fun with photo booth

The other night I was trying to tune out Blues Clues, so I entertained myself (and Catcher) with a little Mac Photo Booth. Here we are in all our glory. I kind of like myself as a tough comic book character.


let the packing begin

With one month to go until D-Day (Departure Day) last night I decided it was time to start packing. So I started with one of the least-used items in our household--the china cabinet. I can count on my hands the number of times we've used our china since we've been married. Actually, I can count on one finger the number of times we've used our china: we used it on Christmas Eve last year. Anyway, I figured packing it up would make me feel as if I had accomplished something without interfering with my everyday routine. While I wrapped our vintage jewel Lenox in the Sunday New York Times, Alex ventured into the "media cabinet" (i.e. console bureau, that's an inside joke) where he was in charge of our DVD collection.

DVDs (on the left, below) and a collection of Carl Sagan VHS tapes from Alex's college days (on the right). He's convinced he can get at least $5 for the them at our yard sale. At least he has the complete set. Do they still make VCRs? Maybe some mystery yard sale shopper has one of those fancy TV/VCR combos, and will think they hit a goldmine when they see this amazing (and I mean that in a cosmic sort of way) collection.

Here's a look at the living room last night in the throws of packing. Funny how two boxes create quite the crowding effect in 847 square feet. I'm not even bothering myself with keeping the house "show ready" anymore. One more night of packing will have us tripping over each other in ways we've never known, and we haven't even started with what's already packed up in the attic. I guess it's time to begin selling off our furniture to make room for all the boxes.


splish splash!

After dinner has been thrown against the wall and half eaten off the floor and hidden in the deep crevices of the neck, my favorite part of the evening comes when I plop the kids down in the bathtub for a little contained playtime. I get to perch on the toilet and enjoy a glass of wine while Catcher and Scout get to splash each other in the face, drink dirty bath water and eat bubbles--it's a win win!

Some nights Catcher is an engineer who creates a super-train by lining up all his vehicles--airplane, taxi, helicopter, etc.--on the rim of the bathtub. Sometimes he's a gas station attendant sending cars through the carwash. Tonight he was a stylist as he dressed Scout in the latest ready-to-wear fish collection. It actually kind of looks like she's wearing a fascinator of sorts, so maybe he's on to something. If British royalty somehow gets a hold of this, he could be the next big thing. Just remember you saw it here first.


10 months later

This past Saturday was our final, actual, real last shoot with HGTV. At least that's what I've been told. Although we had to re-arrange our schedules and spend our free family Sundays with a TV crew in tow, and I would furiously clean the house before the crew got there only to have dirt and mud dragged through it once they arrived, and the kids would go hours without napping and lose all sense of self-control by 5:00pm, there was a part of me that loved it. Perhaps it's the lights or getting a quick glimpse of yourself on the monitor. Maybe it's the producer saying you look good or the camera guy throwing his artsy spin on your otherwise mundane task of raking the yard. I don't know what it is (or was) but I can't wait to see the finished product. Actually, I should reserve judgment until after the show airs because I'm sure I'll think my voice sounds weird or I'll hate my hair or one of my dumb outfits (figuring out what to wear each day, it turns out, was the most difficult task of all).

Other than feeling like a minor--if totally insignificant--celebrity at times, I think I also enjoyed the whole experience because I got a better understanding of Alex's work. I loved listening to him talk to the sound guy and the camera guy (sorry, I don't remember their "proper" names) and drop his TV buzz words. Catcher had fun, too. He was totally comfortable with the cameras in our house and affectionately referred to them as the "TV screws." I'm sure he'll hate us someday when he's a teenager and we make him sit down and watch himself in toddlerhood on My First Sale, but it will be our own little HD version of a home movie.

P.S. Can you believe this all started back in September?

P.P.S. Do you think our house will look small on TV?



During our six and a-half years of marriage, I have never heard Alex utter the following (until last night): "Wow. We have a lot of shit we don't need." Last night was phase one of packing: cleaning out the "filing" cabinet. The picture above was taken in the very preliminary stages. I should have taken another shot for a more accurate representation when the drawer was empty, but I was too bogged down looking over my class schedule from design school in 2003 to think about it. I also found an atlas (pictured below) from the days before GPS (remember those?) when you actually needed to reference a map for an impending journey through six states. We uncovered the deed to our house (we should probably keep that) and a business card from the guy who serviced our HVAC unit two years ago. We kept the important things like passports and birth certificates and social security cards, and everyone has his or her own folder holding such documents. I had to remind Alex that the folder with your name on it is for important things and not important things plus a receipt for granite counter tops and your scuba diving license that expired 17 years ago. It was great to purge, but all I could think about was the attic. If one little drawer in one little cabinet generated so much trash, what in the world do we have in store for us when we brave the contents of the attic? I hope Alex with his "we have a lot of shit we don't need" mentality sticks around a little longer.

End note: the papers (albeit in a nice, organized stack) were still on the living room floor when Catcher woke up this morning, which prompted him to point to the pile and say, "What's going on with this mess?"


rent me

The closer we get to our moving date the closer we come to throwing in the towel on this whole selling process and making the decision to rent our house. We haven't had any showings in about three weeks and going into July, I'm not very confident that we will have any in the coming weeks either. As much as we'd love to put this house behind us and move on to the next chapter in our lives, it looks like someone else is writing the epilogue to this one. When I really think about it, I can't believe we've been trying to sell this house for two years. Catcher was Scout's age when this whole thing started, yet here we are. I do believe our house will rent quickly; I don't believe the rent will match our mortgage each month; I want to believe that someday this house will turn into an investment. Bravo, little home in the Carolinas, who knew you would turn out to be a jackpot?


our new place

With 38 days to go before our departure from Charlotte, this is the most prepared I've ever been for a big move. When I moved to New York City in 1999 I had no job and no apartment. It actually took me longer to find an apartment than to find a job, but the apartment was great and the job not so much. When Alex and I moved to Charlotte in 2005, I once again found myself without a job or a place to live. We stayed in a hotel for two months (can you believe?) and our lives revolved around a queen-sized bed and a receptionist named Pam. [Side note: this "hotel" was not exactly located within the city limits of Charlotte. The closest entertainment was a sketchy movie theater and the Red Lobster where throngs of people donning fanny packs would line up on a Saturday night...where had we moved?].

Now it's 2011, and with the birth of two children and ownership of my first home under my belt, I'm ready to make a move the big girl way. I still don't have a job in Austin (I'm working on it) but Alex and I are in the process of signing a lease. After weeks of research trying to figure out the "perfect" neighborhood and listening to everyone's opinion who lives in Austin or did live in Austin or once drove through Austin or has seen a picture of Austin, I finally landed on Berkshire Soco. The apartment we're renting is the smallest of the two bedrooms--it was all that was available for our move-in date--but at 1188 square feet, it will be the biggest place I've ever lived during my adult life. There are two bathrooms and two walk in closets! I know my excitement may seem silly to those who have basements and bonus rooms and sun rooms and breakfast nooks and all that jazz, but for a girl who started out in 300 square feet and has lived with a family of four in 847 square feet, this is huge. Not to mention the modern amenities such as a pool and valet dry cleaning and on-site gym. I may never want to leave this place...until some wild youngsters pull the fire alarm and wake us up at 2:00am.


everything must go!

Tonight I started thinking about packing. And packing up a U-Haul. And hauling things into that U-Haul. And unloading those things in an Austin location still TBD. And then I decided we need to have some sort of clearance sale before we leave Charlotte. Things I will not be selling include books--they came with us from New York City and they're going with us to Austin--and shoes and clothing. We also won't be selling any TVs, electronics, coffee tables, rocking chairs, cow chairs, ghost chairs, desks, beds or cribs. Oh, and not the sofa and the rug in the living room. Anything not mentioned above, however, may be up for grabs. Wait. I forgot to mention the python side table--not that either. The cheap mirror in my bedroom is definitely going along with the side table that has been sitting in our attic for two years. The bench up there may have a chance, however, since I have a plan for it which includes a Mexican blanket I hope to find in Playa del Carmen when we go there in a few weeks. I also plan to keep the chair that I got from eBay and the other chair I got from eBay (it's in a box in the attic that has never been opened). I'm definitely keeping that little elephant side table guy that I also have big plans for, and hopefully I can actually complete some of these projects I've been planning for over a year.


i blame it on the house, not myself

Here's what happened. I was rooting around in my closet for a pair of shoes while packing my gym bag for tomorrow--as per usual around 7:00pm after the kids are out of the bath and before I put Scout down in her crib--when I discovered that the "Damp Rid" I had purchased to help get the "damp" out of my closet had spilled. You're supposed to put it on a flat surface, so I had it resting on one of my shoe boxes. Does that count? Apparently not. At first I didn't think much of it until I put my hand in a somewhat syrupy feeling puddle of something (and this wouldn't be the worst thing I touched in the ensuing 60 seconds) and realized maybe I should wipe it up. I went in to the kitchen, grabbed a wad of paper towels and returned to the small, dark closet to clean up the mess. Of course I couldn't see what I was doing, and as I was moving the sleeves of my jackets that hang down to the floor, I put my hand on something round and cold and dark and wet. I jumped out of the closet and screeched, "I just touched something weird!" Scout started crying, and Alex looked at me like I was a crazy person. I made him get the flashlight and investigate (thinking I had come across a nest of baby bats or something) and he made the gruesome discovery...check it out for yourself:

This is my hand trying to force itself through a sleeve that should look like this (below):

And below is my favorite leather jacket with its now-wonky left-hand sleeve that found itself sitting in a puddle of Damp Rid and shrunk up to half its size. It's ruined. I freaked. I blamed this stupid small house and its stupid small, damp closets. Then Catcher saw what was going on and came into the kitchen saying "Your hand doesn't fit? Aw. It's okay." How can you stay mad at something so silly after you hear that? Then Alex told me we could cut off the sleeves and turn it into a sweet leather vest. Now that's an idea.


a grey day

Courteney (I never realized she spelled her name that way) Cox (note the Arquette has been dropped) must have been in a grey mood when she began remodeling her Malibu home. I love the minimalism and mix of materials, but I think the home could use a little more color. Especially in Malibu! Maybe daughter Coco has a pink bedroom that's not pictured, but I could use a little more sunshine. Images from Elle Decor.



I'm always joking that since I'm the "team photographer," I don't have any pictures of myself with the kids. I want them to see one day when I'm old and fat and dorky (okay, maybe not fat but definitely old and dorky) that I used to be kind of cute when they were babies. On Friday Scout was home sick from school, so I thought this would be my perfect opportunity to have a little photo session with the two of us. Note to self: a "photo session" with an 11-month old when you are photographer and subject of the picture is virtually impossible. Scout loves the swish-click of a digital camera--she turns her head and grabs for the zoom lens before you can press the "on" button (which you sometimes get confused with the "shutter" button as you're trying to keep your child from falling off the sofa while simultaneously perfecting your effortlessly cool/content/this-photo-transcends-time face). 


snapshots from the road

This weekend during his trip to Austin, Alex discovered what is sure to become my new favorite coffee shop: Ruta Maya. Here are the things I already love about this place without ever having seen it in person 1) it abandons the Seattle coffee shop mentality of dark rooms and cozy spaces for a wide open, warehouse look featuring industrial furniture and exposed ductwork 2) it serves organic, shade-grown coffee 3) there's free music performances for kids on Sunday mornings and 4) Ruta Maya offers free yoga classes with a cafe purchase of $3 or more [note: number four is spoken by the future, hippie-Austin me].


austin sky

This is the view from Alex's hotel room in Austin right now. I know everything looks cooler when the sun is setting and there's a vintage-y window reflection thing going on, but it still looks pretty awesome, verdad? Tomorrow morning he has a 7:00am swim date at Barton Springs (images below). So what if it's 100 degrees if you can go swimming here, right?!


scouting season

Alex is about to board a plane headed to Austin, TX. As luck would have it, when assignments came down for college baseball playoffs this week, Alex was handed Austin. So in between 12-hour work days and catered lunches in an 18-wheeler, I've picked out a few houses that I would like Alex to check out while he's there. Actually, I'm really more interested in neighborhood (or street) reports at this point, but I'm really looking forward to all the great images he's sure to capture on his new iPhone 4.

In the meantime, I've done a little research on my own and have discovered some great places I can't wait to check out once our ship has sailed.

Malaga Tapas Bar

by george
Barton Creek Farmer's Market

Annie's Cafe Bar

Jo's Coffee



UrbanRoad, from etsy

Maybe I'm still thinking about my Saturday morning visitors. Or I could just be thinking about my upcoming move to Texas. It's kind of funny when I think about moving to Texas. It's one thing to say Austin, but when you think about the state of Texas, that conjures up a whole series of images involving cowboys and mechanical bulls and tumbleweed and antlers. Oh yeah, that's where I was going with this: antlers. I figure I need to have some sort of antler representation when we make the big move, so this is top on my list right now. It's funky. It's art. It's Texas. In case I get over the painting before we ever find a house in Austin, here are some more antler-themed artifacts that I discovered on etsy:



guerilla showing

Tonight Alex and Catcher were outside checking out some big dog they had spotted in the neighborhood when Alex poked his head in the front door saying, "Honey? Are you decent?" This isn't an unusual question considering I'm usually in my nightgown by 6:15pm, but tonight I happened to be wearing a tee shirt and sweatpants. "Yeah. What's going on?" I peeked my head out from the kitchen and saw Alex leading a tall stranger into our home. "Come on in C--," he said enthusiastically. I should have guessed: it was another guerilla showing by Alex.

Apparently the dog that Alex and Catcher were stalking had an owner who had a boyfriend who is looking to buy a home in our neighborhood, so Alex welcomed him in and told him all the great things about this house (the lot, the lot, the lot). Our visitor was most impressed, however, with the double-paned windows. Apparently decent windows are hard to come by in the older homes in this neighborhood, so that's a plus. He also mentioned that he's been looking at condos Uptown, but he'd really like "some property" (good Southern boy!). I almost told him we'd throw in the TV--or the iPad--if he bought the house, but I held back. I didn't want to appear too desperate.

After he left, Alex and I were feeling a little proud of ourselves and wondering if we would get the .03% commission that should be ours if he bought the house. I also could't help but notice that today is 6/6, so maybe there is something to all this six business. I'm thinking I should send Alex out for a lotto ticket.