July 11, 2015

Random Thoughts and What Do You Do With All Your Pictures!?

Last week the governor of Missouri signed a law granting a tax exemption for stillbirths. When I was reading about it, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Arizona already has a similar law and is one of the now three states that grant the exemption. I hope other states follow suit. Three is such a pitiful number. But now I keep thinking that I want to go back and amend our taxes from 2010. I was an Arizona resident then and I remember being asked, "did you have a stillbirth in the state of Arizona" when I first attempted to do our taxes online. I was emotional and confused and ended up getting our taxes done at HR Block. And I don't even know if our taxes could be amended, because while I was a resident of the state (since I was active duty at the time), my baby was not born in the state of Arizona. A little tricky, but nonetheless it would be really neat if I could go back and give some legal and and official proof of life to Cale. And that's what is so wonderful about the tax exemption. Sure, the money is nice, but it's far more important than that. It's acknowledgment. It's recognition. And that's something stillborns get far too little of.

I have yet to re-apply for Cale's Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth (CBRS). I applied once in 2011, while pregnant with Finley. I was sent the wrong document and instead received his fetal death certificate, something we already have. And I have yet to muster up the courage to re apply. So silly, really. It would take all of five minutes. Just print out a form, mail it off, and hope they don't screw it up this time. Yet I can't seem to bring myself to do it. Funny how daunting and emotional a little bit of paperwork can be.

Speaking of daunting, I really hope to get more organized at some point. I want to weed through all the scrapbooking materials I have and part with most of them. I think I'm coming to accept that I just won't be scrapbooking much ever again. But I do still want to make (or have made) albums for all the kids and I don't know how I want to do those. I have Mary's baby book all filled out, but only a fraction of Finn's done. But what about the things I want to keep? Pictures are easy to do in a photo book, which is certainly a nice space saver, but what about the baby shower invitations and the hospital bands, the cards and the sweet little "things" that just get stored in a box  . . . you know, because they are far too precious and special to throw out. Any recommendations for what to do with all that stuff? 

At least my lack of organization is clearly organized?
Additionally, while I want to clear out a lot of the "stuff," I also worry that I don't have enough pictures printed and need to go through and either print copies of my favorites or make some photo books because I worry about technology failing me and all my digitally stored pictures being lost. I have all our pictures on a hard drive that is backed up by another hard drive, but what if USB's one day become obsolete?! Miles and I watched Return of the Planet of the Apes the other night and there is a scene where they get the power up and running again and a man is glad to get a charge back in his iPad because it enables him to view his family photo. I'm not too concerned we are going o be overrun by apes, but I do think it's a valid point that we rely on technology a bit too much for storage of such important memories. I just need to find a happy medium of digital and hard copies and would love any recommendations or tips!

I'm somewhat motivated to get started on this photo/album organization because I fear memories escaping me and not being able to recall little details that I once thought I'd never forget. On Cale's fifth birthday I re-read all the details and memories I typed up a few months after he died. I wrote about everything from when and how I found out I was pregnant with him, my pregnancy, and then all the details surrounding his birth. It's a 14 page, single spaced word document that was tough, but nice to go back and read through, though I found many typos and grammatical errors I need to go back and fix! But as I was reading it I was reminded of things I had already forgotten about and I'm thankful I had written them down and need to do a better job of that. Like I should write down when we were driving home yesterday and Finn said, "I love you, Mary" and then went on to say, "and I love you too, mommy, and daddy and Roscoe - I just love everybody!" . . . I need to write that down because it was helpful at reminding me that he is a great kid despite the total psychopath he was two days prior when he thought it was FUNNY to roll over  Mary's head (made more challenging by the fact that she also thought it was funny) and he couldn't listen to a damn thing I said all day. But nonetheless, documenting this stuff is important and I need to make it more of a priority outside of the blog.



  1. I was so good about printing Zuzu's photos. Poor Coco has some printed but not in an album. I've decided to do family photo books every six months. I have one finished and five in the queue. That was a summer project. Sigh... I back up my blog by copying and pasting the whole thing month by month into Word files that I save in drop box. But mostly I have all the same concerns and lack of organization that you describe here. Parenting in the age of technology--not so easy!

  2. I need to print more pics too. Chatbooks helps with IG so at least those are printed, even if it's not the best quality out there. I've done a couple shutterfly books that I like but not in over a year eeekkk.
    I have two harddrive backups and I still can't delete pics off the computer that is on its last leg and needs storage space!

  3. Oh, and I think the stillbirth tax laws are so good. More validation always.

  4. I struggle with this too, Caroline! I think I have too many photos saved electronically since we take ten in a row with every intention of deleting the worst 9.... Which never happens. So the amount of electronic photos is just overwhelming. I often get free prints from shutterfly and I used to be better about organizing them, but since Lydia died, I seem to lack energy for these kind of projects. And then they become overwhelming. Also the stillbirth laws --- I hope more states follow suit. There seems to be so much conversation about stillbirth in the news lately and I have no idea if it's because I am now paying attention or if it wasn't there before.

  5. Same same same.

    I don't have a certificate of stillbirth or ANYTHING because while it's easy, it's emotional and daunting.

    I also will be immediately headed to Amazon to look at hard drives again. I have already filled about 30% of a terabyte (!) and our current one is only 1TB. Ugh. I'm nervous, too!

  6. I'm still working on a system, but I like to create an album at the end of each year (before B was born, I managed to get caught up again - we'll see if I can keep that up this year). I use iPhoto on my Mac. For the physical keepsakes, I have a box for both Quinn and Blythe. I know it won't hold everything, but I'm hoping for Blythe it will hold everything for her first year? After that, I don't know!

  7. So glad the stillbirth tax law was passed in another state. I saw that last week too and meant to ask you if you were able to do this for Cale. I can't believe it isn't standard in all states. Hopefully it will be very soon.

    I have the same dilemma with pictures and momentos and i don't even have kids yet! For example, I have a pretty awesome pic of my two best friends with their faces hiding behind my bra that keeps coming up to surface in one of my boxes of pictures.....hehehe

    I'm thinking about doing a family photo album each year to recap all of the special events and memories (will probably use shutterfly). It sounds corny, but it will kind of be like a yearbook or a year in review. I have a feeling I will be a pack-rat with all of the little momentos (such as artwork) so I need to figure out a system to keep organized and not hold on to everything.

  8. Oh! And I still use the hard drive you have me for graduation religiously and would be devastated if I ever lost it!! I need to use the cloud storage link you told me about ages ago to back everything up.

  9. That's both great and frustrating to hear about the laws. It always surprises me to learn these things since I'm not that aware...things that I suppose would be a given. But I'm glad progress is being made.

    You're way ahead of me on the baby books and organizing. I'll call you if I ever figure out something remotely effective ;) In the mean time, I'm trying to write down more stuff when I actually remember, but trying to give myself a break when I don't. And hoping some genius creates some app here soon that has it all figured out!

  10. Interesting about the laws. That is something I never thought of, but it should be a federal exemption.

    I am struggling with the photo issue too. Right now I file them but the folder is incredibly full. I think I may buy a bigger file box and categorize them by year.