What my family looks like right now.

Every January 1st we ring in the new year.  We light sparklers, and sing that song I can never spell. 

We toast to a new year without any idea what it holds. When the ball drops in times square the next 365 days are a complete mystery to us. 

I am a photographer. I spend my time preaching to other people how important it is to preserve precious memories, yet I ignore my own advice. We haven't had photos of my immediate family photos since Libby Lu was 3, and now she is 6. And in that time my Dad died.

I never took the time to set up a family photo for my extended family. 
Years ago I kept putting off getting "big" family pictures done. Mainly because I didn't think our family was perfect yet, or maybe not perfect is a good word, but we didn't feel complete.  

Jimmy and I thought we might have more kids, my brother was divorced and single and I thought maybe he would re-marry one day. I thought the hassle of family photos that wouldn't be relevant in a year would be a big waste of time. I mean who wants a picture hanging on their wall of a partial family?

What I wouldn't give to go back and time and shake myself.

My Dad was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2012. He was given an 80% chance of survival, and he was gone in 10 months.  I never once took the time to set up a family photo with my parents, my brother and our families. 

The great lesson I learned here, is that in 365 days alot will happen in your life that you have zero control over.  People are going to get married, and divorced, people are going to have babies, people will pass away, all of that is out of your control. So why not just capture your family as they are. As incomplete as you may be, or feel.  It's what you are right now. 

So without wanting to waste another moment, this is what my family looks like right now.
 And with the perspective of my Dad passing...can I just tell you how non-stressful these photos were?  It was one of the most fun days ever. 

I did suggest 4-5 colors to stick with, and kindly asked them all to shower. 

I didn't dictate outfits or approve hair-do's.  I didn't even fight Rocky when he wanted to wear a backwards hat...at least it covers up the hockey mullet he's trying to grow. 

The bossiest I got was making my nephew button my shirt.  Under his plaid he was proudly wearing his "Feel the Bern 2016" shirt. 

I didn't buy new clothes for my kids, I pulled stuff out of their closet. Rocky shirt and jeans were both too small, Luci didn't have any nice shoes so she went barefoot. Libby Lu is wearing the same dress from her shoot last year.

Because when your dad dies you quickly learn that no one is going to give a shit in 20 years if your photos look like you stepped out of a pottery barn catalog or not.  All that matters is that you have them.

So here is my family.  Let me introduce you to them. 

This is Alyssa, she is my brothers girlfriend.  I call her my "Girlfriend in law" And that is Libby Lu photo-bombing their dorky star trek picture. Maybe they will still be together next year, maybe they won't, maybe they will be married and pregnant with triplets (that's my vote :) 
Over the summer Alyssa had custody of her niece Kayla.  We recently learned that she won't be with us anymore and will be heading across the country to be reunited with her mom.  It's bitter sweet for sure. But for 2016, she was part of our family and she knows she is welcome back anytime. 
This is my brothers family, and what they look like right now. 
And this is what MY family looks like right now.
Yes, Rocky is almost as tall as me. I've got about an inch and a half on him. 
And there is my Mama, my best friend, looking like a pretty little flower smack in the middle of what matters to her the most. 
My mom always called me "Lucy" growing up as a nickname , my moms middle name is also "Elizabeth" so here I am with my mom, and my "Luci Elizabeth" :) who is named after her. 
Yes, I know we look alike. My family has strong genes. It's like we keep give birth to the same human.  I'm surprised the government hasn't investigated us for cloning yet. 

 I come from long lines of strong, bold, sassy women and these 3 musketeers are learning the ropes quickly. 
Just a side note....Libby Lu couldn't take a bad photo if she tried. #mybeauty 
She has big blue eyes that came straight from my Dad. Jimmy and I don't have them, and none of our siblings have them. 

He was the only other person in our family to have them. My brother did that dorky chemistry XY chart thing, she had a 1 in 81 chance of getting my Dads blue eyes :) Boom! There they are, and there he is. 
See those 2 on the right? That's my son Rocky in red and my niece Josie in white. Don't they look like twins? They were born 2 weeks apart and grew up like they were twins.  Me and her mom were pregnant together and I would make her push our bellies together so they could kick and play with each other from the womb! LOL It stuck, because no one loves each other more than these two.
Nobody knows what next year is going to look like. But I promise I will have a pictures of it.  This is what my family looks like right now and we are pretty awesome. And no matter what we look like next year I won't regret having these taken. 

A big thank you to my beautiful friend Kelly Park who took over my camera so I could jump in a few of the photos. 

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