Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Family Photos

I love photographs. I have a pipe dream, that some day I will become amazing at taking them.  I love what they capture and the stories they can tell.  We have far too many by most standards and yet I hesitate to delete a single one.  We have so many, I should be on Hoarders for photographs alone.

Family photo shoots, however, haven't always been my favorite.  You go with desperate expectations of trying to capture the "now" and the children screw it up;)

In 2010, we went with our perfectly coordinated outfits to a photo shoot and all I wanted was on of those adorable pictures taken from overhead that were big at that time....and we got this in a variety of forms.

We left the photo shoot with three crying kid, got in the car and I started crying myself.  I was overcome with disappointment, knowing that "perfect photo" for our wall didn't happen.

When the pictures came back, however, I fell in love with this perfectly imperfect photo.  I felt like it was a visual reminder of all God has been teaching me through motherhood.  It still serves as a reminder to me- I have to find joy even in disappointments and embrace the chaos.  As I started to laugh in the photo shoot at how foolhardy I was to think this overhead shot would actually be easy and not one but ALL THREE kids were crying, my husband kissed me.  The photo captured captured how perfectly OUT of control my life often is, but I have this amazing man helping me find joy and supporting me one hundred percent.

In 2011, I was so excited about an outdoor photo shoot we'd scheduled in the morning, my children's best time of day.  I bribed them with the promise of lollipops for good smiles.  After an hour long complete debacle, I left in tears again.  I was certain she didn't get a single good shot and I sobbed telling my husband I must be a terrible mother if my kids can't even cooperate for ONE HOUR of time to get ONE picture.  I remember saying, "A crying photo is funny ONCE but we can't put a second crying photo on our wall!  We may as well have thrown money out the window."

We got the CD with 617 photos a few weeks later and in my amazement there was ONE and I do mean ONE photo that we could keep.  I had that thing printed onto a canvas fasted than you could say "print."

The other 616 look like this one...(though can I just say for anyone recently experiencing a failed photo shoot, I looked through them just now to post one of the epic failures on here and I laughed the entire way through...these ridiculously imperfect photos are awesome, my kiddos are so little and so cute;)

We had my friend Roxanne take a quick Christmas photo in our jammies in 2013, but we haven't had an official photo shoot since that fateful day in 2011 and that single good photo has been on our wall since 2011.  We now have another member of our family.  He often points to that photo and says, "Where's Christian?"  We had to rectify this, so bravely I scheduled another shoot.  This time I had very little expectations.  I just wanted professional proof he's here.  Roxanne asked me what I wanted from the shoot and I said, "Capture our now" and the truth is dear friends, our now is amazing but it's also chaos, so I was prepared to just have the chaos captured.   I am well versed in failed photo sessions, as long as everyone was in it, I'd consider the mission accomplished.  After all, third time is a charm...worst case scenario, we do a homage to failed photo shoots along our upstairs hallway.

Let me share with you the talent of Roxanne Engstrom at Hawa Images.  She happens to amazingly talented and is gracious enough to let me be her friend.  My lack of stress (I kind of have a theory that my high expectations "MAY" have contributed to my children's freak outs at previous sessions...I think they may have felt a TEENY bit of pressure coming for mom) and her total comfort with our chaos captured our now beautifully.

Truly this IS our happily ever after...these crazy, high energy, intelligent, imaginative, uncontrollable kiddos.  Our quiver is full and often makes us quiver...but we wouldn't trade it for the world!

(I look quite a bit older, but my man is still there helping me find joy and supporting me 100%...proverb says, "He who finds a good wife finds a good thing..."  I believe if a woman had written something similar it would also say, "She who finds a good husband, finds a great thing..."

A more positive adoption update...

I last posted that we were experiencing some regression due to Marc going oversees for a week.  It's been a long 5 weeks readjusting and we aren't yet back to what was our new normal, but the last week has been amazing.  No potty accidents, just an general calmness returning (anxiety in little kiddos presents as restless or hyperness).  He is going to sleep again on his own.  He has stopped pocketing food.  He's still a bit clingy and we are doing a lot of sitting and cuddling, but we can handle that:)

It has been said that time erases all wounds and while I don't believe that is true, I think time combined with love and patience is powerful in healing.  I am learning so much about being patient, waiting, and loving.  Just pushing through and loving while God does the healing in HIS perfect time.

I am reminded how resilient the human spirit is and how powerful our Great Healer is.  The process isn't always clean and neat.  There are setbacks and sometimes we go back to past fears or wounds, but his grace and healing push through.  I am learning so much on a heart level what my head has known about our Creator for a long time.  I just feel blessed.

And might I add...smiles really are amazing.  Imaging my life without this particular one is impossible at this point;)