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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 15


Mac has struggled with articulating his "k" and "g" sounds since, well, forever. He occasionally says other sounds wrong...but I think he's just being lazy with those. When Mac was between 2.5 and 3 years old, my friend Jess, who is a speech therapist for young children, told me not to even really think about it until he is 4 because they most likely wouldn't do anything to correct it until then anyway. Okay, easier said than done, but she's the expert and I totally trust her and her advice.

Move forward about a year and last spring, Mac had his Kindergarten screening and they flagged him for articulation (duh!). But since he turned 4 over the summer, they had me come in at the end of school last year to get everything set up to test him this fall, if it were still an issue. It is/was.

Well, that testing happened over the last month and the school speech therapist called today with the results...he doesn't qualify for services. Now a bunch of conflicting emotions went through me. I'm so happy he isn't "bad" enough to need services, but I feel like he still needs help, so now we are stuck int he middle in "no man's land." I talked with her for a bit, which was somewhat helpful.

I'll get the actual report on Wed, but she said to qualify you need to score 70 (percent, I'm assuming) and Mac scored 90. Again, good news! She said that once they test you, they won't test again for a year and she thinks once he's in Kindergarten, it will all come...but we could test again at any point during his next school year. The older you get, the threshold for qualification changes (which is why they waited until 4 to test him to begin with!). Mac's pediatrician told me at his well child appointment that at this age, if they can understand over 75% of their speech, they usually aren't worried. And I think most people can understand almost 100% of what he says...because he is great at verbalizing and communicating. She said I could come in and meet with her and she can give me tips and tricks to try at home. Thank you, but I still felt like crap.

Jim didn't answer when I called him, so I did the next best thing...text Jess to get her thoughts. Thankfully she is the BEST and called me right away and we chatted. Basically, Mac CAN make those sounds but just isn't (when we have him exaggerate the "k" sound, he can) and that is a good thing. If he physically couldn't make the sounds, we'd have a much bigger problem to deal with. She also said that "k" and "g" are harder to learn because they are in the back of the throat and his substitutions ("t" and "d" respectively) are common and appropriate. I felt SO much better after talking with her and she basically said to try to work with him for 5 minutes a day in a fun game-playing way and that it will come. I really appreciated her perspective and advice.

As any other parent knows, any time your child struggles or lags behind in any area, it is hard. And if anything positive came out of our early journey with Finn, is that I learned how to advocate for my children and know when things aren't right. Mac's articulation isn't "right" but at least I know it isn't a huge deal right now. We can check into private speech therapy but that usually isn't covered by insurance and gets really expensive real quick. So we are back into a "wait and see" holding pattern. I don't like waiting.

In the meantime, I'll just keep loving this beautiful face. I told him right before this picture that I was going to kiss his face until it fell off! He thought that was hilarious! And yes, he's wearing PJ's and one of my workout headbands!

Thursday, September 13

Broken Board - TWICE!

Okay, as you know, Finn broke a board a few months ago. But the situation has never presented itself for either Korri or Mac and I was starting to feel bad for Korri because she REALLY wanted to. Well, tonight Korri and Mac (while Finn was at flag football practice) agreed to do a karate demonstration at Street Party of Hope in Buffalo benefiting Buffalo Hospital Foundation's Community Cancer Care Fund (out of the goodness of their hearts to support a good cause...and to get Dojo Dollars to spend on karate stuff!!).

I think it was the first demonstration for both kiddos. Anyway, after both kiddos went to the Dojo booth to jump in the bouncy house for a bit and then they got hungry. As we were leaving, Master Chris asked if Korri had already broken a board tonight and I told him she'd NEVER broken a she did!

She said it was really easy and wondered if they had a "medium" board to try! That's my girl!

And then they asked if Mac wanted to! I was like, um yeah!

I mean, the first attempt was really just to check out the situation, right?

They were both so proud of themselves! I love the confidence karate gives them. Even in the demonstration...they are in front of a LOT of people whom they don't know and they did what they were told and did it well.

Now, when are mommy and daddy going to break a board? LOL

Mac's graduation to his blue double striper belt is tomorrow night! He's SO excited.

Monday, September 10

Second first day

Today was Mac's second first day of preschool, but first day of Pre-K (4's and 5's compared to 3's and 4's last year). And I think I'm going to like afternoon preschool vs morning. He can get up when he wants, he can slowly ease into the day (i.e. have some tablet time!), eat breakfast (or two or three!). I'm hoping that was the issue last year with not wanting to go to school.

Anyway, he was more than ready today. In fact, we ended up having to wait for the bus, even though his pickup time was at 12:15, which is the time school is supposed to start! Weird...but we are only 4 minutes from school, but still!

This was his "really excited" face:

And me with my baby:

We took these pictures around 11:50 because with that weird pickup time, I was worried the bus would actually be early. Ha, I needn't have worried. We played basketball to pass the time.

And finally at 12:22pm, it came!

I remember the time because I had a hair appointment at 12:30 and Google said it took 6 minutes to drive there! Plenty of time!

He really has grown up so much in a year. His confidence and personality amaze me every day, and make me crack up a lot of the time! I can't wait to see what he does this year.

He came home on the big bus with the Bigs and when I asked how his first day was, he said it was short. I asked if that meant it went fast and he said no, it was just short! So I think he must have had fun!

My babies aren't such babies any more. I wonder when I'll actually come to terms with that fact?!?! Probably in twenty years! Who am I kidding? Probably NEVER!!! ;)

And finally, last year's first day (left) compared to this year's first day (right):
He's gotten quite a bit taller!

Tuesday, September 4

A First for our First Day

Today was the first day of school for Finnegan (4th grade) and Korrigan (2nd grade). It was like any other first day of school...try to get sleepy kids moving, making sure everything is in their back packs, teeth brushed, pictures taken. Then our morning ended with this:

The bus never came! Or it MIGHT have come, but before getting to our house it stopped, turned around, backed up and went the other way! So after waiting over 45 minutes and the start of school quickly approaching, we decided I would just drive them. So our new first is me dropping them off at school! Can you believe I've NEVER done that before?

It was actually kind of fun. And Korri was having a difficult time with being late (which she technically wasn't...she's just used to being early), so I was able to walk her to her classroom and connect with her teacher about it. I was volunteering for the incoming Kindergartners anyway, so it all worked out. But, sheesh!

So, here is my big 4th grader this morning:

This is his last first day of school picture in elementary! I can't believe middle school is knocking on our door. I need to stop thinking about it. There's plenty of time to worry about that in the months ahead!

Here is my very excited second grader (which is a HUGE blessing):

She's all sass. She picked out her outfit and hair style. She picked the blue spray for in the hair and she requested to pose in her picture! Love her so much.

I couldn't even bribe them to actually touch, but here they are in the same picture at least (that's something, right?):

We took a LOT of pictures while waiting for the bus, but I won't post them all here! Here's hoping for a better drop off this afternoon!

May God bless this school year and keep all children safe and help to create an environment where they can learn and be successful!! Amen.

Thursday, August 30

Splits Club

At karate, they have different badges that you can work toward achieving; like attendance, academic, sparring, etc. Well, one of them is the Splits Club and it is exactly what it sounds like: do the splits and you earn the badge.

Well, Korri has been working on doing the full splits for a while (forward not front and back) and has been SO close. Today at class, I mentioned to Master Hourscht that she thought she was ready to test for it. At the end of the class, Mr. Newman tested her:

And she did them with only a faction of space at the bottom (which is allowed!)!! So proud of this girl and her determination. I really don't know anybody else who sets goals like her and works unceasingly to accomplish them, especially when it comes to manipulating her body. She is now working on one-handed hard...but I know she'll do it!!!

Wednesday, August 15

Anchored in Faith

I have amazing memories of Bible camp from when I was growing up. I went to Lake Beauty Bible Camp and Pilgrim Point Camp and I often went by myself! Well, Korri was asked to go to Camp Omega with her friend Maria and I wasn't too sure if she'd want to or how it would go.

Ha, I should NOT have worried in the least. She said yes immediately and was super excited about it (I didn't even bother asking Finn!). The nice thing about THIS camp is that it is was for three days and two nights, which I think is perfect for this age range (6-8 year olds). Also, it was the same theme (Anchored in Faith) as her VBS was last week and even had the same counselors!!

I dropped her off Sunday at 4pm and after waiting in quite the registration line (note to future self: get there BEFORE check in starts!), we found Korri's cabin and she was ready for me to go! I think it helped that she was there with her friend Maria and a new friend she's been getting to know through Maria's church, Elizabeth.

Even though Korri got a bottom bunk and she really wanted a top bunk, she didn't fuss at all! I was very proud of her. Maria's mom threatened life and limb if we didn't get a picture of the girls outside their cabin and I'm happy to report that both Maria's dad AND I remembered!

And then I left. Let me tell you, it was far more difficult on me to leave than it was on Korri! I just kept thinking about her and what she was doing. I knew she would be okay, especially since Maria went last year and she knows how to take care of things! The camp offered "Bunk Notes" so I could send emails to her that were delivered to her cabin, so that made me feel better (although I found out later that she received all but one right before I picked her up!).

The boys went to Memere's for a few days, so Jim and I enjoyed some time alone. And then before I knew it, it was Tuesday morning and time to pick Korri up! Jim and I got there just before 11am for their closing ceremony, where they talked about their bible verses and sang songs. Then we signed Korri out, took a couple pictures and headed home!

Korri's counselor's name was Holly and their high school helper was Anastasia (Anna). We kind of grilled her on the way home but she couldn't remember a lot of details. But every few minutes, she'd think of something new to share. One of the best things was that she told me she helped two girls who were homesick (which was also verified by one of the other moms!) and even gave one of them her stuffed animal to sleep with! She really and truly does have an amazingly kind heart. She said SHE didn't get homesick at all and wants to go for a week next time! That's my girl!

Here are a few pictures that I got off the camp's website and a couple I took at the closing ceremony:

So, she already said she's going next year! Hopefully we can coordinate with Maria and Elizabeth again (I think it's always more fun to know a couple people). Thank you, Kochs, for including Korri! Great memories were made!

Another thing to note for my future self: when the suggested packing list says to bring "toiletries" it means to include shampoo and conditioner! least it was only two nights!!

Oh and on the way home, we stopped in Jordan at MN's largest candy store! I mean, when in Rome, right? Jim wasn't feeling great, so Korri and I went in and had so much fun (last time we went it was PACKED and it was NOT when we went this time, which was so nice!).

Korri picked a giant push-up sucker and a peach lemonade for herself, Harry Potter candy for Finn and a sour toilet candy thing for Mac (he'd gotten one a couple years ago from Dr. Bob and talks about it ALL. THE. it was a no brainer when we saw it!). I picked up a pecan nut roll for Jim and me (Yum-O!) and some Zott's to share. We got out of there for under $20...which clearly tells you that Jim did NOT go in! It was fun spending time with just my girl!