Ask Away Friday With Sarah From Redemption Diary

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 2 My 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.)

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. 


  1. 1

    The Dose of Reality says

    I never really thought we’d co-sleep back in the day, but Bobby just wouldn’t sleep any other way. We sort of just fell into it. When Lucy came around I just assumed she’d be the same way…but she wasn’t! She actually slept better and liked it more on her own! Who knew?! It just showed me that children, even as babies, are who they are!
    Great Ask Away Friday!! I feel like I learned so much about you!!! :) –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted..Pinterest Nightmare #412: The Veasyble Privacy ShellMy Profile

    • 2

      NJ says

      It is so funny how siblings can be so similar, yet so different. I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised. Everything about Lola from my pregnancy and delivery to her temperament is completely opposite of Malone.

  2. 3

    Sarah says

    I loved reading your answers and so glad we met wherever we did. You are a fantastic mamma, wife, and friend. Your mom would be proud. oxoxo
    Sarah recently posted..#AskAwayFriday with NJMy Profile

  3. 5

    Tamara says

    Ah, the old nursing and holding an iPhone. With this kid’s appetite, it was survival for me! With Scarlet, I just read a lot of books because I didn’t have a smartphone yet.
    I wish I could go back to Scarlet’s age sometimes..whether four or 16, it’s so sad sometimes that our parents didn’t get to see us become adults and have their grandkids.
    Tamara recently posted..The One In Which Honesty Is An Understatement..My Profile

    • 6

      NJ says

      Thank goodness for my iPhone, I can get so much done with it while I’m nursing. I can’t believe you were able to read a book and nurse at the same time, that takes TALENT!

      I wish I could go back in time too.

  4. 7

    Dana Butler says

    Love all your family pictures and the community you have with your fam and friends. So cool. Good questions, Sarah. :) This was fun to read.
    Dana Butler recently posted..Why I’ll Be Quiet A While {and my blessing for you in this Christmas season}My Profile

  5. 9

    Melissa @ Home on Deranged says

    First, I love the color-coordinated family identifier idea for group pictures. Not that we are ever together long enough to do it, but I still love the idea. Second, you are a lucky woman to have so many friends that you still get to be around and share your life with. I think we’ve moved too many times to accomplish that. Finally, I was glad to read what you had to say about co-sleeping being what’s best for the kids. Americans get so caught up in what should/shouldn’t be and what’s good/bad that we don’t just let each other breathe. Thanks for that!
    Melissa @ Home on Deranged recently posted..‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and elves are on the looseMy Profile

    • 10

      NJ says

      The color coordinating idea came from my Nana. She was at a wedding where the mother of the groom requested that her children and their families all pick a color to wear so she could say oh that’s so and so and their three kids in the blue and Danny’s family is over there in the red..

      We’ve been in this area for ten years now and don’t have any plans to leave it, mostly because we have such a great group of friends!

  6. 13

    Sonya says

    Hey NJ, I loved the family picture where each family unit wore a different color. That is a great idea for big family photos.
    Sonya recently posted..Barnes & Noble Coupon $10 Off Toys & GamesMy Profile

  7. 15

    Beth at Structure in an Unstructured Life says

    Great questions and answers! Loved getting to know you better!
    I especially liked reading about co-sleeping. Funny how some things just evolve out of sleep-deprived necessity! I was never going to have a kiddo in bed with me, but my oldest had horrible ear infections and would actually sleep in our bed. o that’s where he slept quite often, just so we all could! My youngest has never really liked sleeping anywhere but his own space! They can be so different! :)
    Beth at Structure in an Unstructured Life recently posted..Ask Away Friday with Ophelia!My Profile

  8. 17

    Stacey Gannett says

    Those are such amazing family pics! As a fellow Illinoisan, I am quite curious what tiny town you are from? I have lived all of my life in central Illinois. :) Oh thank goodness for smart phones! I never in a million years thought that I would ever say that, but I do rely on mine quite a bit. Hope you have a great week!
    Stacey Gannett recently posted..This Momma’s Meandering Mondays 25!My Profile

  9. 19

    Lanaya | Raising Reagan says

    I have a picture of Reagan very similar to the one of Malone on the colored mats. Those things were great! You have a beautiful family and so blessed that you all get along so well!
    Families can be tough sometimes.
    Great getting to know more about you :)

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo
    Lanaya | Raising Reagan recently posted..The Blogmopolitan QuizMy Profile

  10. 20

    Rabia @TheLiebers says

    Loved these answers, NJ! My kids and I have attempted co-sleeping at various points, but no one really likes it. My middle son with come in my bed for a cuddle in the middle for the night after a nightmare, but he only stays about ten minutes before he goes back to his own bed!!
    Rabia @TheLiebers recently posted..It’s My Blog-i-versary! I’ll Party if I Want To {Giveaway}My Profile

  11. 21

    Brittnei says

    This is so funny. I can always find so many similarities when I come to your blog! We didn’t go with cloth diapers this time, but I did think about it. I started asking questions to moms in my breastfeeding group who do it and I found out that I’m saving more money then they are right now. If we start to earn a little bit more money, I will probably pose the idea to hubby. For now, I’m sure he will want to stick with what we are doing since it’s saving us the most money. I definitely use my phone to check social media while I nurse. I am nursing a toddler now though and he definitely likes to touch and do everything while nursing when he is awake lol. All of the photos and how you explained how you have so much family is pretty awesome. :)
    Brittnei recently posted..PIP Healthy Products ReviewMy Profile

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