Archive for September, 2012
…we did our best to not be completely and utterly awkward beyond belief. Did we succeed? You be the judge. Just like in past blogiversary weeks, we invited you guys to ask us some personal (i.e. non-decorating) questions over on our Facebook page last week. And after over two hundred questions came rolling in, Sherry and I sat down and answered as many as we could while Clara napped one afternoon – and then culled it down into this 20 minute video. Among all of our shocking and jaw-dropping revelations (note the sarcasm) you’ll learn:
- If there’s a bun in Sherry’s oven
- What kind of money we’re earning for our book
- How working together has affected our marriage
- How many readers have knocked on our door asking for a tour
- If we fear stalkers
- If Clara will be home-schooled
- Our plan for potty training
- How many bras Sherry owns
- When we’re moving again
- If we’ll ever get started on the playroom
- If Sherry’s dad is invisible
- What we’d change about our old house’s style
- Why we try not to pick our noses in public
- What we hate most about our job
- What we each find romantic about each other
- How Sherry plans to bribe me into seeing the new Twilight movie
- Who we’d want to play us in a hypothetical YHL movie
- Sherry’s thoughts on Ramona from the Real Housewives of New York City
- What part of DIYing we like the least
- If Sherry feels competitive with Katie Bower
- How long it takes for a project to get posted about
- How Clara acts like a toddler
So now that your appetite is sufficiently whetted, here goes nothing…
A few notes:
- Sherry’s insanely embarrassed that she leans in towards the camera the whole time. We didn’t realize this was happening until we were done with the whole video and watched it back, so there you have it: my fidgety wife.
- You might notice the lighting/focus changes towards the end of the video. The camera actually fell asleep and shut off, so we had to tape the end part in a second take. Yup, we actually chatted long enough to bore the camera to sleep. High five.
- Clara (and Burger apparently) were napping, hence their non-appearances, but we decided to do a little bonus Q&A video featuring the real stars of this show – Clara and Burger. Since this is the first blogiversary where Clara can actually string words together into something semi coherent, we thought it’d be fun to let her take a turn in the hot seat. And by hot seat, we mean handling questions like “what’s your favorite number?” – oh yeah, we’re grilling her.
So there you have it folks have it – nearly 25 minutes of us blathering on about all things personal and not much home stuff (which feels weird and fun at the same time). Did you learn anything that surprised you? Or hear something that sparked another question in your brain? We can’t promise we can get to every answer in the comments of this post, but feel free to ask away as potential fodder for next year’s video…
Fire up your laser pointers and bunsen burners. We’re back with our yearly numerical slash statistical goodness. Each year we like to break down what YHL looks like by the numbers. Some are crazy. Some are surprising. Some are serious. Some are, well, just for fun.
Oh and this year we thought we’d include a few fun blog facts that might blow your mind (no guarantees though, your mind might remain intact).
Fun Bloggy Fact #1: Each month the cost for us to host our site (so it loads well/doesn’t crash, etc) is more than our mortgage payment.
Fun Bloggy Fact #2: We have written over 2,311 posts in the past five years, and if they each took an average of 2.5 hours to write (that’s the usual with uploading & editing pics) that means we’ve spent 5,777.5 hours writing posts, which translates to over 240 straight days of post-writing (without any sleep).
Fun Bloggy Fact #3: There have actually been Internet rumors about us, which always strike us as extremely hilarious for some reason. They’re usually of the “Sherry is pregnant” variety (I joke that I would have ten kids already based on their frequency) but perhaps the most random one was something we learned about when John’s mom called to say that her sister’s friend told her we were Mormons (which apparently is a popular rumor about us). Who knew?! There’s nothing wrong with being a Mormon, it’s just not our religion – so it’s pretty funny when your relatives hear something like that through the Internet grapevine! Also, in case you’re wondering, I’m not prego. Haha.
Fun Bloggy Fact #4: The total value of all the giveaways that we have hosted on our site in the past five years is over $55,000! And we’ve given away more value in prizes over the last two months (over $15,000!) than we did over the entire first two years of hosting them on our site.
Fun Bloggy Fact #5: Blogging is the longest job either of us have ever held (if you count the full five years that we’ve done it, not just the more recent ones when it was our full-time profession).
Fun Bloggy Fact #6: Tori Spelling once called us (herself! For real!) to chat about producing a TV show with us. True story. She was really nice (and there was a goat and a chicken in the background, which was hilarious) but you guys know that we’re waaaay too awkward to pursue a TV show gig. I can barely survive almost touching hands with Nate Berkus. We’re just happy to hide safely behind our laptops. As for when the call took place, it was actually right after Hurricane Irene, so we were camped out at John’s parents house where they had power, and I took this picture to forever memorialize the event.
Fun Bloggy Fact #7: Last month our site got 5.5 million page views (crazytown) and our total number of page views for all time is over 143 million (which is funny because we pretend we’re writing to ten people to avoid blog stage fright).
OK, now on to a slew of straight-up-stats. We’ve included some of last year’s numbers just for comparison’s sake, but you can also look back at our past by-the-numbers posts for our last four blogiversaries to see how things have changed: 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.
1,043,621 – The number of total comments left by you fine folks. Nearly double our number last year (570,314) meaning there has been nearly as much commenting action in the last 12 months as our first four years.
76,825 – The number of comment responses we’ve posted ourselves, which is nearly double last year’s total (38,754).
Pamen – Default name Clara gives anything if you ask her “hey, what’s that bear’s/doll’s/person’s name?” (Aemon is her second most popular choice). No idea where either of those came from…
4 – Our longest span (in days) of not blogging over the last 1,827 days, also known as the last five years (through having a baby, an earthquake, a hurricane – we’re like the postal service, haha).
3 – Average number of times a week we find ourselves at Home Depot.
143 – The number of published posts to date on Young House Life (clearly someone’s gotta pick up the slack over there, especially when compared to the 2,311 posts that we’ve written on YHL).
21 – Number of months we’ve lived in our new house.
27 – Clara’s weight. Up from 21 lbs last year. She’s tall and skinny like her daddy.
8 – My main man Burger’s weight. A smidge down from a whopping 8.5 lbs last year.
198 – Total number of weekly giveaways that we’ve held since starting them back in November of ’08 (after you guys requested them during our very first blogiversary).
35 – Our average number of posts per month.
4 – Number of soda-themed shirts that John owns (up one from last year’s total thanks to adding a Coke one to the Dr. Pepper, Sprite, and Pepsi collection).
303 – Number of Instagram photos posted to date.
1,800 – Average number of words written per post (we’re chatty, huh?).
14,400 – Average number of words written per week (admittedly, this is kind of insane).
629 - The total number of projects that we link to on our Projects page (we still have around 40 to add, but haven’t gotten to that part of our to-do list yet. Sorry!)
70 – Number of Clara photos that we’ve taken for her photo project (52 weekly pictures + 17 monthly pics + 1 for her birthday card).
933,962 – Number of Pinterest followers (this. is. insane.)
1 – Number of ears remaining on Clara’s Olivia doll for her dollhouse (don’t ask, it was a terrible tragedy and we try not to speak of it).
So there you have it. The stats of the year. Do you guys count things like average trips to Home Depot or how many soda shirts you own? Are we the only weirdos who document this stuff?
As we mentioned yesterday, it’s Blogiversary Week, baby (still can’t believe that we have been at this for half a decade). So we had some fun recording an average day in the life from both of our perspectives, so you can see what each of us – and even Clara and Burger – may be doing at any given time. Woop, here it is:
6:00 am – 7:30 am
JOHN: The whole house is sleeping, so I duck out for a 5-mile run down by the river. I’m home by 7:30 and no one even knows I’m gone.
7:30 am – 8:00 am
SHERRY: I wake up around 7:45 and the house is too quiet so I know Clara is still sleeping but John’s not next to me so he probably went for a run. Burger stays in bed, but I drag my butt up and walk straight to the office and sit down in front of the computer where I see John sitting at his desk squeezing in a few minutes of work between his shower and Clara waking up.
SHERRY: I check blog comments and answer a few questions and then glance at my planner which always looks like this. I know it’s crazy, but it makes sense to me (I use it to write notes about post ideas, appointments/calls we have, book promo stuff that we have to do, deadlines for articles, etc). I check what’s going on for the day and notice that I owe a little blurb to a magazine by 2pm today (wish I could tell you which one!) for an article they’re writing, so I just dive in and get it done so I don’t forget or feel rushed later.
8:00 am – 9:00 am
JOHN: I hear Clara starting to stir, so I go say good morning, change her diaper, and sit her down for some breakfast. While she’s chowing down on some yogurt, I try to get organized for the day – which includes writing out a few things I have to do and grabbing the coupons that Sherry has cut out for a trip to the grocery store later.
SHERRY: I continue answering comments and Facebook questions and then play with Clara for a little bit (since once the post goes up around 10am I usually don’t get to spend much time with her for a while). She’s great at playing independently, but we like to connect with her a few times a day and really get in there and interact. Besides, I might like her play kitchen even more than she does…
SHERRY: Once I get Clara dressed for the day, John and I hop back on our computers while Clara plays on her own – taunting Burger with her snack.
9:00 am – 10:00 am
JOHN: I make some scrambled eggs for me and Sherry to wolf down before having to get Clara off to today’s activity: music class. It’s just one day a week for thirty minutes at a local church (the program is called Musikgarten), but she loves it.
SHERRY: I proof-read the post that’s going to go up at ten. Proofing usually involves previewing what we wrote to make sure photos are centered and reading it through at least two times (sometimes three times if it’s a detailed tutorial- just to make sure things make sense and are in order and I haven’t written “I love panting” instead of “I love painting”). I also add links to things that I reference. We still average about two typos a post so I can’t imagine how bad it would be if I didn’t read things through beforehand.
JOHN: Clara and I give mommy a kiss (Burger’s too hard to catch) and we hurry off in the car for music class.
SHERRY: Sadly I have to miss Clara’s music class since it runs from 10:00 to 10:30 (which is right when the post goes up and I usually have 100+ comments that I have to approve/respond to). I used to get to go when her class was later in the day, but after it got moved up I tried going to a 10am class and just letting comments build up and answering them after class but it was too crazy (lots of the same question and confusion over something that could have easily been explained if I had been “on”) so it just works better for one of us to work and for one of us to go to class with Clara – at least for now. Here’s hoping her next semester will be a later class again, so we can both sneak out to spend that hour a week singing songs with her and dancing in a circle (I promise it’s just as awkward and hilarious as it sounds).
10:00am – 11:00 am
SHERRY: I get the morning post up and squat comments for the next hour while John and Clara music class it up. I can’t wait for them to come home so I can hear what I missed from Clara, like “the little boy was dancing so nice – I think it was wonderful.” One of her favorite things to gaze at while she’s at the church for her music class is a little diorama of Noah’s Ark. She’s in love with it. So there’s always some time accounted to staring at that before and after class. Meanwhile, over two hundred comments roll in over the course of the hour, so I’m at home furiously trying to keep up with them and answer every last question that comes in.
11:00 am- 12:00 am
JOHN: Since we’re already out and about, Clara and I head out to the grocery store to reload on some essentials.
SHERRY: I take a break from comments and glance at my email but it’s crazy so I just skim the page and delete the junk mail so the number in my inbox goes down a smidge. Because seeing 84 new emails at 11am when there were none the night before can make your head spin. A lot of it is sponsor & giveaway stuff along with book stuff (tour scheduling, press blurbs or fact checking things they need, etc). Mixed in there are sweet reader letters that we love. I save those and read them out loud to John a few evenings a week so we can permasmile at my laptop together.
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
JOHN: I get home with Clara and spend some time unloading groceries while Clara runs off to play with her trains. Then Sherry and I chat a little about a new project we want to tackle next week and start planning what we’ll need to do first, what we might need to pick up at the store, etc. I also send out a few sponsor emails and coordinate next week’s giveaway along with making sure I have the right image for the one that will go up this week.
SHERRY – After John and I chat about that new project together for a while, I answer more blog comments, get through a few emails, and I’m just about to begin writing a post for the next day when Clara comes in and asks for lunch. She had been playing at her desk with her crayons and messing around with her dollhouse, but it’s officially lunch time, so momma needs to get on that.
SHERRY: We all take a break and meet at the dining table for some grub. We usually just eat some soup, homemade deli sandwiches, or hummus and flatbread but John actually picked up sushi for us while he was at the grocery store, so we chow down on that while Clara has some tomatoes, grapes, hummus, and crackers (and takes a nibble of california roll).
1:00 – 2:00 pm
JOHN: Lunch is done, so it’s back to the computer to finish up my emails. Meanwhile Clara’s running in and out of the room playing with some books and small plastic animals. Occasionally she calls us for some help, but most of the time she’s psyched to do her own thing. Speaking of doing their own thing, I let Burger out to do some early afternoon acorn hunting. He takes his job very seriously.
SHERRY: I proof-read as much of the afternoon post as I can (it usually goes up between 2 and 2:30) and then I finish up by adding some links, catching some more typos, fixing a few unclear parts, and it’s finally ready for me to publish it right before two o clock rolls around. Then since I have five minutes left in the hour I squeeze in some train-board time with Clara, and Burger ambles over to see what’s going on.
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
SHERRY: Two o’ clock means it’s time for Clara’s nap (she just takes one a day, usually from around 2-4) so I change her diaper and tuck her in. Our routine is super fast (sound machine on, curtains closed, lights off, kiss, door closed) and then it’s back to answering comment questions for the rest of the hour.
JOHN: We’re sharing a video in a few days (our annual Q&A one), so since we already recorded the footage yesterday, I get to work on editing the video. I have to find music, edit the clips down since a bunch of them are super long, and just generally clean it up and add transitions and type so it all makes sense. It usually takes me about three hours each year since it’s our longest video and it has tons of questions and answers (and I’m married to a talker!), so by the end of the hour, I’ve made a small dent in the assignment.
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
JOHN: I’m itching to keep plugging away on the video since I’m in the zone and Clara’s sleeping, but we have a book call at three to talk about the still-not-finalized tour schedule (we’ll share all the dates with you guys as soon as they’re pinned down!), hammer out what we’ll be speaking about at each location, and do some other book-launch planning stuff. It’s funny how we thought that once we sent in the manuscript it would be nice and quiet, but planning all of those events, scheduling things, and doing little press interviews just picked up where writing and shooting left off. It’s exciting though, so we’re not complaining. At this point the book is like our third kid (behind Clara and Burger of course).
SHERRY: Our call lasts the whole hour but we’ve hammered out a lot of stuff so it feels good. I hop back on comments with big plans to write a post as soon as I’m done with a few quick comment answers.
4:00 – 5:00 pm
JOHN: I get back into video editing and then take about 15 minutes at the end of the hour to edit and size photos for a post that we’ve already written for tomorrow afternoon (the thing about sharing 8 posts in a 5 day period is that we’re always working on finishing some that are already written, writing new ones, and answering questions for the ones that are already up). Thank goodness Sherry is a list-maker or we’d never stay organized.
SHERRY: Before starting that post that I planned to write, I click back over to my email and see a few urgent things I have to respond to for our publisher and our accountant (he’s running some numbers for our next quarterly tax payment, so he has a few quick questions). I finally get to start that post, but about ten minutes into it Clara wakes up, so I go get her and hang out in her room for a little while with her at her request. I’ll admit that for some of the time I’m anxious to finish that post hanging over my head, but it’s nice to just chill with Clara in her room for a little while (John and I attached to our laptops all night long, so little slivers of time away from it during the day keep us sane).
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
SHERRY: I’m back in the office trying to write a little more of that post while Clara plays with a box of spare ribbon on the floor behind me (she has loved doing that since before she even turned one – it’s pretty cute).
JOHN: About half-way through the hour, the ribbon-playing has lost its magic and the bean is restless and ready to get out of the house, but I have one last phone call to take care of. We’re coordinating a really complicated giveaway so it takes a little bit of planning with that vendor. Stay tuned for it in a couple of weeks!
JOHN: My call takes around twenty minutes and then we’re ready to pile into the car. We’re off to Home Depot (one of Clara’s favorite places, believe it or not – she even recognizes the logo and squeals “Yay! Home Depot!” when she hears a commercial for it on the radio). We need to grab some materials for a little bathroom project that we’re planning, so after I make a sketch of what we need and Sherry and I tape things off to be sure we like where it’s headed, we all pile into the car (Burger included).
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
SHERRY: At Home Depot we pick up what we need while Burger and Clara get their kicks in the car-shaped cart.
SHERRY: Then since we’re out we decide to stop to grab dinner at Chipotle, which is at a walking mall near our house. That way after we eat we can all walk around for a while and soak up the fresh air and the nice fall evening. We usually eat out sparingly (and try to choose places like Chipotle or Jason’s Deli so the food is nice and fresh) and otherwise we’ll eat at home, where the average meal can be anything from spaghetti or perogies to veggie chilli, bean burritos, rotisserie chicken, or veggie burgers.
JOHN: Walking around this particular mall after getting to eat there is especially nice because Clara loves it and it’s even dog friendly (so Burger’s allowed into the stores with us too).
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
JOHN: We’re back at home and have unloaded our Home Depot materials from the car, so this is sort of family hour in our house before Clara goes off to bed at eight. We do our best to log some good reading-time with her and also end up scribbling with crayons, and talking about our day.
SHERRY: Burger is usually full of energy around this time of the day, so he’s bounding around the sofa and Clara’s laughing and chasing after him. But 8 o’ clock is here before we know it and it’s time to put that baby to bed. After brushing her teeth and slipping her into some pjs, we just do the same nap routine for nighttime (sound machine on, curtains closed, lights off, kiss, door closed) and she’s snuggled up under the quilt I made her and pretty close to drifting off by the time I shut the door.
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
JOHN: Once Clara’s in bed, we usually get most of our work done. Tonight it’s more video editing for me along with some other post writing and picture sizing.
SHERRY: I’m finishing up some other posts, trying to get a head start by proof-reading the post for the morning, answering some emails, and looking at a bunch of Reader Redesign submissions (all of which get me so inspired that I want to hop off the sofa and paint/upholster/rearrange something, haha).
10:00 pm – 12:00 pm
JOHN: It’s pretty normal for us to have both of our laptops fired up until around midnight, but we try to get cozy and sit on Karl with the TV on in the background so it feels more casual. Some nights we do major DIY stuff together between 8-12 (like building/painting/demo/etc) instead of sofa-computer stuff since during the day it’s hard to get anything other than very small projects done with the bulk of our comments rolling in and a toddler running around, but not tonight.
SHERRY: We sit in front of the TV (The Voice is on, and then it’s Parks & Rec time) and I finally finish the post that I’ve been writing on and off all day. It’s normal for a post to take us around 2-3 hours total (usually not all at once) since we have to edit/size/upload photos along with writing things up (that doesn’t include the time it takes to buy materials and do the project). Unless it’s fast like a giveaway – those only take around 30 minutes to write, but probably take an hour or two to coordinate via email beforehand. Around midnight we finally decide it’s time to put the laptops away and get ready for bed. We’re zonked.
SHERRY: Burger, John, and I climb into bed and we lay there recapping some of the highlights & challenges of the day and then do a quick run-through of any important tasks that we have to knock out tomorrow (gotta finish building/painting something, write two posts, proof two posts, and hop on two more calls). Before we know it, we’re out cold, with Burger and Bearger beside us. Zzzzzz.
Psssst- Remember our bathroom makeover for Granny? We finally shared the rest of the details on our trip to West Virginia over on Young House Life.