Friday, February 26, 2010

InkMom Speweth Forth, Lightning Round

Okay, let's finish up these questions.

From Eowyn:

8. "Where is the most exotic place you've ever lived?"

You're not going to believe the answer. Considering, though, that I've lived in a small southern town for most of my life, the place that was the most different from what I was used to?

Drum roll, please.

Provo, Utah! I know. Not very exotic. I haven't really lived that many places: Winston-Salem, NC; here (which is the same town my family moved to when I was 5); Provo; Memphis; Johnson City, TN; Charlotte, NC; Spartanburg, SC. And that's it. But. I have traveled widely, so I don't feel quite so bumpkin-ish.

From Amber:

8. "Was your 4th planned or unplanned?"

Is there another category? Let's say our fourth child was . . . unprevented. How about that? After undergoing extraordinary measures to conceive our twins (for that story, see this post) and the shock of getting pregnant the old-fashioned way before the twins were a year old, we just decided to let nature take its course. If we ended up with another baby, great. If we didn't, that would be okay, too. (Although, now that we have little Miscellany, I can't imagine being without her.) Who knew the pendulum could swing so drastically from "absolutely infertile" to "whoa, you have a whole lot of little kids all at once"?

From Lisa:

10. "Have you ever had an online friend that turned out to be "not so cool" when you met in person?"

I'll let you know after CBC in May, okay? Because I have *gasp* never actually met one of my on-line friends in person. I know. Strange. I have met a few random strangers who recognized me from my blog -- those were surreal moments, let me tell you. But they were just that -- moments. So no time for chemistry or lack thereof to really kick in, and no reciprocal relationship. They were my readers, but I was not theirs.

From Emily (who is currently living in a 700 sq ft basement with 3 toddlers & infant twins):

11. "How would you handle living in a 600 square foot space full time?"

Oh, my goodness. 5 children in 700 square feet? Including twins? God bless you, woman. I'm impressed that you have the wherewithal to string together a coherent thought that doesn't include SOS!

Our first apartment, when we were still at BYU (25E 900N #1), had 12" of counter space and an Easy Bake Oven. The shower was so tiny that if you dropped the soap, you had to get out to pick it back up. Or else, you wedged yourself in so tightly that the fire department would need to use the jaws of life to extricate your embarrassed and naked body from the tiny tile cubicle. But I inhabited that space without any children or the accompanying accoutrements.

The worst parts about being confined to a hotel room in an urban space are, in order of impact: 1. Lack of familiar stuff: toys, blankets, snacks, etc. You can sort of alleviate this by bringing a truckload of gear, but not really. 2. Lack of ability to go outside. Parking lots aren't the greatest place for my kids to hang out, and running laps around the coffee table inside the room does bad things for everyone involved. 3. Lack of natural light. This one is mostly a problem for me. But still. Basement apartment, right, Emily?

So, how would I handle that all the time? A lot of outings. A LOT. And I would not keep anything that was not absolutely necessary, because lack of clutter goes a looooooong way to improve my outlook when I'm feeling bad about my space. And I would sleep train the heck out of my kids to take maximum advantage of child-free hours. The other thing? The most important thing? You can do anything as long as you know it's temporary.

From Andrea (who has been scarce in the blogosphere lately, and I miss her):

12. "Are you still doing your cleaning schedule that you posted long ago (I loved it and use it)?"

She is referring to this. And this explanation for its genesis. Yep, I'm still using them. Because they work! I periodically retool them, tweaking little things here and there, adjusting the frequency, whatever. But they're basically the same lists as the ones I published here last year.

Also from Andrea, these next five:

13. "What do you do with photos? (scrapbook/ albums etc.)"

Sad, this answer. Because what I intend to do is a far cry from what actually happens. I DO NOT scrapbook. I WILL NEVER scrapbook. Not even digitally. However. I like the idea of digitally produced photo albums without all the extra layout stuff. That's my intention -- yearly photo books, with copies printed for each kid, so they'll have a personal history of sorts to take with them when they no longer live in this house. For now, my photos enter the black hole that is my computer and never see the light of day again, unless I post them on this blog or my mother threatens to disown me if I don't e-mail some to her.

14. "What was your favorite place to vacation?"

I love to travel. LOVE it. But I have a few favorite places:
  • Rome -- it's magical. It's dirty, and gritty, but it's a city for lovers. I could live there.
  • Paris -- I could live there, too. Oh, the art! The food! I even love the people.
  • Interlachen, Switzerland and the little villages up above -- the most refreshing, incredibly relaxing time I have ever spent. Anywhere. My favorite place on this planet is Trummelbach Falls: 10 glacial-runoff waterfalls, 5 of them inside the mountain. I will write about this in greater detail in another post.
  • Smaller places: Orvieto, Italy; St. Malo, France; Wilmington, NC; Palisades Reservoir in Idaho; the lake where we take our kids every summer
  • My own mountains -- serenity, here. I love it. My heart lives here, and always will.
  • Cities -- New York, LA, Seattle, Atlanta, DC. Love the energy. Love the food and shopping. Love the music. Love the bigness, the diversity. Love how different they are from the world I inhabit on a daily basis.
  • Vacations fall into two categories for me: retreat and expansion. Sometimes I just want wilderness, a cabin in the woods, a house on the beach. Other times, I want to be enlarged and challenged by new places and experiences.
  • Any place where my kids can run around without restriction: beach, forest, field, desert, prairie.
  • Here's where we want to go: New Zealand. Alaska. Australia (CPod served his mission in Sydney). Prague. Jerusalem. Chicago (how have I missed Chicago?). Vancouver. Toronto. Scotland. Greece. Barcelona. That's just the tip of the iceberg. (Ooh! Iceland!)
15. "What age can you start learning a musical instrument? (piano/ violin)"

It's never too early to begin early rhythmic play with your kids. And sing with them from day one. It helps a lot to develop an ear. And I don't teach Suzuki, so I like to start kids when they have a firm grasp of letters. Music is one huge system of symbols, and when kids are learning to recognize letters, then associate a specific sound with it, it's really a great time to take it one more step and translate it onto the piano keyboard. I also think it's essential to start with piano, because even with other instruments, it is so much easier to grasp concepts of music theory if you learn them on a piano. And it's never too late to learn! If you want to start now, go for it! You may have to work a little harder at it than you would have as a child, but as an adult, you're much more likely to have the discipline to do the work. So do it!

16. "What's a date recommendation?"

My husband and I love good food. So a date will always involve eating something delicious. We also love to browse. Book stores are a big favorite. So go eat. Then go pick out things for each other to read at a big book store. Then get dessert. Boring, I know. But very satisfying for us.

17. "What's your favorite easy dinner recipe?" as well as from Lisa, "what is your favorite meal that you make?"

My favorites are constantly changing . . . but the one I always come back to is simple, down home food: pan fried boneless pork chops (thin ones), home made cornbread (note here that cornbread DOES NOT have sugar in it. That would be corn cake. Cornbread is savory and crumbly or it's not cornbread.), steamed cabbage with lots of salt and butter, and applesauce. For a food snob, this isn't really snobby, is it? But it's plain, simple, good food.

There are a few questions I have left unanswered. That's because they've inspired honest-to-goodness, full-length blog posts of their own: teaching kids about sex (KP, I'll be consulting you!); why the church grows so slowly in the south; book recommendations; my soapbox.

Thanks for the questions, readers. I have certainly enjoyed answering them!

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  1. I have met a lot of online friends IRL, and have to say, I am usually MORE impressed when I meet people in person.

  2. I have another question for you. Are you planning on teaching your own children piano or sending them out to someone else? I thought I was decided on this issue but know I'm not so sure. I had originally planned on sending them to someone else. My reasoning: keeping the lines of piano teacher and mom separate. Now I don't think even if someone else taught them that would happen. So I'm curious what your thoughts are.

  3. Just read the last two installments (bit behind in the bloggosphere at the moment so I'm doubling up and commenting on both in one comment). First of all - I had the same exact same concerns when I started writing fiction. I still have to turn my vocabulary off briefly at times, which is hard, but with practice it comes.

    Fellow Optometry wives! I had no idea! Eowyn is my best friend, largely because we suffered through Optometry school together. Too spiffy.

    And I echo Kristina. My experiences meeting bloggy friends (of which there have been many) have all been amazing. So much laughing and hugging and instant connection making.

    I am loving this series of posts. Truly.

  4. Oh I am so with you on Interlachen. Two places you must get to someday (says the almost perfect stranger hehe) are Scotland and the Czech Republic. Prague is amazing and the duck I had there was better than in Paris. Mmm! Okay, I'll stop.

    What a fun post!

  5. Rachel didn't ask me but I'll put in 28 years of teaching private music's worth of opinion (wow, you'll need a machete to carve your way through THAT sentence!)

    Send them to someone else. It isn't about boundaries, it's about accountability. It's good for both of you to be accountable to a third party. The practicing works better, and when the frustration comes (and it will) the teacher is a better lightning rod than you.

    And InkMom, this has been fun! Goodness, you're quite the world traveler! I've been to several of your "someday" places, but you've got me trumped in spades!!

    And I'm with Kristina. There is only one person I've met IRL who I was less impressed with than I was from their blog. And I've met so many amazing women, it was worth the one not-so-amazing one. (Stop asking yourselves if it's YOU, readers! I can assure you, it isn't.)

  6. So is there anyway you'd share your corn bread recipe? I've never had one with NO sugar in it. My favorite only calls for a couple of Tbsp, but I love to try "real" recipies!

  7. I'd say your world travel totally and completely makes up for Provo being the most exciting place you've ever lived. :)

    I've loved learning more about you. I'm pretty sure that when I someday meet you I will really, really like you!

  8. This has been delightful!

    The most exotic place I have ever lived has been Alaska. And, believe me, it's not all that exotic.

    Sheesh. I sure hope I can rearrange our schedule so I can attend the blog conference. I am so excited to meet you and other people whom I have come to love!

  9. Ok, the dinner surprised me coming from you..but it sounded sooo good! loved the q&a!!

  10. Ahh. thanks. I miss the blogging too and hopefully one day soon I'll be back.
    Loved reading all your answers. Thanks for the fun! and the help.
    You've been an amazingly number of places. So cool. I'd love to go to Chicago too. Maybe we'll be there at the same time one day.

  11. Hey! Thanks for stopping by my blog today. It felt like I had a celebrity leave a comment! LOL!

    It was fun to read about you! I had to shudder at the part about all those kids in a little apartment. And I thought it was bad with 3 kids in a 650 sq. ft. apartment!

    The most excotic place I've been to was Paris, France... back when I was 15 years old. I'd love to travel more but that's not going to happen till I have more wrinkles.

  12. I would love to hear why you think the church grows so slow in the south!


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