Just from the title you may be wondering just exactly what I have to tell you. Truth of the matter is I just returned from taking my five perfect children to the mall where we went to JCPenney Portrait Studio. We have a membership there where if purchased you don't have to pay sitting fees for two years. The price of the membership is about $30.00, so for how often I go I get my $30.00 back in one sitting with three kids getting their photos taken.
Things were going great at home, all the kids had been freshly showered or bathed. So we didn't have any dirty feet or faces, all the hair was nicely combed and they were all dressed and we left in time to get their right before the appointment time. Although when we parked the car and four of my children had jumped out and ready to go in, I was starting to unbuckle the baby to place him in the stroller ---- " Where's the diaper bag?" I asked. This was an important object for me to not be without, because it had the coupons to get portrait sheets at $3.99 a piece and I had done an online survey with a $3.00 off coupon and my membership card to waive the sitting fee was in it also. Not to mention all the necessities to keep the baby happy and fed. I do nurse my baby but occasionally like today when I'll be away from home in a store by myself with five kids I like to have a bottle on hand too!! And so I knew the little guy was about to get quite fussy if I didn't feed him soon. So I told all the kids to get back in the car upon which I hear lots of mumblings and I don't wannas. They eventually sat down buckled back up and we left the parking lot to head for our home which is less than a mile away. I call the studio on my cell phone and let them know I had to head right back home to get all these things I had left.
I get home and start panicking when I can't find my diaper bag where I thought I'd laid it down, which would have been in the kitchen on one of the chairs. I glance toward my living room and didn't see it there I walk to my bedroom and whew, I see it. Pick it up and go out the door back to the van. (Because I drive one, 2003 Chevy Venture that is White) We drive back to the mall after waiting to get on the main 'drag' that goes over to the mall for about 7 minutes. I was facing west trying to make a left at an intersection with only two stop signs, which happened to be the direction I was stopped at.
Why is it when I'm in a hurry and normally it would take 5 minutes to get to the mall this time it took like 15 minutes. AAGGH .
So we park the car again all the kids jump out I get the stroller out and set it up and then proceed to unbuckle the little guy and notice that he was asleep. So I pick up the stroller and collapse it down and just shove it in the front of the van so I don't have to open the rear hatch again. So I take out the carseat and carry him in like that. We get to the studio which at the moment was so crowded with people that were either waiting to pick up a picture or waiting to pay for their session.
I fill out their form that asks for name, address, membership number and who under 18 will be photographed. My kids are behaving somewhat okay, the baby is still asleep, and I'm thinking this isn't so bad. WHAM!! wake up--- Thomas my two year old just wants to run to the drinking fountain located at the front doors, so I had to chase him down a few times. Like literally -- I was running in the store to catch him, while he was laughing as hard as a kid while running away from mommy. I catch him and finally after waiting for about 5 - 10 minutes we were able to go in a get our portraits taken. I have 5 kids but only photographing 3 this go around, plus I was ready to pose with them individually so we could have some mommy and me pictures. By now I've completely lost track of the time -- don't know how long the actual session lasted it was probably only 30 - 45 minutes but seemed like an hour or two.
Since the studio has gone digital they like to "enhance" a bunch of the pictures and then they download them to the viewing screen where I can then take a look at them. So after the session is over we have to wait for at least another 10 -15 minutes for this to take place. So we're waiting the kids are getting anxious to leave no longer sitting still -- the two year old says " I want to go on the alligator" aka escalator. Finally I let my four children go to the escalator holding hands so they can "ride it". They were to go down from here walk around at the bottom and come back up. Well they did exactly what they were told and then some. They did this at least 2 times but maybe as many times as 5. So while they were doing this I was in the studio still and waiting for the download to happen, noticed the children hadn't come back yet and went to check on them. As I was walking to where they should have been but couldn't exactly see it yet, I heard my two year old down on the first floor, saw my son and youngest daughter running from the one side to the other to come back up. I heard my 8 year old running in her "shoes" ( The college students that lived next door moved out and were going to donate them to either the trash or DI and of course my girls had to grab them because they were cool, not their size and tons of colors on them. They come back up and I met them on the far side as they got to the top. My two year old starts running back to the other side while screaming "do it again, do it again!" I had my baby in my left arm facing forward and started running after my two year old. I grabbed his arm and he wasn't very happy, but by this time I wasn't either. We get back inside the studio and waited for a total of about 30 - 45 minutes at least just to see the pictures.
Well the time arrived that I coudl view our portraits on the computer screen, kids running around being loud -- and I just seemed to tune them out -- what could I possibly do ? Okay so yeah I should have had a helper with me to help corral them but I didn't. The baby is now back in his infant seat and strapped in while one of my daughters is feeding him a bottle he ate a total of 8 ounces really quickly it seemed. ( I guess it was quick compared to the time we had to wait.) I had a hard enough time trying to decide which portraits I wanted and what sizes. I finally figured things out but not too soon though. Paid for my purchase and picked up some of the baby that had come in, and then we were off!!
By now the kids are whining as loud as possible about how hungry they were and still driving me crazy!! We get to the car -- whew, I made it without killing anyone. Next time I go to do a group picture "daddy" will be present to help contain the kiddos. By the time I got to the car and saw what time it was we had been in the portrait studio for a little over two hours, but it seemed like I was there for at least a week!! And that was my afternoon at the mall.