Tag Archives: family

A Grandfather’s Notebooks

What an amazing story. Lauren Blank received a wonderful gift when she turned 16 recently:

Her grandfather decided the time was right to share a special gift with her: three notebooks filled with her grandfather’s writing, documenting all the time they spent together from the time Blank was 2 until she was 5.

He documented every encounter the two had together.

“(Each) notebook is just filled with daily things that we did,” Blank told Buzzfeed. “We went to the zoo a lot, and flew kites, and throughout the notebooks he gave me advice.”

I wish I had something like this from my own grandparents, though I do have a notebook with things my father jotted down about me. I’ve also written a lot of memories about my niece and nephew as they’ve grown up, and I sometimes think they might like to read them, but they’d have to wade through a lot of other crap in my notebooks!

Read more at: Man gives granddaughter notebooks filled with years of written memories | Boston 25 News

Notebooks for Home and Family Organizing

The Unclutterer recently re-posted one of her articles about using notebooks to organize your family and home life:

Notebooks are great because they keep all of your important papers in one place and they are easily portable. In our home, we have a recipe notebook, appliance notebook (instruction manuals, purchase receipts, maintenance and repair receipts, and warranty information), and important information notebooks for all four of us (our cat even has one).

We store these notebooks in a place where we can find them quickly, easily spot if someone hasn’t returned the notebook to its shelf after use, but in an area that has minimal guest traffic. Our personal notebooks are valuable to us and we would be devastated if we lost them, so most of the information in them has also been scanned and then the files backed up online.

I recently bought a cardboard portfolio to house a lot of my manuals and warranties, as I found them a bit unwieldy to try to put in any sort of notebook or binder. I have a small notebook where I’ve started to keep a list of furniture and rug measurements and floor plans for a redecorating project. I’ll also paste in clippings and color swatches, and maybe even some photos of the room I’m working on so I’ll have a visual reference when I shop.
How about you? Do you use notebooks to organize household projects and family information?
Read more at Organizing your home and family with notebooks | Unclutterer.

Moleskine Monday: Loops!’s Visual Diary

I love the visual journals some people keep in Moleskine diaries. This is a fantastic example, found at Doodlers Anonymous:

Loops! is a mommy living in Brussels and she fills her sketchbooks like a diary in living color. You’ll see drawn pages of her family’s travels, her kid’s being sick and the generally overwhelming and loving life of being a parent.

See more at Blog: Have We Met? – Doodlers Anonymous.

Harvard Square Notebook, late 1960s-early 1970s

This notebook has a lot of sentimental value for me, as it belonged to my father. I remember seeing it in his desk when I was a kid and wishing he’d give it to me– my notebook lust started at a very young age. But I wasn’t supposed to be poking around in Dad’s desk, and I never saw him actually writing in this notebook– so to ask him for it would reveal that I’d been doing something naughty! But when I was going through all Dad’s papers after his death last year, I found it again, still in the same drawer where I’d remembered finding it 30 years earlier.

The notebook was bought in the Boston area, I’m guessing in the late 1960s or early 1970s based on a few dates noted within. The cover says that it was distributed by Brooks, of Melrose, MA– this was a drugstore chain which has now been absorbed by Rite Aid. I love how the notebook was marked down from 29 cents to 23 cents!

What’s most fascinating to me about the notebook is the window it provides into my father’s mind. He was always compiling lists of numbers– data on various things such as the economy, household projects, etc.– and jotting down books and music that he wanted to buy.  This notebook was no exception. The page below was gas mileage tracking:

The next one has a company address, and seems to note that they sold a certain type of ring binder for holding film negative strips, which he must have bought as he had several that held old negatives and slides.

My dad was pretty obsessive about his lawn, and obviously did extensive research on the topic, though I’m not sure if his huge book collection actually included the title noted below:

There are lots of other weird things like this– notes about rainfall, distances between streets in our neighborhood, the heights and diameters of various food product cans, and lots of other cryptic numbers whose meaning I’ll never know.

But the best thing about the notebook are the pages below (click on the images for a larger view). My father always liked to tell stories about the funny things I said as a toddler, and this was where he wrote some of them down. The dates indicate that I was between 3 and 5 years old, and I have to say I’m kind of impressed by some of my attempted vocabulary! I’m also a little embarrassed by a few things– how did I manage to think there was a fairy tale called “Pencil and Gretel?”

My mom was pregnant with my little sister when I was about 4, which is where the “baby might be ready to blast out” and “open your mouth so I can talk to him” comments came from. Notes on other pages have me talking about my dad’s “poundcake check jacket” (i.e. houndstooth) and saying I was going to “deject some blood” into a patient while playing doctor! (But I don’t know who “Dr. Turnoff” was.)

Inside the back cover were more quotations, and a slip of paper where I’d done my best to write the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme.

My father was not a very emotionally expressive man– though I always did know that he loved me and was proud of me, it still means a lot to see these concrete signs of it. This will always be one of my favorite examples of the way notebooks can preserve precious things.

Between Me And You Keepsake Journals

The maker of these journals contacted me, and I thought they looked like a nice gift idea: Between Me And You Keepsake Journals.
Picture 2
The journals are meant to be given to a loved one, and each contains blank space as well as a number of questions designed to prompt recollections about the relationship. The idea is that you give the blank book to someone and ask them to fill it out for you, but I think it would also be nice to buy the book, fill it out yourself and then give it to the other person.
Some people might like to create their own personalized version of a memory book without the structured questions, but however you do it, capturing these sorts of memories and feelings can be one of the best gifts you can give.

Preserve Your Happy Memories in a Notebook

Here’s a nice way to use notebooks, from Gretchen Rubin at The Happiness Project:

Studies show that thinking back on happy times elevates mood, and observing and preserving memories is one of the most satisfying ways of bringing order to life.

My mother started a memory-keeping tradition a few years ago that has proved to be a lot of fun.

She bought two matching lined journals, one for each granddaughter. At the end of every visit to Kansas City, my older daughter writes a paragraph about the highlights of our visit, and I write in my younger daughter’s book.

We’ve only been doing it since 2007, but already, we all enjoy looking back at the entries from past visits. It’s astounding how quickly even intense memories fade, and how effectively a brief note reminds us of highlights from the past – the time my daughter fell into the duck pond, the time my father set off the fire alarm when making pancakes, the time when my sister and her husband got locked in the bedroom.

I wish I’d thought to do this when I was younger– I have a pretty good memory anyway, but I didn’t always keep a diary, and I know there’s lots of things that have slipped away. In more recent years, I often tended to write more in my journal when I was unhappy, and re-reading those notebooks only gives a partial picture of what my life was really like. Now, I try to write more often, and capture both good things and bad. As the years go by, it can be a surprise to find that I’ve written down events that I no longer remember, and I want to have some happy surprises!

The Happiness Project: Want to a Quick, Easy Way to Preserve Happy Memories?.

His Heart, My Desire: My Spiral Notebook System

It’s always interesting to read about how others use notebooks– everyone’s system is different! Here’s someone who’s found an inexpensive method that works for her:

Searching for the perfect day planner has always been a difficult task for me. I have spent so much money on planners of every sort and size trying to find the one that would suit me and my life best. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like them, it means they just didn’t work for me. I am a full-time wife, mother and now a grandmother and I organize a Women’s Ministry at my church as well as a Bible class. I would love to share with you how I came up with a solution that has worked perfectly for me. I use the inexpensive spiral notebooks that you can find at any office supply or discount store. I have paid anywhere from ten cents to 1.00 for my spirals.

Read more at His Heart, My Desire: My Spiral Notebook System.

Is Your Significant Other Jealous of Your Notebooks?

I have to admit mine often says things like

You’re always fondling that thing!

Do you sleep with that notebook when I’m not here?

You love your little notebooks more than you love me!

Sad but true…