This tale is of a lesson learned by one mom, intended to inspire and encourage any other mom or dad who may be finding themselves in this same predicament. You see, baby books didn’t work for me.
Let me explain: I’m a list-maker, detail-oriented, and pretty type-A. So, when I was filling out the treasured baby book that was hand-selected for my first baby, I became lost within the blank spaces that I didn’t have answers to. More importantly, I didn’t have a specific place for details that I deemed worth remembering.
My son had two full teeth by three months old! That needs to be noted in a book somewhere! He also went through a cloth diaper phase. There was a possibility of needing a helmet from Torticollis. And he didn’t need a first haircut anytime within his first year of life (hello blank page!). We took family vacations and plane rides. We struggled with sleep problems. Plenty of favorite foods were discovered.
When I realized that I was writing paragraphs crammed into the bottom of a page filled with other blank spaces, I thought that I might need to check out a different baby book. The problem was that each book had a different but similar problem. None of them included essential components of my son’s life. All of them covered unnecessary facets. In other words, I craved a custom-made baby book.
To put it differently, I discovered the need to make my own baby book. As a result, I pulled out some scrapbook paper and began working. I could finally complete my own questions about my son. After including photos, full written paragraphs, and statements in my own handwritten words, these baby scrapbooks grew into a treasure. Here, I could include little notes to my children. I marked special days that would have otherwise been lost in my memory. Even better, these scrapbooks could grow with them.
I can now make scrapbook pages for my toddler after a hiking adventure with Dad. I can make him a special page for older milestones like the first day of school. As far as pictures, I started with printed cell phone photos and grew into loving an Instax camera for scrapbooking. There are so many options for scrapbook photos, and great resources for layouts if you want to follow a certain look. One of my favorite parts of scrapbooking a baby book is the ability to make an entire theme and feeling within just one page. Instead of a pre-made cookie cutter baby book, you get a first birthday page with 3-D stickers, pictures, a saved candle, and a Mickey Mouse background.
In spite of the amazing details a baby scrapbook provides, it does take time and effort. Notwithstanding, I have managed to gather a few tips for making your own baby scrapbook to help:
- Back up/save special photos: I recommend both backing up virtual photos and printing and saving the pictures. When I have a cell phone photo, I use a special folder or cloud folder to mark the ones that I will print eventually. If I take a Polaroid but don’t have time to scrapbook the photo yet, I keep a special box holding the pictures so that they aren’t lost. Each photo immediately reminds me of the memory I wanted to scrapbook and sparks inspiration.
- Keep an ongoing memo of notable milestones: On that note, even with a photo to mark the event or milestone, I still keep a “Google Keep” note saved on my phone (automatically backed up in my Google account) of different bullet points that I don’t want to forget, like “David’s first favorite color is purple”.
- Make it into an evening: With two young toddlers and one on the way, I do not have time for much. One thing that I have learned that I do need to make time for is an evening or an hour to myself. The best medicine for a long day of feeling worn out from rearing crazy kids is looking back on their sweet faces and photos and remembering the awesome time you had. Your mama heart melts, and you forget the Sharpie covering the bathroom tile floor real quick!
- Be proactive: If you do get an evening to yourself and you don’t have anything off the top of your head to scrapbook, get creative and think about what you will scrapbook. You will eventually take a first vacation, a first trip to the beach, a fun day at the park; you can prepare scrapbook layouts with a space left for your notes and pictures to fill it, making it that faster and easier to complete.
With my advice, I hope that you might be motivated to make your own baby scrapbook, because it has become one of my favorite mementos. I know that I will love these books even more as my children age.
For more ideas and paper-crafting projects, check out Homemade Hometown.