Should I Pack The Kitchen Sink Too?

It’s Saturday morning and I wake up and realize that OMG – I promised the kids we would go to the pool today. I had come up with a gazillion great excuses during the week but today it is warm and sunny…and no rain in sight. Thanks a lot weather.com.

Drats. I’m stuck.

Kids don’t realize that you just don’t hop in the car and head on over to the pool or water park. Those clean towels and drinks and snacks and sunscreen and toys and floats and chairs don’t just magically appear in the car.  Someone had to get everything together and put it there.

Then once you get to your destination, be it a beach, a pool or the lake, someone has to set everything up. There are bodies to be sprayed and noses to be covered with sunscreen, floaties to be blown up, pool toys and sand buckets and goggles to be found and handed out.

Finally, when all is complete then I sit down and open my book to page four…the exact place where I left off the last time we were here.

Ahhh. I can finally relax. I settle down into the lounge chair, close my eyes for a brief moment and feel the sun beating down on me when I suddenly realize that I forgot to put sunscreen on myself.  About that same time I hear the sound of the lifeguard’s shrill whistle and him call out “adult swim!”   Suddenly the kids climb out of the pool and state that they are starving, all the while dripping all over my nice dry towel and book.  Never mind that we just ate lunch moments before we left the house, everyone is acting like they haven’t eaten in a week.

I hand out crackers and cheese and Capri Suns and water and right before they’re finished the lifeguards blow their whistles again and state that adult swim is over. The kids drop everything and start to head out like a stampede of buffalo until I yell for everyone come back and take their trash to the can. They slowly come back each one not wanting to claim the trash that ended up on the ground. The rule is – no one goes in the pool until the trash is gone so it finally disappears.

Ahhhh. Back to relaxation. I start back on page two because I’ve now forgotten what the book was about. I get to page four again when I hear someone crying. Uh oh. I look up from my book.  It’s the dreaded water-up-the-nose scream. I do my best to calm the victim and after a while she slowly heads back to the water and I turn back to my book, about which time I see a tiny drop of water soaking into the tender paper and spreading out like a virus. Then another. Tiny little sprinkles. No big deal. I can handle some sprinkles.  I read another page. Did I just hear thunder or am I just imagining it? I look towards the lifeguard stand and see that the lifeguard hasn’t seemed to notice. I begin to relax a little.  Then I hear it again and this time the life guard does too because his whistle is in his mouth already.  “Thunder. Everybody out of the pool.” I look towards the sky. It looks like Storm from X-Men has been here. The sky is getting darker and darker.   Where did this come from?

The kids stagger up and I distribute towels and flip flops.  I collect goggles, ear plugs, & toys.  I let the air out of the floaties and start to pack up.  Hopefully we can get to the car before the bottom falls out.

When I get home I’ve got to empty the cooler, put away snacks, wash and dry towels and bathing suits, and then I can finally take a shower.

And as I’m soaping up my hair I realize that dang it….I never even got to chapter two.

I used www.storymarklife.com to create the photo above.  Download for free in the iPhone app store or Android Marketplace.

Click HERE to follow Dana on Twitter!!

Advertisements

4th of July Hotdogs & Freedom

By Dana McIntyre  @DanaMcIntyre1

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays.   Someone is always having a cookout – you can smell the burgers and kabobs on the grill as soon as you walk out of your house.  You hear the squeals of the kids as they do cannonballs into the deep end of the pool.  And you wait patiently for dusk to fall and so that you can begin looking towards the sky in anticipation for the fireworks show to begin.

I remember going to Stone Mountain with my parents and sister every year.  My mom would pack a cooler with drinks and snacks and we would all pile in our old Volkswagen van.  While everyone was heading to the lawn in front of the Stone Mountain carving where the fireworks would be, my dad would drive in and park on the side of the road where we could see the fireworks but could also had semi-easy access to get out before the crowd departed.

The only bad thing about that plan was that he had three girls with him…and there were no bathrooms on the side of the road.  So my mom would walk us to the bathroom (about a mile away) and then by the time we got back the fireworks were almost over.

Other parents clearly had the same great idea as my dad and they would also start to leave the park before the fireworks were completely over, to “beat the crowd”.  It really didn’t help since everyone else had the same great idea, and we would end up sitting in the same spot for more than an hour while my dad’s blood pressure rose and he swore over and over that we would “never do this again.”  Eventually we would make it out of the park but by then, my sister and I were comfortably asleep on the back seat.

Fast forward 20 years and my husband and I just took our kids to the local venue for fireworks.  As we celebrated this beautiful country’s 236th birthday and as we were watching the fireworks blast off, I was reminded of how fortunate we all are.  I realized that the 4th of July has a different meaning to me as an adult.  It’s much more than fireworks and sparklers and hot dogs.  It’s freedom.

And as we all piled back in our SUV to “beat the traffic” home, I heard a little voice coming from the back seat.  “I gotta pee.”

What did you do for the 4th of July this year?

For more information visit www.storymarklife.com or download for free at the iPhone app store or Android marketplace.

Bailey’s Birthday Minus Mom

By Dana McIntyre      @DanaMcIntyre1

It’s so hard for me to believe, but my husband and I have been married now for almost three years. We don’t have any kids together but we both brought kids from our previous marriages into our new one.

Most parents will agree that one of the most difficult things about getting divorced is not having your children with you all of the time. (Although for some people, they consider that a vacation!) For me, the hardest part was missing important holidays and events in my child’s life. He would spend Thanksgiving at my house one year, the next at his dads. Splitting Christmas day right in the middle…half at mom’s, half at dad’s.

This year, my step-daughter, Bailey was with us on her 11th birthday. We planned the usual birthday festivities – cake, balloons, gifts, friends, grandparents, etc. But as a mother who has been there, I knew it would be difficult for her mom not to see her on that day.

We used StoryMark to document her special day with tons of pictures (even using Instagram to add effects), but we also were able to add the sounds of the party and the ear bleeding result of our family singing Happy Birthday to her off-key. Bailey e-mailed the StoryMarks directly to her mother, allowing her to share in the party festivities.

So the next time you can’t attend a birthday party or a school chorus recital, consider using StoryMark to include the other parent. Bridging the gap between divorced parents can be so beneficial to your kids, and can start with the most simple gesture .

So Happy Birthday, Bailey! Cha! Cha! Cha!

Baileys Birthday – YouTube.

So what about you?  Have you ever been away from your kids on a holiday or birthday due to a divorce?  How did you cope?

For more information on StoryMark, visit http://www.storymarklife.com or download for free on your iPhone or Android.

Why I Will Never Be An Art Critic

By Dana McIntyre

When I was in high school, I did a lot of babysitting to make some quick and what I thought was relatively easy cash. I mean what was so hard about watching a couple of kids? (Answer: they weren’t mine.)

Anyway – after the parents left and the kids finished their platefuls of ketchup with a side of corn dogs, we decided to draw to pass the time until bedtime. We decided not to let each other see our pictures until we were all finished.

I was certain that upon revealing our drawings, the kids would oooh and ahhh and stroke my ego with compliments of my Renoir-like picture of a flower. But when the boy turned his picture around I was shocked and a little horrified to see this incredible drawing of what I assumed to be a very detailed sunflower. My bubble burst. My drawing started to look a little like a booger.

“Wow – ummm, that is a really good drawing”, I said. “Your sunflower is much better than my flower.” You could have heard a pin drop. I looked around. Had I accidentally broken his crayon?

“A SUNFLOWER?” he said sharply, sort of with a “duh” undertone. “It’s NOT a sunflower. It’s the High-Density Genotyping Array…” and he finished his sentence with several other really big words that I had never heard before..and had to Google just to write this post.

I felt like an idiot. He was looking at me like I had no brain. And did I mention that he was only six years old? Yes, you read that right. Six years old and schooling me on science. (Twenty years later, I would like to say he’s the guy working on my car but of course not. He’s a doctor.)

Which brings me back to the drawing. Has your child ever given you a drawing that they were so proud of but you couldn’t for the life of you figure out what it was? They were standing there beaming and you were trying to figure out what to say about it? That would be the perfect time to use the StoryMark app.

Take a picture of the drawing and have them explain to you what the picture is all about…then show them the StoryMark they just made. (Make it fun and they’ll want to do it every time!) The picture and audio are joined together and you can save both forever. (Plus, in case you don’t want to physically keep every drawing, you can save them on your iPhone or Android or save them to your photo library and then accidentally-on-purpose throw the original away.) And this way you can send copies of EVERYTHING to their grandparents!

So the next time you see a drawing where you don’t have a clue what it is of, just remember that Picasso probably got the same reaction from his mother….but unfortunately for her, they didn’t have StoryMark back then to save her the embarrassment of asking what the heck he was painting.

And, what I wouldn’t give to have a StoryMark of Matthew telling my parents what his “letter” to them says…

For more information on StoryMark, visit www.storymarklife.com, or download for free on your iPhone or Android.

Being “There” When You Can’t “Be There”

By Dana McIntyre @danamcintyre1

If you’ve read some of my other blogs, you already know that my father recently underwent a stem cell transplant. (If you didn’t, then get to reading!) He was in the hospital for over two weeks which, unfortunately, coincided with his first grandson’s graduation from high school.

We planned on using iPhone FaceTime so that he could watch the graduation live, but since we did not have internet at the stadium that idea fell through. I tried calling and letting him hear the graduation over the phone but there was so much feedback that he was unable to determine what was being said.

We planned on using StoryMark to document his graduation anyway and it worked out perfectly because I was able to record Matthew’s name being announced as he crossed the stage to get his diploma. I recorded the Superintendent of Schools announcing the Class of 2012 graduated. I captured the class chanting and tossing their caps after all was said and done. And I was able to text it to my dad immediately so he was “there” when he technically “wasn’t there”.

And as much as I love using StoryMark, I’m thrilled that my dad’s transplant was a success…and that he can be there in person for my son’s COLLEGE graduation!

Tossing the caps! Using StoryMark with an Instagram Pic! – YouTube.

My Imaginary Date With Zac Efron

By Dana McIntyre

My husband and I are always joking back and forth about our “celebrity crushes”.  When we are choosing a movie, he will say “And oooooh, it has your boy Zac Efron in it.  We are definitely going to have to watch that one, huh?”

My answer?  “Well, duh.”   I’ve decided that if my husband ever follows through on his threat to make me sit through a Star Trek marathon, then we are having an Efron Marathon too…Hello Charlie St. Cloud!!

(So now, everyone is well aware of my Cougar crush on the high school musical star.  Sigh…)

So one day I played a joke on him by using another photo app on my iPhone called Face-In-Hole, where you can use pictures and impose someone else’s face on the picture, and voila!  You’re on the red carpet with your favorite celebrity!

To  make it even funnier, I used StoryMark to ask my husband a question…

Funny 1 – YouTube.


And he responded to me like this…

Funny 2 – YouTube.

 

So I sent one back to him…

Me & Zac – YouTube.

And although my red carpet walk with Zac Efron only occurs on my phone and in my dreams, and I am painfully reminded that I am old enough to be his mother, I can still cherish those imaginary memories thanks to StoryMark and Face-In-Hole.

And, by the way, do cougars growl?  Because if so, Zac, can you hear me?  I’m growling.

For more information, check out http://www.storymarklife.com or find the free StoryMark app in the iPhone store or for Android (Google Play).

Happy Father’s Day, Mr. Fancy Pants

By Dana McIntyre  @danamcintyre1

Father’s Day is coming up and this year is more special to me than ever.  Six months ago we were not sure my Dad would even be around for Father’s Day.   He was diagnosed with a blood cancer and started chemo treatments immediately.   (He recently underwent a stem cell transplant, and I am blessed to say that it was successful!)

This year for Father’s Day I plan on doing something different for him.  I am going back through my old photos and finding the ones that make me laugh, the ones that make me remember and the ones that make me happy.  I want him to know how much those memories mean to me and how lucky I am to have the best dad in the world.

I want him to know that I remember seeing the thousands of jellyfish in the water on our beach trip to Panama City.  I remember camping in our 1970’s VolksWagon van and catching my first trout in the river up in the north Georgia mountains.  I remember going to the pool and being mesmerized by the tsunami that he created by doing a cannonball off the diving board.  I want him to know that I cherish every one of those memories!

And I plan on giving those memories back to him through StoryMark.

And as much as I love my dad, I will have to make fun of his short sleeved turtleneck shirt and plaid pants combo from 1974.  It’s classic.

 

 

Capture Generations of Stories Before They Are Gone

My 18 year old son Matthew is visiting my 93 year old grandmother this week in Mississippi.  Last night I called him to see how things were going.  He interrupted me mid-sentence and said “I have to call you back.  Banma is telling me old stories.”  (Yes, we call our grandmother Banma – it’s got to be a Southern thing to call your grandmother by some silly name, which clearly we do.)

Later he called me back and said “That was so awesome.  I just heard all kinds of stories about this house.  Did you know that my great, great, great grandfather died in here?”

The house was built in the mid 1800’s and generation after generation was born there, all the way down to my mother.  (The tradition stopped when I was born due to the invention of epidurals.)   There were weddings and even deaths in that house.

Banma told Matthew stories of how the house was framed on top of huge tree trunks that were brought up from the back woods.  He heard about my great, great grandfather who literally died of a broken heart upon hearing that his wife had just passed away.  He learned that my grandmother gave birth to my mother in the front bedroom on a cold Christmas morning.

These stories, like many other generations of stories could one day be lost.  This is one of the main reasons why StoryMark was created…to capture those memories and stories before they are gone.

Sit down with your grandmother or grandfather and have them StoryMark their old photos.  Use the camera on your iPhone to capture the images, and let the story telling begin.

You may also find out interesting tidbits like we did. For example, following the birth of my mother, my grandmother got up and cooked Christmas dinner.  Boy times have changed.

Twitter @danamcintyre1

For more information, please visit www.storymarklife.com or download for free in the iPhone app store or Android Marketplace.

Uncle Fred & The Dizzy Video

My Uncle Fred had spent his life working on B-52 bombers and various other airplanes during WWII and then worked at Delta Airlines in Atlanta until his retirement in 1970.  Many years later, I decided to surprise him with a video showing him how much the airport had changed since he left.  I went around Hartsfield International Airport taping tidbits of places that he might recognize.

Days later, I was eager to see his reaction as we watched the video of planes taking off overhead, the enormity of the Delta hanger, the Plane Train from concourse to concourse, and various other places around the airport that had clearly changed in the many years since he had left.  However, when I turned around to see his face I realized he was sound asleep!   I asked him what he thought about the video and he said it made him so dizzy that he had to close his eyes, at which point the Sandman entered.

It was then that I realized a lot of people have a hard time watching videos filmed by hand.  Unless you have a tripod it is hard to get really good shots without the shaking.  Even then it can be difficult when the action is moving fast – take a hockey game for instance.

With StoryMark, you can take a clean, crisp still photo and add your own audio.  Imagine a clear shot of a hockey player right in front of the net, ready to score.  A regular – a “silent” photo is fine, but where is the excitement? The yelling?  The obnoxious hockey moms? And what about the sound of the buzzer when someone scores?

Take that fantastic photo and add the audio of the fans screaming, the buzzer buzzing, and the familiar beat of the drums as the “Hey” song by Gary Glitter starts blaring through the speakers.  Now that’s a picture with emotion – all without the dizzying side effects of motion!

I’ll bet Uncle Fred would love it.  Now, if only we can bottle up the smell of engine fuel for him…

Follow my blog with Bloglovin