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what to do with all the photos on my computer {recording memories}

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This post is first in a series on how we keep and record memories.  You can check out the main page for links to all the posts.

I think about this stuff.  I live and breathe hoping that I remember, or account for my time, of blessing with my angels.  I want them to remember.  I want to remember.  I want to love every waking moment.

I love my children.  I love them so much that I take about 100 pictures of them a day.  Overkill, I know.  But those faces, those cheeks, the dirty toes.  I want to remember it all.

We are so fortunate, “in this day and age,” to have digital cameras!  Do you remember the days of film, or those “throw it away” little cameras?  Well I do!  Just this last weekend I purged even more from my basement and just couldn’t part with all my photos.  I kept all of my high school photos — extras and even the negatives.   Do you remember negatives?!

Well, today, it can just all be stored in my iPhoto.  But what to do with it all?!  I don’t want to just scroll through the good + the bad and ugly.  I want to see the beautiful.  I want to hold it in my hands.  But this does take some discipline.


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Here is my system.  I create an album for every six months of our lives.

I use a lot of photos.  There are a couple of ways one could go about this:

  • Pick the best photos and only put one picture per page {this is, by far, the most beautiful option}
  • Or be more practical, and get more photos in, {this is how I do it}, I use anywhere from 2 to 6 photos per page.  How could I miss six of the same photo shoot because the faces just change just slightly and you want to remember those faces?!

I have chosen the easier route {or not so easy, depending on how you see it}.  I put all of my favorites in.  Now that I’m “getting older,” I realize that I like a “cleaner look” with less diagonals and less pictures.  My Shutterfly albums are thick, and the more pages you go “over” in pages, the more costly it is, but I don’t mind.  I buy them during a 50% off sale and make a killer investment.  These albums are my life.  They are my soul.  That smile.  Those eyes.  My loves growing before my eyes.

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How to do it?

Well I have to be disciplined.  I didn’t start this idea until I was at least six months old, if not nine months, into becoming a mom, so there were A LOT of photos to go through.  But just do it.  It’s so fun looking at those memories, anyhow.  Pick out your favorites.  You’ll find that you still have to be very choosy, but don’t stinge on the ones you love.

  • I make folders on my iPhoto : Aug10-Dec10, Jan11-Jun11, July11-Dec11 {you get the idea}
  • I upload into iPhoto, using the same folder names {this takes a long time and I go to my mother-in-law’s for faster and better internet}
  • And then I go at it.  At first, I chose “themes” of blue and baby, but now, I am preferring to stick with simple white pages for my Shutterfly books
  • You can comment if you want to take the time, if not, just Sharpie it in later — handwriting can make the memories more beautiful

Creating albums and being vigilant about my photo folders

  • I do make more than just the every-six-month Shutterfly albums.  I will be sharing more about the other ways I use my folders in this recording memories series, so make sure to check in later these next two weeks!
  • When I get behind, I just take a couple hours and go through my photos — I can do a couple months in about two hours.
  • Here are my current folders, in case you’re wondering:

for our family every-six-month albums:




for each child’s project life albums:

John 3 years

John 4 years

May 0-12 mths

May 1 year

for each child’s two photos a year album / to be completed at 18 years old

John yearly photos

May yearly photos

best of the seasons mini project life albums:




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But how to record the moments and the words and steps and in between?

Before I started to make these albums, and while making our every-six-month albums, life went on.  So many memories, or steps, or words, or actions, that I wanted to remember.  I had a little book {here it is: one line a day: a five year memory book} that I wrote everything in.

he stacked three rings today

said moo and baa

grabbed daddy’s keys

You know, the silly, priceless stuff that no one else in the world cares about but you.  But if I lost that dear little book, it would have been like losing my life.  There had to be a better way to keep it and share it.  Well, that is where the next few posts come in!  {Hint: it’s Project Life.}

 So…. the takeaway is: make albums from all your thousands of photos.  It is, and will be, worth it!!

{Here is our shelf with most of our albums so far….}


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  1. The albums are beautiful! Photos are so precious because they are one of the only things that aren’t replaceable. I don’t like keeping all our pics on the computer (I’m always afraid I’ll lose them all if something malfunctions!). We do something similar – every year on my daughter’s birthday she gets a book with my favorite photos from the year, with what she’s learned, etc. She loves looking at them!

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