Monday, May 21, 2012

Store and Organize Childhood Memories

"Cherish the time when your kids are goes by so fast." I have heard this a thousand times, and probably will say to young moms at the grocery store when my kids are teenagers and no longer want to be seen with me in public. It's great advice, really, and I work hard to be present in the moments I spend with family and friends. I try to soak up the baby coos and the new words my toddler is saying, and enjoy watching them try new things and reach milestones. But while I'm busy being present, there is a voice in my head shouting "IS SOMEONE WRITING THIS DOWN? WHO'S TAKING PICTURES OF THIS?" I want to be in the moment with my little guys and just enjoy them, but the crazy organized part of my brain says I need to be putting this info somewhere, for both my kids and me to look back at some day.

Here is how (without going overboard and driving myself crazy) I document my kids' everyday anecdotes, as well as milestones and photos:

-A monthly email to each of my kiddos.  This is just an informal message I send to them, usually telling them how special they are to me, what they've been doing and any milestones they've come upon.  Before my 2 year old was talking in sentences, I was writing down his new words as well.  We set up email addresses for both kids, one at gmail and one at yahoo (to get the same format: We set the email up and are the "users," but as the boys get older they'll be able to look back and see all their messages from me.  Because I'm a little type-A, I also print each message and stick it in their baby book.

-That brings me to the baby book.  I fill these out, but they're not very personal and some of the pages are not awesome.  For instance, the "New foods I've tried" section on the 1 month-6 month pages.  hmmm.

-Notebook for funny quotes or happenings:  I have two little notebooks (one for each kid) in our kitchen that are easy to get to.  When something funny or noteworthy happens, I jot it down along with the date.  I figure these will be great when I want to tell my kids stories about funny things they've done.

-Pictures and videos:  We have a video camera, but my husband's Droid is much more accessible, as he always has it on his person.  We shoot videos at least twice a week, usually of the normal everyday stuff kids say and do.  We also have a camera that I am slowly learning to use.  One of my goals this year is to be a better photographer, so I'm taking pictures every day.  After I take them, I use my short amount of free time to upload, edit, and organize onto my computer.  Jen at A Thousand Words blogged about how to organize pictures on the computer.  I am following her advice on labeling the pictures and have found it to suit my compulsive need to organize very well.  

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