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Monday, December 13, 2010

Family Photo Shoot: Don't Be Fooled By The Smiles

It’s that time of year again; the chill in the air, the hustle and bustle and the gathering of the little ones for the traditional family photo.
Yes, this year, it was particularly fun, as right from the start I couldn’t find two of my children.  Fortunately, they’d run down to Grandma’s, the location of our photo shoot.
I asked my sister Anna if she’d do the honors.  She graciously accepted.  I hand her my camera and she starts clicking.
No surprise most of our festive attire is from Goodwill and yard sales.  I must make note the ruffled chiffon vintage skirt I’m wearing has a faint silver trim around each layer of lace.  I’d been waiting for just the right moment to wear this skirt and I’m so happy I invested that $1.00 several months ago.
We gather under my parent’s walnut tree.  A canopy of yellow with a hint of sun and the leaves turn golden.  Bare foot under a walnut tree is nuts, literally.  They crack under our feet while we take position.  It’s at this point I completely lose my normal witty sense of humor and turn into the barking mom.
“Stand here, be nice and smile,” I order my kids.
“Happy,” I yell to Mayer as he hands Payson a knuckle sandwich. 
Reef fights the death grip I've so lovingly placed him in.  Normally, this child begs to be held, but at this moment in time he wants to run free.  Little sister skipped her afternoon nap, so a quick drink of the bottle calms her down.  I think I need a quick drink of the bottle too, if you know what I mean.
“Come stand over here, guys,” I insist as we move near the dim afternoon light. 
“Now,” I bark.
I watch as the light quickly turns from hazy yellow to fading orange to gray.  My, how the sun sets fast when you really don’t want it too. 
“Hurry,” I order the counselor. You’d think we were trying to catch a plane.  None of the boys follow.  They’re too busy wondering what the inside of a walnut shell looks like.
I start to wonder which would be more affective; threatening Santa won’t bring any Christmas presents this year or that I’ll spend their entire college education fund before there next birthday.
Considering they’re not listening to me, I guess neither.
What is it about family photos that turn me into a drill sergeant?  I might look like a morning dove, soft and fluffy.  My hair might radiate golden locks, but don’t be fooled.  The counselor adjusts his blazer, hoping this is the only time of year he’ll have to wear it.  Mayer slides into the family picture like its home base. 
Not to worry.  I can photo shop out that grass stain.
It’s just about over when something happens.  Payson starts a fight, but it’s alright.  
He’s throwing leaves and Anna snaps a few pictures. The kids chase each other around the yard, looking the part of a Gap Kids commercial.  Reef, lagging behind because he’s the littlest, is escorted by Chandler who rushes him into the game.  They’re so beautiful, each one.  
Mayer tosses a bunch of leaves at Payson.  Toss puts it mildly, as leaves cling to Payson’s hair, eyes and mouth. Payson, my child who runs with the bulls, responds with laughter, not anger.
Eden spits up on her dress.  White spit up doesn’t show up on a white dress.  Hooray for my color coordination and we snap a few more. 
The light is just about gone as is the flash in the camera.  We switch out the batteries just in case.   I thank my sister, my patient artistic well-rounded sister.  I thank my brother Sam, who willingly acted the clown to keep the kids smiling and looking forward, and my mom who made sure we were tucked-in, aligned and realistic. 
We walk back to the house after the last photo is taken.  Mayer and Payson are practically undressed by the time we returned home, anxious to get back into their play clothes.  Chandler pushes Reef in the stroller.  The counselor carries the folding chairs while I hold the baby. 
“I love you,” I say to him.  He leans over and places a kiss on my lips.
“I love you too."
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  1. Lol! Sounds just like the typical family photo session. Lovely pics, and what a wonderful family!

  2. I loved the story and pictures!!! You look so beautiful, Laura. I love your hair flower! Thanks for the wonderful posting and for loving my brother. XOXOXOXOXOXO

  3. Yes, just like every photo shoot I've attended!
    Wonderful photos!

  4. such gorgeous pictures!! I love how it's all complimentary in colour... wonderful.