When my oldest son was born and things started happening fast, I realized I would never, ever remember all the cute things he did, the milestones he reached, or the sweet moments we had.  So I decided to write them down.

I created memory books for both of my kids that essentially amount to a diary about each of their lives.  In each, I write about all those hilarious moments that you know you won’t remember but constitute the ordinary joy of every day.  I wrote/write down everything that doesn’t have a place in a baby book; I put in little keepsakes (for example, a leaf he collected and gave to daddy); I even include little snapshots.

two sample pages from the 6 year old's book

Here are two pages from my eldest’s book.  You can see some examples of different things I do– for example, on his first birthday it was the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday, so I cut out this little article and pasted it in.  Random trivia, but maybe fun someday.  For the snapshots, I have a Polaroid i Zone camera that takes little tiny polaroid photos that are actually stickers.  It’s a really fun little thing that gives you super cute tiny photos.

Now, if you are more technologically inclined, my husband has started doing something similar, but from a slightly more 21st century perspective.  Early in their lives, he signed them both up for their own gmail accounts, so that they’d have their full names as their accounts in the future.  (That is, so no one else claimed those identities.)  Now he sends them emails periodically, with little updates about what’s happening in their lives at that time or little trivia.  The other day he sent one with a list of nicknames he calls them right now.  Sometimes he forwards them photos that family or friends have sent us of them.  It’s a pretty cute idea.  I’m not sure what will happen when they get older and want to use those accounts and there are 600 emails in there, but we’ll deal with that as it comes.  For now, I like knowing that their childhoods are being recorded for them.  Because I don’t remember a damn thing from my early childhood.

Do you have any special ways that you record those ordinary, everyday memories?

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  • January 29, 2010, 8:29 pm Debi

    I do this, too! :) I don’t seem to write in them as much as I’d like, but I love reading them every once in a while. I also make it a point to write when I’m feeling frustrated about a stage they’re at. It helps me see that nothing will last forever & it helps create a full picture of their childhood.

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  • January 30, 2010, 7:50 am Erica Long

    I don’t document anything except on my camera and Flip. I know I will regret this since my memory is declining at a rapid pace. I love both the written and email documentation. The boys will be so thrilled to have it to look back on when they’re older!

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  • January 30, 2010, 9:35 am Trista

    I have a horrible memory so I have multiple ways I document info:

    We put together a box of index cards with one card for each date (not the year). Then at dinner we decide what one thing from the day stood out and write it down. When the year is over, we’ll write the next year’s on the next line so we can see what we did on that day in years past.

    Since she could read and write, my husband & I have a journal for our 7 year old that we write in every night and leave for her to read in the morning. She writes back (sometimes we ask questions to prompt her) and we have a little record of what’s going on in our lives at that time. As an added bonus, we’ve seen how far her writing has come in a year.

    And the most time-consuming: scrapbooking is a way for me to tell the stories with pictures of the little things. It’s fine to scrapbook the big events, but I particularly like scrapping the everyday moments, because those are the ones we forget.

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  • January 30, 2010, 12:15 pm Becky

    That is a genius idea about the gmail accounts. I am going to do that right now.

    Last year I started another blog, just to tell what the kids do and say. I made it closed (except I invited the grandparents to read), so it’s just a place to record things. Since I already blog a lot on my public blog, I’m in the blogging mode and I don’t forget it’s there.

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  • January 30, 2010, 10:46 pm bethpc

    I love all these ideas!

    Becky, that other blog thing is brilliant. Will you try to save it at all for the kids?

    Trista, that is some serious time commitment for you! I love the index cards and the interactive journal. Maybe we could do something like that once a week or once a month… I’m way too lazy to do it daily!

    Debi, I never write in mine as much as I like, but no matter what, I know I’d be critical, and I know they’ll be happy to have *something.* :-)

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