Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saturday Blogger Spotlight - Meet Jenesha

Hi there! My name is Jenesha and I write over at Books,Looks & Babies…Oh My! As you can probably tell from the blog name, I write primarily about my experiences as a mom (soon-to-be of 2 under 2!), wife, doctoral student, and thirty-something trying to reclaim a sense of balance and wellness amidst all those competing interests. I got to know Stephanie this past fall/winter when we took part in hosting a Christmas link-up, after being introduced to her by my long-time friend Jenny at Growing Up Jacobson. I’ve greatly enjoyed following her and reading about her thoughts/interests/goals, as well as her adorable family! I’m so appreciative of the opportunity to partake in the Saturday Blogger Spotlight and look forward to getting to know more of you as a result.

What made you decide to start “Books, Looks & Babies…Oh My!”? 
What part of blogging is your favorite? What do you dislike the most?

Well, first and foremost, I love writing. I found a passion for it after enrolling in a creative writing course in undergrad and always felt it helped me “find” myself amidst a lot of dark times and sadness that I tried to hide from the outside world. I previously had a blog entitled, "The Constant Comparative Method," where I wrote a lot about some relatively “deep” stuff: Romantic relationships, my grandmother's plight with Alzheimer's, my 100+ pound weight loss, and the death of a young sorority sister. However, I deleted it because it was, perhaps, too personal and some people (ahem, my "to be" husband) didn't love that part of it. However, I often find myself missing that kind of writing…the tough, soul searching kind. Now, I blog about our growing family, primarily, but also my struggles with weight (that will once again continue after baby #2 arrives somewhere around February 27th), struggles in pursuing my doctorate (I am done with coursework, I “simply” have to write the dissertation), and being a “new” mom who stays at home but works part-time as a research assistant in order to pay for tuition. Once in awhile, I’ll throw in a tutorial for a craft but those are the main topics…so, writing littered with LOTS of photos of (bald, but cute) baby girls! My favorite part of blogging is the capturing of memories. If it weren't for this forum, I am pretty positive I wouldn’t be as diligent about keeping track of things and would let the days slip away (NOTE: I am still guilty of this even with the blog, due to the craziness of raising a toddler…but I strive to jot things down no matter where or what, so I can remember them for later). I have so many blog post ideas stored up, but need to find more time to actually process my thoughts and get them down…unfortunately, it might be awhile with #2 making her arrival. My LEAST favorite parts about blogging are 1) the lack of time I have to write what I believe are quality posts on worthwhile topics and 2) the comparing of myself to other mom bloggers. Sometimes it weighs me down and I have to take a step back, to be quite honest.

As a mother, what do you think your greatest parenting moment has been so far? 
Your biggest parenting fail?

My biggest parenting fail? I don't think I've necessarily FAILED (yet—it’s only been 18 months ;)) at anything, as my kid is not only alive, she is well...and awesome (sorry, had to throw that in there). However, that being said, holding her for all naps and nighttime sleep for 10 months would probably be perceived as pretty friggen stupid by most…but necessary for us. Recently I calculated the time I’ve spent holding her for sleep over the past 18 months and let’s just say it clocks in at well over 4800 hours…of my life…spent sitting/laying down. SCARY. (NOTE: I no longer hold her for sleep but she quite often will take an extra hour nap if I rock her…so it happens…a sleeping baby is a happy baby—and makes for a more sane mommy…at least for a few more weeks until #2 arrives and it bites me in the butt). My greatest parenting moment thus far? I'd say my commitment to documenting via blog, photos, and baby book Adrienne’s life thus far. I plan to continue this least until she moves out. Or, I get so distracted with #2 that I relax a bit on the mom guilt (BUT, I am going to try really hard not to, especially for Ellyn [#2], as there’s nothing worse than a first child with a ton of photos and a huge baby book and then nothing for subsequent children).

If Hollywood was to make a movie about your life, what would the title be and who would star as you?

Oh my--what a question! Perhaps it would be entitled, "The Second Guesser" and star myself...because I'm not sure I could think of anyone else who could play that part better than me! Sorry, that’s a total cop-out answer, but I totally don’t feel my life is movie worthy…YET. Perhaps that’s a new goal to work towards ;)
You have a very unique name. Where did your parents find the inspiration for your name? Did having a one of a kind name influence the names for your girls?
Great questions! My parents were 15 when they had me. My mom said she made my name up, actually...however, all of my black friends comment on the fact it sounds "black," so that has always been a fun twist to it for me, and can be especially fun during interviews. Many times I’ve walked in to surprised looks, indicating I was not who/what they expected (I worked in higher ed, where visible diversity is important). I'm so glad it was never shortened, even though the number of people who mispronounce it is astounding (Just in case you aren’t sure, let me help: Jen-E-Sha…just like it looks…long E in the middle :)).

As for influencing my daughters' does in the sense I don't like overly traditional names. If I had my way, Ellyn would be Leighton or Vivienne or something vintage/elegant...but my husband (Mark--which happens to be my dad AND ex-stepfathers' name as well...WEIRD) isn't a big fan of fancy names ;) So, Ellyn is a mix of my mom’s (Ellen/Ellie) name, my middle name (Lynn). Her middle name is Colette, after Mark’s mom’s middle name, while the root (Cole) is my maternal grandparent’s last name—both of whom are deceased. Adrienne was just a name we both really liked, and Rose is after Mark’s sister’s middle name as well as his aunt.
Your love of books is strong. What are your top 3 favorite novels of all time?

I can never choose just three…although I haven’t read for pleasure in AGES. Here are some of my favorites…

1. Roots by Alex Haley  
2. Gone With the Wind
3. A tie: Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables (both are series that I read over and over as a kid)
4. She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
Using the first letter of your first name, J, describe yourself in 5 words:

Hahaha, this so reminds me of a student affairs (the field I’ve worked in and have nearly two degrees in) ice breaker! I love it! Here goes…

J-Jointed…I chose this instead of jiggly because that isn’t very empowering to myself or others ;) Jointed is a word that describes me because I am hypermobile, meaning my ligaments are looser than the average person. Something interesting/unique/annoying all in one (annoying because it restricts my ability to be able to do certain athletic things, such as skiing, unless I want to end up in the hospital in a brace of some sort)!
J-Judging…I chose this not because I am a judge-y person (although we all can be at times), but because I am an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs personality test. Judging in that arena is more of a person’s ability to form opinions and estimations after careful consideration. It is associated with a sense of order and structure to one’s lifestyle. While I am not a rigid “Judger,” I do tend to err on that side, versus the other option which is much more go-with-the-flow. My judger comes out when I’m around those types, especially…I like a plan for most things.
J-Jovial…Because, I like to be happy. When I’m not, it bothers me…sometimes too much and makes me worry about why. I find that when I just focus on the day-to-day, it helps keep me in my happy place.
J-Jaded….I chose this regarding school. I am tired. Besides two years post grad school, I have been in school MY.ENTIRE.LIFE. I’m tired of jumping through hoops and “proving” myself…I just want the fancy regalia and to be called “Dr. J” already!
J-Jittery…Because caffeine is my lifeline. Coke Zero and coffee…and can’t forget chocolate…are my non-human best friends.
I just wanted to thank Stephanie again for this amazing opportunity to connect with more of you. I enjoyed answering the questions and hope you found some humor in my responses, and/or perhaps some things we might have in common. I look forward to “meeting” more of you soon!
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  1. I LOVE little house on the prairie and Ann of Green Gables! I think I'm going to put those 2 series on the list of summer reading I want to do! I love that your name is so unique and a fun conversation starter! Nice to "meet" You!

    1. So great to meet you! Thanks so much for reading...and you just might inspire me to bust out some classics, too!! Have a great weekend!

  2. It was great getting to "know" you Jenesha. I loved reading your answers. I'm your newest follower and can't wait to start reading your blog.

    Stephanie, I love this series, such a great way to "meet" new bloggers.

    1. Thanks Christina! It's so good to meet you as well...and huge props to Stephanie for this fun and creative!! Happy Saturday!

  3. Great post Jenesha! I either forgot or didn't know that GWTW was one of your favorite books too!! ps i'm having coke zero and chocolate while reading this.. yay for sugar and caffeine life lines! :)

  4. I think we need to have a marathon GWTW with the lil ladies one day! And our mutual need of/love for caffeine and chocolate has helped sustain our 13 year friendship for sure, haha!

  5. I LOVE She's Come Undone! I would also highly recommend I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb).
    And coffee - YES! The world simply does not turn if there isn't a piping hot coffee to start every day. :)

    1. Desiree-YES! That is definitely another favorite of mine! I seriously devour his books...and coffee, which sounds amazing right now but it's only 2:36am (gotta love preggo insomnia ;))...

  6. Loved her post and am now following her blog! Thanks for introducing her :)


Thank you so much for commenting on today's post. I reply to comments via Disqus so if you are curious as to what I may have to say in response to your message, just visit this post and check your comment. -- xo, Stephanie