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Say Cheese! School Pictures

It’s almost back-to-school time for my kids, and the two weeks leading up to the new school year are always busy. We have registration, open house, freshman orientation, and orientation for parents of freshmen this year. It means a lot of running around and check-writing. You heard right, folks. Our public schools don’t take Visa, Mastercard, or American Express. And you have to write separate checks for each fee; eight checks between two kids! (Don’t even get me started.)

But this blog isn’t about the hassles involved with registration. It’s about the part I really like. School pictures! The school takes pictures at registration, so the parents can see and approve the photo. They also take them once more in the spring, so we can see how our kids have changed over the year. I love that!!!

This year played out a little differently than in the past, though. I found myself on the verge of an all-out power struggle with both of my kids over what to wear. Here’s how the conversation went with my son.

Me: Go change for your school pictures.
Teen: I don’t want my picture taken.
Me: You have to, so go change.
Teen: Why do I have to? I don’t see what the big deal is. I don’t care about pictures.
Me: I want a picture of you and so do your grandmas. And I want it to look nice.
Teen: Fine… (Stomps toward his room)
Me: And put on clean clothes. (I've learned to add this important detail)
Teen comes out in a t-shirt he had on the previous day.
Me: Did you just pick that up off the floor?!? (pointing for emphasis) Go change right now! And it better be something clean this time. Wear something NICE.
Teen returns with another dirty t-shirt. 
OMG! By the third t-shirt and only 20 minutes left to make it to the high school, I threw up my hands. At least it was clean. I wasn’t getting nice.

Here’s how the conversation went with my 9-year-old daughter.

Me: Why don’t you wear one of the dresses Mimi bought you?
D: I like what I’m wearing.
Me: But don’t you want to wear something nicer for your pictures?
D: (primping in the mirror) No. I think I look great.

LOL. That’s my girl! Gotta love that kind of self-assurance. So off we went for pictures with her dressed in a t-shirt that was almost too short for her, a fringed jacket, a pair of jeans, and feathers in her hair.

Eventually, I decided my son was right. What is the big deal about what they wear for their school pictures? It’s how they look most of the time. Why wouldn’t I want to remember them this way? Besides, everything is going to be out of fashion soon enough. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at these old school pictures I found of my husband and me from kindergarten and our senior years.

Look at that collar! I wanted to wear a dress.
The bow tie is almost bigger than he is.

Love that eighties hair.

Don Johnson called. He wants his jacket back.
I would love to know what everyone does with all of their old photos. Mine are unorganized in boxes, because I can't decide what I should do with them all. Does anyone have any great ideas on how to organize your photos? 


  1. I love the vintage photos, and I identify with the fruitless exchange of dialogue. I'm of the opinion that with a horse, a child or a Circuit Court judge, if you get into a power struggle, you've already lost.

    I'm not much of one for storing anything, including pictures--which I'll probably regret. Fortunately, there's Pinterest, so I can look at everybody else's lovely pics.

  2. There are some lovely pictures on Pinterest. Lots of talented photographers. I love that you included Circuit Court judge in your 'do not engage' list. :D

  3. I have old pictures in photo boxes too. I have my daughter's photos well organized, but that's because she's only 3 and I only printed the ones I wanted to put in photo books. Those are really cute photos of you and your husband--as bad as mine!

  4. Your blog brought back memories. After having similar conversations with my three when they were younger, I came up with a hard and fast rule for school and church: no dirt! And boy would they try to sneak around it by arguing when is what started out as a tiny hole truly qualified as a "hole?" Same for the dirt.

    Loved your pics, Samantha! Enjoy this time it goes by too fast. :)

  5. Loved the post and looking at the pictures. What fun to look back on the way we were.

    I have all my photos neatly tucked away in the photo albums you get at the drugstore. They are on the bottom bookshelf in my office. Usually once they are filled, they are never looked at again. Sad but true.


  6. Love your photos and the post. Just think in 20 years you get to drag out those school pictures and say, "I told you to wear something nicer. Now I'm showing this to your boyfriend/girlfriend whether you like it or not because I'm the mother, that's why!"
    Husband has always been interested in photography (we worked as a team and took wedding photos for almost 30 years as a side line job) so we have a hall closet full of shoe boxes crammed full of pictures. The kids and grandkids love getting them out a box at a time and looking through them.

  7. Cute pictures!

    I have about 20 years' worth of pictures lying around in boxes, and close to 10 years' worth on various hard drives and backup drives...and I rarely look at any of them. It's a shame.

  8. I have photos in books, and photos in boxes. I organized my mothers in photo boxes, but mine are still a mess.Love your pictures, and the school stories. I try not to influence fashion too much, as I can remember that was always a source of irritation between my mother and I.

  9. Shana,
    Now that everything is digital, I would have a lot less pictures, I think. I seem to have tons of messed up ones of my kids, but I have the hardest time throwing them out. :)

  10. CH,

    I hear ya. My kids are always looking for loopholes, too. ;)

    The time does go by too quickly. I'm having a mini-pity party because my son is going into high school. I'm not ready for him to leave home.

  11. Thank you, Amelia.

    At least you have yours in albums. You're way ahead of me. :)

  12. Carolyn,

    You and Mr. Brown were probably a blast to have at any wedding. He's so great about taking pictures at conferences, too. I think he's a keeper. ;D

  13. Tamara,
    I rarely look at mine either, but then once I start, I can get lost in them for hours. I love the candid ones with other people in the background most. I like to make up stories to go with them. :)

  14. Gayle,

    I'm with you on not pushing my sense of fashion on my daughter. I love that she has a mind of her own and feels confident in what she wears. I wouldn't even mind all the baggy t-shirts and jeans my son wears if they didn't smell like he stored them in a stable. :D

    Thanks for stopping by today. It's always great to "see" you.

  15. Love the pictures of you and hubby!

    I have all 13 years of my son's school pictures in an expandable file. Not the safest place for them, but they are in order. Snapshots are in albums. Not organized at all. My mother has every picture in photo albums by person in chronological order. Disgusting...

  16. Olivia,
    My sister-in-law is organized like that too, only she makes scrapbooks for her kids. And she makes hardbound books on Shutterfly. I should hire her to organize my pictures. :)


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