Then there are those of us who go all out. You know who you are, present company included. The Christmas Card photo must depict your little *angels*, all decked out in Holiday appropriate matchy matchy (or at least coordinating) attire, hair perfectly groomed, and just the right background setting. If you will notice, most families that attempt these photos have children under the age of 5. Why? Because parents of young children are naive, no brave, no, they have too much time on their hands (Ha!) and need to spend hours of prepping and planning for the perfect photo.
But shouldn't we want our photo to be more realistic? Why stage it with all the fluff and stuff? Because nobody wants to see my real life children. That would be a photo of three runny nose kids with crazy wake-up hair, still in their breakfast stained pajamas sitting on the floor in a big pile of messy toys. We'll just hold onto to those photos for screensavers and emails to the grandparents thank you very much.
So, as this story is going, the story behind the photo is not at all about the perfect children in the picture. It is the story of what it took to capture the image. My first attempt of this year's Christmas Card photo was at our Fall beach trip. I got all three kids up and dressed and out on the sand. After my sister-in-law and husband jumped up and down and did every trick imaginable to get the kids attention while I clicked away at my shutter approximately 400 times, I got nothing. OK, maybe one or two that might work - with lots of help from Photoshop. Ugh. I will have to try again.
So this past Tuesday, the weather forecast was sunny, not too cold, and no wind. None of the kids had runny green noses or scratches on their face. Perfect! I'll pick the boys up from preschool, change their clothes, bribe them with a trip to the park, and get this task crossed off my To Do list. It took me approximately 45 minutes to get all three kids dressed and cowlicks combed out and crust scraped off their face. We jumped in the van and drove to a nicely manicured green space in our neighborhood. Lots of room for the kids to run off and not get too bored with my "photo session." I reminded the boys about 6000 times about the trip to the park if they cooperated. Do they even know what that words means? Apparently not.
So, I get all three kids sitting on a pretty little iron bench, remind the boys, "Hands to ourselves," (never works BTW), get myself into position, and then pull out my secret weapon - wait for it - the rubber chicken. Say wha? A rubber chicken. Shh! It's this gross looking rubber chicken that makes the strangest noise - Bagaaawww - or if you squeeze it really hard - Bagaaaaawwwwww. The best part? Kids think it's hilarious. I got the tip while attending a photography session with Sandy Puc. And it works. At least for 1-3 photos. Then I learned it backfires. After I squeezed that bird about 6 times, my boys wanted it. That is when our short lived session first began to unravel.
Then they came. The landscapers. Or better described - the leaf blowers. Our neighborhood is about 1000 acres with tons of greenspaces and parks and they choose the 20 foot radius near me and the kids to blow leaves. Are you kidding me? So Princess starts crying from the noise, which then makes her nose start running. And the boys jump up and run away. Far, far, away, down the greenspace. They can't hear me yelling to come back because of all the leaf blowing noise polution. So I just decide to put my camera down for a few (count to 10 before I lose it) and let the boys roll around in the wet grass to work off some energy. When we finally regroup, I get the kids posed once again, and what's that? A lady. A curious lady and her granddaughter. Standing dead center in the background pointing at us. "That's so cute!" I see her mouth to her granddaughter. Big sigh. The thought of photoshopping out this lady and child is not appealing to me at all. So I dismiss the idea of another group shot and send the kids off to play while I bury my head in my lap. We're done.
Below are a few "Best of the Worst." These (if any) won't be making it on our 2009 cards.
"Mommy, I want to hold the chicken, now."