why I'm using project life as our baby album

There are infinite ways to document your child's first year of life, but one thing is for sure. You're going to take countless photos of that little one in a very short period of time. Here's a bit of insight into why I decided to document both of our sons' first years using Project Life.

Shortly before I had my first son, Ben, back in 2011, a friend of mine sent me this book. One of the chapters talked about baby photos. Two female pediatricians (and moms) wrote the book and basically said that you'll take thousands of pictures of your baby. Have a plan for what to do with them, or they'll live on your computer forever. I took that to heart and began doing a little research. I wasn't a scrapbooker, but when I stumbled upon project life and Becky Higgins, I was intrigued.

My sister puts together beautiful photobooks for her kids' first years. They're amazing, they're gorgeous, they're easy to reproduce (for grandparents) and they're reasonably affordable. I love designing photobooks as well (like this or this ), but for both of my kids, I've documented their first year using project life. I'm not a scrapbooker, and I have a hard time "keeping up" with it. I think some of that has to do with not being able to print photos at home. I also adore the clean and minimal look of photobooks. So why do project life for this season of our kids' lives? Well, three primary reasons come to mind:

1 / I like the ability to document throughout the year, rather than all at once after everything has happened, although I guess you could take this approach with a photobook if you were pretty disciplined. I don't completely stay on top of it all, but I have been able to work on the album this whole first year, documenting things while they were relatively fresh. I think I'd be a lot more overwhelmed starting with month one and doing it all once. If I had to, I'd figure it out. But since I discovered this process, I'm happy to be documenting as we experience life (or pretty close to it, anyway). 

2 / I like being able to include "all the things" - the hospital documents and wristbands, a doctor's note or a card from a relative, little physical things that help breathe life into a photo album or scrapbook. I don't use a lot of embellishment or get super-elaborate with the design, but I do like to include little bits of life here and there throughout the album.

3 / I love that it's a tactile album, made to be enjoyed by everyone. I have no problem handing my kids a project life album and saying "flip through it!" I've never done this with one of our photobooks. I don't want those pages to bend or tear or get dirty. Maybe that's a little rigid or paranoid of me, but when I've spent countless hours and over $100 on a photobook, I don't necessarily want my toddler playing with it unsupervised. But the plastic covers on our project life albums protect photos and memorabilia from sticky fingers and well-meaning, but sometimes rough, little hands. Ben is so curious about these albums, but he's never cared to flip through a photobook. Those are for me. This project feels much more about them. It's tactile and intimate, a little more informal. 

I'm a couple months behind in Owen's baby album, and he turns one next week. I'm not stressed about it because I've made a huge dent in this project over the last year. I've automated a lot of the design process, included tons of journaling (something I wish I'd done more of in my first son's album), and kept track of all the major milestones. We're still waiting on the walking, but you'd better believe I'll capture it on my camera. I'm not exactly sure where I'll go from here with the documenting, but I'd be surprised if project life isn't a piece of the puzzle.

If you're a parent, how are you telling your little one's story? Did you do a baby album? A photobook? If you're not a parent but hope to be someday, do you have thoughts as to what you'll do?

Pictured: a January layout from Owen's baby album, project life design A pocket pages, 8.5 x 11 inch page protectors, fifty-fifty patterned card inspired by this and made with these papers, "these days" text from pictures + words no 9, "january" text from month at a glance.