A picture is worth a million lollipops

This weekend we are having family photos taken.

I’ve made it clear in the past that I love photos. If you’ve spent 5 seconds with me you know this fact to be true. While I take a bajillion photos of my kids and even try to stage a few amateur photo shoots, I leave the important milestones to the professionals. Joe, who thinks we’ve had more family photo shoots than the royal family, is not quite as keen as I am on hiring a photographer:

Joe's face back in July when I said we should do family photos again.

Joe’s face when I said we should do family photos again.

He’s actually had the gaul to say things like “Can’t we just have a friend take a picture of us in a field?” WHAT??? Listen, I give the iPhone a lot of credit and those “taken by iPhone 6” billboards always make me feel like shit because of the crappy photos I take in comparison, but sometimes you just have to step it up. With Olivia turning 1 and AJR turning 3, it felt like one of those milestone moments that we should commemorate.

This is the third time we’ll have done professional family photos. And somehow, someway we end up with a few great shots but my God, getting to that finished product is almost as painful and sweaty as giving labor. Almost.  As I mentioned in a previous post, getting both of my children to look at the camera is almost an impossible task. This is not something that’s improved over time and I swear this is their small way of rebelling against me for daring to ever put them to bed.

As if I needed more evidence on their reluctance to pose on yet another farm trip, I attempted for the three of us to take a cute little, non-selfie photo. Clearly it went very well. Awesome. Thanks, guys. Now how will we ever remember our trip to the farm? Guess we’ll have to go back again next week…


Basically it boils down to one thing: kids want they want and they give zero f***s about what YOU want to do. Last year we did a maternity photo shoot. I usually think that maternity photo shoots are fairly cheesy – mostly because I cannot master the ‘wistful bump gaze’ without looking like I’m holding in a fart- so I called this a “family shoot while I happen to be pregnant”. I was hormonal and having so many feelings (this is a recurring theme in my life in case you haven’t noticed) about revoking AJR’s only child status and this being our last baby so I needed to capture our family at this moment in time.  Joe, not wanting to see me cry, AGAIN, reluctantly agreed.

Trying to wrangle an almost 2-year old in 80 degree heat and wearing heels while 35 weeks pregnant is not something I would ever recommend. Here’s my impression of me: “Anthony! Anthony! Smile for the camera! Look at the camera! There’s a donut in there! I will give you a popsicle if you smile! Smile! Smile! Yes, you can have two popsicles. I don’t care. All the popsicles! Ok, stop talking about the popsicles. Look at the camera! LOOK DAMN YOU!” Cue to an hour later where I collapsed onto the passenger seat of our car looking like a sweaty elephant seal. When we got the proofs I was super thrilled with how well they turned out. Buuuut I don’t think there is a picture of the three of us where I am looking at the camera.


Don’t worry. No one needs to see my face. I’ll just grit my teeth and pretend I’m looking at you adoringly even though all I want is for this to be over.



Admittedly, this is an outtake our photographer sent us. AJR’s face is “oh crap. What is actually about to happen in a few weeks?”

Sometimes the best pictures are the ones that aren’t super posed. Like these.



And I love these. Especially the last one.

Time has dried up most of the sweat I expunged that day and I am ready to tackle the challenge of family photos – this time with two overly active children instead of one. All I want one decent picture where all four of us are looking at the camera and no one’s finger is up their nose. I will consider that a success and won’t even be so bold as to ask the family photo gods for everyone to smile. To make this a reality, I’m stocking up on Blow Pops, the holy grail of the lollipop bribe. AJR responds well to bribes but if for some reason that fails I also plan to use AJR’s jealousy towards Olivia against him to encourage optimal results: “Oh wow, see how well Olivia is smiling? Wow, Olivia. I’m soooo proud of your smile.” #momgamestrong #byanymeansnecessary

Olivia can go either way. She is ridiculously smiley but basically she is the Dory of the baby world. Couple that with the fact that she just started walking a few days ago and I’m preparing myself for a lot of shots of her eating leaves and dirt or just completely walking out of the frame when she spies more leaves and dirt to consume.

Cute, but easily distracted.

Cute, but easily distracted.

Even Joe is a wild card. He will smile, but it’ll be an “I’m wearing an outfit that was assigned to me and I’m being forced to smile for pictures I don’t want to take but I’m paying for while I pretend the kids aren’t whining at being forced to do the same thing” smile. Thankfully the park where we are taking pictures is located in the same town as our favorite chicken wing place so there is a wing-tinted light at the end of the tunnel that will allow us to eat our feelings after a strenuous hour.

I really do. Like all of the time.

I really do. Like all of the time.

As for me? I plan to wear clinical strength deodorant and throw self-respect entirely out the window as I will do what it takes to make my children smile at the camera. Momma needs a photo for the Christmas card, damn it, and I plan to get it. Wish us luck…

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