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Kathy Tofflemire, Published December 29 2009

Parenting Perspectives: Perfectly created scrapbook pages chronicle life events

My daughter is a scrapbooker; I mean a serious scrapbooker.

Every family event of any consequence, and a whole lot more that aren’t, has been creatively documented for posterity.

The modern scrapbook is so much more than a photo album. Every “layout” is enhanced with the appropriate background paper, titles and assorted doodads (excuse me, embellishments) and journaling to explain whatever isn’t obvious.

My daughter has created big albums, small albums and even ones made from lunch-size paper bags.

She has designed books on two or three adult vacations to Cancun, Mexico; a trip to Las Vegas, where she met members of the Ultimate Fighting Championship; and even a book chronicling the first Honor Flight by World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., for fellow parenting columnist Tracy Briggs.

But mostly, it’s about her boys. Every holiday, every birthday, every long-distance trip, of course. But there’s also the first booboo serious enough to require a Band-Aid; a high-chair breakfast that included pancakes on top of the head; a toddler’s first experience with an ice cream cone; and trips to a nearby lake, where my younger grandson delighted in excavating “wibers” in the sand.

I should have seen this coming. As a teenager, the walls of my daughter’s bedroom were like giant scrapbook pages – full of posters and assorted memorabilia – all hung with the creative eye that she obviously was born with.

Photos are taken at every turn. Paper of every conceivable color and pattern is stockpiled, sometimes just in case the appropriate event occurs that matches it. And then there are the stickers, ribbon, brads, buttons, flowers and everything you could think of to give your pages that extra pizzazz. It’s all about dimension, she says.

The hobby is ever evolving, and my daughter already looks back at some of her earlier work with disdain.

But one day, my grandsons’ families will be able to enjoy looking at their documented lives, from the everyday occurrences to the milestones. That is, if their mother ever gets caught up.

She called me recently to say she had completed pages on a particular event.

“That’s nice, dear,” I said. “Your 10-year-old son was 7.”

Taking pictures is the easy part; creating the pages takes time, especially if you are a perfectionist, which my daughter is.

But, as a magnet I bought her states: “If it’s not in the scrapbook, it didn’t happen.”

It pains her that she can’t get me interested in the hobby. After all, even my younger grandson enjoys creating pages.

“Mom, you’ve designed newspaper pages,” she says.

Trust me; it’s not the same thing.

I’ve tried, but I just feel overwhelmed. But I think the real reason is, I can’t compete. She’s just too good at it.

Kathy Tofflemire is a copy editor at The Forum. Readers can reach her at (701) 241-5514 or ktofflemire@forumcomm.com