This Color-Coded Photo With All 17 Grandkids Is Everything

by Megan Zander
Image via Annabelle Rose Photography/Chrissy Roussel

Cousins galore

Every family dreams of capturing the perfect family photo. All we want is just one image where no one is visibly crying and everyone is looking in the general direction of the camera. Chrissy Roussel of the blog Roussel Six Pack recently shared a photo that proves the elusive group family photo is possible, even with a whopping 17 kids.


Image via Annabelle Rose Photography/Chrissy Roussel

Roussel and her five siblings (two sisters and three brothers) rounded up their combined 17 children ranging in age from two to 14 for this adorable photo shoot late last month. Each sibling dressed their kids in the same color, and then each grandkid’s shirt was numbered according to their birth order in the family.

The photos have special significance to Roussel and her siblings as seeing all of the grandkids together is a reminder of their late father, who never met the five youngest grandkids.

“Anytime my family is all together we’re all thinking of my dad,” Roussel tells Scary Mommy. “Especially when we see the five youngest because they were all conceived the month he died. I conceived spontaneous triplets and two of my brother’s wives both got pregnant in the three weeks after he died. It’s bittersweet that he never got to meet those five babies.”

She shared the photo with Love What Matters along with a tribute to her father. The picture struck a cord, receiving over 30,000 reaction from people who both relate to the loss of a parent who never got to meet their grandchild and those who want to try and copy this idea for a family photo of their own.

While it looks like a photo that required a ton of planning and a super expensive photographer, Roussel says the image came together easily. It was her sister Mary Ellen who had the idea of color-coding and numbering the children, but still the family had low expectations. “This was not very well thought out beyond us just saying, ‘Buy your family shirts, bring them to the beach, Mary Ellen will iron on the numbers and we’ll just all take a picture,'” Roussel explains.

Apparently the trick to getting 17 kids to stay still at the same time is shooting after a full day of fun. “After a busy day at the beach and pool we had everyone grab their shirts and we marched everybody down to the beach,” recalls Roussel. “We looked like a circus as we were crossing the crosswalk.”

Luckily her sister-in-law happens to be the photographer behind Annabelle Rose Photography, so that took the pressure off to be camera perfect on the first take. “My sister-in-law is a magician,” says Roussel. “It took less than 10 minutes. We just went out there and did it.”

This photo gives me serious Pinterest envy. It takes me 10 minutes of pleading, half a bag of M&Ms and the promise of an extra episode of Paw Patrol just to get my two kids to stand together in front of my camera. Most of the time I still can’t manage to get a photo where both kids are in focus, let alone smiling. I don’t think my family could ever pull off getting all the cousins together. But Roussel says it’s kind of a family tradition for her crew. Their last family photo is just as gorgeous, and features Grandma too.

Image via Annabelle Rose Photography/Chrissy Roussel

“We like to try to get a picture when we’re all together because just that in and of itself is a major achievement for my family with all of the grand kids to be together,” she says.

Grandparents everywhere, we know what you’re getting for the holidays this year.