Finding Humor In Real Family Life

We just got back from a wonderful, week-long trip to California. We flew into L.A., rented a car and drove up the coast to San Francisco — making stops along the way and visiting with friends. How grateful I am to have been able to get out of town, relax, reconnect with my husband and kids and see so much beauty. I feel changed by the experience. Even the usual post-trip chores (doing numerous loads of laundry, restocking the fridge, returning calls, going through stacks of mail) are cool with me right now. I’ve made a sincere promise to myself to try hard to hold on to this zen-like content and to not let the old stresses sneak back up on me.

Although our vacation was incredible, we were traveling with our kids, so my husband and I were periodically peppered with insensitive complaints, long bouts of whining, insulting comments about our parenting style — the usual stuff. Our younger daughter would also instantaneously drop to the ground and refuse to go any further unless carried. That’s fun.

Fortunately, I was able to capture a lot of these moments on film…

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The family at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA. – thinking about making this one our Christmas card.

David and the girls at the J. Paul Getty Museum in L.A.

Family Chic

Grabbing a cup of tea and some serious resentment from Grace at the Getty (if it were up to her we would have stayed in the hotel pool all day long and ordered room service for every meal).

The Getty

Refusing to show the slightest bit of interest at the Getty.

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Trying to get a family shot outside of the Getty.

Family Chic

Impromptu family meeting about "adjusting our mood" in a corner of the Getty.

Me, with a bored to death Jane, on the terrace of the Getty (I think the museum should use this one in their promotional materials).







  1. Darcie  April 2, 2013

    I am laughing hysterically. I absolutely love it that you included the family bloopers!! So refreshing to recognize the imperfections and embrace (and love them) just the same.

    Perfect children are overrated.

  2. Kara  April 2, 2013

    This just might be my very favorite blog post ever. How gorgeous to document the funny/cruddy alongside the fab – you’ve just (accidentally?) given me permission to lighten up. Thanks!

    Darcie – I totally agree. What a great reminder that I sure don’t want to raise automatrons 🙂

  3. Alexis  April 2, 2013

    I have had the worst day and this made me laugh so hard! Thank you

    • camilla  April 2, 2013

      Alexis – Thank you for sending this – it means a lot to me. xoxo, C

  4. Spencer  April 2, 2013

    Sadly, these photos would pass as our better family moments.

  5. Jana Miller  April 2, 2013

    Haha. Glad to see your family is just like ours. Love the commentary too!

  6. Julie  April 2, 2013

    I LOVE CALIFORNIA!!!!! One day you must return with just hubby! It is so amazing there! These shots are so cute! It does make me feel somewhat better about my grands! Too bad…your girls will have to return later when older to truly appreciate it! Hope they enjoyed some parts!!! Thanks for this post!!!!!

  7. catie  April 2, 2013

    camilla, i LOVE this.
    i am intimately acquainted with this sort of vacation.
    the pictures + your subtitles had me laughing out loud.
    laughing WITH you, of course : )

  8. Scott Drey  April 2, 2013

    Just when I thought I saw all the amazing photos, you post these. So good Camilla. Jane’s expression in the the first pic is hilarious. Miss you guys.

  9. Vanessa @ Strickly Speaking  April 3, 2013

    I am laughing out loud at this. It’s so comforting to know other families are like ours. And you’ve inspired me to capture these “real” moments on camera. And then maybe I’ll post them on my blog too. 🙂

  10. Val  April 3, 2013

    This made me laugh, and we all need a good laugh! Thank you for that!! 😉 At least, YOU adults had a good time, and what the hell, parents need to have fun too 😉

  11. Sophie  April 3, 2013

    Oh Camilla ! Thank you so much for these pictures. I’m laughing out loud ! Self-derision is what we should do in any circumstances to make things easier.

  12. jane  April 3, 2013

    I love your photos. Traveling with kids is always an adventure. My husband and I love to see sights and museums butyou are right, they usually would prefer the pool. We capture the kodak ments but real life is hidden between the photos. I have always wanted to write a real life Christmas letter….my husband lost his job,my son got detention for a week, I gained 10 pounds……

    Sometimes I preempt the whining by giving them a camera. I remember stoppping at the chicago museum of art on our last day in the city. I gave my son our video camera and he used I to snap photos (without flash) and now we have a nice photo essay of the museum and a street level view of our drive out of the city.

  13. Jilly Williams  April 3, 2013

    Thank you…for showing what it’s truly like to travel with kids. I “get” real. Kudos to you for not showing all the “glamor shots”.

  14. Lynn  April 3, 2013

    Oh my these photos were so funny. I know the feeling.

  15. louise  April 3, 2013

    HIlarious! Thanks for sharing. But what I’m worried about is that yours are older than mine and are still whining… You mean they don’t stop??? great. I LOL’d too. The second picture is my favorite!

  16. Anne (France)  April 3, 2013

    This is so funny !!! It reminds me of a trip we made to London when my 2 children were young and so bored with museums… Staying in a hotel was fun enough for them and they only wanted to stay in their room and watch TV !
    They are 17 and 22 now and they love to travel and visit !
    Thanks for sharing !

  17. MsKymberliO  April 3, 2013

    Having just returned from our own Southern California spring break trip, I can totally relate! Thanks for sharing these priceless (and hysterical) photos. I loved them.

  18. Kathy  April 3, 2013

    Thank you for posting these honestly refreshing family pictures! They brought back great memories of family trips with my now grown children.

  19. Alyssa  April 3, 2013

    This is priceless. So thankful to know it’s not just my children!

  20. Janelle  April 3, 2013

    Thank you for this FUNNY and REALISTIC blog entry!!
    I have grown up chuildren and grandchildren and this is just how it is at times. Sometimes I look at different blogs on family life and wonder if they are truly as sweet apple pie as it appears.
    I love your honesty and sense of humour.

  21. Valerie  April 4, 2013

    Thanks for this! Have to show my husband that we are not alone. We are in this exact spot with two girls – just decided to cut our family summer Alaska trip from 10 days to 6.

  22. kristen  April 4, 2013

    Can I tell you how much I love you for posting these pics? I thought I was the only one!!!

    • Kristen  April 4, 2013

      Oops! Sorry to type a question mark after my comment! That’s what I get for typing on my phone! Ha!

  23. Ann  April 5, 2013

    This is absolutely HILARIOUS! I love love love every single one of those photos! I am in tears laughing! I feel like I was on the trip with you! It is so refreshing to see such real life! Xo

  24. Peg  April 5, 2013

    They look just like my Grandkids. Great post.

  25. Jacqui  April 7, 2013

    One of my favorite posts ever!! Hilarious!!! Loved e commentary and the realness!!

  26. Mariah  April 10, 2013

    Love it! Seriously considering posting more “REAL” family photos to social media instead of the ones that make it look like life with children is rainbows and roses. YES!! Love this!

  27. photosarah  April 18, 2013

    Back when we were kids my younger brothers would throw fits and I’d get out my camera and start taking pictures to try to snap them out of it. It didn’t really work and they weren’t happy about it at the time, but I got some hilarious photos that we can laugh about now. Hopefully your girls will appreciate the candid moments in a few years the way all your readers are appreciating them now 🙂

  28. Amanda  April 26, 2013

    have never seen your blog before. LOVE these pictures! so great. does make me worried that our museum days are numbered! good reminder to enjoy it while it lasts! thanks!

  29. Neo  April 26, 2013

    Full of awesome. Made me laugh. I found you from Cup of Jo. These photos so remind me of the reality of pre-teens and kids and myself when I was that age. I am gonna be toast when my girl is a pre-teen.

  30. Christine  April 27, 2013

    The best post EVER! We are taking the kids to England and France for a month and this is what I expect it will look like. I think the Metropolitan Museum in NYC has us on their naughty list for the epic tantrums DD has thrown there.
    I remember how I was with my parents in museums travelling the world. I clearly enjoy them now and see it as part of my parental duties to inflict it upon my progeny. We turned out ok, right? Well, there was that time when I stomped away from my mother in Buenos Aires and got lost not speaking a stitch of Spanish.

  31. Kim Mondelli  April 28, 2013

    Oh, thank you for the belly laughs. My parents have a very similar set of shots from our trip to California many years ago. What a sour teenager I was!

  32. Jessica  April 28, 2013

    I just stumbled across your blog and this post. Thank you! Very refreshing and honest! As well as witty and funny.

  33. Beth  April 29, 2013

    You made me laugh today! It puts our recent trip to Greece with our youngest into perspective! Thank you! Beth

  34. Phoebe  May 8, 2013

    Totally charmed (and I’m not being sarcastic.) The best is, when everyone has grown to adulthood, you get to look back and just laugh your head off.