Thursday, January 6, 2011

{Project Life} Birthday Card - Created by Amanda

I've slated Thursday nights as project night with Amanda for us to work on Project Life together (I promise...more is coming for her little book soon!) Anyways...

Tonight we digressed a little as tomorrow is her teachers birthday, so we first sat down to create a card for her.

As I sifted through the overflowing supply of scrapbook 'stuff' that's been collecting dust, I passed right by the 'perfect' embellishment. But...Amanda's eye caught it and said "Mommy, wait!...that's perfect!" and she proceeded to look back through the stack I had placed in the 'nah' pile.

When she found it, she held it up and exclaimed "See...LOOK! It's a Dragon with a birthday hat Mom and it says Happy Birthday...duh...Daulton Dragons!" (school mascot)

Oh my...yes my dear daughter of mine, you are right...that is perfect.

So she decorated and I captured the moment...she even had the creative idea to place music notes above the mice playing the trumpet and she was SO proud of herself!

The point to the story...stop trying to do for them and just let them do for themselves...they are growing up and mom's don't always have the 'perfect' idea for creativity. Lesson learned!

And...I put this same collage of pictures in the card for her teacher...the perfect gift!

{Project Life} Just Another Reason Why

This is so inspiring! Can you imagine finding something like this? Can you imagine if the images you're taking today had a similiar impact on those around you?

Street Photographer’s Work Discovered A Few Days After Her Death
Vivian Maier’s street photography was recently “discovered” just a few days after she died at the age of 83. The Chicago nanny took over 100,000 photographs and many say she may rank among the top street photographers of the 20th century.


Consider this...not only should we take the pictures and store them for safe keeping, we should be sharing the stories that go along with them. Project Life is the easy way to accomplish this. If you aren't a scrapbooker, that's OK! All you need is pictures, a pen (or a keyboard), and a story to tell.

Would you rather send future generations (of your family perhaps) on a wild goose chase to learn more about you so that they had a deeper undestanding of who they are and where they came from, or would you rather tell the story in your own words so they aren't left wondering?

This is your story...your will you choose to leave it behind for those that follow you? Will you leave it locked up on a hard drive or have stacks of photo albums somewhere without any names or stories to go with them?

Just some food for thought...

Note: The paper version of the Project Life kits are currently sold out...more are on the way and should be available in a few weeks! There is also a digital version available.

And no, I'm not affiliated with Project Life other than the fact I love and support the idea!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

{Project Life} Pursuit of Data Recovery

As I reflect on the eve of what would have been Brianna's 9th birthday, I'm reminded of a careless mistake I made in November 2005.

I was so caught up with what was going on with Jacob, (at least that was July onwards, can't remember the reason prior to that) I neglected to backup my hard drive from March until October/November of that year. The drive became non-bootable, unrecognizable. Most likely a mechanical failure.

You can imagine the heartbreak I instantly acquired:
  • 6-8 months of Amanda's life in pictures...gone
  • Pregnancy pictures of Jacob...gone
  • All of Jacob's life...gone (I was saved slightly on this one as a result of this blog. Documenting his life frequently in an online form provided me a backup of his precious images. Granted, it's not all of them, but it's at least some of them. If I didn't have at least this I probably would have paid whatever price they gave me in 2005!)
  • Not to mention tax documents and whatever else was important at the time

I researched data recovery options in November 2005 and was told the cost would be somewhere between $500-$2700 with a minimum fee of $200 if the attempt was unsuccessful. Not something I really could afford at the time.

Almost 6 years have passed now and as I look back at pictures, I'm reminded of the gap. Being a person that is all about capturing life through pictures, well, this just tends to eat at me.

Now I can't even remember all the memories and moments of those months. What pictures did I take? What activities did we do? What memories have been lost?

Today, I dug up the hard drive and I searched for data recovery services (again). I found one local where I can drop the drive off and not worry about it getting lost in the mail.

I even found the original emails I had sent to the other company in 2005 detailing the directories on the drive I was most interested in (I was surprised I still had this!)

With the make/model/size of the drive in hand, I submitted an inquiry at They responded within 15 minutes by email as well as called me. This is what they said:
  • The analysis is free
  • Cost range is $500-$1700
  • They will provide a quote and I can decide to pursue or not. If I don't pursue at this time, the drive will be returned in tact and all I pay is $25
Ok...great!, I think. Maybe I can finally get the 'what if I can recover the data?' answered. But what happens if I can? Where do I come up with the funds to pay for it? How much are these pictures worth (priceless right?).

So then I'm stuck with knowing I can get my hot little hands on those memories again and not knowing how to pay for it and when. I've waited this long to get the answer, what's another year if I have to save for it, right?

Sigh...what can we all learn from this? Backup your important data! Being in the computer industry myself, you think I would have done that, however, life can get in the way for us geeky folks too sometimes and that's what happened to me. I make the attempt? Do I find out at least if it's possible or do I just wait some some money and then figure it all out at once?

Knowing I can and not being able to get them now may be worse then just not knowing if I can!

{Project Life} Angry Birds

“Angry Birds” Hits 42 Million Free and Paid Downloads (as of December 2010)

What is Angry Birds?
The survival of the Angry Birds is at stake. Dish out revenge on the green bigs who stole the Birds' eggs. Use the unique destructive powers of the Angry Birds to lay waste to the pigs' fortified castles. Angry Birds features hours of gameplay, challenging physics-based castle demolition, and lots of replay value. Each of the 210 levels requires logic, skill, and brute force to crush the enemy.

Angry Birds on the iPad is so much more fun! This is just one example of how we spend our free time! Have a minute...angry birds...have 10 minutes...angry birds. It's fun, it's addicting, and it causes you to 'arrgggg', 'shooottt', and yell back at the screen! Now that is liberating!!!

Apps in the iTunes store is just one of the advances in technology these days. How did we ever live without all this technology at our fingertips? I wonder what the next great invention will be?!?

Monday, January 3, 2011

{Project Life} Gun Show, Nintendo, and Project Life for Kids

January 1 - Ken attended the gun show with Brian today...maybe he's coming home with a new toy...we'll see! I guess this is what happens when I buy him a years membership to a gun range! (verdict, he came home practically empty handed...just a mat to clean them...shew!)

January 2 - Blending the old and the new. Graphics and technology have come a long way since I played Super Mario Brothers on the original Nintendo, some 20 years ago! Watching Amanda play the 'old school' games really brought it into perspective for me!

January 3 - I wanted a way to include Amanda in the Project Life adventure as a means for us to have some quality time together doing something we both love...being creative. When I told her we were going to do a year long project together, her eyes beamed with excitement! Today we searched out the perfect album for her to capture her memories, a basic photo album to store the pictures until they make it into the perfect album and a few embellishments to go alone with it! She couldn't wait to get home and start on it right her's contagious!
(I'll be sharing more ideas on how I'll be helping her achieve this goal soon...stay tuned!)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

20 years later...2011

It all began 20 years ago while I was on summer vacation in California visiting my mother. You see, my mother had a friend, Monica who had a son named Kenny. They thought it would be cute to have their 12 year old kids meet, so one night shortly after I arrived, we met at Sizzler and I was introduced to Kenny.

That first night at Sizzler


We were inseparable those 6 weeks I was there. We played Super Mario Brothers (the original!), watched The Little Mermaid a million times with my little sister and brother, pictures in a photo booth, and even went to Disneyland (where we were tortured into listening to "It's a small world" more times than I care to remember!

The photo booth


Those were carefree moments and we dreaded the day I'd go back home to Alaska. No matter how young we were at the time, the feelings were real. There were tears when I left and we had no idea if we would ever see each other again.

We kept in touch throughout high school, but eventually the phone calls and hand written letters to each other would dwindle away as we went about our daily lives. I never did see him again.

I went on to marry, divorce, marry, have 3 kids, divorce. He went on to marry, divorce, marry, have 3 kids, divorce.

20 years after that summer, we were reunited thanks to the technology, Internet, and a social network site - Facebook.

He had just a couple friends on Facebook as he had only joined the network recently. He started to think back through the years for others he could look for. He thought of me and when a search turned up empty, he started looking for my family...first my mother...nothing...then my sister and there, staring back at him was my name.

I imagine his heart skipped a few beats as he stared back while proceeding to write the first email message to me...

It was titled "Blast from the Past". I'll never forget the feeling I had as the message showed up on my phone. Seriously, I thought? After all these years...oh my heck!! I was giddy as the memories and feelings came back to me.

The "what ifs" started going through my mind.
- what if we had stayed in touch?
- what if we had lived closer all those years ago?
- what if the feelings we had then are still there?

We were reunited in the fall of 2009 and sparks went flying. We reminisced and shared hopes, dreams and just tried to catch up on lost time. We even took a new photo booth picture!

Photo booth


With the Uhaul packed, January 1st, 2010, Kenny and his buddy Richard started the long drive from Wever, Iowa to Grand Prairie, Texas. It was the beginning of a new that should have continued all those years ago.

2010 brought us many challenges financially and emotionally, but despite it all we pushed on through and I'm very happy to have married my soul mate this year!

Our Wedding (more layouts to come soon!)



2011 is the continuation of our new beginning and in July, our first child together will be born into this world. I don't know what kind of trials we will face this year and in the years to come, but I do know having him by my side, holding my hand, makes it so much more bearable.

I wonder where we will be 20 years from now? What kind of life will we have shared? What dreams and goals will have been attained?

Time to go make more memories, beginning on this 1st day of January 2011.

Which brings me to a hobby I love so much but haven't taken the time for these last few years. I haven't felt creative or motivated to document my story, it was just too painful to relive the moments that were already stripping pieces away from me day by day.

I'm slowly regaining my passion and desire to share my story again...and it feels so liberating. I have a lot of catching up to do and I don't know how or where I'll begin, so I'll just have to dig in...stop procrastinating and stop thinking about how and just start doing!

So here's to capturing the moments and sharing them as we go along so that we can reflect back on them anytime we want or need to. Here's to Project Life, just one way I'll be going about documenting our life this year.

I haven't blogged since May 2009 and I haven't scrapbooked in I don't know how long! To all those who used to enjoy my blog updates, well I'm back! You can look forward to many more this year as I restart my quest to capture the memories and spread the joy of scrapbooking and life!

The most beautiful gift I can leave behind for my loved ones legacy. It's one thing to live it, it's another to share it for future generations.

Happy New Year, from our house to yours! Here's to living life this year and documenting the stories both past and present.