Monday, June 10, 2013

Who Loves Zuzu? (a birthday book)

David and I are not buying much for Zuzu's first birthday (the wooden bead maze from Ikea totally doesn't count, right?).  We've decided to keep her party pretty small because I don't want it to stress me out.  I'm going to work on some special details because you know I like that kind of thing (and if Crafty Cousin Amanda lived closer I would have even MORE special details--haha).  I'm not going to hire a brass band or buy a fondant cake or rent Shetland ponies (this year--stay tuned for Zuzu's Wild West Party one of these days...).  And we're not buying her a bunch of presents, simply because the child needs nothing.

(Except maybe some sandals in size 2.  Her feet are so tiny that the size 3 sandals I bought in the spring, assuming they would fit her this summer (since she's been pretty perfect about wearing the clothes that match her age) are way too big.  Petite little feet are cute.  So, yeah, I just ordered her a pair of sandals on clearance from The Children's Place.  Free shipping plus extra 20% off today!  Their baby pajamas with feet are my favorites.  And no, they are not sponsoring this post or blog.  I really just like them.)

Anyway, this blog entry is going off on a million tangents when the point of it is that one gift I'm really excited to give her is a photo board book from Pint Size Productions.  (They don't know who I am and also did not sponsor this post.  I'll be sure to let you all know when I become famous and people start offering me free things.)

Zuzu loves books, but she can be a little rough on them.  I'm pretty sure this is typical of almost-one-year-olds, but I'm looking forward to the day that books are for reading and not for chewing.  I keep her board books in the front of the book baskets on the floor of her room and she only gets to read the ones with paper pages if someone is helping her (I'm envisioning some shelving solutions--that may happen later this summer).

She loves to pull out the board books and look through them.  I love watching her turn the pages.  Her favorite is still Good Night, Moon, but any book featuring farm animals is a top pick as well.  She also has a duck board book with button you can push to make a quacking noise, and that one has been getting a lot of attention recently.  Quack, quack.  Quack, quack.  (Why won't your battery die?)  Quack, quack.  Quack, quack.

Anyway.  You can never have too many books, right?  (Unless you no longer have shelving!  #firstworldproblems) so if I'm giving a present, chances are that a book is involved.

Not being close to our families is maybe the only downside of us living in St. Louis, so I decided to create a photo board book that would include pictures of people we don't get to see often enough.  The board book that Pint Size Productions offers is short--only 7 pages!  This made things tricky because it just so happens that many more than 7 people love Zuzu.

So this particular book (creatively titled Who loves Zuzu?) just features her parents and grandparents (Including greats and steps, Zuzu is has five living grandmas.  She's not spoiled at all.).

Putting it together was as simple as any photo book--I uploaded pictures of David and me (even though she sees plenty of us, it didn't seem right to leave out Mommy and Daddy) and all of Zuzu's grandparents holding her.  The language is simple and repetitive, listing the people pictured on each page.

my parents

David's grandma
Some of the photos I included are newborn photos, and some are more recent.  I didn't worry about chronology and selected them based on how cute they were and whether they could be cropped to fit the square shape of the board book.  I didn't have an easily croppable picture of my Nana and Papa together with Zuzu (at least, not one in which everyone's eyes were open), so I made a quick collage on PicMonkey (this worked out great because the square is the default shape so it fit the book perfectly) and included two pictures on one page.

Nana & Papa are my dad's parents
Deciding which pictures to include took the longest; the rest of the process went pretty quickly.  To be honest, the Pint Size Productions website is not especially user friendly, at least not compared to photo sites like Shutterfly and Snapfish, which I've used for calendar making.  Pint Size seems to be more focused on personalizing pre-made board books, like those by Sandra Boyton.  I might have gotten impatient if I were making more than seven pages and a cover.  You have to upload photos one at a time, you can't see all the pages or the pictures laid out side by side, you have to click "update" every time you want to make a change, and the preview is kind of small--but since it's such a short book, it works out okay, and the printed finished product is excellent quality.

I would love to do a larger photo book like this in the future, with more family and friends.  I love the idea of Zuzu being able to flip through the book and name people we love who are far away--and hopefully get excited about seeing family and friends whom we only get to visit once a year or so.  Maybe for her next birthday or Christmas?  But for now I wanted a book that she can hold and man-handle (and maybe chew on a little) without damaging it.  So this little board book should do the trick, and give her something cute to open at her birthday party!

Yeah, we kinda do.


  1. Very, very cute. My girls had similar books, and it really made things easier for my shy one who would take awhile to warm up to far away relatives.

    I love it.

    Can't wait to see the shelving ideas - especially since we'll be adding to them. :)

  2. Awww love it! I took advantage of a Shutterfly deal and made a photo book for Davey for his first bday last month, but I'll have to check out the board book option.

    Not that Zuzu needs more books, but have you seen these Baby Lit books? OMG. Davey was given the Pride and Prejudice board book for his bday. I think he finds it lame and girly, but I am LOVING it!

  3. Love this! Your Zuzu is one adorable baby girl, and she seems to be thriving on all that love.

  4. We need a BLM/rainbow board book so the kiddos don't forget each other or te mommies!!! Too cute! Miss y'all!!!!!!

  5. This is SUCH a fantastic idea!!

  6. Beautiful book! I totally agree that you cannot have too many books. I have made some photo books for the kids on Shutterfly - I always wait to get a coupon code in the email, and then it feels like such a steal. Margo loves looking at pictures (she has even starting carrying around old calendars that Henry found somewhere), so photo books are the best.

  7. LOVE this idea!! Thanks for the tips and links. :)
    It's perfect in a number of ways, love the pictures and how it turned out. Happy Birthday Zuzu!!

  8. That is a fantastic gift!

    My mom came to visit in April and brought with a book she'd made for Gwen by collecting photos I'd taken from our trip back to the US for Christmas last year, and writing the story of it. It's one of her favorites and gets read pretty much every day. She loves to point out Grandma and Grandpa's cats, wave hello to her cousins, and (lately) pick out herself in the pictures. I love it, and hope mom makes her some more in the future!

  9. THAT'S SO CUTE! What a wonderful idea!

  10. Back in the day when Merrick turned one, (seriously, in the world of baby things and baby trends seven years ago was really back in the day), I also made her a board book for her birthday, but it was a kit that we had to print the pics and words on stickers, and then put them on the plain white book. I thought it was genius back then, but this is like 10,000 times better!! Ours ended up getting all scratched up and yucky, but it was still cool. Cute book, and great idea!

  11. Adorable. I made a photo album with labels of people Finn knew when we flew to my cousins wedding last fall and it's so cute hearing him name everyone as he flips through it - "baby Cale" and "huppy" included :)

  12. G has this plastic book where you slip pictures into the sleeves that I put together when she was 5 months maybe. Still LOVES it. This is an awesome book.

  13. That is such a GREAT idea!! One of dh's cousins is a teacher, and when her daughter was little (pre-digital technology), she used to make her picture books... she'd just paste photos on cardstock, add simple captions, printed in black marker and laminate them. Easy peasy. :) but a board book would be much sturdier.