Project Life: Baby Edition - Henry's 1st Year Album

When Henry was born, I did what any new parent does - I took thousands of photographs. I wanted to capture every detail, every marvellous curve and feature of this miraculous little being that Matt and I had created. I was enthralled by him, mesmerised by his miniature perfection. We live in a world where it is easier than ever to capture the moment. My iPhone captures sweet spontaneous moments, whilst my DSLR creates beautiful keepsake photographs. Before I knew it, I had thousands pupon thousands of photographs of the most precious person in my life. But I wanted these memories and moments to become tangible, not locked in a digital world where they would likely be lost along the way in a myriad of files.

Meanwhile, I was keeping notes of the little things Henry did - the quirky moments that filled the blurry haze of his newborn days, the little yet monumental developmental leaps we noticed each day, each one so precious, so new. A week by week journal of our son. It's funny how quickly you forget things, and I love looking back to see what life a few months ago was like. I wanted to somehow combine the two - the photos with the journalling, for a complete snapshot of Henry's first year.

I looked at photo albums and found nothing suitable for what I wanted. Baby books were too structured and restrictive and didn't allow enough room for photographs. A plain scrapbook was too open and overwhelming. And then somehow, I stumbled upon Project Life, and I knew instantly that I had found the perfect solution. A beautiful and simplistic memory keeping system that allows you to document life - all of life - the ordinary moments as well as the special ones. It combines photographs with journalling in an appealing and compatible way.

What I love about Project Life is that it's not about choosing photos that are perfect. Nor is it about only remembering the special occasions or exciting days out. It's about capturing and documenting the ordinary moments that epitomise everyday life and paint a realistic picture of family life. The grainy selfie taken with an iPhone in the early hours of the morning when Henry and I are enjoying a precious cuddle, the blurry movement of his wobbly first steps, the snapshot of a messy face as he indulges in too many blueberries.

My discovery of Project Life came when Henry was around 6 months old - I had a lot of catching up to do. The task of sorting through no less than 10,000 photographs of Henry, all jumbled together, was daunting. But I knew it needed to be done in order to complete his album, and once broken down, it was a simple, albeit time-consuming, task. I was beyond excited when it came to printing my selection of photographs, at last I had reached the fun part! I love the aesthetics of matte photographs, so I chose to print with Photobox. The upload system proved quick and easy, and my prints (all 500 or so) arrived within a few days, boxed and ready to go.

The beauty of Project Life lies in its simplicity. Just slip your photos into the pockets and journal about the memories. The process can be as creative or elaborate as you want it to be. Personally, I could see myself getting overwhelmed if I focused too much on it looking perfect - with embellishments and fancy typeface on edited photographs. I knew if I took that road, I would never complete it. So instead, I simply print photos, as they are, pop them into the pockets and write a few notes on what has happened each month. The little anecdotes that I know we'll want to remember in years to come. With this method, I've easily been able to keep up to date with the album, setting aside a few days each month where I sort through the latest photographs and collate the notes I've made. I love that I can include photos of varying sizes, and that I can include both portrait and landscape photographs.

I have poured so many hours and so much love into this album. It is a poignant collection of memories and photographs, showing Henry growing, changing, learning, living and loving. It is filled with photos that portray the special relationships he has with us, and with our family. It is so precious.

Now that Henry's first year album is completed, I've started on our family album. Henry is still the star of the show as I can't seem to take enough photos of his sweet little face, but it also includes family days out, photos of Matt and I, and our day to day lives. This year's album will also be pretty important as it will capture our big move to the USA! I hope to create an album each year. A glorious keepsake for future generations.

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