Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Digital Dilemma

Just a little back story: As part of Michael's adoption, we agreed to send monthly updates to his birth mother for the first 6 months, and then yearly for 18 years. So, I gave her a scrapbook with our original profile book in it, and then a bunch of empty pages and told her that each month, I would send the updates in the same format, and she could just slide them into the scrapbook, and everything would stay together.  So every month, I would do a "What Michael is up to at __ months" page, and then have several pages of pictures behind it. I did this in my digital scrapbook program. Every month, I would print the pages on my home printer, and mail them to the agency, for them to pass along to his birth mother.

Well, after the 6 months, I decided I wanted to keep going, since it was such a great thing for me to have. Just to see how much he changed and grew over the course of a year is incredible. Well, after his birthday, I had to decide how I wanted to print all of the pages, 84 to be exact! The pages were formatted in 8.5 x 11 so I could print them on my home printer. Well, to print that many pages on quality paper, would have taken a lot of money, just on the ink and photo paper. To get them printed at a photo printing place, I would have to re-size all of the pages to 8x10 and it would be anywhere from $2-3 a sheet. Do the math - that is way more than I wanted to pay. So I had the idea of just doing a photo book. So I looked at my usually websites to see how much that would be. Well, it wasn't even an option, because none of them had a 8.5x11 size book. Then I looked at the website for my digital scrapbooking program, and it was not easy to use, and I couldn't ever see how much a photo book would be with all of the extra pages unless I went ahead and uploaded all of the pages to their website. But the price for 20 pages was $27.95. So I googled and found a great website:
I could see how much a photo book would be based on the number of pages and the different options. I could choose from softcover or hardcover, different types of paper, or I could print all the pages individually and put them into a traditional scrapbook. It was so nice to see all of the different sizes and options they had, and I didn't have to sign up for anything, or upload anything to get the actual price. So once I decided that I would use this website, I uploaded my pictures and then I could have them auto fill and put them straight into a photo book in the order they were uploaded. It was super easy and the best part, I only paid  around $25! I decided to get the cheapest options, just to see how it turned out. I didn't want to waste a bunch of money on something I wasn't sure would turn out good. Well, I got my book yesterday, and am very happy with how it turned out. I will definitely use this website again, and I may even order another one of these books with a hardcover and better paper this time, which would only put the price at around $50.
Here are some pictures of the finished product:

Now I just have to decide if I want to do all of my scrapbooks in digital form, or if I want to go back to traditional. It is a lot easier to do it digital, since all of the pictures are digital, but there is something to working with your hands to create a unique scrapbook. Decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Latest Project

I'm calling this: Project Picture Organization!

I hadn't had any pictures printed in several months! I know... I know... Not a good idea. Well, a few weeks ago, I set out to print all of my pictures from Michael's first year and get them organized. I had his first month and a half printed, but that means I had 11 more months to print.  
I had gotten an e-mail from snapfish about their print special for .01 cent prints! But before I could order any, I had to upload them all to the website. That took several hours just to load them all on there. I ended up ordering 450 pictures from snapfish! At the same time, the Kodak website was having a special. 200 prints plus shipping, for $1.99! So, I uploaded pictures to that website, and ordered just about 200 pictures. Also, at the same time, I had received a free print credit for a photo book from shutterfly. So I put together my photo book, and just for creating an account, I got 50 free print credits, and then for ordering the photo book, I got another 30 free print credits. So, I ordered another 80 pictures. So, I ended up ordering a total of 730 pictures!!! Then I had to figure out what to do with all of them when I got them.

First, I knew I wanted all of the candid pictures of Michael in a photo album, since that would be way to much to scrapbook. So, I bought these cute photo albums at hobby lobby. They each hold 200 pictures.  

The first album has from his birth through October.

The second album has from Halloween through his first birthday. 

Here are all the pictures I have left.

I have a Christmas scrapbook that I add to each year, so all the Christmas pictures will go in that. I also have a Disney scrapbook that I add to every time we go, so our trips we took in December and in July will both go in that.
I also have a photo album of pictures of me and and my friends through the years. So, all the pictures that we have taken with all of the babies together, and our trip to Charleston that we all took in June went in there.
That just leaves all of the pictures from the different things we did as a family. Charleston, Edisto, Pumpkin Patch, Baseball game, zoo etc...
My plan is to buy some more photo albums, and put all of those pictures together in chronological order.
The whole point of this project is to get the pictures off the computer and organized. I don't want to end up with tons of pictures that never got printed. Or with tons of pictures just sitting in boxes. Pictures are so important to me, and I want to have them in a place I can look at them and cherish them.
Now I am at the point where I have to decide what I want to scrapbook, or what just goes in a regular photo album.  But I have a whole other post about that planned for tomorrow.

So there you have it, my picture organization project. Let's hope it doesn't take another 11 months for me to print pictures!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Boys will be Boys

Michael has figured out how to climb up on things!
This was the other day at my parent's house.

What? I'm not doing anything!
But he sure was proud of himself!

I think I'm going to have my hands full with this boy!

Monday, September 5, 2011

His Other Furry Friend

Let's not forget about the other furry child that lives in our house, Molly.
She tolerates Michael, to say the least. That is, unless he is eating, then she is his best friend.

But she is warming up to him, slowely...

Of course for Michael, he likes nothing more than to constantly be touching her.

I'm sure eventually Molly will love him, just as much as he loves her.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Michael's New Trick

Recently, we have started doing some sign language with Michael.
Here he is signing "all done" and he consistetly does it when he is finished with a meal. It is so cute!

Some of the other signs we are working on are:

Friday, September 2, 2011

What a week...

Wow, this has been some week! I'm so glad to see Friday come.
Let's start with my poor Toby. On Tuesday I noticed he was very lethargic all day, and I could hardly get him to go outside. As we were sitting down to dinner, I was telling Andrew about it, and we noticed Toby just laying in the bathroom. All of a sudden he started shaking really bad, was drooling everywhere, and panting extremely hard. He also used the bathroom on himself. It scared us pretty bad, so I called the emergency vet, and told them what happened. They said we should bring him in, so we dropped Michael off at my parent's house, and we headed to the vet. By the time we got there, Toby was acting normal again, except for some tremors. The vet suggested we run some test, to check and make sure everything was OK, internally. All tests came back normal, except he does have a heart murmur. They are pretty sure that he had a seizure, and are guessing it was because of a head trauma he sustained as a puppy. By this time, it was almost 9:00, so we decided to go ahead and have them keep him overnight so they could monitor him, and make sure the tremors stop, or that he didn't have any more seizures. We swung back by my parents, picked up Michael and went home and put him straight to bed. Toby did great overnight, and was back to normal by the time I picked him up the next morning. 
Toby heading home
I think it was a long night for him. He was to sleepy!
I was hoping that would be the only excitement for the week. Well, I was wrong. Yesterday afternoon, Michael and I went shopping and he was being great, despite taking only a 1 hour nap. After making our rounds to Hobby Lobby and Kohl's, and stopping to see Daddy at work, we headed to Publix to do our weekly grocery shopping. Well, we get to the car with all of our groceries, load them up, put Michael in the car, and get ready to go, and my car won't start! WHAT!! I am so tired of having car troubles. It seems like it is something every week. The car wouldn't do anything, the locks wouldn't even work! So, I call Andrew and tell him what is going on, and he comes to rescue us. Michael and I go back into the grocery story and wait for him to get there. Michael was still being wonderful! One thing that can make a bad situation worse, is having a cranky baby. Andrew got there about 15 minutes later, and tells me he thinks it's the battery. I JUST PUT  A NEW BATTERY IN THE CAR LAST WEEK!!! How can it be the battery?? He hooks up my car to his with jumper cables, and my car at least attempts to start when they are hooked up. But it won't stay going. By this time it is almost 7:00, and I have got all of my groceries in the car, and I was just ready to call a tow truck. We load everything into Andrew's little truck, and decide he will come back later with my dad. If it is the battery, it is definitely still under warranty, so he will just another one. You should have seen us all crammed in the truck. Michael's car seat was in the front (It's OK, the truck doesn't have air bags) and I was stuck sitting in the little jump seat in the back. We get home, I put the groceries away, feed Michael and put him to bed. In the mean time, Andrew and my dad head back to the car, to see what they can figure out. Turns out, it was the battery. But it wasn't bad, it just wasn't hooked up tight enough. Thank you God for an easy fix. Andrew finally gets home around 9:00 and he gets to eat dinner.
I'm really hoping that was all of the excitement for the week. Sorry there aren't more pictures.
Here's to a great weekend!