Memory Makers May/June 2002

Capturing the Facts of Life
Taking the good and the bad, former TV star Lisa Whelchel Cauble relishes her role as mother and scrapbooker.
By Kerry Arquette

It's a fact of life that child stars grow up. Lisa Whelchel Cauble, who spent nine years playing young Blair Warner on the NBC television sitcom "The Facts of Life," has certainly done so, becoming a pastor's wife, and mother and a scrapbooker. After paring back her theatrical work, Lisa turned her creative efforts toward the raising of her three young children. She has shared insights gleaned from motherhood with readers of her two popular books: Creative Correction: Extraordinary Ideas for Everyday Discipline and The Facts of Life and Other Lessons my Father Taught me. And she's captured and recorded the experiences that led to those insights in a dozen creative scrapbooks featuring her kids.

"Childhood is one of the most precious times of life and yet kids lack the maturity to full appreciate it. What a shame!" Lisa says. "But scrapbooks can capture those moments and memories so that we can enjoy, value and learn from the experiences when we get older."

Dream Vacation

The kinds of experiences Lisa's children enjoy extend far beyond the neighborhood birthday parties and park outings that define most children's early years. There are definite perks to having a famous mother-including tan opportunity last fall to be with her on the set of "The Facts of Life Reunion" television show that was shot in Toronto. ("I called a local Creative Memories consultant in Toronto and got supplies to make the other actresses, the director and producer of the show Sentiment Albums. They brought tears to everybody's eyes. They're something that will remind everybody of a wonderful shared memory," Lisa says.)

Lisa's writing career has led to its own wealth of memory-making opportunities for her family. When her publisher recently proposed a book tour to promote her latest work, Lisa initially declined. As a homeschooling mother, she felt it would be impossible for her to leave her children. Then with typically creative thinking, she set about finding a way to continue her parenting duties and fulfill her publisher's wishes. She and her family moved into a 40-foot RV on July 14, 2001 and set off on a yearlong jaunt across the United States.

"We try to map out our journey so we end up each weekend in a large town where I do book signings, appear on local television shows and participate in radio programs to speak about my books," Lisa says. "The rest of the time we visit the places my children would normally only have had a chance to read about, memorize the dates and forget again over summer vacation."

Hands on History

When planning the trip Lisa scoured the Internet for educational and historic sites sure to inspire her children to ask questions and find answers. High points on their tour include Colonial Williamsburg, Plymouth Plantation, Mystic Seaport, New York City, Philadelphia, Yellowstone National Park, Walt Disney World and factories such as Crayola. But Lisa says that her children are not the only ones learning and growing from the road tour. A stop at Mount Rushmore provided Lisa with an insight she'll carry long after the family has returned to their Santa Clarita, California, home.

"In looking at the mountain I suddenly has a clearer perspective on my own purpose," Lisa says. "I realized that, just as it took the artist years of shaping and molding to encourage the images of those famous men to emerge, it takes years of constant work for parents to bring their children into focus. We parents are the sculptors whose hard work can create something magnificent that will, ultimately, hopefully, bless many people."

Keeping a Record

Lisa records each leg of her family's trip with a digital camera. She's taken thousand so of pictures-all organized on CDs-or events both small and large. Each evening she posts pictures from that day's adventures along with a journaled account of the family's progress on her Web site-LisaWhelchel.com. According to Lisa, thousand of families across America tune in to the site and are participating, vicariously, in "The Family Dream" trip.

The only negative part of this journey is that I'm not able to scrapbook while we're on the road this year," Lisa laments. "Still, that means I can look forward to creating a lot of albums when we get back to California!" She confesses to being a reluctant journaler in the past and feels relieved to know that her commitment to her nightly Internet postings will make the task easier. "I'll already have the journaling done and will just print the stories out and add photos to the pages once we get home! I can't wait!"

Once home, Lisa is also looking forward to renewing subscriptions to her favorite scrapbooking publications and immersing herself in reading.

"I canceled my subscriptions for this year because I thought it would be to difficult to read the articles and not be able to try out the ideas! It would be like being on a diet and reading through Gourmet magazine!" she says laughing. "Too, too cruel!"

Scraps of Life

Although Lisa can't scrapbook much while her family is on the road, she looks forward to getting back to one of her favorite hobbies when they return home to California in July. Here are a few of Lisa's scrapbook favorites:

Favorite Place to Scrapbook: I live five minutes from a place called Teacups and treasures. It is an amazing facility where you can buy supplies and scrapbook with friends and strangers.

Favorite Place to Scrapbook at Home: My dining room. I leave everything on the table even though there are no doors to close the room off. I go in on Sunday afternoons or after the kids go to bed and just-attack!

How Often Do You Scrapbook: It goes in spurts. If I'm not working on a book, or it isn't holiday time, I'll scrapbook for 30 minutes several times a week. But I can go three months and never pick anything up when I'm on a deadline.

Favorite Time to Scrapbook: At a retreat-maybe a three-day retreat (but a seven-day retreat would be even better!).

Favorite Scrapbooking Tool: Corner rounder because I try to get a lot done and don't have the luxury to take hours on each page. I'm also just not that creative and the corner rounder lets me make a nice-looking page with little fuss.

Favorite Stickers: Border stickers because they allow me to make a page quickly while giving it a lot of color. They also take up space on the page so I didn't have to add much more for it to look complete.

Favorite Scrapbook Page: When my kids were smaller we let them make mud pies. I took a million pictures. I colored my daughter's hand with brown marker and pressed it on the Mud Pie page. It's not only perfect for the design, it preserved her tiny handprint forever.


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