Sunday, February 26, 2012


Just when I started to feel better after my surgery and was able to walk again, I had to go through a painful process of getting my stitches taken out which opened the wound back up and I now have an infection. To say I am upset and frustrated is an understatement. I can no longer even view a commercial for "Private Practice" without cursing.
In other news, I let my sorry self get sucked into Pinterest during recovery. Sometimes I go online and look at pretty things and pretend I'll someday have the money to do it all. Living in a world of fantasy right now is really the only good option.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Photo Books To The Test

Between our wedding and honeymoon last year, I had compiled with a lot of digital pictures to organize into memories for us and our families.

Never having made an online photo book before, I decided to test out a few different places: Lulu, Picaboo, and AdoramaPix. It helped that I got a deal from all three places using promotions, coupon codes, and Groupons.

First, I created a book for my grandparents with Lulu. I found the system to be simple and straightforward. In a way, it was a little too simple. Customizing pages was either not a real option or it wasn't very easy. It also yelled about sizing a lot--even for photos with high resolution.
The end result was nice. Photos were clear, yet the overall look was somewhat muted. Whether from the paper or ink, nothing really "popped." A 9x7 hardcover with 21 pages costs $25.45 plus shipping.

I next made several customized books for family members using Picaboo. This system allowed for more individual customization per page. There was a vast library of layouts and backgrounds from which to choose.
Picaboo's finished photo books have a reddish tone to them, making people like Tommie look rather flushed. The paper is also on the thin side. Two of the four books I ordered were printed with the wrong covers, but Picaboo was good about sending replacements. A 8.5x11 classic custom hardcover with 20 pages costs $39.99 plus shipping. It is $1 per additional page.
Lastly, I decided to go with AdoramaPix for our more artistic pictures from our honeymoon to Turkey. This system was also very customizable, though I was not impressed with any of the rather cheesy backgrounds. Sticking with black, white, and gray gave pages a classic look.
The quality of the finished photo book illustrates Adorama's place as a leader in the photo business. The book looks like a professional book of art with lay-flat pages, real photographic paper, and a lustre finish that gives images just the right amount of shine. It's also archival.
I don't know what it is about my bad luck with photo books, but my first book arrived with an upside-down cover. AdoramaPix was also good about sending a quick replacement. An 8x10 custom hardcover with 38 pages costs $68.95 plus shipping. One thing to note is that you can only order in page increments of 14, 26, 38, 40 and 76.
Though the most expensive of the three, AdoramaPix definitely offers the best quality, particularly for high resolution photos that you want to showcase.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I Prefer Books Over PreNatal Vitamins

I'm a planner, which is why I have started to read books on foster care and adoption so I have a better understanding of the road Tommie and I plan to head down when it comes to "having kids." Some of the books are memoirs, some are more informative, and they're all interesting. 
As I got my stitches ripped out of my foot yesterday and the doctor attempted to seal up the wound that had been torn open again, all I could think about (and talk about because when I'm nervous and in pain I ramble) was how incredibely thankful I am that I planned all along NOT to have my own children. Honestly, I don't care if it makes me a giant sissy, or crazy, or hard to understand. There is no doubt in my mind that it is the right decision for me and if I am going to have kids, it is the way I was destined to have them. 

I know I'm lucky to have a husband who supports and even encourages this decision. Not only is Tommie glad he gets to keep the use of his hands (I think I tried to break one yesterday based on my foot pain alone), he is also very socially conscious and believes in helping others. 
Instead of reading "What to Expect When You're Expecting" (which is like a horror novel to me), here's a list of books I'm checking out that relate to the alternative:

- Adopting the Older Child, by Jewett
- Scars That Can Heal, by Louis
- Another Place at the Table, by Harrison
- The Stork Market, by Riben
- Nobody's Children, by Bartholet
- Like Family, McLain
- Growing Up in the Care of Strangers, by Brown/Seita
- Memoirs of a Baby Stealer, by Callahan
- Three Little Words, by Rhodes-Courter

Leave a comment if you come across or know of any others!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Back Into the World

Tomorrow I'm headed back to work. I wish I could say my foot felt all better but each night it hurts like a son of a gun and the cast is really starting to bug me. I'm also anxious to be able to walk again sometime since I've only been outside twice in the past week and I move slower than my grandmother probably ever will.

Tommie has been good at doing stuff around the house. Maya, on the other hand, seems annoyed that I've been hogging all 'her" furniture with my leg up.
Though the recovery is slow, I'm happy the actual surgery wasn't as bad as I anticipated. Despite my nerves causing my blood pressure and temperature to soar, I was very composed. I did say some pretty strange that I would rather be a tree than a person...which I think I should have waited to say until after I had been put on strong meds so the nurses wouldn't have given me such strange looks.
Whatever...we're used to strange looks, right Maya?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pep Talk

I am terrified about tomorrow and the months of recovery after it. Last week I was supposed to work on accepting, I really suck at that. My constant state of terror has turned me into a crazy person who gives herself fantasy pep talks to try to prevent ulcers.
Here is what I keep telling myself...

You can't plan anything fun until you do this. This part of the pep talk is actually true. Knowing I'll have a swollen foot for six months after surgery makes it hard to plan for anything fun or exciting. Once the surgery is over, I can anticipate a time when the pain is over and look forward to that.
Here's where it gets weird...I am pretending someone is paying me $50,000. That's how much I would voluntarily do it for, though, for future reference, the price for major surgery increases significantly to half a million. No one has really offered me $50K, but if I keep telling myself that's the deal, I momentarily trick myself into thinking it's all for a better cause.

Also, I don't watch sports, but I'm feeling a sympathetic connection to one of the Patriot's players (Gronkowski) who hurt his ankle in last week's playoff game. He and I will be wearing walking boots before the big game...only I don't have to play in the Super Bowl this Sunday and he does. See, life could be worse.

So, here's the pep talk script for tomorrow: "It will be over soon and you can look forward to a better spring/summer.  For $50,000 it's totally worth it!  And remember, at least the Patriots aren't counting on you to help win a Super Bowl."