06 July 2015

25th Anniversary Family Photos (And Matching T-Shirts)

The family trip to Cambodia came about because Mom decided that the absolute best way to celebrate my parents' 25th wedding anniversary would be for the whole family to get away and have grand adventures together...

...while wearing matching t-shirts.

I think Mom  knew that convincing her highly opinionated brood of children to wear the exact same thing while exploring Cambodia might be a bit of a challenge. The 7 of us tend to be of the opinion that since no one can remember our names anyways and since there's a rather strong family resemblance, we should all do our part by dressing very differently from each other at all times. Besides, you have probably in the past read about my objections to so-called "unisex tees."

The idea of matching tees was floated around on Skype calls for months before the trip, until I offered a compromise. We kids would agree to wear matching t-shirts as long as they weren't super wordy and specific. Instead of saying something like "25th Anniversary Grand Family Vacation," I suggested that they each be decorated with nothing other than a gigantic 25 on the front.

Because the number 25 carries an aura of mystery, doesn't it?

When planning out the t-shirts, I envisioned that there would be only one day during the trip that we'd all wear matching shirts. Mom said that they'd ordered red, navy, and green shirts, and I imagined that 3 or 4 of us would wear each color, and we'd form a pleasant rainbow of sorts.

In fact, the truth of the matter was that they had ordered 3 tees for each of us, so that on 3 separate days, we would all be matching.

I think it's safe to say that, after 25 years, Mom's dream of having her perfectly matched family go on jungle adventures together came true.
25th Anniversary Family Photo

25th Anniversary Family Photo

25th Anniversary Family Photo

25th Anniversary Family Photo

25th Anniversary Family Photo

25th Anniversary Family Photo

Now, one factor that I didn't really think of ahead of time is the kind of attention you receive when you are hanging out in Southeast Asia, obviously foreign, and wearing the exact same shirt as the 10 other people you're traveling with.

Somehow, I thought we'd be practically unnoticeable. I was mistaken. We received a number of reactions, wherever we went:

"25...25...25...everybody all the same."

"Birthday or anniversary?"

"So, what's special about 25?"

{to my mom} "Are these all your daughters?"

While getting ready for the family photo outside Angkor Wat, a couple walked by us. We overheard the lady asking, "Do you think they're 19 Kids and Counting?" and the guy laughed and scoffed, "No!"

We thought this was particularly hilarious, although I had to agree with the eye-rolling guy. We are obviously not 19 Kids and Counting because we are only 11 people wearing matching t-shirts...and we were all wearing pants.

We even made some friends because of our shirts. This couple from the Philippines, on holiday for their 3rd anniversary, spotted our group from some ways away, and had to get their picture with us.

The last whole family vacation took place back before Angel was in the picture, in Summer 2009. Mom and Dad jumped on the ever rarer opportunity to have all of us in one place and not going in 7 different directions due to work and school obligations, and we had the greatest time learning and exploring a country that 5 of us had never visited before. Even cousin Shannon got to join in on the family fun. I tried to tell her that we only brought her along in order to have our own photographer at all times, but she said that if that was indeed our nefarious plan, it had failed, because she enjoyed the trip way more than any indentured photographer ought to.

As we meandered down streets we grew used to random strangers shouting "25!!" at us. We took so many different poses of family photos because with 10 people in the photo, it is surprisingly difficult to get everyone with their eyes open at the same well as all smiling and being calm instead of crazy at the same time. That actually might have been a somewhat impossible request--we've done it before (see 2013's Family Photo, where we basically look like rockstars), but we were all a little too excited about Siem Reap to pay much attention to smiling serenely for the camera.

25th Anniversary Family Photo

Have you ever, for the love of your parents, worn matching outfits? How easy is it for you to take a family photo?
Unknown said...

Oh my goodness this is so cute and I was already making mental plans for my 25th anniversary next year! However, I think it works because there are so many of you. Blessings to your parents on such an awesome occasion.

leelee said...

Love these family photos.

Kay R. said...

I love the matching shirts and they made for awesome photos!!

Unknown said...

Aww yes I have and it is def a conversation started! Such a cool trip!! Congrats to your parents!

Myhomeofmanyblessings said...

awww,what a great idea!!

Suzanne said...

Ha ha! What a hilarious idea. No doubt they all thought you were part of some TV show.

Now I know what I'll be doing on my 25th in a couple of years, I just need to find a t-shirt that'll fit my pug. LOL


Daisy @ Simplicity Relished said...

Hahaha this is fantastic!! Absolutely amazing for your whole family. I love reading your stories, Rachel!

Leslie Sleigh said...

That's so fun! And I love that you only have the number 25 on them ... very smart move!

chelsea @ the new wifestyle said...

oh my goodness YES this is hilarious! my mom would be thrilled by this too! so so funny that ordered 3 for everyone and interesting to hear of people's reaction. i totally laughed out loud at '...and we wear pants' as to not being the 19 kids and counting. HA

Brianna Wachter said... it! Points to you and your siblings for going along with the matching t-shirt idea. :) Looks like such a fun trip with a very lively bunch!

Farrah said...

Awww, this is so adorable! I love all the matching shirts and the passersby that you attracted! :P A big congrats to your parents! It looks like such a fun day!

Unknown said...

Awww, super cute idea! & yes, a neat way to meet people :)

Happy Anniversary to your parents!!

Ali Hval said...

Hahhha, I love this! This is seriously the cutest idea. 25 is a pretty mysterious number... one fourth of one hundred, a quarter of a dollar, etc, etc... so yeah, good pick on that. I love that you received comments on it, too.

Elle Sees said...

my mom would LOVE this idea! she used to dress my sister and i as twins although we looked nothing alike and have an almost 2 yr age difference!

Bekah Loves Blog said...

Oh, man! I was wondering about these shirts when I saw your last post. The 19 kids and Filipino stories cracked me up!

Thankfully, my mom never tried such a thing.

Michelle said...

Hahaha!! I love this! I'm going to make my kids do this someday. Also cracking up that someone thought you guys are from 19 Kids & Counting.

Moonofsilver said...

the matching tee shirts are awesome. I would love that :P hehehe. but then I never get mistaken for a sister, so I understand why it might be annoying. you guys look like you had so much fun!

The Lady Okie said...

Okay, these pictures are epic! I love them. HATE matching with anyone. It's one of my least favorite things. I have, however, I have gone on a family vacation and worn matching shirts. It was for my grandparents' 50th, and ours DID say something long and ridiculous like "Staman/Short 20xx Family Reunion and Anniversary" or whatever. Ugh, it was horrible. But my grandparents loved it, so that's al that mattered :)

Unknown said...

That is really awesome :) and Congratulations!!

Ursula aka Blueridge Beauty

Caroline @ In Due Time said...

I love it! We have never had matching t's, but y'all pull it off great!

Ashley Maria said...

Looks awesome! Love the shirts

Keit said...

Ah dude, I'd give everything for an adorable family like yours! Our family is quite separated, but not by obligations or continents, but by resentment. We don't get along and most of them try to pull you down, and the weird thing is a lot of families are like this... Maybe it's a Bulgarian thing :D
I loved your matching tees, your mom is the best for thinking of this :D

Paige @ Reasons to Come Home said...

I love this! I'm sure your mom will cherish these pictures and memories for a long time! We've never been dressed in the same thing for anything other than for studio pictures! So sweet of y'all to go along with it!