Sunday, December 12, 2010

Picture Perfect

A good snapshot stops a moment from running away. ~ Eudora Welty

Would it be a blog post if I didn’t make excuses for how long it has been since I wrote last? Thank goodness that I have other records of the past month other than this written one. Like pictures!

I have wanted to record some musings on the topic of pictures for a while, and the proofs from Emily and Drew’s six month session are the best inspiration one could ask for.

Before the babies, I was awful about taking pictures. One, I hate myself in pictures, and two, I always seem to forget a camera. I am the person with lots of vacation pictures of scenery and strangers. I never needed a camera phone because I would either misplace the phone or forget it had a camera function altogether. Add in a husband who also hates getting his picture taken, and you have not so many pictures.

One of the best decisions I ever made was to find a photographer for the babies even before they were born. After searching around and asking for recommendations, I decided on Lifelong Impressions. I was drawn to the fun style of the photography and the way each picture seemed to tell a story and capture a moment. To seal the deal, Shannon, the owner of Lifelong Impressions, is a fellow twin mommy.

Around 28 weeks, we had maternity pictures taken with Shannon, and despite a pregnancy hormone-induced breakdown only minutes before the session, we had a wonderful session on a slightly chilly March day. She put us at ease and helped two photography-phobic people make the best of the situation. We love the picture of us by an early-blooming dogwood tree, with my still-manageable belly, and it now hangs in the babies’ nursery as a reminder of those breathless days and restless nights of pregnancy.

We must have been inspired because, after that, our picture- taking kicked into high gear. There are the shots we took the morning we left for the hospital for delivery and my last-ever preggo picture.

Or the first picture ever of my babies. I will always remember the tears I cried as I asked if each was okay or the lump in my throat that kept me from speaking when I first saw their sweet faces.

And then of my first armful of babies, so long awaited and delayed by a scary time in recovery. I still can’t believe these perfect babies are mine. Will the wonder ever fade?

I have pictures of their first visits by family and friends, their first car ride home, the welcome balloons on the mailbox from Grandma, their first night in the co-sleeper, their first…well, you name it, and we probably took a snapshot of it.

Some of my favorite pictures ever are from their newborn session. I love how the ones of them snuggling are exactly the image I hold of them in my heart and how I often imagined them even before they ever moved—best friends, protective and supportive. I love the ones where Marty and I look lovingly at our babies, smiling through the pee, the heat, and the fatigue from double duty—all night long. I marvel at how motherhood (and probably a bit of touch-up magic) make me look glowing, especially in the one where I am looking down at Emily. My daughter. I love the one of Drew, swaddled, with his blue eyes glowing, and his little lips in the shape of a perfect O. My son. And then there’s the picture of us on the floor with sweet, sleeping babies. Our family.

Our friend, Tamara, who also has her own photography business, took some sweet shots of some of my favorite baby parts—hands and feet. Hands down, I think baby toes are about the cutest thing ever. Thanks, Tamara, for capturing the moment.

There are so many snapshots of everyday wonderment. Emily looking like an angel in the towel, Drew’s bashful full- body smile, smiling babies on the changing table, tummy time, hammock time, twin time, and snuggle time. Each has the power to take me back to that experience, bring tears to my eyes, a smile to my face. Some days while I am on the road for work, I will open my phone and browse through pictures just so I can feel close to them. On lucky days, I get texts with pictures and video from Julie, showing me what they are doing that day. Emily squealing, Drew grabbing a toy intentionally, sitting up, taking a nap—in this way, pictures help me not feel so bad about being a working mom.

This week, giddy with anticipation, I opened the proofs from their six month session. Shannon asks in her email to let her know which are our favorites and why. With so many cute pictures, it is hard to say which I love the most.

Sitting as they entered the world, naked and pure, they look back at the camera as if to say “hello world.” What is more inspiring than these images of innocent babies?

I smile when I see the picture of Drew leaning into Emily’s shoulder, holding her arm, and she grabs his foot while looking down. It captures perfectly the loving way Drew calms when he is close to Emily, and it will forever remind us of this time when they first starting noticing each other. And, the rolls—arm rolls, legs rolls, wrist rolls. Every meal seems to have paid off!

I love the hats and tutu shots because they also capture another memory of this age—the fun and interaction. Emily and Drew have such personalities. They laugh and squeal. They roll and grab. They can be so happy and so upset. They play contentedly all alone on the floor, but still want their individual snuggle and tickle time.
I will always look at the pictures of Drew and remember that it was his turn to be happy baby during picture time. Emily began melting down pretty quickly, so there are more pictures of Drew than her. Oh, sweet Drew Bear! Looking at his pictures, you can almost hear the giggles. Shannon had him going. Then, there’s the one where he’s looking off to the side. This picture captured an admiring glance of his daddy who was standing off to the side. I love the push-up pose where his little cutesy feet are sticking out, poised to take flight. Oh, the places he’ll go!

Thanks to a quick-shooting camera and a talented eye, we have a few Emily shots that are priceless. With her pink hat and tutu, she is absolutely charming as she smiles up at the camera with the same sweet wide smile that greets me every morning. In another, she chews on my necklace. When we weren’t fighting tears and cries, we were fighting Emily’s eating everything—hands, tutus…forget about art imitating life—this is classic Emily. So is the sweet snuggle so beautifully captured. Can I hold her like that forever?

Someone told me that I would love every stage. It’s true. I have loved every moment, and I have the pictures to prove it.

PS- If you are looking for some help capturing your moments, check out Shannon at and Tamara at!/pages/Tamera-Parrish-Photography/110701585629723.

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