October 1 hits the books and most people think about things like fall, leaves, pumpkins, soup, Halloween, etc. But me? I think CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have a little Buddy the Elf in me….

It’s my favorite holiday. But what I’m finding as I grow older, what I REALLY love about it, is that Christmas is the “easiest” holiday to surround with tradition. Let me stop here and say this post is NOT about Christmas. I’m sorry, I’m rambling. It’s about Tradition!

That’s what I love about all holidays. Doing the same things each year that are full of meaning and specific to our family gives us something to look forward to and something to be excited about each year. This got me thinking last year about how I can do a better job as a mom of celebrating All times of life with my kiddos. Traditions don’t just need to be for Christmas. (The Johnson Family taught me that!)

I really believe that it is important to live out celebrating all things in life with grateful hearts both individually and with other people in your life. I’m only further convinced after reading an amazing book about gratefulness called 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Mourning with those who mourn and rejoicing with those who rejoice is an important lesson to learn.

My idea ended up taking the shape of a yearly family photo album. I got the idea from my best friend here in St. Louis, Amy, who has been making these for years for her family. It’s the same idea as a class yearbook for school, but in family form. I take it month by month (instead of grade by grade) and I write journal notes about all that we did. I write about sad things (like family members who pass away etc.), I write about happy things (like babies and birthdays!), I just write the truth!

It takes me a long time to do and is most certainly a labor of love, so I use Shutterfly to help speed the process up. I upload my pictures sometimes monthly, sometimes quarterly, and I work on my book a little bit at a time all year long. That way I’m not rushed and freaking out trying to remember things from January the year before in November or December. I also store my photos in my computer by month to help jog my memory of when things happened. In combination with this blog and Facebook, I have a pretty helpful way of putting our life into a hard-book photo album!

Last year, my book was something crazy like 75 or 80 pages. Most books only come with a standard 20-25 pages, so yes, I added each of those pages at a little less than one dollar per page. But! With all my coupons I think I paid maybe $75.00 total for my book. It might have been even less than that. I have a hard-bound, full color book of our whole life one year at a time! My favorite thing about this new “tradition” is that my kids love to get the book out (I keep it down at their level) and look at it and laugh and remember our life together. It’s such a treasure! It does help them remember things they might not have otherwise remembered too.

So now, as we are at home or out and about throughout the year doing things together, even if it’s just a busy Saturday at the Home Depot (he he he he he….), I remember and think to myself, “This will make a GREAT picture for our family photo album this year!” and I even try to include pictures of MYSELF in there. It does help you realize that you are not in many pictures when you are putting a book together and see that you are always the one BEHIND the camera rather than in front of it. I’m working on that…

Anyway, I have lofty dreams of years and years of these books lining my book shelves. And if we ever have a fire or loose a book, it would suck, but I can order another one. And that makes me super happy. I hope one day to generously laugh with my kids’ friends and gulp, significant others, about our life in color,  hard bound books. Sigh….

Do you have any fun family traditions like this that you do to remember and celebrate your life? Please share with me!


2 thoughts on “Traditions: Our Annual Family Yearbook

    1. Abby, a friend of mine started getting her blog printed! There is a company out there that will print it and bind the whole thing for you!!! I keep forgetting the name of it. I will ask her and email it to you! Thanks for reading chica

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