Tuesday, November 5, 2013

buckets full

The entire Universe has been mocking me.

Sunday something called the Two Cities Marathon ran right by my house. An entire marathon. And the streets were shut down until 3pm for said runners. All day long. We had to drive wild and crazy routes to get out of our subdivision and back home. And I was pissed...because I can't even run right now. I never realized how much you swing your shoulder- even when walking- forget running. And everyone in all of Fresno ran it. So rude. I miss running so much. It was one of my best friends.

And today, I put this picture on Facebook, because it's awesome.

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And tonight Facebook told me this...

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Yay. The Cookie Monster pic is more popular than 95% of everything else I've posted in the past week. I already knew Cookie Monster was more eloquent and funnier and bluer than me- I just didn't need Facebook to shove it in my face. And PS- I ate BUCKETS of cookies today. Sorry- it's the time of the month when you lock yourself in the pantry and eat the Doritos you uncharacteristically and sneakily bought like a bag of pot in the parking lot at 7-11.

Yesterday we had a family photo shoot for our Holiday cards. I hated it before it started. As I've mentioned before, I wanted that shot- it didn't have to be posed and perfect- but I needed 2 things: we all needed to be in the same frame. No one could look like they were in pain or pissed. 

I'd prefer to give blood than do full hair and makeup on a school day. It's exhausting. I put buckets and buckets of makeup on, and false eyelashes to distract from my bludgeoned Super Cuts hair. A curling iron helped too. Think that is all a bit much just for Family Photos? Talk to me when you're almost 40. I'm hoping by the time I'm 45 I just won't give a crap anymore. Screw the makeup and the false lashes. I'll just wear some pajama jeans, a bump it and call it a day.

We went to the country club down the street from our house. Grey loves it there and they are closed on Mondays so we were free to roam. A photographer Friend met us- I would NEVER subject a stranger to our particular brand of crazy. I'm a Control Enthusiast (I heard that on a commercial- instead of Control Freak and I likey), so my Friend let me set the camera just how I like it. After everything was decided and adjusted- we'd drop the boys in at the last possible second.

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It was horrible. At one point I was laughing and crying hysterically. It was exactly as terrible as I had remembered. 

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The shoot was even physically painful- like when Parker went limp noodle/stiff as a board and then bucked back and hit me on the cheek bone. At some point Greyson, Parker, Michael and I were yelling/crying/and or SCREAMING.

Don't my eyelashes look extra pretty while I make this stupid face?

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And the Perfect Family was within eyesight also doing family pictures. I don't care if they aren't perfect in real life- they are perfect in pictures. They were MOCKING US with their perfectness. They were sitting together perfectly in their perfect way. The photographer would casually adjust them- move your legs this way, sweetie. Turn your head that way. And then not only would the non-screaming children listen, they would comply.

As I am staring at Perfect Family, feeling buckets FULL of mad, I notice something furry and moving....They have their dog at their shoot. THEIR DOG WAS BEHAVING TOO. If Belle or Jack had been with us, that would have been it. I would be in prison now, instead of here complaining writing this blog. I hated them. Every last one of them and their little dog too. They tried different positions and places. Here on the bench. Perfect! Here in the tree! Beautiful! The lighting and the sun was perfect and gorgeous and golden and we were missing it all.

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Parker was probably trying to get down so he could go to the mall to buy a pair of pants that fit.

We have a few almost maybes. I will probably just end up doing an outtake card because it's much more entertaining than a happy smiling perfect family anyway. Take that perfect dog family- we win at funny.

Today I decided to at least get a good picture of the boys together in a picture. I redressed them in their same clothes. I had the help of two Behavior Therapists and for 90 minutes I took pictures.

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This is a good indication of how it went.

And I know that taking littles pictures is really really hard. But trust me- when there are Super Powers involved- it's almost impossible. We are done with the taking of the pictures. My camera and I need a little break.

Tonight we ran out of hot dogs, so I had to waste some of my precious alone babysitter time to go to Trader Joes for our Nitrate/Nitrite free hot dogs. On the drive this song came on...

Oh man... My throat is tight listening to it over and over as I type. For at least today- this song feels like beautiful, hard, exhausting, precious life. It feels like Parenting. It really feels like Life with a child on the Spectrum. Please, please listen to it. And when it got to the lines... 

You can see the summit but you can't reach it 
Its the last piece of the puzzle but you just can't make it fit 
Doctor says you're cured but you still feel the pain 
Aspirations in the clouds but your hopes go down the drain

I lost it. And I rolled down the window and turned on the seat heaters and I cried buckets and sang horribly and I felt and felt and felt. The Control Enthusiast in me needs you to listen to it. I want to know I'm not the only feeler. The only one laughing and crying sometimes all at the same time.

So much Love,


LIKE me more than Cookie Monster on Facebook. 


  1. The days are long with littles...and you and yours have super powers also to deal with. Hang on. You are a good mama. Keep going.

  2. I love the family photos that aren't perfect. They show life as it truly is and not some posed unrealistic shot. You are way too hard on yourself. Relax and enjoy. I know it's difficult but you'll feel so much better.I love your boys photos.

  3. My daughter is a photographer and their Christmas card picture last year ended up being an outtake. I was with her when she did the photo shoot of her girls and it was impossible. The picture she ended up using was of her two year old standing over her sitting five year old, hand raised about to hit her. The five year old is raising her hands in defense and it's just priceless cause she is constantly having to defend herself against her more aggressive younger sister. The caption on the card was "Peace on Earth". I too love the outtake pictures, and your boys are beautiful no matter what! Blessings on you!

  4. Ok I admit that I stole the cookie monster picture for my own Facebook page. But I like you much much more!! Good photos show real life, not some fake posed shot. Your family is beautiful!

  5. I know it felt like perfect family was being perfect AT YOU- but they have their own crap, I promise. I have some really beautiful pictures from when my marriage was falling apart, and we looked pretty freakin' shiny/happy from the outside.

  6. Posed pictures are SO hard with little kids. Doesn't really matter if they have super powers or not. We tried the same thing two years ago with a posed picture with similar results. Last year we just used fun pics taken during the Fall where we caught both kiddos smiling. It's my favorite card to date, and I think whatever makes you smile/laugh and be less stressed is ok...even if it's not the perfect posed family shot. Someday I hope to "get" that shot, but until then, we're still ok. Besides, I think the outtakes are so much better. :)

  7. hang in there! you are a GREAT mama! what laura perry said, above. and what's that leonard cohen line about how the cracks are where the light gets in?

  8. I get it, I get it, I get it. I read your posts and reread every day. It keeps me going. Thank you Thank you Thank you. Definitely like you more than cookie monster !!

  9. Your post with the 80s throwback made me cry. You've heard it before, I'm sure, but it does get better. Thankfully you have your husband to lean on. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  10. Hi Friend :)
    Here is my story for the first family picture: Michael: OOOOWWW! You: Greyson, honey, you can't punch your Daddy in his private parts. That hurts Daddy. Grey: GRRR. Parker: How YOU doin? ;) (head nod).
    I like control enthusiast, too. Let's face it Freak isn't flattering.
    Our family photos are this Saturday. I was going to have a friend do them, but our timing was off. So, I bought a Groupon for Target Studios. They give you TEN minutes - that is ONE ZERO, ten. I do not have any expectations of getting even a near perfect shot. As my little has learned to say "You get what you get & you don't throw a fit" (he actually said that to me the other day). You know me I'm a finer. It's fine :) Two years ago we had a lovely photo of the 5 of us (I have 3 stepchildren, 2 of which are still at home) & I made photo cards to send out. I was sooo proud, until I noticed I fat fingered the word Christmas. Stupid no spell check in those online card designers. My brother in law still wishes me a Merry Chritams. It's fine.
    Love & happiness to you sweet momma! Happy Frank Day! xoxo Jen

  11. I have the same feelings about the Christmas card photos so this year I gave up. We did crazy pics and the card is going to say Merry Christmas from our zoo to yours. It just seems fitting.

  12. Posed family pictures without kids or with kids without super powers are so tricky too! Can't imagine being in your shoes for your family photo op. (although I have a good idea thanks to your post ;)
    Love your posts. Finding the humor always helps. Life sure has challenges, but knowing we're not alone in our struggles is one of the best remedies.

  13. 1. I thought your hair would really look bad. It doesn't! It looks totally fine! 2. Family photo out-takes are WAY better than perfect family shots. For reals. 3) Me love Cookies. Me love Cookie Monster. Me love your human FB posts too!
    I loooove that Howard Jones song too. I'm glad it gave you a good release!

  14. I've loved that song since I was in high school. :) Beautiful tune and lovely lyrics!

    This is my first time commenting (I'm shy), but I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and that I'm a feeler too. Laughing/crying is cathartic! Let it out, sista! Perfect families don't actually exist, as you know. They may take a perfect picture, but they are all just sawdust and smoke inside. But if they actually are perfect, well, they suck, and I'd eye dagger them all day long alongside you.

  15. Chrissy, Thanks for sharing with us. I know it wasn't funny at the time but I hope you can laugh a little now looking back.
    I tried to get a family photo standing in front of a beautiful fall tree last weekend. I was bummed that one son was very grumpy looking (didn't want to be there) and the other was looking down playing with a piece of bark he peeled off a Sycamore tree. Then I realized I could crop them out and salvaged a nice fall shot with my hubby. (although it starts at my neck - lol)
    I like the outtake idea and I still say photo collage of some of your great photos from all year could be an option.

  16. parker trying to get down so he could go to the mall to buy jeans that fit. i just keep re-reading and laughing at that. maybe he could buy some guess jeans.

    i haven't even thought about what we will send out for a christmas card this year. but i love that the other day my husband said "we need to decide what we are doing for a christmas card this year"-- like he EVER has organized getting a christmas card out. what he meant to say was "honey, i know you are busy what with having a 3 and 1 year old grabbing at you ALL day EVERY day, and you do a wonderful job caring for them, enriching their lives, and making sure we all have (semi)edible food to eat every day. I don't know how you do it, and on top of all that, you manage to send out a cute card each year. I appreciate that. Let me know if there's anything i can do to help you get that going this year, since i know you're so busy Moming these days". Ha. susan from pa

  17. Love the outtakes. I have a great one of everyone sitting on me and my oldest strangling the little one, but he didn't care because he was getting some attention finally from him. I think it is even harder on us photographers that have littles with superpowers too. And then all season I get to photograph those perfect families. Ugh! Love cookie monster.

  18. I just got around to reading this post - three weeks later - but I so feel for you. Just the day before you wrote it, we had our family portraits... I finally got a photographer to come to the house because I wanted just one professional photo of the whole family and my husband hates formal pictures (so much that this is the first time since our wedding 14 years ago that I have asked him to get his picture taken). And he behaved wonderfully, and my older daughter (6.5) even did well for the first part, but my littlest (not quite 3) wanted no part of it. She'll be the one squirming to get down, making faces, hiding her face, sucking her thumb, running away. And I look at the photos of other families where everyone looks perfect and I wonder HOW DO THEY DO IT??? But you know, you take such gorgeous candid pictures of your kids. They have been a huge inspiration to me to do better photographing my own children, and thanks to you, I have lots of other candid pictures that I can look at after the kids are finally in bed, and I need to soothe my soul with their beautiful, quiet, images that show the great kids they are without requiring me to do anything but gaze upon them. I hope that's some consolation, because I really do understand wanting just that one picture, and just how hard it is to get it!