Tuesday, January 26, 2010

TOTTV - Record Keeping

It's Tuesday and Time to Turn off the T.V. (TOTTV) and spend some quality time with our loved ones! (To see why we're doing this, go here.)


Have you ever noticed that, the older you get, the faster time seems to fly by? (is it just me who feels that way?!) Time never flew so quickly as the day I became a mother - and since then, I am constantly asking myself "Where have the past few (days/weeks/months/years...) gone??!" I've noticed that, if I don't keep a record of some sort, time seems to sort of disappear into that black hole called "The Past" where it is quickly forgotten and retrieved only with great difficulty (if at all). Any records I DO keep, though, become Treasures - priceless moments for me to remember right now, in the Present, and which will hopefully be even more meaningful in the Future.

Recording memories may seem like a "no brainer" and I'm sure many of you are already pros at it....I mean, look at all the scrapbooking companies, photo developers and websites, online/digital scrapbooks, blogs, cameras, video cameras, etc....these are all methods people have developed for recording memories.

But, how consistent are we? And, how much do we involve our children? Before I had kids, I was an avid scrapbooker! I LOVED scrapbooking and much of my time (and money) was devoted to it. Now, years later, I enjoy looking back on my scrapbooks (my kids LOVE it!!!) Unfortunately, once I had kids, I believed I no longer had the time (or the money) to keep it up, and my record-keeping took the back burner for far too long. Finally, one day I realized that my children were growing up, and that I would NEVER get these moments back...and I knew my brain couldn't keep track of everything on it's own! So, I made a goal to become a better record-keeper, and, furthermore, to involve my kids! In truth, involving them has made all the difference because 1) they love doing it, 2) it's something we can do together (instead of me having to find time to do it on my own!) and 3) if I slack off, they are right there to keep me in line!

If you're already an excellent record-keeper, GOOD FOR YOU! Share some tips with the rest of us, will you? For the rest of us: If you're great at this on your own, make a goal to involve your kids. If you are good at keeping records sometimes, work on your consistency. Wherever you are, think of someway you could improve. If you've never kept records before, it's the perfect time to start! Don't get overwhelmed, just start from today and work forward! Set a goal to work on it at least once a month (once a week is even better if you can manage!)

Here are just a few methods of record keeping, and some helpful hints:

  • Photographs (film - develop a system for developing/printing, organizing prints, and filing/storing/preserving them - e.g. in scrapbooks or albums. Digital - regularly upload and organize, develop a system for printing some, storing/preserving them - e.g. on computer, on CDs, online/digital scrapbooks, online albums such as flickr, shutterfly, winkflash, snapfish or artscow, to name just a few - there are hundreds of sites you can use!) (Remember, you don't have to be a professional photographer - you can take great pictures on your own, that you will look back on and love! For some photo-taking tips click here.)
  • Lists - one thing I've found helpful in record keeping is keeping an ongoing list; for instance, I have a 3 year old son that says the most hilarious things, many of which I never want to forget (and some of which, I desperately want to, but that's another story...) I keep a cute little notepad on the fridge for those moments when he blurts something out that I want to make sure I remember...and then I write it in my journal later, when I have the chance.
  • Calendar/Planner - I've known a few people who use their calendar or planner as a journal - they will jot down events, thoughts or feelings they've had, milestones in their children's lives, special moments, etc on their calendar. If you're the type to carry a planner with you everywhere you go, this could be perfect. (Just be sure you don't lose it...or write very personal thoughts inside lest it fall into the wrong hands. :) )
  • Journal/Diary - one of the most common methods of record keeping is to have some sort of book - a notebook, a locked diary, a leatherbound journal - even a simple spiral or 3-ring binder will do - in which to record your thoughts/feelings/momentous occasions/etc. It can be fun to add momentos such as pictures, ticket stubs, souveniors, etc (nothing bulky, of course) to the pages as appropriate. Journals are an easy way to involve your kids - my 3 and 5 year old children each have a journal (a little notebook they've decorated) in which they write each Sunday - something that happened that week, something they're thinking about, or something they like - and then they draw a related picture. They enjoy doing it, and it's so much fun looking back on them later!
  • Scrapbook - scrapbooks are about as versatile as you can get! You can do the traditional "paper" scrapbook with prints, embellishments, ribbons, etc, or digital/online scrapbooks (ie - shutterfly, winkflash, snapfish or artscow. A scrapbooks can be simple (just pictures and some labels or captions) or elaborate (plenty of embellishments, frills, etc.)- to anywhere in between. Whatever suits your fancy - find your style, and how much time/effort/money/etc you want to invest in it.
  • Keepsake Box - any box will do as long as it is accessible (ie on your dresser, in your closet, under your bed, etc) - large or small, a shoe box, a photo box, a rubbermaid container, a box you've decorated...(the benefit of a "cute" box is that it can double as a decoration for your house - as long as it's somewhere safe and out of reach of little hands!) Keep small items you want to remember which won't fit in a journal or book (e.g. the first clay pot your child made, a souvenior from a fun family vacation, etc.) A variation on this is the Shadow Box or Display Case - frames which hold, display and protect special keepsakes.
  • Blog/website - if you're reading this, you obviously know about blogs! But have you started your own? And, if you have, does it serve as a means of recording thoughts/feelings/events you'd like to remember? Even if you aren't super computer savvy, setting up a blog of your own is FREE, VERY user-friendly, and quick and easy to maintain! Again, there are many different blog options - Blogger, TypePad, Experience Project and Blog.com are just a few!
  • Camcorder - investing in a camcorder can be a great way to record events such as your child's first words or steps, first play or performance, and other momentous occasions such as birthdays, weddings, etc - moments a few snapshots just wouldn't do justice! This doesn't have to break the bank - you can get inexpensive digital camcorders for under $100 and now that digital camcorders are so popular you can get a video camcorder for next to nothing!
  • Voice recorder - recording your voice can be a fun activity - especially for children whose voices change so much as they grow! Traditionally, this is done with a tape recorder or digital recorder, but there are so many other fun ways of doing this, such as; stuffed animals (i.e. Build-a-Bear), ornaments, and even many children's toy.

The most important points to remember: START NOW, BE CONSISTENT, INVOLVE the KIDS. Even just a few moments here and there is a great start - but, if you can, commit to at least one day each month (ie the first Tuesday) to record memories. I find that the biggest reason most people resist scrapbooks or record keeping is they worry it will take too much time when, really, you can do a simple project in much less time than you spend on the computer or watching T.V. :)...and, since we're turning screens off today, you'll have plenty of time!



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