Archive for the ‘Fiona’ Category

I’m going to assume most parents don’t want to hear these words spoken to them. We sure didn’t when they were uttered to us in a surgeon’s office the week before Christmas 2017.  We were gutted! I swear my heart skipped a beat (or three.) That day we walked back to the car with our littlest daughter in tow in a daze and from that moment on I’ve been marking time in before-we-knew-Fiona-needed-surgery and after-we-found-out-Fiona-needed-surgery.



The sassiest person you’ll ever meet

Since that day I’ve been obsessively googling: Duplex Kidneys, Hydronephrosis, Vesicoureteral Reflux, Da Vinci Robot, Robotic Pyeloplasty, UPJ Obstruction. I’ve studied the HELL out of this. In short, Fiona was born with a congenital abnormality that is oftentimes detected on ultrasounds while in utero except her’s wasn’t. She needs reconstructive surgery on her left kidney to preserve it. If you’d like to know more, I’d be happy to tell you all about it the next time I see you in person.

This is scary. I’ve been holding my breath since we found out about it. On the other hand, this has been a gift. I’ve been changing the way I’m moving through this whole experience. I don’t want to over-focus on the rough edges of it all.  Instead, I want to be thankful- actually, I AM thankful. I’m so thankful we have the best pediatrician (seriously- THE BEST ). He didn’t dismiss my mommy intuition when I felt like there was something really wrong with my kid. He ordered more tests instead of assuming it was “just a virus” again. I’m thankful that our journey led us to MPLS Children’s Hospitals and Clinics that ultimately led us to our surgeon. If your kid needs this surgery- this is the guy you want to do it. He has advanced Harvard training, in this specific type of surgery, using the robot that will assist him in Fiona’s surgery.  If that wasn’t divinely designed- I don’t know what is. I’ve felt like we’ve been cared for throughout this whole process so far, and I don’t see why that would end now and so…

Our girl has her big day on Monday morning. I’m excited for her to “get fixed” and for her to recover and get a body that doesn’t hurt so much. She’s most likely been living in pain her whole life, and because she doesn’t know any different, has assumed it’s normal. If you pray, meditate, light candles, hold crystals to your heart or summon your guardian angels- please do so for our girl on Monday. I’m sure she’d do the same for you.



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Andrews Family Photos Linden Hills Park

Oh my sweetest Fiona. Today you are 3 and my heart feels so full. There’s a bitter-sweetness to watching your baby grow up. As your baby grows, a parent tries to savor all of the firsts and the lasts…the last first steps, the last bottle, the last time you bend over to place your baby in a crib….and all of the others. You’ve completed our family (I hope. I feel done. LIKE, SO SO DONE!) We couldn’t have asked for a better daughter. You, in a lot of ways, are everything I want to be. You stick up or yourself and YOU DO NOT BACK DOWN. NEVER, EVER. It doesn’t matter if your opponent is your sister or is someone you call dad and is much bigger and stronger than you. Does.not.matter. They meet your wrath just the same You will have your demands met. As a woman in this world, under the current set of circumstances that personality just might serve you well, my dear. But, then, there is this other side of you. It’s the side I can see in the photo I included in this letter. The side that is so disarming. The side that leans in with puckered lips for a full on wet kiss. The side that wraps tiny arms around your neck on a sad day. The side that gently pets your favorite animal- cats or the side that lovingly comforts your dog with a “oh hey buddy-you’re ok.” You’re tough as hell, but also as sweet as pie. That’s what I love best about you.

You’re the funniest person I know. You were born with a sense of humor. You’re seriously the only 2 (now 3, yay) year old that I’ve met that makes up their own jokes and sketch comedy. Brilliant! You’re also the only person to consistently burn me on an almost daily basis. It’s ok. I respect it 🙂

I didn’t know if I would be a good mom of two. I felt like the minute you were born, I was born all over again as a mother of two. It’s been different. I’ve had to learn how to not only parent two kids- but to also parent each kid differently. I’m a different kind of mother to you than I am to your sister. For example, when your sister gets hurt- she wants immediate attention and “saving”. She wants the hugs, kisses and the make-it-all-betters. When you get hurt, you first need space to work through the anger, pain and frustration or whatever else is going on in there. If I rush in- I’m oftentimes pushed away and told “leave me alone.” Then, after a pause, you can accept the hugs, kisses and the make-it-all-betters. A lot of this, I’m learning as we go along. We’re growing up together  in this way and learning as we go. I’m not sure that will ever go away.

You will always be my baby. Even when you’re 30 and I ask for “my baby” I’m going to mean you. We’re bonded in a special way because of that and in it lives a tenderness that I’m getting used to. I’m so so so happy you are here. You were meant to be. From the moment you were born you’ve made us all better. Thank you so very much.

You are my heartbeat little monkey. Happy 3rd birthday sweetie (after I typed that I just heard your little voice in my head say, “DON’T call me sweetie!)



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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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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
photo (3)

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?


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