Leading up to Lucy’s (actual) birthday, Scott and I had several conversations about how we would document her growth over the years – or maybe I should say, I agonized over how we would do so. How will we take weekly photos? Monthly? Yearly? Maybe the whole ‘weekly photo’ game is a bit of a newer concept thanks to blogs and Pinterest, but it’s definitely a tradition we wanted to try, too. I was determined to come up with something that wouldn’t feel like a stressor, but more like a celebration! While I love some of the ideas I’ve seen around the web, I know myself well enough to know that setting up new-but-slightly-altered shots every week and editing them in Photoshop would start to feel like work.
I’ve mentioned this in a series of long ago Q + A posts, but I studied photography in college, and for years afterwards, I worked as a photo assistant in commercial settings, weddings and any other freelance work available. Those days are behind me now, but ironically, I shoot now more than ever because of this blog! As a result, I started to put this silly pressure on myself to come up with something unique. I feel as absurd typing that sentence as you might feel reading it. Finally, exasperated by overwhelm, I told Scott that I would just take photos as usual, and at the end of Lucy’s first year, I’d put together an album (or in this modern world, a book). There would be no rhyme or reason. It would be simple and fuss-free.
Fast forward to when Lucy was 1 week old. She was bundled up in her swaddle, laying on the couch, and Libby was curled up next to her. I was practically sobbing at the sweetness of it all, and although I didn’t have my camera or phone handy, I did have our Mini Instax camera nearby! (We keep it in a drawer in our media console.) Ding-ding-ding! It was in that moment that I told Scott, we should do weekly instant photos! So easy!
We love our instax camera for so many reasons – you know that by now, right? – but the best part? It’s not about perfection. It’s a snapshot in time. It’s tangible. There were years when I refused to own a digital camera, because I was convinced that nothing is better than holding a (film) photo in your hands. With instax photos, the lighting is never quite right, the edges are slightly soft, and sometimes the flash goes off when we don’t need it (or the other way around!). A funny face, a yawn or a blink are all possible – scratch that, likely – but isn’t that what makes it so fun?
As every week passes, we’ll lay Lucy on the floor or the bed, or we might hold her up against a blank wall, stand her on the table or allow the pups to sneak into a shot (or two). We tickle her tummy and wait until she shrieks, squeals or giggles, and I’ll snap a shot quickly. Sometimes you can spot my foot in the bottom corner, but that’s okay. It’s all part of the charm! For consistency’s sake, Scott writes her current age on every photo.
Of course, we needed a place to keep them safe! I bought this pretty lacquer jewelry box for keepsakes as well as the photos. Every week, we tuck the newest photo into the removable jewelry insert, and beneath that, we’ve stashed her newborn beanies, her gender reveal card, hospital tags and this gifted teeny, tiny onesie that could fit an equally teeny tiny baby doll, among other memories. We can’t wait for teenage Lucy to sift through her box, rolling her eyes while we recount every minute from the day she was born.
I took a gamble and had the box monogrammed. I wouldn’t normally have something customized with initials, but it felt right in this case! The website was unclear on how the monogramming would look, but I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out. The white lacquer was perfectly etched away, revealing the exposed (ply?)wood beneath:
We’re still taking endless photos with our camera and phones, and yes, the goal is to make a book of photos from all the file dumps onto our hard drive, but in the meantime, this fun and easy weekly photo tradition fills the gaps! Our idea is that we’ll continue to do so weekly for the first year, monthly after that, and perhaps we’ll switch to yearly when she turns two. We love that Lucy – and we – will have these memories with no further effort on our end, because what’s better than a quick, real, tangible memory? (Or as Scott and I like to say, these are memories frozen in time, people!) Already, we enjoy sifting through from the present and back to week 1, and we talk about her first big smile at week 9 or Jack’s almost-kiss in week 8. Ugh, sigh.
For anyone else capturing weekly or monthly photos of your littles, how are you doing it? There are so many great ideas out there! We’d love it if you’d like to share them here.
PS: Here’s the complete nursery transformation, if you’d like to see!