Monday, November 24, 2014

Family Pictures & Why Marriage Is A Miracle

A few weeks ago Cory took some quick family pictures.

The main thing I want to call your attention to in this photo: Ruby appears to be a teenager.

The second thing is: We are ALL rocking at least partially-thrifted outfits!

I never want to go too matchy-matchy for family pics. It always looks contrived and if you're not careful, people start to blur together into one giant blob of khakis and denim.

This was my inspiration photo. I loved the casual, colorful vibe and their mix of prints.
In usual Shannan fashion, I didn't give it much thought until two days before, at which point I realized Calvin and Ruby were both in dire wardrobe straits. They have plenty of stuff, just not anything that would really work together for the common good. I wanted to find a flannel or plaid shirt for Calvin, with something floral for Rubes. There was a time when I would have run to Target or Old Navy. No more! So I did the next best thing and crossed my fingers for a hot streak of luck.

Lo, an angel appeared at my door the very next day with two garbage bags full of clothes for Calvin, all of which appeared to be next-to-new, including this shirt. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then I hit up a new Goodwill in a neighboring town and scored dusty pink Gap cords for Ruby, along with this *perfect* shirt, which still had the original tags attached.



{Cory's sweater came from my fave consignment store in town a few months ago, Silas is rocking hand-me-downs from his brother, and I'm wearing old Target jeans, a sweater I've had for 7 years, and a gray tank from my trip to the thrift store during Camp Create.}

All of this required minimal cash, next-to-no time, and Cory took exactly two photos. Boom. Don't over-think it.

Speaking of not over-thinking it...

This is the first family picture we've had on my parents' side in roughly 8 years.

We hauled the tripod over to the woods on a windy day. Voila.

This is so us. It makes me laugh.
And honestly, we KNEW this was happening. This was actually planned, people.
My niece is wearing a beautiful dress, Ruby is in tie-dye, Silas is dressed for Summer, Calvin for Fall. I'm wearing my mom's cardigan because I was chilly, along with a ponytail.


And this is Cory's family - of collected, coordinated, pre-scheduled fame.

Both families are equally rad. Both are full of good, caring people.
But these pics might hint at some underlying familial modes of operation that don't entirely align.

Cory and I grew up in shockingly similar families with values and traditions that were almost universally the same. His parents and mine get along like old mates. We're all fairly roll-with-the-punches people And still, given all of that, there are deep differences and subtle shifts in structure and ideals and tendencies that amount to these two very different photos.

This is why marriage is a miracle!

Two people come together knowing only what they know, and they somehow take some of this, a bit of that, and cut a brand new path, together. They raise their kids with old traditions and new philosophies and mash-up hybrids of everything that matters.

And then their kids grow up and do the same.
(Am I the only one humming Circle of Life right now? Because it feels positively croon-worthy up in here.)

Generation after generation, there are slow shifts and turns that measure in single degrees. Things begin to look different, but take a closer look. I don't think my little family operates profoundly differently than the families from generations before us.

Does this strike you as amazing as it does to me?
Or is it just my Earl Gray-and-Midol cocktail talking???

My family is basically a hydroponic tomato.
(So is yours.)
A gradual morphing of what always was.
Grown differently, but basically the same.

And to that, I give a rowdy, rebel-rousing, "Viva!"

Happy Monday, Beefsteaks.

PS - Some of you have mentioned that you're not seeing my posts in your Facebook feed anymore. I'm streamlining my personal FB account and moving all of my blog/online stuff over to my FPFG facebook page. You can find me there and Like my page by clicking on the Facebook icon at the very top of my blog sidebar. If you want to be sure not to miss any of my posts, it's SUPER easy! Just click on "Follow by Email" near the bottom of my sidebar, enter your email address, follow the directions, and my posts will be delivered directly to your inbox. :)


  1. LOVE the family photos and how they are different.....but also the same! YES, VIVA!!!!! We took "Official" family photos from the time I was pregnant with my first until my 3rd graduated from high school.....25ish years. NOW I have passed that task on to the next generation (and so far it hasn't happened :-) and snap the hastily gathered ones myself!

    And now you have me longing for a sweet garden ripened tomato ....with salt, of course!

  2. It never ceases to amaze my husband and I about how our respective families look so similar on paper, yet could not be more different in real life. We hope that we're bringing the best of both worlds to our marriage and our growing family!

  3. I love your beautiful family picture. What a crew. You really killed it with the outfits. Way to go!

    Marriage is a miracle. HOLY COW! I feel like the worst person in the world, because so many people love being married so much. They can sing it's praises all day long. I still can't sing it's praises...but I can quietly hum them.

    One of the ladies I work with today asked me when I was getting divorced. She said 8 years was too long to stay married. I told her that, although I do believe it to be the most difficult relationship of my life, I would stay married forever. She said she just couldn't understand. She has 8 kids. 6 different Dads. She has never been married. She said she wants it. She thinks. Maybe when all the kids are grown. She considers 12 to be grown, by the way. I had her make a little list of pros and cons. We both mulled it over for our entire ride to her new section 8 house.

    I am so glad God has done a miraculous work in your lives. It makes me happy to see you so happy and thriving. Absolutely beautiful! Love, Becky (the worst married girl in America)

  4. Sorry about the midol! Indeed, marriage is a miracle. Only God can.

  5. All the group photos look great. Fall is the best time for outdoor pictures. One of my son's family's had their's taken and they were great too. I actually was more surprised at Silas and Calvin and how they have grown. I thought Ruby looked just as cute as ever. Love the thrifted outfits. My kids and their extended families trade clothes all the time.

  6. Your family photos turned out great! :) Confession: I am a matchy matchy family photo gal. I just can't help myself. I mean, not totally matchy, but definitely coordinating.

  7. (sorry if this appears twice, I *think* my first comment didn't publish). I love this! I love the photos, and the thoughts about marriage. My husband's family and my family are great friends, we all even spend some holidays together, but it's comical how different they are, thus how different we are--and yet we take some of this and some of that and mix it with our own stuff and lo, our own brand of family is made! And yes, the circle of life will continue in much the same way! It truly is a miracle...

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