Saturday, 4 January 2014

Priceless Gifts

Mid December I was really regretting the idea I had for a Christmas present for the boys.  I had been thinking about making them each a photo book for a while, with photos of each of them with Aaron and Noah.

In November I thought I'd get started on sorting out photos.  Going through just over fourteen years of photos was really hard. I loved seeing all the photos that I had forgotten about, but it was emotionally draining as I felt like I was living through a lot of things again, and it just really hit me how much I miss Aaron and Noah.

I made each of the boys a separate folder on the computer and spent hours, and hours and hours (and was wondering why the heck I decided to do it!) copying every single photo that they were in with Noah and Aaron.   I hated that there were no digital photos before 2003 as it meant I had to scan four years of Jalen's photos.

I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to things like this, and then sorted all of their photos into categories - baby and toddler, birthdays, Christmas, seasons, footy, family holidays, hospital visits etc.  Then I had to do the biggest job of making the books online.  I ended up going with Snapfish as they were having good specials at the time, and I got the books at 50% off. I didn't really care how much it was going to cost, because I knew that the books would be priceless to them.

I can't even count how many hours it took to sort the photos, and then put the books together, and I was seriously regretting my decision in the middle of December when I was trying to get them done in time for Christmas, plus being really busy with everything going on at the end of the year.

Jay ended up with almost 1000 photos, Harri around 850 and Kobe about 750 (shows how many more photos I took as the boys got older), and each book ended up being 150 pages.  There was no way I could keep it a surprise from the boys as I was on the computer whenever I had time, to get them finished, and they were really looking forward to getting them.  I told them that if they didn't look at their books for three hours every day (after all the work I put into them) then there would be trouble! ;)

It's so nice to see the boys looking at their books all the time, and telling me how much they love them.  There has been lots of tears as they've look at them, but also lots of laughs as they talk about remembering certain things. 

I told the boys tonight I wanted to take a photo of them with their favourite pages, and these are the ones they chose.

Kobe came up to me a couple of days ago with this page open. He said 'this is a really cool page Mum when Dad is at Noah's grave with us, isn't it?' (it has a funny line around the page as it's a screen shot from the website).  It is really strange seeing photos of Aaron at Noah's grave now, as we have been so many times without him.
This is my favourite page in Kobe's book.
Harri loves this page in his book, and so do I.    He looks so much like Kobe, and Kobe is sure that some of the pics of Harri are actually him.
This is my favourite page out of Harri's book.  I love the photo of Aaron and Harri looking at each other.

I love the spring page in Jay's book. 

I also love this page in Jay's book, of the day that he did the head shave to raise money for the Leukemia Foundation
Even though it was hard physically and emotionally to get the books done, I'm so glad that I did as the boys now have their own special memories with Noah and Aaron to keep forever.


  1. Beautiful Lisa, so lovely .... don't know why, but this blog post made me feel very emotional. You have a beautiful family. What an amazing blessing.

  2. Your boys are very lucky to have you as their Mum! What a priceless many memories so beautifully captured and saved.
    Denise in Osaka

  3. The books turned out beautifully! You did such an amazing job! What an incredible keepsake for your sons to treasure throughout their lives.

  4. Absolutely beautiful!!!! You are an amazing strong woman and mother! God Bless you and your family.

  5. Priceless is right. Wow Lisa, you are an amazing Mum! You have worked so hard to love and help your boys through their grief, all the while struggling with your own. Your work on this project is an epitome of the type of mother you are: loving, thoughtful, determined, caring, fearless, and willing to sacrifice anything for your dear sons. I hope you know how many of us all around the world love you, look up to you, pray for you, and are grateful for your amazing example!

  6. Amazing! They are the best books Lisa, I'm sure that you (and the boys) will be grateful forever that you made them for the boys. What awesome to make one for yourself!

  7. I love to make photo books too, so I know what you mean about it taking SO LONG to create, but it looks like they turned out beautifully and will be an item they treasure a lifetime! Good job Mom! ~Lisa from Oregon

  8. I hope you take the time to do one for yourself too. xx

  9. You have done an amazing job with these, I am sure your boys will love them and treasure them in the years to come.

  10. Oh my goodness - THREE books! You deserve a photobook medal.....What a truly beautiful heartfelt idea.

  11. These are amazing! What a wonderful idea. You are a super great wife and mama!

  12. Wow, Lisa, not only have you produced incredible, priceless gifts for your children, but you have also managed to go through an organizational process in yourself as part of your mourning. You have organized the time line, where your kids and Aaron fit into your life, and a permanence to keep them there forever. I'd love to hire you to do that for my family!! :)
    I am so proud of you with this incredible accomplishment. May it be a positive stepping stone in your recovery, and keeping your *whole* family together no matter what. You're awesome, baby!

  13. The books are beautiful and are truly a labor of love! Good job Lisa!

  14. Lisa,
    Ditto to every comment made above. Only thing I could add is that you make me cry out of sorrow for what you are dealing with and out of happiness that you found the strength to do it. You are a person of value! Happy New Year!

  15. Awesome gifts for your boys! Nice job

  16. Wow what a special thing to do, very well done. Your sons will cherish this forever. It just goes to show photos are very important and we should all be taking a lot more of them. Thanks for sharing, have a great week from Susan McGuire in Sydney xxxooo

  17. I LOVE that you have so many pictures of the kids with their dad! It reminds me to take more pictures every chance I get. What a precious gift!

    On another note, what kind of dog do you have? So cute?


We are so grateful for everyone's love and support, and appreciate your comments xoxo

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