This is Us

As usual, I approached our fall family photo shoot with high expectations. Maybe by the time I am 100, I will have learned to relax a bit more. I admittedly get caught up in the planning, and the amount of time it takes to orchestrate five people to visually coordinate. There is always a certain amount of anxiety leading up to the day as I hope that everyone is in good spirits despite the fact that the moods of four out of the five people in our family are 100% out of my control.

As I continue to pursue this lifestyle blogging hobby, I thought it would be fun to collaborate with a local boutique regarding wardrobe for the shoot. This way, when I post the images, I can include my experience with a local business.  I chose to approach Cedros Soles and HIS Men and children's boutiques.

Owned by husband and wife partners and located on Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach, I felt this was a perfect choice because between the two stores; we could outfit the whole family. The staff was a complete joy. Not only were they willing to collaborate on this project but they were kind and helpful and knew what they had in store that would allow each member of the family to coordinate. I did unintentionally fall in love with two pairs of shoes and a pair of denim which I purchased. So be warned, when you visit either boutique, there are so many delicious temptations to choose from it would be difficult to walk away without buying anything.


Usually, I would stand by my opinion that the weather in San Diego is gorgeous year-round but the month's of September and October provide ideal conditions. The sky is clear; the temperatures are still warm but not hot. I understand that I have no control over the weather, and mother nature's deviation from the norm on the day we decided to dress for fall and try to wear our best smiles. On October 24, 2017, at 4:00 pm, it was 90 degrees in the shade. I had hoped for cooler temperatures as we had prepared to wear sweaters and jackets.

We all know that sometimes work can happen. I was very clear about what time we were scheduled to leave the house to arrive at the gardens by 4:00 pm. Someone was a no-show. I called and texted, and there was no answer, so I resigned my self to the fact that instead of a family shoot, this was going to be a Mommy/Daughter event.

The girls and I arrived at the San Diego Botanical Gardens, and our photographer, the lovely and talented Jax Connolly was ready and waiting. My revised plan was to photograph the kids individually and then hope in the meantime that we would gain an extra family member. Eva is my "professional" always camera ready, so naturally, she went first. Eloise was feeling warm, so I sat her down on a bench and put a cold water bottle against her belly.

"Everyone Poops" is a favorite book in our house both because the title illustrates a simple fact so beautifully and of course because it makes us laugh. Since our last camping trip this past summer where the only toilet facility was a very hot and smelly outhouse, Eden has become very comfortable doing her business in the great outdoors. So as I was taking care of Eloise, trying to determine if she was sick or just a bit overheated and Eden pipes up with "I have to go potty," I told her to wait just a minute, and I would take her to the bathroom. It was ten seconds later when I looked up to grab her hand to lead her to the bathroom, she was already squatting behind a tree, in a pile of leaves doing her business. Luckily there were a lot of large leaves that worked well as scoops, and a trash can close by. I was horrified by the thought of leaving the Botanical Garden staff an unwanted toddler surprise.

Jax finished up with Eva and Eloise tried to be brave and give us a few smiles but she was feeling worse by the moment, so we laid her down again and worked on getting some photographs of Eden in her Halloween Costume.


So our missing "someone" finally arrived, and I did my best to keep wearing my smile. I was determined to get at least one family photo, so we carried Eloise to a bench and asked her for a few laughs. She was such a trooper. After a few photos, she expressed with an urgency that she needed to be excused.

I gave the "someone" who was late the look that let him know; he was on duty. Thankfully, the borrowed clothes were removed just in time for an episode of both diarrhea and projectile vomiting.

I laughed then, and I laugh now another reminder, don't sweat the small stuff, this is us. This story illustrates the chaos and imperfection in our lives that I choose to embrace.  I know that time passes so quickly and that I will miss the chaos when it is gone. So despite the heat, the delayed start time, the vomiting, diarrhea, and the toddler surprise we ended up with some precious images.