Were we the only family that used to put on VHS tapes on weekend nights and giggle through birthday parties, Mariah Carey choreographed routines, and 90s life??
I even remember sitting on the carpet in the family room, opening the entertainment center cabinet door, and flipping through my own baby book and old pictures as a little girl.
Organizing my new baby John Talmadge’s story these first couple of months has been so dear, and today, I want to share with you how I’ve done that—mostly with the Baby Book from Emily Ley and her sweet team at Simplified.
I stumbled across “When Kids Realize Their Whole Life Is Already Online” from The Atlantic recently—I don’t have a formulated opinion yet as a brand new mom, but it DID get me thinking.
“For stewardship of story” is part of my life and business’s message, and here’s how I’m building something my baby can look back on that tells his story.
Read on for:
- My review of the EL Baby Book
- Ways I’ve used it (and what I’d do differently)
- 8 other tools I use to document our young family’s life
Inside the Simplified Baby Book
My very southern mama didn’t let me get anywhere near my first baby shower without asking what we’d be using for the guestbook. But of course. 😉The Baby Book from Simplified book had a great guest page for showers (something that wasn’t in Artifact Uprising’s baby book, I noticed in one I was gifted), but I’ve loved it for so many more reasons.
The light mint book for a boy was perfect—if maybe a LITTLE bright in my neutral/navy home shelf, but I can deal.
The pages inside this book are far from blank: there are prompts encouraging your written love story, blurbs about mommy and daddy, family photos before baby, fun guessing game pages, month-by-month pages, a “what the world was like when you were born” page, and more.
The cover is waterproof … I would know because one German Shepherd swiped his tail on my coffee cup when I was working on Tal’s book right after he was born. 🙄
The pages are pretty thick—they’re NOT waterproof, so I’d recommend not doing the coffee thing as you work on them!
I’ve made it work with the set the book comes with, but Emily’s website has extra page packs for adoption stories, fostering stories, and infertility journeys, and even heavenly babies. Isn’t that so precious?
How I’ve Used It & Tools I Found Helpful
Getting familiar with the book is KEY, because moments pass so quickly! Duh, I know.
I’ve already learned I’ll forget things like grabbing a copy of the invitations from showers instead of tossing them, keeping Tal’s hospital bracelet, etc. if I hadn’t flipped through the book a couple of times when I got it.
To print photos, I copied my friend Rhiannon Bosse who went with square images for this book—they look neat and clean to me, and a little “throwback.”
I printed images with Artifact Uprising to get that white border. Plus, AU’s photos are DETAILS so they won’t curl up or get destroyed after a few years.
My trusty Le Pen has been perfect for scribbling in stories, though if I could re-do it all, I’d go with a grey color … black lots a little stark now, but oh well!
The biggest thing to remember now that he’s 2.5 months is to pull it out from time to time, mark monthly milestones, and take his monthly photo.
I’ve loved taking his photo each month … and it’s only been twice, HA. Beaufort Bonnet Company’s bow swaddles are so traditional and southern—the neutral means I can use it if there are other little ones, and loan it out to friends! I didn’t get any of those monthly milestone blocks, but oh well. 🙂
Other Ways I Document His Life
To capture these first two-and-a-half months—and our family life in general!—here are some tools I’ve leaned on besides the baby album.
1 Second Everyday :: An app that lets you take a *checks notes* 1 second video each day. 😉 TBH, I’ve fallen wayyy off the bandwagon and missed a good few weeks, mostly because I record so many videos of Tal vertical and forget to snap horizontal ones—those look the best in the app. Still, super resource!
Nancy Ray’s Photo Organizing Routine :: I am a broken record with this, but it’s the best system I’ve found—we even set my sweet mama up over the holidays with it! Essentially, you create an organizational system for your photos: digitally filed on Dropbox, backed up on a hard drive, and a monthly/annual routine. The first of each month, like today, I clean off my iPhone, pick 10 photos to print for our boxes, and pick a few photos for our annual family album from the past month. That’s it! Click here to check out her shop item that explains all this, and here for her free YouTube class on it.
TinyBeans :: A fellow new mama BFF told me about this app. It was a fun way to document my growing belly, and it’s SO simple to upload photos to track his day-by-day. The kicker? You can share the link with fam, so basically, the grandparents, etc. get to see the motherlode of baby Tal pics … I’m not overloading my Instagram.
Baby Announcement from, well, me :: Perks of having a calligraphy business. I remember running my finger over the ribbon on my own baby announcement
Artifact Uprising Family Albums :: Each year, I’ve made us a family album and printed it. See #2. 🙂 Our 2018 one is coming in soon! They’re about $250+, so I definitely put this in our family budget.
Bingo Stockholm Boxes from The Container Store :: Again, see #2. 🙂
Moleskine Journals :: I’ve got these going back a loooong time, and it’s a record of my spiritual journey and written snapshots of what life’s like.
Val Marie Paper Prayer Journals :: These were new for me in 2018, but I am NEVER throwing my journal from last year away—it’s the coolest journey of
Yes, Powersheets and Simplified Planners are fun ways I flip back through and see what’s been going on through the years, too. 🙂
And voila! I hope that helps—looking at my friend Rhi’s ways she used the album (linked above!) helped me, so I hope this just shows another way to use the Simplified Baby Book.
Tell me I’m not the only little girl that was always fascinated with flipping through my parents’ college albums, poring over baby books, and laughing through the VHS collection, right?