From Tracie: I Fed A Giraffe And I Have A Book Inside Me

Friday, April 04, 2014

I Fed A Giraffe And I Have A Book Inside Me

I fed a giraffe, and I have a book hiding inside me. The two things are not related, except they are both answers to questions I am about to answer. But first, have you met Tamara?

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 Bowman

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.

Ask Away Friday Graphic

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.

Thomas and Katarina feeding a giraffe

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.

Katarina holding a hat full of baby squirrels

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.


  1. I agree! Tamera is an awesome questioner! I love how you tackle reading with Katrina, it sounds like a really amazing way to nurture her love of books!

    What has been your favorite book that she's recommended?

    1. I really enjoyed the Peter and the Starcathers series and The Kingdom Keepers series, both by Ridley Pearson. We got to meet him at a book signing recently, so that was pretty amazing.

  2. I'm obsessed with giraffes. I don't know why but I love them. I have been eyeing a trip to Giraffe Manor in Africa for years...look it is the coolest place. When I showed my husband the pictures on their website, he said "oh its a gimmick to get you to go...that probably rarely happens." But I have a friend who went there years and years ago and her pictures are the website and more! Take that's real! :) Who knows if I will ever get to go, but it's my dream vacation. :)

    1. I TOTALLY remember reading about the Giraffe Manor on your blog a long time ago. It has been in the back of my mind ever since then, because it sounds so very amazing. I want in on that trip!

  3. So in shock about the giraffes..I have written that everywhere now!
    Next time we ask questions? In person, I say!
    Thank you for your beautiful introduction to me, by the way..
    I'm dreaming about the orange groves! I can totally see bonding with Scarlet over books. I used to do the same with my mom. She'd take me out to lunch after we both read a book (we took turns being the one to choose the book) and then we'd have a "book club" at Burger Club, or somewhere equally unhealthy.
    May you get to level 422 of Candy Crush, if you haven't already..
    I didn't see the dancing answer coming! Love that. And I also watch New Girl, Parenthood and Once Upon a Time.

    1. I agree with your in person questioning Diagon Alley!! :) Maybe we will see a giraffe? And we'll visit the best orange grove ever.

      I love that you and your mom had a book club going on at the burger place. That is so very awesome.

      Oh Candy Crush Level 422. I don't know if it will ever happen. But I'm still trying (because I can't give it up)!

      Love that you watch three of my favorite shows.

  4. I know all of us would love for Tamara to take amazing pictures of our families. She truly has an eye! I think being a librarian would be pretty cool -- at least nice and quiet anyway. But cataloging all those books? Now that would be a chore! Haha!
    Have a great weekend.


    1. My inner organizer would love to catalog all those books! But I'll admit that I'm also a fan of the quietness part of the job, as well.

  5. Oh my, look at those baby squirrels!!
    This looks like a great game!

    1. They were so sweet and small. I'm glad we were able to save them.

  6. What a nice surprise to find today! I love Tamera and this interview was awesome. I love finding out about other people. Thank you!

    1. I'm glad you stopped by today. And that the yoga video didn't take you out completely! ;)

  7. Hi Tracie, I'm new here and I enjoyed reading your answers. :) I love your bonding time with your daughter and the fact about breaking bedtime rules. When my son grows up, I would wish that he'd also grow to love reading as much as I do so that we can bond together too. Like you, I'd probably dump any profession that has something to do with high-pressured sales, it just doesn't work for me and I don't know how to convince people.. LOL

    1. It is so nice to meet you, Rea. I hope your son also grows into being a lover of books. It is a special thing to share. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who wouldn't make it in high-pressured sales.

  8. That picture at the end totally made me smile and showed it to my almost 5 year, who swore the other night that there was a squirrel in her room. She was having a nightmare, but wanted her to see that they really aren't that scary. So, huge thank you for sharing this here today :)

  9. We love Grimm at our house too. We're trying not to add anymore shows to our "must watch" list because our DVR is always full. I loved getting to know you here and I can't wait to swap later in the month!

  10. Ah northern Florida! I went to college at FSU & my husband's family lives in Panama City so I'm familiar with the area. I like these Q&A posts because it lets me get to know all you bloggers a lot easier. I didn't know you were an abuse survivor. I'll have to check out your post. Thanks for being brave to share that. When you mentioned you include your daughter in a lot of things, it reminded me of my relationship w/ my son. He's only 21 months but I do hope I can keep including him. It definitely makes a difference.

  11. My son loves reading, too, and we do the same thing. If he reads a book he loves, I'll read it and same with me recommending books to him. He's actually recommend one of my all time favorite books to me!! It's awesome and it does foster a closeness. :) I loved reading that you do that, too!! --Lisa

  12. Love Grimm and Once Upon a Time, and you know I love to read. My daughter's favorite book is The Fault in Our Stars, and I'm going to borrow it from her so we can have a book chat. Love that idea. We'll be in Orlando for spring break, Tracie, along with thousands of other families, I'm sure!

  13. Love reading your answers to these great questions! What a coincidence that ya'll both have a photo of husbands and a giraffe. I just started watching Gilmore Girls and I love it! Do you ever get sick of all the tourists?

  14. We have very similar tastes in TV and movies. My daughter and I are huge Grimm fans :)

    Oh and the whole eating all the junk food with a good book? Yup, that's me!

  15. This was such a fun read! I love the way you introduced it.
    I have never ever seen baby squirrels, so that is really cool. Great to "meet" you.
    I'm now following via bloglovin.


  16. Loved reading about your relationship with your daughter! And I love how you read the same books. I have two boys, so I love that reading together is one thing that we can enjoy together that helps to close the gender gap a little.
    Also, I'm a big Gilmore Girls fan!!!

  17. I love that you and Tamara both mention giraffes in your posts. I have a new appreciation for them.
    And I love how you mention staying up past bedtime to watch something together. We have been doing that with out oldest and it is really special.

  18. I used to work at a zoo and loved when I had the opportunity to feed the giraffes. I have to find those photos and share too.