So as I mentioned earlier, we had our family pictures about 10 days ago. I booked the session back in March when I realized we hadn't had pictures in nearly a year, but I didn't want summer pictures when it's a million degrees outside and everyone's hair is bleached and skin is shiny with sunscreen. October sounded nice, so I set the date with the photographer (the same one who took last year's) and wrote the date on my calendar. October was a decade or so away and I pushed it from my mind.
Until late September when I flipped over my adorable Shutterfly calendar to write in a doctor's appointment and saw "family pics" on the first Sunday of the month. In 8 days. Oh. It was still in the 90's (high of 98 today WTF) so it didn't feel like fall, but off to Target I went hoping to magically find the perfect fall-ish, coordinating but not matching ensembles that also perfectly captured the individual wearer. A tall order for a lunch break on a busy day.
But I found them and I LOVE them. I got to wear my favorite dress ever. James wore a shirt I forced on him when I gave away all his old ones. Landon got to wear a shirt I'd bought at Gap and then felt guilty for not returning because he wears uniforms every day and really doesn't need a button-down shirt. It all just came together.
Then came actual portrait day. This was the weekend I decided we should clean the garage and also our entire house and go to Ikea at midnight the night before, so things were a little harried. I'd eaten a large number of Swedish fish. The kids only wanted to take pictures in trees and princess chairs. Cora woke up grumpy when she ALWAYS wakes up happy, and she stole two purses and two plastic phones on the way out of the house and then refused to put them down for most of the shoot. We took the pics at our favorite park. It's three blocks from our house, with paths and bridges that go on for a nearly a mile, that we come to at the end of our traditional 3-mile weekend walk. It's the park we discovered accidentally after going on a long, aimless walk during our first weekend in this house and were so thrilled to discover. We were missing Austin and it felt like we'd found a bit of it here. It's across the street from the kids' elementary school and it's a very special place for me.
So here we are, with captions, obviously:
Cora just woke up from a 4 hour nap and would like to know WTF is all this cheese you keep talking about.
Ha! Tricked her into showing us what she really does look like most of the time. Family portraits FTW!
Absolutely will not put down her purse, despite me showing her that I put mine down about 100x. Just because I'm a fool doesn't mean she has to be. But then we were walking further back into the park and I quietly asked the photographer if she could capture this moment and I will love it for all time. The purse dangling between them makes it for me.
We paused at a bridge for an attempted family shot. Claire was certain she was about to plummet into the empty creek bed a whole 8 feet below, so her smile is a little strained, but she willingly suffered for art.
In search of safer ground, we sat on the rocks in the creek bed. Cora forgot who we were and had further questions about the cheese.
Claire had been asking to sit in the princess chair since our photographer pulled it off her wagon, so into the princess chair she went.
Landon scampered about the rocks, heedless of the dust he was getting all over his clothes, so it seemed like a good spot to make him get an individual shot.
Cora then tried to escape, so the kids ran up to hold her hands and boom, one of my other favorite pictures was born.
Cora then spied the stool the photographer had set aside, so she ran over, picked it up, and ran off with it. Our photographer followed and when Cora set it down, she climbed aboard and became the very essence of Cora and I love this shot so very much. This is Toddler-Cora. Crazy, feisty, adorable, loving, joyful, highly motivated by cheese. I love her so much it makes me ache.
Cora took a moment to reorganize her purse, so James and I stood behind and got another familyish shot. I must admit I really like it.
The kids were now over it, so they went to sit on a bench. Cora was all, when's the bus? We're getting out of here right?
I tried to get a picture holding Cora, but I foolishly attempted to move her purse out of the frame and she yelled and cried and I gave her a hug and the photographer just happened to capture what I feel like is my "what am I going to do with you? / oh my god I love you so much" face. I wear it a lot with her.
Since the kids were tired and I'd promised myself I would just let the hour unfold as it was, I asked if James and I could get a few pictures alone. Engagement photos weren't really a thing when we got married and we couldn't have afforded them anyway, so here we are at 10 years and not to get too sappy, but I love him way more than I ever imagined possible 10 years ago, so why not get some anniversary portraits? We're the foundation of this whole enterprise.
This picture is now on my desk at work in the one frame that faces me at my computer. The kids are in my heart, but he's in my soul.
We wrapped our pictures up and came upon a Landon who had been patiently waiting in a tree so we could get a shot of him in his new favorite element.
Claire then needed one too, obvi.
We looked around for Cora and found her many yards ahead, heading off into the unknown to find all the cheese. Like Christopher Columbus, but not a genocidal asshole.
And so the 2015 family portraits were complete. Given how the hour unfolded, I can't believe how much I love them and how well they managed to capture us, the kids, and our family as a whole. Now I just have to pick which one goes on our Christmas card! Somehow this has turned into a tougher project than getting 3 kids to take the pictures in the first place.