Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

I didn’t think it was a big ask.  I don’t ask for much.  Just five minutes of their time scheduled months ago so they wouldn’t forget and could plan around it but when the moment arrived, one was wanting to rush out the door to a rehearsal in readiness for tomorrow’s exam (last minute preparation is not a rare thing), another was in bed sleeping off 10 days of schoolies and as for the other, well he was jumping up and down on the trampoline completely hyper from the coke he’d been given by the pizza delivery guy.

All I wanted was a photo of the three of them.  With the dogs.  It’s about the only thing I ask of them all year.  ‘It’s just for my Christmas card.  Could you just do it?  It won’t take long.  You don’t even have to brush your hair or iron a shirt; just come as you are’.  I should have offered money.

Archie just has no time.  He’s completely stressed.  Absolutely no idea why.  He doesn’t even have a job.  Yes, he’s got his exams and yes it’s a challenge to learn Marc Antony’s monologue from Julius Caesar the night before the exam but he could have prepared for it earlier.  It’s not like they surprised him with it.

But in his eyes I’m a beast for mentioning such things like, ‘How about a schedule?’.  I’m just an unsympathetic mother with no clue.

And then there’s Arabella who flew up to the Gold Coast for the dreaded ‘Schoolies’ week but had to extend it by four extra days so she could ‘experience’ Byron Bay.  There were only four calls during that time to transfer more money into her depleted account.  ‘I’ll pay you back, mum.  It won’t take me long.  You know I’ll work hard’.  Really?  She marched in through the door and went straight to bed.  And it was lunchtime.

And Alfie’s just high on life.  High literally and physically because I’ve had to work back at night so he’s been opening the door to the pizza delivery guy who’s dropping off the nutritious evening meal covering all five food groups.  With a coke.  And to add to the excitement, Alfie’s teacher, the wonderful Miss B, has cast Alfie in the lead role in the Christmas production.  Can you believe that plain t-shirt is going to be on the stage front and centre!  Alfie has been cast as Santa.  Is there any greater honour!  I’ve been given the inside information about where to position myself for the best possible vantage point.  I’ll be sure to share the drama!

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Every year, at about this time of year, I become very demanding.  I actually demand a photo shoot with all three kids in it.  I know the resultant image will be the only one I’ll have for that entire year.  It’s just something I like to send out with my Christmas cards.  You’d think I was asking for a kidney.  Archie was grumpy, Arabella was refusing to get out of bed and Alfie was squeezing the dog so tightly she was yelping.

And so that is how I’m recording the agony and the drama of this year’s ‘Merry Christmas’ family portrait.

Are we unusual?  How many photos do you have with all your offspring in the one image – looking happy!

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  1. Your family is adorable, Charlie! And i must say that your staircase is gorgeous as well… love the old stone and ivy creeping up! Glad your kids made time for a memorable moment. And congrats to Alfie 🙂 I do hope you’ll be sharing pics of him in costume.

  2. Hilarious! I think I’ll save myself time when my son gets to this age and go straight to bribery.

  3. Hilarious post. One would never guess by how wonderful they all look in that family photo that this was preceded by such drama.

    We are sending a family photo this year of our entire family, me and my husband included. I can’t recall that we’ve ever done that. I can imagine the shock of those friends who have not seen us in decades: “Look at how old they look (they’ll say of me and my husband).” We had one group family pic, from our son’s high school graduation in June. Not the best, but it works.

    The problem is that I am always the one taking the photos. To even get my three kids in the same state at the same time would be challenge. One lives 300 miles to the east, the other 300 miles to the west and the other only 50 miles to the north.

    Congrats to Alfie for getting that main role in the school Christmas production. Can’t wait to read all about it.

  4. You got a great shot of the kids and the dogs! Kudos!

  5. It’s a lovely shot, after all the drama to get it. Well done.

  6. hahahahahahha,..All by all it is a lovely picture of your 3 children & 2 lovely doggies! A fun post to read too!

  7. Great photo of the three of them and the dogs, of course. I can’t imagine trying to get the Glam Teens together for a pic, these days it can be a struggle even when food’s involved. GG

  8. Looking at that picture, you would never guess the drama leading up to it. They sure look peaceful, if only just to make us doubt you I think:) Knowing quite a few kids myself, I can only congratulate you on getting them together and managing to make them look so sweet and innocent.

  9. In spite of all the aggro getting them to pose, they did you proud. Including the doggies. 🙂

    Merry Xmas to all.

  10. The photo turned out great, Charlie, despite the bare feet! I’m just jealous. We’ve got a cold spell here but it’s not as cold as it could be, thank goodness. I can’t stand the thought of my toes being locked up for the next four months, even if they’re locked up in pretty red stilettos!

  11. Love knowing that I am not alone.

    But seriously, gorgeous picture and gorgeous family. Glad they were able to do this one little favor for you. Since you are the best mum!

  12. Very handsome children, and doggies, too! Glad you were able to corral them. They’ll love you for this some day!

  13. And yet they all look absolutely charming and adorable! My parents have almost always chosen their photos of flowers over photos of their kids for the Christmas card. Though we definitely whined and whinged about having to write our own parts in the letter, so we likely gave our mum just as much grief!

  14. The secret is to not have too many offspring. One makes the task easy, two harder, and three exponentially harder. 🙂 Lovely photo though – and they all look happy to be there! xx

  15. Well, at least they pretend well! Had you not told us what was going on behind the scenes we would have never known by looking at their sweet faces. Brandon hates having his picture taken, I can rarely get a good one!

  16. They are adorable. And seem like such normal, well-adjusted kids. And even if you only get the one photo, at least they all look happy and you can’t hear the dog yelping.

  17. Well at least it’s a good photo! You can’t tell that there’s stress, exhaustion and a sugar high and squashed dog!

  18. That’s a lovely photo 🙂 I love it of all your kids and the two doggies! It’s so funny that it’s so hard for you to take photos of them! Thank gosh you managed to get them to sit down for a couple of minutes so you can snap this.

    Only 18 days until Christmas Charlie!!! xox

  19. Oh love this. Nope not asking to much and I am impressed you have all 3 smiling and looking at the camera. I always have one looking away or pulling a silly face. We are doing ours this weekend so it could be very very interesting 🙂 xx

  20. That beautiful picture has absolutely happy faces I’d say. What do we know, right? 🙂 We all have been there, you just were brave to say it out loud. Thanks!

  21. Ooh I’m so excited to get your Christmas Card this year-does that sound weird? It might be a collector’s item once Archie becomes famous. But I promise, I won’t sell it, even if a teenage girl offers me all of her pocket money 😉

  22. My mother would sympathise 🙂 Hugely! I also always wanted to ‘check’ the photo she was sending out and sometimes didn’t like it, which added much drama to the situation.

    Your children look gorgeous though and ditto the dogs!

  23. For all the possible reasons why your photo might not have been taken…it is lovely.

  24. I keep trying to get my brothers together for a photo for my Mum but…. it hasn’t happened yet. Lovely shot 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  25. Arabella is gorgeous and your boys are so handsome!

  26. I think the photo turned out well – you have a beautiful family Charlie 🙂

  27. We try to get one of the whole family on Christmas Day after lunch. Not too hard one would think. Everyone is present and accounted for (us, + 4 offspring + their husbands and wives + their children (9 this year) plus inlaws, and then the extended family that are at lunch, except sometimes we are a little too merry and people start to leave before the photographer has captured everyone then there is drama trying to rush it. Then during the year there is the annual family shoot (supposedly well before Christmas) but each year this gets more and more difficult to get everyone together – last years photo 2011 wasn’t taken till March 2012 and we haven’t seen it yet!!!So I know exactly what you mean and sympathise.

  28. Let them complain, Charlie. Let them scream and holler. You have a great picture and it won’t be that long before they really appreciate having a yearly photo of all 3 together, just like you do now. 🙂

  29. You would never know the back story when looking at this photo. What a gorgeous trio they are, and how fabulous that Alfie has the part. He definitely won’t think the t-shirt was responsible; it’s obviously his own bright self.

  30. Well, it’s a near impossibility to get the whole family together for a photo, no actually it is impossible so kudos to you on rounding up your 3 and the 2 pups – lovely photo.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  31. What a lovely family photo – your kids look great and your dogs are absolutely gorgeous!

    Haha I must admit that it can be a bit like that in my family too – we kids still whinge and groan when it comes to taking photos for relatives in Indonesia, even though we’re all over 20 years of age, hah!

  32. Oh my lordy Charlie you managed it except that naughty baby at the front looking the wrong way….. no only joking its lively very well done!

  33. Despite the drama, you wound up with a wonderful picture. And if Alfie is going to portray Santa, you better start fattening him up! “More pizza!” he cried.

  34. Hi Charlie – I love that idea! I’m totally stealing it and compiling an album of “Smith Family Christmases”… what a wonderful collection of memories. So cute!

  35. They all look beautiful! I know it’s bribery but my kids had a favorite upmarket restaurant that they loved so I’d organize that early in December and that’s when I’d get my photos – with them in front of the tree at the restaurant.

    No bare feet at Christmas in Tennessee when my kids were your kids ages. It was cold!

  36. Well, you managed to get a fabulous photo despite the dramas. I think Maureen has the right idea – bribery.

  37. That’s a wonderful photo, Charlie! If you didn’t provide the background story I would be certain they’d been very happy to put everything aside to sit and be part of the family grouping. You have beautiful children, and I think they are truly something quite special! What a lovely card! 🙂

  38. You have such a beautiful family chica!!! Even if they were totally grumpy about taking the picture. 😛

  39. I always like taking and receiving family holiday pictures…it’s part of the season to me.

    Hope you are having a great weekend Charlie!!

    (PS-sorry for not being around lately…just been moving again)

  40. Love them! I think they are adorable…and normal.getting kids together for a picture…and one that looks decent,is next to impossible. I hope you all have a great Christmas!

  41. What good-looking kids you’ve got there! And the dogs are cute too. 🙂

  42. Tsk, tsk,tsk, Charlie! Really, do you think you’re being reasonable? Just snap the photo while they’re sleeping and photoshop it. Save yourself and family all that stress 🙂

  43. I do the same thing Charlie! And even with the kids at young ages you would think I was asking them to clean their rooms! I usually end up taking about 50 pictures and the scenes are hilarious! I’ll end up with maybe four good shots of them both looking at the camera and smiling. The others will be a mix of them annoying each other. One looking at the camera, the other looking away. Eyes shut, scowling at me, or with various limbs in the others face. While I send the happy smiling shot out in the cards – truth be told it’s the series of “real” shots I cherish most. It’s just them, being them. Love your photo and I think it’s definitely one to cherish for the next year. 🙂

  44. Looking at the picture one would never know the drama that preceded it! Everyone looks so relaxed and pleasant. Great family, funny post. Thanks.

  45. sigh…at least you got a photo! I go through the same routine every year with mine and alas, no pic is taken. I need to take some notes from you as I totally agree having that photo at least once a year with them all together…dogs included is priceless. You’ve got beautiful children, Charlie, inside and out!

  46. Aww you got a photo in the end. And what a lovely photo it is! xx

  47. Gotta love at the demanding mother for the holiday pic. At least they are smiling!!! Cute dogs!

  48. I love the photo!!
    I always try a do a family photo around this time too, the teenagers can be painful but the little kids are fine about it.

  49. haha…Archie sounds just like me just before exams, and I guess all other teenagers 😀 It’s cute how you have a Christmas family portrait every year! In our family that would be too easy as there’s only two kids (me and my sister) and we take photos all the time! Well at least you don’t get bored at home 😉

  50. I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

  51. Oh Charlie…I know exactly what you are talking about…I had problem with one kid…and can imagine how would be with three…now I know hahaha!
    The picture came out very nice…no one would guess that was that hard to get them together for this picture.
    Have a great week my dear!

  52. P.S. I have nominated you for a Reality Blog Award. Come collect! 🙂 x http://www.foodmyfriend.com/2012/12/reality-blog-award/comment-page-1/#comment-28013

  53. Hi Charlie, just wondering who you use to print christmas cards? Is it online? Keep up the hilarious posts, they make my day seem slightly better!

  54. Looking at that beautiful picture you would never imagine the background drama. Not looking forward to those years… granted, taking a decent picture of a toddler and a 6 year old is not all that easy, but they are still caught up in the whole Xmas fairy tale so they are not grumpy about it.

  55. What a lovely idea, Charlie! I don’t remember the last time I caught all 3 of mine in a lens.

  56. I dread that family photo time, too. This year I used one from the first day of school back in August. It was good, it was painless, it was done. Voila! It looks more like we live in Australia…what with the sun and t-shirts…but that’s okay!!

  57. You did good. They do look happy and they’re all together!

  58. I think with all you do for them, the least they could do is sit down for 2 minutes! The photo is lovely, I’m glad it turned out well 🙂

  59. Your photo turned out well, all 3 kids are smiling and the doggies too.

  60. hahhaa.. Okay, I guess I was guilty of that as a kid too! Whenever my parents make us take pictures, we’ll just be like urghhh.. haven’t we taken enough? LOL. But anyway, Merry Christmas to your adorable family! 🙂

  61. lol I enjoyed the little story behind the picture Charlie. I don’t have kids so I am in peace with pictures. Lovely tradition with the family photo as Christmas card, they look all innocent and fine on the picture. =D

  62. What a lovely picture of your kids!!! I love that they are barefoot and comfy, that makes for a more natural, and fun photo:-) Hugs, Terra

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