Friday, January 22, 2016

Documenting Your Babies

So many people have been asking me lately what I do as far as documenting my kids' lives. I think for a lot of people it's daunting and overwhelming and just hard to do. Hopefully I have a couple of ideas for you that make it less stressful and more fun!

The first thing that I get done is the story book. I use Snapfish, but you could use any online software that has the capability of making hardcover books. The point of this book is to give the baby a book to look at that shows them how much they were wanted and loved in a way that's easy to understand. I give it the title of, "The story of {child's name}". I always start it out by saying, "Once upon a time..." because what good story doesn't start with that line? I use simple language that would be easy for them to understand and one day read.

I talk about what was going on before they were born, and when we first found out we were pregnant.

There's pictures of ultrasounds.

Every week from the time I am 10 weeks along I take belly pictures. Trust me, I hated them in the moment too! But I am so glad that I did it. It's fun to look back and see how fast the baby was growing.

I include pictures from the day they were born and pictures of them with their aunts and grandparents so they can see how many people they have on their team.

With Colton's book, I added a page about the first time Weston met him and how much they loved each other already.

I put in pages about their name sake, and what they were blessed with during their baby blessing.

I add a page about specific things that we love about the baby.

On the last page, I make sure to tell them that life is better because they are here and how much we love them. There is a blank page at the back of the book and both Steven and I write a letter to the baby.

I make two copies of the book. One I keep in the book shelf with all their other books and the copy with the letters in the back I keep in the closet for when they are older. I love these books! Weston's book is so loved that it has been taped together many, many times. On Snapfish, you can often get buy one get one free books, or even 60% off. So this is a great deal and worth every penny! The easy thing about this is that you don't have to have any extra materials besides your digital pictures.

As far as an actual scrapbook goes, I make one scrapbook that is a baby book. This includes pictures starting from the time that we found out I was pregnant until they are 3 months old. If you know me, you know that I am seriously holding back the reigns with this one! Prior to babies, I made SO many scrapbooks of just Steven and me. I love scrapbooking! But I do realize that one day these babies are going to be grown men and they don't want to take a thousand books around about their childhood. So for right now, the baby book is it.

I have a title page that introduces the book. Then the next page is the story of when we found out I was pregnant and telling those closest to us. Within the first couple of months of being pregnant, both Steven and I write a letter to the baby. It just talks about how excited we are to meet them and some of our hopes for the baby. I put these in an envelope in the scrapbook.

I include my belly pictures and I write each week a little about how I am feeling or any weird cravings or how big the baby is. I make sure to do a page about the nursery because I feel like I put so much time and love into the room. I want them to know how excited I was for them to come!

I try to include fun details like stats on what life was like the day they were born. For example, top headlines, gas prices, hit songs...  A lot of people tell me they get nervous about scrapbooking because they feel like they can't make it "fancy" enough. Scrapbooking doesn't have to be anything expensive or fancy. In fact, I feel like my scrapbooks are more on the plain side. For me, the important part is the journaling. I even set aside at least 10 pages where Steven writes. I want them to know what their dad was thinking and feeling too! And I even have grandparents write a little.

Each month of the first year they are born, I take a picture of them in the same location. The last two pages of the book have all these pictures in order so you can see just how much they grew in one year.

Other ideas are putting things like a tuft of hair from their first hair cut, how they got their name, and a family tree. 

Because journaling is the most important part to me, in between pages of pictures, I add my journal entries of when I had the baby. Anyone with a baby knows that it is pretty hard to find the time to sit down and just write a whole 10 pages of a birth story. You want to know my secret? A lot of times, I start by typing it on my phone. I am pretty fast at texting so I open a new note and I can write my journal entry little by little.

I also include a list of all the baby's "firsts", like first time crawling, first word, etc. 

The scrapbook is by far the longest time stealer. Weston's book didn't get done until right before Colton was born. It was a little easier to get Colton's done just because the two boys entertain each other, so for me two babies is much easier than one! People ask me tips for how to start a scrapbook... Here's what I tell them.

1. Gather all your pictures and items you want to add to the scrapbook in one place. This makes it easier to see how you want to organize everything and you won't accidentally forget something. Before I make any pages, I always organize the photos first so I can see what I'm working with. 

2. Look on Pinterest or through scrapbook magazines for ideas if you are feeling less than creative.

3. Get some fun new paper to spark ideas. There are always sales at Hobby Lobby or JoAnns and it's so fun to look at different scrapbook stores. 

Beyond these books...

I always feel bad not being able to have time to scrapbook all the cute things that happen or the major holidays and vacations. I came up with this method. Try and see if it works for you! Along with my 3x5 card method, I also do one journal entry every month for each boy. For example, since Weston's birthday is October 16, on the 16th of every month I write a journal entry about him. I write new things that he has experienced, things that he has learned, a funny story. It's usually a page, once in a while a page and a half. I haven't done anything with these yet. I print them and add them to a folder I have for each of them. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I know that I won't regret having the memories written down. 

I know it seems like a lot when it's all written out, but it's actually only a couple of hours a month. It takes me about an hour to do the 3x5 card method each month and half an hour or so per baby for the journal. Have a new goal for the new year! Neither you nor your baby will regret it! :)


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