saving the memories

It's Here!  Eek! I'm so excited!

So every year I make a family yearbook. It started just after my husband and I got married. I decided I wanted to do something special for all of our memories. I know myself, and actually scrap booking, the artistic old fashioned way, was simply not in the cards for me. I also know that if I don't write things down right away, I quickly forget them. So, that first summer we were married, I went on the hunt for a way to document our brief dating relationship and engagement. you know, before I forgot the details of that year. This is when I found Mixbook! Online scrapbooking was still kinda  a new thing, but there were at least a handful of sights that offered it. I really felt like Mixbook went above and beyond any of the others. It wasn't simply throwing pictures into a pre-made book and adding captions - though that feature is available- however, you could customize the book just as if you were cutting patterned paper, and adding themed stickers. I loved that aspect. It could be made as personal as you wanted. And also, they had a ton of awesome designs to choose from. 



Anyway, I wanted to have an easy way to flip through pictures. I wanted it to be accessible and engaging. Something that would not only save the memories, but create new ones as years later we sit on the couch flipping through them, and laughing about days past. Also, by having it online, I knew I could always print another one, in case something happened to the original. Of course I try to take care of them, but I don't want my kids to feel like they can't touch them. These books are family yearbooks. That means as well as documenting the family, they belong to the family. So, the knowledge of being able to print a new copy, makes me less concerned if my two year old decides to flip through it a bit too forcefully. Or heaven forbid they were to get lost in a move, or damaged in a flood, the pages can still be recovered. 


So, I make an effort to work on these books throughout the year. I honestly think it makes life so much easier for me. I know people that try to wrap up the whole year come December. More power to you guys! I however find that it doesn't work for me. Working on it gradually allows me to do a couple of things: 

A) As mentioned above, I'm horrible with remembering details. If it's an important enough moment to remember, I try to get it on the pages within a couple of weeks. That means working on it when I get home from a trip. Putting down the details so I don't have to save those old napkins and ticket stubs. Sometimes it means staying up a bit later one night to document the goofiness that took place that day. But if I do it right away, I don't forget. 

B) Not just forgetting the details, but I get lazy. I would decide, "yeah, that zoo trip was fun, but I don't feel like putting it in here. Even if the pictures were great." or "Ah, it was just another day in the backyard, that's not necessarily worthy of a page. I don't feel like doing one." So, the book would still probably highlight the big things, but skip over the little moments, and those are the parts that really make up life. So I want to include those whenever possible. 

C) It's way less stress at the end of the year. I've been slowly building my book all year long, so come January, I simply finish up those last few pages, and press Print.


Now, every year isn't sunshine and rainbows. Honestly 2017 was awful when it came to my yearbook. I often documented months later, which made me have to hunt down the details or leave them out altogether. I was finally finishing my book in February, and my "End of the Year Review" was brief and boring. Years from now, I'm sure my kids will look at the 2017 book and go, "Oh! Mom clearly had a bad year." 

Maybe it is because the family is growing. We have three kids, three and under, and are getting busier by the day. That would be a good excuse. But I'm not going to use it. I'm going to say it perhaps is a reason, for a bad book this year. But I won't allow it to be a crutch for years to come. Life is only going to get busier, but I feel like these books are not something I want to give up. So, I'm striving to get back on track with 2018. 

So, in conclusion. My 2017 book came a couple days ago. I got out the old ones to flip through a bit, and then this happened....


...and this is why I do it. So they can look back at the family history. Reveling in the little moments. Laughing at the memories, and looking forward to future ones. 

i'm starting to understand

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Hey Mama, 
I'm starting to understand. My kids are still little. We haven't hit all the mile stones yet. The talking back is just starting, and the hormones haven't hit.  But things are starting to make sense. I'm starting to understand why you did what you did. Why you said what you said. 

I understand why you would constantly tell us to not hit the walls with whatever it was we were carrying. It's a pain in the butt to have to wash the walls, or see unnecessary dents and marks; finding the time to actually repair a hole, forget about it. 

I understand why you told us to take off our shoes when we went in the house. Trying to keep crumbs off the floor is bad enough, we don't need extra dirt from outside all over the carpet. 

I understand why you sometimes yelled at us for not picking up after ourselves. I've attempted to ignore something on the floor and simply walk past it, then in a moment of realization I pause,  "I guess I'm the mom now; if I don't pick it up, it will still be sitting here next week." So I bend down, pick it up, and put it away.

I understand why you made us play outside for hours in the afternoon. Not only was it good for us to have fresh air and stretch our imagination, but sometimes you just need some quiet time. When kids are too old for naps, parents have to get creative. 

I understand why we had "Sunday Night It' dinners. After a long week, you didn't feel like cooking. So Sunday Nighting It was your way of teaching us not only to have a little independence and fend for ourselves, but also to give yourself a well deserved night off. 

I understand why I see pictures and think, "Why in the world did you let me wear that?" Sometimes, it's just not worth the fight. "Sure, wear the flower pants with that shirt. Put on those mismatch socks and out of season sandals. Just please, Get. In. The. Car." 

I understand why you got upset when you couldn't find the scotch tape, or the scissors, because once again, someone didn't put them away. 

I understand why we were always being told to turn off the lights when we left a room, and put the toilet seat down when we were done in the bathroom, and for the love of all things, if you use the last of the toilet paper, put a new roll on! Life is expensive, and sometimes, you just don't want to see an open toilet when you walk in the door, or an empty roll when you need it most.  Be considerate to the next person! 

I understand why you felt like you lived in the laundry room, and simply worked on a conveyor belt. 

I  get it, it's exhausting. All of it. However, in the midst of all of that, I'm beginning to understand why you did the other things too. The fun things. The little things. The special things. 

I understand why you told us M&M's healed sunburn. 

I understand why sometimes we went around the block, just so we could drive over the big hill. 

I understand why we had "Backwards Dinners" and stopped to get ice cream before dinner. 

I understand why you watched every roller blade dance routine we could come up with. 

I understand why you took us on a 14 hour road trip by yourself, to see your parents at the other end. 

I understand why you prayed with us every night before bed. 

I understand why you always said, "I love you" when you hung up the phone. 

I understand how you can pray the clocks fast forward and bedtime comes quickly, then be sitting on the couch in silence missing your little monsters. 

I get it. I haven't hit every milestone yet. We are still in the midst of the journey. But, I'm starting to understand. Being a mom is hard. Sometimes we just want a little quiet time. A little help. A little recognition. But, being a mom is also amazing. We get a front row seat to watch our kids' eyes light up over something that seems so small to us. To let them share in the little secrets of the healing powers of M&Ms. To watch from the sidelines as they accomplish something new. 

It's hard to be a mom. It's amazing to be a mom. We do what we do to survive. To try to teach them to be kind and humble. To put a smile on their face whenever we can. We do what we do. We say what we say. It's doing our best with what we are given. 

Thank you for everything you did and said.
I'm finally getting it. I'm finally starting to understand.