Ever since I can remember, I’ve seen pictures of the giant “Birchwood” sign at the gates of Algonquin Provincial Park.
Back when my parents were teenagers, hitch-hiking their way to Lake Of Two Rivers for a night (or two). From when my mom was pregnant with me or my brothers. And of course, through the years, as we were growing up.
My husband liked this idea so much that we adopted it for our own family. And it’s paid off.
There were a couple of years where we couldn’t take said family photos because we either didn’t go camping that year (twice were due to the arrival of our boys) and one or two times, it was simply because it was pouring rain on our way into the park, so we didn’t bother. Usually, we got the photo on the way out of the park in those years.
Last August was the last official year that Tyler was living at home, and it was important to get that last photo, signifying his last year with us. While he will still be home for summer vacation, it’s quite possible plans could change and he moves out, once and for all.
What began when Tyler was two years old has developed into a beautiful progression of photos, showing how our family has both changed and grown over the years. The fact that these photos feature the backdrop of one of our favourite places on earth makes them even more special to us.
In the summer of 2018, after our last family photo here, my husband started talking about replacing the photos along the upstairs staircase. These family portraits with Tyler, having them done every 6 months, but changing to annually after awhile. The portraits sometimes only had Tyler, and other years, had our family. Unfortunately, we ran out of wall space by the time Caleb arrived and we had dragged our butts on updating them. Believe me, I’m well aware of how unfair this was to Caleb, so I wasn’t about to argue this idea.
My husband went through all of our portraits. We backed them up to Google photos after two mishaps with external hard drives. After downloading all of these photos, we put them on a USB stick and into a photo center to print.
I spent an afternoon dismantling and cleaning up the frames. Once clean and dry, I put each of the Algonquin photos into a frame. There are 13 photos in total.
My husband reconfigured the portrait arrangement because all of these photos were landscape, and the previous photos were portrait.
While we don’t often hang out on the stairs, I often find myself stopping and taking a closer look at one or two of these treasured portraits. It’s easy to tell if it was chillier one year than the previous, by our clothing choice. I can also tell you which photos were taken on the way out, just before the rain started. And then there’s the one where we were damp from packing up in the rain. Yep, we were always battling the weather, it seems.
But each memory is worth it.
This is just a different spin on family portraits and creating memories for your family. I hope you’ve enjoyed this idea!