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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, April 20

Different kid, different rules

Proof that there are different rules for different kids? Korri started piano lessons yesterday!! (A mere seven months after Finn started!). And I'll tell you why.

Growing up, my piano teacher (who was amazing!) always started student lessons in 2nd grade. So I had that in my head as a benchmark for when Finn would start. I talked to my music-teacher-friend Andrea and she said she tended to agree unless the lessons were shorter because they don't really have the attention span before that. AND piano lessons are EXPENSIVE!!! I looked through Community Ed and they were $18 per lesson...like over $70 per month! Ouch! And that's for ONE student! Double ouch for two.

The choir director at our church offers piano lessons (for CHEAP!!) and she just happened to have a spot open for Finn at the start of this school year (God always provides!!). Perfect. Well, once Finn started, Korri really REALLY wanted to do it too. I kept brushing her off, saying she could in two years. But she was super interested and would sit at the piano and plunk away, not knowing what to do or how to play. The idea of starting her early stayed in the back of my mind.

Learning the parts of the piano.
I talked to Finn's teacher during the winter session and she said she would consider taking Korri early if she had the interest and ability to pay attention long enough but she didn't have any openings. Okay, it just wasn't the right time. Normally, she ends lessons in April for the year but decided to do a short spring session for a few of her students. So I reached out again and asked if she had an opening and if she thought now would be a good time for Korri to give it a try. And she did and she did!

Playing her first notes!
So, Korri had her first lesson last night. Just like Finn's first lesson, I went along. We had Finn go first so Korri could see what a lesson looked like. She was VERY interested in what he was doing. And when it was her turn, she sat down like she owned the place. She was a super good listener and I could tell she LOVED it. The second we got home, she asked if she could play her new song from her lesson book! Um, yes!


If video doesn't load, try this link: https://goo.gl/photos/zVzh2uRwXQq64jeZ6

And this morning she asked if she could play it more than once before her next lesson (bad habits from her older brother of not practicing?!?!). I chuckled and told her she could practice her song every day! Her huge smile told me how excited she was to get to play and that this was the right decision for her.

So, yes. There are rules and guidelines that should be followed for lots of reasons. But there are also times when you need to look at the circumstances and at your individual child's needs and make the decision to break or change a rule for them. Now I just need to trust them to sit quietly while the other is having their lesson!

Sunday, April 16

He is Risen!

Despite (or because?) the suffering Jesus endured, Easter is such a special time! Jesus dying on the cross so that we may have eternity in heaven with him is so powerful and the ultimate gift. I felt it deeply this Easter maybe in part because Finn and I are going through First Communion lessons and I'm trying to help him experience mass and his faith in a deeper, more personal way. Regardless of why, Easter was fabulous this year (minus Church on Easter Sunday, but more on that later).

John, Kelsie and Tucker came to visit for the weekend. While Kelsie was working Saturday morning, we dyed Easter eggs! Neither Jim nor I WANTED to do it (it takes a lot of prep work, patience and clean up), but I'm so glad we did. Everybody had a fun time.




The Easter Bunny came over night Saturday and hid eggs outside and hid their baskets inside. He must have heard the kids wonder if he was going to write them a note because he did AND put a note at the top of the stairs to not go downstairs without mom and dad (the Bigs got a HUGE hit out of that!). Mac was still sleeping, so the Bigs got to go down and look for their baskets. Korri found hers first (on the mantel behind the plant!) but Finn's took a while (in the hat/glove box behind the front door!).  Then Mac woke up and tried to find his. I swear the Easter Bunny thought he hid Mac's fairly easily (in the book box next to the toy box just behind him in the pic below) but at one point I had to "easi-fy" it even further, after which he found it. They all got a couple gifts and surprise/candy-filled eggs in their baskets and then the Bunny left a big bowl of Easter candy on the table for everybody (weird, that is what MY Easter Bunny did when I was young...Hmmm...). Then Tucker woke up and found his Easter stash (under the end table! So much fun.




Then Jim and I were ready to go back to bed, but the eggs outside weren't going to find themselves, so once it was 50 degrees out, I agreed it was time. But it was freaking COLD! Mac and Tucker found theirs pretty quickly (each kid had their own color...the Easter Bunny must have taken tips from Auntie Becca last weekend!). Finally, we came in with Korri needing to find one and Finn two (it was just too windy!). They eventually did find them all (note to Easter Bunny: under the rain spout was the hardest one to find!).



After the egg hunt, we got ready for church. Now keep in mind, we hardly EVER all go to church together. Usually Jim stays home with Mac. But I mean, how bad can he really be in church? Well, let me tell you Easter morning service in NOT the time to find out! Church was PACKED so there was no place to take him when he was screaming his guts out...multiple times! If you ever doubted the power of prayer, you better believe it was the only thing that kept him alive during the whole service! And now it will be months again before he is allowed back. Seriously, I thought I was going to lose my mind. The better solution would probably be to take him ever week so he gets used to it but I get so much more when it is just the Bigs (and when they leave for half the service for Children's Liturgy, which Mac isn't old enough for yet!). I didn't get a picture of us all decked out in our Easter clothes (ARGH!!), but here is Mr. Mac all dolled up before Church:

After church we ate lunch and took a much needed nap (I think I slept for almost two hours!!). Then the kiddos and I made Resurrection Rolls. Have you heard of them? They represent Jesus rising from the dead. Basically, you take a marshmallow, coat it with butter and cinnamon/sugar and wrap in premade dough. Then you back it and when it comes out, where the marshmallow was (the marshmallow representing Jesus), it is hallow, representing the empty tomb! I liked the message, it was fun to do with the kiddos and they tasted AMAZING! Like, I'd make them any day for any reason!! But hopefully they become a tradition.

Then we had Easter dinner with Lynn, DeAnn, Les, John, Kelsie, Tucker, Wiggle Ann and Landon! I love that we can all fit at our table (keep in mind our table is HUGE and the kiddos sat at the kiddie picnic table).

NeNe and Memere with their babies:

Sending each of you peace, love and Easter blessings. "And this is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life." 1 John 2:25

Tuesday, April 11

Sampler

So, as all of you know, Mac has a summer birthday, which is GREAT for throwing birthday parties but not so great when thinking about school. Will he be ready when he's five? Should we hold him back? He could be challenged if sent on time or bored if held back. He might be a giant in comparison for his peers if we hold him back, which I don't want (but at least he's a boy!). See?!?! This over analysis goes on and on (and on!) in my head.

Well, we signed Mac up for preschool for this coming fall. But part of me still felt like he is so young! Let's be honest, the trend is to hold back summer kids, especially if they have August birthdays...which means with his July birthday, he legit could be the youngest kid in his class. Anyway (more over analysis!), our ECFE program offered a Preschooler Sampler this spring for kids who are age eligible for preschool in the fall. It is once a week for four weeks. I drop him off at 8:45 and pick him up at 10:45. So it gives them a taste of what preschool will be like. This is the description:

At the sampler class your child will have the opportunity to experience all the activities the preschool curriculum offers, such as activities that build thinking skills, group time, music, free play and large motor play. The OWL Literacy Curriculum will be highlighted.


Mac had his first day of Preschool Sampler yesterday. For those of you who know our morning schedule, to be up and out the door by 8:20 is NOT an easy feat...I had to wake the poor lad up! He was a little confused when we got there because it is the same building as our ECFE class (it is one classroom down from ECFE). We signed him in, hung his coat in his locker (that had his name on it and everything!! So official.) and walked in to the new room. He saw a reading nook that had a canopy over it and immediately said, "Look, momma, a hideout!" And he was off. I waited a few minutes and then had to beg him for a "hud and a tiss" (i.e. hug and a kiss) before I left. It may have also helped that three or four of his friends from ECFE where also in the Sampler, so there were a few familiar faces.


And...shocker (not!), he did great! I even got two thumbs up from the teacher when I picked him up. He told me he played with dinosaurs. I'd love to be a fly on the wall...or have a live video feed! Ha, and I'm honestly NOT a helicopter parent!!! Just curious. Plus, I really enjoyed my two hours of freedom (I got to spend it with my husband before he left for a week-long business trip)!!

Monday, April 10

Easter Birthday Birthday Party!

What happens when you have two birthdays that fall the same week as Easter? You combine your celebration, that's what!

After much ado, we decided that the Walsh sister Easter celebration would be combined with Katie's first birthday and Austin's 11th birthday and we would do it ON Austin's birthday the Sunday before Easter.

We were happy to host at our house and fun was had by all. We started out with the Easter celebration. We ate a big Easter meal (ham and potatoes, of course!) at 1pm followed by an indoor egg hunt. The weather predicted rain but then didn't rain until MUCH later. Oh, well. I hid the eggs based on a difficulty/age ratio and I think every had just enough of a challenge.


After opening their eggs, eating the candy inside and playing with their treasures (all provided by auntie Becca!), we sang happy birthday to the birthday kids and had birthday cake, which I was honored to make for Katie (Austin prefers DQ cake, which Auntie Kristine provided!).


The cake is supposed to be a giant cupcake with a ladybug for the top part. Ben thought it was a bumblebee, which I think is pretty close to a lady bug. I'll take it. It matched the party decorations that I, I mean, Becky picked out ;)


Then people just hung out and the kiddos and big boys played outside for a bit (until the rain finally arrived complete with thunder!). Oh, and Auntie NaeNae set up her mobile salon and cut hair, which is so darn convenient!!

Honestly, it was a pretty relaxed day filled with family and fun. We even had all twelve grandchildren present at one time, which only happens about once per year. (a picture was taken but I don't have a copy yet!!) Happy Birthday and Easter to all. Now I'm starting to gear up for Easter celebration #2 this weekend with the Thomas clan.