This morning was bright and full of promise as we headed out for our first family of 4 portrait. Dressed in our Sunday best we made our way to the “portrait studio” in our local JCPenneys. Money being tight this time of year we opted for the fast food studio and didn’t have high hopes-but you get what you pay for. We were right on time…a feat in itself! “Hi, Eckard family, we have a 12:10 appointment.” Never looking up the young girl at the counter tells me it’s going to be 20-30 minutes. Well hmmp…20-30 minutes, that is an eternity in two year old time, but we’re dressed and there so we wait. In the corner of the waiting room was a small TV playing cartoons and on the floor a wooden train with 3 cars. Bub runs over and begins happily playing with while watching the cartoons. I sighed with relief…maybe this wait won’t be so bad after all. I sighed too soon. No sooner did the breath leave me lips then did a boy (a bit bigger then Bub who we will call nasty boy) walked over and forcefully took the train. Bub started to cry and after some coaxing the nasty boy gave Bub one of the cars. Like anyone with a two year old knows, this was not going to cut it. I don’t know if it was how warm it was in the room or him feeling my anxiousness (probably all of it), but he flew into a screaming kicking fit. It took Ev and me taking turns walking him around the store to get him calmed down. When it seemed like the storm had passed and nasty boy had gone in for his portrait we settled back down in the waiting room…Bub on the floor happily playing and watching TV. Two minutes later out runs nasty boy. He goes straight for the train, forcefully. His parents paying no attention, busy mulling over what pictures to choose don’t do a thing. I step in and say “Hey don’t take that” as he’s walking away with the train. This makes him turn around to hand Bub, one piece again. That was it; Bub was not going to have something taken from him only to get part of it back. He threw it down and proceeded to chase him with the most amazingly clear butt kicking intentions I’ve ever seen. Nasty boy was lucky we got to him before Bub did. His face turned bright red and with fist clenched he took off after nasty boy. It was hilarious! I was both proud of his strength and dumfounded by his reaction. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for sharing and Bub is actually very good at it. He’ll hand things willingly when asked. What I don’t like and apparently he doesn’t either is when children walk up and take things. That is wrong. Bub attempts it from time to time but as his parent I keep close enough eye on him to stop it before he causes a problem. So now here we are in the middle of another fit- again set off by nasty boy. At this point more then 30 minutes has gone by and we are still waiting. Two huge fits and one hour later we finally get our turn, and wouldn’t you know it, the girl taking our pictures is a minimum wage burger king employee. Bub is beyond over stimulated and won’t corporate. She shots 8 very fast poses…most of the shots not coming out and we’re done. How could they be an hour behind…we were behind the camera for a whole 10 minutes. It gets better…they shot everything with lots of head room and consider it an enhancement (fees) to crop. Actually everything was considered an enhancement, vignette, black & white, you name it. It’s all digital so really of this should be free. So it seems like you’re saving some money by going to these places, but they get you in the end. It’s really annoying…yeah in the photographic what we paid wasn’t much-but to us it was a lot. A lot of money for a lot of waiting and no quality. Not a good experience…hear that JCPenney’s, your portrait studio sucks!!!

Well after all this we still went to visit Santa. It started out good, Bub ran up gave Santa a hug and got right up on his lap. Thank goodness this was going to go smoothly. Well as soon as I handed Aid over Bub was over it. So we have a really nice picture of Aid with Santa.