My name is Jonene Ficklin, and I'm a full-time wife, mom, writer, and professional artist. I've been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I use colored pencils, oil paints, and watercolors. I love what I do!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Voluntary Torture Sessions

It’s that time of year again. You know, the holidays. I don’t know many people who don’t like eating turkey on Thanksgiving and opening gifts on Christmas. The problem is getting there.

There's lots of traditions, some necessary and some not. I’m not sure how they started, and I’m sure if I researched, I’d figure it out (you know - 'Great Aunt Martha's cranberry jello' tradition kind of thing). But I don’t have time because the holidays are approaching faster than my young son can barrel down the hall (and that’s at ballistic speed.)

Over the weekend, we got to enjoy the first of the technical holiday traditions: the family portrait. I know. It’s right up there with knee-surgery, root canals and deep cleaning the toilet bowl. I have two members of our family who have a photo-count limit. Which means lots and lots of pressure to do the deed QUICK. We’ve had professionals take them, with fabulous results (thanks, N.P., you’re awesome!!!), and I tried to do the timed camera thingy with all of our family piled on the couch (note the word is tried). Didn’t turn out so good.

But photography is something my daughter has really taken up, so last year, we let her have a go. And the photograph turned out soooo good! (She was even able to convince our photo-grinches to squeak out an extra smile or two. And that was a real miracle)

We know a good thing when we see one, so this year, I asked her again. Little did I know what was about to happen when you give a kid time to plan. My casual-dress photo shoot quickly turned into something else.

The first sign was when my daughter showed up at my bedroom door dressed to the nines. She looked really good. As in, fancy dress, awesome make-up, perfect hair good. I looked like a casual middle-aged mom – and I’m going to stop there on my personal description. I’d already informed the rest of the family we’re going casual. Since she’s the picture taker, we had to change gears quick.

We only had about an hour and a half to catch the light, because it’s fall and it’s the evening. And if we didn't take the picture right then, we’d have to wait a full week before the whole family could all be available again. Might never happen. So I hurried off, getting everyone to change.

But dang, if we didn’t look GOOD in fifteen minutes flat. Well, our attitudes were a bit damaged (mine in particular), but we piled into the car and drove to the local park. The fall leaves were glorious! The light was just perfect. We tramped all over: onto a bridge, up some stairs, through a dry creek-bed.

And each time my daughter set up the camera, told us where to stand, set the timer and madly raced in to join the family.

We all smiled like this is fun, like we’re thrilled to be standing there, doing this.

Let me tell you, we could all take an Oscar in acting. Anyway, to make this long story shorter, she did it! We have not one, but TWO great family pictures! I already hold the prints in my hands, ready to send out with our Christmas cards.

So, what are your favorite and least favorite holiday traditions?


  1. That's awesome! I can't wait to see the photo.

    PS Great vocab word: ballistic :)

  2. Thanks! Can't wait to see yours too!


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