Today I get to introduce you to Stacy. I’ve seen her hopping around on my blog now for quite some time; I think it might even be years (am I right, Stacy?). Except for my husband and a handful of dear friends, there aren’t many people willing to put up with me that long, so I love her for it. It sounds silly to start out every one of these posts by trying to convince you how amazing/remarkable/extraordinary all these women are, but dagnabbit (where oh where did I learn that word? Looney Toons?), they just are. I’m so impressed with the caliber of women who come knocking on my blog’s door. I mean, seriously, could you all stop being so awesome because it’s a little intimidating? Case in point, meet Stacy:
My name is Stacy, I’ve been married to Tom for 11 years, and we have four kids- Abby, 9; Ashlynn who will be 8 in a few weeks and is thrilled to be getting baptized, Max who is 2 ½, and Ian, 6 months. We live in a small-ish town outside of Salt Lake City, UT. My husband has about four different job titles and descriptions, so we can just say that he’s an accountant and also in charge of deploying a huge software project, and I “stay home” with the kids. (And we all know what a joke the staying home part is, right?)
I was born in Idaho, but moved to Utah when I was five and have been here ever since. I have always been very involved in music, leaning to read music almost as soon as I was reading words. I started playing the violin when I was 12, and majored in Violin Performance at the University of Utah. I have since trained as a Suzuki violin teacher, and have a violin studio of 17 students- three 4-year olds, two adults, and just about everything in between. My oldest daughter also studies violin, my middle daughter plays piano, and negotiating lessons, practicing and performances with both of them takes up a big chunk of our time and energy. There are many mornings where my seven-year-old is playing piano downstairs, my nine-year-old is practicing violin upstairs, and I’m on the middle floor, calling out practicing suggestions to both of them.
My husband and I were a singles’ ward cliché- we were engaged a week after our first date, and married four months later. Our girls came to us fairly quickly, and because of their births, I developed a passion for birth and the more “crunchy” side of things. It took a lot of fertility treatments and a late miscarriage to conceive our son, and during that long break, I trained as a doula and started attending births and assisting women in labor. It quickly developed into something I loved and am very passionate about. Unfortunately, having four young kids isn’t exactly conducive to the “on-call” lifestyle that being a doula requires, and I’ve had to hang up my doula hat for a while. I’m pretty big into a lot of the “natural parenting” ideals- we love breastfeeding, homebirthing, and we recently made the decision to pull our girls out of school next year and start a homeschooling journey. I imagine this will contribute to a lot of fun, chaos, and interesting stories for the blog next year. That is, if I can find time to sit down and write about them!
What’s your favorite part of motherhood?
I love watching my children turn into people– seeing them develop their own personalities along with their likes and dislikes. It’s fascinating for me to remember them as tiny babies and then look to see the people that they have become. I love seeing my girls being friends, and loving and serving people around them without being told to. One of my favorite things is when we get to have spontaneous gospel discussions because of questions one of the girls has asked– just last night in the middle of a very crazy dinner, my daughter asked a question about when Jesus created the earth, and right there in the middle of fish sticks we had the opportunity to strengthen everyone’s testimonies! I love cuddling with the kids, baby smiles and giggles, falling asleep next to one of my little boys, and lifting a freshly washed baby out of the bathtub.
What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could?
The hours between 5-7pm where everyone in my house goes crazy at the same time. I don’t mind the cooking, nursing the baby, getting everyone ready for dinner and negotiating homework, but I can’t handle doing them all at the same time. And I really struggle with being patient when my daughters decide to sing every silly song they’ve learned in school at the top of their lungs while they’re supposed to be unloading the dishwasher.
Oh, and laundry. All of it, from beginning to end.
Name 2 or 3 items on your “bucket list.” (Some things you’d like to do before you die.)
I would love to travel anywhere and everywhere- there are so many places all over the world that I would love to see and experience with my family. I would love to serve at least one mission with my husband. I want someday to be able to go back to doula work, and possibly go back to school and get a nursing degree. And if we’re talking about really crazy dreams that you’ve never told anyone, I also would really love to be a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir someday.
Brag for a minute. Do it. What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?
I’m really good at organizing, planning and carrying out events. I recently planned a concert tour for a group of 40 violinists ages 8-14 and it went off without a hitch. I’m a diligent, caring violin teacher, and I probably invest too much time and energy in my students. I’m a good friend, and will do just about anything for people that I love. I’m a passionate researcher and if something strikes me, I can research and read about it for hours on end. I can also pull together a musical number for church that will probably make you cry in ten minutes flat. (And I have to draw on this skill quite regularly!)
What are you loving lately?
I have two sets of kids- the older girls and the younger boys. There’s a large space between the two sets, and I’m finding that I’m a much better, more relaxed parent this time around. My boys make me laugh every day and have taught me not to take myself so seriously. I’m working hard to treasure every moment and every stage, because I realize that no matter how nasty the phase, it will pass soon enough. (Even teething!) I’m also loving the huge bunch of tulips that are finally blooming in my backyard, my son’s crazy head of blond curls, the promise of summer vacation, and an upcoming (free!) trip to Hawaii!
What do you gravitate toward during your unscheduled time?
Unscheduled time? Really? There is such a thing? When I don’t have little kids climbing all over me, (and sometimes when I do,) I spend way too much time on the computer, reading blogs, researching my current obsessions, and doing nothing on Facebook. I also love a good novel, being outside, and spending time talking my face off with friends while the kids run wild.
What’s something you don’t usually want people to know about you, but that they need to know if they’re going to be your friend?
I’m not always easy to get to know. I’ll be friendly, and I’ll show you what’s on the surface, but it takes me some time to drop the sarcasm and really tell you what I’m thinking and feeling about things. I work hard to make it look like I have it all together, but more often than not, I feel like things are about to fall apart! I also have a really hard time picking up the phone and initiating conversations or activities, but crave time with my friends!
Friends are great for venting. What’s been frustrating you lately?
We moved into a tiny townhome almost three years ago, thinking it was a one, or at most, two-year solution. Nearly three years and two more kids later, we have four kids in a two bedroom house. We have been trying to rent our place and move into a new house with actual breathing room, but keep running into obstacles, dead ends, and frustrations. We know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us and that we just need to wait for the pieces to fall into place, but being patient is hard when I’m tripping over my two-year-old in the kitchen for the 15th time that day!
What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?
I know that we have a Savior that loves us unconditionally, and that we are so blessed to be able to repent when we make a mistake or fall short of our ideals. I know that God is able to make so much more of our lives than we can, and though it may be frustrating, when we live righteously, He will use our situations, trials and frustrations to build a better life for us than we thought possible. I know that Heavenly Father is aware of all of our dreams and hopes, and wants us to be happy. I know that through doing all the small and simple things– scripture reading, prayer, FHE, etc, that we can be happy, no matter what chaos surrounds us.
Desert Island Question. If you were stranded on a desert island (most moms would actually crave this) and could only take 3 items with you, what would they be?
My bed, because it’s the most comfortable bed ever made, and I have never slept well on a different bed.
My iPhone, with internet connectivity of course, so that I could still be connected to the world if I so chose.
Diet Coke with lime. Don’t judge.
What homemaking job/task gives you the most satisfaction?
I love baking and cooking. There’s something special for me in putting together a knock out meal and seeing everyone’s satisfaction at good food. I love hearing my kids talk about all their favorite foods that mom makes that they want for their birthday dinners. Now if I could just get someone else to go grocery shopping for me…
What’s something unexpected in your life, and how have you dealt with it?
My first son and third child was born with craniosynostosis, a rare skull defect and several other medical issues. He has since had two major surgeries, a few minor surgeries, several hospitalizations, and still routinely ends up in the ER from what should be minor ailments. We’ve learned to treasure good health, good specialists, and stretches of time without hospitalizations. We’ve also learned to laugh at the absurdity of collecting business cards from seemingly every pediatric specialist possible, and consider it a compliment when the ER doctor asks you what your medical background is. I still get teary-eyed when I think of all he’s gone through at such a young and tender age, but I also know that those trials will help shape him into the man that he needs to become.
Tell us about your blog.
My blog has gone through several different titles, but the current one is “Music, Mayhem, Motherhood,” and that about sums it up. I started blogging just after my son Max was born, because while I would have given up a non-vital body part to read about someone else going though the same thing we were, there just wasn’t a lot out there. Since then, my blog has evolved into a chronicle of the craziness that is my life– music lessons, medical crises, and the general chaos that is raising four children and trying to maintain some semblance of sanity!
Thank you, Stacy. It’s so fun to get to know you better. If you’ve enjoyed meeting Stacy, say hello here or drop by her blog to share things you have in common. Don’t worry; we haven’t run out of friends yet. More next week.