Health & Medicine

Meet the new bloggers

Courtney Elbert has three children.
Courtney Elbert has three children. Photos by Mary Meehan

At BluegrassMoms, we have truly hit the mother lode for 2011.

In an effort to continue to be Central Kentucky's best virtual meeting place for parents, we have recently added a slew of new bloggers.

We've got biological mothers, adoptive mothers, mothers of children with special needs, mothers of toddlers, home-schooling mothers, grandmothers and more who are blogging on our site.

These women bravely share the triumphs and struggles of motherhood. Take a look and feel free to introduce yourself to them via their blog.

Here's a little info about each of them in their own words.

Courtney Elbert, Versailles

Blog name: "Wild and Precious Life"

I'm a Bohemian soul nurturer to three unique life-giving sprites who bless me beyond my wildest imaginings. "8, 6 and 4" captures their years, but not their wisdom. Our middle son happens to have Down syndrome and is a source of immense joy in our life, just like our other two children. I'm a coach, gardener, educator, special-needs advocate, non-profit founder, peanut butter spreader, ladies' night organizer, schedule juggler, optimism chooser, growth stimulator, and golden-moments etcher.

Mollie Elliot, 39, Northern Kentucky

Blog name: "Two Bottle Rockets and a Buddha"

I am the mother of three, who are the title of my blog, "Two bottle rockets and a Buddha." I also happen to be a makeup artist, I work for an orthodontist, and I am now a blogger. My bottle rockets are my boys, ages 15 and 5; my "zen" daughter is 11. I was bred, born and raised here in Kentucky, which I am so proud to still call home.

Cheryl LaLonde, 51, Lexington

Blog name: "Besitos"

Although I am a lawyer by trade, altogether I've parented seven children. The oldest was born 27 years ago and the youngest is 10. Four of my brood are boys and were birthed by moi. Three are girls; two of whom are stepdaughters, and one is actually a sister (34 years my junior) whom my late father left to me upon his death. My oldest son died in 2003, so I know a bit about loss. What is missing from that description is what an utterly amazing, rich awakening it is to bring those children up. That is what I will share with you, in part, during this blogging adventure.

Gwen Matthews, 45, Lexington

Blog name: "At Home in the Bluegrass"

You've probably seen me driving around town. I'm the woman in the mini-van with the 14-year-old girl and a 12-year old boy in the car, and generally they have some ballet friends or half of a baseball team in there, too. Sometimes my parents, who live in town, are in there as well. Lots of times, I have real estate clients looking for houses with me. Fortunately, they're not all in there at the same time. I was born and raised in Lexington, graduated from Transylvania University with degrees in English and sociology, and I couldn't leave town fast enough after college to attend graduate school in South Carolina. Who knew that one day I'd joyfully return to my hometown? I guess Dorothy was right: There really is no place like home.

Risa Richardson, 36, Lexington

Blog name: "Binkies, Bottles and Blessed Assurance"

I am the wife of an evangelist and the mother of a beautiful 2-year-old daughter. I'm at an interesting point in my life. After nearly a decade as a journalist, I'm heading to graduate school and looking to start a second career. Meanwhile, I'm loving my life as a stay-at-home mom. My faith in God is a driving force in my life.

Jane Samuel, 47, Lexington

Blog name: "Maven Mama"

I am the married mother of three girls. Formerly an attorney, I put my career on hold in 2003, when we adopted our youngest child from China. Since then, I have been actively pursuing what I like to refer to as my "Ph.D in parenting," with sub-specialties in international adoption and special-needs parenting. In between car-pool runs, therapy appointments and volunteer work, I write about life. Most recently, my work has appeared in the anthologies From Home to Homeland: What Adoptive Families Need to Know Before Making a Return Trip to China (Yeong & Yeong Book Co., $18.95) and in Our Very Own: Stories Celebrating Adoptive Families (Touch Adoption Services, $15, available at

Regina Wink Swinford, 45, Frankfort

Blog name: "Notes From Parenting U"

I am a stay-at-home mom of four children, ages 6 to 16. My husband and I spend our days dealing with high school woes, middle school challenges, elementary school joys and home school conundrums. I am hopeful that someday we will have a "normal" day, but I am not holding my breath.

A few brave souls have been with BluegrassMoms since the beginning. Here are our veteran bloggers.

■ Jessica Frye, Lexington. Jessica is a 30-something mom who spends her days juggling a full-time job, running her household and chasing after her rambunctious son (soon to be sons plural). Jessica is a native small-town Kentuckian who moved to the big city eight years ago. Her husband, a 30-plus-year resident of Lexington, spends many nights filling Jessica in on the things she has missed in this great city. The two are now raising their sons as a proud Lexingtonians.

■ Debbie Morris, Lexington. Blog name: "The Fru-Gal." Morris provides money-saving tips. She finds online deals, recommends coupons and rebates that can make you money, and sorts through activities and services for the most beneficial bang for your buck. Her column appears Thursdays in the Herald-Leader's Life + Food section, and she posts frequent money-saving tips and offers on

■ Megan Smith, Lexington. Megan is a wife and a mama to three boys. She's an entrepreneur, writer and occasional crafter who loves to learn about the art of homemaking. She also occasionally writes for the Herald-Leader.

■ Tanya Tyler, Lexington. Tanya has been published in several national magazines and has essays in Chicken Soup for the Single Parent's Soul, Chicken Soup for the Working Mom's Soul and My Teacher Is My Hero. Her son, Dan, is a college student and works at Malone's. Tanya is also an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

BluegrassMoms also features two health columns: a periodic column from the pediatricians at Lexington Clinic and a weekly column featuring the wisdom of experts from UKHealthCare.