Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Adorable 3' Tall Dictator, Smoosha and $439/night

EDITED TO ADD: You can see all of the photos from our adventures here

I always feel like I can do "one more thing."

Make my bed even though I really should I have left for work five minutes ago? Sure! Take on an extra assignment with stills AND video for a co-worker who's going home early with a migraine? Of course I will.

Do a two-day shoot involving studio lights, grandparents, two dogs, a 4-year-old, five costume changes, a carousel, a kiddie train and a butterfly garden? Bring it on! Add a visit with a friend and her newborn baby to the trip? Piece of cake! Speaking of cake, why don't I schedule two different meetings with potential wedding venues in a completely different state? BRILLIANT!

The way I figure it, I can rest when I'm dead, right? Riiiight.

First, I drove from New York to Pennsylvania with the dog and cat after work on Friday night, arriving around 3 a.m. I dropped Bella and Fred off with my mom in Lancaster, slept fast, then got on the road and arrived at Shannon's around 1 p.m. on Saturday. It's been seven months since I've spent a lot of uninterrupted time with Gaby, not counting two very short visits. Her thinking and reasoning skills have really developed since then.

It's very cool, actually, watching this world-beating little girl become more and more articulate and complex in her thinking. She's at that age now where all children see things in a very literal way. And yet, she's very imaginative, a combination that sometimes results in the adults who love her tiptoeing their way through a dramatic pre-school play following a very precise script that they've never seen. And if you get it wrong? Prepare to start all over again.

:::Cue Marker::: "Angelina Ballerina greets her adoring audience after an enthusiastic introduction by Mommy and a dramatic entrance from behind a 'curtain' dropped in a certain way by Nana and NO CLAPPING YET AUNT ANGIE YOU AREN'T SUPPOSED TO CLAP YET!" :::Take 12:::

This photograph kind of sums it up. This is a completely authentic moment. Gaby is, um, laying out her vision for the rest of the evening, and Gwen is reacting honestly to the way she's delivering the terms.

To be fair, the portrait sessions and shooting opportunities Shannon and I had planned (and I was being paid to produce) requested a lot of Gaby.

Usually our outings are guided by Fun Plans, and I just tag along capturing Her Awesomeness. This time I was giving her very specific instructions, and let it be known to all in the land that this little girl Does Not Like Being Told What To Do. I am so proud of her for that, but at the same time, Shannon just wanted one nice photo of Gaby smiling normally with Nana and Papa. Just one. And here it is:

Meanwhile, there are, like 79 frames of her pulling her dress up over her head. (Someday when you are 17 and have a boyfriend, I am coming over with ALL the out takes, girlfriend.) That said, I would still buy her a pony if she asked me in a moment of weakness.

On Monday morning, I met another little girl who had captured my heart before she was even born.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, this whole friends-becoming-mothers thing is FANTASTIC. It has bottomless amounts of amazing.

Dream big, baby girl.

I will rearrange whatever I can so I can be there to document your baptism, your First Communion, your pre-prom photos, your high school graduation, your wedding. When you are old enough, we'll play pretend and have tea parties, dress up like pirates, or fairies, or Prominent Female Democrats. I will read you "Where the Wild Things Are" and stop at the right places so we can have our own rumpus. I will teach you how to parallel park in New York City. And even if you melt down after the 17th attempt to take Just. One. Nice. Picture of your with your grandparents, I will STILL offer to buy you a pony. And yes, I will always have gum in my purse.

As for meetings with potential wedding venues, the Hotel Hershey is frighteningly overpriced. Gah. Not only do you pay a la carte for everything- $2700 for folding chairs and reserved blades of grass for a ceremony in their gardens (extra if you want a table for a unity candle, or a place for musicians to sit), $1500 ballroom "rental fee" if you have less than 175 guests, no music permitted during your cocktail hour, average $170 per person, which does NOT include a cake, flowers, special linens or a champagne toast, they charge a whopping $439/night for a regular ol' hotel room with two double beds. WTF? Are the sheets made out of hope and stardust? Does a choir of angels sing you to sleep?

That said, we're getting married in the botanical gardens next summer!

It's a toss up between two different dates at the moment, but one or two of the major puzzle pieces are falling into place. When all is said and done, at the end of the day I will be more than happy to guzzle a Gatorade and crawl in bed next to the man I've been sleeping with for the past two years at the Days Inn off Route 283.


shannon said...

Aaah. That baby is perfectly pink and beautiful. Love her. Need to go see her.

So judging from the photoshopped words in the picture of the garden, you'll be getting married in the fountain and we'll have cocktail hour in the pond? Excellent. :)

And the photos of the Gabs truly are lovely. And the rest of us, too. But really, Gaby is prettier than the rest of us, even when she's being a 3-foot-tall dictator.

shannon said...

(Seriously, though, it looks really pretty there.)

Tara said...

Beautiful pictures Angie. What lucky people Shannon, Gaby and Ernie are to have a friend like you.

Congrats on getting your venue sorted!

Jillian said...

So exciting to have a venue! It looks absolutely perfect :)

Carl said...

The problem with the friends-become-parents thing is that they drop way down on the fun-ness scale. Once people start producing chillerns they can no longer go hiking, bicycling, happy hour-ing or other stuff.

Chunky Photojournalist Barbie said...

Carl, I haven't found that to be true, actually.

Becky said...

3-foot dictator = Napoleon complex? I certainly hope not, otherwise Shannon and Ernie are in for quite a trip! ;-)

Love the venue, looks great! And congrats on figuring out one of the biggest pieces of the wedding puzzle. Be sure to put that in your Kn0t bio, ok? They love themselves some pictures over there.

shannon said...

Perhaps it's not so much that our fun quotient goes down when we have children, Carl, as it is that there is a shift in our priorities and suddenly happy hour does not seem quite as important as it may have BC (before child). Plenty of parents, myself included, still hike, bike, go out to dinner -- and I don't mean chain restaurant with crappy food -- go to museums, parks, the ballet, travel, wine tastings, happy hours (*gasp*), etc.
And I daresay none of my friends have ever though my fun-ness went down after my daughter was born.
Is it instead a matter of not wanting to alter your plans even a little to make them more child-friendly or include the little ones when making plans that leads you to believe your friends are less fun than before?