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Family Reflecting Activity

“This Time Last Year…” A Family Reflecting Activity

By Rachel Meeks

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

When raising small kids, the milestones are much anticipated: the first time your kid sleeps through the night, first time to walk, first time eating an entire meal without help…

It happens so fast, and the celebrations are momentary before you move on to the next milestone.

Earlier today I was thinking about how pleasant it will be in a year or so when my toddler can communicate with me better, but I almost forgot how it wasn’t all that long ago he wasn’t even walking yet! It’s easy to lose track of how far your family has come, and also how much your family has changed during the year.

We’re so often looking forward to the next thing, so every once in a while, I like to practice looking backward.

We have a game we play in our family: “This time last year…”

This year we are living in Italy, Tom is learning to walk, Lane is looking forward to starting kindergarten, and my husband and I are spending a lot of time together.

This time last year, Lane was hosting tea parties and looking forward to being a mommy (so she can wear my clothes!) Tom was being spoon-fed cereal while wearing a cowboy bib, and my husband and I were patiently looking forward to everyone sleeping through the night.

This time two years ago, Lane was learning how to ride a trike, and Tom was making me buy swimsuits in maternity sizes.

This time three years ago, we lived in a one-bedroom apartment, Lane loved dressing up, and I was quietly hoping for the second child.

This time five years ago, I spent Mother’s Day weekend nine months pregnant, lying on the couch wondering about how my life was going to change forever once we added kids.

So much can change in five years, or even one! What was your family doing this time last year?

About the Author

Rachel Meeks

Rachel Meeks is the voice behind the popular blog Small Notebook, a resource for simplifying and organizing your home. (Because it’s so much easier to b...

Rachel Meeks is the voice behind the popular blog Small Notebook, a resource for simplifying and organizing your home. (Because it’s so much easier to be a parent when you’re not surrounded by a ton of stuff.)

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Right this instant I am making a video for the grandmas for Mother’s Day, so it’s easy to remember what we did this time last year. We were packing in preparation for a move to a new house. We were mourning the loss of an awesome dog. And the little man was learning sign language, walking better, and LOOOVED to swing. Now we have a new dog and a kid who never stops talking. He still loves to swing, though.


I love this idea.It puts the ‘I’m stuck’ feelings into perspective.

I was inspired:


Thought this was a great way to gain some perspective. Weird how, often, in order to stay in or enjoy the moment, we need to reflect on the past. Life sure is some tricky sh*t! This time last year I was preparing to move across the country, to leave the beaches of California for the land-locked midwest and was freaking out. This time last year I was still recovering from the swine flu and was depressed that I’d had to withdraw from the Los Angeles marathon because I came down with aforementioned flu a week before the race after training… Read more »


[…] my friend jm, who was in turn inspired by Rachel Meeks (whose blog, Small Notebook,  I enjoy) on alphamom, I thought this reflection exercise was a good way to gain perspective after the sleep-lacking days […]


This time last year, I was expecting our first and I thought I had a substantial belly bump (I didn’t). In May, hubby felt the first kick and we got our first and only ultrasound and hoped it was a girl, but told them we didn’t want to know, so we didn’t find out. Right now, my sweet daughter is talking loudly in the jumperoo and gnawing on her shirt. We are patiently waiting out the last 6 weeks before daddy comes home from Iraq.


[…] This Time Last Year… […]