The Perils (and Pricelessness) of Family Photos


The following are excerpts overheard at a recent photo shoot. Ahem, my family photo shoot, of which I swear to never, ever under no circumstances shoot again. I usually mutter this under my breath on my way to the car. My father jokes we put the fun in dysFUNctional, but when I’m trying to corral 5 Mexiricans, 1 Mexican, 1 Puerto Rican, 1 German, and 1 Chinexican (JD is Chinese and Mexican), and 2 kids, I’m not exactly the Martha Stewart of family photography. In fact, I felt more like Roseanne Barr with all the yelling I did. But I yelled in love. Promise.

How can she be late?! She’s the one who organized this thing!
Did you comb your hair?
Why did we pick these colors, I feel like a sailor.
Jasmine doesn’t match.
If you behave, I’ll give you candy!
Let’s throw rocks…
I’m losing light, people!
Seriously, can you just pay attention?
Where are we going for dinner?
Can I borrow your camera?
Hair extensions are so two years ago.
Is it just me or did Jasmine not dress according to the color code?
Go give her a hug.
Please get off your phone!
Move out of my frame…no, you’re still in my frame…MOVE!
I lost my shoe.
I’m telling you, she’d make Snooki proud.
I got it on sale.
Can we please just pretend we like each other?!
Did someone make a dinner reservation?
Last photo, I promise!
It’s a new camera, I didn’t know how to self-time it!
Please, Jesus, let this be the last photo.
Did I tell you I’ll give you candy if you behave?
No talking, this is it!
Crap, one more.
I love you.

This is my dad, or who we commonly refer to as Papi. He’s the best thing since flour tortillas. He holds our family together and reminds us to love each other, even if there are times when we don’t feel like it. He didn’t grow up with a family, so ensuring we stick together, love God, and help others is the only thing important to him. My dad’s standing next to my niece and nephew, Ryen and Parker…who are insanely adorable, even if they wipe off my kisses.

This is Mr. Handsome Face and my mom. These two people are my backbone. They work together to ensure I’m not working too much, not complaining too much, and eating my vegetables. I love them to bits and pieces.

Bianca, my twin sister, and my brother, Sebastian, are amazing in their own ways. It’s strange how our family has grown into certain roles and we somehow find ways to fill each others’ gaps, as well as helping others. Bianca works with an amazing organization, A21, to end human trafficking. She’s presently in Greece finding ways to liberate girls who’ve been kidnapped and sold against their will. When she’s not busy saving the world, she’s busy making me feel like I need to be a better human! 😉 Seb is in college and is pursuing photography while working part-time at some cool clothing store he says I wouldn’t know about. Hmmm, so what he’s basically saying is I’m uncool. Love that kid.

Zoe is the baby of the family. If she could have arrived on a glitter-covered butterfly with 22-inch rims, she would have. She’s in her last year of high school and called me a couple nights ago to help write her senior quote for the yearbook. She said since I was a blogger I might have a few ideas she could use. And guess what? She hated all my ideas. ALL OF THEM. She should be really sad because my ideas were awesome. It’s a good thing I can take a photo of her or else I’d be, like, totally useless in her life! 😉

Yesterday was my parents’ 38th wedding anniversary. Woohoo! They’re living examples of love, patience, and devotion…I hope my marriage can be just as amazing as theirs. Last night my dad took my mom to the hospital for what she expected was food poisoning/the flu/living with teenagers too long. After a few hours, I called my dad to get a check up. We chatted for a bit and he admitted sitting in the ER on his anniversary wasn’t ideal, but being by my mom’s side in her hardest moments made him proud.
I love them.

Alexandria is the the middle child of the family, and is unique in every way. She’s an artist, she listens to weird music, and visits traveling rock shows. No, like rock rocks…stones, Internet. I love her ability to blend in wherever she is and use her kind heart to help any one she meets. She also works as a graphic designer at a concert venue in Orange County, so she hooks me up with concert tickets…love her.

Bianca married Matt just over two years ago. Together they’re raising a lovely family while learning how to grow together. Bianca also tries to be cooler than she is. Case in point: She arrived to the photo shoot singing this new song you might not have heard of yet called Gangnam Style. Oh, riiiiiiight, Bianca…you’re a music maven of epic proportions! Because sometimes I’m a mean older sister (I’m older by one minute, thankyouverymuch), I asked the Olthoff family to show me the Gangnam dance moves and promised I wouldn’t post the picture. Oops, I lied. 😉

This is my brother-in-law, Matt (who will hopefully not be mad about the dancing photo!). He and Bianca are a great team and I love seeing the great changes they’re making in the world. Matt’s not a big fan of being in front of the camera, but Bianca and I guilted him into this photo shoot…that’s the problem with marrying a twin…he has to deal with double the amount of nagging! 😉

And this is the moment that made the drama, stress, and will-you-please-just-smile worth it all. This singular moment when we’re together, happy, and whole. This moment? Well, it’s priceless.

Happy Wednesday!