Tuesday, June 25, 2013

500th Post - Some Special Family Photos

So this is my 500th post on this blog.  Technically it is my 1512th post....but my public blog, the one I currently write on, this is the 500th post and so I'm excited to be able share something special to me.  I'm friends with a local photographer.  I've mentioned her and shown some of her work on my blog before.  She's the amazing photographer who took Cheetah's newborn shots/ Cheetah's introduction to the family.  She took our Christmas pictures last year.  She took the strawberry field shots.  Last year around this time she went up to Indiana Dunes, one of my favorite spots in the Midwest and did some hour long sessions for clients.  I was in love with them the second I saw them and decided that this year I wanted to go up and have our family pictures taken.  Two months ago she put out the word that she was taking reservations and I signed up.  I knew it would be a stretch but I was hoping that with enough advance notice Dr. J could get the time off.  And miracle of miracle's he did.  At least we thought he did.  He didn't have to ask it just turned out he had that Saturday off.  So we planned a trip to the beach.  Since he was not getting any time off this summer We decided to make it our own little mini vacation.  We were going to drive up Friday after Dr. J finished with work, stay in a hotel over night, play on the beach all day, take photo's at 6:30 and then head home.  It was going to be exhausting, but fun!  The kids were looking forward to it.  I was looking forward to it.  Then tragedy struck.  Friday Dr. J text me to let me know he'd read his schedule wrong and not only was he working, but he was on call.  With the late notice there was no way he was going to get off.  I furiously texted him and Jessica back and forth trying to see if he could get any time off in the weekend.  He couldn't.  Graciously Jessica told me not to worry about it, that I could cancel.  I thought, how can I take family photos without Dr. J, how can I survive a drive, trip to the beach, family photos and a drive home with four kids alone.  I decided that if I couldn't get out of my hotel reservation which was already less then 24 hours away I would go, but if I could I would cancel.  I called them and they said no problem cancelling.  So I texted Jessica, but I just felt sick.  I cried out in the backyard for an hour.  I cried on the couch for an hour more.  Our kids cried when they found out they would no longer being going to beach.  I felt miserable.  I had been so excited, so looking forward to this and now it was gone.  I talked to Dr. J.  In the end he said, "You know you should just go.  I know it isn't exactly what you were hoping for but this can be good too."  So I texted Jessica back asking if it was possible I could come and she said it would be no problem.

Saturday morning I got up and packed the car.  We drove by the hospital to drop off Dr. J's call toiletries that he forgot at home and give him goodbye kisses.  We headed off to the beach.  The three hour drive was a little nuts.  The first two hours were great but the third Cheetah started asking to be let out of her seat and the kids in the back started fighting.  I started to wonder what I was thinking.  Then we got to the beach.  I gathered my four kids, towels, sand toys, and water bottles.  Captain E carried our small cooler loaded with snacks.  The beach was crowded but there was plenty of places to set up.  We had three awesome hours:

We built sand castles. Played in the water.  Buried Captain E.  Buried Captain E and Cheetah in an even bigger hole.  Dug out a huge hole by the surf and tried to make a bath tub.  Splashed each other.  Ate snacks.  Drank lake water (Cheetah...ewe gross!).  Did splits in the surf (Peach).  Practiced our back stroke (Captain E).  Practiced our free style and diving (Captain E and Gigi).  Dragged a gigantic stick into the surf (Captain E, Gigi, Peach, Cheetah).  Danced in the water with a gigantic stick (Peach). Sprayed each other with water guns.  Skipped rocks.  Collected cool looking rocks.  Sun bathed.  Got wet, rolled in the sand, then ran into the lake to clean off, repeat a 100 times.

It was a blast.  My kids all loved the water, the sand, the rocks, the waves, the beach.  They were so happy to be there and I was so happy to make them happy.  They were nice to each other, played well, and for the most part minded the mommy.  Then I looked at my phone and realized it was five o'clock.  I decided to take the kids up to the car, get them dinner, dressed, and back to the beach for pictures.  Good thing too because Gigi had pulled a Tegaderm bandage off her leg and was bleeding everywhere!  We limped up to the van with all our goods.  I was looking for clean water and some toilet paper to clean off her leg when my phone rang.  "Hey," Jessica said, "Where are you?"  "Oh just standing by the car, getting ready to get my kids dressed."  "Oh," she says, "My session finished a few minutes early.  Do you want me to come over and help you get the kids ready?"  "What time is it?" I asked.  Turns out my phone hadn't adjusted to the time change and it was actually 6:15.  OH BOY!

So Jessica came over.  She helped dress my daughters.  She combed their hair and put their barrettes in.  She laughed with me when I realized I'd forgotten Captain E's underwear and he was going to have to go commando.  She handed me tp as I cleaned Gigi's bloody leg off.  She held up a towel to protect my privacy while I stripped in the parking lot.  No way I was going back in those bathrooms!  Sand, beach, lake water, hundreds of visitors, they just were not the best.  She waited with my kids while I rounded up a ranger that could put a real Band-aid on Gigi's bleeding leg that once I cleaned I'd just covered with Vaseline and a piece of tp.  Then she carried my kids with me up hills and through sand.  She is an amazing photographer and an awesome friend.  We took pictures on the dunes and in the water.  My kids were serious, they were laughing, they were cracking up and being silly.  After she took me back to the van, helped me get the kids all tucked away and then headed off to find her next appointment.  Captain E told me in the car coming home, "I just hope some of those goofy ones turn out."  We drove the three hours home stopping only twice, once for Gas, food, and a potty break, and then a second time so Gigi and Peach could pee on the side of the road just 2 miles from a rest stop because they just couldn't hold it a second longer.  Everyone was happy but exhausted when we pulled in at 11:30.  Today I got a Facebook sampling of some of the shots she took.  I actual got teared up looking at them.  Sure I'm a little sad Dr. J couldn't be there with us.  Jessica joked we should Awkward Family Photo vignette him into the corner, but I AM IN LOVE WITH THESE SHOTS and so glad that we had the opportunity to take them.  They were SO WORTH the drive.  I'd like to point out that these are after a three hour drive, three hours in the sun playing on the beach, with not a speck of makeup.  Either I'm a model or Jessica is a wizard photographer ;-)  Man I love them!  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do because they are going to be our Christmas Card shots and I can't wait to get some put up in my house!  I love them, I love them, I love them, I do!!!!

Jessica teased me that these were a great representation of my life, and I said, "Oh you mean Dr. J is at work and my kids are acting crazy."  "No," she said, "just you being a mom."  You know both of us are right.  These are a great microcosm of my life.  Busy, crazy, beautiful :)

Photos taken by Jessica Vaughn Photography


  1. They are gorgeous photos!!! Look so beautiful, and happy!

  2. Oh, and I love the job you did of coordinating everyone's outfits!!!

  3. These are great Crystal! Beautiful, beautiful!

    I have to compliment the outfits too. Very stylish :)

  4. absolutely beautiful photos! She did a wonderful job!

  5. You guys are all so beautiful! I wish Jessica lived next to me. ;)

  6. Beautiful photos! This post brought tears to my eyes. Well done to the photographer and YOU.

  7. Oh so very lovely! I'm so happy I was the Mom you called to cry with as your plans fell apart and so happy you decided to brave it as the mom overwhelmed and alone. I have so many memories of similar adventures with all of you kiddoes alone!



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