Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Grin and Bear It

Most children look forward to Christmas. The presents, the cookies, the candy, the presents, the school vacation, the parties, the presents. My children look forward to Christmas, but with some trepidation. Matt worries about what new embarrassing thing I will write about him that will soon be read by all the obscure relatives. But mostly, the kids dread the “Christmas photo.”

This year we tried to avoid the normal stress and had a visiting friend take the picture right after we got back from church on Sunday. However, there was an issue. Unbeknownst to the friend, there was an odd shadow across the top of my head that blended into my dark hair and made me look, well, a bit odd. I will admit that I’m a little vain, but this went well beyond vanity—I looked like a cone head!

So, we had to take another picture. I thought, “Well, we’ll just do it the next day or so. But then, Cal came down with a nasty cold, the kind that puts you in bed with the covers pulled up. When he got better, I thought, “Okay, today’s the day.” Until Luke got up with a swollen red, crusty eye. Yep, pink eye. After a couple of days of drops, Luke no longer looked like the loser in a boxing match. Finally, it’s time—but, Jacob got sick with the same vile cold. His eyes watered, and his skin took on the tone of spoiled egg white.

This wasn’t going well. It was mid December, and we still hadn’t taken our Christmas picture. It was time—no matter what. I told the kids they could wear whatever they wanted (although the shirts had to have collars). They waited while I tried to get the tripod straight and to remember how to set the auto-timer. Then, I began the photographer commentary: “Luke, put your chin down. Matt, scoot over. Jacob, smile—it looks like you’re sneering. Watch at the camera. Etc.”

Time to take the picture. I pressed the button. The kids yelled, “Hurry, Mom, it’s blinking!” I rushed over, trying to avoid bumping the tripod. Once I was unsuccessful—but it made for an interesting, albeit not Christmas-y, picture. When I did avoid smacking the tripod with my leg, there was always the challenge of squeezing in and trying to have a non-fake smile. And, don’t forget the comments of the other participants: “Oops, my eyes were closed.” “Hey, you’re making yourself look taller than me.” “My knees/back/smile is hurting.” After about ten pictures, I thought, “Okay, we’re done.” I put the data card into the computer and Ariel showed me how to get rid of red eye and so on. Finally, we all settled on a photo and I thought, “It’s over!” But, it wasn’t. One child said, “Hey, Jezebel isn’t in the picture. We need her in the picture.” My fake smile vanished completely. And before I could say, “Have you lost your mind?!,” all the children said, “We need Jezebel in the photo!”

I ground my teeth and said, “Sure, okay”…maybe it’s not the kids who hate the Christmas picture, maybe it’s me.

{Here's the picture we finally chose. (I won't even tell you about trying to get it made into Christmas cards--and how the photo machines at Sam's Club hate me and try to sabotage my cards every year. This year they tried to crop off half of Calvin's head. Thankfully, I was able to save him from the digital guillotine.)}


  1. Heh heh... We have the same problem, just with many more children included in the process.

  2. I thought you told Jacob not to sneer. LOL. Just kidding.

  3. And you did it just in time, because now i'm sick.

  4. You know, I certainly didn't see any weird shadow in the first picture. I think perhaps it was a shadow that was invisible to everyone except yourself. In fact, it probably never existed at all but was actually just part of your evil fiendish plan to torture your children with more Christmas pictures!!

    And for the record, I was fine with a pic w/o Jezzie. Although, the one we ended up with was pretty funny--it looks like she's sneezeing or something. :)


  5. That is so funny. We've never done annual Christmas pictures but I told my mom we really should :) Can't wait to read the Christmas letter!

    In Christ, Elizabeth

  6. Hey Mrs. Keller,

    I just saw something very are following "Tanta's Kitchen" and I actually know Mrs. Walker in real life. She goes to our church! Do you know them??