58 In Articles/ Life

Christmas Card Picture: Take One

Strike 1:
Strike 2:
Strike 3:

Round one is out!

I’m going prop-less next round. It was so very unsuccessful and I took a LOT pictures and none were deemed “card worthy”. Rover wouldn’t get near the girls most of time. He’d try to sit as far away as he possibly could! I’m starting to think that “strike 1” may actually be an option with “We can’t PULL it together this Christmas” accompanying it. Which is really quite appropriate this season. In my own defense, we’re going to be traveling during Christmas so decorating for it has been LOW on the priority list.

In other news, the weather has been quite frightful. Here’s my husband shortly after we decided to move the “photoshoot” outside. I really like him a lot. Doesn’t he do a nice job folding towels?


This is about as successful as it got outside.


Little boys have a really hard time being still inside and the CERTAINLY can’t be still outside. And besides, the weather was more appropriate for a Halloween card.

I hope to return shortly with news of success on the Christmas card front.

PS: RAIGER is still PACI FREE. We’ve been through a few rough withdrawls but she’s doing wonderful! Trust me, thinking of getting rid of pacis is harder than actually getting rid of pacis. My little Raiger has been on one for 3 and 1/2 years!

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  • Amy King
    December 15, 2009 at 8:12 am

    After discovering your blog through your sisters last summer, I must say your blog is always such a treat to read and one of my most favorites. You think and act so much like myself- its scary. Thanks for sharing fun little pieces of your life with us. I have three kids under three and we just also took the pacis away and I could not agree with you more that the thought of taking them away is so much worse than actually doing it. Life has been so much easier now that the pacis are gone. You inspire me to be a more creative and godly mom to my kiddos. Thanks for the encouragement you give probably without even realizing it . Have a very Merry Christmas!!

  • Jamie
    December 15, 2009 at 8:27 am

    I can relate to this so well! Why is getting that darn Christmas card photo so difficult!? I dread it every single year. It is the one and only part of the Christmas season that does not bring my heart joy.
    Congratulations on being Paci Free! and Thank You for sharing that amazing Cinamon Honey Butter recipe! I made some yesterday and it is delicious!

  • allyson
    December 15, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Good Morning!! I got your message Saturday morning. We missed you and hope JM is feeling better!! It was a NASTY day to get any kids out, much less a sick one!! Way to go Paige with no paci! who knew it wouldn’t be a big deal?!? Oh, the post above reminds me to tell you that my mom made honey butter for her friends, too :). Love you D! Good luck with the picture!!

  • Stephanie
    December 15, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Why, oh, why do little boys make pictures so tricky?? When they are baby boys, no problem… then, they just morph into uncooperative photo subjects… my son is two, and did it right around Rover’s age… It is a miracle when I get a good picture of him…(and truly, because I don’t have your snazzy camera!)

  • Nancy
    December 15, 2009 at 8:34 am

    I remember that age for trying to get a picture. So tricky. So squirrely. But, it really does capture the true time of their life. You will get one. Congratulations on the paci detox. Liberating, I am sure.

  • cindy
    December 15, 2009 at 8:46 am

    I have never commented before, but do love your blog. I am a photographer (wanna be)… and have found that the best thing for boys your age… is a big swirly sucker… he will SIT! AND it is cute in the picture. They have (had) them at Target in the $1 bin, and then some in the “Christmas food gifts” section. The ones in the $1 bin are actually pacackaged IN a box and sometimes you have to dig… the others are just propped up in a display! HOpe that helps! Look at my blog… you will see lots of toddlers SITTING!

  • Brooke G.
    December 15, 2009 at 8:47 am

    If all else fails – I use bribery! It is the only way I can get my two to sit still for a nano-second to get a photo taken. GOOD LUCK! I will keep my fingers crossed for you 😉

  • Bon
    December 15, 2009 at 8:48 am

    um, our Dear Darby, I think getting rid of the props is a good idea, not only does is look difficult, as you said it was, the lights look dangerous hanging around the girls! or according to Rover in these pictures, is it the other way around? 😉 Here’s hoping you capture something that you feel is worthy of sending out! Cheers!

  • Ashley
    December 15, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Hey, these are great. Wouldn’t it be funny if you just sent one of these out?! And, I had to fight w/ Adam to get him to allow me to send cards out in general – I mean, w/ the blog and facebook and twitter and emails…we are “out there” already! Ha! Oh, and I love Paige’s boots. I feel like she has those on w/ any and every outfit 🙂 Love it!

  • Shar
    December 15, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Hey, I love the photos. My kids are grown so I do photos of my dogs now. There were 3 before my Weimaraner had to cross the rainbow bridge. Trying to do 3 doggies, just as hard as three kids. But, the lack of perfection is so endearing to me. It’s just kids having fun, and that is what Christmas is all about. Merry Christmas to you and yours and thanks for all of the joy you give throughout the year. I feel truly blessed to be able to read and view all of your wonderful photos.

  • Mary
    December 15, 2009 at 8:56 am

    I like the hair pulling pic! Use that one!

  • Rachel
    December 15, 2009 at 9:20 am

    I tried to use the same colored lights to get my 18 month old daughter’s Christmas photo. Not only would she not sit still but she ended up breaking one of the bulbs and the whole strand went out! Luckily, she wasn’t injured. I ended up going propless too and it was much easier 🙂 Good luck with the photo – your kids are adorable!

  • Wendy
    December 15, 2009 at 9:22 am

    I think you should use the first picture and label it “What Child Is This”… who pulled his sister’s hair! or “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks”…JM was busy pulling his sister’s hair! or “Deck the Halls” with lights and hair pulling!

    This is my first time commenting on your blog…I really enjoy reading it! I bought quite a few things from Forever 21 on-line the other night. They did have very cute things at reasonable prices.

  • mary-kathryn
    December 15, 2009 at 9:26 am

    i made the yummy butter last night, and saved just a little for myself! it was so good that it was all i could do not to dive into my friend’s gifts this morning while contemplating whether one more piece of toast would be considered gluttony. thanks for sharing such an easy and tasty treat!

  • Heather
    December 15, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Strike one is perfect! And waiting for a Naughty or nice headline…

  • Michelle
    December 15, 2009 at 9:37 am

    We had similar problems this year with getting a picture for the Christmas cards. So we took individual shots of each child (we have 3) and then selected a photo card with 3 places for photos. We were desperate and in a hurry to get them done. They actually turned out pretty good. I keep saying every year that NEXT year will be different and will do this in Oct/Nov instead of the middle of December! At least next year we might have a chance of early photos since we met new friends and the husband’s hobby is photography! They live very close to us and go to our church. So I’m more hopeful then ever… might just go ahead and schedule that appointment soon (haha)!

  • Melissa
    December 15, 2009 at 9:53 am

    It’s nearly impossible for me to get good photos of the boys together! Individual pics might be an easier way to go! Congrats to Raiger on ditching the pacis!

  • Ashley Williams
    December 15, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Sweet D! I can RELATE to the photo session! Katie’s GIRLS sat PERFECTLY at our photo shoot lately, and all I was doing was sitting mine down, thye’d get up, and I’d grab them again! It wore me out! 🙂 I guess that’s just what these wild little boys do! As for yours….I’d totally love a picture of the 3 of them hanging on my fridge-even if they’re pulling hair or running away! GOOD LUCK! AND…way to go Mama and Riager on getting rid of the pacis. I’d love to hear all about it. Do you miss it??
    Love you!!

  • Ashley Williams
    December 15, 2009 at 10:00 am

    ps-I LOVVEEEE your kiddos! They are sweet doll faces!! Paige is just letting JM pull her hair, and Morgan is just kind of laughing about it! I can’t wait to see them again and their sweet mama!

  • Melissa
    December 15, 2009 at 10:03 am

    This is why I just didn’t even attempt one this year! I know my two boys would NOT stay in one place long enough to make it worthwhile. Our weather looks just like yours– it’s the PITS and so not conducive to hanging up greenery and making things all Christmas-y. Hoping for sunshine for BOTH of us!

  • krista
    December 15, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Girl, I hear ya! Boys Don’t sit still!!! Although rover maybe all over. (ha ya like that sentence?) You guys make a beautiful card, b/c ya’ll are beautiful.

  • alison g. (brazil)
    December 15, 2009 at 10:21 am

    OMGosh – I had the EXACT same experience yesterday! Except, I was only juggling one kiddo – sheesh!

  • Lindsey
    December 15, 2009 at 10:22 am

    the precise reason i haven’t even attempted a christmas photo yet?! don’t forget we’re the perfect 2 1/2 hour (from dothan) break in your travels should you need it!

  • Jamie @ Six Bricks High
    December 15, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I actually love the first pic, it would make a fun Christmas card!

  • chesley
    December 15, 2009 at 10:33 am

    i posted my disaster last week. i’m not sure little boys get any better..at least mine hasn’t. you can always do a card with 3 little circles and put a separate pic of each. i did this on the back of mine. good luck!

  • Bailey
    December 15, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Hi Darby! I say go for it, keep it real as you say with the first card…I am glad Paige is doing so well sans paci, My mom tells me I was IMPOSSIBLE to get off the “nook” as we called it. Once in an airport when I was like 4, way too old to be acting like this either way, I snatched a paci out of a random infants mouth at a particularly low moment…Can you even imagine!? Merry Merry!

  • Melise
    December 15, 2009 at 10:41 am

    No the first picture is perfect! Use that one. Think of all the laughs you’ll get in the years to come! 🙂

  • Christina
    December 15, 2009 at 10:46 am

    I literally laughed out loud at the “We can’t pull it together”! Precious! And how funny that Rover won’t sit near them. Does he think girls have cooties already?! I posted my Christmas card outtakes yesterday. It was tough to get a photo of ONE child and he isn’t even walking yet! I can’t imagine how hard you must have worked to get these 🙂

  • Anne
    December 15, 2009 at 10:50 am

    You should totally go with STRIKE ONE – that picture would be perfect with your caption. And let’s be honest, it’s a more accurate picture of what life with 3 kids is like, right? 🙂 This made me smile and I don’t even have children. Thanks for sharing!

  • Remodelaholic
    December 15, 2009 at 11:02 am

    I LOVE the 3rd picture, it is just too cute! I think it is fun to see, the action. You should print a series on one card because they are all so funny!

  • Mandy Norris
    December 15, 2009 at 11:04 am

    OK…so cute and sadly I am sorry someone else had as much trouble getting a photo of the kids as me!!! I finally decided to choose a card with the three photo template and chose ok pictures that featured one kid being really cute in each and it turned out so cute! I think people with little ones must understand..another option is for you to use pictures from this past month of each of them being precious and be done of it!!!!:) Good luck with it all! Here is a the info to my photocard that you may like…got to shutterfly.com and my e-mail is norrismandy@yahoo.com and the password is emerson and click on Christmas 2009 photocard…it is cute and affordable and you may like the same design…it is very kid looking! Mandy

  • Lauren
    December 15, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Cute pictures! Just wanted to let you know that I recently made my third batch of cinnamony honey butter – first was just for us, second was for some out of town guests, and the last one was to bring in to work. We’ve had it out at work, with English muffins, both yesterday and today. I think I could eat an entire package of English muffins with it…if only my colleagues weren’t in such close proximity.

  • nicky
    December 15, 2009 at 11:32 am

    This is why our Christmas cards are always 3 separate headshots of each kid! There’s no way to get all 3 of them looking at us together! I like your idea on using photo #1!!

    I, too, have been putting off going paci-free….I’m getting closer to making the plunge! Congrats on your success!

    LOVE your blog!

  • Terri
    December 15, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Those pictures are pretty darn cute, even if you don’t deem them card worthy.

  • Jan
    December 15, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    i got a chance to look through some of your photos posted on flicker and their properties. i made a list and tried to find patterns for exposure, aperture, and iso. it was tremendously helpful, so thank you for showing readers how to access that information. i took a bunch of pictures in manual mode the other night with christmas lights, and it’s amazing how much better my photos were. thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Kristy
    December 15, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Hey Darby! I’m usually just a lurker but I guess when your family is in my dreams it is time to break the silence. I was in a children’s bowling alley (it was all bright colors and all the lanes had bumpers) when I spotted the cutest lil’ Rover. I said, “John Morgan?” And he just looked at me like how do you know my name? I immediately looked up for you and when I didn’t see you, I panicked and started asking where’s your mommy, thinking he was lost. But another relative stepped in and assured me he was with them. Your family is loved by so many that you will never meet! I love all of the tales that you share with us through your blog and always look forward to more!

  • Phillips Phamily Mama
    December 15, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    GIRL! Bribe them: get three of those HUGE spiral lollipops in Christmas colors. The darlings will sit wherever you want and the lollipops will bring sincere smiles!

  • Tonia Hobbs
    December 15, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I love “strike one”. . . I think you should go for it!

  • katherine
    December 15, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    yes…my favorite “round 1” photo this year was of my sweet henry beating his big brother and sister with a candy cane. came THIS CLOSE to sending it out!

  • Cara
    December 15, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Ugh! I am so with you here…I just took our kids’ picture yesterday. I always say I am not going to get crabby and yell at them, but I always do it anyway. It’s one of my most dreaded holiday tasks. I had to ask their forgiveness and give them all treats afterward because I was the one being so childish! 😉

    Sounds like it might be a good year for a photo collage? All you have to do is get them in the same setting (with their cute matching outfits — love!) and get 1 good individual picture of each one of them. Then head off to shutterfly or snapfish (or any photo program you have that does collages) and put together a beautiful card. Collages saved me big time when my boys were littler. Now the boys are 9 and 8 (and my daughter is 3) — this was the first year in a LONG time that I was able to get a picture of them together. Hope you have more success in round 2!

  • Katie
    December 15, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Sooo funny! You’ll get there!

  • Brittaney
    December 15, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    If you think getting 1 little boy to sit still, you should try getting 2 dogs to sit still! They’re our kids and so that’s who we have on this year’s Christmas card. I think I took about 200 pictures before I finally got the perfect one!

  • angela
    December 15, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    There is no way to have a bad card of those three. They are so precious and I LOVE their shirts. Can’t wait to see the *real thing* when you get them all sent out! Merry Christmas!

  • Hope
    December 15, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    I don’t even remember how I came across your blog, but I enjoy reading it. You seem to be so much fun and so talented. I tried the cinnamon honey butter. It was great. My brother-in-law wanted to eat it with a spoon. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  • Tricia
    December 15, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Darby, have you considered using that amazing shot that you took of the three little ones at the beach this fall where they almost appear as if they are dancing with the sunset in the background. You could go with the theme of spirit. Just a thought.

    You are such a talented photographer that I’m sure you will still capture something that is perfect.

  • Mandy
    December 15, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    I’m with you on the picture wars. I made our card this year with a picture of my husband and I, a separate picture of our 2 1/2 year old and another of our 3 1/2 month old. I just wasn’t up for the fight this year. I’m actually pleased with how it turned out though because I feel like I got three good pictures instead just one so-so one.

    Having said that, I like the first one of yours above. You could combine it with one of the witty sayings that some of the other commenters have suggested and have a cute (and real!) little card on your hands.

  • Kim
    December 15, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Thank you for the paci update. Reading your blog the other day convinced me to make the plunge with my youngest (turned 3yo in Nov) who has been my only paci kid thus far. We went paci-free on Sunday and no turning back (I found the one we “lost” which prompted the decision but think I will be throwing it in the garbage TODAY!). Adorable pics!

  • Heather
    December 15, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the first picture! It is so cute! Maybe because I see the likeness in my own children and can appreciate it!! LOL!! This is one of those shots that my mother would say “Years from now you will cherish it so much!” I think she is right.

    Can’t wait to see what you end up choosing!


  • pam
    December 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    darby, i like strike 2! it’s the perfect christmas card photo! pam

  • Megan
    December 15, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    That little Rover makes me want one of my own!

  • christy piersant
    December 15, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    darby! i laughed out loud when i read your post. i totally think you should send out the “we just can’t pull it together this christmas” card. it would be the most honest one out there. everyone else is faking it anyway….no one has it together this time of year!!

  • Jill S.
    December 16, 2009 at 5:26 am

    Boy can I relate! I have three children also (twin three year old boys and an 11 month old daughter). Trying to get all three kids to cooperate is virtually impossible. One of my sons is currently going through an “I hate getting my picture taken” stage so that makes it even harder! I had given up on the thought of a Christmas card this year, but you have inspired me to try one more time. I love your blog!

  • sherry
    December 16, 2009 at 9:24 am

    i actually love all three of the pictures! it would be too cute to use them all somehow. i love your blog you are so real.

  • Cate O'Malley
    December 16, 2009 at 9:37 am

    I gave up on the Christmas photo this year too, and settled for one that was good the month before. Anything to get “Christmas cards sent” checked off my list.

  • janice
    December 16, 2009 at 9:40 am

    i LOVE all of them! we have been trying for a week to get that prefect family picture… i enjoy reading your blog.

    Merry CHRISTmas!


  • Jaime Tokarczyk
    December 16, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    i’ve been reading your blog for a while but never posted. love your blog…it such a joy to read. i say go with the first card…its cute…its real…and it just shows how much fun you all have together. god bless and i hope you and your family have a very merry christmas.


  • Jenna
    December 17, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    i’m a newbie to the commenting, but have been a faithful reader of your blog for a year (and a half). this probably won’t relate to your post, but i just wanted to tell ya i love your blog, it brings a smile to my face. my co-workers sometimes catch me saying “aww” or “how cute” whenever i see a new picture of your family. i just wanted to say keep up the good work and happy ho-ho-holidays 🙂

  • Melody Pengelly
    August 3, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Who made those Santa turtlenecks? They are darling.