Lost in the Past

When I was originally approached about being a brand ambassador for Live On I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to set up an account and start putting together the timeline of my children’s lives. I’ve been uploading photos, adding events, recording voice overs and narrating their stories. It’s almost like creating a living scrapbook for my kids, something I know they will treasure someday.

But Live On wants to do more than help you capture the present and the future. They want to help you document the past too.

Enter Live On Rewind. A service that lets you send in your non-digital media for digital conversion. They send you a box, you fill it with pictures or media, they scan and digitize it and send it all back. (Really, just pop over there and read a little about them and what they do, they explain it so well).

I’ve spent the last 4 days immersed in photo albums, picture boxes and scrapbooks. There were stacks and stacks of 4×6 prints, gobs of old Polaroids and even a handful of old black and whites.

My original intent had been to just grab a pile of pictures and fill the box to be sent off. Obviously the fact that it took me 4 days should clue you in as to how well that went.

Honestly, I just got so lost in the vast sea of memories. I spent at least one day with my college photo albums. Apparently for four years my camera only came out during parties. I laughed and laughed and sent lots of picture texts to my friends reliving our “glory” days. I relived my husband and I’s…courtship…if one could really call it that.

I went through an entire box of pictures from junior high and high school. I can’t wait to put together a montage of all of my horrendous hair and fashion choices. I’m almost ashamed of myself. I relived the horror of former boyfriends and crushes. I pulled out an envelope of tiny wallet sized photos of classmates and friends with handwritten notes on the back. (Did everyone do that? Write personalized notes on the back of the school photos you handed out to friends?)

I went through stacks of pictures of myself from infant to toddler and realized that my children DO actually look like me, more than just the blue eyes! I also realize that they get the majority of their attitude from me as well, my goodness I could scowl from quite an early age.

In all those stacks I found pictures that made me laugh and cry, I remembered things long forgotten. I whittled down my stacks and put some of my favorites into the Live On Rewind box and will send them off tomorrow. I absolutely cannot wait to be able to gaze at those pictures on my computer whenever the mood strikes me. Bonus points for all the sharing and blog fodder it will surely provide.

I can’t tell you enough how much I encourage you all to check out this company and try their services. It’s so easy, just order a package and they send you everything you need. Use the code “cgc64” to receive 30% off your order. Seriously, it’s SO worth it. Protect your memories.

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Thank you to LiveOn for sponsoring this blog post. Please LiveOn to learn more about sharing and preserving your most important memories. I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective. Although story ideas were provided, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Imperfect Picture, Perfect Memory

Random fact about me: I have a pretty bad long term memory. I remember big events and some completely random ones but I’m definitely not one of those people who actually remembers her first trip to the zoo, or that really great Halloween party in my 4th grade classroom. I have several boxes of pictures from my childhood but for the most part the pictures are of the big moments. Birthday parties, graduations, high school dances, athletics.

I wish there were more pictures of the little moments, the day to day life. I wish that I could look through a few months of pictures and know what my favorite outfit was by the number of times it appears. I want to know what toys I was constantly playing with, what food I ate every day.

I think that’s why I save almost all the pictures I take of my kids even the ones that don’t turn out so well. See the evidence below. I tried to sit my kids down and take a picture of them in their new Christmas shirts. Apparently they had ants in their pants because sitting still was just not happening. In the midst of it, I was actually getting upset because all I wanted was just one picture. ONE. I could tell by looking at the camera that every picture was blurry. They were the kind of pictures that are often deleted right there on the spot. However, when I looked at the whole sequence on my computer, with all the pictures lined up side by side I couldn’t help but laugh.

I’m not sure there is a more accurate portrayal of my kids right now. Chase was trying so hard to follow my directions, he tried to “cheese” and put his arm around his sister. Katelyn was being her typical self, unable to sit still, refusing to let her brother hug her let alone kiss her on the cheek. While I didn’t get that one perfect-to-be-framed photo, I think the compliation of photos IS perfect.

I’m so glad I saved those photos and all the other imperfect shots of my kids. Someday those pictures will be the ones that tell the story of their day to day lives.

From the day I was born until I graduated college my life, in pictures, fits into exactly 4 photo boxes. I have over 12,000 photos since I’ve had kids. I think my kids will thank me some day.

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Thank you to LiveOn for sponsoring this blog post. Please LiveOn to learn more about sharing and preserving your most important memories. I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective. Although story ideas were provided, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

!IMPORTANT OFFER!

In addition to creating a space for you to upload, store and narrate your memories LiveOn also has a service to help you convert your older pictures to digital format. Visit LiveOnRewind to learn more about the process. It’s as easy as ordering a box and sending in your pictures, they handle the rest. Use the code HOLIDAYREWIND for 30% off your order. Enjoy and Happy Holidays to you all!

Christmas Gifts in a SNAP!

One of the best things about having children of my own is that now gift giving to my parents (as well as my in-laws) could not be easier. So enchanted with their wee grandchildren they are, photos as gifts are not only well received but expected. So not only can I do duplicate gifts to both sets but generally speaking I can combine mom and dad into one gift. This means that instead of carefully selecting four different gifts I just have to choose one thing, purchase or make it in duplicate and I’m SET.

This year I decided to make a photo book of Chase’s first year. Having a graphic design background AND being a traditional scrapbooker I would have loved to make one myself but being pregnant/having a new baby and having a toddler in the house just doesn’t allow me that kind of time. The solution for me was to create a personalized photo book using Snapfish. The books come in varying sizes and have some great designs as well as plain black and white options as well. The books start out at a base price for 20 pages but you can add as many pages as you want. The design process is very simple with clear easy to follow instructions.

1. Choose the size and type of book you want to create

2. Choose an overall design

3. Choose your cover options

Once you’ve selected a book design and cover type you are taken to the main editing screen where the rest of the magic happens.

4. Upload your photos, either from your computer or Flickr

* once you have your photos uploaded you can choose to have your book auto-filled or you can select each page’s layout and images. Being the control freak that I am I designed every page.

5. Edit your pages

For each page that you add you can select whatever layout you want, there are numerous options for any 1-12 photos plus titles and text. Another neat feature is that under “your photos” you can choose to hide photos you’ve already used making it easy to avoid duplicate photos in the book. Pages can be added and deleted from any point and pictures can be uploaded all at once or as you go. Since I was doing a chronological book I added pictures one month at a time to help me keep everything in order. You can also change your book design and cover at any time. Another key feature for me was being able to see the cost of the book as I went. In the upper right hand corner it shows the starting price with the default number of pages and the cost you are currently at with your added pages. I was able to set a price goal in my head and I could easily see at any time if I could add more pages or if I needed to condense and delete some.

6. THAT’S IT!

All told I probably put this entire book together in two hours. I was able to work on it little by little as I had time, it was very easy to save my progress and come back later which is quite helpful when you are working at night and during nap times. I’m already planning next year’s Christmas gifts of Chaser Year Two and Katelyn Year One. (I will share pictures of MY book once I get it in the mail)

**disclosure: I choose to use Snapfish for this project and received a gift certificate for my books, in exchange for writing this post. All opinions are my own.**

Weekly Winners, Jan 24-30

Well once again a whole week has gone by and I’ve failed to post anything besides my monthly letter to my son (that I had to FORCE myself to write). Actually it’s been almost a MONTH since I’ve written anything. Eeep! I’m working on it I swear. Until then enjoy this weeks round up of Project 365 pictures, then hit up Lotus over at her place for everyone else’s weekly winners.

Day #24
Baby laughs...better than belly laughs
Day #25
Playing with long exposures
Day #26
If I get out of the bath so do my toys
Day #27
Can't get enough baby laughs
Day #28
Obsessed with monster clothes
Day #29
Yoga baby sleeps
Day #30
Family heirloom

Weekly Winners: Jan 10-16

Wow I just realized that this is my third post for Weekly Winners with NOTHING in between. I’ve got some stuff in the works I just need to find a few minutes to organize my thoughts and polish them up. Anyway here are my shots from Project 365 for the week.

Day #10
Mimosas on the beach with friends
Day #11
On the flight home
Day #12
Serious bed-head
Day #13
A boy and his tractor
Day #14
His best imitation of @barefootfoodie
Day #15
Something pretty
Day #16
A taste of lime

Go visit Lotus for the rest of the weekly winners.

Weekly Winners: Jan 3-9

Here is this week’s roundup of Project 365 photos. Enjoy.

He isn’t always a happy baby…sometimes he is quite cross with me

The little hands that hold my heart

Totally set up but still totally cute

Papa and Chase

My most favorite LA Bitches Alli and Heather

Taken with my phone because…well just because

Go check out Lotus for the rest of the weekly winners!

Something New – Weekly Winners, Dec 27 – Jan 2

Since I’m trying to take my photography more seriously this year I have decided to do the Project 365 Challenge. Instead of posting a picture on my blog everyday (well lets be honest, I just couldn’t figure out how to do it in a way that wasn’t obnoxious or time consuming) I’ve decided to just do a roundup every week. I’m sure most of my pictures will be of Chaser, but I’m going to try to learn some new techniques both with my camera and in Photoshop.  Heather (she’s so smart) told me I should link up with Lotus’ Weekly Winners because I could get lots of awesome inspiration. So that’s the plan, here is the first roundup (hopefully of 52).

Day #1Day 1/365

Day #2Day 2/365

Day #3Day 3/365

Go over and visit Lotus and check out the rest of the weekly winners.

Look at me grow

I don’t have much to say today, hence the picture post.

Before Chase was born I read an article suggesting that you take a photo of your baby each month next to the same toy or stuffed animal to chart their growth over the first year. It took me weeks to find the right stuffed animal and I actually ended up with two. Anyway here are the first three months of pictures. I can’t believe how much he has grown.

Family Photos – Finally

Twitter can be a powerful thing…that is obvious and yet I’m still surprised at the ways it affects me. A couple of months ago I put a picture of my newborn up as my avatar. While I got lots of compliments on it people wanted to see me too. I complained that I had no recent pictures of myself and didn’t want to use an old one. Out of the blue Heather emailed me and mentioned that she was going to be in my area and would love to shoot my family. I cannot even begin to describe how happy I am with how the pictures turned out. Getting a decent shot of my hubby and I can be hair-raising, add a baby in the mix and I have no idea how she managed to capture us.  Here are a few of my favorites. Check out the rest of Heather’s work on her Flickr stream or her photography website. If you ever manage to get in her area I highly suggest wrangling her for pictures.

Thank you a thousand times and then some Heather!