I’m Never Scrapbooking Again: My Method for Remembering Milestones

A friend who is a few years ahead of me as a mom told me, “Write everything down now. My kids ask me all the time about when they were younger and at this point, I just make stuff up. I have no idea when they did this or that or what those major milestones were anymore.”

Write it or lose it 

She’s right. If you don’t write it down, it just gets lost. But now that I’m a mom of three, I can’t really keep up with baby books, scrapbooks, or even photo albums. But I am on the computer all day, so what I can do is email my kids. Sounds crazy to send an email to your two-year-old, but sometimes I do.

I set up email accounts for all my kids. At 2, 5, and 7, they have no idea these accounts even exist. But I do. When they do something special, when I am proud of them, when I feel like I love them so much that I am bursting with it, I write them a note about it. When I’m sending cute photos or stories about the kids to their grandparents, I send the same email to the kids, too.

I don’t know if they’ll ever take the time to read ALL of these little love notes, but I hope that someday they do. Someday when they’re older, someday when I want them to know just how loved and cherished they’ve been for their whole lives, I’ll give them the login and password for these email accounts and they’ll know. They’ll know that their crazy mom always loves them, is always proud of them, and thinks they are the most special thing on the planet.

What to write?

I sent a message to my daughter telling her all about the first time she rode her bike with no training wheels, ending with, “I am wowed by my little girl who has learned to ride a bike with no training wheels in the week before you start official 4-year-old preschool. You are a little rock star! So proud of you for trying hard.”

I sent a message to my son telling him all about a parent-teacher conference where his wonderful teacher was bubbling over with laughter as she shared stories about him. “Before I went, I asked you how you thought it would go and what your teacher would tell me. You were terrified. You thought you weren’t doing well enough in math. You couldn’t have been more wrong. As she told me you are one of her best students, your teacher was literally bubbling over with excitement about how wonderful you are. She couldn’t stop giggling.”

I sent a message to my youngest about how she had so much fun giving hugs after trying to bite her sister that she kept trying to give “sorry hugs.” “When she stopped hugging you, you’d go a step away, and then come back and assume your hug position again with your head on her and your thumb in your mouth. It was adorable. I think your hugs lasted for at least 5 minutes because you kept coming back for more.”

Short and sweet

Most of my little notes are short, celebrating little moments that are easy to capture in a paragraph or a few lines. Sometimes they are just my favorite pictures with a quick line or two about where they were taken and what we were doing. That’s what makes this method work for me. If I felt like I had to write a whole letter or sit down to create a whole scrapbook (even digitally), it would never happen. But, this way, I can take five minutes of my day and capture a fun memory.

And, every now and then, I get to send them a little gem that is sure to crack them up later, like this one.

In case you can't read it, this little religion class project says, "Dear Lord, Please help my sisters get less annoying. Lord hear my prayer. Ethan"
In case you can’t read it, this little religion class project says, “Dear Lord, Please help my sisters get less annoying. Lord hear my prayer. Ethan” A prayer big brothers everywhere can relate to!


Laura is a mom of three who works full-time from home as a Development Director for a children’s charity. Laura grew up in Maryland, spent her 20s living in Southern California and South Carolina, and has spent her 30s and now 40s in Iowa, moving to Iowa City in 2010. Laura loves dancing, reading, baking, and music. She and her husband Ryan started dating in college (gasp – over 20 years ago!) and they have been sharing life’s adventures ever since. Their biggest adventure is, of course, parenthood. With three kids, the action is non-stop - which is just the way Laura likes it.


  1. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing–I don’t do scrapbooks and have wondered how to keep all the stories and funny things together. Problem solved!


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