Friday, January 25, 2013

Live Life | No Strings Attached

Do you have a hobby that you love, but because you have a desire to have everything "just so" it has become more of another task on your list of things to get to than a time for you to relax and enjoy it?

When I was single and first married, I absolutely loved scrapbooking. I could spend hours looking through magazines and stores getting inspiration for my layouts (I had the time then). Then I would spend time coming up with the most beautiful ways to display these memories with the idea that one day Brian and I would sit back (with these really heavy books) and stroll down memory lane.

Then I had Addie and the picture taking increased by 200 gazillion per cent!

At the time I was not selective of which pictures I would order. I ordered all of them! Because of course, my little doll was pictured in each one, and I could not do with out any of them. Then, when she would nap, I would race through my housework in order to scrapbook, which included pulling out everything that I owned that was related to scrapbooking. Before she woke up, I had to race to put everything back. Addie's albums are beautiful and cover just about every moment in her first three years. The child will miss nothing from those years because I painstakingly preserved them in a scrapbook.

But I was getting burned out.

After a while, I was scrapbooking, not because I loved it anymore, but because I had to catch up (as if that is even possible!). I would go to the ladies scrapbook get together (a time I look forward to) and would leave with 4 or 5 layouts (not bad for 4-5 hours worth of work) but still feeling like I still had soooo much to do.

People would look through my albums and then say, "This is beautiful! But you know, if you have another baby, you'll have to make sure you do the same for them."

Oh, Lord, help me!

While I was still scrapbooking, I began this blog back in June 2009, and I discovered my new love. It was a way for me to keep the memories of my family, and yet journal those feelings and emotions that could never fit onto a scrapbook layout. I didn't have to worry about being creative and reinventing the wheel every time I sat down to blog. I just typed out my feelings, memories, thoughts, lessons learned and posted a few pictures...... quite a few pictures.

Freedom!

In 2011, I began using Project Life which is an ingenious product by Becky Higgins. This made "hard copy" memory keeping much easier than scrapbooking. It could be as simple as I wanted it to be or as detailed. And you know me, it had to be perfect. I still felt bound and backed up after Ian was born and nursing every....... whenever he wanted.

I tried it again in 2012 and decided that things would be different in 2013.

You see, there is this beautiful thing called...... PHOTO BOOKS!

It doesn't require me to photoshop, enhance, color tweak, add text to, or resize my photos and then print them out. I just upload my photos to Shutterfly (the company I have chosen to use), drag and drop my photos into the designated slots, and at the end of the year, I have it printed out. I can even share my book electronically!

And here comes my A-ha! moment- I am only making one book for the entire family to share using the events and memories from the four of us. As each child begins their life outside of our home, I can print out a book for each year for them so they can remember the moments we shared together as a family. Much more cost and time effective than trying to do individual albums for each child.

I still have all of those other pictures that are waiting to go somewhere. What will I do? I will sort through them, toss any that are blurry (Oh the horror! They're digital, so I still have them on my hard drive and what ever printing service website I used to print them out in the first place), decide which ones really do have a story to tell, and use up the rest of my Project Life kit putting them together in a way that out family can enjoy (so I can still spend time with my scrapbook buddies). Any that don't make it into the PL book, will go into a photo album..... and I am finally okay with that!

No more scrapbooking in the traditional sense for me.

I would rather spend my time living life and making memories with my family than be overwhelmed with pictures of those memories.

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