Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Join me in discussing: How to document EVERYTHING

These pregnancy and newborn days go by so quickly. The next thing you know they are positively GONE. And you wonder how and where it went.

If you are anything like me though, everything is documented. So today I want to discuss all the ways I document our babies.

First, as you all know, I take a picture once a month, in the same spot. With Millicent I tried to take a picture in the same outfit, but that got old rather quickly. Many people do every week or every other week. IT MATTERS that you take these pictures. One day, no matter how bad you look, even you will want to remember these days. (And believe me, I look terrible. But I LOVE to go back and look at my baby belly.)

I talked about keeping a journal in my trying to conceive posts.

I just use a Walmart spiral bound notebook. But certainly you could get fancy with this if you desired.

I started writing about my TTC journey the moment we began trying. I was able to learn my body better. Then whenever I thought I might be pregnant (or more like hoped and prayed) I could go back through and read entries from other times I felt that way. So, yea, I pretty much realized what a freak I was about TTC...but I do love getting pregnant and having babies.

Once I got pregnant, I started writing down everything. My thoughts, my feelings, what my body was doing. I do keep a journal here but I don't share my intimate thoughts online. I often find myself talking about how I've prayed for this baby's relationship with his brother or how I'd like the labor to go.

Once the baby comes I continue using the journal as a way to document the baby's day to day history. Whenever it does something new or funny or exciting, I write it down. I've continued with that. Now whenever one of the little ones does something funny everyone tells me to write it down.

I don't know when or how I'll give these journals to my children but I do anticipate them some day being theirs.

It is NEVER too late to start keeping a record of your pregnancy. No matter how far into it you are.

Just to give you a boost, here are some questions you can ask yourself in your journal:

List some mothers I admire and how they affect me.

Have I always wanted this many children?

What is your greatest fear? Strength?

What is your biggest help?

The next way I document this baby is to do a video journal.

I have a tape I use just for recording the journal. Every month, on the day I conceived, I have someone ask me a list of questions. They record me and my changing body first, then we get to the interview part.

Some questions that are asked each month:

What is your favorite food this month?

What are you wearing this month?

What do you think the gender is?

Have you been nesting?

What's the best and worst thing about being pregnant right now?

This may seem redundant, given that I'm also keeping a journal. But it's not! Everyone LOVES watching the pregnancy video.

Along with my interview, family members get interviewed too. The funniest one we have is of Ashlea (my oldest) asking Kati when she thinks the new baby will come (Millicent). Ashlea tells Kati what the due date is (Jan 28) and Kati says she thinks the baby is going to come tomorrow (Nov). Ashlea tells her that if the baby came that early it wouldn't be good. But that the due date is in January. So Kati says my birthday (Aug). They go round and round like that until Ashlea gives up. It is HILARIOUS.

We also record parts of the labor and how we are feeling during labor and how others are feeling. It's a beautiful record of the entire pregnancy for everyone to see. It usually includes everyone in our family and whoever happens to be around the day of the birth.

Once the baby comes I keep a baby book.

I LOVE baby books and actually keep them up. I still write in Millicent's about her holidays and birthdays and school days. I am a keeper of the histories though and I realize it doesn't come easy for everyone. If you have older kids this is actually something you could let them help you with.

The picture shows my favorite page of the baby book. Each month there is a page asking about the new things the baby is doing, their weight and length and it has a place for a picture. Millicent's baby book did not have this section but since Asa's did I am currently looking for that feature in a book for the new baby.

There are some things I could do without in these baby books, like the vaccinations page. Does anyone really fill those out? Or the pages of going to the doctor.

I would love if they had a page about co-sleeping instead of sleeping through the night and breast milk names instead of when they hold the bottle. But I'm not holding my breath for a book like that.

The other thing I do is make a calendar.

Overkill? NOT AT ALL. This calendar actually records every little thing the baby does. From sleeping for more than two hours to grabbing a toy to making that first attempt to crawl. I include weights and lengths and when they go up a size in clothes. It's really easy to quickly jot down any old thing. I may not have time to sit for a journal entry (I mean, hello! I have five kids.) But I will have time to write something on the calendar.

The top of the calendar page is for pictures from the month.

If you turn the page, there is space for comments and more pictures. For instance, if you write about how the baby tried grabbing for something, there may be a story you want to tell about how it was Grandma's necklace with his picture on it. Just include whatever you want.

I usually try to make this within a few weeks of the baby being born but this could easily be made while pregnant. If you are interested in the template, let me know. I only have it in blue and pink though.

Here is the cover.

That was a lot. Are you still with me?

How many of these do you do now? Are there any you would like to start doing? Do you have any additional ways of documenting this time in your life? And while you are at it, do you know where I can find the PERFECT baby book?

Maybe you think this is just too much. Tell me. Or maybe you do nothing. Tell us why.


Kara said...

Love this, Michelle! Hopefully one day I'll get the chance to do all of these things. You will have to walk me through it though. ;) Love you!! <3

Mrs. Stam said...

Wow you are well organized, I use my blog but that is pretty much it! I don't have much time to do anything else these days!!!!

Rhonda said...

Good on you for being so diligent! My husband is the last of 6 kids and he didn't even get a baby book. I did one up for him for his 40th birthday! Complete with a lock of his hair that I cut off while he was sleeping!! lol

adrienzgirl said...

You truly are Super Mom. You should get some kind of award or something.

Yara said...

I know hwere you can find the perfect baby book...
"I would love if they had a page about co-sleeping instead of sleeping through the night and breast milk names instead of when they hold the bottle. But I'm not holding my breath for a book like that."
make it your self!
I bet you can do it on snapfish or photobucket or have Jeff help you on photoshop or something, and then send it to be bound and it will have what you want!

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