This question landed in my inbox from a long-time coaching client and one of my sweetest, loyal customers.
Unfortunately, I think there could be an international debate on what is the “right” way to create a child’s scrapbook – LOL
Let me preface the following with this:
There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to record your story or the story of your child.
Before I share my opinions below, I have a couple questions I want you to ask yourself. Eva touches on one of them in her note
First, “…will my kids appreciate 10 albums…”
The second question is what would YOU have liked your own mother to have recorded from your childhood?
Okay, so with those things in mind, let’s dig deeper.
4 Things to Consider
1. Your child will be FINE without every moment of their young lives recorded. It is sometimes easy to forget that our generation grew up without ‘scrapbooking’ as we know it, and that we turned out okay.
2. Some stuff is better kept as legend. What does that mean? Do you have a fond memory of a childhood event that lives eternally inside of you? Sometimes the ‘story’ is better than real life. Every child needs those kinds of memories too; where they felt uber confident, super human, even invincible! And a photo may just shatter that memory with reality. (For example the ‘big fish’ they caught when they were 5, that was really just a minnow) Share the story as it is fondly remembered. No need to add photos. Proof not required
3. Just because we took a photo doesn’t mean it MUST make it into a scrapbook. Especially in this era of digital photos, it can take only a few minutes to snap 50 or more pictures. I grew up in the film era, when you only had 24 photos on a roll of film, therefore we were fairly picky about when we clicked that shutter button. However, even then we could still end up with mountains of photos so similar, and really only need ONE to tell the story. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for the dawn of the digital era and the convenience of having one built into my phone. I just don’t have to ‘save’ or ‘scrapbook’ them all. I will be honest, I am brutal when it comes to my printed photos. I estimate that 50-60% of what I have as printed photos end up in the trash (yes the garbage – gasp). When it comes right down to it, to much is TOO MUCH.
4. We are ‘memory keeping’, not ‘detail keeping’. Recording some highlights, lowlights and everyday moments that capture the era and place we grew up are precious, but it is not necessary to record every detail in order for our children to appreciate the life they have. I love Lisa Bearson’s quote. “It should take longer to create the memory than record it”.
Here is my personal philosophy about memory keeping…
I do not take photos to scrapbook. I take photos to capture moments in our lives. Putting my photos into a scrapbook is the format I use to share those moments with my family and friends.
Okay so now that I have been brutally honest, let me share what my own mother did, as well as what I have done for my own kids.
How my Mom recorded my story
My mom created a baby album that covered the basics (just like the journal prompts in the Baby Edition core kits). It was in a spiral bound album from the early 70’s. As I grew she added yearly photos and a few cards or notes. Once I entered school she recorded details like my teacher, my favorite subject and who my best friends were that year. She also had me give her the names of all my classmates, which she wrote on the back of every class picture.
When I was 13, my sister and I received a very special Christmas present… An empty photo album.
Mom pulled out the boxes of photos her and dad had collected over our short lives, as well as those school records. We spent the holidays recording our own stories. We asked questions, and reminisced about some of our favorite memories as a family.
By the end of the holiday season I had an album that included baby photos through my pre-teen years. My handwriting told stories my parents shared and many of my own. From that point to my adulthood I created a second album. I have those 3 albums exactly as they are to this day. Baby Album, Up to 13 and Teen Years. (I touch on these in my Secret #2 video)
Photo preservation was not something we considered in the 80’s however these albums have given my own children moments of laughter and love as they get a glimpse of me growing up. I had considered re-doing them with archival safe products, but part of the memory is in the actual creating of the albums. So they will just stay the way they are.
Mom and Dad also spent that Christmas creating ‘Annual Family Albums’. Which my mom kept up until I had kids. Now she has two or three or 10 years in a single album of her and my dad and their kids and grandkids.
My personal strategy
As for my own kids, each child has a single album (the Pioneer brand album) that hold birth to age 5 or 6. I have no plans of ‘re-doing’ these albums with the baby editions as they are precious memories just as they are. Each child then has 2 albums that cover their school age years. This was my spot to put things related to school, artwork and their specific friends. I used pocket scrapbooking products to create these albums.
Everything else is simply added to our annual family album (also done using pocket scrapbooking supplies).
Although my boys are not really into ‘recording their story’ like I was, they once in a while send me photos via text message of stuff they have going on in their lives. I like to print these off and add them to our family album for the year as little glimpses into their lives.
Integrating Old and New layout styles
The thing to remember is this… What we have recorded in the past is great just the way it is. Period. There is no need to reinvent, deconstruct or redo old layouts. And in the case of Eva’s albums, there is definitely no need to tear apart old completed albums, just because you have discovered the ease of pocket scrapbooking.
That just sounds stressful, wouldn’t you agree?
If your traditional layouts fill an album (or more) already, I would simply leave them as is and start going forward with pocket scrapbooking. If you have photos that fill in the gaps in your traditional layouts, it is just fine for them to be in a separate album using a pocket page style. No need to add extra work for yourself.
If you only have a few traditional style 12×12 layouts or you still create the odd one, I would simple add them to your current pocket style scrapbook using a 12×12 page protector. Don’t have a second layout for the back side, no worries – simply add a piece of 12×12 cardstock that coordinates with your kit.
A note about kids artwork
Everything our kids create is precious, in the moment. But remember that throwing out or choosing not to photograph/record individual items does not diminish our love for our children or their talents.
My son and I have fond memories of a detailed sketch he did of how he was going to engineer a dinosaur out of paper, tape and staples. The sketch is long gone, as is the 6ft long (or was it 12ft long) paper dinosaur he made, that stood up on its own and filled our hallway or was it the livingroom…
Legends. We all need them.
There you have it. My brutally honest opinion.