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Monday, December 22, 2014

A Perfectly Imperfect Christmas Card

My heart overflows with happy as I look at the beautiful faces of family and friends surrounding me. No I'm not hosting a party - I'm looking at all of your Christmas cards strung across my living room and on my fridge.  If you got our card this year, it might look a little bit different from past years and maybe even from the other ones on your fridge. We look a little rumpled. There's a stray sippy cup in the shot. I am not wearing make up (hence the black and white).

Let me back up a bit and I'll tell you the story from the very beginning:

I booked a photographer in early October. I curated coordinating but obviously not matchy-matchy outfits for the family in November. I knew it would be outdoors and chilly so I bought nice coats and a freaking hat for my 4 month old. It was $12. Yes that is ridiculous. On the morning of our photo shoot I checked the weather. Clear skies - check. High today- 49 degrees. What?? Um...that sounds cold.

The sweet and talented photographer we'd booked called about two hours before we were scheduled to leave. The kids would have a hard time with the cold she warned. She would go ahead and shoot us but it wasn't possible to edit out red cheeks and runny noses. We might get 20 decent minutes before the kids fell apart. Knowing it would be hard enough to get a good shot of our clan on a perfect day, I took her advice and we re-scheduled.

Then, in a stroke of brilliance, it came to me. Our little family had planned a trip to Savannah over Thanksgiving - we got fancy and rented a beach house because, well, ain't nobody got room for this family at the inn. It would be the perfect place to get an amazing shot for a Christmas card. We'd ask Mom or Dad to take pictures of us on the beach. The beach is always gorgeous, there would be tons of natural light, we already had our perfect outfits. The plan was foul-proof.

The morning after Thanksgiving, I dressed up my little dolls kids, we roped my Dad into playing Annie Leibovitz and shuffled out to the beach. The cold blasted everyone the moment we stepped outside. It was very cold. Possibly even 49 degrees cold.  (If you're not from Georgia, don't hate. That's truly very cold to us.) And it was windy. Like, heeeeeyy you're at the beach! kind of windy.

We never made it past the boardwalk. I quickly realized we were not likely to get the perfect shot. We would be lucky to get any shots at all. Sweet B was not happy about the wind and refused to throw even a single blessed smile in the camera's direction. Blue Eyes was more interested in looking for turtles in the dunes than taking artistic direction. The Squirt was a complete sport about everything, but the Titanic was sinking and one lifeboat wasn't going to save us.

I had every intention of maintaining my sense of humor- what with our four infantile children and all- but it was blown out the window along with my perfect Christmas card by the gale force winds. At one point I might have grabbed the camera from my father and huffed, "I should have known this was a stupid idea." Yes I can get dramatic quickly when my hopes are being dashed.




After trolling through the camera later on that afternoon I admitted to myself that coordinated outfits and synchronized smiles aren't entirely reflective of this season of our lives.

Life right now is crazy, messy, chaotic. But the beauty of this season pushes at the seams of my heart til it threatens to burst sometimes too. It's a weird balance of crazy and joy.

The next morning we went for Round 2. Only this time we stayed in our PJs, grabbed some coffee (and/or milk) and snuggled in on the couch for a while. We set the camera up and hit record.  The Squirt told me everything he wanted for Christmas. Sweet B made faces at the New Kid. Blue Eyes showed off his ninja moves. There was an argument or two. Coffee was spilled. There was a timeout for a diaper change. What we ended up with was an accurate slice of life these days and we managed to grab a still shot from the video that was "Christmas card worthy".

Our outfits aren't coordinated and no one is looking at the camera, but it's currently my favorite picture of our clan.

 Merry Christmas from our perfectly imperfect family to yours. 



P.S. Yes, I've posted about family photo shoots gone wrong before. 
 
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