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3 ways to ensure your family photos live forever ?

I want my boys to have a breadth of shared memories that are tactile and tangible—that they can hold in their hands.

3 ways to ensure your family photos live forever ?
“We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.”

But what if you have too many? In my office, I have around 12 cameras sitting on shelves, and although I wouldn’t consider myself a professional photographer, I am disgustingly interested in documenting my life. Why do I say disgustingly? Since the purchase of my first professional-grade digital camera in 2010, I’ve averaged about 18,121 digital photographs per year. 93,374 digital files since my first was born three years ago. How the heck does someone keep this organized?

Here’s a little insight into what has worked for me so far.

You have to MAKE something with these photographs. There has to be an end product, and that end product can’t just be “Post it to Facebook or Instagram.

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In my mind, there has to be a tangible end product that these photographs end up in. The end goal is to preserve memories, right? So, you need a way of determining a memory’s start and end for your future viewer. Thus comes the different ways in which my wife and I are gathering and consolidating memories for our children.

1. We make tangible, hold in your hand, live on a shelf photo books.

There are plenty of ways to get this done in the new digital age we live in. I have two favorites that I use constantly. My first favorite is an app called Chatbooks for one set of books.

Chatbooks uses a certain technology that allows them to gather photos containing certain hashtags from the Instagram accounts of myself and my wife. Then it adds those photos to a book which gets automatically printed when it’s full. We use the curation method of “Is this worthy of an Instagram post?” to edit the photos that we’d want in our book, eliminating the need for extra work.

This is one of my favorite services because I can set up two separate books—one for each of my boys. Then when the books fill up, they arrive at my door. The books aren’t a huge investment either—I believe I pay $6 per book once they’re printed. They can also print retroactively on your account, catching you up to where you are now.

I now have a stack for my three-year-old, and a stack for my one-year-old sitting on my shelf ready to be thumbed through.

2. I spend the time once a year to create one big yearly photo album book.

For my photo library, I use Adobe Lightroom and I use a feature built into Lightroom to print my book using Blurb. I have many methods of pairing down the photos that I want to use in these photo books.

First, I don’t usually include many iPhone or cell phone pictures. This photo album is for my high quality digital and film photos that I’ve taken throughout the year. Lightroom allows me to search by camera type, if it’s been edited, and a date range which quickly helps me narrow down the photos I want in each year’s book.

Then once I have about 600 photos to choose from, I go in and “trim the fat” getting rid of the less important photos, the ones that are in soft focus or aren’t family photos at all.

This photo book is usually a bit more expensive and I see it as an investment in my family’s memories. It usually runs me over a hundred dollars, but I am usually able to find an “end of year promo code” which helps me out on the inflated cost of having a 234-page book printed.

3. The last service we use to catalog our families memories is an app called Notabli.

Notabli allows you to create a digital baby book for your children. You add in milestone moments, photos, quotes, audio and even video. Then you write a little bit about what the photo or video contains. The service allows you to add family members and determine their access so that you can instantaneously share what your children are up to with your immediate family.

We live three hundred miles from my wife’s parents, but they can feel like they’re keeping up with our kids because they get this “insider’s view” into our family. They can feel like they were there with us on the first day of preschool, or the first time the boys tried ice cream. It automatically notifies them when new memories are added, and they can thumb through this private feed of our family at their leisure.

This is a great place for us to post the random videos and photos we capture of our children. To share the beautiful, the awesome and even the downright disasters of our daily lives quickly and easily. My wife is better at keeping up with this than I am. However, if truth be told, I edit all of our family videos so we share responsibility.

I recently came across the quote—

“Memories are the architecture of our identity.”

I want the legacy of my documentation of our family to be more than the handing off of a hard drive to one of my son’s. I want them to have a breadth of shared memories that are tactile and tangible—that they can hold in their hands.

I want them to have a searchable library of videos to dial up to watch, or play on a loop. I want them to have books to hold, cherish and share. I want them to be able to reprint the books as they grow up and move away. So that all the memories of our family can be equally shared. Not just photo albums sitting on a dusty shelf or a hard drive of memories lost to the sands of time.

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Tenth & Pine: Gender-neutral and butter-soft basics for littles + bigs

In 2016, after a stage four endometriosis diagnosis and a 10 year battle with infertility, Tenth & Pine founder Kerynn got her miracle baby, Ezra Jade. As a SAHM with a Masters in Business, she wanted to create a brand that focused on premium quality, function, comfort, and simplicity.

She sought out premium, all natural fabrics and factories that shared her core values, practicing environmentally friendly manufacturing methods with fair and safe working conditions for employees. As a result, her made in the USA, gender-neutral designs check all the boxes. The sustainable, organic basics are perfect for everyday wear, family photos and any adventure in between.

Lucy Lue Organics: Sustainably and ethically-produced modern baby clothes

This family-owned and operated business was started by a mama who wanted out of corporate America after the birth of her son. Thoughtfully designed to mix-and-match, Lucy Lue's sustainably and ethically produced collection of modern organic baby clothes only uses fabrics that are "environmentally friendly from seed to seam." Their gorgeous, earthy tones and comfy, minimalist styles make the perfect addition to first wardrobes from birth through the first years.

Sontakey: Simple bracelets that speak your mind

Sontakey has been such a hit in the Motherly Shop that we knew it was time to expand the line. And since these beautiful mantra bands look so stunning stacked, more options = more fun.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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