Dylan has suddenly transitioned from his gutshot-soldier-dying-in-a-field-begging-his-comrades-to-just-leave-him-for-the-love-of-god forward movement that involved lying somewhat flat but gruntingly pulling himself along with one side of his body (other less than kind descriptions include the Stroke Victim and the Unmerciful Roadkill-in-Progress) to a slow-going but far more official looking hands-and-knees crawl. JB and I applauded his efforts last night as he lurched his way across the carpet in pursuit of an emory board (which he loves to steal and gnaw, making perhaps the most horrific sand-grit sound in the history of the universe), while Riley shouted that HE could crawl TOO, WATCH!

Riley is very good natured about his little brother these days and no longer seems to teem with jealousy, but he does have the hilarious habit of loudly announcing that he can SO TOTALLY do whatever we’re encouraging Dylan to do, then proudly demonstrating his 3-year-old prodigy genius skills of, say, waving bye bye. Or while I’m in the midst of trying to get Dylan to finish his dinner (and doing that helpless mascara-face thing where you open your own mouth as the spoon looms closer to the baby’s mouth, am I the only one who does that?), Riley will casually inform me that he knows how to eat all by himself. “That’s because,” he’ll say, shoveling in a mouthful of macaroni, “I’m a big strong pirate.” Indeed!

I feel like I spend half my time wishing Dylan would outgrow the various annoying stages of babyhood — the not-sleeping thing, the freakout screaming-and-crying when he’s impatient or tired thing, the constant need for attention thing — and the other half feeling panicked over the fact that in February he’s going to be a whole year old already, what the hell.

Perhaps the best example of this emotional dichotomy happens every single night when I’m changing him and getting him ready for bed, and he reacts as though I’m in the process of peeling his skin from his body — my god, the mighty protests! The thrashing, arched-back kicking! I grimly wrestle him into his pajamas while my ears ring and my blood pressure climbs and I’m thinking, holy shit I am so unbelievably ready to be done with this baby business, and then I hold him in the rocker and his body is this warm soft bundle and he burrows his head sideways into my chest and relaxes into me like I’m his personal Barcalounger. Then I think, I don’t want this to end, ever.

One of those wishes will come true, and the other will not.

*giant watery sigh*

Anyway! With our upcoming holiday card design in mind, I spent a fair amount of time last night trying to get an image of all four of us together, taking about a thousand different photos using the camera’s self timer. They all failed in various unflattering ways — I’ve decided it’s like trying to bend the laws of space and time to get two small children looking towards the camera with non-dopey expressions, not to mention the faces of the adults — so I resorted to some Photoshop trickery to end up with this:


I’m not even going to tell you what all is going on behind the scenes digitally in this picture, but fuck it, if National Geographic can alter the placement of the pyramids, then by god I can dummy up a halfway decent family photo.


46 Responses to “Captured stages”

  1. biscuit on November 21st, 2008 1:38 pm

    come on, tell us the photoshop secret or else you’re required to mail us all xmas cards! :)

  2. Sunshyn on November 21st, 2008 1:39 pm

    You, for one thing, chopped Dylan’s head from one body and stuck it on that body. Possibly Riley’s, too! I wish I knew how to do that! My PS skills are limited to getting redeye out one pixel at a time. Y’all look awesome, and now it’s time to come up with a photo for OURS. Sigh.

  3. Krissa on November 21st, 2008 1:42 pm

    When I start looking too closely for fixes, everything starts looking fake. All the eyes are black! Riley’s face is from a different photo! Dylan is wearing matching pajamas! This whole photo never happened!!!
    But really, I didn’t notice anything unusual about it when I clicked on it in Flickr first, so instead I say it’s a great shot – and those are really cute PJs. :)

  4. Eric's Mommy on November 21st, 2008 1:44 pm

    Fill us in on your Photoshop secrets!

  5. sundry on November 21st, 2008 1:46 pm

    Head chopping? Heh, no, that’s probably way outside my limited skillset. No face-switching was involved.

  6. serror on November 21st, 2008 1:53 pm

    Ah.. I think you took a good pic of you and Riley, and a good pic of JB and Dylan and made them one! :) Looks awesome regardless!

  7. ColorCodedC on November 21st, 2008 1:55 pm

    That’s the perfect card picture. No holiday-tastic red/green outfits/props, and I love how Dylan is all, “‘ssssup, ladies?”

  8. Alexandra on November 21st, 2008 1:59 pm

    I agree with serror (above) – otherwise JB would be totally squashing your leg underneath him!

  9. pam on November 21st, 2008 2:00 pm

    too funny. last night, when i was feeding the boys, i was totally doing the mascara-mouth too. i felt like an idiot, but i just couldn’t stop.

    and try getting three infants to smile and/or look at the camera at the same time. for their monthly picture, i quite often have to resort to photoshopping a few together.

    great pic!

  10. Claire on November 21st, 2008 2:01 pm

    Actually, I’d like to know the setting you used on this photo because I will have your exact camera on loan this weekend in hopes of creating the Perfect Family Portrait, if that’s at all possible.

  11. pam on November 21st, 2008 2:01 pm

    also, i love how your are holding your mini-you, and JB is holding his mini-him.

  12. Swistle on November 21st, 2008 2:11 pm

    I would never, never have known it was doctored. And I still don’t.

  13. Beth on November 21st, 2008 2:19 pm

    I love that Riley loves to discuss his superiority in all things nine-month old. I guess this is where oldest siblings get all their confidence.

  14. Amy M. on November 21st, 2008 2:32 pm

    Never would have noticed the doctoring!

    Every time my little 5-month-old squaks at 2 a.m., or my almost-3-year-old throws a tantrum, I can’t wait for this to pass, but I know I’ll look back on this with a tear someday…

  15. Molly on November 21st, 2008 2:52 pm

    I think our babies are almost the same age. Nate will be one on 1/29/09 and I feel exactly the same way you do. Every time he crawls away during a diaper change or nearly squirms his way off the changing table I am ready to skip right out of babyhood. But them I nurse him and rock him and inhale his baby scent as he tree frogs himself to me and I never want it to end.

  16. Sunshyn on November 21st, 2008 3:03 pm

    No head chopping? Dang.

  17. SJ on November 21st, 2008 3:10 pm

    Whatever you did to that photo to doctor it up you did a good job…I can’t tell at all. I think it turned out great!

    And gosh, one year in February, already?

  18. Elizabeth on November 21st, 2008 3:11 pm

    I just got Elements for my birthday this week and have been trying to pretty up our family Christmas card photo. I was trying to do some head switching, but it’s not working properly.

  19. Caroline on November 21st, 2008 3:15 pm

    JB doesn’t even look uncomfortable squashing your thigh like that!

    (only after several minutes of mouth breathing at the screen looking for any sign of head-chopping. Great pic… you all look lovely.)

  20. Lori on November 21st, 2008 3:26 pm

    Where do I start?

    1. Awwww, great pic.

    2. I must learn photoshop.

    3. You are thinner than your 3 year old. Holy mackrel!

    4. Love your door and base moldings.

    5. Just saw the wedding dress pic in your flickr album. How many women can say they still fit in their wedding dress? Nice work.

  21. Misguided mommy on November 21st, 2008 3:30 pm

    ah! my three year old eats because he is big like a dinosaur…unless it is thursday, then he is big like a power ranger, a green one.

    also i think you placed jb’s photo in front of your photo. either way it is way cute and i never would have known if you didn’t tell

  22. Angella on November 21st, 2008 3:36 pm

    My Photoshop-loving curiosity is piqued…

  23. Deanna on November 21st, 2008 3:42 pm

    Hubby doctored a snapshot – took a head from one picture where kid #2 was smiling- to replace head in the next frame where kid #2 was looking sideways and kid#1 was smiling. We blew it up to giant size (thank you walmart.com) framed it in an old frame and it hangs over the mantle.
    No one knows unless we tell them.
    Ahhh- the magic that is photoshop.

  24. Jen on November 21st, 2008 3:46 pm

    hm, I’m going to guess each parent + baby was taken separately then layered together. No matter what, I would have never guessed it was modified!

  25. Kristi on November 21st, 2008 4:00 pm

    My God, I heart Photoshop! The pic looks great – nice magic!

  26. Donna on November 21st, 2008 4:54 pm

    I have photoshop, and can’t figure out a damn thing on it. It’s good that my camera takes excellent pictures almost on it’s own. I love me some nikon.
    You guys are gorgeous. That’s your wedding dress? Awesome!

  27. Melissa on November 21st, 2008 4:54 pm

    Whatever it takes to get the photo right, in my opinion. I love that you all have bare feet. I did a “photo shoot” with my kids last week. I took 50 pics and not one works! The last shot was of only my daughter crying and holding a reindeer that she demanded I take her picture with. I called and scheduled a photo shoot with a photographer and I hope we have better luck. And I hope I don’t end up paying an arm and leg for it! And I just got my little man in bed and I thought about this post. It’s all going to go be a blur someday. Crazy, right? :)

  28. Belle on November 21st, 2008 6:20 pm

    Just where IS it that you live? Seeing you all barefooted makes me cold down to my bones! Brr! (It’s 29 degrees here, in case you are wondering.)

  29. jenB on November 21st, 2008 6:21 pm

    Your smile is so sunshiney. I love this photo.

  30. nonsoccermom on November 21st, 2008 6:32 pm

    Wow, awesome!! You all look great, and good call on doctoring it in the first place. You are quite right that it is near impossible to get a good family photo with little kids.

  31. Jennifer on November 21st, 2008 6:33 pm

    I snorted aloud at that first paragraph. Poor little guy!

    I don’t know jack about Photoshop, but it looks like JB & Dylan were superimposed in. Is that it? Do I win a prize?

  32. odelsa on November 21st, 2008 7:56 pm

    Finally, an Honest but amazing mom…yes that’s you! I’m putting your blog under my favorites so I hope you dont mind.

  33. tanya on November 21st, 2008 8:22 pm

    I would never have known it was doctored. I am impressed.

  34. kami on November 21st, 2008 9:04 pm

    The picture is great, but here is my question does everyone get mad when you say this is what we are doing tonight (taking pics)? I have an 18, 15, and 3 year old and it’s torture on me when this is what I want to do. Maybe JB is a great sport? I’m so making my family pose soon! Great job!

  35. sundry on November 21st, 2008 9:27 pm

    Kami: ha, it is most definitely NOT one of JB’s favorite activities, and Riley hates it too. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I dragged everyone into a studio (which I secretly want to do, except I dread the results).

  36. willikat on November 21st, 2008 10:00 pm

    Um, you have a beautiful family. Seriously.

  37. ali on November 21st, 2008 11:07 pm

    I am there with you on wanting the baby stage to be over and at the same time not wanting it to end. I can’t wait for the day when I’ll sleep a full 8 hours and hopefully without a baby in the crook of my arm all night. However I’m only on month three! So far, I haven’t had any major meltdowns but I think it’s because he’s still in the infant stage.

  38. Maggie on November 21st, 2008 11:27 pm

    JB & Dylan are totally PS’ed into a pic of you and Riley! I love it though–good SKILLZ…if you hadn’t said it was photoshopped, I wouldn’t have known :)

  39. Meredith on November 22nd, 2008 7:37 am

    You rock! Photoshopping your holiday card is my new favorite parenthack. How else can the great feat of all involved smiling. Husband wants a card this year with all 3 cats and the new baby. Wishful thinking.

  40. Julie on November 22nd, 2008 7:45 am

    GodDAMN, did you Photoshop a pretty family.

  41. ellbee on November 22nd, 2008 10:29 am

    Photoshop is better than crack… I had to do the head-switching thing on my and my husband’s engagement photos. My parents did them and they took some brillint shots of us, but it was never the same shot. So I moved some heads around (and took the time to whiten our teeth, as well…vanity, thy name is the airbrush tool) and no one ever notices, even when I tell them what I did. Hooray, Adobe!

  42. Kari on November 22nd, 2008 12:07 pm

    Wow – seeing them side by side, in this picture, I can really see the resemblance between the boys. Actually, you can see the familial resemblance among all of you.

    Also, and this is just me being girly, but I was awake at an ungodly hour this morning and caught The Holiday on cable. I was mesmerized by Cameron Diaz’s perfect hair and you have nailed down that look perfectly.

  43. iidly on November 22nd, 2008 12:19 pm

    I know what you did, cool:)

  44. Christen on November 22nd, 2008 4:44 pm

    We called it the “Sergeant Dan.” Not p.c. by any stretch. And we tend to be rather p.c. parents. However, it was the perfect title.

  45. Sometimes, other people just say it better « Strawberries and Whine on November 22nd, 2008 10:54 pm

    […] and Whine Just another WordPress.com weblog « Routine Sometimes, other people just say it better November 22, 2008 Linda posted exactly what I wanted to say yesterday here, and said it muchbetter than I could have done. I too alternate between wanting to stop time and keep Toby the way he is right now, and wishing time away until the day when he can walk/talk/use a toilet/sleep past 6am/eat in such a way that more food ends up in his mouth than in his ear. Sometimes the wish to fast-forward time is inspired by stress-situations, like yesterday morning, when Toby screamed for a good half hour non-stop, and I tried everything I could possibly think of to get him to stop… and then he farted, and all was well with the world. Talking would have helped in that situation. Or in the more daily moments when he wants something just out of reach, and all attempts to crawl towards it result in him ending up further away. […]

  46. Nicki on November 23rd, 2008 5:40 pm

    You really photoshpped that picture??? Can’t tell at all! You must be a wizard!

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