I've Got Answers...Part I

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Last week, I did a post where I promised to answer any and all questions my readers threw at me, and boy...I was surprised with how many of you said you had things you'd been wanting to ask for a long time and finally got the chance or felt like it was the perfect time to do so. Well, here you go...not going in any particular order, so if you asked a question and you don't see a response here, stay tuned because it will be coming soon!

Meghan from More from Meg asked 2 questions:
1. What does a typical day of meals and snacks looks like for me? 
Well, this is a bit different when I am pregnant, but I'm assuming she wanted to see what my normal diet looks like...it goes a bit something like this:
Breakfast: high fiber cereal + skim milk OR english muffin with low fat cream cheese OR fruit smoothie...this is usually paired with a medium roast coffee. (about 350 calories)
Snack: some type of fresh fruit (i.e. banana or grapes or strawberries or mango) (about 100 calories)
Lunch: large salad with some type of meat (chicken, steak, chicken salad, etc) OR lean cuisine OR soup and 1/2 sandwich (about 400 calories)
Snack: apple and peanut butter OR fiber one bar OR fat-free popcorn (about 150 calories)
Dinner:  when cooking at home, we do a lot of casseroles, dishes in the crock pot, or grill out...this involves some type of red meat, pork, or chicken, usually a side salad, and another vegetable side dish (about 450 calories)
Dessert: I let myself have dessert 2-3 times per week, usually a lowfat ice cream sandwich, frozen strawberry popsicle (the ones from TJ's are the best), or some type of cookie (about 150 calories)
**I try to keep my daily caloric intake around 1500 calories, DEPENDING on if I am working out...if so, I increase that by about 200 calories to compensate and give my body the energy it needs 
2. What are some of your favorite places to go  in Nashville? Shopping, eating, drinks, fun weekend things? I did a post about this awhile ago, see here. But I'll add to that list...
Attractions: other favorites include the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, the Adventure Science Center, and anything in Downtown Franklin!
Eateries: Other favs to add to my list include Mack and Kates, Judge Beans BBQ, Jackson's, and Puffy Muffin
Shopping: By far, the best places to shop are the Hill Center, Green Hills Mall, and the local shops in downtown Franklin. For kids, it's The Plaid Rabbit, Helen's Children's Shop, Tweed, The Little Cottage, and Phillip's Toy Mart.
Drinks: You better believe I plan to hit some of these establishments up as soon as Carson is here...I sound like a total lush, but fun cocktails with friends can cure anything! The Patterson House, Citizen, Holland House, JJ's Wine Bar, Rolf and Daughters, Whiskey Kitchen, and Tavern to name a few!

Pinky from Pink Persistence asked...
1. If you could vacay anywhere in the world [with kids or without] where would you go?
I'll answer this 2 ways: with kids, Disney World. I think it's a must see for any family, and I know my childhood vacations there were nothing short of magical...getting the characters' autographs, eating in Cinderella's Castle, playing dress up...it was so special and every time I went back I discovered something new and fascinating. I hope we are able to give Caroline and Carson that same type of vacation one day! As far as a vacation with just Jeff, my dream destination is still Italy...he studied there in college and talks about how wonderful each city is. I want to do a big tour one day, complete with stops in Venice, Rome, Florence, and Lake Como among others. 
2. If you had the choice to eat ONE thing every day for a month or not eat it for a month, which would you choose? Ohh...that's a hard one. I've given up different things for Lent before, so I know what it's like to give something up for awhile, so I'd say I'd rather TRY to eat one thing every day for a whole month, and I'm pretty sure that would be pizza :)
3. What is the grossest thing you experience as a first time mom? Before Caroline, I didn't do well with sickness or anything we'd normally call "gross", but times sure have changed. I'd say the worst was when she projectile vomited all over herself AND me 3 different times within the span of 24 hours. It was awful and just as soon as I would get us both clean, she would do it again.
4. Do you have a secret/hidden talent?!!? In college, I used to rap. Yes, you read that correctly. My friends would harass me until I did it, mostly when I had a few "adult beverages". Of course they would rhyme (DUH!) and I would think of anything I could off the top of my head. I haven't tried to do it in forever and I'm sure all my "street cred" is gone by now ;) 

Andee from The HONEYBEE asked...
1. How did you and your hubby meet? Jeff and I met in college at UT. We ran in the same group of friends, and were always close, but both dated other people throughout college. It wasn't until we were both single in Nashville that our paths crossed again and then somehow the romance started.
2. Do you plan on getting "help" once you have your second baby? HECK YES HONEY! I have been meaning to fill everyone in on this upcoming change for awhile, but now it's official and our "nanny" extraordinaire, Alex, will start working with us this next month. Once we found out we were pregnant with #2, Jeff and I sat down and had to have some major conversations about our family and our future. With his job and him ultimately wanting to grow his career even more, I knew it was going to be impossible for me to juggle 2 children under 2 by myself. We talked through a lot of options and choices, and ultimately decided that we needed a nanny/au pair to help our family. Lucky for us, our babysitter approached us about working full-time and it was practically a done deal. We are SO fortunate to have Alex in our lives and know she will be such a positive influence to both our girls...she is such a blessing! 
With that, I have made the decision to go back to work part-time once Carson arrives, most likely about 8-10 weeks post delivery. I'm hoping this next new chapter will serve a lot of purposes, like getting me out of the house, using my degree and getting back into corporate marketing, making a little money to help financially, and ultimately making me the happiest I can be. I can't lie, I've missed working, but I think this could be the best of both worlds so fingers crossed and any prayers you could send would be wonderful.  

Bethany at Head.Heart.House wants to know...
1. What are your opinions on all the baby gear you registered for with Caroline? What was indispensable and what could you have lived without? I asked A LOT of my mom friends about their must-haves prior to when I registered so that helped eliminate things that weren't "necessities" and  I was able to hear their opinions on certain brands/products/etc which proved to be invaluable. To be honest, most everything we registered for we did use, except for a few items...the wipe warmer (when you're on the go you can't use them so why even start at home), the Boppy (the My Brest Friend was WAY better), the Britax Stroller Bassinet Attachment (it's fun for a few walks, but for the $$$ we didn't use it enough), the carseat head support and strap covers (our Britax carseat was made with enough support and cushion so we ended up taking those back), and the Ergo baby carrier (honestly, when I used it I loved it, but it got hot quickly and made me sweat!)
As far as things I couldn't have lived without, these top that list...Dr Brown's Bottles, Fisher Price Snugabunny Swing, Sophie the Giraffe, Little Tummys Gas Drops, Summer Infant Babytouch Color Monitor, Inchbug Labels, Mamas and Papas Baby Snug Seat, Aden+Anais Muslin Blankets, and the Primo Eurobath. 
2. Also, anything you wished you had known before becoming a mom that you didn't? The only thing I didn't fully understand was just HOW common it was to have postpartum depression and/or the baby blues. People don't discuss this NEARLY enough, and it was barely covered in our infant care classes. It's not something to be ashamed of, and it happens a lot more than we think. I don't believe I had full-on PPD, but I definitely had "the blues". My hormones were out of whack, I wasn't sleeping but maybe 2-3 hours a day, I hated the way I looked, and then Caroline had colic--it wasn't pleasant, but it passed in about a month, and things got significantly better when I could get out and enjoy some me time. 

Jen Gordon said...
Where are your favorite online shops? You wear the cutest dresses and I am always curious as to where they are from! Online shopping happens A LOT more frequently now, since I don't have as much time to pop into stores and shop for me...here are a few that I swear by. I have ordered from all of these and have been extremely pleased with each: 
**Other more common retailers I buy from include Dillards, Gap, Anthropologie (when it's on sale), Forever 21, Old Navy, Target, JCrew (retail and factory), and Loft. 

Little B asked... 
I want to know if you guys have a dog or not! I think I read you reference one in a post, but haven't seen anything since...its quite a mystery to me!
My friends give me such a hard time about this as well, but YES, we have a dog. A crazy dog named Chloe. I inherited her when Jeff and I moved in together and she is absolutely nuts (no, really she is). You would think by her constant jumping, licking, and attention-craving necessities that she was a puppy, however, she is a full grown, 7 year old German Short-Hair Pointer. He sent her off to bird-dog school when she was a pup and had her there for months. Needless to say, she doesn't hunt these days and likely never will, but she enjoys chasing squirrels, digging holes, and chewing on Caroline's toys. But, on the other hand, I have to give it to her--she has adjusted well to life with Caroline and they enjoy each other's company. She is a sweet, kind-natured reindeer :). 

Natalie and Lee at Our Forever asked...
1. What adjustments did y'all make for you to be able to stay-home? Well, we sat down and looked at finances and had to rethink our spending in a major way. We were so used to being able to go and do and spend as we please that I knew that wasn't going to cut it when we took out my salary. We  tightened our spending habits, reworked our investment strategy, met with our financial planner to look at our goals long-term (retirement, savings, stocks, vacations, college funds, etc) and now we have a financial meeting with each other once a week to discuss our finances, bills, upcoming expenditures, etc. Life changed, and it took some time to get used to, but it was well worth it.
2. Will you eventually return to work? Yes, see above :) Not sure on the specifics yet, a few ting around out there, but hoping to still do something in the corporate marketing/advertising arena.
3. I am having a hard time thinking about giving up my job as a teacher (it obviously has MANY perks) Do you ever regret your decision to stay home? As hard as it is being home day in and day out, and trust me--there are days when I want to pull my hair out--not a day goes by where I don't know without a shadow of a doubt that we made the right decision for me to be a SAHM  with Caroline. It has taught me a lot about my strengths, my weaknesses, and just what it means to be a mom. I can't imagine what our life would be like now if I had gone back to work like I intended to when I left, but it's given me SO much joy to be at home with CC...these are precious days I will treasure for the rest of my life.
4. When do you guys plan to build your dream home?? Plans are in the works...we will be building our home in a brand new development in Franklin, Tennessee, about 20 minutes south from where we currently live. The neighborhood is in the introductory stages of getting permits passed, zoning worked out, and then the land will be cleared to mark the lots hopefully by early summer. We plan to buy our lot this fall and then will hopefully start building before the end of 2013. We are now looking at and revising floor plans to make this next house our dream home. These are just a few of the houses we have been looking at as inspiration...

Stay tuned for more!! 


  1. Thanks Natasha for answering my questions - your answers are very helpful! I can't wait to check out all those restaurants in Nashville when we move! :)

  2. Sounds like you have a ton of exciting changes right around the bend! Can't wait to hear all about them!!!

  3. Loved learning more about you!

  4. thanks for answering these ;) It was so helpful for me following your pregnancy with miss Caroline and now with little Carson on the way excited to see how life is with two! Your home inspirations are absolutely beautiful...love the southern charm! As for the help so happy for you! We still haven't left Ava with anyone but hope that when round two starts Ill be more comfortable (or else have no choice but in order to remain sane lol get help!) PS I've mentioned before Baby Blues was no joke and I'm glad that you are talking about it as well! I honestly had never even heard about it before it happened to me...and how is that possible when it is so common. I really think its so helpful putting it out there xo

  5. This is such a fun series. Can't wait until the next installment.


  6. This is so much fun- I am so happy to finally know about your dog! Haha

  7. thank you for answering! I totally agree, now that we have our little guy it is so hard to go to stores & online shopping is the way to go! You are so fortunate to find a great sitter! I am still to nervous to leave Christian with anyone and he is alost 7 months old!!

  8. Okay now I've read your blog for how many years and I never knew you had a dog! That is just crazy!

  9. Nice to hear about your dog and see a pic! What a cutie! You should post about him more often!

  10. How is it that I discovered your blog a couple months before your wedding and just found out TODAY that you have a dog?!?!?

  11. I am cracking up about the dog... never knew that!! ;)

    I am interested to hear and learn more about you going back to work after Carson - I am sure it will be a refreshing break for you and it may even strengthen your relationship with your girls. It's something I am juggling to figure out now and trying to see what I want to do.

    PS. Love your home inspirations - gorgeous houses, my friend! Can't wait to see the beautiful home you build (if you share it!)

  12. Congratulations on the exciting choice to go back to work! I feel like it would be so hard to figure out what is best for your family, but it will be great for you to get a taste of both worlds.

    And your house choices are stunning!


    I'll throw out a question for you in case your lacking for part II.

    It's a personal one, so don't feel VERY free to not answer: How do you and Jeff work out your finances. Do you have one giant pot? 1 joint, 2 savings? Did it cause any bumps when you were newly married?

  13. Hold the phone. I have been following your blog for YEARS (lol scroll back in your google reader friends list I am way way way back there) lol and somehow I have missed you have A DOG!?!?!?! You never post pics of this pooch!! She's sweet (Crazy ones make them all the more fun and unique) I hope you post some more pics of miss Caroline and Chloe! :)

  14. YOU HAVE A DOG?! How did I miss that?

    And are you going to go back to work for your old company?

    Love the home inspiration!

    And I have to try these TJ strawberry popsicles.

    Do you have any other pets we should know about? I can't believe you have a dog. Does she live inside your house?

  15. love reading all these questions. I seriously love how honest you are...not all rainbows and butterflies. LOVE the home inspirations you have! :)

  16. Oh seriously!! Sorry to be rude but you obviously have money so sorry to say I dont think you really can act like you have the struggles of most families or SAHMs that actually do have to have to budget. All this talk of "Financial planners" and "Our builder" shows a bit of boasting now that you've come into some money marrying your husband (who went to a very expensive private school.) I once liked your blog when you didnt seem like the typical "Desperate House wife of Nashville" Now its all about how you spend your husbands money and like 90% of all other blogs out there written by ladies with babies at home trying to cash in on the blogger payroll, not doing something they love. There are so many amazing blogs that offer real financial guidance, real decorating tips (that dont involve buying $900 RH cribs!) and real SAHM advice that doesnt require '"help"'. I'll save my prayers for the families that really need it, not some fortunate Nashvillian that with a false sense of reality.

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  19. Seriously, Amanda? Not to be rude ? That was the most rude comment I have ever read on a blog! if you don't like what she posts, then stop reading it! There is no reason you have to come on here and post such negativity. Do you feel better about yourself by putting someone else down? Why can't someone celebrate their success without someone getting catty about it! Get over yourself

  20. Hi Natasha,
    Can you also tell us what your husband does for a living? Thank you for putting your life out there for us to read. I know that opens you up to positive and negative criticism. I also appreciate you putting your life out there and telling us how it really is for you and not pretending to be anything but yourself. :)

  21. 1. I love your blog! I feel like I know you...and I'm a "newer" follower! You seem so down to earth, and I love that about people!

    2. I have an 18 month old daughter and currently work part-time. I can't speak for everyone, but for me, it is the best of both worlds! Sure, I miss my girl, but I know she is having tons of fun with other children, and mommy gets to interact with adults, continue my practice {not to mention, help out financially}. I hope you find this to be true as well.

    Sorry my post has turned into a novel! Have a happy weekend, Natasha!

  22. I think you are going to love part-time. Since scaling back at work I just love it!

  23. Thanks for sharing your favorite eats and shops. Since moving back to Nashville, I'm determined to try new/local places.

    I cannot wait to see y'alls new place.

  24. Thank you for opening up and answering so many questions, it's always fun to know more about someone you follow everyday in the blog-world! I LOVE the style of house you guys are planning on building, so beautiful!

    PS sorry about receiving that rude comment, I just read your response from your other post and think you handled it really well. But I also wanted to add, don't feel like you have to explain yourself to people like that - there are lots of us who read your blog and really admire you and know you're 'really what you say you are'

    hugs from Alaska