By Sally Voth - firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to the Internet, an unusual family snapshot taken for fun has been causing belly laughs around the world.
On a vacation to Nags Head, N.C., earlier this month with several other families, the Dellinger family of Fishers Hill posed for an unconventional family portrait.
Mother Tammy, father Jerry and 2-year-old daughter Piper are lined up with their bellies exposed. Mrs. Dellinger - who is about 7 months pregnant- has "BABY" with an arrow pointing toward her belly button written on her protruding stomach; her husband has "BEER" scrawled on his; little Piper has "APPLE JUICE" on her tummy.
Piper is the only one who can be seen above the shoulders.
Shortly after the photo was taken by her friend Adam Stein - who owns Stein Photography in Stephens City with his wife Devon - Mrs. Dellinger posted it on her Stinkin' Cute Facebook page. She owns the Stinkin' Cute home business, crocheting and selling whimsical hats, scarves, gloves, and other, mostly baby, items.
The Steins also posted it on their company's Facebook wall.
Soon, the photo went "viral," and was shared all over the Facebook universe, with comments coming in from across the globe.
And, on Wednesday, the photo is expected to be shared on NBC Today Show's 10 a.m. hour with Kathie Lee & Hoda.
"We have a weekly segment that we do called "What the What?" associate producer Kate Cook said. "It's just funny photos that our viewers send in."
She expects the segment to run at about 10:20 a.m.
"It's just adorable," Cook said about the Dellinger photo. "We love the idea of three people having different reasons for their bellies protruding."
So do many of the commenters on the Stinkin' Cute Facebook page.
"They understood it," Mrs. Dellinger said. "They got the humor.
"They were taking a photo of our family, capturing a photo for us that meant something to us."
But, not everyone was kind.
"I couldn't leave my computer for two or three days solid," Mrs. Stein said. "I wanted to catch those negative comments as they came in because I didn't want them to stick around. It was enough that we had to keep on top of it."
One particularly vicious comment -- about Mrs. Dellinger's weight -- was posted by an attorney from the region, which was shocking to her. Worse, some people said Piper looked overweight and was in danger of developing diabetes. In person, Piper is very petite, but had her belly pushed out as she looked down at it in the photo.
"What people say about us as adults, it didn't really matter," Mrs. Dellinger said. "When you put yourself out there on Facebook like that, and know it's a public site.
"Bullying is bad enough. How do you bully a 2-year-old?"
She said she posted the photo for her friends, who "would get it."
By Friday afternoon, there were more 200,000 "likes" under the photo on the Stinkin' Cute Facebook wall, and it said it had been shared 546 times, and had 877 comments.
"Omg this is everywhere!" one commenter wrote. "These are friends of mine (the photographer AND the subjects)!"
There are numerous foreign-language comments. "Cute" appears frequently in the comments, and other commenters were quick to chastise the negative posters.
"This is great beautiful baby bump seems from the pic to be a beautiful family such a fun pic i love it," one wrote.
The Dellingers have documented and memorialized this pregnancy online, with the Steins taking numerous maternity photos. When Mrs. Dellinger had the ultrasound which would show her unborn baby's gender, they had the sonographer place the revealing scan photo in an envelope, which was handed over to the Steins. The couple then put together a "gender reveal" photo shoot for the Dellingers.
The family belly shot was just another way to let Dellinger's Stinkin' Cute "fans" in on her pregnancy journey, "just saying, hey, look at these funny photos of my family," Mrs. Dellinger said.
"I don't think any of us expected it to get the reaction that it did," she said.
Stein added, "It's flabbergasting."