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I got a boat for my birthday this year. Actually, we all did. It was a family gift, and it arrived just as the summer began. We’ve spent many, many happy, wet days at the lake since then, and I’ve taken hundreds of pictures over the summer months. Knowing that I have the potential to let these photos sit in my computer for months or even years, I decided to take immediate action and put them into an album now.
My usual approach to memory keeping is 12 inch X 12 inch layouts in a scrapbook. With the volume of pictures I have taken this summer at the lake, I decided that creating that type of album would not be my best choice if I wanted the almost-immediate gratification of displaying the photos from our summer boat adventures throughout the coming fall and winter months.
Another approach I often take with recording the memories of a specific event or short time period is the mini-album. I enjoy the creative process involved with a crafty, small-scale book, but for this situation, I just have too many pictures and personal observations to realistically try to include them all in one mini-book.
Instead of choosing one of these options, I took a different approach with this summer’s boating photos and went with an album that combines what I most enjoy about each one. The book I chose has forty pages that each hold eight 4 inch X 6 inch photos, so I can include hundreds of photos, add numerous creative title blocks, and still have plenty of space for my favorite part – the journaling.
To begin, I decided to insert a bit of scrappy creativity into a potentially utilitarian project. While I waited for my photos to be printed, I cut about sixty 4 inch X 6 inch rectangles of patterned paper, including a variety of coordinating designs that have a summery color scheme with a bit of a nautical feel. I also cut the same size rectangles of a neutral grid patterned paper for the journaling and drawings I wanted to include.
As I made a list of mini-events from our summer boating trips, I created titles on my rectangles and placed them into the album, leaving space for my photos. I then penciled in the interviews, journaling, and quotes I wanted to include on the grid pieces, and I placed those on the pages with their corresponding titles.
I tried to balance the layout of the pages by putting patterned paper on each side and leaving space for the photos toward the middle. When I picked up my photos, it was a simple matter of sorting and inserting them onto the waiting pages. I did a small amount of rearranging as I placed my photos, but it was not complicated because there was no adhesive involved.
By simplifying much of the design process, I was able to really enjoy the journaling aspect of this project. I asked the kids to write about what they remembered on certain days. My younger children drew pictures.
For some of the journaling, I gave mini-interviews to record their various responses to questions I thought would be fun to ask and interesting to remember their responses to. Some sample questions are:
1. Who is the best boat driver?
2. What do you like to have in the cooler on the boat?
3. What’s the best thing about going out in the boat?
4. Why did Daddy name the boat the “Four Reasons”?
5. What’s the scariest thing that happened on the boat?
6. What are some “boat rules”?
7. Who do you like to tube with? Why?
8. Who would you like to invite to go out with us?
Of course, I was pretty sure I already knew the answers to some of the questions, but I wanted to hear it in their own words and record them that way. Interviewing is a fun way to get those memories recorded in a way that is personal and unique to each interviewee.
I asked my older children to write out some of their memories so we would have them in their own words and in their handwriting.
Since my younger ones don’t express themselves very well in writing yet, I asked them to draw pictures of some of their boat experiences. I love their drawings, and they love to draw, so it’s a win-win situation. I know they will enjoy looking back to the ones they created to remember this summer.
We all say funny things sometimes, especially when we are having a great time! I try to record quotes as they happen, and my family is quite accustomed to seeing me grab the nearest piece of paper and write down something I want to remember. On the boat, I would usually record these on the voice notes on my phone. Here are a couple of examples of quotes from this summer’s tubing:
“When I scream, that means turn right.” Cody
“I don’t like going over those bumps because I don’t like being poffed.” Corey
“Should I jump off the port or the starburst side?” Corey
My blog is also I great source of journaling for me because I enjoy blogging about our family time together and I can just cut and paste those words and print them onto my journaling blocks.
A new resource for journaling is my Facebook page. I like to update my status throughout the day and it is interesting to compile all those random snippets like “The lake is NINETY-SEVEN degrees today!” and “The Kingmans (minus a sick Darby) are going tubing.” and “Opinion: The fishing aisle at Academy makes people want to go for a boat ride.” Another one: “I just want to be Princess Mia of Genovia, being pulled around in my royal tube with my royal kitty Fat Louie. We're having a great time at the lake today! :)” These miniature records are dated and provide details I would have surely forgotten to add.
This book was so simple to complete, my kids loved being a part of making it, and I am already planning others with a similar format because it was so easy to put together. It is so satisfying to look over all the photos, quotes, drawings, and stories – the kids won’t leave it alone, and they love that they contributed so much to it! It makes me think that I may need to print out my photos a bit more often and put them into an album where they can be enjoyed, even if I don’t make actual 12 inch X 12 inch scrapbook layouts with them right away. The memories from this summer will stay fresh in our minds because so much detail is included in this simple album!