Annual Shutterfly Photo Books: Each year (since the digital online versions became available) I try to put together a photo book of the events of the year. I think the last one I actually had printed was 2006. Then I switched from Kodak Gallery to Shutterfly in 2007 after Stella was born and I’m far behind – mainly because the pictures increased 1000%. I still upload most of my photos to Shutterfly and post them on my Shutterfly site. However, I’m actually a month behind at that right now as well!! I love the look and feel of the Shutterfly photo books and plan to actually print multiple ones each year – one for us and one to put away for each child. I would love to take a stack of them and wrap a big bow around them and hand them to Stella or Charlotte on the day of college graduation or a wedding day, etc. as a “here is your life” gift (Ssshhhhh! Don’t tell them! And, yes, I stole the idea.).
Annual Christmas Photo and Overview: I don’t remember why I started this. However, I have a 3-ring binder with our life inside of it since Andy and I began dating. Each year I write a few sentences about each month and print it out on holiday-themed paper. Then I take a picture of us in front of our Christmas tree and add it. It all goes into page protectors inside the binder. It’s a book I love looking through each year when I get out the Christmas stuff. It helps us remember major milestones and other random stuff – “What did we buy each other for Christmas that year?? Oh, that’s right.” – that kind of stuff.
Repetitive Pictures: This leads me to the topic of repetitive pictures. I love taking the “same” photo, but a year later. For example, the Christmas tree photo mentioned above. Pumpkin patch photos are another example. On Stella’s first birthday we borrowed a blow-up birthday cake (it’s huge – stood in the corner of our kitchen) from a friend and took her picture next to it. Then we did it again this year. (And now I’ve come back and posted all three pictures below.) I enjoy seeing how much she has changed.
Journals: I journal sporadically now. Andy and I have a travel journal that goes on trips with us. However, I’m not sure where it is or what was the last trip we actually wrote about. It was a good idea for awhile but I think we forgot it a few trips back and then never caught up. We also keep a “guest” journal in our guest bedroom. It had more variety of entries while we lived in Nashville and Birmingham when everyone was visiting us. Now that we live near most of our family and friends, it is still a neat documentation of the visits with Andy’s parents and I’m grateful they keep updating it. I have a journal for each of the girls. I try to sit down every few weeks and write short notes about accomplishments, funny conversations, etc. I keep a topic list in my planner as things occur to help me remember when I actually have time to sit and write. The latest entry was in Stella’s journal. We were in the car and the radio was on and “Stir it Up” began playing. The words hadn’t even started yet and Stella screamed with joy – “Bob Marley!!” What 2 year old does that??
Artwork: Wow, there’s a lot of artwork when your kids are in daycare. And a lot of it makes no sense and is 90% created with “help” from the teacher at this age. (I know Stella is not that good with cutting and pasting yet. But don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they are exposed to crafts early on – I’m just not sentimentally attached to most of it.) I do keep special pieces for each girl to have later. I keep a large Rubbermaid tote in each of their closets to throw this kind of stuff inside. I particularly keep anything made with handprints, footprints, thumbprints, etc. and holiday stuff to keep around for the next year’s decorations. A lot of items get shipped off to the grandparents. Then it’s their problem about what to do with it all!! I hate throwing it away and rarely do. I know a lot of people take pictures of the artwork and make photo books as keepsakes. I think that is a great idea.
T-shirts & Baby Clothes: I have a stack of t-shirts that I would love to turn into a quilt someday. Anyone done this? I also heard about someone taking favorite pieces of their kid’s baby/toddler clothes and doing a similar thing for each kid. Anyone done this?
Newborn Shadow Boxes: I wish I could remember where I got this idea and give the proper credit. I kept special items from the hospital when each girl was born – the id bracelets, the first pacifier, the “Hello, my name is…” sign, the crocheted hat, a onesie with the footprints, etc. Then I had a few photos printed. I put all of these things into a shadow box which is now displayed in each room. What will they do with these years from now? Who knows, but it seemed like the right thing to do with the stuff at the time.
There are so many ways to preserve memories…how do you preserve yours?