Sometimes you draw the short straw. Today I found the folder where I kept all the short straw pictures.


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This from the corner of our house in Indiana. Don’t ask me why I took this picture. I am a volume photographer not a good photographer. So effectively the more I take the more likely hood one of the 1000 is good. I am wandering through the old pictures some of which have only been seen by me. I want to make sure they see the light of day. That way I can also share the meanderings that come with the various pictures. The sometimes wrong fragments of memories that are stuck in my head that flow out of me as I see specific pictures. Do you remember that summer day I took the picture of the plague on the side of our house (the cornerstone)? It was a hot day, I was bored so I took the picture. Yeah, that one. No people, just the cornerstone. Do you remember that day? Is it clear in your mind?

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He doesn’t make this face anymore (thank goodness) several pretty close. This is his I am being cute now go away because I am also doing something you don’t want time to do and I don’t want to get caught face. Nick starting making faces at the camera very early on. There was a time when all the kids made faces at the camera. So there are a lot of pictures of faces without smiles just strange faces. This one isn’t strange it is just a litte scary. I wonder what was really going on in that head while he was making that face. I think we will never know. He won’t tell us I am quite sure. If he did tell us we would have to worry or wonder all these years later.

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The other thing I need to do someday is pull the wrong location and wrong folder pictures. Like a film camera there are sometimes last of the roll pictures. Pictures taken before I would move over the memory card. For the most part I moved the card over almost right away. As the event ended I would put the pictures up on our network. But sometimes there would be small events and I would forget those were on the camera. So I ended up with a few last roll of film pictures. Those, from the old days were when you had a 36 or 24 shot roll. You had taken 18 or 30 at an event so you have 6 left to take. So they would be of random moments not the moment the rest of the pictures were front. So you end up with the end of the roll pictures. I have many of those in some folders (events close together) and few from the really big events.

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Family Historian

Memories of the time we spent in Cincinnati Ohio. Or how we came to have Buckeyes in our family tree (not on our family tree).


This picture is from our house in Cincinnati (Willow Cove). We had built this house and moved in only to move to Indiana 13 months after moving in. Oh well. P0000328This is the Jakki face as she played the computer in my office.

There was a time when we had one work computer and that was it in the house. Then we added a word computer for Barb. Then we added a homework computer for the kids. Eventually everyone had their own computer. When Jakki was really little I found an interactive keyboard game called Baby Smash. It let her hit the keyboard and it changed shapes, colors and sounds.

Still my favorite all time early family computer story is the Macintosh laptop. I was the Apple Macintosh champion where I was working. In that role Apple used to give out PowerBooks every other year. As the champion I ran calls and supported the national sales team so I got a free PowerBook every other year. The first time I got one, I loaned it to Barb. She actually didn’t want to touch it, but I begged so she finally did. That particular year was the year the PowerMac laptop came out and Apple was P0000394going to give me a new PowerMac PowerBook. So I asked Barb for her laptop (that she hadn’t wanted) back. She said “ You can’t take my laptop away.” She has had her own computer ever since.

The hardest thing about having twins is that you have to buy two of everything. Luckily many people have children that are less than 2 years apart so many walking, running and strolling devices have two seats. This was the lunar rover we used for the boys when we lived on Willow Cove. The belts were not for their safety it was for the safety of the world. So the two of them could not rise from the stroller and take over the world.

It is hard to image the two huge people that live in the house now were once this size. Actually this was when they were getting close to a year old so in the end they actually were a lot smaller. Back then they were always happy. I guess sometimes life is fair.

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The other part of young children is having a backyard play set. There is no more fun on this earth and getting to push your children on swings. The laughter, the smiles and the sheer enjoyment make for a really good day. Jakki loved it and so did the boys. To this day we still have a hammock chair so they can sit and read outdoors.

We loved Cincinnati. We lived there for 8 years. It was the city we went to right before we got married and lived in through the birth of the boys. The boys were only a year and a 1/2 when we moved back to Indiana. Jakki was about to turn seven.  We lived in four different parts of Cincinnati. Fairfield was the first place, a north western suburb. Then we lived in Maineville, a North eastern suburb. Finally we moved to Western Hills (Cincinnati proper) and then Mount Airy (Cincinnati proper) before heading back to Indiana.

A huge thank you to Cincinnati for the three Buckeyes it added to our family.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Cheap Sun Glasses + kids with a bad sense of humor = fun pictures :-)


unsorted291Not sure why this picture caught my eye but it is pretty cool. During the scanning project of my dad’s slides I posted a picture of my sisters and I on the steps of the Royal Palace in Bangkok Thailand all wearing our cool sunglasses. Here are the three kids all wearing their sun glasses and of course giving the world the thumbs up sign.

Pretty cool kids.

The picture was taken with the boys and Jakki in the kitchen of our house in Greenwood Indiana. The wooden window shelf behind the kids is the dead give away as to the location.

I suspect this is a posed picture rather than a captured spontaneous moment. It would have been much harder to catch them doing this by happenstance.

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Similar picture but in this one Jakki is posing with two rabbits. I don’t know where the boys went from the other picture of which was first – Jakki and the Rabbits or Jakki and the boys in cool sun glasses.

If Jakki ever decides to start a rock band she will have to call it Jakki and the Rabbits. That is the coolest rock band name ever.

Probably (again) a posed rather than spontaneous picture. Mostly because the boys never stood still long enough to take a picture when they were in motion.

Twins can be perpetual motion machines.

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This one is ironic more than anything. A picture taken of Nick standing in front of the couch. Fran and Luke were lying on the couch. They are right under a picture of Jakki and Fran lying on that same couch. I guess in the end they were in the irony stage of development.

My original family history project was printing all the pictures I could and hanging them around the house. We don’t do that as much now as we did then. We have maybe 100 pictures on the wall. But for a time I would print them, rotate the pictures and hang them on the wall in the living room.

Those were the days I guess.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

A smile that will melt your heart and a sudden realization that you are no longer in control…


Sometimes all you need is a child’s smile to tell you in the end everything is ok. You don’t have to work hard sometimes either, those smiles come pretty freely unsorted156when the child is happy.

If you can imagine this little guy is now nearly taller than me (I am as of today 1 inch taller). They are preparing to drive for the first time and get their learners permit. (17 year old boys in Maryland cost 100 dollar a month less than 16 year old boys so they are waiting that extra year).

My grandfather once told me that family was the most important thing. He regretted  the time he had to spend away from his family while they were growing up. Take the time he used to say. Even though your exhausted on a Saturday and just want to sit and stare, spend some time with your kids. In the end you both win. With any luck you get a smile like that and frankly you come to live for smiles like that.

Now there is an evil laugh that comes with that smile, but that evil laugh is precious as well.

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The kids are scanning through some of our wedding photos (some were loose some were in an album we haven’t started scanning the albums yet we are still on the loose pictures). This one is one I didn’t realize we had. Seated is my mother’s mother Monie Johnston. Grandma as I knew her. Behind her is her daughter and my mother Sandra R. Andersen. Both of them had a tremendous impact and influence on me as a person.

Grandma met Grandpa on a commuter train from Aurora Illinois into Chicago. Grandma was working at the corporate headquarters of Montgomery Ward as a comptroller. She met my grandfather on the train into the city. They began dating and eventually they got married. At the time it was the Montgomery Ward policy that they didn’t employ married women so they let my grandmother go. I know, because she told me the story once that made her very angry.

About a month later the company realized they didn’t have anyone who could run the comptroller machines like my grandmother and they asked her if she would return. My grandfather said she would return but only as a consultant and the rate of pay would be nearly double what they had paid before they let her go.  When I was a little kid Grandma ran the books for the cottages and vacation spot that she and Grandpa ran on Lake Ripley in WI. In the modern business world I suspect my grandmother would have been a CFO. She was amazingly smart. Sad that the world had rules that were stupid at best.

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There is a moment that as a parent you realize you have begun to lose control. That moment with twins is pictured here. The boys beginning to raise off the ground and pre crawl. Then they moved to crawl. Then they hit the ground running and haven’t looked back since.

Twins pre crawl, crawl, dead run.

So the moment control was lost was the pre-crawling stage seen here. You could originally leave them in a spot on the carpet and sit down for a second. Take a breath and know that they were safe. Then the crawling started. They never crawled to the same object it was always different objects and always at opposite ends of the room. So we blocked the entire living room/dining room area of the house off with baby gates and removed everything dangerous from that space.

It is hard sometimes to imagine that both these little guys in this picture ever existed. They are so big now and such fine caring, loving and well fun to be around young people.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Cake again and let sleeping dogs lie and another White Rabbit……


First off I will start with my annual Super Bowl prediction – now picking for the 49th year (I picked the packers in the first two because well I liked Bart Starr). I am a quarterback guy – I really focus on teams with great quarterbacks (they have won the vast majority of the super bowls). I do not like Tom Brady at all so I am picking the Seahawks. Plus I used to visit Seattle all the time. The bad news is I am 0-4 in the last four Super Bowls.

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Sometimes, like your birthday you can have your cake and eat it as well. Jakki arrived on November 19th 1992. She came to the world quiet and reserved. That should have been a huge warning for us. She slept all night from virtually the first day she arrived in this world.

She is a tough adult now. She knows ultimately what she wants to do and be when she grows up. Or like her father she may never grow up but she knows what her job will be.

This cake is so Jakki. A work of distinct art. And of course the name Jaguar. My father called me tiger when I was little. It was the only nickname he ever used. He didn’t call me that all the time but every time he did I loved it. So I started called Jakki Jaguar. Actually originally I called her Jackson Brown, and then Dangerous Dan but Jaguar was the one that stuck out of all those nicknames.

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Back in the day. The boys actually they still do this, used to run until the dropped. As you can see from this high chair nap with food in front of him.

They would run 200 miles an hour and then crash within seconds. They were so cute when they were asleep. Not so much when they were awake, then they were mostly loud.

But cute while sleeping.

You forget how cute they were when they were little and needed us all the time. For the first couple of years we were always watching them. It was exhausting as parents. Now we can let them go off to their rooms early in the am and not see them again until they want food.

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Perhaps a bit ironic in the end to dress Jakki in a white rabbit suit. I don’t recall if I asked her the time but I suspect unlike her mother she would have laughed and said “dad you are the one with the watch on.” My mother actually made this costume to Jakki’s specifications.

Gwen being the good guardian is checking the candy bag for wholes and you know, candy that is loose. Gwen loved anything she could get from Jakki. In this case I suspect she was thinking – I wonder how you bring down a rabbit that big. Do you pounce or do you sneak up on it and grab it by the tail.

Gwen who had spent most of Jakki’s childhood nipping at her heels, stopped nipping when Fran got big enough to notify Gwen that if there was to be nipping of Jakki it would be done by Fran and not Gwen. Anyway, white rabbit suit I guess in the end like Mother like daughter.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Cake, Piano and the Beach. Never however forget the bear. If you do there will be tears…


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We took the kids on the Disney Cruise for a vacation when they were young. Every night our serving crew would come by our table ask make sure everything was ok. The way the ship worked you went to each of the really nice restaurants once and had the same crew of serving staff each time.

The first time they came by and asked Barb and I was everything ok we said fantastic. Then they asked do you need anything else. Lukey shouted “Cake.” He liked cake before that trip but on that trip Cake became an obsession. Every meal he tried different kinds of cake.

On the last night of the cruise the serving crew sings for everyone. In our cake they simply chanted “Cake” everyone at our table (once we explained the why) had a great laugh. Lukey got CAKE so in the end he was laughing as well. Here he is being cruelly forced to wait for everyone else to have cake and is imploring the photographer to let him eat the cake in front of him.

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Music is a huge part of our lives. I personally listen to music at work and in my home office all the time. It helps me concentrate. When we first moved to Greenwood Jakki took piano lesson’s for awhile. She was pretty good – long fingers and all. But her passion was taking pictures. (she is really good at taking pictures, much better than I am. She has my father’s knack for taking the right picture at the moment).

This is from her recital.

Jakki is an amazing artist. She takes projects she sees on the Internet and gets the boys involved in them. They always turn out some of the most amazing art work. They made custom plates that you can eat on with some of their favorite (and my favorite Minions from the movie Despicable Me. I am a huge Steve Carell Fan and I think the two Despicable Me movies are simply amazing. I just also love the side characters.)

You never know what the next fun project she will undertake. The boys love it as well. They enjoy working with their big sister and frankly I am amazed at how often she simply tells them to do something and they do it. Not complaining or doing it because they are scared of her, but simply because she asked them to.

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This is a picture from the Indiana Dunes in 2005. We went back in 2010 the summer before we moved to Maryland. There are a couple of things that you will notice. First off, the camera Barb had back in 2005 was not a great film camera so comparisons are not fair at best. You can see that it wasn’t a great camera in the framing. The picture is framed well visually but the lens of the camera broke up a little on the edges.

Barb took Jakki and Da Boys to meet our dear friends the Hussongs. Joan and Jock are actually the boys God parents and live in Cincinnati Ohio.

I was off traveling somewhere in the world and missed this trip. Actually I was in Chicago and just couldn’t make it around the lake to join them. This is the trip with the Honey Bear incident. On the way home they stopped at the Chucky Cheeses in Merrillville Indiana. Honey Bear, Luke’s great love was left in the booth by accident. That was Wednesday afternoon. By the time (that night) they realized Honey Bear was missing Lukey was in tears. He loved that bear. I ended up stopping on my way home from Chicago Friday and poor Barb had two nights of a boy in tears. All was well in the end.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

A picture of Fran and how do I start my own family history project?


Here is an image of Francine Marshmutt Andersen in her full glory – laying down on a chair and sleeping. She was a grand dog and protected Jakki not only unsorted537from other people but often from herself. Fran was frequently mad at Jakki and often shunned her.  I couldn’t for the life of me ever tell you what Jakki did each time that earned the wrath of Fran but she did it.

My favorite Fran story is the day I realized Jakki had to be hiding food in her bedroom (a forbidden thing so as to prevent a reason for Mice to join our household). Jakki had hidden food all over her room, I was pretty sure but I couldn’t find it. So I asked Fran to turn state’s evidence against Jakki. She happily did leading me around the room showing me the food hiding places. All it took was one piece of whatever food she pointed out (finders fee). For years thereafter she would sometimes come and get me and let me know there was food in her girl’s room. Happily turning states evidence against her girl for a couple of snacks.

Jakki wasn’t ever very happy about that skill. Fran could have been a great bomb sniffing dog she had an amazing nose and was stubborn enough to just sit there and wait for people to figure out she was right in the first place. This is from our house in Greenwood Indiana, looking out over the back yard. The chair did not leave Greenwood with us as we traversed to Maryland. There are times I still see Fran hovering over her girl. I miss her. I always knew someone was watching Jakki and making sure she was safe and not doing anything too crazy. It is amazing how much dogs can not only enter your life but change it for the better. Its hard to yell at the television during a basketball game when somebody bites your feet every time you yell.

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In 2012 we took a trip to Mount Vernon. It is actually only about an hour from Maryland without traffic (3 with traffic). This is how my children reacted on the front lawn of the father of our country, they goofed around like crazy people. We had a blast that day and Nick didn’t even complain about walking around all of Mt. Vernon (we covered nearly 4.5 miles of territory walking that day).

My parents took us to Mount Vernon the first time back in 1971. Somewhere in the slide scans of my father are some of the pictures. I remember that because I posted on to the history blog awhile ago.

The other day someone wrote me an email asking how to start a family history project. I thought I would share the concept that Jakki, Luke, Nick and I have developed.

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Step 1 – get an awesome team. Done!!! There is the team, they are really great kids and helped move this project forward.

Step 2 – invest in a good scanner. The better the scanner the better the software. That is critical going forward as good software separates the pictures automatically instead of scanning them as a single page.

We started with my grandfather slides and father’s slides. If you aren’t doing slides that releases you from the prosumer scanner grouping, you can get a good scanner for a lot less. Jakki organized the slides into grouping, any pre-labeled slides (my dad or grandfather hand labeling) were scanned with he name attached to them. The rest were scanned by year or by type (slide tray, slide sheet, loose).

The last part of the project is sharing them. Telling the stories that come to you when you see the pictures. Then other family members can chime in with their thoughts or different memories of the events in the pictures. Share all that into a blog. WordPress let’s you have a blog for free so it isn’t costly. Finally the last and perhaps most important thing – backup the pictures. Spend just a little extra and backup your pictures to the cloud. That way you have at least two-three copies at your home and one more in the cloud.

It has and continues to be a fun project – start your family history project today!

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow!