Clementine will turn four tomorrow, so we had a party at our house yesterday afternoon and evening and invited some family and friends. Clementine was a holy terror, having skipped her nap with all the looming excitement, and spent much of the party whining or screaming at the other children (mainly her brother), but at least it made the other parents of toddlers feel better when their kid had a tantrum too, right? It’s a good thing she’s so stinkin’ cute, that’s all I’m sayin.
I’ll show you some pictures of the dress I made for her birthday (got it finished!! YAY!!!) later, but today I want to show you one of the most thoughtful gifts Clementine got yesterday, from my sister-in-law, Sara Beth: a photo book. Every year she gives each of my children a book on their birthday, and it’s become one of the gifts I appreciate the most. Admittedly it is also the one gift that my children usually tear open and then immediately toss aside. But later, they always ask me to read them over and over and over, and the books make it into the bedtime story rotation. Moreover, my guess is that, unlike most of the other presents (toys, bikes, games) that will be given away or grown out of over time, these presents will remain with them and be cherished their entire lives.
(one of my all-time favorite pictures of Mr Rae and Clementine)
Sara Beth has been giving these to my children every year since they were born. And she doesn’t just throw a bunch of photos into a book and order it. She even comes up with a THEME for each book, which I think is just downright brilliant! The theme for the book pictured below, for example, was the four seasons. So there were pictures from each season of the year. Elliot got that book for his second birthday.
Here’s a couple other examples of themes from past years:
“I love…” for Clementine’s third birthday
“I can imagine…” for Elliot’s third birthday
The time and care she puts into figuring out a theme and then curating the pictures is really amazing. She has a knack for choosing pictures which — though maybe not always the most wall-worthy — really document what each child enjoys and bring out their personality. I personally have attempted (rather unsuccessfully) to create annual photo books for the kids myself (through Snapfish or Shutterfly or MyPublisher, etc), so I know how much work this is. We have boxes and boxes of printed photos in the house…but guess what the kids enjoy looking at more? Their books!
For Clementine’s book this year Sara Beth picked the theme…”FOUR!”
“four outfits mommy made for me”
“this is me in four seasons”
“four places I have traveled this year”
And this is the page that makes both of my kids belly-laugh:
You want to know one more thing about this gift that is completely and totally brilliant? Sara Beth always gives them TWO identical books. One for now — for dirty fingers, ripped pages, to be loved — and one to keep nice in the closet.
I know posting about photo books may be a bit off-topic for a blog that is primarily about sewing, but I thought you would enjoy seeing these! I think it’s a great idea, and maybe it will give you gift inspiration. Do you have other great ideas for cherished gifts? I’d love to hear about them.