When it comes to our kiddos, how often do we wish we could stop time? We want to hold those littles just as long as possible and pray that they don’t slip right through our fingers because some days, that’s what it feels like. I’ve had so many moms who are parents to teenagers tell me that they just crave the days of babies and toddlers. I think the age of four is pure gold and, if I could, I would keep my kids this age for the rest of my life. Truly!
I’m a photographer and I’m building a house and someone recently told me, “Surround yourself with things that inspire you.” This person was explaining that he feels better at his job and better at life when he is surrounded by beautiful things that make him want to enjoy life more, love a little better, put more beauty into the world. This really resonated with me, so I came up with some ideas to help other moms who are looking to do the same — because these kids, they’ll just keep on growing.
So, while I can’t stop time, I can offer you some ways to hold on to the memories of our kids.
1. Print Your Photos
I get it, no one wants to clutter up his or her house and it’s so hard to know ahead of time what is going to look good where. But seriously, those photos need to be on your walls and in plain sight. I say that as a mom and as a photographer. Photographers like to think our work gets printed and adored all year long. Maybe not every single one, but the photos you can’t get enough of.
Case in point: hanging in our house (before we moved) is a very large photo of my kids when they were around a year old. To this day, this is one of my favorite photos of my children.
It hung at the top of our stairs and almost every time Olivia saw this photo she would say “Awwww!” or “Look how much we love each other, Ollie!” and then run to give him a hug and a kiss, which was hilarious because he always ran away from her. Having that little memory displayed created more memories.
My favorite places for printing photos, large and small, and everything in between:
- mpix.com: It’s similar to Shutterfly in price and site set-up, but I think the quality is better.
- f/32: shop local.
I’m going to talk about my friend Karen twice in this post and no doubt you will be jealous that you aren’t friends with her too because she finds the best things and has the best ideas. But lucky for you, I am friends with Karen who gave me the idea to sign up for Qeepsake. I think most moms are not bad at photographing our kids; in fact, we probably take way too many photos. But something that I always wanted to do, but never got around to doing, was creating a baby book. I like the idea of a baby book because my kids say funny things that I want to remember, but in total honesty, I will never, ever do that. But with Qeepsake I don’t have to (and oh, how I wish I had found it sooner). For $35 a year, Qeepsake will text you a question about each of your kids every single day, keeping a journal of your answers. You can send in anything you want, at any time you want – quotes, photos, etc. You can even make a book of all of your journal entries at any time. The questions are geared to whatever age your child is and you can sign up numerous kids (I get two questions a day – one for each kid). Sitting down to write some of these things that I wanted to remember seemed like such an impossible task, but responding to a text message once a day? That I could easily do! I’ve only been doing this for two months and I’m in love with it. All you moms with newborns out there – please sign up now. I’ll be super jealous!
Here’s a little bit of what my text thread looks like, just to give you an idea:
This one is pretty self explanatory if you go to the website and watch the 30 second video on the website. You can download the app and print the photos right from your phone. And like I said earlier, it’s really hard to know what is going to look good in your house and where. Mixtiles allow you to hang the photos and then move them elsewhere if you don’t like what you did the first time – no holes in the wall, no extra hardware. They are so cute for small spaces and allow you to print multiple photos. I think the Mixtile would be so cute in a bookshelf too.
4. Thumbprint Photo Box
Speaking of bookshelves, here’s another adorable way to some photos on display. These boxes include 4×4 prints with easels for a classic display. I love the simple wood and that you can pull them off of a bookshelf at any time and switch the photos around, or just look through the box at the photos you have printed. Mpix also offers a wide range of albums you can print, are so classy and done so well, and very reasonably priced.
Remember my friend Karen? Last Christmas she gave me this charcoal drawing of my dog done by Mary Catherine Hewitt. I was speechless the second I opened it because it brought him to life with all of his fluffy furriness. Karen knew that my dog was starting to get older and struggle a little, so this gift meant so much to me. I cannot wait to move into our new house and display this treasure! Mary Catherine also does kids so beautifully.
photo by Laurie Wilson Photography
6. 50 States Photo Map
My family loves to travel and of course, it’s so great for our kids to see our travels in a “big picture” way – that’s always been important to me. So I love this map for those reasons and more. I love that the kids can get an idea of how far away one state is from another and they can see their own photo on the map after traveling around. I love that forming a photo in the shape of a certain state might give the kids some muscle memory when it comes time to memorizing our country’s geography or even the world’s. And it’s a great way to remember such special family time traveling together.