I had one big, audacious hope for our family photo shoot: get all 7 of us in the same frame.
Seriously. That was my singular goal. Because we had zero pictures with all of us together.
And because I've learned my expectations impact everyone's experience, I was determined to not ruin our fun. I didn't want to be smiling for the camera and then hissing threats between shots.
So I planned outfits and backup outfits. I packed snacks. I made sure naps happened. I gave lots of hugs, kisses and intentionally said encouraging words throughout the day leading up to our shoot. I prayed.
I mentally walked myself through very realistic, possible scenarios: Children melting down or making crazy faces? Stains all over clothes? Hair not looking brushed? I decided: I WILL CHILL. I WILL NOT FREAK OUT. I WILL PULL OUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE AND CHICK-FIL-A BRIBES AND I WILL LOVE MY PEOPLE THROUGH A PHOTO SHOOT NO MATTER WHAT.
I coached myself ahead of time that no matter what might happen - I just wanted photo evidence that these people I love so fiercely were all together at one time in history.
Time is flying by, friends.
And really? The "less perfect" the photos - the more authentic the capture of our crew.
I love them all so much!
So when we walked out in the field and Levi started crying because he decided he needed to nurse RIGHT THIS MINUTE before the first photo was snapped? I was prepared and able to just laugh it off. (See his thrilled face in the photo below.)
When I walked back to the minivan to nurse him and found my husband still had the keys way on the other side of the field with the other kiddos? No problem. This mama has had practice nursing babies discretely in all kinds of crazy scenarios.
When Ariyanna asked to "go park now? PWEASE?" between every other "click"? I just grinned into those precious baby blues and asked her to keep waiting.
When Debra(our awesome photographer) smiled and said "we got some great outtake shots!" I KNEW I was going to be happy with the results. We are an outtake kinda family.
Quick illustrative story - at church recently a dear friend said: "I think that's the first time I've seen her wearing shoes!" He was talking about our 3 year old. :) Yep. We can barely tumble out the door and get to church before the service ends. Shoes are nonessential.
I'm so grateful for this time. And photo evidence of it. Of them. Of God's grace and goodness.
And yes - we all enjoyed Chick-fil-A immediately afterwards. Of course.
It's definitely an effort to get everyone dressed-enough, fed-enough and rested-enough to be in the same photo. But so, so worth it!
P. S. She did such an amazing job I want to give a five-star recommendation one more time! If you're looking for an awesome photographer and you live in the Houston area, Fulleylove Photography is the way to go! Thanks so much, Debra!