Ask Away Friday with A Cookie Before Dinner!

Hooray, hooray, hooray for the all new #AskAwayFriday! Get to know the new hosts and  grab the new logo! Be sure to check out the new Facebook page “AskAwayFriday” for a great place to meet up and send out a #BuddyRequest if you need a partner to swap with! And always feel free to contact me here or anywhere if you want to swap with me.

What is #AskAwayFriday? Well… 

#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County as a place for us to connect with other bloggers by asking them ten questions to really get to know them. The sky is the limit with the questions you ask!

Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Christy from Uplifting Families,

Amber from Bold Fit Mom
I’m back again for my second-ever Ask Away Friday but I’m not actually here! I’m up in Maine, camping and offline for the week, so leave me lots of comments to respond to when I get back. This week, I’m swapping questions with NJ of A Cookie Before Dinner. NJ is another friend from the Valley, who I met through our mutual friends in Northampton. NJ is the mom of two adorable kids, Malone and Lola. (Fans of NJ will remember that NJ and I were in a race to the finish to see who would deliver her baby first. Me and Micah won, but not for lack of trying on NJ’s part!) Besides being a good friend, I admire NJ for her ballsy way of getting things done. NJ is NOT shy about asking for what she wants, and she almost always gets it. That’s the way to do it, folks! She has some excellent questions for me this week and I had fun going through my photos for this post. In fact, it made me miss Flickr, which I’ve neglected in favor of Facebook and Instagram. *sigh* 
Here are my responses to her questions, and be sure to head over to A Cookie Before Dinner to read her answers to my questions! 

1. I know that Stella, Alice, and Micah are all named for family members. Tell us their name stories!

My father with Micah, during his bris, where he recieved his Hebrew names. 

In the Jewish faith, children are typically named after the deceased, so all of my children are named after my grandparents. Alice’s middle name is Ann, after my paternal grandmother and she also has her Hebrew name, Chana, meaning compassionate or gracious. Stella is named after my maternal grandmother, whom I never met. She passed away when my mother was 17. Her name was Shirley, so Stella has the S in her English name for that, and her Hebrew name is Shir-Li, which means “I have a song.”  Micah is named after both my grandfathers, both of whom passed away in the same summer, the same year I became pregnant with Micah. Their names were Michael and Solomon, and his Hebrew name is Meyer Shlomo. Meyer means “light” and Shlomo means “God’s Peace.” I love that my children’s names are imbued with everything that I hope for them now and in the future, while also honoring our past.

2. How did you and Henry meet? 


Some photos from those early days, before marriage and kids. 

We actually met on Flickr! You can read our story here, written by Henry but here are some of my favorite parts of the story:

“Anyway, things were going nice and smooth until I got stuck doing some emergency work whilst having brunch with her on this, our first meetup, which began at the SoHo Apple Store then bled over to some cool pub in the area. She hung on. Cool!Weird things began happening to me. The universe was talking to me. While walking on Lafayette Street heading to the Triple Five Soul store, we had walked right past an ex-girlfriend!Wow!”

“We have the most smashing dinner and find our way to a friend’s bar in the East Village for some after dinner cocktails. That’s it! I couldn’t contain myself. We were getting closer. No doubt. I reached over an gingerly placed that kiss on her. I had been waiting to do that for oh so long. Finally! “

3. I cried as I read your post about Alice and kindergarten. I loved seeing her growth through the year in your story. Has there been a common theme of growth this year for her? 

This year has been all about learning to deal with conflicts with friends. Alice is a NICE girl and goes out of her way to include other kids in her play, and is sometimes too nice to stand up for herself until she gets frustrated and gets upset, so her teacher worked with her this year on helping her resolve conflicts with friends who were making a lot of demands and conditions on her attention. I’m curious to see what’ll happen in the Fall after a summer apart from her friends.

4. I know your family loves to camp! We’re considering take a short trek this summer ourselves. Do you have any advice for camping with an infant?

Camping at DAR in Goshen, MA. Stella is five months old and Alice is 2. 

It is so fun to camp with the whole family. It is not relaxing, per se, but being out in the woods does demand a little looseness and flexibility, and some shedding of routine. That said, as long as you are car camping, you might as well bring along some comforts of home! My number one advice for camping with infant or a pre-walker is bring a pack and play and/or an exersaucer. It’s nice to be able to put the baby down without worrying about the baby eating bugs and crawling near the fire pit. Bring the baby’s crib companions. A little familiarity goes a long way in helping with bedtime in a strange place with strange noises. Don’t stress over getting the baby to bed at her usual time. Sitting around the campfire as the sun goes down, with the baby on your lap listening to the lulls of conversation can be pretty relaxing! Take advantage of the campground’s offerings–if there is a creek to play in, go play in it. If there is a hiking trail suitable for kids, go hike it. Keep the kids active and busy, and they’ll be happy and tired at the end of the day. Most of all, just have fun.

5. In your post about your writing process, you talked about becoming braver in your writing. Since then, you’ve written about a hot button issue and talked about being fat. Has anything changed now that you’re putting “more” of yourself out there for the world to see? 

I’m feeling a little more fearless because I’ve gotten such positive feedback. I’m looking forward to exploring some of these issues a little more deeply and branching out into other areas, like maybe my marriage but we’ll see! But it’s really a case of just jumping in feet first and getting over some fear.

6. Give us an update on how your 2014 word of the year, FOCUS, is going. 

To be quite honest, I had to go back and re-read that blog post! Oops. Anyway, I do think I have gotten better at trying to focus on one task at a time, and to be less tied to devices and social media. When this post is published, I’ll be in the middle of a week-long camping trip in Maine. I plan to leave my iPad and computer at home, and to keep my phone turned off and in the car for the duration of the trip, with the exception of a day trip to Portland. I’m a little nervous and excited about that aspect of my trip, and I’m sure I’ll have lots of insights to share when I get back! I’m also focusing on reading more and being online less. This also means that I am spending more time on housework because it is hard for me to sit and read when I know there is a pile of laundry to be folded or dinner to be prepped!

7. You and I both belong to the online book club, From Left To Write. What has been your favorite book you’ve read for it? Why do you love it so much? 


This is not an easy question! Happier at Home was a book I really enjoyed. I devoured it in days because I love her message of creating spaces that will make being at home enjoyable. We live in a tiny house, and with three kids, I’m often motivated to get out of the house but that comes at a price because it means our living spaces are neglected. In the winter, I basically hibernate, so it’s even more important then to make sure home is a place where I’m happy to be, even when it feels like we’re bursting at the seams and we’re in the throes of cabin fever.

8. In November, I gave you the Sunshine Award and asked you to describe your ideal day. You said that your ideal day was one where you could accomplish everything on your mental to-do list. Has this changed? If so, what does your ideal day look like now? 

Ha. This is another one that I had to go back and look for! I think accomplishing stuff on my mental to-do list still makes an ideal day for me, but my daily to-do list has gotten much shorter, out of necessity. I’m happy if I can get a load of laundry done, dishes washed and dinner on the table. I’ve also made it a point to accomplish one big project a week, like packing up outgrown clothes or scrubbing the kitchen floor, so I feel pretty good when I can get that done.

9. What is one thing Stella and Alice fight about? 

One thing? Ha ha. Oof. They fight about the stupidest, smallest stuff. It seems that way, anyway, on the surface but when I look deeper, I know that they are really fighting a kind of turf war, looking for a way to control outcomes. It doesn’t make it any less annoying but it does change the way I deal with their conflicts and helps me to decide whether I need to let them work it out or if I need to intervene. I usually intervene if I feel like there is not a fair fight going on or if one girl is being disrespectful of the other’s space.

10. What does the summer look like for your crew? 

Tamara asked me last week what our summer travel plans are but I can answer this question a little differently. Summer looks wide-open, for the most part. Outside of our travel plans, we have no set plans. The general routine is to hang out at home in the mornings, or go to the library, then go swimming in the afternoons before dinner time. Sometimes, we go swimming closer to ddinner time and just have a late dinner. I’d like to take a few day trips, and fulfill Stella’s wish to go on a “car-boat,” (ferry) so our options are the Staten Island ferry, the Governor’s Island ferry or the Newburgh-Beacon ferry, two of which don’t actually involve putting a car on the ferry but I don’t think she’ll care! I also have a summer bucket list that includes going to the Red Rooster Drive-In in Brewster, NY and taking the kids to Lake Minnewaska in New Paltz, as well as to Storm King in Newburgh, NY but I won’t stress if that stuff doesn’t happen. I’m perfectly content to spend the summer at the library and the lake!

Okay, you guys. Wish me luck on our week-long camping trip…we’ve never gone for more than a weekend! You can look forward to a post about family car camping, for sure. And if you haven’t checked it out, read the latest installment in my interview series A Blessing and A Curse, in which I interview mothers with disabilities or medical conditions.

14 thoughts on “Ask Away Friday with A Cookie Before Dinner!”

  1. I remember reading your love story when I didn't know you that well yet. I loved reading it, because you know I love such stories!
    And Alice is such a nice girl. Scarlet is..for the most part. Hearing the meaning behind the baby names was awesome too!

  2. What an amazing love story. It just goes to show when love is meant to be it will be. My family has never gone camping but I have been considering it except for the whole bug thing…I wish I could avoid that part completely… LOL I guess that's my city girl showing… 🙂

  3. I loved hearing about the meaning of the baby names and your Jewish tradition, it is very beautiful! My son and my daughter, at 14 & 11, do tend to bicker on a regular basis, but I think for them it is mainly just a difference in the sexes…because lil miss simply likes to aggravate her brother. LOL! Lil miss is much the same way, she wants to be nice to everyone, because she just wants to have friends. Often times, however, it simply leads to her getting picked on. Have a great weekend and a great camping trip!

  4. Ha ha. The bugs drove me crazy this time!! The first few nights weren't so bad because it was chilly but then it got really warm and they all swarmed! We have a shade tent, and I sat it in to nurse the baby without getting all chewed up.

  5. I really miss going camping, we used to go every summer when I was growing up. Colorado is my favorite place to go.

    I love the names of your children, I named my oldest daughter using my middle name(I wanted to keep a family name in there somehow and this worked great). My older son is a jr, I kinda regret it now but nothing I can do to change things now, plus the name suits him well. I decided for my youngest son to seek out biblical names. It was tough but we finally settled on a name and it suits him perfectly.

  6. I'm a new reader and I LOVED the story of your children's names! So lovely! Also, you may have inspired me to try camping again this summer 😉 Hope you had a great week away!

  7. I came back to read your reply to my comment and it's not even here! Sorry, I know I wrote one, it must have gotten eaten! I was At MIL's house with shoddy internet!

    Happier at Home has been on my want to read list ever since you first blogged about it. I need to see if it is available at the library and get my hands on it!

    I love your idea to bring a pack and play or exersaucer with you camping for the baby. I would have never thought about that, but what a great idea!

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