Family Photo Day

People frequently ask how we get our children to look at the camera and smile all the time. So I would like to go on the record and be completely honest and lay out the Facts of Family Photo Day:

Fact #1: We try to take family photos at least once a year, just to prove that I am the mother of these children. If we don’t, and if I should die, it would be hard to know for sure, because I am always behind the camera, and the kids look just like their dad.

Fact #2: I always look forward to family picture day. I get a vision in my mind and run with it. The clothes, the location… everything will be perfect. I plan it out for weeks, even down to the snacks and drinks I will bring, because I am Woman, and you’re gonna hear me roar.

Fact #3: It’s almost cute how delusional I can be.

(Fact #3 is technically Opinion #1, but let’s stay on track here)

Fact #4: The same toddler who can sit for an hour in complete silence while he sharpies the walls and your favorite leather chair can display an impressive range of movement when you want him to sit still for photos with yourselves and the rest of his siblings. Even when you are shoving gummy bears in his mouth and calling out both promises of treats and threats of regret.

Fact #5: Newton’s rarely cited Fourth Law of Motion states that it is mathematically impossible to get three or more children to look at the same camera and smile at precisely the same moment, even when you count to three and say, “cheese.” (Fortunately, later scientists developed Photoshop, particularly that lovely photo merge tool, so NO ONE HAS TO KNOW, if you manage to get at least one good shot of each person.)

Fact #6: Zach and I sometimes race for the wine bottle as soon as we get home, we often put off uploading the pictures to the computer for a week or more, and it sometimes takes months for us to agonizingly sort through the really awful pictures to get that one “kinda okay” one.

Fact #7: We delete A LOT of pictures. Hundreds. Literally, hundreds from EVERY PHOTO SHOOT. Feel better now?

Fact #8: The photos are never actually that bad. Especially when we look back a year or more later, nobody ever regrets the pictures we took; only the ones we didn’t take. So brave on with the family photos, dear warriors! The days are long, but the years are short, and we’ll never have the same level of cute and fun with these particular tiny people again.

In the meantime, if it makes you feel any better, I’ve selected a few of the “so bad they’re almost funny” shots from our last set of family photos. Have a laugh at my expense, and maybe some of these outtakes will seem familiar:


The one where we tried to do one of those clever jumping pictures.


The one where we told the kids to all say something, and it wasn’t “cheese.” Also, the little one won’t keep his hat on. You may notice that we sometimes have hat issues.


The one where there are two different parties going on. I am attending the wrong party.


No one was even ready for this, and I can’t blame it on a hat.


The blink one and hat re-distribution one


The one where the kids have gummy bears in their mouths and can’t smile yet, but Mom and Dad didn’t get the memo.

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