- Take a screencap of a text-messaged exchange sharing quotes or other funny stories: Sometimes I’ll write a funny quote or share a story with my mother via text, or send a picture with a brief explanation, and when I look back to do the family album there’s only the picture and a vague memory about why it was so funny. So I’ve started taking a screencap of the text message so it gets saved with the photos on my phone and processed with all the others. Here’s how to take a screencap on an iPhone.
- Take notes: Every few months I’ll try to sit down with my husband, think of everything the kids are doing “now,” and memorialize it into an email or other document that I save with the photos. (Examples: “J loves swimming and the Wild Kratts! H loves the app ‘Busy Shapes’ and is kind of obsessed with spinning tops and other things. H is very particular about which lights are on and which are off.”) Some of it is nothing (or it’s a repeat of something I’ve written down before), but when I come across it a year or two later I often find myself saying things like “awww, I forgot that,” or “my goodness, how could I forget THAT stupid talking toy?”
- Send emails to myself and label them “photo album.” If I’m sending a funny story to the grandparents via text, I often try to include my email address on the group text message so I can file the message away later.
- Keep a mini-diary of the kids. This is my latest method: I bought an Erin Condren yearly planner and am recording quotes and other mini-milestones (first time watching Indiana Jones!) for each day. My Condren planner is beautiful but it was ridiculously expensive; this $12 Ban.Do planner on sale at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (August 2016-December 2017!) looks like it would functionally be about the same. Because there are only a few lines for every day it isn’t too intimidating — and I don’t feel bad if I go several weeks without writing anything in it. (Pictured at right: my entry from Christmas Eve 2015, memorializing the toys that the boys were most excited about — in my family we open presents from family on Christmas Eve and presents from “Santa” on Christmas morning.) I also have Q&A a Day for Kids: A Three-Year Journal, which features a daily question for you to ask your child (e.g., “If you buried a treasure chest what would be in it?” and a few lines to write his or her response.
- Digital methods: I haven’t used Cozi, but a girlfriend of mine loves it. It’s a family app that lets you sync schedules, grocery lists, and recipes, and it has a “journal” section as well, which might just be perfect for these little memories.
- Other more traditional keepsake journals: I have a few other books lying around, like the Mom’s 5-Second Memory Journal (it’s more about who you are than anything happening with the kids at the moment) and the My Quotable Kid book, but I fear both will be hard to “process” in to my photo album system or otherwise really revisit. Another option is One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book, which only requires a few minutes a day and is $10 on Amazon.
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