The Expat Family Photo Book

expat issues, Little Aussie

Expat Family Photo Book

There was a moment during my pregnancy when our midwife asked if we had any family to help with the new baby. I don’t know if I’d ever felt so alone as I did at that moment when her face momentarily registered horror and concern when we said that, no, we just had us to contend with the tiny hurricane that was soon to enter our home.

While it’s true that having family help on deck to help with a newborn would have useful, I’ve come to miss having our families nearby much more acutely as Hushpuppy has gotten older, able to interact, and eager to sort people into categories. Surely, if you ask almost any expat family the biggest challenge of living abroad, they will tell you that it’s the sadness and guilt that comes with lost time with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

We’ve logged plenty of airline miles to ensure that Hushpuppy has spent time with both my family in the U.S. and Partner-in-Crime’s family in Serbia, and she sees them on Skype when we’re able; but I wanted a way for her to see family anytime, and to help her understand who fits where in relation to her.

So, I made my little Third Culture Kid a gift I hope she’ll hold dear – a personalized family photo book.

To create the book, I simply used a photo editing site (Snapfish because they had a good sale on, but I think most sites have good photo book editing software these days). Along with a multitude of layout choices, there were also a lot of stock images and accents to choose from to make it a bit adorable, so I just spent an afternoon playing around.


I divided the book into U.S.A. Family, Serbia Family, and Australia Family, giving a page to each relative, and scattering the accompanying pages with photos from moments she’s shared with each of them.

I have been enjoying looking at this book with her so much. We carefully go through each page, naming everyone, and talking about things they’ve done together. It certainly doesn’t replace having all these special people nearby, sharing her growing up together, but I hope that this book will be a special keepsake for her to always remember that her family is near in heart, if far in presence.


Seychelles Mama

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14 thoughts on “The Expat Family Photo Book

  1. Kelli

    I did this last year- all four years since Rory was born because I realized we had no extended family pictures in our house anywhere. They love looking through them so now I do our family yearbook and make sure to include a lot of summer pictures of our GA and England families 🙂

    1. Cristin Post author

      We’re the same with no photos around. I think I’ll definitely want to update it in a couple of years, as well!

  2. Claire @ Life on Wallace

    I really must do something similar for our kids. Our family isn’t as spread out as yours, we’re in Sydney, most of the family are in Tasmania, with one part in Indonesia. But I’m sure my boys would love it.

    1. Cristin Post author

      I think even when families aren’t as far away, we can often end up going a long time between visits. It’s nice to keep kids connected to family in the interim.

  3. Clara

    Yes we have done this from the year they were born – the eldest got one of her own for her first year, they each got one of their own for her second and my youngest’s first year and then from then on we have just done one for the year (and extra ones for big holidays). They LOVE looking through them and I think it helps them transition between places. Unfortunately since moving to South Africa I am overwhelmed with pictures because we travel so much here – it is unusual for us not to go somewhere every month and it is a very photogenic country 🙂 So I think we will maybe have to resort to doing two a year. Now if only I could find the time to do them (it is amazing how much less time you seem to have as your kids get older!). #MyExpatFamily

    1. Cristin Post author

      Oh my gosh, we are so behind on doing the books with our travel photos! In a digital age, I love having all the memories on paper for our kids to look at anytime they want. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Frances Woodhams

    Wow that is such a good idea! Our 3 girls are older now but they still love to pore over the old photo albums. I bet that is your daughter’s favourite bedtime story!

  5. Mummy and the Mexicans

    This is such a lovely idea, I should do something like this for my daughter. I particularly want to do one for my side of the family who are all so far away. We have a family photo of me with my parents and sisters which she loves looking at and pointing out who’s who in, so it would be great to have a proper photo album, and add extended family members that she’s never met. I just have to find time to do it! #MyExpatFamily

  6. seychellesmama

    This is really lovely! My parents made a little book for Arthur when he was smaller but this has definitely inspired me to make a bigger one for all our family! I agree that it is harder as the kids grow up! The Skype calls now are so adorable but the guilt of that not being face to face is HUGE!!! We’ve got a trip coming up in the next couple of months that we are really excited about, its been 2 years since we have been to the UK!

    Thanks for sharing with #myexpatfamily 🙂

    1. Cristin Post author

      Thanks for having me again! Enjoy your trip home – that will be so special to have some time with your family!

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