Jenni Hufford lives in Indianapolis, IN and is married to Todd. She is a stay at home mother to Jonah James (5 years) and Jordan Nicole (3 years). She enjoys applying the creative aspect of scrapbooking into every day activities with her family. In addition to scrapbooking Jenni's hobbies include photography, cooking, blogging, traveling with her husband, and spending time with her close knit extended family and friends.
Ever since I was in junior high school I loved taking pictures and keeping "memory books". Nothing fancy, just pictures with a few written memories and a sticker here or there. It wasn't until the birth of my first child in 2006 that I officially, and unexpectedly, became a "scrapbooker". When Jonah was born, he had unexpected complications and experienced an emotional ten day stay in the NICU (we are so thankful God completely healed him of all complications). The whole process of his birth left me with many emotions, thoughts, and stories that I wanted to remember and share. Recording his journey became my outlet and therapy. From that point on, I fell in love with scrapbooking and telling the story of our family.
So today I want to share with you, dear Tiny Twig readers, my top ten list of Keeping Memories of Your Children.
1. There are many ways to record memories and tell the story of your family-- find the voice that best suits you. For me, it's scrapbooking. For others, their voice can be found in photography, blogging, or even the one-photo-a-day venture, "Project Life". There is no right or wrong way to tell your story. Find what is best for you.
2. Do keep a journal of memories. It's amazing how quickly we can forget that funny story or saying. My main "journal" of memories is kept on my blog. I often refer to stories shared on my blog as a reference and use those very words as the journaling portion on my scrapbook pages. Most of my scrapbook layouts originate with an idea or a thought from a blog post.
3. Do focus on the stories more than the products. There are so many amazing scrapbooking products on the market these days, that it's easy for a "new scrapbooker" to become overwhelmed with the industry and avoid memory keeping all-together. I can't tell you how many times friends have said they feel so overwhelmed when shopping for scrapbook supplies. My suggestion is that the story is more important than the product. Find a kit club to get yourself started with a few supplies that coordinate with one another. My favorite paper kit clubs are Studio Calico and Jenni Bowlin.
4. Don't feel like you need an expensive camera to record memories of your family. Whether you are using an SLR, point and shoot, iPhone, or Instax-- it doesn't matter!! What matters is that you are taking time to capture those memories on film (or a memory card:). Don't let perfectionism get in the way of keeping memories.
5. Do include yourself in the story. As a mom, it's easy to forget to include myself in our family scrapbook pages and photos (usually because I am behind the camera). It's okay to hand the camera to someone else. It's okay to record your favorite things on a layout. Your children will enjoy and appreciate reading about their mother years down the road.
6. Don't forget the hard times. It's easy to focus on all the happy times of life in our family scrapbooks and memory keeping. However, there is great benefit to recording hard times and bumps in the road of life. After the birth of our second child, I went through a period of post-partum depression and anxiety. As I was recovering, I began to scrapbook my thoughts and feelings on that time in my life. I want my children to know that life isn't always perfect, and Who it was I turned to during trials.
7. Don't feel like you have to document in chronological order. For many years I created scrapbook layouts in the order they happened. It was amazing how often i would feel "stuck" on a page because i was completely uninspired. Now I create my pages by whatever photo or memory inspires me. One day I may be scrapbooking a newborn photo, the next day I may focus on a current photo. I still organize my albums chronologically, but I allow the memory to inspire me rather than following a timeline.
8. Don't scrapbook every photo you take. Attempting to scrapbook every photo will leave you overwhelmed and exhausted. Choose only photos that have a story that means something to your family. You can file away all other photos in sleeved albums.
9. Do include memoribilia in your scrapbooks. Special ticket stubs, playbills, artwork, handprints, brochures: include them in the pages you create!! You will enjoy looking back at your child's handwriting or artwork one day.
10. Do enjoy your scrapbook albums with your family. (Don't let them sit on a shelf and collect dust). Visit these pages and memories often with your children and your family!! One of my favorite things is to see my children look at the pages I create for them and see the joy on their faces. They love hearing stories about themselves.