Here are some of the personal (not parenting, not BLW) questions I get on the regular! I am pretty much an open book for 95% of things. So chances are, if you have a personal question, I’ll be happy to answer it. You can email me (email@example.com) or hit me up on Snapchat (blwideas) or Instagram (@blwideas) or Facebook (@blwideas).
How did you and Cameron meet?
Cameron and I went to college together, in Louisiana. Our school is tiny – at the time, only about 900 students. I was super involved in various organizations but was in the sciences (Math major, Physics minor). Cameron was involved in other ways (he played sax in the jazz band and was the go-to camera guy for most college events, on and off campus) but was in the arts (English turned Communications major). I lived on campus, he lived off. We knew each other’s names because we were both at the same events a lot, BUT we never had classes together. He was “Cameron the camera guy” and I’m pretty sure he only knew my face. Haha.
We graduated in 2006.
The next month, June 2006, I moved to New York City. Cameron stayed in Louisiana. In the fall of 2007, Cameron moved to Washington DC. For Spring Break 2008, I decided to take a one-day trip somewhere. Since I was in NYC and had no car, I was “limited” to places that didn’t require a car and I could get there by bus. I hadn’t been to DC since middle school, so I decided to get myself a hotel room in DC by myself for a night and just hang out.
I checked Facebook for any college friends who happened to live in DC. Cameron was a Facebook friend, but I hadn’t talked to him since college. Since he was in DC, I sent him (and two others) a message that basically said, “Hey, I’m not sure if you remember me, but we went to college together. I’m going to DC for about 24 hours, and I was wondering if you could recommend stuff for me to do. Good restaurants? Favorite monuments/memorials? Best places to go shopping? Thanks!” Well one of the other two people gave me a few ideas. The other person never replied. And Cameron said, “Well I get off work early that day. How about I just show you around?” Perfect!
That day, I met up with Cameron. We hit up the White House and Washington Monument and WWII Memorial. We may have seen others, I can’t remember. Then we got dinner together. We decided we’d meet up for breakfast the next day too. Then we had lunch too. I added on a night at my hotel and we hung out the following day as well! I headed back to New York and, 3 weeks later, he came to visit NYC for the first time.
For the next 1.5 years, we each took a bus to NYC/DC at least once a month. Finally, we decided that this long distance thing can’t last forever: one of us needed to move. Since I was a math teacher, it would be easier for me to find work than him (he was in video post production, so those gigs are not as easy to come by). I moved to DC in August 2009. In August 2010 he proposed. In August 2011 we got married! That’s our story, and I’m stickin’ to it. 😀
If you’re homeschooling your kids, do they go to play dates? How are they going to be socialized?
I get this one a lot! I will get a short answer, but you can find a lot of info if you look up “homeschooling and socialization”. “Socialization is a term used…to refer to the lifelong process of inheriting and disseminating norms, customs, values and ideologies, providing an individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within their own society.” A traditional education groups children together based on age only. So 8 year olds typically sit in rooms with other 8 year olds for 7-8 hours a day. Since most schools are also formed from neighborhoods, you typically see upper class children in different schools than lower class children.
Of course, many of those kids have karate, ballet, basketball, soccer, boy scouts, church groups, etc. Homeschooled kids can go to those classes as well, but during the day, we don’t just sit at home all day, quietly learning! We go to the library, the park, and the grocery store. Just by being in the world, we interact with a variety of people, all different ages, cultures, sizes, and so on. We learn etiquette all the time, about taking turns, waiting while someone steps out of an elevator before trying to get on, saying please and thank you, walking on the right side of a sidewalk, and more. The day to day stuff that comes with being a human in our society, we see it firsthand many times a week.
Alexander and Annabelle have started playing together, so they’re learning about taking turns and playing cooperatively (although they are both young to truly play together for very long). Alexander does have a little boy in the neighborhood he plays with on occasion, and he has a friend Beckett who comes over sometimes, and we go to his house sometimes. In addition, he hangs out with other 3 year olds during church.
So YES he does occasionally have a play date, but it’s not the sole source of his socialization. He is socialized by going into the world and doing stuff with me, seeing how I interact, learning from me and his dad and other adults.
(Fwiw, we will homeschool until he’s ready to go to school. He may not care to do that, but if he ever asks to go to school, we will start to look at his options!)
Our only goal in homeschooling is to provide the best base for his future, just like any other parent. It’s not to deprive him in any way, so whenever we make this big decisions, we (my husband and I) look into our options. There’s traditional schooling, private schooling, homeschooling, unschooling, Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio, and more. We’ve looked into everything, the pros and cons, and we’ve carefully decided what makes the most sense for our family!
What is your monthly food budget?
I’m going to get into more than just food…. let me tell you about Dave Ramsey. When Cameron and I got married in 2011, he inherited the $14,000 in student loans that I still had (in addition to the $2,000 he still had), plus a little bit of credit card debt. Within one year, he had paid off all the student loan and credit card debt and saved up 6 months of living expenses for an emergency fund. Woo!
How did he do it? He followed the steps outlined in Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. He read the book and followed the steps in order. Once that was paid off, we stopped using credit cards altogether. Shortly after, we moved to Georgia, where we needed to get a car, we were able to buy our first car entirely using cash.
We bought our first house and, though we could afford it, we weren’t able to put much toward our savings and retirement. So we decided to move after just one year and get a much smaller house. Now, we’re able to put money into savings and toward retirement. AND, we put an additional $300 per month toward our mortgage, which will allow us to pay it off much earlier. Our only debt is our mortgage, and by age 40 (we’re 32 now), we plan to have zero debt for the rest of our lives! Exciting!
Now, for food? We generally plan to spend no more than $600 a month. We used to keep a physical envelope with cash in it for groceries, toiletries, school expenses, and more, but we have gotten lazier with it. Generally, we spend $120 per week on groceries. If we go above that by a lot, we take it easy the next week and try to stretch our dollars (shop sales, use the foods we already have, eat less meat, that sort of thing). And we eat out once or twice a week (Chipotle is our favorite!).
Most things, we buy at Aldi (as much organic as we can). We get a few things at Sprouts Farmers Market, and we get a few things at Kroger. Certain items are just cheaper at one place or another, and certain things, we just can’t get at Aldi (like canned coconut milk). If we see a favorite product on sale, we get a lot of it. Kerrygold butter and grassfed ground beef are two of the things we buy in bulk when they’re on sale. We tried Costco for one year. And in that one year, I think we shopped there about 3 times. It just didn’t work for us; the membership cost simply canceled out the minimal savings. That said, big box stores like that can certainly save money if you take the time to price compare!
How do you find the time to do all the stuff you do, cooking and activities and keeping a tidy house?
This is a non-answer: I don’t do that much. You must remember, social media is deceptive. It’s a tiny fraction of reality. And I can share (or not share) whatever I want, in order to create a certain image. That’s why you’ll never see pictures or videos of my kids crying or throwing a fit about something. It’s not that those things never happen, but when it does, the last thing I’m thinking about is documenting it. I want it to end, which means I want to figure out why they’re crying or upset and do what I can to help them. Plus, I wouldn’t share a picture/video of my husband crying or throwing a fit, so I’m certainly not going to share them of my children.
I don’t cook all our meals, but I don’t think it’s very interesting to show me opening up a pizza box, you know? I just show the meals I cook, and you guys don’t really see the other stuff.
Some days we don’t do any activities. Alexander colors or pushes his trains/toy cars around the house. Balls are thrown, cushions are all over the floor. It’s just a big mess. Not inspiring, just real life. I don’t show that.
We don’t have a ton of stuff (KonMari, baby!), so a big cluttered mess really isn’t THAT bad compared to what it could be (if we had more stuff). But when every little thing is out on the floors, it overwhelms me. I don’t like to show that because I’m not proud of that.
So YES it seems like I cook every meal, do loads of activities, and always keep a clean house. But that’s just what I show. It’s a fraction of our reality!