Friday, November 29, 2013

Seven Quick Takes: Anticipating Advent

It wouldn't be a post-Thanksgiving quick takes without a little eye candy from the big day! We are blessed to be able to partake in the festivities with the Hubs' family. This allows us to bask in the doublemint gum of blessings - I don't have to cook, and we get to relish the leftovers for days to come. Mmmm....

Unfortunately, part of leaving the "office" job for a "service" job is that I don't get many paid holidays. So, I'll be back at work today and setting this post to automatically post while I'm away. No whammys, no whammys, no whammys....

Said eye-candy. No crazy family photos like Jen's this year...yet.

1) The boy doesn't sit still long enough for pictures! 2) That salad was my contribution. Nothing else.

Speaking of family photos, did I vent about the great horror known as in-store photo studios? No? Well, let me fill you in! I vented on Facebook already, so if you caught the first act there, please continue to Take 3. On Sunday, we went to go get our family photos taken, because why not go on Sunday when the family is already dressed up? Apparently, although our session was scheduled for 12:20, perfectly nestled between brunch and naptime, the studio was running "a half hour" late. I ask why we didn't receive a call to tell us that, and get a response of "well, you know how it is with kids -sometimes we get it right away, sometimes we don't." Yeah, I know. Which is why I'd schedule more time. And call the next client if I were running late.

Ok, since we are "in-store" we can finish our shopping first, though the plan was to take the shots and then let the Hubs walk the kids around shopping while I picked out the poses. Fail #1. We return from finishing our shopping on time to be ushered into the studio, only to be ushered back out because we weren't who they thought we were, and well, that family was there now. Really? Ok, I agree being told it's just a couple shots....or maybe 4 backgrounds and a billion poses later. We are now at an hour after our appointment time. Let me tell you how two toddlers like that one. Fail #2. Their excuse? It's Sunday. Really? It seems if you know that day is hectic, you'd have more than one photographer and one cashier. Fail #3.

We are in the studio all of 10 minutes. Maybe 15 at most. Let me tell you, this photographer doesn't know how to work with toddlers. There is their initial fail. Why pull out your toys in the last 2 minutes of the session? I'm guessing you would have had their attention for all your sessions if you would just start with that. At this point I am past my boiling point, and while we try a few different poses, their suggestion that we try a few with "just the kids" sends me over the edge and I book out. You are telling me that you can't keep my kids' attention while I am holding them, but you want me to let them loose and then give that a shot?

I believe the Hubs' response was "we are NEVER doing that again, even if someone paid us $1000 each!" True dat, Hubs, true dat.

While we are so blessed to be with the Hubs' side of the family, my mom lives all the way out in Oregon, and given the greedy-fang-pricing of the airlines, there are years that she cannot afford to make it out here for the holidays. Since she was just out here for Li'l G's birthday, this would be one of those years. Not only could she not make it for Thanksgiving, but it looks like Christmas is a no-go based on the price gouging of airline fares as well. We did happen to send a little care-package her way complete with Charlie Brown Holiday CD, Pumpkin Cheesecake cookies and a Solar Powered Dancing Turkey, because, well, that's how the pilgrims would have done it, right?

Speaking of difficult holidays, I am always reminded that while we celebrate our blessings, there are so many who either cannot recognize theirs or are in the midst of their own pain and suffering, making rejoicing so difficult. I've been there myself. My dad died shortly after the new year almost seventeen years ago now, so those first few holidays are hard. For some reason, this year I was acutely aware of all those who were struggling with their first holiday post-loss. Maybe it's the number of people who have shared their grief, or maybe now that I am blogging more I am more aware of the sorrows and struggles of others. Either way, I pray that all those who are struggling remember that even in the midst of life's storms, there can be some peace throughout, and always, joy awaits us. Please join us in praying for all those struggling through these next months - they say this is the hardest season for those grieving and those with depression. Let's storm heaven, huh?

I'm ready for Advent now!!

Our Advent Calendar mantle...just needs candy and a few other touches to finish!

While I have to work today, it will be a quiet day with no ladies at home. I'm thankful that the Iowa vs. Nebraska game will be on network television. I can have that on in the background while I get some things preparing for Advent at work. Let's go Hawks!

I have to admit that we are completely disengaged from any Black Friday shopping this year. The fact that we might need to go out to get milk (and really get milk, not use that as code for shopping like some people...Nichole, cough cough) even gives me the shakes. We are so disengaged, I haven't even been looking online. I suppose it helps if we knew what we were looking for, but we haven't even been focused on thinking about Christmas gifts yet. We are talking about simplifying, so that is a good thing. What are your goals for Christmas this year? Do you have any gifting rules to keep it all in balance?

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