I’m extra fun with caffeine.

Sundays with family are my happiest days. 

My perfect morning consists of an early morning sunrise, coffee, and quiet time with Jesus. 

I could binge on chocolate, cookies, and “The Office” all night long. 

Grease and Mamma Mia are my jam.

My ideal night is sitting around the fire pit and pool with my girlfriends.

My favorite trip has been to the Big Island, Hawaii, but my dream trip is Copenhagen, Denmark.

I want to say I love living out in the country, but I really enjoy picking up a latte at the Starbucks on every corner.

Get to know Bethie

How to Document Your Motherhood Story

Well, folks, I’m back yet again to continue the family documentation series… 

In light of the BGP Motherhood Event, I’m sharing how to document your motherhood story…

We live in the thick of the digital age, with so many photos – it’s so overwhelming. 

Not to mention all the possible options for documenting your family  – again so many choices it can be so overwhelming! 

My hope for this blog is simple: 

  1. To lay out a couple of ways & ideas you could approach documenting your motherhood story (even if your photo-taking skills need work or you’re a little camera shy) 
  2. Sharing my approach to family documentation this year & my future goals
  3. And the best tips for getting started (with a project that can easily leave you feeling overwhelmed & paralyzed!) 

Different ways to approach this 

When it comes to documenting your motherhood story, there is no one way to do it! If you think back over the years… photo & videos are fairly new to the world, but people have been documenting their family for centuries now. 

Of course, I’m a big fan of using photos (& videos) to tell your motherhood story! (look down below for how I’m approaching family documentation with photos and videos this year)  

However, there are still a few super sweet ways to approach documenting your motherhood story, if you are not the most skilled photographer or are feeling a bit camera-shy…


  • It doesn’t have to be daily, just when you feel you have something to say, a memory you don’t want to forget, or a thought you just have to get on paper. 
  • I’ve recently heard of Promptly Journals – they have some really sweet journals for every season of life… childhood history journals, postpartum journals, young parent journals, etc.
  • Keep a journal of quick notes & memories, write down sweet things that happened throughout your day, and write down the silly phrases and special conversations you have with your children. Keep this on hand so it’s easy to write it down in the moment
  • Write notes & letters to your children … save it for them to read someday when they grow up or maybe you write them a birthday letter every year and read it to them on their birthday each year. 

In my opinion, this is just as valuable a way to preserve your motherhood story, maybe even sweeter at times. While a photo showcases your family & life on the surface, journaling and writing things down allows you to share your heart. (Unless you are comfortable with video or audio recording, this is something that might not be preserved otherwise) 

I also like the idea of journaling, because whereas a photo or video has to be captured in the moment – which can be tricky if you don’t have help. Or the moment can go by fast without even thinking about taking a photo or video– journaling can wait to be done until you have the time and space to sit and journal what happened. This is often easier for busy moms. 

How to Take Your Family Photos from Digital Clutter to Heirlooms

If you want more help creating a photo system that works for you, then you can download this *free* BGP Guide: How to Take Your Family Photos from Digital Clutter to Family Heirlooms. Think of this as long-term planning. How do you want your photos to be displayed so you can enjoy them by the time you are 70? You can download it here: 

My current system & what I would like to do someday 

This year, I’ve decided to try my hand at using video. My sister is great when it comes to filming. She is very natural talking to the camera, and she can pound out the sweetest home movies in no time… she seriously makes it look effortless. – I’m a little better with photos 🤪

But this year, I decided to challenge myself and film a year-in-review home movie.

Here’s the system, I’m using: 

  1. For every moment that I want to add to the year in review, I take 3-5 quick clips filmed horizontally. Usually 1 wide shot, a detail shot, and then 2-3 videos of the moment happening – all of them less than 10 seconds. 
  2. I add those clips to an album on my phone titled ‘Month Year’ 
  3. Once the month is over I sit and edit the monthly clips into a 2-minute movie. Being very intentional to not go over the 2-minute limit. That way at the end of the year I’ll have 24 minute movie – long enough to sit and enjoy the year recap, but not too long that I’ll never want to set aside the time to watch it again. 

I’m feeling proud that I’m staying up on my monthly edits! I’ve been taking a few minutes on Sundays to sit and work on it & I’m loving it! It’s so fun to relive all the moments – moments I already forgot about less than a month later! Not only that but I’m blown away by how easy, fun, and creative it is! 

Plus, challenging myself to make one 2-minute movie each month is not only doable but it’s making me so much more comfortable with filming – which I love! Someday, I’m going to want to see the way everyone moved and laughed and what they sounded like just as much as I will want a beautiful photograph. 

You can learn more about this system at DIY Family Films – a film course for busy moms. The Year in Review module is in the DIY Family Films Plus Course. And it’s great – so super simple, yet she answered every question. Perfect for the beginner! 

Other Things I’m doing: 

I still keep up with my iPhone photos:

  • After taking a bunch of photos, I favorite the best, and edit them a little bit…
  • Occasliaonly, I will create a small album from a trip
    • I find that with big events like a trip,  there is so much that I want to save that they often would take up too much space in a Year-In-Review album or movie… so I prefer to put a few of my favorite clips, photos, and moments in the Year-In-Review, but then create a whole separate album or movie just for the trip. 

However, I don’t feel like I need a ton of albums from my young adult years, so really I’m waiting to start my full photo system until I have a family of my own. 

My Goals For Family Documenting in the Future:

One thing I want to get better at is using my nice camera to capture my own life, editing my favorites monthly, and then curating them in one big yearly album. 

Little side rant: I love the idea that John Mark Comer talks about in the Ruthless Elimination of Hurry of dumbing down our technology as much as possible. (You can check out my takeaway blog from the book HERE.) 

But a goal of mine someday would be to tap into using my camera to capture and document my own life rather than relying on my phone. Not only would this force me to be more intentional with what is photo-worthy, but also I would focus more on the quality of each photo – not to mention have a much stronger system for editing and backing up my photos, than just keeping it all on my phone. 

I’m still brainstorming how I want to approach this one day, but if you are ready to roll your sleeves up and jump into this now and start making big family yearbooks with your everyday photos, 2 resources I would point you in the direction of would be: 

  1. Blurb books — I would start here if you want to print a nice big family yearbook 
  2. Align Family Yearbook Design – if you want more help handing off the design of your family yearbook, Align offers this service where you can send in the photos you want to be included in your yearbook and they will put together the design. 

Choose the system you’ll stick to … no shiny object syndrome. 

The bottom line here is that there is no one right way to document your motherhood & family story. 

Things to think through when choosing how you want to document your motherhood story: 

  • Is this sustainable? 
  • Will this help me feel more organized or will it make me feel cluttered and overwhelmed? 
  • Is this system true to me? 

Maybe the idea of having to journal everything feels completely daunting to you, but the idea of a couple of quick video clips is totally up your alley.  Then choose to commit to the video and ditch the journaling idea altogether!

The best system is the one you will actually use. So figure out what that looks like for you and stick with it. 

There are so many different options for how you can go about it – ‘shiny object syndrome’ can definitely kick in. Wanting to jump to the next best thing before finishing the last one. But I suggest picking the way you want to go about it and commit to that. 

Then, even when life throws curve balls, you can still document and capture your family with the intention of how you will use those photos or videos someday. Even if you don’t complete the project until much later. 

For example, my mom chose to go down the scrapbooking route, creating a Tot-to-Teen scrapbook for each one of us kids. However, somewhere along the way in between raising 4 kids, serious illnesses, and homeschooling, scrapbooking was no longer a top priority… 

… However she continued to take photos with the scrapbooks in mind. 

Fast forward a few years, now she is healthy and has a bit more time in her schedule, she has gone back around and is completing the scrapbooks. Mine and my older brother’s scrapbooks are done & she only has a few years left to scrapbook before finishing my younger siblings too. 

The point is… even if you get behind at some point along the way, stick to the plan, and give yourself grace to finish it down the line. But stay focused on the goal, and avoid ditching your original plan to add in the next best or currently trending way to document your family. 

Not only by choosing one way to document your family allows you to stay focused, but it sets you free from the mom guilt of feeling like you are not doing enough to preserve your family memories. Rather, you can let those options pass you by knowing you have your own solid system for documenting your family’s story. 

Things I personally want to avoid…. 

I am far from being a minimalist … However, I can see the value in it. When you have less, you truly enjoy what you do have. 

And when it comes to photos, this is true. You won’t want to look at your albums in 50 years if you put together monthly albums. — 50 years later that would add up to 600 small albums! However, 50 big albums total from your life is still a lot, but much more manageable. 

Think long-term when it comes to family documentation. What do you want to have at the end of your life to pass down? Is it sustainable? 

That’s why I prefer to not consider social media posts or reels as family documentation. 

While I do love chat books, the square prints from Parabo Press, & the one-second-a-day movie app, I would prefer to consider those as fun add-ons to keep around here and there, but ultimately they don’t make up long-term family documentation.  

I’ve shared this before many times, but I suggest sitting down and writing down your legacy photo plan. What exactly do you want to leave behind to the next generation? Here’s a peek at mine:

Again by having this plan written down, you can slowly work towards the end goal and give yourself permission to skip out on anything that isn’t on the list.

In my mind, those options, like relying on social media & having too many heirlooms make things feel messier and more cluttered, then moving the ball forward in tidying up all our photos so they can easily be passed down to future generations. 

How to start so it’s not parallelizing 

If telling your motherhood story is something you want to do, but are feeling daunted by it, my best advice would be to just pick one way & start small. 

The way you choose to document your family and motherhood story is something that can grow over time. 

Choose to just start today and learn a system … start small with what is doable now, make it easy, keep it organized, and over time improve and grow it. 

If you feel paralyzed looking back at all the years past that haven’t been organized, then you will never move forward. So, just start with today and move forward. 

Then if you feel so inclined later you can go back and add the photos into your system.

Next Steps?  

There is a lot here – and I would love to share more about how to organize your personal photos & videos… family documentation lights me up! Let me know what questions you have and would like me to share more about! 

And be sure to grab my complimentary BGP Guides & related blogs below – you might find them helpful for your next steps: 

How to Take Your Photos from Digital Clutter to Heirlooms 

If you want more help creating a photo system that works for you, then you can download this *free* BGP Guide: How to Take Your Family Photos from Digital Clutter to Family Heirlooms. Think of this as long-term planning. How do you want your photos to be displayed so you can enjoy them by the time you are 70. You can download it here: 

Checklist for *Actually* Printing & Enoying Your Photos

Freebie: Checklist for *Actually* Printing and Enjoying Your Photos | Document Your Motherhood Story

If you want more help with printing your photos (both iPhone snapshots and professional photos), I went ahead and created a checklist to walk you through it step-by-step. You can print it off and check it off as you go!  And it’s broken into super simple and quick steps for you, to make sure you actually get👏  it 👏 done👏 

You can download the complimentary BGP Checklist here: 

Other Blogs That You Might Find Helpful When It Comes to Family Documentation: 

Happy reading friend! As always, I love to hear your thoughts, questions, & feedback and what you would like me to share next! Comment below or email me at Bethiegrondinphotography@gmail.com! I would love to chat!

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I'm an open book in my blogs. I share everything that has taken me from living in sickness, anxiety, and depression to having life abundantly. I don't share for pity or as a way to vent, but rather to encourage other women to live a peaceful and simplified life. I'll only address things when I can look back and with clear thinking decide what has helped me throughout this journey. 

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