When I think back about being a kid, I have a lot of happy memories. Some of them are from family vacations or special trips to the zoo, but mostly they are of everyday stuff. I remember me and my sister making "chocolate" out of mud in the backyard. I remember riding bikes down the street. I remember going to my best friend, Lauren's, house for sleepovers and how we'd make up songs and
I want my kids to have these types of memories. And I know that a lot of it is just organic - they will remember some things and won't remember others. But I try to help.
|Our sweet late Emmy and Xander (18 months) in early April 2010|
I have 3 main ways that I keep memories for me and my kids, and I wanted to tell you about each of them. And now this feels like a 4th grade essay.
First, I take pictures. Perhaps this is a "duh" one for you. But it really does help my memory. I have noticed when I am sorting through the boy clothes I have saved for Paxton, I will get an image of Xander wearing something. And often I'll realize the "image" is an actual picture I have of him. And I love that. I love that he was "the most well-documented child in the world" according to one of my friends.
|March 2009 - Xander was 6 months old|
Now that I have twins and a 4-year-old, my DSLR is not out as often as it was when Xander was a baby. I honest-to-goodness just don't have as much time, or as many hands to carry it. But I do have a phone that takes pictures. Are they as good in quality as the DSLR shots? Nope. But they still capture moments. And that's what it's about. Just click away. Don't worry about getting a "perfect" picture. You can delete later.
|Taken with iPhone - way too cute to interrupt in order to grab my nice camera|
I also organize my pictures as soon as I upload them from the camera/phone to the computer. I highly recommend this. I have lot of folders, because I don't mind clicking. But you can organize however it helps you most. First, I have a folder for the year on my desktop. Then you click on that folder and there is a folder for each month. When I put the pictures in the month folder, I then name them by day. There are usually (okay, always) more than one picture for each day, so I have to improvise. For example, if today is March 20 and I took 17 pictures, I go into 2013, then March, then label them 20.1, 20.2, 20.3, and so on. If I have over 25 or so, I just make a new folder within March called "March 20" and drop them all in there.
|This came from 2011:January:"Jan 25 bath." There are 109 photos in that folder. 109 photos of one bathtime. And I'm so glad I have all 109 of them.|
Second - guess where I got the next idea? Did someone guess Pinterest? You would be correct, my friend. So, the idea is this - you get a bunch of notecards - let's say 365 - and write the date (not the year) at the top of each one. Then each year you write down a little something you did that day. In a few years' time, it will be really fun to look back and see how your life has changed. Or stayed the same.
|Right now I just have this generic plastic holder, but I may upgrade/make something different|
I just started this in July of last year, but it's already fun to me. The other night I was writing on them and I explained to Xander what it was. He said, "Check Augustine 21!" I did. (Well, I assumed he meant August.) "Now December 3!" "Now yesterday!" And so on. It was neat to be able to go back to any random day and know a tidbit of what our day was like.
And to answer the question in some of your minds - yes, sometimes it is difficult to come up with something, especially when you are a stay-at-home mom and have been quarantined for much of the winter. But on those days I will write something like, "Paxton weighs 22 pounds now!" Or even, "Just hung out today. Played Candy Land." It doesn't have to be epic every single day.
And the third way - my favorite way - is I journal for my kids. I started journaling in college. It was a way for me to not only sort out what I was thinking/feeling, but I liked looking back and seeing how far God had brought me in a month, year, 3 years. When I got pregnant with Xander, I was given a handmade journal by my friend Carly. When he was born, I started writing in it. Within a couple of weeks, I changed the tense and started writing the entries to him. So instead of, "Xander said 'Dada' today," it says, "You said 'Dada' today!"
I noticed I was getting to the end of it close to his birthday, so I asked Carly to make me another one. Now each year around his birthday I start a new one for him.
|I love that I can either tell her what I want, or just tell her to "do whatever" and she always nails it|
And of course, this past summer, Carly made me 2 new ones for the twins. So now I write in 3 journals.
I write in them around once or twice a week. Definitely not every day. And sometimes it will be more, and sometimes less. Somehow I always end up finishing up in about a year.
Then - at the end of the year - my very favorite part: I put pictures in them. Brilliant, right!? I figured I take so many pictures, why not show them, as well as tell them, what our days were like. I only write on the right page, and on the left, I put a picture. I try to make sure the time lines up with the time I was writing. (This is where organizing the pictures really comes in handy.) Sometimes I'll find a picture I took on the same day I wrote. Well, most times, since I take pictures pretty much every day. But sometimes it's just from the same week or so.
|These journals are the perfect size for a 4x6 picture. You should check out Carly's journals and contact her if you want a custom design! She'll do it!|
I don't know when I'll give them the journals. Eighteenth birthday? College graduation? Wedding? I haven't figured that one out yet. For now, I just like writing them. And going back and reading the older ones, of course.
So, to summarize (like a good 4th grade writer), I take pictures, I jot a short note down every day, and I journal to my kiddos. I do wish I would take more videos. We got a video camera when Xander was a baby, and used it quite a bit at first, but just haven't since then. But when I see old ones, I love hearing his sweet little voice and how he said different things, so I need to start doing more videos of him and the twins. It's on my to-do list.
So, what about you? Have any great ideas on memory-keeping? I would love to hear them!