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an illustrated family portrait…

Oh Joy Family Portrait by Rifle Paper Co.

Oh Joy Family Portrait by Rifle Paper Co.

I started getting custom family stationery when Ruby was born almost 5 years ago so that we could send them out to thanks loved ones for the baby gifts we had received. Illustrated by the super talented Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co, I couldn't not display them somehow, so we framed the first one. And since then, we now update it every year or so (with our newest shown above).

Oh Joy Family Portrait by Rifle Paper Co.

Oh Joy Family Portrait by Rifle Paper Co.

It's fun to see how our family has grown (RIP cats)! We've worked with Anna since the beginning as she illustrated Ruby's baby announcement but you can also find a variety of illustrators in different styles who offer custom portraits including Sophie & Lili and MerryMakeCo. While I also love photographed family photos, these are a fun way to show how your family changes over the years!

{Photo by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester, painted portraits by Rifle Paper Co.}


  1. Anna’s work is amazing! I’ve loved seeing all of the different updates of your family portraits. The illustrations are so special and whimsical.

  2. These are lovely portraits!
    I’m curious, how did you (and Bob) handle talking to Ruby about the passing of your family pets? I’m currently dealing with a similar situation with my 3 yr old son. My in-law’s dog just passed and my son keeps asking for his 4-legged buddy. I’m avoiding using the words, “sick, died, etc.” to not confuse the situation (he recently turned 3) or have him associate that “not feeling well” means you’re gone forever. Just wondering if you have some good tips you can pass along. Thanks.

  3. Hi Dolores,
    She was too young to remember our first cat passing but she remembered our 2nd cat passing. So we got a book called “Cat Heaven” as well as a stuffed animal that looks like that cat per some suggestions I got from some Oh Joy readers. The book was def a more ethereal version of death but at the time (Ruby was about 3), I was hesitant to talk about death but we did say that Lucys (the cat) body stopped working and now she is in cat heaven and any time she misses her, she has the stuffed animal she can hug or sleep with at night.
    Now (at 4.5 years old), Ruby understands more when an animal dies and what that really means but the book and stuffed animal was a good way to handle it then.
    Hope that helps!

  4. I was just talking about baby announcements with my husband yesterday (though we have nothing announce quite yet). I saw your post on Instagram on these portraits before actually reading the article – these are so adorable!

  5. These are beautiful Joy! I love how the portraits stay similar but show the little changes as your family grows. So sweet! I bet your daughters love to see themselves in illustration form!
    Another portrait artist that I like with a different style is

  6. I’m (sincerely) curious why you would avoid the word “died”? I read somewhere once to be completely upfront and honest, but only give them as much information as they ask for, and that has worked for our family. My oldest just turned 4 and we’ve been to the cemetery to visit her grandmother’s gravestone, we recently mourned the passing of our favorite neighborhood dog, and we currently have a fospice cat that might not be around a long time so we’ve talked about it all gently but matter of factly. I want her to understand that death is a natural part of life and something we have to experience alongside all the beauty and joy of being here on earth.
    This old Sesame Street video in which Big Bird learns about Mr. Hooper’s is pretty fantastic and might be helpful.


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