Preserving Memories Painlessly

When it comes to scrapbooking, I like to think of myself as a well-intentioned but busy mom. I am desperately trying to finish my older son’s “Baby’s First Year” book (and my “baby” is about to be four years old), and one of these days, I really do fully intend to buy a scrapbook and accessories and actually print some photos to make my younger son’s book. I foolishly thought that by only committing myself to completing one fancy, handmade photo book for each of my son’s first years, there was no way I could fail to deliver. Surely I could make just one book for each boy. I’m hoping I can find the time and motivation to do this before summer comes to a close in a month.

However, while I’m busy with everything else that comes my way, life is marching on, and memories are being born. The boys are constantly doing important things…memorable things…like visiting their grandparents, learning to swim, eating cotton candy and snow cones on a warm summer’s night until they feel just slightly nauseous, cheering as fire trucks honk at them at a local parade, gasping at the sight of fireworks on the Fourth of July. I’m there, always watching, and documenting these memorable occasions with many digital photos, but somehow those photos manage to end their life on my camera, doomed to an eternal existence on the external hard drive, never to be seen again. Until now.

Enter the best friend of busy but well-intentioned moms everywhere: the online photo book creator. Busy moms like you and I can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to this amazing feat of technology. Whenever the boys have an exciting experience I’d like them to remember forever, we use our digital photos to create a photo book for each boy to keep.

Creating a photo book is really, really easy. There are many different photo companies that offer themed templates for photo books, allowing you to pair your favorite photos with your own text on the pages of a bound book for a very reasonable price. After realizing how difficult it can be to find time to create a traditional scrapbook, I decided to make my older son a photo book about a typical day in his life for his 2nd birthday gift. We took pictures of him doing familiar tasks such as waking up, eating meals, going to the grocery store, playing in our yard, etc., and captioned them with a short narrative on each page. It quickly became a favorite nightly read aloud. We now have made a total of four photo books for the boys. After you have a collection of digital photos on your computer, the whole process of creating the book using on-line software takes under an hour from start to finish. If you search for coupons and special offers, the prices are really quite reasonable.

Another great advantage to this method over traditional scrapbooking is the ease of printing multiple identical books so each child has his or her own copy. When our younger son was born, we started including both boys in each photo book and ordering each child his own copy. I love that each of them will someday have a shelf of photo books filled with memories to share with their own children. While part of me still feels a little guilty for taking a shortcut and not creating elaborate hand-made scrapbooks to commemorate important events, the realistic side of me knows that there is merit in simply making sure these photos have a life after they leave my camera’s memory card and don’t fall into some technological black hole, never to be seen again.

So keep collecting those awesome summer photos and check out some of the many on-line photo book creation companies. You’ll be amazed by how often your children ask to read the stories of their own lives before bed and re-live some of their favorite memories!

Fourth of July Fireworks

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