I asked her if she could come by and take a few pictures of us in our backyard. I thought we’d go beyond the fence where we only recently got to go, for the first time since we moved here in July, because Shawn and his brother Tyler put a gate in when he was here. It was the perfect time to put a gate in because the fence blew down. It’s very “wild, overgrown Texas” to me back there. Deer cross through there often. Along with badgers, armadillos, road runners, and other such wildlife. And back behind the fence are where the cactus are (relax, I know the plural is cacti. No one says that. Literally no one). I love that there are cactus growing on our property. I love that we “own” some cactus. I feel as though I’ve “arrived”. Officially. Or unofficially. I’m not sure.
“It will be super casual.” I told my neighbor, in regards to her coming to take pictures of us. She agreed to take the pictures, because she’s a super cool neighbor. We planned for Wednesday at 4pm, and then Shawn texted me at 3:50pm and told me he didn’t think he’d be home by 4. Ooooooooooookay. So that took the “casualness” rating of these pictures from a 1 to a 4 simply because she was now ‘on call’ for said photo shoot. (Side note: she has a 9 month old baby. There’s nothing easy or relaxing about having to be on call, or planning, or arranging anything, for that matter, when you have a 9 month old.) By casual, I thought we’d just group together in the back, in whatever we had on, smile, Noella would be smiley and chipper, and we would have eternal documentation of us as a family of three at the six month mark. Well, surprise surprise, her naps didn’t go well that day, and if you’ve ever spent more than seven minutes around a human baby, you know that they operate best on lots of sleep. And you also know that the opposite of operating at their best is, well, not ideal for family pictures. My idea of us “grouping together in whatever we had on” is now, looking back, the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Really, Jennifer? So Shawn would be wearing a black dress shirt with a red tie, grey dress pants, and black dress shoes, and you’d be wearing your “The S’more the merrier” t-shirt, jeans, and maroon New Balance shoes, and Noella would be wearing a “Milk Belly” onesie and one sock? Classic. So of course, knowing my neighbor was coming, and that pictures were actually happening (even if they weren’t happening at 4pm, and we really had no idea when they would take place), I spent the longer half of an eternity coordinating our outfits. I’d wear my new cactus (again, literally no one says cacti) kimono/duster/whatever-it’s-called. Since it’s from a local shop downtown, it would give off that perfect we-live-here-now vibe, and Shawn would wear his orange t-shirt for some color with his blue jean button up on top for some layering pizazz (*please do the jazz hands motion after reading the word pizazz*). Baby girl? Oh man. I had every solid color onesie layed out from here to Timbuktoo, trying to decide if this pink clashes with his orange shirt, or if this turquoise works with my cactus whatever-it’s-called. The casualness rating now went from a 4 to a 7. Because ain’t nobody got time for coordinating outfits on a Wednesday.
In the yard behind the fence (we found out later…) there are also fire ants. So the casualness rating of these photos went from a 10 to a woeful, red, swollen, and burning 14 real quick. Like real quick. (Ask Shawn’s ankle about that.) Oh, and the thorns and the rain clouds threatening to ruin it all in a hot second brought the causal, “we’ll just group together and smile” casual factor from a 14 to a 17. Oops! Oh, and then there’s Weller. The puppy beast man child came rolling through like a wrecking ball (and yes, he even had his tongue hanging out while wearing a white unitard), and we tried to go with it. But he almost ripped my floor-length, flowy whatever-it’s-called while simultaneously jumping IN the stroller with our cool neighbor’s baby. *Face palm*. So Shawn decided to put him in the garage, which meant dragging his puppy beast man child self through the house, which also meant dragging him on my newly mopped (a record in and of itself because we live in the desert and dust abounds) floors. Casual alert: now at 23. So much for that. Oh, and I forgot, while all of this was going on, I still had to quickly change and leave for my women’s Bible study in the next 30 minutes. (“Jenn, just wear what you have on!” you say. Gasp! I couldn’t go looking like I came straight from a “Visit West Texas” travel commercial taping. I had to play it cool…)
But our neighbor is still cool, and she got some great pictures of us as a family of three. For six months (and eight days) now we’ve been a family of three. And we’re loving it. I’m so glad she was able to come and document this time for us! And that she’s a trooper with fire ants, thorns, tornado dogs, being on call, babies who squirm and wiggle, and casual that turns out to be very bougie, and very “hold my lipgloss”.