Before our visitors left today after staying eight days in our home, I took some time to interview Katherine about her preconceived notions of us that she’s received from reading this blog and asked her how they compare to her observations of our real life.

Katherine Murphy, September 2010
I asked Katherine for her perspective on our lives after reading about us on this blog for several years.

Can you please start by describing your family?

In my family, there’s Ben and I — my very handsome and strong, masculine husband. Who’s also right next to me, so that’s good points for next time I do something that’s not well behaved. And then we have four children. We have Ethan, who is five. And we have Ashley, who’s four. Then we have Grace, who’s going to be three in January. And then we have Levi who just turned one — my little baby.

How did you first begin stalking following my blog?

It all began when I used to participate in a parenting forum, and Lauren was also on that forum, and she shared the details of her blog (she’s a big show-off).

Now that you’ve met us, do you think we have more in common or less?

Some more and some less. The real common thing is the children because they’re they same age. A lot of their likes, things that make them happy and sad — they’re all the same. The dynamics of our marriages are similar as well. You and David appear to enjoy each other’s company, and Ben and I enjoy each other’s company. And that’s refreshing to not be around people who complain about each other all the time. Also I think that your emphasis in teaching your children isn’t so much on academia but on living life and teaching about the Lord. We’re similar.

What were some of your preconceived ideas about our family — ideas that you received from the blog — and how are they different from reality?

Probably that you were more routine-based than you are — that you would have a designated rest-time and designated meal-times. Just because your children’s ages are the same as mine, I thought it would be more like the way we do it. And it’s different. I did think that you’d have more structure to your days, without it being too planned.

Before I came to visit, knowing that you don’t have a TV, I didn’t actually think that you’d be in the dark ages, but I thought that you’d view these gadget things as a frivolous waste of time, less Godly, or … I don’t know.

I’ve often wondered if I’m presenting myself realistically on this blog. What’s your opinion?

I think it’s fairly equal. The blog is a good representation of your life. It seems like a diary, recording what you’ve done. The blog seems very similar to what you are. Someone is able to read your blog and know you from what you share.

Were there any real surprises in regards to our values, standards or parenting style?

Not real surprises. I did think you would smack your children if they would carry on or whatever.

And what did you see us do instead?

Not smack them. You’re big into letting your children sort things out for themselves, and I intervene a lot. I do this in a way to settle things quickly with our children. I don’t intervene to take away their independence or anything. I think independence develops and when the time is right, it happens. I feel that my children are much too young and yet to grow more into independence with age, experience and wisdom.

Did you see behaviour in our girls that you would have smacked for?

Yes, definitely.

And how did we deal with it instead?

I think it ended up just passing. Or you took more of a comforting role.

How would you briefly describe David now that you’ve met him?

He’s sort of more worldly than I’d thought he’d be — but not in a bad way. He likes secular movies and that kind of stuff. I’d say that he’s a fairly regular guy who gets passionate about a few topics — vegetarianism, the Lord and reading the Bible. I find it encouraging to have somebody who not only admits who they are but is willing to share what they learn and encourage as well. And it’s not just words, it corresponds with his life.

How would you briefly describe me?

Ben said that you’re cool. You appear to be easy-going — letting your children go out in the yard and in the shopping centre, letting your children be more independent. You appear to be a good listener (unless you really are just sleeping on the couch).

I think both you and David are very consistent. What was presented on Day One has been shown consistently as the days went on. Your parenting style is more laid-back (in comparison to me), definitely.

How would you describe the girls’ personalities?

Aisha has the more dominant personality of all the girls. Brioni is very content — they all seem very content to play with each other. But Brioni is content to let Aisha take the lead. But if there’s a physical challenge, Brioni is bolder, more adventurous, whereas Aisha has a more cautious nature. Calista seems a very joy-filled child and independent. She’s happy to play with the others, or play by herself or with Ben and me. And we only saw Dell sad when she had the upset tummy from the milk, but other than that, she seems like she just fits in.

What things have you seen that have reassured you that we’re approachable?

Maybe I’m not reassured. Well, watching movies and stuff. We listen to lots of secular music and Christian music and watch a range of things. I was reassured that we could talk about “the world” and you’d be up to speed with us. Before I came, I was thinking, oh, what Bible stories do we have to talk about? So it was reassuring that you’re still aware of what’s going on although you have your beliefs that you stick to as well.

Now that we’re proper friends, when are you coming back? Would you come back?

Yes, I think so. But there’s a part of me that thinks would they want us to come back? I would be really interested in seeing our and your children interact. But I also think it would be interesting if your children had a confrontation — to see how my children would view that. They wouldn’t look at us as if Mummy, Daddy, are you going to go smack them?. They know you’re separate. But they would question us afterwards. They question a lot of behaviour — to gauge from us what is appropriate.

Have you learned anything while you’ve been up here?

Yeah, we’ve had further encouragement to keep letting the Lord lead us where He wants to take us — because it doesn’t appear that David and you worry about what other people think. I know that in the past you probably worried about it more than you do now. So we’ve received definitely more encouragement to not worry about what other people are thinking, particularly with parenting, home-schooling, beliefs, personal values and appearances as well.

If you were to re-name our blog, what would you call it?

Go with the Flow Blog. I’ve always really liked “Sparkling Adventures” because that name reflects all the great moments, but they’re not sparkling in a worldly way where you have a perfect house with all brand-name clothing and here are your latest renovations that someone else did for you. It’s encouraging to see the celebration of the normal as an adventure.