I love this picture because of everything it isn't.

It isn't anywhere close to the best picture I've taken.

It's blurry

                  It's grainy

          The colors are all off

                           Oh my god, the sneakers.

But when I look at this, all I can see is the sound of laughter in the air, the feel of cold on my skin. I see, with crystal clarity, one gloriously perfect moment that flew past you both so fast it bent and blurred the world in its wake.

In that fleeting moment, I see you. I see you joyous, and I wish you 39 more years of it.

Christmas Cards Make Everything Shit

I find myself as of late completely unable to do most of the things I've always done with effortless efficiency. Like, cook, or write, or take a picture.

It's like one day I woke up and couldn't walk. This has happened before. One day, 18 years ago, I woke up and I couldn't play the piano anymore, and I'd been playing the piano for about 10 years previous, daily. I loved playing the piano, I taught myself and was hideous to watch but delightful to hear, and I just realized that playing the piano is exactly like having sex and funny, because I woke up one day eight weeks ago unable to do that either and oh my god fuck my life.

But the weird thing was that one day I could do it, and the next day I just couldn't. I couldn't read the notes, my fingers couldn't find the keys, the peddles made no sense to me. It was selective amnesia and the part that was selected was the Theme to the Incredible Hulk sheet music. Maybe the world is better off for it, I don't know.

Lately, everything I've cooked has come out all kinds of wrong, and I've blamed the change in altitude and stocked up on Hamburger Helper just in case. And then my camera broke one day, but it didn't break in the traditional way, it broke in the I fucking hate you, motherfucker kind of way that means it actually works perfectly fine, I am just incapable of operating it anymore. Of course, I thought the settings were all jacked up and happily blamed it on that and swtiched my my phone's camera until my brother could come save the day with his amazing skillz of a hacker but oh no, he tells me it's me.  35 years, eight months and 27 days he's known me, and he still thinks it's smart to tell me things like, "It's you, Shannon; you fucked it" like I'd put clip art on it or something.

But it's me, Shannon. I have a brain full of clip art. It's shit and I can't take a damn picture to save my life right now. This is only inconvenient in that it's Christmas-time and if I don't send my inlaws a picture of my children, whom they haven't seen in, oh, years, they will team up to make my life more miserable. So I finally found one night when no one was getting grounded for the next five weeks and no one was biting all the other someones and no one was painting his toenails black and listening to Distingration on loop and I bribed them with treats to put some goop in their hair and stand almost touching each other for a few minutes.

Of course, it didn't work out so well for me, because, yeah. I can't take pictures anymore.
This one would have been really awesome if I'd only remembered how to focus on something. Anything. One thing.
And then this one was pretty awesome with the utter disdain on the face of 1/5th of my family. If only everyone mirrored it. And I'd had the right lighting.
I love this one. I love it so much I want to kiss it. She just decided we needed to pray half-way through, which is only funny because I don't exactly so much believe in god and she's seen me pray exactly never times. But, yeah, completely unsalvageable. Which, #@*%.
Or This
And this one would have been precisely what I was going for. All I had to do was make some really awful joke about myself, throw in one of the more colorful words my kids wish they could say without gnawing on a whole bar of Ivory after, and voila! Shiny happy children! Giggles and laughter! And no ones chonies were showing! It was made of WIN except it's complete shit and I can't use it.

But I have to use something. So you get to vote for one of these two:
Family Christmas Disaster #1
Family Christmas Disaster #2
I know they're not fantastic, but have you ever tried to get a five year old girl to do anything twice? These are what I'm stuck with. Which one sucks less?

I Want To Be A Supermodel

My daughter, on occasion, does a little modeling. By modeling, I mean that she puts on a cute outfit sent to her by my friends that own a preemie and kids boutique online, she gets her hair brushed, and we go do something fun while I shove a camera in her face.

Truth is, this isn't unlike most days, except the "fun" is normally the "grocery store". Well, that and the hair brushing. I try to pick my battles.

I have ridiculously cute children, and I won't for a second play all modest like I don't think they are the most amazingly, heart-stoppingly beautiful things to ever grace this planet. I've often toyed with the idea of getting them into actual, real modeling, and I've gone so far as to ask a friend who knows about this stuff for advice on how to do it. But the thing is, I'm lazy. And I think my kids should get to be, too. And I worry about making them self-conscious about their looks, especially on the cusp of the ugly years.

No child goes through puberty gracefully. Fact. Why do you think the bible stops at Jesus' adolescence and picks back up in his 30's? Zits and oddly dispersed facial hair; no one is immune. Not even someone who thinks they're god.

So for now, I stick with the modeling that helps my friends out, that gets my daughter some stupidly cute outfits, and that lets me dabble in the one and only field of subjects that I am capable of taking decent pictures of. I'm no Secret Agent Mama, but I can take a mean picture of my kids when I have to.

Except when I screw my camera's setting up.

A new dress arrived last week for 3of3 to trounce around in, and this time we actually prepped for some cuteness. I harnessed my inner pageant-mom and subjected my daughter to unspeakable tortures in the name of fashion.

Making the best of it Peek a boo

I see you You have GOT to be kidding me, woman

But it's not like I'm asking her to do anything I wouldn't do myself, so there's that.

And once she was all poofy, we went out. Normally, I have ridiculously good luck with her pictures. They just fall into place, even when I'm using a point and click camera.

Lily Pads Toes Subway

Not this time. This time I took 250 pictures and she fed every duck south west of the Mississippi, even the dead one, which didn't bother her at all but bothered me a great big fat deal, and not one picture is usable. Because I never read the manual for my camera. I assumed the DSLR just ran on pride or something.

So now I get to learn how to fix whatever settings I've wacked out on my camera, and then we get to go feed more aminals today. Live ones, preferably. And though there aren't any pictures good enough for my buddy's spring campaign, with enough time and Picnik, there are a hell of a lot of pictures for her baby book.

Golden Outtake
Roses Outtake
Roses Outtake 2
Water Outtake

This blog is her so totally her baby book. Shut up; you do it, too.

The Cure

For the summertime blues.

Pwaying Owside
Realizing you can finally ride a big kid scooter.

Pwaying Owside
And also realizing you can play in the sticky forest with your best friend all by yourself. Ish.

Pwaying Owside
Sunlight on your shoulder


And hose-water in your eyes, apparently.

Caught a little baby bumblebee

Busy As A Bee
Catching baby bumblebees

End of the Rainbow
And finding pots of gold.

See all of Lotus' Weekly Winners here, and the rest of mine on FlickR.