Category: Media

Photos, videos and audio

Happy 6 Months!

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Dear Baby Liam

You are 6 months old today. I can’t believe it’s been half a year since the day we met you. We waited so very long for you, the whole day was surreal. I still remember the little things about that day. The music playing in the OR. Daddy’s smile. The look on Papa’s face when we told him your name. Mommy’s friends taking turns holding you. Since then there have been so many wonderful firsts for both of us. The first time you latched, smiled, laughed, reached for me, slept through the night… rolled over, sat up, woke daddy up by tapping him.  Just this past week we went to a library lapsit. As I sat on the rug, singing and listening to stories with you, I looked around at the other moms and started to cry. At one time, I had convinced myself I would never be able to attend something like this. But there I was, being a “mommy”. At the end of the song and story time we sat, chatting with other mommies and babies. I was even given my first mommy playdate card.

Each night, as you sleep in your bed, I say a prayer for you. As each of these firsts happen, I find my prayers get longer. I find I have to add a new item. When you were first born I prayed against SIDS. Then I began praying for physical, emotional and mental health. Soon I added your wife, your developmental milestones … all along always praying that daddy and I will be the parents you deserve, and that we can raise you to be an amazing man of God.

I’ve documented so much of your life. I’m sure I’m driving people crazy by filling up their social media feeds. But it’s just too much joy to keep to myself. To keep bottled up. You are such a blessing, and you bring so much joy to so many people. You are loved, prayed for, kissed and snuggled by so many. Daddy used this “snap happiness” to create a very special gift for us.

For the past few weeks, daddy has been working VERY late. Tonight, when I got home, daddy sat me down. I was afraid he was going to tell me some bad news. He turned his computer towards me, and showed me this…. I cried…

(thank you Uncle Ryan for helping daddy!)

Happy half birthday little man. Happy happy birthday. You didn’t get a cake tonight, but instead some water from your new cup and your current favorite – avocado!

 

❤ Tara

Pimp Your Pictures

I have always been "snap happy". I’ve been a picture person since I was young! Having Liam has sent that into overdrive. Like, 50-100 photos on an average day isn’t rare. One of my requirements  for my phone is that it has a GREAT camera. So many friends were getting blurry photos with their iPhones and other smartphones, I knew it would just drive me crazy. And, because my photos are taken on my phone, they are uploaded to Intagram and FB from my phone. Instagram offers a little "fun", but I wanted to do a LOT more with my photos. So I began searching and playing. Since I started doing more with my photos, a TON of people have asked me what apps I use. I figured it would be easier to direct them here than continue to retype my answers again and again.

NOTE: I am an Android user. Some of the apps are available on both Android and iOS, and I’ll try to note when it is. But keep in mind, I have never used the iOS versions of these apps!

Labels

"Labels" are the colored strips with text. They often look like something that has come out of a real label maker or text written on masking tape, washi tape, etc. I am picky with these, I don’t like it to look "junky". Some of my favorite apps are…

Labelbox labelbox

  • 15 different labels
  • Ability to undo – but only to clear EVERYTHING you’ve done, and you have to shake your phone. (which, quite frankly, leaves you looking ridiculous in public)
  • [Available on iOS]

maskingtapemaskingtape

  • I couldn’t even begin to count the number of tapes
  • Divided by colors, then patterns (you scroll for miles)
  • All are semi see-though – meant to look like Japanese Washi Tape
  • [Available on iOS]

Collages

This is the trick to putting a bunch of related photos into one image for sharing via social media. I prefer ones that create square collages. Then I can quickly plug it into Instagram, which then shoots it out to Facebook and Twitter. I’ve tried quite a few, but it really comes down to two for me.

  • photoframePhotoFrame
    • Super clean and quick
    • All the frames are divided by number of images
    • Can change the thickness and color of the frame around the collage
    • You can save to your gallery or send it straight to another app (Instagram, Facebook, editors, etc)

 

  • photogridPhoto Grid
    • Some cool collage options (not all square/rectangle)
    • Funky borders available as well (patterns, etc)
    • Add text right in the app
    • [Available on iOS]

 

Editors

Sometimes you want to do just a bit MORE. Maybe add some clip art, some "chalk drawing-like" text or images. A photo needs "touch-up" or even "blacked out" . Maybe even some silly arrows or talking bubbles? That’s when I go to my editor for the extra "ooph". Now, I have a LOT of editors, and I use them all for different things. But I have one I use more frequently for "common" edits, and one for a really specialized feature …

  • picsartPicsArt
    • A little chalk-like clip art in the library
    • Some great fonts – sometimes I’ll leave my labels plank and add text from this app!
    • You can add stickers, frames, borders, layer photos, masks, draw and other effects
    • [Available on iOS]

 

  • realbokehReal Bokeh
    • This adds a little "magical aura" to your images – it looks like light reflections
    • It also lets you pick shapes, colors and placement!
    • [Available on iOS]

 

  • beautifulmessBeautiful Mess
  • This one is a great one for cutesy borders, fonts, clips art, etc. It’s become my go-to and probably yours friends’ too!
  • It also lets you create images without a picture – use a blank background or one of the many patterns available!

Examples

Here are some examples of these apps in use!

4months 

 

label: labelbox

 

collage: photo frames 

 

heart lights: real brokeh

 

clipart: picsart 

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Happy Editing!

❤ Tara

Taking Some Peeks!

So sorry it has been so long between posts. Really, nothing much eventful has been happening (thank goodness!). I do have belly shots from the past two weeks, but they are on hubby’s phone and he hasn’t sent them to me yet *hint hint!* Tomorrow he is 25 weeks – if born now he would be a “micro-preemie” – but he would have a chance of survival outside of me! Scary and exciting all at once!

Squish has done a beautiful job showing us his VERY chubby cheeks at the last few “checks”, so he will definitely be the model for the Real Options fundraiser on Thursday night! This means they will be doing a 3D/4D ultrasound on him live on the big screen for donors to watch and understand how their money is being used! Today I went by and taught the staff at the center how to take the images they save from 3D/4D ultrasounds and burn them to a DVD for records and such. While there, I was able to burn my OWN to a DVD and take it home! Now some images can be a tad “freaky” … but here are some shots of his face. The “blowing kisses” one seems to be everyone’s favorite so far!

24 week photos
(click image to enlarge)

 

As if the images weren’t enough to take a new mommy and daddy’s breath away – I was able to work with them and figure out how to burn the video to a disk as well. Be still my heart, there is my baby boy sleeping soundly!
Note: In the beginning they are trying to find him … then when they do, we can see he has one leg tucked under him and it holding one up in the air with his little hands wrapped around it. We have a yoga baby on our hands! *giggle*

 

 

Until next time!

<3 Tara and Oliver

Watching Soccer

Boy, oh boy, do we have a kicker on our hands! We’ve been blessed to feel this baby WAY earlier than expected. First flutters were at 14 weeks and kicks were at 19 weeks (for both me and O!). For first pregnancies it’s usually closer to 20 weeks for “quickenings” and 24 weeks for consistent solid movements. We’ve enjoyed this early “gift”. This week we noticed we are actually beginning to be able to SEE the baby’s movements from the outside. This has been quite amusing! Staring at my belly is becoming one of our favorite evening activities! Haha! We caught a little bit of it on video a few days ago. You can see it clearer without clothing, but I’m not comfortable with the whole “bare belly” thing. So you have to watch through the tank top. All the movements are in the upper left corner. Sorry it is a weird angle, I can’t lay flat on my back, so I’m partially propped on my side (giving everything a really weird perspective … I swear my belly isn’t THAT lopsided! Haha!).

I give a few verbal comments, but the time markers for the larger kicks are:

  • 5 second
  • 9 seconds
  • 23 seconds
  • 53 seconds
  • 1:30 seconds

 

 

Oliver will often bend down and talk to baby now, telling him to behave, eat well and do his homework *smile*  Tara sings all the time to him, and daily we pray over him. Just 4.5 months of this magical time.

<3 Oliver and Tara

Technical Support: How To Watch

So everyone who isn’t able to come to our party in-person will have the opportunity to WATCH it live! My gosh, don’t you LOVE modern day technology?! Now, this concept excited many but baffles many as well… so here is how it will work.

Google has a social media feature called “Google Plus”. Within Plus is the opportunity to “Hangout” – we do this from time to time with Oliver’s family, and I’ve used it in the past for telepractice as well. It works kind of like Skype, but allows multiple computers (up to 10) to chat – which means mini-family reunions are 10x more fun! Now, we would hate to limit the live viewing to only 10, so we’ll be using a brand new feature called “live streaming”. This means the video will be available to view in Google Hangout, on Youtube and possibly even on the blog! ALL LIVE! My geekiness is reaching a new level *smile* Tip: If you watch in Hangout, you will be able to see who else is viewing and they can see you! Here is a promo video Google put out to explain it more:

So, if you want to watch via Google Hangout:

  • Sign up for free at Google Plus (even if you have a gmail account, you still need to activate Plus!)
  • Make sure you have all the plugins downloaded by starting a hangout (with no one) and following the prompts
  • Friend me on Google Plus – taranicoleslp at gmail dot com
  • It will automatically put the Hangout in my newsfeed when we go live!
  • Hint: There is also a mobile app, so you can participate in hangouts via your cell! AndroidiPhone

If you want to watch it on Youtube:

  •  Make sure you have a YouTube account (hint: if you have a gmail account, you do!)
  • Go to: My Channel > Feed and click the video with the “live” logo next to it!

If all else fails, check here around 3:30 PST tomorrow – I’ll be posting links as we get them to try and make this as easy as possible for everyone!

<3 Tara

The Party is a GO!

That’s right… Baby Roehl “revealed” him or herself to the ultrasound tech while keeping the news from us – just PERFECT!

(L to R) Chugging a Jamba Juice to encourage the baby to MOVE, the card the tech “checked”, our “top secret envelope”, me and the envelope in front of the bakery!

 

I recorded a quick message for you all…  It become more and more breathtaking and real as we get further down this road – it REALLY IS HAPPENING! God ALWAYS keeps His promises, and His timing is ALWAYS perfect. So … excuse the tears! *smile*

 


In other news, we have been working to prepare for this weekend. A few people will be at the house with us, some will be watching via webcam, and others will be watching the recording later. But, me being me, we couldn’t do it without a LITTLE over the top-ness!

Crafty Crafting!

Love you all – can’t wait for Saturday!

Love, Tara (and Oliver!)

Nana and Papa McKinney

My parents were both in town at the same time, so we could FINALLY break the news to them! Now, you know I couldn’t just say it – we had the benefit of seeing them eye-to-eye and watching their reactions (unlike the majority of our family). They are some of the few people who knew of our on-going struggle to get pregnant and were praying fervently for us. So we convinced them to go out to dinner with us to celebrate “mother’s day” and “father’s day”, since they had been out of town for both of those holidays. We met them at P.F. Changs in downtown San Jose. We then brought of the conversation of dates for a trip to Vegas we were going to take in January …. all while having these in our laps:

Nana and Papa x2 (this will be their second grandchild)

I’m not quite sure what my favorite part of this audio is …

  • dad cutting me off when I was trying to get to the big news
  • the dramatic pause where we hold up their shirts
  • dad’s yell of “ARE YOU KIDDING?!” which resulted in the entire restaurant looking at us 🙂
  • Me, being too close to the secret recording, laughing and crying simultaneously through the whole thing
  • Mom telling the waiter when he came to give us our food
  • Ok… I pretty much love the whole thing.

Listen for yourself… Telling Parents Moment

<3 Tara (& Oliver!)

Hearts Beat Fast…

Today we heard a beautiful sound … one that left Oliver’s mouth hanging open and me struggling between smiling and crying. We heard our baby’s heartbeat – and it was the most beautiful sound in the world. Over two years of waiting … it was pure magic.

 

Our hearts beating together … 

 

Click the link to heat the baby’s heartbeat

I keep hearing the lyrics to Christina Perri’s song in my head..

Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave
How can I love when I’m afraid
To fall
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt
Suddenly goes away somehow

One step closer

Chorus:
I have died everyday
Waiting for you
Darlin’ don’t be afraid
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I’ll love you for a
Thousand more
Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything
Take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath,
Every hour has come to this

One step closer

Chorus:
I have died everyday
Waiting for you
Darlin’ don’t be afraid
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I’ll love you for a
Thousand more

And all along I believed
I would find you
Time has brought
Your heart to me
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I’ll love you for a
Thousand more

One step closer
One step closer
Chorus:
I have died everyday
Waiting for you
Darlin’ don’t be afraid
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I’ll love you for a
Thousand more

 

<3 Tara (and Oliver!)