A few weeks ago, my friend Stephanie invited me to join her at a scrapbooking retreat.
I’ve always believed in the value of photo albums, not just as a lasting record of our lives, but as a way to reinforce to kids that they are treasured family members. All of our family photos were destroyed when our house burned to the ground when I was eight, so very few photos exist of me prior to my third grade year.
Since Nathan was born, though, I’ve gotten so far behind that I never pulled the albums out to look at them with him … because none of them contained any photos of him. I didn’t want him to feel less important than his sister, whose face is celebrated in about a dozen books sitting on our living room shelves (it’s not like he reads this blog 🙂 ).
Stephanie poked and prodded and sorta-kinda text-harassed me until I start to look like I might be caving, then Mr. Andi pushed me the rest of the way. I signed up for the retreat, and last Friday packed my car and drove to a camp in the middle of nowhere in the Conecuh National Forest near the Florida-Alabama line.
It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.
My phone didn’t work for calls or texting at the camp, and data or wi-fi? Forget about it. I was unplugged for the first time in years … and it was grand. It took me from Friday evening until Saturday morning to get used to my inability to Google, check the weather, or read email, but once I did it was freeing. I threw myself into the work of completing Nathan’s baby book and creating pages for our woefully out of date family albums.
I returned home on Sunday night with a finished baby album and 26 newly-completed pages from 2013 and 2014. I was also rested, relaxed, and motivated to keep going so poor Baby Nate will have concrete evidence that he’s an important member of our family. And for those who are wondering, Mr. Andi handled everything just fine in my absence. 🙂
Speaking of Nate-Nate…
On Monday, I showed him his album to see what he thought about it, and he LOVED it. He’s asked to look at it over and over again since then – so much so that I’ve had to resort to having Sarah Kate look at it with him because I’d never get anything else done if I did it every time. It’s also a good way to work on his speech.
So what’s the moral of this story?
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day sacrifices that I make as a mom, but sometimes it’s good to get away from it all and do something to recharge my batteries.
Everybody wins in the end.
——-Postscript: This post is NOT sponsored, but several ladies asked questions about in my process while on the retreat, so I thought I’d share. The two pages above were created digitally with Photoshop Elements using Becky Higgins’ Project Life Templates, and the Honey and Strawberry Edition kits. The same kits are available in traditional paper scrapbooking form through Amazon, ProjectLife.com, and other retailers. If you’d like to try digital Project Life for free, she has one template and the Cherry Edition kit available for free download on ProjectLife.com. Project Life is a new way of scrapbooking for me, and I fell in love with it – elaborate embellishments just don’t fit into this season of my life.