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January 28, 2013
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Kristen James: Making and recording memories

I like to tease my husband, Lem, about his nonlinear memory. He loves to tell entertaining stories, but he usually doesn’t provide a time reference. "Oh, it was five or 10 years ago," he'll say.

That can mean 11 or 12!

Actually, I’m not any better. I have a a string of special memories and stories all through my life, but putting them in order or nailing down the year is another story. For me, I chronicle my memories by what grade I was in, and later on with the kids, by their size at the time and which house we lived in.

We also have the photo albums. I can go to my mom’s house and see my entire life in photos. Some of the albums are so old, the pictures slip out of the pages when they’re opened.

I got my first camera and photo album around the fourth grade, and we have the funny photos to prove it (my dolls liked to pose for group pictures). I have pictures from family camping trips, high school, college and my kids as each came along.

Actually, having kids meant taking many, many more pictures. You can’t miss a special day, and there are so many funny and memorable moments, from playing in the snow to Isaac making a “camping tree.” He stuck a dead pine tree in the ground so it stood up at our camping site, and then he decorated it with marshmallows and graham crackers.

Our photos show all our trips and special events, and more than that, they show the kids growing from tiny babies into “big kids.”

I kept up the practice, taking and printing pictures of my kids, until about 2005, when life just got too busy. I guess that’s also when I got a digital camera. Since then, I’ve been storing pictures on the computer. I kept planning to get them printed, but as the number and folders grew, it became an overwhelming task.

This last year, however, I determined to do something about it. I’m a very creative person, but I’ve just never gotten into scrapbooking. That solves the issue for some people, but I wanted to find a simple solution that I could do in my busy life (full-time mom, full-time writer, full-time cook, full-time chauffeur, etc.).

I joined Blurb, an online book printing site, and downloaded their program. It’s a template that allows you to drop in your photos and build a photo book. I worked on it through 2012 so I could print a photo album for Christmas. The 90-page, coffee-table size book cost a little bit to print, but it probably saved me money over printing that many pictures and buying several albums.

Andn the quality? The book is beautiful, and the pictures won’t slip out of the pages in years to come. It was well worth the effort when I watched the kids spend hours flipping through the pictures.

Kristen James is married with six kids. Read her Mondays on Douglas County Moms. Check out her personal website at www.writerkristenjames.com.

I’m a very creative person, but I’ve just never gotten into scrapbooking. That solves the issue for some people, but I wanted to find a simple solution that I could do in my busy life (full-time mom, full-time writer, full-time cook, full-time chauffeur, etc.).


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The News-Review Updated Nov 18, 2013 07:29PM Published Feb 6, 2013 08:01AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.