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The Story Behind the Photo

The Story Behind the Photo

February 3, 2008

So many of you have commented or emailed asking if I have the camera attached to my arm, which how awesome would that be. Or if I had them re-enact the hug.

The story is that I really wanted to get a photo of my older children giving the two little ones piggy back rides upstairs to bed. It is really sweet, but I never have my camera out much at bedtime. Probably something about all the threats and yelling and begging people to JUST BRUSH THEIR TEETH already that is not conducive to picture taking.

This night I grabbed my camera as they were all heading upstairs, but they ran ahead of me and I didn’t get any photos of the piggy backing. Then I went in my daughter’s room and saw the mess she had made of her bedroom and I scolded her and told her she would need to clean it up. And then I took this photo:

The horror of having to clean your room

I know I am mean.

Right after that my husband came into the room and I took the other photo.

Posted by Chris @ 6:16 pm  

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  1. Maddy says:

    I find it fascinating that people are bold enough to ask you “did you have them re-enact the hug?” I just think it’s lovely that you were there for the moment camera in hand.

  2. Debbie says:

    She is too cute to punish. If I lived closer I would have cleaned her room for her and let her watched while she hugged her blankie!

  3. Jennifer says:

    I wondered if the camera was attached to your arm. Or if you had some nifty little belt clip for it so you never had to be without it, like my brother and his 2 cellphones & pager thingy.

  4. BetteJo says:

    Oh my gosh she looks so sweet an pitiful, no wonder he had to swoop in and hug her!

  5. Maria says:

    Ok, I know, there’s a lot wrong with me as a housekeeper… but that room doesn’t really look that messy to me.

    Chris says: WHAT?!? There is stuff all over the floor!

  6. Janssen says:

    I love those wood floors. Jealous!!

  7. Nicole says:

    Ahh she is sweet messy room and all.

  8. Sophia says:

    How old is she?
    This isn’t meant as a criticism on your parenting skills, but in my house, if we’re old enough to trash it, we’re old enough to pick it up. Oh, but that my mom would have ever picked up my room :)

    Chris says: She is 4.5 yrs old and she did help. But her folding skills are not that great yet.

  9. Brigitte says:

    It didn’t look really trashed to me either, Maria! That’s usually the MINIMUM on my daughter’s floor (but since that matches the minimum on MY bedroom floor - gotta do that organizing thing sometime) I can’t scold her. ;-)

  10. Susan says:

    Regarding Maddy’s post, I didn’t think my asking that was “bold” since I have seen my kids do something before, said, “WAIT! Don’t move!” and run and retrieved my camera to capture the moment. Guess it goes along with what I said earlier about laughing at the many stupid things I do.

    Hope I didn’t offend you, Chris!

  11. rebecca says:

    That floor isn’t so bad. Yes she should pick up after herself, but I have seen much, much worse! But then again , I’m not a neat freak like you.

  12. Anna says:

    That girl has jean shorts and a super twirly velvet party dress at the ready…in the middle of winter…my kind of girl…a lady must be prepared for everything. ;-)

  13. Rachel says:

    She is so sweet - and reminds me so much of my third child.

    Totally OT - but where did you get her dress? I love this child’s wardrobe!

  14. Heather says:

    Chris - my children’s room would KILL you. DEAD.

  15. sharon says:

    I would yell too at the mess. Especially if I wasn’t expecting it. And at bedtime. ahhhhh!

  16. pickel says:

    I have my camera ready for moments like these because it is what makes life so precious. Great pictures.

  17. Kris says:

    You call that a mess? Bwa ha ha….

    If my girls’ room looked like that I think I’d kiss them both and give them ice cream. (Sad to admit, but yeah…that’s us.)

  18. bombaygirl says:

    yeah, that room looks fine to me. :)

  19. crazyjane says:

    that room is so NOT trashed. that room is barely even messy! my kids would have a tough time living up to your standards. but i’m pretty sure my husband wishes i had your standards. i’m not a housekeeper by any standards.

  20. Lazy Organizer says:

    Well, it’s obvious what the REAL story is. Your husband saw you standing there with the camera and that’s why he hugged her so sweetly. You two will do anything for attention won’t you?


    Love the photos as always! And love the floor too. Is that pine?

    Oh and another thing. My son stapled his finger once just to see if he could and I asked him later if we could put the staple back in so I could take a photo for my blog. He asked me if I thought he was stupid. Um…. Anyway, we staged a fake photo instead and I stated on my blog that the photo was staged but people still thought it was real.

  21. Karen Sugarpants says:

    She is so precious! I love her dresser too. :)
    That was an awesome capture yesterday — I can’t believe people questioned you. You get the weirdest readers dude.

  22. Beverly says:

    As the mother of an almost 11 year old daughter, I can tell you that this is just the beginning of clothes being on the floor.

    And yes, bigger girls do make bigger messes.

  23. Donna says:

    That room looks pretty good to me. After all, you can clearly see the floor.

  24. kalisah says:

    THAT’S a mess? In my house, if you can still see the floor it counts as CLEAN.

  25. peepnroosmom says:

    Such a sweet girl. I know you are glad you captured the hug. I am the one who would think “that would make a great picture. Now go re-do the pose and make it look natural!”

  26. Lisa says:

    You call that room messy? I’d never be able to have you over to my house. Those few little items on the floor would be considered immaculate for my boys. Their room gets so messy during the day that you can’t even walk into it without stepping on something. My only consolation with letting them do that is that it all has to be cleaned up by 4:30pm when my husband gets home. Whatever isn’t cleaned up goes into “toy time out” until they can earn it back. They are actually pretty quick cleaning up now.

  27. Ginny says:

    First, I’d like to say ‘hello’ to all my fellow slobs–”Hey, guys!” Yes, that would be a good day for my kids’ floors. Thing is, that room is big! She’s lucky to be the only girl and she doesn’t have to share! Don’t get annoyed with us, Chris, we’re just being honest when we tell you just how weak our cleaning skills are.

    Chris says: I’m not annoyed. Just perplexed. Because in my mind stuff not where it belongs = messy.

  28. Norma says:

    Gosh, this one is as cute as the other one was sweet! You’re a terrific photographer and am just amazed on how you capture your kids so beautifully. Thank you for sharing with us.

  29. Julia says:

    this has nothing to do with your actual post but something I think about everytime you post pictures… Your floors are BEATUIFUL… Okay I know odd but I seriously love your house (what I have seen of it)!! Your kids are beautiful to!


  30. Julia says:

    oh ya…and I agree that looks pretty clean to me.. my kids and husband are SLOBS and it takes everything in me to ‘tidy’ up…if the kids have liquid it is on the floor, a sandwich..crushed up and on the floor… peanut butter on their hands? smeared on the walls or on my bed or some other odd place… toothpaste… Ya that is Always on the counter… And my husband…pop cans/bottles on the coffee table or on the floor next to the couch… its like a garbage dump..I should show you pictures some time..you would have a heart attach! Can you give me a step by step on how you get everything so clean and keep it that way? Because no matter how much I scream for everyone to clean up their crap I am the one doing it and 5 minutes after it looks like I did nothing. AHHHH!!!

  31. Norma says:

    Also, I love how the kids are so used to the camera they just seem to ignore it. In all my pictures everyone looks posed or in flight from the camera!

  32. elizabeth says:

    That is about as trashed as I let my kids get their room too. Especially at 4.5 yo, who wants them to KNOW it could be much, much worse? :)

  33. J from Ireland says:

    It did cross my mind but wouldn’t have asked. Totally agree with you about everything having a place, makes my life easier.

  34. annie says:

    Well, I obviously went seriously wrong somewhere along the way… That room looks like my daughter’s AFTER she’s cleaned it! But then again, my daughter’s 16 and Chris wasn’t around with this awesome blog that might have taught me something… BAH.

  35. Molly says:

    I love your photos, Chris. It’s so hard to capture these candid everyday moments, and to get it just right so that all the emotion is right in the frame–bravo!

    And I’m with you that the definition of messy is things all over the floor and not in their place. The difference among your commenters seems to be how much messiness people are willing to tolerate (and to teach their kids to tolerate). Growing up I left things everywhere because my Mom always wore herself out being the only one who cleaned…then I realized when I got older that the clean house I liked living in required *work*! It’s pretty reasonable to me then to make sure your kids to clean up their own messes.

  36. Ruth H says:

    I applaud your organizational skills. Passing it on to your kids is a very good thing. I wish I had done as well as you. Of course a kid looks pitiful after a scolding! that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen. I am amazed at how well you do to prepare your kids for the real world. Kindness is not what they will find in the workplace or at school, at least not on a regular basis. Discipline of self behavior is a really good lesson to be teaching. I have seen enough of your photos to know you dispense love as often as scolding. As an old grandmother I say, “she will get over it” and so will you. Cheers!

  37. Trish says:

    My husband once asked me why I am always on about picking up clutter. Well, I’ve been home with the kids for almost eight years now. For me, the house is like the cubicle I left behind; it’s where the business of life gets done. At the office, if your cube’s a mess, it’s that much harder to get work done. The same principle applies to the house. During the day, I encourage the kids to put away something before they get another thing out to play with. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. However, every night, they pick up their rooms (and living area) so that the floor is clear. It teaches them to be responsible for their things and keeps it safe for us parentals as well. My husband once broke a toe on a Tonka truck while completing a “nightmare dash” in the middle of the night.

    I imagine that for Chris being home all day with the children that keeping on top of the clutter is paramount, especially since the kids are homeschooled. I don’t have room for all the paper and I only have 1 child who’s in school yet!!!!


  38. Jen @ amazingtrips says:

    Not that I want to wish away any of my children’s youth … but I dream of the day I would consider that scene to be “trashed”.

    My three-year-olds have invented a new game that involves removing EVERY.SINGLE.THING from their rooms - their clothes, linens, stuffed animals, toys - pretty much whatever they can get their paws on … and piling it in a heap in the family room. Usually this all happens while I’m sitting vulnerably on the couch with a baby latched to my chest yelling “PUT IT BACK!! GOD HELP YOU - PUT IT BACK!!”

  39. carrie says:

    Are you sure that is not my daughter’s room, with the five outfits she had on during various times of the day, still on the floor?

    And, you sound just like me at bedtime. It is seldom I get a photo at that time of day also, considering the amount of them that I do take! :)

  40. Maria says:

    Just to clarify: I absolutely agree with all of you about tidiness and organization being important, making the work of running the house easier – and even possible, and it being important to teach kids to clean up after themselves. I just don’t know how to do it. It’s All I Can Do to keep the living room floor reasonably clear, the dining room table reasonably clear, or at least with neat piles instead of stuff spread out all over, and kitchen cleaned by the time I go to bed. I can’t tell you how long it took to enact this evening’s drama about cleaning up cat food that my daughter had dumped on the floor. If I knew how to do it better, I really would do it.

    And your daughter is really, really super-cute with the sad pitiful look and the tights and the blankie and all.

  41. OMSH says:

    My camera is a honkin’ big thing, but I carry it so much that the kids think of it more as a purse. It took about 2 years, but I rarely get the put-on smiles. I think it has become an extension of my face to them.

    I loved that shot and had no doubt it was an “in the moment” shot.

  42. Liz says:

    I recognize this post, very well; the only difference is, you “scold” and I HOLLER LIKE HELL! Still, the room isn’t really THAT messy.