Friday, September 16, 2011

I Must Be Crazy

If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything, is ready, we shall never begin.- Ivan Turgenev, novelist, poet, playwright

This quote spoke to me on a number of levels. As a writer, it reminded me that I need to just sit down and write, or I'll never get my stories out of my head. As a mother, it reminded that life isn't going to wait, it's going to carry on with or without me. 

Yesterday, I was cleaning out Danger Baby's closet, packing up the outfits she has finally out-grown, and getting some of the warmer clothes moved to the front to prepare for the shifting seasons. As I sifted through the tiny dresses hanging in her closet, I came across the one her sister wore home from the hospital more than seven years ago. 

A white and pink sleeveless dress with little tiny pink rosebuds embroidered on it. I remembered waiting in my hospital room for my husband to return from the store with something for our little girl to wear. His mother was concerned that I was letting him chose our daughter's outfit, but I had complete faith in him. He didn't let me down. The Angry Midget had her hospital mugshot taken in that dress, and wore it several times once she was home as well. Fast forward a few years, and I had another little girl to share that dress with. Danger Baby wore it a handful of times and looked just as cute in it as her sister did all those years before.

When I packed that dress up the first time, I was a little sad because my baby was growing up, but I carefully put it away with the intention of getting it back out in a few years for my next baby. When I folded up that little pink and white dress yesterday, it was with a much heavier heart. I didn't pack it away with the intention of seeing it again in a few years, I packed it away in a special box for long term storage. 

When The Angry Midget was little, every milestone was greeted with joy and excitement. I was a little sad that my baby was growing up, but I knew that there would be more babies, and that I would get to enjoy the stages that were being left behind all over again with another little person some day. After six years had passed, and we were still a one child home, I brought myself to terms with the fact that that was all the more we were ever going to have. Relief was among my primary emotions at this realization. The birth didn't go well, and I was, quite frankly, not looking forward to ever going through that again. 

I had a hard time with Midget's first day of Kindergarten. She really wasn't my baby any more. I had a pang of regret that I hadn't focused more on her milestones, and really enjoyed and reveled in them. I regretted my "First of Many" attitude. Even if we would have had more, each child is different.

Then in March of last year everything was turned on its ear. I was pregnant again, and I was less than thrilled about it. Eventually, I came around and now I have not one but two beautiful little girls that I talk about all the time. That pregnancy was the best worst thing that ever could have happened. It brought my husband and I closer together. It strengthened our relationship. It helped him realize that I needed him to step up his parenting game and help me out a lot more. 

The birth of my second daughter also helped heal some of my own wounds from my first daughter's birth. It wasn't perfect, and it wasn't exactly how I wanted it to be, but it was still wonderful and I'm glad I had the chance to try again. I'm also very sure that I don't ever want to go through that process again. So sure in fact, that R and I have been discussing permanent pregnancy prevention (I'm of the opinion that since I've had two surgeries, it's his turn, but he's not convinced yet.) 

At lest I thought I was sure.

Now that Danger Baby is growing up, and reaching all her milestones, I'm trying to just live in the moment and enjoy every stage as she masters it. Unlike last time, I know this time that she is our last baby, and I'm really sad about that. So sad, that I'm actually considering another baby. 

Yes, I think I may in fact be crazy. I'm considering another baby. But if we have another, I would want to wait about four more years. This poses a lot of problems. My age as well as R's age primarily. Four years from now I will be 37 and R will be 49. That's pretty old to be having a baby. Of course, it's probably just hormones making me think I want another baby, and who knows how I'll feel next month or next year, much less four years from now. 

For now, I'll just try to enjoy every moment with Danger Baby and The Angry Midget, because as I've already learned, you never really know where life is going to take you, or what it's going to give you along the way.

The Man, The Angry Midget and Danger Baby

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Review of My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software and Giveaway


This week I have been test driving the My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software. I have posted a few "sneak peeks" of what the software can do throughout the week, and as promised, here is the review. Stay tuned because there is also a giveaway!

The primary function of the My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software seems to be creating digital scrapbook pages, as the name would imply. However, the software has more to offer. You can add video to your pages. Have music playing in the background, thus creating a slideshow movie, and you can also have your pages professionally bound into a book or made into a calendar. You can also export your pages direct to DVD, to an iPod, as an interactive album, or make it into a movie. One thing to note, when you burn direct to DVD, any hot spot video or sound that you have added will be disabled.

I found working from the templates easier than trying to build completely from scratch. Unlike with traditional scrapbooking, I found it hard to get all the elements to line up and fit the way I wanted them to, so after a frustrating hour and having only one page to show for it, I went back to the ready-for-photos templates to create this last post.

I've chosen the movie option to share this album with you.

This is the video uploaded straight from my computer. Since not everyone has a blog, I also posted it to YouTube, so you could see just how easy it is to share your video album. You can go here to see what it looks like on YouTube. 

In this format, the video I added is still enabled, but I would recommend increasing the amount of time on each page from the default 5 seconds. This video was created using the computer quality option. It is kind of gritty and pixelated, and it's hard to see the images. There is also a web option, but that option states that it would be a medium quality (lower than this setting) smaller image playback.

I also created a second copy of the album still using the movie option, but I went with the DVD quality instead of the computer quality, and I increased the page view time to 10 seconds (the max. allowable time) to see if it made a difference when loading it to YouTube. You can see that version  here, or just watch it below.

The upload time was significantly longer for the DVD quality video as compared to the computer version, but well worth the wait.

To see the other album pages I created with the software, click here and here.

How do I see the My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software being used by the average person? Well, you can see how My Memories envisions it being used by watching their YouTube video here. It would be very handy for new moms wanting to show off the baby, family of service men and women who are stationed overseas, someone wanting to create a very personalized baby book, and anyone who has too many photos and not enough time or space to put them in a traditional scrapbook. The FastFill option would be especially helpful there. When you purchase the Digital Scrapbooking Software, it comes with a few templates already, but if you don't find what you're looking for in there don't worry. There are hundreds more available at the My Memories site, more than 65 are FREE and even more (over 200!) are less than one dollar.

A few things to keep in mind:
1.) When you download the Digital Scrapbooking Software, a dialogue box pops up and tells you to turn off sleep mode. I have no idea how to do this, so I just ignored the advice and moved on. I would not recommend that you do the same. I had planned to stay by my computer and make sure it didn't switch to sleep, but things didn't work out as planned. The download stopped at 73% and I had to start over.
2.) The download takes a while. we are using 1.5MB DSL and it took about an hour for it to download completely. Once it's downloaded, it installs really quickly, though.
3.) I had some issues with the text editor. Ok, I had a lot of issues with the text editor. Maybe it was just me, but I found it very frustrating. Mostly I had problems with the formatting portion of the text editor when trying to change the font or size of text, and it seemed that the more I used the "undo" feature, the worse it got. This might be because I'm using Windows 7, and it doesn't always like to play nice.

Now for the fun part!

My Memories is allowing me to give away a copy of their Digital Scrapbooking Software FREE!!

Here's how to enter:

Mandatory Entries:
First, you need to subscribe to my blog. It's real easy. Over on the right there are a few options (follow by e-mail, follow on Google Friend Connect, or subscribe to posts) chose one and leave me a comment telling me how you are following. Be sure to leave your e-mail so I can let you know if you win.

Second, go to the My Memories site and check out their neat kits. Leave me a comment telling me what your favorite kit/paper pack/template is, and you'll be entered again. Be sure to leave your e-mail address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.

Want more chances to win? Of course you do! For each of the following items, you get another entry into the drawing:

1.) Go to My Memories blog and subscribe or follow them. Leave me a comment letting me know how you are following.

2.) Like My Memories on Facebook. Leave me a comment with your Facebook name so I can find you.

3.) Follow My Memories on Twitter. Leave me a comment with your Twitter handle so I can find you.

4.) Follow me on Twitter. Leave me a comment with your Twitter handle so I know you're a real person and not a spambot.

So there you have it. Six possible tickets in the drawing if you take advantage of all the options.

Since this is my first giveaway, I'm not sure how long I should leave the entry window open for. How about a week? I'll allow entries until 9 am CST on Sunday, September 11, 2011. I'll draw a random winner from all eligible entries on Sunday, and post the winner's name on my blog as well as contacting them by e-mail.

Contest Extended!!
Drawing will be held on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011.


If you aren't patient enough to wait for the drawing to end, and you want to purchase the My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software now, you can save $10.00 when you use this coupon code:  STMMMS11009. Just copy and paste it into your cart at check-out.

Also, when you purchase the My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software, you get a coupon code in your receipt e-mail for $10.00 off anything on the My Memories site.


Silent Sunday

What is Silent Sunday? Click the badge to find out.

Please note: the linky is down this week as Jay is on holiday, but you can still learn all about Silent Sunday, do your own Silent Sunday post, and join the fun when it's back up next week. Cheers!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Second Sneak Peek at My Memories

Hmmm...Well I hope I'll be able to get this up before midnight. I've been having some internet connectivity issues and I'm not sure how long the connection will hold for.

As promised yesterday, here is a page I made all by myself using the My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software. This was blank, and I filled it in with everything you see.

Doing it this way was much more difficult. There were so many options it was hard to chose, and it was hard to make it look just the way I wanted. This one page took longer than the four I did yesterday, and I'm still not 100% happy with it.

Tomorrow, I'll tackle the other features offered by the software, and of course, Saturday is the big reveal on the review and the giveaway.