After all of our travels, this week has finally felt like an almost normal one! We spent last weekend on Cape Cod celebrating the last round of Christmas with Mike’s family. We’re home this weekend, and then back off to Cape Cod for Mike’s grandmother’s 90th! birthday party. Shh! It is a surprise. Good thing she’s not online.

This week’s Ask Away Friday post is with my friend Gracielle from Mommy A-Z.  We met via Ask Away Friday a few months ago. She’s a full time working mama, an amazing blogger, and has some really fun DIY ideas. Recently, she went to work without pants on. AND BLOGGED ABOUT IT. Funny stuff right there, I tell you!

Ask Away Friday is a link up hosted by Penny of The Real Housewife Of Caroline County and Amber of Bold Fab Mom.

Ask Away Friday Mommy A Z

1. What does “NJ” stand for?

It is short for Nancyjo, NOT New Jersey. My name used to be Nancy Jo (maiden name). As a kid, I lived in the same town as older Aunt who’s name was also Nancy. She was always Nancy and I was always called Nancy Jo by most everyone who knew both of us. EXCEPT for my mother’s brothers who always called me NJ.

I am an only child and my dad’s sister is the only sibling who also had children. When I got married, I wanted to take Michael’s name but find a way to keep my maiden name from dying out. So, I pushed the Nancy and the Jo together and moved my maiden name to my middle name. Malone also has my maiden name as part of his middle name too. Lola has my mother in law’s maiden name as part of her middle name.

When I moved out east, I tried to go by Nancyjo for a little while. But people out here have the tendency to drop the Jo and call me Nancy. Which I HATE. The only people who are allowed to do that have changed my diapers.

2. You have a boy and a girl just like me.  Which gender is easier to parent from your experience so far?

Lola is only 5 months, so the jury is still out on this one. Right now, Malone is much easier to parent because his needs are not as physically draining on me as Lola’s. We’re working hard on character qualities with him right now and that can be tough at times, but I can still count on him falling asleep at 7:30 pm and sleeping all night. Neither of those are true right now for Lola.

At the end of the day, my mission statement for motherhood is to raise  self sufficient, empathetic, confident,  kind tiny humans who love their neighbors as themselves. I think it will be a lot harder with Lola because girls are SO MEAN to each other as they grow up.

3. What’s the last thing that made you laugh so hard that your stomach hurt and tears came out of your eyes?

The other day we were getting ready to go to playgroup, but were running late. I was feeling a little frazzled, and apparently Malone could tell. He said to me, “Wait Mom! You need to SLOW your ROLL.” I couldn’t stop laughing. Where does he come up with this stuff.

Right now we’re reading our first chapter book, The Wizard of Oz. Every night he comes to me and asks if it is time to read “The Wizard Of Voz.” That one always makes me smile a bit too.

4. What do you miss most about the Midwest?

My family. I grew up in a really close knit community. My extended family all lives in my hometown and see each other a lot. I really miss spending time with my grandparents. We spent a week there not too long ago, and this is one of my FAVORITE pictures from the entire trip.


It is hard to know that I’m missing the everyday by living in New England, but it feels like home here. I also miss seeing the sun set over the corn fields.

5. Last Friday, Jan 17 was Ditch your Near’s Resolution Day.  I read that your one word resolution for 2014 is “intentional.” Did you ditch it or are you still going strong?

I am still going strong with my word of the year. It is a mindful practice, to be intentional. I might have some more to say about this later. But right now I’m loving it.

6. What’s your favorite chocolate treat?

I’ve been drinking a ton  of dark chocolate almond milk. I HATE regular milk but I don’t seem to mind this. It is thicker than regular milk and has more calcium. I like it because it is a quick way to get a some protein.

Otherwise, I don’t discriminate.

7. You mentioned that you usually blog from your office space.  Can you take a photo or instagram it so we can see where acookiebeforedinner comes to life?

I took a few pictures Thursday afternoon, just for you!

My office is just like a mullet. Business in the front (my desk) and party in the back (Malone’s toys). This is a pretty typical representation of what my desk looks like. Although my blogging binder is usually open and my water jar is almost always empty. I love having my office set up this way. Malone often spends a good deal of time behind me playing. His blocks and parking garage get touched almost every day. That really sweet 1950’s toy box is one of my top thrifting finds of all time (I paid $5.00 for it). It holds Malone’s larger dump trucks and cars. Next to the toy box is a basket full of cardboard boxes that Malone has snatched out of the recycling. He likes to use them to build towns with.


Office 1

8. I recently forgot to wear pants to work. Have you ever left the house and forgot something really important or had a wardrobe malfunction?

I don’t think so. But I don’t wear my wedding ring because it rubs on my finger the wrong way and leaves tiny little bumps.

9. If you had any super hero power, what would it be?

I’d rather be a magic genie and make people’s wishes come true!

10. What is your favorite Malone and Lola sibling interaction you’ve witnessed so far?

Malone loved Lola from the second she was born and it has been really fun to see him become a protective and loving big brother. BUT the sweetest thing I’ve seen is watching Lola fall in love with him. She’s five months now and totally aware of her surroundings. Malone is the only one who can make her laugh from the depths of her gut. It makes my heart melt every time.

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