May 13, 2016 3 min read

Just before our first son, Luke was born, my wife and I decided to start a journal documenting details of her pregnancy, the birth and the first few months of our new life together as a family. 

In all honesty, the initial idea for the book was to have all “first-time-parent” reference information in one place, though the book evolved into so much more than that. Both my wife and I would write in stories from our past, life-lessons, sappy heart-pouring ramblings that we hope will be cherished when they get older 

Give them a keepsake with special notes, stories and your own personal life-lessons.

We call them Luke’ and Lochlan’s “Book of Love” and our hope is they will keep them forever and read them from time to time as they get older.

Visiting Rome in 2007, we stumbled on this small book shop and found these journals. My wife was expecting Luke at the time, and we did not know if he was a girl or a boy (were keeping it a surprise, which we highly recommend). We purchased these two journals, one green, one blue. In all honesty, they were not intended to be used as a journal for the kids, selfishly, I wanted to use them for my own personal notebooks. I started writing in the book and realized I was actually writing to our son or daugther to be and the idea came to us that we should write stories in this book documenting the final stages of the pregnancy, the birth and the first few years.

These books came with us to the hospital when Lavinia gave birth to them and I tried to document some of the lighter details of our experience at the hospital.

Sometimes we would sketch silly things in the book, sometimes I would just simply doodle and add in some silly stories. There was really no rhyme or reason to what we put in. There are still some blank pages in each of the books and we plan on writing more as the years go by. We may even take a trip to Rome again and get a few more books to keep the stories going.

For our second son, Lochlan, we were not sure what his name would be and could not decide. In fact, the day Lavinia was supposed to leave the hospital, we were being told by the nurses that we had to leave and kept stalling because we were still deciding what his full name would be. We settled on Lochlan Albert J Oisin Kiernan, which has a lot of storyline behind it (for another blog post).

baby journal

baby journal

How to Create your Own “Book of Love” Journal

It’s so easy. Just grab a nice notebook, journal or sketchbook and start writing, doodling and talking to your child as if they are an adult. Journaling, itself, is not an easy thing to keep up with, unless you love it. Keep in mind, this book will be with your child later in life, when you are no longer with them. Key is, don’t let them know about it just yet, otherwise it will affect how you write in the book. We’ve noticed, over time, that our entries (which we still work on) are not as open and honest, since our 11 year old knows it exists and has already thumbed through it from time to time. 

Full disclosure, I (honestly) do not recommend using one of our personalized sketchbooks to use for this purpose. For this keepsake, I feel you are better served with a sewn book with a leather, faux leather or cloth cover. Our books are perfect for your kids to keep a journal or sketchbook, but for the “Book of Love” you want this to last 50-60 years, so you really want to go with a sewn book.

Feel free to comment below any ideas and thoughts. Thanks for reading and best of luck with your own personal “Book of Love”.