I wanted to share one final installment in my keeping memories series. I was going to stop at 3 but I felt that these last ideas just needed to be shared.
Idea #1: The Day You Were Born Albums
I got this idea after Small Fry was born. It was inspired by two things: an 8x8 album I found on clearance at Walmart and a ton (and I mean a ton) of pictures from the hospital of both the day she was born and the following day. I decided to make an album completely dedicated to those 2 very special days. I loved the way it turned out so much that I made one for every child. They are very simple. I buy a scrapbook paper pack that is a theme I like, a few embellishments, and just hand write all the notes.
This is a look at Mr. T's (my sweetpie boy) album. In his case because I felt like I was waiting forever for him to arrive I had the whole thing made before he was born and then just had to add in the pictures and the captions afterwards. I was able to make all of my kids' albums within the first week after they came home because I kept them as simple as possible. The girls love looking at theirs and seeing themselves as a baby.
Idea #2: Keeping Cards
This could be done with birthday cards or Christmas cards. In the case of this picture this is a stack of cards my husband has given me over the years. He isn't always good at verbally saying how he feels but he buys the most wonderful cards for me all the time and they are a treasure to me so I want to keep them all together in a safe place. I punched a hole in the corner of each card and put them on a ring. I keep them tucked away in my keepsake drawer. So before you toss a card that comes in the mail consider the message on it...because it could be a treasure.
Idea #3: Kids journals
These are your basic composition books (I bought them at the Dollar Store). I covered them with some cute paper and added my girls names. In these I write letters to my kids. I don't do it nearly as regularly as I would like but I try to write something down especially when they have done something funny or brave or have had a birthday or been in some other special event. I try to keep them about positive things but occasionally I write when it has been a rough day and I have felt frustrated and I write about how I have felt but express my deep and never ending love. I write them in letter format starting with "Dear..." and ending with "Love you. Mom". These are something that I want to keep up for as long as I can and of course I want to add one for my Mr. T. I hope they will be both a treasured keepsake for my kids but also a teaching resource for when they become parents.
Idea #4: Family Gratitude Journal
I got this idea when I was at my parents house this spring for a talk given at church on journaling. The man mentioned that his family kept a gratitude journal and that idea hit me so strongly that we needed to do the same thing. We write in it every Monday night as part of our family home evening. Each family member (and friend or extended family member-who ever is there at the time) gets a turn to share what they are grateful for. At first when we started the girls could hardly think of a thing to share. It was kind of frustrating because we did all kinds of things, there were friends and family get togethers, trips out of town and to the park, birthdays and other celebrations and they would always say, "I am thankful for the yummy dinner." Sometimes we would try and prompt them with ideas of things to be thankful for but then I felt like we weren't teaching them to think of and find things on their own. So we just went with it and they have come a long way. They are learning to think back and remember things better and it is so fun to hear the things that stand out to them which we often miss. I am super in love with this idea.
Idea #4: Digital Scrapbooks
Even though I am not good at scrapbooking I do love the look of well planned and put together pages. I still don't have the time for it though. I know some people are die hard paper and glue scrapbookers and don't like the look of digital scrapbook pages at all but I am not one of those. I think that there are so many beautiful ideas in the digital scrapbooking world that I want to try them all. I made these pages using Smilebox. It is one of the simplest digital scrapbooking companies out there (you can make cards, collages, DVD's and more with their program). These "albums" are 8 pages long. You choose a theme, add in pictures, type in text and are given the ability to change the colors and embellishments somewhat. I can literally do one start to finish in less than an hour. If you have a payed membership then you are given the option to print them at home or send them off to print. I print mine through Sam's Club and they end up costing about $11.00. I always keep my eye open for 8x8 albums on sale and buy one for each kid. I make these after the kids have had a birthday or when we do something special with one of the kids. I still include these pictures in a family photobook but this way each kid will then get a copy of their own special events.
Idea #5: Kid Binders
I started these because I was getting a stack of papers that the girls had drawn or little projects they had made, plus pictures that I once had framed and then I updated them and didn't know what to do with the ones I had taken down, and just odds and ends that I wanted to keep for my kids but I didn't know where. I do have memory boxes for each kid that I keep baby clothes, first shoes, special toys, first blankets and stuff like that in but I wanted something to keep the papers in so I made these simple binders. They don't have much rhyme or reason to them but I try and label the things with at least a date on them as best I can. I also don't keep everything because that would be impossible so I just keep some of the cutest.
Another thing that I put in these are Valentines "101 Things I Love About You" lists that I write for my kids each year.
I also try and include regular pictures of things like handprints that show how much they are growing.