Ask Away Friday is a great link up hosted by Penny of the Real Housewife of Caroline Country and Amber of Bold Fab Mom. This is a fun link up where two bloggers swap 10 questions and answer them on their own blog. It has been a GREAT way to get to know someone new and a way for my readers to learn more about me too!

Ask Away Friday Redemption Diary

I am not quite sure where Sarah and I met. She claims it was in a Facebook group for Christian Blogging Moms, but it might been on Twitter during a twitter party for Five Minute Friday. Either way, I know that somewhere along the way our online friendship turned into an offline friendship too. She’s someone I talk to almost everyday via Voxer. We’ve done a lot of dreaming together in the last few months- both for our blogs, ourselves, and our families. It has been really neat to get to know someone in this way.

Sarah writes at Redemption Diary , where she blogs with her heart on her sleeve. She has an amazing story to tell and she’s in the middle of doing that on her blog. She spent a season as a single mother to three young children due to circumstances beyond her control. She has written a lot of what happened and how she learned to pick up the pieces to move forward with her life.

The Real Housewife of Caroline County

Sarah Asked….

1. Did you always want to have a family?

 I am so lucky because there hasn’t been a time in my life when I didn’t have family.
Bardells 2My mother was the first born and the oldest of four. There are only five years between myself and my youngest uncle and for 16 years I was the ONLY grandchild on that side of the family. We all lived in the same tiny town in Illinois and growing up I saw my grandparents everyday. In a lot of ways, I am thought of as their fifth child. There have been seasons where we didn’t all get along with each other, but at the end of the day we are all very close.
(My mom and dad aren’t pictured below. They got divorced when I was 5 and my mother passed away a few years ago. Each nuclear family is represented by a different color.)
Bardell Family

I also married into a pretty awesome family. My mother in law, brother in law, sister in law, and nephew are some of my favorite people. We are able to all be together about four times a year, and it is always a blast!


I also have an amazing family of friends. Mike met a bunch of them in college and as the years have gone on they’ve all stayed really close. Along the way they added spouses and now babies. We’ve walked almost all seasons of life with this group so far- marriage, divorce, death of parents, miscarriage, engagements, job promotions & career change, first birthday parties, 40th birthday parties. You name it, we’ve done it together. It is so fun to do life with people who do life well! This is my all time favorite picture of this group. It is so old! We’ve added six babies since this picture was taken!

Photo Credit Paul Specht

Photo Credit Paul Specht

Where is your favorite place to blog in your home?

I only ever write at my desk in our office. However, I draft and catch up on social media from time to time on my phone- usually while I’m nursing Lola. I do almost all of my blog dreaming and brainstorming either while I’m doing dishes, driving, or in the shower. Those seem to be three places where I can think in peace.

3. Why did you choose cloth diapers over disposable?

I choose cloth for a ton of reasons, but the biggest driving factors were savings and sustainability. Malone wore pocket diapers I got used from Craigslist and after factoring in the cost of the diapers and detergent, the electricity and water, and my time to do his diaper laundry for two years vs disposable diapers for two years, we were breaking even after six months. I call that a win! Additionally, cloth diaper hold their resale value. I just recently sold part of my original stash for about the same price I paid for them 4 years ago!

Lola is using prefolds from Simple Diaper and Linen diaper service, where I blog three times a week about sustainability, motherhood, and cloth diapering. They are wonderful! I love not having to wash my diapers. I leave out the dirties on Monday morning and by noon time I’ve got a fresh batch.

I was also a cloth diaper kid. My mother choose to cloth diaper because disposables were expensive and she wanted to know exactly what was touching my skin. My grandmother also used cloth diapers with her, as did her mother and so on. It feels really special to say that my kids are fifth generation cloth diaper users (and probably longer than that, but who wants to go all the way back in time)!  If you look really closely at the picture of me below, you can see that I’m wearing a prefold that is held together with a diaper pin.


Cloth Diaper Cuties

4. Have you picked one word for 2014 to describe where your life is headed?

Not yet. I have a few in mind, but I am still milling them over. Nothing has felt like “home” yet, so I am going to give it some more time. For 2013, my word of the year was Savor, but I didn’t settle on it until April.

5. What is your favorite season of the year?

I actually love the rhythm of all of the seasons, and they put on a SHOW in New England. I guess if I had to pick, I would say summer because I love being on the beach.

6. What is the easiest part of the blogging process for you?

Brainstorming new ideas. The hardest part is reigning in those ideas to make sure they align with the vision of my brand and the goals I’ve set.

7. Why did you and your husband decide to co-sleep with the kiddos?

Malone wasn’t a happy baby and sleep was especially challenging for him. He never napped for more than 25 minutes and never slept for more than a few hour stretches at night. We ended up pulling him into bed with us when he was around four months because we were exhausted (and by we, I mean I). He slept in our bed until he was about 18 months when he moved into his own bed. He almost always ended up in our bed sometime between 3:00 am and 5:00 am.

Shortly after he was three, he ended up getting the flu and vomited all over me and the bed in the middle of the night (Mike had left that night to go sleep in Malone’s bed… we had crowded bed issues). When your kid barfs all over everything in the middle of the night, there is NO salvaging any sleep. I got the sheets in the washer, Malone a bath, and myself a shower. Our day essentially started at 3:00 am. The next night, I asked Michael to sleep with Malone in his bed so I could get a much needed good night’s sleep.

Something clicked for both of them that night and they’ve slept there together ever since. For Michael, I know he loves sleeping with Malone because it is a chance to reconnect. He’s gone at work all day and doesn’t get a ton of daylight hours to hang out with Malone. Malone’s love language is physical touch and he really enjoys the closeness of sleeping next to someone. As for me? I don’t really care where people sleep as long as everyone sleeps well and leaves me ALONE so I can sleep.

I’ve co slept with Lola a few times and I know that would probably be her preference. BUT, she sleeps really well on her own at night most of the time. I don’t think she’ll be a co sleeping baby.

8. How has blogging changed you?

I have had to become much more disciplined with time management. Between here and Simple Diaper and Linen’s blog, I am committed to publishing between 3000 and 4000 words a week. I try to think of time as an investment. What are worthy investments? How can I do something more efficiently?  Am I spending the right amount of quality time with the people who are important to me? Those are things I am asking myself daily.

9. If you could go back to your sixteen-year-old self what would you tell her?

Savor the time you’ve got with your mom. Ask her to tell you everything she knows about everything worth knowing. I miss my mom a ton. I have so many unanswered questions from her. She passed away about five months before I got married. I wasn’t a mother yet and I was barely a real grown up. I wish that I would have had more time to talk to her about motherhood and life in general.

10. What is your favorite post that you’ve written?

This isn’t a fair question AT ALL. I’ll go with top three.

Lola’s birth story. 

I’ve lost my mind. Have you seen it? 

I hate my underpants. 

The post my readers loved the most is Why I’m blogging like a horse with blinders on.