Stevey – Graduation Portraits

Stevey and I met when we both did Girls’ State after our junior year of high school. Since then, we have kept up with each other through social media. She is graduating college in May, and I know that she couldn’t be more excited! When we met to take her pictures, her little sister was with her, so we incorporated her into some of the pictures too. She was so cute and sweet, and she really added something extra to the pictures. We had a great time, and we caught the sunset before we ran out of sunlight for the day!

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Stevey Graduation — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017
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Stevey Graduation — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017
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Stevey Graduation — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017
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Stevey Graduation — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017
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Stevey Graduation — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017
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Stevey Graduation — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017
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Stevey Graduation — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017
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Stevey Graduation — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017
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Stevey Graduation — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017
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Stevey Graduation — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017

Brittany + Trey Pregnancy Announcement

Brittany and Trey are so sweet to each other and to the people around them! We are in the same small group at church, and Sam and I have loved getting to know them. When they told our small group that they were expecting, we were so excited for them!! They are going to be such great parents, and we can’t wait to meet that sweet baby.

We took their pictures at Stone Mountain Park, which is where Trey proposed to Brittany!! Such a sweet place to take these pictures. We had quite the time with the balloons, but after duct taping them together and snapping a bunch of takes, we finally got one with them up in the air pretty much perfectly. I love the way these turned out!

Oh, and don’t worry, I waited until they announced. That’s the hardest part about having these pictures–I’m so impatient to share them!

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Brittany + Trey Pregnancy Announcement — Stone Mountain, GA — Spring 2017
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Brittany + Trey Pregnancy Announcement — Stone Mountain, GA — Spring 2017
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Brittany + Trey Pregnancy Announcement — Stone Mountain, GA — Spring 2017
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Brittany + Trey Pregnancy Announcement — Stone Mountain, GA — Spring 2017
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Brittany + Trey Pregnancy Announcement — Stone Mountain, GA — Spring 2017
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Brittany + Trey Pregnancy Announcement — Stone Mountain, GA — Spring 2017
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Brittany + Trey Pregnancy Announcement — Stone Mountain, GA — Spring 2017

Oliver Turns One // Birthday Pictures

Birthday pictures are becoming some of my favorites! I met up with Oliver and his sweet mom, Mindy, who used to be my babysitter, a few weeks ago. When we got to where we were taking the pictures, he was asleep in the car and had to wake up before we could really get going. After that, Oliver was toddling around and being super sweet. We had a great time catching up and chasing Oliver while he explored. I can’t believe this big boy is already ONE. Also, look at that super cute dinosaur one outfit!! I can’t get over these.

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Oliver Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Oliver Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Oliver Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Oliver Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Oliver Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Oliver Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Oliver Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Oliver Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Oliver Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Oliver Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Winter 2016/2017

The Open Hands, Open Home Spring Special key word is DINOSAUR.

The “W” Family

The “W” family is so sweet, and I have loved getting to know them. When we all got out of the car and ready to go, it was a little chaotic but so much fun. That’s how it is with three littles, right? We spent the afternoon exploring, running, crying, laughing, and everything in between. When it was all said and done, we got some great shots of everybody! It is so obvious how  much this family loves each other when you are around them. It was such a joy to be able to take some photos for them!

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The “W” Family — Winter 2016/2017
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The “W” Family — Winter 2016/2017
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The “W” Family — Winter 2016/2017
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The “W” Family — Winter 2016/2017
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The “W” Family — Winter 2016/2017
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The “W” Family — Winter 2016/2017
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The “W” Family — Winter 2016/2017
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The “W” Family — Winter 2016/2017

The Open Hands, Open Home Spring Special key words are POLKA DOTS.

Jordan + Andrew Maternity

It took awhile for Jordan and me to find a date that worked for their maternity pictures, but when we finally did, the weather was so nice! We got to spend the morning outside exploring, snapping pictures, and swapping pregnancy stories. Sweet Sawyer still hasn’t made an appearance yet (only a few more weeks to go), but doesn’t Jordan make a pretty pregnant mama?? I know they can’t wait to meet their precious baby boy!

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Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017
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Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

The Open Hands, Open Home Photography Spring Special key word is DEER.

Hannah + Will Couple

Will is my younger brother, and Hannah is his long-time girlfriend. When they came to visit us around New Year’s, I took them to a park I wanted to check out as a photography spot and took some pictures of them. We had lots of fun laughing and having little kids talk to us. I may or may not have also run away from the geese/ducks that were there… Overall, it was a great shoot, and these two make it easy to get some good shots!

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Hannah + Will Couple — Lawrenceville, GA — Winter 2016/2017
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Hannah + Will Couple — Lawrenceville, GA — Winter 2016/2017
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Hannah + Will Couple — Lawrenceville, GA — Winter 2016/2017
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Hannah + Will Couple — Lawrenceville, GA — Winter 2016/2017
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Hannah + Will Couple — Lawrenceville, GA — Winter 2016/2017
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Hannah + Will Couple — Lawrenceville, GA — Winter 2016/2017
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Hannah + Will Couple — Lawrenceville, GA — Winter 2016/2017

The Open Hands, Open Home Photography Spring Special key word is BROTHER.

Sofia’s Birthday Pictures + A Surprise

Sofia’s 3-year-old pictures were so much fun!! We got together at her favorite park and took pictures including her Beauty and the Beast tea set and flowers. She loved the flowers and wanted to hold them the whole time. We had a great time laughing and watching her play. We even took some surprise pictures that you’ll see at the end of this post announcing that Sofia won’t be an only child for much longer! (I waited to post this until after her mom announced of course :))

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Sofia 3-year-old Birthday — Snellville, GA — Winter 2016/2017
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Sofia 3-year-old Birthday — Snellville, GA — Winter 2016/2017
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Sofia 3-year-old Birthday — Snellville, GA — Winter 2016/2017
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Sofia 3-year-old Birthday — Snellville, GA — Winter 2016/2017
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Sofia 3-year-old Birthday — Snellville, GA — Winter 2016/2017
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Sofia 3-year-old Birthday — Snellville, GA — Winter 2016/2017
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Sofia Sibling Announcement — Snellville, GA — Winter 2016/2017
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Sofia Sibling Announcement — Snellville, GA — Winter 2016/2017

The Open Hands, Open Home Photography Spring Special key word is SURPRISE.

What I’m Into (November 2016)

Disclosure: The links below are affiliate links (unless otherwise noted), meaning if you make a purchase from them, I will make a small percentage in commission. Thank you for supporting Open Hands, Open Home!

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer to talk about some of the things I’m into this month.

Okay, so November flew by faster than I ever remember it flying by before. Maybe it is because I’m getting older and no longer have a Thanksgiving Break to look to for rest. Maybe it is because I have a baby who seems to be growing and changing so much every. single. day. Or maybe its because Christmas is right around the corner and now that I’m an adult I am fully responsible for getting good gifts for everyone on my list. Regardless, November is over already.

It was a great month here in the Roberts household though! We had lots of big things that happened, and we have been soaking them all up, or we’re trying to at least. We had the opportunity to see lots of friends and family with Thanksgiving. We got to travel to Charleston, SC; Savannah, GA; Decatur, AL; and Alabaster, AL. Lots of miles, lots of people, and lots of fun. So without further adieu, here are the things I am into this month:

Reading-Related

 “Some of the best things in life come when you’re not planning on them. It’s important to see them for the gift they are.” // “Child, the good Lord got plans for all of us that we don’t know–and he always got his reasons. He want us to learn and rejoice in the good that come from his design.” // “We family; they ain’t all about blood, you know. Families is people lookin’ out after each other, not hidin’ behind secrets.” // I got Whistling Past the Graveyard from my local library this month. It has been on my to-read list pretty much since I decided to make a to-read list and stick to it at the beginning of this year. When I saw it at the library, I grabbed it, and it did not disappoint. This book is set in 1963 Mississippi. I loved the main character, Starla, and while there are some heart-breaking parts of the story, they are balanced with Starla’s laugh-out-loud comments. It reminded me of The Kitchen House: A Novel a little bit, which I read earlier this year and loved as well.

 “Any man in this world, Atticus, any man who has a head and arms and legs, was born with hope in his heart. You won’t find that in the Constitution.”  // “You said, in effect, ‘I don’t like the way these people do, so I have no time for them.’ You better take time for ’em, honey, otherwise you’ll never grow.” // “Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.” //  “Dear goodness, the things I learned. I did not want my world disturbed, but I wanted to crush the man who’s trying to preserve it for me. I wanted to stamp out all the people like him. I guess it’s like an airplane: they’re the drag and we’re the thrust, together we make the thing fly. Too much of us and we’re nose-heavy, too much of them and we’re tail-heavy–it’s a matter of balance.” // Another book I got from the library this month and finished was Go Set a Watchman: A Novel. I am a little late to this party obviously, but I just got my hands on this one and loved it too. Maybe I was already in the mindset after reading Whistling Past the Graveyard since their settings are similar. Jean Louise Finch, or “Scout” you may remember her as, stays true to herself and her beliefs, fighting the very people that she loves when it comes down to it. I am disappointed by the number of people who didn’t like this book. SPOILER ALERT: I understand that people did not like Atticus Finch’s character to be tarnished, but this book is real and raw. Like my friend Sara said, “the reader becomes disillusioned alongside Scout, realizing that her father isn’t perfect.” This one may not be your cup of tea, but I thought it was great.

 I’m still reading A Prayer for Owen Meany: A Novel. It is a long book, and I went to the library while I was in the middle of it, so I have a little bit more of a “deadline” to read those books, since I own this one. Like I said here, the characters are great and make me want to continue reading the book, especially because I am not sure exactly where it is going at this point. It has been a great read so far, but there are some parts that are a little risqué and some language too (just a heads up!).

I’m still reading the other two books I mentioned in my November Reads as well, but those are going to take time, and I don’t want to talk about them every month.

Also, reading related, my favorite way to buy e-books is after getting Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Kindle Deals sent to my e-mail everyday. She sends out great books that are marked down for Kindle and sometimes audiobooks as well. I hardly ever pay full-price for an e-book thanks to these e-mails.

Watching-Related

As most of you have probably heard, This is Us is absolutely fantastic in the most family nostalgia, heart-wrenching, tear up every week kind of way. John Mayer even likes it. If you haven’t given into the buzz and watched it yet, I, along with a bunch of other people, encourage you to take the plunge.

Sam and I are also watching Survivor: Millenials vs. Gen. X. I know that “no one watches Survivor anymore,” but we do, and we like it. Also, can I just say that I do not like being a millennial? The way the represented us on the show is both typical and disappointing. I don’t know who my favorite is this season still, but I will continue watching until I do.

I was watching Grey’s Anatomy after catching up (finally) on Netflix, but now we are at a break until January, which makes me sad. The winter break finale or whatever its called definitely left me hanging, as Shonda always does, so I’m looking forward to its return at the beginning of 2017.

Other than that, I’m making my way through One Tree Hill on Netflix. I was flying through at the beginning, but then I implemented a rule of no Netflix or TV in general until noon, and my pace has slowed a bit. Either way, its pretty good in the guilty pleasure kind of way.

Baby-Related

The Angelcare Bath Support is something that we have used with Henry since he was like a month old, but since this is my first What I’m Into post, I thought I would include it here. This is one of our very favorite baby gear items. We even gave it as a gift to some of our friends who are expecting. It sets in the bath tub and holds your baby while letting the water in as well. This has been a great solution for washing Henry since its part of his bed time routine every night.

I don’t know if y’all have walked by the baby/toddler section in Target recently, but holy cow, Cat + Jack clothes are so cute. Our favorite ones for Henry are the Baby Boys’ Lined Jogger Pant in Sandstone (not an affiliate link) and the Baby Boys’ Denim Jeans in Dark Wash (not an affiliate link). We love the elastic waist band on both of these, they have been durable and haven’t faded in the wash so far, and they are just cute. I’m probably going to have to sneak some more of these clothes for Henry for Christmas (shh, don’t tell Sam).

I saw this book at Publix, of all places, while grocery shopping and picked it up for Henry’s first Christmas. Goodnight, Ark is such a cute book, and I just saw there is a Goodnight, Manger as well that I might have to order. Its about all the animals getting scared and/or woken up, so they all come sleep in Noah’s room. Super cute, the words rhyme, and the pictures are really well done.

Food/Drink-Related

Yes, I succumbed to the La Croix trend. I tried the La Croix Pomme Baya Sparkling Water, and to be honest, I did not like it at first, but after making myself drink a couple, I found them really good. Weird, I know, but you can’t help what you like and don’t like, right? I’m going to try more flavors and see how I feel about them as well.

This Sausage and Cream Cheese Breakfast Casserole from Plain Chicken is delicious. I have made it for overnight guests, my parents when we stayed with them, and for breakfast for dinner potlucks at church, and there is never any left over. It’s delicious.

Oh, and if you like iced coffee/cold-brew coffee, try the Spiced Sweet Cream Cold Brew from Starbucks. It was really good when I tried it.

Listening-Related

When I went to the Belong Tour with some friends this month, I heard Nichole Nordeman for the first time, and she is fantastic. I even linked her video to the song “Slow Down,” which is a tear-jerker for the mamas out there in the blog post I linked above. After hearing her speak at the tour as well, her heart is just as beautiful as her voice and music. Here’s another one of her songs, for your listening pleasure.

Internet-Related

Amy Lynn Andrews sends out a Useletter once a week, which has a lot of good internet tips in it! I have also referred to her page for a lot of blogging questions that I’ve had about affiliate links and whatnot. Her website is a great resource.

She also recommended the website Workflowy, and I have been using it for everything since then. Once you get the hang of it, it is a great tool for notes, to-do lists, and anything else you need to keep track of.

As I mentioned above, I also love getting Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Daily Kindle Deals to my e-mail. It is one of my favorite things I subscribe to.

Blog-Related

I wrote a post about adoption that really shows my heart about the topic. The rain that we finally got in Alabama and Georgia sparked another post. I also did a post about the way that we are keeping up with pictures and family memories with something I’m calling the Family Memory Catalog.

Life-Related

We kept up with what we were thankful for this month, and it was great! We filled out notecards and drew little pictures to go with them. It is a Thanksgiving/November tradition we plan on continuing.

This month was a busy one for us! At the beginning of this month, we went to Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA on a business trip for Sam that Henry and I tagged along on. It was a lot of fun, and we ate lots of yummy food.

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We got to see a lot of family and friends because of weddings, Thanksgiving, and Henry getting dedicated at church. It was good to spend time with people we love.

Lastly, we are about to move!! We will no longer be living in the third-story, back apartment. We are moving to a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom rental house that is next door to some of our new friends. We are really excited about it!

That’s it for this month!!

We’re Thankful For…

It’s been November for 2 weeks now (already?!), and Thanksgiving is only 10 days away (whaaaat?!). I know that I am not the first person to come up with the idea of saying something you’re thankful for each day of November, but we’re having a lot of fun with the way we are keeping up with ours.

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We got this chalkboard/corkboard combo as a wedding gift, and it’s one of my favorite things that we got! We use it to hang our keys up and do a little bit of decorating. It had the same things on both the chalkboard and the corkboard for a while, but last month I decided to dress it up seasonally with some October/Fall notecards and “Happy October!” written on the chalkboard. I liked seeing it in its festive glory, so I decided to continue that into November. This month the “Gobble Gobble!” has been displayed as well as our “We’re thankful for…” cards.

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Sam hadn’t gotten home from work to do his card when I took this picture.

Each day, Sam and I both have a card with the date pinned onto the board that we fill out before bed. The “We’re thankful for…” card stays on the board throughout the month. My only specifications for Sam were that he had to write big in a marker and draw a small picture to go with it! It has been so much fun drawing, writing, and thinking about the things we are thankful for each day. It has also been a lot of fun seeing Sam’s drawings 🙂

My mom has even done a few cards when we have been with her during this month as well. When it is time for the cards to come down the next morning, they go in our Family Memory Catalog behind the date for each day. That way we can look back years to come to see the things we were thankful for.

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This would be so much fun for a big family with kids as well. I hope we have a corkboard full of notecards one day!

At the end of the month, I will write a post about how this cultivated a spirit of thankfulness in our home as well as some of my favorite notecards Sam and I made. Check back for that later!

How do you keep up with the things you’re thankful for? Comment on this post or e-mail me at openhandsopenhome@gmail.com to tell me what works for your family and how you incorporate thankfulness into your day! I would love to hear your ideas.

Family Memory Catalog

I LOVE taking pictures. I love that we have phones that can take quality pictures any time, anywhere. I love that my mom passed down her camera that she started her photography business with to me. I love that pictures allow you to capture memories. And I really love taking pictures of Henry because I am already forgetting how small he was, and he’s only three months old!

The thing about today’s society and having our phones to take pictures on is that we have gotten away from actually printing pictures out. I do not love that. In order to avoid taking pictures but never having them in my hands, I sought out a way to hold myself accountable to printing the pictures I took out.

Enter the “Family Memory Catalog,” or at least, that’s what I am calling it.

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I cannot and will not try to take credit for this idea though. I got this idea from something I pinned on Pinterest when I first got it, and I have wanted to use this idea ever since then. Design Sponge had posted about the project I got this idea from six years ago. (You can see the post here.)  The idea is that you have a note card with a date on it for every day of the year, and each year you write something you did that day. Over time it will create a sort of Timehop-esque memory catalog because you will have multiple years to look back on. She uses it as a gift you could give someone else, which I love and may do at some point as well.

When I was getting to the end of my pregnancy and needed something to do to distract myself, I started the project because I knew we would have so many pictures and memories we wanted to remember. I got 366 notecards and wrote the date for each day of the year (including Leap Day!), and then I put mini-sticky notes at the top dividing out each month. I’m sure you could find cuter dividers to use, but the sticky notes work just fine! (In the original post from Design Sponge, she uses vintage post cards to separate her months which is a great idea for something more fun.)

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I put the cards into a drawer from an antique sewing machine painted in Annie Sloan chalk paint. That’s not something you probably have lying around, but my aunt who runs Elizabeth Ann’s had one and gave it to me as a housewarming gift when we moved over to Atlanta. I didn’t intend for it to be used for this, but it ended up being the perfect size. You could use a shoebox if you have one handy!

I know you’re probably thinking, “Okay, so how does this hold you accountable to printing pictures, Erin?” I know, I know, I’m getting there.

 

After each day, I put any pictures taken that day behind it. I think that will make looking back on these days even better years from now when I am writing a new memory down.

Every two weeks or so, I do a picture dump from my phone or memory card in my camera, edit them the way I want them (making sure they are cropped to a 4 x 6 format!), and order them from Costco.

When I pick them up, I write “2016” on the back of them and put them behind the right date by using my phone or the memories I have written down to make sure they go in the right place.

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Right now, I am just laying the framework for a family project that I’m sure will be so much fun to look back on over the years. There’s nothing to look back on yet, since this is the first year I am doing this.

*Sometimes, we don’t really do anything, so I haven’t been writing things down on those days to be honest with you, but I think I may start writing even the small things because they’re important too.

I keep this out on the end table in our living room because I know that if I had to go somewhere to write down what happened during the day, I wouldn’t keep up with it. It’s also fun for others to look at our family memories too!

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Probably should’ve cleaned my table first… Whoops, real life, people.

So, I took Design Sponge’s awesome idea that I have wanted to do for years and combined it with my love of pictures into something that I’m already looking forward to using years from now.

Do you like to take pictures? Where and how do you keep up with the pictures you take? How do you keep up with family memories? I would love to hear things that work for your family as well!! Comment or e-mail me at openhandsopenhome@gmail.com.