Before I had kids, I always thought that I would be the mommy who made the perfect, detailed baby book for each of them—with pictures, their first curls, etc. And so, when I was pregnant with my first son, I bought a nice baby book with all those good intentions. But, it’s never been written in. Let me explain! As I went through my first pregnancy, I found that simply keeping a journal was the best thing for me. I’ve always been a writer, and I’ve always kept journals, but I decided to write during my pregnancy as a type of “letter” to my unborn son. I wrote to him about how I felt the moment I found out I was pregnant, how I told his daddy, how we shared the news with everyone in our families and how they responded…as the pregnancy progressed, I told him of my hopes and fears for becoming a new mommy. I told him how I felt as I heard his heartbeat, saw him on the ultrasound, found out he was a BOY! And the journal just kept filling up…in fact, I think I had almost finished an entire journal before he was even born! As soon as the first one was done, I started a new one. And before long, I had to go buy a new journal because I was pregnant with my second son. Opening that new journal was such a great feeling! I store the journals in nice boxes that I bought for both of my boys, and whenever something special happens, or sometimes for no reason but to remind them how much I love them, I pull out their journals and write to them. It is such a special feeling to me, thinking about the fact that someday when they are older, they will read the words that I wrote to them. Or at least I hope they will read them! If not, I know their future wives will want to, since it’s more of a girl thing!
I know that journal writing is not everyone’s cup of tea. Perhaps you are the mommy who can keep up with the pretty baby books and recording the traditional dates and important milestones. I think I’m just too scatterbrained to do it that way. I just wanted to share the idea of having an alternative to the traditional keepsakes. Here are some other ideas for recording your memories with your little ones:
First year calendars: After my boys were born, in addition to their journals, I filled out these pre-made calendars, which follow their development month-by-month. The calendars include pre-made stickers for special occasions (first time sleeping through the night, first vacation, first steps, etc.) throughout their first year of life, and there’s also room to write things such as their favorite toys, their new tricks each month, etc. These calendars can be found at most hospital gift shops, and I would highly recommend them as baby gifts for new mommies!
“Summer” journals: This is actually where my journal idea came from. When I was growing up, my mom always kept a journal of our summer memories. Obviously there’s a lot more fun going on in the summer, so she always wrote to me about our camping trips, my sleepovers with my friends, and just little special moments we shared. I still have those summer journals, and I get them out and read them often. It always makes me smile. This is a great idea for the busy mommies who don’t have much time to think during the school year, let alone keep up with a journal! Or, if summers are busy for you too, consider maybe a holiday journal, where you can record the special memories with your kids on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any holidays that are special to you and your family.
Birthday pictures: I also have to admit that I have not done a great job filling up photo albums of my boys. I have a MILLION pictures, but most of them are just on a file on my computer or on my facebook. Sad, I know! I am trying to slowly sort through them and begin some albums (don’t even mention scrapbooking…I will NEVER have that much time! I wish I did!). There is one thing that I HAVE done, though. I’ve mentioned it before on the blog, but for those of you who haven’t read it, I have started the tradition of taking our boys’ picture on their birthday outside next to the tree that we planted when we moved into our house. We have been in our house 18 months now, so we have a picture of Sam on his 2nd and 3rd birthdays, and Cooper on his 1st. Seeing how much they grow, and also the tree!, each year, is going to be so much fun. I’m currently in search of a cute photo album with a tree on the cover, and I’d like to keep all of the birthday pictures together. Once again, not everyone likes the idea of a birthday album, but there’s always other options. A Christmas album, for example, would be a neat way to see the growth of your children each year in front of the tree or the fireplace. I think it’s fun to have albums that include pictures from various years, not just one specific moment in time.
How about you? What do you do to “hold on” to the memories that you and your children are making together?