when awkward is awesome

I did an "Awkward Christmas Photo" special this year and discovered something: Awkward is my genre!!!  I also discovered that "awkward" also means "awesome" and "not afraid to be myself" and "totally in love with my family regardless of circumstance."  I'm digging awkward, especially when it's this awesome in spite of not because of it...

'twas an Eve before Christmas...

Eve arrived on the same day as my oldest son's birthday, my crazy charismatic cousin's birthday, and my quirky buddy MQ's birthday, so she's bound to be a gooder.  How does one proceed to obtain pictures of an Eve before Christmas?

Step 1. Get Baby sleepy.
Step 2. Make baby close mouth.
Step 3. Add flowers.
Step 4.  PHEWF!!!

Enter: the big brother.  Who's not really all that big unless you're measuring by the size of his personality.  He wants to sit in the suitcase and is a complete sucker for the "don't you dare do ~insert thing you want him to do~"  MONEY SHOT!!!

Small male loses interest as there is rodeo on TV, and Mom is asked to sit and hold an Eve before Christmas.  "Does this mean I get to kiss her?" she asks.  "Of course!" I reply with a sly wink.  MONEY SHOT!  And in case she decides to wake up soon, let's get Dad in here.  "Dad!  Come quick! Get in this picture!!!"

Uh... money shot?

Let's try this again...  and then I say, rather loudly, "... and I sure hope that little boy doesn't come in here and try to be in the pictures...  Don't you dare come in here and... WHA!?!?  Are you kissing that baby?!?!"  GOT IT!!!

Dad says, "Well, what do you want me to do now?"  I say, "Just hold your daughter."  #nailedit

By this point, it's not even a dare really.  PHOTOBOMB!!!

One last attempt at an artsy overhead of sweet Eve while she's awake and not crying... BAM LIKE THAT!!!

All the don't-you-daring has worked like a charm and when it's finally time to get a sibling shot, it's as easy as putting kids to bed by threatening Santa's naughty list on any December Eve before Christmas.  CHEESE!!!

One last photograph, wearing one of the sweaters Great Gramma knitted on an Eve before Christmas, just like Big Brother wore for pictures when he was just a few days old, only Great Gramma passed away a few days ago and the wounds are still fresh but Eve is the salve, just before Christmas.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

One last request from the lowly photographer, who wants nothing more than to create a vast collection of uber-tacky Christmas photos at every possible opportunity...  #failedit

My instructions were as follows: "Stop looking so relaxed and natural.  We need awkward.. try looking over there... now over there...  perfect, excellent..."  #nailedit

Wife later sends a text: "He doesn't have to try very hard for awkward, huh?"  Nope, he sure as heck doesn't.

A parting picture with Gramma & Grampa...

... and the nutty photographer with her equally nutty 9 year old, husband and ABC (adopted by choice) family members.*

*pictureLOVE and Hope Walls do not in any way shape or form endorse or encourage football fanaticism and any team alliance expressed in the above photo is a solely a reflection of the batsh*t crazy clients.

And this was how we celebrated an Eve before Christmas.

berries on the branches of my extended family tree

There's the family you're born into, and then the family you adopt along the way.  They are not the branches or roots or leaves, but the charming little bright spots, the sweet fruit that grows from blossoming friendships.  While the rest of this blog post is about a family that the lovely Momma below before was born into, I just want to say that I have been photographing these three since the big one was still in diaperdom.  Over the past 8 or so years, I have watched this little family grow, change, change some more, but one thing has never changed, despite all the twists and turns on her rollercoaster ride through life: This woman is one of the most generous, accepting, forgiving, big-hearted, honest, caring, loving, loyal people you could ever be lucky enough to meet.  She is the embodiment of unconditional love, and she is a gift to everyone who knows her.  

I adore these two rambunctious boys, who always manage to make me smile with their energy, attitude, goofiness, and, of course, total cuteness overload.

Apparently, being adorable runs in the family, as you can see by looking at the cousins...

Seriously adorable.

A quick shot with Mom & Dad...

And of course, one of the whole fam damily...

Thank you for trusting me with pictures of your family for so long.  It has been both an honour and a pleasure documenting the passage of time.