More answers to your questions! I answered your crochet questions in this post, and here are my responses to your personal questions. Thanks for asking, by the way—they were actually really fun to think about and come up with answers to! (I’m sprinkling in mildly-related pictures to keep things interesting . . . most of them are from my Instagram. If you want to see more, my username is maybematilda.)
Since I love finding a new good book to read, what are you currently reading? Or better yet, what book have you read lately that you would put on the top of your recommendation list?
Yay, a fellow reader! I have recently read and would recommend Daughter of Smoke and Bone, The Nazi Officer’s Wife, Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Practice, and Ready Player One. (Such a random assortment of titles and genres . . . but I enjoyed them all quite a lot.)
Since becoming a mom I've started wondering--what do other moms do with their day? How much of your day is spent making sure Forrest is happy and how much do you spend on crafting, cleaning, etc?
Very interesting question—I am always a tad hesitant to talk about parenting/motherhood because there are so many judgmental moms out there, poised to attack (even if it’s just in the guise of ‘helpful advice’; I’m almost never interested in hearing unsolicited parenting advice). To tell you the truth, I don’t spend gobs of time entertaining/playing with Forrest. He’s always welcome to join me in whatever I’m doing (he often wants to help me wash dishes or vacuum or fold laundry or even sit with me and look at a book while I crochet), and of course I’ll stop what I’m doing and play with him or read him a book every once in a while, but for the most part, he entertains himself and I do my own thing. My average day consists mostly of housework/errands, crocheting, reading, and whatever other housewifey-type things are on the to-do list, with bits of playtime with the nugget mixed in here and there. When he was an infant, I spent much more time trying to keep him happy/stimulated/etc., but now that he’s a little older and can play and keep himself happy, I view his entertainment as his responsibility. He has plenty of toys and books, and my opinion is that it’s more or less up to him to keep himself occupied. When he gets bored, we’ll read a book together, or we’ll snuggle while we watch a movie for a while, or we’ll bake cookies together, or we’ll put on music and dance for a few minutes, but I view his entertainment/playtime as mainly his own responsibility. This isn’t to say that we go around ignoring each other all the time, but I don’t let my day revolve around his entertainment. That probably works for some moms, and kudos to them for the loads of attention their kids receive, but it doesn’t work for me, and it’s a surefire way for me to wind up feeling depressed and unimportant and unfulfilled. Note to all: don’t you dare leave mean comments telling me I’m neglecting him or not interacting with him enough or selfishly putting my wants/needs before his. I’ll delete you so fast your mouse will be spinning.
Forrest is a very handsome boy. Do you want more kids? If so how many? Anytime soon?
Indeed he is a handsome boy, thank you for saying so! We do want more kids. Probably just one more. If our second child is an absolute angel (translation: the complete opposite of fiercely colicky, constantly screaming, never sleeping ever ever ever ever ever infant Forrest), we might consider having a third. But at this point, two is sounding pretty good to us. Anytime soon? Maybe. We’ll see. I change my mind on timing matters on a daily basis.
I want to know what does being a Mormon mean? I grew up Dutch Reformed Christian in NJ…I really want to know details. Same Bible?
Great question! Right off the bat, I’ll direct you to our church’s website, Mormon.org, where you can find plenty of information about our beliefs, presented more eloquently and completely than I’ll probably be able to present it here. I guess that if I were to boil down what being a Mormon means to me and try to present it in just a few short sentences, it would be this:
- We are Christian, and believe Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.
- We read and believe in the Bible. We also read and believe in the Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ, similar to the Bible in its teachings and purpose. We believe they are complementary books of scripture—both testify of Christ. (If you are curious about the Book of Mormon, you can request a free copy HERE.)
- We believe in a living prophet. Just as there were prophets in the Bible, like Moses and Noah, we believe that God still gives His children guidance and direction through a prophet today, who is the head of our church.
- We believe that families can be joined together eternally, and are our greatest opportunity for growth, love, and joy.
Do you exercise? What is your routine?
I try. My goal (rarely reached) is to work out 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes a day. Lately, I’ve been using videos from Fitness Blender—that site has hundreds of free workout videos of varying intensity, type, and time commitment. I like the variety, I love that they are free to use, and that I don’t get bored doing the same video endlessly. I especially like their Booty Boot Camp and kickboxing videos, as well as some of the shorter 15-20 minute interval training workouts.
How did you and your husband meet? Love at first sight? Or, the he sort of grew on me kind of love?
We met when we were both students at BYU—we lived in neighboring apartment complexes and were introduced at a volleyball game. I didn’t want to play because I am abominable at sports and knew from sad experience that I would embarrass myself, but I figured that since I had just moved in and was one of only three new girls in the complex that semester, people would be nice to me and hold back their laughter even when they watched me make a fool of myself playing volleyball. Everyone was nice . . . except for some jerk who teased me when I lobbed the ball in the wrong direction. I made some smart-A reply and made a mental note to avoid that jerk in the future, but I met so many people that day that I quickly forgot which of the dozens of names I tried to memorize was the volleyball jerk. Fast forward a few months, and I had made friends with a certain apartment of guys and hung out with them a lot. I thought one of the roommates in particular was kind of cute, and turned on the charm until he finally asked me out. It wasn’t until we’d been dating for 2 or 3 months that I finally made the connection that this new boyfriend was the same jerk who had made fun of me at the volleyball game so many months before. But alas, it was too late, so I finally had to just let it go. To this day, he is an enormous pest, and I have to remind him every few weeks that his ‘playful teasing’ isn’t as fun for me as it is for him. Oh, the trials of marrying a pest. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Do you work outside the home? If not now, do you miss it?
I don’t work outside the home right now, but I consider my Etsy shop and blog my work-from-home part-time job(s). I can’t say I particularly miss any of my old jobs, but I definitely do miss the adult interaction and sense of accomplishment (especially in the form of rewards—a paycheck, a raise, an employee evaluation, etc . . . being a stay-at-home mom has precious few tangible and recognizable rewards), and I miss the feeling of being stimulated/challenged.
I am also a busy new momma, and today in particular I have a bad case of "Ihadsomuchtodobutfeellikei'vedonenothingitis". Do you have any tips for making essential things happen? (workout, make dinner...) despite teething, blowouts, baby feedings and temper tantrums (yours and baby's)?
I totally get this. Some days are just so difficult, and being a stay at home mom is far more challenging than I expected it to be. I’m sure everyone’s advice would be different on this topic, but for me the steps to making essential things happen and having a productive day are to: 1) Get dressed and ready. I’ve learned that if I don’t get dressed in real clothes (ie not sweats/pajamas) and put on makeup/do my hair (even if it’s nothing fancy—in fact, it is never remotely fancy), I just can’t seem to get myself motivated to do anything that day. 2) Eat a real breakfast. Like, not a handful of Teddy Grahams at 10:30 because you’re starving and grouchy. A real, filling breakfast at a reasonable breakfast hour. 3) Have a game plan. I always have a better day if I make a to-do list first thing in the morning, and I purposely make it longer than I know I’ll be able to complete so that I feel pushed to stay busy. And an optional item #4 is to not beat yourself up about a lazy day—they happen every now and then. Just consider it a day off and jump back in tomorrow.
Who is your favorite Michelle in blogland?
The questioner and answer are one and the same.
When are you getting a dog?
If I could talk Jeff into it, the answer would be today. But since he has never had a ‘real’ pet (I’m sorry, but a guinea pig and frog do not count), all he can imagine are the work and expense involved and not the affection and bonding and love. I want to get a basset hound. I love those grumpy, droopy faces.
(with my brother’s new puppy, a sweet beagle named Lily. All together now: awwwwww!!)
Who are your celebrity crushes?
When are you moving back to Iowa?
Ha! Never. Sorry. When I wasn’t near death due to the sub-Arctic wintertime temperatures, I was near melting due to the humidity, or seasonally affected due to the utter lack of sunshine from October-May. But I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until we head back for a Palmer Homecoming!
What camera do you use for your photos?
I have a Nikon D3000 and love it! I’m far from being a photography expert, but I’m getting more proficient at shooting in manual and figuring out exactly what I have to do to make my photos look the way I want them to, and the D3000 is very user-friendly and easy to play with. I also use (and love) a 50mm/f1.8 lens (in addition to the kit lens that came with the camera). I don’t have or even want or understand Photoshop—I edit my pictures in Picasa, which is not fancy in the slightest, but has worked fine for me and my very low needs so far.
What is your favorite part about blogging? What do you feel is the best way to promote your blog to get more viewers?
There’s a lot that I like about blogging . . . I love the friendships I’ve made with other bloggers and readers, the extra bit of motivation it provides to finish projects in a timely manner or branch out to try something new, and I feel like it has helped me narrow in on my strengths and style and preferences. As far as promotion, I’m probably not a great person to ask . . . I don’t do very much. But I think that the best promotion—not just to increase numbers but to gain meaningful readers who will be engaged and interested and create a feeling of community—is to really become involved in your blogging community. For instance, if you participate in DIY link parties, don’t just drop your link and run. Spend some time leaving meaningful comments on other participants’ blogs (‘meaningful’ being not just a ‘nice work!’ or ‘love it!’ but a legitimate, thought out comment of more than 2 words), reply to the comments you receive, visit the blogs of those who visit yours and leave a comment in return, visit the blogs of those who are commenting on the same blogs you are also commenting on, etc. I think worrying about numbers is a waste of time, to be honest (although of course it depends on what your goal is with blogging!), but I do value and work on the friendship and contact behind the numbers. I’d rather have only 10 readers who I feel a sense of camaraderie and friendship and shared common interest with than 1,000 anonymous ones who never comment, never have anything to say, and will drift off to another blog and forget about me 2 seconds after seeing a post (now, this is not to say that a reader who never comments is worthless—heaven knows I am a lurker on far more blogs than I am active on—my point is just that the value, for me, in blogging is mainly in the sense of community and friendship that it can provide, which comes from involvement and chatting and building relationships, so if I have time to spend on ‘promotion’, I try to spend it on chatting and emails and comments rather than ‘real’ promotion.). So I guess in a nutshell, my advice for the best way to promote your blog would be to really be involved with both your own readers and the blogs you read, which will lead to natural, meaningful growth. In my opinion, a smaller count of meaningful, engaged readers can be worth far more than just numbers alone.
What are your favorite movies (because it's always hard to pick just one)?
I’ll go with Lars and the Real Girl, Serenity, and, since I have a toddler and watch this one a looooot, Toy Story 3. I cry at the ending every dang time. Forrest was so baffled yesterday when I was weeping at the end. “Mama? Sad? Cwy?”
What are your top three biggest pet peeves?
Loud smacking chewing noises drive me up the wall (marital issue: I honestly have a hard time eating a meal with Jeff because of this pet peeve). Silly spelling/grammatical errors that could be easily fixed if the writer bothered to proofread or run spell check make the list as well (of course, we all make the occasional typo, no biggie; it’s consistent, repeated, glaring errors that could be fixed by a simple read-through that bug me). And for my third pet peeve, I’m going to go with noisy ‘natural’ mothers. Not just ‘natural’ mothers—they’re doing what they feel is best, just like every mom on the planet—my pet peeve is reserved for the loud, in-your-face, ‘you’re doing that wrong!’ ones who can’t just make their own decisions and leave others in peace to do the same without receiving plenty of unasked-for granola-inspired input. Do whatever you want with your own kids, I truly don’t care, but if I see one more facebook status/blog post/mom in the park berating ‘uneducated’ parents for vaccinating their children or not breastfeeding until the age of 3 or letting their child eat evil, evil sugar or selfishly using wicked Satanic drugs during labor/delivery, Imma bust a cap. (I suppose I could have just said loud/judgmental mothers are a pet peeve, but it seems to me like the loudest/most judgmental tend to be the more natural ones, probably just because they are fewer in numbers and I’ve been the recipient of a number of berating lectures for not being ‘natural enough.’ So I hope I didn’t offend any granola moms with that pet peeve—it sure isn’t the naturalness that bothers me [for pete’s sake, my own husband is a chiropractor], but the in-your-face know-it-all you’re-doing-that-wrong attitude that I’ve come to associate with the handful of loud crunchy moms I know.)
If you could vacation anywhere, where would you go?
I honestly don’t know . . . Italy, maybe? The Caribbean? I’ve always thought London would be neat to visit, too. Since there is absolutely no chance of us taking a cool vacation anytime in our near future, I can’t say I’ve given this much thought before.
Have you made anything that Forrest adores?
Not really :-( :-( :-( For a while, he really was fond of the crocheted owl I made him, although he has lost interest in it recently. And he does really like his personalized coloring book—I’m really happy with how much he enjoys that and asks to color in it. But I think that’s about it—he is not a big appreciator of handmade items.
Whew, that was a long one. Thanks for the questions, guys, and 10 million cool points to you if you made it to the end without getting bored and clicking away! Now leave a comment and tell m something I ought to know about you, too.