Wednesday, November 14, 2012

So Much For That Photo Degree

Here is a little factoid about me, I was a photography major in college. I went to an actual univeristy and everything. I also have a couple of degrees in psychology. If you think about it, this is darn close to the perfect training for motherhood. What do we spend our time doing? Documenting the milestones, talking kids off the ledge, and wrestling little people in and out of things (clothes, carseats, strollers...) Study some hand-to-hand combat and you are as prepared as is possible for raising up some youngin's.
Some of you are out there thinking, "A degree in photography? What a waste of time. Anyone can take pictures." I know some of you are thinking that because A LOT of people say these things to my face. And then they usually say something like, "You know what would make a good photo?" Yes, yes I do. But you are probably going to share with me anyway, right? As needless as I think it is to say, taking pictures is NOT easy. And I am going to prove it.
It all started with this beautiful photo taken by DC Pix Photography in Cincinnati, OH.
Adorable, right? And basically simple to recreate. There are no fancy backgrounds, no lighting tricks, just three adorable siblings stacked on top of each other. I thought, "I am going to do this!" Silly me. I forgot who my kids are.
My mom has fantastic windows in her family room. I use the space as my own personal North Light Studio. She also suscribes to the "sterile hospital chic" school of decorating. Since everything in her house is white or grey, it makes for beautifully light photos that spotlight the children. 
I had my camera, my location, and my three children. I was good to go. Then I had my first problem. Red refused to play my reindeer games. He wanted nothing to do with being photographed. He had a sweet train track set up and he was not leaving it. I decided to just start shooting, get my settings how I wanted them, and hope Red would change his mind.
Above is my test shot. Hmmm...the skin tones looked nice, but there were a couple of problems. You could see the windows when I wanted a simple background, the hallway looked dark and added a weird element. I was trying to convince Babies 1 and 2 that they wanted to scootch over in front of the blank wall when Red decided that he did want to be photographed after all. As I was trying to get the three of them in the shot, Red lunged at the camera and I got this...
And then this...

Okay, forget moving to the blank wall. My standards were dropping rapidly. I just wanted a shot with the three of them together. If they had nice expressions maybe I would not care about the strange background? I convinced Eldest to lay down. Then I placed Red on top. The boys abruptly got a case of the giggles. I stuck Baby Girl on top and sprinted back to the camera.

This was not EXACTLY what I had in mind. "Look at Mommy! Yoohoo! Over here!"

Ack! She fell off!

"Gentle! Gentle with your sister!"
It was time for a new plan. Maybe a new pose would do the trick.

Eldest, sweetie? You are sort of strangling your sister. Look out, you are going to...".

"...fall over." <sigh>

"Hey, Mom? Can we be all done?"

"Yes. We can be done."

What is the moral of the story? The next time someone tells you that they spent 200 bucks on family photos, you tell them they got off cheap. Professional photographers are freakin' saints.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

All Grown Up

I cannot believe that my sweet baby boy is five years old already. It feels like just yesterday we cancelled trips to Target because he cried as we strapped him into his car seat. Haha! Five years and 2 more babies later the thought of cancelling anything because of a crying baby is just silly. Frankly, I become concerned when no one is crying. It usually means that someone is suffocating. We, as parents, are not the only ones who have changed. Since turning five, Eldest is a completely different person.

Bathroom Habits
Eldest has always liked to wait until the last possible moment to master a skill. Being the first born, he had “People” to bring him snacks, move him from place to place, etc. He doesn’t even try something until he has been mulling it over in his mind for months. Little dude did not crawl until he was one year old, walk until he was 18 months, talk until he was two years…I could go on. So, it did not surprise me when Eldest was not interested in wiping his own poopy butt—he much preferred knowing that the job was getting done right by one of his People. My mom finally sat him down several months ago for a serious conversation.

Gummy: When are you going to wipe your own butt?

Eldest: Hmmm…how about when I am five?

Gummy: Okay.

And that was that. Eldest had no interest in wiping himself until the day of his birthday. Now he takes care of it completely by himself. As a matter of fact, if one of us tries to stay and supervise we are promptly asked to leave. “You can go now, Mommy.”

What am I going to do with all of the time that has been freed up by my Eldest wiping his own 5 year old butt? Probably spend it replacing all of the extra toilet paper we are going through now. The kid is nothing if not thorough.

Television Viewing Preferences
We do not have cable. (I will pause while you gasp and exclaim, “Why? For the love of all that is good and holy, WHY?” Then I will answer, “Cuz we are cheap and have a high tolerance for pain.”) We watch plenty of tv, it is just a lot of PBS, streaming Netflix, and DVDs from the library. Husband and Baby Girl were watching a little Rick Steves’ Europe and enjoying a post-nap bottle when Eldest plopped down beside them and said, “Now that I am five, I really enjoy grown-up shows.”

Eldest is basically a 50 year old trapped in a five year old body.

Perceived Responsibilities
In the handful of days since Eldest’s birthday he has begun pushing the shopping cart for me at the store, cleaning up yard debris with Husband, and keeping his brother in line (or trying to anyway. Red is slightly resistant.) I am happy to hand off whatever responsibilities Eldest wants to take on.

Me: It was so nice that so many people gave you presents for your birthday. Now we need to write them thank you notes so that they know how much you appreciate the presents.

Eldest: Okay.

Me: Do you want me to write them and you can sign your name?

Eldest: Nah, I’ll just write them.

Me: (surprised and not just a little thrilled) Alrighty! I usually write a couple at a time…

Eldest: How many do I need to write?

Me: Five.

Eldest: I’ll just do them. Can you help me spell some words?

Fifteen minutes later the kid had all of his birthday thank you notes written, addressed, stamped, and waiting for the mailman to carry away. I am going to go waste time on Pinterest now. I wonder if I can convince Eldest that folding laundry is a big boy chore?

Disclaimer: Eldest would not let me check what he wrote. If you get a thank you in the mail, it was all him. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Top 5 Most Ridiculous Texts I Sent Husband In The Past Five Days

With the power outage, staying with my parents, and my dad being in the hospital, I have had some interesting information that I have needed to pass along to the Husband. Why make a phone call and explain the situation when you can send a ridiculous text, I always say. Here are some of my favorites...

# 5. Neighbors’ tree hit our house. We have no power. Yay.

# 4. Come home! Basement is flooding!
# 3. We are at my mom’s. Come there if you want to see us.

# 2. Come home (to my mom's)! My dad needs a pacemaker. He wants ME to tell my Mom!
 And the absolute most ridiculous text I sent my husband...drum roll, please...
# 1. Remember how you told me NOT to use the washing machine until you hooked it back up or the basement would flood AGAIN? I didn't. :)