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Dear Friends and Family,

I just want to let you know that we're not mad at you. We did not cross you off our holiday card list.

There was no holiday card this year.

You think it's hard to get a family photo with squirming babies or toddlers? Try it with a too-cool-for-this 12-year-old. The whites of those rolled eyes are blinding.

We were doomed by a late start - too late, even, to ask one of our overworked photographer friends to shoot it.

And then we decided to include the dog.

We had shots in which hair - the girls', not the dog's - was sticking up in all directions. In which the dog was looking the wrong way. In which one kid's eyes were closed. In which the 10-year-old camera failed to focus. And in the one with the most promise, we realized that one kid's black pants were covered in shiny golden retriever hair from wrestling the dog into place. Even whiz kid's mad PhotoShop skills couldn't fix that.

We were going to keep trying. Then we did the math: $100 to buy the cards. Even more to rush the job. About $35 for postage. At least two hours to address envelopes.

Not worth it.

For you grandparents and other far-flung relatives who disagree, we're sorry. We'll make it up to you.

Maybe a Valentine? Via email.