And I STILL Haven’t Met One of My Closest Friends

Let’s get personal again, shall we?

So.. I’m a weird friendship person. I’m a weird heart person! I sometimes feel so much that the emotions are unfathomable. You literally can’t move on, go on, live on like that. So I stifle them and shuffle them and push them deep inside, and then they leak out in the strangest ways. I’m a weird emotions person. I’ve been spending years cracking the code on getting closer to.. well.. ME. The thing is, once I did/do that, then I can get closer to others. Friendship is that weird bird for me. You don’t choose your family, although you choose your friends who become family. Romance is.. well.. romance. It’s bizarre and everlasting and unlasting and totally in a world all its own. Friendship, though. Well, that’s my great mystery.

Sometimes you’re friends with people for convenience or location, geography, timing. They go in and out of your life. Sometimes, they last forever. Sometimes you’re friends with someone but one of you has feelings for the other and whether that’s the basis or a symptom or a cause, those don’t last very long either. It’s so different now that I’m an adult and a parent. The friendships, man. They’ve been some of the best. I’m still awkward, though! I’m still scared to make those first or second moves. I can’t sustain friendship the way my heart wants to sustain friendships. I might feel left out, or leave someone out, but it’s not intentional or even logical. I think the problem is, if not often, sometimes mine to have.

Every now and then, though, I meet someone and there aren’t complexities. The underlying love is rather simple and that makes it easier to reach out and take hold. It happens enough to sustain my friendship heart. Sometimes, people get me. Sometimes, I get people. There comes that familiar ache – when you deeply care about someone and want them around. You hear that click and everything falls into place. Only, this one time it happened with someone online. And I STILL haven’t met her, but I feel the same – and stronger! We have about 3,000 things in common and that list grows every day, for years now.

The first time we ever talked on the phone, I was in a crisis and I thought of her, and two hours later, we got off the phone and I completely forgot why I had called her to begin with. The stress melted away easily. I can talk about her for 17 blog posts, but you can just read her blog and get to know her. Janine is my online soulmate and one day we’ll meet for real!

friends

A few years ago, Janine and I interviewed each other for Ask Away Friday. It was special! I found the old transcript (it wasn’t hard) and decided to put it back here because it fascinates me. And this fits in with the Finish the Sentence Friday theme!

To see Janine’s answers to my ten questions, go HERE. And here are my answers to her lovely questions:

1. This week we both got the brand new iPhone 6. I know that we were both more then excited and would love to hear what your favorite new feature on this phone is?

With going from the 4S to the 6, with no dabbling at all with the 5 (other than using Cassidy’s once), the camera upgrade is awesome! The first photo I took with the new phone was at night in a dark room. My 4S would have taken a blob of nothing.

This was the first photo:

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Here’s the second from the next day in daylight:

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I LOVE the slow-motion video and the time-lapse video options: (Des whining “Mama” in slow motion)

This next video isn’t the best technically, but it might be the most joyous video I’ve ever seen. This is Des eagerly waiting a piece of chocolate birthday cake. Can you remember the last time you were SO excited, that you just couldn’t handle it?

2. An extension to question one, Apple touted this camera during the original press release feed (yes I was that crazy and watched the live feed while working the day it happened). As a professional photographer, have you used the new camera yet and what do you think of it compared to some of the heavy hitters out there, such as Canon/Nikon DLSRs (is there any comparison even)?

The Verizon sales guy said to me, “This is the only camera you will ever need. Except..you. Didn’t you say you’re a photographer?” I giggled. I half agree, though. If you don’t have a great camera or if you have an old point-and-shoot, this might be better! Even if you do have a great camera, there are just situations in life that call for the iPhone. When I go to fairs and I don’t want to carry the big one and I can easily upload and share the photos/videos? Awesome! It’s personally nice to have both. For clients, of course I use my Canon. Creamy, dreamy, bokeh, catchlights, and most of all – CONTROL.

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3. Since we both love summer and are not winter fans, but still seem to enjoy fall (yes it is definitely here), what is on your fall bucket list for this year?

I love fall! I only like spring better, because it means summer and then fall. Poor fall, leading to winter. Anyway, it’s glorious here. I definitely want to do the Frozen-themed corn maze, link HERE. I’d love to go on a foliage drive up to northern New England. October is the best month here, and that’s when my sister is getting married, so we might not do everything I want to do, but we’ll come close. I want to visit the Florence Griswold Museum to see the Wee Faerie Village Alice in Wonderland exhibit. I’d love to book fall foliage clients, although I already have quite a few set up, and weekends will run out fast.

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4. We both had a shared obsession for Robin Thicke’s song (Blurred Lines), but that was so last year. What would be your favorite song for 2014? I need a new song addiction and would love to share with you in new found music collaboration of sorts.

I was going to reply with… “Obviously, it’s Safe and Sound” but I just found out that song isn’t 2014! Like.. at all. So…I think it’s “Promise” by Tori Amos. It’s not at all pop.. as far as I know, though:

5. When I do finally someday in the future get to visit you, what would we do?

When is this happening??? I think if it’s fall, we’ll definitely do the Frozen corn maze in Vermont! And check out the beautiful New England fall foliage. Of course, I’ll bring you to my favorite cookie store, because it is just so talked about on my blog and on Facebook. If you bring the girls, I’ll have to do a photo shoot. And let them play with Scarlet’s princess stuff endlessly. I’ll have to show you this small and proud city’s wonderful downtown, and I’ll buy you a hot drink of your choice. And of course we’d talk for hours! Cassidy would make something great for dinner.

6. What do you think you would be thinking the first time we do actually meet for real?

At this point I’ve met a lot of blogging friends and with pretty much each one, it was like this: “Oh yeah. It’s you. I’ve.. known you for five years, it feels like!” There was.. no adjustment period. I showed up on Michelle’s doorstep and then met Ilene and Stephanie like it was nothing. I spotted Bev across a park and Jennifer across a parking lot while I was driving with my window open and we just instantly knew each other. I had a magical meeting with Tricia across a grassy hill and with Iva and Kristi in the dorm “lobby” of BlogU. Not to mention sitting next to Katie during a wonderful class. And Allie in a trampoline park! Sometimes I get really nervous, though! I’d either be really nervous or totally calm and I’d just.. know you.

That’s what I’d be thinking. That’s what I’ve been thinking all along.

Edited to add that I walked into Dana and Lisa’s dorm room like we were old college buddies!

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7. Ok, even though we haven’t met in person, I read your blog with ever new post, I talk to you sometimes through text multiple times a week (sometimes even daily) and yet there has to be something I don’t know about you. Can you share something about yourself that I don’t already know about you?

When I was a kid, I got something stuck up my nose and had to have it removed by a doctor.. after.. weeks.. or months. Of my three pets, I’m in love with Athena, I’m in love with Dinah, but I don’t care much for Bella. Like.. if she got a new loving home, I’d be ok. I keep her around for Scarlet’s sake but she has a terrible personality. Does that make me sound mean?

8. I know we both have had our recent moments with dealing with the mere thoughts of our kids no longer being babies anymore. In this vain, what are your hopes, fears and dreams as kids grow up.

I’m hope they’re always as happy as they are now. They are.. so happy. Right now, Des is dancing and singing and Scarlet is laughing, despite having a fever. She’s also eating raspberries and cookies, so I’m thinking the fever went down. I want them to not feel trapped in life. I want them to see the world, do what they love, and most of all – be kind and strong.

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9. How has Scarlet’s first month of Kindergarten been for her? For you?

It’s been wonderful for her. When you ask her how her day at school was, every day, she says “GREAT!” She loves music class best, and also Physical Education. She calls it “Physical Therapy” and I don’t correct her because it’s adorable as heck. She has a lovely class – of both boys and girls. I’ve gotten to know many of them. Her teacher told me she was delightful. We also stay after school a lot on the playground, while the weather still holds up, and it’s such a nice community of other school parents. As for me, I’m getting there. I still have traces of PTSD nearly every day before I pick her up. I just feel.. heart-poundy. Stomach-butterfly-like. It’s strange. I’m working through it. What else can I do? We learn. We learn together.

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10. I have one last year of pre-school with Lily and believe you have two with Des. I still am not sure how I will be with Lily starting compared to how I reacted with Emma starting Kindergarten this past fall. How do you think you will be with Des when he starts Kindergarten?

I remember a few years ago when my friends’ kids were starting kindergarten, that I felt a little smug. I felt like I still had so much time before I had to worry about it. And I did, to an extent. I guess I feel that way now. I still have three years with this wonderful boy, before worrying about full school days. I think Scarlet is hand-holding me along the way. Some people say it’s harder with the first. Others say it’s harder with the youngest. I can’t imagine it will be, to be honest. And if it is, can’t I just have another baby and prolong the inevitable? Yes. Yes, I can.

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This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “Online relationships remind people of their social experiences in high school…” Come link up with your spin on the matter: HERE.

What would you say?

2 Ways Ziploc® Brand Bags Help Us Make Peppermint Sugar Cookies

This post is written in partnership with SC Johnson. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Making holiday cookies this season? See how Ziploc® Brand products help make our famous peppermint sugar cookies in two important ways #AD #ZiplocHolidayUAI

Cookie making, cooking making – that time of year is here!

Ok, let’s be honest here. If you have kids, you are familiar with Ziploc® Brand products. From the days of babies and diaper bags, to preschool crafts and projects, to travel kits, first-aid kits, and more, these products are a part of our life. I find we use them more than ever during the holiday season, though! From food preservation to DIY crafts, they help us organize our lives! Ziploc® Brand bags and containers are in our pantries and cabinets, and proud! I wouldn’t want it any other way.

sugar cookies

My husband buys the Ziploc® Brand Storage Gallon Family Pack (66 ct) from Walmart, where we also buy all our other holiday items! And it’s not just for the winter holidays, but Walmart has been pulling us happily through the fall holidays too. One of my favorite activities to do with my kids is to make holiday cookies for our loved ones. We make them a little different every year. Two years ago, we made gingerbread men. Last year we wanted salted chocolate gingerbread cookies, and made gingerbread MOOSE instead. This year, we are switching it up even more and making Peppermint Sugar Cookies WITH colored dough. I had no idea how to do any of this, but we figured it out and I’m sharing it with you. It’s fun and easy!

sugar cookies

1 – Make your favorite sugar cookie dough. For ours, we preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Then in a bowl, stir together 2.75 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt. In another bowl, mix together 1 cup of softened butter and 1.5 cups of white sugar. Then beat in 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Blend with the dry ingredients. Next, split your cookie dough in half. Put each half in a separate Ziploc® Brand bag. Now it’s time for color!

2 – Put a few drops of red food coloring in one bag, and green in the other. Let your kids mix it all around so it’s evenly distributed in the dough. Don’t worry if it looks swirly. It will spread out more when it’s time to roll and make shapes.

3 – Next, set the dough aside (or continue to let your kids mix up the color safely in the Ziploc® Brand bag), and get your peppermint candies ready. I used soft peppermint candies, because they’re easier to bite for little ones.

4 – Put the peppermint candies in the Ziploc® Brand bag and crush your candy to put on your cookies for baking!

5 – Next, it’s cookie decorating time. Have fun and let little hands help! You’ll see the color spread evenly now.

6 – Bake your sugar cookies for 9-11 minutes in a preheated oven, until golden. Enjoy!

And that’s it! Then you share them with family and friends. We have new neighbors this year and I know they feel like they’re a long way from home, so I think this will help them feel welcome. I still remember when we moved in and it was cold and I was pregnant with Des. Our neighbors came over with holiday cookies and hugs. That’s how they introduced themselves! I love that cookie making will be a part of our holiday narrative, for the kids to remember. I love that Ziploc® Brand bags are both candy crushers and cookie dough color distributors. AND Ziploc® Brand containers hold cookie dough.

Eventually, they hold our cookies as we bring them to our loved ones to spread holiday cheer. The best!

Don’t forget to go to Walmart for ALL your holiday needs, and use this digital coupon for Ziploc® Brand products!

How do you use your Ziploc® Brand bags for the holidays?

This post is not sponsored by or affiliated with Walmart.