I never once want to give the impression that taking family pictures is easy. As much as we all yearn for that one perfect image, the one that doesn't really represent us whatsoever, the reality is that the outtakes are so much better and a much truer sneak peek into our lives.
We haven't had professional pictures taken since our wedding, seven years ago and I can probably count on one hand the number of pictures taken since then that include the five of us, especially since Collins was born nearly seven months ago. If you're counting, that's hardly enough pictures of our family together.
I knew I wanted to have professional family pictures captured the moment Collins was born. I also made several excuses for myself as to why I kept putting them off. I wanted to be happy with how I looked in them. I wanted to lose 10 more pounds. I wanted to look rested. What stupid, stupid reasons to put off something so important to me.
When I found out that Melissa was hosting mini sessions, I don't think my fingers even hit the keys as I emailed her to claim one of the early slots. It was now or never. Within minutes I had booked a 9am session nearly an hour away. The logistics of it all didn't really dawn on me until a couple of hours later when I realized I would have to have our entire crew fed, dressed and ready to walk about the door by 7:45am. Somehow, I knew it would be worth it.
I immediately set out to put together outfits. Since we don't have pictures taken on the regular, I wanted us to dress up a bit- to look a little fancified for the occasion. Of the five of us, I knew I wanted to be the fanciest- especially surrounded by all those boys!
In my head I already knew what the boys would be wearing- I had scooped up Collins' romper from the GAP as well as his striped pom hat a few days earlier and knew he would look darling in it. I snagged two pair of those fancy camo slacks from JCrew Factory for the bigger boys at $14 each and knew I'd want to class them up with a cardigan. Again, JCrew Factory to the rescue. I ventured a bit out of my black yoga pants-wearing comfort zone and donned a tulle skirt and chambray top- pulling those pumps out of my closet was icing on the cake.
The night before, as I was pondering scrapping the lot of outfits, I was desperate for a belt to tie together my top and skirt. I spent two hours at the mall, scrambling before closing hours to find just what I was looking for, the belt I so glamorously saw in my mind. I found it at Nordstrom to the tune of $72.00. Yep, you read that ride. It was perfect but needless to say, that sucker went right back to where it came from the day following our shoot. Ain't nobody got the money for a $72.00 belt! But it was so, so pretty...
The morning of our session I couldn't believe it. The night before I was *this close* to scrapping everyone's' outfits but was too tired to follow through. Get this- I had to wake everyone up! The one morning all three of the boys choose to sleep in, of course! Through groggy smiles and foggy eyes, we made our way through a quick breakfast and into our "costumes." I knew if I called their outfits "costumes" I would have a much better chance of getting them excited to wear them- and excited they were!
Before stepping out of the car, I silently hoped the boys would cooperate for at least half of the session. I know my boys full well that at 2 and 4 years old, expecting anything above that was just too much. I wanted one, just one, really good family portrait and just one pictures of me and my three sweet gentlemen. I trusted our very talented photographer and knew she would be capture us the best she knew how.
Good lord. I walked away from our session thinking that out of all the kids I've ever photographed (and there's been plenty) that mine were the worst behaved by far. No amount of fruit snacks or candy corn could get the middle one to stand still, or so it seemed. It felt like, we came, we saw and hoping against all hope, maybe we conquered.
But then I received a sneak from Melissa. Followed by another sneak and another and then our PASS gallery. I was literally moved to tears as my eyes scanned over our images. I'm so rarely in pictures with my boys that aren't taken using the front camera of an iPhone, much less all three boys at once.
I couldn't love these images more if I tried and it goes without saying that I've backed them up on several different hard drives. This is us. This is our family. The loud, the crazy, the messy. The beautiful.
I'm so grateful for these images but even more so, grateful for the faces in them.