After 18 months of living tiny, my patience with constantly diving into boxes to find my belongings has worn thin. I bought shelves. I collected boxes to organise my stash into. Slowly, slowly, I made progress in the unpacking, sorting things into neatly labelled boxes lined up in rows. Finally, I made it to the last box. A tricky one, holding a mix of projects, and random supplies, along with boxes of photos needing dealing with. In between all that, was a pile of goodies I had actually even forgotten I had collated, for a a half-started project, untouched since 2010.
As soon as I pulled it out, I knew exactly what it was. A mini book, with blank pages prepped. Index cards in a neat pile, documenting our daily adventures over a space of four weeks. A paper pad, ribbons, washi, all carefully coordinated. Piles of printed photos and ephemera – pamphlets, tickets, map. All ready and waiting for me to remember their existence and turn them into a keepsake showcasing our grand European adventure.
In July 2010, we took our two big boys, then aged 3.5 and 21 months, along with a Madam Butterfly type baby bump, to Europe to meet their daddy’s side of the family. With my success in documenting our previous family holiday with a mini book made during the holidays, making the most of nap time (oh for the days of two children and co-ordinated naps!), I prepared myself a small kit of supplies in the hope I could do the same while in Europe.
It didn’t work out quite as I planned. With family to hang out with and a bucket list a mile long of places to visit and things to see, scrapbooking came quite a way down the list. I did journal each day, filling out an index card or three detailing our adventures. And photos. My gosh I took so many photos.
When we got home, finishing the book rapidly got pushed down the list even further. We came home and were straight into finalising house renovation plans. A month or two later, Miss Butterfly joined our family. 6 weeks after that the renovations started, and my days were filled with occupying two toddlers and a newborn in a house full of builders and dust and no backyard access.
Over the years I’ve looked at it, and then promptly put it away again. The book rings are already full, so I need to work out how to split the month across two (or three or four) separate mini books. There was always something more pressing to do.
Now though, it remains my sole WIP from The Before. I feel like I really should finish it. First though, I need to spend an hour or five going through the photos I’ve already done and marvel over how tiny my boys were.