Am I the only one who finds it hard to come up with unique, special, meaningful birthday presents year after year?
Am I the only one who gave up doing that many years ago?
But, in true confessions style, on the milestone birthdays I feel a certain amount of self-imposed pressure to think of something unique and special.
The BIG 5-0 is one of those milestone birthdays.
And I am fresh out of ideas.
So I went for the standard no-fail birthday present.
Really, it’s a one-size-fits-all gift for any occasion…
Ta-da! We made PhilBillPaul a photo album.
I started thinking about what we were going to do for his birthday in the early summer. We are a picture family with our shelves filled with photo albums and framed pictures all over the house. I’m not sure when the idea for his album struck me but I like to break things down into small manageable pieces. I was thinking of something for each decade when I realized there were five of us – five decades. Hmm, what could this mean?
Then it hit me – forget decades (shhh, I’m saving that for 60 now) and each person could write 10 things they love about Dad a.k.a. PhilBillPaul which would equal 50!!
It’s scary how good I am with math. I should be a math tutor.
Anyway, I asked the kids to start thinking of their 10 things and I wanted a draft. I’ve been making albums for many years and I know a plan really makes the project easier. Then later in the summer, we’d set aside an afternoon where the kids could pick out 10 pictures each and put them together on album pages with what they wrote.
Doesn’t the whole idea warm the cockles of your heart?
Side note: What’s a cockle?
Precious moments really. Me and my four kids going through photo boxes filled with extra photos that didn’t make the albums and assembling a surprise album for Daddy.
The true story is last Thursday in the midst of a very messy basement (messes stress me) and with some threats, trash talk and mom screaming at the kids to quit fighting with each other and work on their own pages, my darling children each finished 5 pages (10 sides) with their “top ten” reasons they love their dad.
I really wished I had filmed the whole scene – it brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.
I spent the weekend getting some reprints and helping them with a few edits in their writing since
some unnamed children The Grunter and Roger Leroy did not initially use their best writing skills.
The Grunter actually had this on his first draft:
“I love your bald spot.”
He missed the original instructions…heartfelt reasons you love your dad.
Dig a little deeper please.
Another proud parenting moment.
Roger Leroy had three very redundant versions of:
“I love that you put other people’s needs before your own.”
A sweet sentiment but not so sweet 3 TIMES in 10 pages.
Like she could only think of 7 things?
The album-making scene exasperated me so much that it took me until the following Thursday to make my pages. So he got his birthday golf on Monday, his birthday dinner on Tuesday and his birthday presents on Thursday. Yes, I’m late for pretty much everything.
Here is a sampling of the pages, which when all was said and done, turned out to be lovely and heartfelt. PhilBillPaul was sufficiently choked up and the kids really were proud of their creation.
In reverse order because Scary Baby asked that her pages be first because I always go in birth order and she’s always last. So I listened to her suggestion because I’m flexible like that.
She gets an A+ for writing that sweet sentence and then finding the perfect picture to go with it.
Wizzy also did a great job writing and finding just the right pictures.
Roger Leroy made some really touching pages and included a very rare photo with her hair not in a ponytail!
The Grunter is sucking up here and wants to live with us indefinitely.
Baby pictures of when the kids were super cute were my first four reasons.
The Grunter was super cute which is why we continue to let him stay with us.
Colorful journal boxes made the whole process easy (and if the kids mess up, you don’t have to replace the whole page). It really did turn out well and is a treasured keepsake we’ll all enjoy looking at for years to come!
Oh, and he also got a little something in the form of “5-0” from each one of us.
Subsidized by mom.
One-eyed Scary Baby just wanted to hold it.
Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about another unique gift like this
for at least a decade!
If you need any gift album tips, just ask me via the comment box or email me. Especially if your kids get along with each other better than mine! I’ve made many, many special gift albums over the years.
I’m here to serve…