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Someday she'll laugh about taking family Christmas photo

There's a snow hill in front of the chicken coop and the calendar has been turned to December. It's time to take the annual family Christmas photo and write the Christmas letter.

There's a snow hill in front of the chicken coop and the calendar has been turned to December. It's time to take the annual family Christmas photo and write the Christmas letter.

People who are organized have this sort of thing done by now, but not me, I'm a deadline-orientated person. My goal is to put the Christmas greeting in the mail the Monday before Christmas.

I hatched a plan to get the photo when my extended family gathered at my brother's house for Thanksgiving. We were all clean and in good clothes and there would be someone there to take a photo of all of us.

I used to send photos of just the kids, but I read somewhere that if photos aren't taken of you when you're young and able to get away, there will only be photos of you when you're old and can't run away.

Hence, I started sending Christmas greeting cards featuring all six of us last year. I wanted to continue the tradition this year, but kept that to myself until photo-taking time arrived.

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First, I rounded up the farmer and sat him in front of the approved backdrop: A frosty window. He sat there, suspicious, as I took a few shots to adjust the camera.

"What's this for?" he asked.

"Christmas cards," I said.

"Can't we take it in front of the combine?" he asked.

"No," I said, as I left to round up the children.

The girls were busy playing with their cousins, but agreed to come sit by dad in the window. There was the usual "why do we have to do this?" but they came.

The 11-year-old, however, was having nothing to do with it. Somehow, he and his cousin had managed to move the couch almost in front of the closet door in the closet in which they were hiding. If his sister hadn't ratted them out, I don't know if I would have found them.

They were in the very bottom of the under-the-stairs closet trying to climb into a cooler.

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I discovered them, drug him out and marched him up the stairs.

The oldest agreed to sit by us and I climbed in, telling my sister to start taking pictures.

She shot several frames in which the kids mostly didn't cooperate. The little one was putting her arms in the air, the middle two wore sad faces complimented with a finger by the nose and I don't even know what the oldest was doing because he was on the other side.

We agreed enough was enough and my sister gave me the camera saying, "it wasn't my fault."

Another offered the suggestion that I buy a computer program that will find good photos of the individuals and recreate one good group photo.

No, I'm going with the photo that shows us as we are - slightly cracked. My deadline is approaching and I've got to get the photos in the mail the Monday before Christmas.

Someday, we'll look back at the Christmas photo of 2010 and laugh - at least that's what I've heard.

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