Born and raised in Idaho, Leeta has been a Rhody transplant for 10 years and now lives in Glocester. She is a loving wife and stay at home mother to two beautiful and spunky girls who are 2-1/2 and 1-1/2 years old. She hopes to continue her journey of foster care soon after a break of almost 2 years. Independent, stubborn and somewhat crazy, Leeta can be found trying to figure out innovative ways to do things, traveling to new places, attending church, outdoor recreation, and camping all with two tots in tow. Her hobbies include planning vacations, chasing toddlers down in the store, and being an avid deal hunter.Laura is a stay-at-home mom to two little boys, aged three and six months. She and her husband are Rhode Island born and bred, and she graduated from URI with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies. In her pre-mom life, she worked with families of children with special needs. Laura considers herself to be equal parts introvert and extrovert and is just as happy at a big party as she is relaxing by herself with a good book (which frankly hasn't happened in a while). She loves food and dining out, Disney World, and putting items in her online shopping cart which she has no intention of purchasing. She thinks this mom thing is no joke, but it's totally worth it for the heart-stopping feeling of watching your child be happy.Originally from New York, Niki now lives in Johnston, Rhode Island with her husband Adam and their three sons, all ages four and under. (And before you ask, no, she was not "hoping for a girl.") After a five-year writing hiatus, she recently launched her own blog, Elephants Underfoot. As a culinary graduate of Johnson & Whales University, her hobbies include all things food and wine related, filling her house with books -- especially cooks books, and an inexplicable infatuation with skeletons. After the kids are in bed she can be found binging on Ben & Jerry's and Parks & Rec until she falls asleep on the couch next to her majestic cats Rocket and Carl, who are also boys.Shaylene was born and raised in Providence RI (although her family moved around a bit) and usually just shouting out "Shay!" will get you what you need. She loves to serve her community one caregiver at a time, whether it be through breastfeeding support, babywearing education, play dates, online chats, or just a coffee run! Shay has what she needs to fill her cup and LOVES to serve from her abundance! Volunteering is her personal passion, and her job as a medical professional means that her worlds often collide in a glorious fashion; no matter where she goes there are happy people all around her. You can usually find Shay with her two (royal) daughters she has affectionately dubbed the Duchess and Lady of her home and security guard husband who has been her protector since the 10th grade! Together, they work hard so they can play harder on the weekends! Welcome to her world... she hopes PMB readers are ready to enjoy the ride!Born and raised in Massachusetts, Farrah currently lives in Cumberland with her husband of 10 years and their two young daughters (ages 4 and 6.) She began her education at Bridgewater State then traveled Salt Lake City where she completed her Bachelors of Communications and Journalism at The University of Utah. After graduation, Farrah worked briefly as a writer/reporter before partnering with her father to start their own flooring company. When she isn’t helping to run the family business, Farrah enjoys being a homemaker and a soccer mom (and dance mom and swim mom) as well as binge-watching Netflix, working out, traveling and spending time with her amazing family and friends. She has had a passion for reading and writing since she was a kid and is excited about the opportunity to write about ALL of the above and more.A transplant from southeastern Massachusetts by way of Wells College and Bridgewater State University, Alana has been in Rhode Island long enough to feel the loss of 95.5 WBRU and Benny's, and to give directions based on where things used to be. After living in Providence, Woonsocket, and Lincoln, she happily planted her toes in the sand in Narragansett almost a decade ago with her husband Eric, a Rhode Island native. Two sons and a daughter came along afterward, and she transitioned from working full time at an intensive behavioral health clinic in Providence to her own private practice in Peacedale called Essential Parenting of Rhode Island in 2010. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Alana focuses on helping parents navigate the transition to parenthood, supporting families with young children, and assisting people across life stages with anxiety and other mood issues. To further her mission to get families off to the best possible start, she also leads groups for new moms and developmental playgroups for babies and toddlers at Bellani Maternity in Warwick. (As a mom, Alana tries to take her own advice at least 85% of the time). She is an avid reader, totally addicted to podcasts, never says no to trying out a new restaurant, and is always DIYing some type of home improvement project. She would also like to say she enjoys running, but believes it's important to be honest. Along with her family, Alana loves exploring Rhode Island's many public parks and natural areas, gardening, cooking, and - to the surprise of many who know her - going to visit a certain mouse's house on the regular.Gigi grew up in Tennessee and moved to Boston in 2001 to attend law school. She and her husband, JR, and their boy/girl twins moved to Attleboro, Massachusetts. The twins are now 6, and along the way, Gigi realized that the practice of law wasn't for her. Currently, Gigi is a Mary Kay Sales Director and a Lecturer at the Boston University School of Law in the Lawyering Skills program. Prior to teaching at BU, Gigi taught English at Lincoln School in Providence, and fell in love with the city and her new community. Gigi enjoys Mexican food, yoga, occasional gardening, Pinterest fails, home decorating, and a good book.Chelsea was born in Providence and spent her early years in Pawtucket, before moving to Southeastern Massachusetts. She was recently called back to Rhode Island where she purchased her first home. As most moms do, Chelsea wears many hats these days. She’s been married to her husband for 10 years and spent her early 20s supporting him as he served in the United States Marine Corps. She has a one year old son, Cannon, who keeps her on her feet and a smile on her face. She owns a fitness and wellness studio in Rehoboth called Barre & Moon, where she spends quite a few evenings and weekends working with an amazing group of empowered, positive women. And when she’s not doing all of that, she is working part-time as a Special Education teacher in Foxboro. Chelsea attended both the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and Bridgewater State University, graduating with degrees in English, Elementary Education, and a Masters in Special Education. Education is greatly important to her, and she continues to stay updated on current teachings in education/child psychology. She loves Starbucks and all things Target. Exercise is a huge part of her life: anything from yoga, to barre, to weightlifting, to just chasing her son around on the playground! Staying active and having fun with family and friends are what she is all about.Melissa is a lifelong Rhode Islander (even during the times when she briefly lived in other places). She has one husband, one young adult child, and one still-at-home child. Keenly aware that the nest is emptying and a major birthday is approaching, she has gotten a new
BFFwee dog and has launched into a year of discoveries and pursuits (as one does). She has spent much of the past 20 or so years “at home” (which is to say, often not at home, but schlepping children and sports equipment far and wide), and some of it working part or full time in education advocacy and volunteering in various capacities. A graduate of Providence College (English) and RI College (Elementary Education), Melissa now works with adult English language learners at a RI nonprofit organization,. Some of Melissa’s many non-marketable skills include: holding an entire conversation using movie lines from Jaws, Goodfellas, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 16 Candles, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, et al (if the other person is communicating similarly, all the better), naming that tune in less than three notes (two notes for 80s alternative), telling strangers with babies/small children to enjoy it now, it goes by in a blink, sneaking into her teenage son’s room and smelling/kissing his head while he’s asleep (creepy!), without wiping out on the obstacle course that is his floor, giving good directions and knowing where everything in RI is, being able to whip out the needed book from her own shelves, when it is included on a summer reading list or a syllabus, free-range parenting, and finding joy amidst life’s garbage-storms. One of the above was a lie. She loves (not in this order): coffee, wine, autumn, cooking, books, socializing and solitude (good luck knowing which at any given time), spending time with the characters formerly known as her babies, quiz games and pub trivia, her son’s high school soccer team, her home state, learning, coffee, wine. She kids you not...but sometimes, she kids you. Melissa blogs at Do It in the Rhode (intherhode.com) and occasionally at Dans la Merde (danslamerde.wordpress.com).A true townie, Ashley has lived in Wrentham, Massachusetts for her whole life where she still resides with her husband of 3 years and their daughters, a very (very x1000) energetic 2.5-year-old and a sweet reserved 8 year old. Currently a stay-at-home mom, her days consist of refereeing wrestling matches between the girls and cleaning up after Hurricane Charlie (a.k.a. her 2.5 year old). Even her hobbies revolve around her kids: she is the VP of the elementary school PTO, an assistant soccer coach for her daughter’s team, and at one time even dabbled in teaching a religious education class to a bunch of wild 2nd graders. Ashley refers to herself as a semi-crunchy mama, big proponent of babywearing and attachment parenting, but also has no problem tossing a piece of candy at her kid if it makes grocery shopping a bit easier. It’s all about balance.Althea was born and raised on the North Shore of Massachusetts and became a Rhode Island transplant when her husband took a new job in the Ocean State. Now happily residing in Warren, RI, Althea is a work at home mom to her two kiddos, a three-year-old daughter, an 11-month-old son, and their way too hyper English Bulldog. With a background in Fashion Design, Althea has always been in the creative field. Now a small business owner, Althea creates custom home decor and furniture and co-owns a brick and mortar store in downtown Warren. While she is no stranger to the concept of balancing work and family, she doesn’t consider herself a master in any means and continues to learn every day. Althea believes that one of the most important parts of being a mother today is “community over competition.” Building other moms up, encouraging our strengths, and helping with our weaknesses is immeasurable. On the rare occasion that she’s not singing the ABC’s in paint covered clothes or learning to use new power tools, Althea enjoys the occasional Netflix binge with her husband and exploring her new home state. Every once in a while she gets to pretend she can turn her Colonial into a farmhouse a la Joanna Gaines, one home improvement project at a time.Jane was born and raised in Rhode Island, where she lives with her husband of nine years, her 5-year-old daughter, and an incredibly handsome bulldog. She loves food (but can't cook!), playing games, baking and sangria. She works in finance and frequents all things kid-related in Rhode Island. Though she is a full time working mom, she makes the most of the after work hours with her daughter by crafting and baking together, meeting princesses and attending Zoo School, and never turns down a play date. With all that, she still tries to make room for girls nights. She enjoys shopping for baby showers (a little too much maybe), party planning, and finding the perfect custom ETSY gift. She is the first to lend a helping hand and goes above and beyond to nurture and care for the ones she loves.Robin is a lifelong Rhode Islander currently living in Providence with her husband of nearly 11 years and two sons ages 6 and almost 3. She is a Bryant University graduate (back in the day when it used to be called Bryant College) where she also received an MBA. In between refereeing her boys’ disagreements over trucks/robots/dinosaurs and handling work issues outside of business hours, Robin enjoys cooking and baking, 80s music, checking out local family-friendly events and destinations, taking way too many photos, online shopping (Amazon Prime for the win!), and of course, naps. Robin believes that, while not always easy, it is possible to find both motherhood and having a career rewarding at the same time when the right support system is in place.Sara is a native Long Islander who has managed to shed much of the accent, but cannot get rid of her love of a good New York bagel, the Mets, and the Giants. She moved to Providence in 2001, with stops along the way living in upstate New York, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Pittsburgh. Sara and her husband have been married for close to 15 years and have two fantastic, funny kids – a 12-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son – who attend Providence Public Schools. She graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Psychology and has her Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. These degrees have served her well in her career working as a fundraiser for a variety of social service and educational organizations and in her home life negotiating détente between her kids. In her copious amounts of spare time, Sara enjoys going to a museum or the theater, reading, listening to 80s music, cooking and piling everyone in the car for a day trip. She also admits to a love of funny and occasionally sophomoric movies and has been known to recite entire scenes from Monty Python or Mel Brooks. She tries to find the humor in all things which is necessary when juggling a household with two jobs, two kids, two religions and only one car. Her attitude can be summed up by a print she saw at Frog and Toad: When life hands you lemons, try to figure out something to do with those lemons.Alica is the rookie mom of our contributor team. Her first child, a girl, is due in August. Alicia is thrilled to be writing about the joys (?) of pregnancy and those early days of motherhood after her little arrives. (She’s heard the first months are a breeze, so she’ll have plenty of time to blog away.) Alicia grew up in Seekonk, MA and has lived in Orlando, Nashville, and most recently Eugene, Oregon. However, she couldn’t stay away from the Providence area any longer. She is currently an attorney in Seekonk and a contributor for the Huffington Post. Alicia enjoys not camping, spending time with her cute, librarian husband, and Uncle Tony’s Pizza.Carol-Ane Woodard was born in Rehoboth, which is in Massachusetts, but really should be a part of Rhode Island. She grew up taking the Trailways bus into Providence and shopping at the Warwick Mall. She currently lives in Foxboro, Massachusetts with her husband of of 38 years, Paul Woodard, but she misses coffee cabinets, red clam chowder, and hot wieners, and she still considers Providence to be her home city. Carol-Ane graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1973 with a degree in sociology. She minored in business at U Mass Dartmouth and took a job for the FDIC as a bank examiner. She worked there for 30 years and retired 10 years ago. Other than her 3 children and 5 grandchildren, her hobbies include reading, reading, and more reading, interrupted only by hikes in the woods, Freecell, and knitting. Although her Linkedin profile lists her as a stay-at-home grandmother, Carol-Ane actually has a rather nervous disposition and is frightened by small children. Nevertheless, she persists.Kim Votruba-Matook is the proud mother of a three-year-old son and a fifteen-month-old daughter, wife to her high school sweetheart, a professional holding down a full-time job in the nonprofit sector, AND an entrepreneur as founder of The Artful Educator. Kim’s primary motivation for everything she does stems from the belief that there is always a way she can help make someone’s life better. She was raised within a close-knit, quirky, huge, creative family (and then married someone who has an even larger family!) that is now and will always be an integral part of her life. Her world revolves around traveling within Southern MA and Northern RI to say “hi!” to them all.When not working on her business, Kim loves researching and borrowing books, ranging from graphic novels to fiction to biographies, from her local library to read with her kids. She loves chai lattes with almond milk, tea, and baking any carb-tastic treat. Her all-time favorite recipe is her Gram’s baked macaroni and cheese, which she could easily eat every day. Her exercise routine is chasing, picking up and carrying her kids across driveways and parking lots and up and down stairs so she isn’t late to family events or church. She seeks out new, local diners for monthly Saturday brunch with friends and restaurants that make amazing burgers and/or macaroni and cheese entrees for date nights. Also, she really likes mac and cheese…in case that wasn’t clear. She loves Motown dance parties with her kids, watching movies with her husband, checking out local craft fairs, embarking on her own craft/sewing projects, and empowering her kids to make their own art. And sometimes she manages to get some sleep.Darlene is your typical Rhode Islander – she’s never left. She grew up watching Paw Sox games, drinking Dels, and gives directions according to landmarks, most of which no longer exist. She did attend high school in Southeastern Massachusetts, if that counts as leaving, and traveled all the way to South County to attend University of Rhode Island. After four years, she left with degrees in both Elementary Education and English. After college she began teaching and eventually found a home in third grade. Third graders are inquisitive, beginning to exert their own independence, and constantly make her laugh. They put up with her quirky sense of humor and her sobbing throughout read alouds. Darlene ended up marrying the boy she fell in love with in high school. She and her husband have two daughters, an energetic two-year-old and the sweetest seven-month-old. Most days are spent trying to navigate full-time jobs, raising two young children, reading, and drinking coffee. She loves to be outdoors and hopes that her girls will love camping, hiking, and kayaking as much as she does.Jess and her husband live in Providence with their 4 kids. Jess stays at home full-time with her tiny humans and is figuring out how to manage her home, manage her homeschool, and manage her own sanity. She is mostly convinced that 2 out of 3 is the best she can do! After the kids go to bed, Jess enjoys ice cream and Netflix. Or ice cream and a good book. Or just ice cream in a dark quiet room. Being a mom is a wild and unpredictable ride. While Jess has figured out that she cannot juggle it all, she can try to find joy in the small moments as her own family grows and evolves. Her life, (like her house) can be a mess sometimes, but Jess hopes her readers find encouragement in knowing they aren’t alone in the challenges and triumphs of motherhood.Melody is a photographer and stay at home mom (SAHM) of three kiddos 4 years and under. With a passion for photography, the great outdoors, health, wellness and education, Melody works to inspire her children daily to learn, explore, and create. After leaving her career in the active duty army, Melody’s role quickly changed from full time working mom, to full-time SAHM. It was a big adjustment, and with three young children to keep busy she decided that homeschooling (tot school and preschool) would be the greatest way to ensure her children were staying challenged and learning while out of the public or private school systems. Melody writes mostly about exploring the outdoors in the state of Rhode Island with her three little ones, capturing milestones and memories of her family through her camera lens, planning homeschool preschool lessons for her two oldest, and watching them learn!Amelia lives in Massachusetts with her handsome older husband (okay, just by 10 months) and her adorable son, Cole Everett. She graduated from Syracuse University, is the public relations manager for a global tour operator, and sits on the board of Girls on the Run Rhode Island. She can’t function without Post-it notes and coffee and loves being outside, traveling, the Red Sox, and Narragansett. She likes her routine but is trying to grow to appreciate and acknowledge that change is needed to succeed. In the few months since becoming a mother, she has realized that she used to have so much spare time to run, read, write, ski, and sleep in. She only misses it sometimes. She believes every mom (working, stay-at-home, or work from home) should cut themselves some slack when it comes to right or wrong.Jackie is a Rhode Island mom who honestly gets what other mothers go through. Having worked full-time, part-time, and been a stay-at-home mom too, she sees motherhood from a variety of angles. And thankfully, with a sense of humor. Jackie blogs about her take on motherhood and mid-life at ventingsessions.com and writes about it in her award-winning gift book, How to Spread Sanity on a Cracker. Jackie is a native Texan with some roots and relatives in Rhode Island. (She’s a NASA kid and her Houston accent usually comes out when she’s blasting Willie Nelson in the car.) She has more than two decades of experience in public relations and journalism and holds a BA in journalism from Texas A&M University, where she received the “Best Aggie-Life writer” award. (She still has the tacky maroon plaque in her home office to prove it.) Jackie was a cast member of the 2013 and 2017 Listen to Your Mother Shows, where she formed lasting bonds with the incredible women she shared the stage with in honor of Mother’s Day. Her writing has been featured in The Barrington Times, the book Mommy Diarist and blogs like Scary Mommy and BluntMoms. She has donated her PR expertise to many local non-profits from Arts Alive to Dress for Success since launching her professional PR consultancy in 2006. When she’s not writing, consulting, volunteering, ubering her kids around, vacuuming up dog hair or folding laundry while binge-watching Netflix, she likes to vent with dear friends over cheese dip. Jackie is married to her high school sweetheart and they live in Barrington, Rhode Island with their two teens and three fluffy and friendly Golden Retrievers.Laura was born in Ohio, raised in Wisconsin, lived in CO for a bit and finally landed in MA in 1998 in pursuit of a Masters degree and continuing her work in the field of autism and associated special needs. Fast forward a few years...add in a husband from Boston (let your mind wander to the fields of "I seriously don't understand your accent" on both sides of Midwest-meets-New England union) and three children later...and her feet are planted in southeastern MA. Firmly planted? Who knows - she has a bit of "fernweh" in her and loves to travel. Sometimes to get away and sometimes to find the way...Twenty-six years in the field of autism has brought her great knowledge, fortitude, and passion for what is good and right and meaningful for those who cannot find the paths to these things without a special kind of guidance. Fifteen years of parenting has also brought her great knowledge, fortitude, and passion for what is good and right and meaningful for her children - one of whom is on the autism spectrum. Life is funny - sometimes it sets you up far ahead of what is yet to come. Laura's philosophy is that everything happens for a reason - sometimes you know the reason when it happens, and other times you figure it out along the way. So you choose - energy to the past, energy to the present, or energy to the future. With most things in life...it's a balance.