It all started with a dress.
But first, a bit of backtracking.
Every year, regardless of how scant or abundant our wardrobes are, we come up with Christmas and Easter clothes. Sometimes they’re casual. Sometimes they are built around a hair bow or an overcoat we already own. Sometimes they include a few hand-me-downs in the mix…
but every year, we get dressed in our new (or newish) duds and take some family pictures.
We don’t do this for Christmas postcards or even, believe it or not, for the blog…
we do it for me.
Because I wanna.
It might be silly, it might be unnecessary, it might be a TON of work, but…I love it.
Especially the outfits.
Last year’s Christmas clothes were hardy and festive, and even better, practical; thus, my intent this year was to find something similar, something that shouted “Christmas!” but, not exclusively. Something we could wear to church or to the library or even to play outside in, all winter and early-spring and late-fall long.
But then, scrolling through Boden’s summer sale, I saw a dress in the little girls’ section.
It was a satin party dress.
It was so impractical.
Even on sale, it was more expensive than any dress we’ve ever bought for one of our children.
And it was the LAST dress I needed, looking nothing like anything I had pictured for any of our Christmas clothes, ever.
So, obviously, I bought it.
Because the moment I pictured that dress on Rebekah Sunday, I was a goner. My sentimental brain went trotting along ahead of me, dreaming of beautiful Victorian Christmases, and simple and clean scenes of winter whites and creams, until I arrived (four months later) at this year’s “photo shoot” with two things in mind:
1. Memorializing all of our children in their various ages, but especially 4-year old Rebekah. On the cusp of girlhood, this was her year, and since her special dress was almost as beautiful as a wedding gown, I thought it would be fun to take some bridal-inspired photos that we might potentially use on her wedding day, like pictures of us getting ready, tying her sash and fixing her hair. I thought it would also be fun to get pictures of the boys getting ready, buttoning their vests and so on and so forth.
2. Memorializing our home. We all know that, unlike snapshots, professional pictures aren’t really a true representation of life. They are us at our best, with our clothes perfectly pressed and our hair expertly groomed. Well, I wanted pictures of my house like that, too, clean and shiny and all gussied up for picture day.
Alllll that to say, although these pictures almost didn’t happen (if Rebekah looks ethereal it is because she was throwing up for the five days leading up to this), we pulled it off, and I near about died when I saw the finished product…
it is everything I hoped for and more, and I have to brag on my friends Ben and Leslie at Benjamin Grey Photography for their truly amazing talent. I am so happy I paid them with real money this time instead of homemade granola.
I am also so grateful for my husband and my mom, without whom my schemes of whimsicality would never come to fruition.
First, the boys got ready…
Then Rebekah, the belle of the ball…
Then Betsie Fair, also the proud recipient of a Boden party dress (it is rare, indeed, for Betsie to get a non-hand-me-down dress, especially one made of velvet!)…
Now I have to pause for a moment to prep you for the next pictures.
For the past year and a half, 2 1/2 year old Betsie has been obsessed…I mean it, obsessed…with lipstick. Before she could even talk, she would drag people’s purses to them and start puckering up her lips and grunting until they shared some lipgloss or lipstick or chapstick.
I have seen her perform this expression countless times, and I had no idea that Ben had caught it with his camera until I received our photographs.
Some photos are sweet, some are funny, and then some are just gifts.
These photographs are a gift to me. I have titled them “Betsie in a Nutshell”.
Here’s a few more of Rebekah, sitting in my new favorite chair (more on that later)…
and we can’t forget Baby Shep…
(goochie goo, you fat wittle bubbey baby!)
Next, we all moved to the living room for a few photos…
And we finished up outside…
On a normal day, our life is anything but Victorian.
But it’s fun to pretend sometimes.
Thanks for pretending with me. 😉