The Spragues Go West.

Well, it is official! The Spragues are headed west! Jared and I both grew up in the western US, and both of our extended families (with the exception of my brother in Cincinnati) live there still. My parents’ 40th wedding anniversary was in June, and they requested that we all gather together for a reunion - not having been together for more than 5 years. So we decided that this would be a great time to take the kids west to visit not only their Grandpa Bruce and Grandma Sue (my parents) in Idaho, but Papa Dean and Grandma Carol (Jared’s parents) in Oregon.

And today is the day we set off on our two week trip! We are so excited!

Our plan is to travel from Raleigh to Phoenix (layover), and then on to Salt Lake City, where we’ll stay tonight. Then a quick meeting with my dear friend Heidi Swapp, and on in a rental car to Idaho and my parents’ house for the first of the two legs of the trip.

Next week we’ll drive to Oregon to visit Jared’s parents, and then on up to Seattle, where we’ll catch our plane ride home. It’ll be the furthest we’ve flown with the kids, and the longest we’ve ever been on a family vacation.

And that’s just the beginning of the fun. ;)

I’ve given the kids my little Canon PowerShot to use on the trip, and I’m also taking my big Nikon D300s and two lenses. Jared and I each have our iPhones as well. So there is no shortage of photography devices.

BUT, the best part is that I’m going to be trying an experiment on this trip, and I hope you’ll join me as I report back how it’s going! Epson is sending their PictureMate Charm Personal Photo Lab 4x6 printer to meet us at my parents’ house, where it will continue with us for the rest of the journey. I have been preparing three wirebound sketchbooks as scrapbooks for myself and the kids, and we’ll be printing the photos we take and scrapbooking our trip in real-time.

I have a few reasons for trying this:

  1. I want my kids (who are now 6 and 7) to be involved in the memory keeping process, from taking photos to printing them and gluing them in their own scrapbook alongside drawings and stories.
  2. I want to try to actually have something FINISHED when we walk through our door after the trip.
  3. I want to see if recording the memories we make as they happen, rather than weeks or months later, is as potent as I think it will be.
  4. I’ve never taken scrapbook supplies as a carry-on, and I’m looking forward to it (minus scissors, of course!)
  5. I want to see what it is like traveling with a printer.
  6. I want to share the information and insights I gain here, and the lessons I will learn with you, so you can make real-time scrapbooking part of your life as well

Okay, does that sound like a tall order, or what?

Here is the preparation I’ve done:

  • I bought three wire-bound, hardcover sketchbooks. The kids’ books are 5x7 and mine is 7x10.
  • I pulled out my scrapbook embellishments and let the kids choose three colors for their color scheme. I handed them each a gallon ziploc bag and they gathered their own embellies. I think this will help them feel more involved in the process, and it was by FAR their favorite part of the packing! Rowen chose yellow, orange, and blue, and Elliott chose red, green, and blue.
  • I’ve prepped a 2 1/2 inch tall clear scrapbook storage box with adhesive (LOTS of adhesive), punches, some acrylic stamps, ink, pens, journaling tags, an old dictionary to tear up as patterned paper, and I picked up some 4x6 mat stacks for patterned paper.
  • The storage box, plus the travel-sized Fiskars trimmer, the sketchbooks, and my camera are going in a big tote bag I’ll use as my carry-on. I plan to sit between the kids and get some scrapping time on the long flight to Phoenix!
  • Epson is sending the printer to my parents’ house, at which point it will join us on the rest of our journey. I’ve owned a large-format Epson for so long, I’m excited to see what it is like using strictly 4x6 (and smaller) photos for an album!

I’ll be blogging, Tweeting, and posting on Facebook as the trip continues. For now, we’ve got to finish up packing and be off to the airport!

As the inaugural first photo, here is Lucky trying to stow away in Jared’s suitcase. MAN I am going to miss this snuggly dude:


P.S. Feel free to ask questions about the scrapbooks, the printing, taking a printer on vacation, or anything that comes to mind! See you on the other side (of the Mississippi)!