For so many parents, raising happy kids is the priority. While that’s important, it’s certainly not everything. Yet, in all the brokenness of the world, I want to point my kids to Jesus and document our (mostly good) memories. I want to remember the good.
Take lots of photos
I love snapping pictures of everyday life, trips, and special events. Of course, sometimes the kids get distracted or aren’t interested in capturing the same moments. I’m thankful for the “live photo” setting on my iPhone so I can go back and choose the best snapshot of the moment when kids were likely moving around and making faces. A photo burst is also helpful with this.
A photo burst function takes up a lot of memory, which means that you need to be swift in dumping it on your computer so you have more space on your phone. But rather than it clogging up your computer, whether it’s a laptop or a MacBook, you can use software such as free MacBook cleaners to guarantee that you are able to streamline this effectively. Also, hello, iCloud.
Photo books are a logical extension of taking great photos. If we are constantly looking at pictures on our phones, we can almost lose the sense of what the photo is there for. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of printing out your photos on a regular basis. I like designing photo pages in the Project Life app and then printing these pages and other photos for my walls at Persnickety Prints.
My kids love to look at these scrapbooks too and then I find myself telling them extra details from the stories. What a sweet way to add to their memories!
Other ways to document life
While photos tend to be the biggest aspect of documenting family life, I also capture memories in other ways too:
- Birthday books. These are books with pages for each birthday. I add a photo from their party and fill out the questionnaires about that celebration. It’s a simple but fun way to capture birthday milestones and what each child is like at that age. (I have one of these books for each kid.)
- School books. Like the birthday book, this one has a few pages for each grade. It’s a great way to document kids’ school experiences, friendships, favorite subjects, and field trips. Plus there’s a pocket where report cards and other mementos can be saved.
- Words note. Especially when kids are little, they say they funnies things. I started a note on my phone for these things. I just list funny, wise things they have said over the years and date each entry. I think I’ll eventually print this and put it in their baby books.
- Line-a-day journal. I started using this journal five years ago and love it. Each night, I write down a couple of sentences about our day. Each page has space for five years, so it’s fun to look back on the previous years. In my fifth year, I’m already looking forward to my new journal in January. While this started as something for me, it definitely captures family traditions, habits, and memories.
- Baby books. My kids have unique stories because we adopted each of them as newborns. Traditionally baby books didn’t always work, so I found baby books I could take and part and used certain pages in binders that I turned into baby books. These binders also include their adoption stories, which I’ve updated with details and meetings with bio families throughout the years.
- Books. While it’s not the usual way, I also have documented my kids’ adoption stories in a self-published book called “Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family.” I also documented some everyday life we share with others in a book called “Bringing Home More Than Groceries: Stories about Gathering & Nourishing People.”
- TimeHop. Social media understandably gets a bad rap sometimes, but I love capturing memories on there today so I can see them in my TimeHop memories years later. I love a good side-by-side photo comparison!
- Creative mementos. I hope to have things like an heirloom to pass along to my children as they grow up and begin documenting lives of their own. Things like T-shirt quilts, special photos, video compilations, and special dishes are creative ways to document life.
Life is full in every way – but this is one area of which I’m not willing to let go. Sure, it takes some time, but these are some simple ways you can incorporate documenting memories in your real life as you’re living it with your family.