Signs & Wonders

Preserving the Evidence

A CHORUS OF LIKE, AT LEAST THREE OR FOUR PEOPLE, MAN: Um, where the hell are all the baby pictures?

Bah. Okay.

Issue #1: My Flickr photos (and yours, probably) are now being republished at Bitacle. I cannot express how much this bugs me. (Read this and this if you don't know what I'm talking about; if I try to explain it in my own words I'd have to include so much profanity that I'd get kicked off the Internet.) While Bitacle is being a little less douchey than they were a few weeks ago, when they had ads and no attributing links and claimed their own license on the mountains of scraped content, I still hate Bitacle and always will. And I believe tthey will most certainly regroup and find another way to make money off our splogged photos and writing.

I hate that Flickr does not give me the option of turning off the RSS feed for my photostream, and I really hate that I didn't read Flickr's Terms of Service closely enough to realize that they are totally okay with what Bitacle is doing.

So I'm not sure I'm going to use Flickr anymore. I know full and total control over content published on the Internet will probably always be a pipe dream, but I also don't think it was COMPLETELY naive of me to assume that photos uploaded to Flickr would...stay on Flickr, for the most part, or that the precautions I took to protect them (the "all rights reserved" copyright notice? the no-downloading/no-blogging option?) meant I had some kind of recourse if they cropped up elsewhere.

(What was that I said about not wanting to write about it in my own words? Didn't I say something like that, several hundred words ago?)

Issue #2: Obviously, I do exert far more control over my RSS feed here (TRUNCATED, YE BASTARDS), so what's my damage? I guess the fact that Noah has recently become so much harder to photograph. For one thing, he never stops moving. I have a zillion pictures of the back of his head.

Even worse, he's hyper-aware of the camera now and glares at it. One minute he'll make these absolutely amazing faces where he scrunches his nose and smiles and chatters and I swear, you could go cave-diving in those dimples, and I think: that right there, that's him. And I grab the camera and point and click, and boom. I get this:


I'm thinking of offering his services to Brangelina.

So lately I've just stopped diving for the camera as often as I used to. My already limited skills as a photographer are no match for toddlerhood.

Which makes photos like this one so much more precious to me:


We had professional photos taken shortly before Noah's birthday. I included a few of them in Noah's birthday video, and then meant to post the full collection that next week, but of course: molars, illness, woe, general malaise and my typical stupidness.

Kaileen first emailed me a few months ago with a proposition I could not turn down: a free in-home photo session and at-cost prints in exchange for a mention here. I usually ignore any freebies-for-editorial offers I get (CONTENT IS NOT FOR SALE. SIDEBAR IS. I LIVE ON MONEY, NOT FABRIC SOFTENER SAMPLES) (Mmmm, just SMELL that selective integrity), but this was obviously a little different. Kaileen is another mom (her son is just a couple months younger than Noah), who recently left the corporate world to pursue her photography business. She's stressed, she's nervous, she is insanely fucking talented.

Of course, I didn't really know that at the time, but figured that the photos would probably speak for themselves without a whole lot of input from me.

But oh my God, people, these photos. They take my breath away every time I look at them. They made family members cry.

They captured something so fleeting and precious that I almost can't stand it. They captured Noah's last moments of honest-to-goodness babyhood.

He's already changed so much, in just a few weeks. His cheeks aren't as round. His arms are lean. His legs are strong and un-rollified.  Everything about him screams toddler, little kid, big kid.

God. Maybe I need to go grab the camera after all.

Bye Bye Baby from amalah on Vimeo.
Music: Still Fighting It by Ben Folds.

(Apologies for another overly-indulgent video montage thing, but TypePad is having some serious thumbnail resizing issues today, plus what, you think I'd miss a chance to be overly mournful and dramatic about MY PRESHUS BAYBEEEEE? Hell no.)

(Also, for real. If ANY MD-DC-VA readers are thinking about having maternity/baby/family portraits done, I cannot recommend Kaileen enough. I mean, look at who's modeling for her website. Would that face steer you wrong?)



The first time you posted one of those pictures I immediately went to Kaileen's website and looked at every image there - she is indeed a great photographer of children.


SO beautiful and preshus!! Thanks for sharing!


Hi Amy,

What incredible photos! My best friend lives in Northern Virginia and just had her first child. I'm totally passing along Kaileen's website. Thanks for sharing.

Best of luck with you and getting Bitacle's ass kicked. What jerks.


Those pictures are seriously stunning! Kaileen is awesome, i'll totally look her up once i get knocked up. :-P


One more note I would appreciate it if you would tell Noah to stop being so damn cute and thus making my ovaries do little flips in baby anticipation!


Beautiful pictures, thank you for sharing them with us. I wish Kaileen lived near me (Phoenix, AZ).


I am on freakin' clomid (so that might explain this away partially) but my ovaries screamed "dear lord we must have a baby NOW!" when I saw this. Noah is simply too cute for words!


I here you on the not being able to photograph the kid anymore. I recently started this 365 Days group thing on Flickr and have been feeling really guilty because I'm posting pictures of myself daily and yet the amount of photos that I'm posting of my son has decreased dramatically. However, I realized yesterday that the reasoning behind that is because 97% of the photos I take of him are either of 1) his hand reaching for the camera, 2) the back of his head, or 3) half of his face because he's recently begun to tilt his head to the side right as a snap a photo.

And those photos of Noah are absolutely breathtaking.


I actually 'hear' you, not 'here' . . .


I'm an awful photographer, but I keep clicking away. The only thing I ever manage to get good shots of is my kid doing funny stuff.

Your photos look great!


whoa, that made me all goosebumpey and sentimental and i've never even MET you.

that was beautiful. thanks :)


OMG - each photo is better than the last. So awesome.


You all seriously look like a toothpaste commercial. Or like you are next in line to be featured in every frame in the department store picture frame section. Wonderful pictures, beautiful family.


It's Noah! GAH. Does he have to continue to be so cccccuuuuutttteeee? I just want to gobble him up!

Kaileen, indeed, is talented. Thanks for introducing us to her!


So preshus :) Wish I lived in the area so she could take pics of my little one's last days as a baby.


Another beautiful and teary-eye-producing video! The black-and-white photos of you and Jason holding Noah upside down, and then the one of Jason holding Noah out in front of him and they are laughing at each other, and THEN the one of you eating Noah's toes-my heart is all mushy now.

BTW, I knew Bitacle was stealing content, but I had no idea they were stealing Flickr photos too. I upload photos to CompuPic Pro and then to the blog directly from there. That might be an option for you.


Simply gorgeous!

Anna  D

I can't belive this - *again* I had to shut the door to my office because I'm sobbing (not just little tears - oh no - great, big sobbing tears). You first birthday slideshow of Noah made me cry like this too. My little guy turned 5 this week (5! How did that happen???) and the toddler is all gone. This precious, amazing boy is there in his place, but my heart just hurts that those days of anything baby or toddler are gone. Thanks so much for sharing these!!


Gorgeous! Can't say enough about the photos or Noah.


Beautiful, beautiful, boy! Love the family shots. Thank you for sharing.


Amy, thank you again for sharing so much with us. I wish we had such a talented photographer here in Niskayuna, NY. And just so you know, I would totally drive you to Gymboree and be your friend, even though I may be old enough to be yo mama.


The first time you mentioned Kaileen, I bookmarked her site (for myself in 5 or so years) and will I will share this post and her site with all of my baby-having friends in the area.


Those are incredible photos! And how perfect that you have that stage of babyhood captured. It makes me teary-eyed.


These pictures make me want to have a baby and move to Virginia. And have my husband put some gel in his hair.


You struck some crazy feeling that I NEED to make a video of my own...of my BABY (who is not a baby) right this very second.


OK, Amalah fans, can someone tell me what the gorgeous music is? I am bawling. I am in charge of the Grade 8 graduation video and this song would be so great for the boys.


Re: Flickr. You probably already know this (but I totally didn't, so am passing it on in case you're as clueless as me) but you can mark your photos visible to friends/family only so that no one can steal you/stalk you/anger the high holy hell out of you.

I did that after creeplor tracked down my cell number and it's worked well.


Lori - Sorry, should have included that in the entry. The song is "Still Fighting It" by Ben Folds, from his Rocking the Suburbs album.


Thanks, Amy!




Ack! NOT related to ya, and still a little teary eyed over those pictures.

kelly jeanie

Fantastic pics. My toddler is not much older than Noah, so I get you.


Yeah, these pictures were amazing. And your mushiness was spot on. How could you not be mushy over that precious angel? :::sniff, sniff:::


You guys are so fortunate to have these videos. I am in electronics idiot and therefore have no beautiful memories of my babies (On video, I mean!!).

Even more, we are so fortunate you have shared them with us. Thank you.


The good news is, one day he'll love having his pictures taken. To the point where he brings the camera to you and demands it. And then he'll smile the biggest fakey fake smile you ever saw and you will be contractually obligated, as his mother, to record it for history.


I just looked at Bitacle and was shocked at how pitures of Noah are up. Makes me glad I was too lazy to ever upload anything to flickr. But I'm sorry for you (and all the other victims of theft) that they stolen.


You are gonna love those pictures forever!


Oh my! I started crying watching that video, and I don't even know y'all. What a sweet little punkinhead. I love how she captured the essence of Noah. And the pics of him with Jason? So stinkin' sweet.

What a lovely family you have.


That was lovely, the combination of song and pictures was really well done. My babies are nearly 14 and nearly 19 but I know how I dearly love looking back at the videos and pictures I took of them when they were babies. It's true it goes by so quickly, enjoy every minute. PS your baby is precious but you already know that.


Om my goodness Amy, I want to move to DC just to have her shoot my baby. I hope she gets mad exposure for this, thoes shots are amazing!


I don't know about photos but I did a quick search for myself on Bitacle and I had to click on my site to get any content. So maybe they've changed already or it's not so much about the words now as it is about the images.


Wow, great photos!


Those photos are gorgeous. I love the one with Noah hanging upsidedown. Love it!!!


He is so sweet and even though I don't "know" you, I still feel teary when watching this; I'm thinking of my own girl, who is now begging for the montage again in her very dramatic 2 1/2 year old way. Best of luck on the house selling too!


Delurking to say the last picture of the three of you walking away is beautiful. I'm fourteen wks. pregnant, and I wish I lived near though so I could use that awesome photographer.


Ben Folds! Weeeeeeee. I was singing along in my head and watching. Those photos are beautiful! *sniff*


That second photo of your son is gold. GOLD baby!

For an alternate photo site, try Smugmug. You can set the level of privacy, which was important to me when photos of my daughter ended up in every single search on the internet. You can make photos on Smugmug private, which simply means that readers have to click a link to get to them.

And no, I don't work for Smugmug.


They are lovely photos.





Oh crap. Here I am 2 months pregnant with baby number 2 & crying my eyes out AGAIN. Those pictures are wonderful. xoxo

Marie in Kourou

My ovaries are hurting.

Lovely family. Gorgeous little boy. I think Noah should be on CuteOverload.

My ovaries are hurting.


My daughter introduced me to your site when she had her son almost a year ago and became interested in blogging. I have to check it every day now and you make me appreciate my family so much and laugh out loud so often. I just came upon a website and, somehow, I just knew you and some of your readers would appreciate it. Check it out.


Thanks for the heads up regarding Flickr, I had joined but had been lazy about uploading my photos.

Fabulous photos of Noah, for a moment I thought you were going to rock out the Bay City Rollers.. sweet.


Oooh! I get to post under Lala! Hoorah! *dances around*

They are gorgeous! Your photo montages make me clucky. And I don't want to be clucky yet, damnit!

Suzy Q

Ok, I managed to keep it together for Noah's birthday video. But this one? You got tears from this 46-year-old childless, single woman with only a half of one ovary. That first photo is priceless. So beautiful. And you're such a pretty little family.

I'm not a stalker; too lazy for that and way too far away, but Amy, wow. You've got it all.

Kaileen rocks!


amy. i love your blog. its the only girlie blog i read. keep up the great work.

Jonathan Bailey

Just a heads up, the only reason Bitacle isn't displaying any ads is because of a DMCA notice I filed with Adsense, they still have the code on some of their pages but Google has blocked them.

Long story short, they are still jackasses...


Confessions of a NOVA stalker-like mommy. . . I emailed Kaileen about 5 hours after watching Noah's birthday video and set up an appointment. My son is 6 weeks younger than Noah. I just hope he sits still enough for the photos.


The photos are just gorgeous! I especially like the framed trio of the entire family. You realize you are making fertile women swoon and that there may be a small baby boom among your readers next summer? ;)

not-so-pregnant in texas

Am I the only one that wondered if you had given Noah a small bong to hold in one of those photos? Oh, I am, huh. Damn. It took me a second to realize that drug paraphenalia wasn't used as a prop and that it was in fact, the expensive rattle that you bought him.

At least I think so.


I've always been okay with the little angel getting older. I wasn't a huge baby person and like toddlerhood a lot better. However, I became totally uncool and cried when I realized that she is now tall enough to wear a 3T at 2.5 years old. I remember looking at those pajamas when I bought them at Costco when she was 18 months old thinking "she will NEVER be this big." And now, a year later, she is that big.

I have always endorsed paying for a great photographer, and I prefer those who are feeding their dream as opposed to the big-box pros. Our photographer used to work with my beloved and last year was finally able to quit her job to do it full time. We were one of her first customers. It's awesome to be able to help another dreamer succeed.


What lovely photos and an amazing video. Thanks (as always) for sharing this very personal things with us...virtual strangers.


Beautiful pictures. He is so gorgeous and you guys are the best looking family!

Love Ben Folds, such a perfect song.


Beautiful!! He is so adorable...


Oh GOD, you miss 'em as babies.


The future holds conversations such as:

And moments like:


your family is so beautiful and what a good song...


Cutest family ever.

Someday when I adopt I am definitely using her. (Well hopefully in VA I will still be allowed to but we will see)


My god...the pictures are perfect. My absolute favorite is of the 3 of you walking. It made me all happy on the inside. Seeing these pics makes me want to fast forward my life by like 5 years so my boyfriend and I can have this!! Noah=cute!

Sarah Marie

Love the video! I'm also a fan of the first picture. You're all "Hey Noah look here" and he's all "durrrrr". Too cute!


OMG I am so glad I live in MD because I am going to call her to take pictures of my two little boys. Amazing.

Andrea Sularz

How does it feel to be so incredibly loved?


oh gosh. i haven't checked in in a month or so, but THAT VIDEO. DUDE. okay, it was awesome enough to have Ben Folds singing, but HELLO??!?!

that was totally an ad for "Hey! Have a baby today!!"....haha. SO cute.


Whoa. Kaileen, if you're reading this, you are REALLY GOOD and clearly in the right line of work!


I hate you.


I'm sitting here crying in my office and it's alll your fault.

Momma Bean

Simply beautiful and heartbreaking for a momma who can't accept that her girls are growing up.
Hey, does he have a girlfriend yet? He's adorable!!


I'm wishing I lived in the area, just so I could have her photograph my family! She did an wonderful job with yours, Amy. Oh, yeah, thanks for making me cry. haha. On the other hand- WTF is this bitacle shite! I had not heard about this, so followed your links... Yeah, just found a photo of my son pulled from my flickr page where I have also employed the same limiting tools you have. Like it did any good, probably am getting close to the point where I make my flickr friends & famliy only. Which probably still won't stop the bitacle b**tards. Love your writing Amy, in a big girly crush kind of way. ;)


Oh- just found "API Opt-Out" on Account preferences in Flickr, you can set it to stop third-party software from searching your images. Don't know if it will work, but it's worth a shot.


Whats the music in the video?
I love it.


Is anyone else jonesing to know the song on the video? What is the name?


Just updated the post with song info -- sorry for leaving that off. Ben Folds, Still Fighting It, from Rockin' the Suburbs.

Jessica - yeah, I did the API opt-out thing too, but I think Bitacle is too low-rent to be using the API but is instead just scraping the RSS feed.

Got an email back from Flickr confirming that since Bitacle links back to Flickr, their use of our photos is considered acceptable. Blech.


Made family members cry my ass - try total strangers who are supposed to be WORKING here, dammit. And I didn't even have the sound on, hoping that would help with the tears, but no, the cuteness was too much. My own little preshus will be 20 months old next week and no I WON'T stop giving her age in months, thank you very little. It's wonderful and amazing and hard as hell to watch that baby become a little person. Some days I happily see the wonderful little girl she is going to be, and even the woman that is already developing, and some days it breaks my heart that she isn't a tiny warm bundle sleeping on my shoulder RIGHT NOW. Those are usually all the same day. You have a fabulous creature there.


Noah is back, yes, yes, all is right with the world now.
The pictures are WONDERFUL! Wow.

Robbin Check them out. That is where i do my hosting and I have been completely happy. Bitacle is evil.


So precious!!


tat pic of Noah on her home page is amazing.

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