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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.

Tuesday, April 17

Everybody has a belt!

And today, Jim received his white belt! He went to class last night so that today would be his third class (instead of waiting until Thurs).

And here is a short video (Master Chris didn't give me any warning!)

So official now:

Today, I also received my first stripe (red for character) and Finn received his third black stripe (which means he is one black stripe away from testing for his green belt!). So much going on but it is so much fun doing it together.

We officially joined today as a family. There was a bit of sticker shock but there are five of us and it is such a great experience to be doing as a family.

Thursday, April 12

Momma's turn!

And today, I received MY white belt! Of course there wasn't anybody there to take a picture or video (so is the story of my life) BUT I took a selfie with my belt on after class:

It feels good to have a belt. It feels more official (starting out as an adult is very humbling). I REALLY like class. It is for sure a workout (and I'm so glad I'm already in least cardio shape...flexibility and strength will come!). Since Jim won't be traveling next week, maybe each of us can take an evening class instead of just the Tues/Thurs daytime class so we can go to three classes instead of two. We'll see.

AND...Jim should receive HIS white belt next week! How do you keep all these belts and uniforms separate?!?!

Monday, April 9

White belt

Korri received her white belt tonight! She was SO excited.

First she had to demonstrate the skill she has learned already:

Then she received her belt:

She looks so official now! Of course, we had to rush off to grab dinner on our way to gymnastics, so I forgot to take a picture of her with her new belt on. Oops. I'll get one tomorrow.

Side note: keeping things organized, clean and AT karate (Finn forgot his belt tonight!), for three kiddos is tough! They really need to take it on themselves (and I do encourage it), but then I remember they are just kids. Jesus, help me remember all of it! On a positive note, Finn lost his hand pads but we found them tonight at karate! Yeah! It's the little things.

Sunday, April 8

First demo

Finn did his first karate demonstration yesterday! Mr. Newman called and asked if Finn could do a demo at the Delano High School (it is my understanding they only certain students for each demo). Jim thought it was a great idea and said yes right away. Me, in my usual social anxiety way, didn't think it was necessary, but Jim was going to handle it. Okay, it worked with our schedule, so fine.

Well, Jim ended up being sick Saturday morning so I had to take Finn (sound familiar...reminiscent of Finn's karate tournament?!?!). But honestly, this was much easier than the tournament and Finn did great! There were different belt levels there and they had each level show different skills. It was pretty fun to watch and it made me realize how far Finn has come. I mean, he was front and center doing his moves and he didn't even flinch. This is the boy who won't do anything if people can see him or if he's even close to the center of attention.

I told Jim that I think God is using these activities to get me out of my shell. I had no interest in doing either of these events with Finn but in the end, I LOVED seeing him perform and do so well. On our way out afterward, he said, "I love doing things with just you, mommy!" Okay, buddy, I need to slow down and take that in! What an amazing moment. Especially for a nine year old boy!

Party of five!

So, now all five of us are active members of the Dojo Karate in Buffalo! Yes, Jim and I had our first class on Thursday. I was very nervous to do it. I really don't like new things and not knowing what to expect. And it is humbling to join a class with other adults when you are literally like a baby and don't know ANYTHING! But Mr. Newman was VERY patient with us and it was an amazing class. But holy workout! I was not expecting a full workout nor to sweat through my shirt! Sheesh! (I was pretty sore the next day, but in addition to the 45 min karate class, I ran a 5K in 28:09 that morning and shoveled snow that afternoon, so I guess its expected!) Jim and I are hoping to go to their Tues and Thurs daytime class and then maybe switch off one evening class per week (they are late, so we'd have to take turns vs. bringing the kiddos with us).

Also, one benefit of the daytime class is that Mac can take the class right after us, so it is like hitting two birds with one stone. Oh, and he literally sat "like a black belt" which means cross-cross apple sauce with your hands on your knees for our entire 45 minute class! Mr. Newman was very impressed but then thanked us for sending Mac to class with all that pent up energy! Oops, but I'll take a well behaved kid during our class over being super active in his karate class any time!

And I spoke too soon. You know how as soon as you say something, your kids make a liar out of you? Well, if you refer to my previous post, I said we weren't allowing Korri to start karate until gymnastics was over in May. BUT...okay. She REALLY wanted to start AND at least for right now, she will always be in either Mac's or Finn's isn't any extra driving and if her other activities over lap on a karate day, she will have to miss that karate class. So, we agreed to let her start on Friday! And she ROCKED it. I mean, her years of gymnastics and dance have primed her for karate. She's flexible, strong, knows how to manipulate her body and take direction very well!! She is so amazing and she LOVED it. So it feels like the right choice.

Now, yesterday, I pulled together a family meeting to stress the point that the belt level you are at and how hard you work for the next one is PERSONAL and not competitive between family members. I could see Jim and I getting competitive and certainly Finn and Korri (Mac is on a different belt color system for now). And right now, I have a feeling Korri and I might advance a little quicker just because we are both in shape (and Jim will be traveling for work, so he physically can't go to class). But at the end of the day, I wanted to stress that it is a competition inside yourself, not external. Hopefully that sank in for everybody (even myself, because I've realized lately that I can have a pretty fierce competitive drive at time!).

Tuesday, April 3

Mighty Dragon

As you know, Finn started Karate in January and has been doing really well. Mac has wanted to started since the firs time we watched Finn at class, but he was doing a dance class and ice skating lessons, so Jim and I agreed, he had to wait until they were over. Well, once they were, Mac said he didn't want to any more! Fine by me!

But he changed his mind on Friday! Master Chris got him a uniform and Mac immediately went into Finn's class (I thought to watch but nope, they had him fully participate!).

OMG, so stinkin' cute! And he did a GREAT job during the class. Well, Mac went to his second class on Saturday and since Finn is a more advanced belt, he got to be a helper in Mac's class (which I think is great for Finn!). Plus, there were three kiddos in Mac's class, so with Finn's help, they had a one to one ratio with kids to teachers. And Mac earned his white belt!!

Video of his white belt:

Because of Mac's age, he is in the Mighty Dragons class, which is actually white belts with colored stripes until they are old enough to earn the "regular" belts. So for right now, we have a white belt (Mac's next will be white with gold stripe) and a gold belt (Finn's next will be green belt). And we got a uniform for Korri but we aren't letting her start until after gymnastics is the middle of May. Fun, fun!!

Friday, March 30

And my DNA says...

...that I AM Irish!

For Christmas, Jim got me the 23andMe DNA kit. I've been wanting to do it for a while, but it is kind of expensive and I just never bit the bullet (and part of me was scared to find out where my ancestors came from in case I wasn't actually Irish!). Anyway, I finally mailed in my saliva sample in February and waited (not patiently!) for the results.

Well, today the reports came back. While this DNA kit tells you a LOT about yourself, I was most interested to see what nationalities I'm made up of. And honestly, a little worried that I wasn't even Irish...would have been a huge blow considering I've thought I was Irish my whole life (with a maiden name of Walsh, who wouldn't?!?!) and named my three children with Irish names!

And I AM IRISH!!! Quite a bit actually. Here are my major ethnicities:

European: 99.9%

Break down of European:
German: 46%
Irish/English: 37%
Broadly Northwestern Europe: 12%
Rest: small mix of lots of others!

My strongest genetic match was with Ireland and United Kingdom, even though I have more German DNA. Weird. So I'm a stubborn, thrifty (German traits) and have a temper but never complain (Irish traits!). Yup, sounds an awful lot like me :)

There's a ton of information provided that will take a while to go through. If any of you have done it, let me know and we can link our accounts! If any family members want specific details on health or genetic things, just let me know!

So much fun, especially for me since I really thought I was just a "mutt." Now I have a concrete answer for where my ancestors came from.