Friday, February 18, 2011

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers Part 2

Hi everyone and welcome back!  Glad I didn't bore you to death with Part 1 of this little Q & A :)  I had hoped to wrap this up with 2 parts, but I think I'm going to finish it all up with one big fashion post where I'll answer your fashion questions.  I'll work on that this weekend.  For now though, let's continue with the answers to the rest of your questions.  And don't worry, I haven't forgotten about the Knitty Bitties giveaway!  I will announce the winner in a separate post later today. 

Laura also asked: What would your idea girls night out consist of?
Something similar to what I did last night, which was meet a few close girlfriends at a fun restaurant and just get some eats and a nice glass of wine.  If I could be guaranteed the luxury of sleeping in the next day though, my ultimate girls night out would be to go dancing.  I love to dance.

Janna asked: When can we do another dessert and coffee night with Rachel and the girls?
Soon!  Throw some dates out there and let's get the ball rolling!

Gerry asked: What's Art's real name, is it short for anything?
Arthur is his full name.  Oh, and he has two middle names: Sydney Dabney.  It's a mouth full

Alison asked: If you could live anywhere (anywhere!!!) where would it be and why?
Sadly I'm not much of a world traveler and so my knowledge is limited to just these here United States.  Either somewhere in New England, or a mountain community like Lake Tahoe.  Not too exciting I know :)  Oh, and the most best thing that's happened to me recently was just this morning when Taylor said to me "You're the best momma in the whole wide world."  Sappy, I know.

Mel asked:
1. Do you want any more kids?
Eek!  Yes.  No. Maybe so.  We always talked about 3, but after having Syd I very much felt like my hands were full enough.  Just recently I have started to change my mind and am considering a 3rd, but the thought of starting all over again with diapers and sleep deprivation and nap schedules quite honestly seems overwhelming.  My husband very much wants another one though.  We will see who wins the battle :)
2. What is your favorite vacation spot with kids?
Somewhere in the mountains like either Tahoe or Mammoth.  Since we pretty much live in a city, I love taking them away from that city environment and getting them out in nature.  Hiking around, swimming, playing in the snow, looking at stars, we just love being outside and it's basically free entertainment all day long!  We also love taking them to the Central Coast of California (Cambria area to be exact).
3. What is your favorite vacation spot without kids?
Hawaii.  I'm sorry, I know many people take their kids there, and we have twice, but Hawaii with kids is just not the same as Hawaii without kids.  

Kim asked: How did you decide what to name your kids?
Taylor came from a Jack Johnson song that I loved and Sydney is my husband's middle name.

She also asked about growing up stuff.  I tossed around the idea of doing a separate post on this; to share some more of me, with the hope of creating a voice that went through similar things growing up.  But based on my reaction to the thought of doing this, I don't think I'm ready.

I will share this.  I have one older sister who is 9 years older than me, and an older brother 6 years older than me.  We have had our riffs and struggles like all siblings, but I dearly love both of them with every ounce of my being.  My family is the most important thing in the world to me.  Our dad is a recovering alcoholic, sober for almost 25 years now, and I will say it was the hardest on my brother and sister.  I was 9 when my dad became sober, my sister was almost 20 and had already moved out, and my brother was 16 and had driven my dad to the hospital with his learner's permit to admit him to a recovery program.  Hearing stories as we went through the recovery process and I attended Alateen, I learned that our situation could have been much worse, my dad was never abusive and we always had a roof over our heads, but it definitely could have been better.  Our childhoods were definitely not "normal" by any means.    

Our oldest brother (11 years older than me) died when I was 19, a victim of violence.  He left 2 boys, my nephews who at the time were 5 and 7?  To be quite honest, much of that time was a blur.  We have never found his murderer, and up until last year, I had never talked to a professional about this.  Art and I had just started dating at the time and he remembers my reaction to his murder was in his words "strange."  I spent a few sessions with someone last year and it helped tremendously.  Do I still have more work to do?  I think so.

I wish I could eloquently say how with God's grace we (my family) have all come out better for this and put into words how a family deals with the loss of a child, brother, father this way.  But I can't.  We have been torn and shaken from this and I don't know if some things will ever be the same after what happened.  But I do know that we are all still together as a family.  My parents have remained married through it all and they are crazy and kooky just like any parents, but are amazingly supportive in every way.  When I hear that people divorced because they "fell out of love", it almost makes me nauseous. I've learned to work hard and value and appreciate what I have, I know how lucky I've been, I've learned to suck it up and move on, and I've learned that "hard times" are all a matter of perspective.  I've learned that no family is perfect and they all have their skeletons.  I am the person I am today because of my upbringing, and while I wish I could change the past, I also greatly appreciate the lessons and values I have gained from my experiences.  I have slowly learned to be proud of the woman I have become.

I've also learned to deal with difficult situations with humor.  You know that saying, "laughing at a funeral"?  Yep, that's me.  With that, I now realize how terribly awkward this post has become.  Ahem, care to talk fashion anyone?  But in all seriousness, through everything I am "fine".  When I tell people about my brother their first reaction is "I'm so sorry" and in turn I say "it's okay, it was a long time ago."  And while it is 'okay', it also of course isn't and it never will be okay.  But I have been able to marry the most amazing man and we started a family of our own.  God has given me a chance to start fresh with them, and create the childhood for them that I never got to have. Maybe that's why I work so hard at it?  I find myself struggling to not make things too perfect for them though.  I have to work hard at not overcompensating. 
This is the point where a truly skilled writer would seamlessly and smoothly transition topics, but since I only got my Minor in Writing, I will awkwardly transition to answering more questions about myself that are much more light-hearted.  Sorry, but like I said, I am still trying to figure this stuff out and share my story with grace.  Clearly I have a long way to go.    

Heather asked about Blog Sugar!
Rachel and I are meeting for coffee next week in fact to hammer out the details and set a date!  We're thinking sometime in August or September so stay tuned.  I can't wait to meet you friend!  It's been a long time coming huh?

Annie asked about my current read, which is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I wish I could say I'm done with it already, since I started reading it last month, but I'm taking my time with it.  

Jules asked 1. Favorite blog? 2. Favorite book?
Favorite blog is sort of ever-changing, but one constant that I will always love is Cupcakes and Cashmere.  She has done a very good job of blogging about several different topics, but tying them all together in a pretty little package of style.  I currently am loving Flower Patch Farmgirl.  I love Shannen's voice and think we would get along grandly in real life.  Your blog will always be a favorite of mine too, for reals.  Favorite book from high school is How Green Was My ValleyI have fond memories of my Senior English teacher Mr. Orr reading us passages of that book.  Wonder if I'd still love it as much now?  A couple of my favorites in teh last few years have been The Red Tent, which got me reading the Bible again and which you still need to read Jules!  And A Prayer for Owen Meany.

Erin asked: What's something your children will be surprised to find out ABOUT YOU one day?
I wanted to be a DJ, like in a club DJ.  Art bought me turn tables for Christmas one year and everything.  I sold them last year after finally coming to the realization that a Mommy DJ is not hot.
I'm always struggling with "balancing it all" - my need to dos VS my want to dos. Any tips on how you try and get it all done, I'd LOVE to hear!
I definitely don't get it all done, but I prioritize on a weekly basis of what actually needs to get done.  I put off paying the bills another week if I can (just because sorting the mail is my most hated chore), I have a bleh blog week if we have a lot going on as a family that week, or if family life is pretty mellow, my blogging is pretty good.  I don't exercise as much as I like and I need to put that back in the priority list, but not sure how.  I also meal plan on a weekly basis and that helps tremendously.  These are just stream of consciousness thoughts that come off the top of my head.

Katie asked: If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be?   
DJ :)  or something like a Nutritionist because I find that stuff fascinating.  Or a librarian.

Andrea asked: Share your guilty pleasure ... whether food, splurging on a certain 'name brand' product, ways you spend free moments of time ... whichever you'd like to come clean about ;)
Good question!  While I don't splurge much anymore, I used to love buying myself a nice handbag.  I have 3 Louis Vuittons.  Those were pre-kids days when there were no college funds to save for!  Now, my most guilty pleasure is getting my nails done at a nice place.  I pay $55 for a manicure and pedicure every 4-6 weeks and to me that feels like a guilty pleasure, but I refuse to let myself feel guilty about it!

Leslie asked: my question is short and sweet: why do you blog?
I'll give a short and sweet answer: inspiration and encouragement.

And that friends, concludes this Q & A!  Aren't you glad I'm done yammering?  Thank you again for asking such fun questions.  I loved doing this and I hope a couple of you do the same thing soon (Jules and Jen).  I also hope you don't mind me sharing something so personal today.  It was hard for me to do, but feels good to open up a little.  You all probably didn't see that coming huh?

I'll be back later today to announce the winner of the Knitty Bitties giveaway.  But for now I am sponsoring a giveaway over at Rachel's blogGo over there and check it out!


  1. Andrea, great post. It's so lovely to get to know you through your blog. You are truly inspiring.

  2. first off, the way you answered all of these questions was just so well done and graceful. and i love how you honestly and genuinely explained that sometimes, families are hard, and life is hard, but God is big, and you've learned enough along the way to know how you want to raise your children. i just love that. know what i love almost as much?? the fact that you wanted to be a DJ. hysterical. if you lived in florida, i'd totally hire you for a party or two! :)

  3. wow. kudos on the honesty and your writing skills. seriously talent abounds!
    never thought a question about family would elicit such a response… thanks for being open and honest.
    we're sort of kindred spirits. my brother is 17 years older, my sister 9, and my other brother 4. it was oftentimes like growing up an only.
    my dad was difficult… distant. sort of how alot of 1960/70s dads were.
    great, great post.

  4. proud of you.
    honesty will never return void.

  5. You did a fantastic job writing this post... and I appreciate your honesty. You have the happiest eyes. So does your husband, so i know you two are happy in your lives.

    I had several alcoholics in my family and I'm still weird about it. Thanks for sharing that story.

    Nice to get to know you some more. I would try this on my blog but I'm terrified no one would respond! LOL!

  6. I think your HS sweetheart shaped your childhood too.

    Thumbs up!

  7. I. Love. You.


  8. Whaaaaaaaaaa? What a fun surprise, Mama! I loved reading this post. (I'm nosy like that.) Then I spotted my name. You're too kind, too kind! I'm so glad we connected! I want to talk fashion with you. I want you to reintroduce me to my inner fashionista. (She's long, long gone...)

  9. There is so much we don't know about people whose blogs we read, even though we feel like we know them. Thanks for sharing a little more about yourself.

    A Prayer for Owen Meany is one of my top 5 favorite books ever. Possibly #1. I was devastated when that book ended.

  10. I am LOVING this! Thanks for answering my questions! We have similar answers :) I am going to do a series like this next month. So fun! :)

  11. Great post. It's so lovely to get to know you through your blog. You are truly inspiring.

  12. This post brought tears to my eyes Andi---you and your family helped me so much growing up, all while you were dealing with your own things. Thank you for being such a good friend...I'm sorry I wasn't always the same.
    You are an amazing wife and mom.
    I had a hard time working outside my home when my job was only a couple of miles away, I really can't imagine what you go through, but you are right, it's your choice. It seems to be working well for you. I don't think it hurts children to see their mother enjoying her work one bit and your job sounds pretty darn cool. ;o)
    I need to send my Grandparents your blog address, they always liked you and still ask about you from time to time.
    Have fun in NYC!


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