Dear Esther,


You turn the big 04 on the 27th! This birthday is hard for me. Why? Where do I start? Because my own permanent memories began at four years old and I’m assuming yours will too. I can vividly remember walking down the block I grew up on holding my mother’s hand. We walked to the bus stop every Saturday morning to ride it downtown Minneapolis – 912 Nicollet Mall. That was where the beauty salon she owned stood. I would spend all day at the shop listening to the ladies chat and watch my mom transform women from the inside out. A lot of my most favorite times happened at that beauty shop…as well as my education about life, love and hardships. Also, I remember my patent leather church shoes…my most prized possession. Grandpa Dewey would pretend to shine them every Sunday before church. I’d hop up on his bed and hang my legs down from the edge and let him make them look shiny and new again before rushing off to Sunday School. I could go on and on. My point is, is that I’m very worried. I feel like NOW you too will have LASTING memories of me and your father. Not that the previous years haven’t counted, but I feel like now I’ve really got to dig in and make it count. I want you to someday tell your children (if you decide to go that route) all about how your daddy used to wrestle with you and your sister on the living room floor. Or how mommy took you to dance class on Saturday mornings and then the two of you would sneak off to Target afterwards for treats. Don’t forget about how daddy falls asleep in your bed snuggling or mommy paints your nails just how you like them- black or dark red with sparkles on top.


As your mom I question if I’m doing it right on a daily basis. I’m guessing I’m not alone in this. I’m sure most mothers feel this way- if they’re being honest with themselves. I wonder whether I was a little too harsh with you, or if I wasn’t stern enough. Am I making sure I’m giving you the tools to go out into the world with confidence, self esteem and a little bit of kick ass- ness?. Did I make you sad today? Did I say the right thing or the wrong thing? Were those berries I just fed you covered in pesticides? Are you getting enough calcium….see the questions are endless. This year counts- just as the previous ones did too- but again- for some reason there has been a shift inside me. I want you to have good memories.


I’m old enough now to be a realist and my pessimist meter has always leaned a bit towards the half empty side. I wish it didn’t, but most days it does. I know that when it comes to parenting, I will fail…probably more than I’d like to. I will struggle, I will fall down. I expect to. It means I care and it means I AM TRYING with everything I’ve got. And truly- really…if I am honest with myself…isn’t that at the core of what really matters? If you remember nothing else…remember that I tried every.single.day to be the best mom to you, because that’s what you deserve. On days when I wanted to pull the covers over my head and ignore the day, the knowledge that you needed me got me outta my head and off my ass to get up and participate in life. You help me realize that my actions, matter. Not only that, you motivate and encourage me to continuously learn and grow because if I am to teach you “all of the things” then I better learn “all of the things.”


I’m not sure where to take this post from here. This was supposed to be about you- but a lot of it has been about me. I guess too, 4 is when I finally realized that my own mother was a person too. She wasn’t just my mom. She had a name and friends and likes and dislikes. She was perfect and imperfect and sometimes got impatient with me. I saw her fail and cry and sometimes she got scared. It’s a little startling for a child when you first start to notice these things. I image you have already noticed some of these things in me too. Even so, your love for me never waivers. Sometimes you tell me you don’t like me anymore when I make you go to bed, but I know it’s just the anger talking . I want you to  know/notice that I am not perfect and I hope that gives you permission to not be perfect either and to know that IT IS OK. Fall, fail, stumble, cry, yell, be scared. It means you’re living and not just existing. But, also- smile, scream with joy, leap, jump, be passionate, cheer, ask questions…all of the questions. Be limitless. It is your right.


Esther, you are perfect in my eyes . You could never do anything- seriously- anything that would change my adoration and love for you. It’s by design. Before bed a few weeks ago I asked you how you were going to change the world and you responded, “I’m going to give hugs when people are sad. I’m going to share happiness and love.” How can a response be any more perfect than that? Especially in the world in which we are existing in today.


Here’s to making lasting memories that will build upon a foundation that was stated 4 years ago when we first saw each other that Friday morning in that hospital room the day of your birth. You looked at me with those big brown eyes knowingly. I melted. We fell in love. That is one of my most favorite memories of all. The moment I became a mother- you did that. We’ve got so much more to do. I’m so excited.


Happy 4th birthday little monkey! You are my happy thought.


Oh my sweet Fiona. Here I am posting your Happy Birthday post almost 2 weeks later. Yes, I do have second child syndrome, but I don’t love you any less. I actually think you’re getting a better deal. You’re getting the lax mom. I don’t freak out (too much) when you spike a temp. When you sneak and eat Sparky’s food I don’t freak out and google, “can a baby die from eating kibble?” or “how many pounds does a child need to be to safely metabolize a hand full of dry dog food?” I don’t freak out when you bump your head and I totally didn’t rush you to the ER that one time you actually fell off of our bed. See totally relaxed.

Before you, your older sister was our world. We showered our everything onto her. I knew having you would be the best thing to happen to our family. You taught us we were capable of loving more than we thought we could and also, that your sister was capable of NOT being the center of our universe. Well, we’re still working on that second part, but she’s made significant strides in the right direction.

One of the most wonderful things about you joining us this past year was watching the bond between you and your sister grow. It warms my heart to know that you are each other’s person. My hope is that you’ll always be close. Long after daddy and I are gone, you’ll need someone who knows you, someone who loves you no matter what. Esther will hopefully be that person for you and my little munchkin, I hope you’ll return the favor.

Fiona, I must say that I love your little personality. I know it’s offensive, thanks to your father and another very dear friend of mine, to say that red heads are fire-y and quick to anger, but…….IT’S one of my favorite things about you- you don’t take no shit! When your sister tries to take a toy, you let her have it! When we are doing something you don’t like, you’ll squirm, scream and make your wishes be know! Good for you, girlfriend, good for you! I think you’re gonna be short like me, so you’re gonna need to be loud and scrappy. I love it. Never change. With that being said, you have a softer side that’s as sweet as raw honey. You can melt hearts with your smile, and your little arms embracing my neck can make a stressful day disappear.  You have a way.  You just do. I don’t have adequate words to describe it, so I won’t try. I’ll just confirm that I recognize it- and I’m blessed to know you. I think that’s what all of us parents hope for- to watch our children become who they’re meant to be. It’s fun to see glimpses as time passes and wonder what more I’ll learn next week, next month and next year.

You completed our family. It feels like you’ve always been there even though you haven’t. I knew I’d have a red haired child and you materialized🙂 I dreamed you into reality. I say to your sister she’s my favorite first born child, because she is. Just like you’re my favorite second born child. I love you equally, and yet in different ways. You two are sisters and there are similarities, but so many differences and it’s wonderful. It adds such a flavor to our family and our every day experiences.

If I’m honest, I’ll say that this year has also stretched me in ways I did not expect. My doctor said going from one child to two, is not as hard as going from two to a family. She was right. With you we’d already been to the rodeo. We knew what to expect with a newborn and we more experienced parents by the time you joined us (not by much as E was barely 2). With that being true, two kids is still TWO KIDS! Especially with two kids 2 and under. Some days I had to smile to keep from crying and escaping through the first exit. Let me not forget to highlight that two kids also equals twice the amount of hugs, love, pride, joy, laughter, funny faces, confirmation that LIFE IS GOOD.

Oh my sweet bugga bugga. How in the hell did we get so lucky? Why did you choose us? Did you know we’d love you this much? Did you make the choice because you knew we needed you? You sister needed someone to be Wonder Woman while she played Bat Man? Did you know we could handle more? That your father and I were looking for something to stretch us- to grow us- to prove to ourselves that we can do it-if we work as a team.

Your sister is my heart- you are my heartbeat. One cannot exist without the other and are equally crucial. I cannot survive without the two of you. Thinking of you always reminds me of a clip from “Mrs. Doubtfire” when Daniel is begging the judge not to strip him of his rights to see his children because the thought of not seeing them everyday is like not having air (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtVLlylQIsI)


THAT is spot on. I need you guys, like I need air. Not having you in my life would be like not breathing- I could not exist. I don’t mean to be all dramatic and overly emotional, but you are my kids, my heart. I know I was meant to mother you. Even when I want to run away from you and have a break, even when you push me to my limits and I want to jump up and down and I think WTF…my worst days with you guys are better than my best days without you…and those were some REALLY fun/great days let me tell you!

Bugga, thank you so much for loving me back. Thank you for blessing our family with your presence. I cannot wait to see what you do this next year and beyond.



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Esther Andrews, almost 3



I am sitting here on the eve of your 3rd birthday and I am overwhelmed in the best way. This time 3 years ago I was on bed rest anxiously awaiting your arrival. After months of barely breathing, or sneezing or lifting anything heavier than a toothbrush….afraid that trying too hard at anything would jeopardize your health, I could finally relax. Now there we were, finally in a safe zone and I allowed myself to actually feel excitement without added fear. We were ready…I was ready to meet you. I imagined what your face would look like. Would you have my eyes? Your father’s nose? What about my long fingers? I’d hoped for the latter because I wanted you to play piano someday😉

When I first met you something changed in me. Immediately I loved you. I can’t adequately descried this experience, because it’s just something you have to go through yourself to really “get”. If you decide to birth your own children into the world, you will understand. Nothing prepared me for that moment. It was everything, I felt everything in a nanosecond- joy, pain, fear, excitement, anxiety, euphoria….the most important…LOVE. I’d read about it, heard GOD be described as it and now I had the honor of finally knowing, feeling it…meeting it. You are love. You are amazing and no matter what happens in this life, please always remember and return to that. Things with shake you, rock and try to destroy you…don’t be moved. Stand in your power. You are love- the most powerful force in the universe.

At 3, you are a threenager for sure. You challenge almost everything and most days it demands that your daddy and I become our best selves so we don’t throw ourselves out of a window. It is normal for you to test your limits at this age…but REALLY…does it need to be so much!!?? Then I remember. You’re our dragon baby so this is par for the course. I remember saying something to your pediatrician when you were a baby about your drastic swings. One minute you’re an angel the next…well…”challenging”. He gave me good perspective by saying it was a good thing. It was a good thing that you can cry your lungs out, that you can wake us up at night demanding our attention because he sees babies who can’t. Babies who are too sick to cry, too weak to be “challenging”. I try to remember those words even now. In the midst of those many tantrums I try to find an ounce of thankfulness. Do I always, no…but I try. That’s one of the many lesson you have taught me. Be thankful, even for the challenges. Sometimes I think you are teaching me way more than I am you.


This year Fiona joined our family. You adore her and the feeling is mutual. You are the only person who can get the good belly giggles out of her. I was worried about how you would be with her. You were used to having us all to yourself, but you’ve done a great job sharing and I’m proud of you. This is what I was hoping for- daughters who could also be friends. My hope is that you two will always be close. Allies. To be fair, I also worried about how I would accept another child. I could not imagine loving anything or anyone as much as you. I had heard from other moms of multiple children that your heart expands and you find a way. It was true. When I saw Fiona’s face, I fell again. I loved this little girl so much! Even though that is true, Esther, there is still a little corner of my heart always reserved for you. Why? Because you MADE me a momma. You were the first to call me “momma”. You were there when I was stumbling through new motherhood. You survived it with me. The mistakes. The times I questioned if I was doing it right. If I was enough. If I could keep you safe. You were there when I questioned why on earth the universe would give me such a gift. You were also there when I rocked it and kicked its ass! You journeyed with me when I figured out how to speak your language. When I could look at you and tell when something was wrong and get resources to help. You watched me as I confidently stepped into my grace. You ARE with me. So for that, my firstborn, you will always be loved by me in a special way reserved only for you. That doesn’t mean you’re my favorite. Both you and Fiona are my favorite!🙂

Esther, happy 3rd birthday my lovie. I hope this year will bring new discoveries and new experiences that will continue to nurture who you are in this world. Each year I learn something new about you and it’s been so cool. Sometimes I look at you and think, “This is amazing! How on earth did we make such a cool person?” Then I remember, we didn’t. You have always been and were just waiting to pick us because you knew we’d give you the space to be who you are. Thanks for choosing us, monkey. This wild ride has been amazing and we can’t wait to pack for the next leg of this adventure.


Love you a million bajillion. You are my happy thought.



Hi. It’s been awhile. I won’t waste time with inserting a bunch of excuses. Basically we had the baby. YAY! She is perfect and delicious…see 10497917_10152415248501195_8709602348851770029_o
Esther loves being a big sister…see
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So life has been good to us. Life with 2 kids is like playing man to man defense (that’s a thing, right? I don’t know sports), but most days parents win! Hooray! I love saying, “my girls” and so here we are.

Esther is almost 3. People refer to the “terrible twos” and while I won’t say she’s been “terrible” she has been full of tantrums. It has been our goal as parents to make our home a haven. A place where our kids feel loved, safe and most of all have a place to decompress. With that being said, we all still have to maintain our sanity. Lately it’s been difficult for E to follow some basic requests like “ok, time for bed” “let’s brush your hair” “let’s not go outside in just our underwear” ya know…easy things like that. I want to nurture the “free spirit” in her, but I also want her to realize that we live in a greater society that has rules (sometimes they’re ok to break, and sometimes not).

We’ve found that E responds to lots of praise and positive reinforcement. So, if that works best, why not go with it. To me, that feels better than punishment or the threat of fear. So we’re going to try nifty little charts I found on the Handbook of Life also known as Pinterest.com. We’re going to start by placing magnets after doing each task. I’m hoping that this will make our bedtime and morning time routine go much smoother. I’ll let ya know how that works out for us.

Have you found anything cool that works for your little one(s)?

I already made Fiona’s a chart but I didn’t post that because it just says “Eat, Sleep, Smile at Mommy/Daddy/Sister, Play with my Hands. and Poop”.

I didn’t think you’d want to see an icon of poop, am I right?


I haven’t been as motivated to blog this time around. Not sure why. Maybe because it’s numero dos and I feel like, “I’ve done this before”.

Lots has happened since last time. I’m going to do a list a updates and will come back later to write more. Hope you all are well and happy out there. I’m really, really looking forward to spring weather.


– I’m on bed rest now. Have been so since 28 weeks

– I was gutted, but kinda expected it

– So grateful to be 33 weeks now!! Hooray

– I found a new doctor because my old one sucked it

– LOVE my new doc

– She’s been amazing so far

– I’m hoping I can make it to 38 weeks like I did with Esther

– I’ve gained TONS of weight this time around

– I’ll blame the baby

-I’m sure she’s gonna come out weighing 20lbs😉

– OMG we’re gonna have 2 children!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

– I have no clue what we’re gonna do about daycare

– Do you want to watch her?

-OMG we’re having a baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Working on taking it easy. Still not on bed rest…just limited activity. Maybe moved a little too much yesterday- so paying for it today. Lesson learned. I’m gonna barely move today and not sneeze too hard Trying to turn things around and think positive and trust that I can hold this baby in for as long as I can. Heck- at this point I’d even take a week late (well, maybe not…talk to me at 38 weeks).


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I’m still here. Already this second baby is getting the short end of the stick- ahhhh poor second baby. I suppose I’ll probably not even wash off her pacifiers and let her tongue kiss the dog too. Oh the joys of parenthood the second time around. You figure out they are actually kinda resilient and you don’t have treat them like glass. Of course, we’ll see how all of this goes when she gets here.

Which leads me to my update and check in. I thought I’d blog a lot more than I am, but of course, we live with a toddler who actually wants us to pay attention to her *sigh*. And then there’s working and Jim’s still in school and (insert many other excuses here).

I went into this pregnancy already at an anxiety level 10+ and it’s only increased from there. Because of our journey with the last pregnancy- which thankfully had a wonderful outcome- I was a little worried about how things would progress this time. I knew I wouldn’t have my guru/savior/most awesome doctor teammate around this time because she moved out of state (HOW DARE SHE ABANDONE ME!!!) and that made me sad. I stuck with the clinic I had before and took on a new doctor. Immediately we clashed and were not on the same page as to how we should treat this pregnancy. I wanted to go to war with Iraq and she wanted to sit back and have tea with Canada. What I mean by that is, I wanted to be as proactive and aggressive as possible. For me that meant getting a stitch on my cervix to close that sucker up. Traditionally this is most effective if done earlier in pregnancy- 12-14 wks. She wanted to just “wait and see” how things went. That meant doing bi monthly ultrasounds and cervical length checks.  I didn’t like that answer so I did what any good millennial would do and I went to find someone who would give me exactly what I wanted- a “Yes of course you’re right”. I sought out an office of specialists who are supposed EXPERTS in this  sorta thing, http://www.uofmmedicalcenter.org/Specialties/Maternal-FetalMedicine/index.htm.

I made an appointment straight away and went skipping into the appointment expecting to be booked into an OR in a matter of days. Imagine my shock and disappointment when the doctor there mirrored exactly what my doctor at my OB clinic said. Again, not  satisfied with what I was hearing (see, total millennial) I reached out to my old doctor I had with Esther  (so glad I saved that cell number, lol). I shared  with her the advice I was given by the other doctors- which was in contradiction to what we had originally planned- and asked if I should get a 3rd/4th opinion. She put my mind at ease a tiny bit, and said it sounded like a good plan. She was encouraged that I made it to 38 wks with Esther and said I’d probably do fine again and to just take it one step at a time. Only then did I finally accept that maybe the universe was trying to tell me something. So I acquiesced  and tried to walk into this pregnancy with a mustard seed sized spec of optimism.

That bring us to today.  I’ve thrown that tiny spec and ran over it with a semi. We’re on the same road we were with Esther. My cervix is failing, it’s now too risky to do a stitch and I’m bitter and angry feeling like, “I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!”. I’m trying to trust and believe that maybe this is meant to be. Maybe the stitch wasn’t the magic silver bullet and that things will be fine. I’m trying to trust my body and believe that it can do this again, but it’s tough. I’m currently not at a place where I can be hopeful. I hope that’s coming. I need it to come soon. For my sake, and my family’s. I want to be wrong about all of my deep, dark imaginings.

I’ve had several doctors appointments over these past few months. I almost have one a week, for sure one every other. Today’s appointment was a follow up to Monday’s when things looked grim.

Well, the jury is still out but today’s appointment went/looked better than Monday.
The baby looks great, as usual. Moving around and is very active. That’s no surprise if she’s going to be anything like Esther.
The cervix is still measuring short and there still is a tiny bit of funneling, but it’s better than it was on Monday, so perhaps the progesterone I started after Monday’s appt is helping with strengthening the cervix- which it’s supposed to do. So that’s a win.
The doctor today was one I haven’t met before. He was  much nicer and understanding. I told him everything I was told by the other doctors. He seemed upset and said that he wished doctors would stop saying that bedrest doesn’t work. Instead he wished they would phrase it like , “we have no hard evidence that is works, but we also don’t have evidence that it doesn’t work.” I told him that for me, I felt bed rest for sure made the difference and got me to term with Esther. I asked if he felt the current course of action was a good one. He said at this point he feels the risk of a cerclage/stitch is greater than keeping an eye on the cervix and maybe ending up on bed rest again. The surgery itself could either burst my bag of waters- which  of course means demise for the baby at this point, or send me into labor- again with a bad outcome.
So, I still have my appointment tomorrow with Clinic Sofia and another one to measure the cervix on Monday with Maternal Fetal.
Currently I’m not on bed rest, but he recommended very limited activities other than work. I asked for specifics and he said basically evenings and weekends are for resting. No housework- laundry vacuuming etc (Oh bummer *sarcasm*.) No exercising or extra walking (Oh shoot *sarcasm*.) No lifting and anything that causes me to strain my abdominal muscles. All of these restrictions until I’m at least 32 weeks. He said that’s the short term goal. Babies born then have less brain bleeds if any- and tend to have very good outcomes.
I’m trying to be optimistic, I really want to be wrong about everything. I hope I am. I hope that I can make it this time around as long as I did with Esther.
I guess, currently anyway, it’s still just a waiting game.
The only bright spot was seeing the baby and I’m pretty much giving birth to Esther’s twin…just 2 years later.
Here she is in all of her peaceful glory (hope that means she’ll be a baby who barely cries and sleeps ALL NIGHT LONG) Ha!🙂
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