Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lost and Found

This camera (that was lost in a shipwreck off the coast of Vancouver Island) was recently found by two students conducting research dives. The students were diving for starfish near Bamfield, British Columbia on May 13 when they came across the camera.
After the divers surfaced they opened the camera and were surprised to find the camera's memory card still intact. They extracted it from the camera with a pair of tweezers, cleaned it off and inserted it into a computer. Amazingly, it still worked which was pretty shocking considering the fact that the camera had been underwater for so long.

The memory card was full of photographs and a few videos. There were lots of photographs of large groups of people, like a family reunion. Isabelle Cote, professor of Marine Ecology tweeted out this picture and her co-professor had the photo printed and she hung it up around town hoping one of the locals would recognize someone in the picture.
A member of the local Coast Guard station recognized one of the men in the picture as someone they had rescued from a shipwreck nearly two years ago, on July 30, 2012.

Paul Burgoyne, an artist from Vancouver and the man in the center of the photograph in the light gray T-shirt, was attempting to sail when he got a little lost in rough waters. He thought his boat was set on auto-pilot, but it wasn't. He crashed and scrambled to swim to the shore, but couldn't make it. He reached some rocks and was stranded for about six hours and had hypothermia when he was finally rescued by the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard contacted Burgoyne to tell him that his camera had been found. He said that he and his wife "laughed and laughed and laughed" that of all of his possessions that had been lost, it was his small digital camera that had been found. The photo of Burgoyne was taken with his family members when he and his relatives were burying his mother's ashes. Burgoyne said he was surprised and very appreciate for all the work people went through to reunite him with his photos.

Cote mailed the memory card back to Burgoyne, but not before backing up the photographs on the computer first. I know how priceless family photographs are to me, so I'd say that those students uncovered buried treasure!

Friday, May 30, 2014

"The One"

I finished listening to The One last weekend. [This is the final book of a trilogy. The Selection is the first book and The Elite is the second.] It seems like trilogies and series are so popular these days. Of all of the series/trilogies that have come out in recent years, The Selection trilogy is one of my top picks.

There are several reasons why I liked these books so much. They are easy, light-hearted reads, so I was able to listen to them while working on other things (like my photo books or slideshows) and they were simple enough that I could easily concentrate on them while multitasking. All three books were fast-paced and kept my interest. There was also plenty of action and romance in them, as well as a wide variety of characters; some that you loved to hate and others that you hated to love.

This book is kind of like the reality dating show The Bachelor meets Shannon Hale's book Princess Academy. If you're a fan of other books like Divergent, Matched, The Hunger Games or Legend, then you will most likely like The Selection trilogy. I really liked the way this trilogy ended, so it gets my recommendation (for what that's worth!).

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Photo Bomber

One of my hobbies is making photo books. They are definitely a step up from traditional photo albums made with 4 x 6 prints (those just seems so old school nowadays). ;) My sister Sharon has me make a photo book for her family each year to document their family's adventures since she doesn't have a lot of free time for photo-booking since she's busy being a mom to her six kids and all.

I've been working on her 2014 photo book and I came across this picture (on the left) and it reminded me of a picture from last year (on the right). Notice anything adorably cute about these two pictures?!
My niece Rachel loves to "photo bomb" and I think it's so funny how her body is in nearly the exact same position in both of these pictures.

Just this morning Sharon sent me two more pictures that perfectly fit with this post. She was taking a picture of Matt and Emi who were happily playing in a little plastic tub when Rach swooped in to photo bomb. Sometimes it can be irritating when someone tries to horn in on a picture you're taking, but at least this little photo bomber is adorable!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bittersweet Arrival

This is Melissa Carleton. She's a family therapist and her husband, Brian, is a sheriff's deputy. The couple married a few years ago and a short while later Melissa found out she was pregnant and due in June.
Melissa started having terrible headaches in her second trimester and doctors discovered a large tumor in her brain. Since it was a benign tumor Melissa opted to wait until after her baby was born to undergo surgery to remove it. However, her health started to deteriorate quickly. She started feeling so poorly that she decided to go to the emergency room. She was so weak that she could barely make it from the parking lot into the hospital and had to take frequent breaks to rest.

The next morning (March 11) Melissa had a seizure that damaged part of her brain. The doctors performed emergency surgery to remove the tumor, and although the surgery went well the seizure left her unable to fully wake up. Melissa had told Brian that she was terrified she would miss the birth of their baby and that something would happen where she wouldn't get to meet her son and participate in the joys of being a mother.

Melissa had already chosen a name prior to the seizure, and 5 lbs. 9 oz. West Nathaniel Lande was born via c-section last Thursday, May 22. Although Melissa wasn't coherent, the baby was immediately placed on her chest for that skin-to-skin warmth and so he could smell her scent. Brian said this on the GoFundMe page that has been set up to raise funds for Melissa's medical expenses:

"With West's arrival so much of what has become familiar [Melissa's health scare] has disappeared. The world looks brand new again. When Melissa slipped into her coma, I felt like I had lost everything important to me—my wife, our home, even our dogs, Henry and Padget. West's arrival is the beginning of a fresh start for Melissa and I."
Even though Melissa is currently in a comatose state, she still opens her eyes and squeezes her family members' hands. On the morning of the c-section she even reached up and stroked Brian's cheek. I'm sure that's a touch he will never forget! Melissa will be moved to a rehabilitation facility after she recovers from her c-section and her doctors are optimistic that she will make a full recovery. I really hope so; I'm praying for a happy ending to this bittersweet story!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Proud to Be an American

Last night my mom and I watched PBS's 25th annual National Memorial Day Concert that paid tribute to the soldiers that have served/are serving in the armed forces. I remember my dad always watching the show when I was a little girl and I'm ashamed to say that I thought it was downright boring. I was young and I didn't really understand the importance and significance of the sacrifice of those that serve.

Now that I'm older I have so much more appreciation and gratitude for our soldiers and veterans, especially since September 11 and with the war in Afghanistan and Iraq (which is the longest war in our nation's history). Over the past 13 years more than 2300 American soldiers have lost their lives. With the increased use of explosive devices there are hundreds if not thousands of soldiers who have lost limbs. Then there are those who come home from the war physically unchanged but are then emotionally ravaged and suffer from PTSD.

I loved watching last night's program and hearing the heartbreaking stories of soldiers past and present and the things they've personally experienced. They shared the story of John Peck, a soldier who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here is an excerpt from the bio about him on PBS's website:

"John Peck enlisted on Sept. 11, 2005 and rose to the rank of Marine Sergeant. He served in Iraq and later in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, and on a 2010 mission while leading a sweep for IEDs, one exploded underneath his feet. Sergeant Peck woke up two months later at National Naval Medical Center after 29 surgeries and 43 pints of blood, as a quadruple amputee."

As they were sharing John's story and showing video from his recovery and new life, Jackie Evancho sang There's a Place for Us. I love that song and the combination of hearing it and seeing and the heartbreaking, yet inspiring video made me break down. I'm not easily moved to tears when something touches/moves me, so my emotions caught me off guard. It really affected me and I sobbed!

At the time of John's accident he'd only been married for a short while, but his wife couldn't handle things and left him after a few months. I know how painful a broken heart is and thinking about John having to experience that at the same time as losing all of his limbs was too much! Although John's life must be incredibly challenging, there is a major bright spot in his story. He found love again and is engaged to be married this fall. I'm sure his fiancée is a very special woman! Here are a few pictures of John:
I love how Americans tend to be so patriotic. It really makes me happy and I'm definitely proud to be an American. I have so much admiration for anyone who has been selfless enough to enlist and fight to protect our country. This cute picture was on the front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch several years ago and I've always remembered it, so I had to go find it. And I'm also including a heartbreaking photo my uncle Paul posted on Facebook yesterday. He said, "This picture needs no caption."
I found lots of other beautiful photos that I just have to include:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Whatever Works!

When you're a parent you have to find what works when it comes to disciplining your children. (Not that I'm personally a parent or anything, but I am an aunt to soon-to-be 23 nieces and nephews and know enough about kids to know that you have to find a punishment that carries enough of a sting if you want it to be effective/motivating.

My sister Annette has a great punishment for her daughter Rebecah that I think is hilarious. Rebecah is very much a girly girl and loves wearing dresses. She wears a dress nearly every day. She's such a sweetie, but she's quite stubborn and can be downright sassy and demanding at times. (Not too surprising; she's 4, after all!)

Well, my sister's not about to let the "tail wag the dog" (one of my favorite Dr. Phil-isms) so she's started revoking Rebecah's privilege of wearing a dress when she speaks rudley/sassily. When my sister and I talk to each other on Skype I always talk to Rebecah to see if she's wearing a dress. Sometimes she is and other times she's not. (A few weeks ago she had an especially bad week and lost her dress privileges for an entire week, except for going to church on Sunday, of course.) One time when I asked her if she was wearing a dress she matter-of-factly said, "No, I was rude." It really cracks me up, but I just tell her she needs to be nice to her mom and the twins she's carrying. You better believe that once she left the room I DID laugh! I have to hand it to my sister to find a punishment that carries enough weight to get results.

Here's a cute picture of Annette and Rebecah from last year when they both wore purple to church. And a recent picture of Rebecah in her new princess bike helmet. (She recently started learning to ride a bike and has been practicing on her brother's old one.) She was evidently good the previous day since she's wearing a dress! Once she can ride a bike without training wheels she gets her own bike and I'm quite certain it will purple or pink! :)

Monday, May 19, 2014


My sister Annette is pregnant and expecting TWINS! I'm so excited for her. I've known for a little while, but she swore me to secrecy. Now that she's 16 weeks along she gave me the go-ahead to tell my friends. Finally! She already has two kids and has wanted to add to her family and it was finally the right time. She told her kids about the babies last Sunday on Mother's Day. Her kids (who are 6 and 4) are SO excited, especially her four-year-old daughter, Rebecah. I know she will be a great big sister!

Annette put this picture on her blog last week. It speaks for itself and really needs no explanation. The twins are due at the end of October, but will most likely be born closer to the beginning of October (and hopefully not before!). 
In other twin news, two sets of "mono mono twins" were born last week. Mono mono twins are identical twins that share the same amniotic sac and placenta. They are quite rare (1 in 10,000 births) and there's a potential to have more health complications. The remarkable thing is that both sets of these rare mono mono twins were born in the same week at the same hospital (Akron Children's Hospital in Ohio). Fortunately, both sets of twins are doing well.

The first set of mono mono twins, Jenna and Jillian Thistlewhistle, were born holding hands. So sweet!
The second set of mono mono twins, Janiya and Amaya, were born just six days later.
I love twins and always thought it would be fun to be a twin. I also thought it would be fun to have identical twin girls. I think it would be so interesting to have someone that looks just like you. Twins don't run in my family so the fact that my sister is having twins was a real surprise to all of us. I know it's not all that unheard of for someone to have twins if they don't run in their family, but I just never expected any of my sisters to be blessed with twins.

Annette is hoping for a boy and girl to keep things even in her family. Her son is hoping the twins will be boys and her daughter is hoping they will be girls. Just over two more weeks before my sister has her ultrasound to find out. We're very excited for that!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


I saw an interesting article on Viralnova's website yesterday that I wanted to share. Two amazingly talented artists known only as "dangerdust" at Columbia College of Art and Design have been creating some beautiful works of art, all with a simple piece of chalk. These mysterious works of art show up in vacant classrooms around the campus to the amazement of everyone who sees them. These creative chalk scenes feature unique images and quotes by well-known people. Each work of art can take up to 11 hours to complete. I would hate to be the one that had to take an eraser to these chalkboards! Take a look:

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