Ask Away Friday With Christy From Sweet And Savoring

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It is time for another round of Ask Away Friday! I don’t typically like to Ask Away Fridays back to back, but last week we were away on vacation!

Ask Away Friday is a great way to get to know each other better. 2 bloggers trade 10 questions, answer those questions on their own blog, and link up!


This week, I am swapping with Christy from Sweet And Savoring. Christy lives in upstate New York and loves traveling, photography, and sustainable living! Every time I visit her blog, I want to take a trip! Make sure you head over to her blog to check out her answers to my questions!

Sweet And Savoring

1. Just to start off with a challenge, give me your autobiography in six words.

Small town girl moved far away.

2. I read that you like doing things with your son more than playing on the floor with him. I baby-sit for a four-year-old and can identify with that one! Do you have any favorite children’s books you read with him?

I always feel as though I’m not reading enough to Malone, but when I look back on our day, we’ve done more than I thought. I need to keep a book journal for him this summer so we can see how many we get through!

Before bed, he listens to us read out of a chapter book. We’ve read The Wizard Of Oz and are in the middle of a Box Car Children book. We’ve also got most of the Little House Series and a few Roald Dahl books on hand. We’ve found that reading chapter books is a great way for him to wind down at he end of the day. It also is a great way to practice paying attention and focusing!

He also still really loves picture books and has a few board books he’s interested in. The board books he still loves are the ones he’s always loved and has memorized. These days, he “reads” those to Lola.

Here are five of my favorite picture books to read aloud.

  1. Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus by Mo Willems
  2. It’s A Great Day For Up by Dr. Seuss (this is Malone’s all time favorite right now)
  3. The Moon Shines Down by Margarate Wise Brown (my favorite of all time)
  4. Frog And Toad by Arnold Lobel
  5. Sammy The Seal by Syd Hoff

3. What was your very first vacation and what was particularly memorable about it?

The first vacation I remember is traveling from Illinois to Iowa to visit my great grandparents who lived in my grandmother’s hometown. I went a few times a year with my grandparents and it was always made out to be an epic adventure even though it was only a few hours away.

I remember stopping to watch the boats on the Mississippi River at a lock and dam and eating donuts. I remember getting to getting to chew Wrigley’s gum in the car and I remember walking in to my great grandparents house to lunch on the table.

It was such a sweet time to visit with them and I miss going back there.

We just got home from our own epic road trip (1000 miles one way…we drive straight through) and I hope that my kids feel as fondly about my hometown as I do about my grandmother’s in Iowa.

 4. Would you say you gravitate more towards arts, music, or sports?

I am definitely a sports girl. I come from a long line of sports lovers! My favorite is baseball, in fact Michael and I share a mutual love of the Boston Red Sox. Even though Lola was only about six weeks old last fall, we took the kids into the World Series Parade and it was one of the best days of our life!

 5. With two kids, what are some ways you and your husband stay connected to each other as a couple?

We connect every morning in the kitchen. Sometimes the kids aren’t up yet, so we get that time completely to ourselves. If they are up, they are quietly eating breakfast and it gives us a chance to talk for a few minutes before we move forward with our days. We almost always read the day’s lesson from Jesus Calling and pray before he goes to work.

Honestly, we just need a few minutes together everyday. The rest of the time, we’re focused on connecting as a family unit or one of us has the kids so the other can pursue their passions outside of parenthood. For Mike, that is training for a triathlon. For me, it is blogging and building my (tiny) media empire.

 6. I’m in the Hudson Valley and you’re in Western Mass. We’re practically neighbors! What do you prefer about living in the Northeast as opposed to the Midwest?

I adore being just a short drive from the ocean and being able to go to the beach!

 7. Your kids’ names are Malone and Lola- so cute and unique! Did it take you and your husband  long time to agree on names? What were some other contenders?

Thank you! With Malone- we agreed that if we were going to find out at the ultrasound, we had to have agreed upon names before hand. Malone’s name didn’t take long for us to come up with at all. He’s named after Sam Malone from Cheers (my husband and I met in Boston). If he was a girl, his name would have been Hartley (my great grandfather’s first name).

With Malone, those were the only name options.

From the moment we told Malone we were going to have another baby, he said to us “it’s a sister, her name is Lola.” We took him to the big ultra sound and we were shocked that it was indeed a girl. While I was pregnant, he only called her Lola so much that it just stuck. Her middle name is Kaylee Cheshire. Kaylee is the combination of my grandparent’s middle names (Kay and Lee) and Cheshire is a family name on Mike’s side.

Lola’s other name options.

Girl- Sage, Piper, Eloise

Boy- Seamus, August, Titus

8. On my wedding day, I was overcome with anxiety and going through a rough time with Seasonal Affective Disorder. What was yours like? Would you do anything differently?

Our wedding was amazing and we had a blast. We had a friend fly in and surprise us at our rehearsal. I wouldn’t have changed a single THING.

Photo Credit Paul Specht

 9. My typical travel-related question: Would you rather hike the Appalachian trail for two months or do a six week tour of European capital cities?

I would rather go to Europe but my husband would choose hiking. Hiking really isn’t my thing. I go because my boys like to go, but I’m not a huge fan of bugs!

 10. Last question inspired by James Liption of Inside the Actor’s Studio: What is your favorite word? Least favorite?

My favorite word is hearing my kids call me Mama. My least favorite word is dishes! I do the dishes 3-4 times a day and I HATE THEM.


  1. Nancy says

    Great AAF questions! I liked your response about connecting with Mike. It is so important for Henry and I to do that too, even if its just for a few minutes every day.
    Nancy recently posted..Ask Away Friday with Tamara Like Camera!My Profile

  2. Janine Huldie says

    Aww, I love when my girls call me Mama, too and I am totally a beach girl and love that we literally live minutes away from one here in NY, as well :)
    Janine Huldie recently posted..School’s Out for Summer TToT StyleMy Profile

    • NJ says

      Janine! I didn’t realize you were in NY! For some reason, I thought you lived down south!

      We adore the beach. I can’t wait to stick my toes in the sand this summer!

  3. Tiffany says

    Hey there NJ…I am so with you on hating the word dishes….ugh! Lately The Teenager has been doing them but with him headed to college I will have to once again brave the soapy water… so not looking forward to it!

    I love the fact that you have started reading chapter books, we still read the short reading level books but perhaps I will try adding that to our routine as well. It sounds like it would be a great way to help them with listening and like you said paying attention.

    PS – I love the 6 word biography question and your answer. Really cool
    Tiffany recently posted..It’s NOT All In The Going… Finding My FreedomMy Profile

    • NJ says

      Malone will be five tomorrow, but he has LOVED listening to chapter books. I was really surprised at how hard he fell in love with The Wizard of Oz! I hadn’t read it before and it is so different than the movie!

      After college, I spent a year as a nanny for a family in Boston. Each night after dinner, instead of turning on the TV, the family got cozy on the couch and read chapter books aloud. It was a really cool way for them to get some extra family time together and the girls (aged 8, 8, and 11) loved listening. The year I was there, they were getting ready to take a summer vacation to England and all of the books they read had stories that took place in the areas of the country they were going to visit!

  4. Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life says

    Ugh, I hate dishes too. Fortunately my husband usually does the dinner dishes! I have really fond memories of Martha’s Vineyard…my in laws used to have a house there and it was the most relaxing place for me. Of course that was a time in my life where I didn’t have as many obligations…so that may have been part of it. But the beach draws me in.
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted..Plan Your Menu with Great Recipes at #FoodieFridays no.1My Profile

    • NJ says

      Are you guys close to the beaches in CT?

      We love the Vineyard. Malone has asked to go this year (he sees it on our map at home and is obsessed), so we might make a trip. Because MIL lives on Cape Cod, we can do it as a day trip. I love that life is so slow on Cape Cod. Even with tiny humans, I find it super relaxing most of the time. The beach will be hard this year, I think, because Lola is going to want to do nothing but eat sand!

  5. TiaMaria says

    What lovely photos! It was wonderful getting to know you a bit, I agree about the dishes! And “mama” is still the best sound in the world, no matter how old the kiddos get :) Happy weekend!
    TiaMaria recently posted..Ask Away Friday Vol. 5My Profile

  6. Sonya says

    I love your kids names. I also like the name Sage for a girl too.
    We just came back from our first family vacation road trip. We drove from Arkansas to Orlando. I was quite an adventure. I know my youngest will not remember it, but I hope that our six year remembers it when he is older.
    Sonya recently posted..How I got $65 worth of Alexia Frozen Foods Coupons in the MailMy Profile

    • NJ says

      Thank you Sonya!

      So far in 2014, we’ve driven from MA to FL and from MA to IL. We’ll likely head to PA at some point too. I love road trips with kids!

  7. lisacng @ says

    Cutie kids and that’s a great way to connect with your husband. Only takes a few minutes a day and means so much. Does so much for the relationship. My husband and I chat in bed, on the sofa after the kids go to bed, or out to lunch during weekdays (break at work).
    lisacng @ recently posted..Throwback: permsMy Profile

    • NJ says

      You’re right. We really only need a few minutes a day to connect. Mike is an introvert, so by the time the kids are in bed, he DONE talking to people. We make sure to give each other the best of ourselves in the morning. It works really well for us.

  8. Tara Newman says

    LOVE your wedding dress!! You also take the best insta pics. Small town girl…I want to start belting our John Cougar songs every time I see you. Or Journey…
    Tara Newman recently posted..Why We Need to Write Things DownMy Profile

    • NJ says

      I loved my wedding dress too. I actually picked it out of a magazine and ordered it without ever trying it on!

      I love instagram, it is the most natural fit for me social media wise! I like to drop instagrams into my AAF because it is way easier than watermarking and uploading photographs!

  9. Christy@SweetandSavoring says

    I’ve heard that same ‘Mama’ answer on Inside the Actor’s Studio from some of the female guests :) I can only imagine how nice it is to hear! And oh my gosh, the four-year-old and I love Mo WIllems books! He loves Dr. Suess, too, I’ll have to find that one you mentioned.
    Your girl name choices- love them! I think we have similar taste :) I liked Eloise and then discovered the name Elodie and fell in love with it.
    Love that beach picture- I’ll be on Long Island in two weeks and I can’t wait for the ocean!
    Thanks so much for swapping with me NJ! Have a good weekend :)
    Christy@SweetandSavoring recently posted..In Which I Discuss My Favorite ThingsMy Profile

    • NJ says

      It is one of the nicest sounds to hear, for sure!

      Mo Willems lives one town over from where I live. I’ve bumped into him a few times here and there- we’ve got mutual friends. His daughter looks just like the cartoon Trixie!

      Thanks for swapping! I loved answering your questions.

  10. Kim says

    Oh – I love your wedding picture – love the brown at the top of your dress!!!
    I didn’t realize that you lived so close to the beach – nice!!
    Kim recently posted..Scaling BackMy Profile

    • NJ says

      Thanks Kim! It also had brown embroidery and bead work at the bottom. I loved it because it was just so different than everything else I was seeing.

      We are super close to the beach. We can be on Cape Cod in 3 hours and to the beaches around Boston or CT in just about that same time frame too!

  11. Shelly says

    HAHA! I think my new least favorite word is dishes too! They seem non-stop and we only have two of us really using them!! Bottles is a close second. ;) I think being close to the beach would be my favorite thing about living out of the midwest too! Really the only reason I’d want to live anywhere else! I LOVE that you’re reading chapter books to your son! My niece is 4 and she prefers them. She also likes the bigger books that she can be told the gist of the story so she can ‘read’ them to herself at night. ;)
    Shelly recently posted..July 4th FindsMy Profile

    • NJ says

      We just recently weaned Lola, so I get you about washing bottles. Because she’s so close to a year already (10 months), we have three bottles that we rotate through. Most days, I just rewash the same bottle all day. However, if I was a working mom who had a kid in daycare full time, washing a boat load of bottles would get really old really quick.

      We are really spoiled by our beach access. We are fully aware of the fact that some people have to plan and save all year so they can have a week at a beach house on Cape Cod. Mike’s family has lived there for generations- there are roads on the Cape that are named after his great grandmother’s family!

  12. Stephanie says

    I am totally with you on the dishes thing. I hate them. They just seem to multiply like crazy. I love how Lola got her name…that is a really sweet story. Hope you are having a great weekend NJ!
    Stephanie recently posted..Grilling with Michelle from A Dish of Daily LifeMy Profile

    • NJ says

      I HATE the dishes. I really do. Before we had kids, the our family rule was whoever cooked didn’t have to do the dishes. That worked out in my favor really well most of the time! But, back then we were both working full time and didn’t have little ones running around. I’m home with the kids full time and want Mike to have as much time with the kids as he can in the evenings, so it’s back to doing the dishes for me.

  13. Rea says

    Six-week tour of European cities is gonna be heaven! Although hiking also sounds fun, I’m not sure I’m gonna be up for it more than Europe. But it can be done! Hehe. I love your autobiography in 6 words!
    Rea recently posted..Will I Give Up Chocolates?My Profile

    • NJ says

      I can’t wait to go to Europe! Neither Mike or I have been. We’ll likely go with the kids when they are old enough to really appreciate it. We better start saving for it now!

      The autobiography in six words was hard! I could have killed it with 20 though!

  14. Carla says

    I’ve always lived in the Midwest (STL) the lack of beaches is depressing. I totally love the beach –lucky! I also adore your children’s names. So cute and unique.
    Carla recently posted..Focus and Passion #AAFMy Profile

    • NJ says

      I’ve never actually been to STL! It is on my to do list, but it is about six hours or so from my hometown. You lack beaches, but you’ve got the Mississippi River!

      We’re headed to the beach next week, I can’t wait!

  15. Stacey Gannett says

    Oh I absolutely love The Boxcar Children books and I have read some to the kids and they have read some on their own. We also have a few of the Little House books, too. Oh and Sammy the Seal, I remember reading that as a kid and to my kids, too. Oh I would love to be a short drive from a beach. I still wonder why my ancestors stopped in Illinois! LOL! Yes, the word momma, is wonderful to hear. I think I would choose socks, because I hate to fold them! LOL! Have a great week, NJ!
    Stacey Gannett recently posted..#AskAwayFriday with Tia from Becomin Neurotic!My Profile

    • NJ says

      There are no less than one zillion books from my childhood that I can’t wait to share with my kids. I’ve got a review copy of Charley and the Chocolate Factory coming next month and I can’t wait to read it to Malone!

      My family also stopped in IL. I didn’t see the ocean for the first time until I was 16! Lola was DAYS old when she went for the very first time. I hate the winters of New England but tolerate it because of the beach!

  16. Uplifting Families says

    I love how you and your husband connect on a daily basis. We usually talk throughout the day on facebook and in the evenings just before bed.
    Uplifting Families recently posted..#ASKAWAYFriday with Kenya from KG EditsMy Profile


  1. […] like wanting them to be happy and feel loved, that is) To see NJ’s answers to my questions, pop over to her blog, and explore her site a little. I’m sure you’ll find something that you will laugh at, […]

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