This is the second in a series of posts devoted to Scrapbooking Shortcuts. To read the introductory post, click here. And check back tomorrow and throughout the coming weeks for more installments.
What follows might be called my philosophy of scrapbooking. I know it’s very basic, but I think it is a good starting point for this series of posts, because in every endeavor, it’s important to keep first things first.
Despite all our time-saving tools and devices, moms are as busy today as they’ve ever been. A lot of us not only struggle to keep up with the real responsibilities of child-rearing, but we also feel guilty about the many things we think we should be doing… but aren’t.
For a lot of moms, scrapbooking falls into that category — just one more thing to feel guilty about not doing. The point of this series is not to compound those feelings of failure, but to free you from them.
I plan to do this by outlining a manageable way — one that fits your personality — to preserve a few keepsakes from your children’s growing up years. And here’s where I suggest you start:
- Make Memories
Every Mom should do her best to give her children wonderful childhood memories.
- Play with them.
- Read them books.
- Sing to them.
- Take them places.
- Make things together.
- Teach them stuff.
- Love on them.
- Enjoy life together.
- Point them to Jesus
If you can accomplish that much, pat yourself on the back. You’re doing what matters most.
You are a terrific mom, and your kids will grow up to recognize and appreciate that fact, even if you never glue a single picture in a memory book.
- Take Pictures
The next essential step in scrapbooking is to pause long enough in the midst of making memories to document a few of them.
Of course, you shouldn’t get so carried away with taking pictures that you fail to fully enjoy and engage in the occasion. Photos are what scrapbooks are all about — so you’ll need to be intentional about taking some — but it’s important to preserve a balance.
Try to take a mix of formal, posed pictures and candid, action shots. Some of the memories you’ll want to capture on film might include:
- Family celebrations — birthdays, Christmas, other major holidays
- Travel — family vacations, mission trips, summer camp, family reunions
- Baby’s milestones — first tooth, first haircut, first step, etc.
- Performances — choir concerts, school plays, piano recitals
- Academics — first day of school, awards ceremonies, graduation
- Group activities — soccer, Scouts, swim team, gymnastics
To remind myself to do this, I’ve stored my camera in the kitchen for decades. That keeps it easily accessible, so I can grab and shoot quickly when the situation calls for it. I try to take a few photos every month. I know lots of moms do much more than that, posting new pics to Facebook or Instagram daily, if not hourly.
There’s something to be said about capturing normal, everyday moments. I wish I remembered to do so more often, but at this stage of my life, daily photo shoots would overwhelm me, so I just try to make certain I record the big stuff.
Feel free to take as many or as few pictures as suits your personality. But if that number is zero, you should consider hiring somebody else to snap a few (or passing the camera to an older child who is interested in photography), so you’ll have something to paste in the memory book.
- Save Keepsakes
In addition to photographs, you may want to include a few sentimental keepsakes in your scrapbooks, as well.
Here again, you must be selective. If you try to save every doodle your child ever scribbles, you’ll be drowning in an sea of papers before you know it. But do keep a small, representative sample of his work, including:
- Ribbons and awards certificates
- Handwriting and/or creative writing samples
- Drawing or painting samples
- Ticket stubs from favorite movies, museums, or amusement parks
- Birthday cards — especially those with handwritten notes inside
- Letters or postcards from pen pals (again, maybe just a representative sample if there’s a plethora of them)
I’ll be talking more about it later in this series, but I also keep a detailed family calendar which I glue into my children’s scrapbooks. That keepsake helps me keep all the other keepsakes in order.
- Organize Them
Notice that this step comes at the bottom of the list. That’s because it can be done at any point.
My own dear mother did an amazing job on the first three items in this list; however, her organization system just entailed tossing all the photos and sentimental papers into a cardboard box.
But guess what? That was enough to preserve those memories. For nearly fifty years, anytime I was feeling nostalgic about my childhood, I could open up that box and sort through all those cherished keepsakes.
Mom hadn’t the time or inclination to put them into a memory book herself, but that’s okay. I’m just grateful she kept them. Two years ago, I finally organized all those childhood mementos into scrapbook form myself.
I was prompted to do this by the fact that my own daughters had taken an interest in my memory box, and I was afraid their frequent handling was going to cause the now brittle newspaper clippings to shatter. After just a few weeks’ work in the evenings, it’s all safely archived in a permanent format that makes it possible for my children and me to flip through the pages as often as we please without damaging any of those ancient “artifacts.” 🙂
Which goes to show… even if those treasured memories from your children’s youth remain in a box, you’ve preserved what is necessary for somebody to make a scrapbook at some point in the future. If you have the time and inclination, you can do it yourself. If not, your child can do it when she’s older.
Or maybe it will be a project you work on together, thereby creating even more special memories in the process.
If you are ready to start moving the mementos out of the box right away, then join me tomorrow, when we’ll discuss some specific ideas for organizing your photos and keepsakes. My method will work, whether you have a lot of time to devote to the project or just a little. I can hardly wait to get started!