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It’s Time to Ditch the Baby Scrapbook and Do This Instead

Baby scrapbook. How did those words make you feel?

Did you feel warm and fuzzy, thinking over all the memories and “firsts” you’ve captured over the months/years of your child’s life?

Or did you feel an ache deep in your soul of time lost and memories faded?  Did guilt-hit you over the head like a bag of bricks? (Of the non-Lego variety.)

Yeah.  Me too. This is how it usually goes…

  • The firstborn gets this elaborate 40-page masterpiece baby scrapbook with customized photos, delicate notes, and stickers (lots of stickers).
  • The middle child gets a photo book (no writing).
  • The youngest gets their shoes in a box (located somewhere on the property).

The baby scrapbook is supposed to be an heirloom of creativity that your kids’ kids’ kids will cherish, making all those hours of cutting out photos and gluing accessories worth the sleep you sacrificed to get it done before naptime was over.

Well, I say ditch the baby scrapbook. 

You’re not going to get those photos printed, my friend, despite how well your intentions are. The best way to capture your children’s little memories before they fly out of your mombie-tired (zombie+mom) brain is to write them down in a baby journal.

The Biggest Mistake Parents
Make in Choosing a Baby Journal

The biggest mistake parents make when starting a baby journal is not thinking about how long these precious books have to last.  If you pick up a journal at your local Walmart, there’s a good chance the binding is going to fall apart before your child hits her third birthday.

I know because that’s the mistake I made.  I picked up Elena’s journal there, and within two years, the binding had dried out and a younger sibling (ahem, BELLA) ripped out some of the pages. I’ve had to tape/staple/nail/sew/transplant them as best I can. I may even have to recopy Lauren’s soon into an entirely new, sturdier, journal.

If I could do it over, I’d probably do two things:

  • Make sure the journal had a sturdier cover like the ones at Minted. Their journals have a clear plastic cover that is indestructible. I got this one and love it.
  • Personalize the journal a little, so it’s so clearly that child’s. The girls are SO proud of “their” journals, it would have been nice to have their names on them.

The Difference an Artist Makes…

For just about the same amount of money as your Walmart notebook, you can get a beautiful professionally designed notebook that looks good sitting on the Nursery shelf and peeking out of your diaper bag at the play ground meeting, waiting for jot down in two sentence thing your baby did before you forget it forever.

Check this out:

Is a family heirloom worth $0.87?  Because that’s the difference in price between those two notebooks.

Less than a dollar and you can even put your baby’s picture on the inside cover of this giraffe journal.  And it has a spiral binding (no pages falling out as glue ages) and a hard protective shell.

The designs at Minted are created by artists.  Does that make a difference?  Abso-toot-ley. Again. Look at the quality of difference above. These aren’t just keepsake journals. These are works of art.

Here are a few of my favorites…  (There are a zillion journals to browse through, click here to see them all.)

Want to save yourself some MORE money? To celebrate eleven years of design, Minted is offering 15% off everything. Use promo code ELEVEN to steal this deal before April 1st, 2019.

Baby Journals for Girls

1. Sugar and Spice (also happens to be a cute baby shower theme!)
2. Gardenia with Photo | 3. Lacework Notebook (several colors)
4. Woodland Botanicals | 5. Bunny Notebook
6. Sweet Stars (several colors)

Baby Journals for Boys

1. Big Sea | 2. Frogs & Snails | 3. Dinosaur Stomp
4. Surf’s Up Notebook | 5. Tabbed Monogram & Photo
6. Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

It Starts With the Small Moments

One afternoon, in the midst of an exhausted stupor, I leaned over and jotted down something funny Lauren said in a notebook I had sitting by rocking chair.

A new tradition was born.  I have kept journals for each of my kids ever since. I picked out a neutral color and started them as soon as we knew I was pregnant, writing to “Baby”. These journals contain our hopes, dreams, and prayers for each of them.  Even Cameron adds to them on occasion, sharing stories that they share together.

It’s amazing to look back and see the world through those eyes.  Here’s an example:

Lauren, yesterday after bath you took each toy out of the tub, one by one and said, “Don’t worry ___ (fish, boat, etc.).  I’ll get you to the basket.” Then for 10 minutes you carefully arranged all the toys in the basket so they were facing up.  Your face was so cute – Determined to help those stranded toys in the empty bathtub reach the basket safely.  ~ August 1, 2006 (age 2.5 years)

You know, I honestly don’t remember that memory.  If it weren’t for the fact that I wrote it down in Lauren’s baby journal, it would be lost forever.

When the girls have a tough day, and need to be reminded of the safe secure little nest we’ve made for them, we’ll sit on the couch together and randomly read a few entries written by me or Dad.  It’s an instant emotional boost.

Lifting the Burden of Memories

My purpose is to lift a burden of your already-stooped shoulders.   The burden of memories. Honestly, how many times has someone looked at you and said “They grow up so fast,” or “Cherish this time while you can!”

Yes, you may want to kick them in the shins at first, but deep in your heart you know they’re right…and that’s just about when the panic sets in. What if you’re not doing enough to jot these milestones and memories down?

Friend, you don’t need a baby scrapbook kit. You just need a notebook. It’s amazing how a few lined pages can give you so much joy and peace of mind.  🙂

Go ahead. Pick out your baby’s little heirloom, grab the nearest non-sticky pen, and start jotting down what happened today.

Years from now, you’ll be so glad that you did.

Have You Read These Yet?

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13 thoughts on “It’s Time to Ditch the Baby Scrapbook and Do This Instead

  1. I LOVE this idea!
    Archer is my 5th (and last child), and as you said, we tend to slack with each kid. He has 13 years between himself and my last baby (SURPRISE!), and I found myself taking the oath of the MUCH more mature parent that I am this go round (ahem,wink) that I would be SO MUCH BETTER at memory keeping for him. So far, I’m still not a scrapbooker… But guess what? I found the Tinybeans app and it has been the best thing since sliced bread!? Never have I been so diligent about having pictures of not only special occasions, but also every day moments! Ok, it reminds me everyday, but YAY for that!! I love this idea of keeping a journal nearby to jot down our daily adventures as well! New school and Old school come together in perfect harmony. And all is right in the world…
    Thank you!

  2. This is a fantastic idea. To be honest I never really thought about scrap booking or journaling until now. I’m not a very crafty person, or much of a journaled really. But if I had to pick one it would be the journal. What a great, simple way to store memories. And the nice thing is it doesn’t rely on photos (it’s almost impossible for me to get a nice photo of my daughter…squirmer). Now that I’m pregnant with my second, this might be a good time to start jotting things down. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. What a great idea! I am trying to do this on my computer, but I can’t always get to it when something cute happens and then I forget about it. My oldest is 6 and I know I have lost a lot of memories! *sniff!*

  4. I have always made scrapbooks and loved buying the stickers etc. I am in the process of making a scrapbook now (I’m very behind) of my soon to be 10m old. I love this idea of capturing moments by writing them into a notebook. I love the idea of having a small notepad on me and just taking notes of those small moments that I know I will forget it not written down. The notebooks are adorable and I’m thinking of getting one. I’m also thinking of adding still adding the stickers and photos to maybe go along with some of those memories. 🙂 thanks for the idea!!!

    1. That’s a great idea Saudi! Use the notebooks for the immediate, and then transfer them into a bigger scrapbook you can really delve into later. Best of both worlds! Brilliant, idea. Thanks for sharing it!

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