Tuesday, February 7, 2012

the secret's out

Every year for the last ten years my sister and I have given my mom a photo album for Christmas.  In the album we put pictures of our family events that happened during that previous year.  We started this right before printed photo books were becoming popular so our first couple of books were photo albums we bought.  You remember the kind that had pre-cut holes that you just had to slide the developed photograph down into?  Well, that's what the first two albums looked like. 

After that, when companies like Snapfish and Shutterfly started becoming popular we switched to creating the book online and laying out the digital copy before ordering the printed version.  These made for much nicer books and I'm often thankful for the fact that I can go back at any time and order a second copy for myself if I ever want to.

Anyway, these books have been greatly appreciated by my mother and she looks forward to opening her gift each year.  We joke with her that they take so much time that "this year's is definitely going to be the last!"  But without fail we always create another one for her the following year.  They've definitely gotten easier to make as we've gotten the hang of it and gotten more organized with uploading pictures throughout the year.

Next May my parents will celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversary and my sister and I knew we wanted to do something extra special for them.  We played around with lots of ideas of what we could do with the album or maybe create a new album centered around their forty years together, but mostly we just knew we wanted to send them on a trip together.

We decided on San Antonio, Texas as the destination since both of my parents have mentioned always wanting to go to Texas.  In the fall we booked a hotel and plane tickets for their trip and over Christmas break we just needed to decide how to give it to them since our family really doesn't give gifts to each other for Christmas anymore.  We just do mom's album and then spend time together and that's what works best for us.

Anyway, we finally wrote a little poem that would explain where we were sending them and why.  We wrote forty lines (one for each of their forty years) and decided to mix them up and give them one line to the poem each day for the forty days after Christmas.  The plan was to put the first line to the poem in mom's coveted (and expected) Christmas album, but I don't know that that ever really happened.  They got the line anyway and began piecing together the other lines to the poem as we delivered them each day.

We made sure to give them very vague lines to the poem at first and as it got closer and closer to the end we had to give them more obvious ones.  It's been great fun though!  We subscribed to a lot of the daily deal sites for the San Antonio area and we bought a deal for a Segway tour and a local Italian restaurant.  We also got them a gift certificate to a local Mexican restaurant there that my brother-in-law raved about and we included lines about that in the poem.

Last week they got the last line of the poem and they finally figured out where they're going and when.  I hope they have as much fun on the trip as Whitney and I have had planning it for them.  After all, anyone who can spend forty years with either one of those two deserves a little vacation!  :o)

We love you Mom and Dad!

But we're not kidding about the fact that you've already received your last Christmas album from us so you better enjoy it!


Nanna said...

We LOVE you all, even if you do give us a hard time about the photo album, laugh about mole and my hearing (or is that not hearing), and visions of us on the Segway tour. We cannot wait to go on our trip! We talk about something different in regards to it every day!
Thank you so much...oh, and glad we can make your life fun!

merritt said...

I LOVE the photo album thing. I do tons of the on Shutterfly and actually just did a 2011 year in review I received this week.

And what a fun gift to your parents! And such fun to reveal it to them. I hope that they have an incredible time.

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