it before now?!?!).

 

The kids were stellar at the game, something I don't always get to say, especially at an event that goes WAY past all of their bedtimes and Mac's nap was less than 30 minutes! We left after the 6th inning and still didn't get back to the hotel until 10 pm! There was a very touching tribute to Jacob Wetterling and all the players from both teams wore #11 patch in his honor. I asked Jim when the feelings are going to stop feeling so raw?!?! I'm so glad that THIS was the one game we went to so we could witness and experience the tribute.

 

Mac loved using Korri's glove and saying, "Throw me ball" at the players. They didn't, which was probably best, but so cute! Maybe time for him to have his own glove!

I'm sure it was all the junk he ate at the game and being over tired, but Mac didn't sleep well and was up at 6 am this morning. Excited for the hut-ball (football!) game, I guess. But it made for one tired momma and other kiddos. The Gopher game was so much fun! Such a different "vibe" than the Twins game. It probably helped that they played well and won :)

 

The kiddos weren't nearly as well behaved as they were for the Twins game, but I guess that is to be expected when they are tired. All I know is having three kiddos at a game is far more exhausting then when it is just Jim and me ;)

Great family time together and memories made. I LOVE doing stuff like this together. I mean, I took over 150 pictures over the last 24 hours, so I guess that says it all. Some of those can be found at: https://goo.gl/photos/JckrbVFZeFVWV8QV6

Wednesday, September 7

Kindergarten Queen

Yesterday was the first day of school: Korri in Kindergarten (Ms. Ready) and Finn in Second Grade (Mrs. B). Thank you for joining us, NeNe! I know I'll say this every year, but where does the time go?

 

I had emotional moments leading up to yesterday morning, but when the time came, it was all business and getting things done. So, no tears from this momma. But I also had a tough time during the day when I stopped to think about her day. I just wish I could sit in a corner and observe and just BE there for her. Does she need me to do that? Absolutely NOT...but she's my Baby Grill and always will be.

Korri got to pick out a new outfit for the first day. She probably didn't NEED to, but we found the cutest little dress at Walmart on clearance and she felt special. Her new tennis shoes didn't come on time and her old ones hurt her toes, so we compromised and she worn her boots and brought her shoes for gym (she told me when she got home that she didn't have to put her shoes on...hmmm...). I was going to make Finn wear something "nice" but then I figured to just let him wear what he wants. I'll get my say on Picture Day :)


Korri said she made a new friend. She doesn't know her name, but she had Minion shoes on! Minion asked Korri about her scabs from her scooter fall a few weeks ago. Hey, friendships have started over weirder things, right? I told Korri to ask her name today :)


Both kids said they wanted to go back today. Korri had a little "Mad Lib" to fill out about her first day and she had all good things to say about it! I felt TERRIBLE when I realized Finn and I forgot to find his locker at Open House! I mean, isn't that part of the reason for going?!?! He said he found it pretty quick. I mean, duh, not hard, they are all in a row, but I felt bad. Note to future self: don't forget about lockers at Open House!!!

 

To celebrate, we went to Unhinged Pizza for dinner last night (it is like Pizza Ranch for those of you who aren't familiar). It is probably our family's favorite place to go as a family and we haven't been ALL SUMMER! Plus, it was a fun way to end the day.


I realized yesterday that in three years, Mac will be in Kindergarten (gasp!), Korri will be in Third and Finn will be in Fifth...Middle School (faint!). I may need medication to get through that day! My babies aren't babies any more :(

Here's to the second day going as well as the first.

(Mac was still sleeping!)