Memories, sweet memory {BINS}

When I was a kid my parents had boxes of random photos and a vague idea of the who/what/when/where.  It was fun to look through, but I wanted something more meaningful for my kids and I, especially now when pictures are everywhere and on every device.  I have nearly 17,000 photos on my computer at the moment – my parents had maybe 2% of that.  Digital pictures are date stamped but definitely not labeled.  I want to actually remember my memories because I’m pretty sure I’m losing my mind already.

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I scrapbook… shocker.  Back before I had kids I did it the old fashioned way – ordering actual photos and placing them in books with an assortment of embellishments and pretty paper – basically spending A LOT of free time and money.

In high school I rounded up old photos of myself and made a book with all of my school pictures, sports photos, newspaper clippings, dance pics….etc.  No, I am not in love with myself {those awkward pre-teen years were included}, I just wanted a collection of my childhood.  I’m so glad I did it!  So I knew I wanted something similar for my own kids.

When each of my children were born I made the traditional baby books for their first year.  Those books were for me, to convince myself later on that those years were precious and not exhausting and frustrating and the reason I am losing my mind.  In addition to the baby books I also started books for each of them.  While I stick to digital books nowadays, I wasn’t exactly confident that Shutterfly would keep a digital book going for 18 years, so I started a sort of hybrid of “old fashioned” and digital pages.  This really takes no time at all and I’m pretty confident my kids are going to give me some kind of award when they are grown {preferably in cash}.

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I went with 8 1/2 X 11 books, which are the perfect size for 8×10 photos/posters and any documents you might want to include.  When I began this, I was using post-bound scrapbooks.  While they do expand, I don’t think they will be able to grow as much as I will need them to long-term.  For baby #3 I got a binder-style photo album and love this so much more.  I will probably switch the first two out at some point to binders.

Here’s how I am filling the books.  I am going in chronological order, you could also go chronologically by category.:

1.Milestones

Start at the beginning, literally, with those gorgeous (and expensive) newborn photos.  If you had a birth announcement, that makes things even easier!  If not, I like to make a poster on Shutterfly with my favorite newborn photo and the birth stats.  I love Shutterfly posters.  You can add text, choose from lots of colors/patterns, and make collages.  When I can’t choose just one favorite photo I usually make a collage.  After newborn, I include annual (sometimes more frequent) milestone pics and eventually school photos.

 

I’m also one of those people who take a picture of their kids each month for the first year.  I put all of those pictures in a collage from newborn to 12 months.  It’s fun to see them all together on one page and how much your kiddo changes in that year.  Unless your kid doesn’t grow hair like my #3, she looks the same in every picture.  This also leads me to believe that no hair = forever young….my husband is soooo lucky.

 

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What is childhood without birthday parties??  I make a collage of pics from each birthday party and throw that in too.

3.Sports/Activities

If your kids are in activities, there will inevitably be pictures and certificates.  I have some dance pictures from when I was a kid and they are stinkin’ adorable.  There is also a gymnastics photo where I have full on pink eye ~ not adorable ~ but makes for a good story.

4.School

My kiddos school adventures started off at Pre-School graduation (Kids in cap and gown? Yes!). When it was time for Kindergarten I created this questionnaire for my kids and printed 13 copies for each so I can interview them every year right before school starts.  If I was more forward thinking I probably would have started this in Pre-School.  I can’t wait to see how their answers change!  For a copy of the questions I use, click here:  ALL ABOUT me

I also, at times, try to be a Pinterest mom… another shocker.  So in the Pinterest spirit I got some small chalkboards for my kids to pose with for first and last day of school pictures.  If you are on social media I know you see pictures just like this filling your newsfeed every August and June.  Part of me knows most people don’t want to see 107 pictures of random kids posing with backpacks, but the other part argues that those other kids aren’t as cute as mine.  If you haven’t tried chalk pens yet then you aren’t living.  Chalk pen colors are so much more vivid and precise than traditional chalk.  I print the first and last day pictures in 5×7 size so I can put them on the same page.

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Where do I store these works of art?  In a bin of course.  Each kid has a memory bin – it’s a hanging file box that has a folder for each grade to keep those special items from school {remember all of that school stuff I talked about??}.  At Thanksgiving last year my daughter brought home a paper on which she wrote this persuasive story of a turkey:

“Please don’t eat me.  I’m too young to die.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m sold…and laughing.  These kinds of things deserve preservation.

I also threw in the outfits they wore home from the hospital and on their first birthday.  I don’t know why I am keeping these, other than there are just some things you aren’t ready to part with.  After all, being organized doesn’t mean you have to get rid of everything just because it doesn’t serve a purpose.

My oldest kids are only 6, so I know I’m just scratching the surface on these scrapbooks and bins, but I have a good foundation going.  It’s never too late to start {remember that cash award??}.  So round up your pics and special papers and get to memory making, you’ll be so glad you did.

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