Monday, November 26, 2007

The Hooligans Say Cheese

This weekend has been particularly productive, and quite frankly, I am shocked. This time of year is fun and beautiful and meaningful and bittersweet, but it is not usually known as the time of year to get anything done in an effective manner. This is the time of year when the days fly by like minutes, I go slightly insane, and The HomeFront Corp teeters on the brink of implosion. By the time the new year rolls in, I am fast asleep because I am too stinkin' tired to watch some ball drop and drink something bubbly with Rob. Hey, it's still the new year in the morning.

While I harbor no notions of changing my New Year celebrations -- I know I will be in some sort of recumbent position in order to accommodate the almost full grown human I will be toting around at that point -- I have been pleasantly surprised at our smooth arrival in the holiday season. I've picked the turkey clean, made some delicious leftovers, ordered our Christmas cards, and put out all of our Christmas decorations, except for the tree. Boy, it's really hard to type all of that while I am knocking furiously on wood and petting a rabbit's foot. Oh, I kid. There's no rabbit's foot.

I know we have another week until Advent, and I normally hold out on the decorating, but this year Rob was home on the day after Thanksgiving, and you know what they say: Carpe Tall Guy Who Lifts Heavy Boxes. I have finally admitted that I am in no shape to be climbing ladders and decking the halls this year, so I've had to settle for the position of Project Manager. (Did you hear that? That was the collective sigh of relief from my mother, my mother-in-law, and my husband. Just don't tell them that I still do all my own housework stunts.) As a person who is firmly entrenched in the philosophy of If-You-Want-Something-Done-Right-Do-It-Yourself, being a Project Manager is not an area in which I excel. I'm letting go, but I'm not a quick study.

We even did the family Christmas photo. Oh, yes, my friends -- the Big One. The one where people lose their minds and contemplate tying the children to a chair just to get them to sit still for the space of time it takes the shutter to click. You can easily just toss a festive throw over them to hide the restraints. Not that I've ever tried this option.

I sort of shot myself in the foot with our family photo session from last year, because now there's the pressure of having to live up to 2006: The Year of the Awesome Family Christmas Picture. Last year, I tortured dressed the kids in costumes and staged a little Holy Family Photo Op in my living room.

Francie, our resident dramatist, was into the whole idea, and she kept asking to make adjustments to her Mary costume. I told her that I was pretty sure that Mary didn't wear glittery headbands or bangle bracelets, but she was a teenager, so what do I know?

Fiver was not into the whole idea, mostly because he doesn't like costumes. Especially ones that involve headgear. He also doesn't like bathrobes, which was his whole costume. Except for the annoying headgear, of course. His smile was more of a pained and confused expression, but I let it go. I figured that Joseph was probably pretty pained, and more than a little confused, about having to make a gazillion mile journey with his super pregnant wife, who ended up giving birth - to GOD - in a place other than an actual, you know, establishment for people. I'm just saying that maybe Fiver had the expression right after all.

I don't know how Sally felt about the whole thing. I just seized the opportunity of her underdeveloped baby motor skills and plunked her in swaddling clothes right between Francie and Fiver. She was powerless to stop me, but she must have sensed the gravity of her role because she looked very calmly at the camera the whole time. She's a total method actor anyway.

After a only a few clicks, I had the picture I wanted. I played around with the color on the computer, settled on a sepia tone, slapped those babies in cards and sent them off in the first week of December. A well-oiled machine, my friends . . .

This year, I was just hoping to get them all facing the same direction. A picture with these three is like herding cats, especially since Sally cries at the injustice of having to sit for a picture without getting a chance to examine the camera. And by examine, I mean slam it on the floor. All I wanted was one piece of tangible evidence that my children can sit with each other without any of the following:

  • pinching
  • licking
  • breathing too loudly near a sibling
  • staring at aforementioned sibling
  • drooling
  • puking
  • picking their nose or that of a sibling
  • grabbing their crotch (Fiver, I'm lookin' at you)
  • biting (Sally, this one's for you)
  • over-emoting with the cheesiest smile ever (Yup, Francie, you know it)

I know what you're thinking. It's a tall bill, especially since my camera's batteries were dying, but I am an optimist. I went into the whole thing with the thought that I was all right with people seeing the kids just as they are. I didn't even bother to dress them in cute clothes. Bring on the gritty film of reality.

Imagine my surprise when the whole event was finished in eleven minutes.

Rob and I plunked them all down on the piano bench as a staging area while I got the camera ready. That staging area was a stroke of genius because the kids all started playing around on the piano. With smiles on their faces. Faces that were actually turned to the camera at the same time. It was a pre-Christmas miracle, my friends.

In accordance with my Edict of Internet Shopping, I uploaded the photos and ordered my cards on line this year. Why, oh why, have I not done this before? They were twenty percent off, and I got free shipping. I heart saving money while wearing my slippers. Will the wonders of the internet never cease?

Now I just have to write The Letter. You know, the one where I recount all the mundane things we do all year. It's terribly exciting to read -- not unlike this blog. I better do it while I'm buzzing from the rush of the good picture and the free shipping. All it takes is one tantrum to bring the whole thing crashing down.

Like I said, it's all about the gritty reality this year.


  1. Impressive! We got our decorations up, but I have not attempted the picture yet. I'm going for the matching clothes this year, so Buddy still needs some pants. Pants that fit, that is. And my goal for the week is entering all of my addresses to make labels and to determine how many picture cards to order. Husband wants to write a letter, after taking a year off, but if he doesn't meet my timeline it doesn't go in. I hope the momentum continues!

  2. Gritty reality is still quite awesome.

    And to make you feel better, last year I didn't even get holiday cards out.

  3. You go, girl! I purchased my cards on clearance in January and that's as far as I've gotten with Christmas this year.

    Good job on the brilliant photo shoot! That's always a plus. And online photo cards rock. I may have to look into that for another year.

    I'm sure your letters are more fun to read than most. It's not so much what you say as how you say it.

  4. i loved last year's photo and i'm sure this year's photo is going to be as good and/or better! i always love receiving the annual letter and picture - then you and your fam get to hang out on my fridge for a year....don't you feel special now?!

  5. Your comment:

    "I know I will be in some sort of recumbent position in order to accommodate the almost full grown human I will be toting around at that point "

    Made me do an "COL" - chuckle out loud.

  6. Wow! Eleven minutes for a family picture? I think I need to get a piano!

  7. Anonymous9:09 AM

    From the desk of Diana...
    dear friend, as always your writings bring 'light and humor' to my otherwise 'tired soul'. I feel like I have a free subscription to a fun, real magazine --- to which the editor/creators, 'oh so understand!' I'm passing on Christmas cards this year (since i just sent out birth announcements) --- so, I applaud you.

  8. i love you- and especially the grit!

    hugs and kisses from all of us to all of you!

  9. OK, FINE! I'll get a move on! Gosh, the pressure!


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