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Well, even if all the memories are not so hot, at least the pictures are great. So in the future, when you're looking back at them, the crappy parts will have faded (a bit) and you'll just enjoy looking at their cutie faces and almost wishing you were back at the dam.


I feel your pain. I too sometimes forget that my fairy tale version doesn't always exsist LOL. But the not so fun times make you really appreciate the fun times!


My family never gets that I want the Norman Rockwell anything! They are so un-accomadating.

Totally don't like the sturgeon picture. I hate sturgeons.


When I had days like this, where was Jim Fay with all the right things to say without any anger in my voice...I understand how frustrating it is. The good news is... when you look back on these Rockwell will just remember all the fun and the great me on this! Loved every photo and every pout! The love shines through in every shot. Have a good one.


I love the pictures, Karen. Your kids are beautiful. We all want Norman Rockwell memories, but I think the non Norman Rockwell memories are the ones we remember and the ones we grow to love more.


Even with a couple rough days, your pictures are fun, beautiful and full of LIFE!


I'll bet that, if the truth be told, old Norm had some pouty pictures too!! Even with the squabbles, it looks like a wonderful trip to me. tfs

Mary Ann

To an outsider, it does like it was the perfect Norman Rockwell vacation :)

Thanks for sharing the pics!


I am almost positive I have posted this before but we learned long ago that any kind of vacation with kids is twice the work and half the fun that it used to be before we had them.....

somehow though the further away you get from the actual whining and complaining and fighting all that is left are the good parts anyway :)

and your shots are beautiful as always girlie *wink*


We also seem to have been having family get aways like you've just had..... I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to create the 'perfect' holiday! Glad to see you got some great pics and managed to squeeze in some great fun times!


Awww...well, you make it LOOK like a Norman Rockwell vacation :) - and if it makes you feel any better, picture my husband and I arguing with our 17yo and 8yo at Disneyland because the big boy wanted to go to Goofy's Kitchen ( $150 for us to eat there...) and me crying and threatening to take a taxi to LAX and fly home from right there and then. We did end up eating there, btw.


just one little comment about the circus...don't you mean "the flying NIKON girl"?
hahahahaaaaaaaaa! ROTFL at how funny I think I am. ;-)
(on the rest, I can relate...and it's nice to hear good stories from normal people.)

Julie Pilch

You do make me laugh Karen. I actually said to my DH one Friday a couple of weeks ago that I was leaving him and running away to join the circus as my 3 girls had driven me to tears all day! It always seems to be on those days when I pictured us doing something picture perfect that it all goes so badly wrong. It happens to us all I'm sure. Brilliant pictures and great post thanks for always keeping it real xxx

tamara w

however, your photos are so much more precious than the images in NR pictures. You have little A's round smile that mimics the one on the cherub child in his paintings.....and I bet those NR subjects had stories of pouting and frustration when they were not sitting to have their images are very lucky to have a family


Perfection is over-rated. Thank goodness! No fun memories in that :) Thanks so much for your post. Looks like a great time was had by all.


Great pictures and such cute children! Thanks for sharing!

Belinda H

even though they made you cry your photos ROCK...the 3ft one makes me smile....looking for 3ft sign for my 3 year old now.


I think if I had to pick between Norman Rockwell-ish events and Karen Russell-ish events, I would go with the KR-ish - even including tears! When I look at your pics I see lots of fun and ice cream and love and outdoors stuff and more fun and ice cream! Thank you for sharing! I'm going to stop for ice cream for my 6-y-o today!

Sarah K

Thanks for sharing the not so sunny side of life with us because we all have these moments, days, weeks (or at least I know I do), and it's great to see that I'm not alone in my reality not always meeting my expectations. I like to think it's God way of reminding me I'm not in control and helping me to develop patience and humility. By the way, I think your 15 minute rule is brilliant.

nancy in ks

Sometimes you just irritate me, Karen. First you take the most awesome photos ever (holy crap! Coley's eyes!), and now you are becoming a great storyteller. Isn't there anything I can do as well as you?

p.s. I still LOVE you.


I first started following your blog for scrapbooking reasons, but then realized I'm constantly checking back in to read your stories and to see the great pictures you capture of your everyday life. The kids are all so cute, and Annie cracks me up with her facial expressions. Thanks for sharing and inspiring.


Karen - your pictures are great as usual and really capture all of the kiddos personalities! Like the previous posters said - you MAKE it LOOK like Norman Rockwell fun was had by all - and I tell you what - I think all of your kids are BEAUTIFUL and HANDSOME as they can possibly be - BUT........... I don't see HOW in the world you EVER get ANYTHING done with little Miss Annie cakes around - that girl just makes me want to pick her up and kiss all over her little chubby cheeks - she is just TOO precious for words! Thanks again for sharing all the good, bad and the ugly family adventures. Big Hugs! Trac~ :o)


we are all like that Karen. I always had such high expectations when the kids were younger......and it didn't always work like that. Mine, man they could just pick a fight over every little thing! Wasn't always fun but now that they are grown, they don't even remember those things...they just remember the fun we had. And your kids will be the same. They'll forget the fighting, you getting mad, the crying.....they will just remember all of the fun ya'll had as a family. So hang on to that your pics!


Karen...I had to laugh at this post. I just got back from our first blended family vacation (4 children - 2 of his, 2 of mine) and I swear we will never do it again! Ok, maybe we will but it was horrible. In the end, as I look back at all the yelling, timeouts, breaking up fights, yelling more, we still had fun. I understand your frustration. And I was in tears 3 out of the 7 days we were there.


You still got some great photos! I love the sprinkler shot.

We just went across that bridge about a week ago! Cool.

I'm so glad that heat wave is over.

beth feigner

what? this sounds like a normal family outing to me ;) these are some of my boys' favorite places to visit...they enjoyed seeing them through someone else's lens:) great pictures!!


Even though it wasn't a "perfect" trip it sounds like you guys made some good memories - and your photos are AWESOME (as always).

I can so relate with the stir crazy hotel jitters. Dave and I finally got our baby (through adoption! yay!) but we've been cooped up in a hotel in Austin, TX for the past 7 days. We can't wait to get home!

Sure wish you lived closer and I could hire you to take pics of our new baby!

Much love,

tara pollard pakosta

well at least it's real life and you are enjoying the good and the bad altogether and getting some gREAT photos of it all!

Terri Guerrieri

At least you still got some great shots! I absolutely love the picture of Coley holding the "Go" sign. He looks like he means serious business. So cute!


We've all been there, it's just part of having kids. Although all I remember from when I was a kid is the fun never the fighting or whining but if you ask my parents I'm sure they could share a few enlightening memories.

Annie L.

I had to smile at your post today.. I have been in that situation to many times to count. You have this wonderful picture of what it should be if everyone just did what they were suppose too. But unfortunately it hardly ever works out for me. I always resort to counting in the bathroom. Count to 100 and if that does not work try 1000. It makes me feel better that it is not just my kids and my life and me that get so stressed out. Thanks. There is some sanity in numbers. Good luck better luck next time. :-)


I love Norman Rockwell. But I've always felt he captured life and it's little ironies--nothing about a perfect life, just perfect representations of real life. Your photos are as Norman Rockwell as you can get. Makes we want to go sew a quilt. And take pictures. And get ice cream. (Maybe I'll get the ice cream first.)


Glad you survived another family vacation. Pictures looked good and we all have our moments trying to keep it together.

Dawn Wheeler

Oh Karen....This sounds so much like my trip to the Redwoods with my family last weekend. Without going into all the details I'll just say "I can sooooooooo relate".

Shauna M

ah.. I just spent most of today yelling and being frustrated due to pre-teenage boy hormones in my house.. what a bummer way to spend the day (and probably at least half of our summer so far).. I'm a bit boo hoo myself today.


Norman Schnorman...perfection is overrated! (My expectations are always overblown too...)

How was the girl's trip? ha.


Let's see, Scott Says only pick your best work. So imagine that Norman Rockwell actually painted all those true life scenarios with hair being pulled and boogers being picked. He just chose not to show the world. And aren't these the best shots from your trip? So you can just tell everyone about the best parts and keep the rest hidden away on your computer files. ;)


The perfection is rarely remembered and after time goes by the imperfect is almost always laughable (and in that moment are the memories we all want). The imperfect adventures are the stories that will be told to future boyfriend/girlfriends . . . generations. These are the true family histories!


Funny; I always threaten to run away and join the circus when life is not going my way. Only I always want to be the lady who rides the elephant. Maybe what you should've done was sent the kids off to join the circus!

Stacey B

Love you for making me me feel normal after 7 stressful hours in the car with two kids and one husband.


So I guess I'm actually saving you time and stress by being behind in my assignments. :)
I am right up the road in should have come to my house and hung out. We have AC and lots of toys.


What a great post full of awesome pictures! I love that Coley held up that OSU sign while driving through Eugene - go Beavs! :) And I think we've all had similar experiences :)


cant believe you stopped in Eugene for dinner and didn't even call your cousin... Duck or not ;)

Carmen King, Avondale, AZ

Your pictures make me miss "home" so much! Our family was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, but somehow we've found ourselves in the desert of Arizona for the past seven years - where right now it doesn't get below 90 (even in the middle of the night), there's no ocean for too many miles, no rain, and not enough green. The Gorge is one of my favorite places and to be able to see it today was just what I needed. Thank you for letting me feel at "home" for just a few minutes.


Karen, it couldn't have been that got so many great shots. I think we want everything to be too perfect and sometimes that our perfect might not be exactly the Norman Rockwell picture perfect. Please remember you have a good life!


You know, Norman Rockwell didn't do accompanying narrative with his paintings. Maybe now we know why! Your photos make it look like you had the most awesome vacation ever! :-)

You're awesome, Karen.


OMGosh Karen what a HILARIOUS post! I always envision the "perfect" whatever and it no where meets my expectations all the time. I'm there with you on the crying bit too! But it looks like you took some lemons and made some lemonaide.


I hear you on the "Perfect family getaway? Not so much." thing. Getting everything and everyone in the car and on the road is our biggest issue so it just starts out all wrong. lol Here's to future patient trips with the family we love!

GORGEOUS photos as always!


Thanks for the "keeping it real" post.

Sarah B

This trip looks pretty picture perfect to me. I wish I was near there...I'm in boring and hot and ugly Los Angeles...whhaaaa!

Seriously though, I'm the same. and it's never as fun as I imagine it's going to be. My parents took me on a Europe road trip when I was 12 and I whined and complained the whole time! Argh!

Love the photos!

Ree Donnelly

The photo of Annie pouting is positively precious! It's a classic!

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