December 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm
by Christina Tynan-Wood
About six years ago, my husband Dan and I pulled the kids out of school and took a lengthy, boisterous, trip — with a horde of extended family — to Ireland. It started because Dan’s cousin decided to run the Dublin Marathon. But it ended up being a pilgrimage: We found my father’s childhood home, located the town where his grandmother was born, connected with family we’d never met, and discovered that a cheeseburger doesn’t look anything like a 10-year-old American expects it to in a pub in County Clare. I was recently reminiscing about our day hikes in the Burren with my daughter Ava who was six when we went. She looked at me with a blank expression — no memory left of the strange landscapes, castles, and ring forts she’d been so taken with. Fortunately, we took lots of photos. So I decided to create a permanent record to help cement her memories before she forgot our adventures completely.
I went to Snapfish.com, clicked on Photo Books and followed the guide. I uploaded my photos. Then made a few choices. First I picked the size and cover style I wanted my finished product to be. I was creating a paperback book rather than a photo album so I went with 5″ x 7″ with a soft cover. But there are lots of options. Then I selected a theme. Again, there are tons of these — baby, elegant, sporty, holiday, pet, and many more – and you can change them once you get going. I went with a travel theme. Then I started dragging photos onto the virtual pages, rearranging them, and typing descriptions into the captions.
It was fun. The images brought back how cold we’d been, how odd some of the ruins were, and just how many castles are on that island. My kids looked so small in the photos! And I laughed remembering then-10-year-old Cole’s attempts to speak in an Irish Brogue and the nickname – Skippy McBrogue — we’d given him because of it. So I started telling some of those tales – briefly – in the captions as I assembled the book. Then I decided it would be fun if the entire book was a story. So I put the images in the order they happened, starting with photos of the kids with their packed bags at home. I had a blast. Jokes we’d made as we were traveling came back to me and I added some of those. I put in the names of relatives we’d met so the kids would have them in the future.
After about an hour, I had created a travel adventure tale with younger versions of my kids as heroes. I ordered two copies (mine were about $30 each; the price depends on the number of photos and the size of the book) so the kids could each have a copy.
And now that the holidays are approaching, it occurs to me that this book would make great gifts for the relatives who played roles in that travel adventure. And all I have to do now is order more copies. I can even have them shipped to recipient directly from Snapfish – saving myself the wrapping and shipping. That was an hour well spent.