Sunday, November 6, 2011

Return on investment....

I've been preparing Henry and Anna for weeks.....

"Guess what we're doing on Saturday?  We're taking pictures for our holiday card."

I really didn't get too many objections from either Henry or Anna, but past experience made me afraid - - very afraid.

Why is it always so much easier to photograph someone else's family???

Generally, I must admit that Henry is pretty good about the whole "dress-up and pose" idea.  But Anna - - well, she is completely hot or cold.  And her mood can dictate e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. 

So, the big day arrived (yesterday), and Anna happened to wake up at 6:30 a.m. - almost an hour and a half earlier than normal. (!!!!!)  Clearly, that didn't bode well.  And as expected, by 1:00 p.m., she was in tears over every little thing.  I saw my plans unraveling.  But, somehow the photo gods were in my corner.  Anna was agreeable to a nap. Really, I can't remember the last time she took a nap at home, but she was asleep within 5 minutes.  And just two hours later, we were dressed and ready for our adventure.

This time, despite all of my past Henry and Anna photo failures, I was determined to leave all of that baggage at home.  We would just make it work.  No matter what.  To quote Anna's preschool teachers, "I'd get what I'd get and I wouldn't throw a fit."

And then, one more, very crucial piece fell into place. My dear husband made the mistake of uttering the words: "Do you want me to come along?"

I pounced!  "Yes!!  Really?  Would you???"

"I was kidding." he said flatly, but he knew it was too late.  There was no going back.

So, we headed off.  (all of us!) I had scoped out my perfect spot in town. And yes, it was windy and a little cool and the sunlight was fading fast.  But I was determined..... 

Oh, more thing.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I should reveal the little surprise up my sleeve.  Well - - in my pocket, actually....Twenty crisp one dollar bills.  A little bait that turned out to be the icing on the photo cupcake.  I promised the kids one buck for every five minutes of pictures taken without incident.  I brought a timer, pronounced myself completely in charge, and offered the opportunity for instant gratification. Any resistance or complaints would result in the loss of a dollar.

Clearly, when it came to these pictures, I was not above bribery. And to my amazement, it worked like a charm. Despite one small wardrobe malfunction that nearly derailed everything within the first 5 minutes, it was perfect.  PERFECT!!

Henry and Anna were my star models.  They posed and played and listened and agreed to all of my crazy antics.  The kids didn't mind when next-door pizzeria staff wandered in and out of our back-alley-studio.  We changed clothes.  We switched locations. Ray manned the mobile-photo-rest-station (mini-van), complete with non-messy snacks and heat. Geez, Anna even wore a hat that she absolutely despised.  "Okay, I'll wear it," she said reluctantly, knowing her dollar depended on it. 

Honestly, I was stunned.  And I couldn't have been any more proud of my dear ones.  They actually had fun!

And of course, the most beautiful part?  I got the pictures.  In particular, I got heart-melting shots of Henry and Anna together.  I barely ever get those, and somehow - yesterday - I did.  I was nearly in tears behind my camera.  I finally got for myself what I have been giving to other families over and over this past year.  My heart was bursting each time I snapped.

Best twenty bucks I ever spent.

So obviously, I can't wait to share. But, the photos are under wraps until my holiday card goes out.  And now, the wonderful (and unexpected) dilemma: I figured I'd be lucky to get one good shot.  Now I have dozens.  Oh, what to do....

But, until I decide, here is my sneak peek.



Oh, be still my mama heart.....


  1. Definitely going to bring out the dollar bills for our next family photos! These are adorable!!!

  2. your an amazing woman...i love your wrighting...
    gretchen smith