In my Mommy-and-Me class a couple of weeks ago, I asked my instructor (very seriously) how I could cope with my emotions as my baby turns 1. A few minutes later, I burst into tears. I really don’t know why this is such an emotional time for me (maybe it is for everyone?). She told me that it’s ok to feel sad about it and the way to deal with the big day is to celebrate it and make a big deal out of it. Bring attention to the fact that it IS a big day, a big transition and a big milestone. Then she recommended that I also try to jot down a few of my favorite memories from the past year so I remember them later. I resisted laughing out loud because documenting Adele’s life is sort of an obsession of mine. I just smiled and nodded. At least I know I have that part covered!
So I wanted to share all the ways I’ve documented our first year as a family of three. Perhaps I’m a bit neurotic, but knowing I have all these keepsakes brings me peace.
PHOTOS AND VIDEOS <– I could write a whole post just on this!
This is, by far, the most important way to document your kids. I always have my FlipCamera (Videos are important too!) accessible and my DSLR camera charged and ready to go. Always. It’s rare that a day goes by when I don’t take at least one picture. I also purchased a camera bag so there would be no excuses for not bringing it along on our adventures. And if I forget my camera, my cell phone camera can work in a pinch. But take. those. pictures.
Side note: BACK UP YOUR VIDEOS AND PICTURES! Don’t leave them on the camera chip or on your phone. Get them on to your computer, burned to CDs, uploaded to a cloud, whatever you have to do to make sure you don’t lose them. I organize all my photos monthly and then label and archive them accordingly. SO important!!
Side note #2: Print the pictures! Display them! Put them in albums, get them on the wall, put them in frames, mail hard copies to family, put them on the fridge, etc.
90% of my photos make it onto my blog. The main purpose is to share them with family and friends, but it also serves as an archive for me to look back on. I love going through old posts and seeing how much Adele has grown. This is an outlet to share stories and details that I might otherwise forget.
And bonus: each post gets archived in my gmail account so if (god forbid) I lose my pictures or my blog crashes, I have all of them backed up in another location.
I’ve kept up with her baby book since Day 1. I am
a little a lot OCD and the thought of having a half-completed baby book makes me dizzy. It has to be complete! So I make it a priority each month to fill in the appropriate pages, mark which teeth have come in, how much she weighs each month, note the first day she crawled, etc. Maybe she’ll want to share that info with her own kids someday to compare? I also make sure to print actual photos and literally paste them in there so I have the visuals along with the stats.
INDEX CARD CALENDAR
Remember that index card calendar I started on the day she was born? Haven’t missed a day yet. I leave it out in my living room so I remember to add in a line about each day, every day. I can’t believe I’m about to start over this weekend with year 2 of her life! This has been a fun project that I hope to continue til she’s a teenager!
I also have a traditional journal that I’ve been keeping since I found out I was pregnant. I write in it a couple of times a month to capture important events and stories. I also use it to tell her a little bit about me and Irving’s history as well.
I have a small plastic shoebox that I store museum ticket stubs, my favorite onsies, her hospital hat, cards people send to her and other tangible reminders of her baby years. I don’t save a ton of things, just a few of my favorites.
And the capstone of commemorating Adele’s first year will come in the form of a Shutterfly photobook. I have yet to organize and create it, but I hope to have it done by the end of June. Hopefully I’ll be able to make one for her each year capturing the best of each month as she grows.
I love preserving our family’s legacy and writing our story. I hope it paints a beautiful picture of Adele’s life that she will someday look back on and be thankful for. Happy Birthday, Darling. I love you.
Oh my! We are complete opposites here. I was very anxious around their first birthday but only because it brought up the horrendous trauma that their birth was.
Their baby books are definitely less than half full. Ah well, at least we make it through the day!