Well, this one was taken with my cell phone camera. The real one is coming in the next week or so. I've had them taken each and every year since 1989.
That means this girl on the right has been photographed with that jolly man in red every year for 19 years.
The Boy? Every year since 1991.
These two? Every year since 1996 and 1998 resepectively.
I have all the years of Santa pictures in a large frame with beautiful matting. I've filled an entire one up and am three pictures deep into the next one. I hang them up each Christmas and then spend a few moments marveling at the march of time across the faces and bodies of my children. It brings home to me how much has changed---but one thing hasn't and won't ever change. My love for them.
After the Santa picture, we engaged in another family ritual: The purchasing of Christmas ornanments. Each year after the picture, the kids get to pick out one ornament. We hang all the ornaments on the tree each year and when it comes time for them to leave and have families and trees of their own, their personal ornaments will go with them. Ally picked the 2008 Barbie, Ash picked a Hannah Montanna ornament and Chris and Steph each picked snowflakes. We bought the kids gyros and then dropped them off at home and then Lance and I had some alone time.
We drove to the International District, picked up some Japanese food then took it to Highland Park on Queen Anne overlooking the Space Needle. My cell phone doesn't take a great picture in the dark---and it was breathtaking in person---but you get the picture. Sort of.
We watched ferries, all lit up and sliding across the blackness of Puget Sound. Lance sat behind me with his arms around me as we remembered coming there when we first began dating oh-so-many-years ago.
All in all....my special day was a good one.