Jennifer FlatenThis post by Jennifer Flaten

My son is a fifth grader this year, which means at the end of this school year, he will “graduate” to sixth grade. To celebrate his school is having a graduation dinner. At the dinner, they will play a slide show with photographs of all the fifth graders.

I need to provide a current picture-ok, not too hard since the kids are obsessed with taking selfies. Just this Sunday, known as “selfie Sunday” around here the kids took 50 pictures of themselves playing with the new basketball hoop.

Now, to find one that isn’t of the boy’s nostril or eyebrow-he hasn’t quite mastered the selfie yet.

A kindergarten picture-hmm, if I can’t find that there is a chance his kindergarten school portrait is hanging on the fridge. Mental note time to clean off the fridge.

A baby picture-Hey, I could give them my favorite baby picture of him, the one where he is dressed in a yellow terry cloth duck suit! Ah, no he probably would never forgive me for that, I had better go find a different one.

Down to the basement I go. I would love to tell you I have gorgeous scrapbooks filled with carefully curated assortment of photos, all neatly labeled, but the sad truth is my photos are stored in a giant plastic storage container. file000544696036

The storage container is in addition to a large assortment of digital pictures.

Finding a picture is an adventure. One that usually takes about five times as long as it should any time I go looking for a picture because a) none of the packets are date labeled b) I get distracted looking at all the old pictures.

Embarrassing fact, we have as many pictures of our pets as we do our children.

Today in my question to find a picture of my son as a baby, I found a picture of my husband and me at the Chicago Auto Show from 1993.

I also found some adorable pictures of my son as a toddler and a kindergartner, although the baby pictures (especially the duck suit one) eluded me.

So do you have neatly labeled albums or are you like me?

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16 thoughts on “Photographs

  1. In regards to photos, the multitude of piles, stacks, drawers-full, camera cards, and partially filled albums in this house weigh on me daily. You’d think I’d do something about them! There’s always tomorrow.
    Cute post and so relate-able! (I think that’s not a word, but I like it.)


  2. Jennifer, my photos are a hodge-podge stuffed into an old trunk. There is absolutely no chronological order to them, just stuck in envelopes, shoe boxes or simply jammed in with other items that most likely mean nothing except to a mother. I’ve been meaning to go through everything and make sense of the photos, but then my grown kids visit and they love opening the trunk and sorting through the photos. I really believe they love the jumbled state, pulling this one or that one out and laughing and saying, “Oh, I remember this…” . I only hope and pray that someday, after my death, they don’t end up in a “lot” at some obscure auction, or in an antique shop where strangers mindlessly sift through them. Thanks, Jennifer.


    1. Sherry, that’s one thing that prompted me to put a bunch of photos on an external hard drive asking myself, who would know what or who this is besides me? If it’s no one and I can’t part with it yet on the drive. (In theory). Lol Cher’ley


  3. Jennifer, so funny. I have periods, say–Easter 1970, that’s clearly labeled and in a nice neat photo album–then it goes to 1985 until another photo is put in an album. If I’m lucky the back of one of the photos in a group says grandchildren July 1998, so I know the adorable little baby is probably my granddaughter. I am in the process (a long process that’s been started 3 or more times) of sorting and digitializing my photos. I remember helping my daughter gather those photos for banquets. Cher’ley


    1. Reminds me of my middle niece Quinn’s wedding from several years ago. During the pre-wedding dinner, they showed photos of Quinn and her husband-to-be Lance when they were kids. Also shown were photos of loved ones not there but in Heaven including Quinn’s grandmothers.


  4. When I’m visiting my sister’s, I will borrow some of our mom’s scrapbooks and scan the photos. I have a ton of them on computer hard drives, flash drives and external drives. Whenever a cousin posts extended family photos, I save them to the various drives. That’s the way I’ve been able to accumulate lots of the really old, old photos of great and great-great grandparents, etc., many from around 1900. I think it was easier keeping scrapbooks before the digital age. Our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents couldn’t take as many photos, so the scrapbooking was straightforward. Nowadays, we take literally thousands of digital photos; how do you keep up with all that? I have hundreds on my camera card right now, most journalism related.


  5. We have boxes of photos, stack of photos on shelves of photos in no distinguishable order. We also have 10 gazillion digital photos that my husband claims he will archive and get to me. This claim started when we went to Africa in 1999 and to date nothing has happened. Ah well. We are very lucky that the spring round of school photos happens the week of her birthday every year so I can get a set of actual pictures to send to family members. 🙂

    You are not alone.

    Great post.


  6. A lot of family photos were lost when my parents home burned years ago. Since that time I have no idea where regular photos are but there is a huge digital collection from my photo and haiku series. Sadly there are few if any family photos.

    I did laugh out loud at the comment about as many pets as family…I have more of pets. Loved and so related to this post. Doris


  7. You’re not alone, Jennifer. I have a combination–some neatly put together albums from trips, one actual scrapbook (completed two or three years after the trip), one barely begun scrapbook (and that trip was almost 9 years ago–I don’t hold out many hopes of completing that book), and boxes and envelopes and flash drives/memory cards. I get distracted looking through the photos too. Fun post. I say, go with the duck suit. Give him the satisfaction of having something else to bug you about later. 🙂


  8. Oh boy, I can’t believe the number of boxes of photos we have. My problem is my DH goes overboard and snaps far too many and then I have to pick out which ones to keep. I HATE making those decisions!


  9. Great post Jennifer. I have a lot of photos stored on my computer or memory sticks and I have a couple of scrapbooks my daughter made for me. About five years ago I went through all the photos I had and sorted them for each of my children. I gave them to my daughter and son so they could enjoy them with their families. That freed up some space on my storage shelves and also made them happy by giving special memories they could share with their own children. I did keep a few for myself that I could hang on my walls. I don’t ever think I’ll get around to organizing all my digital photos though!


  10. This post is a memory jog to get tidying as well. Once upon a time- like more than two decades ago- I did make an attempt to keep all our photos in dated packets but the problem was that I couldn’t exactly remember when we had visited places when my kids were younger. Since I must have done that at a time when my hubby was working away from home (he’d remember much better than me), those packets of prints tend to have “Maybe April 1992 or perhaps October 1993? ” The packets all have big question marks on them. fortunately hubby got wise and from about 1995 we have stored photos on the computer in special files. Sadly my camera is now chock a block with photos from the last few years which need to be filed! Thank you Jennifer for the prompt!


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