I have known Tamara from Tamara Like Camera for over five years. We met when Malone and Scarlet were just days old. She walked through the door of our hospital’s new parent support group. The core group that was there that day is still involved in each other’s lives. We’ve welcomed new siblings, celebrated many birthdays together, and supported each other during times of grief from the loss of parent or divorce.
Tamara holds a very special place in my heart and it is so fun to swap questions with her today. if you’ve never read her blog, please go there. It is such a treat to read and her photography is breathtaking.
1. It’s your birthday today. What’s your birthday wish, or a wish you can share for the next year of your life?
The year of 32 was really great to me. I dare to say that it was the best year ever for our family. We spent a good deal of time learning how to be a family of four. There were some unexpected trips and bumps along the way, but our family unit is closer than ever.
My biggest wish for the year of 33 is to solidify new friendships and rekindle some old ones. Friendship is going to be a huge priority for me this year. I’ve stood back and watched some of my old friends move on in their friendships without me. It has been really hurtful to see and to feel left out. But at the same time, I was so busy this past year focusing on my family that I didn’t really pursue those friends myself. I’m looking forward to reaching out and spending quality time with them.
2. Say there was a big blogging conference in western MA, which.. might happen. What are the sights, sounds and tastes of the Pioneer Valley that you’d like to show all of your blogging friends if you all had a free day together here?
There are so many wonderful things about living in Western Mass, it is hard to narrow it down to a few.
I’d want to take them to breakfast at The Green Bean, lunch at Bread Euphoria, and dinner at Pintu’s. Dessert would HAVE to be cookies from Gregory’s.
I’d want to show them Ashley Reservoir and Park Hill Orchard.
And just for fun, I’d want to take them to The Yankee Candle headquarters because it is such a unique experience. And we could see the Real Santa (who inspired this post when I saw him at a funeral).
As far as sounds, we’d have to go to Downtown Northampton to see some of the street musicians. Downtown Dan is my favorite.
3. I used to be a bit famous within my family and friends for having terrible or hilarious job stories. Do you have an incredibly bad or good TRUE job story to share?
Good: When I was in college, the NCAA Final 4 came to town. I managed to find a way to figure out which temp agency was doing the staffing for the event and got hired as an usher for the basketball tournament. I was stationed in the VIP section and had to kick Magic Johnson out of his seat because in the wrong section.
Sad: I spent several years working remotely for a company in Boston. I spent just a few days a month in the office there. My boss’s boss requested a meeting with me because she wanted to hear my thoughts about an upcoming project. I drove an hour and a half into the city to go to the meeting. When we got there, instead of talking about the project, she laid me off. I was in the office for a total of fifteen minutes and in the car for a total of three hours. That day sucked.
4. What is something about yourself that you hope will change, but probably never will?
What an interesting question! There honestly isn’t much I’d change about myself. I love the person that I’ve grown into both inside and out. I’m working on getting healthier and have recently lost about seven pounds. I’ve signed up for my first 5k (the Hot Chocolate Run)!
I really love the life I’ve created here in Western Mass with my husband. As I said before, I’ve invested a ton of time this past year in my nuclear family. In the past, we spend our weekends running from one fun event to the next. But this past year, we shifted our focus to more of our life at home and in our neighborhood. I love the results I’ve seen by doing that!
5. Ok, what is the best cookie you’ve ever had? Or your favorite cookie consistently?
I’m a really big fan oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. They’re my favorite to bake and to eat. The secret ingredient is letting the dough chill for about 30 minutes before baking them. It changes the texture to the chewier side of crispy.
6. What’s something that amazes you?
Malone is in the dual language kindergarten pilot program this year. He spends his mornings in a classroom where 100% of the time, Spanish is spoken. In the afternoon, he goes into the English classroom.
He is learning to read in two languages at the same time and it is crazy fun to see. He’s actually picking it up in Spanish a bit faster which is completely mind blowing to me.
We really struggled with where to send him to school because we got into more than one district through school choice. I’m so glad that we’ve put him in the dual language program and we just got word that next year, there will also be a first grade class! The superintendent’s goal is to grow a this program by a grade every year, starting with Malone’s class.
7. When was the last time you really pushed yourself to your physical limits?
When I had Lola. She was born in 10 minutes and 3 pushes. I barely made it to the hospital and there was no time for drugs. You can read her birth story here.
8. What’s a dream vacation you can’t wait to take with your family?
When the kids are older, I’d love to be in a position where we could take a year off and travel the world with them. I don’t know if that will be possible or not, but I’m hoping we can.
What is actually more of a realistic goal for us is to purchase an RV and spend two to three weeks of the year exploring the United States.
We are big fans of being world learners. The classroom can give you a great foundation, but everything comes to life when you step outside.
9. What blog post were you most afraid to publish, but did anyway?
I think some of the hardest ones for me to publish where the ones where I write as I’m grieving my mom. Those come from such a raw and hard place. I often don’t go back and edit those. There isn’t a pinnable graphic or a click to tweet button. It’s just me, processing my emotions and word vomiting on the screen.
10. Favorite TV show? Movie? Musician? Book?
TV Shows: Gilmore Girls, The Cosby Show. This season I’m really liking Selfie and How To Get Away With Murder.
Musician: I don’t have one. Music doesn’t move me the way it does some people. I adore classic rock but there isn’t a single musician I can think of that rocks me to my very core.
Book: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
That is it for this round of Ask Away Friday. Please please please go visit Tamara’s blog and read her answers to my questions!
I love that you and Tamara paired up for this week!!! I had no idea that y’all had been IRL friends for so long – very cool.
I totally get the family over friend thing – hard but sometimes it is the way things end up.
Love your 2nd goal to get an RV and travel – there is a part of me that thinks that would be awesome!!!
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Centerstage is one of my favorite movies!
I have highly considered sending Eve to a dual-language Spanish program. Right now, though, she’s exposed to a lot of Russian, since my husband and his family are originally from there. His parents live about 20 minutes away and see Eve frequently and speak primarily to her in Russian. When she is older we may send her to Russian school so she can learn to read and write as well. I think it is such an incredible thing to be able to offer to a child!
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I think if you have access to a second language to teach your kid, you should totally go for it. Malone is picking up Spanish SO FAST. He’s actually learning to read in Spanish faster than he is in English because there are only five vowel sounds and once you learn them, you can sound out almost anything!
I’ve never been to Pintu’s!! I’ll have to try that because your breakfast and lunch picks are favorites of mine. And of course, Greggory’s and Park Hill!!
It’s an interesting transition to become a family of four, isn’t it? Sounds like you worked hard on it.
And I agree about Yankee Candle. People love to hate it there, but I kinda.. love it. I generally go on a weekday, though. When it’s crowded and when I was pregnant and smell-sensitive, it wasn’t ideal. It’s definitely the real Santa to my family.
The RV dream is a great one. I find myself wistfully staring at RV’s sometimes.
I remember your sad job story. They handled it disgustingly.
Tamara recently posted..Your Friendly Neighborhood Ask Away Friday.
Pintu’s is amazing Indian food. I love it there so much!
Becoming a family of four has been amazing, but a lot of hard and intentional work. When I look back on the past year, I know I’ve missed SO much with friends. But at the same time, my family needed me at home so I was right where I needed to be!
I think it is so cool that you and Tamara know each other IRL and for such a long time. I am super jealous of the dual language classroom. When I taught pre-k half my class was Spanish speaking only and my assistant was bilingual. I learned SOOOO much Spanish those few years and I always regret not taking it in college.
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I took Spanish in high school, but that was a long time ago. I’ve started to pick up more of it through having Malone in this program. His Spanish teacher speaks ZERO English to him, even at the end of the day when I’m picking up. She greets Lola in Spanish too. I think she’s prefer that I’d speak in Spanish to her, but I’m just not thee yet! (She does speak English).
Wow! I had no idea you guys knew each other IRL…so cool!! It definitely shows in your swap which is awesome by the way. Great questions!! I have never thought about making wishes for my future year but that is definitely a thought to have. It is always so easy to reflect on what has been but sometimes allowing yourself to dream and wish for what can be is a bit harder. Love it.
NJ your Santa photos are so fun!! I think that may be the one thing we haven’t done yet. I had a bunch as a child but we moved so often and I never could stand the lines with 3 Kiddies…maybe this year we can have our first Santa memory moment? 😀 You have inspired me.
Oooh so many great questions! Love this swap for sure…have an amazing weekend 😀
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I love the idea of being world learners. It’s true that everything comes to life when we go out and explore the world. That’s a nice thing to read about. I’m learning to be more and more open nowadays and literally going out to experience the world is a nice thing to do. Hope you could all go on your US road trip in the future.