The Shapiro Files

Friday, September 28, 2007

Introducing My iPhone Photo Gallery!

Yes, I’m still working on getting new photo albums posted for both Julianne and Melody. They’re coming....they really are! But it also occurred to me that I have some of the greatest technology in the world (a beautiful little iPhone) in my pocket at all times and I could leverage that power to get photos posted to the web in near-real time.

Besides being a touch-screen iPod, an ultra-portable Internet/email device, a PDA-replacement, ...oh, and a phone of course, the iPhone also includes an impossibly tiny camera that takes surprisingly decent photos. Over the past couple of months, I’ve enjoyed the convenience of always having a camera on me when I’m out and about with the kids. The photo quality isn’t the same as the Canon Rebel camera I usually use, but there’s a uniquely funky Cinéma Vérité-like quality to many of the iPhone photos that appeals to me.

But coolest of all is that the moment I take a photo, I can instantly have that photo uploaded to my online photo gallery at a touch of a button. So pretty much no matter where I am in the world, I can get a photo online in a matter of seconds. Ya gotta love technology.

And now, without further ado...

Check out my iPhone Photo Gallery!

I encourage everyone to check out all the viewing options on the page (pay particular attention to the bottom-left of the page). My favorite viewing mode is called Carousel. There’s also an image download button, an RSS subscription button, and a photo resizing slider — among many other bells and whistles.

And please keep checking back regularly. Photos can — and will — be added (in reverse chronological order) at any time!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Look Back

Julianne is now sixth months old and Melody has just hit the huge milestone of turning two. I can’t believe how much time has already passed since both of their arrivals. It doesn’t feel like over two years has passed since Marcie and I were living a fairly quiet life of seeing lots of movies, frequently going out to favorite local restaurants, and, in general, having quite a lot of time to ourselves.

Melody’s arrival in September 2005 certainly brought with it some considerable change to our lives — not the least of which was what felt like an increase in how fast time began marching on. It quickly became rare to have any moments where we had the luxury of taking a step back from the relentless engine of work and life and simply being instead of constantly doing.

However, I did get a long-needed respite by way of a full month-long paternity leave from work when Julianne arrived in March. So I thought as a means of commemorating our little girls’ latest milestones I’d take a little look back at that wonderful month of refuge from the chaos of emails, meeting proposals, action items, and all the rest.

The first few days of my paternity leave time began at the hospital, where Marcie had to stay for the few days following Julianne’s arrival. That time in the hospital wasn’t exactly a great thrill. The room was small and stuffy and staff members never stopped coming at all hours of the day and night. But once we got home, things were much more relaxing. We were so happy to have both Melody and Julianne together at home, with all our stuff, space, and privacy. Over the course of the weeks that followed, we mostly followed a divide-and-conquer strategy with me mainly focusing on Melody and Marcie mostly focusing on Julianne. Since I wasn’t going to be much help in the nursing department and Marcie had quite a bit of recovering to do (lifting Melody was out of the question for her), this seemed like a pretty good plan.

So for the better part of four weeks, Melody and I were together for almost every single moment of her waking hours. I’d take her on errands, to the park, on walks. During all this time, I can honestly say that not a day went by that she didn’t do something that both delighted and surprised me.

Meanwhile, Marcie tended to Julianne while trying to recuperate to the extent it was possible given the sleep deprivation that accompanies a newborn. I also tried to help out with Julianne whenever it made sense to do so. But it was really by attending to Melody that I was able to help out the most. Although we both felt some parental guilt that we couldn’t spend as much time with the other child as the one we were focused on, we both enjoyed getting so much quality time with our beautiful munchkins.

During this time, I mostly avoided looking at email and anything else work-related. As such, I felt such a calm and peace with our life — even with the chaos a new baby can bring to a household. I also was very aware that that such concentrated time with Melody was such a rare and precious thing. So I made sure to fully immerse myself into our activities in order to get the most of our time together. By the end of that month, I felt we had a stronger bond than ever and I was very emotional about that time coming to an end and my having to return to work. It wasn’t that I had any issues with my job; I just was sad knowing that I may never again (at least not until I retire) have such a wealth of time to spend exclusively with my family. Sure you get weekends and the occasional vacation, but how often do you get a full month to do nothing but spend as much time as possible with the people you love the most?

The bittersweet part of all this is that Melody was just a little too young to likely form any permanent memories of our precious time together. But at least in the years to come, I can hopefully share with her stories of that very special month — what may very well be the greatest month of my life.

Lest I get too maudlin here (if I haven’t already), the good news is that my company (not to mention the state in which I live) allows for a pretty generous paternity leave program and I actually still have three unused weeks left. So I’ll be taking a week off in October and will probably take the other two weeks at the beginning of next year — one week each for January and February. Single weeks aren’t quite the same as a month-long break, but I’ll take what I can get. And this time Marcie and I should be able to achieve a better balance with the time we spend with both of our little girls. I can’t wait.