I blame the Duchess of Cambridge for my latest family portrait debacle.

The royal family released a photo a couple weeks ago. It was so adorable. Kate and Will smiling peacefully out a window. Prince George looking adorable while staring lovingly at the dog.

Stupid royal family!!

Stupid royal family!!

It made me think.

I haven’t taken baby pictures of my youngest yet… AND I could really use a nice photograph of all three of my kids.

But… I’m also poor. I cannot afford a professional photographer right now.

So my husband and I put on our determined faces… And set out to do it ourselves!

The first step was to pick the location of the photo shoot.

Somewhere within 30 minutes and somewhere beautiful.

We narrowed it down to 3 locations..

#1- Curtis Hixon park.

Curtis Hixon Park

Curtis Hixon Park

It is really beautiful here. Right on the water… A lot of pretty little nooks where you can have privacy while you plead with your children to smile. There’s also a water splash park which would provide a pretty background. The Glazer Children’s museum is right there and it has some really unique backdrops and mirrors that would make cool shots. And, there’s also a playground that you can use as a reward after you get your perfect shot. (You could also use it as a bribe!)

#2- Bayshore Boulevard.

Bayshore Boulevard

Bayshore Boulevard

Miles and miles of gorgeousness. This would probably be better for families with older children because the best shot would be standing against the railing with the water and sunset in the background. I run along Bayshore all the time and I always see couples having their engagement pictures taken there. They always look very serene and lovely!

#3- The TECO power plant in Apollo Beach.

Okay, you’re probably shaking your head in confusion. But that’s also the same place as the Manatee Viewing Center.  During chilly weather, the manatees swim to the plant because warm water is pumped out there. They have built a wooden railing where you can walk to get a better view of the manatees. But under the railing is where the secret garden is! It’s actually a picnic area with lots of flowers and greenery. It’s perfect for pictures! It’s also really private…

We decided to take our kids there.

We dressed them in clothes with the least amount of stains, grabbed a blanket and our camera and took off.

We got there and the garden area was practically deserted.


We laid down our blanket and tried to strategically place our kids on it.

Our 7 year old son was perfection. He’s like one of those bendy figures we used to play with when we were kids.

We could bend him into any position… Tell him to smile… And he would be great.

I adore my son.

The 2 younger girls… Are a different story.

Trying to get the perfect picture... Without spending a fortune

Trying to get the perfect picture… Without spending a fortune

The 2 and a half year old wanted to play. She wanted to take off and run up and down the railing… Climb all over the picnic tables… And, in short, create chaos at every turn.

The 7 month old… Sigh. She wasn’t cooperating either. She became infatuated with my daughter’s shoe… And my son’s pants. Every picture we have, she is looking at some random object.

So… As my husband snaps about 400 pictures… I’m in the background jumping around and screaming the girls’ names.

I’m sure I was a bigger attraction than the manatees.

I swear I saw people laughing and pointing.

I have a newfound respect for professional photographers.

However… Once we gave up on getting a decent picture with all three children.. We were able to focus on getting a portrait of my youngest.

In this mission, we were successful!

Beautiful Lexi!

Beautiful Lexi!

In my opinion, we have a shot that could rival any professional photographer!

So, after an hour and a half at the Manatee Viewing Center… My family of 5 left.

The baby was crying… The 2 year old was filthy… The 7 year old was grumpy… And my husband and I were contemplating divorce.

I decided then and there not to take all 3 kids to visit the Easter Bunny at the mall.

Shoot, even a family picture with Santa may be out the window.

I won’t try this again for at least 10 years.

I blame Duchess Kate.

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One Response to SAY CHEESE!

  1. Nan Grable April 8, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    As usual, love your writing! Great blog!!!!!