Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Our trip to the Windy City

Monday began at 4:25am when my alarm went off . In order to be on time for my 7am flight we needed to be out the door by five. The kids did great getting up and ready and I was waving a tearful goodbye from the curb at the Lindbergh terminal by 5:35. Unfortunately Airtran doesn't fly out of that terminal anymore. What a way to start a trip! I quickly called Brian who was able to take the loop around and pick us up and drive over to the Humphrey terminal where, according to Sam, "Let's try this again." Air travel makes me nervous enough, but to be traveling with a baby, all her gear, and get the news that I'm in the wrong terminal...Let's just say, I didn't stop sweating for hours. They were already boarding as I hustled to the gate so I had very little time to get situated. No extra seats meant that I had to nurse Julia wedged between two men. Thankfully she fell asleep as soon as the aircraft began it's march down the runway.
The flight was on time and we arrived as scheduled at 8:30. I called Sarah, my college roommate, who came to pick us up after the morning rush hour had subsided a bit. It was nice to have an hour to roam the airport and catch my breath. I couldn't keep Julia cooped up forever so I found an area of the airport that I hoped didn't receive as much traffic and let her crawl around before giving her hands a thorough scrubbing.

Before long it was time to start the trek out to South Barrington where the studio was located. The time went so fast as we talked our way through the various Chicago 'burbs. I experienced a slight panic when the directions led us to a ritzy neighborhood rather than a commercial zone. We only had 20 minutes to find the studio and no idea where we'd gone wrong. I called the studio and got voice mail for the first time ever. Have I mentioned that I was a sweaty mess most of the day? I hung up, called again and was told "Oh, yes it is in a residential neighborhood." Well that's good, cuz that's exactly where we were - sitting in front of a multi-million dollar home. (Maybe ya shoulda mentioned that on the phone???) We unloaded the gear and headed in to see what this modeling business is all about. I was so thankful to have Sarah there with me. We haven't seen each other in three years, but we always pick up where we left off. I am so blessed to call her my friend.
After they buzzed us in we walked into a room full of babies, children, and parents. It was pretty chaotic. It didn't take long for them to give us paperwork to fill out and get Julia into the makeup chair. Yes, the makeup chair. They used this miracle powder to hide the little bumps that had popped up under her nose. It actually was pretty comical. She thought it tickled.
An hour later the crowd had thinned out to where there were only two other families left in the studio.
This is Julia during the hour we waited for something to do. It's hard work being so cute. :)
They had us rotate from the dressing room to the makeup chair to the place where George took the pictures. Deb, the manager, kept things moving right along and had the baby wranglers hopping to do what she asked. She and I were always on the same page as far as what Julia should wear, what her hair needed, and what to do to help her get her to be happy in front of the camera. But.....over the phone she had assured me that they took the time to get to know the kids before they were put in front of the camera. This was not the case though. Julia was taken from my arms after only two seconds of "getting to know you time." Then a different person (Deb) took a stuffed kitty on a stick and shoved it in her direction in order to get her to look and smile at the camera. As you can imagine, this did not work. They let me be the one to arrange her clothes and stay just out of the shots and Charlie (who eventually developed a rapport with Julia) did the kitty stick poking. Another girl was banished from the kitty stick job after she kept jabbing my daughter with the kitty. Come on people! Nobody is going to smile for the camera when someone is trying to make a kitty kabob out of them!

This is what we saw when we went into the dressing room. The baby wranglers lay everything out before we go in there. Not all those clothes are Julia's. We borrowed some from friends and another little girl's clothes made it in my picture. What's funny about this is that for all the clothes we had along, she spent the majority of the day in her pjs.
Three more outfit changes (and hours) later and we were ready to call it a day. By the end Julia had more makeup on than me. (She kept rubbing off the powder that kept her cheeks from getting too rosy.)
So what did I think of the whole experience? It's hard to describe. On one hand I want to believe what they said about her having the right look, but it's their job to make people think their children have what it takes. If they don't, the parents don't buy more prints to send to agents and they don't get to live in a multi-million dollar home. (I wish I would have taken a picture of the house.)
It's hard to trust someone who has their own agenda. Who knows, maybe she'll get picked up by an agent and she'll have the opportunity to get some money in a college fund. As soon as I start thinking she might have a chance at modeling, a little voice in my head starts whispering, "Sucker!" I guess we wait and see what the agents think.

Before heading to the airport we stopped at Sarah's condo for a quick tour and a walk around her neighborhood.

She has a wonderful life in the city. It was a real treat to see everything - including the sites of downtown.

Sarah dropped us off at the airport at 5:30 so we had time to get through security before our 7pm flight that turned into a 9:45 flight. ugh. Julia stayed awake the entire time we waited at the gate. We played catch with an orange we found on the floor, she practiced walking, and made many friends with other passengers sitting nearby. One passenger she did not go near was the man in shackles. At first I thought the bounty hunters (picture a watered down version of Dog the Bounty Hunter - pony tail, muscle shirt, badge around the neck....), were waiting to apprehend someone coming off of the plane we were waiting to arrive, but no such luck. They were transporting someone on our flight - eight rows behind me. Yeah for empty seats!!!!!

Poor Brian and Sam waited for over three hours for us because the delay in my flight wasn't announced until well after they'd left the house. I think we are all still recovering from being up past midnight that night.

Thanks Sarah for all the driving you did, for helping with Julia at the studio, and for the tour of Chicago. It was sooo good to see you!


Jennifer McKinney Photography November 1, 2007 at 1:45 PM  

Oh! SO good to finally get the "whole report." What an adventure! Still can't believe about the bounty hunter, either:)

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