For me, the week between Christmas and New Year’s is when I want to throw myself into lots of projects. Many projects I have put off all year and I feel this huge push to get them done. This year two of those involved printing my blog into a book and creating Calla’s lifebook.
I have always been a memory keeper whether it be writing in a journal, saving boxes of letters and photos, or making scrapbooks. Keeping stories has been very important to me. When the big girls were young, I became a Creative Memories consultant in an effort to create their books at cost and help others catch my passion to be memory keepers too. I made each of the big girls baby books and books with all the photos of their childhood. I have shelves of beautiful scrapbooks to prove it.
Then life happened and seven little ones came home to their forever family. Creating scrapbooks from scratch fell by the wayside. I could not print all those photos, collect all the supplies, and keep the mess out all the time. I began writing my blog and scrapbooking as I knew it came to an end. The stories of our family fell into blog posts and I began printing my blog each year as books. They became my scrapbooks of memories.
As our children came home I wanted to create lifebooks as a way for them to remember ‘their China’. Their lifebooks have done exactly that. They have bridged a gap between their lives in China and now home. They are their all time favorite books too. Not many days go by that one of them doesn’t pull it off the shelf and want me to tell them their story. Now they are getting old enough to read for themselves or sit with a sibling to read. It is fun for them to compare stories and see how the miracle of adoption has made us a family.
Giving them back a part of their China story was very important to me and now one of their most precious possessions.
5 Steps to Make a Lifebook:
1. Make up your mind to do it. This might seem like a no brainer but certainly makes a difference in the time set aside to do so. Calla had been home a year and a half and I am just getting around to making her book. She kept asking me where her book was so I knew I had to make it a priority.
2. Gather all photos into one place. It is more doable when you spend some time getting organized. Locate all photos, videos, and memorabilia needed for the book into one folder on your computer. I actually had a slideshow of photos made for Calla by a foster agency and no way to get the photos off CD. I popped it into my computer and as it played, I stopped on every slide to take a photo with my phone. They will not be top quality but the photos will be in the book and we can always watch the slideshow too.
3. Create an account in Shutterfly. Create an account that will save the book and can be used through future projects.
4. Work on the book in stages. If your photos need editing, it is a good idea to do that first. I like adding all the photos to the book first. I include most all the photos of life in China before their adoption, the time we were in country adopting, and some of the first weeks newly home. Once all the photos are placed, I start adding the stories. I want to encourage you that it’s not necessary for you to write every single detail in the book. I write generally and add details as we read it together. I have thought lately about going through their books and adding handwritten thoughts as well.
5. Tell the story as if speaking to your child. This story is for them and telling it as if speaking to them will make reading it special and personal. Reading together when they are young will strengthen attachment and when older it will build confidence of their story.
Video Tutorial to Make a Life Book at Shutterfly:
I sure hope this helps you decide to take the plunge and get publishing! I promise your kids will feel so very loved because of it! And who knows… they might just want to take it wherever they go!