Deck the House


It’s so like me…getting behind on my blog posts….but seriously, with so much Christmasy cuteness running around this year, there was a decision to be made.  I decided that blogging could take backseat to family, that the Christmas posts could sit in the draft folder while I played with my boys on the floor in front of our Christmas tree, that worrying and thinking and fretting about writing, editing, and publishing wasn’t as important as enjoying my Christmas.  That’s hard for me.  Because I love sharing my life with you.  And doing it regularly keeps me accountable.  But priorities are priorities…and babies are only 20 months old for Christmas once.

So my apologies if this post seems irrelevant….seeing as how Christmas is now over.

And tough Christmas cookies…because you are getting it anyway :)

Our outdoor decorations were pretty simple this year…

Our newly red doors got red berry wreaths (they were mispriced at Home Depot one weekend and the label said only $5.97 for a Martha Stewart Berry Wreath!!!)  Yeah…I happy danced all the way to the car.

And the garland is old – but the ribbon bows help make it pop a little I think.

All the other front doors got one of our old wreaths with red bow.  We splurged at Walmart for door hangers.  I was just gonna hang it with ribbon…but then Jer suggested these – and this way we can reuse them every year.

We also scored some red poinsettias to flank the front doors….praise the Lord only $3 a piece!

I kinda love it…even the red on red.

Now if I could only get around to painting those lights and talk my boyfriend into painting the exterior trim.  Yowza that would be a chore.

We pulled out the giant wreath that we had in storage…this beast looked huge at our last house and here it looks kinda average.  Like dollhouse furniture in a castle…that’s all our stuff in this new house.   By the way – I hate the bows but I was too lazy to change them.

Okay – and here’s where it gets a little crazy.  As in hand me the bottle of pills because I need to be medicated stat kinda loopy.  Jeremy got to do the lights.  I call it the RING OF FIRE.  And THE GRAND TETONS…ya know…because tetons are boobs…and it totally looks like Madonna got buried in our front yard. Next year, I’m in charge.

And yes – the photo of us on the front porch was taken with the red JCrew dress I mentioned scoring at Goodwill in this post for five dollars.  You have no idea how hard it was to get that photo.  Ridonkulous.

And since I am all about letting you know how hard everything is…I thought it would be fun to walk you through a typical Bower family photoshoot…or three.  Sorry about all the photos below – they are all straight outta the camera…no editing.

Here’s attempt number 1…

kinda happened late at night…my sister drove over and we ran outta daylight by the time we were all ready…and yes, when I sat ‘we’ and ‘ready’ in the same sentence I mean, the adults were dressed and the diaper was dry…that’s as far as we got.


Will wasn’t into it.

And the situation just got worse and worse.

So we moved inside…just in time for a crying baby and a nip slip.


Attempt #2.

We pulled out a chair to act as tripod and hoped for the best.

These are SOOC…and no, I conveniently forgot to put on makeup.  Not that it matters because most of these are unusable due to a recent toddler discovery. Will discovered that picking boogers is REALLY fun during photoshoots.


Such a guy.

So after I ran back to see these – and to see that I cropped off Will…I also realized my hair was wonky.


So I ran inside and Jer messed with the camera.  AGAINST THE LAW JEREMY AGAINST THE LAW!!!

That’s why we got this amazing shot.

Not that my uber-poof helped the hair situation…because by the time I got back out there…my hair looked crazy and Will was totally over it.


I call these “Check out my poochy belly in the worst slouchy pose for a female ever” and “the Goldminer”


“the cloud watcher” and “the arm gripper”



Please be aware that I asked several times if we could do photos between actual attempts.  We kept our clothes ready to go for a moment’s notice photoshoot.  We were like firemen…except without the fun sliding pole….and without any fires, smoke or medals for saving people.

Hair in Will’s face…hand on the hip looks weird…


Nose picking AGAIN.


Will finally just wanted to be control of the remote…

Then he picked his teeth while I whipped out my lazy eye.

THIS FINALLY WAS  A DECENT ONE!  SUCCESS!  SEAL CLAPPING…and not Heidi’s Seal – the animal – you know….arr arr arr!

Then we moved to the ground because Will refused to be held.


ANOTHER DECENT PHOTO…even with the toddler attitude up front…

Love this one too…except I am pretty sure there is a booger on Will’s finger.

He was getting squirmy…mostly because I was tickling him :)

Running around…

Jer’s butt went numb so he had to get off the ground and then Will whipped out the Joker Face…which is really quite scary on such a little person.


Tried to bribe with candy…

Total fail at this point…

Still chewing the candy…

And that’s it…a few decent photos from HOURS of nipslipping, nosepicking and bad lighting.  I assume the future will be just as bad.  And when I say bad, I mean frustratingly enjoyable :)  I’m sure in the years to come just having everyone in the photo regardless of what they are doing with their pointer finger will be enough for me.

So that’s it…oh and in case you missed it – Mery Christmas…we love you guys and hoped you unplugged to enjoy your family and friends this holiday season!



  1. says

    so cute! we took ours yesterday, maybe i’ll blog about it. we have 2 kids so its 2x as difficult to get a nice shot! our 4 year old (boy) was holding his sister’s new doll stroller. i decided it wasn’t a deal breaker :)

  2. Trish says

    Your house looks great with all the decorations! Who would have known all that went into getting that one beautiful photo where you all look fantastic..thanks for sharing them all and I loved your commentary Katie! You are too funny!

  3. karen says

    i loved this post! Jeremy looked so relaxed with all of that!! my husband would have started sweating after 3 or four shots!!

  4. Sandra says

    I know as a professional photographer (!) you’re looking for the perfect one, but I think they’re all great! Sometimes you can’t control personality! An Will certainly has one of those…ha ha ha.

  5. says

    Haha, love the photoshoot. Your house looks beautiful, inside and out! I can’t get enough of Christmas decorations. Glad you enjoyed the day with your family! (Good for you for taking a blog break.) Merry Christmas!

  6. Ashley says

    Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you posted this and I can’t wait to show my husband! This sounds just like our shoots, and last year we didn’t even have a baby yet still had trouble getting a picture. For our photo this year, our son has his hand in his mouth but I decided it was good enough. Our tripod was the hood of the pickup, using a stick to angle the camera correctly… I think I’ll be on the lookout for a tripod before next Christmas.

  7. ErinEvelyn says

    Oh the hilarity of keeping it real! Congrats on your near-impossible feat, Katie! When our twin sons were Will’s age, we got an outtake with a little finger up a little nose in the SAME snapshot as a little finger going up DADDY’S nose! We skipped the family photo that year and used a photo of the boys on Santa’s lap instead. I think Santa’s big white beard did a lot for protecting his nose from little fingers. Happy Boxing Day!

  8. Deb says

    I just about p….ed myself laughing over this post this morning! I’m getting ready to host my colorful and hilarious inlaws today and it was a welcome relief from all the prep. I wish I could tell you it gets better but with 7 adults and 1 grandchild our family shoots turn into grumbling, chaos and all too often not a very good result! Oh but it keeps us humble…the one you did manage to get perfectly is gorgeous and Will will laugh when you tell him the story once he’s grown…don’t get rid of the rejects, they are priceless.

  9. says

    Ha ha hah! What a gorgeous photo you ended up with! I can’t believe you have the Will power (ha ha) to do that, I guess that comes from being a photographer! lol, half of those looked good, I would have just settled. Except the Nip slip ones, can’t have the whole family calling you Janet now can you, lolol!

  10. says

    Too funny, Katie – I am impressed with your patience and persistance! Great photos and your outside decorations look so festive and fun (even the Grand Tetons…).

  11. Lynn says

    I LITERALLY laughed out loud at the photo posts. Thank y ou for keeping it real and reminding us that perfect photos dont happen in one take with a little one…or a husband for that matter. :) I LOVE that red dress. such a dreat score!
    Happy Holidays! Hoe about a post on how to have a fabulous, kid friendly, New Years? “)

  12. Christi says

    Ha! You had me tearing up from laughter. I can relate to the frustration and squirming toddler. Jermey is a trooper for hanging in there, a lot of husbands may have bailed on such a situation! And I’m glad you shared all the out takes. Most the time we only see the one perfect shot in blog land.
    Merry Christmas!

  13. Angela Hanson says

    Does your husband complain when you have to try so hard for a decent picture?? My husband will pose for a few pictures, but definitely not as many as Jeremy did! :)

    • says

      Um. YES! I just remind him gently beforehand several times that this is VERY important to me…and then I also remind him that there are 32 NFL teams, who each play – that’s 16 games a week, for 16 weeks in a regular season…and then there is playoffs and the Superbowl…and I watch every single one with him. That’s well over 1000 hours invested in sitting and smiling for him :)
      xo – kb

      • stephanie says

        great job hangin in there! my hubby is a professional photographer (mostly commercial though) but I’m the one that wants everything juuuuuust perfect for our pictures. I gently remind him that everytime we go out (and I’m talking just about EVERYWHERE we go) I am happy to stop every 2 seconds to let him get a picture “just right”. We went to NYC last summer and we got 2 pictures of us over the period of 3 days. True story.

        But these pictures will so be worth it to look back on. I’ve told the hubby his attitude is gonna have to change with kiddos, cause we won’t get to redo later on!

        Merry Christmas!

  14. says

    I have the same trouble taking our family pictures. I also have a rambunctious boy. I found that attaching an animated stuffed Easter chicken just under my lens got him to look at the camera. Oh and my remote died so I had to keep getting up to set the timer. Good times. I think I took 20 pictures like that before I was pooped out and settled on a so so image. You’re picture looks great thanks for sharing all the trouble it took to get it.

  15. Rachel says

    I’m jealous. My husband will pose for about 6 pictures & then he’s done. Doesn’t matter if I break down in tears because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime shot or if I could guarantee the next shot would be “the one.” He. is. done.
    Add to that my 2 1/2 year old twin boys…they get phantom sugar highs at the mere mention of family photos. I’m amazed that Will sat on his own for even a minute!
    I haven’t done a family Christmas photo, but now that I see yours, I want to try it (even though I know no one will get dressed up or stand still or probably even smile!) because this year we have a new addition & she is only two weeks old. Gotta capture that sweet newborn-ness while we’ve got it! &…I guess that means I’ll have at least one other person who doesn’t run away!

  16. Tiffany says

    I have one question. Where do you get your necklaces?? They are all amazing!

    Love your family photo and as usual, I am really impressed with your decorating skills :) Great job!

  17. Mandi says



  18. Kate says

    First…freakin hilarious! Second, THANK YOU for such an honest post about how hard it is to get good photos for a Christmas card with kids. My daughter is only 4 months so our card was a solo baby shot we just happened to get perfect after I took around 70 shots in her intended outfit. But apparently that is nothing compared to the feat of keeping a toddler in the shot and smiling. I’m just glad I now have a realistic view for the future.

  19. says

    Ugh, thank you for this. Your final picture is beautiful & it just goes to show that we all have our outtakes! A belated Merry Christmas to the Bowers. :)

  20. leila says

    Your boyfriend manages to have the same expression and look utterly carefree in charming in 99.9% of your pic attempts. What a trooper. Beautiful end result, you have a lovely family :)

    • says

      My thoughts exactly! I was thinking, “I know Katie did some modeling, but did Jeremy?” Because that boy can keep a gorgeous smile on his face come what may, apparently.

      My husband rolls his eyes whenever I get out the camera, and we have not had a family portrait in 6 years. That was for the church directory, but believe me, we used it for Christmas!

  21. Sarah says

    OMG….I am laughing sooo hard at this post! I’m glad to know that there is someone else out there that doesn’t just magically get the perfect picture on the first try! Thank you for the laughs! ;)

  22. says

    lol omg i love it. will is such a character! but i’m glad you did manage some good shots! love the outtakes. and the red berries are purdy!!
    happy holidays!

  23. says

    I am impressed with Jeremy. My hubby HATES doing photos. We took 2 photos in front of our tree and then had to pick one because he was done. I on the other hand could take 1000 pictures cause I need one where my face does not look fat due to the angle or my arms jiggly. Haha so thanks for sharing your outakes!

  24. says

    WOW. Thank you for sharing the behind the scenes look & making the Bower family actually look normal :) LOVE the Christmas pictures – all of them are great & hilarious & perfect in their own way. Such a gorgeous family! And as many people have said – SO impressed by Jeremy’s patience – what a guy!

  25. Lesley says

    Oh my goodness, I am crying I’m laughing so hard at these pictures! This looks like me at my son’s first birthday party. Just wait until you get a chance to throw a second child into the mix. As long as everyone’s head is facing up (not even looking at the camera) I mark it as success.

    Too cute, Bowers.

  26. Lauren says

    I can totally relate on trying to get the “perfect” family photo! We had some fun this year because we include our dog in the pic too :-). I’m sure next year will be fun because our son will be a little over a year old…good times!

  27. Stephanie says

    Thanks for the laugh! LOVED the step by step of your photo shoots! Dragged the hubs over to read and we were both laughing so hard! Reminds us of what we go through with our 2 boys. It’s tradition to take a family photo in front of the tree on Christmas Eve and last year the oldest is screaming in most of the photos. I hang each photo up every Christmas (a neat timeline to see when they are all up how are family has grown) and even though we got one of him semi smiling I chose the screaming one to remind how difficult he could be!!

  28. sara says

    FYI: Your hair is GORGEOUS! I don’t think you should cut it any time soon! How long did it take for you to get it that long?

    • says

      It’s hard to say…last time I donated it was a big chop and that was three years ago I think. Usually it only takes me two years to get it that long…with regular trimmings but right after I had Will (which was a little under two years ago) I had a lot taken off…on purpose, by accident and then on purpose again :)
      xo – kb

  29. Denise says

    Jer–may I call him that?– is amazing. Even through the outtakes, he seems completely unfazed at how long this is taking. My husband would have given up after picture number three. Heck, I would have been done by picture #2…

  30. Julia says

    This just made me laugh so hard. My husband kept asking what I was laughing at and when I told him he just looked at me like I am a freak. He doesn’t understand why I would sit and look at your blog–I don’t know what he doesn’t understand, haha. I am glad to know that even professionals have multiple takes for a Christmas card.

  31. says

    Have you had any trouble with the door hangers? I had one on my house a few years ago and it JAMMED my door. I was coming home and a bunch of friends were staying at my place and we were locked out by the door hanger. So I read somewhere that they’re for interior use only and have been scared to put mine on the door ever since :)
    …but maybe I just needed more clearance?

    • says

      Maybe. We’ve had no problem on any of the six front doors…the side door…the garage door…the kitchen door…the porch door…all are giving me no problem :) I betcha it’s a clearance thing…
      xo – kb

  32. Ammie says

    Merry Christmas! Just thought i’d let you know that it’s 10:40 pm, my twin 9 mo. boys are sleeping, my husband is snoring away in bed next to me and I’m snorting and laughing so hard from this post and I’m having a hard time keeping quiet. You’re always hilarious, but this post just cracks me up – keep it up!

  33. says

    Oh my gosh…I was laughing through your whole commentary of the family photo shoot…thank you for that. And I guess it was worth it–great pics in the end! Love your blog, excited for 2012! Blessings!

  34. says

    I, too, was cracking up at your commentary! My Husband is like what is so funny! He doesn’t understand! Needless to say all of your hard work payed off, because your Christmas card looks great!

  35. Kelly says

    Thanks for sharing the outtakes. They were hilarious. My husband lasts about 20 minutes and 17 month old a fourth of that. Ours had a strand of hair in my face and some cheesy smiles. It was all over when our son started blowing kisses for the camera.

  36. Lacey says

    Katie- I loved this post! Thank you so much for sharing. Our own xmas card photo failed after 1 attempt, and going through all the effort of getting everyone dressed during good lighting, while everyone was in a good mood (ie the baby),and setting up our make-shift tripod (ie garbage can with books stacked on it) just right seemed impossible to attempt again. I opted for a collage of photos after giving up. But seriously- when you post great pics and mine turn out terrible, I do get frustrated- now I realize all the work that went into those photos and it makes me realize we need to just keep trying! Thanks!

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