Tuesday, December 6, 2011


And by "fun!" I mean "total fucking nightmare!" You wouldn't think it would be that hard to get four people together in one picture looking halfway decent. But it is. Especially since there's no way that I'm going to settle for halfway decent. You guys, this picture goes out to basically everyone I've ever known. People I haven't laid actual eyes on in decades. People I couldn't pick out of a line-up if they mugged me (unless of course we get their holiday card, in which case I have a fighting chance, as long as they are wearing the same clothes. "It was him, officer! The guy in the white polo shirt and neatly pressed khakis!"). My high school prom date gets this card, as do his parents. My MOTHER's high school prom date gets one, too. It's a wide net I'm casting here, folks.

Anyway, the point is that this is my opportunity to sum up, in one picture, how swell my life is, how strong and handsome (but sensitive!) my husband is, how much he loves me, how adorable and well-behaved my sons are, and the general perfection of my existence. In other words: a total sham. In one photo. No wonder it's a bitch:

NOT our Holiday Card Photo
For fun, let's take a walk down memory lane and take a gander at the history of the Tenthoff Holiday Card Photo. We sent the first one in 2004, right after we got married. So I used a photo from our wedding:

Well, let me tell you, I took a ration of shit for this one. I personally love this photo; it's of the first time Ted and I saw each other that day. Of course, it's sort of a picture of just me. You can't really see Ted's face. So I basically sent out a card with a picture of myself on it. Which people thought was either hysterical (my friends), appalling (his family), typical (his family), or embarrassing (my family). Oh well. I was the bride! Who gives a shit what the groom looks like?

For 2005, I used a photo from our beach vacation that year:

This backfired in a different way, as many recipients didn't realize it was OUR FEET. So they thought I used some random stock photo of two strangers' feet, stuck it on a card, and sent it to everyone and their mother. Good times.

By 2006, we had a baby - but since the baby wasn't born until the end of October, he was still pretty small when we took the picture and it was kind of hard to prop him upright:

My sister saw this picture and said "Oh my God, he's totally squished, he looks terrible, you can't send that out to people!!!!" I replied that we already had, but thanks. Also, as you can tell from my dazed expression, I hadn't slept in a month and was too out of it to change out of my white nursing bra into something with a little more support that didn't shine through my sweater. More good times!

On to 2007, which came out all right, I guess:

Although what the photo doesn't capture is that this was the one single solitary second of the entire day that Andrew was not screaming and writhing to get away from me and into Ted's arms. Ah, the times that warm a mother's heart. Also, despite the fact that Andrew's more than a year old here, I have not lost a single pound of baby weight and am about as wide as Ted.

In 2008, we had William, and for the first time I realized there would never, ever be a photo where everyone in our family of four looked good:

Sorry, William.

From here on out it just got harder, with TWO brats to wrangle and no one but me really caring whether or not we even sent a fucking card at all. Here's 2009, which is probably as good as it's ever going to get:

But I got lulled into complacency and was bitch-slapped in the face by 2010:

I mean, seriously. I look cross-eyed and insane, William looks challenged, Andrew looks like he's in physical pain, and the white background makes the whole thing look like a family mug shot.

So here we are, it's that of year time again, and the photo has been snapped. I won't share the winner (you'll be getting it in the mail soon enough) but what I will do is share some of the outtakes. The ones that didn't make the cut. For reasons I think will be pretty obvious, but which I will explain anyway:

Too bad my eyes are closed and I look awful, because Ted and William look pretty good in this one. But as I think I made clear with the first card we sent out, me looking good is the highest priority. I mean, they're lucky to even be IN in, right?

OK, I can't even look at this without laughing. Andrew's face! WTF! Also, I have crazy eyes and two chins, so no go.

So close. So. Close.

Here's where the wheels started to spin off.

Clearly I have just bawled them all out to sit still. Could they look less happy to be somewhere? Also, you can see my bra strap.

Here I have obviously bawled them out again, yelling at them to smile, or else. You can still see my bra strap. Can you also see the crazy in my eyes? Hard to miss, I'd say. Nice fake smile on Andrew. William is drooling. And Ted looks like he wishes he was part of a different family, maybe in one of those tribes in South America where they don't let you take pictures at all because it steals your soul. 

Oh, the Holiday Card Photo. What would November be without it? A good time was had by all! Especially my stepmother-in-law Kathy, who gets to take our picture every year. Lucky Kathy.


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December 6, 2011 at 11:20 PM

You're hilarious. I love reading your blog. Your ability to self-efface while remaining charming and elegant is admirable. :-)

December 7, 2011 at 1:03 AM

Love it ;-|

December 7, 2011 at 2:05 AM

OMG I was just crying laughing. I think it's because I was trying sooooo very hard to put together our card tonight. It's ridiculous really. I'm not sure why I care so much. Oh well. Thanks for ending my night with a smile:) Maybe I'll confirm my purchase tomorrow. - Monique

December 7, 2011 at 2:27 AM

plain and simple - you rock. made my day. -scott

December 9, 2011 at 10:45 AM

That was hilarious. And you've just covered all of the reasons why I don't do this. I have three boys to your two and I don't think there has been a single moment in 12 years when all three have cooperated for a photo, or otherwise, now that I think about it!

Your commentary is priceless. I bet the final contender turned out great! You have a beautiful family.

December 11, 2011 at 10:20 PM

I'll have to show you our Holiday photo for a full critique. I think I can handel it.


January 12, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Looks like you had a good time!

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