Not long after the boys started school this past fall, Jude and Noah earned three weeks of grounding from any sort of "screen time"--Netflix, iPod, video games, even computer research were all "off-limits", weekends included. Needless to say, with his older brothers looking to actually play, Jabin didn't have much screen time, either, not really seeing the need.
When their time was finally up (it was actually finished when they had memorized I Corinthians 13--the "Love Chapter"--and could recite it to me three days in a row, as the grounding was instigated by an altercation the two of them had on the playground at school), Jason and I had realized that NOT having them think of nothing but screen time every weekday evening had made our school nights go so much more smoothly that we introduced a new rule: no screen time from Monday night to Thursday night.
I have not ever regretted that decision. Most nights, the boys don't have time to do anything besides eat supper and do their homework and chores before it is time to hit the hay, anyway. On those rare occasions when there is actually time for something else, they tend to read (yay!) or get creative with things to do--sometimes they get artistic, or play board games, or just simply play with each other, either inside or outside. That isexactly what we were hoping for when we implemented the "no week-night screen time" rule.
A couple of weeks ago, while Jason was away for the week doing work-related training in Edmonton, the boys "discovered" the scrapbooks. Now, these scrapbooks are always accessible, and the boys always knew where they were, but they haven't looked through them in years, if ever.
But Jude had just taken an old photo of his cat, Tigger, out of a frame to replace it with a new one of himself and the cat together, and asked me, "What should I do with this picture of Tigger, Mom?"
"You could scrapbook it," I replied. Jude has his own scrapbook that he started a few years ago, although he rarely adds to it, and it only has a few pages in it so far. This particular Tuesday evening, though, he thought that was a great idea.
Jude hauling out his scrapbooking stuff to make a page inspired the other boys to haul out scrapbooks to peruse old photos of themselves, going all the way back to babyhood and before. The years 2000-2007 are extremely well-represented in my scrapbook gallery, as my "peak scrapbooking years" were between 2002-2009. Some of the years have every photo I took that I thought worth including on a scrapbook page included--"finished scrapbooks." (Those are rare.) Several of the years past this "peak time" have a fairly good number of pages scrapbooked, but they are all digitally done and have yet to be printed and put on the shelf.
Watching the boys flip eagerly through these books, asking questions about the pictures and reading every little note I included about them (and yes, sometimes even admiring my artwork) made me realize--that was why I spent all that time, money, and effort in creating these memory albums. (Well, besides the required "sanity time" I needed when my boys were all so little.) And it also made me wish that I was doing more scrapbooking now.
But then I remind myself that I have other priorities right now--I sew more clothes for the kids and myself these days, and when I was "a scrapbooker", I rarely sewed anything that wasn't layers of paper. I also design knitting patterns now, which I didn't do then. I have started pursuing my interest in creative writing (both for songwriting and writing fiction) more, and am taking some courses to increase my skill. And my saddle pad business usually has several orders a day, now, while back then, I was just getting started and was lucky to get that in a week.
So, I blog. I try to remember to take photos of everyday things, not just special ones. And I tell the story of those photos here--so that someday, when my interests and passions cycle again (as I know they will), I will still remember at least some of the stories that made those moments special. And that means my kids will, too.
But sometimes, I still miss going to bed with ink on my fingers.
From the archives: A digital title page for my 2009 "picture-a-day" album, which I have only completed to about March. I don't think I quite managed a photo a day for the whole year, either. C'est la vie.