In a recent article by Mr. Money Mustache about why it's okay to only have one child, I stumbled upon this quote: "In the thick of the bad times of raising a young child, you sometimes feel like your whole life has been one long screaming, screeching, smashing, crying argument."
This stage in our lives is definitely a challenging one, with Henry being 3.5 and Tate being 1. My professional job is so demanding right now, as is my mothering job.
So when I think about ways in which I want to keep tangible memories of this stage in our lives, I look for very simple, low-maintenance ways. I'm trying to "make a cleaning" and keep this year as simple as possible. Here's what we have going on right now:
- The boys each have a binder full of letters and photos from pregnancy through their first birthday. I will continue to use these binders to add letters each year on their birthdays, class photos, etc.
- As a family, we've been keeping a scrapbook over the years. However, Matt recently had the idea to just print a family book each year with photos from our Instagram accounts via Blurb. We will continue to add things to the scrapbook (like our yearly anniversary letter), but we won't add photos to it. Instead, we'll make one book a year.
- I purchased copies of Oh, the Places You'll Go for Henry and Tate. We ask their teachers to write a note to them at the end of their time together, and we plan to give them these books at graduation.
- I got the idea to keep artifacts from their pockets (like the ones above) and turn it into a piece of art inside a shadowbox. I have a basket on a high shelf inside the bathroom closet. As I collect something, I slip it into a little baggie and use a Sharpie marker to label it with their name, date, and brief description of the object. I imagine I will present them with this when they are an adult, like at their weddings (if they get married) or as a housewarming present (if they buy a house).
- We purchased a hanging ruler to keep track of our boys' heights as they grow. It's easy to roll up, so once we no longer want it hanging on the wall, we will roll it up and put it into one of their Tupperware containers. The boys each have one large container where we keep things for them (a couple of baby clothes, their first blankets, etc.).