(From Alicia Ybarbo, TODAY producer)
The holidays always seem to creep up on us. Just like the store windows that, magically overnight, get transformed into miniature winter wonderlands, so does every other part of the season: Christmas parties, city traffic, the holiday tree arriving at Rockefeller Plaza, frazzled shoppers.
No doubt, you'll always find me, along with the rest of my immediate family, at Target on December 24th, looking for last-minute white elephant gifts or stocking stuffers. But one thing that I try not to let sneak up on me is the holiday photo card.
Once Halloween is over, I think up a "plan of attack": getting my holiday card signed, sealed and delivered by Thanksgiving. Of course, by the time the first weekend of November hits, this plan has already been scrapped. With two kids you can NEVER count on things going the way they're supposed to. One child gets sick, another has a big red scrape under her lip that needs to heal, didn't get enough sleep the night before, or simply isn't in the mood. Even with all those issues, we always manage, somehow, to get a decent-looking family photo to send out.
For the past four years, we've taken our own family photos. That is, setting up the tripod in a location of our choice, pressing click and voila. We don't use anyone but ourselves to take the photos. No photographers, no passers-by, just my husband saying, "Ready?" and running to find his spot in that ten-second time frame. It's a challenge, but it's kinda fun to say we took our own holiday card photo.
This year, our first attempt at taking the holiday family photo didn't work out as planned. Dressed in matching navy outfits, we headed to Central Park and picked a location. No sooner had we propped up the tripod, I realized the camera didn't have a battery in it! Strike One.
The following weekend was picture perfect. However, my two-year old daughter was being rather difficult, as only a 2-year-old would. I usually never leave home without some sort of bribery, and was equipped with mini M&M's (leftover Halloween candy). An offer of M&M's usually leads to a nice smiley face. But on this Saturday afternoon Lucy wasn't having it. Strike two.
So here we are, a week before Thanksgiving and I still don't have a photo for my holiday card. The heat is now on as I try to pick from the pile of photos that we've taken so far, trying to find the best of the worst, hoping somehow to find one that I didn't see the first 100 times I looked at the photos. So much for planning in advance.