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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Family Photos

It is against my better judgement to share this story with you. However, we are now getting prank calls from friends and two of our friends have laughed so hard they couldn't speak anymore and it is always followed with "oh! put that on your blog" and I respond with "it's not funny to me yet".

So, here is my not funny to me story that happened just two days ago.

We haven't had family pictures taken since #3's clothes no longer fit #4 - it's been a while. Okay, like three years ago. I am the taking photos diva and I have pictures going out with every Christmas card and this year it dawned on me I sent two family photos out - both with me in grub clothes and no makeup (camping and farming pics) - and decided then that this was the year that all that was going to change.

So, I made the appointment. I had to find a place to get them taken and then wish that they would have some magic bulbs so I could look all summery tan instead of hibernation white. I made it for a week away, until my husband informed me he would rather do it sooner - like the very next day. And I got that appointment. Which meant I brought up in Bible study and had to call three friends to try to pull together a color scheme. We all agreed on one thing, being the only girl in the family, this time it really could be all about me. So I chose my favorite blue skirt...and wondered if there was a place that offered immediate bronzing to pull it off! But like they would really see my legs in the photos, right?

My husband buzz cuts all our boys hair except #4. I say this with all the unconditional love of a mother, our youngest has a large head. Thankfully, he has grown into it - more - but a buzz cut on him is never ever going to be an option. Ever. Over the winter this year I let my boys hair grow out, keeping around their eyes and ears and the back of their neck cleaned up with scissors. My husband believes that the boys were the greatest gift God ever gave us....and one of the greatest gifts about them is that he can buzz cut their hair and they will never have to see a stylist. So, having the boys hair long enough to look like hair is a big deal to me. I love their hair so I told them to keep their hats in the back of the suburban - the older two boys are NEVER without their camo hats - and I 'styled' their hair for them. Son #2 has the most beautiful curly hair ever. Beautiful. I never knew this when it was buzz cut and I was so glad to have it captured for the whole world (or all family members) to appreciate.

We arrived a few moments early - my husband was sure we would be late but everything was going smoothly! - and let the studio know we were there. My husband called his mom on the way there to let her know we were in the 'big cement city' as I call it and we could meet her for dinner.

And then we waited.

And we waited some more.

And then we waited longer.

My husband has no patience. He will tell you so. None. The only time he has patience is in letting his garden grow - my husband is a changed man when farming. But this was not farming. THIS was sitting in hard plastic chairs for over half an hour at our normal dinner time. Son #1 began being the 'third parent'. Son #2 was nervous his hair wouldn't look just right and began smoothing it down. #3 and #4 began rolling - I'm not exaggerating at all - back and forth across the floor. My thought was, if it keeps them quiet and they don't get dirty, it's better than them running and getting bruises.

The woman we realized we were waiting for was oohhing and aahhing over ever photo taken of her one teenage soon. She wanted them all but she could only choose a few and she took FOREVER!

At some point, we gave up making the boys stay quiet. My husband told them to go stare at the woman picking out photos, maybe that would speed her up. He didn't care if they knocked down the table with the display on it anymore, four little boys can't be cooped up that long.

I was becoming mortified by it all and still trying to talk peacefully. "We have nothing else planned, no where else to go..."

And then he reminded me of the dinner plans we had made on the way in.

So, we made it in to get our photos taken 45 minutes after we got there. Had we known it would have taken this long, we could have gotten our eldest new school shoes. He's outgrown his and it's one of those things you really need him to be there for and never have him with when you are near shoes. And then we would have been busy instead of doing nothing but thinking how long they were taking.

And this is the happy family that the photographer has to work with.

The photographer gets us all in place and Son#3 is sitting on my lap. The photographer says "look at my pickle nose!" and he begins to laugh. I mean, seriously all out laugh. "She said pickle nose!" and he cannot stop laughing. Imagine a bad case of the giggles, but way worse. He cannot stop laughing. I feel my husband tense beside me. I now realize that Son#3 is way over tired from two days of preschool and hard play outside and I know this is going to get ugly fast. I get right in Son#3's face and say 'okay, stop now!' in a forceful voice.

The photographer does not say 'pickle nose' for the rest of the session.

We get a few - like three - pictures and she has us all line up. I try to catch a glimpse of myself in the teeny tiny mirror they have in there. I see stress screaming from my eyes. And I have to check, when feeling any type of emotion what so ever, I get all red and blotchy looking. Some call it hives, some call it redneck, I call it the curse. If I eat anything spicy - like ketchup - I get red and blotchy. If I am out and about and think "I hope I don't get all red", I will. If I laugh too hard, if I watch an intense movie, if I am extremely excited and gleefully or really mad, I get red. If I am in a high stress situation, you guessed it. Expecting such a situation (and not wanting the whole world to be witness of my embarrassing trait), I had prepared by lots of makeup, because, as I said before, there was no tanning or tanning lights in the studio. And now I was thankful for the for thought to wear the makeup.

The next pose was me, on the floor, for all the world (okay, extended family and friends) to see my hibernation white legs. My husband sits next to me and son#3 lays between us with the three other boys surrounding us. We get one picture and Son#3 decides to get up...but he's not supposed to and when we get him to lay back down, he starts to cry. I have to kiss him and then go back to smiling happily.

When we get up for the next round of pictures, this time of just the boys, Son#3 decides he wants to ride on one of the toys there and we have to get him back with the rest of the gang so my husband gives him a gentle push with his boot on his butt.

This is what I would call the meltdown.

Son#3 begins wailing "my Daddy kicked me in the butt!" This takes MAJOR work to calm him down. Once he is done wailing, he begins laughing. Suddenly he has the best smile of the group. The photographer tells #4 he is a tough guy and needs to cross his arms; he takes this seriously and does not smile. He is tough. #1 decides this is a great time to pour on the charm, in a bunch of crazy looking (none appropriate for the photo) faces; my husband tells him to knock it off and smile. #2, sensing the stress, smiles in this huge frozen smile that is as fake as can be but he is staring straight ahead without blinking at the camera his hair completely flat and then huge wings at his ears.

The photographer looks to my husband and I and asks us if we would like our picture taken. "No, we're good" my husband states, "we have a lot of pictures of us together." He is right, I do agree, I don't want to remember this day but I am sure it came off a lot differently than that to the photographer.

When we go back to view our photos and purchase them, my husband loves how they have turned out. He had an eye for such things, the lighting and position and can glance at it and instantly know if we should keep or discard it. He is amazing at this. He tells me to chop chop in ordering how many I need and heads off to call his mom to tell her we will be leaving shortly.

In less time than the woman before us took to just pick out her pictures, we had taken photos, chosen them, paid and moved on out of the studio and were sitting in the restaurant across the street.

Ahh, the making of family memories.

Why someone can't just snap photos of us in every day life...like today when all six of us were outside playing soccer and laughing and having a great time.

I suppose that's why we have more soccer family memories than every three years family photos memories.

And that is the story everyone told me to post.

2 comments:

Praise and Coffee said...

I love it! Thanks for the smiles!!!! I will try to swing by with my camera sometime and take a random shot of the fam :)

Love ya,
Sue

ValAnn said...

That is great! I'm glad they turned out well and that you survived!

We just went right before Christmas and had ours done. Our youngest was almost 5 and was only 5 months in the last one we had done. My hubbie seems to think that we don't need another one now for another 5 years (which would make my oldes a junior in HS)...