Posted by: monsonmadness | November 30, 2011

100 family newsletters

I just finished and sent off the 100th issue of the Monson grandparent letter. Feels pretty good I’ve got to say. Here’s the history behind it…inspired by my mother in law and her siblings who write a few paragraphs each month in a family newsletter that they compile and email out to each other, I decided that this would be a great way to journal what was happening in our family. (ps, they have been doing this for over 27 years, isn’t that amazing?)

I wrote the first edition in July 2003 when we became parents. We had just adopted both Matthew and Benjamin in Utah and were moving to California for Michael’s new job. We were brand new parents, and we wouldn’t have any family or friends around us. We know how much grandparents like to know how their grandkids are doing and what they’re up to, so I started to write these newsletters, written in the kid’s perspectives and send them out each month with the photos that I had taken that month.

I print these off every month and put them in a big binder which is now two big thick precious family journals. The kids love reading about things that they said and did when they were babies, and since my memory left me a long time ago, I love reading things that I had forgotten. I also like to use them as a reference (I have six kids, it is really expected that I know how much each of them weighed at birth, when they started walking and talking etc?) this way, once I write it down, I feel like I don’t have to store it any more. I don’t have as much brain capacity as I used to!!!

My letters are pretty long and detailed. Normally about three pages each month, but that’s because I choose to write about everything that we’ve done as a family, as well as sections on each kid and what they’ve been doing. I have NEVER missed a month. There have a been a few times that it’s been late because of a vacation or a hospitalization, but they always come. I will not lie, I would say that for the majority of times, when it gets to the end of the month, I groan and I really don’t like the thought of having to write my grandparent letter, but once it’s done I feel so good, and when I think about the history that has been recorded for my posterity, I am so glad that I have persevered with this project that I don’t particularly enjoy at the time!

Here’s the best part…a year and a half ago, I asked my family if they would be willing to join in this tradition with me. I wasn’t sure they would go for it, but they did and it has been wonderful. At the end of each month, my family members now send an email to the other family members reflecting on things they have done that month. It is so interesting and I have appreciated it so much. I love hearing about the crazy pranks that my sister plays on the police officers at her work. I love hearing about how my little nieces are doing and seeing pictures of them, I love hearing about the volunteer work that my parents do, and the places that they are traveling to. I think that everyone is really glad that we’re doing it. Maybe it would work well in your family too. It just takes someone to start off, and it may be slow going at first like every new family tradition, but once it starts, it’s awesome!

As I was reflecting on 100 newsletters, I realized that if I keep this up, at issue 200 I will be writing about hormonal teenagers, driving permits and dating. AAGGHHHH. I’ll also be in my 40’s then! Now that’s a scary thought!


  1. That is awesome. Your kids are lucky to have such a detailed journal to read. YOU are awesome!

  2. Don’t worry Helen! Your 40’s aren’t that scary!

    • Thank you!!!! Just a new phase and I’m always scared of change!!!!

  3. I was thinking the same thing, Lara. 40’s aren’t that scary.

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