Dang we’re attractive!

August 20th was a super depressing day for my mom, because it’s the last time that all 7 of her children will be at home at the same time until possibly Thanksgiving, but for sure Christmas.  That’s a long time to someone like my mom whose life has revolved around her children for the last 25 years.  She always gets all emotional and stuff at this time of year when her kids are heading off to school, and now that Taylor’s leaving the nest, that just leaves Laura and Rachel to entertain her.  At least Rachel possesses more athletic ability than all other 6 of her children combined so that she can go to her freshman volleyball games.  And I mean, Laura’s getting kind of a mouth on her, so Mom has to work on keeping her in line.


Vanderstappens now occupy almost all the corners of Wisconsin, with me living in Green Bay, Marty leaving for his last semester at UW-River Falls, Adrianna going into her junior year at UW-Platteville, and now Taylor starting her freshman year in Lacrosse at a small private school called Viterbo.


So, on August 20th, knowing that it was the last day that her driveway would be a used car lot for a while, my mom arranged family picture day.  It was actually arranged a few months ago, but my mom pretty much pounded it into our heads that even if we were dying of the mumps (Just kidding, you don’t die of the mumps.  I lived through them, remember?) we had better get our butts home and pull it together to get a good picture, because this picture is going to be hung on the wall, dammit.


We all made it home by picture time, scheduled at 9AM in the gardens at St. Benedict’s church.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature had kind of an attitude and didn’t care that this picture was going to hang on the wall of my mother’s home.  


We’re driving along to St. Ben’s, and the sky is getting darker and darker.  Adrianna, Laura, and I were driving with Mom, and she was trying to fight back tears because UGH why would it be fricking hurricane weather on this day??  Why not tomorrow?  Why not YESTERDAY???  Adrianna and I, on the other hand, were fighting back tears because the sky looked like God was going to shove his foot through the clouds and punt us.  Laura stayed really cool, calm, and collected through the whole ordeal.


So anyways, we decided to take a detour and go to breakfast instead.  Right after Mom made the phone call, a tsunami went through that included hail, which included my mom swearing because she didn’t want the hail to ruin her Mercedes.  

Holy eff.

The only problem with getting breakfast was that we had to walk outside in the rain.  And the dress code was white shirts and dark jeans.  AND of COURSE we all did our hair nicely, which is ruined with one drop of rain to the head.  Sigh.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot that we were ALL WEARING THE SAME THING so we looked like a family on vacation that didn’t want to lose anybody.  


At least Mom wasn’t a complete lunatic and chose white shirts and dark jeans instead of THIS psycho mom:


After getting up every 10 minutes to look outside and see if it was clearing up, Mom called Jill our photographer and said, “The weather is ready, and so are we!!” or something like that.  Mother Nature would not ruin this picture!!


When we got to the church, we took some really nice pics.  I mean, I must say that we all clean up pretty nicely, and Jill even said that we were a “bunch of great smilers”, but that’s because my mom used to beat us if we looked like idiots in pictures that she took of us.  

People say we look alike.  I don’t see it…

If you think that Laura’s about to burst into tears in that pic, it’s because she was.  She doesn’t really like when someone tells her what to do?  So when Jill said (in the sweetest voice EVER), “Laura, sweetie, why don’t you climb back by Mark and Taylor?  Can you do that sweetheart?”, you would have thought that Jill said, “LAURA!  GET YOUR ASS BACK THERE OR I WILL CUT YOU.”  But she didn’t.  Laura never quite grasped the nice picture smile.  Hey.  At least she’s looking at the camera.


We are a product of these people.  Good genes.

My grandpa came too, because Mom wanted nice pictures with him.  He didn’t have to wear a white shirt, because he was the man of the hour.
Notice the blue.
My grandpa is a really funny guy that’s going to turn 70 in September (I hope I age that well!!).  Looking at the nice pictures that he took, you would never guess that he tells dirty jokes and drives 90 mph in a 55, even when he has his precious grandchildren in the car.
This picture makes me smile.  Really big smile.
Picture day was going great.  Everyone was cooperating, and it really helped that Jill is so nice and knows our family.  Knowing that Jill knows our family, you would THINK that she knows that we are NOT FUN PEOPLE.  We like to take nice, pretty pictures.  So when she told us to do something “fun” we all just stared at her.  Because we don’t know how to do that.


I guess that I should say that Jenna and I don’t know how to do fun.  Taylor, Rachel, and Adrianna look awesome in this pic.  I seriously don’t know how they pulled it off.  And neither does Jenna.  Laura looks like she’s being tortured, but that’s what she usually looks like when she’s having fun.  


When Jill told all of us girls to sit down so that Marty could lay across our laps, havoc wreaked.  Then Jill said (in her “stern” voice, but even when she’s stern she is just so sweet) “Oh you girls.  This is FUN.  Just sit down.”  And Marty crawled on top of us.  We were all rolling our eyes and saying OW MARTY YOUR ELBOW JUST WENT INTO MY THIGH, but when Jill started counting, we got one of the best pictures of the day.

Don’t we pretend that we love each other well??

Jill decided to stop taking pictures at the church when we were all squinty and looked like idiots because the sun was blinding us.  We caravan-ed to a new location called Fox Farms, which I’ve been wondering about since I was a little kid.  It’s on County B for those of you that know the area, and it has a really long driveway with the two gray barns side by side.  Jill knows the owner, and she had their permission to take pics there.



We were all walking around while Jill looked for a good spot, and then this crazy lunatic of a woman came outside (but she left her dentures inside) and said that she was going to call the police because she rents that property!  And she mows the lawn!  So get off the lawn!  And then Jill turned all sassy and “Hey I have permission to be here!” and the Vanderstappen kids turned all scared and wussy and wanted to leave.  So we left.  But not before I got a picture of Jill confronting lunatic lady and my grandpa standing watch in case he had to pull out his switchblade (actually, I’m not sure if he carries a switchblade, but I would totally not be surprised if he did).

Dang blackberry, not getting a clear shot.  Red hat = lunatic.

As we drove out, I was driving my grandpa’s sweet Jeep, and he rolled down his window to yell something at the lady.  I was afraid that we were going to get shot, but he just said, “Thanks for being so nice!  Have a nice day!”  And then told me to drive on the grass.  I didn’t. 

We took a few more pictures at our house in the back so that you can’t tell we live on a farm, but it actually looks like we live in a beautiful woodsy area where there is a pond that has a dock that we jump off of and go swimming.

Jenna’s 8 months pregnant.

Dad was getting kind of restless, and kind of stopped cooperating after a while.


He IS getting good at posing though.
It was starting to get kind of humid out, and we were all hot and our hair was getting pretty frizzy, so we decided to call it a day.  But first, my mom MADE us take this picture, and I’m glad that it turned out well, because NONE of us wanted to do it.  And YES, we voiced our opinion, but then when Jill told us we had to do it, we did, because my mom taught us to be polite.   
That baby is the most loved baby in the whole world,
and we haven’t even seen him/her yet.

We haven’t seen all of the pics yet, but the ones that you see are a few that Jill already has online.  Let me know if you want her contact info, because then she can make your family look good too!


I will say though, we laughed a lot on August 20th, and I already can’t wait until we’re all home at the same time for the holidays.
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