Hi. I'm Ashley. And he's Stephen. And we need a more current photo. Anyway, we're a couple in our very late 20s who blog about our running and healthy living adventures over at (never home)maker: the fit blog for foodies.
But before all that, we met at college and fell in love. Got married in my hometown a couple years later. Bought a tiny house, too. And in November 2011, we found ourselves walking down the street with a baby carriage.
You can email us at writingchapterthree [at] gmail [dot] com.
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Meet Ada Mae, our daughter in diapers:
Sound familiar? We realize our story isn't all that unique. We're just another young family living in a mid-sized city on a super tight budget. But here we are, writing, as so many others have before, the third and -- so far -- most exciting chapter in our lives together.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why do you have two blogs? When we started (never home)maker back in 2009, it was unfocused. Over time, it developed into a running, fitness, healthy living, and cooking blog. Still a lot of stuff jammed onto one site. Then we started the baby blog, and I realized how much I enjoy sharing our family life. We wanted to continue writing our life as a family, but it just didn't jive with (never home)maker. So, that site is now primarily healthy living and fitness and this one is more of the baby, cooking, and tight family budget stuff.
How'd you pick the name Ada? To be entirely honest, there's no special meaning behind Ada's first name. We liked a lot of A names for girls (W names for boys -- Wyatt and Wesley were our top picks on that front). And initially liked the name Ava -- but it's so common these days, we went back to the drawing board (and growing up as an Ashley in the 80s . . . I wanted her to have something a bit more unique). We were on our babymoon in Cape May, NJ, when I looked down at a baby name book, which I think was The Baby Name Wizard, and saw "Ada" -- instantly, it just felt right. (Oh, yeah. Mae, Ada's middle name, comes from Cape May.)
How many kids do you want to have? We're split on this one. We are taking it one at a time, of course. Stephen wants 2. I could see myself wanting 3. Time will tell. We each have one other sibling. So, realistically, I see us having 2. Regardless, we don't want our kids terribly close together in age. Wait, let me rephrase that: I don't want to be pregnant again anytime soon. So, no babies in the near future.
What brand are your sandals? And where did you get them? So many people have asked, so I thought I'd add it to the FAQ. They are called Saltwater sandals. And I have them in navy and orange. I bought them here.
What type of camera do you have? I shoot a Nikon D90 and love using my cheap, but awesome, 50mm lens. I most often snap shots in the aperture priority mode. I haven't ever taken classes or even read books on how to photograph well, so any technical questions are sort of lost on me.
Why does your link to Twitter go to neverhomemaker? Because I don't want to be two people at once, if that makes any sense. We thought about starting a dedicated Twitter account (and still might decide to move this way eventually), but ultimately thought it'd be too difficult to stay connected. The whole being spread too thin thing.
How long have you been blogging? If you count Livejournal . . . it seems like forever. But my first not-just-for-friends blog was called Method and I had it for a year or so back in 2007-2008. We started (never home)maker in 2009, so I guess that makes it about 5 years. What can I say, I love writing on the internets.
What's your educational/professional background? We get asked a lot what we do in "real" life. Stephen has a master's in (secondary) English education. I have a BA in expository writing and anthropology. We both went to Ithaca College for all our degrees. Unlike Stephen, who's worked the same place his entire career, I've had many professional jobs: marketing manager, communications specialist, writing tutor, freelancer, administrative assistant, and beyond.
Where do you live? We're not into giving our specifics. But we do live somewhere within the vast expanse of Upstate NY. I'm originally from north central PA, and Stephen's from central New Jersey. I think a more interesting question might be: Where do we wish we lived? And to that, I answer: Anywhere beside tall mountains and a large body of water.
Why do you use so many parenthetical phrases. And why so many typos? With the typos thing, because we do get emails from well-meaning folks trying to help us sometimes, it's simply because I sneak in posting during Ada's ever-shortening nap schedule. I'm often interrupted, but do my best to catch everything. If you see something that needs to be fixed, just email us. With the parenthetical thing. I don't know why. It's quickly replaced my tendency to use the ellipses, though. You should all be thankful for that.
Did you get an epidural? Like many women, I had always wanted to try a drug-free birth. Lucky for me, my labor was very quick, albeit intense. After pushing for over two hours, I had an entirely natural delivery without meds. You can read more here: Birth Story, Part I (Early Labor Through Transition) and Birth Story, Part II (Pushing). Do I think I'm better for not having an epidural? Hell no. Had my labor gone on at the same intensity for much longer, there is a strong possibility I would have changed my plan. Would I do it again? Definitely.
Why do you talk so much about budget? It's what's on our minds -- like all the time. We're living on a teacher's salary in a country where pay-freezes are king and gas prices are nearing $5 a gallon. We're also not shy about our finances and want to share our tips and learn from other like-minded individuals. We hope that's you, too!
What platform do you use to blog? I'm currently on Blogger using my own domain. I have fooled with using self-hosted Wordpress and other methods, all of which I'm assured are better and give more control and framework flexibility. Still, Blogger has treated me well and is super easy to use. If it ain't broke . . .
*Rolls Eyes* So you're one of those breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby food-making, crunchy granola-type families? What trend will you be pushing next? Alright. Even we get annoyed by those trends that so often sweep the blog world. But how we choose to run our family isn't decided so simply. Most of what we do isn't for keeping up with the Joneses. Instead, see what makes the most sense with our budget and values.
Have a question you'd like us to answer? Leave a comment or email us at writingchapterthree [at] gmail [dot] com.