Our {Real Life} Family Pictures at the Pumpkin Patch

bekah General 2 Comments

We conquered the flu- threw it out with the trash, lysoled every square inch of our cottage, did 5 trillions loads of laundry, and craving the outdoors, stole Bryan for a few hours before evening youth group to have some fun.

Or maybe in my head I was set on having fun. As in, We are going to the pumpkin patch before all the over-sized squash rot, breathe some fresh air, maybe take some fun pictures, and redeem this holed up week. And it’s going to be fun. And you’re going to like it. See? Smiley face…this is where my kids stare at my wide eyeballs, arched eyebrows, and crazy grin, and roll their eyes.

We pulled up and saw darling families donning boots and plaid shirts and fall hats. They looked like they’d stepped out of a J.C. Crew mag. We? We were a ragamuffin crew. We roll-with-the-punches, and my boys were not color-coordinated, and my hair, well, please don’t look too close. After all, we were going to the pumpkin patch for a family outing, not a photo shoot… but doesn’t it usually lead to that?

This moment we have to capture!

The perfect. family. photo!

Said in a panicky voice, Because it’s a holiday and we are all together and we need a Halloween picture in that cute frame your mom gave us.

In the corn maze, we wandered.

At the first picture, I knew. I laughed. We are not the “perfect family picture” family! I don’t know what gives it away here.

{Ty, please don’t try to hide the boredom! Yes- it’s a yawn!}


Making our way to the scattered pumpkin patch, we saw the ideal photo spot- a scarecrow, of course! Every respectable family takes pictures next to a scarecrow. A sweet family with a newborn offered to. My apologies kind, new father. This is your future.

Mom, the sun is in my eyes.- Tanner. Eh, uh. – Ty grunting.

Bry appears to be pinching Ty’s neck for fear our little man will make a beeline for the snack shop, and Tanner looks like we’re forcing him to watch a horror film. The whole thing is comical and entirely us. Entirely real.

I had the gall, after thanking the kind man for taking our picture, to skim briefly and request we take another, and this time, Babe, could you not hunch over? Just stand up straight! Ugh. Word vomit. I confess. I said that to my husband- not my shining moment. The second I spewed it out, I wanted to pull the words back in. Too late.

In my head, I was allowing the idea of the perfect {whatever that means} family photo to hinder our family picture, our real life.

Lame sauce! And time and time again, reality reminded that the ideal shot is not so common.


We’ll rarely get the four of looking at the camera, let alone appearing jazzed!


Sometimes we can’t even see the camera!


Kids do crazy things and hide behind objects when people yell, Say cheese!

I’m not sure if Ty is auditioning for the YMCA or what, and Tanner? I just.don’t.know!


Hey guys! Look over here! Smile. Anyone? Anyone? Where’s Tanner?


And then comes the infamous mama and kiddo picture, because let’s be honest, we’re usually behind the camera. But nope, not today! Come on guys, let’s take one together… ya know, with me- your mom. The one that carried and birthed you and… T, remember you asking me today where babies come from and we talked? Get up here- you owe me!

Every mom knows this face- the crazy one where you’re smiling, but really you’re talking through clenched teeth, and half tickling/ half bribing the uncooperative one to please.just.smile.


The tickling quickly turns to lack of empathy as we start pouting alongside the crying child.

Mamas, nod your head in agreement. Yes?


I know, I mock sob, I’m mean… This is so hard. Mommy wants to take one picture with you. Whaaaaaa! No? Not helping?

And what is with Tanner and the pumpkin?


Back to loving… still nothin’? Hmmmm….


Wait! Wait! I think we got an open smile, something that resembles a hint of fun. Yay!

And… Tanner looks like he just witnessed a shooting!


See? Such a happy family 🙂 Big smiles, everyone!


I’m convinced Ty, who is literally the life of parties, turns on a gremlin switch when cameras come out.

His strong-willed nature eyes the lens and he breathes like a bull in a ring, I’ll show you who’s boss! immediately crumpling  into a whiny mush of curly hair. Every.single.time. It’s awesome!

Tanner, however, turns into Mr.Photography and grabs the camera and barks orders.

I’ll take it. You guys stand there, he points.

Here, Bryan and I look lovely holding our distraught puppy! And why am I clutching my bag… I mean, really?


How tragic my son is wearing blue for a fall memory! Nope, not tragic at all. It’s real life and they are usually wearing blue and orange… oh wait! That’s what they are wearing today. See? Real life!


Once again, the art of getting both to look at the camera is a skill I don’t possess! No doubt Ty is eying someone’s food 🙂


Yep, mom and dad, we’re just sitting on these pumpkins and smiling at you… now what?


Please take a good, long look at Ty’s face. We’ve coined it his “silly” face. He does it when he’s showing off, embarrassed, or stalling for time… this face says a thousand words. And I adore this picture all the more for his fabulous expression!


Tanner also took this picture. Not too shabby, right? Why on earth am I holding a pumpkin? In any other situation I wouldn’t say, Babe, let’s take a picture- let me grab this park bench. But no, a baby pumpkin it is. My hot hubby appears to be wearing a low-hanging yellow bikini. I’m so sorry babe! But it’s goofy, and us, and it  makes me laugh!

When I look at this shot, I see Tanner’s short stature peering up at us behind the camera. I hear him say, No- don’t smooch, just look at me. Those are what photos should create- priceless memories, not the hype created to get the end result.


There’s nothing sweeter than seeing a daddy enjoying his boys… makes my heart smile. I see these three wrestling and holding hands and snuggling a thousand times a day, and when I capture a moment like this it’s not just one moment, but millions symbolizing their relationship. It’s as real life as it gets, and I even though I can’t see their expressions, I know the safety and trust and love etched on those three faces.


And one sweet shot of the afternoon- a moment with Tanner.

I was snuggling our oldest while looking at Bryan as he held Ty and shot this. Like a circle of our family from only one side. The other side is etched in my memory. It’s beautiful and sacred and thankful.


Today many of you will be taking out little ones, joining nieces or nephews, or hosting friends to celebrate Halloween. Costumes, and face paint, and oodles of creativity go into the perfect trick-or-treating/ Fall Festival attire.

Please do yourself and the kids a favor- please don’t make the silly mistakes I made. Forget the just one more smile, look over here, show me your sweet face, come on!!

Take pictures of life as it happens– in real time, with real expressions. Those are the moments you want to frame. It’s not worth the hype and stress of capturing “the perfect family photo.”  It’s about capturing the heart of your family; those candid, unrehearsed, natural gestures and expressions of the faces you count dear.

I promise when you take this approach, you’ll enjoy the night, the festivities, the kids, more and the idea of what “it should be” less.

Grab your camera, take your phone, celebrate tonight with picture, pictures, and more pictures. And remember to savor the memories with the people even more than the images of the people.

And please send any leftover Kit-Kat’s to my home address 🙂

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