A few weeks ago, I was at my parent’s house and I was looking at one of the hundred pictures displayed of me and my siblings, and I realized that in that photo, we were the same age that my own children are now. One of my favorite shirt designs (and soon to be onesie designs!) that we sell is the one that says, “These Are the Days”, because I truly believe it. These are the days that we will look back on when we are older and remember with fondness and love and maybe even a little disbelief that we made it through.
So, let’s talk memory keeping. If you’ve been around my social media pages for long, you know that I love and am passionate about scrapbooking. It started with traditional scrapbook pages, evolved to the Becky Higgins' pocket scrapbooking system, and now I’m fully digital. As someone who struggles to remember things about my own life, it’s important to me to document life for our family. I honestly see it as part of my “job” as a mom: Family Historian. It’s also something that my kids greatly value. I am not exaggerating when I say that they pull our Family Yearbooks off the shelves in the living room at least once a day to look through them (which is one of the reasons I pay extra for upgraded pages). I’m going to walk you guys through the different kinds of books that I keep and share my process a little bit here in this post.
The Big One each year is our Family Yearbook. This takes me about 30 minutes per week and is all done on my phone. I use the Project Life app, which allows you to add photos, text, and cute little scrapbooking cards to each spread. Personally, I do one spread per week… so the final book has about 110 pages. Every Sunday night, I go through my pictures from the week, choose and edit my favorites (using the free Lightroom app), and then do some brief journaling about what we did that week. I include everything from funny things the kids said to what TV show we’re currently binging at night. The weather, important news, sports events (#gobills), frustrating days, photos of the kid’s artwork… it’s all fair game. You can print finished books straight through the Project Life app, but I prefer to do it through Shutterfly (they are always running great deals). I upload my completed pages to Shutterfly and at the end of the year, it’s just done and ready to print. I have four years of “traditional” scrapbooks and five years of digital, printed scrapbooks and it continues to be my favorite project and investment every single year. Also, these pictures were 100% not staged... I knew I had to take photos and found them looking at our book from 2020 and snapped it quick 😂
I also use Chatbooks for smaller, special occasion books: family trips and family photos. Again, I upgrade to the thicker paper, lay-flat books because of the amount of time my kids spend flipping through them. Usually, in these books, I don’t even include words. For example: we took a family trip to Mexico for Christmas 2019. In our family yearbook, I picked my 10 favorite photos and included a journaling card about what we did each day and everyone’s favorite parts. Then, I printed a second book that is just full of pictures. I do the same thing with family photo sessions. No words, just a physical copy of all of the pictures. Because you know what I am NOT going to do when I’m older? Look through the flash drive of pictures from my phone that I’ve backed up each year. I will 100% spend time through the photos that I have printed and compiled. (For $10.00 of your first order on the Chatbook app, use the code TWVG69LK. As always, this opinion is completely my own; each person who uses their app receives a referral.)
I also have two other memory keeping books that I use.
- I have a Promptly Journal for each of my kids. I DO NOT use these to their full extent, I just do the included interview and write a letter to each child on their birthday.
- This year, I started using a five-year, one line a day journal for myself and it is so fun. I keep it by my bedside table and write in it each night before bed. I’m primarily using it as a gratitude journal; a chance to reflect and find the good in each day on the good before I turn in for the night. There is one page for each day, for five years. So the idea is on February 22, 2025, I will be able to see five years worth of short, one-line journal entries all on the same page. (I've linked the book that I use here. This link will take you to my Amazon storefront, where I receive a small commission with each order placed.)
The stories that we are writing and creating matter. Telling our stories communicates to our families, and maybe even more importantly our own hearts, that this time matters. Being able to look at a photo from the week before I had my last baby and remember the contentment I felt sitting on the back porch while my older three kids played with giant bubbles… it matters. Reading my thoughts and feelings from March 2020 and the beginning of COVID… it’s hard, and it matters. It’s also incredible to look back at seasons that you felt like you were barely making it through and see smiles and laughter and memories still being created. We can be so hard on ourselves when we dip into survival mode; looking at the big picture gives you a different lens into the life that your family is living. As moms, we spend so much time creating memories for our kids. Make sure you take the time to remember them, too.