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Smile, say cheese and cooperate

December 16, 2012
By LESLIE LETUSICK - Copy editor ( , The Herald-Star

It's family picture time once again. Bring on the crabby husband who doesn't want to be involved, the child who doesn't want to smile and the dog who's not exactly cooperative. Fun times. Why I put myself through the process every year is beyond me.

I was going to forgo the family shot this year due to my expanding figure. But I was told I had to because it was tradition to get a family picture from us in Christmas cards. Plus, my mom said I want the new baby to know that I did carry him for nine months (there are no other pictures of me pregnant).

So bring on the fun.

Rather than pay big bucks to go to a studio to have our pictures taken, my mother-in-law uses my simple point-and-shoot camera to take our pictures. It takes rather good pictures, surprisingly. The one rule is she is not allowed to see the pictures she takes until they are printed and arrive in her card. You might be asking how that is possible being that most cameras are digital and show the pictures as they are taken. Not a problem. If she doesn't have her glasses on for close-up, she can't see much more than our outlines.

We have done family pictures for three years now (this is the fourth), and I don't want the same pictures every year, so we try to do something different.

The first year we did Christmas shirts in front of our Christmas tree.

The second year we did Christmas pajamas sitting on our bed.

Last year, we did an M&M theme on our blueish couch.

So, what to do this year...

First problem is what do we wear. I stumbled on a shirt in my son's closet that I thought looked a lot like one hanging in the back of my husband's. It did. Both are red with tiny stripes and long-sleeved. And I know my dog has a red collar somewhere in his vast collection of collars. Bingo. That just left me.

I knew I had a red shirt infused with gold hanging in my closet that I had never worn. The question became would it fit over my 7-month pregnant belly. With my fingers crossed, I went to find out. To my surprise and delight, it actually fit over my ever-expanding belly. Cha-ching. Red it would be.

Second problem would be location. Because the red had already been decided, I was thinking green. And what luck, our good living room furniture is just that color. Yahoo. Decisions were made.

Let the photo shoot begin.

"Let's get this over with," says my husband.

"I don't know how to smile," says Little Man.

The dog just stares at me pathetically and lays down at my feet.

Fifteen painful minutes and 30 pictures later, I have my Christmas picture.

Will it ever get easier to take a family picture?

(Letusick, a resident of Rayland, is a copy editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)

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