Family Yearbooks

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

One of the true joys in my motherhood is creating our family yearbook. I understand this is incredibly nerdy, but it offers me a huge outlet for creativity and the preservation of our yearly memories gives me so much peace.

We live in an odd time for childhood (hah, that's the understatement of the century!) but particularly when it comes to capturing memories. People are taking pictures of ev.ery.thing.all.the.time. and then snapping or 'gramming or tweeting them - but where do they all go? How often are we going back to look at these moments, or having them printed somewhere for the kids to enjoy?

Our family yearbooks are some of my most prized possessions (truly! I say that if our house was burning down besides living things - our yearbooks is what I would save). The kids love looking back at them, especially the ones from the years they were born and spend the whole time calling out, "Oh! Remember this?" to each other. It is such a treasure of all the smiles and moments that make us this blur of a life; we pack so much into the year that often times Brandon and I can't recall a single thing we actually did. And then we all look back through the yearbooks and snuggle up a little closer because we can see it right there - in the smile laughs of those we love most - we really made the year count. We keep them all easily accessible in the living room and they are a favorite choice for screen free indoor time.

I have a family yearbook from 2010 (the year we had Grey) up until 2017-18 (last school year) and this is the first summer in the history of my project that I am up to date on the current yearbook! By the start of the new school year, I will finish last year's yearbook (Sept2018-Aug2019) and be able to start the new one!

So how does one start a family yearbook project, you ask? I have written about it before here and here  and here- but I would suggest you start where you are; in this year! When I started, it was 2012 (we actually have 2 yearbooks that year because I was just learning how and really included way more than necessary). Then I went back and worked on previous years which was a lot harder because my photos were all over and unorganized. Speaking of photos - that's the first step...

Photos: this past year was the first year that every picture in the yearbook is from a phone - I did not pull out my 'real' camera once (!!) I have a google pixel that takes beautiful pictures and then automatically backs them up to my google drive, which is also linked to my shutterfly. The ease of not having to upload pictures is nothing short of miraculous.

I take photos all year long of big events and normal every day things. It helps that I write a weekly Around Here post for my blog because that holds me accountable to capturing even the 'boring' things we do that really make the yearbook meaningful in later years when it highlights all the tiny things that made our life full during the year that our kids were exactly that age.

And then really, once you have the photos - the rest can be as easy or challenging as you want. There are some awesome companies out there that will do ALL the work for you. You just dump all your photos in and they take care of the organization and layout, then you print that sucker! Do a search, read some reviews, and you'll have an idea in no time.

Me? I like to go the challenging route of choosing each border, sticker, and layout design for each page. Thanks former life as a high school yearbook staff member (Hi, Mrs. McBreen!) I love the creativity and design that goes into each page - so I pour my heart into all the little details and re-sizing of photos. It is major geek town, but it brings me joy.

Read on for more info on how I put our yearbooks together (all photos are from our current yearbook that is in progress, so some pages having missing photos yet!).

You definitely do not have to put the time and meticulous effort that I do, but I think a family yearbook is a worthwhile investment no matter how much time you put into it. It is meaningful for the whole family, and I can promise that remembering those moments with your kiddos while looking through the photos will bring you a lot of gratitude and happiness.

The skinny on Team Studer family yearbooks:
Company used: Shutterfly photo books
Size: 12x12 flat lay pages
Timeframe: September-August (school year)
Photos: 1000 (or close to it)
Pages: 90-95

Layout: most of my yearbooks use the format below which makes it easy to follow for creation purposes but also for using the max amount of pictures in the least amount of pages. (when I first started creating our yearbooks when our kids were younger than school age, I organized by moths of the year).

Introduction Pages 

  • Dad & Mom - including questions that we answer each year (what meals were our family favorites, what #parentingfail happened, our favorite memory from the year, etc)
  • Kid photo page (12 photos each of just their faces from the whole year)
  • Pets page 

The rest of the book is then organized by category based off of the same seven questions. After years of looking through our photos and figuring out a way that I can get as many photos in the book in an organized way in the least amount of pages, working through these categories/questions helped me so much. Each question has it's own "title page" that includes some photos that also fit into that category.

What was it like to live in our home this year? 
photos on title page: random little moments from normal life (sunrise/sunset from our porch, kid doing homework at the kitchen table, kids in the bathtub, snacks, etc)

  • Big 'ole Snugs (hugs and no personal space couches)
  • Indoor & Outdoor playtime
  • Kids who are growing up (responsibilities, chores, cooking, etc)
  • Kids who are silly (silly photos)
  • Bumps & Bruises (literal, and life challenges)
  • Upgrades (home reno, new vehicles, new haircuts, home projects, etc)

With whom did we spend our days?
photos on title page: any picture with anyone!

  • Siblings 
  • Just Us
  • Family
  • Friends

What milestones did we accomplish?
photos on title page: first time events (a kid at the dentist), a kid with a trophy/ribbon, a good test score, a piece of artwork, etc

  • Parent work accomplishment/Teaching year
  • Kids in their grade levels (including a preschool page)
  • Races
  • Competitive/All Star sports/Shows (not regular season stuff)
  • Volunteer group pages
  • Religious events (baptism/holy communion)
  • First time/year events (raising chickens in 2018)

What gave us cause to celebrate?
photos on title page: parties, new baby visits, graduations

  • Birthdays (for friends/family)
  • Our kids' birthdays (dbl page spread for each)
  • Family Reunions
  • Bridal/Baby showers
  • Weddings

What seasonal traditions did we enjoy? 
pictures on title page: screen free week, ice cream stands, adult leagues

  • 12 Months of Kindness
  • County Fair
  • Sport seasons (football, cheer, basketball, soccer, baseball, volleyball)
  • Hunting Season
  • Winter fun (sled-riding page)
  • Summer fun (swimming page)
  • Fishing Season
  • Camping

Where did we go to visit?
photos on title page: local favorites (playgrounds, pools, parks, libraries)

  • Pumpkin patches/berry picking farms
  • Hiking trails
  • Ski/Snowboarding lodge
  • Amusement Parks
  • Zoos
  • Vacation
  • travel (trains, planes, boats)

What do the holidays feel like? 
photos on title page: mini holidays we celebrate (st. patricks day, mardi gras, juneteenth, valentines day, etc)

  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Marco & his antics (our Elf on the Shelf)
  • Christmas season
  • New Years eve
  • Easter
  • Mothers & Fathers days
  • Fourth of July
  • (The title page includes mini holidays we celebrate - Valentines day, Juneteenth, Mardi Gras, Day of the Dead, St. Patricks, etc)

One of the hardest parts of family yearbooking is that you feel like you have to include every single photo from every single thing. I'm here to remind you, you don't. Choose the best ones and move on. Honestly, the best part about the photos/pages is that they are going to jog you and your kids memories about things that happened that day/trip that you never even got a picture of!

Good luck and happy reminiscing!

1 comment:

  1. You're inspiring me to do the same. I have some books from when Wyatt was born, but I have lost it since then. The kids LOVE those books, so I know this would be well worth my time to do!