Thursday, January 18, 2018

Our 2017 Family Yearbook

The year Ford was born I started making family yearbooks as a way to chronicle the happenings of our year. I know you mamas can relate with the mountains of photos we have (okay not physical mountains but digitally, the number of pictures we take is Everest level, thank you iPhone 8+ camera). I do traditional baby books for each kiddo but wanted a way to keep track of what our family did, where we traveled, and how we grew over the years. I've been using Shutterfly for the past couple of years for our family year book (2016 yearbook) and Christmas cards (2017 Christmas card) and it is pretty much one of my favorite days when our yearbook arrives! Here is a peek into our 2017 family yearbook.

If you know me at all, you know that I am 100% type A and an organizational freak, so I want to share some tips on how I plan/create/execute our family yearbook. The last thing I want is to be drowning in photos and overwhelmed with the task of making the book, I want to pour into it, smile, and savor the memories as I create it with Shutterfly.
  • I upload photos from my iPhone to my computer 1-2 times a month. When I do this, they automatically go into a folder by date (for example, February 2017 imports into a folder 2017-2). I also have a folder for each year that the monthly photos go into. When I upload from my iPhone, I get on my computer and filter through the photos, deleting random screenshots or pictures I only needed temporarily. This helps cut down on random junk and simplifies the photo book making process. If I take pictures with my DSLR, I upload them and slot them into the folder that the photos were taken in.
  • I try to work on our family yearbook photo book in Shutterfly every month or every other month. Photo books have a 100 page maximum and I wanted to keep it to 1 book per year so I have a rough outline in my mind of 8 or so pages a month with a few extras for the months with holidays (Halloween, Christmas). My yearbooks are 8x10 books with the simple white theme, but you can always change as you go. Some pages are dedicated to certain events (birthdays, vacations, holidays), but there are also a lot of pages I just have random photos on. 
  • Wait for a good sale in the New Year to order your book. Since standard books come with 20 pages, I recommend waiting for a "free extra pages" sale and also to choose the lay flat pages option. It is so worth it. Shutterfly is offering 50% off all photobooks through Sunday January 21st!
  • If you are new to family yearbooks and want to create them for years past, don't get overwhelmed. Start by organizing your photos and work on the book little by little. You will be so happy you are taking the time to curate your memories because as years go by, they get smaller and smaller and it is truly incredible how a group of photos can take you back. 
May 23rd, 2017 was one of my favorite days of 2017, the day we finalized Gideon's adoption. I could have never prepared for the emotions I felt standing in Jon's office, the same office we stood in on November 8th, 2016 and heard about a baby boy who had been born in Las Vegas the night before. A judge in Carson City, NV declared Gideon Aaron Hart our son, always and forever. Our house was on the market and I remember getting a call right after that about a showing at 6pm so we loaded up the kids in the rain and ate dinner at Sonic. The most special and memorable days for me aren't the fanciest or the most extravagant. They are the ones where I can vividly remember the love, the emotions, the hugs. 

Our trip to Breckenridge, CO last summer also topped the list of best parts of 2017!

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Our Christmas Card 2017

I would like to announce that while it took every ounce of energy and self control in me, we did not put up any Christmas decorations or lights until 2 pm on Thanksgiving Day! Seeing beautifully decorated trees and stockings hung on the mantle as I scroll through IG has giving me the itch to start decorating but I had to give my cute little Thanksgiving decorations a chance. But now that Turkey Day has come and gone, it is full on Christmas season over here! We took our family pictures in October with Jennifer Rudolph (Austin friends, if you aren't using her, call her asap!) and pretty much ordered our cards the day we got our photos back. Once again, we are using my favorite favorite favorite online company, Shutterfly! This is our 4th year in a row using them for Christmas cards and I swear they keep rolling out new features that make me love them even more. I wish I could have used about 35 pictures in our card but I figured no one cares about my kiddos precious little faces as much as I do but I love being able to search by number of pictures, theme, and even color to choose my card! It could not have been easier to click last years addresses, add a few more, and put our  new addresses on all of the envelopes. I have sweet spot for scallops so this year chose scalloped edges and how stinking cute is the plaid on the back of the card?! Shutterfly will even stamp and ship your cards for you and although I still haven't taken advantage of that yet, I am thinking it is in the cards for future Christmases. Christmas cards are one of my favorite parts of the season. I get to keep up with family and friends on social media but there is something about a beautiful card sent snail mail that gives me all of the feels. We hang up the 100+ cards we receive and love being surrounded by our people during the holidays, even if it is just a picture. We also spend time praying for each card in the New Year and save the cards until the next year.

So if you aren't super OCD and basically want to order Christmas cards in July, you still have time! Shutterfly has amazing deals going on right now and production/shipping is quick! While you're ordering cards, you can also stock up on gifts for teachers, grandparents, and special friends... stockings, ornaments, photo books, and more. You know I have been faithfully working on our Hart Family yearbook throughout the whole year. Can't wait to show you all in the New Year! Happy shopping friends.

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P.S. Send me your Christmas cards! I only have 3 hanging so far and that is including ours hehe.

Thank you Shutterfly for partnering with me on this holiday post!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Scootin' and Stylin' in the Evenflo Sibby

How on earth is my third baby ONE?! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was frantically trying to figure out this motherhood thing with Ford (and years later, not sure if I have figured it out!). Turning one is pretty big in terms of all of the "stuff" that comes along with have a baby. Trading in barefoot and naked toes for walking shoes, going cold turkey on formula and bottles (praise God, pay raise!), and time to pack away the infant carseat (luckily we have the Evenflo SafeMax for Gideon). We do preschool drop off 3 days a week (Ford 3 days, Lucy 2) and everyday is a toss up on whether or not Lucy will want to sit in the stroller or walk and if Gideon will throw a fit about being strapped in and angry that he's not running with the big kids. I love our double stroller but it is a pain to get in and out of the car quickly so I keep it in our garage for walks but most mornings I need something quick, light, and easy to get us into preschool in time before they shut the doors and you have to embarrassingly walk your kid to the front office. I am so excited to announce a new member of our family, the Evenflo Sibby travel system. First of all, I LOVE the colors... Ford and Lucy always talk about mommy's favorite colors being gray and black. Yay for baby items that don't scream "I have a baby" in pastels and primary colors. It is super sleek and folds up easily which is great for those mornings we are rushing into preschool. My favorite part of our new stroller is the ride-along board that connects to the back of the stroller and folds up when I don't need it. This is perfect for Lucy who wants to run and be independent but her little legs can't always handle the walk to the park or from the parking lot into a store but she is too much of a "big girl" to want to sit in the stroller. I've owned a handful of strollers in my 4 years of motherhood and nothing irks me more than the below basket being microscopic but the Evenflo Sibby has an oversized basket below, perfect for snacks, my purse, water bottles, and the 1 million other things we take every where we go. Gideon sits up quite a bit taller in the Sibby which he loves, Mister I Want To Be Big.

We are lucky to live around the block from an amazing park (mamas... completely shaded, separate playgrounds for bigs and littles, and nice bathrooms with running water...score!) and are there at least 3-4 times a week. Just like those crazy mornings getting into preschool, the Evenflo Sibby has been perfect for walking to the park with Ford on his scooter and Gideon and Lucy riding in the stroller. The last thing I need is for my kiddos to see me cursing a giant stroller that won't fold down or move easily so I am grateful for the light weight, easy to maneuver, and pretty Sibby. Oh and if Gideon should ever decide to sleep on the go, the Evenflo Sibby completely reclines and it is nice and dark for a snooze al fresco (also makes a great mobile diaper changing station).

His 4th molar finally popped through over the weekend! 12 months and 12 teeth, insane.

So as we head into Thanksgiving week, I am not only thankful for baby products like the Evenflo Sibby that make my life a whole lot easier, but I am thankful for sweet little moments with kiddos. The days are long (boy oh boy are they long) but the years are entirely too short. These moments of swinging on the tire swing and sliding down the big slide together are fleeting. There will be a day when they no longer fit in my lap, nor want to be in my lap, and my hands will feel absolutely empty without a stroller to push or a hand to hold. I can't even wrap my head around there being a time where my kids drive themselves to school and put themselves to sleep. I want to press into these moments before they are a distant memory that I wish I could return to. The beautiful mess of motherhood. Happy Thanksgiving friends!

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Thank you to Evenflo for partnering with me on this post!

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