My kids have started school, y’all. How sweet are they?
I’m ridiculously, insanely, out-of-my-mind delighted and proud of these two not-so-little ones.
Every first and last day of school since Cam started preschool, I have snapped a picture of each of them on the porch in the morning and created this digital time capsule of who they are is in that moment.
Every time, I share it to social media to let friends and family see who they are becoming as they grow.
Every time, someone comments telling me how cute it is, how creative I am, and asking me how to do it so they can do it for their kids.
Every time, I laugh my ever-loving rear end off at each and every compliment. I’m not even kidding. It’s been three years and it still both tickles and baffles me to death that people are so in love with this and think it’s so awesome.
Because the truth is that this family first-and-last-day-of-school tradition was born not of organization, planning, and creativity but of desperation, panic, and a total and complete lack of artistic talent- and also out of the attachment of this 21st century parent to her cell phone.
For weeks leading up to Cam’s first day of preschool, I was stressing about that FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PIC. You know, the one with the kid holding the cute sign that lets everyone know what grade they are going into? I love those. I love that they capture the excitement of the moment and that they can be called on again and again as time marches on to highlight growth as these little school-goers get bigger and continue forward on their journeys.
I really wanted to do this with my kids but I’m not exactly the cute sign-making kind. The visual arts are not among my gifts and I had no idea how I was going to pull this off.
That night before the first day of school, I’m pretty sure went through half a ream of printer paper trying to make a sign. I hand-lettered, I computer-lettered, and nothing was right. I even looked on Etsy, willing to PAY for something- but nothing was quite right. I didn’t just want a “FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL” sign, I wanted something that captured who he was at the time, something that I could really look back on and remember what life was like with him at that time. Panic was starting to set in. I would send this child off to preschool WITHOUT A FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL SIGN PIC. THE SHAAAAAAAME!!!! DARN YOU, LACK OF ARTISTIC TALENT!!!!
Finally, it occurred to me to stop thinking about what I couldn’t do and think about what I COULD do and how I could use that to accomplish my goal. I couldn’t hand-letter like my friend Devan or graphic design like my friend Amy, but I could sit and dink around on my phone like a BOSS.
So, on the first day of school I snapped a pic of him with some room on the side, asked him a few questions about his favorite things, and when I got home from dropping him off, I put Kenzie (then about 14 months old) down for her morning nap, opened my favorite text-over-picture app, and dinked and diddled on my phone until I had something passable. Then, I saved it to my camera roll, uploaded and emailed that bad boy to whoever I thought needed to to be pacified with a first day of school pic.
I felt slightly embarrassed as I clicked “Post” on Facebook, I felt like I was straight up advertising my lack of craftsiness to the entire world. I was THAT MOM who couldn’t conjure up a decent sign for my kid to hold so I had to make something on my phone.
But the response was INSANE. People thought I paid for it. People thought his teachers did it for us. People were like, “Wait, you DID THIS YOURSELF!!?!?! TEACH ME YOUR WAYS!!!!!” You could have knocked me over with a feather. I was truly floored and also considerably amused that people thought it was anything special.
So, here by “Popular Demand” (BAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA, can you even? I LITERALLY cannot), I shall now share with you, good readers of my blog, the step by step process of how magical me creates thes
How to Make an Adorable First Day of School Pic
Step 1: Have zero artistic talent
Step 2: Stress over making a sign for several days and try eleventy billion other ways and have them all fail (feel free to skip this step. And step one)
Step 3: Find and download a text over picture app of your choice. I use the Pic Collage app.
Step 4: Choose a few questions you would like to ask your kid on their first and last day of school for the next however many years (Favorite book, favorite food, favorite song, favorite book, favorite show or movie, favorite color, favorite activity, what do they want to be when they grown up, what would they do with a million dollars, etc.)
Step 5: Open your chosen app and go to town. I hear from people who know about these things that it’s generally good to choose only one or two fonts to ensure a cohesive look, so that’s what I did. Here are a few screenshots of the process I used.
Step 6: Save and share.
This may not be the easiest or the best way to do it. You may even find an app that has a template. Heck, this app may have a template that I just haven’t even found.
But this is what’s been working for me. And that’s what this is about: Finding something that works for you and your family and rolling with it. Kind of like all of parenting in general.
Thanks for reading- and find me and tag me if you end up making something like this for your kids! I’d love to see it!