Monday, December 31, 2012

Portrait Innovations....EH

For our first Christmas my family and I went to a local photo studio for some portraits to be made. We asked around and heard nothing but good things about Portrait Innovations (henceforth known as PI) so we decided to give them a chance and see what they offered.

We set up an appointment which we later had to cancel due to Elizabeth getting sick.  On the second appointment we arrived early and were eagerly greeted when we entered the "studio" by the young lady who was to be our photographer.  The young lady was super nice and energetic which really helped to relax and have a good time since this was our first time as a family taking professional photographs.  I can not say enough how nice the photographer(s) they were all really good with Elizabeth.  After taking 20 minutes to take the photos, we all sat down at one of their super large computer monitors to pick out our package and poses that we wanted. The original picture set that the photographer started with was well over $450.  I told her from the get go that the price was WAY too much.  After much deliberation and conversation between Julie and I we worked the package down to about $250+ tax.  The entire time we were picking out pictures and poses the photographer (which turned into a sales person) kept pushing the fact that we needed to stay over $100 otherwise we wouldn't get the CD with all the poses and pictures.  After almost 30 minutes of discussion we choose to stick with our $250 package.  So we concluded our "session" and was told the pictures would be ready for pickup in about 45 minutes.

The pictures we picked up were really good and we are pleased with the quality of the shots and the printed pictures.  We took the pictures home and started to separate them out for each family member.  A couple days later I decided to put the CD that came with our awesome picture package.  When I put the CD in i soon realized that the HI-RES pictures were not accessible on the disk.  I then went to PI's website and found this listed under their Terms of Serve:

"Studio Portraits
Portrait Innovations retains full ownership of all right, title and interest in and to, including without limitation all copyrights in and to, any content and materials created, photographed or developed by Portrait Innovations in any of our Studios, including, without limitation, photographs and other images, text, graphics, videos, visuals, sounds, data, files, links, information and other materials (collectively, "Studio Portraits") at all times.  At our sole discretion, Studio Portraits may be available for purchase and accessible through the Services.  Upon purchase of the Studio Portraits, we grant you a limited license to use such Studio Portraits solely for your individual, personal use.  By accessing and using the Services, you hereby grant Portrait Innovations an unlimited, irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free and fully-paid right to use, duplicate, alter, distribute, transmit, transfer, create derivative works of, and publicly display and perform (publicly or otherwise) such Studio Portraits, in connection with the Services, including the promotion of the Services, and for any other lawful purpose......   "

I take issue with a lot of what's in this section.  1.) I feel that they are broad stroking the copyright brush here and essentially stripping you of all your rights to the photos of YOUR family.  IF anything they should have limited copyright to these photos since they do not own you or your family.  Further more, I think it's shady that they do not clearly state this prior to your purchase with them and that once you have in fact purchased photos from them, you have granted them.."unlimited, irrevocable, perpetual" rights to use your pictures. 2.) For the price I paid I should have full HI-RES pictures that I can take anywhere to print.  I just feel that @ the price that I paid, I more than paid for the right to have full access to the pictures.

Would I use PI again?  I don't know honestly.  This has left such a bad taste in my mouth.  EVEN after contact their corporate office the only response I got was"
"...As for access to high resolution photos, you can email your request for a copyright release to: Please include your session number, date, the image number you need rights to and the reason for your request."
I feel like the reason should be because they are mine! If their reprint prices weren't so high, that would make it better..but I don't know.  I think I'm more mad at myself for not putting the effort into doing research prior to picking PI to do our photos.  I guess it's my fault and I will just have to take it on the chin and learn from this mistake. Thank you life.  LOL

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012


This weekend there was very little rest at my house.  Little Elizabeth either is starting to teeth or she caught some sort of a stomach bug.  She was restless, clingy and needed diaper changes at least once an hour.  She ran a slight fever but really wasn't anything we were worried about.  All this made it hard to get good rest and relaxation.  Such if parenthood right?  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Elizabeth's First Christmas

This will be Elizabeth's first Christmas with us. She will be one day shy of four months old on Christmas night.  So she will not remember anything about the day but I assure you that I will.  I will remember this Christmas as one of the two most memorable ones of my life.  She is so precious and she is so perfect.  I know this will be one of her many holidays with us but this one is super special for me.  She is my baby and my daughter. 
I can't wait until she's old enough to open her presents and run to the bedroom to wake me on Christmas morning.  I'll get to teach her how to ride her first bike, how to swing.  I look forward to those times but I hope they take their time getting here...I'm rather enjoying her just the way she is right now.  I love you Elizabeth.

Happy 3 Months !!!!

Happy 3 Month Birthday Elizabeth!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2 Month Shots

Yesterday was Elizabeth's doctor's appointment to get her two month shots.  There were four in total, one liquid taken orally and then three actual shots.  She did well even with the needles.  That's not to say that she didn't cry, because she SCREAMED at the top of her little lungs but it didn't last long at all.  She was my little champion and she did perfect.  I love my little girl with all my heart and I will protect her the best I possibly can with everything I have.  I love you Elizabeth!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wouldn't Trade It

Over my lifetime I have held a my fair share of jobs.  These jobs include line cook at two restaurants, cashier/waiter at two restaurants,  clerk/shift manager/assistant manager/store manager(for a week before I quit that job), PC support tech at local hospital, system support tech and server administrator where I am currently.  And I can honestly say that the most rewarding and equally challenging job is the one I will never quit or get tired of...being a Father.

Being a Father is like no other job I have ever had.  I can have the worst day at work or the worst argument with friends and when I see and hold my daughter all my stress and problems just melt away.  Nothing else in the world matters when I am holding her, playing with her and loving on her.  If I had it my way I would cart her around with me all day long. Unfortunately I can not carry her around all day long because I have other obligations such as work to attend to.

Being a Father isn't always fun and games though.  There are numerous times that I have heard her crying in the middle of the night only because her pacifier has fallen out of her mouth she she's kicked her blanket off herself.  Trust me, getting up and getting to work on time after only getting 2 hours of sleep isn't really fun but I do cherish all the time I get to spend with my daughter.  I am sure I will look back and wish that I had held her more, or spent more time with her than I already do.

I can honestly say that there is nothing in this world I love more than my daughter and being her Father.  It is tough and trying at times but it is also the best feeling in the world and the most rewarding job I have ever had.    

Happy 2 Months !!!!

Happy 2 months Elizabeth

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mom's First Day

Today was my Julie's first day back to work.  To say that it was hard is an understatement.  Julie tried to be tough for me and for Elizabeth but I could tell that it was really bothering her.  I will say that I'm very proud of how well she took her first day back. I know it was rough because it was rough on my first day back but  It's always wonderful knowing that at the end of my day I get to go home to see my little girl! 

Saturday, September 29, 2012


The past couple weeks have been so many things.  Confusing, frustrating, and trying at times and yet I wouldn't trade them for a single thing!  I love being a Father.  I love looking into Elizabeth's blue eyes and wondering what she is thinking.  I ponder what she will choose to be when she grows up, who she will choose as her partner.  So many questions and I want to know the answers to but I can most certainly wait for them because I know that she will grow so fast and I will only have the moments for a short time before she's all grown.  Too soon she will be in school, dating, driving, going to college, getting married, having children.  While I do hope that she chooses to experience all these things and more, I want her to stay my baby girl for a long as possible and those experiences will still be out there waiting on her.  I can honestly say that I love my beautiful daughter.  She is my pride and joy.

E and Chris on couch

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012


Baby Elizabeth Kay McSwain  was born August 26th 2012 @13:30 via C Section.  At delivery she was 3 lbs 12 ounces and 17 inches long and she is so perfect. She is going to be staying in the NICU for a little bit just to monitor her growth and development as she was 6 weeks premature. The doctors say that they do not for see any complications and that for her age and being premature she is on track if not more mature than most 34 week babies.  Of course, I will be uploading a deluge of pictures and videos and I'll be sure to put links here to where ever I post them.  But for now I'm too tired to write  more. That's what four hours of sleep will do for three days.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

To the Hospital: trip #2

So here I am laying in the uncomfortable "window bed", if you can call it that.  Julie and Elizabeth have been admitted to the hospital because of the concerns with mommies blood pressure. Right now its really looking like baby McSwain will be making an early appearance in the next 2-3 weeks.  It is still early to make that prediction and we will know more by tomorrow evening. I'm worried sick about Elizabeth and I am having a hard time waiting for results. But I'm positive that things happens for a reason and that things will work out fine.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It Is Never Done

So I've been trying to write this post about how the nursery is finally done for sometime now.  However, each time I get ready to sit down and finish the post and publish it my wife finds something else that just simply has to be done to said "finished" nursery.  The conclusion that I have come to is that the nursery will never be done and will continue to be a "work in progress". To that end, I have decided to post a couple pictures of what's been done thus far.
Just the beginnings
I have yet to get good quality pictures of the entire nursery.  I will work on that this week and maybe even do a video of the nursery.  As it stands at this moment I am very happy and very proud of the nursery.  I feel that it's unique and yet not too busy or full.  Although, by the time Elizabeth makes it here the room may have completely  Again, I state, It Is Never Done!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mindset Changes & Work

I'm so amazed at how becoming a Father has affected my attitude towards the world in which we live.  Things that I used to overlook or brush off without much thought, I now take to heart and personal.  I witness so many things in this world that are just simply wrong.  People praying on the innocent and helpless or the uneducated.  And it worries me to death.

I've believed for a long time now that most "parents" in today's society aren't  real Parents by any standards.   In fact these "parents" are more like day care workers or close friends to their children.  This is not only doing a horrible disservice to the child but also helps create an on going crisis.  Parents should be involved in their children's lives and protect them from the dangers the child has no idea even exist.  Parents are called guardians for a reason and it seems more parents then not now days have forgotten what that means.

At work we has been making a large push for training.  As part of this objective I have developed two public classes aimed at helping teach the public some general computer knowledge.  One is a HealthyPC class that aims to help stop virus and Malware on computers.  The other is Connecting Wireless which will explain some basics to the setup and configuration of a home wireless network.  Then, the soon to be father part kicked in and I actually had an idea about doing a class on child safety online.  This of course caused me to launch into design mode and I have come up with a rough outline for a class.  The class uses all free software/services and common sense to help protect the child while online.  It's not a fool proof way of protecting your child but it's a good start.  

It's just crazy how learning that I am going to be a Father has done to my everyday thinking and mindset.  I know that I have a HUGE responsibility ahead of me to be the best parent, guardian, and friend to my daughter..but I am sure that I am up to the challenge and the task ahead.   

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

And We Have a Girl!!

So the title says it all.  Say hello to Elizabeth Kay McSwain.  I should also say that these pictures are now almost a month old now but it took me time to scan them, edit them, and post them.  Below is a picture of the profile view @19.5 weeks.

Below are pictures of right and left feet and then right and left legs of our baby @ 19.5 weeks.

Monday, April 30, 2012

This Day and Age

Parenting a child is a hard job! It's really easy to be your child's best friend.  A lot of parents aren't given the tools and allowed to be good parents and therefor they fall into being what is essentially a daycare for the child but not a "parent".

My wife and I are eagerly awaiting our first child (still don't know the sex) to be born later this year.  We are by no means experts on raising children but due to our career paths and personal experiences we've been able to witness more than a few things. She is a teacher at a Title 1 Elementary School and I work at the local public library system supporting all of their computer systems.  We've seen

There are so many ways that a child can be "derailed" just in dealing with technology and interacting with it.  Facebook.  Who doesn't have a Facebook now days?  I've seen children, that are far to young, using Facebook with their own accounts or the parents' accounts.  This is so very dangerous. The exposure these children are opened up to is astronomical and the parents think it's perfectly fine.  Myspace.  If there still is a Myspace that is.  I've seen some horrible things on Myspace that no adult much less a child should be exposed to.

My point is that parents need to be very careful with what they allow their children to be exposed to and use.  The things children see and hear is what they will imitate and grow up to be.  I just hope that I'm able to be a good parent for my child and teach them how to be a good citizen and a good person throughout their life.  

Young Brothers Launch a G-Rated Social Network

Children and Money

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Cool" Ideas

So while I know that I wont have to do anything special to celebrate the birth of my first child there is a part of me that wants to.  I mean some people have pictures taken or a tattoo of the child's portrait done.  Those aren't for me...well not exactly anyways.

There are two things I'm thinking doing. The first is getting the child's hand prints or foot prints tattooed somewhere on my arms or chest.  The other is purchasing some sort of a firearm and having it engraved with the initials and DOB.  Am I crazy for thinking this?  I don't think so.  I think that by doing one of these two things I will either have something always with me remind me of my son\daughter or I will have a teaching tool that I will one day pass down to them.  To me, that means a lot.  The idea of me teaching my child how to safely enjoy and respect firearms and it being one that I purchased for them when they were born just means so much.  They could then pass it on to their children and start a tradition.  I'm not thinking about getting a massive tattoo that you'll see from space, or getting my child his/her first M-16....just maybe a youth .22 or a tattoo on my bicep that I can look at and always feel them near.

Maybe I'm crazy but regardless I'm going to be a proud father...That I'm sure of.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Names Are Hard

Choosing a name for your child is one of the hardest things for me.  How do you know that the name will "fit" the child's personality?  How do you know that the name will not get the child made fun of in schools and social events?  How do you know that the child will grow up to like their name?  So many things to think about...

Julie and I picked out children's names right after we got married.  We picked one name for each sex and we were extremely happy with our choices; However, now that we are actually pregnant we find ourselves second guessing our choice for the boy name.  When we sat down and decided on names we had only one firm rule for the boy name.  We both wanted my dad's middle name to be used in the name.  The problem we ran into was I also wanted to use my grandfathers name as well.  For whatever reason I don't like the idea of doing two middle names or hyphenating a middle name so this leaves me in a precarious position.  As it stands right now, the boy name is Thomas Athens.  The question that rises from this is, what do you call a baby with Thomas as a first name?  Tommy? Thomas? Tom?  I don't know how I feel about any of these.  The other issue that complicates this is that there is already a Tommy in the family, my uncle.  My mother really wants my middle name to be used, which is Thomas as well.   

So I say all this to say that I've found out that coming up with a good, strong, well fitting name for a child that you don't know yet is very hard for me.  I find it somewhat selfish to think about naming a child what I want them to be named because what if the child doesn't like it?  Of whatever it's a horrible name and just doesn't fit the child personality?  :SIGH:  So many decisions and choices, I guess that with time and much thought the two of us will come to peace with our name choices.....or we will change them I suppose.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Removing the Veil

So last Wednesday night (3/14/2012) Julie and I announced on our respective Facebook walls that we were expecting our first child.  Julie has been nagging me about letting her to announce it for a while but I had asked her to hold off in hopes that we might have a ultrasound or something to show along with the announcement.  Alas, our 12 week doctor visit came and we still were without any pictures or anything.  I finally caved in and we both announced it.  There was a plethora of congratulatory comments on both our postings.  We were already super excited about the news but to have all of our friends know and celebrate it with us simply made it so much better.