Tamara's name sounds like camera. This is good, because she is exceptionally gifted at using a camera. And she was able to turn this perfect word match into a super cute blog name - Tamara (Like) Camera - where she displays not only her amazing photos, but also her beautiful thoughts and words. Also she has two of the cutest kids you have ever seen, plus a new puppy, and an amazing, 20-episode story of how she met her husband that you don't want to miss.
Seriously, if you haven't read Tamara, you should start today.
Tamara and I are playing the Ask Away Friday game. Earlier this week we sent each other ten questions, and today we are answering them. I was so excited to see how she answered my questions, and you can read her answers, too, here.
This idea is the brainchild of Penny from The Real Housewife of Caroline County, Amber from The Bold Fab Mom, Tiffany from Mrs Tee Love Life Laughter, and Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings. You can play along, too. Just invite another blogger, swap questions, and answer them on Friday.
1. I think we learn more about each other with every new post and we seem to have many similar interests. Say I was visiting you for a weekend in Florida. What would we do together - with all of our kids? And also without?
You mean after I paid you to take a few amazingly beautiful Tamara-pictures of my family, right? Because that would need to happen if you and your camera were near me.
I feel like we really should do theme parks together with the kids, because they are right here and so much fun. Plus Katarina would love to go on all the little kid rides with Scarlet and Des, because she (not so secretly) desires to be a big sister or babysitter more than almost anything in the world.
Without the kids, I know we should probably do something super Floridian like visit an orange grove, so you have fresh citrus to take home with you. That is an option. There are a lot of super touristy things to do here that are fun, so it would really depend on what sounded exciting to you. But I think, no matter what we did, I would really just love to go out for a great meal and some coffee and talk to each other a lot. And maybe hit a bookstore.
2. Katarina is so beautiful and I love to hear about her. I admire the closeness you two seem to share. Was it always this way? Do you have any advice on how I can achieve that with Scarlet, who is half Katarina's age right now?
Thank you so much. I am very blessed to be her mother. We have always been very close. I think one of the biggest reasons we are so close is I have always included her in things with me, and we often tackle things like a team. Honestly, I could probably write about this for hours, but I have eight more fun questions to answer, so I'm going to try to keep it short-ish.
When we find something that interests both of us, I try to nurture that as much as possible. One thing that we both love is reading. As Katarina got older, and became an independent reader, we still read books together, but she also wanted to read books by herself. That's a great thing, of course, but I missed that special reading time. I started having her recommend her favorite books to me. Whenever she reads something she loves, I take her advice and read it, too. When I finish it, we discuss it. I think this is a great growing up moment, because she gets the independence of reading alone and making up her mind about the book first, but then gets to share it with me. We homeschool, so there are a lot of times when I'm not just her mom, but also her teacher, assigning books for her to read. Letting her take the lead in our fun reading puts us on the same level. So many of my friendships in life have been built around books, it only makes sense that I would carry this into my relationship with Katarina.
The biggest thing is to talk, and listen, and talk, and laugh, and listen, and talk, and listen, and never stop talking with each other. Talk about everything. The occasional late night viewing of Gilmore Girls episodes won't hurt, either. Let Lorelei and Rory model that close mother-daughter relationship while she is young. I know it seems crazy when you have a five year old, but breaking those bedtime rules can be a powerful thing. It is always an event when your mom lets you stay up late to watch tv, or talk. You can't beat snuggling together under a warm blanket with a snack, at a time when you are normally asleep, for building togetherness.
3. What's your biggest natural tip on how to combat anxiety or the blues?
My biggest tip is to pray. Along with prayer, I would say to listen to music that soothes your spirit. Write out your fear and pain. Focus on breathing. Be honest about what you can and can't control, and maybe even write that down, too. And if all else fails, try a little distraction. Reading the right book can bring light into a dark day. Plus I think it is good to tell the people you love, who are around you, that you are having a hard time. That way they can give you space or support as needed.
4. What profession would you most like to try for a day? And what profession would you most hate to try?
My dream profession is librarian, so I would definitely like to try that for a day...and then maybe try to convince them to keep me forever.
I would hate to do anything with high-pressure sales. That just isn't my style, and I would be a wreck all day long.
5. Do you have any plans to travel this spring or summer? And have you ever been to a blog conference?
I don't have any big travel plans for the summer. I do hope to visit Universal for the new Harry Potter Diagon Alley expansion, but since we live in Orlando, that isn't really a travel thing.
I have never been to blogging conference, but I am planning to change that this year! I'm attending my very first blogging conference in October - Bloggy Boot Camp, Atlanta.
6. If you were to write a whole book right now, on this given day (well..days, weeks, months), what would it be about?
If I went the fiction route, I know exactly what I would write. I've had a specific story simmering in the back of my mind since I was nine years old, and I would love to turn it into a novel. If there is any truth to the old saying "everyone has a book inside them," I think that would be my book.
7. Got this question from Lisa of The Golden Spoons. What is your most viewed post ever and why do you think it's so popular?
I have two. The first one is the post where I share my story of being a childhood sexual abuse survivor. I think it gets so many visits because there are a lot of hurting people out there looking for answers and hope, and searching to find out if they are alone.
The second one is totally different. It is the post I wrote about teaching my husband how to play Candy Crush. I think it is popular because far too many of us are addicted to this silly, sugary game. And because husbands don't always listen when you try to teach them something. I don't even want to tell you how long I've been stuck on level 421 of Candy Crush. More than a month. It is horrible.
8. If you ever find yourself alone in the house, what's the first thing you want to do? (note: not NEED to do, but want)
Dance. I'm big on the dancing, with or without music. I do it when my family is home (I'll dance almost anywhere, even though I'm not at all good at it), but there is something about standing in a house with no one else, and letting yourself move freely for just a couple of minutes. And then I want to eat all the junk food while I sit on my butt reading a book.
9. What are some favorite movies and TV shows of yours? (can't wait to see if we have any that match)
I love this question. Even thought it is so hard to answer, because I watch way too much tv and movies, and have a terrible time picking favorites.
Let's start with TV shows that are new: Parenthood. Grimm. New Girl. Law & Order SVU. Once Upon A Time. Big Bang Theory.
And then a few TV shows that are old but always loved: Gilmore Girls. The Wonder Years. As Time Goes By. M*A*S*H. The Office. The Dick Van Dyke Show. The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Star Trek.
I know you love Dr. Who. I've watched it a little bit and really enjoyed it (even the old black and white ones that are more like history lessons), but I am too far from having seen all of them to be able to honestly add them to my favorites list. Yet.
Movies are even harder to list, but I'm going to try. In no particular order: The Philadelphia Story. Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit. Stranger Than Fiction. Harry Potter series. Fried Green Tomatoes. Beauty and the Beast. The Princess Bride. Gosford Park. The Holiday. I also love all the comic book movies that have come out with the Avengers series.
10. What's your favorite animal and why? Have you ever owned/met/encountered one?
I'm going to tell you about two animals I love because of great encounters I've had with them:
Giraffes. We used to live in Pensacola, and there is a zoo in the neighboring town of Gulf Breeze where they have giraffes. You are allowed to pet and feed them, and it was so amazing. We used to take Katarina there every year when she was small, and she loved them. It was magical. This is Thomas holding her while he fed a giraffe. They are super gentle.
Squirrels. We raised a pair of baby squirrels when Katarina was little, and I loved those sweet little furry babies so much. We also rescued a hat-full of baby squirrels a few years ago.
Tamara, you are an awesome questioner. It was great to have you at my blog today, and to visit yours. Now we just need to plan a real-life visit sometime.