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Read the words below, and then tell me how those words made you feel.
your baby’s scrapbook
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.
It’s time, friend. Time to ditch those unrequited expectations and embrace a simpler, better way of preserving fleeting baby moments.
Breaking the Curse
When my firstborn entered the world, I was determined break The Curse. You know, the curse that dictates how memories are stored for sibling groups? It goes like this…
- The firstborn gets this elaborate 40-page masterpiece 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).
NOT ME! I shook my fist at the sky and shouted.
ALL MY KIDS WILL HAVE EQUALLY AWESOME SCRAPBOOKS DETAILING THEIR SMALLEST MOMENTS.
Do you hear that?
That twittering sound…
Yes, I recognize it now.
It’s the sound of generations of mothers laughing at my innocence.
That plan lasted until Lauren was 19 months old and I was pregnant with my 2nd. (That resolution didn’t even make it past en uteruo parenting…) I instantly realized I needed a new plan, or all those delightful little mom-moments were going to fade into my mombie-tired (zombie+mom) brain.
The ah-HA! Moment
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.
And a new tradition was born. I have kept books for each of the girls ever since. Picking neutral colors and starting them as soon as we knew I was pregnant. Writing my hopes, dreams, prayers for them. Even Dad gets into the action – sharing stories that they share together.
It’s amazing to look back and see the world through those eyes. Here are a few examples:
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)
Elena, this morning Lauren and I were playing Boggle Jr. on the floor and I saw your brain whirring… “I want one of those.” you thought to yourself, and then completed your first army-crawl across the room. You haven’t stopped since – and my life is officially over. 🙂 You’re currently exploring my toes, blowing raspberries and soaking them with slobber. You do seem pretty determined. Will you be as stubborn as your sister? ~ October 12, 2007 (age 7 months)
Bella, the doctor said you’re a baby who knows she doesn’t want to be a baby. You follow your sisters everywhere and laugh at everything they do. You’ve even started participating in their shows by putting your arms out and “twirling” (aka walking in a circle). ~ February 4, 2011 (age 13 months)
You know, I honestly don’t remember those things. If it weren’t for the fact that I wrote them down in these journals, they’d 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.
These journals are the most precious items I have in my home. When someone asks me “what’s the one thing you’d save from your burning house?” I don’t even have to think. It’s these journals.
They are irreplaceable. But (unlike scrapbooks) they take almost no time, very little money, and cover more than just a few photos of a major life event. Life happens inside their precious pages.
My One Mistake (Which I’ve Now Fixed)
There’s one small thing I do regret about the journals, though. I didn’t think about how long these needed to last.
The simple Walmart journals I picked up are starting to fall apart. Baby siblings (ahem, BELLA) have ripped out pages and 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.
- 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.)
Hindsight is twenty-twenty, so today I thought I’d pass along those little “wish I woulda” suggestions.
Solving Problem #1: Durability
Solving Problem #2: Design
Remember, you’re not just buying a lined notebook with a cover. You’re really buying a family heirloom. Something your children’s children will read. Check out the graphic below.
Is that 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-luey. (Again. Look at the quality of difference above.) These are one-of-a-kind works of art you’re writing in.
Here are a few of my favorites… (There are a zillion journals to browse through, click here to see them all.)
Journals for Girls
Journals for Boys
Personalized Photo Journals
More than Just Journals
Obviously Minted does more than offer unique artistically-stunning notebooks.
- They can create unique birth announcements that stay on fridges for years (because they’re too cute to take down).
- They can inspire your first birthday planning with invitations and matching decor.
- They can even kick the nursery up a notch with customized artwork your husband will actually be excited to hang up.
But I digress.
My purpose here isn’t to go on and on about something I think is cool. 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.
How do you preserve your baby’s memories?
Have You Read These Yet?
- Dear Homemaker: Use These 70 Life-Hacks to Steal More Time
- What Every Parent Should Know About Flying with a Baby
- Everything a New Mama Warrior Needs to Know about Baby Care
- How Mater & McQueen Can Help Your Baby Nap in the Car
- Keeping Your Toddler Happy on the Plane (The Mary Poppins Way)
- DIY: Build a Baby Car Kit in 3 Easy Steps
- The Do’s and Don’ts to Help Your Baby Sleep Away From Home
I’m a proud to say this post was sponsored by Minted. I’m also proud to say that I’m a stubborn so-and-so who likes to share what she thinks about things. I happen to think Minted is the bomb. There you have it.