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I just wanted a family picture.

No. I wanted THE family picture.

You know the one. The shot where everyone is looking at the camera and smiling. Genuinely smiling and happy to be with one another. No twins fighting. No daughter screaming. No blur of a husband running into the shot after improperly setting the camera timer. And especially no double-chin shot of me, reaching down trying to break up the aforementioned twin scuffle.

And the kids wanted a vacation.

Lucky for us, they have yet to discover the wonderful world of Disney. Thanks to the power of DVR and their father’s amazingly quick fast-forwarding reflexes, they have mercifully never seen an ad for Disneyworld. We do hope to take them, of course. Just not today.

So, since they don’t know the difference between a 2,400-mile flight and a 24-mile drive on North Idaho backroads, we took them to Calder.

Along the way we found a spot to pull over. We picked the one with the fewest mud puddles and the most scenery and started to set up our shot. The usual bickering and fidgeting started. There were a few snow piles tempting the twins, and Joey, who thought it was incredibly unjust that her brothers were allowed to roam free while she was confined in a death-grip type of hold in my arms, began screaming.

This chain of events got me thinking about the SuperBowl, oddly enough. And how it’s over. And that our string of holidays (yes, the SuperBowl counts) is over. And how both the SuperBowl and our family picture had some striking similarities: Both showcase stunning displays of equal parts sportsmanship and grit; there are many instant-replay worthy tackles in each; and all players usually walk away dripping in sweat.

I suppose it was then that I realized both also represent events that I rely on as filler in my life. Holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays and the big game are all events that I use to fill the winter months. We aren’t exactly snow-worshipers, so holidays are the ways I get our household through until Spring breathes new life into our world. In much the same way, family pictures are used to fill the white space on our walls, providing evidence that, yes, the boys do stand still and Joey’s hair does get combed.

Both provide structure, give meaning, lay a foundation. And that’s good – necessary even – but it’s not life.

Much like the photos snapped in between the perfectly posed portraits, the spontaneous times in our lives are usually the most blessed … and always the most memorable.

I know it’s really hard to see since I’m covered in kiddos in these photos, but if you like my shirt, you have to check out Poor Pitiful Pearl. She’s fellow blogger, mother of two and a true fashion inspiration as well as someone who uses her gift for a worthwhile cause, donating a percentage of her profits to charities such as Casa Hogar Orphanage in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.

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