A Letter to Penny: Please Sleep

-written April 2017

Sometimes I write to my girls and don’t hit “publish” right away.  This post was written in April 2017 and this picture was taken in April 2017.  Truth is, this was the only night I did this sleep routine with Penny.  But, what I learned through this night of a new sleep tactic, is that giving myself (and her) a grace period of 5 – 15 minutes after laying her down to sleep was a great amount of time to give myself a reboot to either go back in and help her or for her to choose to peacefully give in to sleep on her own.

I’d love to hear from you other fellow moms what worked best for you and your baby to find sleep, and why.  Comment below!


My sweet Penny,

Some nights ago I started a new method of “sleep training.”  I’ve tried to be gentle and get you to sleep on your own without you crying about it.  But after some souls searching and enough sleepless nights stacked up in a row I did some more research.  Again.  This is what I found.

Baby sleep training: The basics

And then this.

Baby sleep training: Cry it out methods

So last night I let you cry for 5 minutes, then 10, then 15, then 15 until over an hour had gone by and you were still stubbornly screaming.  I was ripped up to my core:  on the one hand, devastated at your sadness; on the other, downright ticked off that you were refusing to do what I knew you knew to do.  My last ditch effort was a reset.  So I changed your diaper, put some Garlic Mullen drops in your ear (because you’re just coming off of an ear infection), and laid you back down.  You didn’t make a peep, you finally went to sleep.

Moments like this are so trying.  It hurts my heart to hear you cry like that but it also hurts yours and my physical beings to be so severely sleep deprived.  Sleep has to win Penny.  And I pray so hard that, through this sleep teaching process, that we both are only the better for it.  That you still smile and laugh so much.  And that you also learn to love your crib and sleep.  That our bond is untainted.

I love you Penny.

Now, please sleep.




A Letter to Maisy: I’m Sorry For My Tone


For a post written in August (edited and posted only now) it seemed fitting to feature a picture from August as well.  Besides, I figure we all could use a little green on this dreary winter day.

Dear Maisy,

Lately, I’ve been struck by my tone.  Even as the words spill out of my mouth I hear how I sound and I wish I could catch them mid air and put them back in my mouth and swallow them.  Why can’t I stop myself?  Why do the words come out even when the better half of my being only wants to love and respect you.  Why is it always the yucky half of me that gets the louder word in moments like that?

I want to be so patient with you.  I don’t want to make you feel like your questions are stupid or like your words don’t matter or like your needs are frivolous.  Because they aren’t, ever.  And I truly mean that.  And yet, I know my tone says otherwise because I grow impatient and tired of the endless demands of a full day taking care of small children.  It’s not your fault.  And I want to do better.  I pray that as I’m trying to learn to correct this bad tone that you have the grace to know my true desire is always to show you love and respect.

With all my heart,


A Letter to Maisy: Best Birthday Present Ever


Dear Maisy,

It seems I had this subconscious belief of children:  that children are born full of sin.  I love that the truth is quite the opposite:  children are born only into the light and strive to please the ones they love most.  Now I don’t know why I ever thought otherwise.

There are so many moments within every single day when I’m left stunned into silence with the biggest smile pasted on my face when you do something out of the pure goodness of your own heart.  The one that takes the cake, for probably a very long time, is the moment you spent your very own money for the very first time.  What did you choose to buy for your first time ever?  My birthday present.  This is the story of how we got to that proud and heart-melting moment.

A few days before my birthday, Daddy took me on my birthday fun day.  The sitter shows up and you find out Daddy and I are leaving for my birthday date.  You were devastated, “Mommy I want to come to your birthday too.”

I rapidly realized my mistake and started talking you through the details of my birthday plans and that we fully intended to celebrate my birthday day with the family, you included.  I said we would be going out for breakfast and I’d get to open my presents.  You were still sobbing so I started asking you some questions.

“What do you want to do for my birthday?

“I want to have your birthday cake.”

“Ok, awesome, that’s a great idea!  We’ll have birthday cake.”

But you were still crying.

“Would it make you feel better if you picked out your very own birthday present for me?”

Your face lit up and you stopped crying immediately.


“Well, what do you say we go shopping for my birthday present on my birthday?”

You were no longer crying and were full of excitement to be a part of my special day.

Come my birthday you decided to buy me a plant for my present so I took you to Oak Village (a greenery in town).  We walked in and I touched a white mums plant on reserve by the counter and commented on how pretty it was.  When we stepped outside you spotted a similar white mum and chose it promptly for my gift.

We made our way to the counter to buy the mums and I helped you count out four dollars.  Yup, we struck a major deal on our mums due to a sale and a discount due to minor flaw in the flowers we chose.  I also think it probably had a little something to do with the adorable three year old handing over her very own money to buy flowers for her mom’s birthday present.

This has to be my very favorite present ever.  I was given the gift of my daughter’s first purchase.  I was also given a very favorite gift, a plant.  I planted those mums in the garden in our front yard so, if the mums’ roots survive the winter, I’ll get to relive that gift and memory every summer we live in this little house.

You’re the best.



A Letter to Penny: Oh How I Love Blackout Curtains


-photo from our fabulous family session with Cling & Peck

Dear Penny,

You are so cool.  Way too cool.  You make me laugh all day every day.  Your laugh is the cutest thing I’ve ever heard.  Your smile is this goofy, crinkly cute thing that is impossible not to smile at.

You’ve been a breeze to raise.  And, really, even the challenging moments haven’t been all that challenging.  Our battle for naps was one such challenge.

Shortly after you turned one you were seemingly unable to take two naps.  You were willing and wanting to go down for your morning nap but then couldn’t not let sleep overtake you for the usual second nap.  And yet, I would still try for both every single day.  Why?  Because, sweet girl, you were so tired!  I’m just thankful that you wear tired so well.  Sure, you were grumpy and clingy, but still hilarious and jovial all at the same time.

And then we traveled to Minnesota for Thanksgiving with my family.  You struggled for sleep as usual for the first couple of days and then suddenly you went out like a light for both naps and requested slightly earlier bedtimes every night too.

Then the minute we get home you’re back to fighting naps.  In that first afternoon of a sleepless you a little idea popped into my head, “I think this sweet baby has become too sensitive to the daylight to shut her little eyes for naps.”  So I ordered blackout curtains and anxiously awaited their arrival.

A few days ago they came and I put them up right away.  And, wouldn’t you know it, I have a whole different story on my hands!  You don’t even make a peep every time I lay you down for a nap and for bed.  I’ve never loved a few pieces of fabric so much in my life!  I borderline idolize those light blocking curtains.  Wow, what a gift!

Needless-to-say, I’m overjoyed to report that my sweet and spunky you is back to your usual well-slept self.  This means no whining, grumpiness, or crying.  Seriously, you’re the most laid back and hilarious baby I’ve ever known.  I love you to pieces Penny and I’m so thankful that we were able to crack this nap code together and get you some much needed rest!

With all my heart,


A Letter to Maisy: That’s a Lot of Questions


Dearest Maisy,

You are sweet, smart, and very social.  My life is all butterflies, flowers, dresses, singing and dancing.

Oh, and a lot of question-answering.

Growing up, I remember asking my dad questions and getting answers every time.  I remember him telling me why the sky is blue in particular.  So, before signing up to be a parent I committed in my heart to honoring your curiosity and respecting your words the same way I like mine to be heard and respected.  And it’s been a great road to walk on for over 3 years with you.  Until about 1 month ago or so.  Either I’ve reached my maximum of answer giving power or you’ve upped it up a notch.  Now all I hear are endless streams of whines, “why”s, and repetitive questions.  I truly am still more than happy to answer your question the first time.  I’m even more than happy to answer to “why” several times in a row before tiring.  But when you ask me the exact same question 3+ times right in a row, ask “why” so many times I can’t keep count, or whine… girl, I’m finished.

It’s a mentally exhausting season with you.  And though I find myself frustrated with the annoyance of it all sometimes, I also get equally as frustrated with myself for not being just a little more patient.  If I think about this question-asking business in the long term I think it points to a very smart woman.  An inquisitive nature is a very good thing and I hope I never make you feel otherwise.

So Maisy, please keep asking me questions and learning about your world.  And keep giving me the grace I need in the moments when I’ve run out of answers or perseverance.