Archives For Kids

School pictures…a right of passage for kids. I remember convincing myself as a child that my entire year would be as good as the printed mugshot I saw staring back at me in the yearbook.

My sixth grade photo involved inadvertent feathered bangs and a failed attempt at a closed-mouth-yet-natural-looking smile to hide my silver grill. Sixth grade was blah. Coincidence? I think not.

However, no matter how bad the picture, I never had a “re-do.” Life’s imperfect and, as such, school photos are imperfect.

My daughter, who’s now 5, had her preschool photo taken earlier this year. After a 40-minute prep session (which KILLED me), I sent her off to school in style and couldn’t wait to see the finished product.

photo 2 (1)

Sporting primped hair, a pressed dress, and a cute smile.

With her photo session scheduled a mere hour after I dropped her off, I was positive I’d be pleased with the precious picture that would arrive in 2-3 weeks. I’d proudly display it for all the world to see.

Then…well…then THIS happened.

Uuummm...was there an all-night rave I didn't know about? Did the photographer not count to 3?

Uuummmm…was there an all-night rave I didn’t know about? Did the photographer not count to 3? What is UP with that hair and faux smile?

I stared at the instructions on the envelope for picture retake day. Would I be THAT mom who is so conceited that she forces her daughter to go through another photo session? I honestly didn’t think her photo gave any indication of her true personality. Part of me actually wondered if the photographer was rushed. I mean, this COULDN’T have been the best option, right?

I decided to swallow my pride and take the following Friday off from work to accompany Jaycee on picture retake day.

After we made our way back to the makeshift studio and waited for her turn to pose, I got to witness firsthand how patient and caring the photographer was with all of the kids. He took multiple shots while making playful noises and waving hand puppets around. He gave no harsh orders, just kind praise.

I started to wonder if it might have been my daughter who caused the first photo fiasco. Before I could give it much thought, it was her turn.

And this, my friends, is what unfolded before my very eyes.

Clearly, I'll be ready when I'm ready.

Clearly, I’ll be ready when I’m ready.

I'd rather make this face than smile.

I’d rather make this face than smile.

WHAT?! I can't hear you over my mom yelling at me to calm down. You'll have to speak up!

WHAT?! I can’t hear you over my mom yelling at me to calm down. You’ll have to speak up!

How about the floor? You want me on the floor or what?

How about the floor? You want me on the floor or what?

I freakin LOVE rolling around on the floor. Are you capturing this magic?

I freakin LOVE rolling around on the floor. Are you capturing this magic?

You wanna piece of me? Ok get ready cause I'm coming at you.

You wanna piece of me? Ok get ready cause I’m coming at you.

Aaaannd pose.

Aaaannd pose.

Mark my words. I will never, ever assume again that the person behind the camera lens was somehow rushed. On the contrary, if I get a picture that even remotely resembles my psychotic mini-me, I owe that photographer double what he normally charges.

Jaycee Lee

What you see is what you get. 100% sassiness guaranteed.

Special thanks to Sully from Sbello Photos for capturing these hilarious moments. If you’re looking for a way to showcase your kid’s true personality, he’s your man!

Written by Heidi Woodard

The frenzy

September 23, 2013 — 1 Comment

I can’t remember what life was like before kids.

With our two boys in three simultaneous activities each, and our daughter begging us to sign her up for something active too, I literally see my husband for about 45 minutes most weeknights. These encounters are as fleeting as the dollars in our bank account.

Then there are those special nights when we can stare into each other’s eyes across a restaurant table that is 60 percent wiped down, while surrounded by other parents and a collective mob of chatty children.

I made him promise me that we’d start planning a return trip back to Jamaica. We’ve only gone there once in our 14-year marriage. A place unlike any other…where everything is included except chatty children.

I don’t think either of us realized when we married each other that we’d be uncompensated taxi drivers. Me in my rockin silvery-blue minivan equipped with the stereotypical youth team sports sticker on the back window. Him in his 200,000+ mile Nissan Exterra…the same one he teases our 11-year old son into believing he will one day be “lucky” enough to inherit.

We are in the heart of fundraising season, which puts us both on edge. And apparently, based on the comments fellow parents submitted on this particular topic (follow link to view them), we’re not alone with our feelings of frustration.

In summary, this is my life.

Did I see you catch that pass you ask? Sssuurrre I did.

Did I see you catch that pass you ask? Sssuurrre I did.

I’d be lying if I said I don’t love my reality…even the craziest parts of it. I am blessed beyond words.

The boys are meeting friends and learning life skills along with proper playing techniques. Their sister has racked up more miles than the Exterra, frequenting every ball field and basketball court around town.

I’ve come to realize that naps and perspective are the best medicine.

One day, I’ll look back on it all and wonder how we survived. And I’ll miss this chapter.

Blessed is the person who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night. – Unknown

Written by Heidi Woodard

At the urging of a friend of mine, I took the time to record my daughter “reading” one of her favorite stories to me tonight.

My daughter is aalllmost 5 years old. She knows how to spell only a handful of words, and she doesn’t have the capacity to string a sentence together by deciphering the written word on page – yet her memorization skills and voice inflection are pretty amazing and hysterical at the same time.

Tonight, narrator Jaycee brings you Very Worried Walrus from the Sweet Pickles collection.

Sit back and enjoy!

Very Worried Walrus, written and illustrated by Richard Hefter

Very Worried Walrus, written and illustrated by Richard Hefter

Written by Heidi Woodard

Earlier in the day, Ryan and I slid into bed and shut the door.

The kids were occupied and we were alone together. Finally. We took full advantage of the situation.

Two hours later, I emerged with messy hair hoping the experience was as good for him as it was for me.


I can’t stress enough how good uninterrupted rest felt. I’ve been a gas tank running exclusively on fumes for the past two months.

I wrote about how our boys played in over 100 combined baseball games this summer for First thing’s first – I am not complaining. I had a freaking blast this summer. Luckily, the boys did too. Heck, even their little sister enjoyed the ride for the most part.

Yet, the calendar reminds me they will be back to school in a month. 

We can now return to the pool, go on bike rides, enjoy another movie or two, and read a few good books together. Maybe even set a few goals.

I want my children to know what personal accomplishment feels like when it’s not attached to a medal or any other form of external validation.

Isn’t that one of the best gifts we can bestow on our kids? A sense of inner purpose and confidence?

The sport of baseball, a group of dedicated coaches, and two selfless teams have helped instill these values in my boys this summer.

Allow me to be THAT mom and brag just a bit…

My 11-year old was brought in at the end of arguably one of the biggest games of his team’s season to do something his mom could have never done (not at his age, not now, not ever) – strike out a hitter with the tying run on third base against a powerhouse team. He rose to the occasion and I practically puked.

My 9-year old, who fought to earn a spot in the line-up, was down to one strike in an elimination game of the state tournament. He hit a line drive to the outfield to bring in the tying run and then scored the winning run by beating a throw to home plate. He came through in a pressure situation and I beamed with pride.

As for Ryan and me? We survived.

I don’t know which of these feats is the most remarkable.

The summer of 2013 was a good one. I recognize it now and will remember it for years to come.