i would love to know how you organize your memorabilia and keep record. Do you scrapbook, use photo albums, journals (what format), yearly photo books?
wow. this is a mighty good question. one that motivates me to get back on the saddle, so to speak. it's no secret that i am a firm believer in documenting life. i feel that it's not only therapeutic and fun but necessary for generations to come. my dad is a historian. personal stories keep his business humming. i really love that.
i've kept a diary ever since i could write. since high school i've preferred nicely bound books with blank pages. i also think spiral-bound sketch books are handy to have for letting my thoughts slide recklessly and collaging bits of memorabilia and magazine clippings. i love sketch-books with thick cotton paper (black or white), sturdy enough to get the job done. i have dozens of these sketch books that illustrate my passions from certain eras of my life. in fact, my cousin whitney (her blog, her pins) and i used to create collage books for each other on our birthdays, filled with favorite quotes and inside jokes. they are among my treasured possessions and always inspire me when i need a lift.
however, i must admit that my journal writing ebbs and flows. i've been a very bad diary-writer since last year. i am so grateful i felt the urgency to type out my experience with my miscarriage on this blog as i had no energy whatsoever to write it out in my journal. i regret that i didn't pour myself into writing at that time. though, i can't beat myself up about it now. when you are sad, you are just sad and sometimes that takes precedence over other things. sometimes healing (getting through it, surviving it, moving forward) is more important.
still, i am so glad i have at least one post from the perspective of that event while it was so raw. there is nothing like reading something from the recent moments of a life-altering event. which is why i wrote like a real writer when i got married and later, when i had a baby. i knew i wanted to capture my fresh thoughts up in those special moments. i love that quote that no one likes to write, but everyone loves to have written. i couldn't agree more. i love re-reading diary entries wherein my thoughts are all tumbling around uncertainties and i am tangled up in wondering where my life will lead. it's like a sigh of relief now knowing how some of those issues solved themselves; how those tough spots really were defining events.
and yet i love re-reading the seemingly insignificant entries too. those hold the best gems. my first graphic design job in california (the terrifying, the good, the bad and the ugly), the boys i liked in high school, our family vacations, life when dan was in law school, making ends meet (barely) as a newlywed, oh and all the christmas presents i received from the time i was six to eleven years old (for a period of my life the only thing i ever wrote down was where i went on field trips, who i sat by in class, and what i received for christmas and birthdays... you know, the super important stuff of life).
another confession. i was a big scrapper when i was in high school, when pages were filled with stickers and homemade cut out block letters. i had no fancy machines assisting me; just a pack of markers, photos, scissors, double stick tape and a long dining room table. i loved scrapbooking and am happy all my awesome prom pictures are pasted in for viewing (and ridiculing) for generations to come. later i would work at a scrapbooking store and start to despise the craft. this exposes how narrow minded i can be. once all the options (oh the options) like eyelet setters hit the scene, my love for scrapbooking petered out. i felt like i couldn't keep up. like my style didn't fit in. and when it comes to scrapbooking, if i can't do it right, i'm not going to do it at all. now that i'm older and wiser and over-myself, i am working up the guts to put together a simple scrapbook of benji's life, with narrowed-down favorite photos and memorabilia from his baby-hood.
for now, i keep yearly photo albums. i like the albums with blank space to jot the details in next to the slide-in photo insert. once benji came along the one album a year morphed into two albums a year (with extra photos stashed in my closet). mainly, my goal is simple. get digital pictures printed in small batches. i like keeping my expectations low in this area of life. if it's too complicated, i know i'll give up. i have a folder on my desktop labeled Pics to Print and i throw my favorites into the folder when i am uploading files into my iphoto albums. i upload them to wal-mart or costco's website, order a few extras for grandparents, and feel like i've accomplished something! for special occasions i like to create mini photo albums. (kolo brand has exceptional products.) i'm also delighted that my family started a christmas family scrapbook, wherein every family designs one page (front and back) summing up the bests of their year and sends out copies (with page protectors) to the siblings every christmas. flipping through it is a quick trip down memory lane. i love it and highly recommend it for large families.
when it comes to documenting my two year old, i have a lidded box that i found at michael's. it has rope handles and is decorated with sweet illustrations of tricycles and wagons and is very little boy. i think it's important that you love the album, book or box that you choose, as it will become even more special to you over the years. i put everything meaningful (that i plan on scrapbooking some day) into it. (knowing full well that it may never get put anywhere but the box.) i have saved baby shower cards, hospital bracelets, finger painted masterpieces, his newborn hat, little shoes and more. i love diving into it and knowing these precious items are in a safe place. keeping it on a shelf in his closet (with no stacks, clothes or books leaning on top of it) is the easiest way to preserve his little things. when he was only one month old i created a hard bound album all about waiting for him to come and his birthday from shutterfly and loved the results. (pictured in this post.) i also keep special treasures of mine in a hope chest that my grandma gave to me before she died. smaller items are saved in a music box. and stuff i can't seem to part with (notebooks from college, yearbooks, notes stuffed in high school lockers) are in a box somewhere in someone's basement.
and of course, the blog. i love that the blog is not only good writing practice for me, but is a daily documentation of the thoughts i am thinking, things we are doing, places we are going, roads we have traveled, photos i have taken, things i am making, ways we are living. because of that, blogging (even the most random of posts) is never a waste of time. reading other blogs inspires me in new ways of how to fold together the pages of my life; how to better my documentation. now your turn, i'd love to know, how do you document your life? what methods are you using to bottle up your best moments?