I am really interested to hear some of the creative things that other parents do to document their kids lives. Here some of the things we do with our kids:

Digital Pictures - Digital cameras are so widely available and digital storage for pictures is so cheap, there is no reason why parents can't take as many pictures of their kids as they want. In fact, buying a relatively nice digital camera (A Canon Digital Rebel) is probably the best purchase I think we have made in relation to our kids. I am a bit of a media geek so I really enjoy this part of parenting. Storing, organizing, uploading, and sharing pictures is really fun to me.

Digital Videos - At first I didn't really want to buy a video camera. I am much more a fan of still photos and I wanted to avoid having heaps and heaps of really boring videos just sitting around. While it is true that the majority of the video that we shoot is pretty boring, it has been worth it for the really good moments we have been able to capture.

Calendars - This is a great idea that my wife came up with. She uses an online photo service where she can make custom calendars for each of the kids using photos from their lives. And anytime the kids do something we want to document or they reach a milestone, my wife writes it on their calendar. So each kid has one calendar per year of their life filled with small little memories written on the day they happen. This may be harder and harder to keep up as the kids get older but for these first few years of their lives it is really great.

Scrapbooking/baby books - In addition to the calendars my wife also maintains baby books and scrapbooks for each of the kids. This is sort of the modern photo album isn't it?

Blog Posts- My wife also keeps a pretty detailed blog with lots of photos as the kids grow up. Not only is this a great way to share memories with family and friends, but I think it will be a fun thing for the kids to look back and read.

So what are some of the ideas you guys like?

asked 25 Sep '09, 18:12

Luke%20Foust's gravatar image

Luke Foust
accept rate: 33%

edited 01 Oct '09, 03:23


I love the calender idea.

(25 Sep '09, 20:39) Tammy ♦♦

This question probably should have been a community wiki.

(09 Oct '09, 15:42) Ates Goral

I use a blog to "scrapbook" the kids lives. I love it!

(12 Oct '09, 22:22) Emily

Digital-Photography-School.com has several great articles on how to take great pictures of children, like this one: http://digital-photography-school.com/photographing-tots-and-toddlers

(04 Feb '10, 16:51) Scottie T

We take lots of photos and that's a big change from when I was a kid. My children will have thousands of pictures to look at of their childhood whereas I have maybe 10 or so. They'll have such a better sense of their youth than I do.

My wife did a scrapbook of the first year of each of their lives in addition to the ongoing family ones that she's been doing for perhaps a decade now. She picks from among the best of the thousands and does a nice job highlighting them.

The main thing we do is our blog. My wife and I have been blogging since she was six weeks pregnant with our first daughter. So that's over six years now at 1,838 entries covering nearly everything in our children's lives. You can look through the categories to get a feel for how we've organized it; we've tried to keep the focus on our children with minimal excursions into my wife's hobbies. The Quote of the Day category is particularly fruitful for fun. (Every year, she also does a birthday video collage for each of the children set to music.)

To me, the blog is the best documentation. Our kids will have available not only what they did but a contemporaneous view into what we thought of them.


answered 29 Sep '09, 01:35

bbrown's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

I like the idea of quote of the day.

(29 Sep '09, 02:21) Luke Foust

Ah, I love the quote of the day too!

(29 Sep '09, 07:43) Sabrina

What steps do you take to make sure your kids "will have available" the blog? Did the company that hosts it exist when you were kids? If not, why do you think they (and the blog) will still exist when your kids are adults? You need to take positive steps to secure your digital data from other people's mistakes, bad business luck, or anything else.

(09 Oct '09, 19:00) lgritz

It is a self-hosted WordPress blog. WordPress is an open-source Web application; so I have the source code to enable access to the database itself. The database is backed up regularly by the hosting company and I make use of a WP plugin that automatically generates a backup and emails it to my Gmail account, which itself is backed up. Whenever I make a change to the site, I download the entire source code of the site plus a snapshot of the current database backup to my home computer. That home computer is backed up nightly. Pictures are stored on my home computer and then uploaded to Flickr.

(09 Oct '09, 19:39) bbrown

When the kids are old enough, we will burn a DVD (or several, more likely) of the WordPress Web application and the database along with all of the pictures and video that it features. We also plan to use one of the several services out there that will take your blog content and turn it into a book. (We tried one service out about a year ago and it produced an acceptable version, but the blog is an ongoing effort so we'll hold off until they reach some adult milestone.) That deals with the availability question.

(09 Oct '09, 19:42) bbrown

But, by and large, the way I plan to insure continuity is to continue creating content and maintaining the site. So long as I continue a backup regime and migrate the data to new platforms that might arise, I can't see any of the data archival problems that plague digital artifacts. I foresee having to convert everything at least a couple of times, but I'll deal with it when they come up rather than worrying about it now--beyond making sure that I store originals in open, standard formats.

(09 Oct '09, 19:44) bbrown

@bbrown -I've begun using quote of the day, everyone loves it by the way thanks! What service did you use to print your blog into a book? I really want to do this! You said it was acceptable...was there something in particular you didn't like about it?

(10 Oct '09, 07:20) Sabrina
showing 5 of 7 show 2 more comments

My unborn son has a Facebook account, that has all family and close friends as friends... I periodically send updates through it so they are up-to-date on the developments of the pregnancy...

He's due today actually, and I plan to keep the account to update them on his post-birth actions as well


answered 25 Sep '09, 18:32

JJJ's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

Facebook has apparently been cracking down on baby accounts. Too bad, because I think baby accounts can be a lot of fun. http://www.newser.com/story/67461/why-facebook-booted-my-baby.html

(03 Nov '09, 19:18) Scottie T

Well, you don't have to enter the actual year he was born... I entered my year

(03 Nov '09, 20:10) JJJ

We have a million photos, of course, but we also have some videos. I think the trick to the videos are to keep them short. I generally don't take many clips over 1 to 2 minutes long. Then every 3 to 4 months I stitch them together into a 5 minute short movie (taking even shorter pieces from each clip), and sharing that with family. The idea is to keep it to the length of a normal YouTube video.

For managing all the new digital data, I installed a Windows Home Server on the home network with a couple 1TB drives. Tammy puts all the "good" photos there and I put both standard definition and high definition versions of the chopped down videos there.

  • It has an add-in so we can view all of it on the Tivo
  • It automatically duplicates these across both drives to protect against hardware failure
  • It has a proxied remote access so we can show the movies to family if we're over at their place.

It works really well.


answered 25 Sep '09, 20:57

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Scott ♦♦
accept rate: 10%


Scott - I also have a Home Server set up where we store everything. I considered mentioning that in my question but I didn't want to get too techy :) I find the fact that we can access our photos from our TV as well as our Computer very fun.

(26 Sep '09, 01:43) Luke Foust

@Luke Foust: There's no denying this site is full of techie parents. :) Once we started recording HD video at the rate of about 4 GB for 15 minutes, I started worrying about an archival system. That, and some research, and I ended up with the WHS. Now if you have a good solution for off-site backup...

(26 Sep '09, 01:57) Scott ♦♦

@Scott, we use SmugMug as an off-site backup, although we only have a few videos on there because it's time consuming to upload them. http://blog.spontaneouspublicity.com/post/2007/12/31/I-Was-Given-the-Gift-of-Smugmug-Customer-Service.aspx

(10 Oct '09, 07:27) Sabrina

I have heard of people writing in a journal about all the funny things their children do and say. Each child has a journal and when they are old enough their mom will present it to them. I think that would be a great idea and a lasting memory but it would be time consuming!


answered 25 Sep '09, 22:14

Melissa%201's gravatar image

Melissa 1
accept rate: 15%

When I was a kid it was photos (film, obviously), and cassette recordings of us talking (quite funny, I believe, though I haven't heard them in years).

For us it is

  • Photos (lots of them, digital). Easier to keep track of when they're digital, also easier for them all to get lost without appropriate backups.
  • Blog, this is also VERY handy for keeping in touch with friends and family (various members of family are in Tanzania, UK, Eire, Canada, Switzerland)
  • Occasional videos - as someone said in another answer, I keep them very short and sweet. Main problem is that I haven't got round to archiving them in any useful format (still on the MiniDV cassettes)
  • My wife is quite into keeping things (first shoes, etc)., from my own experience (admittedly, I'm not yet 40) I think that's less interesting. I still have my original teddy-bear, but that's only of any interest because I could pass it on to my daughter (who is frankly totally uninterested, for the moment).

Another thing I've done is take one film photo a month, in the same place, and roughly the same pose, since my wife was pregnant with our first child. This will make a very interesting project, if I can actually find out where we put all those developed photos!


answered 07 Jan '10, 10:43

Benjol's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

We use cameras, although we're old fashioned and have film ones. The biggest part I realized about recording our kids lives as they grow up is that, I'd rather be a part of it than be able to look at photographs later. Having photographs is neat, playing with my kids is neater.


answered 25 Sep '09, 18:21

Kevin's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 25 Sep '09, 18:26

I agree. I mean, how interested are you in your prehistory? Not much, before the age of 40, I'd guess.

(07 Jan '10, 10:36) Benjol

I Twitter tons of the little funny (or gut-busting hilarious) things my kids do and say. Later all we'll have to do is do a big search over my tweets for my kids' names and we'll have some good memories to look back on. :)


answered 29 Sep '09, 12:44

epaga's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%

Isn't the history that twitter keeps pretty limited? Do you use a service which archives your tweets?

(29 Sep '09, 14:28) Luke Foust

no i don't specifically use an archiving service, but Twitter doesn't lose any tweets, they're all still there so if I need them. I could use an archiving service or just fetch them myself by writing a little program...

(29 Sep '09, 19:44) epaga

I'd look closely into that... I heard of people with 2-year accounts who can't find their earliest tweets.

(09 Oct '09, 15:11) Yuval

yeah i had that for a while. you just need to contact their support and they fix it for you. it's a little bit of a silly process, i ended up having to tweet-mention a Twitter support guy. but they restored everything.

(11 Oct '09, 16:22) epaga

We have a ton of pictures as well. And we have a Flip which is great to capture those 1-2 minutes of giggles or her doing something cute. I have also been keeping a blog for her on our website. It helps keep grandparents and family far away up to date with how she is growing and lets them see new pictures or videos whenever I post them.


answered 09 Oct '09, 16:14

nikjoyce's gravatar image

accept rate: 11%

edited 09 Oct '09, 16:26

I'm a digital photography person myself... my wife isn't into all that. I take videos sometimes, when there's "action" to document, but mostly I stick to still images. We have thousands of pictures on our computer, the best of which we upload to my Picasa Web Album, so we could share with friends and family.

One neat way to view the many pictures is to use a wallpaper cycling application (Wallpaper Cycler is a good, free example), which changes your desktop wallpaper every few minutes, and randomly chooses an image from whatever folder you tell it. This way your vast archive of digital images isn't just an archive... it's an album that you're constantly going through =8-)


answered 09 Oct '09, 15:23

Yuval's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

There's an equivalent thing on the Google sidebar (Windows one too, I believe), which cycles through all the images on your computer.

(07 Jan '10, 10:44) Benjol
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Asked: 25 Sep '09, 18:12

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Last updated: 03 Mar '12, 23:21