Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Documenting Our Children's Lives


There's a lot I don't know about parenting (seriously, I wish there were more longitudinal studies about how to be an effective parent!). But there are two things I did know from the start:

  1. I wanted to document my children's lives for them in a way that would make them feel loved and cherished.
  2. I needed the easiest and least time-consuming way possible. 
Enter The Easy Peasy Scrapbook. 

I did not make this thing up. I think I may have gotten it from Amy over at Progressive Pioneer (when she was actively blogging). 

The idea is so stinking simple: one binder + white card stock + sheet protectors + double-sided tape. That's it! That's all I use to put together a scrapbook for each of my boys. 

I religiously printed photos during their first year of life (so easy to print from Instagram to Walgreens), and then just added stuff after that: class photos, letters on their birthdays, report cards, etc. Now that I started printing photos to celebrate their birthdays, I'm going to add photos from every year. The card stock makes it incredibly easy to jot down a few notes--an explanation, a date, an age, etc. 

The page featured on this post is literally the fanciest page I've ever made for one of their scrapbooks (see yesterday's post about how life is getting easier!). But even this took only five minutes. 

The boys already love looking through their scrapbooks. I love oohing and awwing over how cute they were as babies and how much they have grown. It's a really special time. 

All that focus on babies has left Tate wondering, "Who took care of the everyone when everyone in the world was a baby?"




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6 comments:

Cali Cole said...

great, simple idea! thanks for sharing.

Annie said...

Hi Sara, long-time lurking reader here!
Your thoughts about being an effective parent reminded me of a great book I read years ago by a University of Chicago scholar; Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. It argues that happy and creative/successful people often have some common denominators in their childhood: their parents were encouraging of their individual interests/pursuits, but failure was not big deal (not stunting their curiosity or ideas by fear of failure). I'm simplifying, but these were 2 points I remembered clearly.

I've experienced the truth of this so much in my own life. I was raised by parents EXPECTING me to succeed on all fronts for appearance purposes (good grades, respectable marriage etc.), while never actually being supportive of my heartfelt interests. I even used to lie to them about my accomplishments and downplay my struggles in an effort to "earn" their pride and love. Let's just say that's NOT a good way to raise a child! To this day, I struggle to find personal purpose/enjoyment in my life without trying to please others so hard.

My husband, on the other hand, was raised by a single mother, technically in poverty. But he benefited from her unending support for all of his endeavors, and still does. She went out of her way to encourage her 2 sons to do things they liked and were good at. This included driving all over the South to attend affordable lower league baseball games for son #1 who wanted to be a sports reporter (he became a journalist!) and finding scholarships for drawing enthusiast son #2 to go to art camp (he became my husband, and a designer with a Master's degree from a top art school). Their close bond meant that when things didn't work out, it wasn't a big deal and they were there for each other.
I don't have kids yet but I would like this be my mantra. Follow their lead in regards to their interests, and when things get tough, remind them they are loved unconditionally.
Wow, this comment is really long and even got me a little teary eyed, but what I'm getting at is that you seem to be doing an amazing job with your boys and they are going to become well-adjusted, awesome grown-ups. Because you have unconditional love for them and respect for their distinct personalities/abilities.
Cheers,
Anne

Sara E. Cotner said...

Thanks, Cali Cole! I was bored last night so I printed photos from Instagram to Wallgreens. It was so easy! I'll put them on the wall during Tate's birthday party and then tape them into his scrap book!

Annie, what a thoughtful comment! It was so interesting to read. Thank you! I'm definitely trying to do the things you named in your comment. They certainly aren't easy!

BabyD said...

A few questions if you don't mind:
which sheet protectors do you use, and are you able to put two sheets of yardstick with whatever you stick on them, in one sheet protector? What if the item is bulkier (like the envelope and tooth you have pictured)--then is the backside blank?

Do you print the photos at the store like you mention and tape them? Or are these printouts from the computer on paper?

I want to start this but I'm not sure what to include and what not to include since I also keep a journal and plan to eep a photo album. I'm one of those people who doesn't start something until I have the perfect plan. Argh.

Thanks!!

BabyD said...

that was supposed to say cardstock not yardstick!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, BabyD!

I buy whichever sheet protectors are on hand--usually Office Max or Staples brand. I print photos from Instagram to Walgreens and then use double-sided tape to attach them to the cardstock. I tape photos to the front and back and then slide it into the sheet protector. Does that make sense?

If you already have a photo album for your child(ren), I would recommend not printing photos for the scrapbook; I would just use it for things like report cards, letters on their birthday, etc.

Let me know if you have more questions! I tried to take a video of myself flipping through the whole scrapbook to show you, but I can't get the video to upload. Sorry!

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