While the Texas Rangers were . . . [ahem] ADJUSTING . . . to playing a Big Game, I took the opportunity to distract myself by logging on to Shutterfly and (1) beginning next year's photo calendar (which we always give as a gift to the grands) and (2) updating online photo albums.
When Connor was small, I spent A LOT of time scrapbooking. My vehicle of choice - padded 8 1/2 by 11 binders lovingly made by what I assume were Mormon women in Utah. They had a Web site, you could pick from a number of great kid-appropriate fabrics, or you could send in your own. Before I spent A LOT of time actually scrapbooking, I spent A LOT of time dreaming up the theme for the next book, and buying supplies as needed. The most extreme example: when Connor was into Thomas the Tank Engine, I actually ordered fabric FROM AUSTRALIA to send to the Mormon women, because Thomas fabric wasn't commercially available in the US at that point. (Refer to multiple prior blog posts about my children's faddish obsessions always being ever-so-slightly ahead of the popularity curve.)
Thus, Connor has a bajillion (well, probably ten) oversized padded books, each chronicling seven months or so of his young life. In addition to the Thomas album, I know that there's a purple one with wizard frogs on it (signaling the beginning of his Harry Potter obsesh), one with fire trucks, one with construction vehicles . . . in other words, they're extremely juvenile, take up WAAAY to much space on two shelves in his room, and I think he basically hates them.
The display space issue is what caused me to move away from my padded books - well, it was one factor, to be sure. At the rate I was going, we would need to add on to the house just to have someplace to store the scrapbooks. Other reason was that the Mormon women disappeared off of the Internet. For awhile, I considered padding my own book, or hiring it done. But I decided that you just couldn't duplicate their product.
So, when Parker came along, I dabbled with Creative Memories for a bit (a small baby book/guest and gift log and a "big brother" book chronicling my pregnancy with PJ from Connor's perspective) and completed three commercially available albums.
Then I said, [bleep] this noise.
For starters, people wanted to see pictures online, so I found myself creating two separate photographic records of my kids' lives - one that existed on Shutterfly and Picasa Web and another that was taking up major space in our home. Also, being situationally OCD, I could not decide whether it made sense to have one family album or separate albums from both boys. So, again, [bleep] this noise. Life is too short and all.
I took the Mormon women's disappearance off of the grid as a sign from God (or, you know, Joseph Smith or someone), and I started creating Shutterfly albums and having them printed. Shutterfly albums, to the uninitiated, are book-bound, with the images printed on glossy pages like you would find in a coffee table book. The thickness of these relative to a padded Mormon binder translate into a five (Shutterfly) to one (Mormon) ratio. Instant cure for the storage space issue!
But what helped with the storage space issue even more is that fact that, after ordering hard copies of the first three books, I sort of fell off of the wagon. So, last night, I couldn't help but notice that I am a little behind. As in, the last book that I actually bought out of hock was Summer 2009. If anyone is stumped for a Christmas gift for me this year, might I suggest Shutterfly gift certificates? I have caught up on the actual book-making through Summer 2010 but haven't pulled the trigger on printing, because - egads. Time I add additional pages to the basic book format, I'm looking at around $60 per album, not factoring in periodic Shutterfly "buy one, get another 50% off") promotions. Given the cost of Mormon binders (they weren't cheap, either), photo processing, paper and geegaws, I am definitely coming out ahead at even the $60 price point, but the prospect of buying four or five at once. Again, egads. And again, do consider Shutterfly gift certificates when doing your virtual Black Friday shopping.
I have also fallen off of the wagon in terms of creating a "McGlinchey year in review" slide show for this blog. I have one for '08 and '09. As for '10 . . . .
So, in the interest of killing a whole noisy flock o' birds with one stone, I created a Shutterfly family photo album and am linking this blog to my Shutterfly photo books. Done and done.
You can click on the title of this post to go to the photo site, or click on McGlinchey Mayhem in the margin and Blogger will direct you to the site as well.