Happy Friday friends! Ali is delighted to welcome Creative Team member Laura Wonsik as she shares how she documented her recent NICU experience using one of Ali's layered templates.
Layered Templates are a great way to document and tell your stories. Not only do they serve as a foundation for your stories, but they take some of the additional thought out of the design process to allow you to focus more on the words and photos. As Laura says, these templates give you the gift of simplicity when your time and energy is limited.
Here's the layered template that Laura used for the photo portion of these pages: Slanted 8.5x11 Layered Templates.
My daughter Isla was born unexpectedly and prematurely at 33 weeks while we were 2.5 hours from home. She spent 16 days in the NICU following her birth while my husband, 4 year old daughter and I navigated this unexpected transition as well as daily life from a distance. It was the hardest thing I have ever gone through but thankfully she came out of it strong and we are all home and settled now.
Like all parents with a new baby, we were taking lots of photos and they piled up quickly. It was a crazy scary whirlwind experience that soon became a blur.
As the days in the NICU wore on with no definite timeline of discharge, a haze of beeping monitors, medical terminology that went over our head, conversations with neonatologists, social workers, nurses and lactation consultants and frequent consumption of medium quality cafeteria food, I considered how to best document all of the photos, milestones and experiences we were having as parents of a preemie in an energy efficient way.
About a week into her stay, I decided to start a NICU log using a template for ease of design. Thankfully, all of the photos are time and date stamped in my phone so I was able to piece the days together relatively easily. I only had about 30 minutes to an hour of time (well...energy) every day so I knew I needed to streamline the process.
I decided that photos would tell most of the story and I would create a template for as much journaling as I needed or felt inspired to include for each day opposite the slanted photo design template.
I created the template for the journaling by making a color block that followed the angle of the slanted template and changed the color to match each day’s photo cluster. I used the font “Archer” for the title and journaling. (I also created a template similar to the slanted ones for more vertical photos.) I also changed the size to 6x8 because I knew there would be a lot to print when we came home.
These templates gave me the gift of simplicity. When your energy is limited, making decisions, even small ones, can be exhausting. By settling on a single design to repeat for each day, I was able to focus on the journaling and photos. The only other decision I made was what color to make the top of the journaling page.
My plan is to put these in an album with the story of her birth at the front and a few of my favorite photos of her from the NICU in 6x8 page protectors at the end.
I am so thankful that I took the time to document this experience, the achievements, the setbacks, the joys and the sorrows. As we have returned home those days feel more and more like a dream so I am thankful that I captured the details for her to see when she’s grown. I want her to know what a strong girl she is and what she overcame.
Thank you Laura for sharing your story and your experience with all of us!