ROCHESTER, Minn. What started as a weeklong project to pass time at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic turned into a yearlong daily activity for Annie Clement, a professor in the communication department at Rochester Community and Technical College.

When her 9-year-old daughter Hazel Clement-Weber left in-person classes, Clement was inspired

“I remember sitting on the couch with the dog and the kids, and thinking about how everything has changed,” Clement said. “I wanted to do something silly or positive, or something amusing.”

She started by taking one or more photos every day of a fun activity with her daughter, and posting them on Instagram or Facebook.

“I thought (I would post for) just a week,” she said. “It was something to keep sane, have fun, and show our daily life.”

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Once Clement reaches 365 days of her pandemic diary, she plans to print the pictures in a book. She believes it will be fun to look back on, especially since the project created so many memories.

Hazel’s favorite diary-inspired moments were the crafts she did with her mom. They made snowflakes and holiday wreaths, tried reverse tie-dyeing, experimented with hair dyeing, and made paintings.

She even did a painting with the family’s corgi dog. She did this by placing a canvas and paint inside a Ziploc bag. The dog played with the bag and moved the paint around, creating art.

Clement’s favorite moments were attempting new activities, such as trying out snowshoes and going to parks.

Hazel Clement-Weber at Carley State Park. (Contributed photo by Annie Clement)
Hazel Clement-Weber at Carley State Park. (Contributed photo by Annie Clement)

“My mother was saying she’s gone back looking through old posts,” she said. “(At the beginning of posting,) I was a lot more frustrated. It has been a nice opportunity to become more patient.”

Other family members and friends also enjoy the diary, which offered a little light during an often dark time.

While this project went on a lot longer than Clement thought it would, it’s made her appreciate her family more. She said her year has been quite fun, despite the circumstances.

Clement encourages everyone to try recording their everyday life. She believes you should go for it and take a picture each day, even if it’s just for yourself. According to her, recording her life makes memories more meaningful.

“It gives you a different perspective,” she said. “This year has not been easy, but you can find things each day to be grateful for.”

Hazel Clement-Weber goes snowshoeing. (Contributed photo by Annie Clement)
Hazel Clement-Weber goes snowshoeing. (Contributed photo by Annie Clement)