Taking Christmas Card Pictures With Four Children OR “Thank You, Lord, For Photoshop”

So, we attempted to take Christmas card pictures this past weekend.  Aren’t I so together and ahead of schedule, I bragged to myself, as I spent all Sunday afternoon getting ready for the pictures.  Corrie’s napped was perfectly timed so she’d be cheerful at 4 pm.  I ironed the kids’ clothes.  Everyone was showered with blow-dried hair, thankyouverymuch.  Yes, we were all quite ready for an afternoon of collecting photographic evidence of what a happy and clean-cut family we are. 

We planned to take the pictures at a local office park that has beautiful landscaping, a big pond with a fountain, and geese.  But I forgot something:  where there are geese, there is goose poop

We had been out of the car exactly 7 seconds when Stephen reported that he had stepped in goose poop.  No problem, I told him, just watch where you’re going and we’ll clean your shoes when we’re done.  Then Adam stepped in it.  I’m gritting my teeth at this point, but I’m keeping my patience.  Barely.

We got the kids set up for the first picture.  Hubs set Corrie down, and she took off across the grass chasing the geese.  The geese, of course, seeing a chubby two year old running toward them shouting, flew away quickly.  Corrie was devastated, and she began crying.

And crying. 

And then wailing

We tried every trick in our parenting repertoire to calm her.  All she could do was point at the geese watching from a safe distance and scream as if the geese were tearing off her limbs, not merely running from her. 

We moved to a different section of the grounds, toward the water, hoping the change in scenery would distract our hysterical girl.  All three boys stepped in more goose poop.  Joseph managed to get goose pop ON TOP OF his shoe, a feat I don’t even want to understand.

We carefully moved to the edge of the pond.  Corrie wanted to throw sticks in the water, and I decided to work with this.  I barked at the boys to stand next to their  sister and throw sticks in the water, while I snapped candid shots of what I hoped would appear to be a lovely group of siblings having a nature moment together, NOT three boys with poop-covered shoes and their tear-stained little sister. 

I managed a couple of semi-acceptable shots before Corrie reached down to pick up another stick to throw, and brought her hand up FULL OF STEAMING FRESH GOOSE POOP.  Hubs and I, with visions of bird flu dancing in our heads, grabbed the screaming Corrie and sprinted back to the car (and the antibacterial hand gel), leaving the boys to chase geese to their hearts’ content.  While we cleaned her up, they worked themselves into an absolutely frenzy–running and sweating and yelling and un-tucking shirts and stepping in enough goose poop to fertilize my front yard. 

Corrie, who realized she was now missing out on all the goosey fun, turned the decibel level of her meltdown up even further.  I wrestled her into the carseat, while Hubs corraled the now-dirty goose-chasers and scraped their shoes before letting them into the van. 

Weary, wind-blown and a bundle of nerves, Hubs and I collapsed into the front seat, while Corrie continued her hysteria and the boys shouted geese honks.  Hubs looked at me.  "What we should have done," he said, "is to have video-taped the last 45 minutes.  Instead of Christmas cards, we could upload it to YouTube, and send all our friends the link with the tag-line, Merry Friggin’ Christmas."

And we laughed until we could hardly breathe. 

This is why I love that man.

42 thoughts on “Taking Christmas Card Pictures With Four Children OR “Thank You, Lord, For Photoshop”

  1. JenMom@LotsofScotts says:

    Great post! Haven’t we all been there. Last year, when my triplets were 16 months old, I tried for WEEKS to get a good shot. I finally plopped them all in a wooden bin and as they screamed and wailed shot pictures that I e-mailed to all my friends with the caption: “Peace on earth”

  2. Julie says:

    Aren’t family Christmas pictures an adventure? We attempted to put the cat AND dog into ours last week. A PROFESSIONAL photographer (a friend) came to our house. We laughed ALOT, but in the end, the whole animal thing just did not work.
    What precious, fun, family memories. Really. You will ALWAYS remember Christmas 2006 as the Goose Poop year. LOL

  3. melissa says:

    oh that is so funny. i completely understand because all our family photos are like that too, except i make things even harder by including myself and my husband in the photo. we take about a million pictures (thank goodness for digital!) and if we’re lucky we have one fairly decent one.
    i love your husband’s idea!

  4. aggiejenn says:

    That video idea is a GREAT one! Hilarious! Hubs and I tried this weekend to get a good shot of the two of us with Caleb, so now our Christmas cards will have Caleb only. πŸ™‚

  5. Maren says:

    Ha ha! That was a great story! I use Shutterfly for my Christmas cards and this year they have added a collage feature so you could use a separate pic of each child instead of trying the group thing! If you want to check it out go to shutterfly.com!

  6. 4andcounting says:

    Great story. You will truly remember this for years to come. The YouTube idea is great, such a sign of the times. I guess I need to get my crew ready for pictures soon.

  7. GiBee says:

    My sister, mother of 4 children too, has the exact same problem… and she usually shoots like a gazillion shots, and then … ends up using the first one.
    But I must say … you captured the moment perfectly, and your husband’s idea would have beaten Chilihead’s themed Christmas cards HANDS DOWN!
    And for the record … the picture you shared with us is beautiful!

  8. Nicole says:

    This one made me laugh out loud! It’s nice to know we are not the only ones who seem to live life in a Lampoon’s movie! Only God could turn the most frustrating moments into such fun memories!

  9. Rabbit says:

    After several such efforts ourselves, I’ve concluded that I’d prefer to rip my own eyeballs out with a dull fork than attempt to shoot beautiful family Christmas photos again. I’m glad to hear the Dryer family is just like the rest of us. πŸ˜‰

  10. Deanna says:

    That is TOOO funny!
    We’ve had some “Merry Friggin’ Christmas” pictures as well….although none of them involved goose poop!
    The video idea is great!!!!

  11. Shalee says:

    Oh, the joy of Christmas… it’s boiled down into this one post. This is probably why I don’t do the “picture Christmas card” thing. It would most likely catch me as the wailer.
    Excellent Shannon… just hilarious.

  12. Amy says:

    Our Christmas photo shoot was not quite as funny. We however have a 20 month old who just won’t sit still long enough and look at the camera. We have tried round 1 photo shoot and we might try again in a few days. Thanks for the funny story.

  13. sarah hodsdon says:

    This totally made my day…here I thought I was having one of “those” days and well, I am just so thankful you are on the planet… it makes me smile to read your blog and to know that I am not alone…. In my world it was a sick seagull in the parking lot that dive bombed the stroller… I seriously thought it was a spilled milkshake or something because no bird could have done *that*…

  14. laurakathryn says:

    I totally understand! We just took about 60 digital photos of my 4 year old, 2 year old and 1 month old girls a week ago for the birth announcement! I ask myself, why are you doing this???? Anyway, on to the Christmas card photo….Why AM I doing this? Because we will get a good photo!!! We will!! We will!! Won’t we? Come on everybody! Please just look at mommy and smile!!!

  15. LadyBug Crossing says:

    LOL!! I gave up on Christmas photos years ago… They just don’t work out for us. This story will become one of those family legends that get funnier every year — enjoy!

  16. Honey says:

    Oh this is so funny (and relatable) I read it to my husband! Then we reminisced about last year, and I reminded him, “It is time again! Oh what fun we shall have!” He is still sitting in stunned silence; so I am off to make him think of something less stressful.

  17. Supermom says:

    Tears. Poop. I think you should go with it. Reality, baby. Reality.
    You should seriously have the last laugh and have roast goose for Christmas dinner.

  18. Jenny says:

    oh my, I was chuckling thru your post- I have 4 kids, I can so relate to this whole episode…but your husband’s comment had me crying!! oh I wish you had taped it!!!
    Jenny in Ca

  19. Amanda says:

    Ohhhh that story was just the best. Thank you for making me laugh, as another mother of four I can relate 100%

  20. mimi2six says:

    This is truly one of the funniest stories I have ever heard anywhere! I can just picture it all in my mind. Wish I’d been there!!!

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