Photo Essay: The Time Machine on My Front Porch

love who you are owl drawing

kindergarten and first grade G

 first day school photography

first day of school photography ideas


photography ideas first day of school

first day of school photography idea

school photography ideas

first day school photography ideas

K through senior photography ideas


For more proof of my porch time machine, check out my daughter in last year’s post: The Quickening: From Baby to High School Graduate in Sixty Seconds.

happy graduation

Now I’ve got two happy graduates. 🙂

What’s your best advice for graduates?

Happy Monday!


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43 thoughts on “Photo Essay: The Time Machine on My Front Porch

  1. How lovely – I’ve been going through photos and it’s amazing how quickly the kids grow – I have two more years before graduation #1 and five more after that…. #2 just finished elementary and is off to middle school on August… Oh my… She was looking through school supplies last night – getting ready for the first day. How does everyone get older yet, I stay the same age?


    1. I know what you mean, Clay. I feel those years were not that long ago. In spirit. There’s those pesky physical things like joints and such that remind me otherwise. 🙂 I think it’s sweet your daughter is already thinking about school supplies!


  2. You were smart (and prescient) to take those first-day-of-school photos on the front porch year after year. You created a photographic timeline that will mean a lot for generations to come. Congrats to your son on his graduation–and hooray for all his honor cords!


  3. Love the owl. My advice is also to follow your passions, especially in your 20s. The house, mortgage, and family will come in due time but now is the time to have adventures (albeit you have to be strategic and figure how to pay for them yourself).


  4. I agree, very clever to document your kids photos on the front porch. Congratulations to your son. Both your kids your smile. My advice is to be open to all subjects and interests in college, be involved in projects that help others, and be open to your destiny.


  5. Great picture presentation. Congrats to the graduate! I’m sure you’re a proud momma.

    My advice is to explore all that life has to offer at that young age. Go out and see the world. Work in a profession that you love and not just for money.


  6. What a marvelous presentation. Congratulations to those two graduates! But, something is wrong here. Are you sure those two kids are yours… you look like you have just graduated from high school yourself.


  7. Cool way to showcase the front porch. Kids grow up so dang fast.

    My best advice for graduates? Hmmm. Probably don’t rush into anything; relationships, jobs (unless they are REALLY good ones), house-buying, obtaining credit cards, having babies (Heaven forbid!). Take time to enjoy life. Go please – see things – experience different cultures. Learn what’s out there, appreciate what you have, and never forget your roots.

    Okay, that was a lot.

    Congratulations to the kiddos. I hope they have much success in their lives.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


  8. Love your wise graduation owl 🙂 And what a wonderful bunch of front porch time machine photos! They grow up so fast, don’t they? And you had two grads in two years – so close together! Hmm… advice for grads… believe that you can accomplish whatever you set out to do… find a career you love so your job will never (well,hardly ever 🙂 ) feel like work… enjoy being young and single and free for a while – marriage and family and responsibilities will come soon enough so there’s no need to rush it, be sure you’re ready…


  9. Oh my gosh, precious!!! I’m so sorry we’ve been ghosts as of late! 1 book down 1 to go!!! Then we’ll be back regular!!! My kids must’ve been hanging out on your porch as well, cuz the kids I used to know are now adults!!! Where does time go? Luv this like sunshine, Coleen, cuz it’s what life is all about!!! By the way, your kids are beautiful!! Just like mama!!! xoxo ❤


  10. Coleen the owl is so cool, you are very talented and I think the quote is pretty special too. I love your time machine. i wish I had started one or kept one going. We use to stop on the way down to grandparents at a giant dinosaur sculpture and we promised we would do it every year. But then we moved down near Grandparents and did not go by it as often….the porch is a much better choice, really enjoyed the beautiful photos of your kids growing and changing, it almost feels like it goes that fast.


    1. Aw thanks so much, Kath. I have no memory of how we got started with these pictures. Just glad we didn’t stop! I’m curious about this dinosaur sculpture–sounds like a cool place to stop!


  11. See, I thought you had a graduation last year. I thought I was losing it. lol. You had your kids close like me. Love your memory machine! I hope it helps to bring you peace and joy as you also embark on the next part of your journey. It’s quite a change when our children grow up, graduate and leave home, let me tell you. And it takes a while to adjust. May the force be with you Coleen! And enjoy reliving every moment those pictures bring back to you! ((Hugs!))


    1. Thank you, Karen! I need the force. Even though it’s all a part of life, I’m still finding myself a bit stunned at how it actually feels–and we haven’t even got to move in day at college. But I’m in no rush for that!


  12. Love the photos! So cool how you took them in the same exact location to get that “time machine” effect! I guess my advice is cliche, but it’s worked for me so far: Plan for the future, but live for today. Good luck to your son as he enters an exciting new phase in life!


  13. Wow, Coleen. How did you manage to think to take so many pics on the front porch? Your son has a lovely smile – the kind that will carry him well into the future beyond the porch 🙂


  14. Is that owl your work? I like it — I certainly would have enjoyed my Wordly Wise textbooks in the third and fourth grade more than I did if a more interesting owl drawing such as that one had graced their covers. Is your son going to take another trip this summer?


    1. Thanks, Chris! Yes, that owl is mine. 🙂 I’ve been drawing a lot this year. Cheaper than therapy?? Haha. Yes, he’s traveling again. He’s in Italy as I write this. 🙂


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