Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Family Picture Saga

I've been waiting to update the pictures on my blog until I had time to record the history of this photo shoot.

Isn't there always a saga when it comes to formal family pictures?

Let me tell you a story:
When we learned that Heidi was truly serious about Sam, I was about two weeks post-partum--a very cruel time to be dealt such a blow, wouldn't you say? Admittedly, I cried every day for three weeks. I'm not proud of it, but it's true. I felt like I had to go through a period of mourning: mourning the loss of my daughter, mourning the loss of her coming home to live again, mourning the loss of my whole family ever living under the same roof. It was hard.
I finally got to a point where I could minimally accept this new reality, but on one condition. Thanksgiving break would include a family photo shoot. This done, I would always have a memory of my family before it changed forever.
I have many children. I have done this before. I knew all the work this entailed.
I didn't care.

I spent hours determining the color scheme, shopping and returning and shopping again for the right clothes. I prewashed and I planned.

The day came, and I spent the whole day organizing outfits, finding shoes, ironing shirts and bathing children. I even tweezed my eyebrows to perfect arcs. The only mishap was dropping the mirror and shattering it on the bathroom floor. No worries. It was post-tweeze.
Everyone was ready with five minutes to spare--khakis and white shirts for the boys, white dresses for the girls. I even found something in my existing wardrobe that fit a four-week post-partum me. I had just finished my makeup, laughing with Hyrum, ready to change the baby and dress her in the blessing gown designed by her namesake Grandma. Hyrum and I placed her on the changing pad, removed her diaper, and then


Or, more accurately, shot.
My little Evie has one manufacturer's defect: She poops only every three or four days. So when she finally moves, she moves. When I lifted her chubby bum into the air, she shot baby diaper filler sixteen inches--completely missing the changing pad, and nailing me with a perfectly placed shot, one that hit my skirt, my shirt and my sweater. I was horrified. The one picture that was going to save my sanity, ruined in an instant.

What did I do?
I did what I'd been doing for three weeks solid: I cried. And not only did I cry, I was hysterical. And not the good kind. There was no solution. I didn't have another white skirt. I didn't have much of anything that fit me at all at that time. Brad tried to console me, to reason with me, to comfort me. No way, buddy. This was my everything, and it was destroyed. The only possible answer was to reschedule our shoot, but there wasn't another time. Hyrum ran down the hall, crying to Heidi, "My mama's ky-ing." All my chickens ran for a hiding place from Mom's insanity.
Fifteen minutes later, after getting all the tears and screaming and disappointment out of my system (I'm not proud of this, either), I came down in a different shirt, a different white sweater and a khaki skirt.
And it was okay.
Now I have my pictures. Now I have proof that my family is mine.

And as a bonus gift, I have the best picture taken of me . . . EVER. Would you guess I'd cried my heart out a mere 45 minutes earlier?

If you ever miss this glamour shot of me, I just updated my profile as well.
And my kids refer to this as "The Day Mom Went Crazy."

Now if I could just patent that explosive power . . .


  1. I love these pics! You are all beautiful. It is always a saga and it is always worth the trouble (which it always is). Congrats for getting it done :)

  2. I love your pictures! They are worth all of the tears and work! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Love the photos! And the story is priceless. You look gorgeous in your glamour shot, I wonder if you could use that shot of you as a Driver's License photo-wouldn't that be fabulous? And, holy hannah, your blog list on the side has exploded...or something! Now I have all sorts of new places to explore, thanks!

  4. Your family is absolutely beautiful. Thanks for the pictures, they made my day.

  5. I SO understand your tears. Only those who have newly experienced or are going through it understands the change and the mourning. My blog photo is proof of my mourning and remembering and closing the book on my favorite part of my life. BUT now i am loving the new part. It just takes some readjusting. But no matter how many daughters I have (I hate saying in-law) or how many grand babies I have, I will forever be the proudest mom ever of my 6 boys. Ask poor Bret and my boys about my postpartum CRAZY mom melt downs. After 18 months, the only thing to save us all was good old MeDiCaTiOn!

  6. Love the new photos! It was worth all the drama.

    Funny memory (and bear with me as I have a bad memory for things like this so you may have to correct some or all of my details here): when you announced Heidi's engagement, I remembered getting together after most of us were married -- you had Heidi and you told us (Paige, Robin, me, Lisa?) about Heidi pooping all over your white pants in Brad's workplace cafeteria. So: moral of the story is don't ever wear white? Or something?

  7. These photos are terrific, Jen! And your poopy meltdown story is even better. Way to recover and make a success of the shoot.

    And yes, the picture of you with Eve is stellar. By which I mean, you look like a STAR...(the movie variety).

  8. I LOVE this story, thanks for sharing. And the picture of you IS beautiful. You're a lucky mom.

  9. Love the pictures! Beautiful family. You've given me inspiration. I've put off family pictures due to being too tired. But now I'm thinking, Jen can do it, so can I!

  10. What a great story. I mean, not great that she shot poo all over your clothes, but great that you survived it and great pictures turned out. It really is an AWESOME picture of you!

  11. Honest writing is the best writing to read. That's why this is such a great post. And the pictures? So lovely.

  12. I just googled my name out of curiosity and it lead me to your blog! How fun! You have a great blog and wonderful family! I heard rumors about our photography day from the kids, but it was fun to read your first hand account! I am so glad that we got so many great photos (especially the one of you and baby Eve! It is priceless!) Your blog is really great!

  13. lol at the day mom went crazy..

    oddly idea what the first outfit looked like but you look fabulous in this one! maybe that's what you needed....'to go crazy' to have the most gorgeous photo of your family ever!!