fugitives...from sanity (aka family pics!)

in typical ridiculoUS  fashion, we finished up shooting sessions from layla's BABY PLAN with our photographer 2 weeks ago. yes that right, the same package we bought for layla as a newborn was still active because we are procrastinating sluggards and getting ready for these sessions (clothes, makeup, hair, bribes, prayers) typically gives me a raging case of stressfarts. seriously (not about the farts), as much as these are PRICELESS family pics and it is always worth it, the very mention of scheduling them strikes fear into my heart. the task of readying the family for this session was a huge chunk of what sent me into this charming fit.

but despite the fear, we HAD to use our last session. i mean, the last time we took family photos with all 4 of us was in october of 2011 (i just clicked that link and NOJUSTNO they were never that teensy and now i must go cry into some old soiled onsies...why do they have to be soiled? I DONT KNOW)! then there was a mini little session with just layla (which turned into lay + mommy due to her being an unstoppable 18 month old at the time) but nothing with all of us in over two years.

we finally we decided it was time to book our faithful amazing photographer, brenna when i looked around one day and decided we were all fairly cute and good looking in this season and that it deserved to be captured. if i hadnt set it up for this year i probably wouldnt have thought about it again until puberty hit and my kids turned into the terrifying monster versions of themselves on their way to looking like their adult selves (do you remember what puberty did to JTT?!?!?  it's a season best left undocumented).

as usual, it was stressful. the kids were turdible (terrible turds) the entire time and we forgot to bring edible bribes. (business pitch idea: Edible Turdible Arrangements. they deliver chocolate in fun shapes to keep your kids from breaking your brain at important public functions).

in case my psychiatric episode from earlier in the day plus kids behaving wildly wasnt challenging enough, the universe stepped in and decided to involve law enforcement.

we were at the local highschool. it was a tuesday afternoon. there are practices going on and student and parents walking around the complex the entire time. in the midst of this are my kids, running away at every opportune millisecond that our attention was focused on the other child, changing an outfit, or trying not to look as doubllychinned and enraged as i really was. they are kicking off shoes and playing in the long jump sand pit. they are squealing with glee, yelling with rage and generally being about what you'd expect 7.5 combined years worth of lil' dukes children to act like.

i am wrestling layla into a new outfit and i notice this lady coming up out of the corner of my eye. i am wondering if she is a school official and maybe we are in trouble or something and not allowed to take pics here. but i kind of ignore her because whatever, i barely have enough emotional energy leftover from the day to keep my heart beating and sphincters closed, much less chit chat.

so she's talking to me as i fight the blonde raptor (the female) and i realize she's asking about the kids or something. so i actually listen to what shes saying. "i just heard the babies screaming and saw them running and i just wanted to make sure everything was okay."

so i distractedly repy, "oh yeah, theyre fine, just totally disobeying while we try to take family photos." i go back to heart-wrenchingly difficult task of stuffing a foot that is alternately limp and useless and stiff with rage into the depths of a tiny sparkly motorcycle boot.

an errant thought drifts past: i used to dream of being an astronaut. but this is my life now...

the lady isnt going away. so i tranfer .001% of available neurons over to her. i look at her really for the first time and she is holding something long and wood-colored like a bat. it appears to be a piece of wood. she is now saying, "well that little boy over there isnt wearing any shoes and i just got worried because it is chilly out here and the babies werent wearing shoes." 

me: "yeah, he keeps taking them off to go disobey me on fun new surfaces...like sand." i'm thinking, "hes also throwing sand if youd like to go see more of this earth-shatteringly  interesting adventure."

and it is dawning on me that she suspects we are some sort of criminals.  she has foraged for a piece of likely timber has wielded it as she approached me in anticipation of this encounter.

in case she needed to bludgeon we, the parents, with something and RESCUE THE BABIES. 

she keeps talking nonsense to me where she is somehow trying to maybe convince me that she cares more about my kids than i do. i have nothing to give her (remember, we forgot out bribery candy or i would have thrown some skittles toward her like, "HERE ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?!?! YOURE THE BABIES' PROTECTOR!" (this chick could really use an Edible Turdible Distraction).

i just say "yeah theyre fine. family pictures. disobeying."  like 8 more times and then stop noticing her presence. i am too distracted and stressed to even be as annoyed as i should be or to mess with her.

so about 45 minutes later daylight and sanity are fading all around us when a policeman pulls up. as soon as he gets out (on the other side of a chainlink fence...so i guess he would have let us get away or had to shoot) he is kind of laughing to himself. brenna goes up and i hear him say, "family photos?" and she shows him her camera and some of the pictures (networking opportunity!). i hear him saying, "yeah, i figured that's what you were doing but had to check it out since "she" reported it."

it hits me that the chick had gone ahead and CALLED THE POLICE on us. just to be sure. 

now, if youre thinking, "well at least she bothered to get involved, she was a good citizen!" to you i say NO NO NO. this goes way beyond that into some weird fear-everything, see-evil-everywhere pathos. the same sort of lunacy that sees any man with any child and thinks "pedophile!"  being smart and aware: 100%  awesome. being constantly afraid and projecting those fears onto every situation: NO. she came up and TALKED TO US. we were clearly the parents. and if we were going to abuse our kids why would we pick the local high school on a tuesday?  this chick was straight loco and refused to use her common sense and instead went into boogey man mode.

people, turn off the Law & Order and the Dateline!

i retroactively wished i had realized fully what was happening when she had been there with us.i would have loved to be like, "judah, layla, this lady wants to rescue you from our clutches. you want to go with her?" they would have lost their little minds and either attacked her or started bawling. i could have had a lot more fun with this nosey nellie if only i hadnt been at threat level midnight in my own brainspace.

ah, humans, you so funny.

so anyway, see if you can spot any stress-veins or hysteria eyes in these charming pics (spoiler: you cannot. because brenna is a magi).

i'm convinced this is CGI. this moment never happened. just lots of millions of physical restraining.

they were probably trying to bite our faces off so that could get 20 extra seconds of bleacher jumping time.

 fly, tiny hipster, fly.

 baby vampire swingin out at sunset.

 "im gonna make your hair turn gray and turn your brain to jelly! LOL"

 ok fine. she's amazing.

the dance moves of a very white child

um. yes. all sorts of yes and yes and yes.

she's very much the alpha

judah, please, do not take that shoe off. it attracts crazy people!

the way that she flips her hair gets me overwhelmed

the smiles. but ohhhhh so much angry at these little wiggle beasts.

dangit. i like them again.

"its your fault these kids are such savages. the disobedient sperms are the fastest ones!"

 frisky under the bleachers in the Jesse Dukes DoMe (modern family, anyone?)

kiss into complacency and then STRANGLE with the other hand

this was supposed to be the main outfit. we forgot it until 10 seconds before sundown. curses. luckily this pic is my favorite.

lights out on this freak show.

okay so that was hard, but, yes, yet again, COMPLETELY worth it for these memories (especially the crazy authentic/accurate ones of nutty children everywhere).


  1. Edible turdible arrangements!!! I'm so in love w your photographer. Recently we were disappointed so I've decided I'm gonna drive down from VA and use Brenna B next time! A visit to fam + photo session. And what a psycho lady. I have a friend and cops were called bc her special needs child was hitting herself in a Costco parking lot and the dad was restraining her.

  2. Gorgeous pictures! That woman... just plain nutso! I mean, what???

  3. Erica Gladden12/5/13, 7:13 PM

    This post had laughs, crazies, and beautiful people like woah, but the Modern Family reference! Jesse Dukes DoMe. Hahahaha! "I was never good with spacing."