The joy of memory keeping

Cross-stitched birth record for my first-born.

If you’re like me and love recording memories of your children as they grow up, you’ll be familiar with the various different ways to keep such records. I’d love to share how I personally do memory keeping; what I used to do (read: what I had time to do) and what works for me now.

Disclaimer: When I commit to something, I tend to over-commit. By that, I mean I don’t do things by halves. I think you’ll get the idea if you read through to the end!

Scrapbook page – Genevieve’s first ultrasound.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant with my first child, Genevieve, I bought a pregnancy journal. In fact, if I remember correctly, I think I kept two. You see, I had time. I was fortunate enough not to be working throughout my pregnancy so I could start my memory keeping from the get go and actually keep up to date with it.

I had time to think about how I was feeling, to daydream about the baby, to record every pregnancy milestone in detail.

I cross-stitched Genevieve’s alphabet sampler all ready so that I simply had to stitch her name and birth record details after she was born. For the record, I am about half way through Lucinda’s cross-stitched birth record (she’s 4) and haven’t started on Gabriel’s yet (he’s almost 2 but the poor third child has a much smaller cross-stitch project so I should be done by the time he’s 4!).

I even had time to scrapbook for Genevieve! This was definitely the most time-consuming memory keeping exercise so there’s none of that these days – the last scrapbook page I created was an ultrasound one for Lucinda.

The cover of Genevieve’s scrapbook. Below are a few pages from it.

When Genevieve was born, I started keeping a typical baby record book. One of those cute books where you fill in details about the baby from day one usually through to their first birthday. Details about their first holiday, first Christmas, christening (if relevant), first step, first words. It’s a really great way to record milestones, especially because life starts going really fast when the baby is born and it’s nice to have one spot to have these easy-to-forget details. Each of my other two, Lucinda and Gabriel, have their own record books too. It will be quite special to look through them together (we already have with Genevieve), and one day these books will be theirs to keep.

rhi creative baby book

My dear husband is a keen photographer so photo albums are also a big part of our memory keeping. Each of the kids has their own collection of photos (of just them) and then we keep a separate collection of photos of the kids in photos together. We’ve found that as the kids have gotten older (and as we’ve added to the brood!), there are less photos of them alone and more photos of them together.

Photo boxes from kikki-k.

In August 2013, I started a One-Sentence Journal for Mothers (A Five-Year Record Book). While I admit this can be a chore sometimes, this has been the best way to record what life was like with the kids at any particular time. Each day for 5 years, there’s room to add one line about the family or my day. I have to say I often fall behind, but I make sure any snippets I want to record (like a gorgeous moment between the kids or a special event at school for one of the girls) are jotted down for later recording (my memory ain’t what it used to be). Recently, as I was working on Gabriel’s baby record book, I needed details of some of his firsts, and I was able to get these from my One-Sentence Journal – it was all there (admittedly, though, a bit time-consuming to find).

A really sweet record book which is a little bit different is Laikonik’s Once A Year Book. Laikonik describes their book as follows:

“Laikonik’s unique Once-A-Year Book chronicles a child’s life from birth to adulthood. Each year, from age 0 through to 18, affix one photo on the front and document milestones from that year on the back. Use the clever concertina design to stand and display this beautiful bespoke memory book, or fold and store in the included wooden keepsake box. Make sure you create a journal of the silly, funny, sweet things your young (and not so young) babies say in the companion Chatter Book. The Once-A-Year Book is hand bound, and features a letter-pressed illustrated cover by renowned graphic designer Laura Blythman with gorgeous copper and peach tones, and acid-free archival quality paper.”
Each of my kids has a book (there are many designs to choose from, with an option for cloth-covered if you don’t fancy letter-pressed paper), and I have also gifted these special little books to friends – they are just beautiful. Each year, I have written special events or moments for each of my three and I usually add a short life affirmation or lesson/saying at the end.

Finally, as my older two started school, I started school memory books for them. Totally unnecessary, but something nice to look back on in the future.

rhi creative’s school days record book

I hope you’ve enjoyed a snapshot of the seemingly many ways I memory keep for the kids. There are a lot of other ways too, but I simply cannot commit to any more! No doubt it is an effort (and it’s probably fair to say I do more record-keeping than most) but, to be honest, having the pictures in a book format to look through (instead of stored in digital format on a hard drive or computer) and the memories written down to read and relive brings a lot of joy. It’s still a work in progress as there is always something to record or catch up on (hello cross-stitching!), but when the kids are all grown up and my memory fails when I try to recall what they were really like when they were little or when a special event occurred, I suspect it will all be worth it.

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