Jun 122014

I’ve always been diligent about having my children’s portraits taken at different ages; 3 months, 6-7 months, 1 year, 18 months, and then every year up to age 5 when they start kindergarten and have annual school portraits done. I have a 4-drawer dresser in my office where I stash all the kids’ artwork and school papers throughout the year, and when we get new portraits done this is also where I put their old ones. Every summer, the kids and I pull out each drawer and go through it, putting the artwork they want to keep in their art cases, their outstanding schoolwork in their binders, and their portraits…nowhere. I’ve always just left them in the drawer in a large envelope because I wasn’t sure how to display them, but this year I decided to change that. I bought 3 of these very nice 8 1/2 x 11, leather 3-ring scrapbooks and put all of their portraits in them in chronological order.


Bee’s portrait scrapbook. I put family portraits featuring only her in her book as well. It’s nice to look back at them.

As I was working on DJ’s book, I had a realization. I was like, “Wait a minute….how long has he been 4 now? What month is this?”

Yeah….his birthday was in February and I still hadn’t managed to get his portraits taken. Every year I get later and later, and I had a moment of minor panic. I very much wanted my niece, who has a talent for photography, to take his portraits this year, but time really seems to get away from me. I realized that I can still have her take pictures of him, but in the interest of capturing what he looks like now, (before he gets closer to 5 than 4), I made a last minute run to the mall portrait studio.

I was worried because historically DJ has not been the most cooperative of my children during portrait sessions. This time he was simply awesome. The photographer actually said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve had a little boy who was this easy and photogenic!” I replied, “Well, I’m as surprised as you are!”

Dino DJ

I grabbed a few of DJ’s dinosaurs before we left. My objective with portraits is to capture each kid’s interests and personality. For example, DJ’s shirt is his favorite color, and it features his favorite thing!

DJ dino 2


One of my favorites.


This is his mischievous look.


I chose this one for his 8×10 because the way he’s smiling reminds me so much of his Dad.





Another one of my favorites.


The photographer did not tell him to do this. She just put the dinos around him and said, “Uh oh….they’re gonna get you!” and he reacted.




I love this one.

I’ve been desperately trying to catch up on scrapbooks this summer, but I finally came to the realization that with three kids, I will never keep up if I try to complete exhaustive individual books for them. While scrapbooking is a fun, creative outlet for me, I don’t do it for creative expression. I make scrapbooks (and write this blog, and take zillions of photos) because I want to remember stuff, and as I get older this becomes more and more difficult. So, in the interest of remembering (and actually feeling like I’ve completed something), I’ve started making┬áhardcover family albums for each year on Mixbook. With a coupon code, I’ve been able to get them for around $25 each, and I can basically complete an entire year’s scrapbook in a day, which is pretty incredible considering that I just now managed to get DJ’s birth announcement in his book, and he’s 4.

So, instead of printing and cropping and arranging all of my many, many HUNDREDS of photos (a truly impossible dream, I now realize), I will instead use the kids’ scrapbooks to display a few photos, and any ephemera we accumulate, such as school/dance programs, tickets, newspaper clippings, etc. This seems much more reasonable and manageable, and makes me feel far less panicky and overwhelmed (also, it’s much cheaper, and easier to organize!) Another advantage is that if we ever have a disaster, such as a fire or tornado, or if the kids someday want copies, I can always have more printed.

I have only completed two years so far – 2013, and 2012. Here’s a sample of each.

2012 scrap

2012. My blog came in handy when making this book, because I realized that I had no Easter photos, and I couldn’t figure out why. I thought I had misfiled or deleted them by accident, but a quick search of the blog revealed that DJ was sick and at Urgent Care on Easter Sunday in 2012, so we didn’t go anywhere or do anything. I had forgotten all about it.

Back to pool


So, that’s what’s new in our neck of the woods. I must get back to work now because I only have….let’s see….6 more years of scrapbooks to make. At least. Probably more, but I’m gonna try to not think about that. One year at a time.


  9 Responses to “DJ’s 4th Birthday Portraits and Family Scrapbooks”

  1. Great pictures. He looks so much like your husband!!

  2. I love your blog and check in often but I have never commented. I have been trying to find some picture albums to put our family pictures in and haven’t been able to find any for 8X10 except the ones that have a sticky page and plastic cover. I like what you did and it’s exactly what I was looking for. May I ask what brand they are and where you found them. I would love to purchase some! Your children are precious!

  3. Hi Heather,

    Love the pictures! He does look like his dad, except in the ones when he had a big smile, he looks just like his mom in those.

    Your blog has really helped me and continues to inspire me to live simply and happily.

  4. I have always felt that DJ looked like you and Bee, but these pictures could be of your husband when he was young!!! He is just adorable Heather!! I hope everyone is doing well and you’re enjoying your summer ­čÖé

  5. I love your blog! It has been a great tool in my home/time management. I love scrapbooking, buy with three kids under 5, it gets harder and harder to accomplish. If I may, I wanted to suggest something that has changed scrapbooking for me. Visit beckyhiggins.com and look at her Project Life system. I love it for its simplicity ­čÖé

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