A Mom’s Guide to Remembering the Little Things

moms-guide-to-rememberingThese years go quickly, don’t they? They’re filled with so much fun and wonder — some of it captured by photos, some of it captured by videos. But there’s more than just the pictures, and I’m such a sentimentalist I want to memorialize and remember all of it: the quotes, the daily schedule, the obsessions of the moment, the little milestones (first popsicle! first “good” day at daycare! first time watching Star Wars!).

I’ve described before how I try to organize family photos and “process” them, and my current end goal for the photos is to put them, along with other written memories, into a yearly photo album made in Shutterfly; my thinking is that I’ll appreciate these more than a traditional keepsake journal. Minor problem, though: I’m several years behind on my photo albums at this point. (I have 2013 and the second half of 2014 about 80% done, I swear!) So my challenge has been getting all of the written memories in one place so they can be processed at the same time as the photos and ultimately memorialized in the family album. (Pictured at left: 2014 Part I, memorializing that time right after H was born that I told my mother the time was “5:60” and what at the time we thought was an absolutely hilarious lost iPhone story. Also: first sushi after childbirth, always an important milestone.)

Over the years I’ve come up with different strategies for remembering all the little things I want to remember about the kids and our family, but my strategies are far from perfect, so I’d love to hear what you guys are doing too.

Some of the things I’ve done:

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Which Are Your Child’s Favorite Books — And How Do You Find Them?

photographing your kids favorite booksIf you’re like me, I’m guessing books were huge to you growing up — I proudly considered myself a bookworm for years. (I’m trying to get back to it, but I read more articles than books at this point in my life!) For my boys, I’ve always tried to encourage reading, sometimes by adding in some bonuses like knee-bumps, sometimes by reading them the same book three times in a row, etc. So let’s discuss, ladies — which are your favorite books — and for what ages? (And, how do you find new ones — do you have any lists that you swear by? I often will Google “best books for 2-year-old boy” or some such, but finding Amazon’s list of bestseller kids’ books isn’t always helpful.)

A weird thing I’ve done that I kind of cherish now is take pictures of their favorite books, maybe every nine months or so. It’s a wonderful little snapshot of their favorites at that point in time, and I love all the memories that come flooding back to me, like J declaring every food he liked to be “disgustingly delicious!” just like Oscar the Grouch does in Elmo’s Delicious Christmas, or the cute way he would wave at the arriving ship captain in Eric Carle’s 10 Little Rubber Ducks.

Now that H is around, it’s also fun to compare their reading material. J was obsessed with construction vehicles from a young age, but H seems to like animals more. (H is doing this adorable thing right now where he kisses any sleeping animal or kid in our bedtime books. At least, I thought he was kissing them — turns out he’s licking the page. #ProudMama?) I’ve included some of the pictures I could find below, with links to the books that are still in print (a lot of their favorites are surprisingly from my childhood (and my brother’s) in the late ’70s and early ’80s). Even though it feels like a pretty good snapshot, it’s funny how some books that had a long run aren’t represented — I swear I read Hop on Pop a thousand and two times to J, and both boys went through an obsession with The Robot Book (you have to get the one with the twirly things — ISBN 0740797255), as well as the In My Tree series of puppet-books. J also went through a long era where he was obsessed with Sam the Firehouse Cat (an old book from my childhood, in which Sam saves the neighbor cat Becky from a fire, and then they get married and have babies right away!) and the newer book Pickles the Firehouse Cat.

I do have some hesitations about reading the boys older books sometimes — I saw this interesting comparison of how Richard Scarry has updated some of his books to reflect Mommy and Daddy both doing housework, and things like that — but I also feel free to skip over parts of the books, or “lose books” entirely that raise eyebrows. I don’t get too upset about books that still say “fireman” rather than firefighter, or things like that, but maybe I should police that more. There’s at least one Richard Scarry book with a hippo for a judge whom I purposely refer to with feminine pronouns.

We get a lot of kids’ books from the library (I love ordering them online and then picking them up — quick and easy!), but when people gift us books I try to ask them to inscribe the books, at least with their name/date.

If you’re curious, here are some of the pictures I’ve taken over the years:

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