Q&A with Heather - Your Questions Answered

Today I'm answering a few questions I've received over the last couple of weeks from several readers. I have been wanting to do a Q&A because these are some of my favorite posts to read by other bloggers - it's a fun way to get to know the person + I knew it would give me an opportunity to talk about things I probably never would talk about otherwise. A few of these questions had me thinking pretty hard!

I hope you enjoy reading through these and I would also love to hear some of YOUR answers to these questions!

- Do you meal plan in advance or decide the day of what to cook for dinner?
I TRY to plan our meals for the next week on Saturday and then order our groceries to be picked up after church on Sunday. The key word is TRY. Sometimes I'm deciding the day of and it will end up being something like frozen pizza or corndogs and mac-n-cheese for dinner that night.

- What is your favorite dinner to cook for your family?
Hands down my favorite meal to make is Chicken Enchilada Soup. It is my favorite meal + the kids clean their bowls and ask for more. Plus it is SO EASY! You throw it all in a crock pot for a few hours and forget about it. (I'll be sure to post the recipe in the future)

- What's your favorite vacation you've ever been on?
I think I'll have to say our ballpark trip to Los Angeles and San Diego last year. We spent 8 days in Southern California and, although we did stay busy touring the city, it was very refreshing to just spend time together, get our feet in the sand and the Pacific Ocean, and eat some of the best food we've ever had!

In LA we stayed with one of my best friends from high school and her husband, and it was so much fun to catch up with them. Oh, and we went to FOUR baseball games, where we got to watch an old friend pitch in the Big League. Ahh, I'm dreaming of the crack of a bat, the cool San Diego air and Mexican food from Old Town right now!

- At what point did you know you were ready for baby #2?
I think that we always knew that we wanted our kids to be about 2 years apart. I wanted them to be close in age so that they will hopefully be very close friends as they grow older. Raley's birthday is in September and I knew with the next baby that I wanted to be pregnant during the fall and winter so we timed it out so that she would be born in the winter months just after Raley turned 2. We never truly had that feeling of "I think I'm ready for another baby, let's have one!" It was always just sort of planned out that way. I will say though, if for some reason we did not feel that we were ready at that time, we would have waited. We wouldn't have had a baby solely because it was "part of the plan."

- What age difference do you think is best for siblings to be apart?
I LOVE the age difference between my girls (2 years and 3 months) because, like I said before, I think that they are close enough that they will end up being very good friends as they grow older. Right now they are interested in the same things and they enjoy playing together, which is so much fun to see! Audrey adores Raley and wants to do everything she does + Raley adores Audrey and loves to teach her how to do things. I think that it would be different if Raley were, say 7, and Audrey were 2.

I'm not sure that there is a best age for siblings to be apart. Two years is perfect for us, but I have some friends who intentionally waited longer so that their older child would be more independent before the new baby came along. Every family is different. But I think when you know, you know!

- How did you come up with your girls' names and what would you have named a boy if you had one?
I actually heard the name Raley on a TV show and fell in love with it. I thought I liked Riley for the longest time, but then when I heard Raley, I thought it sounded very feminine and it was different.

Audrey was a tougher one. When we found out we were having another girl we were stumped for names for a while. I looked at list after list of baby names and made a list of my own of my favorites. (David was no help. He couldn't come up with names that he liked, but he was quick to veto mine!) Audrey was one that we kept coming back to. I like that it also sounds very girly + I love Audrey Hepburn. In the end it was between Audrey and Harper, so we ended up naming her Audrey Harper.

We've had our boy name picked out since before we were even pregnant with Raley. If we had had a boy we would have named him Chase William. Chase because I like the name (+ that's my favorite baseball player's name) and William is a family name. Both my and David's grandfathers' names are William and it's my dad's middle name.

- Fall or summer?
Fall, hands down!  I love the cooler weather, the leaves changing, the sports, the holidays. Although, I will say that fall is my favorite season because of everything going on during that time, but winter is my favorite as far as temperatures go. I thrive in temps in the 40's and 50's.
Alabama football - one of my favorite things about fall. Roll Tide!

- Favorite reads?
I prefer psychological thrillers or suspense books with a twist. I don't get a chance to read all that often, but when I do I want something that's going to suck me in and keep me on the edge of my seat. The last books I read were the Gillian Flynn books [Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, and Dark Places]

- Are you going to try for a boy?
This is the question I get asked the most often and the answer is I don't know, but probably not. If I had to decide today if we were going to have another child, I would say no.

I used to be able to picture three kids, each about 2 years apart, but now I just can't. When I think about the future, I don't picture myself with a third child. And actually, I've been around lots of babies lately and I DON'T have baby fever! This is definitely a sign that I'm not ready for another one.

There are so many reasons why having a baby now would not be a smart move, but if we wait a few more years, are we really going to want to start over? I don't know. Only God knows. I truly think that we are done having kids, although we could change our minds in the future. Or God may have other plans for us, which is okay too.

- If you could live anywhere else and bring your family with you, where would you go?
BOSTON! I absolutely fell in love with this city when we visited a few years ago. I would love to live on the East Coast, if only for the seasons. We don't get true seasons in Alabama. It's like summer lasts until Christmas and then in the Spring it goes from being 40 degrees one week to 80 degrees the next, and never looks back.

If it weren't for our families being so close to us here, we probably would take a chance and move up there for a bit. I loved everything about the city - the history, the parks, the harbor, the food, the cobblestone walkways, the walk-ability, the shopping. Maybe when we're older and our kids are grown we'll move north.

- If you could change careers or go back and choose something else would you, and if so what would it be?
I truly enjoy being a nurse. The human body is fascinating how it all works together and I love learning new things about it. I love taking care of critically ill patients and being challenged at work - it's what keeps me doing what I do (even if it's only one day a week)! So no, I do not think I would go back and change anything.

Although if I had not become a nurse, I think I would have liked to have a career working with people with disabilities. They are a special kind of people and they absolutely light up my world!

- How do you keep the girls entertained while you cook/clean/do other things?
When they were younger it was pretty difficult to get anything done because I needed to have eyes on Audrey at all times. Up until when she was maybe 15 months old I could sit her in her exersaucer and get some stuff done while Raley played. Sometimes I'd let her sit in her high chair and eat a snack if I needed her to be stationary while I cooked or did a couple chores.

Now they are at an age (4 and 2) where they can sort of entertain themselves. If I'm cooking or cleaning I can typically put on a movie and they will watch the movie and play with their toys (although I may have to break up a few fights here and there). Also, they're constantly saying "Mommy, look at this!" and "Mommy, watch this!" Needless to say, my most productive hours are before they wake up in the morning and during nap time.

- How do you balance time with your family, you and David's extended families and friends?
I'm not sure I have a great answer for this because I'm not the best at it. We kind of just go with the flow. We see my parents more than David's because they live closer, we go to church together, my mom keeps the girls when I work, plus she teaches at the Mother's Morning Out where my girls go to school. We really should be more intentional about spending time with his family because I know they want to see the girls too, and we plan to work on that.

As for friends, most of them have kids too, so I try to schedule play dates at least once a week so that I can spend time with friends + the girls can get some energy out playing with theirs. Sometimes I'll schedule a girls night or David will go out with his friends, which is always welcomed to get some "adult" time away from kids for an evening.

A majority of our time is spent together as a family. If we feel like our schedule has been packed full and we haven't had enough family time lately, then we will try to intentionally clear our schedule and just spend time together. (We did this last December after a couple months of traveling nearly every weekend.)

- How long does it take to decorate your planner pages?
It usually takes about an hour or so. When I first started doing this it would take more like 2 hours, but now I've sort of found my groove and it's a little easier to put a spread together.

- Where do you buy your planners and stickers?
The planner I have is a Happy Planner, which can be found at Michael's, Hobby Lobby and JoAnn's. They carry the stickers and accessories too. I've found that typically Michael's has more selection than Hobby Lobby does though.

If you're interested in this type of planning, follow their Instagram, because sometimes they release products that are exclusive to just one of these stores. Like they just came out with "Happy Notes" which are notebooks with blank paper and they are only carried at JoAnn's. Also Target has a line of back to school planners for teachers and students, which I believe are not sold in any other stores.

- What's your current struggle in parenting right now?
We have different struggles for each of them right now. For Audrey we're struggling with her strong-willed, independent nature. She wants to do EVERYTHING herself. Sometimes it's not best that she does it herself, and she doesn't understand this, which usually turns into a little temper tantrum. With her though, she tends to get over it quite quickly.

With Raley, we're struggling with her attitude and teaching her to show us respect. She will do something that we will get on to her for,(it could be something minor that we're telling her to stop doing) and she will lose it. She'll say things like "I will NOT stop!" and "You don't tell me what to do!" and "You never let me do what I want!"

We have come to understand that she wears her emotions on her sleeve and she struggles with being able to control them. We are still trying to figure out the best way to discipline this behavior, so that she will learn respect for not just us, but all adults in a position of authority. I'm thinking this is one of those "orange tree" type situations that we just have to stay diligent about correcting (if you're confused about that statement, I explain it here.) Anyone else struggle with this? Any tips?!

- What are you most proud of as a mom so far?
What makes me most proud is when I see them learn something or catch on to something that we've either been working hard to teach them or that they've been working on learning at school.

For example, when they start to use their manners to politely ask for things. Or randomly start saying prayers in the car. The things they thank God for are so sweet. Or how Raley's writing has improved and her drawing has developed over the course of the past year. I'm also pretty darn proud of how much they have both improved in the water after just 4 days of swim lessons!

-What is your favorite Bible verse for your current season of life and why?
Philippians 4:6-7 - "Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

This is one of my favorite verses at this time because it is very comforting. I may not understand the why behind everything that is going on in my life, but God does, and understanding that He has it under control brings me peace that only He can provide. (I go more into detail about how faith can help ease anxiety here.)

Yall, this was so much fun to answer all of your questions, so THANK YOU to all who submitted them and to everyone who took the time to read. If you think of any others, drop them below and I will answer them. Also, if you've got any tips for the issue I described with Raley, I'd love to hear them.

If you liked this post, you may also like:
Coffee Talk Confessions (where I confess random things, just for fun)
Yea so...that happened (where I talk about real parenting moments - the good, the bad and the ugly)
Rules to Live By For Stay-At-Home Moms (where I talk about things I've learned since becoming a stay at home mom)

Let's get social!

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