We had our annual Christmas photos taken recently. The taking of stage photos with small children has never been my favorite pastime, and let me tell you, the addition of yet anothe wee one did not make it any easier. It’s funny to me, the whitewashed reality of the Christmas photo. For me, it usually involves pouring over hundreds of proofs my (very generous) photographer gives us, an then choosing the ones where we all seem happy, cheerful, non-psychotic and alert. Which for us, out of hundreds of photos, equalled . . . not that many. Gone are the photos that tell the true story . . . that India would not stop picking her nose, that Karis was obsessed with trying to eat the grass, that I got duck poop on my jeans, that Jafta decided to try to make a “cool guy” face for every photo (which made him look like he was having a seizure or some sort of irritable bowel issues). Gone is the evidence that I have threatened both children just short of their lives to stop crying as we finish one last shot. Hidden is the fact that I am tickling India to try to hide her meltdown.

And so, we capture the quintessential photo, and also the quintessential American family experience: SLAP A SMILE ON THAT FACE AND PRETEND LIKE EVERYTHING IS GREAT.

(This technique also works well when walking into church after a rushed morning.)

*thanks to our friend Kassel for always being amazingly patient and cool with my crazy kids.