By Rachel Hoeing
I consider myself a pretty nostalgic person. I can spend hours looking through old photos, reading old report cards, and browsing through my old sticker collections. I want my children to also enjoy reminiscing on their childhood. I want them to ask questions about their heritage and their relatives who passed on before they got to know them.
I have many ways that I try to create and save memories, but am always looking for more. Here are a few ideas I wanted to share today, and I would love for you to include comments at the end of this blog to give all of us more ideas on how to preserve memories for our children!
When both of my children were born, I never had an official baby book, but instead used many ideas from Creative Memories products to create a “First Year Scrapbook.” I included photos, stories, and other memorabilia in this scrapbook. I also kept a calendar during their first year of life, and then used this calendar to write about specific milestones in the scrapbook. As we got busier, my daughter’s scrapbook has remained stagnant at month eight, (she is now ten years old!) but I promise myself that I will complete it one of these days!
Journals and Diaries
I have kept a diary since I was in the third grade! My first Hello Kitty diary had many entries about playing in the creek and making our “girls only” club. My entries transformed as I got older and were then about boys, crushes, jobs, colleges, weddings, and all of life’s difficult decisions. I think I am now on my fifth or sixth journal. The others are hidden away, and I am sure I would die of embarrassment if anyone read them now, but I smile when I think of the day I am gone and my kids can read the journals and know that the events and emotions they encounter in their lives have been experienced by their mom before. I hope they enjoy reading about how I handled difficult situations and decisions. It saddens me that I have not made time to write entries like I used to though. I bet I only crack open my journal once every four months now, as a life with children is much busier than it was when I was alone in my apartment and had all day to write!
Another idea I have is to purchase an “All About My Grandmother” book like the one shown above. I gave both of my parents their own book to fill out, which had endless prompts for them to write a response. Questions can vary from, “Who was your first best friend?” to “Tell us about the house you grew up in.” Unfortunately my mom and dad both passed away a few years ago and only one book was somewhat complete. BUT, I figure it is better than nothing, and I gave the second book to my husband’s parents and asked them to please fill that one out! I think these will be absolutely priceless for our children.
Family Photo Sessions
Shortly before my parents passed away, we had a photo session with Zoe Zen. Zoe captured the photo above of my immediate family and it is now on a canvas in my home. We had never had a professional photographer take a family photo before this one, and I could not have been more pleased with the results. (Visit our directory here for professional photographer ideas.) We also got shots of just the children, or just my parents, sister and I, or just the girls, etc. We got many combinations and many unique photos. I am excited to pass these prints down to my children one day. When we scheduled this session, my mom was beginning her second battle with ovarian cancer. We had no idea that she would pass away just a few months later and that my father would follow soon after from a blockage in his heart. I was so blessed to get this family photo during a time when everyone was healthy. My point to all of you, is to do this now because you absolutely never know when it will be too late. We’ll always cherish these photos!
I bought a “Memory Box” for each of my children at Home Goods when they were born. We keep these boxes under their beds. I throw everything into these boxes! Report cards, ticket stubs, artwork, teacher notes, articles from the newspaper, first teeth, baby hair swatches, autograph books from Disney, photos, etc. One day I will organize them, but for now, it is perfect to keep everything in one place and I think my kids will have a blast going through these when they are older. As you will see in the pictures below, we also have a smaller Memory Box that I created for each of my children specifically filled with memories of their grandparents. This includes cards that we sent to them, copies of their obituaries, photos, etc.
Wall Shadow Boxes
My mother always had a cute new pair of reading glasses. You could find these scattered all over their house. So, when she passed away I saved them and arranged them in a shadow box. I did the same with a few of my dad’s ties and collector pins. This is a simple and inexpensive way to preserve tangible items that hold meaning to you. The photo on the right is the wall behind my office desk. It helps me to know that they are always close by!
I hope I have given you some inspiration to start preserving some memories for your children. Please share your ideas below and check out our guest blog here with more ideas on what to do with photos and keepsakes!