Special thanks to Benjamin Grey Photography for capturing this day for us!
Last year, as our Victorian Christmas photo shoot came to a close, I had this fleeting vision of our family tossing on some cozy and festive winter clothes and dragging a Christmas tree on a sled to the open-air pavilion next to the creek on my parent’s property where we would decorate it with strands of popcorn and cranberries, followed by a hot chocolate party next to the fire.
I already knew what coat I would wear and everything, and from that day on, I’ve been gunning for this year’s photo shoot.
(we won’t pause here to discuss that I have serious problems).
Thankfully for my entire family, there are 365 days in a year, and I had ample time to tone things down a notch so that, by the time our annual Christmas picture day arrived last week, I had settled on simply purchasing a small tree for my parent’s front porch and taking some fun pictures there, right next to the heated house. We could still have popcorn and cranberries and hot chocolate, but it would be the easier, quicker, less-involved and long-walky version.
And WOWZERS, did this turn out to be enjoyable!
If I’m being truthful, picture day used to throw me into hysterics, and it thrills me to the core to be able to measure God’s continued work in my heart by how much more relaxed and laid-back I am about this entire unnecessary-but-super-fun tradition. I had FUN this year. Lots and lots of fun. Even the day before when I was packing up half of my house, ironing tiny dresses and bathing kids on non-bath day!
Mostly because it was just a good time to think about my family, to enjoy the beautiful ambiance of the Christmas season and to meditate on all we would be celebrating together in the week to come.
The details of this “photo shoot” were pretty simple to throw together. Candy canes. Plaid. A simple tree with white lights. Leather shoes. Chocolate. Popcorn. Enamelware. Galvanized metal. Cranberries. Flannel.
You know…Christmas stuff!
And, even better, COUNTRY Christmas stuff!
And I’m so happy today, not only to have pictures of my little family at the ages of 33, 33, 7, 5, 3 and 1, but to have us all sitting on the porch where I grew up, attached to the house that contains my history. This is heart stuff, right here, and you guys know how much I love heart stuff.
ready to see the pictures?
Me too! I just wish I would shush already and show them to you!
But I’m feeling very talkative!
Because I love Christmas!!
Okay, seriously. Here are the pictures.
Up first…candy canes! I like candy canes. Always have. Teeth permitting, always will.
followed by a medley of marshmallows of traditional white, pink peppermint, and star-shaped-beauties from Williams Sonoma that cost roughly a thousand dollars.
First up, we took some group photos out in the pasture.
Can I tell you something? I think I look sassy in this picture, which is funny because I’m not a very sassy person.
Who knows? Maybe I’m growing sassier in my old age.
I’ll keep you informed.
Little Shep, looking all grown up and slightly perplexed. He doesn’t know why his mommy is being sassy. He misses his old, non-sassy, obliging mommy.
Gideon, shivering from the cold under the wing of his mother who drug him out in it, in the first place. He’s very loyal.
And Poor Betsie. Those are goosies on her arm. But I couldn’t bear to put a shirt under that glorious puffed sleeve. I made it up to her later with cookies, fruit snacks and tickle fights.
So, speaking of Betsie, we quickly moved out of the pasture and onto the porch, and here she is, doing a curtsy, in the to-DIE-for vintage baby dress I bought at Vintage Market Days in Tulsa.
Yes, I bought it in October with this photo shoot in mind, and yes, it was the last piece in my photo shoot wardrobe puzzle. Everything else had already been procured.
No, we’re STILL not going to pause to discuss my problem. Leave me alone, okay?
(Gasp! I AM getting sassy!)
p.s. Betsie makes me laugh.
During this portion of the shoot, we took turns warming up in the house…
Except for hot-natured Rebekah who had no problem on this outdoor picture day. I’m just really glad she kept her shoes on.
And here is our crew of littles, the foursome that I get to do life with. I love them to pieces. Seriously. It’s popular these days to say that you should be your kid’s parent and not their friend, but when I’m not busy parenting them and teaching them to be civilized, these are my PEEPS, yo.
During a brief intermission, Sheppy found some dirt to play in. Typical.
I’m learning that it is a good idea to keep things hoppin’ when you are photographing littles. For our first porch activity, we strang… strung?…stringeded?…stringalingadingdonged?…some popcorn.
Then we strang…strung…oh, forget it!…we did the same thing with some cranberries that we did with the popcorn.
And then while Grandmother heated up some hot chocolate, we just hung out on the porch for a bit.
Sisters…sisters…there were never such (sort of) devoted sisters (they’re getting there, okay??).
And, oh dear. I honestly, sincerely, really, truly, seriously CANNOT believe how old this child is. Months away from 8, and taller every day, it seems. Stop it, Gideon! Just stop it.
I’m glad some of us are still 5. I can handle 5.
3 is even better, especially when they get a boo-boo and need someone to hold them.
and 1? 1 is PERFECT.
Next we hung candy canes and our star ornaments on the tree.
and to wrap things up, we had hot chocolate and cookies and marshmallows for a treat.
At 9:30 in the morning.
The recipe for these pretty – and quite yummy! – cookies below can be found in Pioneer Woman’s new holiday cookbook. I love her. But you knew that already.
And now comes my favorite picture of the entire shoot, THE picture of the century, really, wherein our friend, Ben, was able to capture the essence of my happy, hospitable, loving, generous, lovely, servant-hearted mama.
I will treasure this picture for the rest of my life.
She didn’t know she’d be having her picture made on this day OR in this moment. This is just who she is, what she always looks like, and what she always seems to be doing, delivering food or drinks to her family.
I like it in black and white, too…
But I REALLY like it in color.
Finally! Hot chocolate time!
Now, I find the next picture humorous, for several reasons:
1. My husband and I never sit on the porch, just us.
2. My husband and I never sit on the porch, just us, in festive and complete outfits.
3. My husband and I never sit on the porch, just us, in festive and complete outfits and drink hot chocolate.
4. My husband and I never sit on the porch, just us, in festive and complete outfits and drink hot chocolate with a tray of holiday-themed Christmas cookies and treats nearby.
5. My husband and I, not surprisingly, do not look natural in this picture.
6. He looks pained.
7. I do not look sassy, but severe and cold-hearted.
8. But I’m sharing it anyway, because, honestly, my coat is FABULOUS here. We’ve been together for three years now and it still feels right, you know?…
(me and the coat, I mean, not me and Mr. Gore. We’ve been together for fifteen years. And it still feels right, too. Except for when we are having hot chocolate on the porch).
and you’ll be happy to know that, after this, we just enjoyed our hot chocolate, standing, walking, or however we normally consume our hot beverages on a cold day.
I hope that your Christmas, too, was full of family, joy, pretty Christmas colors, and maybe a couple of expensive star-shaped marshmallows from Williams Sonoma.
Merry (belated) Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Gore family!
Thanks for stopping by! To keep up with Mrs. Gore and family and hear funny snippets from our days at home, find us on Facebook!