The first smile, the first steps, or the first trip to the zoo – someone has to be responsible for capturing those moments in photographs and documenting that they ever occurred. Otherwise, how will our babies know that these events took place in their lives? When we had our first child, I felt like it was important to document his life for him with the hope that someday he would look back on my efforts as family historian with appreciation. I dubbed myself the “mammarazzi” and dutifully snapped photos of every precious moment to share with grandparents via e-mail and friends via Facebook, but somehow that didn’t seem like enough.
Sharing via e-mail and Facebook didn’t archive those moments in a meaningful way that I could pass down to our children. In an ideal world, I’d make each of our children their own yearly album highlighting the photos and events that are especially important to their story. But being a family historian with separate albums for each child can be incredibly time-consuming (e.g. It’s November and I’m still working on last year’s album!). I knew we wanted to have multiple children, so I needed to come up with a simpler solution that would be fairly easy to maintain from year-to-year. With that in mind, I’ve decided to use two primary methods for chronicling our lives:
1. Be a Family Historian by Creating An Annual Family Scrapbook.
I debated about the merits of digital scrapbooking vs. traditional paper scrapbooking. In the end I chose to use Picaboo, an online digital scrapbooking tool to create our annual family scrapbook because it allows me to create the album once and print a separate copy for each of our children. Our annual family album captures all the important events of our year from January through December, like a yearbook. Each month has at least a two page spread, but can have six to eight pages if we’ve gone on a vacation, celebrated a birthday/holiday or had a special outing.
2. Be a Family Historian by Creating a Baby Book.
I plan to use a combination of traditional and digital scrapbooking to create baby books for each of my children from birth to age five. When I create our annual family album, I may briefly mention all the “firsts” and special life moments but the baby book will give me a place to capture each child’s specific stories in more detail. Plus there are just some tangible physical mementos (e.g. lock of hair from the first haircut, wristbands and certificate with footprints from the hospital etc) that just cannot be captured well in a digital scrapbook even if you tried to scan them.
At this point, with two little guys to chase after, I have not found the time to start the baby books for either child yet. However, as the family historian, I do at least have a strategy and have mapped out the content I’d like to include on each page. When I finally get around to starting it, I’ll be sure to share!