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August 2009

can. not. wait.

the weekend before last we did something pretty great ... and yes, it took me 10 days to mention it.

i had heard on the radio on thursday that there was a disney train coming to town to promote the new animated 3d version of "a christmas carol." thinking it would be something fun to do with the kids, i checked out the event web site for more information. turns out, it wasn't just any old event: this was a five-car train working its way across the country this summer, and four of the cars were turned into mobile museums about the movie. how cool is that?! so saturday morning, we got up and around and headed to st paul.

we got there about half an hour after it opened, so there wasn't much of a line, and it wasn't yet hot. perfect. the train was so very cool, with it's "christmas carol" wrap, and at each of the cars there was a display with a poster, a lamp post decked out in christmas decorations, and spouting bubble "snowflakes" into the air. no detail was ignored.



i hadn't heard anything about this movie until the blurb on the radio, so it was a complete surprise to see, in the first car, portraits of and costumes worn by jim carrey, robin wright penn, bob hoskins, and ... colin firth!! no way!! *heart palpitations* i was standing thisclose to something worn by colin firth.


good thing the sign to not touch was posted; i may have tried to lick the cravat.


another thing i didn't realize is that in addition to all the movie props and costumes and art, there were also actual artifacts from charles dickens. the english lit major in me was totally geeking out at this point! dickens' actual handwriting ... actual letters and manuscripts written by him ... wow. the part of me that is a writer couldn't get over how tedious it must have been for him to write all his novels: long-hand, using a quill pen and that fussy little victorian penmanship. who knows how many more classics he could have knocked out with a computer instead of a nib and inkwell!


the next train was full of screens showing concept art and renderings into animation, along with screens of interviews with the art director, director, jim carrey, etc., all discussing how the movie was made. the art is simply breathtaking and so detailed.

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next up were the paper models. the detail on these was nothing short of perfect.


need more detail?


still not convinced? check this out: not only was the scale and exterior detail completely amazing, but there were interior layers as well. incredible.




next car was all about the technology, the stop-motion capture and how they translate all those dots into 3d animation. (and at that point, the mirrored back wall provided a family portrait opportunity.)



we exited through a car decorated like a victorian sitting room, with christmas carol playing, a fake fire roaring, and cookies. at this point, we headed to a small theater that had been set up to show a 10 minute peek at the movie. we got our 3d glasses and stood in line, but harper predictably bailed about three minutes into the wait.

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that was probably a good thing. henry and i went into the theater, and the show started with a little more information, and then the movie preview began.

this is not, i repeat, NOT a children's movie.

don't be fooled by the words "disney" and "animated."

it is a pure adaptation of "a christmas carol," full of all the language structure and verbiage dickens originally wrote. the story is complex, and the vision dickens had is finally, faithfully, brought to life. it looks like an intense movie.

and i, for one, can. not. wait.

but i'll leave the kiddos home for this one.

if the train stops in your city, GO! it's truly an amazing event. and the movie will be nothing short of mind-blowing. now i have a reason to anticipate november!

adventures in a two-year plan

i know i've mentioned that henry's school district changed all its start times, and now we're on a ramped-up quest to move into the district before he starts middle school in two years. we need to be in a place where he can just hop a bus at 7:15 a.m. and i don't have to drag myself or harper out of bed any early than necessary, given that she doesn't have to be at school until 9:30 a.m.

we've toyed with the idea of buying an existing house near to or on the lake and then renovating, but given what we experienced when remodeling our 40-square-foot bathroom earlier this year, i can honestly say that would probably be a bad idea, mentally speaking. not to mention we'd have to sink our entire budget into just buying, and renovating would be several years away.

so then we started to look into building.

now, to do this requires a fair bit of pro/con list-making. the neighborhood and house need to be such that they suit our needs for the next 15 years minimum to get us through the kids' schooling, and barring anything that comes up that requires a relocation. so the lot needs to be nice, and the location needs to be good. however, i can't handle cookie cutter communities. i get claustrophobic. and i need air to breathe and some trees. it needs to be a place we can see ourselves enjoying as much the first year as the 15th year.

our neighbor recently built in a neighborhood just off a lake that we had no idea existed, just four miles from henry's school. when we drove out to look at it, marc and i both went, "oooohhhhh .... !" since then, we've become fairly smitten with one lot in particular.

in the past two weeks i have started exploring our building options in earnest, and in the past seven days we've met with two builders and spoken over the phone with a third, and we've picked out one or two plans from each builder that suit our needs. we've gotten the figures from all three, and all go over budget because the lot was want is independent and therefore costs more. however, we're more willing to downsize house to get the right lot.

and today, we went to the lot again to see if we really love it $XXK more than a builder's lot, and yeah ... i think we do. it's a corner lot, facing the neighborhood park, and just up the hill from the lake. a real lake. that we could see from our bedroom window in the morning.

were we to build on it, here's our view:


(sorry for the photo quality ... i didn't take the big camera; these are all courtesy of the iphone.)

across from "our" corner is the model home, hence all the cars. it is on the market now, so at some point it will be just House.


marc, exploring, ahem, "our" yard. look at all that breathing room!!


there will eventually be two houses between us and the existing neighbor, who happens to actually be our former neighbor. you can see how far back the lots extend, and ours actually goes back further. but he has trees.


we could sit on our front porch and send the kids over to the park to play. sweet.


another view of the lot, and the peeks at the lake.


the lake sits about a quarter of a mile down the street from "our" lot, which comes with access to public docks, picnic areas, boat launch, etc.



the next step is to look into custom builders/general contractors and see if buying our own plan and going that route would gain us anything price-wise. there are a lot of elements about building through a builder that i would want altered or eliminated altogether, but builders don't give allowances. they just build, and use whatever vendor is supplied.

i'm too picky for that.

sadly, the reality is that what we end up doing will all come down to money and what is in the bank in 18 months. we're pretty sure that building is what we'd like to do, and this lot is where we'd like to do it, and as such we need to look into buying the lot now and hanging onto it. whether we'll build a house or pitch a tent in 18 months is the bigger question mark.

does anyone out there have experience with building? what questions should i be asking? does anyone know the pros/cons of using our own plans and builder vs a community builder? this is all too exciting, and too nerve-racking at the same time! if only some magical money fairy would swoop down and eliminate all our concerns over losing three years' worth of savings account growth! oh well ... it'll be worth it when we can stick a kid on a bus ... or have actual closets and spaces for storage ... or a bathroom we don't have to try and fit four people in to brush teeth ... or an actual space to put guests versus the couch in the basement ... or windows that don't rattle in their casing when you try to open them ...

then again, no matter how much space we end up with, this is still what we'll wake up to on a saturday morning.


ultimately, this is what makes a house a home. no matter what size the house is or what school district it's in.

winner and a layout (yes! that means i scrapped!!)

so, i just told marc ... pick a number between one and thirty. why, he asks. i'm drawing a winner for my book giveaway, so, technically, YOU are drawing a winner. oh, says he, okay. 21.

21! that means:

something new usually brings the mojo back. new product, new photos, new inspiration...

i always start at the SC board :)

Posted by: Carrie K | 14 July 2009 at 02:47 PM

carrie!! congrats! i'll email you for your addy!!

and in honor of the occasion, may i present ... drum roll ...

a layout!


i jumped in on a sketch challenge on studio calico, led by the wonderful jenn olson. and you know what? it felt goooood to just play and know a general direction in which to go. easy, painless, and it scratched the itch just enough to hopefully get the mojo cookin' again.

good timing, too, because on a whim i entered a contest at stop and scrap, and was selected as one of the finalists to play with new my mind's eye stuff and try to win a gift cert to the store. i'll take it! can't wait to play with the adorable line that showed up on my doorstep today!

congrats again, carrie, thanks again, jenn, and have a lovely weekend! we're on an adventure this weekend that involves builders, neighborhood sales agents, model home tours, and lots of number crunching and wish list making. more on that later.

GIVEAWAY to overcome mojo loss

i thought maybe cleaning and sorting yesterday would jump-start my mojo. however, mojo a no go. so ...

i'm doing a book giveaway anyway, because getting excited about people getting excited might do the trick.

while sorting through some layouts from the book, two really spoke to me, and here's why:


this one says, "lady, you promised. you promised a year ago to get it together and put yourself closer to the top of the list! and yet ... ?" i know, i know. i'm sorry. i really am. and to my body i say, "you saw all the fruits and veggies that made it into the cart today, yes? you saw me resist the triscuits and brie and oreos, yes? okay then. shut up. we'll go to the gym tomorrow."

have you ever used your scrapbook pages as a way to hold yourself accountable? did it work?

this one spoke to me in a different way:


this layout came about when i was in the midst of writing, in the midst of dealing with the kids by myself because marc was in chicago every ding dong week, in the midst of prepping for some visit by family or trip to see family or some holiday all by myself (because the book covered a period of my life from our anniversay/marc's birthday/visits from the in-laws for thanksgiving/traveling to indiana for two weeks for the holidays/my birthday/henry's birthday/harper's birthday. yes, that all fell in a 5.5 month window. as did the aforementioned husband traveling to chicago every week. ding dong.).

i literally had no. mo. jo. (and i think it's bad now! ha!) and yet, i had to gut it out. look at the layout: barely any journaling, yet it tells a story. a layout doesn't have to have a ton of journaling to be authentic and real.

have you ever scrapped a page that was truly authentic yet had only a line or two of journaling? it can be done, right?

leave me a comment about what you do when you're low on mojo ... help a sistah out ... and you'll be entered for a chance to win a copy of my book! winner will be drawn this friday!!

journaling on the first layout, for the journaling voyeurs who always ask ... you know who you are! ;o):

It has to be said that I hate my body. I hate what the past nine years have done to it. I hate that the simple, everyday act of getting pregnant caused so many adverse reactions in my physical appearance. The unexplained sudden gain of 20+ pounds in the final two weeks that worried my doctor enough to make her want to induce me ASAP. The onset of perimenopause symptoms that needed treatment, which put the brakes on my post-partum weight loss and put extra pounds on me. The diagnosis of post-partum depression that kept me from getting out of bed some days, and spending the next two years on antidepressants, which slowed my body’s reaction to diet and exercise and caused further weight gain. Then doing it all over again for a second pregnancy.

I hate that I no longer care how I look, that I hate shopping, that I hate talking to my family about things like food and clothes and weight and life because I ultimately feel completely guilty of how ugly and unacceptable I am around their tiny perfectness. I hate that I cringe when Marc tries to hold me and touch me. I hate that I stick to dark or neutral colors because I feel like it makes me fade into the background. I just hate, hate, hate what I’ve become.

But it ends. Now. Now I get back to the gym. Daily. Maybe with a personal trainer. And I start taking my health and life seriously. And I shed all of the responsibilities that aren’t critical and start putting myself first. I get back to that place where I’m okay with Me. And once I am? Look out. I will shop my brains out. And I will buy color.


... tell me to scrapbook something already? i am sooo out of the routine of it.

marc got to shoot at the range this morning with a friend, and go to a sports bar tonight to watch the UFC fight. in return, i get tomorrow to myself to clean my office. i'm hoping that getting organized and touching stuff will inspire me. maybe i'll even shake up my storage and organization method, see if that helps.

my printer is doing weird things. either that, or my mac/cs4/printer calibrations are wonky. i don't know. but not being able to print has put a major damper on scrappy ambition, too.

whatever the reason, i miss it. i do.

i meant to do a book giveaway last week, but couldn't get the mojo going to come up with something. i'll think on it tomorrow while i'm working and get back to you monday ...

you know how when ...

there's too much to say you decide to just eat cheesecake instead?

okay. that's me tonight.

we had a great weekend ... my sister and her husband were visiting for the fourth. we had a lovely time, as evidenced by the joy and enthusiasm on their faces in this photo ...


pf chang's. wii + mario kart. coffee cake. pixos. chevy's. fireworks. coffee. ice age 3. cook-out-ing. ikea. cheesecake. xbox car racing. more coffee. a lot of not really anything, but a lot of fun, too. i'm just not in the mood to regurgitate the weekend and write about.


today henry started ymca camp and loved every minute of it. i loved that he was busy and active from 9 till 4, getting fresh air and singing dorky songs and making new friends. he needed wii detox.

after dinner we pulled out the slip & slide and let the kiddos have at it again. and i pulled out my 70-200 2.8 IS and had a little fun.





this week: more camp, build the kiddos' new computer table from ikea, build henry's new dresser from ikea, head to the pool, and cross our fingers that marc stays in town for seven days in a row.

and, with any luck, come up with something interesting to share and the energy to share it.

happy monday.