Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Asked & Answered

Brace yourselves...this post is a doozy! Feel free just to skip to your own question, because I'm not even sure that I'd read this whole post, and I'm the one who wrote it!

Kimberly asked: I love hearing the story of how couples met/their early relationship. So whats your story?
Justin and I have different opinions about exactly how and when we met, but we do both agree that we met at a camping trip attended by a bunch of different churches. We met in high school, and were friends for several years. I had the biggest crush on him for YEARS, but had no idea that the feeling was pretty mutual. We started dating about a month before I moved away to college, so the first year of us dating was totally long-distance!

Emily asked: I've been wondering about the uncomfortable photography situation from a few months ago...did that ever get resolved, or did you leave it as is? 
If you have no idea what Emily is talking about, you can read the original post here: {Bummed}

So, picking up where that post left off, after I eventually removed the photos from Facebook due to not having a model release, the mom responded to me that she had not signed a release because they were extremely disappointed with the shoot. I was flabbergasted. She had been telling me for a month how much she loved the shoot and blasting it all over Facebook. That particular shoot is *still* one of my favorites to date. I *still* get contacted from people who tell me that she referred them after they saw that shoot. I'm *still* bummed that I can't use it as part of my portfolio. So,I was flabbergasted. Upset. And suddenly really insecure. Anyway, I responded that I was sorry to hear that she was disappointed, that I was happy she had told me, and asked if she could clarify what she was unhappy with so that I could attempt to make it right.

I never heard from her. A month or so later, I noticed that my original photo was her profile picture on Facebook, but we still haven't spoken, even though we've seen each other in person several times. I'm definitely at least partially to blame for that, as I was still harboring a ton of bitterness and hurt feelings, even up to this month. A few weeks ago, I noticed that I was de-friended on Facebook. To date, I'm not sure whether she was really unhappy with the pictures, or whether I just happened to get the fallout from a totally unrelated conflict that was occurring within the church/school at the time, which I actually had no idea about {It's hard being related to the pastor sometimes--I've learned that sometimes people take their frustrations about something that the church or board is doing out on us, even though we often have no clue that it's even a point of contention}.

I definitely have my own suspicions about why and how this all happened, and oh BOY am I dying to share them...but the fact is that they're just speculations, and I'm really trying to walk the line between being transparent, and spreading gossip. Either way, I'm still kind of bummed about the way it all turned out, and if she was truly disappointed, I wish that I had been given the opportunity to make it right.

She also asked:  What has been the most challenging part of parenting that you didn't expect?
Mere- For me, it has probably been the exhaustion/sleep deprivation. I mean, I expected it, I just don't think that I really anticipated how exhausting it would be to not really sleep more than 4 hours at any given time for over a year. That kind of sleep deprivation affects everything.

Justin- The sudden change in Lizzy's moods.  She can be totally happy with me one minute and the next she is trying to gouge out my face or chew off one of the big arteries in my neck.  Sometimes it hurts my heart.

Kaitlin asked: Mere-what's your favorite thing about Justin? Justin-what's your favorite thing about Mere? 
Mere-  There are lots of things! But one of my favorite things about Justin is his sense of humor. There are very few days that I go without laughing when he's around, and if I do, it's my fault for being in a bad mood. He always has jokes, funny stories, and he will do ANYTHING to get people to laugh. It's really hard to stay mad or upset when Justin is around :)

Justin- She doesn't stay mad at me.  She's also really smart about everything I'm not. 

And also: How has your marriage changed since you've had Lizzy? Good and bad?
Mere- Well, I think that the obvious thing is that there's a lot less time spent just the two of us. And often, once Lizzy is asleep for the night, we're then either doing Insanity, or so doggone tired that we're just vegging on the couch instead of really talking and spending time together. There have definitely been times where I've felt more like roommates than spouses...I think that we just need to be more intentional about having date nights or carving out time for the two of us to reconnect.

Justin- We definitely fight more.  I think when you have kids there is less attention towards one another so things/conversations get mixed up.  We have conversations where one of us wont remember what was said so when something comes up its always, " You never told me that!".  I guess that just means we need to make sure that we communicate better and maybe save the more important conversations for when there are less distractions going on.

Kristal asked: When will baby #2 make an appearance? :)
You know, I'm not entirely sure. Justin and I had always talked about having kids about 2 years apart (which would basically mean being pregnant now). I think Justin would be fine with me being pregnant now, but earlier this year we agreed to wait until our softball season was over this summer to discuss it. Aside from really wanting to play softball this year, there are several factors at play for me--first, I really didn't enjoy being pregnant. This might be TMI, but I bled pretty heavily the whole time. The doctor couldn't tell us why, and there were many nights where I went to bed wondering whether or not I was miscarrying. It was really, really stressful for me, and I'm kind of terrified to have that experience again. Second, I have had a hell of a time losing the baby weight and I'd really like to get down to a more healthy weight, if not my pre-pregnancy weight before getting pregnant again.

But I guess the bottom line is that I just haven't felt any baby fever or pangs of wanting to have another baby at this point, which I take to be a sign that it's not time yet.

She also asked: How many kids would you guys like?
Mere- I don't really have a set number in my head. I've always pictured a big family, but I've also always imagined that we'd get there by fostering or adopting. Adoption is something that I would really like to pursue, but it is so darn expensive, and having worked in the foster care system, I have some trepidation about foster-adopt!

Justin-  I want at least four kids.  More would be cool.  And if we only end up with one, then I will be happy too.  But I believe I was put on this earth to pro-create.  So if that's why I was put here then bring on the hmmm hmmm.

Kristal also asked: What does a normal day look like for you?
We don't really have a normal day...there's a flow to our weeks, but it's different every day. Here's how things generally go:

5am- Up to workout
6am- Lizzy is awake, we putter around having breakfast, reading blogs, showering, getting dressed
9am- We are usually either going for a walk, or heading to basketball, Bible Study, or Mom's Group
11am-12pm- Lunch, Naptime
12-1:30ish- Lizzy doesn't always nap for the same amount of time, but while she's sleeping, I usually try to take some time for myself to either read, do Bible Study, read some blogs. I try to set the timer so that I don't get totally wrapped up (which is all too easy for me to do). Then, I spend some time cleaning, doing laundry, dishes, etc. Sometimes I do what I can to prep for dinner.
2-5pm- We play, sing songs, practice quiet time, etc. Sometimes I'm doing more chores while she's playing.
5-6pm- Hopefully Justin is home. I've either got dinner ready, or I'm just getting started making it.
6-8pm- Depending on the day, we're either playing at home, or off doing something. Right now, we're usually only home one or two evenings a week. On the other evenings, we've either got band practice, softball, Lent services, or our Young Married Bible Study.
7-8pm ish- Bath, get Lizzy ready for bed.
8-10pm- Justin and I hang out, watch TV, or work out if we didn't in the morning.

And: If you could instantly change one thing about your life right now, what would it be?
Mere- My first instinct was that I'd instantly have a completely clean and de-cluttered house, along with a cleaning person who comes once a month to deep-clean.

Justin- I'd have a larger beer fund.  Mine is pretty small right now and I feel as though I might shrivel up if something doesn't change soon.

Finally: What would be a dream vacation for you? 
Mere- Anywhere warm, with a beach. I love swimming in the ocean, and could do it for hours on end. It doesn't matter to me whether it's just Justin and I, or the whole extended family.

Justin- Somewhere with lots of cheap beer and maybe some of those belly dancers.  Not the ones of that fat male variety though.  But I like to go camping on lakes with a wakeboarding boat.

Krystie asked: If you could spend $500 in any store which one would you choose?
Ohhh! This one is hard for me because I can only buy clothes from stores that carry talls--Old Navy is usually my go-to, but I'm not sure that I'd want to spend $500 there. My first thought was Target for some fun home decor stuff, but on further thought, I'm thinking Lowe's or Home Depot--we could do a lot of fun mini-renovations with $500!

Also: Is there a place you would rather live then Oregon? if so, where would you move?
Nope, not for me. I lived in Washington for a year in college, but I love Southern Oregon. We're close to the mountains, lakes, rivers, snow, AND both of our entire families live here. We're only missing Kaitlin, Jesse, and Jaxon!

And: What is your dream date out with Justin ( and for Justin, dream date out with Mere)?
Mere- To be honest, I'm usually just happy to be on a date! However, we do usually tend to fall into the dinner and/or a movie rut. Actually, I'm not sure that we've EVER gone on a different sort of date out of the dinner/movie category. My dream date would be for Justin to plan something fun and different--whether a museum, play, fair, cooking class or even just going to the farmer's market. Also, included would be for us to get dressed up beyond our usual jeans and t-shirt combo.

Justin-  I like dinner and a movie.  Maybe we could switch it up a little and do dinner and bowling or dinner and putt putt golf and then a movie.  Or something

Mrs. Lukie asked: What is your middle name?
Mine is Linnea. Funny story though--for YEARS, my social security card said "Linned" because my dad's A's apparently look like D's. Ha! Justin's is Gilbert.  After the cabbage patch doll.  But mostly after his great grandpa Gil.

And: Any marriage advice for a couple expecting their first baby this year?
Mere-Oh, good question! Once you have a baby, it's easy for your whole marriage to revolve around your kid/kids. It makes sense--they're the center of your world at first! But I also think it's important to grow your marriage outside of your kids. For us, that has included playing co-ed softball together, attending Bible Study together, and going on dates (though the latter does not happen nearly often enough). I don't think it matters so much what you do, as long as you continue to facilitate a connection between you beyond just the baby.

Justin- Find out if you are a sleep walker/talker before the baby comes. 

Megan asked: In your opinion, what is the hardest part of being a SAHM? Do you ever think about going back to work?
In my opinion, the hardest part of being a SAHM is that I often feel more like a maid than a mom. I am sure this isn't intentional on Justin's behalf, but since I've started staying at home, he has not been great about helping around the house. I have been trying to cut him some slack because I know he's working long hours, but it drives me crazy when he doesn't at least do the basics like putting dishes in the sink or taking off his mud-crusted boots before coming inside. I can't tell you how many times I've come into the kitchen in the morning to find the dirty knife he used to make his peanut butter sandwich just laying on the counter...which then means that I have to clean the counter too, and to me, that feels disrespectful. I don't mean to complain about Justin, because he is usually wonderful (and he did finally clean the bathroom yesterday!)...but I just wish we would have had a few more discussions about our expectations for me staying at home before it happened.

As far as going back to work, I don't really imagine going back to my prior job. However, I would love to continue pursuing photography and to do that on a full-time or more consistent part-time basis.

And: Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
Mere-This is a hard question! Right now, there are two drastically different paths that I fluctuate between hoping for in the next five years. I'd be happy with either one of them. The first one is still living here, maybe with another kid or two, me working more heavily in photography, growing a huge garden, and saving to build our dream home.

The second thing that I hope for sometimes is that Justin's band gets picked up and that they have the chance to experience touring...I hope that Lizzy and I would get to go with him, see the world, and minister.

Justin- I'd like to have a vehicle that I can depend on.  I don't mind driving the old junker but it would just be nice to have one that works well and doesn't feel like its gonna break down at the most inopportune time.  Touring would be fun too.  I'd like to have a couple more kids and have my journeymen's  license.  Maybe a kegerator too.  This kinda feels like my dear Santa list.  And I want a pony, and a stick. 

And: What does your dream house look like?


And: For Justin: How did you know you wanted to marry Meredith?
I knew six months before we started dating.  And I had this gut feeling like she was a magnet pulling me.  She was all I could think about and I had never felt that way about anyone before.  There's an old saying:  For a man there are many ultimate things and just one ultimate woman and a man is a fool to not stop for that woman.  She is my ultimate woman.  She is the one that was made for me.  And even if I hadn't have moved to Oregon in high school I think we still might have met because she went to PLU in Tacoma which is where I'm from and I think we would have met somehow.

Lisa asked: Do you ever feel guilty about eating meat?
Mere-Only at Marzano's.

Justin- Lisa, I never feel bad about eating meat.  Come to think of it, if I couldn't eat meat then there wouldn't be any reason to eat. 

Mrs. Taylor asked: What does your perfect day look like?
Mere- My perfect day would occur in some tropical beach hotel, and would include sleeping in until at LEAST 8am, snuggling with Justin and Lizzy while eating breakfast in bed, spending the morning and afternoon swimming and playing on the beach, having a light and fresh lunch and then putting Lizzy down for a nap, spending the time while she's napping reading a book, then playing some more on the beach. We'd finish off the day with dinner for just Justin and I at some fancy restaurant with no budget--and preferably with Tom Colicchio himself as the chef. We'd be able to linger and have a few drinks before heading to bed (where Lizzy would once again sleep in until 8am).

Justin- Sleeping in and playing video games, drinking some beer, and maybe teaching Lizzy to wakeboard thrown in there some where.  Then after Tom Colicchio cooks us some great steaks with beer to match, we can head back to the room where we practice for more kids.

Alyssa asked: What was the Lizard's first word? 
I think it was probably "Bo" for our cat Bones. Justin maintains that "Bo" isn't the full word, so that doesn't count (in which case, it would probably either be Mama or Dada...she has babbled and talked a LOT from a very young age, so there wasn't a clear "first" in our eyes).

And: Justin-What is your first memory of you and Mer as a couple?
Riding on the spinning ride thing at the carnival in Orlando.  I asked her out on the ride right before it started going.  The ride was still boarding other passengers when I asked her.  And all you women say that men can't remember...pshaw

Andrea asked: If you had unlimited money for photography, what equipment would you buy?
I'm pretty content with the equipment that I have now, but in the future, I'd love to have a full-frame camera body (I won't feel comfortable shooting weddings until I have two camera bodies), a speedlite, a 28-75mm f/2.8 lens, and a 90 mm f/ 2.8 as a macro. Lightroom, and all kinds of accessories for shooting newborns...I haven't even had my first shoot yet, and I'm already addicted!

And, I've already answered the kids question, so: Any fears?
Yes. Eyeballs. I have a weird fear/paranoia about eyeballs. People getting near mine, watching people get near their own (like to put in contacts). In my high school Spanish class, we watched a movie called Un chien andalou, wherein a woman's eye gets slashed with a razor...and the teacher actually sent me out of the room because I was dry heaving and having such a cow. I probably need to go to the eye doctor really badly, but I seriously have to be sedated whenever I go, and the thought of it makes me want to toss my cookies. 


  1. Oh I just read the "ask me anything post" and had a question or two - and they were asked! Sorry to h ear that photo session situation never resolved. People can be so weird. I am like ou too - I have a hard time getting over things or confronting people. Love Justin's answers - good to hear his voice.

  2. i am laughing so hard at all of justin's responses! he sounds like my husband - beer beer and more beer!

  3. I always pictured us having a big family, but holy cow! One is definitely enough for me for now :) I can't wait to move back to Oregon!

  4. These are awesome answers! I literally laughed out loud when Justin said you need to find out if you sleep talk/walk before you have a baby. HA!!

  5. I loved all of these questions, but mainly your answers! :)

  6. Hahaha, Justin and the beer comments... sounds like Tyler.

    Loved getting to know you better :)

  7. Love the house pics!

    BTW, I can't believe you had that photography issue. You're an amazing photographer, and that lady needs to get over herself!

  8. Love these kind of posts! Thanks for the honesty.


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