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Your Friendly Neighborhood Ask Away Friday.

Now for my next Ask Away Friday Act, I’m swapping with someone I know in REAL LIFE. Like, before blogging.

I met NJ from A Cookie Before Dinner at a baby group in our local hospital when Scarlet was only three-weeks-old. NJ was bouncing her son, Malone, on a bouncy ball in the center of the room. I don’t think they stopped bouncing for three months so I only saw her in motion then. She stops bouncing, these days, to enjoy her family and to have western Mass adventures.

ask away friday

In fact, I was actually going through old photos earlier this week, and found some I took of her son when he was only two.

Ask Away Frid /><noscript><img decoding=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!


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

Please give a warm #AAF welcome to our fabulous co-host for the next 2 weeks, Jill from The Singapore Writing Homemaker. Jill is an amazing woman who has been a self-described ‘full time homemaker’ for 9 years and has been married for 12. She shares her inspirations and encouragement from being a mom, a wife and a woman in the amazing land if Singapore. Be sure to head over and visit with her at The Singapore Writing Homemaker.


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Be sure to check out NJ’s answers to my questions HERE. And here are my answers to her questions:

1. I know you’re still unpacking your feelings about the big wedding this past weekend. But I’m dying to know what caught you by surprise during your sister’s wedding?

I started to get the surprised feelings on the morning we drove up on the Friday before the wedding. It was just.. action-packed. I could not believe just how much work the bride and groom had put into this wedding. And my brother said it best when we were having dinner in the big tent. He said, “We’re at Mom and Dad’s house.. but… it’s been transformed.” So it had that comfort feeling, as well as that excitement. There was a point in which it all got to me – the intense cold, the nerves, the excitement. I was able to sneak upstairs to put on warm socks and boots and sit for a second on the bed I bought over ten years ago.. and just take a breather. Then I was refreshed to come back downstairs. So I was surprised by the intense combinations of feeling both comfortable AND exhilarated beyond belief. I miss it SO MUCH, but I have my niece’s baptism, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas coming up with family. It’s all good. It was fantastic, but good times are coming.

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2. We all know you’ve got lucky socks! Does Scarlet have a lucky article of clothing?

She’s never really been one to get attached to just one thing, but she did have a favorite dress for YEARS:

ask away friday

And today she asked if she could wear her flower girl headband to school. She seemed so surprised that I agreed, but hey, the wedding is over. I know she will always highly value her entire flower girl outfit.

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3. If I had to describe you in 10 words, I’d pick sundresses, books, photography, writing, cookies, moose, Maine, summer, flannel shirts, and Dr. Who (and bonus, hates cilantro). What words would you use to describe Scarlet? How about Des?

For Scarlet I’d say: strong, princess, believes, angelic voice, artistic, sensitive, dreams, sweet tooth, and as a bonus: Fruit Snack Bunnies!

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For Des it is: strong, sponge brain, great hair, goofy, big eyes, lisp, appetite, giddy.

ask away friday

4. Your house is full of so many great pieces of art. What is your favorite and why do you love it so much?

I think my favorite will always be the painting I commissioned as a wedding present to Cassidy, by an artist named Tamara Cassidy! I found her while looking to get a URL for our wedding website. She painted a festive, post-wedding scene, with a moon, moose and wolf. The whole painting took awhile and really taught me a lot about the artistic process.

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5. Give us a kitten update! I know for quite some time you were feeling lukewarm at best. Have those feelings changed?

Hmm.. I’d say warm enough. I do love our kittens. Ever since Bella had her overnight adventure outside and we feared the worst, I’ve felt better about her because secretly, I always felt like she didn’t belong. We only wanted one kitten for Scarlet and the extra one happens to be a freak of nature. That said, when I thought she was gone, I was REALLY upset. And REALLY happy she’s back. Also, she spends entire days on my lap. Hard to hate that. And Dinah is always a dear. I hate their litterboxes. I just hate that whole process and I want something better. However, they’re awfully warm and cuddly.

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6. Malone and Scarlet have been friends since they were born. Who is your oldest friend (that isn’t family), what is your favorite memory of them, and how did you meet?

I have friends from toddlerhood and early school days, but it’s more that we’re Facebook friends, or really only see each other once in a decade. So my first thought is Jessica. I have always called her Jessi and we met in 4th grade at Hebrew School. We have dozens of incredible childhood memories, and we have seen each other through some of the best and worst days of our lives. I love that I drove to NJ and surprised her for her 30th birthday. One of my favorite memories of her is that she had just had her second baby, I was pregnant with Scarlet, and our other good friend was pregnant with her first child. We all decided to meet together at Jessi’s house and just bask in the joy of the fact that we were pregnant at the same time!

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And a nod to my friend, Christa. We met in high school, but it’s been quite a journey together since!

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7. I know that both you and Cassidy love to foster moments that tie together a magical childhood. As the kids get older, do you ever think about how this might happen? I ask because Malone is starting to lose some of his innocence (he’s currently obsessed with WWII and I am struggling with how much to really tell him about it).

I think about this sometimes, because the world really is full of sh*t that they’ll sadly have to step in. I think about that a lot. On the other hand, they do have two parents and a slew of grandparents, aunts and uncles who help to work to build this magic and whimsy, and who believe in it themselves in their own lives. So all we can do is keep doing what we’re doing, and follow their leads sometimes. We have to be honest with them when they ask probing questions, but sometimes the honest answer is just about the most magical answer. Sometimes. And we’ll do our best to explain more of the good than the bad. And even WWII is filled with heroic stories of strength and love. I took a class on it in college, so I get the fascination.

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8. Describe a perfect fall day.

I’m hoping to be having two of those this weekend, because October has really been about big plans and this will be our chance to do some fall things. It would include hot coffee, cookies, maybe a jumping pillow, corn maze or hayride, breakfast at Outlook Farm, some foliage driving, sunshine, leaves, a long nap from Des, an early dinner, some popcorn and Doctor Who at night. I like having a fall-themed photo shoot in the morning while Cassidy does something with the kids.

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9. You’re making a mixed tape for a road trip. It only has room for 12 songs. What are they?

In no particular order, and just how I’m feeling TODAY or on a perfect fall day:

“Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty
“Cloud on my Tongue” by Tori Amos
“Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities
“Into the Great Wide Open” also by Tom Petty
“Alive and Kicking” by Simple Minds
“Patience Gets Us Nowhere Fast” also by Capital Cities
“I Can’t Go For That” by Daryl Hall and Chromeo (not the usual version) In fact, HERE.
“Showbiz Kidz” by Steely Dan
“Badge” (Live 24 Nights version) by Eric Clapton
“The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby
“Canary In a Coal Mine” by The Police
“Digital Witness” by St. Vincent

10. What chapter books are you looking forward to reading aloud with Scarlet? Malone and I just recently read The Wizard of Oz and Charlie And the Chocolate Factory. Little House On The Prairie is next!

Honestly, and I know we have many years before this, but I can’t wait until she falls in love with Harry Potter!

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  1. I am dying for both girls to get into Harry Potter, because still my favorite all time series. That said, I just couldn’t help but smiling reading that and so much more here as we really just are twins through and through 😉

            1. I’ll try anything from Starbucks once. Except I think the gingerbread latte tastes like soap to me. And they had this Caramel ribbon drink that had over 100 g of sugar. Disgusting.

  2. Bee sounds a lot like Scarlet and if she could be a piece of that as she ages, I’ll be a happy mommy. Such beautiful pictures. I don’t like the outdoors, but your fall day sounds perfect! I would be happy to tag along with you!

  3. I have lucky socks too! And we could totally road trip together, because I love every song you picked (Tom Petty in concert was amazing). I hope you have a perfect fall weekend! BTW, you left a comment on my blog asking if anyone wore a fanny pack to tacky tourist day. My son actually asked me if I had one for him to wear – but alas, I did not. I’ll have to ask if anyone else had one :)!

    1. That is so funny about the fanny pack! Your son is ahead of the times.
      Tom Petty in concert is on my bucket list. He was playing in California one weekend, but I missed it. And he was playing near us in September, but it was the one week and I couldn’t do it because it was my sisters bridal shower weekend.

  4. I’m still in awe of your wedding present to Cassidy. It’s a beautiful painting. One of our friends said they would do a painting for us. It was supposed to be a yin and yang symbol with a black and a blue rose. Somehow we are still waiting for that to happen.

  5. Before I read your answer to #10 I was thinking I am so excited to read Harry Potter to Eve one day! (At the moment I’m lucky if I can get her to sit through an entire board book.)
    That painting is gorgeous and it is so fitting (and unbelievable!) that that artist is named Tamara Cassidy. Talk about meant to be!

    1. And I thought maybe it was an artist name, but it is her birth name! Her mother is Rose Cassidy.
      There are many chapter serious that I loved as a kid, but a lot of them are really silly. I would still like Scarlet to read babysitters club, though!

  6. Malone has seen the Harry Potter movie, but he hasn’t heard the books yet. I think out of all of the series we have, that one is the one we’re looking forward to the most. Last night, we started The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

    I love that Scarlet wanted to wear her headband to school. I’m sure she was the fanciest Kindergartner that day!

    1. Today she wore the headband and the shoes too!
      There are so many of those books I can’t wait to read with her. I don’t even know what I’m waiting for. I think it’s just because right now she’s into the books she can read by yourself, so I guess there’s a pause to let that happen before we get into the more advsnced stuff that we read together? Or maybe we could do both! I would love that.

  7. what a great askaway friday partner! I didn’t know you guys met each other so long ago 🙂 Love it. Scarlet’s headband is to be envied. I kind of want it for myself…so girly and fun! Love the super(woman) shot!

  8. I love this. Two people I have met in person! Hugs to both of you. And Tamara….not sure I know any of the song on your mix tape. How is that possible? Perhaps we all need to go on a road trip together 🙂

  9. We are hoping for a perfect fall weekend, too. The days are supposed to be sunny and warm here in Illinois! Unfortunately, my husband has to work on Saturday, but we’ll try to make the most of the time he’s not working.

    1. Yes, we’ve had a terrible week and that’s a perfect forecast for the weekend! I have to work both days, but only shoots in the morning. I actually have a 9 AM one. It will be cold but then the rest of the day will be free.

  10. That painting is really fascinating! Your descriptions of Scarlet and Des are so accurate based on the stories you share on your blog. You have wonderful kids! And it’s so cute of Scarlet to ask if she could wear her flower girl headband. Why not right?! 😀

  11. Oh I hope you have two wonderful fall days! And yes on the cookies and coffee. It is hard to find a hay ride around here, but they are so much fun. Thanks for the kitten update, I was wondering too. We are heading up to Santa Barbara this weekend. Enjoy Tamara!

    1. Okay, Santa Barbara might sound better than a perfect New England fall weekend. Actually it’s close. Two of my favorite things!
      Glad I could clear out the kitten thing. I think I post about them more on Facebook than I do on my blog.

  12. I love these posts, I think I may have to join one of these days. You don’t like cilantro? I found a difference;). Also, I read your essay in the Mother of All Meltdowns yesterday – my daughter DID flush my ring (no poop – just did), she was so young. Never got it back, very sad, because it was one of a kind. But we had insurance – got the money and bought sod for the backyard and a play set. Priorities had changed. How sad is that? Then, when I was pregnant with #4 – I felt very self-conscious without my ring. So we finally replaced it. It’s pretty, but I miss the original.

    1. Oh wow! Sorry about your ring and also sort of chuckling about what you did with the insurance money because that sounds just about right.
      My mom hates cilantro too, so it’s a genetic thing. Some people have some sort of biological thing that makes it taste terrible toss. I also don’t like the smell.
      And if you ever want to swap with me, I’m available in November!

  13. I love your song list. I like a lot of those artists. I like the Tom Petty song You And I Will Meet Again.

    Ooo your perfect fall day sounds awesome.

  14. Love that song list, and I need to start reading more in depth books to Addy. I did it a lot with Avery and she adored it. Addy has been getting the short books, but I think she is old enough now for us to start reading chapter books she could use her imagination for. Harry Potter would be an awesome start, I have the entire series, but I will probably have to start slow with the Wizard of Oz. I may have to pick that up this weekend! I hope you enjoy that scenic drive!

  15. I’m laughing Tamara and you know why. Deep down, you know why. I’m IN LOVE with that painting – it’s so mystical and intriguing.. Impressive lady! Your kids will be fine – it’s better to not let those worries consume you. I’ve been learning to stop – no need to worry about things you can’t predict nor control. Have a great weekend lovely Tamara! -Iva

    1. I know why you laugh! You mock me. I deserve it.
      I don’t let the worries consume me. I think about it, but only because I like to have some sort of plan. Have a great weekend and try to come to New England! Just kidding. Sort of.

  16. Lol not mocking – just an inside joke. 🙂 We all must do what we must. Ha I need to so we can spot moose and harass your neighbor’s llama!!! >:) Your neighbor may complain about me. When’s the best time to go up to your area?

      1. lol damnit it’s almost November!!! OoO let’s plan some debauchery for next October >:) Llamas make me happy! Llamas and deer! They’re so dainty (deers). 🙂

                1. They were talking about it on the fb page but only speculation. Some people said they’d rather it be somewhere nicer to sleep and eat, and other people like the low costs aspects of the dorms.

                  1. Hmm I’d prefer to be somewhere I can drive to but we’ll see – I’m still debating because I’d like to do BlogHer or SITS Girls camps – decisions, decisions.. Lol

                    1. It won’t let me reply to you so I’m doing another comment above you lol – that would be epic in BMore the thing is none of these are cheap to begin with! Hmph!

                    2. Ha!! We hit the limit! We rock.
                      Yeah, curious to see how it plays out next year. I’m a SITS girl so I need to do one of those for sure.
                      I’m a BlogHer girl too. Not even sure I’m a BlogU girl. I was somewhat antisocial there, other than seeing all the people I know and love. But I wasn’t really into the parties or drinking or really anything. I’m a dud.

    1. Well, well, look who’s here! I always knew this day would come.
      Pretty much anything by Roald Dahl is something I look forward to reading with them.

  17. Isn’t it funny how music can affect us? Last week I heard a song from Erasure I hadn’t heard in about a million years and it transported me back to my early pre-teen years. My kids thought I was goofy for turning it up and singing along at the top of my lungs! It made me happy though. Ooh, we are doing the Harry Potter series with my 10 year old and his older sister is almost as anxious as I am for him to finish it!

  18. My daughter has a couple of favorite dresses. One is an H&M dog dress and the other is a Minnie Mouse dress. I think it’s cute that even small kids have favorite items of clothing. My son almost picks out all of his clothes because he is pretty picky. Right now he is loving stripped shirts.

  19. Our fall has been so busy; I’m still waiting to have that perfect day! For now I’ll be content with perfect moments over many days. Oh, and I love that “strong” was the first word you used to describe both of your kids.

    1. I have felt that since their births! Actually since the pregnancies.
      Today is a perfect fall day, kind of, but I had a haircut for Des that was canceled and then happened anyway and I had a photo shoot that was canceled and then is back on. It’s the beautiful weather.

  20. The only thing I would change about my wedding day — would be to make sure I scheduled 15 minutes or so, just to myself, in order to collect my thoughts and reflect on the day. Slow it down a bit… because honestly it went by in such a whirlwind that I can hardly remember. Champagne might be partly to blame for that; but mostly – I wish I had hit pause for a few minutes.
    I love our new kitty – it has taken me by surprise. he’s a bit of an ass though at times. it’s like living in a perpetual horror movie of constantly waiting for something to jump out at you. He’s NOT the lie on your lap all day kind of cat I guess. Honestly, I don’t know where he is right now and I am kinda scared.

    1. Oh dear. Did you find him? I remember that ours got lost the first week we had them and Cassidy got really scared but I’m very good at finding things and I found four scared eyes. Staring back at me. From a bookshelf. From IKEA. Of course.

  21. Your answer to #5 – not surprising. At all. My sister was like you, very hesitant when her daughters finally succeeded in getting a cat. You should see my sis now… mother hen for the cat would be a (loving) understatement 🙂 Cats and dogs (and other pets) just have a way of sneaking their way into our lives. Sigh – I still miss my cat… Enjoy! (o.k. not the litterbox, obviously – LOL)

  22. Fall wedding and photo shoot! I’m looking forward to seeing all of those wonderful pictures with the fall foliage. I love the way fall looks in New England so much! Hmmm…people have been asking questions about our kids getting older..it’s so hard to think about! Imagining your Scarlet learning more things pertaining to the sad things about our world can’t be good. I think I’m like you. I will do what I can to talk about things and share with them the truth but hoping to show them the wonder and beauty in it, too so they can see it’s not all bad. Your experiences with your old friends sound amazing. I didn’t realize you knew NJ before blogging. 🙂 I think that artist’s name is so cool!

    1. There are so many photos and they keep coming. I had one shoot today and I have one tomorrow. The foliage is going strong. I can’t wait to share!

      And I’m not surprised that you’re like me!

  23. I’m so behind but always love your Ask Away Friday answers!!!
    So cool that Scarlet wore her flower girl headband to school – love it!!
    And, I didn’t realize y’all had a FB group – just put in my request to join!!!

  24. Oh there are so many things I love about this post but I’m stuck on your #9 – your road trip playlist is awesome! I want to make that now! I can imagine driving through the prairies with the wind in my hair and listening to these songs.

    That painting you had done is amazing. I can see why it’s a favourite.

    I love that photo of Cassidy and Scarlet… precious.

    I try to keep the “magic” for my girls too. The world is harsh and brutal… the longer they can revel in innocence and the beauty of life, the better.

    I hope you had a lovely weekend.

  25. I love that you had a painting commissioned for a gift, how very special!!! I’ll share a little secret: my maid of honor also had a painting done of me and the hubs as a wedding gift, but my face turned out AWFUL! Haha so I only put it up when she comes into town…shh:-)

  26. Oh my gooooosh, Scarlett was such a beautiful flower girl!! And my kids are fruit snack bunny feins too. And Dacky has a lisp. I think a lisp makes a little kid look 10000 times cuter! That painting is awesome, and how crazy that the artist’s name was Tamara Cassidy!!!

  27. I’m so glad that the kitties have made their way into your heart. 🙂 I hate the litter box too, but ours don’t really use it that much…they prefer to go outside, and I prefer that too. The funniest thing in the winter though when there is too much snow, Oreo, our laziest (and also my buddy) will go out on the back deck, do her business in full view of us, and come back in. Ick.

    1. Okay that is a little funny. I do like when our gray one spent the whole day outside, and then just comes into sleep. The litter box is practically empty because I think she’s the one that uses it more when around.

  28. 1. I love your words for the kids. Gives us a great sense of them, and matches the pictures we see. I felt wonky about 10 words, but the bonuses made it feel like 12 at least.

    2. My only childhood friend is an awesome one. His name is Marco. We were born on the same day, in the same hospital. We were in the same class through elementary school and went to the same middle, junior and high school. We both had three kids. And we both still love the Broncos.

    3. Your mix tape is bad-ass. If this were the 90s, I’d want you to make me an actual mix tape of it.

  29. I don’t know how I missed this post! Your scarlet 10 words were so sweet, and des’ “sponge brain” made me giggle. I remember the story behind your wedding gift to Cassidy and still find that artist’s name to be the coolest thing ever! So sweet.

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