I could definitely employ an assistant at least on a part-time basis to help me record and document my children’s lives. I have a serious obsession with trying to preserve every single memory for them and for myself. The human memory is inadequate, especially for a young child and adults forget more and more, the older they get.
I know it is not possible to preserve it all and I often have to admonish myself to put the video camera/iPhone down and enjoy the moment in real-time rather than worrying about enjoying the moment for all eternity. A school sing along looks very different when you put the camera down and just enjoy.
And then there are the hours spent organizing all of these “memories” into an appealing format. That’s where the real time suck occurs.
I thought I would share some of the tools I use to undertake the herculean task of recording little lives while simultaneously indulging my OCD.
You may have noticed, I am miserably failing at NaBloPoMo. The blog-post-a-day is proving difficult with my schedule and I hate looking like a slacker to all of my Yeah Write peeps. One thing I learned from the Summer Series at Yeah Write is that people prefer shorter blog posts. So, rather than write one long diatribe you probably do not have the time or patience to read through, I’m going to split this list up over a few days.
First, let’s tackle my lifesaver. Lifesaver, thy name is Shutterfly.
Shutterfly Books – I have tried a few different photo storage websites to create photo books but I just keep coming back to Shutterfly. They have recently remodeled their photo book creation process and it’s more flexible and user-friendly than in the past. You can change nearly everything about the layout and fun font choices abound but the available options don’t reach my “overwhelming” threshold where I just throw in the towel.
Just Make One – Shutterfly may not like this suggestion but since this is just free publicity for them, I don’t care. I make a huge 12×12 album that holds our photos for the entire year. Last year, I exceeded the maximum size for a photo album so I had to break out our Disney trip into a separate album. We have our annual family albums lined up on a shelf in a manner that gives the mistaken impression that our house is actually organized. Two nights ago, Little Boy K asked if he could take our 2011 album to bed with him so he could look at it before going to sleep and I felt justified in the countless hours I spent on its creation.
Use the App! – I also store all of our photos on Shutterfly, which makes the album creation process easier at the end of the year. Having had extremely bad luck with laptop life-span and an inability to remember to back things up, I feel more comfortable knowing they are stored elsewhere. I downloaded the Shutterfly app to my iPhone so as I take pictures throughout the year, I just upload them about once a week through the app. This is also good if, like me, you have a tendency to lose your phone.
Divide by Month – I think we’ve already established that I’m crunched for time. I don’t always have time to make an appropriate title or date stamp for my photos but I like to have a frame of reference for when a group of photos were taken to help job my memory at album-making time. I used to divide my photos up by event but I found myself having to look back through my calendar to find dates. That extra step annoyed me so now I divide my photos up by month. I may not know exactly how old in weeks Baby S was in a certain photo but I can make a pretty good guess based on this system. It also makes it easier to make….
Photo Calendars – If you follow the Divide by Month method, one of your holiday gifts for the grandparents almost makes itself. The grandparents in my family are notoriously difficult to shop for but they love looking at photos of their grandkids so I make a photo calendar for each set of them (and us) every year. This calendar also makes a nice keepsake from year to year. Organization tip for this? Yeah, put ‘em all in a box together. Maybe write on the outside with a sharpie “Photo Calendars”.
Do you make Photo Books? What program/website do you prefer? See if you can convince me to switch…
*Note: This is not a sponsored post in any way and neither are the other posts in this series. Just my own personal free endorsement for the products I’ve spent countless hours using.