One of the awesome perils of being a new parent is figuring out what sorts of neat-o things to do to document your life. In this age of newfangled computers, there are literally MILLIONS of things a person can do to make sure every aspect of their child's life is documented. I haven't checked, nor do I want to, but I'm guessing I could find a website that will bronze your first poop in the toilet if I so wished to keep something like that... and I don't. You're welcome.
Instead of getting a second mortgage on the house to pay for all of the cool keepsakes, I've done some picking and choosing of a few options that I think will best sum up your childhood. I've had a blast doing these things and I hope, someday when you're older, you will appreciate having them!
What to do:
*Photo books - Your mama is not a scrapbooker. I am always impressed by the myriad of awesome scrapbooking materials they sell and do find myself staring longingly at all of the cool stickers, but when it comes down to it I am not someone who should be trusted with pinking shears and photos. Instead, the librarian in me appreciates the type of life-documenting that will last a lifetime! I chose to do photo books for you because I never have to worry about photos falling out, getting creased, or fading away. For your first year I did a photo book every three months because you were growing SO quickly! For each year after that, I'll probably do one or two books per year. I've purchased them in triplicate, one for each grandparent. We actually don't have our own copies of the books right now, but they're saved on the website and I can re-buy them anytime!
*Memory Keepers - There is a website called PaperCoterie that has these AMAZING memory keepers! They are boxes with customizable exteriors, which allow me to save all of your neat little odds and ends for the year in one organized place! So far we've done one for 2011 and I just got the 2012 version the other day. They can sit on a bookshelf with the year emblazoned on the side so you can easily pull down one of the memory keepers and find all of your neat knick knacks from that particular year! This is actually one of my favorite ways to document your life because they're just so spiffy looking AND super helpful when it comes to organizing your stuff.
*Funny things Gracie says journal - One of the great things about you learning to talk is how often you will say funny things that leave your dad and I wondering, "Where on earth did she hear that?" I didn't want to forget those neat things so I bought a journal (with your picture on the cover, of course!) called, "Listen Up! Baby G says what's on her mind..." In this journal we will write down all of the ridiculous, cute, heart-warming, and funny things that come out of your mouth!
*Christmas Ornaments - I knew I wanted to come up with some sort of fun way to document all of your Santa pictures for as long as you'd let us plop you on his lap. I took your first Santa picture and made it into a cute Christmas Ornament with the year beneath it. I'd like to get a neat ornament holder to hang these on the mantle each Christmas. When you stop wanting to sit on Santa's lap, we'll just put another type of Christmas picture of you in an ornament! You're not getting out of it just because you stop believing in Santa!
*Christmas (and other holiday) cards - Your mama went a little nuts this year sending out cards for Christmas and Valentine's day (on top of your birthday announcement) These things all happened within 3 months of each other and I assume your extended family now expects a new type of card every month! HAHA!
*Blog - One of the most labor-intensive documentation things I'm doing includes this blog. It takes a while to put a photo-book together, but nothing like updating this blog! I like to update about 1-2 times per week right now. If I do this until you're headed to college, I will have thousands of blog entries; many taking an hour or more each to write! I plan to print this blog out each year into a book for you to have when you leave home. I'm not sure when I will start sharing this blog with you, age-wise, but I do want you to have it forever as a reminder that your mom totally digs you and wanted you to know more about yourself as a child when you were older and couldn't remember everything. It's also because as I get older I will probably forget a lot of things, too. I never want to forget these wonderful times!
*Yearly Calendar - Each year I'd like to make a calendar using the previous year's pictures during those particular months. I made your first one at the very end of 2011 using 2011's pictures and we have it hanging up right now in the kitchen. It's so fun!
*Growing up so big chart - We got you a growth chart to document how tall you were each year instead of making marks on a door jam in a house we could easily sell someday, leaving your growth marks behind. Instead, this growth chart peels back off of any surface you put it on, allowing us to bring it with us wherever we go!
*Baby book - And we totally got you a regular old baby book so you would have all the fun information that all the other kids have, too! I'm mostly up to date with it right now, but I do need to add your first birthday stuff to it.
*Plastering my desk and home with pictures of you - Pretty self-explanatory! I often find good deals on free 8X10 photos so I keep rotating new pictures of you at my desk for all to see.
*External hard drive full of pics, neatly organized - As it stands, right now, I have over 16 gigs of photos and videos of you from your first year. I bought a 2 terabyte hard drive to store these things (as well as remote storage at work). I'll probably have to buy another one in a few years because this one will be full!
What not to do:
*Scrapbooking - Like I said, I can't be trusted with scissors! The photo books are better for archival purposes, anyway!
*Taking your picture every single day - We do so many things that sometimes I forget to break out the camera. I do as much as I can, but we can't possibly document every day of your life, no matter how precious each day is!
*Getting professional pics done before you were one year old - Yeah, we waited to do studio pictures until you were a year old. I know some people do them every month (or so it seems) but time just slipped by when we were doing other things! Instead, we have pictures take by us and other family for most of your first year. We will do studio pictures each year around your birthday.
*Bronzing your shoes - I mean, we'll keep them, but I don't see the purpose of bronzing them!
*Putting your face on a throw blanket or a piece of clothing - No offense to anyone who has done this, but I think using a blanket with someone's face on it is sort of creepy. I'll also probably never walk around with a loved one's face on my shirt, either, but maybe it's too soon to make that statement!
I hope you enjoy seeing all of these fun things we've done to document your childhood half as much as I've enjoyed making them! I'm also guessing we'll add other things down the line as I find new and exciting ways to plaster your face on something!