Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"At a Glance Journal" For Toddlers

About a year ago now (wow!) I started keeping journals for my boys.  I was at Michael's Craft Store and saw a few hard cover sketch books on sale and decided that they would be perfect for this project.

When I took the books home, I was eager to get started, but a little overwhelmed by the task ahead of me: here I was, hoping to start a journal that I would like to write in for the next several years.  It had to be all encompassing: holding pictures, drawings, random little tidbits of noteworthy moments.  It had to be practical.  Knowing myself...it had to be perfect.

I started from the outside and worked my way in. (for some reason, this made it seem FAR less daunting!)

I wanted to personalize both of the boys books as much as I could.  For O's cover, I re-printed a stencil that I had used for his Halloween costume that year - he was Super O!:
Totally adorable, right?!
It turned out like so:

On the inside covers of his book, I wrote a small quote I found that just completely depicts my relationship with him:

Once I finished coloring in my big bubble letters, I let O go crazy on it.  He had just turned two when I started the books, so now I have a beautiful drawing that perfectly depicts both his personality and artistic styles at the time.

I had determined earlier that I wanted it to be an "at a glance" style journal; something that I could write in every day, but see multiple days at a time, just by opening one page.

I started out just experimenting with using a grid for the whole month, to see if I had enough room still in each square to write something substantial.  And it totally worked.  I measured the width of the page, and then divided it by four on the left side, leaving a little wiggle room.  I then cut a perfect sized square out of the side of a cereal box to be my template, and I created the grid in that fashion.

But doing it that way took a lot more time to put together than I was hoping to spend on just writing out each month.  So, I switched to circles.  I had a circle stencil similar to this one, and found a size that would fit four across on the left page, and three across on the right page.  And I LOVE how it turned out:

I can do it MUCH quicker with the circles, which is great, because I usually stencil out three or four months in advance.

And I LOVE having "guest" writers!  My husband's sister came in town and drew a VERY accurate portrait of O!  

At the time, he was obsessed with Cars II, and would only eat graham crackers.  Almost every night, he'd bring a small piled of graham crackers in front of the TV and would just stare up at Lightning McQueen and Fin McMissile.  I love that I can be reminded of that adorableness when I go through his journal. 

I do love how they are turning out.  It is fun to end most days by jotting down one or two special things that each of the boys had done.  Even after a bad day, it takes effort to look back and find something noteworthy and positive - sometimes I need that little reminder that even bad days have beautiful moments.

My hope is that, as the boys start getting older, they can sit down with me at the end of each day and tell me what they want to have put in their journal.  And, eventually, they can do it for themselves.  It would be fun for me to see what they find noteworthy about their days - and a good lesson for THEM to try and find the beautiful moments in the bad days.

Thanks for looking!  I hope you were able to get a few ideas of how you can journal your children's growth and development!
The End 

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