We have received our family photos from Andrea and I would like to enlist your help in selecting a favorite for our Christmas cards. As I'm watching news coverage for the mass shootings in Paris, it feels a little silly to even discuss something as frivolous as family photos. And yet, I want to share anyway because my family is pretty much the most important thing to me in this (really horrible, really appalling, and also really beautiful) world. The photos make me smile and hopefully they make you smile, too. We could all use a smile about now.
A little about the photo shoot itself: we scheduled this about two months prior and then I stalked the weather like none other as the event approached. I stressed about our outfit choices, about my hair and makeup, about the behavior of my children and their ability to smile at the camera and look pleasant. I was classic Julia with this photoshoot, totally high strung and worried about how it would all work out. The weather was fantastic for November 8th, it was sunny and we didn't actually need our snow gear like I had feared. And the kids? They sort of blew me away with how they owned the camera. You'll see below that we did, indeed, get some good ones.
We were going to meet Andrea at a new-to-us park for the photos because a few weeks ago the leaves there were incredible. Then we drove by the park the day before the photo shoot and nixed the location right away, depressing bare trees abounded and we came up with a plan B.
Nate and I immediately decided that we might as well do the pictures at our house this year, mostly in the back yard but probably wandering around the 'parkway' which is county property full of trees and bushes and fairly open spaces. We haven't had family pictures taken since Porter's newborn shoot at our house, which was also at our house. My brain was already thinking of some great comparison shots from the past 1.5 years when we decided on our location, and as a bonus? We could pull Henry outside for a picture or two then let him retreat back inside if three kids and one animal proved too much chaos to handle. (yes, it was wild there for a bit).
I had two possible outfits for each kid and settled on final options for Nate and myself (after a failed Target run last minute to find me a new sweater or something 'fun' to wear, no dice). I used my new IIID foundation makeup and You Tube'd how to actually curl my hair now that it's longer, and deemed myself 'GOOD ENOUGH'. I then had to wake Cecelia and also Porter from their naps for our 3:30pm start time and it was a little touchy for the first few moments of getting the children dressed and mentally prepped for family photos. I basically let Truman pick which shirt he wanted to wear out of my two options, and then Nate selected Porter's top, and I always sort of knew I wanted Cecelia in the new denim Gap dress I scored on consignment. Actually both Truman and Cecelia had their options of 'new' outfits due to consignment store finds, and both of Porter's options were Truman's hand-me-downs ;)
So anyway, Andrea came over and we headed outside to the backyard and started snapping away. I had a bowl of candy (non-chocolate, will never make that mistake again after a few unfortunate brown drool incidents!) ready for bribery, and here are the results.
Henry got in one picture and that was it! This was behind our house, behind our back yard. Searching for a little bit of color and I love this area so much.
Our three kids, all of the heart eyes. Of course, Porter was a bit iffy when I wasn't holding him but it's a very 'Porter' face that you'll see below.
Contenders for my favorites, especially the close up one on the right:
Front porch shots, love these a lot. Porter demanded to hold a gourd and CC followed suit. Thanks for the festive props, kids!
Andrea found this rock wall for a few solo shots of each child. Really love them all so much my heart can barely take it.
And then a big leafy area with a bit more color. I like these a lot, and the big one on the bottom of this collage would be perfection if it weren't for Porter's 'deer in headlights' face. Or maybe that makes it completely perfect? ;)
Getting a little wild throwing leaves around, the kids were totally loose and having a ball by this point.
I wanted a shot with my girl, as she was getting cold and needed to be held a bit. Oh, my sweet Cecelia, you are something.
Then Truman wanted to lay down and rest (yes, seriously) and Cecelia laid right next to him. These kids are absolute clones with their smiles sometimes.
I plopped Porter down and really love these shots of our trio.
Next came a parent-only shot, because when do Nate and I get to have a photo alone? The kids were literally running in circles around us here, confused about why they weren't in the picture.
And my cold little girl all bundled up in my favorite blanket (that belongs to my in-laws, specifically borrowed for this shoot).
Any favorites? I need to pick one or two for our cards and hopefully soon!
End thoughts: family photos can be alarmingly stressful and totally unnecessarily so. But they are really worth it with these images that I will look back on fondly, remembering the chaos of the little kid years with rose colored glasses. I can't help but wonder how much the kids will change in the next year, and isn't that the crazy part about family pictures? They seem outdated in no time, but I truly love the older shots of our growing family, too. Photos are my favorite, I can't help it.