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The terrible two’s is not the right time for photos.

For my sweet sister’s 29 birthday… I gave her the best present of all. I let her take photos of Turner! Totally being sarcastic here. I am sure she wanted to enjoy a day without photos, but it was all that worked into my schedule, so we made it work. But while trying to get a photo for our Christmas card, I came to a realization, that I think everyone should know.

Every parent wants photos of their children. We want lots of photos at all times during their lives. We don’t want to miss a thing. But my plea to parents is, to consider your child before trying to get photos taken. Just because you want it, doesn’t mean you should get them. After last night’s extravaganza and attempted baby wrangling, I realized that at this point in Turner’s life, having pictures taken is just appropriate or feasible. He doesn’t sit in one place. He doesn’t like the camera, he doesn’t like wearing the outfits I want pictures in. He actually basically hates anything that is required to have photos taken.

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While I think Ruby is the best photographer to ever pick up a camera, she can only do so much. She isn’t a miracle worker. So while I would have liked to have the perfect family pictures last night, it just was not possible. And it isn’t Ruby’s fault. I fully understand that I have it made when it comes to family pictures. So while Turner was screaming at the top of his lungs, quite literally, and pushing buttons on the heater, and knocking over the end table, and grabbing the pillows and tossing them from the bed, since Ruby is my sister, she has no choice but to take my photos. That is what super cool aunts do. But the thought of Turner acting that way, with someone who wasn’t my sister, and the pure terror and havoc he created during that 20 minute window we tried, mortified me.

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I cannot imagine, not just Ruby, but other photographers trying their hardest to get that literal picture perfect pose when the subject he being a tyrant. Turner is almost 19 months. He is vicious. I am well aware of that. So I don’t know why I thought I was going to be able to get his photos taken. It would have taken a true act of God to get him, along with Andrew and myself looking and smiling at the camera all at once.

And while, by some freak accident and true miracle, which is a testament to Ruby’s talent and patience and awesome Aunt abilities, the photos you see of Turner and my niece are adorable and look so flawless and effortless, please realize that behind those smiles were tears, bribes, and a little loss of sleep.

I have learned my lesson. Just because I want photos, doesn’t mean Turner is at the age to where I should punish a photographer or any other professional for my own delight. It just isn’t the right time for him.

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So, I beg of you parents, please know your child. Know how they behave and what they tend to do in public or in front of new people… and if it is less than ideal… wait a little while for that special professional photo. That way, you don’t waste your money and time by paying for something that may not be the vision you had in your head… and you save your photographer from a few early grey hairs. Or at the very least… understand that they don’t always cooperate with the camera. So while it would be nice to have the perfectly centered photo with a grand smile and your kid looking like the little piece of perfection you want them to… understand that it may not be possible. So if your child is kicking and screaming, that is a great memory to capture in a photo too!

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The good, the bad, and the hilarious: 29 facts about our favorite Ruby

Today is my sister’s birthday. You know, the sister who never reads my blog because she is habitually lazy and moderately self absorbed. Since it is before 10 a.m., I am well aware that she has yet to get up for the day. So that means, that I have about 2 hours to have this posted publicly before she sees it, and if she takes the time to read it, she may ask for it to be removed. I wanted to tell some of her deeper darker secrets, but because I fear the wrath that is Ruby, I tried to keep it respectable. Enjoy.

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1) She was born on November 19. Our parents were married roughly 9 months early on February 14. So basically, she is a honeymoon baby!

2)  She was born in Newnan, Georgia. You know that little hospital on the Walking Dead where Beth has been? Yea, in that one.

3)  Her middle name is Annette, which was our grandmother’s name.

4)  Well into her early teen years, she ate animal food. Rabbit food, dog food, cat food, you name it, she ate it regularly.

5)  She is the most accident prone person I have ever met. She broke her arm jumping from a table to a bar stool, she sliced open her wrist carrying a mirror over her head, she had to have her inner thigh stapled shut after ripping it open while trying to sneak up behind me on the porch stairs, and those were just from when we were kids.

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6)  She had a cat named Turdy Butt. I have forgotten the reason, so feel free to ask her.

7)  She used to be a gymnast. Like a really good one. They wanted her to train for the olympics. I forgot why she quit, so again, ask her.

8)  In elementary school, all the teachers loved her. In fact, one year, our PE coach, Coach Benson, called Ruby out of class, brought her to my PE class and had her demonstrate the proper way to do a push up. How ridiculous is that?!

9) She single handedly ended cheerleading at our elementary school for 2 years for flashing the basketball team. (There is more to this story too, so feel free to ask)

10) She was once slapped in the face on the school bus by a girl for being too sassy.

11) After an awful hair cut, she gained the nickname “Robbie.”

12) When I was in 6th grade, I went through a rebellious stage. I was involved in an incident to where Ruby recognized my handwriting, ratted me out and because Miss Goody-two-shoes had to be perfect, I was suspended from school. Thanks sis!

13) We moved to Georgia for a couple of months when Ruby was in 8th grade. We were in the new middle school, which was probably as large as all elementary schools in a district here, for about a month when Ruby beat out the captain of the Cheerleading Squad for Class President. Mostly, because everyone thought Ruby looked like Britney Spears?!

14) We moved back from Georgia because I wouldn’t let Ruby wear a poodle skirt for spirt day. She pitched a fit, and as a result of not getting her way, we moved back.

15) Ruby went through an incredible “gangster” phase. She wore bandanas, both around her head and her thigh, listened to rap music, which she had to sneak and buy, and made some questionable dating choices. Oh, and her hair was jet black. There are photos to prove this, and you should all want to see them.

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16) Ruby is a really talented singer. She has always been given solos and now sings in our church band. But what you may not know, is at a soccer game, while singing the national anthem, she completely botched it and walked away. She mustard up the courage to give it another try, messed up again, said something like “screw it” and gave up. I am not sure she has sung it in public since.

17) In high school, she worked as a front desk clerk at a Best Western in Cherokee, as well as a waitress at Myrtle’s Table. In college, she worked at Ryan’s in Sylva as a waitress, after college, in addition to working pre-trial release in Asheville, she was a bartender at Hooters.

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18) In high school, she was on the homecoming court and was crowned Prom Queen.

19) I convinced her to run track with me her senior year. I decided that I didn’t want to do the high jump so I asked her to take my place. She had never so much as even attempted it. So she took off and did what I did. Since she is left handed, she probably shouldn’t have tried to jump from the right. She tore her ACL. Despite her leg looking like jello, our coach (who now coaches football in Franklin) told her to walk it off. My parents later took her to the hospital where they found out abou the tear.

20) Refusing to miss Spring Break, before she was fully healed she decided to take a trip to Florida with her gfs. She got a Staph infection and almost lost her leg. She wore a wound vac for months. The infection got so bad, it spread to her face and resulted in a golf ball size hole in her knee. She now has a wicked scar in its place.

21) She majored in Psychology in college and minored in Criminal Justice. She even had research presented at a fancy state conference in Charlotte. She also got her first tattoo, a pathetic, flesh colored spot, or the symbol for psychology, on her wrist. Although it is virtually invisible, she screamed so terribly during it, we almost got kicked out of the tattoo parlor.

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22) She is the worst to play any game with. She is so competitive and relentless, she lost a roommate in college over a game of Cranium.

23) We used to abuse my little sister so bad, under Ruby’s direction, we would stuff laxatives in Tj’s pickles and force her to eat them.

24) She was WLOS’ Person of the Week for her work in her job that she quit to become a photographer.

25) She has a terrible animal hoarding problem and she always has. We have been banned from animal shelters. She gets it from out mother.

26) She won a push up contest on spring break, there is video evidence here on you tube.

27) She was born with a Hiatal Hernia and isn’t supposed to consume salt as a result, so instead she puts salt on her salt. Like literally, she takes a bag of salt and vinegar chips, and adds salt.

28) She has the worst personal hygiene out of anyone I know but does an amazing job masking it.

29) She is the best friend and best big sister that I have ever had. If she actually took the time to read all of this… Happy Birthday sister!

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Not all parenting stereotypes are false.

Growing up, I always heard jokes about how parents would hide treats from their kids. Then when I got older, I would see funny cartoons about mom’s hiding out on the toilet trying to savor chocolate without their children finding out, just so they didn’t have to share.

#truth

#truth

Well, this weekend, I got to experience that. It actually hit me… that I am that stereotypical parent. That all of those cartoons were actually a “thing” and were real life. Early last week I got a small bag of potato chips at the store. I love potato chips. I would eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, if at all possible. But since a recent doctor’s visit revealed that I was clinical obese, oh yes, obese, I no longer get to enjoy my guilty pleasure.

After a two month hiatus from the gym due to lack of time, and after begin told that I was obese (I blame it on how short I am), I have returned to the gym, restricted my already twig and berries diet, and am trying my hardest to be a better me. So when I bought this bag of chips at the gas station, it was an indulgence. It was a treat. I didn’t open them right away. Even though I wanted them that very minute, just making the purchase calmed my cravings for the time being. I tucked the chips away in the back of the cabinet. A special treat for myself for a later day.

The dynamic duo!

The dynamic duo!

Well, that later day hit me this weekend. I decided to volunteer to have a sleepover at my house with my niece Madison, as well as having Turner. I never mind it. Those two play so well together, and despite the clutter of constant toys and books littering the living room, and an occasional slap for one of them not sharing, it isn’t a tough job. But in the middle of watching those two, it hit me. The uncontrollable urge, the sensation, the burning desire to devour that bag of chips to the very last crumb.

But what was I supposed to do? There was no way I could have enjoyed even a single chip without that two scavengers clawing out my eyes to get a taste. I just was not going to let that happen. I could taste the succulence of those cheddar and sour cream slices of heaven, and I was not about to share with anyone. With my eyes glued to the kitchen cabinet protecting my treasure, I debated every possible tactic I could take to get a moment alone.

My first born!

My first born!

My efforts were hopeless. No matter what scenario I came up with, I just could not see it ending well. And despite being able to literally smell the goodness from the air tight container protecting the nectar of the gods, I left the chips high up in the cabinet.

This is what my life has come to. A hungry mother so stingy and stubborn that I would rather not get even a little taste of my addiction than have to share an ounce with my son and niece. But hey, that is motherhood right?