Welcome to the first Ask Away Friday of the New Year! Ask Away Friday is one of my favorite link ups. Here is how it works two bloggers get together, trade 10 questions, and answer the other’s questions on their own blog. This genius idea was started by Penny from The Real House Wife of Caroline County and Amber from Bold Fab Mom. 

This week, I traded questions with the beloved Coach Daddy, Eli. He’s currently the only dude blogger that I currently read (although am horrible at commenting on, sorry Eli!) on a regular basis. Eli is one of the funniest bloggers I know and he offers a fresh parenting perspective since he’s a dad.

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1. I know your blog is called A Cookie Before Dinner. But if you’re slaving away on dinner, and are 2 minutes from getting it on the table, and one of your kids busts a move for the Oreos, will you really let them?

We have a really relaxed point of view about food and meals in general. The most important thing we can do is teach our kids to listen to their bodies. If you’re hungry, come to me and I will feed you something. If you’re not hungry, you don’t have to eat but you have to be part of the community of our family during dinner.

Cookies, ice cream, and candy are  VERY special treats in our house, so  9 times out of 10 the answer will be no. If it is that close to dinner, I’m more likely to offer a bit of whatever piece of dinner is ready. Cookies and sugary treats that late in the day make Malone super crazy.

2. Your allegiance to Red Sox Nation is appreciated, and well-documented. (Marie is a Sox fan). When your kids start to date, are you going to have the talk – you know, about Yankees fans? And what if one of your kids falls for one anyway?

Well, I hope to raise children who have a good judge of character so this will NEVER have to happen. Just kidding.

I want my kids to marry someone who makes them feel like THE BEST versions of themselves. If that person also happens to be from the Dark Side, so be it.

I also want my kids to love what they love, because they LOVE it and not because someone else has told them to. Malone has already fallen in love the the Red Sox, so I don’t imagine he’ll stray away. However, he has declared that he is not a Patriots (football) fan but like the Dolphins instead.

Lola is still a wild card, I suppose.

3. I lost my father when I was a grown-up. I know you also lost your mother, just before you were married. Tell us how you’d spend one more day with your mom and your children.

ask away friday eliI think that the hardest part about losing my mom so early isn’t that my kids missed out on having her as a grandmother, but that SHE missed out on being a grandmother. We’d spend the day at home, so she could really get down and play with them. I’d stay out of the way as best as I could. I also have a lot of unanswered questions, so we’d sneak away for a few hours to chat by ourselves.

For as long as I can remember, the women in my family have always been visited by the spirits of loved ones in dreams. When she was alive, my mother was visited by her favorite Aunt, who died tragically in a train vs car accident. My mother has visited me a few times since her passing as well. This past summer, my cousin Lisa (who’s mom recently passed away too) had a spirit dream visit by her mom and my mom together. She asked my mom about my kids and the orbs. My mom said that she spends a lot of time with us and confirmed that she often lets her orb show through photos.

Her spirit has been back to visit a few times since I had Malone. I’ve caught her orb a few times in photographs. This is probably the best one I have of it. I know this is the age of picmonkey to edit and add things to photos, but the only thing I’ve done to this one was add the arrow and crop it down a bit so you can’t see my messy office!

Say what you will about the afterlife, guardian angels, and all that jazz. But for us, it is very comforting to know she’s still here.

4. What’s one how-to blog someone really needs to write?

Nothing is new under the sun in blog land. What sets a blogger apart from the rest is how they use their voice to tell their story.Chances are that if someone needs it, it has already been written. Therefore, someone needs to write a how to blog about how to search for content via Google and You Tube.

5. There don’t appear to be many dull moments with your kids around. Can you tell us about a time they absolutely blew your socks off with something they said or did?

Oh man, there are SO MANY. Malone is so full of life and such fun. He’s hysterical and kind.

I think the thing I’ve been most blown away by is his eagerness to be kind to others. A few weeks ago, we drove our neighbor to a doctors appointment. The appointment was an hour long and I was prepared with an arsenal of snacks and toys to keep him entertained. But instead of needing them, he spent the entire time opening the door for and greeting the other patients. If we’re out somewhere together, he’ll often run ahead a few steps to open the door for Lola and I as well.

During Silent Night at our Christmas Eve church service he busted out his Robot moves in front of EVERYONE.

The following conversation took place between Malone (age 4) and my nephew Andrew (who is almost 4) over Thanksgiving.

Malone: Andrew, someday you are going to DIE! 
Andrew: I know. And when God calls me home, I’ll be ready. 
Malone: Yeah. Me too. I think Jesus will probably just send a text or something. Or God will yell, Yo! Malone. Time to come home! 
Andrew: What are you TALKING about. God doesn’t yell!!! 

This is what he said on the way home from preschool one day.

“Mama, I am kind, I am diligent at my work and I always try my best to control my emotions because I want people to look at me and say.. that Malone Rongner, he’s a great guy. And also, I want them to think I’m fabulous so I need to borrow your sparkle necklace tomorrow”

This is what he said when he thought Lola was hungry.

“Mom, mom! I think kitten Lola is hungry! Time to crack open your boobs and get her some milk!” 

The other night as we were praying before bed he thanked God for UMASS Basketball. But the one thing he’s said this year that has really blown my socks off happened before our 20 week scan to see if Lola was a boy or a girl. The entire time he had been insisting it was a girl and was having huge meltdowns at the thought of it even being a boy. He finally came out with it one night.

“Mama, I want the baby to be a baby sister because she’ll be just like you. And you’ll have her. I have a daddy and daddy has me. You need a sister”

6. I can’t complete these questions without constantly thinking about cookies now. To you, what is the ultimate cookie?

I once went to a dinner party at Tamara Like Camera’s house where there were Turdukin cookies- toffee baked inside of a chocolate cookie, baked inside of a brownie. That is the ULTIMATE cookie. At the same dinner party, Cassidy made soup inside of an oven roasted pumpkin. When you stuck the ladle down, some of the roasted pumpkin came up with the soup. It was AMAZING. When Lola was born, Tamara made lasagna rolls and homemade powerbars for us. So basically any food that comes from Chateau Bowman is THE ULTIMATE.

It is weird to say this, but Tamara and are closer in real life than we are in bloglife. Malone and Scarlet are nine days apart. We met in birth group, before we both had blogs!

7. As an only child, what’s it been like to watch Malone and Lola exist together? What have your learned by witnessing their sibling existence?

As a parent, I’ve always want a life well lived for my children. I think most parents strive to give their kids everything they didn’t have growing up. For me, this has been the ultimate gift. I was really scared about moving from one child to two before Lola was born. But those fears have all melted away.

They are both smitten with each other. Malone would like another sibling. IMMEDIATELY.

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The things I’ve learned are the things I’ve always known. I’m  missing out on something really special by being an only child.

8. Give us your three favorite Red Sox players of all time.

Old Timers (pre 1955).

  1. Babe Ruth – Because of course. He’s BABE RUTH.
  2. Johnny Pesky- Left baseball to fight in WWII and then returned back to the Red Sox. He was a fixture on their bench until he died a few years ago.
  3. Cy Young – He won 192 games and pitched a perfect game. And he’s got the BEST award named after him.

Modern Day (post 1955).

  1. David Ortiz- Super clutch and a MAJOR factor in our last three world series wins.
  2. Jim Rice- Michael fell in love with me after seeing a photo of Jim Rice and I together because he could tell I was more than just a casual fan.
  3. Pedro Martinez- He could be argued as the best Red Sox pitcher of all time. I’m not sure I agree 100%, but his BEST was out of this world.

9. If you could put together a mixtape of classic rock songs for your kids to carry forever and always, what songs would make the cut?

There are so many that I hope my kids have written on their hearts. The last few years, we’ve focused soley on introducing Malone to classic rock. 2014 will be the year of 80’s pop. I’m really excited about that!

Here is my list (in no particular order). If it is in bold, Malone knows all of the words already.

  1. Lola by The Kinks (Malone’s favorite. And how Lola got her name).
  2. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
  3. Jack & Diane by John Mellencamp
  4. Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond
  5. Hey Jude by The Beatles
  6. American Pie by Don McLean
  7. Piano Man by Billy Joel (My favorite of all time).
  8. Paradise By The Dashboard Light by Meatloaf
  9. Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton
  10. Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi
  11. Summer Of 69 by Bryan Adams
  12. Sweet Home Alabama by Lynryd Skynryd
  13. Come Sail Away by Styx
  14. Losing My Religion by R.E.M.
  15. Mrs. Robinson by Simon & Garfunkel
  16. Free Fallin by Tom Petty
  17.  Me and Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin
  18. Candle In The Wind by Elton John
  19. Roxanne by The Police
  20. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
  21. She’s A Rainbow by The Rolling Stones

There are SEVERAL artists here that I would have included a second or even third song from, but for the sake of not having a list that was 25% Queen, 25% The Beatles, 25% Elton John, and 25% Lynyrd Skynyrd I limited myself to just one song from each artist!

10. You say you long for a “slow and simple life.” What would a day of slow and simple living look like for you?

I’ve had such a treat. The last two weeks of December Malone was on preschool break, Michael was on vacation, and I was on blogcation. Our days were so slow and lazy because no one had to be anywhere or had deadlines to meet.

I typically wake up at 4:30 am to get a few hours of blogging work in before the kids wake up. It has been so nice to sleep in.

There have been a few days where we’ve done nothing but hang out with each other all day. The house stayed messy and we stayed in our pajamas all day. We ate really simple meals of sandwiches, fruit, vegetables, and crackers.  We spent a lot of time playing with the kids and  ended the day by curling up on the couch and watching a movie together as  family. It doesn’t get any slower or simpler than that.

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We’ll repeat the same kind of week this summer. The only difference is that we’ll be at my mother in law’s house on Cape Cod and we’ll spend a lot of time on the beach.

So I guess a day of slow and simple living for us is a day where we’re not under other obligations, except to each other.

Wowza! Great questions Eli! I asked him some hard hitting ones, including how it feels to be that guy from SITS. Head over to his blog to see his answers!