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get in the picture, already!

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If you're like me, you have hundreds of pictures of your children, of your children with your husband, of your children with your parents, of your children with the neighbor - with the neighbor's dog – but only about four of you with your children.  

You say it's because you're the family photographer and historian – no one ever thinks to take the camera out of your hands and take a picture.  But if you are, in fact, like me, the real reason is you hate your profile:

Getinthepicture14  My dad always told me I had a ski slope for a nose (which, by the way, is totally HIS nose). 

Or maybe you dread the obligatory double, sometimes triple, chin (does anyone see a neck in this picture?):

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Or – Or - you have some physical defect you stay blissfully unaware of until you see pictures of yourself.  I have one that is actually literally exacerbated by pictures.  I was born with several unrelated defects in my right eye (a congenital eyelid ptosis and Duane's Syndrome) and between the surgery for the ptosis and the syndrome itself, and depending on camera flash or the direction I am looking in, it's phenomenally worse:

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You can see it a little bit here.  I only recently learned the name for it (Duane's Syndrome); it's supposedly rare.  A good half of every picture I take, if at the wrong angle, highlights the disparity between my eyes, and sometimes looks ghoul-ish.  So I tend to avoid being photographed.  

But I've recently realized I need to get in the picture already. 

On this day, the light was good.  And I had bothered to put on a little makeup for dinner out with friends.  And so I begrudgingly gave up creative control and handed over the camera to my husband.  Yeah, there were some blurry shots.  And fakey smiles.  And a bunch where one of us wasn't looking at the camera. 

But there were also those precious few.

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The ones I'll look back and love not because they're picture-perfect and frame-ready.  But because they remind me of the way we were.

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See how the baby almost looks like an afterthought in the above picture?  Like I'm barely hanging on to her? Oh well.  At least we have one of the three of us.

Evyn turned four last weekend and we went to a pumpkin farm (pics to come).  I gave the camera to James.  See my Special Occasion Pimple?  Back in the day I called it The Wedding Zit because it always, without fail, showed up when I was in a wedding.  Right there.  In the middle of my forehead.  What's that?  You don't see it?  Trust me, it's there.  (which brings up another point: sometimes no one notices all that stuff but you)

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My solution to those kind of days?  Turn to the side and do a kissy face.

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Or just play.

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There's that nose.  Grr.  Oh well.  I look like I'm having fun with my baby, don't I?  That's what I'll remember when I revisit these pictures the day Ashlyn leaves for college…

I wanted one with Evyn, too.  I have a number of pictures like this:

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But I eventually got this:

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So here's your challenge this week. Take advantage of a day when you've bothered to put on some blush, and go outside or get near a window and hand someone the camera.  Tell the picture-taker to just snap away while you fart around with the kids and try not to worry too much about your hair and your chin(s) and the fat roll.  You'll look better if you just relax a little.  Yes, it's kind of a hassle.  It takes a few minutes that you'd rather be putting toward the dishes or dinner or a phone call.  And you'll have to take thirty pictures to get three you love.  But you'll have them.  And your kids will have them. And if you're a blogger, your readers will get to take a look at ya once in a while (if you dare to post them).

celia - Oh my God, you know I love to see the pics in your posts but this post is your best ever!
I love it!
All the photos are full of love and the energy in them goes out the screen!
Thanks so much fr sharing them!

Jenny Gardner - Crystal, You are beautiful. I’ve always thought that! You don’t give yourself enough credit. By the way, you’re house seems so full of light. Is it all natural light from windows or do you have great lamps that I need to know about? The house we moved into last year has awful light!!! I still don’t have the proper lighting for the house and we’ve been here almost a year now.

gaylen - My kids are grown and there aren’t enough photos of me with them. Like you, I see all my flaws. You, however, look lovely. Your hubby did a fabulous job with the camera – your family is very lucky. g

Janell - I love your blog and have been reading it for a while now! It is always nice to know I am not the only one picking at every other picture! I agree the memories are sooo worth it though! You are beautiful and I LOVE how your pics turned out. I think I have a long nose too…LOL =]
Janell

Erin Beck - I have got to get my hands on those to adorable girls. I miss you and talking to you. I have to go to your post to check up on you because since we both had Ashlyn and Luke we have lost touch with eachother by phone. You are always on my mind and I will take you up on taking more pictures of me with the kids. I am like you as well, delete all the bad ones and also hate the chins and side profile nose. You look so good and the girls are sooo cute. They are like Jack and Luke, totally look different from eachother but have both Andy and I in them. Miss youso much and thanks for sharing those great pictures!
Erin

Amanda - I think you are beautiful, don’t be so hard on yourself– your flaws are what make you special, and I didn’t notice any of those things when I looked at the photos. Just a loving family. :)

jack463 - Here’s an idea:
Get all your old photos scanned. I saw an affordable place for that recently – http://www.thedigitalconvert.com .
Now, all you have to do is find ONE picture with you in it. Open your favorite photo editing program. Use the “magic wand” tool to select around yourself. Cut and paste yourself into all the other pictures.
Follow this advice and solve tens of years of family injustice :)

Christine - The joy of your family comes through in the pics so clearly. I remember reading your blog years ago (wow, it has been a long time!) when I could hear the yearning for a time like this in your life. You were missing your hubby so much and ready to have the times like the ones you shared with us in these pics.
Thanks for taking us along Crystal. It gives me something to look forward to :) Only 6 more days till my second longest year (plus 3 months) is over.

LauraJl - until you picked yourself apart, without the blurbs you wrote, i would never have seen your supposed flaws. what i saw is a beautiful woman.

Agnes - I can’t tell you enough how much I love these pictures! The broad, from-the-heart smiles, the sparkles in the eyes … so uplifting on a grey sunday morning! Thank you! 😉

Andrea - I have to remember this; at times I forget to hand the camera over. It’s exacerbates by the fact that Daniel doesn’t love to take pictures like I do. He just tolerates it, ya know.
There’s such beauty in every picture you posted – love shines through and hides the flaws. (like you said, I didn’t notice any until you pointed them out.)
-Andrea

Amber - These are so great – you look amazing! I totally understand about not wanting to take pictures of yourself – I feel the same way – I look at pictures and just see all my flaws!
This is a great post – we do need to get in on pictures and not just take ones of our kids!

Dawn - Good for you! Those are wonderful shots.
I am one of those moms with hardly one photo of me when the kids were growing up. I did all the photos at holidays..and we had the worst camera then!
I am realizing that the photo friendly years are about done for me. At this age (old enough to be your mother)I just don’t look the same(?) and no amount of photo-shopping will help.
*sigh*
The kids love me as I am and soooo…I have bit the bullet and had my daughter take more photos of me lately…because some day…when I am much older, I will consider my pics of today rather good.
:)
BTW~You are beautiful…and those kids of yours are too!

Emily - Oh these are so unbelievably precious. I love them. You have such a lovely family (INCLUDING YOU!)

dana - You are seriously adorable!!
And, I hear you. I get your point. And perhaps I’ll jump out from behind the camera once in awhile. Thanks for the reminder.

Susan - Oh – I am so guilty of this! I hate almost all pictures of me and usually delete most of them from the camera (gotta love the digital world). You look great, by the way, and the girls are both so pretty. You can see how much Evyn loves you in the pictures. Great post — and I’ll try to work on getting more pictures of me – with the kids!

melissa - you are beautiful! what great pictures of you and your girls. :)

Andrea - hmm I don’t really care if you have two or three chins or ghoul-ish eyes.. the only thing I know is that you are very, very pretty and that you have adorable, beautiful daughters. This post made me smile a lot :)
Andrea (usually the person behind the camera; from Germany; who loves your blog)

Rane - LOL~ I think you have my secrete! In the
past 12 years (oldest is 12) I have a
total of 8 photos of myself with the kids!!!
I stink! LOL! After I seen your post I went
and looked at the photos and I am so absent
that it looks like my hubby is a single
parent! And that I am some rare aunt that
stops by every few years~~ I think I am
depressed! *Sigh* I swear I will be in
photos from now on… It will look weird
in the album that I am all of a sudden
but I want my kids to see me.
Thanks for making me see how silly I have
been befor it was way to late! I think
I am going to go cry and then call my family
and ask if they can copy the photos that
that they took of me with the kids so I have
other photos of me! Thanks a million!
Rane
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Andrea - This is so inspiring! I think you completely described most moms. You look great in the photos though and no we don’t notice all those things you do. Thanks for sharing and encouraging me to be in the photos a little more!

Woody - Wow – you and your family are beautiful. I am never in any shots for all the reasons you state ie I am the main camera person, hate my picture etc. It looks like I never go on holiday with my family – LOL. But thanks for the reminder and the inspirational photos – I am giving the camera to my husband one day….very soon.

miss chris - These are wonderful, Crystal. And this post is, too. You’re right about just getting there, in front of the camera and getting in the picture. I have very few with my kids, too… Thanks for sharing, you cutie-pie!

Vanessa - Love the pictures.
I was always the same way. My problems was my weight and when I took some of it off I would always get in the picture but now that the weight has returned I am as far away from lens as I can get.

Heather - These are all beautiful! I really need to do better about this. I did great last year when J. was deployed because I needed pics to send to him so I was constantly asking people to take pics of me with the kids. Since he got home, I have resumed my behind the camera stance.
Also, I gave you an award over at my blog :)

Crystal - I absolutely loved this post. What beautiful pictures! Your post made me laugh. You have nothing to worry about… you are a beautiful mother and woman. God bless you.

lisette - The pictures are wonderful! Realy beautiful! Great. You, and your children, look realy happy!

charlotte - dreamy! you and your girls are just beautiful in these pictures. great post, Crystal! and BTW- you have the nose I always longed for. over here, we call it Elegant. xoxo

Alex - Oh, come on, you’re beau-tea-ful! And so are your girls. Thanks for this great post and your honesty. I’m enjoying your blog that I just came across.

Chloe - This post is so so true.
I think I have about 4 pictures of myself with my 5 year old daughter, 2 with my first son and none with my third, who is the same age as Ashlyn.
I keep meaning to get more photos and I will.
Once I make the effort to get some make up on that is! Don’t want to scare the grandchildren 😉

Olivia - This post inspired me to get out and take some pics of me and my family, which I posted on my new blog :) So nice to be inspired by other families…
Found your blog looking for a toddler belt pattern, thanks for that too!

american mum - Oh my goodness- I can totally relate! But I think you look beautiful in all of them.

Melissa from Pittsburgh - Thank you.
and you are beautiful!

* - I have often reflected on this post after a friend sent it to me. I have just fwd’d the link to another friend as gentle encouragement.
Thanks for the pep talk!
xx
H

allison f. - What a wonderful post, and blog altogher. What a treat to find it and read it!