A few weeks back, I posted a reader survey that ended with the opportunity to ask us whatever you were wondering. I’ve already said that I didn’t really expect many survey responses to begin with, so I really didn’t expect many questions for us, nevermind so many excellent ones! I thought we’d get the usual “what color is your dining room?” (Waynesboro Taupe) or “where can I find a hardwood stamp to do my own concrete?”(we didn’t DIY our patio so ours belonged to a conrete contractor). Your questions were so good and so much more substantial than I could have whipped up in a FAQs post that I decided they deserved their own post. So here we go, your questions, literally copied, pasted and answered.
Q: How are you handling being back at work with the baby and all the projects? My son is 2 now, but it’s something I’ve struggled with and can’t seem to manage my time well enough!
A: Ah, I’ve been meaning to update you all on this. First of all, I by no means have everything under control. Obviously, I’ve been horrendous with projects and blogging since I returned to work in August. It does sometimes upset me, but I know that its perfectly normal to not be able to do everything I want to with a 5 month old and I’ve learned to (mostly) let the overachiever in me go. I’ve always been a busy person with multiple balls in the air all of the time, so being stretched thin is strangely normal for me.
When I was working on my master’s degree, I managed to work full-time, work on projects and blog consistently by being extremely disciplined with everything. Saturdays were for projects, Sundays were homework, Monday night was a blog post, Tuesday was class, Wednesday and Thursday blog again and Friday night was my night off. Now, Mike and I always have a running list of projects to tackle on weekends and I aim to blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but often I collapse once Easton is in bed. The craziness of sometimes waking up at 4am, taking care of Easton, running to work, cramming in pumping (which takes a ridiculous amount of discipline in itself), coming home and hanging out with Easton until bed, washing pump parts and bottles, throwing in laundry and getting ready for the next day means I’m usually in bed around 9. I try to stay up as late as I can, but I’ve learned that when my body is done, it’s DONE. I will fall asleep anywhere, in any position, once I’ve had enough. I think that has been my hardest challenge since returning to work.
I also have literally not been healthy since I returned to work, which may explain why I used to be able to stay awake until 11 and now I just can’t (oh and not being able to nap with Easton in the morning is a part of that). I’ve been fighting thrush for over a month now and it is horrific. Being in pain 6-7 times a day is exhausting, so I’ve let myself slide a lot.
All of that said, my biggest issue was my lack of time with Easton and the ensuing guilt. Mommy guilt is a killer. Babies change so often– how they liked to fall asleep yesterday may be different today, and I felt like I was missing so much. So after being back to work for a few weeks (long enough to see if my feelings would change), I decided to go down to part-time. I learned that I could keep my benefits and my current position while just cutting back my hours. I’m still working 30 hours a week, but getting home at 2pm each day is so much better for all of us. I’m only on my second week of my new schedule, so the effects on my productivity are pending Though I still can’t stay up late…
Q: Local area favorite trips or favorite road trips. We are a road trip lovin’ family so I always like to hear about towns.
A: Hm, well we’re very lucky to live right in between NYC and Philly so those are regular trips of ours. We usually try to make a visit to Yankee Stadium every year and the standard Christmas in NYC type of things.
We’re more likely to travel somewhere if there’s a concert or something we want to see, like how we planned to bring Easton to Connecticut to the Young House Love book signing before the hurricane hit. But, I must say that one of our favorite cities is Baltimore. We love us some brunch in Fells Point.
Q: When baby #2 will come?
A: When baby #1 is old enough to babysit.
Having Easton made me even more excited to have more babies some day, but we’re not in any rush. My body is going to need a break after all of this nursing and we want to enjoy Easton for a bit. I’m already looking forward to all of the fun places we can bring him next summer.
Q: I thought I read once that you’re a vegetarian. Is this true? If so, how long. I’ve been vegetarian for 3 years.
A: Yep, it is true. Mike and I stopped eating meat almost 4 years ago. Though Mike has fallen off the wagon lately and I admit to eating some bacon after Easton was born. I went on a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich kick. I know some people will find it weird that I wouldn’t touch a piece of chicken but I’d eat nasty bacon, but I guess I just need a small dose in a mostly bread/egg/cheese concoction
Q: Are you and Mike Mac using atheists or secularists or science lovers? This is my inference from your cat names haha.
Mike prefers the term Apple fanboy. And yes, he is one, that is why Macky’s full name is Macintosh.
Darwin was actually named by the rescue we adopted him from and we liked it, so we kept it. I think it’s adorable that such a scrawny little cat has such a big important name
Mowie named herself. I found her (or rather, she found me) outside of my parents’ house and she literally mow-wow’d for 3 days until we fed her. We brought her to a vet because she was in bad shape and they made us give a name, so we just called her Mowie (pronounced Maui). Yeah I guess you figured out that we decided to keep her after not having the heart to put her in a shelter.
Q: How do you manage to keep your house so clutter free? Where are the junk drawers?
A: Oh dear, every drawer in this house is a junk drawer. It’s one of my pet peeves and things I always say I’m going to tackle. Junk drawers and closets… we have major disorganization going on in both. While I was on maternity leave, I did manage to clean out the 4 drawers we have on one side of our kitchen. Now we’re down to one junk drawer in there, woo!
Right now our family room is a sea of baby jumpers, exersaucers and swings. The day I received this question, I had actually posted a picture of my side of the closet on Instagram, complaining about the clutter.
If anyone knows how to get a few more hours out of each day, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks in advance.
Q: Can you do a house tour? I’d love to see more of your decorating and how it relates room to room.
A: A full, current house tour is one of those things continually on my to-do list. I need to bite the bullet and stop trying to be overambitious and perfect with it. I was originally trying to post multiple pictures of each room, in various stages (ie- the house as just studs, then when we closed, as we painted, etc), but it got too be hard tracking down so many pictures. Maybe one of these days I’ll post things just as they are currently.
Q: When is the playroom coming? (asked in various ways by various people)
A: Weeeeell, we had a carpet installer measure the room today so that we can order our carpet possibly tomorrow. We’re crossing our fingers that it’s done for Christmas (we originally wanted Thanksgiving, ugh) so I’m just as anxious to get the ball rolling as you guys are
Q: I would love to know more about your day to day diaper routine & baby essentials you can’t live without.
A: I think this will be another “Coming Soon” post. I’m itching to make another mood board of baby products that have worked for us now that we’re close to 6 months in. Some people have requested it, others aren’t thrilled with baby posts, but I think a small dose is okay. I know that I always appreciated those posts from people whose style was similar to mine, so I feel like I should pay it forward.
Easton recommends a Jumperoo…
Q: What will you do when your home is finished? How do you know you are truly finished with a room? (I have this problem. I.e. is it missing something? Should I decorate more? Such things.)
A: It’s never finished! We have just barely started on our upstairs– Easton’s room was the first one we touched up here. Now we’re focused on the new office, then it will be our bedroom, bathroom, sitting room, then probably Easton’s bathroom and the guest room. By the time all of that is done, I already have tweaks I want to make downstairs! It’s been 2.5 years since most of that was done so by the time we do everything else, we’ll probably be sick of some things down there!
As for a single room, such as Easton’s nursery, we just live in spaces and add/delete things as we feel like it. For example, after sitting in Easton’s room several times a day and actually using it, I decided I wanted to put something on the wall behind his door. Visualizing that before we did anything else in the room would have been hard. Sometimes you just have to stare at things for a while.
Q: Do you have any behind the scenes advice on renovating, decorating or updating a home for a young family that has (finally) found their forever house?
A: Hm another toughie. Here’s what I can think of…
1) It won’t happen overnight. Homes take a long time to put together.
2) Don’t settle. If you can’t find say, an ottoman you like right away, don’t just buy one to fill the space. Buy only what you need at the moment and see what you need next. Make sure every piece you add is something that you love.
3) Don’t be scared. If you see something you like on Pinterest or HGTV, don’t think you have to spend a lot of money to have it or that you couldn’t possibly make it. The lumber section of Lowe’s is not as intimidating as you would think and fabric.com makes fabric shopping super easy.
4) Think outside the box. Just because granite and stainless are the hottest kitchen catchphrases doesn’t mean that there aren’t other great options out there.
5) Spray paint saves everything. Period.
Q: What has had the biggest impact on the number of followers you have? Any blogging advice?, etc.
A: I’m still just as new as most of you guys, so I’m not sure how helpful I can be here. Oh and the term “followers” always confuses me. Like when a blog says you have to be a “follower” to enter a giveaway. What does that mean? Is that a Blogger follower thing? Because I don’t use Blogger…
Anyway, I think that Pinterest has played a huge role in sending new people my way. But, I never put my own images on Pinterest– each one has been added by readers. Some people do add their own pictures, whether to get them in the “feed” or because they want to control what picture (say, out of a bunch of room shots) is included. I personally prefer to see what people are drawn to without my interference.
Q: I can’t add your blog to my google reader. Has anyone else had this issue?
A: Yes, in the past I’ve heard complaints about this. I switched to Feedburner a while ago and I haven’t heard a complaint since this one. Anyone else still having issues?
Well, that is about it for now. This reader survey was a ton of fun even if most of you are random stalkers! Just kidding, we love random stalkers. But really, responses keep coming in so perhaps we’ll do another survey update in a couple months. Thank you all for your incredibly thoughtful questions