Are you a photo taker? Me, not so much. I have a beautiful DSLR camera, but manage to only snap a few photos here and there on my phone camera. That being said, some of these phone photos manage to be some of my favourites, as they capture the real moments of our day-to-day lives. On the first day of every new year, I like to take the time to print out a year in review in photos and fill one of these mini photo books. This has become such a treasured tradition. I've never been good at physically printing out photos, so this encourages me to keep at least some sort of physical record that represents the passing years. But it's also easy. It only takes me a couple hours from start to finish.
I decided to get an at-home photo printer last year, which has made a huge difference in actually keeping record of photographic memories. I use the Canon PIXMA MG7720 - it's pretty basic in terms of photo printing, but it has a wireless connection so I can print my photos directly from my phone. To make my book, I simply go through my camera roll, select 4 to 5 photos from each month of the previous year, and print them out with the click of a button. Easy as pie. That being said, if you don't have a photo printer, it would also be just as easy to upload your photos to a printing service website and pick them up the next day. This saves you from actually printing them yourself, but just requires a little effort to get yourself out to pick them up.
I use these square 4"x4" photo albums that I bought on Amazon and usually purchase some extra photo pockets as well. I then cut each photo into a square format using a paper cutter. I like to keep my albums simple and photographic, but take the time to journal on the back of each photo so that I can go back in later years and remember the significance of why I added that photo to the yearly recap. I go through the photos in chronological order when I'm journalling so that the written components flow, almost like a story. This is such a nice way to reminisce about the exciting highlights (and sometimes low points) of the year. It also makes the book extra sentimental without airing all the gritty details to the casual browser who finds the book under your coffee table.
As you can see, I like including a wide array of photos, from selfies, to styled photos, food, people, and the cats. Each of these photos mean something special to me, even if they seem random to other people. Whether there is a certain memory, accomplishment, or sense of inspiration tied to that photo, it was chosen for the book for a reason.
I also usually include little tabs that mark the different months as the photos progress throughout the year. This is just a nice simple way to keep a record of time and keep the book organized. I usually just cut a thin strip of cardstock, scribble on the month, and tape it to the clear page protectors after the photos have been inserted.
The above spread is one of my favourites from this past year. The photo on the left was from a fun family photoshoot at the end of April. It is one of my favourite photos of the whole lot, as the silliness of my family really shines through. The photo on the right shows another side of the spectrum. This photo was taken after Curt had tirelessly worked day after day on a huge project, I experienced my first bout of food poisoning, and Sutchi had just had a surgery. We were all pretty defeated and beat up, but it was also such a special and cozy time for us and we took great comfort in our home and time together.
There is a lot of value in memory keeping. Whether you take a year to build a scrapbook, or two hours to gather up the pieces of the previous year, it is worth every ounce of effort to document the experiences of your life. The everyday experiences of your life - like a delicious recipe you tried, the vegetables your grew in your garden, the nap your cat took during that really snowy day, or the day your husband and you accidentally wore matching outfits. These are the memories that get forgotten, but these are the memories that are worth remembering. These small moments make up the great big moments and I'm thankful that I have a way to remember that.