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13 posts from January 2009

January 09, 2009

Here comes the sun!

After what seems like weeks of gray cold weather, the sun is shining and we're playing outside without our coats!  Mommy always wears sunglasses outside so Gwen and Maddy love to wear theirs too.  It's a challenge to photograph them with their fancy reflective lenses but you have to admit that they sure are pretty!  These have excellent UV protection too so they're as functional as they are fashionable! As always, click image for a larger view.

Two photos sunglasses blog
Next week, we'll be attending <this> show.  The girls are constantly asking to see the tickets and counting down the days to this beautiful show!   

January 06, 2009

"Marley and Me" (Movie rant and spoiler)

I'm interrupting my Blurb bookmaking workathon to bring you this public service message about the new "Marley and Me" movie. 

We're big fans of Marley and his adorable story is one of our bedtime favorites.  So when we heard that there was a movie coming out on Christmas day, we started getting the girls excited about seeing it.  We were pretty excited about it too until we caught wind of how it ended.  I should mention that we didn't know there was another book that this movie was based on.  We thought it was a story about the dog in the children's book.  It was certainly marketed as a family comedy. 

Marley and my kids - blog 
At first, we didn't believe such an ending was possible since it seemed unfathomable that a "family" movie about a precious (albeit precocious) puppy -- that opened on Christmas Day -- would be a movie that was guaranteed to reduce everyone in the audience to hysterical sobbing tears.   

How could they wrap that adorable golden lab puppy up in a red ribbon and spend 90 minutes making you fall in love with him just to kill him off near the end!?   Sure, we all understand about the circle of life but this was supposed to be a family movie, right?   You know, "family"... as in kids and stuff!?

We love Marley in this house.  He misbehaves but under all that shedding tan fur is a heart of pure gold.  He's the poster puppy for good intentions and our 4 year old girls can probably appreciate and relate to that and even love him a bit more because of all the trouble he causes. 

Somehow, I can't help but believe that they gain emotional strength from knowing that families stick together no matter how naughty someone might be.  Nobody is ever banished, expelled or excommunicated.  And certainly nobody is euthanized or otherwise removed from the family!

They're only four years old and they can't even begin to grasp the concept of loss on the level presented in this movie.  In their world, forever is just a smidgen after the moment they stop noticing how long something is taking.   When something they love goes away, it always reappears (unless it's a marshmallow or a chicken nugget and, in Gwen's case, those little treasures too frequently reappear anyway).  But, most importantly, Doctors always make you better.  They don't give you a shot that makes you die while your family stands around you and cries. 

How confusing would that be to a small child who is incapable of putting any of this into proper context?

I don't know why they presented this movie has a family movie. This is a movie for adults who want to be reminded of all the reasons they ever loved their dog or cat and all the reasons why they'll never stop missing them after they're gone.  That's a good thing but it's not a theme that small kids can appreciate. 

If you do take young kids to this movie, do what we did and leave right after the scene where everyone is playing in the snow.   That's a nice happy spot to end this story and you'll walk away with a full and happy heart instead of an aching head and a face full of salty tears.

Okay, I'm going back to working on my Blurb book now.  :)

January 03, 2009

Blog to Book - 2008 (in progress...)

At the end of each year, we convert our blog to a family album so, if you don't see new posts on the blog for a while, it's because I've locked myself in my home office with several cases of Five Hour Energy, a double ended candle, and a big bottle of Excedrin.

Blurb books-000001 

We use www.blurb.com for our books and print them in the largest size (13 by 11) so we can enjoy each big beautiful photograph.  Even though the books often exceed 200 pages, the price is hard to beat at about .50 cents per page.   

If you want to attempt a project like this, I recommend that you start now.  It's January so that's a good time to start something, right?

I started my 2008 book in January of 2008 and kept it updated all year long.  I got a little bit behind after Thanksgiving but I only have to catch up with just a bit over a month of photos.   Even so, that's going to take me several days and another few days to proof the entire book from start to finish and tweak it a bit and finally upload it to Blurb. 

The software is free and it makes the task pretty easy.  They have many sizes to choose from and a wonderful selection of page formats for mixing photos with text.   You can even import your entire blog into their software (to save all that typing!) but I recommend that you copy your book after you import it and immediately break it into individual years by removing the pages that don't correspond to the particular year you're working on.  This makes the project much more manageable and much less overwhelming.    Also, pick your book size carefully because you can't change it without starting over.  Finally - and most importantly - plan to replace each of your blog photos with the beautiful high resolution original photos you have on your computer.  Trust me, you won't be happy with the size of the photo you have uploaded to your blog.  Really.... why go to all this trouble and end up with a 3 inch photo to look at?

Why the effort?  We Book our Blog for several reasons:  First of all, we don't print many of our digital photos so this gets our pictures out of our computer and into our hands.  Next, we worry that we'll lose irreplaceable photos if our computer crashes.  And, lastly, anything we print using Blurb is retained forever on their servers so we can always go back and print another copy if there's a theft or a fire and our books are lost or destroyed.  The peace of mind is worth all the considerable effort of creating these spectacular books.  Oh, and our kids LOVE to look at them!  Since they're in almost all of these books (and on nearly every page!), they think these are books about THEM.  Okay, they're right but I'm okay with that!  :)

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