October 2008

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alex's life book

  • In early 2006, I began creating a life book for my daughter, Alex. Click here for links to articles describing my experience.
  • And for those of you who are more digitally inclined, in late 2006, I recreated key pages of Alex's lifebook for an article I wrote for AlphaMom, using Scrapblog.

    You can see the final digital result (and leave comments, if you'd like!) here.

what's been on my nikon lately

  • And you can view my favourites here.

if i'm not here, i'm here

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Make her a memory jar. Get a big ol' pretty jar and have everyone coming to the party contribute a few slips of paper with memories written on them-- memories of fun and meaningful times they've spent with her.

My siblings and I did this for my mom on her 60th birthday, and she adored it-- went through the jar several times and read every single memory. Way better than a spa day.

Mary, mom to many


You could knit her a shawl. Pretty, lightweight yarn on giant needles, knit every row then block it severely ... it will look lacey and won't be heavy, and it will have come from your hands. She would love it.


OK, Karen, I said I'd report in but I don't have a lot of faith in my measurments. According to my trusty tape measure I lost 1 1/2 inches off of my waist and 2 off of my hips. Chest stayed the same.

Now before you or anyone else gets impresed, it dawned on me that I took the original measurements in the afternoon and took these first thing this morning. Since my weight can certainly vary from morning to night, I'm guessing that could be skewing the measurements as well.

Next week, I'll control all variables and have something more reliable to report.

But is WAS nice to see those smaller number today! :)


I like the memory idea in the jar.

Or you could also get everyone to give you a picture of themselves with Granny the Great and put them all togehter in one album for her. I know you said a phot album sounded trite, but she might enjoy having everyone she loves in one book to ponder through. You could even combine it with memories from the pictures as Owlhaven suggested.

dave / higher powered

I like the memory jar idea too. If you can find old photos of her childhood or early adulthood, those are great for memories.
I just did that for my Mom, showing her pictures she hasn't seen in decades.


When my great-grandmother turned 100, I was only 12 years old, but I managed to come up with a birthday gift that pleased her. I put together a little basket with nail polish, hand creme, and basic manicure supplies, and every time I went to visit her (every other weekend) I would sit with her and do her nails. Her hands had gotten far too arthritic to do it for herself, but she never lost the vain pleasure in having neat, red-painted nails. And it was a good excuse to sit with her, touch her gently, and talk. Centarians have the best stories.

I'm about to post a blog entry about my week's results. I'm obsessive enough to want to put together a chart.


Oh, your Granny looks like fun! She also looks like the kind of woman you would really need to *know* to help select an appropriate gift for.

Based on your description and my initial impression of her 99th birthday photo, I personally would not go with the memory jar suggestion. Get her something current. A great new read, some music--is she too frail to attend a concert? Did you pick up anything in Miami (jewelry, etc.) that Granny would admire?


I love the memory jar idea. Here's another. This present isn't as much for "Granny" as it is for the rest of the family, but still...for my Dad's 50th (a ways back) I interviewed his mother about her memories of growing up, raising kids, etc (and taped it). My Dad liked the present, but after my Grandmother passed away years later, he made copies for all of her kids, and it's a real treasure to have. Now I wish I had video taped it. Anyway, if Granny would consent, it would be great to interview her, learn all you can about things that she may not talk about often, and have a lasting record of it.


Ok, well, no ideas for Granny (sorry), and I forgot to take my measurements.

However-I *have* lost 4 lbs., and am definitely seeing more muscle definition in my calves. I'm so proud!


I too like the memory jar idea. Or, how about a beautiful locket with a picture of you and Alex in it? My Grammy would love something like that.


What a beautiful lady!
I like the memory jar idea...I just gave my Gram a photo collage of my boys and she loved it! Then I loaded her up in the car and took her for a night of Bingo!!


That is a tough one. I am in agreement that something sentimental or more about time with G-100 is the way to go. Then again, she sounds spunky and like she might enjoy some pampering.

Will post if I can come up with something.


OK, don't be mad. I think you should get her a young stripper. I think she would get a kick out of laughing at the young thang!


How about letting Alex make her an impression of her hands, and decorate it with things from Trini, like shells etc.


Karen, when my Trini Carib-Amerindian grandmother turned 100, her only request was a 6-pack of warm Carib beer. In addition to that little necessity, how about a sterling silver Family Tree, complete with little photos of her offpspring hanging from the branches?


For our friend's 50th, we took a plate and wrote something that happened of importance for every year of his life on it in a circular pattern. The center of the plate had a star with the number 50 in it. He loved going over everything (both relating to him and the world) that had happened since he was born.


I don't think I remembered to say, "I'm in" last week (lurking habits die hard.) I'm in! I've lost 1-1/2" so far.

Margaret in Germany

I gave my friend's grandmother 100 crisp $1 bills. Though she enjoyed all her gifts, she later told me that the money allowed her to buy something nice for herself at a later date.


On each family member's birthday this year, my mother has written a letter to that person, telling him or her why she was glad she or he was born. Sounds hokey but everyone has appreciated it tremendously, as people just don't take the time or effort to convey those feelings anymore.

Another idea would be to give gifts of 100 things - 100 pennies, 100 sea shells, 100 reasons you love her, 100 pictures, 100 of her favorite snacks, fun little things to celebrate her reaching this milestone age!


She must have lots of pictures of Alex and the rest of the family.... but how about some sort of photo collage or movie she could watch on the DVD/TV? Does she have a computer? You could use MovieMaker if you have Window on your computer, or whatever softwear is easist. Put some good music in the background, and record family memories told by all the grandchildren...


How about a photo quilt or throw. something she can use wherever she is to keep her legs or arms warm.
You can pick out a special photo for each person in the family and maybe a couple of family or wedding shots. Then have it made into a quilt.
Here's a couple links to walmart and personal creations that do it:




My Mother-in-law is 90. We found a book of postcards with pictures of the city she grew up in...they were all from the 20's and 30's.
She loved seeing the city from her heyday.
Are there any pictures of life from her past?

another Karen

For my grandfather's 85th birthday, my mom got each of her siblings to write a letter to him with some of their favorite memories of their family and of their parents. He was not an outwardly emotional man, but these letters were a treasured gift. After he passed on, one of my aunts made copies for everyone in the family and now we all treasure them for capturing so much of our family history.


love the memory jar idea and the "interviews" idea. i always thought it would be fun to do a slideshow of my parent's photos set to their favorite songs.

this would be two gifts because you could get a list of the songs your granny loves, and a list of songs your family members say remind them of granny and make everyone a disc of both the photos and the music.

if i could do anything in the world for my parents i would hire stevie wonder or earth wind and fire to come and play/sing live!

good luck!


I love the memories in a jar idea, but why not take it just a tad further? I would audio tape messages to Granny from family so she can listen to them over and over. They make so many smallish things to record sounds on nowdays (Ipod) that she could take her favorite voices from her special day anywhere, anytime.
God bless her!

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