Before there were four

A couple of Saturdays ago, when the light was just right, the three of us loaded into the car and drove north to a park we’d never been to before (though it turned out Rowan had remembered going there once with my mom when she watched him in January) and met up with my friend Jess for a mini family photo shoot.

It should be noted that planned and scheduled photo shoots are probably Roth’s least favorite thing, ranked up high with calling to order takeout. Rowan doesn’t like posing for photos, either, not without the promise of candy in his very near future. So, let’s just say the two of them were not exactly looking forward to this photo shoot, despite knowing how much I was. After listening to the boys argue about which shoes Rowan needed to wear, I’d had enough of the bitching and moaning, and I blew up a bit. I let them know how disappointed I was that they couldn’t just feign interest for five minutes in this little photo project because it felt important to me.

I wasn’t interested in doing a family photo shoot because I needed a dozen different artfully posed shots of my belly, complete with sun flares and other photographic cliches, no. When my friend Jess, who I plan to officially hire to take newborn photos of the baby, offered to take some shots of us together before the baby is born, too, I jumped at the opportunity. This wouldn’t just be a maternity shoot (although that’d be part of it); it’d be a chance to document us how we are now. As a family of three. When our lives had grown simpler because we’d figured out how to just be a family. You, me, him. Rhythm and ease and comfort.

It’s not lost on me (or Roth) that our lives are very soon going to become complicated and messy again. We very easily could’ve chosen not to go down this road, to just continue on as a threesome, enjoying sleeping through the night and not changing diapers and everything that entails bringing up a baby, but in all our discussions about if and when to have another, I just knew Rowan needed to be a big brother. Both Roth and I are firstborns with younger siblings, and it just felt right to let our firstborn experience that, too.

We’re almost to the end now, and the timing of receiving these wonderful photos from Jess couldn’t have been more perfect. I’ve reached maximum capacity and most days I don’t feel particularly attractive, but somehow Jess managed to capture so much light and joy in these few shots, and I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out, despite initial reluctance from my boys. I will treasure these images just as I will these last couple of weeks … before we were four.


All photos by Jessica Eskelsen.



  1. Lovely! Bless you for not lying down in a field of hay or sitting in the dirt. No one does these things, photographers.

  2. Oh gosh, Jen. I’m in awe. Thank you for your amazing, kind words, and your truth (because I’m pretty sure this is how most moms/dads/kids feel about photo shoots). This is what makes it all worth it, for me :) You are gorgeous. xoxo

  3. So very lovely! Wishing you warm memories of these next few days with your 3-family, and an uncomplicated delivery into the next stage of your 4-family’s life.

  4. I love these!

    And Zac is exactly like Roth. He doesn’t like doing photoshoots, and HATES calling to order food. Too bad I make him do both, I’m so mean ;)

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