Every year we try to get a nice picture of the kids for our Christmas card.
You notice that I said "try."
Because every year without fail, one of our kids will have a bad attitude, and refuse to smile.
Each year I have these visions of some festive location with trees and snow and beautiful decorations and our children posing happily together, smiling, happy............
Last year was easy, we went to Disneyland the first week in December, and we were able to get a nice picture of the family in front of a nicely decorated tree somewhere in the Magic kingdom. The kind Disney "Cast member" even managed to get all of us looking at the camera and smiling.
Last Saturday we decided that it would be the day to get the picture. We were going to a Christmas party in the afternoon, so the kids looked somewhat presentable.
(speaking of the Christmas party, I wore a white sweater to the party, where they served multiple delicious appetizers including barbecued meatballs.
Did you catch that?
White sweater + barbecued meatballs = .........................
I'm sure you get the point. I'm just glad that Max still likes me to carry him everywhere. He covered the stain nicely.)
After we left the party, the plan was to go downtown to take the picture with all of the Christmas lights. Unfortunately, it was so darn cold that we decided it wasn't a good idea to go there, so we went to a place in town with quaint little old fashioned shops and tons of fun Christmas decorations, including displays full of elves.
Last year we tried to go there, and Max was completely freaked out by the elves. We couldn't even get within 12 feet of one of them without him screaming. This year, all he has talked about was going back to see the elves.
As soon as we got there and got everyone out of the car it started snowing. And the wind was blowing. And it was SUPER cold.
We just wanted to get the darn picture, get back in the warm car and go home.
We found an elf display, stood the kids in front of it, explained to the teenager for the third time that yes indeed, he did need to stand there and be in the picture and then tried to get Max to undo the hood of his coat so that we could see more than his eyes.
"No. I not take off my hood. I also leave it on."
"Please Max, just for a second. Just undo it so we can see your cute smile."
So we took the picture. Yeah, not great. Max even managed to turn away from the camera just as the flash went off.
Then I got a great idea. There was an old fashioned candy shop just down the lane from where we were standing.
They give out free fudge samples.
"Max, why don't we go get some fudge, get warmed up a bit, and then take the picture?"
He didn't disagree, and the other kids were now all excited about the free fudge, so we walked down to the candy shop.
As we were reading the sign on the door that said "Unattended children will be given a cappaccino and a free puppy" the girl inside locked the door and said "Sorry, we're closed.
Closed? You've got to be kidding?
Sure enough, the other sign on the door said they closed at 8:00.
It was exactly 8:00.
There was a cute elf display mere feet from the door so in one last effort to get this picture thing done, we stood the kids in front of it and told them to smile.
We still couldn't see Max's face, so I leaned over and told CJ (who was holding Max) that I would count to three, he would undo Max's hood and we would take the picture.
What we got was a picture of three of our kids smiling nicely and Max SCREAMING.
We finally ended up just doing what we do every year. After church on Sunday, we sat the kids in front of the Christmas tree and snapped a picture. (and even that was harder that it should have been) We did get one really good picture and will be using that for our card this year.
What I should have done was just get them all out of bed at 4:00 a.m. sat them in front of the tree and taken their picture, morning hair, mismatched pajamas, sleepy faces and everything. That way, they would look the way I feel when they get us up that early on Christmas morning.
Maybe next year.
Join me tomorrow for the adventures of actually getting the picture to the Costco photo lab and having the cards printed.
I can hardly wait.