The Queen of Blog Commenting.

Didn’t you know? I’m the Queen of Blog Commenting. I must be a Queen of something, because this is my daughter:

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I say this with my tongue in my cheek. I’m not really a Queen, but I’ve heard a lot of people say it and it makes me happy. Stay tuned because that is the first question from the radiant and thoughtful Shana Norris, in this week’s edition of Ask Away Friday.

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I first remember hearing from Shana when she let me know she was reviewing our book, “The Mother of All Meltdowns“, on Mamalode. And I just thought, “Who is this wonderful woman emailing me and how can I properly thank her?”

We have been blogging friends since, and I’m happy we were able to swap questions today.

To see who else is participating or to learn how to join the fun, head over to visit hosts: Penny from The Real Housewife of Caroline County, Amber from The Bold Fab Mom, Tiffany from Mrs Tee Love Life Laughter and Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings. #AskAwayFriday is their beautiful and ever-growing creation! And contact me if you want to swap some time!

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To read Shana’s answers to my questions, click HERE. And here are my answers to her questions:

1. You are the Queen of Blog Commenting. If you were to assign a percentage of your time spent writing/blogging to commenting, what would you say it is? And the comments on your own blog. There are so many! Do you reply to comments directly in your WordPress dashboard? Do you have any advice for how to stay on top of commenting (both on other blogs as well as your own?)

It probably evens out 50/50, in the long run! I publish three posts a week and each one does take 1-3 hours. So that’s about 3-9 hours a week. And with reading/commenting, it probably falls between the same. There are days in which I may read/comment for a whole hour or two. And there are days in which I am just too busy and won’t devote more than ten minutes to it! I answer comments right in WordPress, and I also have an app on my phone that does it easily. Usually I’ll pair answering one comment on my own blog, to commenting on another blog. I like to mix it up. Staying on top of commenting is difficult, and taking steps back is ok too. My philosophy is simple and lasting. You definitely have to give to get, but I also genuinely enjoy all you bloggers and your stories. Before I blogged, I read blogs. Now it’s just like..getting paid to do the same, so I won’t do it halfway. I will admit that lately with two sick kids and higher paying jobs coming in, I have let up on it. If people don’t visit me ever, or only half of the time I post, I grant myself the same deal with them! Although there are the 100%ers – they always comment here and I always do on their blogs, unless circumstances get in the way, which does happen sometimes. You’re one of those people!

2. I know yours is a sort of mixed faith family. Do you celebrate Easter in any way? What are your plans for this year?

We absolutely celebrate Easter, and I did as a child too! I love Easter very much. We do a Passover Seder with one set of grandparents, and Easter with the other two sets. We haven’t made any plans this year but Scarlet has said she wants to do breakfast with the Easter Bunny at the park and I’m excited to sign up. We also do the big Easter Egg Hunt at the same place.

Once we even threw our own! Not sure what you’re so mad about, Scarlet!

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Three years ago we had a beautiful Easter with Scarlet’s grandparents on the first warm day of the year.

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3. As you know, I love books. How do you decide what book to read next? What’s your preferred format: paper, ebook, audiobook or do you mix it up? Are you a book buyer or library user?

Total library user here. I used to always buy new books but we ran out of room, and quite frankly, I couldn’t afford my habit. I have several favorite authors so I will usually first see if they have something out and then I will go by recommendations. I only read paper books. I am one of those people who has never seen the value in an ebook, but I once said the same about digital cameras.. And I can’t do audiobooks. Even as a kid, I was terrible at being read to – I need to read things myself or I tune out.

4. Is there an author you’ve read extensively? If not, have you ever finished a book and thought you’d like to read the author’s entire body of work?

I have read every Jodi Picoult book ever, and I always will! I met her at a book signing and I got the nervous giggles.

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5. And music … I’ve seen you post songs on your blog in the form of YouTube videos. Is that how you listen to music most of the time, or do you listen on a stereo system or iPhone/iPod? Do you have a CD collection or is your music housed in iTunes? Or are you a fan of a music streaming site (Spotify, Pandora, etc.?) Are you a playlist maker? If so, tell us about one you’ve made recently.

It’s so sad because I switched from a PC to an iMac over a year ago and I never imported my iTunes library. Still working on that one. I use Pandora a lot at home, and in the car, I either use mix cds or I plug in the Pandora app from the phone. I’m totally a playlist maker but it’s been ages. I got desperate to make a mix cd in September and maybe bought songs or used my husband’s computer. It was about songs that made me feel safe and sound. I was battling situational anxiety at the time!

6. I know that like me, you’ve very close to your mom and have a lot of admiration for all that she is and all that she does. My mom and I text or talk on the phone daily. What about you? How and how often do you communicate with your mom?

It’s funny because we can go weeks without talking on the phone, so when we do finally talk, it’s like an explosion of stories. I guess we forget because we do have email and texting. And she just got an iPhone so we FaceTime her a lot. And then Scarlet gets possessive of the phone conversation and walks around the house carrying my mom’s face and talking to it! Ah, technology.

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7. What activities are you excited for Scarlet and Des to do when they’re a little older? Sports, scouting, singing/choir, playing an instrument? Being a runner, I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to do track and I’m crossing my fingers they actually want to do it. What about you: is there any certain sport you’re really hoping one of the kids wants to do?

I can’t narrow down any one thing, but I’m just excited for them to find out what makes them shine. It took me awhile to do that as a kid and I had to quit a lot of things to get there. However, it’s not quitting if you simply don’t have any interest. I hope they sing, play instruments and/or get into the arts. I want them to be athletic but I don’t care if they play team sports or not.

Maybe they’ll dance..or play croquet?

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8. I know you’ve been published several times on BlogHer. Tell us a little about how that happened. Did you query them or did they approach you? In general, do you query your writing?

Actually each time, they approached me. I have heard you can query them, though. I don’t query anyone, but maybe I should!

9. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all that needs to happen after I actually take a photo. How do you manage the process? What program do you use to edit photos? How do you store and back them up? As far as your personal photos, you obviously publish many of them here on your blog, much to your readers’ delight. But do you also print them to frame, put in an album, etc.?

I put them into Lightroom as RAW files and then into Photoshop CS, and then back into Lightroom to watermark them. I store them in Lightroom, smugmug and on my computer’s hard drive. We don’t often print them, but Cassidy has gotten me some canvases, that you can just see on the bottom left of this photo. We use Canvas On Demand.

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10. What do you do when you’re feeling stressed or anxious? I’m still in the process of 1.) finding the best ways to manage stress and anxiety and 2.) disciplining myself to actually do them in the moment. I think it’s a lifelong learning process. What have you learned about the process so far?

The biggest thing I’ve learned about my anxiety is to surrender to it, rather than avoid or deny it. That actually helps more than anything. And I have learned that it’s more important HOW I deal with it, than WHY it’s there at all. I used to drive myself crazy wondering why I’d be all up in arms over small things. Well obviously a part of me didn’t think they were small, or saw them as a danger, and then set me into panic mode. It happens. It gets better but I may always fight it. I’m fighting the good fight with talking, music, herbal sprays, playing with kids, taking space, crying, whatever. Seriously, whatever expels those demons. I hope it doesn’t ever come to medication, but if it does, well..then it’s all good. There are worse things.

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  1. Obviously I need to take stress management lessons from you! I just become a mess and sometimes I lose it over the most ridiculous thing, because it’s a whole buildup. Great questions from Shana! And you know I have read every Jodi Picoult book too, and I own most of them in hardcover because I cannot wait for the softcover version. But I do have softcovers from before I discovered her and she’d already written several books. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Oh, I definitely can improve my stress management! Sometimes it’s ok and sometimes it’s dreadful. I remember when my friend introduced me to Jodi Picoult’s books, and there were several that had already been published. That was so awesome knowing I got to read them all!

    1. I used to make playlists like..weekly. I miss that. I guess I have to figure this library transfer. And no library near you! The horrors! We have about…17,000.

  2. I have started reading e-books because if I keep waiting for money to get actual books, it will take forever! LOL
    Scarlet looks so cute even when mad! This reminds me I need to look for Easter activities that we can join, we didn’t go to any last year because..uhmm..somebody forgot. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. hah! That “somebody” is often me. Being of confused mixed faith is just that…confusing and mixed. I want them to have a better foundation than I’m giving them. On the other hand, their grandparents are totally picking up our slack.

  3. I love your answer to what the kids may play when they grow up! Dancing or croquet would be just awesome. Maybe even both together? HA HA!!! And yes, it usually works to surrender to anxiety. I get it.

    1. Dancing Croquet sounds like a nice activity, huh? I love them to be moving, trust me, but neither Cassidy nor I ever got very into team sports. It just wasn’t in our personalities. He was a track runner and I was a lot of things and he is the most fit man ever right now, so obviously it’s ok.
      Basically, running is very cool, isn’t it?

  4. I was also called the queen of commenting, but like you (and think I mentioned this to you), have eased up a bit and try to get to who comes to me regularly, but can’t get to everyone either anymore as I get more work and my times just seems to get away from me. And audiobooks, I just could never do it either. I truly need to see the words in front of me when I read. So, totally get that and then some. And I have decided that I am reading something funny next, because I need to laugh and not cry again while reading a book. Don’t get me wrong, I do love those types of books deep down, but need a break I think at least for one book. Have a great weekend now, Tamara ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yup, we’re twins! I think it may have been been YOU who told me to answer comments as they come in, as much as possible, so you’re not walking into 50 or so later!
      Letting up feels good. And people come in and out, and it’s ok for me to do the same. I can’t get to every post ever, but I do really catch up on weekends so I kinda do get to the ones I want to get to. Like this one!

  5. Now I don’t feel quite so bad about the fact that I haven’t put my music into iTunes on the Macbook I got last August. I keep telling myself I’ll do it as soon as I buy an external hard drive to store it all on.

    I saw Jodi Picoult when she was on tour for Nineteen Minutes. I think the research she does for her books must be fascinating. I’m always amazed by authors who can put out a book a year … and they’re GOOD books!

    Your Easters sound fun, and I love that they’re a mix of faith traditions and popular culture … gotta have the Easter bunny and egg hunts!! I think I enjoy those hunts as much as my kids do.

    1. It was the “Nineteen Minutes” book tour when I met her in New Jersey! I hadn’t read it yet, but I was gripped by her reading of the excerpt. I think I bought another one – the one about Salem witch trials – and had her sign it. I had read four of her books by that point, but not in any order.
      I really want to get my iTunes transfer already!
      Anyway, thank you for these awesome questions.

  6. Well of course I love #6. Since mom & dad are retired and my husband and I work from home, she and I don’t have any privacy for our chit chats. We text A LOT. We used to have a routine before the hubs were home that we call each other at 9am and that could gone on for an hour about nothing in particular. I always wondered how long it takes you to write a post. I know it seems to take me forever and I don’t have pictures like you do. And thanks a million for being the queen of commenting. I appreciate you!

    1. The pictures add a lot of time to the posts! And the writing itself..then the editing. It’s all a big job, but someone’s gotta do it right?

  7. I’m such a horrible slacker when it comes to commenting, I need to learn from you, haha. I suppose it’s understandable, though, considering everything I’ve been up to lately: finishing school, work, moving, and still trying to find time to spend with friends and family. Ugh, way too much going on, I think I need a vacation!! I have managed to keep up (relatively) with replying to comments made on my blog and picking out a couple of other blogs that I comment on consistently (like yours, though sometimes I’m a few days late, haha). Hopefully once life settles down I’ll be able to get on board with a more consistent commenting schedule and maybe one day I’ll get as many comments on posts as you do!

    Also, I really feel that I need to give Lightroom a try. I keep hearing about it and I’ve only ever used Photoshop (an outdated version at that!). I’m not one for change though, which is probably why I’m still using the same methods. I’ll have to give it a try though. I may be bugging you for tips on what the heck I’m supposed to do though!

    1. Totally understandable, and if having/giving a lot of comments isn’t a first priority, at least right away, then don’t sweat it! I didn’t start it until three years into blogging. I realized it was important to me, but it took awhile!
      Lightroom is amazing.

  8. I am starting my Friday with you love! ๐Ÿ™‚ You are definitely the queen of blogs – how many blogs a day do you actually comment on? It’s insane! I LOVE that photo of Scarlet in the pink dress – she looks so carefree and overjoyed!! My son is starting soccer again next month and swim class is up, he absolutely loves them! As long as he has fun and is active I don’t mind – need to get him to pick up an instrument though, it’s great for brain development. ๐Ÿ˜€ Happy Friday love!! -Iva

    1. hmm.. I guess it varies! Sometimes it can be 20-30, but over the course of a day, it’s minimal with timing. Although some days it’s a lot less and on weekends I barely do any.
      Soccer and swim – awesome! And it all helps brain power, I’m sure. Just to be interested in something is so important.
      Have a great weekend, sweetheart!

  9. I love the library! It’s always been one of my favorite places no matter where I live. When I’ve moved in the past, one of my first stops is to the library to get my library card!

    I’ve listened to a few audiobooks, but I’ve only been able to listen to them when I go on long walks. When I was training for the Avon Walk I would be gone for 3 hours just walking, and I really needed something more to listen to than just music. Other than that, I prefer a real book!

    1. Oh, I imagine for a long walk, an audio book is heaven-sent. What a great idea! I think I didn’t like people reading to me as a kid because books were so emotional to me and I’d get embarrassed if words made me cry. So much easier to do that at my own pace and my own control..

  10. You got the post title correct. You are definitely the queen of commenting and a queen in your own right with your little princess. I’m not sure how you get it done but you do! I love the way you deal with stress, I tend to avoid it as much as possible but maybe head on might not be a bad thing. Love Scarlet’s Easter photo and can’t wait to see this years. As for music, I recently got a new iPod and it’s still empty as well. I tend to listen to iTune Radio and just haven’t had the time to import my library either. Here’s hoping for a great weekend!

    1. Stress is hard. When I don’t confront it head on, which happens a lot, I do suffer the consequences. Such a bummer.
      And I may be a Queen but you are too! You write SO much helpful content.

  11. I am always amazed by how many comments you get on your posts. I know you put a lot of time into commenting on others, though. Plus, your posts are awesome! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love that you don’t have specific expectations for Scarlet and Des’ extracurricular activities. I had them for my girls, but had to let go because I quickly realize it was not THEIR path.

    1. Thank you! Content and commenting – those are what I care about. I’m glad it shows. It’s time-consuming, but I love it. And I do get paid for it too…but…shh… I mostly do it for the love.

  12. I love Pandora too, it’s practically all I listen to, it’s the best mix tape! I am about to convert to being a library user. I’ve always bought books and I absolutely love ebooks, especially since I have kindle on my phone; I can literally carry around 30 books with me at all times and read whatever I am in the mood for. Though there are some that I just want to read quickly and be done with, which is where the library comes in. I have a list of books from bloggers like you, Michelle, and Katie from Pick Any Two.

    1. Ooh, I love all of the bloggers you mentioned so there are probably some great books in there. The library has saved me hundreds of dollars at this point. I used to buy brand new books the day they came out! Hardcover!

  13. I’m having heart palpitations that you haven’t transferred your iTunes library yet. I’m serious. I enjoyed reading this today (except the iTunes part) and finding out how you “do” your pictures. I have PS and Lightroom, I need to learn them. Have a great weekend.

    1. I know. Heart palpitations. I miss my music! So much.
      Lightroom had a steep learning curve for me, but I don’t know if that is the case for everyone. I was very set in my Photoshop ways. Although there are just things PS can do that are unmatched. And same with Lightroom. I like passing my photos through both and seeing how I can bring out the best.

  14. I love seeing you and Shana paired up!!! You are the queen of commenting – both leaving comments and responding. I have to concur with that! I need to read real books too but have been reading more on my kindle because we’ve totally run out of room to store them and my husband hates that I pay for read books. But to me, there is something magical about them. I used to love making mixed tapes so much. I have running playlists but I don’t put much thought into them bc I usually just shuffle but now, with teaching yoga? I LOVE making playlists for my classes.

    1. I have helped many yoga teachers with playlists. I love it! So much. And I used to love Ilene’s stories about playing..what was it..Justin Bieber during a class one day?

  15. I love your response about anxiety. It’s so true ….when we feel things it’s for a reason and it’s so much healthier to surrender, accept, and work with versus try to work against. I too have not imported my iTunes library from my last computer . I’m Pandora all the way – which is kind of fun since I’m always surprised by something. And you really are the queen of blog commenting. xo

    1. I like that about Pandora – being surprised. And sometimes it seems contrived and other times, it’s completely mind-blowing. Can’t beat that.
      And a big xo to you!

  16. Yes to surrendering to whatever helps. I’ve thought a lot about it this week and for the first time in forever I only published one blog post (gasp, I know). But whatever works in the crazy insanity of life, right?
    I loved the picture of your house when I first saw it on your blog and I still love it. It looks like a doll house ๐Ÿ™‚ and I want to play there (not creepy at all…)

    1. Whatever works is right! And people won’t go anywhere from you taking breaks. I’ve noticed a LOT of breaks lately. Is it a spring break thing? I don’t remember this happening in December, though.
      It must be a “Winter Is Sucking The Life Out Of Me Thing.”

  17. I have never read Jodi Picoult. Actually, I have gotten out of the reading habit – apart from blogs – and have been meaning to resume but have not as yet. I haven’t made a playlist in a long time and keep meaning to make a CD for the car – which seems to be the only place I listen to music anymore. I think I need to blast some tunes this weekend; music always makes me happy.

    1. Yes, blast that music! I’d say open your windows too, but I fear that spring is not coming this weekend. I keep hoping, and it keeps missing us.

  18. Does your local high school have a croquet team? I wouldn’t trust my kids with wooden mallets, although I guess a field hockey stick is just as dangerous. And what you said about anxiety? True for so many things in life – focus on managing it instead of figuring out why it’s there. I need to do that more often!

  19. You are 100% the queen of commenting! There are very few blogs that I visit that you haven’t been to and commented before me! I don’t know how you do it girl!

    I have a back log of comments I need to respond to on my blog. It stresses me out just thinking about it!

    I loved the Easter Egg Hunt at your house. Our babies were so tiny then (and there wasn’t tiny 2.0’s running around yet)!

    1. I guess you keep visiting all of my friends’ blogs! I am very similar to how I was in high school in the blogging world. Which is weird. But just totally friends with everyone and not any one group.
      Except it’s not totally selfless – I’m getting paid to do this.. but I do enjoy it.

  20. All hail Queen Tamara, Lordess of the Comments! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (It seriously is an apt title for you!) I too much prefer a physical book over an electronic one. Sadly, I haven’t used my Nook since returning from my trip to South America! And I’m constantly at my local library, which is luckily a 5-minute walk.

    1. That sounds so nice! Does it have a nice children’s section? Scarlet and now Des are growing up in the children’s sections of our libraries. We are in between two of the big ones in town, so that’s convenient.

      1. The one by my house has a small children’s section, but they offer some children’s programming and the main branch has an AMAZING children’s section. It is an entire floor devoted jus to them!

        1. That sounds amazing!!! I love the libraries in Cape Cod too. When we were last there, it was very cool and rainy for our whole week so we kept testing out libraries.

  21. You are a queen of blog comments- I have no idea how you do it, but I NEED to take lessons! Love the adorable easter photos! Hayden is reaching the age where he now looks forward to holidays based on past experiences and it makes it so fun for me! Even though it is not a holiday, he is already talking about the “tooth fairy” and he is creeped out on many levels EXCEPT he says he wants to save his money for a blue car. It was a chevy equinox he saw in the grocery store parking lot! BAHAHAHA

    1. haha! I guess you have to buy a Chevy Equinox for an Easter basket.
      I’ll be happy to give commenting lessons but so many of you impress me with your posts.

  22. The photo of you & your mom, so cute!!! That photo of your girl in the wind, playing croquet, so cute! Enjoying the warmth! I love your home and that canvas wall! Tks for the company recommendation.

    1. Oh, no problem! My last recommendation is to not pay full price. They are a Groupon somewhere, every day. So I just do a Groupon Nationwide search when I want one. Saves tons of money! Lots of other companies do Groupon too.

  23. I never could do an audio book, but have been getting into e books

    wow your Mom can work an iPhone and do face time. My Mom is totally gadget illiterate and would never be figuring that out. Cool!


  24. Commenting on blogs is tricky and can be time consuming too. When I started blogging I used to spend 4 hours or more a day just reading and commenting on blogs. But then I got into the other social media platforms like twitter and facebook. Sharing my blog posts on those sites took more of my time away from commenting.

    Today, 6 years later and two more kids later (I only had 3 kids when I started), I still try to comment every single day, but have found that I can only spend quality time leaving comments about 3 days a week. I write regularly to both of my blogs M-F and update my social network every day, so that takes up most of my time. But commenting is important and I try my best to keep up with it!

    I always enjoy reading these posts and getting to know you better! Have a terrific weekend!

    1. Thanks, Cascia! It’s definitely a struggle, isn’t it? I don’t always do a good job with commenting, but I guess I do it enough that people think so!
      You have a full plate on your hands and you do an excellent job.

  25. I love the library too! I think one of the best public service programs that people fail to take advantage of. I use to buy all my books too, now I only buy books that I’ve checked out first and find they would be helpful to have.
    I’m always amazed at your commenting skills, your are truly the Queen of Commenting.

    1. The library is AMAZING! We can get great movies and books all of the time. And they’re reasonable about late fees and mistakes.
      And we all give in different ways. You give your readers incredible savings and you take a lot of time to do that!

  26. I do believe you are the Queen of Commenting! All hail the queen! Your comments are always uplifting and kind and you can tell you took time to read the post.

  27. I always said that I would learn Photoshop. Of course then I’d actually have to BUY Photoshop. What I really need is to learn Photoshop AND how to code, then I can design websites on the side and make a little extra money. Yes, I’ve thought about this a lot. And yes, it is hilarious because I am the least tech savvy person that I know. Sigh.

    Also, I love that you always have the PERFECT picture to describe what you are saying!! Tell me, does the picture come first, and then you realize what it means to you and what moment it captures, or do you have a mental catalog of the pictures you’ve taken and just get it right every time?

    1. Photoshop is pretty expensive! And…nearly impossible to learn. It’s like they say we use only a small percentage of our brains. That’s the way it is with Photoshop.
      Anyway, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done!
      As for your question – it’s just serendipity, I swear! I just post them in the order I edited them into albums!

  28. I’m also excited to see what kinds of activities my kids get into as they get older. Will they be sporty? Into group activities or more loners?

    Thanks for all the detail on your commenting philosophy. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

    1. You’re welcome! I just really love it. I find that it counts to me. Everyone has things that count a lot to them in their blogging – commenting, photos, soulful writing – that’s mine!

  29. You truly are the queen of commenting. I am amazed by your commenting skills. I would love to know what phone app you use to help you with this as it sounds wonderfully streamlined. I love pandora too and hardly use itunes anymore. I also like Spotify – have your tried it yet? Happy Weekend to you!

    1. Oh yes! It’s called Uppsite. You can just do a lot of commenting right in one screen. It’s great!
      I haven’t tried Spotify yet but I think I will!

  30. Love that Easter pic of Scarlet!! So funny!
    And I wasn’t sure if I would like having my Nook to read on when i got it, because I love the feel of a book, but I actually love it! Surprised myself with that!
    For me, I think a big part of dealing with my anxiety and depression has been to accept that its there. once i stopped being in denial and fighting against it, I started to be able to figure out ways to deal with it.
    Happy Ask Away Friday, Tamara!

    1. I think that’s a big part of the anxiety fight for me too – acceptance. And not beating myself up about it, or missing past times that didn’t have anxiety.
      It’s threaded in who I am, and who I am is also someone who experiences strength and joy.

  31. Sadly I am an ebook person because 1: I can never remember to return the books to the library and 2: I want to read the book NOW. We are an interfaith family too. And my favorite thing about having and 8 and 5 year old is watching them blossom and find the things that light them up. I let them try everything no matter the inconvenience.

    1. I think I’m with you – letting them try everything! Although right now Des’ favorite things are hugging Mama and diving into the dog bed. Too bad those aren’t competitive sports.

  32. my gosh, scarlet is such a cutie pie! what gorgeous shots of scarlet, tamara!

    i’ve noticed that when i donโ€™t try to control the anxious thoughts that pop up, they soon pass…itโ€™s only when i engage my worries that i get stuck.

    great post as usual.

    happy spring!

    big hugs~

    1. True wisdom there about letting go of trying to control anxious thoughts. It works so well for me.
      Happy spring to you too, although it was so cold here today that I nearly cried!

  33. Oh, I agree – you are the Queen of blog commenting (maybe a tie with Janine but…)
    That picture of Scarlet playing croquet is incredible – the backdrop – WOW!!!
    BTW – congrats on the addition to your family!!!

    1. She’ll deny it but I think Janine beats me! Also, you’re another incredible one, ya know! The three Queens of Commenting.
      And thank you about the congrats! Did you see on FB??

  34. I ran out of rooms for books too! So I promised my husband I’d cut back. I mainly go to the library now. I love a real book though. I have a Kindle but it’s just not the same. I love the smell of a new book. I don’t get new books as often, but when we go on trips I’ll treat myself. And then I’ll sniff it and my husband is all, “You’re weird.”

    I try to comment but some days I get behind. Like this week was Spring Break. Both kids were home and Natalie needs attention. So I wasn’t online as often.

    Jodi Picoult rocks. I’m reading one of her older books now called Perfect Match. It’s horrifying me.

    1. Yes, a lot of her books are horrifying, especially that one!
      Spring break happens. So do any vacations. I think being mostly consistent but taking tough weeks or fun vacations off is totally legit.

  35. You are definitely the Queen of comments and I love it! I just switched from laptop to MacBook haven’t done my iTunes yet either. I think I have maybe 5 songs here that are only there because they are new purchases. It just seems to take so long to do I have no desire. LOL

    Always great stopping by for a visit Tamara,,, ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks! Content, commenting and clear photos – those are my blog’s missions!
      That photo was taken in SF. I was so giddy. Glad someone caught it!

  36. You are the queen of commenting! Wear your crown proudly, because I can tell that your comments are sincere and I appreciate every one that you’ve left on my blog ๐Ÿ™‚ Ever since my husband bought me a kindle (now I use an iPad to read books) – I purchase all my books electronically. However, now that I have a house with bookshelves – I need to buy books to fill them with. LOL

  37. You really are the queen of blog commenting! (I think Iโ€™ve already told you that before, thoughโ€ฆ.) Iโ€™m looking at making the switch from PC to Mac and it makes me ridiculously nervous. Was it difficult for you? BTW, love the nervous giggles pictureโ€ฆtotally adorable!

    1. It wasn’t difficult for a few reasons. Mainly that I had a REALLY old and crappy PC. I could barely do photos on it. Then I found out that I was inheriting my grandfather’s totally new(ish) iMac. So that was very happy. And my brother-in-law was staying with us that week and he’s a Mac guy so he had me up and running in hours. It was fabulous. Not sure it would have been painless without help, though!

  38. I wish that my phone was smart like that *curse you blackberry*
    I think our Easter was warm last year. I don’t know what warm feels like. Still looking for my frost bitten nipples in a pile of snow.
    I hate iTunes simply because my computer died and it won’t let me transfer the songs.
    I absolutely agree that giving into your anxiety, or any mood, is healthier than avoiding it and supressing it. Once you can acknowledge that something is wrong, you can work on healing. Negative emotions are hard but they have to be addressed.

    1. Working on healing. Isn’t that great? If you deny it, you can’t heal. I never made the connection until recently.
      Blackberry!?? I hope you’re due for an upgrade soon!

  39. Love, love, love Jodi Piccoult! I would probably be all giddy to see her in person too! It is so tough to keep up on the commenting. I have been promising that I would literally “schedule” a blog read/comment hour once or twice a week, but I’m still trying to figure out how to manage time, and failing miserably! I’m always so happy to see you stop by!!!

    1. Thank you! I try to be pretty good about all of my favorites, and my MOAM friends, and the ones who are BOTH! Life happens. I love our community, though, and the way we do the best we can.

  40. Do I get any credit for commenting from Nicaragua? You are most definitely the queen of comments, which I love. I try my best, but life tends to get in the way. I do stick with my faves and try not to miss a post or comment with them. Time to get that music on your new computer!

  41. Alison’s paraphrase of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”: “See that girl, watch those key, she’s the Commenting Queen!” All hail the Commenting Queen! Don’t know how you do it, but you do it well. I will take notes re: your commenting process and attempt to improve my commenting skills. Hugs, Ali

      1. haha, now it’s in my head! I like it, though.
        And thank you – I think this process works for me because my blogging goals are clear photos, clear writing and a lot of relationships. Comments form a lot of those. I kinda want to be the one with the most REAL friends, than I want to be the one who makes the most money from this.
        (although that would be nice, it will certainly never happen)

  42. Your Royal Commenterness, I agree you are awesome about contact and acknowledging those who comment. Huge appeal for readers. I’ve always been fiercely loyal about doing the same (I would sit on the throne next to you in Blogdome) but as you know (offline) I have a far bigger life priority right now. The picture of your sweetie playing croquet gave me a much needed smile – thank you. I’ve mentioned before that I love your writing and stories but that you “captured” me in your candor about anxiety. And I swooned reading how you surrender to it. I’m a big believer in life energy and things that we attempt to push away in life (I don’t mean just people but circumstances, issues, etc) can give them so much more power to boomerang right back at us with even more power. You are so awesome on every level, Tamara…and a respectful bow before Thee ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. You are definitely the King. Definitely. I bow before thee! We definitely need thrones or something. This comment is fantastic! It’s a work of art. It made my day!
      The boomerang metaphor is just so staggeringly true.

  43. I’ve always thought that your house is perfect for Easter egg hunt! ๐Ÿ™‚ Although I’ve never attended that kind of activity before, I’d love for my son to join in the fun this coming Easter. I love books too and like you, I don’t think I can stand reading an ebook, I get tired easily. I have to have a hard copy to maximize the reading experience. I so envy you for meeting your favorite author! Wish I could have the same experience ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Well, who’s your favorite author? Maybe you can?? Unless it’s like Charles Dickens.. then maybe you can’t.
      And Easter egg hunts are wonderful.

  44. Lots of great Q&A this week! I do wonder how you handle such a high volume of traffic and commit on other blogs so frequently. I’m convinced you don’t sleep. I also appreciate that we can sometimes be every day blog readers or occasional blog readers. It’s like that friend you can not talk to for months but when you do it’s right back where you left off. It’s nice. And comforting.

    I have always let my kids find their own space. I don’t believe that they need to do what I like or what I wish I could do. They are who they are and I appreciate and love every last fiber of their being.

    1. ha! I have to sleep. I’m worthless after 11:00 pm or so at this. I wouldn’t be able to do comments then. I do sometimes do my own writing late at night, though.
      No one has to come here 100%, and I really wouldn’t notice. I tend to notice when people DO come, and not when they don’t.
      However I can be petty if someone never, ever visits and I visit them a lot. Although that’s obviously no one here today!

  45. Yay! Two bloggers I love in one place. We’re like one big extended family in the blogosphere, aren’t we? I loved your honest answer about the commenting situation. Some people are like, “Oh, it’s no big deal. I just fit it in when I can.” Anyone dedicated to visiting other blogs knows that it takes tons of time, and it was refreshing to hear someone acknowledge that in a matter-of-fact, non-complaining way. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. We are totally one extended family – I have thought that lately!
      Oh yes, no complaints here – but building relationships is very important to me and I do enjoy the process.
      And I couldn’t just stop visiting friends – it would be like closing books or turning off movies before the ending! I love stories!!

  46. I love seeing your precious photos and what looks like such a GORGEOUS home and learning more and more about you, dear friend!! I am in the throws of intense anxiety- right this very minute. Sustaining me is barely a prayer and I just want to run like hell all the way home… but I can’t. Counting down the days I am not bound in this captive place. Sorry- I am just ‘in it’- so I breathe and wait and try to survive. I have been out of town for some time, and haven’t been able to get on line hardly at all… thought I would just come by to say I love you and miss you while I literally have a minute before I get yelled at!!

    I have not met Shana before- so i can’t wait to get to know her!! If she is adored by you, she must be someone special!! And I have never read anything by Jodi Picoult – oh dear… tell me what I’m missing!!!

    1. Oh my dear. I am so sorry. When I’m anxious, I feel so alone and like no one else on earth has it, or has it as badly as I do. So I’m always surprised that people do.
      Love and miss you too! Thank you for visiting!

      As for Jodi Picoult, it can be a hit or miss thing. She (mostly) hits me.

  47. YES! YOU ARRRRE the comment Queen. I love it. A big pet peeve of mine is commenting on a person’s blog over and over and over again and them never replying to anything I say! It’s just a bonus that you visit the commenter’s blog and comment there. You are a major gem. I used to be able to go weeks without talking to my mom and then have the flood of stories come out- but since Dylan came around I see her twice a week so we talk more frequently. But either way, the love is the same. There’s nothing like moms..aren’t we great? lol I had a kindle once but I didn’t use it. Paper books are the only way I can get close to a book. The electronic versions come across so cold to me. Maybe I’m old fashioned but I need to feel the pages, fold the edges, hug the book in a moment of joy and sometimes even cry on the pages.

    1. You are a gem too! When someone doesn’t reach back, it’s quite satisfying to stop visiting their blog, or to unfollow them on twitter. Aren’t I so petty deep inside? I am!

  48. Yay a fellow library patron! We go every week, not just for books but we also borrow DVDs and CDs from there. We can even find the movies, books and music online and they bring it to the library. Seriously I haven’t bought a book in ages, and thank goodness because I’ve saved so much money with the library.

    1. Oh yes! We go every Thursday for storytime and get a DVD that is due the following week. It’s the best. Books and DVDS and tons of fun play time.

  49. oh that croquet picture, her face …..absolutely precious! amazing capture.
    2 of my favourite authors: Kathleen Woodiweiss and Maeve Binchy both have passed away in the last couple of years. Heart.Broken.
    I am so glad you answered the photo storage question because now that I have my DSLR and have been taking pictures: I have a TON of pictures! I have no idea what to do with them, except for a few faves I printed copies. Pretty soon my computer will be at capacity.

    1. Oh, that is so sad! It’s one thing to get into an author who is long Shakespeare! But to lose someone in modern times and know they won’t put out any new books! Sad.
      I shoot in RAW – do you? They are HUGE and they take up a ton of space.

      1. My hubby tells me….yes dear, you shoot in RAW.
        he set up my camera. he actually knows a lot more than I do because he uses awesome cameras at work. except he has to shoot fingerprints, accidents and dead bodies and needs a lot of detail.
        Um….I should probably clarify that he is a Police Detective โ€“ don’t run! HA!
        Itโ€™s rather like being married to Sherlock Holmes โ€“ but without the sexy accent. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        I store the RAW version in my Canon Digital Photo App, and I can edit it there too โ€“ but I usually export a copy to another editing program and save the edited copy in Subject files on my hard drive. Kids, Seasons, Holidays, Sunrise and Sky, Travel….etc etc.
        my photo storage on my computer is better organized then my entire house.
        because, priorities!

        1. HA! I wasn’t getting scared. Do you think he could do a Sherlock accent for you, on command? That would be nice…
          I hear you about better organization with my photos. BIG time!

  50. Two of my favorite bloggers, I love it! And it’s so perfect that Shana asked you about your commenting; I’ve wondered myself how long it takes you, especially answering the ones here on your own blog.
    Picture of your Jodi Picoult excitement is adorable ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you! And Shana is pretty awesome.
      The commenting needed clarification for sure, even though the amount of time I put in can really vary.

  51. Better late commenting than never, right? This week just got away from me…
    I love the photo with you and your mom! My mom is awesome too, and I’m so happy for technology like Facetime so the grandparents can see my kids growing up and get a flavor of their personalities, even though we don’t live close enough to visit them that often.

    1. Of course, better late than never! It always counts and means a lot.
      My week was awful – I know for a fact I missed many great posts from many great bloggers!
      And Facetime is fabulous!

  52. You really are the Queen of Commenting! And how gorgeous is Scarlet in that first photograph?! Your thoughts on dealing with anxiety are fantastic. I spent rather a lot of last week wondering why I had a constant feeling of dread and it really did make it worse to keep thinking why?

    1. Sometimes I can’t help myself with thinking why. Ugh!
      And I’ve been so bummed about this winter/spring ennui. It’ll come back around.

  53. haha, if i could declare someone the queen of commenting, it would def. be you! but i love getting your sweet messages/comments. have you ever read any of the ender’s game series? i have a feeling you’d like them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  54. I’m a little late to the party, but you are the total comment queen. You are also a very dynamic writer, crazy awesome photographer, and just downright lovable person. Why else would we all flock to you, as well as BlogHer??? ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. This is like..the best comment ever. I had such a trying day – first day with the puppy and two cranky kids, and my husband at work!
      Why can’t we live next door?? So unfair!

  55. Awww! You are the queen of commenting though, I must say. You are definitely in my top three of most loyal commenters and I appreciate it, if I have never told you before here it is now. I love easter as well, but I think only because its one of the only holidays of the season. I love your way of coping with anxiety, it makes total sense to acknowledge it and take its power away!

    1. Aw, I’m glad to hear it! You’re definitely in my top list too, without question. Even some of my best have taken long vacations or skipped posts and I’m not sure you have!

  56. I can’t imagine not talking to my mom for a few weeks! I call her every day when I drive home for lunch. Actually if I don’t call her she’ll text me to make sure I ate something!

  57. Love that photo of Scarlet Easter Egg hunting!! And I am the same way with books, I love buying them, but we have no space (and I also find it very difficult to cull my collection). I do read on a Kindle though – come to the dark side!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I tried an audiobook once and it was not for me.

    1. ha! I probably will come to the dark side, eventually. It seems inevitable. I do love the smell of books, though! Do you think they could change the technology to have Kindles smell like real books?

  58. Wow, I completely applaud your commenting strategy, and will take this advice to heart for my own blogging practice…it’s so important to balance out the comments with the replies! Thanks, and super glad I found your site!:-)

  59. I love the pic of you and your mom! My mom is a big influence in my life, too, and you said it perfectly – when we get together it is an explosion of stories.

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