Each ornament on my tree is connected to a memory. At 2-years-old, N is now at an age where he is excited about trimming the tree and can express his interest in particular ornaments. His favorite is a Juicy Couture cupcake ornament, which due to its fragility had to be placed high above little hands’ reach.
I try to add ornaments each year that will build our collection of memories. As N is learning his letters (“N for me,” he says) we added an N and G to our tree this year. We were also gifted a few ornaments, including a “Baby’s 1st Christmas” ornament for G and a fire truck for N, which he drove for a while before hanging it from a branch. As I pack these memories away until next Christmas season though, I am reminded of all the other ways that I try to capture the memories I create with my children.
I love taking photos of my kids and an easy way to organize these photos is to create year-in-review or holiday-specific photo books with Shutterfly. I like to do this for the grandparents, but it is also a good way to chronicle the highlights of the year and make sure that my favorite photos are not forgotten. I have also written before (here) about creating photo books of children’s artwork, which is another way to organize and preserve all the art that comes home from school.
Another tradition I started is a memory box. I have a tendency to be a hoarder, so rather than allowing myself to save every keepsake and piece of memorabilia, I bought each child a small box in which to collect and save a few token items over the years. Each child has their hospital bands from birth (were their wrists really that small?!), the first outfit they wore, and their first shoe. N’s box has the party horn I blew at his first New Year’s Eve, which made him giggle repeatedly and was the sweetest sound to ring in the new year. It has been fun deciding which items warrant packing away in these boxes and each time I open it is another walk down memory lane.
Birthdays are typically a time for reflection. I have been using a birthday keepsake journal for N, and plan to start one for G, that allows for a few photos, highlights of the parties, and storage of special items. For his first birthday, I wrote a letter to N and sealed it in this book. I have already forgotten what I wrote, but I know that N and I will enjoy reading it in the future! I hope that this journal is a concise way for us to look back at these milestones and watch the kids grow year-to-year. Then, when they turn 18 I will gift this time capsule back to them.
As a mom, there are so many memories that you want to capture and hold onto forever. If you don’t have a system in place, your house can become cluttered with keepsakes and photos, so books and small boxes allow for an organized approach. I try to find balance between living in the moment and acting as the family historian. As a blogger, it is easy to spend family events behind the camera, trying to catch idyllic moments worth sharing, but as a mom, I try to remember to stay present and having these outlets for preserving memories allows me to do that.