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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.

Friday, February 24

Pink Ninja!

Okay, not really. It is "I Love to Read" month at school and every Friday is a different theme. And today was Favorite Character Dress Up Day. We didn't plan ahead (we figured things out on Tues...which didn't allow much time to pull "costumes" together), but I think you'll agree, they both worked out:

Finnegan is Kai, the red Ninja, from the Ninjago series (see the book he's holding for a reference) and Korri is Pinkalious from the Pinkalious series (see her book for reference). We only had to buy a sword for Finn and wand for Korri. But to be fair, Finn was the red Ninja last year, so he already had the shirt and ties.

They were both super excited and super cute! I think it is a really neat idea to relate to a character that you read about in this way. So fun! And it is like getting to do Halloween twice a year :)

Tuesday, February 21

Beautiful Four Eyes

Yesterday, Korri and I headed to St. Louis Park for her annual eye appointment at Park Nicollet. Okay, it was supposed to be in Dec but I forgot and they didn't send me a reminder, which I think is both irresponsible and unprofessional on their part. But I digress.

Since she only goes once a year now, every appointment includes dilating her eyes, which she doesn't like. I made the mistake of reminder her about it the night before. Oops! Hey, I like to prep my kids for what is coming but maybe leaving things unspoken works better some times.

Anyway, the kiddos didn't have school on Monday because of President's Day and by some miracle, they had an 8:20 AM! Argh! That means we had to get up the same time as a school day, but oh, well. The boys were able to stay home with daddy, which helped a lot (both in getting ready and at the appointment).

So we got there and since it was so early, we got right in. And she started freaking out! I was actually a little embarrassed (and somewhat caught off guard) because she is my trooper. Finn is the one who freaks at appointments, not Korri! She didn't want the eye drops in, which is a little ridiculous because they slightly sting at worst. We eventually did and then had to wait 30 minutes.

After that, she was fine. And here eyes are doing great. With her current glasses, she is seeing 20/20 in her left eye and slightly different in her right, but nothing to change her prescription. Yeah! She still has to wear her glasses all the time but her sight isn't changing much, which is super good.

And the best part is they don't want to see her again until next year! Sweet. Oh, and I'd better put a reminder on my calendar this time :) (which I just did!!! That, my friends, is personal accountability...or responsibility...I'm not sure...or both!)

The many glasses of Korri:

Friday, February 17

The Big Easy

On a whim (and to use his free companion airline ticket), Jim surprised me with a long weekend trip to New Orleans Feb 10 through 13. The best part? He arranged care for the kids, so I literally didn't have to do anything but pack! So awesome. Our amazing moms were able to split the time watching the kiddos: Lynn Thursday evening until Saturday and my mom Saturday until Monday evening. Perfect. And a HUGE thank you!!! The kids LOVED the time with them. (duh!)

Anyway, Jim and I headed to the airport Thursday evening. Not to get on the plane, but to be near the airport Friday morning, since we had a morning flight (and it is cheaper to leave a vehicle at a hotel near the airport than actually at the airport). The flight was uneventful, what I remember of it (I MAY have drank a little too much...oops!).

Having a drink in Delta's Sky Club before our flight.
The trip was amazing and so was New Orleans. We stayed right in the French Quarter, a block off of Bourbon St. We didn't realize that Mardi Gras is a SEASON there, not a day, which starts Jan 6! Who knew? So it was perfect...lots of activity but not super crazy like it will be ON Mardi Gras. Honestly, I loved everything about the city, the food, the culture, everything!

View from our balcony into our bedroom and sitting room
Well, except our ghost. Yes, you read that correctly. So pretty much everything in New Orleans claims to be haunted. Yeah, yeah. Whatever...right? Well, our hotel was actually five houses that were converted into a hotel and are very old...and haunted. Two rooms are particularly haunted and yup, you guessed it...ours was one of them!

Our amazing bathroom

Honestly, I'm not necessarily a non-believer in ghosts but I don't WANT them to be real and I feel like if they really, truly are real, why isn't there more evidence and proof? Right? Well, I can't say I don't believe any more. Elizabeth (Jim did some research and the ghost in our room is named Elizabeth) made her presence known, especially to me. The first night I woke to the sound of high heels walking on the floor, but thought it was somebody outside on the balcony (which we shared with another room). Jim later confirmed there was nobody outside all night with him. Later I woke up to what felt like a kick ball hitting my face (like a game of dodge ball...seriously!). I couldn't get rid of the feeling that it would happen again until I rolled over to Jim's side of the bed (please note, every one of my experiences happened when Jim was gone or sleeping!). The next night I woke up to loud noises at the door. I assumed that Jim, who'd gone out to walk on Bourbon St earlier, drank too much and lost his key. When I got to the door, there was nobody there or in the hallway. The third night, I woke up to noises that I thought were voices. I woke Jim up but they'd gone away by then. CREEPY to say the least. Then on our last day when we were getting ready to leave, I was in the bathroom and Jim had the EXACT same experience with the door that I did but he was awake and SAW IT MOVING and nobody was there when he opened it (he thought it was house keeping). Seriously. So crazy.

St. Louis Cathedral behind us.
Anyway, ghosts aside (or maybe because of them if you're into it!), we both highly recommend New Orleans. Our basic goal was to eat (and drink!) our way through New Orleans. We went to eat at Arnauds Friday night (my fish dish was the best we'd ever had and they introduce us to potato souffles...beyond yum!!). Saturday we met an old work acquaintance at Galatoire's and had lunch. So good and I even liked the red wine Jim picked...which I NEVER do. Saturday night we went to GW Fin's, which was fabulous as well. Sunday we went to Nola Poboys for shrimp poboys. Now, my bar is really high for poboys because Jim makes AMAZING poboys...but these were superb. If Jim could steal their bread, his would be perfection. Sunday, we walked all way to Emeril's Restaurant, which was a good 30 minute walk one way. Jim had the BRILLIANT idea for me to put my heals in my purse and wear flip flops. Saved my feet for sure. Monday morning, we went to Cafe Du Monde for...what else...beignets! They were good, but I don't understand waiting for HOURS to get them...hence we went Monday morning instead :)

Bourbon Street!

The only things we missed were Bananas Foster and a muffuletta sandwich. Next time. On Sunday, we went to mass at St. Louis Cathederal, which was amazing, even for the non-Catholic in our twosome! We will for sure be back. Next time we'd like to go on some tours and see more of it (since we've now had all the food!). We HIGHLY recommend it to anybody looking for a really fun weekend adventure. Oh, be sure to get a room with a balcony because sitting on our balcony was probably the highlight of the trip for me. Relaxing, drinking and people watching (without having to be in the crowds, which I hate).
View to the left and right of our balcony!

Our next (as of yet unplanned) weekend destination? New York!!! You better be ready, Sasha!!! Nashville is also on the list. Any other fun cities you recommend visiting for a long weekend? Now that we know how much fun long weekend vacations are, we plan on doing them more often, if/when we can!

Thursday, February 16

Potty in the potty

An update on Mac's potty's going exceptionally well! Like, in the last three weeks, he's maybe had a handful of accidents, including #2 and during nap time! He only wore pull-ups for a couple days before he was ready for big boy unders. The biggest thing (and I think the main reason for his success) is that he can hold it...for a long time. We were driving home one day and he said, "I hava pee!" We were about 25 minutes from home (he did have a pull-up on since we were in the car). I told him to hold it if he could...and he did! That is a long time for ME to have to hold it; let alone a 2 year old.

I honestly can't believe it and still wonder if he's going to regress at any moment. After a little dribble during nap time yesterday, I asked him if he wanted a pull-up for nap today and he said loudly, "no, I wear big boy unders!!" And he's even figured out how to stand in front of the toilet to pee (he says he does it because Finn does!) and sit on the big toilet for #2 (we have little inserts so he doesn't fall in). And he'll go in a public bathroom like no bid deal. I mean, honestly!! So there you go. The flip has been switched. Or the switch has been flipped. Whatever, you get my point.

I guess at some point we'll have to tackle overnight but since he's still in a crib, I'm in no hurry (although Jim and I have started the conversation about transitioning to a big boy bed). He had actual tighty-whiteys on yesterday which were adorable but I didn't get a pic. Bummer. This will have to do:

Wednesday, February 15

Easy Eight

Finn and I went to his rescheduled 8 year well child doctor appointment this morning. I knew it would be pretty uneventful since he is exceptionally healthy (praise God, because I didn't always think that would be the case!) and I only had two "things" I wanted to talk about (although I forgot to mention the divot in his ear...some day we'll get it taken care of if I ask enough!).

His stats (and yes, he is still bigger than Korri, barely!!)

Height: 49" 25% (last year 46.5" 25%)
Weight: 62 lbs 69% (last year 54 lbs 68%)

Talk about consistent! I am always so happy and thankful when his height is at or above 25%, so I'll take it. Seriously, these were great numbers. The two things I mentioned were his teeth and his sleep.

I feel like he doesn't sleep enough (he goes to bed at 8pm, doesn't get to sleep until 8:30 or later most nights) and is ALWAYS wake at 6:50am when I go in to wake him up. I figured he probably gets about 10 good hours of sleep each night, which didn't seem like enough to me. BUT...they say he needs 9-12 hours each night! So, he's fine. And she said the fact that he's awake in the morning tells her his body is getting enough sleep. So, there you go.

Next his teeth. His mouth/jaw has always been asymmetrical and we've always been told "they" will deal with it when he's older. Well, he's started commenting on how his teeth look different and weird. So I mentioned it to her and so she took a look (even though I figured it would be something for the dentist). She said she thinks it actually looks really good and nothing tells her it will be more than just "normal" orthodontics!! Surgery has always been thrown around, so if it is just an issue of over crowding (preemies often have narrow, high curve mouths for some reason) and braces...bring it on! Such good news. I hope the dentist agrees at his check-up next month.

She mentioned seat belts and then asked if he was still in a booster. Yup! We laughed and said he'll probably be in one (because of his size) until he is 12! You have to be 57" or 4' 9" until your body is ready to sit without a booster. Poor guy.

Again, during his vision screening, his came back as 20/30 in one eye (I think his left). The cut off for correction is usually 20/40, so hopefully nothing but probably something to keep on the radar (but it was the 20/30 last year, too, which is good that it hasn't gotten worse). Hearing was he CAN hear, even when he doesn't listen!! Oh, and at 8 they start checking for scoliosis and his spine looked great!

And we were outta there! I had him back to school by 9am, which is pretty good! Until next year!

Thursday, February 9

Huggies Creates Smallest Diaper Ever

Huggies Creates Smallest Diaper Ever For The Tiniest Preemies

While part of me wonders where these were 8 years ago, I am so happy to see there is now a diaper for babies who weigh less than 2 pounds! Finn's diapers were HUGE on him and I think the nurses said they'd even ordered special ones for him that were smaller than even the normal preemie ones.

Skinny Finny about 6 hours after he was born. Just relaxin'.
It might seem like a small thing (pun intended) but when your worried about 99 other things, having a diaper that actually fits your brand new teeny tiny baby is one less thing to add to your worries.

Good job, Huggies!!

Wednesday, February 8

Six and sassy

Korri had her 6 year well child appointment this afternoon. Finn was supposed to have his 8 year at the same time, but he woke up puking, so I rescheduled his. Plus, I think Korri really liked the individual attention. She talked and talked and talked to her doctor and me. So funny.

Anyway, here are her stats:

Height: 47.5" 87% (last year: 44.75" 91%...thats THREE inches in one year!!!)
Weight: 60.2 lbs 95% (last year: 51 lbs 95%)

She is a big kid! Her BMI is high, as you can expect, but the dr is not at all concerned (I should put that in bold and caps to remind myself!) because she remains on her curve and is a healthy kid.

We talked about Korri still sucking her thumb. The doctor gave her/me some tips and basically just reminded me that it isn't something to shame her about (which I don't, but I do get frustrated). All the tricks don't seem to work with Korri because she can go all day at school without her thumb but at home, it is almost constant. Again, frustrating, but not a huge concern, other than with her teeth and more exposure to germs. She is the poster child for why you should have your baby use a pacifier!!

We also talked about Korri "picking" her finger nails. I haven't clipped her nails in at least two years because they are always too short. The doctor isn't concerned because she isn't ripping at her skin or causing any cuts or fissures or making them get too short (like into the nail bed). I was concerned it was a nervous or anxious thing, which it might be, but it is probably a "healthy" outlet for it at this point. Something to monitor but not worry about.

Then I mentioned that Korri developed motion sickness on our road trip this last summer. She said just to keep Dramamine on hand and gave Korri some tips for when she starts to feel yucky (looking up and out of the window instead of down in her lap and getting cooler by taking off her coat or opening a window a little). It only happens on long trips, over 45 minutes or so, which we don't do a ton).

I offhandedly mentioned that Korri's behavior has been pretty bad lately and the doctor assured me that as long as Korri can keep it together at school (which she does), it is super normal! I know, I know. I just wish there were a magic pill for her to take (or me...maybe a Xanax?).

Her hearing and vision were fine but the tech did mention her left eye was significantly harder for her to see with than her right, although still within normal range. I better check to see when she next eye doctor visit should be...I think in June.

That was it! Korri is ridiculously healthy, which the doctor commented on several times. In the last year, Korri's been into the office for one strep test. THAT IS IT! Awesome. We must be doing something right (which makes me feel better since I'm not obsessed about germs like so many are these days).

My silly sassy six year old doing snow angels in the entryway before school this morning:

Wednesday, February 1

Twenty Questions - Korri 6

Starting at age three, I've asked Korri 20 questions around the time of her birthday. I chose NOT to direct or influence her initial answers (although I did follow up on a few after the fact but used her initial answer first). Here are her responses:

20 questions: answered by Korrigan on 2/01/2017

1. What is your favorite color? Purple (and pink, if she can pick two)
2. What is your favorite toy? Maryellen
3. What is your favorite fruit? Strawberries
4. What is your favorite TV show/movie? Princess Sofia/Sing
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Cake
6. What is your favorite outfit/thing to wear? Dress or fancy clothes
7. What is your favorite game? I don’t play games...Candyland
8. What is your favorite snack? Cookies
9. What is your favorite animal? Horses
10. What is your favorite song? Sound of Music, So Long Farewell
11. What is your favorite book? I don’t have a favorite book, Barbie Dance book from the library
12. Who is your best friend? Aubrey
13. What is your favorite cereal? I don’t eat cereal, but frosted mini wheats
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Dance (if nobody is watching me)
15. What is your favorite drink? Orange pop
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? I don’t sleep with anything, maybe kiki
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Mini-cini
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Malt
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A mom

Bonus Question:

21. What is your favorite sport/activity to play? t-ball
22. What is your best/least favorite part of school? Best: morning meeting; least: recess in winter, too cold

She was very decisive this year and when I pushed her on a couple of answers (because I thought she was being silly or something), she stuck to her initial answer (see question #5!). This year I made sure she knew she didn't have to answer the first thing that came to her mind but should skip a question and come back. She did for a few, but didn't need to for most!

My thoughts/feedback on some of her answers:

1. She asked me "just one?" and I said yes, so she said purple. Then I said if she could pick two, what would it be and she said pink. She is consistent.

2. Her American Girl Doll

3. She struggled with this one because she loves ALL fruit.

4. I'm not sure she understood the difference between a show and a movie, because she couldn't think of a show (she hasn't watched Sofia in FOREVER) and we just watched Sing this weekend, so it was top of mind, clearly.

5. I have no idea! I tried to get her to answer something else, but she stuck with it.

14. This made me a little sad and I asked her why it mattered if people were watching and she said that her family could be watching.

18. These are mini cinnamon rolls at school that they serve once a week on Tuesdays.

19. Again, silly answer, but she DID ask Jim to make her a malt on her birthday. I thought she'd say going to Unhinged Pizza or eating daddy's homemade pizzas.

20. Awwww...I asked her if there was anything else and she said no. Motherhood is an important and noble calling and she will make a great one!

21. This is plain not right. She doesn't even want to play t-ball this summer. I asked her about gymnastics or dance and she was being stubborn and wouldn't change her mind.

Here is the last picture before her birthday:

She is so full of spunk and sass but SO caring and kind when she wants to be. She challenges me constantly but makes me be a better parent (or try to be at least!). Physically, she is big for her age (her well child appointment is next week). She has lost two teeth so far. She is smart and doing really well at school. Honestly, the social things are the toughest part for us. She cares so deeply about things and wears her heart on her sleeve, just like her momma. We've talked about getting her ears pierced but she hasn't actually asked to yet. So we'll cross that bridge when we get to it (I'm thinking for her 8th birthday, but we'll see). She LOVES nail polish and makeup, but only gets to wear makeup at home, obviously. She and her friends are obsessed with chapstick/lipgloss at school.

If you are curious as to what her responses were last year, click here to link to that post!

Here's to having an amazing year!

Six years ago today, Korri came home from the hospital. Here is her Big Brother welcoming her home with a kiss:

Two eyes

I received a phone call from school yesterday that Korri had an accident in gym involving her glasses. She went to the nurse's office for an ice pack for her eye but her glasses were toast. Great! Luckily, we don't buy expensive glasses for this very reason. She felt terrible about it when she got home (I wasn't sure if she was crying because her glasses were broke or because she was remembering how much it hurt) but we told her that accidents happen. This is different than the time I told her and Finn to stop wrestling and then her glasses broke right after. Hmmm...

Anyway, after taking Finn to Chess Club after school (and a fun short visit with the Koch family!), Korri and I headed to Walmart. They weren't able to fix them permanently (I really didn't want to be back in two days because they broke again, but they will work as a backup, WHEN this happens again!), so we picked new frames that her current lenses would fit in. They are VERY similar to her last ones, but they are black...and super cute. Since they make her look older, I guess they are her six year old glasses!!

This is her eye this morning. Honestly, it looks better than it did last night. Maybe she won't end up with a big shiner. Time will tell.

Her next eye appointment is in June, I think. We are down to once a year visits, which is amazing and so nice (since they are in the Cities)! I'm hoping that her prescription hasn't changed, that her eyes have finally outgrown their issues (which lead to patching and glasses to begin with) and that eventually, she won't even need glasses. Again, time will tell. Not a huge deal either way, just one less "thing."