Say Cheese!

In this, the season of matching sweaters and forced smiles, I’ve been thinking a lot about family pictures.  

Specifically, I’ve been wondering why pictures of my family are so important to me.

I spend countless hours each year trying to capture my kids on camera.  Whether it’s hiring a professional or just snapping pictures around the house, I’m constantly looking to catch that fleeting tongue-in-cheek expression on Peanut’s face when she realizes she’s about to get what she wants.  Or the moment when Pumpkin’s laugh becomes a cackle.

These moments are delicious to me but I’m not sure why I need them on film.

So what is it about capturing the perfect moment that gets me bent around the axle??

Maybe it’s because I don’t have a lot of pictures of me from my early days.  It’s a shame, too, because I was pretty cute.

That’s me in my pudgy glory on the left.


Evidence that I really HAVE had the same haircut since day one.


There are lots of pictures of me in middle and high school, which we can kindly call unflattering.  And we all remember that horrible orange-haired pic of me on the Great Wall of China.  Now that was a shame.

But I digress.

It took me a while to find a photographer that I really, truly love.  First I had to learn that I don’t love posed shots.  I’m a photojournalism kinda girl.  I don’t want to remember what my kids looked like all cleaned up, standing rim-rod straight, with an awkward smile.  Nope, I want to see a little snot running out their nose as they throw leaves or tackle me or blow B a kiss.

I found Deb Harper a little over a year ago.  She really sees my kids.  And they are super comfortable around her.  We’ve done three different shots over the last year and a half, at three different locations.  Each shoot is better than the last.  Each time, I care less about what we wear or where we are going.  Each time, I trust a little more that it’s going to turn out exactly how it’s supposed to.

And each time, Deb somehow captures the precise details I want to remember forever….

Peanut's dreamy, coy smile.

Pumpkin’s contagious spirit


My favorite 2-year-old photo bomb


The juxtaposition of an introvert who loves to pose for the camera.


The delicate curiosity in Pumpkin’s finger tips


The silly, unconditional, joyous love we share


This weekend, my dad pulled off a surprise of epic proportions for my mom’s birthday.  Not only did he fly in her three children (AND their spouses and families) but he also threw her a catered birthday party AND surprised her with a ticket to France.

I know.  He’s awesome.

With my dad’s help, I put together a slide show of about 300 pictures of my mom’s life to date.  It was an impressive array of hairstyles, fashion trends, and accessories.  (Did you know sunglasses used to start at your forehead and end below your cheekbones?!?  It’s true!)

The answer struck me as I watched the slideshow.  I want pictures because I want to capture the story of our life together. And I want it to be an honest reflection of various points-in-time.

Last night, I put the question to Facebook.  And my brilliant friend, Mary, said it best,

[We take a million pictures] in hopes of catching that perfect moment; finger up their nose, bedhead gallore, etc. for that future perfect moment…high school yearbook, first date, etc.”

My hope is that the pictures I take today will be the ones I use in the slideshow for Peanut’s graduation.  Or Pumpkin’s wedding.  Even more, I hope the pictures that I take today will someday make it into my 65th birthday party slideshow.

Can you imagine watching the story of your life unfold before you in pictures?  What a gift that would be?


Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.  I gladly forked over my $$ to Deb Harper for these amazing pictures.  Wouldn’t you?  
Oh..and if you are in the Virginia area, you can find her here and here.  I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.


YOUR TURN: Why do you take a million pictures of your kids, family, fur-babies, etc?  Or why don’t you?



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