The following is my attempt to answer some of the questions readers have asked.
*Photography related questions can be found on the Photography Tab.
Q: How do you do it all?
A: I don't. If you saw my house, you would certainly understand this. I am always juggling a trillion balls and while some balls remain up and flying, there are always a few that are falling and scattered. We choose each day what we will attempt to juggle well. I am a multi-tasker, so there may be a lot of projects going, but rarely do we finish one from start to finish. I will say, I blog and edit photos in place of other activities some find fulfilling. I rarely watch T.V., and I wake up very early to do some of my more time-consuming projects.
This year, Brett's job has changed to offer him more time at home and more flexible hours which allow us to coordinate our schedules so our family stays first. No nannies, no housecleaners, just a mama who's learned to "let go" of what's not so important in order to focus on what is. We do have a dear friend who helps out with the technical aspects of the blog (html codes, sponsors, etc.), but for the most part, it's a lot of crazy fun arranging our schedules to fit everything in, reorganizing our priorities and having to reevaluate how we do it from time to time if it's not working...just like every other family out there trying to do their best.
Remember, while I do take a lot of pictures, what you see on the blog is still a very small fraction of our lives, and there are many unphotographed moments you probably wouldn't want to see. Van Gogh didn't paint toilets and dumpsters...so it is, I choose to capture and write about the very best.
Q: Who takes the pictures of you?
A: I am lucky in that I have some very talented friends who make it a point to grab my camera (my best friend, Heidi, taking most), not to mention a husband who knows not only how to take a few good pictures but also the value of a family album with a present mama. And then, sometimes, it's good 'ol self-portraiture...in a mirror or that whole extend-the-camera-with-your-arm-and-smile thing.
Q: Where do you get your girls' clothes?
A: All over. We mix and match our combos of consignment, hand-me-downs, Target, Baby Gap and other odds and ends we find. We have a great consignment shop in Naples (Once Upon a Child) that has loads of great stuff. Most of my hand-knits (lots of hats) come from either my very talented mama or Etsy.
Some previously-shopped Etsy:
Simply J Crochet
Cute baby clothes are far more about mixing colors and having fun with mismatched stuff than spending lots of money on put-together outfits. And, I suppose this is a good place to hereby confess my weakness for two things: hats and bathing suits.
Q: Do you read all the comments?
A: I do. I may not read them right when they come in, but I save them for when I have time. I try to reply to as much as I can and value everything you say! Comments make my day, and during a really difficult time in my life, I drew so much strength and comfort from your words. I am forever appreciative to my readers!
Q: Are you writing a book?
A: It's finally finished. You can pre-ordere HERE.
Q: You mention you were homeschooled. Will you homeschool your kids?
A: Homeschooling is something I've recently been very interested in. As a former teacher, I have some great connections in our school system as well as the teaching experience to make homeschooling work really well. Obviously, Nella will have some special needs later on, and I won't deny her any important resources we're unable to deliver, but it's still a possibility. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but the last couple years, I've leaned on the "yes" side.
Q: You seem to be so okay with everything when things took a huge turn in your life. Do you ever have bad days? Are you scared of the future for Nella?
A: I have bad days and bad moments as does everyone, but the more I experience the ups and downs of life, the more I learn to steer my thoughts where I want them to go. There are many things that are proven to make bad moments turn better, and spending time with my girls plays a huge role in that. Am I scared of the future? I am scared of the unknown for Nella just as much as I am scared that Lainey will climb in a car someday with someone who's been drinking or have her heart broken. In other words, there is a world of scary unknowns out there for any given child, but I don't let my fears for tomorrow rob me from the joys of today. Life is short, and there is a lot of enjoying-the-small-things to do in the meantime.
Q: Do your stepsons live with you?
A: Austyn and Brandyn are just as much a part of our family as the girls. They live with us half of the time, and their mother and her husband are a part of our family too (yes, we all like each other!). Austyn and Brandyn are 16 and 12, have busy social lives and aren't exactly thrilled to have their picture taken at this age. Sometimes I bribe them. Sometimes they don't care. Either way, I consider it a treasure when I succeed in capturing a moment that includes them.
Q: Does Nella still wear glasses? She doesn't wear them much in pictures.
A: I realize I never clarified her visual prognosis after our second opinion. No, we are not neglecting her sweet little almond eyes. Our second opinion from the University of Miami's Bascam Palmer Eye Institute said not to worry about her newest obsession with swiping her specs off. Her prescription is insignificant enough right now not to require glasses, although we put them on once in awhile for a fashion statement because we kind of miss our professor. We go for eye exams every six months, so we will be on top of any changes!
Q: In response to the following: "I feel inadequate reading blogs about moms who do so much."
A: My blog features the things I'm passionate about and feel confident doing like photography and crafts. It doesn't feature the things I can't do well like organizing, whipping out a spreadsheet, sewing, gardening, playing the guitar, etc. I wish I was good at some of these things, so I ask my friends who are to help me, or maybe I'll read up on them to inspire me. I accept the fact I may never be naturally organized or able to write a song. But we are all good at something. I certainly wouldn't judge someone who doesn't take good pictures or do crafts with their kids because maybe that's not what they enjoy. And that's the beauty of a vast world full of rich differences of people and talents and loves. What is it that moves you, fuels you, inspires you? Find it, own it, live it. And maybe, if you feel inclined...blog about it.
Q: This one's not so much a question as the random comment regarding how I view life and how out-of-touch the glass-is-half-full perspective is. There's some background information I think is important to know here, Friends:
I was born under a rainbow. My mother ate nothing but frosted donuts with sprinkles throughout her entire pregnancy. Geneology studies show that unicorns show up on my family tree, and my Great-Great-Great Grandfather Earl won the esteemed Ophthamology Award in 1861 for inventing the first pair of rose colored glasses. I am currently in the running to hold a world record for how many times one can publish the phrase "Suck the Marrow" (Suck the Marrow, Suck the Marrow, Suck the Marrow--whew, three more down), and we're looking to have our front lawn replaced with a rainbow glitter turf that can be seen from space. You're on to me. Oh, one more....Suck the Marrow.
"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived." ~Henry David Thoreau
For more on my bad days, try searching the blog for the following words: cry, sad, disappointed, upset, down, or sucktacious. You'll find 'em.
With that said, I genuinely appreciate the words of my readers. I draw inspiration from lots of other perspectives and love that the world is full of infinite ideas, some of which I don't agree with but respect.
The following is my attempt to answer some of the questions readers have asked.