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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, October 31

Hijacked Sunday

Sunday didn't exactly turn out like an ordinary Sunday. First, I woke up with a migraine, which isn't super unusual but definitely alters my plans for the next several hours. Second, when I got Mac up, he was barking when he coughed. Crap, this is how it started last fall when we ended up taking an ambulance ride to the hospital and was eventually diagnosed with Croup. Third, Jim was prepping for a colonoscopy which meant he was pretty tied to our "bedroom."

After listening to Mac for about thirty minutes, I just looked at Jim and said I'm taking him to Urgent Care. I remembered how quickly it progressed last time and while I'd rather wait until Monday and take him to our clinic, I also didn't want to spend the night in the ER. Thankfully a clinic in Buffalo has Sunday hours, so Mac and I headed there. Keep in mind...other than barking, he seemed 100% fine. He was flirting and entertaining everybody from the receptionist to the nurses and other patients!

They listened to his history (he'd never been to this clinic before, so they didn't know it) and based on what I told them and how he sounded, the PA decided to give him a steroid shot for Croup, which helps reduce swelling in the throat area. Great. Oh, and he had a "severe" ear infection in his left ear. Super great! She said new research is showing that most ear infections are actually viral and they are trying to get away from prescribing antibiotics for them, but given his history with ear infections, we both agreed to give him one! I didn't want it to escalate, even though it would not help with the Croup at all.

So Mac and I got back home around 1ish. My migraine at this point had diminished (THANKFULLY!) to just a regular headache, which makes being able to "mom" much easier. Jim still had his "issues" the rest of the day, which left him not able to help much in any other area. I was able to go to a meeting at church and that was about it.

Today, Mac's fever is up but his cough sounds much better. Croup takes a while to run its course, but I hope it is swift and doesn't get worse before it gets better. His temp was 102.7 degrees when I put him to bed tonight, which I don't like at all. Argh. No Reagan nor ECFE for tomorrow. Could be so much worse, though. Again, so thankful I brought him in when I did.

Mac waiting at patiently at Urgent Care Sunday morning. Always my happy boy, even when sick. Poor guy.

Delivering the tree

I have an epic idea for our Christmas card photo this year. Full disclosure: I stole it from Pinterest, but it still kind of counts as my idea, right? I'm going to try to execute it. That should count for something. And the kids are super excited about it (praise God!).

We've been waiting for the perfect weather and it just isn't happening. We need it to be not raining (duh), not windy (it's been so freaking windy!), partly cloudy and not too cold. Hmmm...sound easy enough! Oh, and three kids who are in great moods and being extra cooperative! Good thing Jim and I are brushing up on our Nurtured Heart Approach for parenting!!! We are going to Nurture Heart them like crazy so they do what we want!

Here is a sneak peak:

I'm hoping to get the cards printed in the next couple of weeks, so fingers crossed for at least a good window of time for these pictures to get taken and the kids' excitement doesn't wear off before then! And of course, that they turn out as hoped.

Be sure to give me your address if you aren't already on our Christmas list!!

Wednesday, October 26

School pics!

I always wait with bated breath for school pictures to come back. I mean, I know that unless there is something horribly wrong, the little things that make you cringe now will make you laugh/smile later. But still! I was spoiled for so long with such amazing photos of them when they were younger that I have a hard time letting it go.

Also, it doesn't help that the girl has glasses (photo strike 1), long hair (photo strike 2) AND tends to be squinty and squish up her face (photo strike 3)! Why she does this? I have no idea! I even have practiced with her in the mirror. Candids are great but posed pictures are rough.

But this year, I needn't have worried. They are both adorable. Yes, I feel like Korri's isn't perfect, but it IS the perfect Kindergarten picture. I think back to my sister Kristine's Kindergarten picture that my mom talks about and it is honestly the CUTEST picture ever, but apparently they had her leave her outdoor sweater on and didn't comb her hair or something. I kind of feel that way about Korri's, but she's so darn cute, it doesn't matter. It'll look adorable on the wall at her high school graduation :)

And Finn and I weren't sure what shirt he should wear this year. We decided on a solid, somewhat bright color and I think it really paid off! Especially with the blue background. I LOVE his buck teeth because that is who he is this year. Before too long, there will be a school picture with braces, I'm sure (cringe...both wallet and photo!!). Also, doesn't he look ridiculously old all of a sudden? When did that happen?!?!

For your viewing pleasure:
Finn=Second grade (7 1/2yo) and Korri=Kindergaren (5 1/2yo).

Note to future self: don't braid Korri's hair the night before and think it will be photo ready the next day! #momfail

Sunday, October 16

Jack-o'-lantern time!

Okay, so we didn't do ANY jack-o-lanterns but we did "do" pumpkins! Last year on a whim, we got decorating kits at Target and they were so easy and the kids loved them. So we did it again this year. Friday after school, we headed to Target so they each could pick their own out. Korri and Mac picked theirs in seconds: Korri=Elsa from Frozen and Mac=BB-8 from Star Wars, whom he LOVES! Finn, as usual, had a harder time and by the end of the trip, I gently convinced him to do a dinosaur. He'd been talking about doing one for weeks but then was distracted by the other kits that were available.

While daddy put up the outdoor decorations, the kids and I decorated pumpkins.









Finn's paint didn't cover well at all (and he didn't listen to his momma who told him to just paint the front first!), so Jim ran out Saturday morning and picked up some spray paint, which worked wonderfully well!





My three little pumpkins with their pumpkins:


And daddy and Korri actually carved a pumpkin and used the kit I picked up randomly at the grocery store:

Mine is still sitting on the counter. Maybe I'll do minimal this year and keep it plain. Hmmm...deep thoughts.

Oh, you HAVE to come see the grave yard scene Jim created in our front yard. This doesn't even do it 10% justice:

Friday, October 14

Fall Conferences

Yesterday, we had fall conferences. Seems early, I know, but this is when our school does them. It is kind of nice, too, because then you can get to know the teachers a little better and see how the first month and a half of school has been going.

To be perfectly honest, I was NOT looking forward to either conference! Normally, I would go to conferences and Jim would stay home with the kiddos. But given that we've dealt with a few things with Korri and that I was expecting a not-so-good report due to Finn's bad attitude about homework, at the last minute I asked neighbors to watch the kiddos so we could both go. Have I mentioned lately how thankful I am for getting to know our neighbors and having ones that we trust? They rock (Lori, Zach's mom and Dori, JJ's mom).

Finn was first. Mrs. B, Finn's 2nd grade teacher, is...interesting. I can't really put my finger on what makes her interesting. Maybe it is that she seems a little scattered, doesn't communicate very much/often and probably interacts better with 2nd graders than adults. Let's just say, the first month of school has made me appreciate and love Ms. Thorsen even more than we did for Kindergarten and First Grade.

That being said, she said Finn is doing GREAT! She said his attitude toward other students and toward teachers is excellent. It was good to hear because (partly due to what Korri has been going through), I focus on this message every day before school. Either he comes by it naturally or he's actually listening (probably the first!). The one area he could work on is self-control. He sometimes needs to be reminded of appropriate behavior (goofing off in the bathroom with other boys) and needs supervision when transitioning (more on that later). But she said she's noticed, even in the last few days, that it is getting better.

Now for the nuts and bolts of what they consider matters most: math and reading scores. Finn is doing well, but math might not be his strength. He has problems with the speed stuff that they focus on for math. He scored "At/Above Benchmark" and should be doing 2nd grade math. Well, that's good. However, reading, as I figured, is a strength. He scored greater than 60% of students nationally and should be reading books as high as third grade, 2nd month. That made me feel much better since he doesn't/won't read the Book Buddy books he brings home and therefore doesn't take the "AR" tests for them (not the same test that was done for his assessment). I guess AR tests are a big deal, but his teacher said they are just getting into the tests and was fine with Finn having only taken one this year so far.

I asked about spelling because I feel like his words are really hard and he kind of refuses to do them with me. Or he'll do them but won't re-do the ones he got wrong. So he gets half of them wrong some weeks. She said she'll look into it but wasn't concerned and might let him chose slightly easier ones so practicing at home isn't so hard. I don't want to "dumb him down" but if he won't practice with me and just gets them all wrong, what's the point? I also asked about how he was "fitting in" and explained the fact that he was the only boy from his previous class in her class. She was surprised to hear that because she said he has many friends and fits in well. Ah, I knew it was a "me issue" and not an issue for him, but it was nice to have that confirmed.

We were five minutes late for Korri's, which was frustrating because we had a lot to talk with her about. Hmmm...Ms. Ready seems like a very nervous person. She talks really fast, has a somewhat hard time making eye contact and seems to get flustered easily. One cute thing is she asked us if it is okay to call her Korri instead of Korrigan! I guess she has had some parents request not doing a nick name or shortening the name. Ha, we're like, "call her whatever she'll respond to!"

She went over the nuts and bolts quickly so that we could discuss the other things going on. Basically, Korri is doing really great and above average on everything! She is at the late Emergent Reader stage which means she can identify the alphabet and match most or all sounds to the letters. She also recognizes many printed words, which I didn't know. She loves reading her Book Buddy books with me (I think it makes her feel like a big kid, "Look, Finn, I can read, too!"). She has more perseverance when she gets stuck with a word than Finn did (she brings home the exact same books Finn did!). And she scored 100% on her math assessment. I guess she's good at math, which is awesome.

The one area she needs to work on is participating in class. She often waits until her friends raise their hands before raising hers, even though Ms. Ready can tell she knows the answer. This doesn's surprise me at all, but I mentioned it to Korri last night and just said that if she know the answer, she should be proud to raise her hand and give the answer. We'll see if this improves. I think part of it is still adjusting to school and everything that goes along with that. Her strengths, as reported by Ms. Ready, are asking for help, positive attitude, treats others with respect, listens to and follows directions and school rules. That's a pretty good list and when I think about it, sums her up perfectly. She likes to do what she's told (at SCHOOL at least!) because she wants people to like her. It will get her far in school at least!

As for the follow up to Korri's issue on the bus last week, we discussed what steps have been taken and I said interactions with the boy in question seem a lot better (as told to me by Korri). But I still felt like she wasn't taking responsibility for her part in not responding right away or being responsive at all. Again, after 24 hours, the only reason why we knew anything was happening was because physically went to school to talk to her. But I also mentioned that I was very disappointed that this boy in question kicked her in the head and she had to go to the nurses office and I wasn't notified at all! I mean, there are two things going on here that make it a big deal: 1. my kid was "injured" enough to need attention from the nures AND 2. this was continued bullying behavior from the same boy who threatened to kill her! I don't think asking for a "heads up" note is asking too much. Ms. Ready basically said it was the responsibility of the nurse. I tried to express that I felt strongly that as the primary care giver of my five year old, it was her job to just make sure I know about it. I don't think the message was fully received but I tried.

On the way out, the school social worker, Mrs. Adickes, was in her office, so Jim and I stopped in. We'd had a pretty bad episode with Finn before conferences and I just needed some feedback. She was SUPER helpful and will talk with him next week. Honestly, she is amazing. I think it helps that she knows we try to do Nurtured Heart at home, which is the approach they do at school as well. Finn had met with her last spring and we saw marked improvement with him and his fits. I think at the end of the day, he just doesn't transition well (shocker that MY son would have a problem with transitions and changes). Hopefully she can help him/us find some tools that help him deal with these kinds of situations.

Overall, I was way happier with conferences than I was expecting to be. Ours kids are smart, well-adjusted and fitting in (Korri's issues at recess seem to be better, at least for now!). My babies:

  

Monday, October 10

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

Because there just isn't enough pumpkin spice stuff around this time of year. LOL!

Skol Vikings! Is anybody else loving the NFL season so far as much as I am? I am cautiously optimistic but it is so FUN watching the Vikings play. Here's to continued success. Mac cuddling with me while watching the Vikings:


When Korri had her girls weekend at Grandma's, she made and brought home Halloween sugar cookies; something she and my mom make almost every time she is there. Which I'm very thankful for because I HATE making sugar cookies! They are so putsy, take FOREVER and honestly, taste like butter and sugar to me (yuck!).


Well, those cookies didn't last very long because I'm apparently the only one who has an aversion to sugar and butter. But it started me thinking about making pumpkin sugar cookies! Now that could be good and fun to make pumpkin flavored cookies in pumpkin shape! So I found a recipe online and got the ingredients. To be perfectly honest, I wanted to use some of my ginormous bottle of Pumpkin Spice I got from Costco! LOL


After the game, Korri helped me make the cookies, Korri and Finn cut them out and all the kiddos deocorated. It was putsy and did take forever but they tasted great! We started out decorating with a knife but then I had the brilliant idea of using Ziploc bags as piping bags! So much more fun for the kiddos. I was very clear when we started about Finn and Korri not fighting or all of the cookies would go in the garbage...and they did great! Well, except at the very end, but by that point, we'd been doing it for hours. I was very proud of their behavior and sharing.


I would say that I'd even make them again! Gasp, I know! Maybe next time I'll do a peppermint flavored sugar cookie and do Christmas cookies (because we all know it isn't going to be any time soon!). Now, we have two tubs of Halloween pumpkin cookies. Anybody want some? Come on over!


Sunday, October 9

Tour of Gymnastics Champions

Jim and I got home from our anniversary sleepover and then Korri and I had a Mommy/Daughter date planned! We went to Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions at Target Center at 7pm Saturday night. It was originally scheduled for 5pm on Sunday but due to a scheduling conflict, they had to change it. Bummer it was so late, but to help, Korri fell asleep FIVE MINUTES before we parked the car.


We were early, so I let her sleep for a bit before waking her to go in, hoping that would help with the late hour. It was AMAZING!! I didn't really know what to expect, but our seats were AMAZING.


And she loved every second of it (as did I). Other than when they lifted the rings to the ceiling...with the men using them! I did NOT like that. Korri loved the trampoline routines, even though they were on the far side of the arena. The guy jumped so high it looked like he was going to hit the ceiling. Seriously.


Korri did great throughout the whole thing, except for the very end. She got tired, but didn't want to leave. So she snuggled on my lap instead (oh, bummer for me!). She actually stayed awake for a while on the way home, too, which surprised me, but she was probably a little over stimulated.

I don't like doing things like this without Jim. He is my safety net and "takes care" of everything. I don't have to worry about parking or driving or where to go once we get there or having cash on hand, etc. But our budget didn't allow for FIVE tickets and it just made sense that Jim would stay home with the boys. And you know what? I did great! It has been a while since I worked in downtown, but I parked across the street from the Target Center (even though it was more expensive) which made the in and out super easy. And it helped that our seats were right next to where you got through security. I'm such a big girl!

I loved having the time with just Korri. She is so sweet and inquisitive and I often don't take the time to appreciate her when the craziness of life is happening. Nor do I often slow down and give her the patience she needs from me/us. When we were walking back to the car, she asked if we could do it again! I will take any opportunity she will give me to spend with her. I kind of want to find a princess/tea place or party to go to. Hmmm...Any ideas?

Saturday, October 8

Nine years down...

...forever to go! Jim and I celebrated our 9th anniversary on Thursday. It doesn't seem that long, especially when we are blessed to know so many people who've been married much longer than we have (our high school friends will celebrate their TWENTIETH this summer!). But it IS an accomplishment. It is working hard every single day and choosing to do it again the next day. It is appreciating married love (lifetime) more than wedding love (one day, albeit one amazing day!). It is being smart enough to truly marry your best friend. It's lucky enough to still feel like you'd do it all again and CHOOSE to marry him all over again. The bumps in the road are hard but they also are lessons learned and make great memories.

That being said, I kissed Jim in the morning and wished him a happy anniversary and whispered, "I'm glad we aren't getting married today!" Ha, a wedding is so much fun, but so much work!

Jim took Thurs off, so we decided to run some errands. I think Mac loved having both of our attention all day. Then we got home and I took Korri to dance. So romantic, I know! But I wouldn't have it any other way. Plus, Jim made me crab legs (my fav!) for dinner AND cracked them for me (one of the many reasons I married him!!).


Friday, Jim's mom came after school to watch the kiddos so we could go to Minneapolis to a hotel and out to dinner! It was so much fun just spending time together with no cares in the world. We stayed at the Westin in downtown, which is a beautiful hotel, in a suite, which was also amazing. Then we had dinner at Murray's, which is where we celebrated our first anniversary as well! See, it all comes full circle.


Possibly the best part for me? I slept in and stayed in bed until ELEVEN o'clock! Seriously. The best.

Thursday, October 6

We need to do better

Living in a world were needing to write a post like this BREAKS MY HEART! We really need to do better as a society and community. It starts at home, so that is my renewed commitment: to raise kind children who look out for and help others. Reference: Korri is FIVE YEARS OLD.

Completely out of the blue, I received a text after school on Tues from the mom of one of Korri's classmates and best friend. It said, "Has Korri been having any problems with {insert boy's name} at school or on the bus?" I looked at Korri and asked her. Without hesitation, she said, "no." I told that to the mom and she said, "He terrorizes {her daughter} non stop and said he was going to kill her today on the bus. {Her daughter} said he is mean to Korri, too."

Wait, what? I was shocked and had no idea how to proceed. Keeping in mind, Korri had come home from school today crying. She told me it was because two girls at recess kept running away from her and wouldn't play with her. While I think that did happen (it has been on going for a while, once I heard about it and made Korri STOP doing it to other girls), now I was wondering if Korri was involved in the stuff with this boy, since she was crying when she got home.

So I asked the mom several questions and then I questioned Korri harder about it without leading her answers. And lo and behold, she told me (again, without me saying anything that the mom had told me) that the boy did say he was going to kill both of the girls.

I immediately called and left messages for Korri's teacher (all three children involved are in her class) and the bus garage (at 4:15pm). I told them a quick recap of what I heard and that I didn't know what to do or how to proceed. The bus garage called me back within 10 minutes! I was very impressed. He explained that it isn't their jurisdiction (they just drive the bus) but that he'd call the elementary principal first thing in the morning and also talk to the driver of Korri's afternoon bus. Perfect. He was so kind and made me feel like somebody was doing something.

While I waited to hear back from Korri's teacher, I got more information from the mom and Korri. And he'd "kicked" her in the head that day at school, enough that she had to go to the nurse's office to get an ice pack with NO NOTE HOME ABOUT IT!! What? I mean, I don't need to know about every scrape, bruise or push, but come on! And the mom said he'd threatened to break their wrists one day! Oh, and this has been going on since the beginning of school (over a  MONTH!).

The mom had already talked to their teacher and she felt the teacher was very dismissive and said she hadn't seen anything nor had the girls said anything to her. I asked Korri why she hadn't said anything to her teacher or to me and she said because he was mean. Great. So now when something happens to her and she's scared, she isn't going to say anything. I took the opportunity to reassure her that she can tell me anything anytime. And to remind her about good touch and bad touch (I mean, honestly!). This whole situation rocked me to my core.

I didn't hear back from Korri's teacher that night, but I figured she'd already gone home and fully expected a phone call (or at least some acknowledgement) first thing in the morning. Nope. When we got home from story time at 11am and I still hadn't heard anything from the teacher, I was PISSED and called the principal directly. And then I still didn't hear anything back by the time the kids got home from school twenty-four hours later! I mean, this is a DEATH THREAT! So Jim went up to the school and Korri's teacher was there (the principal was not) and he had a conversation with her. Similar to how the other girls' mom felt, he felt the teacher was somewhat dismissive and basically said she didn't respond to me because she'd forward the information to the principal. How hard is it to tell me that?!?!

Fast forward to 7:15 that night. I received a phone call from the principal. She'd been in a conference all day and unreachable (again, why wasn't I told that when I called the school secretary?!?!) and she apologized for the late phone call. Um, no, I thanked her for the call, regardless of the time. We talked about half an hour and I felt MUCH better after. She had a plan and was going to alter her schedule the next morning so she could talk with all the children involved.

Then she called me back first thing the next morning after having talked with all of them! Seriously, she is amazing. I am very comfortable with the actions she has taken, the actions she said will happen and the plan going forward.

But again, Korri is five years old. I am so sad that she has to deal with this and that we live in a world where this happens. I mean, I remember worrying about who I was behind in line on the way to lunch when I was in Kindergarten! Or how long I was going to sleep at rest time. I just am trying to trust that God will protest her and I will also try to ask more specific questions when she gets home each night. Oh, and I told Finn he has to watch out for her, which he didn't think was his job! Ha, you're her older brother, sorry buddy but it IS your job and we help each other in our family!

A reminder in case you forgot how cute, sweet and innocent she is:

Monday, October 3

It's that time of year!

School fundraiser time! Yippy!

Finn and Korri's school fundraiser has started and goes through Oct 14. This year Humphrey Elementary is raising money for field trips, technology, playground equipment and classroom activities! Each child is asked to sell 10 items in order to reach their goal.

If you feel so inclined, please take a look and place an order. There is actually some cute stuff...just kind of spendy :(

Finn's link:

Korri's link: 

Product will be delivered to our school (for me to pick up and deliver to you) on Nov 4. You can also select to have it shipped directly to you.

I have booklets to look through, which actually has stuff that isn't online (dumb!). Let me know if you want to look through those.

If you'd like, Finn and/or Korri can send you a direct request via email, letter or phone call to ask for your sale! They want to thank you for your support in advance (but they'll send thank yous as well)!

Go Lakers!