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A Slice of the Pie: Stopping to notice – Novel ways to capture the special moments

Documenting the early days of my children’s lives came easily as, beginning with my very first pregnancy, I journaled in a Belly Book filled with photo prompts and questions designed to track milestones from the first flutters to the initial contractions and everything in between.

I was dutiful when it came to those books, just as I was with every baby book that came after – affixing locks of hair, stamping footprints and marking every occasion.

Then something happened. The books were filled and – no longer motivated by prewritten questions and blank photo boxes – my scrupulous record keeping began to fall by the wayside. Faced with a future that consisted of baby pictures and senior pictures with nothing in between, I knew I had to do something. And so, I developed new ways of chronicling our family’s lives and – best of all – got everyone involved.

The Awesome Jar

It’s just a glass jar, a stack of paper and a pen but, centrally located, it can be a great way to keep track of all the “awesome” things that happen throughout the year.

But I’m going to be honest, from day one I have not been great about remembering to put notes in the jar. And yet, every New Year’s Eve – when our family gathers to read from and empty the jar – it is absolutely overflowing with play programs, concert tickets, wristbands, promotional certificates and memories written in the ever-changing penmanship of my three girls.

Far superior to my own reporting, these little notes recall what each girl thought was “awesome” about her own year – the sleepovers, first days of school, vacations and holidays – all from their unique points of view. They are – to put it simply – priceless.

Photographs

I am not a natural photographer. I rarely gravitate towards a camera when it comes to capturing life’s moments big or small. But my kids are different, they love nothing more than to “play” with a camera. Because to them it is play.

 

And their photography is amazing, which makes sense. After all, children are, by and large, incredibly detail oriented. The world around them is still so new. And they’re far less embarrassed about photographing people than an adult might be. Rather, they seem to think nothing of asking family members to pose, and the results they get are often far more relaxed and much more genuine.

It’s life from a new perspective. It’s silly pictures, poignant pictures, blurry pictures and pictures of life as it happens. And it’s the best because it’s real.

The Memory Wall

After an entire year of gathering moments in the Awesome Jar and photos on the computer, I bring everything together to form the Memory Wall – a giant cork board that hangs in my office. Far better than any album – which only lives in a drawer – the Memory Wall is something I see every day. It reminds me that, even though we’re busy and life feels like it’s flying by, we’re still taking the time to notice the small moments and to appreciate them, just like I did when my babies were small – only now we’re doing it together.

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