Friday, December 6, 2013

Just Shoot Me

When you live in a house with 3 little ones there always seems to be someone crying. Sometimes it's even one of the children. It's actually a rare occasion to have everyone perfectly content and happy. In fact, I think the only time that happens is when we all go out for ice cream.

I know this. If ice cream is not invovled, someone will be screaming. Still, I scheduled a family photo shoot for us with the utmost optimism. 

I thought I had it all planned out. I selected our outfits a week beforehand (you know, coordinated, but not too "matchy-matchy"). I perfectly timed our session not to interfere with anyone's nap. I even let the kids watch cartoons for an hour before the photographer arrived (everyone stays clean and happy if they're sitting on the couch with eyes glued to the TV).

My friend Vickie is an amazing photographer. She has been taking photos for us since Jack was a baby and she has captured some of my very favorite images of my children. However, every year we make her job a little bit harder by adding an extra baby to the shoot. 

This year, I'm impressed she didn't call it quits after the first 10 minutes. Truly, she is a saint. 

It all started with Henry. He was absolutely livid we suggested he abandon his blankie and paci for 10 minutes while we attempted to take a decent picture. And, since tantrums are contagious, other family members soon began to find things to whine about. Jack wanted to know why he couldn't hold a giant stick in the picture. Elise decided she needed a snack and attempted to search for one under my cardigan. John complained that restraining wiggly children made him sweat profusely. 

I may have snarled some threats through clenched teeth which, of course, only made them howl louder.

It may look like I'm smiling here, but I'm actually making threats.
It's a skill they teach in Motherhood 101
And here is another of Henry upset and Jack looking constipated.
We even attempted to stage a very natural family moment by the pond (because we always get dressed up in coordinating outfits to throw corn to the ducks), but after Henry nearly toppled in, only missing the water because Daddy had the wherewithal to reach out and grab his sweater, he became hysterical and we had to call it quits. 

In the end, it was Vickie's unwavering patience and some good old-fashioned bribery that saved the day. 

After what felt like 50 million clicks of the camera, this was the ONE successful family photo of the shoot. And by "successful," I mean that everyone is looking and no one is crying.
If it appears that Henry is sucking on a piece of candy given to him by his desperate parents
in an attempt to thwart a meltdown, well, you would be right. That is exactly what is happening.
I was thoroughly convinced that all our photos were going to come back with images of sweaty, bedraggled parents and screaming, runny-nosed children, but when Vickie (aka The Miracle Worker) sent me the pictures, I was once again blown away by her incredible talent. 

The candy pacified Henry long enough to take this shot.

Of course, as soon as we sat Elise down, Henry was off and running.

Henry making his escape.
Although her brothers nearly sabotaged our shoot, this girl ended up stealing the show with all her happy little smiles. Also, that fact that she's not yet mobile helped tremendously.

"Elise, would you like to take some pictures by yourself?"

"Wait...just me? You mean...."
"I LOVE IT!!!!!!"

Ultimately, we did end up with some images that we will treasure for years to come. 

Still, the next time we decide to take family pictures, I'm just going to have Vickie meet us at Ben & Jerry's.

*To see more of Vickie's work, visit her at

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