My dad rubber cemented our family pictures into albums. It is a painful confession but true. From the old sepia prints of family from the turn of the century to my childhood, it was all glued with that yucky, damaging adhesive into albums. As soon as I learned anything about photos, I took over the albums and transferred them all safely using good adhesive :). The good part about our family albums...is that we had them to look at growing up. I remember paging through my baby album and family vacations. And now as an adult, I have found that in large part, the photos memories have become my strongest ones due to looking at pictures together and having conversations about them.

Fast forward to the digital age where most of us, some more than others, have thousands and thousands of pictures on our hard drives. I have heard many confessions from people that their photos stay there and they are not sure of what to do about it. I think that's a bit sad. I think it's important to have photos in books so they can be seen and enjoyed. I tread lightly here because I know that most of us, especially moms it seems, have so much on our plates and I don't want to to add a big heavy burden of another project that should be done. However, I wanted to share some of what works for me in hopes that it might spark an idea or two for you.

I believe in making it simple. I know there are scrapbookers out there, and there are people for whom the general concept makes them nauseous. I get that. That's why it's important to find something that works for you. Whether it's the cute little flip albums from Target when all you do is insert the photos or doing a more involved scrapbook or creating a photo book online, the time and effort involved varies.

Before I explain some of what I do, let me clearly explain that I DO NOT use every picture that I take. That is completely overwhelming. I give myself permission to use only the best or my very favorites.

For our family, I make scrapbooks, very, very simple scrapbooks so I can keep up with it without the project becoming way too big. Here are our family albums on my desk in our office. Everyone has their own color. Brown is the color that I use for Ben and I. These are 12x12 three ring binders. There are lots and lots of options out there.

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Then I create pages. Some I make just one of it for myself if it is of something that doesn't involve the kids. If it is a day that involves everyone I make very similar copies for everyone. For instance, this lemon picking page I did for Ruby but I also made a copy for my album and the ones I made for the boys are similar but have a few close ups of them.

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If the kids make art or cards or notes, I add it in here too. See, pretty easy stuff.

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What I am finding as I go along, is that I really love reading some of the notes that I write to the kids or of the funny things that they say. It is so fun to reminisce and I am finding that it is a good way to remember things that I thought I wouldn't forget...but I have.

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Another option for kids it to just do a birthday book, a page a year. I record my kids' "favorites", a picture of them, and now a picture that they draw of themselves year by year.

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Ruby really loved to see the differences in her drawing this year.

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If any kind of gluing and pasting make you nervous, photo books are an incredible option. I just went online and created this one of the day my niece was born. After my photos were uploaded, I think it took me about 40 minutes to create the whole thing, top to bottom. I have had clients create books for gifts for grandparents or themselves out of our sessions too....and I love that.

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This book is a 12 by 12 size too and nice and thin. I love how easy they are to create and all the options that are available. I kept this one very simple and classic.

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You can decide how many pictures you want on a page and how you want to group them or how much you want to say.

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We had this book out at Quinn's open house and it was fun to see people pick it up and page through it. How fun it will be for Kelly and Dano to read it and look at it with Quinn one day.

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For in whatever format you use to show your pictures on your walls, in a flip album, scrapbook or photo book like this, you will be communicating value. You also will be establishing a place for conversations.

If you feel overwhelmed, don't be. When you have time, even just a bit, just start on a small project. Printing out pictures of a vacation and sliding them into an album with a few comments. Condensing a first year to a hundred favorites and then working on a photo book. Making a mini album of you and your sweetie. Keep it simple. Keep it meaningful but by all means do not keep it all on your computer :).

If any of you have any additional ideas of what helps you to display and show your photos, I would LOVE to hear about them in the comments section here.

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