Hair Gel & Refrigerator Magnets

School Pictures 101…there’s really only a simple lesson here. My first experience suggests that school pictures that “turn out” are miraculous at the very least, and that miracle is going to cost more than the term “school pictures” suggests.

Picture Day: I bribed Izzi with to stand still while I put gel in her hair and tried to comb it in a way that would be comfortable for her, but would also still look halfway decent by the time the photographer snapped the picture.

I felt I needed to choose something from her closet that was worthy of being immortalized in her first school pictures ever. Because of an unspoken rule that I learned who knows where, I also felt that, even though it was about 96 degrees outside, shorts and tank tops were no longer seasonally appropriate since it was the middle of October. I finally got her dressed and settled on a fall-ish colored sleveless dress that I thought wouldn’t trip her on the playground and also wouldn’t cause her to faint from heat exhaustion, and we went outside to “practice” taking pictures.


I snapped a few and thought, “Awesome. We’ve got this part wired.”

Fast forward three or so weeks.

We got the proofs today.

Decision Day: Which pose do I pick? How many do I order? How does the “packet” system work?


They’re so different, right?  How can a mother possibly choose?  Inevitably, whichever I choose, she will one day tell me, as so many daughters before her have moaned to their mothers, “How could you?  Didn’t the photographer give you options? I just know I looked so much cuter in the other one!”

I make my choice (which isn’t actually a choice at all since I decided I would order prints of each pose, just in case…), and I move on to the next very importent decision.

I’ve tried every possible combination of the ordering options so as not to run out of pictures before I run out of family members who want one. I ultimately conclude that it is simply not possible to order just one package if you have more than 3 people who would like a copy of these pictures.

Oh, I can have the CD with TWO WHOLE IMAGES on it for the low, low price of $39.99? GREAT! Sign me up for that.

While you’re at it, I’ll take 6 magnets, 4 keychains, 7 mugs, a personalized school bag, 14 5x7s, 8 4x6s 48 wallets, and 365 Christmas cards.

Oh, you take American Express. Great. Add a page of stickers, so Izzi can put her face on everything she owns in case one of her siblings tries to take one of her “corns.” (That would be unicorns, but no matter how many times I provide the correct name, she insists on calling the horses with horns “corns.” I pick my battles.)

That’s $478.37?  For school pictures??

I have to have my order turned in by when?

Tomorrow? Seriously?  I need more than 24 hours. I’m still making decisions!

Izzi doesn’t even have school tomorrow, but, ok, I’ll load up my four kids and hand deliver the check tomorrow to avoid the $10 late fee.

Yes. I ordered the CD, and I think I have enough prints coming that I’ll be able to wallpaper my house with them if I can’t find enough family members who want to put pictures of my angel on their refrigerator.  But, as I eagerly await the arrival of what I’m afraid may turn out to be a massive box of pictures, I can’t help but think about the facts that this first picture day only required me to get one of my four angels to cooperate, and there were only two proofs to choose from, and there was only one set of pictures to purchase.

I’m going to stop myself here before I start thinking about boyfriends and girlfriends and college tuition and all of the other adventures that come with the wonderful (but sometimes shockingly terrifying and incredibly expensive) adventure that is parenting…


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