Twelve of Twelve

It was about three years ago when we adopted our kids. At that time, everything was so overwhelming. Learning to take care of them was so difficult, and so trying to do any scrapbooking for them was definitely not a first priority. I had little to no time to think about how I would get their life books started, or even find time to take pictures. There would be times when my hubby would take tons of photos of the children, and then we'd get super busy and forget. I'd look through their pictures and see huge gaps where we just had nothing.

Last year, I was wracking my brain, trying to think of something that would remind me to take pictures of everyone in our family. I was feeling tons of “bad mommy” guilt because I was exhausted all the time and wasn't able to keep track of all of moments I wanted to.

In my search to find a solution, I saw that many scrappers were gearing up to take part in “Project 365,” which involved taking a picture everyday for one year. A lot of the scrappers who would take part in this would do a layout each week (or month) showing the photos they took. Part of me really liked this idea, but I couldn't myself see doing this and not falling off the wagon at some point. There are just a lot of days when all I can do is keep the kids clean, fed, and out of the emergency room. I needed a solution that could be done with regularity but not necessarily everyday.

It was around that same time when I came across Susan Keuter's Twelve of Twelve challenge blog. She fully explains the concept there, which I'd encourage you to check out. The gist of it is this: on the twelve day of each month, challenge participants start taking pictures when they wake up. The idea is to take pictures of anything and everything, no matter how big or small. For instance, one might snap pictures of the pajamas they are wearing, what time it was when they woke up, what they ate for lunch, taking the kids to school, how many emails were in their inbox, what was done during a work break, and so on. Pictures are taken from sun up to sun down. Then, over the next few days, challenge participants delete any pictures they won't use or that didn't turn out, cull them down to their favorite twelve shots of the day, and then create a single or double scrapbook layout using those pictures.

Finding the “Twelve of Twelve” challenge was like striking gold for me. Here was a fun yet practical idea that wouldn't take a huge time commitment and would help me document more of those everyday moments I felt I was missing. It didn't mean I wouldn't take pictures at other times throughout the month; of course I would snap a photo here and there when I had a lucid moment. Actively participating in the challenge, though, would ensure that a month would not go by without at least some photos being snapped.

In January, when I had my first experience with the challenge, I was a little nervous at first. I kept thinking, “Will it be a pain to take my camera with me throughout the day?” I wasn't sure how that would work during the “Mom Taxi” portions of the day. I remember dropping the camera on the garage floor and freaking out, thinking I had busted the camera and ruined the whole experience (thankfully, I lucked out and the camera was just fine). After making it through the first half of the day, I realized that it was turning out to be kind of fun. Our point-and-shoot camera was very portable, and not the hassle I was expecting. I got through the whole day and managed to be excited about the challenge. My hubby and kids were enthusiastic, too, and became willing participants, so I saw that it could be something to enjoy each month.

When I got all the photos uploaded, then I started panicking. Will these be the most boring pages ever? After all, we do a lot of the same stuff day after day. I feel like I'm reliving a lot of things over and over again, sort of like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day.” I'm happy to say that this hasn't been the case. While I did see some of the same things recurring in the pages, each page has had its own “flavor.” It's been fun to watch the seasons change, recall how we change our activities with them, and capture some unexpected surprises along the way. For instance, on March 12th, I was going about snapping pictures as usual. In the late afternoon, Elijah woke up from nap with his first loose tooth. It was a complete surprise to everyone, and it made for some fun pictures. Later that night, my husband helped Elijah pull the tooth out and I captured it all!

This month, I was taken aback by all the things that were happening with us on the 12th. My daughter, Izzy, is attending her last month of kindergarten, had her first school lunch, and went to her school carnival. I also took photos of James because I wanted to remember he just recently got potty-trained (which means no more diaper changes --- yea!), and then I saw that all TV stations were switching from analog to digital. The TV thing was a minor detail, but I thought it would be a fun, small part of history to remember. Additionally, The kids now look forward to the 12th of each month as “picture day,” and they even whip out their toy cameras and snap their own photos. :)

The most important lesson I've learned over the last six months is that taking photos regularly can be worked into a busy schedule. Even if the challenge isn't your thing, designate a little time each month to take some pictures. It's easy and I've found it to be very rewarding.

Here are the rest of my “twelve of twelve” pages if you are interested in checking them out:

Thanks for looking...:)


  1. This would have worked so much better for me than my 365 thing, which ended up more like a 37 thing...

    What a great idea!

  2. Forgot to mention: I love that your layouts have the same basic design and fonts each time, I'm sure that makes it quick and easy, but still fun to change each month a little!

  3. That is a really fun idea. I might have to give that a try one of these days. I love the design you chose for the pages too.

  4. This is just adorable. Capture those great moments that may not mean a whole lot to other people, but you and your wonderful family will have a lifetime of great memories. You know they always say it's the little things that matter the most. Thanks for sharing. And, I love reading your blog! As my daughter tells her children, you will thank me one day. She hasn't missed a thing since their birth. LOL

  5. I love love this idea Lorell! And love that you can look back after a year and see the growth and quick look at what was going on in your life :)