Tuesday, December 13, 2011

With Love From the Elliots

I mailed our Holiday cards out at the end of last week and the completion of this one momentous task has left me feeling smug and overly proud of myself.  I always feel an over-blown sense of accomplishment when the holiday cards are finished.  

I am, as it turns out, a Holiday Card A-Holic.  I love everything about holiday cards - the taking of a picture, the  choosing of the card, the note-writing, the envelope addressing... it is a process that unites two of my great loves:  mail and stationary.  I start the entire card process WAY before most sane people.  I begin by taking "dressy" photos of the children some time months before December, during the warm days of summer when activities are at a minimum and the children are feeling relaxed.

This year, I took the photos during our trip to Block Island.

I choose the above photo for the outside of the card.

And the below photo for the inside of the card.

I don't usually have two photos on our holiday card, but this year I just happened to have two pictures I thought were great.  Having two photos that are worthy of Holiday Card Status is highly unusual.  

Some years, I have had to do multiple photos shoots because not ONE of the pictures from any given sitting was suitable at all.  This is a sad reality that is entirely all my fault.  

I am not a good photographer.  In fact, it is only because I am willing to take 2000 photos in hopes of getting just one good shot, that I am able to succeed at photographing my children at all.  I don't even bother to stop and check a photo after I've taken it.  I find that it's best just to keep snapping, keep moving, and hope for the best.  I've learned the hard way that children - especially young children and especially my own children - are hard to photograph. 

I will prove my point by taking you back to the day in question:  Pretend that you are on Block Island and it is July.  

Remember that great photo of the children hanging from the tree?  The above photo was my first attempt   at posing the children in this perfectly lit location.  Please note how, when told to go stand by the tree, Henry placed himself IN FRONT of his sisters, dead center in the photo and as close to the lens as he could get.  This is typical Elliot Child behavior and it is called "Trying To Be Funny."  Sadly, "Trying To Be Funny"  is always followed by me "Screaming, Threatening and Losing My Mind."  Sigh.  There is a reason that Gordy stays far away from the holiday card photo process.

After losing my mind from the antics of the first pose, I am able to regroup and to move on in hopes of finding that one great spot.  I have learned from years past that a nice, blurry, green background looks fabulous agains the green border of a holiday card.

Alas.  Two of the three children aren't looking so bad.  Let's try again:

Argh!  Josie!  Open your eyes!  Quit pretending to be asleep!  Henry!  Relax your smile!  Remember!  If we can just do this for 20 minutes or so, we'll be done for the whole year!  And you can have some ice cream!

That perked them up a bit.  But Henry is still making that strange toothy grimace in attempts To Be Funny.  I am not feeling the humor.  We'd better move on to another pose.... keep things upbeat:

Okay.  Silly, jumping thing isn't working either... let's keep moving.  

To the porch!

Mercy!  Bad light!  Strange angle.  Why would they be standing on the ledge of the porch?  Maybe they need to be doing something!  Move around, children!  Do something!

Okay, not that.  Let's move to location number 2.  This year, we'll have a beach picture!  It will be gorgeous!

Maybe not.  Let's go to the water's edge.  I'll try to take some arty photos:

AHH!  Would it kill you to stand close to each other!  Just for one minute!

Okay, like that doesn't look forced or anything.  Would it hurt you to pretend that you LIKE each other?

Not bad, but still not The One.

Maybe I should do individual pictures this year:

Or maybe not.  I think it's time for a break.  We'll regroup in a few minutes.

 Last chance!  Look pretty!

Josie!  Smile or no ice cream for you!

Better!  Just a few more...

... alright, the smiling is getting a little silly!

I get the hint.  We're finished!

(until next summer)


The Royal Couturier said...

HAHAHAHAH , seems a very tiring process but the final pics are beautiful .
amazing children you have :))



A. E. said...

Love it! The pictures do look wonderful though. :)
Derm Deals

Martha said...

You are so right, KEM! It's quite a process but I admit I love every minute of it. And writing this post made me REALLY miss the summer. It's freezing here! Hope it's warmer where you are (I assume it is!)

Martha said...

Thank you, AE! The final photos came out perfectly and the behind-the-scenes is always good for a laugh, it's true! thanks for stopping by!

The Royal Couturier said...

yeah , I'm sure it is , im in Egypt , it's cold here , but not freezing , i miss summer too , but i love winter anyway , i like wearing coats :)

elisabethellington said...

LMAO at "Trying to Be Funny" followed by "Losing My Mind". 98% of the photos I have of Temesgen are of him sticking his tongue out (and he has a Gene Simmons tongue, so it's SUPER creepy!), rolling his eyes back in his head, or making a horrible face. I consider it a great photo if both children look halfway human. Maybe over time I can raise my standards for what qualifies as a great photo? In any case, loved the card. It *almost* inspired me to write Xmas cards myself, but then the urge went away.....

Martha said...

Not me, kem! Maybe you and I should switch places! I'll have to look up the temperature range in Egypt... it sounds like it might be too cold for me too! I need to move to Florida! Love your blog!

Martha said...

Gene Simmons tongue! Eck! How gruesome... I mean How Nice for Him! I've really been enjoying your posts - the cats on the counters really had me laughing.

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