Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

The Armstrongs, 2011

Sunday afternoon after Marlo’s nap we all got a little dressed up so that Cami could take our family portrait. And let me just take a moment here to express an opinion: I cannot wait for Marlo to be done with naps. (covers ears because of the deafening gasps, ducks head because tomatoes tend to stain)

When Leta finally grew out of her nap I thought we would all die. Life was going to be miserable and we might as well just throw up our hands, lie on the ground, and wait for the bugs to feast on our decaying corpses. You know, optimistic. Anticipatory!

Turns out life got so much better. We no longer had to plan our entire life around that nap, that scheming dictator, that bitter ex who stalks you on Facebook. Because when Leta needed a nap and didn’t take one, OH HOLY HELL, there was no talking her off of that ledge, she was going to jump and it would be the most dramatic jump in cinematic history.

Without that nap we could leave the house for hours and hours. We didn’t have to worry about loud noises waking her up. AND! She was old enough that on the days when we really needed a break, a break that her nap would have given us, she could entertain herself. We just had to make sure the pipes and bongs were stashed in the cabinet above the refrigerator.

What. Where do you stash your bong?

Marlo is exactly like Leta in that she really needs to nap. Except when she misses a nap her phenomenal breakdown is a bit delayed. She’ll be fine for the rest of that day. It’s the following day that we brace for The Blanket Wars: wherein Marlo is so miserable that she just wants to lie on the couch with a blanket wrapped around her, except she can’t get the blanket on her body the right way. In fact, THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY, trust me, we’ve tried every single way, so instead of just accepting that the blanket wrapping technique is CLOSE ENOUGH, she lies on the floor, kicks her feet, and reminds us why we decided to pay for that vasectomy.

ANYWAY, the rest of us got showered and dressed while Marlo napped, and then when she woke up I told Cami, look, we’ve got a limited amount of time with this kid. She’s that bus in that movie where if it stops it blows up. Good luck getting us all in one shot. No pressure! Remember! These are going in your portfolio!

You guys, that woman can wield a camera.

  • Daddy Scratches

    Great shots. Nicely done.
    And I hear you about the nap thing. On the one hand: “Oy vey with the nap already!” and “Oy vey with the no-nap meltdown already!”
    On the other hand: “Dear God, is it nap time yet? I need some grown-up time! This booze ain’t gonna just drink itself, you know!”
    What, just me?

  • msjessms

    Awesome photog job, Cami! …are you available for weddings? LOL

  • Steph at UM

    Leta is looking so grown up! And Marlo is a doll. I need to do some updated family portraits…

  • RuthWells

    That woman’s a genius. (Gorgeous shots, and do Marlo’s shoes come in a size 7 women’s?)

  • luv and kiwi

    She really captured some great personality in those!

  • Bratfink

    Those are fucking AWESOME!

  • kristanhoffman

    So lovely!! The ones of the kids are especially cute — which is really a compliment to you and Jon since you made those things anyway, right? — and I love the two whole-family ones.

  • Indigo

    Heather, you look great in the one where Marlo is making a ridiculous face, and I don’t just mean you look great by comparison. Though, technically, that is also true…?

  • Laura Mauk

    alright. i love that you guys don’t have matching/coordinated outfits. i love that you’re not smiling in all them. i love the girls’ shoes and goofiness. really, really authentic and beautiful. I hope Cami has room for a new career in her life. geez.

  • Regency Romantic

    Gorgeous girls! (And you and Jon clean up OK, too!)

  • Mme Wong

    WOW! Great shots, and your girls are BEAUTIFUL! I really love the picture of Jon holding Marlo by the ankles. This is also what we do with two year-olds in our house.

  • preppypitbull

    Love love love the pictures. My daughter still takes two naps, and god help you if you are the one to wake her up before she’s good and ready. At 16 months she isn’t anywhere close to going down to 1 nap…so it makes activities pretty tricky, but we’re pushing through. Back to the pictures though, they are great and really capture everyones personality. My favorite is definitely Marlo upside down being held by Jon. That is a favorite position of our daughter too 🙂

  • skradei

    I adore the one of you and the girls sitting together. Marlo is so TWO in that photo! That’s exactly the kind of thing my boy (also two) would do. A portrait that captures real life. Perfect.

  • Susanlee178

    These are amazing! Leta’s legs just scream “ballerina!!” Also, Baby Rambo has never looked cuter!

  • Daisee

    Heather, Marlo looks so much like you & Leta like Jon – Great shots of a beautiful family!

  • jenwilson

    Wowza. Beautiful photos, beautiful family.

  • jan001

    GREAT pictures! Love the “What?” look on Jon’s face in the one where he’s holding Marlo by the ankles, and I LOVE that you can see how she’s laughing in that same picture, even upside down.

    I’ve been following you/r family since Leta was, as we say in the south, tee-tiny, and it’s amazing to see how grown-up she’s looking.

    Cami is awesome! Then again, she did have remarkably stellar subjects, but awesome nevertheless!

  • Amber_D

    Heather, your family is beautiful! Really and truly.

    I have to ask, where are Marlo’s shoes from? I love them!

  • xmyrin

    Leta looks so beautiful!! I can’t get over it. She’s growing into such a pretty girl. What wonderful pictures, great job Cami!

  • jessiCat

    I love these! You have a beautiful, hilarious family. 🙂

  • freakydeak

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!
    Like Mr. Rogers said, “won’t you be my neighbor”!!

  • spedrson

    I’m with you and Daddy Scratches on the napping thing especially because he uses one of my favorite yiddish terms. “Oy Vey!” Indeed!

    We have an 8yo and a 4yo. The 4yo still naps. Today we went on a very fun outing – butterfly exhibit, carousel, mini train ride. I thought it would be nice if she didn’t still need a nap and we could stay longer. But, oh NO! By the time we got home (1:30) she was asking me to pull up her underwear after using the potty because she was just too tired. She literally crashed into bed. I crashed too after plunking my 8yo in front of the TV. Hey, don’t judge! We spent 4 hours outside and he got lots of exercise. Instead of riding the carousel (because he’s too cool for that) he decided to race it. So, while we rode he ran around in circles nonstop until the ride was over. Pretty impressive if you ask me!

  • amandancer05

    I like a little something about each one, but the last one if my favorite.

    But boy oh boy are Leta’s feet big. I believe your dear girl is headed for a growth spurt of epic proportions. I also echo the ballerina comment.

  • kate_lucy

    There’s so much soul in these photos! How wonderful that Cami was able to capture a bit of your family’s essence. How lucky she is that you are helping to nurture and showcase her talents!

  • mhsqrd

    these are great!

  • hmccreary

    These are fantastic! Cami did great job. They show such personality which I love!

    And I so feel you on the naps. My daughter Layla is a tad older than Marlo and YES! everything revolves around that damn nap. If we decide we need to ignore the nap to do something, we always regret it. Of course when we’re home it’s all, “Is it nap time yet!?”.

  • smithie1996

    I just had to go lie down on the floor and die over the awesomeness of these photos. And the girls’ shoes. I need both pairs in my size.

  • TxSuzyQ

    She really did get some great shots, but too much yellow skin. This is like the invasion of The Yellow Skin Tribe!!!

  • karen ethier

    Great shots. Looks like you all had fun. I’ve been wondering lately, though, if it’s just my computer but your photos of late have looked as though you are shooting on the wrong light setting. I was in the photo field for 18 years back when film was the norm and when I look at your pictures the blacks are not black – they are blue and there is also a yellow-y look to them. This usually indicated that wrong light setting on digital cameras.

  • Anu

    Love, love love the pics! You guys look great! You are a beautiful family.

  • bwsf

    Beautiful pics! I just had to chime in on the nap thing. My son gave up his naps at age 2, and I thought it was going to be awesome, we can go here, we can go there, we don’t have a nap tying us down! BUT, sometimes he will still fall asleep, and if he does, bedtime is delayed. By HOURS. I’m talking 11pm here. So, I’m still sort of a slave to the nap, because I have to time my day so that he is not in, on or anywhere near the car in the middle of the afternoon, because that means he will fall asleep. And my evening will suck.

  • mybottlesup

    gorgeous! the eyes in your family slay me.

  • JaimeBear

    I have to say I’m a little jealous that your daughters’ shoes are much more fabulous than mine. Also, gorgeous!

  • NolaMomma

    Looooooove the family photos! And I am in total agreement about the nap! My two girls are finally done with naps and I feel such a great sense of freedom!

  • Ajmac

    Your girls are gorgeous (yes, I mean your daughters, not your breasts re: recent bra post)

  • writtendad

    As everyone has said, great photos!

    Also, I couldn’t agree more on the nap. It was so confining. Yes, the quiet time was good, but planning a day around an early bed time was hard enough without having to also plan around a nap. When our son stopped napping, it was like we’d found our freedom again. Going to the bar at 3PM is still a few years off, but it was amazingly liberating at the time.

  • tdotjen

    Good job Cammie!

    And are Marlo’s shoes ever adorable.

  • joypeters

    Heather: I love you.

    Please tell cami to stop with the piss yellow coloring. It’s so last year. Just use real skin tones. And all the photos of cami are too washed out. Hate me commenters if you like, but when heather looks at these photos in 20 years, all she will do is cringe and adjust the processing. And the skin softening is just too much.

    On the other hand, I love love love your site and read you every single post. Joy

  • jilllovesbacon

    Good lord, these photos are fabulous. I’ve never coveted children’s shoes before. Those are adorable!

  • virtualcarly

    I love these photos! Everyone looks awesome in every single one. What a fantabulous job, Cami!

  • Truthful Mommy

    What a beautiful family.The girls are getting so big and are completely adorable.Looks like life is good!Here’s to happiness!

  • b00ph3tt3

    Beautiful pictures and family! Cami should go pro with how great these are!

  • MelissaJ

    you and Jon make some pretty, pretty babies, to be sure.

    Leta is so grown up…and imagine when she grows into those feet…LOL She is beautiful…i find it hard to believe how long i have been reading you; but there is a special place in my heart for that sweet young lady…i am so proud of her (how weird is that???)

    Marlo, what is there to say…cute as a button and oozing in “rotten” personality. she is one of those kids that only an “aunt” would say…wouldn’t she be a BLAST as twins…LOL

    nice captures Cami.

  • KathyRo

    OMG Marlo’s shoes are TO DIE FOR!

    Love the picture of the three girls.

  • KathyRo

    Please tell me you’re going to use the picture of Jon holding Marlo upside down as your Armstrong Christmas “Naughty or Nice” picture.

  • witchuponastar

    Tell Leta she has a future as a stylist if she picked that outfit! Great job, love the stripes, love the shoes, the glasses are the perfect pop of color for her beautifully expressive eyes!

  • barbara

    Great photos! I love Marlo’s pink shoes. 🙂

  • lb414

    I must know where to get Marlo’s shoes!! My niece needs to have them asap!

  • melissa_anderson725

    Both of my girls (almost 9 and almost 4) NEED those shoes. Please share where you got them 🙂

    Wonderful family pictures. Reminds me that we need to go take some of us as well, it’s a little trickier because my husband is the photographer when we do ours but it means we have no constraints while we’re out trying to get one good shot.

    Each of my girls gave up the nap around 3 years old. Sometimes the little one still sneaks up to her room for her bed and pacifier (shhhh she’ll give it up at 4). Mostly she’s cool without it though.

  • carawahlgren

    Such great pics! I’m such a sucker for good quality family shots. I’m scrolling down and I hit one of Marlo and I think to myself “Oh! Ponytails!” then I keep scrolling down and see those pink shoes and I think I peed my pants a little. SOOOOO CUUUUUTTTTE!!!!!