You'd think I'd move on from this subject already. Well, you'd be wrong.
One of the other hallmarks of our trips to see Grandma and Grandpa in Wisconsin is the group photo. Grandpa is a really talented phtographer. He used to have a darkroom to process B&W, and has taken some truly amazing portraits of the family over the years. My favorite is one of Monkey's dad as an overalls-clad kid, sitting on leaves on a fall day. I've always loved B&W pictures because of their focus on the emotions of the subjects. I digress.
Anyhoo, we seem to have established a tradition of Grandpa taking a family photo with each visit. I love the concept, but historically these photo sessions have had some issues.
The picture-taking often get pushed back during the visit, to the point that if it's gonna happen before we leave, it ends up being after we've spent 3 hours loading the van and the kids are running around like meth addicts because they know there's a 4-hour car ride in their immediate future.
Then there was one glorious incident when a then-teething, infant Monkey spontaneously projectile vomited all over herself and me, about 42 seconds before the photo was to take place. We had a change of clothes for HER in the diaper bag... sadly, *my* clothes were in my suitcase.
In the van.
Under the 9 tons of crap we just spent 3 hours loading.
(That trip also included an emergency stop at a gas station bathroom. On a holiday weekend. In 90+ degree heat. Because teething babies POOP LIKE FIREHOSES and no way, no how, were we staying in the car with *that* little present.)
I digress again. Whoops.
So, given the history of photo sessions not quite working as planned, I tried to alter the pace. This time, I suggested we do the picture BEFORE loading the van, with hopes I wouldn't be a sweaty, crazy-haired mess yet again, captured for all posterity in my frenzied glory.
And also, in case of any explosive bodily emissions, we still had easy access to the suitcases.
(Momma learns from her mistakes, folks.)
It also seemed fortunate that we had the girls dressed all cute for church that morning, revisiting their Easter outfits for the sake of oohs and aahs in grandparent-land. I was actually thinking I had this one IN THE BAG, man...
Until we got home from church and once again the kid scattered like meth addicts. I swear, they must SMELL the camera coming or something.
In the time it took to get the camera, tripod, and location set up the older child had already changed into a t-shirt and leggings and managed to do something truly spectacular to what was a good hair day.
Monkey then protested because her sister wasn't still dressed up. Madonna Mia!
We somehow got everyone corralled, and tried to take the photo... Of everyone looking into the sun. Posterity would surely think this was one squinty bunch.
So we shifted the set-up which of course takes another, I don't know, HOUR to get the kids looking in the right place. At the same time. Ha HA HAHAHA. Where's the Tylenol?
Note: it's much easier to take a family photo when at least one member of the family CANNOT WANDER OFF YET. I'm just sayin'.
We got a few "close enough" pictures and scattered to chase suitcases and snuggly blankies and all the other 9 tons of crap that must go with us wherever we go. There were at least two bags* that were "just in case" that were never even opened.
*Those bags were NOT brought by me!
We had pushed back Monkey's afternoon nap in hopes that she would just zonk for the whole car ride home. However, the photo session ran longer than planned. We still had to load all 9 tons o'crap.
I went to change her diaper and outfit for more comfortable car seat travels. By then, we were nearly at the END of her normal nap time... and she was still awake. Sorta.
One of her more endearing qualities is that Monkey makes it really easy to tell when she needs to sleep. Often, she will just say, "I need to go crib" or "I'm tired" and that takes the guesswork out of it. But even when she doesn't say it...it is remarkably easy to see when her brain has just ceased to function.
The lights are on, but no one's home, and she says and does some truly funny stuff. She also apparently loses her bone structure and just kinda...flops and falls for no apparent reason.
We use several expressions to point out this stage of nap-readiness:
"Say goodnight, Gracie," is a favorite because she will usually reply, "Goodnight, Gracie."
Another: "Monk can't take your call right now, but please leave a message..."
A more recent addition to the repertoire was repeated back to me, in her own unique style...
Getting her changed was a challenge, because she was squirming all crazy and flopping around. I remarked (sort of to myself) that we REALLY needed to get in the van so she could nap.
She asked why (of course!).
Mom: "Because, honey, you have now ceased all semblance of rational thought. You need your nap."
Monkey: <with a big grin> "Yep... I LEAVE DA BUILDING!!!"
Without missing a beat, I replied:
"Yes, honey. You have certainly LEFT THE BUILDING."
She was snoring before we even finished filling the gas tank.