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I taught for several years at a residential school for children with emotional disabilities before staying home after the birth of my second daughter. I returned to teaching, finished my Educational Leadership program in May of 2012, and now work as our district's Writing and Social Studies Coordinator. I have always loved writing and find constant inspiration from my family. Maybe someday, I will get to see my name on the cover of a book!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Slice of Life-The Quest for the Holiday Card

Each week the Slice of Life is hosted by the writers and teachers of Twowritingteachers.wordpress.com. Many bloggers write slices each week that you can read by following the links from the comments, or feel free to join in on the slicing!

I'm sure that there are plenty of people who can relate to the issue of finding the perfect picture for the annual holiday card. I think that the challenge becomes increasingly, perhaps exponentially, harder as the number of family members rises.
This year, my holiday wish from my family was that we head to the nearest Portrait Simple to document our family with some formal shots in time for some of these shots to be made into a card, as well. Last Saturday morning, we all got up and into our jeans and white t-shirts to head to the mall, Sonny the black lab included in the outing. This appointment had been on the calendar for a few weeks, so should I have been surprised when two of the four daughters could not locate their white t-shirts???? Fortunately, both my dresser and the Gap across the hall from Portrait Simple had some extra-smalls. 

I actually thought the session went great--the girls were funny, the dog cooperated, and we had a lot of laughs. However, the process of choosing pictures was not as easy. I loved the pictures of the girls in a pig pile. I knew that they had laughed in this pose and I loved that as the backdrop to my own experience of these pictures. "I look like a turtle," Julia declared. Personally, I didn't see the resemblance, but okay.

Sonny was a little tricky to manage, but we did get a couple of shots with all eyes straight ahead and all smiles good to go. "My eyes are droopy," Larkin said. "We shouldn't have done this in the morning before our faces get rid of the sleep evidence." I did not think of this--maybe next time? (BTW, I thought Larkin's eyes looked beautiful--drooping is not the word that comes to my mind…)

Josh the photographer caught me off guard when he offered the girls shaving cream beards at the end of the photo-shoot. They thought this was hilarious and the pictures of the girls with Santa beards are fun. Sometimes in pictures, Clare forces her smiles and I loved the authentic laughter that these pictures captured. "The shaving cream makes my teeth look yellow," she critiqued. Since we bought the disk, the girls were able to whiten her teeth using photo-shop. (For the record, Clare has beautiful white teeth and I disagreed with her observations.)

Other nominations of images were met with: "It looks like Julia is taller in that picture" (Julia is taller, but this is a truth that Larkin is not ready to admit)… "My hair is messed up"(pig piles are risky that way)…"My face looks fat"…"My smile is fake"… You get the idea.

I left the girls at home with the pictures and went to get my hair cut. My challenge to them was to use the Shutterfly templates and design a card that I could order when I got home. When I came home, they had re-enacted a photo-shoot in the front yard with candy canes and colorful sweaters. Not exactly my vision for the pictures, but they were all happy with some of the shots. They wanted to combine the outdoor shots with the ones of them holding the ho-signs at Portrait Simple. The card could read "From our 'ho's to yours." I finally had to admit that I am not ready to relinquish control of the holiday card. Not everyone is thrilled with the picture selections, but I tried to include the ideas and sentiment that the girls had begun. I wish the same to all of my Slicing Community. 

Merry everything and peace, joy, love and fun throughout the year. 


  1. What a great set of images Melanie. Happy Holidays to you and your family :)

  2. What a beautiful family you have! I loved your side comments throughout the post, spoken like a mom :-). So much life and joy always comes through your writing. Happy holidays to you!

  3. Such fabulous photographs, Melanie - no one would guess the drama behind some of those! And I love the ones of your doggie, too - she looks mischievous in one, and so wise in the other.

  4. Such a beautiful family, Melanie. Thanks for sharing the card with us!

    Happy holidays to you and yours.

  5. Nothing is ever simple, is it? Thank you for sharing these pictures of your beautiful family. Merry Christmas!

  6. Oh my goodness! I love getting to see your whole family together! How precious...the photos and all that went on behind the scenes!