76 In Life

I Have This Book

If my house were ever to catch fire, besides obviously trying to get my family out, I’d probably make a mad dash into Rover’s room and retrieve this book from his bookshelf. We don’t have scrapbooks in our home, but I do have this little green journal.


Celebrating Morgan’s birthday last week has me thinking about my children and their birth days. I’m so thankful to have a mother-in-law who has faithfully journaled for {probably} most of her life. If you were to poke around her house a little you’d likely find a journal on the kitchen table, by the phone, and on her ottoman. She keeps paper and pen handy at all times, for her prayers, her to do lists, and for other thoughts that cross her mind… most are captured in her various journals and notebooks. When Morgan was born she showed up at the hospital with the journal above and recorded the events of the day. When Paige was born I brought it back out for her to record the birth day events. And poor Rover {clearly 3rd child} also was recorded in the flowered journal. That green flowered journal is very precious to me. I love the detailsΒ  it holds about the weather, who was there,Β  and even little details like the fact that I stayed in the same hospital room with John Martin that both of my sister-in-laws stayed in with my niece and nephew.


Looks like one of her grandchildren inherited her love of the paper and PENCIL!



That’s our church bulletin tucked ever so carefully inside hanging out at the bottom, the one that announced Paige’s birth.








If you haven’t had babies yet… or if you have but plan to have more I think you might should pick up a little journal and let someone in the waiting room record the events of the day. I guarantee it will become your favorite book.


I better run, IΒ  need to text Justin a picture of this journal to remind him that there are still 50 something pages left in the journal that need to be filled out…

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  • paige
    November 10, 2010 at 8:16 am

    what a priceless treasure indeed!!
    50 more pages…that is funny girl!!!

  • Beth Moore
    November 10, 2010 at 8:29 am

    At our birth center, they encouraged you to leave some pages of pretty paper on the windowsill with a pen and the nurses were going to journal things for us as they checked in. I ended up needing to be taken to the OR for a c-section, so my journal pages stayed empty. I didn’t even think to do it until a week later and then I forgot much. All those crazy c-section drugs… blah.

  • Amy
    November 10, 2010 at 8:34 am

    How special to have such a wonderful treasure! Handwritten journals, notes, etc. connect the recipient and reader to the person who scribed the words in such a way that is priceless and so meaningful. I have always loved journaling myself. This inspires me to pick up a new journal today! Thanks for sharing your special treasured journal with all of us!

  • Julie
    November 10, 2010 at 8:37 am

    I was going to ask you what you have recorded in photo books or paper for your kids. This online journal is wonderful account of all the things you do as a family. Do you print it out, or do a photo book sometimes?

  • Jennie-Marie
    November 10, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Love this, I have my prayer journals from high school,college and the beach, (yes they are pretty funny to read, especially the things that seemed SO major at the time.) I can’t tell you how often I want to pick up and start doing that again. lOve this, and love that there are 50 blank pages. is that for more babies to fill up? haha. Cannot wait to see you this weekend!

  • Amanda @ Serenity Now
    November 10, 2010 at 8:50 am

    I need to do more journaling. Things kind of get lost between the baby books and the scrapbooks that I want to do but just don’t have time for. :s I blog a lot of funny stories about the kids, and I know I can have those printed in book form, but it’s not the same as your own hand writing. I love your journal! πŸ™‚

  • kristen
    November 10, 2010 at 8:57 am

    I will remember this for my sister-in-law and sister (girls left to yet have babies) I wish someone had thought of it for me, i love to have everything written down. what a wonderful mother-in-law! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Natalie
    November 10, 2010 at 8:59 am

    What a wonderful idea! I know your little ones, especially the girls will treasure this one day too. I love that it was written in anticipation as the events were unfolding. So special!

  • Emily
    November 10, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Such beautiful words and precious memories. This is definitely something I will have to keep in mind for the future.

  • Meredith
    November 10, 2010 at 9:20 am

    What a beautiful treasure that book is!

    I think my favorite thing about your book is that it’s written by hand. I have precious few things that my grandmother wrote –mostly recipes–but I treasure them all the more because of her gorgeous penmanship.

    I feel a very strong calling to be the “history keeper” in my little family. To record big events but also the stuff of ordinary days. I do keep journals, but I also think blogging and scrapbooks are excellent tools for that as well!

    Thanks for sharing. Your blog is one of my faves!

  • jenn
    November 10, 2010 at 9:21 am

    OH Darby, this is so precious!!! I journal and have shelves of them – since my childhood through the present! And I have to add, my mom gave me a stack of torn out notebook sheets that contain pages of her prayers for me when she was pregnant with me – I TREASURE those pages!!! What a sweet gift for your family!

  • Courtney
    November 10, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Ha! 50-something pages might call for some “adoption-day” records…

  • Jen Fanucci
    November 10, 2010 at 9:26 am

    This brought tears to my eyes! How precious, Darby!

  • Susan
    November 10, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this. While my memories are still fresh, I am going to record the events surrounding the births of my grandchildren (born 5 months apart in 2009). I know how much you treasure this and just imagine how much your children and grandchildren will treasure it, also.

  • Shae
    November 10, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I love your blog but have never commented! That book is darling – you should get a cheap firesafe box to put it in – I am not even joking. That thing is PRICE.LESS!

  • Konie
    November 10, 2010 at 9:48 am

    This is so sweet. It reminds me of my mom and her journaling:) Hers are mostly trips, etc. but she does have several she’s filled. That’s a great idea for the birth of grandbaby’s:) My parents remember so many more details of my children as little ones, than I do. Cute little things they’ve said and done:) I attribute my lack of memory to having all 4 before the oldest started kindegarten….:)) These blogs you young moms do will be PRICELESS when your children are grown:)

  • Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife
    November 10, 2010 at 9:49 am

    That is so sweet!!! = )

  • Alexandra
    November 10, 2010 at 9:51 am

    …50 pages…. a LOT of work to do :). Poor Darby!!
    β™₯ your journal!

  • Whitney
    November 10, 2010 at 9:53 am

    This is precious! I am at work sneaking a quick read and I have tears in my eyes! We don’t have children yet, but I will definitely do this when they are born. Thanks, Darby!

  • Amanda Garrett
    November 10, 2010 at 10:00 am

    This is just so precious. I wish I had this for my daughter!

  • Boo Hartsell
    November 10, 2010 at 10:06 am

    I have been a follower of your blog over this year. I’m not one to comment but today is the day. You are so full of life! But 50 pages, that would be a lot. I know because I have 11 sisters and 4 brothers.
    The journal would have been overflowing for my Mom. I wish I had kept one when my girls were born:( I do have some written words over the years, that I do cherish.
    God Bless You and Yours, Boo

  • Cat from iBlog
    November 10, 2010 at 10:12 am

    how precious! i love it!

  • Beth
    November 10, 2010 at 10:45 am

    I love this idea! Do you know that you have the same quality of your mom? It’s just through a keyboard and a monitor. πŸ˜‰ Your kids will cherish this one day – the same way you cherish your little green journal from you mom.

  • Emily
    November 10, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Love this idea! I really liked that Marla was able to be there for Erika’s little Slogna’s birth. I have been attempting to make freinds with photographers ever since I saw her post about the birth! My introduction goes “Oh, hi, I’m Emily. You’re a professional photographer? Wow! Would you like to take pictures of the birth of my future (imaginary) babies?” …and they walk away… I don’t get it! Haha I like your last line the best… Wink, Wink!

  • Laura
    November 10, 2010 at 10:53 am

    I love this idea! How lucky you, and your children, are to have this written recording of precious memories. I’m sure your little ones will treasure this as they grow older!

  • gilda
    November 10, 2010 at 10:58 am

    What a wonderful idea to record the most precious moments of your life. Thanks for sharing!

  • Becky
    November 10, 2010 at 10:59 am

    50 more pages…. could there be more beautiful babies on the way?!! I love this post!

  • Jessica
    November 10, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I love this, Darby!! How sweet…I used to journal – need to get back in the habit of doing…wish I had thought of doing this with my kids!! maybe there will be another one in the future to use this idea with. πŸ™‚ good luck with filling the rest of your 50 pages! haha!

  • Jennifer
    November 10, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Do I sense some creative foreshadowing?

  • kathleen
    November 10, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    now could you scan the pages of your book? scanning would allow for you to manipulate the copy and create an e-book with downloaded pictures. and store it on a cd 21st century meets 20th century journal styles. of course snippets you posted here have a wonderful charm . also on the subject of running into burning houses to rescue important documents– should not one have a fire-safe locking box or two stuffed with one of a kind objects? on the subject of state parks,- in the there are so many that were built by the hands of the CCC during the depression — 1930s for all you history buffs. FDR state park in Georgia is history as it is near the Little White House of Warm Springs Georgia and Callaway Gardens so much jammed packed in such a hop skip and a jump — look it up on the web plan ahead. callaway gardens a private enterprise vs a state park affiliation— has trails for bikes and a butterfly house, the Pine Mountain Ga location has the FSU flying circus perform during the summer or they did at one time I can’t imagine it not still happening. anyway that is my thought on this subject.

  • angela
    November 10, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Oh Darby, Thank you so much for this! My third grandchild is about to be born. I will have a journal with me!!!!! I am sad I didn’t think about this when the first two were born. I was in the room with my daughter and so wish I had recorded the moments! LOVE this!!!!!!

  • Suzanne
    November 10, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Fabulous pictures, as always. Looks like it was such a great vacation! And the weather looked perfect too.

    In that picture of Rover’s head smiling above the counter-top, he looks JUST like your mom!

  • Suzanne
    November 10, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Oops, I meant to post my comment above under the post about your cabin vacation. Sorry, guess I got so excited to post that I wasn’t paying attention. lol πŸ˜‰

  • Kristi @ Visible Voice
    November 10, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    When people talk about hobbies and talents…sometimes I’m at a loss of what I really like to do or what I will do “automatically” in my spare time. And I recently figured it out that it’s keeping journals. I have baby ones, ones that move on from the baby ones. (Complete with Polaroids that I take with my new Instax Mini). I have a personal one as well as an art one (sorta like scrap booking but a little more forgiving if it’s not perfect and more about thoughts-you can see pages on my blog) and I’ve recently enlisted all of my kids grandparents to send letters instead of gifts for birthday’s and Christmas. I just was feeling so overwhelmed with toys and sentimental about the fact that we live so far away from our parents that I just wanted to have something more priceless for them.

    So needless to say….I’d be grabbing that too! πŸ˜‰

  • Tara
    November 10, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I keep a prayer journal for each of our kids….

    it is one of my favorite things to look at…

    I can’t wait to give them to my children when they leave home…..

    I’d definitely want to save those if there were a fire….

  • Heather Leppert Spencer
    November 10, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Good luck on those 50 pages Mrs. Duggar :0)

  • Ashley
    November 10, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    LOVE the journal. I have something similar for each of my babes that I write in every so often. My mom kept journals for each of us and we love to look back and see what she wrote! So special!

  • Ashley Williams
    November 10, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Mama did this for me on our wedding day. She included how I got locked out of the church, caller her and said, “It’s hot as h#ll out here.” Nice, huh? πŸ™‚ “Paper” is the gift for first anniversaries so she gave it to us on our first anniversary. I thought that was a good idea too! LOVE IT, D! Love you! Hope you’re having a good week!

  • Kitty
    November 10, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Hmmm…I can’t wait to see what the next couple of months posts look like! πŸ™‚

  • Sarah
    November 10, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Love this! My mom always tells me to journal, I have a really precious journal that she did when I was born, she says “you’ll forget.” Now I’m thinking I should have her do it for me! We have three little ones all VERY close in age you yours. More pages to fill?

  • Megan
    November 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Why am I crying reading about the birth of your children? I guess it just brings back the emotions and feelings of the days when my little ones arrived into this world. Unfortunately, I don’t have such a beautiful account of those days but maybe it isn’t too late to go back and write something down because I know I will remember even less 20 years from now! Thanks Darby!

  • Michelle
    November 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    This is just so precious. I hope I keep this in mind for my own kids. I loved you 50 pages left joke!! Better get to it! Have a great day πŸ™‚

  • Katherine @ Grass Stains
    November 10, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    LOVE! I do scrapbook and have minute-by-minute stories of each of our boys’ births in it … mainly because I used scraps of paper lying around the delivery room to jot notes on, a guest book for visitors and took pictures of the monitors that showed each step the nurses took. A journal WITH A DESIGNATED JOURNALER would have been a great idea. πŸ˜‰

  • Shireen
    November 10, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Ha!! What was Justin’s response?????? πŸ™‚

  • cait
    November 10, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Oh I love this….priceless! I’m an avid journaler too…this is now a must on my list for when I have children. Love your thoughts on all those empty pages!

  • Elizabeth
    November 10, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Amazing! What a neat memory. I will definitely be doing this for my sister. Thanks for sharing!

  • The Mom
    November 10, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Sometimes I wonder why I have your blog on the computer version of speed dial when I end up crying through many of your posts…even the ones that are supposed to be funny. It’s likely because I remember all too well those years when I had no time to write in a journal and did not find the necessary time to feed the things that my own soul desperately craved because I was too busy making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, serving as a chauffeur to endless activities, doing mountainous loads of laundry, and trying to figure out how to do all the things I thought I should, thereby sacrificing “self” to the endless needs of my family. So…I am thankful when I can sometimes see the mess that resides in the background of the pictures, the fact that you let your little boy go to the church festival wearing a diaper, and you sometimes post so late that I know you are going to pay for it tomorrow. I am especially grateful that you seem to be making some little corner of space for yourself. Women who are mothers are not often encouraged to do so. We innately view it as selfishness, do we not? Why don’t you invite your mother-in-law down to fill out and update a few of the empty pages in the book. Her observations on each child would probably surprise and delight you. And whatever you do, just don’t stop blogging…I just bought a new supply of kleenex!

  • Lindsey
    November 10, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Ok so tears are actually running down my neck! You are so lucky to have such a thoughtful mother-in-law. I don’t have any kids yet, but this is such a wonderful idea! My grandmother has kept a journal for over 50 years she will be the perfect one to write about it… if it ever happens πŸ™‚

  • julia
    November 10, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    err…50 more babies?

  • Melissa (melissab74)
    November 10, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    What a treasure! I wish that I (or someone else) had thought of doing that when my babies were born. I agree with some of the other commenters…get a fireproof box to put that journal in, or make copies and put them in the safe deposit box, SOMETHING! That way you can be sure that this priceless book will be around for your grandchildren!

  • Melissa (melissab74)
    November 10, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Oh, and 50 more pages to fill? Love it!

  • Melissa
    November 10, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    I so wish someone had done that for us– my 3 year old’s favorite story is to hear about the day he was born, and I was a little preoccupied that day and some of the details are a little fuzzy:)

    I saw the terrible news in your last post about your friend’s daughter. We have friends who also lost their child, at 17 months of age, after a sudden illness, this year. It is unimaginable. Our friend blogs so beautifully about her journey at http://www.hudsonsonegoodthing.blogspot.com and I know it has become a resource for other grieving parents. If it might help your friend in any way please pass it on.

  • Sara
    November 10, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    I cried from deep inside reading this post…I so wish I could relive every second of the day my son came into the world (calling my doctor, calling everyone to tell them to ‘hurry up’, waiting to hear his first cry…I could go on and on). Thank you very much for sharing this with us, Darby!

  • Laura Zarrin
    November 10, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    What a beautiful treasure!! You’re so lucky and so are the kids. So nice to see how special your birth was to everyone. You must scan every page & store copies somewhere else. This is too precious to loose.

  • Abby Maddox
    November 10, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    So I almost didn’t even check today, since you’d just done a sponsor post. What a surprise to find TWO such great posts right in a row!! You’re rockin’ em out! I love LOVE LOVE all the state park pictures. So sweet and such fun memories. The ones of JM fighting made me laugh out loud. Such serious business that warrior fighting.

    I actually teared up when I saw the note in the journal about Jeremiah and Ganter coming by to see Morgan. I remember that night so well. I was devastated to not get to come, because I had a job interview. What a strange thought… Thanks for the text this weekend. Please keep praying though…they are signed but still not mailed. I feel like the decision will never be final. Trying so hard to be patient and supportive. Why did I write all this in a comment? Oh well

  • Kelly
    November 10, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I never comment, but I read your blog daily and love it… This post made me tear up, so sweet!

  • Kristi
    November 10, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I love this post! What a wonderful idea to have someone else journal the day your children are born. After my c-section, my memory was incredibly fuzzy, especially on time frames. I was lucky though, most of the pictures we took have a clock in the background, so I can at least see what time things happened and when people were there. I would have much rather had a journal though, so I will keep that in mind for my next child.
    I love your blog, thank you for sharing so much of your life. My son is only a few months younger than JM, so I can relate to your ‘boy’ stories so much. I also love your sponsors, I ordered a great birthday t-shirt for my son. Thank so much!

  • lynne palmeiro
    November 10, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    I LOVE this! My boys are now 15 and 20 and I have kept some sort of written words of
    their lives for each year. I so enjoy flipping through the pages and reading what our days were like when they were little and occupied almost every second of your day. Plus, i wrote down many of the things they said, and it makes us all laugh (and cry) to read those words.
    You are so blessed to have such a sweet mother-in-law, and what a priceless gift she has given you!
    You have a beautiful family! good luck filling those pages!!

  • lori lucas
    November 10, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    What a wonderful mother in law. And I love the way she wrote. ….Stream of consciousness writing. How wonderful. Go get started on those other 50 pages! Lori L

  • Justine
    November 11, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Such a sweet idea – you are so lucky to have it πŸ™‚

  • kathleen
    November 11, 2010 at 1:23 am

    gee whiz i was waiting for more state park suggestions i have several. Georgia has a very good state park system, NC , well, i would say hit or miss. So for NC the hokey– maybe they have improved over the years but Fontana Dam Village resort has a lot to offer. When i went the cabin s were the down on their heels housing units built for the TVA dam builders as the march to electrify the Appalachian mountains /work progress administration get people back to work occurred thus helping the US economy limp out of the depression. Yes this area is a study of boom and bust but i digress.( I did appreciate the fact the decor was frozen in time but maybe some marketing expert said to paint the paneling i’m sure there are pictures on line the dogwood would be too small) Frozen in time hmm your tax dollars at work from fish hatcheries to visit they dot the Ga NC SC to the assorted dam projects as the vast lakes that were created and stocked with the fish from yep the hatcheries to attract bass fisherman and the like — I’m sorry this is sounding like a macro eco lecture . check out Fontana dam village resort and or Vogel state park in Ga . okay, if you like feeling at the edge of the earth, no, I won’t divulge that one — but Fort Clinch in Florida just down the road from Cumberland Island and all that rustic adventure has to offer— maybe in a few years or your kids are game at any age for an adventure?? Just visited the FDVR web page and you would think I was making this all up the vintage housing but they did talk to a marketing person — well when it was less then ideal people went because it was cheap– I don’t know if it is in your price range. Maybe it was me but i was willing to plan a vacation to say Chatanooga even though there were no relatives but they have an awesome aquarium and well it is a neat town as is Charlestown or Savannah in the spring.

  • NatalieJean
    November 11, 2010 at 2:47 am

    My brother-in-law passed away at the young age of 17 this past summer. One HUGE comfort has been his journals. This book is so invaluable! PLEASE scan all these pages and keep them in a safe place!

  • Katharina
    November 11, 2010 at 5:05 am

    I think your mother in law has a very nice handwriting! It looks lovely and is so wonderful to have in the future.

    We have a book here that is given very often to the baptism. It is called “Grandpa, please tell…” (something like this in English). I think the author is swedish or dutch (Elmar van Vliet). Grandparents are asked to answer lots of questions about the time when they grew up. Like “what did you play with, how was school, how did you get to know grandma? what would you do differnt looking back at your life? What was the first technical thing you had in your house?”
    This is so nice and valubale to read. It is from a different time – before there were TVs, Computers, Games, Cars.

    Hope you will never have a fire!!

  • Jessica
    November 11, 2010 at 7:54 am

    How sweet! Thank you for sharing this! I started tearing up. Kids grow up too fast!

  • andrea
    November 11, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Fifty more pages? Does that mean more babies for you two? That would be cool! I’d have 10 more if I could. I would not mind giving up my shoe fetish so I could be barefoot and pregnant! πŸ˜›

    Thanks for sharing! I hope we get to see pix of “GiGi” some day! I love her handwriting!

    Love, Andrea from RaisingPeanut

  • barbG
    November 11, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Beautiful. Well…blogs are like virtual journals. Thanks for sharing this special gift.

  • Abbie
    November 11, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    So sweet!
    What a priceless treasure.

    My mom did a similar thing after my daughter’s birth, and I love it so much.

  • kari
    November 11, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    awweeee… that is the sweetest thing ever!

  • Amy
    November 11, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    You should research state parks in Arkansas. Is that too far away? We love Devil’s Den, which is just south of Fayetteville. The tigers will be visiting the Razorbacks next year so it would be a great family trip….see the game and camp at Devil’s Den. Need some game tickets, let me know!

    Also, there are a number of state parks near Hot Springs, which itself if a national park. I live in Hot Springs and it simply beautiful in fall. Great hiking trails through the downtown area, with beautiful mountains all around.

    Check it out! It will not disappoint!

  • Erica
    November 12, 2010 at 9:58 am

    What an amazing book. I love that it is handwritten and written from the Grandmother’s perspective. Your mother-in-laws handwriting is beautiful. My husband was the only other person present when I gave birth to our three, little ones, and your book has inspired me to ask him to share his perspective in their baby books as well. I have also thought about what treasures I would grab from our home in the event of a fire. It is good to know that I am not the only one who thinks about these things:)

  • Angela
    November 12, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    What a blessing! I have a journal like this that I kept myself. Also wrote down all the important (and not so important) milestones written in it. Kind of falling apart, but so valued. I noticed that your Morgan is a Morgan Campbell? Is there a story behind the Campbell? My daughter has the same middle name — my maiden name!

  • Melanie
    November 14, 2010 at 9:19 am

    I really really love this! I wish 16 yrs. ago that someone would have done this for me! I know that you cherish it!

  • Laura Debruycker
    November 16, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    This is wonderful. I kept a journal most of my childhood until about age 19. This makes me want to get back into it.

  • Lucretia
    November 21, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Hi Darby,

    I’ve stalked your blog for a long time and love the updates on your family life. I’ve always thought our boys were about the same age because they seemed to be getting into things about the same time and I’ve seen some of the same toys in the pictures. But when I saw this post and realized his birthday was June 30, I had to laugh. My son, Kade, was born June 29. Looks like they are pretty close afterall! πŸ™‚ I love the idea of this book, thanks for sharing.

  • kathleen
    November 25, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    i think the secret to the beauty of the script in the journal is the pen. the pen. I think the ink is from a fine tip Pentel. No goopy ink blobs from a Bic it is a Pentel –fine point, to me they are the greatest . the numbers are so spot on –was your mother-in-law a math major math teacher she seems very percise an architect engineer she documents life so well like a rock no an Archeologist!!!

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