It’s that time of year again. The time of year when everyone is booking their favorite photographer, throwing kids in matching outfits and sending out glossy covered picture cards to their friends and families. I love getting those cards in the mail, don’t you?
My older sister, Amy, is a professional photographer. Every year, I hire her to take our family pictures. I say hire, which would intend that there was an exchange of money for her service, when really it’s mostly just a hug and a, “You owe me for all the years you beat me up and wouldn’t let me borrow your Doc Martins.” It works for us.
Amy deals with thousands of clients a year and I am BY FAR, the worst client she’s ever had. No really, she’s told me this. There’s just something about family photos that makes me have massive anxiety attacks, I seriously go IN-SANE.
The planning starts months in advance.
Outfits: Should we do all white shirts with khaki bottoms? How about black tops and jeans? Or color? I love color. Let’s do color. Fall colors? Muted? Bright? Matching? Different? Girls in red, boys in blue? And shoes, should they match? All black? All brown? Flip-flops for everyone?
Location: Industrial? Country? Indoor or Outdoor?
Hair: All the boys need haircuts. I go over the instructions with my husband a million times before he leaves to take them. “High Reg (military terminology) and blend in the sides real good. Keep the sideburns, but trim them up. Make sure the top is medium length but don’t let them use the clippers, I want to still be able to spike it so it needs to be scissor cut on top. OH, and don’t let the barber cut the front straight across like bangs!!” My daughter will need a cut but she’s going to be a fight because she wants to grow her hair long, I’ll have to bribe her with something. And then MY hair? Ugh, what a pain. Should I keep my bangs down or pin them back in case it’s windy and they flyaway?
When we FINALLY arrive at the location and are ready for the photo shoot, you’d think all my troubles would be in the past.
No. I wish.
This is where the anxiety induced sweaty pits start. Kids are crying, screaming, laughing, and whining all at the same time. My Lover is rolling his eyes and keeps glancing down at his watch asking, “Aren’t we done yet?” I want curl up in the fetal position and rock myself to a happy place where family pictures turn out perfect every time. Am I the only mother who goes through this torture?!
Thankfully, I have the greatest sister on the planet and somehow, we always manage to survive each years’ shoot by her encouraging words. She’s also a master at Photoshop so that helps. She magically works her wonder by switching heads, airbrushing fly away hairs, tears and red blotches on the kids’ faces from me strangling them (I’m kidding) so the final product is…
This year, given the SURPRISE addition of a 5th child, I surrendered to the idea of family photos. I decided it was more than I could handle at the time. So when we went to our ward Christmas party in mismatched outfits, old tennis shoes, hair that hasn’t been washed in days, snotty babies and dirty faces you’d think I’d pass on the family portrait booth that had been set up for the members to use.
I decided to let go of my fears and JUST. HAVE. FUN.
So we did. And I’m proud to say that I think we’ve started a NEW family tradition. One that is much more memorable and WAY less stressful.
Merry Christmas 2009!
The Lowe Family!
Jessica, Austin, Jakob, Kora, Jeremiah, Isaak and August
Jessica is a TEXAN. BUT…she’s also a mother of 5 (4 boys and 1 girl) who has been married for 11 years to a super hot US Marine that she likes to call, “Lover.” She and her family live aboard Camp Lejeune in NC and they fantasize about the day they can move back home to the great state of Texas and build their dream home. She writes on her personal blog about other crazy adventures at www.thelowefamilynews.blogspot.com