Our Extended Family Photoshoot With Vafa-Coffman Photography (on the Coldest Day of The Summer)




While we were home in Michigan this summer, I booked Vafa-Coffman Photography for an extended family photoshoot.  My sister Scotti and her husband Zack had just had baby Greenlea – a new baby is always so exciting – and I really wanted to get a few pictures with my parents.  (My Dad was diagnosed a few years ago with Lewy Body Dementia, a heart-breaking disease similar to Alzheimer’s)  So we asked the Vafa-Coffmans to come capture a day of fun in the sun:  water skiing, floating around on tubes, all sorts of cute photo ops with naked little kids and parents in suits and brightly colored towels and umbrella drinks and a whole dose of YAY, SUMMER!


As you may know, Summer had other plans this year.

But Paul and Amy (the Vafa-Coffmans) still showed bright and early, and, thankfully, were both confidant that we could get some good family pics.  None of us had planned out what to wear, and poor Scotti and Zack were bleary-eyed, having been up half the night with Greenlea.


Sure, NOW she sleeps. 



We all sort of rushed around, wetting down cowlicks and applying mascara and finding something warm (you can prob guess the sweater I wore…AGAIN), and in the end we were like, “well, ok FINE.  IT’S FINE.”

But Paul and Amy had the genius idea to just grab some blankets and bring our coffee down to the freezing dock.  “Just snuggle together” Amy said.  “Snuggle together and have a chat and drink your coffee – it’ll be great.  I promise.”

You guys?  Amy was right.  These pics blew away ALL of my expectations.




I mean….this is it.  This right here.  This is us.


I also wanted to illustrate a point I know I’ve harped on before: There’s always this pressure to get the holiday card shot – the one where everyone is looking at the camera and smiling, right?  And sure, we got one of those.  Voila….



It’s nice, right?  But it’s not nearly as interesting, or heck – not nearly as representative of who we are as the others.




The moral of this story?  Roll with it.  (And good coffee and cozy blankets can make up for A LOT.)

Paul and Amy, we adore working with you!!  We plan on making this our new family tradition (and I think my brother and his fam will be joining us next year, so we’ll have to come up with something equally amazing.  No pressure, but…yeah. #thatspressure).


Ok Mamas!  It’s that time of year, so I’ll be featuring more family photo shoot ideas in the coming weeks.  If you have a family photos you love (or are a photographer and want to be featured), shoot me an email at themomedit (at) gmail (dot) com.

And if you are dying over Scotti’s sweater (perfect for pooch-hiding and nursing), it’s Free People’s Sudan V-Neck in forest green.



ps.  You can see some insanely gorgeous shots of Scotti, Zack and newborn Greenlea on the Vafa-Coffman’s blog.  (Including some that were photo-bombed by the dog!! Poor Callie is now second fiddle.)







  1. Shana, I rarely comment, but I had to write something on this post. It brought tears to my eyes! You have a beautiful family. And your love for each other radiates through those photos.

  2. Always too shy to comment but I wanted to today – what a glorious, glorious set of pictures – just love and joy, amid and after difficulty. (Along the same timeframe as your dad’s disease, my dad has been suffereing pretty-rapidly moving Alzheimer’s. He’s 73, and it’s just. not. fair. Especially when you have two little boys you want to share with him.) Anyway, what I mean to say here is: you guys really know how to live, it seems, and I find THAT even more inspiring on my daily reading than the clothes.

  3. Shana, I rarely comment but my Grandmother has Lewey Body and was diagnosed about 7 year ago, she’s now 78. I’m also from MI (live in Chicago though) and we’ve found some really great resources for her in Northern Michigan..lower peninsula. I couldn’t figure out how to contact you privately with some of the info but please let me know if you’d like it and I’m happy to pass it along! And, you’re right, it’s a truly heartbreaking disease, I’m sorry you’re being affected by it as well.
    P.S. The pictures are amazing!

  4. These photos are crazy gorgeous. That they’re so candid and real makes them all the better. You all look so happy to be living, happy to be together, with your kids, even in a freezing day. Bringing blankets to the dock was a genius idea: all the colors pop against the grey clouds and water. So happy you have some beautiful photos you can look back on. xoxo

  5. The photos are absolutely stunning, as are the ones in the link you included. I hope that last photo gets blown up and put in a huge frame in your house. It is perfection.

  6. I too have been following for awhile, but I don’t comment much. Maybe ever? But I have to say how striking these photos are! After everything you went through last year, you should look at these gorgeous people surrounding you feel peace. Such an inspiration for us all to celebrate ourselves and our families – and part of that is taking care of yourself through-and-through with snuggles, good coffee, date nights, and of course, clothes that reflect how good we feel inside. Thank you for sharing them. Blessings to your dad as well.

  7. These are just lovely. The one of your husband looking at you – wow. You’re right – I so prefer the one where everyone is not looking at the camera. Keeping it real, and you can feel the love, dynamics, and FAMILY.

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