When I was six years old, two of my neighbors gifted me my first white, college-ruled journal. I remember the feeling of the book in my hands; the weight of the pages, the gold-foiled lettering at the top, and the beautiful sight of empty black lines ready for words. I sewed a little case and buttons for it, and began to write my stories, my experiences, and always ending with a big "THE END" scribbled across the bottom of each page. I think part of my love for writing arose from filling out my first journals, and I've hung on since. As time has progressed, a lot of my journal writing has adapted into my scrapbooks, where I write and include photos from the memorable happenings of life (read more here). I've found that among all the business of trying to keep up, I haven't been the best tracker of the specific things I hope to pass on to my little Ellie: details from my pregnancy with her, or my random ramblings I hope to pass on as she grows. I have them scattered between hand-written notes, my blog, my personal journal, and my scrapbook. But I really wish I had them in one place.

Now with baby number two on the way, I'm anxious to switch things up. I've been wanting ONE meaningful place to put all my baby/childhood-specific ramblings for this little one coming... something not too overwhelming, but just enough to capture the details. When I happened upon Promptly, I knew I found my answer.

Promptly is run by my friend Jayne, who I adore. She's real, she's genuine, she has a heart of gold, and she designs the most classic and timeless childhood journals; a place to capture all the details in an easy and concise way. These are prompted journals that help any parent easily document a complete childhood history for their child. It covers from the time the mother is pregnant, until the child is 18 years old. Each phase and year of the child's life has custom, tailored prompts to ensure quick but meaningful recording for the parent.  

I got my first one and I'm hooked. It's my perfect solution.

I love how the journal begins with a family tree: a place to see family ties, to write the names of those who came before us; people who lived, so we could live too. Those pages are followed by a place to put baby handprints and footprints. I've got to remember to pack my hospital bag with this journal in it so I can remember to get those things documented there. And then the beautiful pages begin... the ones with prompts and empty, black lines. Starting with first trimester and prompts like, "Where were you and how did you find out that you were pregnant?" to "What food did you crave (or not crave)?" More empty lines for places to write thoughts, feelings, special moments, and paste in a photo. I could not be more obsessed with the organized layout. The design is flawless, and coming from Jayne, I'm not the least bit surprised.

Page by page, this journal walks you through pregnancy, birth, and then infancy to adulthood. It ends with some special pages to write your child a letter, right before they spread their own wings and fly on their own. And they just got two new colors: Navy and Sage Green (among their others).

My plan is to fill these in until my children are 18, and then gift them to each one on that 18th birthday. I think about how special that will be and I hope they'll treasure my words for them as they begin their own adult lives.

Thank you, Promptly, for giving me one of the greatest gifts of all: a gift that keeps on giving.

*For anyone adopting, the Adoption History Journals would be extra special to have, and I think for any single fathers with children out there, this would also be something really meaningful for a father to write his thoughts in as his child grew. Find them here.