The Story of Us: Family Memoir Keeping 101

I am a book designer by nature and a storyteller by blood. Family memoir keeping is something that comes naturally to me. My Great Grandpa Joe used to keep his barbershop with customers lined up to listen to his stories. My Grandpa Barns would have my seven year old self completely dialed into his stories of the gold rush and legends of the Pommier family at cousin sleep overs.

I am not someone who merely wants to exist in this world. I am someone who wants to grab it by the gills and infuse it with meaning until it might burst. Keeping our family’s story is one way I attempt to live a full life.


I have stayed home with my kids for about 8 years. It hasn’t come naturally to me. I had to train myself to see the merit in an ordinary day and to not be buried by it’s tedium and frustrations.

I designed a journal few years ago, called The Story of Us, to keep tabs on the ever changing and meaningful details of our life. However, what it’s become for me is a sort of nightly gratitude meditation. Of course before it became a manageable beautiful routine... I made it so big & so involved (like I do with most things)... that I pretty much choked the enjoyment out of it. I have learned from my mistakes, and created a way that helps me the bottle the love we have, in minutes/week of my time.

Last year I made 5 of these books for our family. 240 pages each. Not a pace I can sustain.

Last year I made 5 of these books for our family. 240 pages each. Not a pace I can sustain.

If you have any interest in family memoir keeping or just seeing your life in a different light, I urge you to give this a go! Below are directions on creating a list for your/each of your children that records the “so them” stuff, that is fleeting. It’s tabs on who they are right now and what your relationship means to you. My reasons for journaling (and photographing them) are simple. I want to create something to give to my kids that lets them know the beauty that I see in them and that I love them for who they are exactly as they are.

Family Memoir Keeping; Lesson 1

#1 GET PREPARED: Download Evernote to your phone. If you don’t have Evernote on your phone. ... You are truly missing out. Evernote is an app that help you organize all of the amazing thoughts and ideas floating in your head and allows you to record them in notes, organize them in notebooks and ultimately make your ideas searchable and something you can build on whenever you feel inspired.

#2 GET ORGANIZED: Entering the lists in Evernote.

a. Create a new notebook : NOVEMBER_2018

b. Create a new note:

Title: <Enter Child’s Name> List (Anthony List)

I have 4 kids. I commit to completing a 2 lists/month.

I did Anthony & Kate in October

I will use the same questions for Lucy & Leo in November.

c. Input the following prompts:

1. Stuff about you:

2. Your favorite indulgence:

3. Your Favorite song:

4. You love when I:

5. I am so thankful for:

6. You are into:

7. I love how you:

8. I love that you:

9. I am so proud of:

10. I love how we:

You can duplicate this list so that you can fill a little bit in at a time on another of your kids as you have time.

#3 DO THE WORK: Create a daily practice.

Make the list entry a part of your day. Lump it into a routine.

The positive brain racking of these details is a worthy endeavor because it now makes you see the beauty in your life and puts all of the good first and foremost in your mind. It also helps you to relax before going to sleep.

My goal for these lists is to compile a year of them and put them into a book for each of my kids and give it to them as a gift. I can’t think of anything more meaningful. It’s my “Story of You” project. Stay Tuned!


Have a great weekend!

Amanda BenoitComment