Look, it just isn't going to happen. Those two kids are not capable of both looking at the camera at the same time and smiling. And frankly, I don't think my marriage can handle many more of my attempts to capture these precious angels on film to share with distant relatives and far-away friends. Every morning after they are dressed and ready for daycare I make them get together for another futile attempt at a picture worthy enough to mail out. They are always in a good mood and each of them are happy to smile. Just not at the same time.
Meanwhile Matt is in the background yelling something about it being 8:15 and needing to leave for work. I'm not exactly sure what he is saying because I am too busy bribing Avery with "special treats" (ranging from an m&m to a cookie when I am really desperate) to hear what he is yelling about. He needs to get his priorities straight. This is for our Christmas Card. We must not fail.
Christmas is so stressful.
Here are some samples of the 75 pictures I have taken since last Thursday.
This one is close. You'd think that I could just live with this but Jack is looking at Barney on TV rather than anywhere near the direction of the camera. And Avery is kind of squishing her face with her shoulder.
In this one I am pretty sure Avery just pinched him because she has somewhat of a guilty look on her face and he is starting to cry, which is completely out of character for Jack. Look at the way he is looking at Matt. It is as if to say, "dad, for real. these women are just impossible to live with." Avery's tightly closed lips indicate that she totally did something wrong.
Then they resort to those thumbs. The thumbs are actually the biggest problem of all. Here's how it normally goes when I am trying to take pictures: Avery is willing to play along and smile for about 3 shots so it is all about getting Jack to cooperate. Normally he has his thumb in his mouth so I take it out and get him to laugh. It works! He thinks it is funny! So then I return to the camera and by the time I look through the viewer the thumb is back in his mouth. damn. Next I get Matt, my impatient sidekick, to remove his thumb while I keep my eye on the two of them to get the shot. That's when Avery starts sucking her thumb and I might as well just forget it.
These pictures of Jack are usually taken before Avery decides to participate in the photo session. Usually once I start taking pictures of Jack she decides to join in.
But also I take them because he is cute. Thumb sucking and all... Plus he will always wear whatever we put on his head. It's such a change from Avery who immediately pulls off any hat we put on her because she hates us.
And the thing is, Avery can be cute when she wants to be. She likes getting her picture taken and can be quite fun.
Another attempt at a group shot. This time Jack is looking at Matt who was trying to get them to both smile. And let's not fail to notice that his pants are a little big and have ridden up higher than his bellybutton. This works for the over 60 crowd but it isn't really suitable for our family card.
I don't even know what to say about this one. I mean, can you imagine opening your card from our family and having THIS fall out to the floor? For goodness sake. It's ATTACK OF THE HEAD. Dang German genes.
So that's it. Time is up. I leave for El Salvador on Tuesday morning and I have produced nothing worthy of sending to friends and family. I think we will just have to make a card with separate pictures of the kids and send that off. It was a good effort. I had fun trying. No one was seriously hurt (since I caught Jack as he was falling off the couch) and we were only slightly late to work every day (EVERY. DAY.) while I was taking pictures.
I still haven't checked the mail in a few days because I know that there are Christmas cards in there. Perfectly put together cards by friends and family that have it all together. I am sure there are letters with lovely stories of what they have been up to this year (something I will not be including in mine because the thought of having to string together something coherent about how the year went for us kind of makes my stomach hurt).
(and it isn't like we didn't have some newsworthy events this year. I mean, Avery got glasses in January and then Jack was born in March. Matt had his annual trip to the Indy 500 in May and then turned 30 in June so a few friends showed up to help him celebrate! We celebrated our 5 year anniversary this summer. My brother's family came to visit in July and then I went to Vegas with friends in September. But that is kind of where it ends. And frankly, is it all that newsworthy to say that I went to Vegas? Do you know how many people go to Vegas every year? Maybe I could mention my new role at work which requires some travel to rather fun places and means that Matt has to play the role of both parents while I am away. But I don't know if that is card-worthy information. You see what I mean? Stomach ache.)
I love getting cards from friends and family, particularly when the card includes a picture so we can see how the family has grown or changed over the last year. I have a lot of friends that have had babies this year so I look forward to getting pictures of the little ones. And if I am really being honest, I especially love when people send letters stating what they have been up to during the last year. I can usually tell that a letter is enclosed by the thickness of the envelope and I save those cards for last so I can spend some time reading all about the last year. It makes me feel close to those people since we can't be physically close all the time. The pictures generally stay up on our refrigerator or on our picture board for the whole year (or longer) and I have every Christmas card I have received in the last 5 years saved in this Christmas box that gets put away when all of the Christmas decorations are taken down. It is a special gift to have so many friends and family members to love.
Maybe I should just send out this year's picture of Avery with Santa. It certainly shows how much she has grown since last year....with her longer curly locks and glasses.