Keeping Track of the Little Memories

When Immy was a baby I was much better at keeping track of the little memories.  When she was first born I wrote down everything in a notebook – to start with it was sleep and feed times (so that I could keep track in my own sleep deprived haze), then it became little but important memories like her first real smile and the first time she purposefully reached for something, and, of course over time, the bigger, more significant events like when she first rolled over and started eating solids; all sorts of special memories.  Although I had never really been one for diary writing or journalling, during that first year I kept lots of little notes about the things she did and the things we enjoyed together.

And then some at around 12 months the little book was put away and I got out of the habit of jotting down our little memories.  I suppose it was when we packed up to move across the country.  By the time we had found a new home and settled in, Immy had moved on through the bigger milestones of walking and talking and our days seemed pretty routine and mundane.

So when I recently came across that little notebook, it made me a little sad that all of the days which have passed since then are obviously in our hearts and memories but not recorded somewhere for prosperity.  After all, memories fade with time and what can seem routine and mundane is still pretty significant in the life of a child.

And then I came across the idea of keeping a one sentence journal over at The Happiness Project blog and I thought I could do that.  One sentence a day about something which happened in our family.  Maybe something funny Immy said or something little memory that I want to hold close or even just a feeling or emotion about that day.

When reflecting on her daughter finishing her first year of nursery school, Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project says on her blog;

“There’s something so inexpressibly sweet about this age and this first experience of school. I’m having an emotion that I can only describe as preemptive nostalgia for this time. Her last morning there was yesterday, but already, I feel deeply sentimental about it.

The days are long, but the years are short.

For that reason, I’m so happy that I started keeping my one-sentence journal; otherwise I would worry that I wouldn’t remember any of the details about this time – the teeny tiny sinks, the coat hooks in the hallway marked with the children’s photos, the play kitchen and the board books.

Two years ago, I started keeping a one-sentence journal because I knew I would never be able to keep a proper journal with lengthy entries. I just don’t have the time or energy to write a long entry – even two or three times a week.

Instead, each day, I write one sentence (well, actually, I type on the computer) about what happened that day to me, the Big Man and the girls.”

So now I have my little notebook sitting on my bedside table where I will see it at then end of everyday as a reminder to keep the little memories alive with just one little sentence about our day.

Do you keep a diary or a journal, or maybe you use your blog as a space to record these memories?  If not, will you join me in keeping a one sentence journal? I wonder if we could keep it going for a whole year?

{Image source}


  1. I used to keep a journal for each kiddo, but with four kiddos running around my house it became a chore instead of a pleasure. I keep up with my blog and hope to print it out for the kids to read when they are grown.
    I love the idea of a one sentence journal. It takes the pressure off. I may find a pretty journal to keep beside my bed to jot down one thought each day. That sounds more manageable, even with four kiddos age 7 and under. 🙂
    I must add that I recently burned my diaries from high school…. 😉

    1. A jourmal is so important and records so many memories big and small, so many things get forgotten.You’re right, the years go by so fast.

      And to Debi – check this site out, I found it last week. Might be an idea:

      1. sorry, I meant Fatima 🙂

  2. Thank you for this, Christie! Like you, I started a journal for each of my two kids & wrote tons in it during their first years of life. But not much since. I might be able to manage the one sentence a day approach.

  3. Hi Christie

    This is such a lovely idea.

    When i was at school i had a small five year diary which had space to write about 4 lines for each year per date… i think i ended up completing 15 years worth of notes about my life (it was amazing to see the parallels!) as i got into late teens i also kept a larger journal for those more ‘angst ridden’ moments (i have about five of these) – these are slightly more painful to read as you see what you were like at 17

    I haven’t managed to keep a journal since my early 20s despite often buying lovely journals to write in… this idea might help

    I have also just started a EC blog which i find is a good way to debrief.

    I have a ten year old step daughter and this idea might be a great idea of us sharing moments with her ….

  4. When I started my blog in September last year it was partly to keep our interstate family in touch with what the kids were up to, because as you say, the time really does slip by, and I realised that it was all about those little moments, the wonder in the day-to-day, that they were missing out on.

    But it was also in response to a gnawing feeling that I was struggling to hold on to those little fleeting moments of beauty and I wanted to record them. I love the immediacy of the blog – I tried scrapbooking but it was just too time consuming for me.

    I also keep a small ‘day book’ where I jot down ideas, lists, sketches… and I also record funny things the kids say. Sometimes I wish I had a dictiphone so I could record their voices… Maybe that’s my version of the one sentence a day diary.

  5. oh like you i did it for my first child for his first three years. i lost track around the time number arrived. it is just a notebook – nothing fancy but i love reading through it and remembering all those little and big events in his life. they always make me laugh or smile when i read them. i really should start it again esp for number two. i can tell you exactly when number one did something but for number two its always roughly when he did it.
    i sentence a day is not too much to ask!
    inspired 🙂

  6. I’m doing a variation on Project 365. I’m taking a photograph of something every day for a year. Lots of people use it as an opportunity to hone their photographical skills, take more challenging photos etc., the website (same name) sets weekly themes etc.

    But I’m just taking something that, like your one sentence, captures that particular day for me.

  7. I keep a journal for each of my two children and write in it once a week or once every two weeks. I wish I had time to write more often, but it’s something and I love going back through it. I don’t think I could limit myself to one sentence lol.

  8. Here is the journal I got for Christmas this year to record one line a day about little girl #2 for the next 5 years. I kept a calendar journal with my first for her first year. Now I wish I kept a journal for her to record all the silly comments she makes—I think I may need to get a one line a day journal for her too! It is a great way to documents LIFE as it happens. I am sure it will be a treasure for my children later in life!

  9. This is a great idea. I do keep a “homeschool journal,” though I was a bit lax on it since my daughter is still a bit young. She is turning 4 soon and I expect we’ll be using it more. I got the idea from a friend after seeing her homeschool journal. They recorded different activities they used and even pasted things in it from things that they did – like a ticket to the museum, a drawing that described their day, etc

    My mom alao has a pack of things that I did through the years – drawings, poems, writings, etc and I realized that I wanted to do something similar for my daughter because I enjoyed looking through my past art work/etc so much that I am sure she will someday, too.

  10. Thanks Christie, for such a wonderful idea to keep track of our kids moments. Even I want to manage this approach and go back to a sweet memories for a little while.

  11. I find keeping anything intensive or pretty a challenge. I had a beautiful baby memory book gifted to me, and I filled in about, oh, one page before I felt pooped out.

    I’ve settled with saving a text file for each child on my computer. I can open it easily whenever I want to jot something down: a measurement, a milestone, or a funny saying. No pressure to make it good-looking, and it’s all in one place for when I want to pass funny stories on to my family members. I’ve begun writing it in the second person so I can pass it along to my children when they’re older, and they can read my memories as written directly to them.

    Your post reminded me to write down Mikko’s newest pet phrase: “You bet I am!” No idea where he got that one…

  12. Very inspiring! I hold quite a lot of guilt at not having been more active in documenting my children’s (amazing, lovely, hilarious, inspiring) developments. This is a brilliant and achievable approach. Thank you.

Comments are closed.