Every year, as the summer gives way to fall, I start getting a little anxious thinking about our Christmas cards. I know, it’s a really stupid thing to fret about, but I can’t help it. I enjoy sending cards out. Plus, for the friends and family who don’t have Facebook or regular access to my blog, it just might be the only update or piece of correspondence they receive from us during the year.

As much I love writing letters and keeping up with the people I love, let’s face it, there are only so many hours in the day and with two very active kids, a husband, a dog, a full-time job, a couple of unfinished writing projects, I’m pretty much tapped out when it comes to sitting down and writing letters. Hell, even my epic emails have fallen by the wayside in recent years.

I have several local photographer friends who take really beautiful photos, the type I would definitely love to see hanging on my wall. But here’s the thing, I hate having my photo taken…like, seriously hate it. And besides that, I guess I must like torturing myself and my family as I default to setting my camera on a tripod and trying to take our own family photos because, let’s face it, what’s more fun than trying to herd your hyper husband, silly daughter, teething infant, and food-whoring hound all together long enough to shoot enough photos where you can work your Photoshop magic to swap out the strange expressions and closed eyes and cobble together something to throw on a Christmas card.

We lucked out the year Cadence was born. We’d run up to Phoenix to scout out a location where I was going to shoot another family’s photos and decided to just haul Electra along and make a day of it. We found a bench to sit on. I put the camera on a tripod and set the timer (this was before I bought a wireless remote). Then I ran back over to grab a seat next to Stevie and situate Cadence in my lap.

By some strange luck, a freakin’ peacock suddenly meandered by, just behind my camera, which made Electra sit straight up and take notice. The shutter clicked a split second before she started pulling on her collar and trying to give chase.

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And that photo was our only real family photo right up until last Christmas.

Sure we had a couple other cute shots, just Stevie and Cadence and me. But Electra…she just wouldn’t cooperate.

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Oh we tried several times over the years to get all of us in another photo. My favorite was the time we tried to get a quick shot (not even anything real formal) out on the porch swing. This time, I was sure it was going to work. It was a beautiful spring day. I’d just gotten the new wireless remote, which would completely eliminate me having to run back and forth between my camera and my family. All was going well, we were smiling and I was just beginning to press down on the remote button when a rabbit suddenly tore out of the bushes behind us and Electra made a wild leap and tried to jump right over my head while Stevie flashed a classic Stevie grin at the camera and Cadence stared at our howling hound with a look of horror on her face.

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Yeah, that one ended up on our Christmas card that year. I mean, come on, nothing says The Romanos like a crazy photo on a card.

Last year, we had fun using our Christmas cards to announce Henry’s impending arrival…

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And this year, well this year I really wanted to get a new photo taken, and even tried to find a little space in the calendar to reach out to one of my photog-a-friends and see if we just might be able to work in time for a session.

No such luck.

And so, down to the wire and wanting to get something in the mail this year, we turned to the old tripod and remote once again and gave it our best shot. We crowded in the family room since our trusty ol’ Nebraska weather finally decided to dump a whole mess of winter on us. Forty minutes, three dozen tries, two Photoshop head swaps, and one wheezing hound dog later and we managed to get something for the Christmas card.

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Oh, but the outtakes are too much fun…

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About the Author Lori Romano

I am a writer, photographer, wife, mother, dog owner, half-assed housekeeper and a self-proclaimed coffee and chocolate addict. One day, I will write a book.

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