Scrapping the good and the not so good.

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Posted 2/24/2013 by Willscrapforfood in General Scrappin'


PeaNut 232,717
November 2005
Posts: 152
Layouts: 0

Posted: 2/24/2013 2:58:25 PM
I have a son with special needs, and many parts of our day to day life are not "delightful," "sweet", "happy" or "amazing!" If I am honest, most of our days are difficult to say the least.

When I look back at pictures when he was a baby, I feel so conflicted. I was so happily unaware of his future challenges at that point. I took a few pictures during the time he was diagnosed and those pictures bring back such pain for me.

I'm trying to figure out how much of our challenges I should include in my albums. When I do layouts that bring up painful emotions, do I include that in the journaling, or should I just skim over the difficulties and try and show the positives?

For those of you who have difficult circumstances that take over a major portion of your lives, how do you handle your layouts?

black eyed pea with soul!

PeaNut 15,878
May 2001
Posts: 25,921
Layouts: 71
Loc: LI, NY

Posted: 2/24/2013 3:00:23 PM
I have included the good and bad in my albums. I usually include it in my journaling. You have to do what feels natural and comfortable for you.

original pea number #3450
This Black Butterfly


PeaNut 570,639
October 2012
Posts: 2,808
Layouts: 0
Loc: pea formerly known as GIPfunny

Posted: 2/24/2013 3:06:41 PM
I have a son and daughter with special needs too. For me personally, my albums are to remember the good times. They are on a bookshelf in my living room for all to see. That's why I don't feel like putting the bad stuff in my albums. I feel it's a private thing. I want to remember the highlights. I also don't do hidden journaling. I like my pages to remain in sheet protectors so I don't have to pull it out to read the back of a page or some tag.

Also my dd is very aware of what is going on around her. She would not appreciate me journaling the bad.

What are you looking at?

PeaNut 477,798
August 2010
Posts: 1,590
Layouts: 49

Posted: 2/24/2013 3:24:44 PM
I was in a near-fatal car accident a few years ago (hit by a drunk driver) and I still deal with the aftermath of those injuries on a daily basis. I did a layout about the accident with extensive journaling, and a layout including a paper I wrote on the topic for a class. I also included a little journaling about the bad days in my project life album from last year. I don't make it the focus of my albums, but I'm trying to document the real life, good and bad - it all made me who I am today.

I think it depends on your goals and why you scrapbook. Ultimately, they are your albums, and there is no wrong way to do them. If you want albums full of happy memories to look at during tough days, maybe exclude the hard times from your layouts. You can also do hidden journaling, if you have things you want to say but don't want everyone to see it. No one needs to know it is there but you.

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Pea with a Pen

PeaNut 70,644
February 2003
Posts: 19,346
Layouts: 785
Loc: Southern California

Posted: 2/25/2013 12:38:11 AM
I have some books I'll share with others (usually close family, but sometimes friends) and some only for me. I have at least two pages where I've been candid in my journaling about my DH's challenges. On the pages others will see, it depends. For instance, because of my DH's challenges, several anniversaries and birthdays have been messed up, including our tenth three years ago. So I did do a layout about our tenth anniversary, and I did mention that it wasn't a great day for me, but to avoid hurting my DH's feelings, I didn't go into why.


PeaNut 426,757
June 2009
Posts: 642
Layouts: 46
Loc: Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Posted: 2/25/2013 2:17:25 AM
I haven't scrapped any bad times as yet. Mainly because I don't have photos of those times. If I decided to scrap them I would scrap them with a positive spin - Instead of saying 'look how crap things were/are' 'times were/are really tough' I would say things like 'look at what we got through and how strong we were/are'
So it's looking at tough times as a positive
I'm not sure if that will work for your situation but it works for mine

xoxoxo Sarah


PeaNut 576,706
January 2013
Posts: 266
Layouts: 21

Posted: 2/25/2013 2:19:58 AM
I definitely would include the good and the not so good. Scrapping to me is not just about happy days - it's about life - good and bad. My heart goes out to you. I too have had some painful things to scrap, but I also think it works out some of the pain too. xoxo

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 160,610
August 2004
Posts: 6,482
Layouts: 90

Posted: 2/25/2013 4:38:07 AM
I scrap it all too, its funny I scrap the challenging times really pretty and you have to steer at the LO to get the hidden messages. On these I always hidden journalling and tricky titles. Go in my general books. I wish life was rosy, but it wasn't and I want future generations to know this and learn from it and map better decisions and treat each other differently, as Oprah says, " We do better when we know better".


PeaNut 435,262
August 2009
Posts: 271
Layouts: 27

Posted: 2/25/2013 5:06:11 AM
Like alone_inacrowdedroom said; they're your books and whatever you want to put in them is the way to go.

I too have sons with special needs and I have included it somewhat in my scrapbooks, but in a more positive way. I have one example in my gallery about reflecting about what their diagnosis has meant to our family here.

I scrapbook to make me happy so therefore I like to document our fun times mostly. A take on this if you want to include the hardships in your scrapbooking could be to document how you parents have grown from this experience, thresholds your son has gotten past, what you appreciate in life now vs. before, what brightens yours/his day, your thoughts about this whole experience and so on.

For me, life with kids with special needs have enough worries and fears and I don't really want to give them more room than they already take in my life. We all have different situations though, our family life works really well while my worries for my kids mostly is about their social life. Therefore it feels more natural for me to document family life and not so keen on, say, birthday parties which are usually a chore both for us and the kids (high expectations, disappointment, unability to cope with all those kids at the same time, tears and constant mediating from us parents).

So again, whatever you feel you WANT to put in your books is fine. If you feel uncertain to how you should go about this I guess you could always create different books (as in standard family albums and a special album for your family's challenges).

Good luck!


PeaNut 13,202
March 2001
Posts: 4,266
Layouts: 33
Loc: an Aussie in Germany

Posted: 2/25/2013 6:54:04 AM
At the start of 2011, my (very new) DIL was diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness. It threw our lives into chaos - she was hospitalised for 2 months, then had months of regular physio and was unable to work for 6 months. My son was also unemployed for the first few months of it - he had just graduated when she became ill and didn't have the mental strength or time to apply for many jobs. I left my husband in Europe and flew back to Australia to be with them.

She is fine now, but my scrapbooks from Jan-May that year are pretty sparse - there just wasn't much going on to take photos of. While I haven't done it yet, I plan to do a LO about this event - partly because it was a major event in our lives, partly to explain why there are no other photos from this time, and partly to express all the emotions from that time - fear, relief, pride in both my DS and DIL for their courage.



PeaNut 232,717
November 2005
Posts: 152
Layouts: 0

Posted: 2/25/2013 7:42:08 AM
Thank you all for your insight!

Also my dd is very aware of what is going on around her. She would not appreciate me journaling the bad.

This is my main worry. He doesn't have any clue what's going on now, but I'm afraid someday he might and I would hate to have my feelings now hurt him in the future.

On the other hand, I don't want to just avoid the subject since it's such a focus in our lives right now. Maybe I'll need to find a happy medium somehow. Perhaps if I told of events in a more matter of fact way without expressing the pain.

I had recently done a page on a surgery of his, and I thought maybe I'd hide talk about the whole thing, but then hide the journaling. If I ever changed my mind, I could just remove the journaling.

I also have a personal blog that I only share with my mom and DH, and I'm very honest on that so at least I have somewhere to share my feelings.
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