Ask Away Friday With Eli From Coach Daddy

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.

Ask Away Friday Eli 4

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 eli I 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.

Ask Away Friday Eli 2

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.

Ask Away Friday With Eli 1

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! 


  1. 2

    Ilene says

    I love your list of songs. I’m amazed at your music knowledge – I had to head over to You Tube earlier to look up the song you referenced in my blog comments before. That cookie you had at Tamara’s house? With the toffee and chocolate brownie? You mean you wouldn’t let your kids sneak one of those before dinner? Because seriously, I think I’d eat those for dinner versus my dinner!

    I’m a Yankee fan. Hard core. Can we still be friends?
    Ilene recently posted..A Modern Family ChristmasMy Profile

    • 3

      NJ says

      I think it is funny that you think I have great music knowledge! Really, I don’t. I just like what I like and that is what I stick to. Most of the time we listen to the classic rock station on pandora, which is how Malone learns. The song I shared with you is one of my all time favorites.

      We can still be friends, of course! You’re probably the coolest Yankees fan I know!

      And no, I would not let my kids eat one of those cookies. I’m too greedy!

  2. 4

    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama says

    I’m with Ilene. I’m usually a stickler for sweets after dinner, but I’d make an allowance for Turdukin cookies, especially at Tamara’s house. And the things Malone says! Hilarious! Reminds me of my own precocious 4 y/o. And her little sister, only 20 months, isn’t far behind. Tonight I asked her if she was ready for bed, and she looked at me and said, ‘No. Minute, minute.’Well, I couldn’t say no to that! Loved this Q&A from Eli. It’s always great to see awesome bloggers team up!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..Happy New YearMy Profile

    • 5

      NJ says

      The Turdukin cookies would ruin your dinner, FOR SURE! Malone cracks me up on a daily basis.

      My two aren’t that close in age, but I am sure that Lola will keep me on my toes too!

      Eli really gave me some great questions, didn’t he?

  3. 6

    Rabia @TheLiebers says

    Wow! Great questions, Eli! ANd great answers, NJ. Of course now I really want cookies too…
    Your Malone sounds like such a sweetheart! And he’s gonna be quite the heartbreaker; especially with all that great music knowledge.
    Rabia @TheLiebers recently posted..Ask Away Friday with Michelle from A Dish of Daily LifeMy Profile

    • 7

      NJ says

      I always want cookies. Which is probably why my baby weight won’t leave my body!

      Malone is going to be a heartbreaker, for sure. Hopefully he doesn’t marry a Yankee’s Fan!

  4. 8

    Eli@coachdaddy says

    You really knocked this out, NJ! Well done. I swear I heard “Sweet Caroline” playing right around question No. 7 or 8.
    Eli@coachdaddy recently posted..Ask Away Friday with NJ of A Cookie Before DinnerMy Profile

  5. 10

    Tiffany says

    I totally agree with you that most things have already been written but you are so right…a writer’s voice is what gives their content distinction. Great answers and equally great questions from Eli! Can’t wait to go ‘meet’ his Blog…
    Tiffany recently posted..2014 Blogger Challenge: LISTEN InspirationMy Profile

    • 11

      NJ says

      You will LOVE Eli! He’s really great and offers a great perspective on things!

      The content will come and go, but our voice will be the ONE THING that makes us stand out among one million other bloggers!

  6. 12

    Sonya says

    I think it’s great that you have been able to photo your Mom’s orb. I like the show Long Island Medium, it’s great that some people are able to connect with those who have passed on. I definitely believe that there are spirits around us.
    Sonya recently posted..Ask Away Friday with Penny from The Real Housewife of Caroline CountyMy Profile

    • 13

      NJ says

      Sonya, I’ve caught it a few times but that is the best picture of it. I haven’ seen Long Island Medium because we cut cable, but I know there are spirits among us!

  7. 14

    Sarah says

    Beautiful answers my friend. You are such a cool person and I’m grateful to know you as a blogger, mom , and friend. Xoxox
    Sarah recently posted..#AskAwayFriday With Mrs. TeeMy Profile

  8. 16

    Rea says

    I just had to laugh with your answers for number 5! Malone is sooo witty! I can’t wait for my toddler to learn to speak. I’m excited and scared of whatever he’s gonna talk about! :) I love a simple and slow life. I just had a similar experience since I was out of office for 2 weeks, ahhh loving the moment!

  9. 18

    Lisa @ The Golden spoons says

    I love these Ask Away Friday posts and I ma excited to be participating for the first time i a couple weeks. I totally did not know that you and Tamara were such good friends outside of blogging and I am seriously jealous!
    Lisa @ The Golden spoons recently posted..It’s good to have goals . . . .My Profile

    • 19

      NJ says

      Ask Away Friday is one o the favorite things I blog about. I love answering the questions and I love reading everyone else’s answers! I can’t wait to see yours, Lisa! T

      We are so lucky to have each other, we really are! We live about ten miles from each other. She holds a lot of my secrets. I think she was the first one to know we had settled on Lola as a name. I tried and tried to get her to tell me what Des’s name was going to be, but she wouldn’t give it up!

  10. 20

    Tamara says

    Thanks for the awesome shout-outs!! Some of what we’ve made I had forgotten so it’s meaningful to me that you remember all of those! I’ll make more for you!
    Tamara recently posted..Looking Back and Looking Ahead.My Profile

    • 21

      NJ says

      I think you should blog about your epic food adventures, that way you won’t forget! I would love for you to make more for me, but first I probably should give you back the pan I’ve had since the lasagna rolls!

  11. 22

    Kim says

    I’m so glad that you did ask away with Eli because otherwise I might never have found your blog. After I saw your answer to the cookie question and learned you know Tamara in real life I was in!!!
    Malone sounds like such a sweetie.
    And – we have very similar tastes in music – I LOVE your list!!!
    Kim recently posted..Well, the Break Is Over but There Is Still Plenty to Enjoy!!!My Profile

    • 23

      NJ says

      I’m so glad you’ve come by, Kim!

      I don’t think that cookie could ever be topped! I hunted for a photo of Tamara and I together and found one, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to her photo standards so I didn’t post it!

      Classic rock is my favorite. I wish more people appreciated it they way I do !

  12. 24

    Jhanis says

    Great Q and A! He did send you interesting questions! I had goosebumps reading about your mom visiting and the photo! I was scared to continue reading! Sorry I’m such a scardy cat lol
    Your little Malone cracks me up, he sure talks like an adult :)
    Jhanis recently posted..Top 50 Hilariously Funny Nominated Parent Bloggers – 2014My Profile

    • 25

      NJ says

      Eli had great questions for me! I could tell you other stories that would give you goosebumps. I still remember the dreams from the times she has visited. Very vivid stuff!

      Malone is just as funny in real life as he is online!

  13. 26

    Sarah says

    Oh my gosh what a great post!! I loved your mom question. I lost my mom in high school and would love for her to spend a day with the girls. I know she’d be the best grandma.

    • 27

      NJ says

      Oh Sarah! I’m so sorry for your loss. The more I get to know you, the more it seems we have in common. It is so hard for me to realize that in all of it, she’s missing out. I know she desperately wanted to be a grandmother!

  14. 28

    Gracielle says

    Eli had some amazing questions for you! I laughed my butt off on the crazy things that Malone was sayin’! That’s so cool that you know Tamara in real life before you both started blogging. Small world – and I’m not sure if that means small blogging world or small physical world? It’s too late for me to think that one through! Anyways, I loved reading your answers and I’m looking forward to swapping questions with you later this month. Like you said, “It’s on like Donkey Kong!”
    Gracielle recently posted..Holidays 2013 Part 2: Inay’s Life Celebrated and a Twinning New Years EveMy Profile

    • 29

      NJ says

      That is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of Malone’s silly sayings. I don’t know what is with that kid, but he is FUNNY!

      Our area here is kind of like a bubble, we all know each other or can find a common connection fairly easily. If I hadn’t met Tamara before the kids were born, I would have met her sooner or later in three or four other places!

      I can’t wait to swap with you too! It IS ON!

  15. 30

    Karen main says

    Oh wow those quotes from Malone are priceless thank you for sharing. I am so glad you answered the Oreo question because I too cold not help but think about cookies.
    Happy Sharefest

  16. 32

    Holly @ The Inspired Home says

    His questions are really insightful! I enjoyed learning more about you & your wonderful kids :) Malone sounds like a character.
    Holly @ The Inspired Home recently posted..DIY Juice CleanseMy Profile

  17. 34

    Carissa says

    I love your answer to the “Red Sox” questions. You sound like my husband I always ask what will happen if our daughter falls in love with a Steelers fan…and he gives me an explanation about either them not being allowed in the house or she will be a better judge of character…LOL! He isnt serious but he really loves his Browns so its funny to hear him talk about it!

    • 35

      NJ says

      Malone has really fallen in love with the Red Sox, so I don’t think I’ll have to worry about him too much!

  18. 36

    Dana says

    Your music list is awesome, NJ – but not quite as awesome as the conversation snippets from Malone! That kid is a riot. And how did I not know you and Tamara know each other IRL? That’s cool. I don’t know any other bloggers personally, but I hope to change that this year!
    Dana recently posted..Oh, what a yearMy Profile

    • 37

      NJ says

      Thanks Dana. I had to pair down the list quiet a bit. I ADORE the Beatles, so it was hard to put just one song down. My mom listened to a lot of classic rock, so these songs are all hidden deep in my heart.

      Malone is one of the funniest people I know. I CANNOT believe the things he says sometimes!

      Tamara and I go all the way back to birth class, I think. I know we met at Beyond Birth after the kids were born. The first time I met her I thought she looked like Snow White!

  19. 38

    Michelle says

    I loved Eli’s questions and I loved your answers! And your songs! So many of those are my favorites too! Malone is a riot. I love the things kids say…I was just chuckling the whole time I was reading his comments!
    Michelle recently posted..#AskAwayFriday with Rabia from The Lieber FamilyMy Profile

  20. 40

    Nancy says

    I like what you wrote about the orbs. It’s so comforting to know that a loved one is watching over you and to have visible proof of it.
    Nancy recently posted..Happier.My Profile

    • 41

      NJ says

      I haven’t caught her orb in a really really long time, but this picture brings me a lot of comfort so long as I don’t think about it TOO much. Otherwise, I get to scared and start to wonder about who else is lurking around too.


  1. […] are the questions NJ sent to me for the swap. Make sure you check out her answers to my questions, […]

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