Conversations With Hank is an accidental parenting blog chronicling a family of four’s daily conversations while living in Northern Portugal.
Joy Hanford (aka “Me” in the conversations) is a Midwestern American writer and artist. When she was a little girl, she knew exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up then she forgot then she remembered. She spends her week filling pages in her sketchbook with stories and adventures, and her weekends searching for dragons hiding in castle corners.
Her first two children’s books, Billy Blankenstooth and Shoe Mice , are available from Ardozia Digital Media for Kindle Fire, iPhone and Ipad and Android devises. (Tradução Português, Francisco Esquerdo e Ratinhos-dos-Sapatos, também disponíveis). Check out the BUY My Book page for more information on where to get a copy!!!
You can peek into her sketchbook HERE.
In May of 2015 Joy was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS) which has dramatically affected her family, work and health. For more information visit this dedicated rheumatiod arthritis page or you can peruse the specific RA archive.
Henrique or Hank (depending on what language you are speaking) is ten years old and is in fifth grade. He likes a million things, but a few favorites are: robotics, Eurovision, cars, sunglasses, playing with his sister, YouTube, technology and Animal Crossing New Leaf for the Nintendo 2DS XL. He is a sturdy walker, especially helpful and kindhearted. He is special because he is himself.
Dr. Alfredo (aka Pai, which means dad in Portuguese) is a hard working research scientist and the funniest one in the family, although he will deny it.
Amália or Molly (depending on what language you are speaking) arrived at the end of November 2014. She is little and special and funny and we’ve decided we will keep her.
(Family portrait above is by the talented, Amy Davis.)
First: Thank you.
I am flattered that I even get email, let alone questions, and I thought I would post the answers to them here. If you have a question not listed, please ask. One of the many things I learned while I was an art teacher was that the best questions teach you more than you can learn otherwise.
Reader: Are these conversations real?
Reader: Why are there non-English words on this blog?
Me: We are a bi-lingual family. My children are Luso-Americano (Portuguese American) and we live in the north of Portugal so our conversations at home tend to be English with a peppering of Portuguese.
Reader: What are all these Rorschach like drawings before each post in the archives ?
Me: Hank spent hours drawing and if you peek through the archives you will see examples of this. As of late he has moved on to doodling in his notebooks but is most passionate about reading Consumer Reports, watching technology review videos on YouTube and playing video games.
Reader: You only show your children from behind, but never their faces. Can you please post a photo of Hank, Molly and or of your family?
Me: I do not share photo of my children’s faces on this blog, but you can peek into a different view of our lives on Instagram. Follow me ( @joyhanford ) and you will see a unique glimpse into our daily life or you can find us using #conversationswithhank.
Reader: Why don’t you have a comments section?
Me: Um. Well. Spam is a pain, but aside from that these convos are just meant to be out there. They are meant to just exist and if they inspire you to write down an exchange between someone you love in your journal or on your iphone while waiting for a bus then that is wonderful.
Reader: Have you ever thought about writing a children’s book?
Me: Yes! And I have! My first two children’s books, Billy Blankenstooth, and Shoe Mice along with their Portuguese translations, were published by Ardozia Digital Media in 2014. Check out my Books page for more information.
Reader: I have a cute conversation between my (child, niece, grandchild, etc.) and myself. Would you consider putting it on your site?
Me: Wonderful and thank you for thinking of me, but no. Think about putting it up on Facebook, Twitter, sending it as an email or including it in a letter to a friend and absolutely put it in your journal and save it. Remember to one day share the conversation with the grown child and tell them what it has always meant to you.
Reader: Why is there not a Conversations with Hank book? I would love to have a book of these conversations. They brighten my day.
Me: Thank you for brightening my day with this lovely question. I would love to see the art and convos on this site printed as well. For now I will keep publishing them here and we will see what evolves. The easiest and fastest way to catch the eye of a publisher is to READ and SHARE this blog with friends and family and through social media. Thank you for your support!
Reader: Are you going to make a Conversations with Molly blog? Or maybe a Conversations with Pai (dad) blog? What is your husband’s name by the way?
Me: In short: I don’t know. Molly just started talking and I don’t know if I will have the same conversation saturated relationship with her as I have now with Hank. I don’t know if Hank will want this blog to continue in a few years… I have no idea. I only plan for today and the possibility of tomorrow, but really not that much further. We will have to see what the future holds.
And my husband’s name is Alfredo.
Reader: How do you pronounce Pai (dad)?
Me: In Portuguese the word for dad, pai, is pronounced just like the English word pie. Molly finds this very confusing when I tell her I am making a pie for dessert.
~Thank you to everyone who has taken a second to send me an email and say kind words about these conversations. I save them. I treasure them. ~Joy