Christmas Card Pics 2015, a personal confession.

It's that time of year kiddos....Christmas card picture time.  The moans and groans and sighs can be heard a mile away.  My kids are such complainers.  Oh wait, maybe it's not the kids.  Maybe their mom is completely neurotic about this.  I'm not sure how that could be, I mean I'm the most laid back mom on the planet.  No type A personality whatsoever.  And pictures that about 75% of the people we send them to only see this one picture a year.....who cares??? It's just a picture.

Totally not true.   Typically the time line goes like this.   I stress like a crazy person and spend way too much time just  choosing 4 outfits that color coordinate  and fit all kids perfectly.  This takes about a day of my time, or 5  or 6 (or months but who is counting) and then I call my wonderfully talented photographer friend the week before in a panic about being ready in time.   Either that or I've been so neurotic about outfits that I call the already mentioned awesomely talented photographer  friend and ask if she has any spare time to take pics, like tomorrow,  because I just now have outfits put together and can get haircuts done immediately.  And so it goes..... and pictures are taken.  And  I spend another day or two (or 20) choosing a card and we are complete.

So here is the play by play.  By some stroke of amazing luck, or moment of Zen shopping with with my Dad's friend, I secured all the outfits in one day, with little effort.  Well I thought...it's been the most beautiful fall ever.  I bet I can take pictures this year.  And today was it.  Lot's of prepping the kids, since they LOVE picture taking so much.  It's probably not the picture taking itself if I'm being honest.  It's really all about me, and the insanity I create getting ready for pictures.    Prep one, Callies hair.  Good grief that girl has a lot of hair and we spent days discussing, or possibly arguing about how it would be.  Isn't this my choice?  We are talking one day a year.  It ended up being a compromise reached at the last minute.  So she has to get ready first.  Then she was too hot with her her hair down but I wouldn't put it up until the last minute.  Seriously Callie "go outside and sit in the cool air."  I'm in my underwear mom.  "It's fine Callie, no one will see you."  What mom says that?  Me, on picture day.  Anna is next.  Hair curled, dressed, ready to go.  "My face itches."  Are you kidding, your fine, you can itch it in a couple of hours.  Good grief.  Just don't mess up your hair.  Carter, hair combed, hair sprayed.  That kid has a lot of hair too.  Do not, under any circumstances, ruin your hair Carter.  Just sit and don't move.  I told you we would go to Ande's after if everyone cooperates.  Yes I'm the mom that bribes, but only for Christmas card pictures (Ha, ha.)  Callie "you said we could go to Sugar Shack."  Anna "you said we could stay up in the dark and make s'mores at the fire pit."  Geez,  I can't even keep track of my bribes.  Come on kiddos, let's just pull it together, for mom.It   will just take a minute, or a couple, or so.  Did I mention I made Jack wear jeans?  The kid only puts them on once a year for this picture of mine, he hates them.  So I had a pair that did not exactly fit him.  When he came down the steps walking like a zombie, I just said, "good luck sitting in the car!"  I'm heartless.
And off we go to take pictures.  I can see Jack's face in the rearview mirror.  Poor kid.  And I literally grab the wheel and start laughing hysterically.  And 4 faces look at me wide eyed and intently.  Some asked "mom are you crying?"  No I say, I'm laughing to myself.  Holy cow, want to throw off your kids, use that line.  I proceeded to talk about Jack having no blood circulation to his legs but it was totally fine, he didn't need those legs for swimming, or walking for that matter.  And so it went.  And I took about 100 pictures, and then I swore I would never do this again.  And trying to be funny I told them this was not working out and we would have to try again tomorrow.  They are way too smart for that line of bologna.   No one even fell for it.  I didn't either.  And I am eternally grateful for the next 364 days we have off until Christmas card picture time again.  And most likely I will send my kids off with my friend, while they are super kind and polite and the perfect picture takers, despite being in jeans that are too small and itchy dresses.  Did I mention that Carter wore Jack's shoes  today because I didn't have any for him?


On being thankful for motherhood......

What a weekend.  A swim weekend for us.  Brian and I divided the weekend into shifts, the best way to attack these weekends.  Yesterday I was with the boys, and relied on his reports on Callie for the morning session.  And with every text I rejoiced, and felt the emotional pull of missing her swims.  But the afternoon with the boys was amazing.  Lots of great times for each.  A first good meet for Jack which in of itself was a mothers dream.  Watching him touch the  wall, hearing his coach yell in praise for him, throwing my arms up in the air in my own celebration.... all happening at the same time.  Then lots of hugs and smiles from a kid who has been ridden with anxiety for so long.  And my other  baby just at the beginning of it all, skipping along without a care in the world,  but doing great.  I was on top of the world.
Day 2:  I'm the morning mom with Callie.  Drama, I did not bring the right snacks, there is not enough time between events.  But first swim is awesome and we are all smiles.  And the morning continues on cue, love/hate, success, fatigue, hunger,happiness.  It's a storm, but do you stand at the front door super excited to watch, or run to the basement in fear.    Motherhood, you stand in the front row and watch and yell and scream and cheer for her and tell yourself you will ground her later for not nice words.
Now you rely on texts from your husband about boys.  Not quite the same day as yesterday.  Maybe they need their mom.  Would they be doing better if you were there?  Probably not, I don't know.  But girls are using every minute of your time for themselves. Which means obviously they need you too.  Motherhood....
So the afternoon proceeds.  Boys do OK at meet, girls learn to sew and perform a new song on the piano.  But at the end of the night, a group of tired kiddos goes to bed completely satisfied with their weekend.  So motherhood, it's the most amazing thing I've ever done.  And the hardest thing I've ever done.  And hands down the most emotional thing I've ever done.  And I love it.