Tantrums and Unicorns

Updated: Apr 27

So, my husband‘s sister Kayla was visiting the family from Pittsburgh, this was the first time I really got to spend any significant ammount of time with her, (turns out, she is literally awesome)

They came over to our house one of the nights that they were over, and we had a really really nice visit, our kids and their kids played very loudly the entire time, and no one cared, there were tantrums, fights, rough housing, the whole thing, and for once, my kids seemed only averagely naughty. Honestly, it was one of the best dinner parties I ever remember, it was so nice to see that the anjel sister he always talked about in such a respectful loving way, had REAL kids, and a REAL life, and REAL problems, (she seriously is awesome, but what I loved about her was the real, can you tell?)

Anyway, that evening she mentioned having me take their photos, to add to my portfolio, and of course I was excited to say yes. It was decided that they would attend our church with us the following day, and then we would do photos after the morning service.

Sunday morning I was trying to rush out the door, make sure the camera was ready, the kids had breakfast, (you know, all that mundane but important stuff that goes into getting toddlers out the door for church.) Jeff was helping so it went reasonably well. (Did I mention that the basement was still a complete upheaval? It was, and that was where the laundry room and the kids dressers were supposed to be, so honestly I dont even remember how I got the kids ready, maybe I brought them to church in their pjs and blocked it from my memory……)

After church we met at the side of “The old Brick store” here in Connell, it has an awesome red door on the side, and as this family was mostly blonde and fair I knew the contrast would be really cool. The boys were really rambunctious, so we had a little chat, they were super hero’s, and I needed to se how HIGH they could jump, and as soon as they jumped their HIGHEST jump, they needed to give their mom and dad a big hug and look this way. Their energy was contagious and soon the whole family was having fun. We moved locations to the gravel alley behind the store, and that is where I got the shots I was after. We had a deal, the boys and I, they would do just what I said for these photos, and work hard to help mom and dad have a good time and smile big, and at the end, I would take some shots of them jumping again, and we would see who jumped higher at the end. (They really were competitive and wanted to have targetable evidence that they were indeed the highest jumper) Everything was going fantastic, until Kayla said she didn’t want the little unicorn her daughter was holding in their photos, and asked Jeff to grab it.…Boy were we in for a surprise! Little Aden was NOT happy with her uncle Jeff. She was supposed to be walking with her parents toward me, but instead, she storm marched in front of them with her arms crossed, and the most angry little scowl on her cute face, she marched straight for her uncle Jeff, I wasn’t sure if she was going to attack him or what! He saw it too and apparently lost his courage, because he hollered out, “Ok Aden, its yours, come and get it!” That was all it took, she flew over to him and snatched her little unicorn up. The transformation that took place on her face was just about the cutest thing I have ever seen. Once reunited with her unicorn, I said, “RUN to daddy and show him your unicorn!”He held his hands out and she ran into them, unicorn and all. It was priceless.

I learned that day that cute little kids with all their moods really dont need to ruin a shoot, I just need to go with it, and if nothing else, zoom in on parents faces and get their laughter. I learned that energy and wiggles can’t be contained and that is ok, I just need to find active ways to get the shot, keep my shutter speed high and catch everything, there is bound to be something awesome.

But I think the most memorable lesson was that if a little girl wants her unicorn in the photo, you better let that unicorn in, and take what you get! Later when I showed Kayla her photos, her all time favorite was of little Aaden storming off to save her unicorn from mean old uncle Jeff.

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