Friday, November 15, 2019

Capturing Paul's Childhood

As they say, the days are long, but the years are short. I've definitely found that to be the case, even before having Paul. But having a child seems to sort of speed up the clock. You blink your eyes and your baby isn't really a baby anymore! We are so lucky to live in a time when it's so easy and fairly inexpensive to document their life digitally. But it's easy to let those photos just sit on your phone or computer and do nothing with them! I was certainly guilty of that before becoming a mom!

So I thought I'd share my approach to capturing Paul's life. I have a multi-pronged approach that I've sort of honed over the last 2 years that is working really well for me. Hopefully this gives other people inspiration!

1. 1 second every day ap

- During the first year of Paul's life, I took a photo of him nearly every day. Since I have an iPhone, every photo is a 'live photo' so it's a 2-3 second video. This ap will allow you to select a photo for every day (it's hard to explain how this works but it's very user friendly). The ap then creates a video of those daily photos/videos. It's such a fun way to watch your baby grow and changed. I stopped doing this after Paul turned one since it's hard to keep up with taking a photo/day. And the day-to-day/month-to-month changes aren't as pronounced after that first year. But I'd highly recommend this ap for the first year of a baby's life!

2. Chatbooks

-  Chatbooks makes it easy to generate photobooks of photos on your phone. It's also especially easy to make a book of the photos you share on social media - which is what I do since I tend to share the best/most fun pics. Chatbook is linked to my Instagram account so any photo with the hashtag #babypaul or #toddlerpaul automatically goes into a chatbook. (That's why I use a hashtag - not because I'm super into hashtags but so the photo goes into the chatbook). Each book holds 60 pictures so when 60 pictures have been loaded into a book, I get a notification to edit the book and then it prints and is mailed to me. It's $10 for a softcover book and $15 for a hardcover book. Paul LOVES looking through Chatbooks since they are full of pictures of him. It's also a great way to work on recognizing family and learning names. The Chatbooks link above is a referral code. If you want to try it out, we'll both get $10 off a book (so a softcover book for free!).

3. Shutterfly Photobooks

- This might be overkill, but I also have started to put together a photobook/year. I think I'll be glad to have these as it will be fun to look back at the early years. I remember looking through my parents photo albums - I loved seeing pics of me and my siblings at younger ages so hopefully Paul enjoys looking through these some day.

- This is definitely the most time consuming and expensive project, though. I recently learned that Shutterfly has "unlimited free pages" deals so I will be waiting for one of those deals to print our 2019 book. That way you only pay for the standard 20 pages (I think 20 is the standard amount) and the rest are free. YTD through September, my book is 64 pages so I expect it to be 80+ when it's all said and done so unlimited free pages is a HUGE DEAL! Other companies likely provide great deals. I'm so used to Shutterfly's photo book user environment that it would be hard to switch at this point!

- Last year, I put our 2018 photobook together in the beginning of 2019. It was so much work and hard to remember some of the details from earlier in the year. My approach for 2019 has changed and is so much more doable:

  • After every month, I go through my google photos (all of my iPhone photos are backed up on Google photos). I then make an album of my favorites from the month to use for our yearly photo book. I title the Album "January 2019," "February 2019," etc. 
  • Shutterfly allows you to upload photos/albums from Google Photos. I upload the monthly albums of photos from google photo and work on one month of pages at a time. 
  • It can be overwhelming to work on a string of multiple months so I work on 2 months at a time. In March, I worked on January and February. In May, I worked on March and April. And so on and so forth. 
4. Baby book

- Lastly, I also have a 5-year baby book that I have been filling out. The most labor-intensive part was the first year as there was a 2-page spread for each month. I filled out the prompts as each month ended and added photos towards the end of the year. This is obviously the most 'analog' way to document Paul's life but I'm glad I'm doing it as it helps me document firsts, his weight, and other little stories about him. 

I know this is a lot of documentation, but I love looking at pictures and hope Paul will also enjoy look through pictures and his baby book some day! I also realize that as your family grows, it might not be possible to do this for every child but, at most, we'll have 2 children so I think I'll be able to repeat this process for our 2nd child when/if that happens for us!

What approach do you take to documenting your life or your child's life if you have one/several? Are you good about printing out photos?


The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

We are horrible about printing out photos. We have them well organized online but just never really print them out! I started out with good intentions. I did an Isla first 2 months book and then never did another Shutterfly one. I did print out at least one photo a year to add to a wall somewhere in our house. We also have all of our photos hooked to our tv so when it is idle photos pop up and Isla enjoys that. Anthony made Adeline a first 2 weeek photo book so she should be good now ha. He did make me 3 photo books using google photos last year for Christmas because one of my 'goals' that I haven't worked towards in 2years is making photobooks and getting them printed out.

Amber said...

This is something I really need to hone in in 2020. I have not been so organized with this and I would like to be. I think I'd like to make little chatbooks for fun special trips - like I made one for our Portland/Bend trip but then do the shutterfly album for a yearly album. I did our last yearly album and Olivia's baby book through a different company than shutterfly, I can't remember the name, but they were quite expensive! So knowing they have those yearly free pages specials is good to know, I'll have to watch for that as well. I never did end up making a 2018 phonebook but Olivia's baby book I made kind of served as the 2018 book. And I'm going to take a few photos of her on her 2nd birthday and print them out and tape them into her baby book with a little written update on her at 2.

Stephany said...

I love Chatbooks! I'm starting to put together some for all of the trips I've taken. All of those pictures are stuck in Facebook albums and I'd like to have a whole set of Chatbooks to look at. I made a whole set of Chatbooks of Dutch's Instagram pictures - I put them together a few weeks before he died and it was kinda nice to get a Chatbook of his pictures for the next 5 months (I spaced them out rather them getting them all at once). A little present from Dutch! <3

Shoshanah said...

I’m awful at this! We do get Chatbooks which is basically the only way I have physical pictures! The goal is to do yearly books with snapfish too, but so far I’ve done Kaylee’s first year... so I’m 4 years behind. But in that one album in addition to the photos I’ll include the monthly updates I wrote on the blog too.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

It's stuff like this that would overwhelm me if I was a parent because I would for sure over-document, and still feel like it wasn't enough. I think I am that way about a lot of things. I am prone to high stress and overthinking, so I have to actively work at keeping my stress levels down.

Funny thing is though, I don't print out any pictures of Christopher and me, and really should get on that. We have some awesome pics from travels (a really nice one with an elephant in Thailand) that would look great framed.

Love the couple-second video a day for the first year app! Great idea!

Jeanie said...

Thanks for the Chatbook link. I'm interested in checking that out.

I've done loads of Shutterfly books for both family ("yearbooks" -- like you!) and travel. The quality is excellent and if you have a problem with something not working out, the customer service is very good.

San said...

I have tried the 1 second every day app, but I can't keep up with it. I feel that often there isn't anything interesting in a regular workday to capture.

I love the idea of Chatbooks. I've heard of them but have not yet ordered one. I might have to get on that.

Most of my memories go into my blog these days (I have a more private German blog where I actually summarize every week).