Monday, January 29, 2018

Christmas 2017: It's Cool to be Different

Greetings, Blog Followers!  Last night, after we got the kids in bed, I must have figured out the magic number of times to nag Mr. Technology (A.K.A. Travis/husband/dad) to get him to tackle this Photoshop mess with me, because he was suddenly moved to help me.  Maybe it was the added guilt trip about how he was leaving town the next day, and this is the only parting gift I wanted.  But since he insisted I embrace new technology, which resulted in endless frustration and blog negligence, I insisted he help me.  Here's what I learned about Adobe Photoshop: 

1.  It's not intuitive - this ain't no iphone, Folks.  It's not designed to just pick up and click around and have it figured out within moments.  
2.  Even technology experts get frustrated - granted, Travis' area of expertise has nothing to do with photo editing nor the arts in the general, but he "gets" computer function a whole lot better than I do.  He's been exposed to a whole lot more terminology than I have.  He can build a computer from scratch.  He can write code and program apps and do all sorts of fancy things.  Guess what: he still couldn't understand how to get that ridiculous watermark symbol to appear in Photoshop.  
3.  I'm not as helpless as I thought I was - Hey, I tried.  I did.  I watched the tutorials online, asked friends, and spent HOURS playing with the software.  I'm no computer expert but I suspect I'm above average at many programs.  I've got no problem researching techniques and troubleshooting issues.  And when I saw him do everything I had already done and still sit there like this...
You know what I see when I look at this photo?  Vindication.  Sweet vindication.  I'm right, you guys - it's hard!!!  Alas, we figured it out.  He did it, then he showed me how to do it.  I practiced doing it one more time.  And here you go...
Why does this matter so much to me?  Because I've had too many photos lifted from the blog and paired with a web article that I did not write; nor do I agree with.  And let me tell you, having your intellectual property taken and used to represent a viewpoint that you do not endorse is frustrating as H-E-double hockey stick.  

Granted, I realize that adding a watermark to my images won't necessarily stop future copyright infringement; but it makes me feel like I'm being proactive and completing my due diligence to deter it.  

While we're celebrating accomplishments, can we just take a moment to appreciate that it's still January (for a couple more days) and the Christmas photos are posted!  Woo Hoo! 
There was a time in my life when this would have happened within 48 hours of said photos being taken, but life has changed.  Its hectic.  So now, we celebrate one month.  
YaYa, Papa, Uncle Corey, Aunt Sarah, and Cousin Abby all joined us at our house to celebrate Christmas.  
And as crazy and stressful and busy the holiday season is, the magic of seeing these little faces light up makes it all worth it.
I wasn't planning on doing Christmas cards this year because between holiday decorating, holiday shopping, holiday parties, hosting Christmas, a husband who travels quite a bit, and the steady stream of illness that seems to invade the house during cold/flu season with three small children, the prospect of mailing out 60+ cards seemed like a less-than-sane task to add to the "to do" list.  But Merryn is quite the traditionalist and she was very upset with me when she heard about my bah-humbug stance on holiday cards.  So, she begged and pleaded and offered to do everything - write every card, address every envelope, update the address list.  And I caved.  Because Merryn loves her traditions and I love Merryn.
If you didn't get one, please don't be disappointed.  A six year-old handled the project.  If yours was addressed to the wrong person, once again, a six year-old handled the project.  If yours had food stains on it, a six year-old handled the project.  Consider it extra holiday cheer.
Random subject change but I'll try and tie it all back; bear with me.  I recently received a message from an Instagram follower and it was so sweet, I want to share it:

I've been following you for a long time now and I know I've told you before but you are an amazing mother and sister and an inspiration.  And you make it okay and even cool for people to be different and that is so awesome and keep inspiring people with your Insta(gram) because you are making people living with a disability (and I don't want this to come off as mean or ignorant) but making it okay.  Just showing people the everyday in and out struggles and success of life, it makes everything relatable.  Because we all have struggles and it shows us that we are all the same.  Just thought you should know you're doing an amazing job.
 The author of this comment moved me with her heartfelt words because sometimes I don't even realize this is happening.  Sometimes I forget how easy it is to get swept up in a world of conformity.  There is still some sort of white-picket-fence definition of what a family looks like - especially on social media - and when someone with a substantial "difference" enters a family, it can throw people.
I guess I've never been a part of what society would consider a "normal" family and even if that did exist, I wouldn't trade our crazy crew for the world.  Of course we're all different.  And of course that's "okay and even cool."  It's especially cool!  It's the diversity of the human condition that makes life so beautiful.  It's the differences we share that allow us all to teach one another and learning from others is life-affirming.  It's fun!
And for blog and Instagram followers who scroll through the pictures shown here, they're probably noticing how similar our photos are to those showing the holiday festivities at any house with any "normal" family in your neighborhood.  But if us just doing our thing, and sharing that helps society realize that it's "okay and even cool" to embrace differences, then we couldn't be more proud!
So from our different family to yours, Merry Christmas and have a terrific 2018!  We'll be back soon to tackle more fun topics, exchange ideas, and celebrate our cool differences.

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