Last Thursday, I opened the blog up to questions.Â Anything you were curious to know about our family, our blog, our trips to Target I would do my best to answer.Â And good Lord did you all have some questions!!Â There were some really great ones.Â Actually, I don’t think I saw a dud question in the group.Â Some of them were actually things that would take an entire post to answer, so that’s what I’m going to do.Â If your question isn’t answered here today, its probably because I am planning to devote a whole blog post to it.
So, let’s get this going.Â You better go pop some popcorn cause this is gonna take a while…
What kind of advice do you have for all the soon-to-be newlyweds? What can we expect? What didnâ€™t you expect? What do you wish someone had told you before your wedding? From Katharine at Southern Weddings
I’m going to save the advice part for a separate post, but I’ll answer the other questions now.Â I think everyone can expect something different from the newlywed period.Â I’ve never met two couples who had the same experience during this phase.Â But whatever you go through, I know that you can expect some growing pains.Â No matter how long you’ve been together, those first few months (and even years in some cases) are tricky.Â Personally, I think it is because there are such high expectations.Â There is the expectations from others that you should be on Cloud Nine ALL THE TIME.Â After all, no one wants to hear a newlywed say, “Hey, things actually SUCK right now.Â This stupid overgrown child I married keeps spending money on video games and leaving bowls of cereal all over the house.”Â And there are expectations that you have for yourself as a newlywed.Â I think most of us assumed that life would be really different when we got married, some big differences and some small differences.Â So, when things simmer down after the initial wedding rush, it can be easy to think, “Man. This isn’t anything like I thought it would be.Â We still fight.Â We still clip our toenails in front of each other.Â We still sleep at night more than we…don’t. The passion is already gone.Â Something must be wrong.”Â But, in my experience, those are natural emotions.Â Relationships in ALL phases go through highs and lows, and you will experience that even in the newlywed phase and that doesn’t mean that something is wrong or that you have settled into an old married couple, it just means that no one can keep up the romance 100% of the time.Â Even newlyweds have to pay bills and take out the trash, you know?
How do you get TWO blogs on one domain?Â From Aubrey
This one is really hard to answer because it is REALLY complicated.Â Chris and I are not web designers and so anything on our site is done through a lot of trial and error (mostly on Chris’ part while I sit next to him going, “That’s not right…I don’t think that’s right…I don’t think you’re doing that right…”).Â While we hope that the front end of this site is as user friendly as it can be, the back end is a mess!Â There’s just a lot of redirecting web pages and static pages and more redirecting on top of that.Â I’m sure there are better and simpler ways to build a website, but we have ghetto rigged ours and it is pretty darn complicated.Â But the gist of it is that we have redirected three separate blogs to pages of our domain.
I noticed that you work for either a college or a university. I was wondering if it was possible to know which school you work for and what you do.Â From Claudia
I try to leave my work life out of my blog as much as possible.Â For one thing, this website is completely independent from the university that I work for and I would never want anything I say on this blog to be interpreted as an extension of the university.Â I do not represent them on this site.Â There are also confidentiality issues with my job and, while I know I would never disclose anything here that was confidential, I would never want to give my employer reason to have any doubt that their information was secure.Â But more than those things, I try to leave work at work.Â Surprisingly, my blog is a great tool for doing that.Â Before I had the blog, I would come home and talk about work and talk about the problems and the issues there.Â But now that I come home and…well…have a life outside of work, the blog helps me focus on other things in my day besides my job.Â And that makes me happier in my home life and it also makes me happier in my professional life because I don’t burn out.
In a nutshell, I work in a graduate school at Yale University.Â I have two parts to my job.Â The first is managing the Dean’s office.Â I work closely with the Dean on any project that he is involved in and I also handle faculty affairs.Â The second part of my job is new to me, but it what I got my Masters degree in.Â I coordinate the Career Services department and work with students on things like resume building, networking, professional development, interview skills, and anything else it might take to get them JOBS!!Â When we move to Florida, I will be looking for a position in university administration again, but I am also exploring the possibility of teaching high school English.Â I have always wanted to be a teacher and this might just be the time to do it.Â We’ll have to wait and see what happens…
Do you have any advice for making a long distance relationship work?Â From Ashley
Chris and I dated long distance all four years of college.Â We lived about four hours away from each other.Â It was a conscious decision that we made when we graduated from high school.Â We knew that we wanted to give each other the chance to meet other people and try new things without feeling like we were holding the other person back.Â One of the main priorities in our relationship has always been to never hold the other person back.Â We never wanted to look back on our lives and think, “I really could have done that if only I hadn’t been married…”Â College was the first true test of that for us.Â And I’ll tell you something, we weren’t perfect at it.Â Chris had a few little…hiccups…in college with other girls and I sometimes got too involved in school and working that I would forget to make the effort that long distance dating takes.Â But I think the key to long distance dating is to be realistic about your expectations, and the expectation should be that its going to be HARD.Â But one thing that Chris and I found about long distance dating was something that has effected our entire relationship since.
ARTICULATE WITH WORDS!!Â When you’re talking on the phone all the time and that is your primary form of communication, head games are really hard to play.Â For example, giving someone the silent treatment over the phone is just not productive.Â They can’t tell what you’re pissed about and you just end up getting more and more frustrated that they don’t get it. More than any other type of relationship, long distance dating requires you to be direct in your communication.Â If you’re mad, you just have to tell them and then explain why.Â There is nothing else for your partner to use to tell them what’s wrong – no body language, no eye rolling, no friends to kick him under the table when he’s messing up….Â When your primary form of communication is verbal, you have to get really good at verbally communicating your feelings.Â And that has been such a great part of our relationship now.Â Chris and I are really straight-forward with each other.Â When we’re mad, we tell each other.Â When we’re disappointed, we tell each other.Â When we’re excited and happy, we tell each other.Â You wouldn’t believe the levels of pressure this takes off of your relationship!!Â When everything is just out there verbally, it takes all the guessing out of the conversation and we actually move through fights and disagreements pretty quickly because of that.
How did you come up with Beanâ€™s name (his real name, not â€˜Beanâ€™)? From Casey
Bean is named after his two grandfathers.Â He has a beautiful name.
How often do you frequent the Cupcake Truck, if ever? From Noelle
I visit the Cupcake Truck 2 or 3 times a semester.Â They move around where they park on campus and usually I just miss them when they happen to park in my area.Â But about 2 or 3 times I actually get my act together and get out there to see them.Â It is heaven every single time.Â My personal favorites are red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and the caramel cake with chocolate frosting.Â Oh, shoot.Â Now I need a cupcake….
I actually visited the Cupcake Truck today, as a matter of fact.
For more information on the Cupcake Truck, check out their website.
Any advice on working â€œmeâ€ time into life and all its craziness? If I do get time to myself I almost donâ€™t know what to do with it! What do you do when you have â€œmeâ€ time?Â From Jennifer
I have been meaning to do an entire post about this because it follows up on my New Year’s resolution this year, to make more time for myself.Â So, I’ll post about this in more detail at a later time.Â But the short of it is that I have had to redefine what “me time” means.Â Before all the craziness that is in my life right now, “me time” required that I was all by myself doing something completely self-indulgent.Â A nice long bath, an afternoon of shopping for myself, a lavish dinner with girlfriends.Â While I would definitely take any of those things in a snap today, they just aren’t realistic anymore.Â Sure, I am able to take a long bath or shop or have dinner with friends, but if I waited for an entire afternoon to myself or a whole evening to do whatever I wanted, I’d never get “me time!”Â I have redefined what this time means.Â Now, “me time” involves anything when I get to do something that makes me happy.Â Sometimes that means that Bean or Chris or Bean AND Chris are part of that and sometimes it means I get to spend time by myself.Â But I try to focus now on happiness instead of specific acts that make me happy.Â I also try to find those times doing things that I have to do in the normal course of my day.Â For example, I don’t take Bean grocery shopping with me.Â Grocery shopping is now “my time.”Â I usually stop and get a drink at Dunkin Donuts before I go into the grocery store, I take the time before I go to peruse through my cookbooks to make my shopping list, I spend time in the magazine aisle or the make up aisle.Â I might pick myself up a little candy bar for the way home.Â I just try to make those mundane things that need to be done as indulgent as they can be.
This is actually the reason for my addiction to Target.Â Could I get the things I buy there for our household somewhere else?Â Yep.Â And I’d probably save a lot of money if I went somewhere cheaper.Â But the truth is that Target is fun for me, so why not spend the extra 75 cents on Tilex so that I can have a reason to browse through the rest of a store that I love?Â “Me time” to me anymore isn’t about indulgence.Â Its just about finding ways to recharge my batteries in the middle of everything else.
BUT if I had an entire day to do whatever I wanted, I would probably spend it in Barnes and Noble.Â I could (and have) spent hours in there!
My question is: does your family, daycare and other people in your life call Beanie by his real name or Beanie?Â From Ella
I have mixed feelings about Bean’s name.Â Chris and I do call him Bean.Â MOST people in our lives call him Bean.Â He actually knows his name as Bean, too.Â The only place that called him by his real name was daycare and he answers to his name there, just like he answers to Bean at home.Â The only person in our lives who doesn’t call him Bean is Chris’ grandmother.Â She says that its a terrible thing to get stuck with a nickname your whole life.Â And I know what she means.Â I even agree with her.
BUT I CAN’T STOP!!
He just LOOKS like a Bean to me now.Â Its getting really bad.Â Chris and I are making more of an effort to call him by his real name, but Bean is just such an AWESOME nickname!Â Bean, Beanie, Beaner, Bean Man, Bean Bean, Bean Bag, Beanster, Beanie Weenie… I mean, its just the perfect nickname!Â But he has a beautiful real name and so I am really trying (though unsuccessfully) to call him by that.Â The worst is when someone who doesn’t know our family well asks how he’s doing and calls him by his real name and I have to stop and think for a minute about who they are talking about!!!Â It’s awful!!
Iâ€™m wondering if people ever said stuff to you and Chris when you were dating about how you were too young to be thinking about getting married? And, if they didâ€¦how did it make you feel and how did you respond to them?Â From Allison
When Chris and I got engaged, I don’t think anyone saw it coming (well, until Chris asked my Dad and then the cat was out of the bag).Â We had talked about it for a while, but we hadn’t really made it public that we wanted to get married.Â We were sophomores in college.Â We were babies.Â Even I knew that it sounded ridiculous!Â But we just knew. And when you know, you just can’t wait for it to start.Â I don’t remember anyone saying anything to us directly about being too young, but I remember that when I called my mom to tell her Chris had just proposed, she didn’t sound too thrilled.Â I mean, she didn’t sound upset either, but she put on this fake smile that I could hear through the phone and she tried as hard as she could to be happy for us, but I knew she thought we were freaking crazy.Â And, of course, there were always the people who would see my engagement ring and say something like, “YOU’RE ENGAGED?!??!Â HOW OLD ARE YOU?!?!?”Â As if Chris and I weren’t actually too young, we both looked much younger than we even were.Â At the time, I was a little self-conscious about it but for the most part, I didn’t really care.Â We knew what we were doing and so we held hands and jumped right in.
The same thing happened though when we got pregnant, too.Â We were only 25 years old and people would say things like, “You’re so young to be pregnant!”Â (For the record, if you’re one of those people who say that to others, STOP DOING THAT!Â Its rude and hurtful and you might get kicked in the shin.)Â But the thing is, Chris and I have always done stuff early.Â We were engaged at 20 years old.Â We got married at 22.Â We bought our first house at 24.Â We had our first baby at 26.Â I used to be embarrassed by this, but now I don’t really care.Â Those decisions are just who we are.Â To do anything else would be cheating ourselves.
Besides – I LOVE MY LIFE!
What blog host did you use before you got your own domain?Â From Abby
I started using WordPress.com.Â Now, we are hosted by GoDaddy.com but we still use WordPress.org for our site.Â The difference is that with WordPress.org, you are able to do your own coding so you can make your site look more unique.Â Chris does all of that for us.Â Cause he’s nerdy like that…
I do still use my Select Comfort pillow.Â She and I get along fantastically.Â It’ll keep you from tossing and turning fo’ sho’!
Does being a carrier for Fragile X make you anxious/nervous about having more sons?Â From Sarah
Being a carrier for Fragile X means that if I have a boy, he has a chance of being a carrier, too.Â When you know you’re a carrier, they do genetic testing during your pregnancy so that you know what your chances of having complications from Fragile X will be.Â You are scored between 50 and either 300 or 500 (I can’t remember).Â When they did the testing on Bean when he was in the womb, he scored in the 70′s.Â That’s reallllly low.Â Now, if I have another boy, there is a chance that his score could be higher which could cause some complications.Â (Read more about Bean’s genetic testing HERE)
Does that worry me?Â Absolutely not.
The way our genetic counselor explained it to us was that people have been carriers of Fragile X for hundreds of years.Â And just in the past decade or so they have been able to test for it.Â So, for all these years people have been having healthy, normal babies all while being carriers.Â Am I aware of the risks?Â Absolutely.Â But am I scared of the risks?Â No.
If I am able to have children, I’m gonna have them because that is what the Good Lord has put on my heart.Â And I know that they will be born in His image – whatever that might be.
You reviewed some sort of nifty amazon purchase that automatically downloaded your photos from your camera to your computerâ€¦.what was that called again?Â From Susan
Does it work with Macs? Does it slow down your internet?Â From Camille
It was called an Eye-Fi and you can read about it in my post on photography HERE.Â And, yes, it does work with Macs.Â We only use Macs and it works with all our computers.Â It doesn’t slow down your internet connection, but it does sometimes take a while to upload.Â You have to keep turning the camera on and off until your network recognizes it.Â But all things considered, its pretty darn fantastic!
Do you and Chris have separate â€œGirlâ€™s Nightâ€™sâ€ and â€œGuyâ€™s Nightâ€™sâ€? Or do you mainly have mutual friends that you hang out with together?Â From Heather
More times than not, Chris and I hang out in groups of our friends with each other.Â I think a lot of that comes from the fact that we’ve been together so long.Â The lines as to whose friends are whose has been blurred over the years and we tend to just have “our” friends more than “my” friends.Â But we definitely hang out with people without each other.Â Usually, my girlfriends are mom’s as well and so their schedules work like mine.Â Its easier for me to get together during the day (especially for lunches during the week while Bean is in daycare) because our evenings are so short with Bean Man.Â So, I see my girlfriends usually for lunches or on the weekends when we get together with our kids to go shopping or whatever.Â This actually works great for me because I’ve always been kind of a homebody.Â I’d much rather stay home in my jammies at night than get dressed up to go out somewhere.
But Chris has always needed that time to socialize into the wee small hours of the morning with his guy buddies.Â Usually, when they come up for the weekend from New York, I stay up with them until about 10 or 11:00 and then I head to bed because I know I’ll have to wake up early with Bean.Â But then Chris will stay up really late with them out in the Man Cave playing pool or darts.Â It give us time to be together with everyone, but then it gives Chris time to spend with them without me around.Â I think finding that balance is really important in a marriage.Â No one wants to feel like they are chained to their partner for everything they do.
Does it annoy you that people only care to leave you a message when something is it for them? Your last give away got over 200 comments but most other stuff only gets a few notes.Â From Jennifer
What a funny question!Â It actually doesn’t bother me anymore.Â It used to, but I’ve learned that sometimes people just want to READ.Â They don’t want to engage or speak out.Â They just come by to check in and see how you’re doing and then they go on their way and I am totally fine with that.Â What helps me be okay with this is that I see my statistics every day for my blog so I know how many people are coming by and reading.Â I know how many people come back to visit and how many people are brand spankin’ new every day.Â I know how long on average people stay on the site and how many pages they look at when they’re here.Â So, while I would LOVE to hear from more people on a regular basis (I think every blogger/writer wants to hear what they’re readers think ever now and then), you all do enough just by coming back to see me every day.Â Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, with or without a comment!
(Although comment love is the best love!)
Thanks for all your questions.Â I’ll answer all of them in Part II and Part III of this post sometime in the coming weeks.Â Also, I’ve turned a few of the questions into full blog posts, so you’ll be seeing those soon, too.Â LOTS of fun things coming your way in the next month!
I have mentioned the Cupcake Truck on my blog before, but the mention of it yesterday stirred some new interest.Â When I posted on it the first time, it was almost two years ago and I have a lot of new readers now so maybe its time I introduce (and re-introduce) you to the lover in my life…
The Cupcake Truck.
The Cupcake Truck is a New Haven jewel.Â And it is exactly what the name implies.Â It is a truck that drives around selling cupcakes.
Go ahead and squeal.Â I’ll wait.
This brilliant concept is the brainchild of THIS MAN and his lovely, lovely wife.
He wouldn’t look at my camera because he said he wanted the cupcakes to do all the talking.Â And I said I didn’t care who did the talking so long as someone gave me a cupcake.Â And he did.Â And I was happy.
The truck is an old ice cream truck that they bought and turned into a little bakery on wheels.Â Though, they don’t actually bake in there.Â They bake all their cupcakes in the mornings and then hit the road around noon.Â They park in different places all over Yale’s campus and you can follow them on Twitter to find out where they’ll be.
Be prepared to wait.Â Word travels fast, but cupcakes disappear faster.
(SIDE NOTE:Â I dragged my friend, Tara, to the Cupcake Truck with me this week and it was all fun and games until I pulled out my camera.Â She was mortified to be standing next to this strange redhead taking pictures of cupcakes in public.Â She’s a good friend, that Tara.Â A good, good friend.)
When you get to the window to order, you choose your cupcake flavor and then your icing flavor off of their board.Â But, like I said, things go quickly.Â In the time it took us to stand in line for 15 minutes, 2 icing flavors and a cupcake flavor were taken down. It took all the self-control I had not to yell at the person in front of me in line, “ORDER FASTER, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!Â THE CUPCAKES ARE DISAPPEARING!! THE CUPCAKES ARE DISAPPEARING, YOU FOOL!”
But, thankfully, my cupcake of choice was still on the menu when I got up there.Â Red velvet cake with vanilla frosting.Â Makes ya slap yer momma.
Now, some people go straight for the white chocolate cream cheese frosting for the red velvet cake, but that would be the WRONG decision.Â I have found the white chocolate and the red velvet to be too rich of a combination.Â But put that white chocolate cream cheese on a chocolate cupcake and you’re singing my song…
This particular day I was feeling the red velvet though, so they poured on the vanilla icing.Â All nice and slowlike.Â So that I could learn to do it myself at home.Â I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the only thing baked I ate at home were Lays potato chips.
Tell me that you can see the vanilla specks in that icing.Â Just tell me you can see that.Â Oh my goodness it is delicious.Â And I could taste every single vanilla speck.Â Oh man.Â These pictures are like porn.Â Porn for people with a sweet tooth.
The greatest part about these cupcakes is that you can pay a little extra for a topping.Â And their toppings are just ri-di-du-lous.Â You can have a sugar rose.Â Or Oreo bits.Â Or FRESHLY toasted nuts.Â Or freaking edible GOLD, people.Â Edible gold.Â Edible gold on a cupcake served out of a truck.
Are you there, God?Â Its me, Katie.
I meant to take a picture of me eating the cupcake for you so you could fully appreciate the struggles that I go through to be your personal blogger.
But I ate the cupcake before I could get my camera ready.Â My stomach knows no patience.
Have you ever seen more happiness in a $2.00 purchase?Â I have not.Â And now, I shall have another cupcake in honor of all of you who cannot have them for yourselves.Â Or maybe I should have one for EACH of you who cannot have them for yourselves.Â Yes.Â That’s what I’ll do.
If you need me, I’ll be the girl sitting on the park bench for the next few hours, stuffing her face with cupcakes and frosting and mumbling about coconut flakes and candy roses.
I DO IT ALL FOR YOU, IMAGINARY FRIENDS!!!!
When Bean was little(er) we tried to make sure we brought him into situations where we knew it would be enjoyable. We went to dinner a little early so that we were with the crowds that had kids. We planned our activities and outings during times of the day when we knew he would be in a good mood. We avoided places where we knew he might cause a scene – namely anywhere quiet or with a long line.
(Excuse his shiner on that right eye.Â Bean lost a fight with a stack of building blocks this week.)
This has meant that sometimes when we have friends over, I have had to miss out on some things that the group has done.Â If they all want to go out to a bar or to a late dinner or a movie or something, I just naturally hang out with Bean Man.Â It honestly doesn’t bother me.Â Most times I think he’s more fun anyways.Â But there have been times when I’ve really wanted to do something and I’ve avoided it because I didn’t know how to do it with Bean.
Going to the driving range is one of those things.
We had friends over last weekend and the weather was beautiful Sunday afternoon and they all wanted to go to the driving range to try out Chris’ new driver.Â And I wanted to go so badly.Â Chris said I should just come and we’d bring Bean with us, but I knew that would be really difficult and so I insisted that I was fine to stay home.Â But when they started putting their coats on, I changed my mind, jumped up, grabbed Bean, and went with them.
And you know what?
WE HAD A GREAT TIME!!
It was FREEZING, so Chris and I took turns hitting while the other snuggled under blankets with Bean Man.
And Bean had a lot to look at and take in!Â He watched his Uncle Justin and Uncle Brett hit the ball…
He watched Momma hit the ball…
And he watched Daddy hit the ball (and then wonder what went wrong)…
Bean had a great time and the only peep we heard out of him were giggles.Â This was a giant lesson in parenting for me.Â Babies can be as adaptable in your life as you allow them to be.Â Bean can do anything with us that I let him do.Â And shame on me if I don’t expose him to our ENTIRE life, not just the baby-proof portion of it.
So, my mission is now to start exploring all kinds of things with him that I have been too scared to try with a baby.
Next week:Â Scuba diving.
(To see Part I with the first round of questions, click HERE.)
I wanted to find out where you used those plane tickets! You had the chance to go anywhere that airline flies, and I donâ€™t think we ever heard where you picked or if you ever made it.Â From Lisa
Lisa is talking about mine and Chris’ graduation presents from my aunt and uncle.Â Airline tickets to anywhere in the world we wanted to go.Â (Read about our top 5 list HERE)Â We actually found out we were pregnant not long after we finally got our finances in order to take a trip.Â I didn’t think it was a good time for us to go jetsetting off somewhere in my condition.Â In hindsight, that was ridiculously stupid of me and I would go in a heartbeat if I had it to do over again.Â But, it was my first pregnancy and I was worried that if I needed any kind of medical attention, it might be hard to find in the middle of the Italian countryside.Â We had narrowed it down though and we were going to go to Machu Picchu.Â Ahhh….
How do you keep your house clean with the working full time, blog, and baby? Do you and Chris split chores 50/50, do you have someone come clean your house? Any insight on how to handle baby/job/dirty house? From Betty
Oh, goodness.Â Are you barkin’ up the wrong tree, missy.Â I am terrrrrible with the house cleaning.Â I really like things to be neat and tidy, but I could really care less if they are clean.Â Chris, on the other hand, could live with piles of crap all around him, but if there was a spot of dirt, he would be totally beside himself.Â We actually make a good pair.Â Generally, the housework gets done on a daily basis.Â We try (try being the important word here…) to at least pick up and straighten up the house at the end of the day after Bean has gone to bed.Â And we actually do a pretty good job of that.Â We get the actual cleaning done on the weekends.Â Usually Sunday mornings/afternoons because Saturdays are spent running errands.Â Our typical list of chores on the weekends includes vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, changing everyone’s sheets, and laundry.Â Any other deep cleaning gets done on an as needed basis.
As for splitting our chores, I wouldn’t say we necessarily split them.Â But we definitely have our specific roles.Â Chris, for example, is the weekday cleaner for the most part.Â Generally, once I put Bean down and we’ve eaten dinner, I sit down to blog for a couple hours.Â And that’s when Chris picks up and does the dishes and things like that.Â On the weekends, it is usually me that does the cleaning.Â Though, Chris pitches in a fair amount by doing things like cleaning his bathroom (we have separate bathrooms…it has saved our marriage many times…).Â I’m the vacuum and duster.Â Bean mops.
I think the trick to managing a household when you have a young baby, a blog, and a full-time job, is routine.Â Having a pretty set routine (especially during the week) helps us get things done and it also helps because we know typically who is doing what chores.Â But the BEST way to balance everything is to cut yourself some slack.Â If the laundry doesn’t get done until you’re out of clean underwear, well, it just doesn’t get done.Â If the dogs need a bath but you just didn’t get to it (again…), just let that go.Â Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day and beating yourself up to keep a perfect house on top of everything else will just drive you crazy!
How do you handle meal planning? From Amy
Meal planning is new to me.Â I started doing it when Bean was born because we needed to save some money.Â I did a big post about it a while ago, but here’s a refresher course in a nutshell:
On Sundays I sit down with my cookbooks and I plan what we are going to eat that week.Â Usually I try to balance between simple meals (like a meat, a green veggie, and a starch) and meals that are a little more hearty (like a casserole or a stew).Â I generally keep enough things in the house for a simple meal at all times, so I add anything that I need to restock for a simple meal to my grocery list and then I add the ingredients for our heartier meals, which usually have ingredients that I might not keep on hand.Â Then, I take my grocery list and I go through my coupons and pull out any coupons I have for anything on my list.Â I don’t take my coupon book to the grocery store with me because I usually end up buying things I don’t really need just because I have a coupon for them. I cut our grocery bill in half shopping this way and it actually makes me happy to meal plan.Â It appeals to my list-making nature.Â Makes me feel organized and in control.
There are a few things that we keep in the house at all times and those products we buy in bulk at BJ’s Wholesale (like a Sam’s Club).Â The list of things we buy there is actually expanding because we tend to be creatures of habit for some things.Â My BJ’s list includes pasta and spaghetti sauce, canned diced tomatoes, canned veggies, soft drinks, bread (I freeze what I don’t use right away), steamer bags of veggies (these are just easy to use in a pinch), Chris’ chewing gum (because he’s addicted), hot dogs (because I’m addicted), meat (which Chris repackages and we freeze in individual servings), Bean’s formula and diapers, trash bags, dish detergent, laundry detergent, bottled water, and batteries (for Bean’s toys and swing).Â That trip usually costs us between $150 and $200 a month, depending on what products we need to replenish that month.Â I don’t know that we save any money when we shop at BJ’s, but the convenience of having those staples in our house is a good trade off for me.
Most parents picture their kids becoming doctors, lawyers, even astronauts. If you and Chris could pick an ideal career for the Bean, what would it be?Â From Rachel
Oh, man.Â I don’t know.Â (Chris is sitting next to me right now chanting, “as-tro-naut…as-tro-naut…”)Â I really don’t care what a person’s day job is, so long as they are loyal to it, happy with it, and better because of it.Â Otherwise, he can be anything he wants to be.
Except a pimp.Â I’d have issues with that.
I wondered how your socializing has changed now that you have the Bean?Â You seem so busy how do friends fit in to it all? Have you met many new parents like yourself since Bean was born?Â From Another Rachel
Our socializing has changed since we have had Bean, but I think it was in the process of changing when we found out we were pregnant anyways so its hard to say if we are just in a different place now or if it has been Bean.Â Whatever the reason, our social lives have become more family oriented.Â We have always been a little on the homebody side, but we now go out and do things with just our family that we might normally had included lots of people in before.Â I can’t speak for Chris, but I know that I just enjoy Chris and Bean more now.Â I think that is one of the unexpected parts of being a parent and becoming parents.Â Bean changes so fast and learns so much that every day is new at our house.Â Even things like going out to a restaurant are different every time we go, and that keeps it exciting for Chris and I.Â So, while we do still see our friends on a normal basis, we are definitely enjoying the time with our family.
Plus, with busy schedules like we have at our house, our down time is even more valuable now.Â Having a Saturday night or a Sunday afternoon to do anything we want is priceless and we sometimes spend that downtime with friends, we would rather take the time to connect with each other.Â Working all week, we really only get a couple hours in the evening with Bean so weekends we get to soak him up.
Is the iphone easy to type on? Do you eventually get used to the touch screen?Â From HeJo
It is really different than a normal keypad.Â But I’ve had it for about a week now and I actually am getting used to it.Â It isn’t as much of a problem as I thought it would be.
I wasÂ just wondering how you made that decision to get engaged so young? Did you discuss this before he proposed?Â From Caitlin
I don’t think there was an actual decision to get married, really.Â I think we both just assumed that was where we were headed.Â But our sophomore year in college we started talking about it more practically.Â Not so much about when we’d get engaged, but when we’d get married, where we’d live, how many kids we wanted.Â Chris really surprised me when he proposed.Â I wanted to get engaged soon, but Chris seemed like he wanted to wait a while.Â And then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he proposed!Â It shocked me, but at the same time I had been waiting for it.Â The whole ordeal just felt very organic for us.Â Not forced or planned.Â It just seemed like that was where we wanted to go next.
When is your sister getting married? We havenâ€™t heard about her in a while, and I donâ€™t think she updates her blog(havenâ€™t checked in a while)? Are you the MOH?Â From Jordan
My sister is getting married on April 24 and I am her matron of honor.Â MATRON.Â What an awful word!!!Â But, sooner than the wedding is the bachelorette party in New York in a few weeks that I am planning.Â For the record, I am the WORST person to plan this weekend!Â I am such a homebody and for all the jokes I make, I really am not a drinker at all.Â And I am responsible for entertaining a group of sorority girls who can party till the cows come home.Â I AM NOT QUALIFIED FOR THIS!!Â But I’ve got a pretty good schedule for the weekend:
Friday afternoon/evening – Broadway show, dinner at a pizza and beer place, then out on the town
Saturday – Breakfast, lingerie shower at an undisclosed location (it’ll be so great!), dinner at a tapas bar, then out to this crazy fun bar (I can’t tell you much about it because its a secret and Ginny reads this blog, but I’ll tell you about it afterward)
Sunday – Big send off brunch!
So, yeah.Â That’s all coming up soon and I am really excited about it.Â YAY GINNY AND JOHN MICHAEL!!!!!
We’re about halfway through all of your questions from the Q&A post last week.Â Check back over the next couple weeks for Parts III and IV (…and maybe V and VI..!!).