Back in 2012 I started to make Family Yearbooks. I used to scrapbook, but after having Lydia, I quickly realized that that was way too much to keep up with, not only buying all the supplies, but finding the time and energy to actually do it. I have always loved looking at photos, I used to spend hours at my Great-grandmothers house just going through the albums and learning about my family. It was so cool to see pictures of my mom, aunts, and even my grandma when they were little girls. In this digital day and age, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to provide those same concrete memories to my daughters. It made me sad that all of those great pictures, were trapped in my devices. I needed a way to get them in a tangible form but I wasn’t sure where to start, and with so many pictures it can be a daunting task!
I saw a post on Pinterest about a Family Yearbook, and it just made sense to me. No fussing around with embellishments, or fancy pages. Just the simplest, most timeless formats. I could choose to add text or not, but I wasn’t going to start out putting pressure on myself, because after all, done is better than perfect. I knew that if I over thought it, or obsessed about it, that it would never come to fruition. I already kept my pictures in chronological order and for most people that is the hardest part. There are so many options now for photo book creation. Some of the online sites will even place your photos for you! I am way too much of a control freak for that though, so I prefer the drag and drop method. You can design your own templates, or select from an existing one. The first year I used a site called my memory maker, which was a little pricier and a lot more time consuming. The second year I used mix book, I’ll be honest, I rushed through this one to get it done in time for an awesome promotion they were running and it didn’t come out that great. I used one of their predesigned formats but I exceeded their standard page amount so each time I had to add a page it duplicated the template. Some of my pages ended up with the same quotes or designs. I also wasn’t paying attention and I had multiples of some of the photos. Not my best work. When it came to making the books for 2014 & 2015 I did a little more research. I received them yesterday and I couldn’t be happier.
This time I used blurb books. You can design your book online or download a desktop version. The price was reasonable too. Still a lot of work but so worth it.
I keep my pictures in files by year and then within that year, there are folders broken down by month.
If there is one thing I learned to do differently in my future books it is to spend a little more time editing those dark or blurry cell phone shots, and being okay with not getting every single picture into the book. I am torn on that though. When we were kids our parents didn’t have the option to take 15 shots to get the perfect one. They snapped the picture and got what they got. Now I get so torn. I got the perfect shot, but I also got 5 other pretty good ones. How can you delete pictures of those cute chubby faces? Oh the guilt!! My solution is to usually make a collage. Sometimes it’s really funny to see the evolution of the picture. This year I am doing better at getting the duds off my camera roll before they hit my computer storage, it’s much easier to get rid of them in the moment instead of 6 months later when you are ogling over how much smaller and sweeter they were. For the less than perfect shots I just can’t part with I use PicMonkey which is a free online editing program, really user friendly for the beginner! I can also make my collages with that program and add text or designs. This year I added the mobile app to my phone so that I can edit on the fly, and it saves a ton of time rather than doing all of them at the end of the year.
Another thing I did differently for my last 2 books was I started the book with a summary page, I went back through my old planners and social media and gave a month by month recap. In 2016 at the end of my planner there is a blank page and I started recording a monthly journal at the end, but if you don’t keep a planner, that’s okay! Use a calendar or the photos from that month to jog your memory. I also ended the book with popular trends for that year, movies & shows we loved, our favorite books, current events and stuff like that. It’s like a little time capsule. Nothing over the top just a list of what was a big deal that year.
After seeing how fun and easy it was to do these last few books, I am looking forward to getting the 2016 volume in the works. I am also working on books for each of the girls. Each of them will get a “First Year book, a Toddler book and a School Age book. For the last year or so I’ve been keeping track of their milestones or funny things they say in my planner, I also carry a little notebook with me to jot the stuff down on the fly. Shoot I’ve even used scrap paper! Whatever works to document those little funny moments and memories. I keep baby books for all of my girls but after Lydia grew out of hers, I felt like there was so much more to say! These individual books will be a combination of photos, journaling and notes from Chris and I. Here is my guide I’ve been using to help me stay on task. It also helps me to write the dates so that when I need to go back, I can access the pictures from that time period to jog my memory.
Did I inspire you to make your own family yearbooks, or kid books? How do you store your family photos and kid memories? I’d love to know what works for you, maybe I can get some inspiration from your ideas! Share in the comments!