Jen Palis and I crossed virtual paths earlier this year when we did a blog swap which means that Jen is my first repeat guest! I can tell if we lived closer to each other we’d be fast IRL friends as we both seem to parent with a healthy dose of sarcasm and humor. Jen was recently listed on  Babble’s list of top 100 Mom Blogs – an accomplishment that I am thrilled about for her and yes.. just a wee bit jealous. But at least I don’t burn ready made bacon, so I do have that going for me.. 

You know how some mothers routinely have family portraits taken? I’m not one of those mothers.

In fact, I’m so lax in the ‘documenting the lives of my children’ department that I pretty much only take photos if I know I can use them for blackmail purposes in their teen years…

Well, the guilt got the best of me and I purchased a Groupon for a portrait session a few weeks ago. At $15 I couldn’t pass it up (mainly because at that price I could afford to blow some money on new outfits for everyone to wear in the pictures. I’m always up for shopping!)

“Babe, come on! We can give the pics to people as Christmas gifts and maybe do those Christmas cards with a nice family photo on it – and I’ll actually get around to sending the cards this year even…”

So, appointment made, outfits purchased – we were ready to smile until our faces hurt!

The day of our photo shoot, we made the long drive to the city dressed to the nines. Wrinkles be damned, I wasn’t about to dress three little kids at home and then redress them again at the mall.

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“Guys, I mean it! Do NOT eat anything you find in the back seat! I don’t care if it’s still wrapped! Just this once, I need you to stay clean, please!”

As luck would have it, about 15 other families had decided that 2PM on a Sunday would be the perfect time to get family portraits done… My husband is the epitome of patience in public places where there’s really no way to occupy the kids. I am not. He spent the next half hour showing the kids YouTube videos on his phone while I alternated between adjusting clothing and scowling.

Finally it was our turn to go back. At home, my children will smile, they will pose, they will cheese it up to no end. In the photography studio? Have mercy…

My handsome little angel son, Miles, fell asleep on the ride to the city and while he’s almost always sweet and obedient he is, after all, a boy. Have you ever taken a 2 year old into a photography studio right after a nap? Utter freaking chaos. There was so much space to run! So many things to climb on! And dang it if he isn’t so adorable that you couldn’t help but laugh at him despite the fact that he made it impossible to get a ‘normal’ shot of him.

Marlee, a middle child to the bone and typically my ornery one, was sick the day of photos. She had fevery flushed cheeks and a raspy voice. Because she didn’t feel well, she decided that picture day wasthe perfect day to play shy as opposed to her usual “Hey Mommy, is ‘pissed off’ a bad word?” self. Thankful for her compliance, we didn’t mind the fact that she gave a smile reminiscent of Mona Lisa in all of her photos instead of a toothy grin.

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And the big sister? Mia, always overachieving, always responsible,

always doing the right thing. She smiled and posed like a

seasoned pro the entire time! If I can count on one child to refrain from embarrassing me, it’s always my oldest daughter. I just love that about her!

After it was all said and done, the photos turned out great! Our Christmas cards will go out this week and I couldn’t be more excited for everyone to receive them!

Maybe we weren’t perfectly posed to look like a model family, but you know what? We’re not a model family – we’re a normal family with quirks and imperfections, and that’s perfectly fine by me.



Jennifer Palis of High Heels and Dirty Dishes is just another gal who’s used to her kids ruining the carpet. When she’s not working as ‘the worst administrative assistant known to mankind’ (or as she likes to put it: self-appointed head of the morale committee), she’s at home with her three kids and husband… praying that everyone’s NyQuil kicks in before 10PM and that the dishes will magically wash themselves. All done while rocking leopard print heels – which by the way, is a real head-turner in her small Missouri town of 1600. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

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