This picture is right after we stuffed ourselves at David's family's Thanksgiving. You can tell we just ate, because everyone is willing to sit still and take a picture.
On Thanksgiving evening we drove up to my parents house for Second Thanksgiving, which we waited to actually EAT until Friday evening. Which is good, because, whoa. Our digestion had to catch up at some point.
This year, my Dad make two turkeys, one smoked and one fried, which was the best idea EVER because usually there are little to no turkey leftovers. This year? Tons of leftovers. Henry almost ate his turkey fill.
I say almost because this morning he asked me "Why do you never cook me turkey for dinner? Why just on Thanksgiving?" Then I tried to convince him the rotisserie chicken we were having for dinner was JUST LIKE turkey. He didn't buy it. I might have promised him a turkey for Christmas. Can I count that as one of his presents? Probably.
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, my mom had made plans for a professional photographer to come to a local Christmas Tree farm and take pictures of the three grandkids all bundled up and looking Christmasy.
This was the best idea ever. I was super excited. Maybe, just maybe, THIS would be the year we send out a Christmas card! With an ADORABLE photo on it!
Lauren and I had gone over outerwear choices to assure that everyone would be slightly (but not too much!!!) matching, and would look as adorable as possible. IT WAS GOING TO BE AMAZING! AMAZING, I TELL YOU!
We may not have taken into consideration that it would be absolutely, hellishly cold that morning. Or, that we'd be three days into off-schedule-nap-skipping-up-late-and-up-early-weird-sleeping-unpredictable-behavior Thanksgiving Wonderment. Or, maybe we just forgot that three children aged three and under are... um... not to be relied on for much.
It started off fine. We all arrive, get bundled up, the photographer was there, she seemed super nice, the kids are so cute, tada! Then, the photographer said, "Okay, I need all three kids, and their dads. No moms. Kids never behave for their moms. Just the dads."
..... awkward silence .....
Now, listen, I'm not denying that she may have a point there. Maybe she did. MAYBE. Maybe.
But, you guys, I HAD THE SNACKS! I was prepared with bribery! I had juice! I had Cheez-Its! LAUREN HAD COOKIES! Plus, are DADS going to remember to wipe noses in between shots, and fix hairbows, and realize that someone's hand is down their pants in the otherwise perfect picture?!?!?! No, friends. No, they are not. They are dads, and these things are not visible to them. It is a chromosomal deficiency, and not their fault.
But, I did what the photographer lady said. Because, again, maybe she was right. She does this for a living! I really want to be flexible and cooperative! The kids do think David and Justin are hilarious! Maybe it will be fine! My feelings are not hurt! Really! Maybe just a little!
So, I (with the rest of the exiles) watched the photo shoot from afar. So as not to contaminate it with my terrible mommyness.
It lasted about 10 minutes before Maggie started to cry.
Against direct orders, we sent an emissary over with the juice and snacks.
David made valiant attempts at bribery.
It didn't work. She kept crying. Loudly. Dramatically.
I start making "What is going on?!" faces & gestures at David from afar.
He makes baffled "I HAVE NO IDEA?!?!" faces and gestures back at me.
Maggie continues to scream at an escalating volume.
Henry and Whit alternate running in and out of the photo area with accidentally tripping, poking themselves on pine needles, and other forms of self-torture.
Basically, within 20 minutes all three children were a mess. Whining, fussing, crying, moaning, and Maggie, leading the pack, was wailing at the top of her lungs, as if asking her to smile was the equivalent of backhanding her across the face.
If it wasn't so pitiful, it would have been hilarious. (Okay, it was maybe kind of hilarious anyway.)
The poor, sweet photographer calls is a day. She swears up and down that she's confident she got some good shots before all hell broke loose. We shall see, anti-mommy picture lady. We shall see.
Then, we all gathered for a family shot, WITH the crying children, as one last round of torture. We shoved them full of cookies right before the picture, so there is a CHANCE that they're not crying in the picture. A small, small, chance. Again, we shall see.
Afterwards, we comforted them with the following:
Henry, a giant hot dog, at 10am, no bun please:
Upside: This incident really confirms for me that I've made the right decision in never yet paying for professional pictures of my kids. I'm often tempted! Everyone else's Christmas cards are so cute! I have SEVERAL friends who take pictures professionally, and they're always AMAZING! Will I live to regret this (and many other) parenting desicions!?!
Maybe. Probably. But, this does assure me of one thing that I have always suspected: if you invest too much time, money, and hope into anything, your kids will probably scream at you.
[Write that down. Remember it when you feel yourself preparing to invest time/money/hope into something. You can thank me later.]
But apparently, if you give them a warm shopping cart and unlimited samples, they'll be amazing.
Or, alternately, if you promise to take them to the indoor heated pool at Mumsie & Papa Boss's neighborhood gym...
Then apparently, they become freakishly blue-eyed and photogenic.