Posted: Sep 05, 2014 8:00 AM
When did my kids get so big? And why are their baby books so empty beyond a few happy-parents-holding-the-newborn-in-the-hospital snapshots and their first locks of hair? Somewhere along the line, time got out from underneath me. But I'm intent on creating baby books worthy of my kids' first years.
Photo credit: Dori OConnell/iStock/360/Getty Images

Be realistic

While I envisioned taking a few minutes out of every day to jot down something amazing each of my babies did, that's not what happened. At all. In all honesty, my son slept most of the first two months of his life (to the point where my family and I would stare at him until he moved a little just to make sure he was still with us) and my daughter's first months (OK years) went by so fast that sometimes I have to fight to remember she was ever a baby... especially since at the ripe old age of 5 she already acts like a teenager. Frightening.

Now here I am without an organized book to show them that I was indeed paying attention all these years. But trying to wrap my head around going back seven years and compiling baby books has me slumped over in the corner clutching a bottle of something good. So here's what I propose — a simple photo book summing up the first five years. And I've got some shortcuts prepared. We can do this.

Include the important stuff

Go through your photos digitally so you can access dates that the photos were taken.

In Baby's first-five-years-round-up book, I suggest only highlighting the major stuff. You know, date and time he was born plus the details of his length and weight. Then include the memories that are still with you like what went through your mind the first moment you and your baby first met eyes. Go through your photos digitally so you can access dates that the photos were taken. This is helpful when it comes to pictures of Baby's first tooth and his first step. Focus on including lots of photos with cute (and ahem, fairly vague) captions that describe what's happening in the photos.

Swap Snapfish for Scrapbooking

My mother-in-law has an incredible knack for scrapbooking. She has kept every one of my husband's report cards and certificates of accomplishment and has beautifully scrapbooked them. Her albums of my own kids make me cry. But I am not nearly crafty enough to handle that. So if you're craft-challenged like myself or simply don't have the time to dedicate to scrapbooking, I suggest ordering photo books from a site like Snapfish or Shutterfly. The latter will even create a photo book for you so all you have to do is submit photos and add captions after the company organizes up to 500 photos in chronological order. Easy, right?

Stay caught up

At the end of each year, compile the photos and information into another book.

Once you get caught up, make a promise to yourself to stay on top of your children's memories year by year. Choose a date, such as your child's birthday, and begin a yearly book of memories, including your child's growth and development milestones, interests and accomplishments and special moments throughout that year. At the end of each year, compile the photos and information into another book. By the time your child is 18, you can hand over an entire collection of photo books or scrapbooks that visually tell the story of his childhood.

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