pink closet makeover | lamb | hippo | teether | baskets | lacquer box
Leading up to Lucy’s (actual) birthday, Scott and I had several conversations about how we would document her growth over the years – or maybe I should say, I agonized over how we would do so. How will we take weekly photos? Monthly? Yearly? Maybe the whole ‘weekly photo’ game is a bit of a newer concept thanks to blogs and Pinterest, but it’s definitely a tradition we wanted to try, too. I was determined to come up with something that wouldn’t feel like a stressor, but more like a celebration! While I love some of the ideas I’ve seen around the web, I know myself well enough to know that setting up new-but-slightly-altered shots every week and editing them in Photoshop would start to feel like work.
I’ve mentioned this in a series of long ago Q + A posts, but I studied photography in college, and for years afterwards, I worked as a photo assistant in commercial settings, weddings and any other freelance work available. Those days are behind me now, but ironically, I shoot now more than ever because of this blog! As a result, I started to put this silly pressure on myself to come up with something unique. I feel as absurd typing that sentence as you might feel reading it. Finally, exasperated by overwhelm, I told Scott that I would just take photos as usual, and at the end of Lucy’s first year, I’d put together an album (or in this modern world, a book). There would be no rhyme or reason. It would be simple and fuss-free.
Fast forward to when Lucy was 1 week old. She was bundled up in her swaddle, laying on the couch, and Libby was curled up next to her. I was practically sobbing at the sweetness of it all, and although I didn’t have my camera or phone handy, I did have our Mini Instax camera nearby! (We keep it in a drawer in our media console.) Ding-ding-ding! It was in that moment that I told Scott, we should do weekly instant photos! So easy!
Instax camera | instant film | memory box | rug
We love our instax camera for so many reasons – you know that by now, right? – but the best part? It’s not about perfection. It’s a snapshot in time. It’s tangible. There were years when I refused to own a digital camera, because I was convinced that nothing is better than holding a (film) photo in your hands. With instax photos, the lighting is never quite right, the edges are slightly soft, and sometimes the flash goes off when we don’t need it (or the other way around!). A funny face, a yawn or a blink are all possible – scratch that, likely – but isn’t that what makes it so fun?
As every week passes, we’ll lay Lucy on the floor or the bed, or we might hold her up against a blank wall, stand her on the table or allow the pups to sneak into a shot (or two). We tickle her tummy and wait until she shrieks, squeals or giggles, and I’ll snap a shot quickly. Sometimes you can spot my foot in the bottom corner, but that’s okay. It’s all part of the charm! For consistency’s sake, Scott writes her current age on every photo.
Of course, we needed a place to keep them safe! I bought this pretty lacquer jewelry box for keepsakes as well as the photos. Every week, we tuck the newest photo into the removable jewelry insert, and beneath that, we’ve stashed her newborn beanies, her gender reveal card, hospital tags and this gifted teeny, tiny onesie that could fit an equally teeny tiny baby doll, among other memories. We can’t wait for teenage Lucy to sift through her box, rolling her eyes while we recount every minute from the day she was born.
I took a gamble and had the box monogrammed. I wouldn’t normally have something customized with initials, but it felt right in this case! The website was unclear on how the monogramming would look, but I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out. The white lacquer was perfectly etched away, revealing the exposed (ply?)wood beneath:
We’re still taking endless photos with our camera and phones, and yes, the goal is to make a book of photos from all the file dumps onto our hard drive, but in the meantime, this fun and easy weekly photo tradition fills the gaps! Our idea is that we’ll continue to do so weekly for the first year, monthly after that, and perhaps we’ll switch to yearly when she turns two. We love that Lucy – and we – will have these memories with no further effort on our end, because what’s better than a quick, real, tangible memory? (Or as Scott and I like to say, these are memories frozen in time, people!) Already, we enjoy sifting through from the present and back to week 1, and we talk about her first big smile at week 9 or Jack’s almost-kiss in week 8. Ugh, sigh.
For anyone else capturing weekly or monthly photos of your littles, how are you doing it? There are so many great ideas out there! We’d love it if you’d like to share them here.
PS: Here’s the complete nursery transformation, if you’d like to see!
Oh my gosh, that’s a perfect way to document her first year.
I love that you’ve chosen such a lowkey way to capture something that is so special and important to you. It’s a great balance.
I’ve decided to do monthly photos with our new daughter. She has a vintage pedal car tractor in her room (#farmgirl), so I’m photographing her with that every month. I’m excited to see her grow and (hopefully) start to interact with the tractor a bit.
I’ve always loved the concept of having the same object in every photo for scale – we just couldn’t think of something that would make sense! Great idea.
Love this idea for its pure simplicity! So great!
I’m gushing – what a cutie! My only worry with the instant photos is that you would squeeze them so tightly because they are so cute and they’d get crumpled. Or maybe that’s me – I’m of the camp that likes to squeeze/grip/twist the things I love.
HILARIOUS. I understand you completely.
You’re right, this IS easy! And perfect and she’s so cute!!! The only sad part is I can’t get a copy of every photo!
I love this idea! I didn’t get an InstaxMini until our daughter was 9 months old but I took photos of her on special occasions like visiting her grandparents or when we went hiking with llamas in New Mexico in addition to photos with our camera.
I also use it for Milestones, like the day she took her first steps or her first bath, or first time loving a new food like tamales, lol.
I love your keepsake drawer and how special to look through them! This camera is amazing and so cool its instant!
tamales, love that! I’ll have to document the first time she tastes kimchi (first hand, haha)!
This is such a fun and cute idea!
I did weekly photos with our daughter laid down, inspired by John & Sherry at Young House Love with their kids, however, this became very tricky once our baby girl became mobile! Kind of a headache some weeks in my sleep deprived state to be honest! I wish I had done it a little more spontaneously as you have. The pics look really fun and sweet, and lovely to have a physical copy to enjoy straight away (I havent yet printed ours and aforementioned baby girl is now 16 months :l )
I’ve always loved the YHL photo project, but there’s no way we’d be able to commit to it, haha!
Ohhhhh this is so perfect! Some of the trends started by the internet can seem so extra/overwhelming/how-do-people-have-time-for-this (especially new parents!), but I LOVE the idea of doing it this way!
Can you tell me what photobook service you use? I have been debating between a million for family photos (we already use Pinhole but also love the look of Artifact, but maybe chatbooks or mixbooks are easier?). We share your design aesthetic so whatever you choose would certainly be great!
You’ve taken the words out of my mouth. We have several Pinhole books and LOVE them (the lay flat is my fave), so I might do that again… but Artifact is so pretty as well! I’ll probably take a closer look at Artifact once I go to make the book. In the long ago past, I’ve used Blurb with great success as well, but I haven’t checked them out in a while.
This is so beautiful! I’ve switched to quarter-yearly for my son’s photos (he’s now two), which is working well for us. Not sure when we’ll drop to yearly, perhaps when he starts school?… Sob, getting teary just thinking about that!
Please may I know where those adorable b&w sneakers with the polar bear face is from??
They’re from H&M! I don’t see them on their site anymore though, we bought them several months ago.
Ahh I see, thank you anyways!
Love the memorabilia box, too cute!! Quick question, are the letters gold by default or were you able to customize?
The letters are the wood tone beneath the surface of the lacquer. I didn’t have a say in the color, but there are options for text that you can choose from!
So adorable! I love the box and saw a really nice acorn color for my son as well, on the monogram how did you get the line separation between the letters? I chose monogram and it just puts them right next to each other in the preview?
It was one of the style options to have the line in the middle. I’d suggest calling their customer service to help if you want the same look!
Dear how did you monogram this box ? I am on westelm website and they are not letting me add a line in between her initials . Its just 9 characters i can add . please let me know . I am 32 weeks and planning to do this from the start . thank you
They must have changed the design options! The line I added was a font choice and it was part of the design. I’m so sorry!