Category Archives: Letter to my girls

On hard work and helping others

Dear Rylee,

There are times, as a parent, that you can’t help but stop and realize how proud of your kids you are. As you grow up, I seem to have these little moments with you more and more.

Some of my favorite time spent with you is when it’s just the two of us in the car. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does our conversations are some I hope I never forget.

I don’t think either of us realized that our seemingly casual conversation in early November would morph into a full-family community service project. But I am so glad it did.

We were talking about our upcoming Advent Activity tradition. You were asking me what kind of activities we would have this year. As we talked about the activities we always have on there – getting the Christmas tree, decorating the house, etc. – we also talked about the service-oriented projects I try to include. Like the S.A.N.T.A. project and the community food bank. You mentioned that you wished you, Reese, and Linc could have more than $10 each to spend for each activity so you could buy more food and better toys.

Somewhere in there, I made a suggestion of figuring out how to turn that $60 into more. And that’s how the wreath-making fundraiser was born. You said, “what if we make some extra wreaths and sell them?

I guess you figured since we make Christmas wreaths the day after Thanksgiving anyway, what was a few more? I made a quick post on Facebook that night and started getting comments.

We spent the entire weekend clipping greens, wrapping wreath rings, making bows. For the first time you got to yield the hot glue gun and you styled and decorated nearly every wreath completely by yourself. Reese helped out here and there – she had fun learning to use the nippers. And your brother was just excited to play outside for hours on end.

You didn’t complain once about being tired or bored or cold. All in all, we made 22 wreaths, 3 candy canes, and 7 swags – earning $500 to be used for buying toys and food for our little town!

Actually, I just lied. You did complain. About my choice in Christmas music. :)

Your brother and sister may still be a bit too young yet to truly grasp the magnitude of what your idea meant for our community, but I know you understood. And I think that’s what drove you to work as hard as you did.

I hope you never forget how excited you were every time a new order came in for a wreath. How excited you were to add up how much money you’d earned. How diligently you added up everything that was placed in the cart to ensure you didn’t spend too much. How you beamed with pride every time you told someone about your project. How kids at your school stopped and stared when we made the deliveries to the school. And most importantly, how hard you worked to fulfill those orders.

So back to those moments that make a parent stop in their tracks? This whole project was one of those moments for me. I am so, so proud of you, Kid.

You have always had a heart for helping others and I hope that never changes. I can’t wait to see the positive changes you make in this world, my girl. You are going to move mountains.



Where do I begin…5 is simultaneously blowing my mind and making me want to cry.

Five is full of big, huge monumental things…not only for the little 5 year old, but also the parents.

Five brings kindergarten. And new friends. And packing a lunch every day.

Five brings out the wacky and the sweet.

Five is booster seats and real seat belts.

Five brings out the legit independence…as in “Go brush your teeth” and know it actually gets done kind of independence and not just “I DO IT MYSELF” kind of independence.

Five lets the sense of humor shine.

Five brings out the little white lies that leave you wondering where they learned how to do that so well.

Five brings out the awareness of…certain things…and only wanting to tell mom those things and not dad.

Five brings the sass like you never thought possible…I fear the teenage years that lie ahead.

Five brings some impressive and scary understanding of complex things.

And as of last night? Five brings the first visit from tooth fairy…



Miss Rylee Vivian…five is your jam.

You are witty and funny and at times you say things that are years beyond you and it cracks me up to hear such a little body say something like, “well ya know…like the old saying goes…”

You are silly and have a wonderful imagination. You are thoughtful and caring and selfless.

Hear me right now, I love the person you are becoming. You are perfect. You are smart. You are beautiful. And I hope you never change.


When no one is watching…

Miss Rylee,

There are moments as a parent that will stop you in your tracks. Last weekend was one of those moments for me.

Ten, twenty, even thirty years from now you may not remember that day, but I will.

Your dad, sister, you and I piled in the car and headed over to Bend for Cousin Connor’s super hero birthday party. It was a great day.20130927-093615.jpg

Part of the party was a “super hero training course” where you had various obstacles to complete around their backyard. While all the kids were running around having a good time a “super villain” came out and dropped “bombs” on you guys. They were balloons and you had to run around and pop them as fast as possible to “save the city”. Everyone was having lots of fun running around making the “bombs” blow up.

There was a boy there. He was bigger than you. He was louder than you. He knew more of the other kids than you did.

You both went for the same balloon. You beat him to it. You popped it. You giggled in delight. He was mad. He threw himself on the ground and started crying, frustrated that you beat him to the balloon and that he didn’t get to pop it. You noticed him, but seemed to move on to grab the next bomb that was being dropped. You were having so much fun.

That’s when something extraordinary happened.

Instead of grabbing the next balloon, one of the last ones, and popping it, you rushed to grab it and you immediately ran over to that boy, who was still lying on the ground, and handed it to him.

When your dad was telling me this story, it was at this point that my heart stopped. I may have got a tiny bit teary eyed.

The truest test of one’s character is how they act when they think no one is watching.

Well, your dad saw this whole thing take place. You had no idea he was watching your every move, you were just doing what you thought was the right thing to do. As soon as it happened he called you over to him. He hugged you as tight as he could, kissed you on the top of your head and told you how proud of you we are.

You smiled at him and said thanks. Then ran back to the obstacle course to keep playing.

From the time you took it upon yourself to thank soldiers sitting in a restaurant for their service, now to this, I am continually amazed by your kind heart and your thoughtful, gentle nature.

You really are a super hero.

I am so proud of the little lady you are becoming.

I love you,




My Sweet Reesie-Bug…today you are one year old. One. ONE. 1. If you can’t tell, I’m still in disbelief. This last year has flown faster than any year in my life. And even though I’d like to ignore the fact that your birthday means you are that much closer to no longer being a baby, I can’t let today go by without acknowledging the one and only you.

Over the course of the last year, not only have you filled each day with joy, you have made our family complete.

It has been {and will continue to be} amazing to watch you grow and learn.

Over the course of the last 12 months we have learned that…

You are fierce. You are strong-willed. You have an amazing sense of humor. You are impossible to scare. You are a climber. You are our daredevil child. You are feisty. You have eyelashes that go on for days. Your eyes are fiery. You are spirited. You are loud. You are a snuggle bug. You have a thing for ears when you get sleepy. You adore your sister. You are very easy going. You love to eat. You are a mover and a shaker. You love the water. You have a smile that is contagious. You are intelligent. You are beautiful.

I often call you my little hurricane baby.

It’s hard to believe you’ve been with us for a whole year but we already couldn’t imagine our lives without you and I am looking forward to celebrating many more birthdays with you.

I love you more than life,


Reese is One

5 is Magic

Miss Rylee Vivian…five is your jam.

Maybe it was buckling you in to your booster seat for the first time yesterday. Or maybe it was your kindergarten round up. I was just thinking the other day how in just a couple of weeks since your birthday you’ve seemed to grow up and mature so much.

You are witty and funny and at times you say things that are years beyond you and it cracks me up to hear such a little body say something like, “well ya know…like the old saying goes…”

You are silly and have a wonderful imagination.

You are thoughtful and caring and selfless. You made my mama heart so proud when you told me in your five year interview that your favorite thing about yourself was how you liked everyone.

Hear me right now, I love the person you are becoming. You are perfect. You are smart. You are beautiful. And I hope you never change.