The One With the Inspiration.

I had the kind of day yesterday in which I watched sad and/or inspiring videos on the internet just to induce tears. I really believe I would be happy if every single day could be sunny and 75, without a trace of humidity. San Diego, anyone?

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I’d take mountains. I’d take salty dog beaches. I’d take anywhere that never rained, or if it did rain, it was only at night with romantic thunderstorms. Or it all happened in one day, just like Bradbury’s “All Summer In a Day” in which all of the sunlight on Venus takes place for one hour every seven years. I’d take that as a single gloomy, rainy, humid day – once every seven years. Luckily, my Ask Away Friday Partner this week is the endlessly fascinating April, from 100lb Countdown – a blog focusing on, you guessed it, losing 100 pounds. She is a beautiful wife, mother, blogger, entrepreneur and lawyer. She has an inspiring love story, a sad story, and many more posts about connections, family, her mother, healthy living, and more. Check her out!

100lb Countdown

It is time for the all new #AskAwayFriday! Get to know our new hosts, meet our new co-host, and grab our new logo! Be sure to check out our new Facebook page “AskAwayFriday” for a great place to meet up and send out a #BuddyRequest if you need a partner to swap with! And always feel free to contact me here or anywhere if you want to swap with me.

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#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County as a place for us to connect with other bloggers by asking them ten questions to really get to know them. The sky is the limit with the questions you ask!

Meeting other bloggers and making new friends is one of the best parts of this online world!

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Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings
and
Amber from Bold Fit Mom

Introducing this week’s amazing co-host…Shelly from DIY Mama!

Shelly is a new Mama and a DIY Pro. When you visit her site you can look for a bit of fun, craft and organization. Did I mention she is also a Pro on all things Disney? Yes, so if you want to know the where to go and Must See on Disney be sure to head over and check out Shellyโ€™s place.

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Make sure you read April’s answers to my questions HERE. And now for my answers to her questions:

1. As a blogger, we are told that we should strive to have lots of comments. I can’t help but notice that your blog posts tend to have over 100 comments each! How do you do that? Are they the product of you being the Queen of Commenting? Or something else?

Maybe a combination of things! When I first started visiting SITS every day, I came across a blogger who at first intimidated the heck out of me with this post: “24 Reasons You Don’t Have Comments On Your Blog.” I remember thinking that a lot of those reasons resonated with me and I began to change my ways of blogging. I am great at commenting because I genuinely care. The thing is, my volume is so high right now that I don’t actively seek out new blogs as much as I did in the past, but every week or so, new bloggers will come to visit and I can’t help but visit back. Often, new friendships are formed. I always have room in my heart and in my reading time to welcome new bloggers here. And sometimes my in-person family & friends comment too!

I can only get work done when these three aren’t on the loose, though!

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2. You mentioned that blogging and commenting 6-18 hours a week. With Bee being 2 and Butterfly at 7 months, I’m struggling to just get a post up. How do you organize your day to get all that done? What’s your day like?

It used to be easier. I’ve had to let up, but I still devote a ton of time to scheduling my three posts. I wake up with the kids and spend all morning with one or both of them, depending on preschool. While Des naps in the afternoon, Scarlet will have 1-2 hours of playing/drawing. That’s when I work. I’ll do an hour of working on photos/blogging and an hour of reading/commenting. Then we do something fun until Cassidy comes home. Night time and weekends are for catch up! There is endless work to be done in building my blog and building my photography business, but the kids and dog come first with me.

They need to run around a lot.

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3. I noticed that a lot of your posts are lengthy, even without pictures. The common recommendation is that it should be a shorter post. I know my writing suffers in an attempt to be succinct. As a frequent reader and commenter, what do you like? Do you feel that long posts are rambling?

I’m laughing because mine used to be SO MUCH LONGER. Without photos to break them up. Over time, I’ve learned to break up posts and do series if it’s too much to talk about. I think if I’m really crunched for time, I can’t lie that I’d prefer to read shorter articles and posts, but most importantly – people need to get out all that they need to get out. I wouldn’t want anything to cut that short. Constant repeating might seem like rambling to me, but I don’t see it often. Gotta do what you gotta do!

4. Now that I’ve moved to Florida, I’ve encountered some of the worst driving. Somehow some drivers manage to not pull out to make a left turn while others stop in the middle of the intersection while going straight. It’s driving me crazy. What is your biggest pet peeve?

My sister used to say the most common thing I said on the road why, “Why are you braking on a highway??” So a big pet peeve is how stupid and selfish people can be. I’ve got precious cargo in my car! And I’m including myself. However my biggest pet peeve is really when someone is slow in the left lane and they don’t notice the long line behind them, and for many miles, people are just..stuck. They can’t get to the right lane (not that they should weave) and they’re stuck in the left. It’s just..deplorable.

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5. I lived in California my entire life and in Northern California for three years, in Davis. Each area of California has his own vibe. What was the best and worst thing you liked about SF?

Ok, I’ll go worst first. I’m not cut out for city life. And the homelessness, drugs, puddles of vomit on the streets? I just..couldn’t. I became a shell of myself there. And what was the best? It’s hard to explain. It’s just a feeling of youthful dreaming – my life spread out as wide and as wonderfully as a Pacific coast beach. I miss the epic beauty, the breathlessness, the feelings of youth and intense love and feeling like I was finally living in dreams. It’s a power I can’t define or describe. It just is.

Can you tell how blown away we were to be there?

6. If money was no object, please describe your dream home in any details you’ve dreamed of? Pictures please, if you have one!

Well, we kind of have it. Our home has the seeds for it! I love that modern rustic farmhouse/ski lodge type thing. MODERN, though. I don’t want a fixer upper. I want an updated kitchen, tons of light, open areas, geeky sci-fi memorabilia, my photography on canvases, a master bedroom suite with walk-in closets and a jacuzzi tub. A treehouse. Beautifully large kids’ rooms and guest rooms. THREE or more bathrooms. Fireplaces. Amazing views. An outdoor hot tub.. Secret hiding places. A finished basement. A bay window for reading. A wraparound porch with porch swings. A whole room made of out chocolate..

(just kidding)

7. You mention that finances are tight. What’s your best budget friendly advice?

They’re not as tight as they used to be, but there is lots of room for a better life. Well I’m no expert but the kids are outfitted completely by gifts, consignment sales and hand-me-downs! I used to think my kids would dress in shiny, new clothes but I really can’t think of a worse investment sometimes. They grow! They roll around in mud! They have diaper incidents!

And they look great in everything.

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8. I think your spring dresses are adorable. Where do you shop?

Thanks! I used to shop at the mall but it doesn’t seem to work for me anymore. With the dresses, I’ve gotten some of my favorites at a local store in Northampton called Faces. And I usually get three or four new ones every year in three other places: 1. Zulily daily sales. 2. eBay! 3. Cape Cod – there’s a sundress shop in Provincetown.

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9. With your children, you use the phrase “don’t ever change”. What do you truly hopes never changes with either of them? What do you hope does?

Scarlet is not rigid or anxious. You could talk up a trip to Disney to her for six months and then if plans changed, she’d roll with it. She’d just shrug and find her happiness elsewhere. She is so resilient and strong. I hope that never changes. And as for what I hope changes, well, she can be so mouthy!

With Des, he is delightfully happy. He is just..so happy. He is ALWAYS giggling and getting excited about EVERYTHING. It’s like a constant party with him. And he looks at everything like it’s magical. I hope that never changes. And as for what I hope changes, I sure hope he is potty trained soon!

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10. Like you, I wrote (through AIM, remember that? ) to my husband tons before I saw a picture or heard his voice. When I finally saw my husband, he looked so young! I wasn’t expecting it. Was there anything that you did not expect or surprise you when you finally saw the picture or was it everything you dreamed of?

Ah, that’s a good one! I really didn’t know although my outside sales rep had described him well. I think there was a certain amount of time between the first photo he sent me, which wasn’t surprising OR everything I had dreamed of – it was just…a blank slate: (he’s in front here)

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The second picture he sent quickened my pulse: (he’s on the left here)

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And one soon after that became my favorite. It’s the wide smile! (he’s in the middle here)

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*****

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Comments

The One With the Inspiration. — 124 Comments

  1. Love these questions! I love anytime you are asked blogging questions cause I want to know all your secrets lol. Jk, but I really do find it interesting to talk to other bloggers who have children and find out how they schedule in blogging. Mine is all at night right now, but just recently both boys have started napping at the same time, so I might be able to get some blogging in during the day now (if I don’t pass out from exhaustion myself, haha!). I tend to not be very disciplined sometimes.

    And I really get stressed with new clothes. I prefer them used. My kids destroy clothes so fast, it’s depressing.

    • And can you imagine buying them fancy clothes and seeing them destroyed? Makes me shudder.
      I love hearing blogging secrets too. Of course it will always look differently for your family but I’ve heard some things over the years that really stuck with me!

  2. I think the first time I told my mother that some of my children’s clothes came from a second hand store she had a miniature heart attack. She couldn’t understand why. They play. They roll around on the ground, they get dirty…they GROW. I can’t understand why would I spend $20 on a brand new dress/shirt/pants that they will outgrown in 2,3 months when I can get them the same thing from a second hand store for far less money.

    • I remember going to Nordstrom and seeing kids’ clothes for $60! And that was baby clothes! They might last for a week. Maybe a month, tops!

  3. I LOVE that post. Back when I was in Medical Device sales I think I went out every weekend and blew money on clothes for the kids. Now that I am a poor stay at home mom who blogs, I smack myself over all of the money I spent in things that will either be ruined shortly our too small quickly. Ugh. However, I did save some of those and Addy can grow right into them! Loved all of those pictures, and is that George Lucas in the middle? It sure looks like it….which would explain the picture before it….LOL. I’m a bit of a Star Wars fan….and basically any of the Sci Fi franchises.

    • I used to spend tons of money… on myself!
      Yes, that’s certainly George Lucas! I actually used this photo last week and talked more about it but this week, I just let it explain itself! Mainly that Cassidy looks a lot happier than he does! He used to work there. Cassidy was even an extra in Episode II!

  4. Before I had kids, I used to say that my kids will never look grubby, wear hand-me-downs etc.
    I have the grubbiest 2 year old around despite our best efforts. But hey, he’s happy, he laughs, he has fun (and oh god, I hope he never changes too), so we roll with it.

  5. can’t go wrong with hand me downs or thrift stores!

    my driving pet peeve is when people don’t use their blinkers – how hard it is – come on people!

    Have a great weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I don’t know if you’ve heard but in MA, they started putting up road sides to say, “Use Yer Blinkah” in the Boston accent! I haven’t seen one personally but I know they’ve made their way this far west from Boston!

  6. I love hand me downs and I hate shopping, so that works well for me. I’m working on potty training too! It’s such a process. I don’t recall it being this difficult for me! Lol! Are you using any books or video to get it done? Love your answers. I have so much to learn and it might mainly be time management!

    • I haven’t even started with Des, to be honest. Maybe when he turns two. With my daughter, we started when she was 2.2 or so and we used that “Three Day Potty Training” e-book, given to us by a friend. I do still have it somewhere.. It wasn’t hard objectively, but it was hard because I became pregnant with Des and I could not deal well with getting up and helping her constantly. I just wanted to lay on the couch, with her in a diaper!

  7. Totally not afraid to go with hand me downs for my kids either and just can’t believe how fast they do grow out of their clothes and also how dirty then can get on a daily basis. And yet they are having a ton of fun doing it, so must be doing something right. That said great questions this week and always love learning that much more about you here. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • They’ll probably share clothes for life! My sisters and I have three very different builds, and yet we all wear the same size for the most part! Or at least we used to – I haven’t tried in ages.

  8. I love that you allow yourself to ‘get it all out’ in your posts without restrictions. There are some topics and emotions that do need to be expressed freely. I have a few posts that get lengthy but I tr to break up the paragraphs with headings and such I don’t have as many awesome pics like you… ๐Ÿ˜€

    • You seem to do just fine! I used to just post lengthy blogs without good paragraphs/photos. People’s eyes seem to need breaks. This is all a bit new to me but as a photographer, I don’t know why I used to blog without photos.

  9. Oo see, I can have such road rage when people cut me off. Or don’t use their turn signals.

    I always love your posts! I never mind long posts despite what the “experts” say.

    You know my daughter has a large closet of clothes, but she doesn’t grow quickly. She was in size 5 for like 2 years! She’s finally moved to size 6 in some things. But yes, a lot of her stuff usually gets stained. She is not a dainty little girl.

    I will have to check out Shelly’s blog, as we love Disney!

    • Scarlet is a very slow grower. She’s also so tiny! I was tiny until high school and then I shot up to at least be average size but she can easily still fit in some 3T clothes and she’s almost five!

  10. I love reading lengthy posts as long as they’re insightful and not full of rants. When I feel that I don’t have much time to read, I bookmark the blog and read the post again at another time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    That’s a really cute photo of Scarlet on number 7! Love it! I like that Scarlet chooses happiness all the time and I’d also hope that she keeps that till she grows up. As always I had fun reading your answers! Hope you enjoy your weekend.

    • At least you bookmark it to go back to it! I confess sometimes I like to watch rants unfold. Maybe it’s the wicked side of me.
      I love that photo of Scarlet! It was actually a brand new dress – but it was a given from my sister. NYC. Fancy, fancy!

  11. I’d say about 99% of the clothes I have purchased for Eve have been from consignment shops & yard sales. I barely buy new clothes for myself (I LOVE consignment shops), so it just seems silly to buy things new she is going to outgrow in a few months. Plus the consignment shop I go to the most is in a local library and sales help to support it!
    It sounds like you have a really great routine for getting work done. I’m still trying to figure that out with Eve. I think (hope?) it will be easier when she gets older and can theoretically entertain herself longer. We’ll see!

    • It depends. It can be harder as they get older because they sleep less and once they get mobile they might be the types to go for electric sockets or other things! But there is baby proofing. And also, they get older and get more independent too. Scarlet and Des love to play alone. I think sitting is always a fun one. When they can just sit for hours. I miss that phase!

  12. Wait a hot minute right here. CASSIDY HAS A PICTURE ALL CASUAL LIKE WITH GEORGE LUCAS??? WHAT??!!!! I cannot wait to tell Bobby. He is going to FREAK OUT! How do you just slip that in like “oh, Cassidy is the one on the left”. WOW!!!
    I’m fully on board with San Diego like 75 degree goodness (and the room made entirely of chocolate!) ๐Ÿ˜€ –Lisa

    • Definitely show Bobby!
      It’s funny because I used that photo last week when I was writing about it being almost ten years since we met, and I wasn’t casual about the photo there!
      So I just slipped it in here all cool-like. Funny, no?

  13. I love reading about how other people balance blogging and the rest of their life. I’m surprised you only spend an hour reading blogs – you must be a quick reader! I need to get better at setting a time limit – whatever isn’t done at the end of that time has to wait until tomorrow. And Zulily? Just signed up – oh my goodness. It’s like going to Marshalls without leaving home.

    • Oh that’s just the daytime thing. I catch up on reading blogs at night and on weekends! And also, some days are just more empty and some days my Bloglovin is FULL of really wonderful blogs. It ebbs and flows.
      Zulily is fantastic. I signed up for the baby stuff and I never buy it! I’ve bought a few toys, but mostly I look for me.

  14. Florida definitely has some horrible drivers – my aunt used to get soo pissed off when I’d ride with her. Although, her driving scared me on different levels – starting with the fact she had no windshield wipers O_o. Bump that no 6-8 hours commenting although I probably do 5 a week but I have lazy weeks – laziness + family trumps all. ๐Ÿ™‚ Holy crap we’re going to freakin’ meet soon I’m sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo excited!!!!!!!!! Happy Friday lovely Tamara!!! -Iva

    • I do confess to seeing AWFUL driving when I was in the Ft. Lauderdale area but..how do I say this delicately..it’s a lot of very old people. It was sad. I saw people driving down a one way street the wrong way. Or the wrong way on major roads. It was..scary.
      I cannot believe we’re going to meet soon. I’m in shock! I hope I don’t blow it by being hopelessly uncool. It could happen.

      • LOL That’s the best part they were struggling to look over the wheel. Either that or they were just crazy Cubans – however, miss their freakin’ coffee sooo bad and I could get it for $1!!!! There is no way you can be uncool – tired maybe but nothing some kombucha can’t fix! ๐Ÿ˜€ Wait isn’t there some retro party thing going on? I need to get it together and look at the schedule because I am a big pre-planner of outfits+accessories.

        • Tired is possible! Maybe a little heartbroken at leaving my little ones for two nights. More than a little heartbroken that preschool graduation AND Des’ birthday are on the same day, during the week after BlogU. And I have a dentist appointment that week.
          Please tell me kombucha can fix all of that?!

          • If it can provide my hypersomniatic behind with some energy, it will for you too ๐Ÿ™‚ Wow you’re going to have such an exciting week!! My son turns 7 on the 31st – I feel old. They’ll be with their grandparents who spoil them rotten why do you feel bad? Lol it’s a well deserved, guilt-free break! Rejoice in the glory!!

            • I don’t know! I wish I could be less of a hot mess. It will probably be fine. Des tends to cry when I leave but it’s different when he’s with his grandparents and sister. We did leave for a weekend in Vermont and he was fine but he was home.
              We shall see!

              • You got this – ball out and quit stressing they’ll live. ๐Ÿ™‚ Like the bf says, compared to what other kids have to worry about in other parts of the world kids here have it good. If I think of things on a grander scale it helps put things I worry about at any given moment in perspective. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. I totally agree with you about kids’ clothes. I only buy new for holidays. Otherwise all their clothes are hand-me-downs, thrift store kinds, or gifts. Most of mine are too, to be honest. I like buying second hand because you can already tell if it’s going to hold up or not.

    • I don’t have a lot of luck with secondhand clothes for me, but that’s why I love Zulily. Huge savings! And it’s weird but I like that they have no returns. That means I can’t second guess anything.

  16. YES! Kids do look great it everything. It’s almost an issue with me because I’m constantly putting Dylan in sweats without realizing what a bum that can make him seem to be. lol Your biggest driving petpeeve is also mine. Just because you’re in the lane doesn’t mean you own the road, those types of slow stubborn people cause unnecessary traffic! You don’t want to be in California right now, trust me. We’re on fire. This morning I was driving into work and the sky is gray, smokey, red, and hazy. Fire haze. It’s bad.

  17. I love that you’re already in your dream home and living you dream. It’s so refreshing to not want for more, more, more. I feel the same way about my home and kids. I also completely agree with the clothes investment…yet I keep buying more! Didn’t I just say I didn’t want that??? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Well there’s definitely a part of me that still dreams, and always will, but I’m not ever thinking about moving or changing this place too much. I used to be more restless!
      I remember when we were moving, I was like, “Wait..this is it? Will I ever fulfill all of my wildest dreams?” It was like I thought that the purchase of a first house was set in stone or something, and that you can never change it or move again.
      I’m weird.

  18. I am all about the hand-me-down kids clothes. I’m actually really bummed because my son has caught up to his older cousin in sizes so the hand-me-down train from my sister has ended! There are certain things I love about my current house, but I don’t think it’s my dream house. For one thing… I’m pretty sure my dream house needs to come with a gardener. I love pretty landscaping but neither my husband or I have any interest in actually doing the work.

    • ha, a gardener! We have one of those – Cassidy. He enjoys it, though. To me, it feels like work. And photography/blogging mostly don’t. So at least I know the problem isn’t me – it’s gardening! (that’s what I tell myself)

  19. I want a wrap-around porch. And I wish I had all the money back that I spent on expensive clothes when my son was young. Why did I want him to have Ralph Lauren so badly? Now, he mostly chooses his own clothes. I know it’s dumb, but I haven’t been good at going to the second-hand stores. I should. I really really should. Great answers, you! People who brake on the highway are annoying stupidheads.

    • Aw! It happens. All I wanted for Scarlet was a red peacoat so she could be a mini me. And we have gotten quite a few over the years.
      I don’t do well IN the second-hand stores. I have tried and then it smells funny and I realize that Target has new stuff that’s just as cheap.
      I do the big consignment sale here but mostly just get a few toys. I’ve been lucky with the fancy clothes as gifts from nice relatives. Or big bags of nice hand-me-downs.

    • That’s a talent! And awesome for you.
      And they can share clothes, right? My kids actually have – there are some great unisex clothes in our collection. They were born at the same time of year but Des is so much bigger than Scarlet was at this age that he’s wearing things like.. a year earlier than she did.

  20. Love that your kids wear preloaded clothing. That’s pretty much all my son and I wear too. I’d rather spend money on other things. I get a little carried away though and buy too much just because it’s cheap. And kids really do look good in anything and since they get everything dirty it just makes sense!

    • I was the first to have kids so my siblings give the nicest gifts ever. And the grandparents too! And then I’ve gotten wonderful hand-me-downs for Des from friends with older boys. My baby shower with Scarlet was so insane that I didn’t have to buy clothes until she turned two!

  21. Up until about three years old, my younger one wore all the hand me downs from the older one. But little boys at three, start tearing up the knees of pants! So every season I get all the hand me down shirts out for my younger one, and then have to go find new pants. Which are super hard to find second hand because it seems ALL little boys do this. So I get cheap ones and try not to care when they have holes a week later!

    • Oh, I know it! Des had this knee scoot he did for months before walking. Actually, he still does it for fun! All of his pants before 12 months were torn at the knees!

  22. My kids wore tons of hand-me-downs. One year when a friend of mine was moving to Europe she came over with bags and bags of her older daughters’ clothes that they’d outgrown, and they were all from great brand names and in great shape. I wanted to pay her because the stuff was so nice. She of course laughed at me, and said her husband liked to take the girls shopping so they had great stuff. My daughter got a lot of great stuff for the next year. No such luck these days. LOL
    Your left lane comment struck a chord, again because of my daughter. She’s not even driving yet and that drives her up the wall. She will make comments to no end about the car that is crawling along in the fast lane and how it is not legal to do what they are doing. *Sigh*

    • That is so awesome! My friends lived in Paris for a year and they sent the most wonderful designer Parisian clothes to us. Not used (brand new) but something we wouldn’t have access to any other way. I do really enjoy when they wear those clothes!

  23. I always love reading these – today’s first question made me remember how much I miss Joi!!!
    And, you are smart to realize so early on that your kids look cute in everything – no need to drop a bundle on clothes!

  24. Over the years I have learned that if you regularly comment on blogs about half of them will comment in return. It is a numbers game and I blogged about it a few years ago. I used to get tons of comments on my main blog because I spent hours every single day leaving comments for others. But life happened and I did not have as much free time to commit to my blog as I used to. Today I have five children and a husband who is always traveling for work. Like you my family comes first, my blogs second. I am slowly working towards spending more time commenting but it is a long process. Building up the comments on your blog takes time and I am sure you learned that along the way.

    Have a terrific weekend!

    • That’s interesting. Half. I’d believe it. Usually if people find me, I’ll find them back of course. And if it happens again, I’ll visit again. If it happens a third time, they usually get added to Bloglovin and a relationship develops. Sometimes three times is it for them. It’s all so interesting. I feel like I have regulars and I am a regular and we all have very special relationships through blogging – support, shout-outs, guest posts, etc. Like when you gave me a shout-out that your birthday dinner reminded me of me. That was awesome!
      I’d take that over ten followers who don’t care.

      • That is a great point. I noticed you use bloglovin to follow blogs. I do something similar but once I get a few comments from someone their blog is added to my blog list on the side bar of the Talbert Zoo. Yes, blogging is all about relationship building. I am so glad that we have become blogging friends.

  25. I am with you on the kids clothing. My kids have always worn the cheapest thing that I can find or hand me down. I have no problem buying from Good will, clearance racks, as long as the clothing is in good condition. They grow out of it way to quickly to spend an arm and a leg on something.

    • I don’t even make it to Goodwill half of the time because my friends with older boys drop off bags and bags of beautiful hand-me-downs. It doesn’t all fit or work, but I really love used clothes from friends.. they’re special. They have history!

  26. What great questions! I love how my girls are each so unique and distinctly themselves. I hope that never changes about them. But, there are a few quirks here and there I hope they get past with time! And, yes – o wasting money on expensive kids’ clothes! Target work just as well and is usually just about as cute!

  27. I dig your blogging schedule. I feel like it’s do-able and not too overwhelming. Also, I didn’t realize that you only post three times a week! I feel like I always have something new to read but maybe my reading schedule is also only three times a week! Ha ha! I want to do an AAF with you!

    • ha, maybe! I post M, W, F. There was ONE week in which I posted four times a week but that’s really rare. My friend posts six times a week. I think she’s insane.
      I’d love to partner with you! I have June 20th and beyond open.

  28. I LOVE LOVE LOVE AskAwayFriday. What’s a girl gotta do to play along? We use to get many hand me down clothes for my daughter–which I LOVED & it saved tons of $$ but she is extremely tall and passes her clothes to those girls..even though she is 2 years younger. The thrift shops we have here have really yucky clothing selection & Once Upon a Child..really isn’t that cheap. I shop clearance at Target & Kohls and get brand new stuff for less. I do wish we had some better consignment store options.

    • I was thinking of Once Upon a Child in an above comment about how consignment stores are often more expensive than Target and Kohl deals! Absolutely.
      As for playing along, you grab a partner and just link up on any Friday! You can add all the intro stuff about the hosts but it’s not mandatory.
      If you want to partner with me, I have mid-June and beyond!

  29. I dream of a house with a wrap around porch and porch swings. I’ve even picked out a house that is for sale with a wrap around porch if my husband and I win the lottery sometime soon. I don’t like to spend a lot of money on clothes either. I’m happy that I just go another $10 promotional gift card from Kohl’s. I know I can get two shirts for my daughter and only end up paying about $2 out of pocket.

    • Ooh! May that house stay for sale until you win the lottery. It’s nice to dream.
      And I know you are the queen of getting good clothes. I prefer new – I should have said that. It’s just that we have very generous friends and family who give us hand-me-downs as well as gifts, and I find I don’t buy a lot of clothes for my kids..yet.

      • Hey Tamara, I love hand-me-downs too! My daughter got some really nice stuff from of my husbands cousins, including four jackets. So we didn’t have to buy any jackets for her last fall. I’m sure she will be disappointed next fall when she doesn’t have four jackets to choose from..lol. She is only 2, but she likes to pick out her own clothes and jacket.

  30. Great Q&A! I think Joi’s post was life changing honestly. When she hit publish on that post I was stunned by how amazing and true all of it was!! I barely have time to do SITS but I need to start back, I used to be on there all the time! I have made a promise to myself to find new bloggy connections–I have not looked for any in a while–I can barely keep up with my “close bloggy circle” ๐Ÿ™‚ Ahh AIM. The good ole days ๐Ÿ™‚

    • That was before Joi and I became blogging friends and I truly thought she was out of my league. I guess not because we became friends. I miss her!
      I used to be better about SITS but like you, I feel like I have my tribe(s). Maybe I’ll start visiting again for old time’s sake.

  31. Northampton has some of the BEST shops and thrift stores, at least when I lived there they were pretty cool! Drivers are the WORST in MA! especially in Boston! I was dedicated to the T when I lived there, too scared to leave my curb. AND the cost of insurance yikes! When we visited, as a couple for the first time Chuck could not believe how people had the right of way in NOHO, he thought it was insane you could just walk out on the crosswalk!
    San Fran is a very similar vibe to Boston, and although, I remember my time fondly- it felt so lonely at times.
    Great share ladies!

    • When you were here, did that main intersection in Noho have the crosswalk that plays loud tweeting noises and you can go any which way – diagonal even? My friends visited from NJ and were totally freaked out by it! I guess I’m used to it.
      It’s weird how cities can feel so lonely, when you’re surrounded by people.

      • HAHA you are talking about the one near King St (Jakes resturants and if it is still there SWEETIES ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes! Oh my I am LMBO thinking about it. We used to have a man who walked around town all day long in a purple leotard and bandana! LOL My sister worked at The Gazebo forever!

        • Yes! Sweetie’s is still there actually! So is Gazebo but I’ve never been there. Looks good from the outside. Jake’s is still there but totally opened under new management last summer. It’s DELICIOUS. And that clock tower right there has been broken since the winter and it says -70 right now. Brrr!

  32. Love your Q&A! I think that when we nurture things that we love about our kids they keep those traits. But not so sure that we can get rid of the bad ones. My youngest is very mouthy to this day! You’re the second person today who has mentioned zuilily so I’m going to have to try that out.

    Also, really like the photo with you and all three of your little ones.

    • Yes to Zulily! It’s not just kids’ stuff like I originally thought. It’s mostly adult stuff and good deals!
      My sister is 35 and less mouthy but I think part of that is for life for many.

  33. I have the same driving pet peeves as you. The worst is when all the campers descend on the Maine highway in the summer, and they are all driving slowly in the left lane!

    • Aw! That is so kind. They are so much cuter than I am. The room of chocolate could probably happen – it would just have to be replaced and maintained.

  34. I just love the questions and the answers this week!!! I love your dream house description (and the chocolate reference- duh) and I always adore all your pictures- I can see over and over again. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I think the chocolate room is probably possible. It would be called the “Stress Relief” room and would require a lot of temperature and freshness tweaking!
      I’m up for it.

  35. I think you just described my dream home…… chocolate room included!
    I am always amazed at how many comments you have. I almost feel bad leaving one sometimes, because it might just be “oh lawd, another one to reply to” LOL
    Except clearly you are funny, warm, welcoming and so lovely that we are going to just keep coming back and leaving our little nuggets even if you grow to a thousand comments. which you probably will eventually.

    • No, no, no! I love each comment and I cherish them! Imagine if everyone felt that way – I’d get no comments ever! That’s like when someone says, “I won’t vote. My vote doesn’t matter.” And then if no one voted, there’d be no elections!
      I’m not really comparing myself to the President here.
      You are wonderful!
      1,000 comments. That’s a goal. And I’d respond to each one too!

  36. I agree about kids’ clothes! They grow up so fast that sometimes they only get to wear ab outfit a few times then it doesn’t fit anymore! Same with shoes! We have hand me downs from relatives and buy whatever is necessary. I think my kids will make me pay up for it when they become teenagers. ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. I’m so glad that picture of Des is back because it’s so heart-melting and inspirational! It’s one of my most favorite favorites of yours.

    I’m really glad you wrote about your commenting and blog following. I find that so fascinating. I read the article you referenced and found it helpful. What I really like though is your emphasis on building relationships. THAT should be our ultimate goal, in my very humble, novice opinion. But what do I know?

    I may be jumping on the Zulily train soon. I’m very interested in their wares. Hope you’re having a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I agree! I told a blogging friend that her shout-out to me while at a moose themed restaurant (in WA, no less) was worth 10 random blog follows.
      Why else would I do this if I didn’t really love the relationships?
      Zulily is fierce! I don’t miss those daily emails.

  38. 1. Love it when you use my favorite dog picture in the world.

    2. Your posts always seem to land in that space of ‘just the right length.’ And I wish I had a day between Monday and Tuesday to read all the blogs I’d love to read.

    3. You weren’t kidding about the chocolate room, and you know it.

    • 1. I took that dog picture for you. Didn’t you know?

      2. I appreciate that because the lengths are random, but often way long!

      3. I’m not even halfway kidding about the chocolate room.

  39. Love hearing all your blogging secrets and how you balance it all. It is not easy! I’ve had to slow down as life got a bit overwhelming – but I still read my fave blogs – just don’t seem to have the time to consistently comment as much as I’d like to. Hand me downs are the best. My kids seem to be the “older ones” so not so many hand me downs — but if I buy 1 boy thing, I know I have at lease one other boy to wear it (it normally doesn’t survive more than 2 boys, and at any given time there are usually 2 boys wearing the same size!!) We give a ton of stuff away from Zandra’s wardrobe — but it is fun to give it away too – at least someone else gets good use out of it!!

    • I consider it a treat when you do post or comment, or both!
      Life changes along the way!
      I love giving away Scarlet’s clothes but then I worry if I should keep it for my siblings! Or if we ever had a third baby, which is not in our plans but it hasn’t been ruled out either. At least not permanently.

  40. These are fabulous questions! I have got to read that article about commenting. Sounds interesting.

    I never buy new clothes for my girls. Everything is from gifts, garage sales, hand-me-downs, or thrift stores. It just doesn’t make sense to buy new clothes when they are growing so fast.

    I totally want a chocolate room now that you mentioned it. Every few days, someone could come in and spray the entire room with chocolate… than you just go in there and nibble on it. Decadence!

    Thanks for sharing! Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo

    • The article about commenting is just very Joi. It’s almost like you could hear her saying it aloud. It stuck with me. I used to do everything wrong with commenting, and I mean everything!
      I agree about your idea for the chocolate room. It just needs to be maintained but it can be done.
      xoxo!

  41. Girl, consignment shops are awesome! The kids are going to ruin those clothes anyway. If I do want my children to have something nice and name brand, I hit up TJ Maxx. Polo shirts for $12-$19! And shorts for $7-$12. That’s what I’m talking about! ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. I absolutely love thrift shopping and you are so right that buying new is just a waste of money! Right now about the only thing that I will buy new is shoes. Jeans get bought new on occasion, especially if they are needed right away or I just can’t find the right size, since I seem to have odd sized monkeys! Lil man wore his dads jeans for a short while and now he has completely outgrown them. I am not much of a city girl myself and don’t think that I could handle big city streets especially like those mentioned. The town that I live in while it is a city, it’s not a big one, and it has a bit of a country feel mixed in. I sometimes have some lengthy posts, but I am trying to get better about adding some pics to them! LOL! I always forget my phone for the pic taking, though! LOL! Have a great week, Tamara!

    • I used to love big cities! Lately I’m all country, which is fine. I like room to breathe and room.
      I haven’t bought new shoes for Des yet, but for Scarlet we do often!

  43. Hey! Late to the game here. Busy weekend. Just wanted to say you are the bestest and you have inspired me to wear sun dresses this summer. I always feel I look bulky and pregnant. But who cares, right? They just look so darn comfy.

    • Thank you! I loved that question. The 100+ comments was not a goal, necessarily, and I used to see bloggers get them and think it was nuts. I give back a lot, though. There are some famous bloggers who don’t comment back or reply and just get that many.
      Sounds great but I think I’m meant for the give and take of this!

  44. I didn’t realize that you teamed up with April last week. She’s a sweety! Wow I had never been to San Francisco before. I can see what might be saying about it though. San Diego I’ve heard a lot of great things about. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the things that you hope will stay the same and you hope will change about Scarlet and Des. I feel the same way about the potty training with JR. LOL.

  45. I read this before today and I’m not sure if I commented and I don’t think so because I was reading from my stupid phone which is supposed to be smart and it isn’t.
    I have been trying to put together a sad song list. For some reason I just need all the funk out and it just won’t come out. You pick the videos and I’ll pick the songs…and then we will ride into the sunset in 80 degree weather.
    I find that I’m getting lengthy too with my posts and I do notice that my numbers dip when I do…or I get those random shit *skim comments. You know the ones..
    I’m trying to figure out ways to squeeze in writing time. Chunky is off of school in a few weeks. I still don’t know how you’re able to crank out amazing work in such a little time frame. I bow to thee

    • Stupid stupidphones! Although it could have been the plug-in I use for mobile friendliness. I just updated it.
      What’s on your sad song list? Mine are usually about love – “Ghost” by Indigo Girls.” “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt. (sob) And a host of others.
      I made a whole mix of it once. Can we use it on our road trip together?
      Thank you for bowing to me! I think if I didn’t churn this stuff out three times a week, I’d implode.

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