We have a really hard time getting nice family photos. McKenna doesn't really like to look at the camera or smile, especially if someone else is taking the picture. She usually scrunches. Brett doesn't really like to look at the camera either (he prefers to close his eyes). So, when I saw a deal on Living Social last spring for a photo shoot, I decided it was probably our best bet to get at least one decent family picture. We bought it, but because of our insane schedules, we hadn't had time to use it yet. So we decided this was the week. We have a few days in CT, weather is usually nice this time of year, McKenna is starting to walk and can do cute things in pictures.... Seemed like a good plan.
We were able to get it scheduled for tomorrow morning, initially, which would have been perfect. Except for the fact that its supposed to pour tomorrow. Last time I looked, 90% chance of rain. Given that our shoot was scheduled to be at the beach, that wasn't such a good plan. We had an unexpected (and devastatingly sad) opening in our calendar for this morning because our town's fantastic, amazing, wonderful, Norman Rockwellian (I know, not a word, but its a true sentiment anyway) Labor Day parade has been postponed due to ongoing issues from Hurricane Irene. (My feelings about that deserve their own blog post, but I have limited time...) Our photographer, Jason, was thankfully able to do this morning, and so we were good to go.
We all got up, got dressed in our coordinated but not "matchy" clothes, and were on our way by 8am. We picked a morning shoot, because mornings are McKenna's best times. She is usually chatty, happy, active, and lots of fun until about 10am, when she starts getting sleepy for her morning nap. Thus, an 8:30am photo shoot should have been perfect. Well, today McKenna began sobbing about five minutes into the drive. Teething, apparently. Chomping on her fingers ferociously. Refusing any and all attempts to distract or soothe. Nothing helped or calmed her down, which is really quite unusual. This lasted pretty much the whole drive. I was nauseous by the time we arrived, anticipating the stress ahead as we were going to be trying to get her to cooperate for even five minutes. Sigh.
We pulled into the driveway for the beach, to find a large gate and a stop sign in front of the entrance. Huh. That was not expected. Jason was pulled over waiting for us. He was equally baffled and said that the parks were supposed to have re-opened post-hurricane last Friday. But alas. It did not appear to be so. Its Labor Day, I would assume people would like to go to the beach... But not Silver Sands State Park, folks. Out of luck. Jason suggested we go to the town beach down the street, and cross our fingers that we didn't get a ticket. We had, of course, specifically picked Silver Sands because of its gorgeous long picturesque boardwalk over the marsh and the beautiful sand and the fact that we didn't have to worry about getting a parking ticket. But instead we drove down the street to see what we could find. Sigh.
We arrived to see all of the trees, grasses, and plants brown and dead from flooding from the hurricane. Jason commented that he couldn't believe how dead everything was, because he had just shot a beautiful set of family photos here two weeks ago, and everything was lush and gorgeous. Apparently outdoor photo shoots after a hurricane aren't a good idea. Sigh.
Well, we got to it anyway. A few awkward shots sitting on a log. McKenna didn't smile, but she surprisingly wasn't screaming, so that was pretty good. Then Brett noticed that she was bleeding. That's right, bleeding. Because bleeding is what you are going for during a photo shoot, right? She sometimes bleeds from the spots where we give her the Lovenox injections, but it hasn't happened in a while. The ridiculous thing about it was that after we gave her her shot this morning (in the stomach), I said, "Let's make sure that we get the Band-aid on tight so that she doesn't bleed during the photo shoot." I really said that. And yet, there we were, mid-photo shoot, with blood all over her stomach and clothes. Sigh.
So, after we recovered from that little disaster, we got some really adorable shots of her by herself, sitting and standing, in the grass (which didn't look TOO dead) and by the fence. She smiled, and was charming. Of course, that's because Brett and I were standing behind Jason acting like lunatics to get her to smile. Much harder to do when we are in the pictures with her. I am looking forward to seeing those pictures. I think they are going to be great. But we do have a million gorgeous pictures of her by herself already... Again, the goal for today was a family photo.
We posed sitting by the fence for a bit, and I think maybe we got one or two good ones. Hard to say. Don't know if McKenna was smiling or scrunching. Don't know if Brett's eyes were open or closed. Don't know if my hair was all blowing in ridiculous directions. Jason was trying to shoot while waving around a plastic bag of Puffs hold her attention and make her smile... So, the jury is still out. I was hoping the next set would be THE ONES.
The sun and the clouds were suddenly perfect for some shots with the water behind us. We hadn't done any water shots yet because the sun was too bright before. We were finally going to try to get my dream shot, the three of us walking in the sand by the water, holding hands. It was the one picture that I had envisioned when we booked the shoot. It was the one I could see hanging in our living room.
And then, right then, McKenna decided she was done. DONE. And by done, I mean inconsolable wailing, tears, runny nose, rubbing her eyes, acting exhausted (at 9:15am, a good hour and fifteen minutes before naptime, mind you). For about 20 minutes. No matter what we did. I might have gotten her calmed down once or twice, but as soon as we moved or began hoping that maybe we could try again, she started back up again. Jason was exceedingly compassionate and patient while we attempted various things to get her back in the game. But it was not to be. Photo shoot time was over. No dream shot, no pictures in front of the waves, and, I'm afraid, no perfect family shot. Sigh.
I'm so disappointed. I shouldn't be surprised, but I guess I hoped with all of our careful planning, maybe, just maybe, it would work out and we'd get what we were paying for. We shall see when we get our proofs. My bet: Awesome, beautiful, adorable solo shots of McKenna, and a bunch of awkward, crazy, funny, imperfect, oddly-expressioned, eyes closed, scrunchy family photos. At least some things in life are always predictable. Sigh.