Sunday, December 2, 2012

October, November: Gone in a Photographic Flash

At the end of my last post I wrote briefly about how I and my external hard drive got into an altercation and my external hard drive won.

OK, OK, let me be honest.

I accidentally dropped it, which I have done in the past with no issues, but this time it was different.  I sat back down, slipped the connector into the USB port and waited for it to boot up.

And I waited.

And I waited.

Instead of being greeted with a prompt box on how I wanted to view the files I was greeted with this odd beeping sound.

Like we used to do with our old Nintendo games, I unplugged my hard drive, held it up to my lips and gave it a few quick puffs of air.  As I tilted it to my lips, that's when I heard the sound.  A distinct rattling of some piece inside that must have broken during the fall.  I knew what was going to happen when I plugged it back in but I tried anyways.


I probably shouldn't be admitting this but what the hell.  We all have lessons to learn in life and I am no exception.  I had not backed up any pictures in over a year.  Within the last year I had started my own photography business and every piece of portfolio work was on that hard drive. The only thing I had left of my hard work was on my website which you can view here.  Even worse, I hadn't updated my website to include my more recent work.  Someone somewhere must have been looking out for me because thankfully I didn't have any clients waiting to place print or CD orders.  I hadn't had a photo session in a few months which I now view as a total blessing.  Panic immediately set in and I began researching what I could do to recover the data on my own.  With hopelessness settling in, I gave up and went to get ready for bed.  I snuggled under the covers and that's when it hit me.  For whatever reason, I hadn't thought beyond the loss of my business images.

I just lost all of my family pictures.

I lost pictures of Jacob and I dating, the birth of my babies, their birthdays, deployment departures and homecomings, family gatherings, absolutely everything.  My mind started reeling, my heart dropped, tears sprang to my eyes and I literally felt sick to my stomach.  I would not wish this feeling on my worst enemy.  I might not have many pictures posted throughout my house but I document every aspect of our life and like a lot of people became complacent, putting way too much faith in a piece of technology.

I contacted a friend and he helped me through the process of determining if my hard drive could be easily recovered or if I was going to need to send it off to a professional.  He sent me two YouTube links featuring beeping sounds and asked me to choose which one I was hearing when my hard drive tried to boot up.  Of course it had to be the one appropriately titled "The Beep Beep Beep of Death". It was official.  My hard drive was going to have to be sent off to a data recovery/computer forensic center.

Let me ask you this question.  What are your family memories worth?  How much would you pay to get back your wedding pictures or the birth of your children?  For me?


And this was with only a 70% recovery.  Could you imagine what a full or close to 100% recovery would have cost?  This company was actually amazing to work with and I would fully recommend Data Analyzers to anyone needing data recovery services.  The prices were reasonable when compared with other companies and you don't pay up front.  They give you a quote, recover the data, send you a spread sheet to review what was recovered, and then you can decide if you want to pay or not.

Once my hard drive was returned I spent multiple days backing up my stuff offsite.  I opened the first folder titled 2006 and a wave of nostalgia hit.  Not only were there images from 2006 but some from way before that as well.  Pictures of college friends, parties pre-kids, ECU tailgating, Lake Gaston, cookouts, etc.

It seemed like a lifetime ago.

Of course this prompted me to bust out THE BOX of actual printed photos from my past.  Memories came flooding back bringing the weird feeling in your stomach that sometimes creeps up when you think about how different your life could have turned out.

What if you chose the other college?
What if you stayed with the other person?
What if you never moved to that other city?
What if you never took that job?

For me, what if I hadn't gotten pregnant during my student teaching internship?  Jacob had papers to PCS to California and I had just picked up my application packet for the Peace Corps.  In my mind, I was steps away from teaching under privileged kids in a 3rd world country.  Every now and then I do wonder where my life would have ended up had I chosen differently, had I done a ton of things differently.

And then I go through my current pictures tagging them with

Matthew's First School Performance: The Nursery Rhyme Program

YES! I caught you! This little kid kept hitting other children with his blue horn throughout the entire 45 minute program.

How many of you kept looking for that blue horn in the other pictures?  Don't lie, you know you did =)

*****Celebrating Jackson's Birthday at Boing*****

******Celebrating Macy's 2nd Birthday******

******Evening Golf Time******

Two words: anger management.

And at the end, if you still can't get it in the hole....

Halloween Crafting While my Husband Watches the Kids and the Steelers............Lose. YIKES!*

******My Night Owl:  This is a Common Thing at 1am******

******The Felt's Awesome Halloween Bash******

I wish I could take credit for the amazing Halloween decorations you are about to see but I can't.  I've told Darcy, the Pinterest Hostess with the Mostess, she needs to start a blog documenting her craftiness.  So many creatively challenged people, and their holiday parties, would benefit from her endless supply of ideas and her budget friendly style.

Her Halloween Bash decor:

Darcy actually makes the outside decorations herself.  She purchases OSB board from Lowe's or Home Depot, cuts them with a jigsaw, and paints them by hand.  Dedicated and talented is the only way to describe her handiwork.

Let the party begin!

Nicholas was not in costume because he was deathly afraid of his Thomas the Train getup.

The kids making a mad dash to find the hidden pumpkin.  Congrats Kyle for winning

Next, a parent and kid had to mummify themselves together with a roll of toilet paper.  First one out of toilet paper won.

We didn't win but it was fun nonetheless.  And the cleanup afterwards?

I told you her decorations were amazing.

The most handsome blue power ranger ever.

The indestructible pinata.

Nicholas's first attempt at a pinata.  Get it lil' dude!

Of course we made sure the babies had their own candy stash to go 
after.  It's do or die with the older ones.

The party was an absolute success and we can't wait for Darcy's Winter Wonderland Christmas Party.


Last year my family lived in the South Fork neighborhood in  Riverview and my poor kids didn't have a single person to play with on our street.  We joined some friends in a different neighborhood to trick-or-treat and our neighbor at the time said only 3 or 4 kids came down our street that night. This year we live on base and almost everyone participates.  The streets were full of kids and families which was a nice change of pace.

We started the evening with hotdogs at our neighborhood community center.  The base hyped it way up and let's just say we will not be going again next year.  At least I didn't have to cook, right?

Photo op: Take 1

Photo op: Take 2

Take 3, I'll take what I can get.

Trick-or-treating was a success with my kids scoring the "good stuff" that this 37 week pregnant mommy pretty much finished off by herself.

Here we go again: Take 1

Take 2

Take 3, the little one ran off.

I walked with the boys long enough to snap some pictures and then I headed back to the house to hand out candy.

Nicholas got a little spooked at this house.

And if daddy didn't walk up to the house, brother was there to help instead.

*Fall Crafting While My Husband Watches the Kids and the Steelers...........Lose Again!

I always say that if it's not my husband needing my attention, it's a kid.  If it's not a kid than it's a cat. 

Alright, so the first thing I did was take apart some old fall garland I had stored in the garage.

I used the leaves to make a runner for the dining room table.  The leaves were wrinkled so I took the time to iron them out before I started gluing them down .  The original "how-to" said to glue the leaves to cellophane.  I wanted something a little more sturdy so I used a leftover piece of fabric.

I was having difficulties getting the leaves to stay glued down with mod podge and was almost done when I realized that my hot glue gun would probably work better.

Hey, I never said I was quick on the uptake.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about my table runner but it works for now and it was free as I already had the supplies.

Here are all of my goodies I had to work with.  I purchased the plates, napkins, flowers, vases and scented pine cones at Old Time Pottery and I already had the glass beads from another project.  I think I spent a total of $55.

I filled the glass vases with scented pine cones or glass beads and cut the flowers from the bouquet. 

I put the berries and twigs, cut from my garland, to use by turning them into napkin rings.  Tie everything together with twine and ta-da!

The final result


So let me say it again.

 Every now and then I do wonder where my life would have ended up had I chosen differently, had I done a ton of things differently.

And then I go through my current pictures tagging them with

And I just know I'm right where I'm supposed to be.


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