Sunday, June 12, 2011

Life In Hidden Pictures

by Caren Crane

I had a lovely daughter graduate from high school yesterday and it was one of those Significant Milestones that should be Caught On Film. I have a few pictures, most of which I am not in because I was taking the pictures, but I have some. They are now held hostage on my digital camera because I am too...let's not call it lazy, rather unwilling to take the time to upload all the pictures to my PC (although I did this one time, just to have a picture for this blog post!).

I have masses of picture prints from other Significant Milestones sitting in boxes in my dining room and guest room closet. (My husband would have consigned them to the attic and did not understand they would be ruined by being stored there!) I have no plans for these pictures, except to take them out from time to time and look at them or share them with others in the pictures. "Oh, look how cute they were then!"

I do not scrapbook (which I need to, because I'll forget this picture was Rachel's last day of school someday). I don't make cheesy photo collages to hang on the wall of the stairwell. There are no lines of framed school pictures from kindergarten through graduation on a mantle or wall or dresser in my home. I do have photos I have stuck in frames from time to time, more from shame and fear of being the Worst Mother Ever than any other motivation. I also have a very fragile and changeable collage of photos covering my fridge (ask anyone who has been to the house!) that spans the past couple of decades. I think there is even a baby picture of me up there!

I have great photos that I feel I should do something with, but I realize I probably won't. I may get them scanned one day - or I may give them to one of my kids to scan one day (seems much more likely). I don't want to lose them or be without them. I also would love for my kids to do what I still do at my mother's house: take down the boxes of photos and sift through them, remembering, laughing and smiling. Come to think of it, my mother never made scrapbooks or memory albums either. She tossed packets of photos in a drawer or box and still has them there. Maybe it's hereditary - or maybe, like me, she's just not a visually-oriented person. Then again, I've never thought she was the Worst Mom Ever, either. I am always thrilled to sift through and unearth the treasures that await me in her precious boxes.

So maybe I'll upload my photos to a memory stick and take them to Walgreens and have those Significant Milestones turned into pieces of colored paper. Then I'll stick them in a box, put them in the closet, shut the door and let them age a bit. By the time they are pulled out, sifted through, smiled over, laughed at and remembered, they will be Treasured Memories. I may even be in a few of them!

Do you make memory albums or scrapbooks or do you toss the photos in a box or file or drawer? Any particularly wonderful photos from your own Significant Milestones you would like to tell us about?


Helen said...

Is he coming back to my place

have Fun

Caren Crane said...

Helen! You were quick off the block today. Have fun with your precious poultry pest!

Caren Crane said...

Okay, y'all. We had graduation, followed by walking around downtown and taking pics in the upper-90-degrees heat, followed by an outdoor concert (also downtown) where we got rained on. Then I had to download and upload pictures. I'm going to bed now and I'll see you in the morning!

Christine Wells said...

Caren, I so identify with being thought of as THE WORST MOM IN THE WORLD! We have a lot of photos that are on the computer and won't ever be put into albums. By contrast, my SIL makes coffee table books every year of family photos. Sigh. You really need to make time for that sort of thing.

And those are just gorgeous photos, btw!

Congrats on the bird, Helen!

Helen said...

Well he has run up the street very fast because it is still soo cold here LOl and we are going to sit quietly and read.


I do have a few photo albumns around but mostly they are in boxes and tins and here there and everywhere LOL I do have frames around with some nice photos of my wedding and my Mum and Dad and lots with the grandchildren in them. But I have to say that I love going thru boxes and tins of old photos that being back lots of memories.
Love the photos of your special day looks like everyone was enjoying them selves

Have Fun

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Helen, he clearly is enjoying the long weekend down here. I don't know why - it's as cold as charity!

Caren, what a lovely post. Actually I'm a bit like you - I put away the pics and never look at them again.


I've started blogging in recent years. And I have to write a favorite things post for every month on my website (the latest one is about a magical few days I spent on Iona, just off the west coast of Scotland, lots of photos! So over the last little while, I've hads a lovely time sifting through photos and as you say, smiling at the memories. Definitely do something to preserve them!!!!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey, Helen! You grabbed the chookie! :> congrats.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh, Caren, what a lovely post. Now I don't feel QUITE so guilty about not scrapbooking. Grins.

I do put pictures up, and change them out...periodically. Okay, sometimes.

I love taking them though. And my darling DH remembers to load them up to our computers, so he's got me covered there. :> I love it thwn they come up on my screen saver.

I guess that's the 21st century version of a photo album in my household.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

That should have been "when" they come up on my screen.

Okay, that's it. I'm done in when I can't type "when"


Deb said...

I hate scrapbooking and I am 11 years behind on Shary's scrapbook, grrr. I did have them organized by holidays and age, but the file got tipped over one day and I've never bothered to reorganize the lot. Shary said she'd help me this summer to organize, but just thinking about starting that task makes me procrastinate even more. But, it does need to get done. I am terrible about taking pictures because of this, I think...

I can do it, I CAN do it, I've GOT to do it, right?!

marybelle said...

Apart from Baby photo albums everything else just gets lumped in together. I should do a big sort out starting with buying some beautiful albums.

Donna MacMeans said...

Caren - You have such lovely daughters! Congratulations on one reaching one of life's milestones.

I have some photo albums. None those cute thiings with lots of accessories like the current concept of scrapbook - just a binder filled with photographs of the kids from our family vacations and milestones. As well of a box or two of photographs that I couldn't throw away. ("I'm going to paint this someday" comes to mind). However, since the investion of the digital camera - I don't have prints anymore - just digital images on a memory card that I may or may not be able to locate.

The digital age is great for sharing images "in the moment" but I wonder if down the road - all these memories will be lost due to lack of hard copy.

PJ said...

Helen, I see lots of rooster cuddling down under today! Stay warm!

Caren, what a beautiful family photo capturing a precious moment in time. I can see the love and pride on all of your faces!

I have many photo albums, boxes of loose photos and scads of photos on my computer. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I love taking photos! The majority of photos I take these days never make it to paper. They float around my screen saver and digital photo frame and are at my fingertips should I need to pop them into a blog. Very handy!

My mom was good about making albums - the old ones with leather covers and the glue-on corners that you slipped the photos into. I love looking through them and introducing the younger generation to the grandparents and great-grandparents that they never knew.

Deb Marlowe said...


I was thinking about you yesterday! Many congratulations to Lovely Daughter and to her family and especially to her Amazing Mother, who raised a very special, smart and loving girl!

I love pictures. My kids love them too, and like all kids, love to look at themselves. Just store them in a safe place so you can show them to the boyfriend she'll be bringing home from college before long! :-)

Caren Crane said...

Christine, do you think you'll ever actually do it, though? Will there be lovely coffee table photo albums? I'm pretty sure I won't.

I think it's one of those things you either do or you don't. They've just never been a priority for me. I think I could force myself to go spend lots of money on prints, though. Maybe...

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Helen, I'm glad someone else enjoys rummaging through the old photos, too. Do your kids mind that they aren't in albums or anything? I honestly have never missed the albums when going through my mother's boxes and drawers of photos! I do worry about the digital pictures, though. They seem so impermanenet. that a word?

Caren Crane said...

Anna and Helen, I must say I envy your cold right now! It's been at least 96 degrees here every day and steamy as an Anna Campbell novel!

By the time we got to the concert last night, I was soaked in sweat, had my hair twisted up in a clip and had changed clothes in a parking deck! It was desperate times, let me tell you.

Enjoy the brisk, cool air and make that bird play outdoors. He may take off for Kim in Hawaii, though!

Caren Crane said...

Helen, I wanted to say that the second photo is from the Girl Scout awards banquet two years ago when she received her GS Silver Award. The last photo is from her 14th birthday. Alas, I still had those pictures IN MY CAMERA. Worst. Mother. Ever!

Caren Crane said...

Anna, I am with you on the blogging helps thing. I have uploaded pics from my camera for things like blogs posts and profile pictures on Facebook. I've also grabbed some (and the kids have) from the memory card to send to various friends and family. Even the pics I have uploaded, though, are just sitting on my PC (or in a blog post) doing nothing. I need picture fairies!

I have coffee now and I'm going to go look at your photos. I'm sure they're lovely!

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, you are brilliant! I hadn't thought of the rotating screensaver as 21st-century photo album, but I think you're onto something there.

What we need is a fridge with a door that acts as a screensaver. You could plug in a flash drive and it would keep a rotating series of photos on your fridge. Voila, problem solved!

Caren Crane said...

Deb, honey, BREATHE! I'm pretty sure it's not a requirement in the Mommy Manual that you organize the photos by holiday and age. *g*

It's a great endeavor, though, and I am sure you guys will get it done one of these days. Really, the older they are, the more fun it is to go through them together and sort them out. Daunting, for sure, but y'all will have a great time doing it. Eventually. Fingers crossed for this summer!

Joan said...


Mega congrats on this milestone! Your daughter is as beautiful as her mother. I wish her all the happiness and success!

Caren Crane said...

Marybelle, I had some success with baby albums. I did the best job with the youngest, for some reason, but then hers was wrecked when we had some big flood in the kitchen one day. *sigh*

Maybe we should organize some meet-ups and bring our mountains of photos and have a big organizing party! I have a feeling, though, it would be lots of eating and drinking and we'd only sift through the pictures going, "Oh, look how cute they were!" *g*

Caren Crane said...

Donna, this is my fear, as well. What will happen to all the electronic files with all those decades of memories? Another reason to have the electronic fridge door! *g*

Oh, and believe it or not, my son is actually in one of the pictures on the blog. He's the guy in the hat standing with Rachel. He wasn't at graduation yesterday, but he was at Graduation Sunday at our church last week, which is why she was in her cap and gown. I managed to get the whole family stuffed into this post!

Maria said...

I'm ashamed to admit that I keep them on seperate memory cards but don't do anything with them. I really need to get the pictures printed out and put into scrapbooks...sigh...there is just never enough time and I get easily distracted

Christie Kelley said...

Most of my photos are in photo boxes. I keep saying some day I'll put them in albums....some day hasn't happened yet.

Congratulations on the graduation! That's a wonderful accomplishment.

Caren Crane said...

PJ, I knew you would have lots to say about photos! I'm curious about your future plans for your digital photos. I know you have thousands and thousands of them.

Have you backed them up in four different places? Will you bequeath them to someone when you're gone? I think that's the bottom line for me. I'm not sure anyone will ever be able to access the pictures when I'm dead or even know where to find them! Is that something we need to put in our wills now? *g*

Caren Crane said...

Deb! I missed you guys yesterday and was really sorry to miss the HCRW talk. I'll have to catch up with you soon!

So, have you made prints of your digital pictures for the boys? I feel like I need to cherry pick my hundreds (maybe thousands) of digital pictures, save the best ones, and go spend a fortune getting them printed somewhere.

You know, so I can put them in a box in a closet. ;)

Caren Crane said...

Joan, thanks so much! So, have you made photo albums for Greyson and Cricket yet? Adoption pictures, paper training, the switch to adult cat food, birthdays, etc? I'm sure you have the pictures. The question is, what is a mom to do with them??

Caren Crane said...

Maria, I feel your pain! At least you have them on separate memory cards. That's a good first step. My Nikon separates mine according to some process I haven't quite figured out. It's nice, though, because they are in manageable chunks when I upload them.

Do you really scrapbook - like full out scrapbook with all the cutting tools and whatnot? I've done it before, but I find it exhausting! It takes fully as much energy as writing and I would much rather write. Or even read! *g*

Caren Crane said...

Thanks, Christie! So, do you print out all your digital pictures? My kids (and husband) think I'm crazy when I get hard copy prints these days (like from a disposable camera), but I really like having the pictures to hold in my hands or put on the fridge.

Okay, I'm back to my digital fridge door again...

jo robertson said...

Ooooh, Caren, love your long hair. And mega congrats to Rachel for her graduation!

I used to scrapbook, a hobby I enjoy very, very much, but alas, it became too time-consuming once I started my writing career in earnest and was one of the things I had to let go.

Now my poor photos go in a drawer (several of them actually) or are stored forever in limbo on my computer. So sad!

Deb Marlowe said...

No, I don't print out our digital pics unless it's for a specific purpose. I do have one of those rotating digital frames, though!

Love the digital fridge idea! :-)

I have ordered the iphoto books from mac, though, for special occasions or gifts. They turn out great and are easier to store than all those separate pics.

Sheree said...

Although my father loved taking photos of us kids, my mother didn't sort them into discreet photo albums until all of us had moved out (when she finally had time to do them). For a while, all the photos were in a box which we all looked through once in a while. Now we argue about who should have ended up with which photo.

Beth Andrews said...

Congratulations to your beautiful daughter, Caren! Loved the pictures - you have a gorgeous family :-)

I'm horrible about taking pictures. I honestly forget to get the camera out until it's too late, and while I have tons of scrapbooking supplies, I've only done a few pages.

I have pictures in albums, some in boxes and many, many more still on the computer *g*

Anna Campbell said...

Steamy as an Anna Campbell novel, Caren? I LIKE it!!!!

I bought my first digital camera last November before the New Zealand trip - yeah, I'm so quick to take up new technology, it's amazing! And I wonder why I waited so long. I love that if a photo's bad, I just delete it and take a new one. Because I know immediately that it's bad. I like that I can take 1,000 photos if I feel like it and then delete 999 if I then feel like it. I like that I can say, hey, look at that pretty flower or landscape or something, people on Facebook might like it, and I snap it and put it up immediately. I know I'm talking to the converted, but I LOVE my digital camera! The only thing that makes me sad is I won't be able to use it at RWA in NYC this year. Boo hoo!

Anna Campbell said...

By the way, Caren, I'm with Jo on the long hair! Looks great!

Anna Campbell said...

And congratulations to Rachel!!!!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Caren! Congratulations on getting another one through high school! I am convinced the celebration is as much for the parents' efforts as it is the young graduate's!

Looking at your pictures two things struck me.

1. Your daughter is beautiful

2. Knowing how tall you are, she is very tall!! (This from a woman of average height.)

Soooooooo pictures, huh?

Well, yes, I do scrap book. When we moved from Florida to Texas, I discovered I had 16 rolls of devolped pictures from my children's schoolage and younger years. It was great fun for me to tell the story behind each group of pictures on pages in a scrap book and great fun for them to see their lives unfold before them. (Now mind you, I used to make my own scrapbooks of my own achievments in middle and high school, so I was basically a stoneage scrapper!)

Then for each of the grandkids I've scrapped a book of their first year or so. Be careful what you sow! I have gotten the pictures started for the newest grandson's book. That and the book and papers/stickers/whatnots are clogging my kitchen table at the moment!

Suzanne Ferrell said...


When I was growing up, I loved to pull out picture albums at my grandparents where of my single aunts had put in pictures from my grandparents', parents' and our lives. What a font of history that was!

My mom had tons and tons of pictures in a huge plastic box and for years we'd take them down and look through them. Then one particularly snowy winter SAM'S CLUB had photo albums on sale. She bought oh maybe 15 of them.

AND then, she hit upon genius...

She gave them to my dad and the box of photos and said, "Could you put all these in the albums?"


The workings of a very clever woman whose husband is driving her nuts!

WEll, now when I visit, I can pull out those albums and enjoy the pictures, and Daddy is so proud of it. Mom is too!

Caren Crane said...

Jo, I think the main battle these days is for time. I know women who scrapbook and create wonderful, beautiful albums for all sorts of occasions. Those women, however, do not write. *g*

It's one thing to do something like knit, which good knitters (not me!) can do while talking or watching TV or a movie. Multi-tasking! Writing and scrapbooking, though, take tons of time, concentration and creative energy.

At least your kids and grandkids will have some great scrapbooks to thumb through, Jo. Mine will have nothing but the piles of pictures - or the folders of jpg files. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Deb, I have no idea what iphoto books even are! I think I need to do more research. That sounds like something that would be great for me, as long as it's easy and not terribly time-consuming. *g* I also need to invest in some digital frames. I've resisted it, because they just aren't the same, but I figure if I love my Kindle I can learn to love digital picture frames!

Caren Crane said...

Sheree, that's too funny! I suppose your mom made it easier by just putting them in an album and saving you the angst of deciding who should have which picture. I know what you mean, though. My oldest sister has sort of taken ownership of many of our family pics from when we were kids, because she has been scanning them. Which is great when she shares but not so great when she doesn't think to share.

Technology is awesome because we have the ability to do things like scan old pictures, but then we have to rely on our unreliable selves to get the job done. *sigh* Digital fridge is sounding better all the time!

Caren Crane said...

Beth, your photo habits sound just like mine! I often take my camera with me and then completely forget to take pictures. I think because I'm so busy watching everyone and observing (or participating) that I totally forget to be the objective viewer. I've said it before, but I am NOT visually-oriented, so I don't "see" things as photo opportunities!

I'm sure your kids and mine will get over it, though. Maybe it will even motivate one to become the maker of the photo albums and scrapbooks! I'm not holding my breath, though. *g*

Thank you for the compliments on my gorgeous children. I am shamefully proud of them!

Caren Crane said...

Anna, I want you to know that I was searching for a good "humid as..." and then it hit me. Humid...steamy...romance...Anna Campbell! Sometimes things just come together and it's so true!

True confessions: I bought my digital camera before we went to Switzerland five years ago for the express purpose of capturing the beauty there. I took hundreds and hundreds of pictures and very few were "bad ones"! It's a place that is so gorgeous that every cow is a masterpiece. *g*

I'm so glad you bought a digital camera and love it. We all benefit from your snap-happiness!

Caren Crane said...

Jo and Anna, thanks for the compliments on the longer hair. I didn't realize, but I've had it short since I've known you guys. It's currently in need of a trim, but I wore it much longer before I went with the gorgeous bob I used to have. I won't let it get that long again, but it is staying at least the length it is now!

There is something to be said for having hair you can pull back or twist and clip when you live somewhere so stinking hot!

Caren Crane said...

Thanks for the congrats, Fo. I really am shamefully proud of her!

Caren Crane said...

Ack! Blogger is eating my comments now. Stoopid Blogger...

Caren Crane said...

Suz, thanks so much for the compliments. Yes, Rachel is quite lovely and tall. I would love to take full credit for that, but I think she got a good dose of both from her daddy, as well. *g*

That said, I was wearing flats and she was wearing 3-inch heels. Still, she is 3/4 in. taller than I am. Adam is actually taller than she is, but you'll notice in their picture that she's again wearing heels. It makes him crazy. He calls her "freakishly tall" because, you know, that's what brothers do. Ha!

I think it's wonderful both that you were a stone age scrapbooker and that you've done them for your kids and grands. What a joy to have so many grands to scrapbook for!

I just don't know how you handle working, writing AND scrapbooking. You are a wonder woman!

Caren Crane said...

Suz, your mom is the wisest woman in the world! What a perfect solution to a snowy-winter-husband-underfoot dilemma. It was a breathtaking work of staggering genius! *g*

It's special too, because it gave your dad such ownership of the photo albums. Now they are as precious to him as they are to your mom, you and your sibs. Amazing! I bow to your mother. I may also need to call her sometime...

Pat Cochran said...

Caren, Congrats on the graduation!
My DIL is a scrapbooking company
consultant and she's always after
me to put my photos in albums. I
have albums and all the necessary
equipment needed for the project yet
I haven't gotten the job done! Honey
has taken all our photos from the
past 52+ years & entered them into
a computer file. He then transferred
them onto DVDs for all the children.
He is now going to burn discs for all
our siblings. Isn't he a honey! This
was several year-long project!

Caren Crane said...

Okay, it's not late, but I am pooped. Thanks for making me feel better about my lack of album-making - or at least commiserating with me. I think we should all go to Suz's house and have a crop! Isn't that what the scrapbookers call it??

Caren Crane said...

Pat, you were blessed with a real treasure of a spouse! I know my husband will never, ever, in a million years do that unless I trick him into it using wisdom garnered from Suz's mom.

Hey, since you have all that scrapbooking stuff, maybe we should have a crop at your house!!

Anonymous said...

I was REALLY good about scrapbooking while I was in college. I've got my freshman and sophomore years done.

That's about it, and I'm 30 now.