Thursday, July 24, 2014

17 Apart Turns 3!

Today marks the 3 year anniversary since we published our first post here on 17 Apart! It's amazing how much can happen over the course of a year. Some of the bigger highlights and milestones that come to mind include Tim quitting his day job to pursue full time blogging, which has opened up a lot more room for projects and exploring ways to make money at blogging. We welcomed a new niece to the family in March, celebrated Tim's parent's 50th wedding anniversary and our own 1st wedding anniversary — and Brandon started his journey with his first year at college while Stephanie ended that same chapter, graduating from JMU.

We've had more time to focus on larger home updates and even knocked a few items off our bucket list, like grabbing a few drinks on a rooftop bar in NYC (that last link also includes a gem of a photo-bomb I made during a KISS photo-shoot). Basil turned 3 and kept us on our toes all year, debuting his first official Halloween costume and swapping out his beloved front room couch for a proper dog bed in our updated office space.

Most of all, we've been so thankful to stay connected with so many of you, and meet many new faces along the way too. We love getting your emails with photos of your garden or just to stop in and let us know that you're also in a relationship with a significant age gap — we love it all.

In keeping with blogiversary tradition, last week we asked for your help in asking us anything you wanted — then we put together today's Q&A post with all the answers to your questions as a way to virtually celebrate another milestone! So without further ado, here are each of the burning questions we received this year, along with our best stab at answers!

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Q. Anonymous Blog Commenter: Mary, as someone who is dating someone with kids (his are little though, under 8 years old). How is it to be married to someone with kids? Was it hard for you to get used to dating someone with kids at first?

A. Mary — Tough questions right out the gate — love it! This question could warrant its own series, or entire blog, but I'll take a good stab at an abbreviated answer here today.

The short of it is, I think every circumstance is different, but for me, I've always just felt so lucky to have Tim and his children welcome me into their family. I may be outside the norm, but it wasn't hard for me to get used to dating someone with kids — I was most worried what they'd think of me!

To give a little history from my perspective, when Tim and I first started dating (coming up on 10 years ago!), his children were 9 and 12 and we waited probably over a year before making introductions — and even at that stage, it wasn't anything formal. If you hadn't gathered, we're just fine with the idea of taking things real slow, ha — 7 years dating (3 1/2 of those being long distance), almost a 2 year engagement, etc. Because we eased into things over such a long period of time, I'm guessing it put a lot less pressure on everyone and allowed us to really form meaningful relationships when it finally came time to take that next step. I think his kids even said something to the effect of "finally" when he confided in them that we were getting engaged.

Wedding photos by Tori Watson, Marvelous Things Photography

I can't tell you how much it meant that as 2 young adults, both Stephanie and Brandon wanted to play important roles in our wedding, and that Stephanie wanted to move in with us during this timeframe after graduating from college. I really see them as their own people, who have actually taught me a lot about life and added so much more depth to my own.

A. Tim — I could not have come up with a better answer. I always said, they already have a mom so just try to be a good friend. This question did get us to pull out some of the older photos we have (before everything became digital and long before we started blogging), and thought you might enjoy seeing a few of these gems back from a beach trip with Brandon and Stephanie early in our relationship:

Q. Monica asked us 3 questions this year! We see how it is, 3 for 3 — next year you'll need to think of 4 :)

1. Do you pronounce Basil's breed with a V or W?

A. Mary — We pronounce it with a W, like Whyme-uh ryhne-errr (imagine a sourthern drawl butchering that last errr). My typical elevator speech when someone asks what type of dog he is usually consists of "He's a Weimaraner, also called weims for short or nicknamed the gray ghost." Most times people will say things like "oh yeah, Weimaraner, I couldn't remember the name," otherwise we'll get a blank stare. Interestingly, most people that mistake him, ask if he's a great dane. I'd love to know how Basil would pronounce it!

A. Tim — After answering this question, we googled the proper pronunciation of Weimaraner, and had fun listening to all the different versions. Mary listened to this one about 6 times while I googled the Hungarian version. Thanks for the source of entertainment, Monica!

2. Are there any foods which either of you cannot stand to eat/cook?
A. Tim — As crazy as it sounds, I love cooking anything, but do have a couple weird food things. I'm not a fan of milk, tomatoes or eggplants (though again, I love to cook with all of the above). Luckily Mary loves to eat almost anything, including leftovers, so not much goes to waste around here. OK, and I'll admit I'm not a big sweets person either, especially chocolate. Hands down I'd rather eat a liver mousse pâté (seriously) at the beginning of a meal than have chocolate mousse for dessert. Mary's the exact opposite.

A. Mary — I will pretty much eat anything, but rarely cook since Tim's the expert in our household (lucky me!). While I love all sorts of seafood and fish, I have a funny thing about eating them as leftovers — weird I know. I will eat most anything else as leftovers, gladly, especially when Tim made it. Like Tim mentioned above, I have a big sweet tooth, so we're opposites in that aspect! Luckily, Tim's son Brandon also has a sweet tooth, so I use that as an excuse to get an ice cream fix whenever he comes to visit.

3. If you could choose to travel to one destination (based on food offered there) where would it be?
A. Tim — Hands down, street food in Thailand. I love markets and anywhere I have traveled in the world (especially in Europe), nothing beats hitting up that large public market in the city center. So Thailand it would be — the markets and street food are definitely my dining destination. Italy and Spain are two other places I have yet to visit but love the culture of their food!

A. Mary — I'd love to make a trip to the Mediterranean, especially Greece. I'm a sucker for good olive oil, fresh veggies, cheese and wine, so I imagine it would be the perfect match. Tim and I talked about the idea of Greece for a honeymoon before realizing a week near Hatteras was what we really needed at that time. I like to think we'll make the trip, perhaps for a long weekend on a whim or a bigger trip to celebrate a milestone anniversary down the line.

Q. Willow asks: What time do you wake up\what are your techniques to be able to jam so much into your weekends? Sometimes you seem to have painted a room, hosted parties and still had time for a yard sale or checking out an eatery!

A. Mary — I'm glad to hear it appears that way from the outside looking in, ha! Truth be told, we juggle a lot, but it's all stuff we enjoy and usually means getting outside the house for a bit (which can be a welcome break from working at home all week). On waking up, Tim's the morning person and the planner. I'm gradually getting better at getting up early on the weekends (I'd say we're up between 7-8am) but definitely take indulgence in that morning jolt of coffee before feeling that "go tackle the day" mentality. There's also usually an afternoon break involved before getting that second weekend wind in the evenings (proof below, shhhh).

A. Tim — Pretty much what Mary said. I'm also happy to hear you read about our weekends! The weekend series is one we enjoy because it documents some of our day-to-day activities, but oftentimes wonder if it's interesting to anyone but ourselves.

We do pack a lot in but I might start something say Wednesday afternoon and then finish it up Sunday. So in effect there are times where we post about something we accomplished over the weekend (which it was) but it may have been started weeks ago. Also, when we drive up to the farm to work on the airstream it is about 40 minutes away so we take the back roads and hit a farm stand or maybe get side tracked at a roadside yard sale. We try to make a plan but remain flexible for little adventures along the way. I'd also say we play off of each-other well too. Sometimes Mary has a plan for something she'd like to do or get done (or the other way around) which helps motivate us to keep going.

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That rounds up each of the questions we received this year! We've linked up this post under our FAQ's page and look forward to keeping this Q&A style post a regular Blogiversary tradition. We hope you enjoyed getting a further look into our lives and if you had a question you didn't see answered in today's post, feel free to submit in the comments section below or shoot us an email anytime.

Here's to 3 years of fun adventures — with many more to come.

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  1. It is so fun to read the questions and your answers. Congrats on your 3 year blog anniversary!

    1. Thank you Allison we also appreciate you keeping in touch over the past 3 years!

  2. Thanks for sharing! It was nice to hear from who has been through the same thing and it has come out wonderful!