We finally did it. We went and got family pictures taken at a studio. (Yay us!)
I've been meaning to do it "someday" ever since Abby was born, but it always felt like too much to handle.
Tom was determined, however, and took the initiative to set an appointment. If he hadn't, I surely would have whined my way out of being dragged out to the mall today. I was not a happy camper.
Tom was prepared for that, too, and arranged, in secret, to have my sister meet us at the mall. It was a wonderful surprise to see her there, and a big relief to gain an extra set of hands. Plus, she and I got a chance to pose together, just the two of us, for a couple of shots.
The appointment was at 12:20, which was not ideal, but really, when would "ideal" be? Michael and Abby are on alternating nap schedules, so there was no way not to infringe on somebody's sleep. Unfortunately, while Abby's naps can often be put off, we were faced with the double-whammy of delaying nap and lunch time. Bad move.
She did get a squeezie before we left, but we were a bit late to the studio, and then had to wait to be taken back. It must have been after 1:00 pm by the time we even got started. Abby was somewhat amused by the props we offered her to hold, but she was not at all interested in standing or sitting still with them, which was kind of necessary.
Michael, on the other hand, was in a daze. We had to wake him to get out the door even close to on time, and he seemed eternally confused about where he was and how he got there. He was a perfect little baby, like he always is whenever I take him somewhere new. The trade-off with him though, is that when I get perfect behavior, I totally lose out on personality. He may be so taken in by the novel surroundings that hunger and other discomforts cease to disturb his countenance, but so, too, does positive stimulation. It becomes nearly impossible to coax out of him those 100-watt, dimple-ridden smiles that capture my heart, or the laughs and giggles that come so easily to him when he is happy at home.
As a result, though we all had to work very hard to get them, we did capture a couple of smiles from Abby. Not a one from Michael. His expressions ranged from stoic thinker to complacent dreamer. Oh, well. At least he wasn't screaming. Abby tried that somewhere in the middle of the shoot, but I coaxed her out of it by singing a couple of lines of "All I Want for Christmas" (thank you, Mariah Carey, Jimmy Fallon, and The Roots, for your very excellent video).
But it turned out that the picture-taking was the easy part. It took forever to decide on which pictures to use in the Christmas cards, and then we stupidly waited around for the things to be printed. Abby was completely losing it towards the end, and Michael's continued calmness began to really creep me out, since by this time he was nearly two hours overdue for a bottle. He was bound to break any minute.
I tried pushing the kids around the mall for a bit, but the double stroller is heavy and unwieldy, and I had missed my lunch, too. I had to sit down before too long. So, Mei Mei grabbed the kids and took them with her to grab some food for us, and the hope was that by the time she got back, Tom would be done with the transaction and we could all go home, eat, and put Abby down for a much-needed nap.
It didn't quite work out that way, so we fed Abby her lunch in the stroller while we nibbled at the fries that came with ours on a bench just outside of the Picture People place. And waited.
Want to guess what time we finally all rolled out of there? 3:15 pm, according to the clock in the van. My eyes about popped out of my head. And, of course, this meant that any hope I had for keeping the kids to some kind of schedule today had flown right out of the window.
Tired as she was, Abby did not nod off in the car, and initially fought her nap. Michael did fall asleep, but really needed a bottle, so it was somewhat of a relief that our arrival home roused him from his power nap. That, of course, meant that we had to first give him a bottle (and Abby a quick bit of soothing) before the rest of us hungry lions could finally sit down and inhale our now-cold lunches.
At least he waited until we were finished eating to have his blow-out (blessedly, the only one of the day). However, it was a doozy. We're talking down his pant-leg and sock, and on to the high-chair footrest below. Ick. I suppose it was a good thing that his bottle was delayed, or we might have been dealing with that in the middle of picture-taking instead (a horror scenario that had crossed my mind many times).
Predictably, Michael refused his nap when it came time to take it, fought the inevitable for perhaps 40 minutes, and slept for all of 30. As for Abby, she went down like a rock before too long, but when 6:00 hit, I felt compelled to wake her, or face an unenforceable bedtime. She was not pleased with me for waking her, and I felt horrible about it.
However, she was in pretty good spirits once she saw her Mei Mei, and got a snack to munch on. She even humored me with the appropriate response to "Cheese!" when I snuck up to her favorite hiding place with my camera.
If only it had been so simple in the studio. Though- to be fair- nice as her smile is here, it's not nearly as genuine as the ones we finally got out of her for the Christmas pictures. I was pretty pleased with those faces, in the end.
And while I had the camera out, I figured I'd document Michael's teething progress.
It would have been nice if the focus had been on Michael's mouth, rather than his eye, but- meh. That's what happens when you have a wiggly baby, determined to squirm out of the frame. You can still see Big Meanie Tooth pretty well there (on the right) and the little bud about to appear to the left of the Original Front Tooth.
In the end, he was the real troublemaker at bedtime. Abby was down by 8:00 pm, but Michael showed no signs of being ready until close to 9:00 pm (and I had to make sure to fit in one last bottle that I couldn't really give him until 8:30 anyway, since the one previous was given at 6:00), and still put up a fight when it came time to get some shut-eye.
But now, the house is quiet, my blogging is done, and I am tired. What are the chances that I could go to bed on time and still sleep through until the morning (didn't happen last night, but to be fair, I fell asleep a little too early)? Eh, probably not good, but maybe I'll try anyway.