Happy Holly Days to all of you- the three readers that you are. I have a perfect photo for you that I want to share of Paul Bunyan posing for this year's Christmas card. But first I need to give you a little history. I've posted our old Christmas card photos before (with all of their captions) but I haven't ever shown you some of the outtakes.
Our first photo had a few funny takes but I wasn't going to dig through all my old negatives in the basement, take them to the photo store, and have them transferred to disk. Sorra.
And then for a few years we started to just use a photo that we had taken from our adventures during the year, add a caption, and let that be that.
"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care."
Claire's buns at Arnold's Lake.
I maybe should have used this one in 2002. Grandma Simmons thought my usage of the buttocks was bordering pornography.
And then, and then when we started thinking about/planning for a photo things got a little more complicated. With this photo, which in my opinion is the best one yet, there were no outtakes. Paul Bunyan had one chance and one chance only. With water at freezing temperatures, there was no way in hell he was going to try to attempt this stunt again. And besides when he hit the water he dropped the bike and it spent the whole winter under the ice.
Now this photo in 2004, also one of my favorites, was an easy one. I just had to make the Santa hats for the boys.
This was another photo from that session. I think the expression on my face shows just how tired and exhausted I was.
Thinking about and actually taking the Christmas photo became, after these two photos, very stressful. It is always very hard to come up with a funnier idea than the last one. To start, we always think about what has happened to us (or in politics) that year.
This is the year Paul Bunyan bought the alpacas.
I soon realized that taking pictures of animals humping is far more difficult than one would think. Actually making anyone or anything do what you want for a Christmas photo is harder than one would think.
And okay, so maybe I make my children endure a few things just for the photo.
And okay, so maybe I make my husband endure a few things just for a photo. (I wish this one were in focus...I know you do too)
But, in essence, I do this all for you.
This is the year Paul Bunyan built and raised his post and beam shop/garage/mother-in-law apartment. This photo was Claire's favorite, but in this outtake I'm pleading with Auggie to stop sucking his thumb.
And in this outtake Claire can't seem to take flight. And the lighting is all off. And baby Jesus is looking at the Virgin Mary. And one of the wise men is looking at Paul Bunyan, whose robe fell off. And this was the first year we started bribing our children with candy to sit and do what we're telling them to do and to not put up a fuss.
Bribes are okay- it's hard to get everyone looking at the camera at the same time.
It's also hard sometimes to get the moose in the right spot. It's also hard when people don't get your jokes (or political innuendos). Ya, you betcha.
In 2009 we were celebrating a fresh rump roast. In this outtake Auggie is crying. I wanted to have this photo taken as we were driving down the highway. But that would have required me to hire a driver so I could take the photo. I also wanted everyone to have deer heads on (not antlers) but that would have required a lot of money, props, or sewing on my part which was just not in the cards. So, thus, a failed attempt at what was originally a funny idea.
I couldn't afford to buy any more takes of this photo shoot. Sears is expensive, I tell ya. There were a few good ones but they've been deleted into the ethereal atmosphere of the digital air. Oh, and by the way, Claire was not acting in this shoot.
Well, this year Paul Bunyan has been shedding pounds like a Burmese mountain dog on a hot day in Spring and so it just made sense for him to be the star of the show. I came up with the idea to paint his whole body like Santa but we could only find face paint- I don't know if body paint even exists but he was adamant that we don't hire a professional. I think maybe he was a little self conscious of his sweater vest. Anyway, we had about a 30 minute window of time together that we could do this photo shoot while it was still light out. The shot doesn't look like we painted him- many have suggested I photoshopped him. But no, this is paint with a little brightening from my I-photo editing. I peed my pants when I thought of the idea but seeing it on paper just wasn't as funny as I had hoped. But this outtake that came out of the photo shoot was far funnier than any I have ever seen.
We like to laugh in this house.
We like to make you laugh when you open your holiday card.
We don't always succeed.
But we try.
The kids are not really wanting to be involved anymore in the whole holiday picture taking process.
But maybe someday their ideas will be funnier than their parents.
I sure do hope so.
Anyway, are your ready to see the photo that should have been our card?
Are you ready to see the photo that really made us pee our pants?
Are you ready to see how things, sometimes, go when we make people do things that they don't really want to do?
Are you ready to laugh so hard you pee your pants?
Are you sure?
Because you can go back out now, if you want. Seriously.
Merry Christmas everyone!