April 9, 2018

Cooper's Baby Book

As I've mentioned a few times, I've been working my way through Cooper's baby book over the past month.  This was another thing where I had found several ideas on Pinterest as I started saving ideas for the nursery, so I saved them on a Pinterest board to come back to.  After looking at several options, I decided I would probably just want to make my own photobook with all of the details I wanted to capture. 

So I took from several ideas I found and wrote up some prompts and put them in a Google Document that I've added to over the last year.  It had a whole lot of things about pregnancy, his birth story, and our first weeks at home.  Then I had pages for each month where I put the info I put in our Cooper's Cubbyhole posts along with important things I wanted to remember from each month.

As far as organizing pictures, I keep them organized in folders on the computer.  It's not a revolutionary system, but it helped make the process of compiling his book fairly easy so I thought I'd share.  I do our family photobooks each year on our anniversary  so I have our pictures organized by those years.  So in my "pictures" folder I have folders for Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, Year 4, and now Year 5.  Then within those I have lots of folders for different seasons/themes/holidays.  So I started a "baby" folder in Year 4 when I was pregnant and it grew from there.  I then added a folder for each month.  Within the monthly folders I have a folder for favorites from that month that has less than 10 pictures of the highlights.  I also have folders in there for any special events, holidays, or trips within those months.  Then I numbed all of the pictures starting at 001.  This took some time, but it made it so easy to refer to the pictures and to add references in my google doc of what pictures I wanted to include.  This was also very useful as I started creating the different themes that I posted about where I have pictures throughout the year to go with different spreads-- Lily, cousins, friends, etc.  In my Google doc I have each one listed and then I just put the month and the number pictures that go with it.  So easy to find everything!  In fact now that Cooper's first year is over, it's a little weird to not be organizing all of his pictures by month--since I won't do another baby book I just have his pictures mixed in with ours in the different seasons and events.

Okay, now on to the actual book.  I started working on it around the beginning of March.  The first thing I had to do was decide where to create it.  Due to some drama, our last yearly photobook that I created ended up being a huge mess and I had to create it twice.  So I decided to stick with a company that I knew and trusted for Cooper's book and went with Shutterfly.  I know there are lots of companies out there and ones that might be better, but I've always had a good experience with Shutterfly and find their program easy to use and customize.  One of the baby book ideas that I had really liked came from the blog Who Arted.  The book was fairly simple, but I liked a lot of the ideas she included and she even has a link to her entire photobook that she made that you can browse through.  So I basically copied her :)  And this is some of how it turned out:

This is the cover and page one.  After that I had a page about finding out we were pregnant and how we announced it, a page with the monthly bump updates that I kept on our computer.  I included a page about our gender reveal and Christmas card announcement and a spread about our baby shower.  There was a page of pictures of the nursery and a page with a family tree that I made.

There was a spread for the day he was born including all his stats, first pictures, mom and dad's first thoughts when we saw him, and some notes about important news and what things cost the day he was born.
One of the many things I liked in the example book above was the calendar for each month.  It notes things such as doctor appointments, holidays, milestones, playdates, swim lessons, vacations, etc.  So I did a calendar for each month.  I kept a paper copy of these calendars on our desk in our office and added to them throughout the year, then I made a computerized copy of each month for the book.  So in the book there is a spread like this for each month-- a calendar looking at the month, stats for his month birthday, then his monthly pictures with the notes of things he liked, didn't like and his developmental milestones.

Also for each month, I had one page that had some of our favorite pictures from the month along with a note I wrote him each month (usually they are posted in my blog along with the Cooper's Cubbyhole posts).  That's pictured on the right above.  On the left was usually a special event for that month-- this example was his first time swimming in August.  Other examples included First Mother's Day, First Father's Day, First Road Trip, First Rangers Game, First OU Baylor Game, Sitting up, Fall festivities, Family pictures, First Halloween, First Thanksgiving, First Christmas, First Valentine's Day, and Spring at the Arboreturm.  The only month that didn't have a special event was January, so I just did a 2 page spread of pictures from the month.  

For the last monthly update I didn't have a calendar (since March was included in the 11 month post), so I did his 12 month pictures with things he likes, doesn't and milestones.  Then David and I each wrote him a note for his birthday and I put those on the opposite page with some pictures we took for his birthday.

Following that was a collage of all of his monthly pictures along with a list of all of his firsts.  Again, this was a page I had in the google doc where I recorded all of the dates.  These milestones are mostly recorded on the calendars throughout the year but it's nice to have it all in one place.

After that were all of the special spreads-- Sleepsacks, Breakfast Tacos, Neighborhood Walks, Lily, Friends, and Cousins.  Then I did a spread of his 1 year old pictures and a spread about his actual first birthday.  Lastly were some pages about his birthday party.

Another one the ideas I loved from the example book is that she scanned in all of the cards they got at showers, when the baby was born, and first birthday and included them in the book.  I loved that idea, so I did it as well, and I even have started doing it with all of the cards, invitations and announcements we get throughout the year and I include them in our family photobook.  It's always so hard to know what to do with cards, so I love having them all collected this way.  I did a spread of all the cards we got at my shower and when Cooper was born toward the beginning of the book.  And the above spread is all of his first birthday cards on the left and all of the "My favorite memory of your first year" cards from his birthday party on the right.  It's so fun having these in the book and seeing our friends and family's handwriting there.

We ended with a collage page of 9 of our favorite pictures from the year-- none too special, just fun smiles we wanted to remember.  All in all, the book ended up being 94 pages!  I proofread it several times and then I ordered it last night and can't wait to get it.  Hopefully it will be a fun way to remember Cooper's first year.  

Sorry for another long post, just wanted to share and remember the details of how I made this book!

April 8, 2018

Celebrating our Little Rookie

As I mentioned in my post about Cooper's 1 year pictures, we decided on a baseball theme for his first birthday party.  We celebrated this weekend with family (and a couple of friends) and had a great afternoon!  I found most of my ideas on Pinterest and was even able to find free printables for almost everything, so I'll share links throughout.  Here's a glimpse of Cooper's first birthday party!  Just a warning, it ended up being a pretty long post since I included most of the details.

Decorations and Printables
I looked at several different invitation ideas and took the elements I liked and created our own invitation.  I made my invitations (and most things I designed) in Silhouette Studio, mainly because it's one of the only softwares we have on our computer and I've found it to be pretty easy to use.
This Cooper's Dugout sign is from the wall in his room!

I  made this ONE banner to put on his high chair, but it was pretty heavy, so I moved it to hang above the table in our entryway.  On the entryway table we had a collage of Cooper's 1 year old pictures along with the 2 "activities" for his party
We had printed some pages where people could write their favorite memory of the year and then I scanned them in to put them in his baby book.  We also did a predictions game looking ahead to the year Cooper turns 18.  We asked guests to predict things like his height, his first job, his favorite subject, his college choice, and whether or not he could grow a mustache or would have gray hairs.  I created and printed the above sign and put it in a cheap 4x6 frame (the kind that you can get 2 for less than $1 at Walmart) and put it on the table with the papers to fill out.

I made this chalkboard print about Cooper at age 1.  Once again, I gathered several examples that I liked and made my own.  I followed the tutorial and tips from this blog post and downloaded a free trial of photoshop for the week to create it.  I had it printed at Fedex and framed it.  We had it out on one of the food tables and I plan to hang it in Cooper's room now that the party is over.

I downloaded and printed this Concessions Banner from Aspenjay and hung it above our island where we put the food.

I also created a banner of Cooper's monthly pictures and hung it up across our cabinets.  I used some baseball cupcake toppers I downloaded to write out "Cooper's Rookie Year" and hung it in the middle.  I also printed this baseball Happy Birthday Banner and hung it over our TV.  Several of the printables I used were from this link, I used the baseball cupcake toppers, the food labels, and the bottle wrappers to go on the favors for the kids.

 We decided to do mostly "ballpark food" for lunch.  I found some slider buns and thought they were so cute, so we did sliding into first sliders-- again I designed and printed this page and framed it in my other cheap 4x6 frame to put on the food table.  We had pulled pork and turkey burger sliders as well as hot dogs.

We also had popcorn, cracker jacks, cheese, crackers, and fruit, and chips.

And for dessert I made Cooper another baseball smash cake and some cupcakes for the guests.  We also had baseball helmet sundaes like we love to get at the ballpark.  I ordered the Cubs logo since the colors matched our theme and they had a C for Cooper.  I prescooped the ice cream and froze it in batches in cupcake wrappers in a muffin tin and it helped a lot for serving the ice cream quickly!  We also had several toppings for the sundaes.

In addition to Cooper's shirt that I made and he wore for his 1 year old pictures, I also made David and I shirts for the party.  They say "Team Cooper" on the front and then the back we each have our age and "name" (Daddy, Mommy, and Rookie of the Year)

Thanks to my hubby for agreeing to wear the matching shirts!

 We didn't plan a whole lot to do other than eat, fill out the few pages, and hang out.  We spent some time opening all of the generous gifts.  Cooper actually had very little interest in staying near us while we opened gifts, but we did grab a picture of him checking out one of his cards. 

 We sang Happy Birthday and ate cake.
He loved the icing!

He enjoyed seeing his friend Leon 

And his cousins are always a big hit!

After the party we said goodbye to all of our family, Cooper took a nap, and David and I cleaned up.  When Cooper got up he had fun exploring all of his new toys.  We've since then organized them a little better to rotate them out, but he got so much good stuff!  We are so thankful to our family who celebrated with us!

And that's a wrap on Cooper's first birthday.  I'll post one more about some details of his baby book and then we'll move on to year two with our sweet boy!

April 4, 2018

Easter and Cooper's Birthday

Well we made it through the busy weekend of Cooper's first Birthday and Easter all rolled into one!  

 We got Cooper up singing Happy Birthday and led him out to a hallway full of balloons.  He loved playing with them and they have been a fun addition to our living room all week!

Then we had breakfast.  I had planned to try to make one shaped pancakes with a 1 cookie cutter as seen on Pinterest, but it was definitely a Pinterest fail since they didn't hold their shape--which is fine since we just tore them up for him anyway!  I did cut a few pieces of his cheese into the number 1 and he had cheese and blueberries (his 2 favorites) along with his first pancakes for his birthday breakfast.
After breakfast we got dressed and ready for church.  Then we attempted a little Easter photo shoot with his bunny and his duck.

If you've never heard Cooper's silly laugh, this is a picture of it and I highly encourage you check it out some time-- it is so random and goofy and funny.

He doesn't sit as still as he used to for pictures!

Then we met up with my family to go to my mom's church for Easter.  It was fun seeing some old friends briefly.  Then we headed back to my mom's for lunch and naptime--Cooper ended up napping for 2.5 hours (since he didn't nap in the morning) and my niece and nephew were anxiously waiting for him to wake up so we could do the egg hunt.  We were talking about how hard it was to wait and Chase said "yeah, especially when I've got Easter on my mind!"

My brother and David hid the eggs for the kids-- each kid had their own eggs, so Piper's were on the ground, Chase's were a little higher and Cooper's were just in a pile on the patio since he's not quite ready for hunting eggs!

He did well putting some of them in the basket, until he got to the baseball shaped one and then he just wanted to tell me "ball" over and over and show it to me.

We opened up all the eggs and Cooper got some money for his piggy bank and some toddler snacks.  These three cousins make life so fun!

Then it was time to head inside for Cooper's birthday dessert.  My mom bought cupcakes for everyone and we sang Happy Birthday to Cooper.

Blowing out the candle.

He was definitely a fan of the icing- he mainly just threw the cake off his tray.

It was a Happy Birthday for our sweet and silly 1 year old!  We were all exhausted by the time we got home that evening!

April 3, 2018

Cooper's 1 Year Photo Shoot

When I first started planning Cooper's room over a year ago, I got my Pinterest board together and added lots of ideas.  After I pinned ideas for our Baseball themed nursery, Pinterest started recommending other pins including some first birthday party and picture ideas, so I started a board for Cooper's first birthday and saved all the ideas I liked.  When we started talking about Cooper's birthday party a couple of months ago, we discussed some other theme ideas to go along with some of his interests (like DUCKS), but we really liked the baseball ideas we had found and it offered a lot of great material to work with!  Plus, we already have so much baseball stuff that we don't have to buy much for decorations.  His party is this coming weekend, so I'll definitely share details after it happens.

But one of the things I really loved was the idea of taking his 1 year old pictures at a baseball field.  I thought this was kind of special and different and the pictures I'd seen were so cute.  So that's what really sold me on the idea of doing some fun baseball themed things for his first birthday.  I had planned to take them this week during the week, but I wasn't sure what the weather would do, so we took advantage of the nice day on Saturday to go and take some pictures.  I was so glad that we did it on the weekend when David could be there--it was nice having him to help with organizing all the stuff and helping to get Cooper to smile, and I love having a few pictures of each of us with Cooper.  So here is an overload of pictures from our photoshoot of our 1 year old!

We started in the dugout and Cooper had fun walking around and banging on the bench

He tried so hard to hold the bat, but couldn't quite figure it out.

I can't even with this picture and him looking so sweetly at his daddy!  I wasn't able to capture any good smiles from him in this pose, but to me this is so much better!

Then we headed to the field and worked on taking some steps before setting up for more pictures


 He loved having all of his books and toys out there, but they definitely kept him distracted so they only lasted a few pictures!

 There was a game going on on the field next to us, so Cooper was clapping along with the spectators

His face in this one made both David and I laugh

I made his shirt and love how it turned out! 
I also made him a shirt to wear on Easter/his actual birthday, it was a disaster, so at least one of the two worked out well!

Watching some more baseball!

Love this little guy so much

Then it was cake time!  Although he didn't immediately eat it, he went right for it to explore

Love my sweet boy and I'm so glad we were able to capture some fun pictures of this snapshot of time!