How I Document My Children's First Year(s)

The Background
Before I had August, I was brainstorming ideas for keeping track of our day-to-day memories. I knew I would be terrible at recording milestones into baby books so I wanted another option. I was at a loss and when we were given a gorgeous baby book, I tried to use it. Sure enough, I filled in the first month of information and forgot to detail the rest. 

Part of the problem is that I don't care what date August's third bicuspid came in or the date of his first bath. Alternatively, I will want to remember how we spend our days together. This is not a new idea here at Sea and Islands. If you've been here a while, you know I love my Capture the Day and "I hope to remember" type posts.  

The Plan
When August was two or three months old, I read a post by the memory-keeping mastermind Ronnie Mason of Life: Captured Inc detailing how she keeps a daily journal for her son's first year of life. I thought this was brilliant but knew I would miss lots of days. I adjusted her method to one that works for me. Here is what I've been doing for over two years: 
  • Using the Simplenote app on my phone, I try to write out a few highlights from our day. If I miss a day, I do not stress. I normally take notes while nursing or right before I go to bed.
  • Every few months, I write out my notes in the boy's journals. Boston and August both have their own black Moleskin journals. I include thoughtful birthday cards, pictures, ticket stubs and other memorabilia from our time together. Every now and then Brandon writes a note to one of the boys as well. My mom takes scheduling notes when she babysits so I include these in their books as well. I have an aunt who sends pictures she has taken of the children; since I no longer keep traditional photo albums, their journals are a great place to paste these captures. 
  • After I transcribe my notes from Simplenote, I delete the notes in the app and carry on.

The Result
My original intent was to do this for their first year of life. As August's journal was not full at one year, I kept writing- not daily, but regularly enough. Recently, he has been saying some precious things and I am so pleased to have somewhere to record them. 
I use these journals when I make our yearly family albums. I pull memories, quotes and dates to incorporate into the broader story of our family life. My plan is to give the boys their journals one day- perhaps when they have children of their own. Until then, they will be my treasure.

Y'all, life is hard and mommy guilt is real. These posts are just meant to share how I choose to focus my attention and perspective on the beauty and joy that my life offers. The beauty of memory-keeping is we each get to decide when, how and what is recorded. I think it is vital to figure out a system that works for you and your family. If I had tried to strictly implement someone else's method, I would have stressed out and (likely) quit altogether. This is my system; this is how I remember the grace upon grace that is my life. 

How do you remember? Do you journal or write Facebook posts? Do you take pictures for Instagram or photo albums? Do you text memories to your mom or sister? I'd love to know your method. 

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