The Mission: To get a decent picture of 5 kids (4 under the age of 4). To my displeasure and her delight, my sister-in-law suggests we try this every time we have a Murray get together. She finds the process entertaining. I find it torturous!
First we have to gather all the kids, which involves a lot of whining and/or crying as we have to pull the kids away from whatever toy or activity they are playing with or participating in. Then, half of the adults retrieve their cameras and get themselves in position for lightning speed picture taking. A few of the other adults position themselves behind the camera holders to be attention grabbers. The remaining adults get the two older kids positioned on the couch and then proceed to bring the little kids in when the camera holders are good and ready to pull the trigger. Most of the time this involves me bribing Noah. This time my object of choice as you can see in this picture was keys. Once all the kids are on the couch, the positioners move far enough away to be out of the picture but close enough to catch a falling kid before he/she hits the ground. The attention grabbers jump up and down, wave their arms in the air, make funny noises, clap their hands, and call the kids' names to get them to look in the direction of the cameras. The camera holders simultaneously take as many pictures as possible in about 5 seconds. After about 2 seconds one of the kids is climbing off the couch and another is poking the baby in the eye and we've got 3 cryers and the photo opportunity is done. We rush to get our kids before they trample each other trying to get off the couch. My sister-in-law tries to contain her uncontrollable laughter and I take a deep breath and thank God that it is over. Then we all go through our pictures and realize that the result of the whole complicated production is what you see above: My son eating dirty keys, not looking at the camera and trying to make his escape, Tyler looking like he is trying to take a nap, Hailey poking Maia in the eye, Kayla multi-tasking: smiling for the camera while holding Maia and trying to keep Hailey on the couch, and Maia lying in her cousin's arms wondering why her Mama would subject her to this torturous process.