I get to introduce you to Cheryl today. Cheryl and I met through blogging and once I moved to Utah, I had the pleasure of meeting her in person. She is a fun, energetic conversationalist and a very genuine person. I hope you enjoy getting to know her like I have. Here’s Cheryl:
My name is Cheryl. I’m a 32 year old brunette with brown eyes and I’m tall. 5’ 10” is pretty tall, right? Like my blog intro says, I was born to Canadian parents, raised in Idaho, and graduated from BYU. Since then, my home has been in Provo, Utah (except for one wonderful year in the Bay Area, California). I have one amazing husband (twelve years and counting), five fabulous kids (with one on the way), and although I struggle with Depression, I seriously have one great life. I’m tall. I love. I write.
That’s a pretty good intro, eh? More? My husband, Brandon, and I have 2 daughters and 3 sons and the girls are hoping for another girl. Ironically, so are the boys. Brandon hails from southern California and we met at BYU –we worked together on campus and 8 months later we were married in the Idaho Falls Temple. Waste no time when you find the right one! J
I love music. Very much. I have played the piano since I was very young, and for at time, I figured I would do piano performance in college. After a very random, weird, untypical bombed audition at BYU, however, I realized it wasn’t meant to be. Seriously, I humiliated myself and there’s still no rhyme or reason as to how it happened. *shrug. Still, I’ve taught piano lessons for years and play whenever I get the chance. I sing, too (mostly alto), and I can play a mean xylophone! Well, maybe. It’s been a while since I’ve picked up percussion instruments.
I come from a loooooong line of Mormon Pioneers. Pretty much all of them crossed the plains to Utah, and then they all ended up in Alberta, Canada. My parents have known each other since they were 10 years old, went to school in the States (BYU and ISU), married, and ended up in Blackfoot, Idaho (of all places!). Blackfoot is a small town between Idaho Falls and Pocatello, and it was, in all honesty, a fantastic place to grow up. I have the best memories of my childhood! Growing up in a small town is good for kids, I’ve decided. At least it was in the 80’s?
I was heavily involved in music all through high school (Drum Major of the marching band, accompanied all choirs, AP music theory, percussion ensemble, Symphonic Band, Acapella Choir, Jazz band, etc.) and so when I got to BYU and didn’t make it into the music program, it was kind of a shock to my system. But in hindsight, it was a good shock.
After graduating from high school (1997), I went to BYU (as you’ve already heard twice. Now thrice). I had no plans of going to BYU. My dad was the one who convinced me to apply –I figured I didn’t have a chance to get in! But lo and behold, I was accepted early, and so away I went! Best decision I ever made, hands down. It led me to the greatest friends, and eventually (okay, pretty quickly) to my spouse. I was 19 when I met him and married him. He was 22 and had recently returned from serving a mission in Australia. I was smitten by his good looks, his confidence, and his geeky sense of humor!
We both graduated from BYU in April of 2001. Brandon did Business with an Information Systems emphasis; I did MFHD (Marriage, Family, and Human Development) with a Music minor. Six days before we graduated, I gave birth to our first child. She came on the second Reading Day and I remember that week very clearly! I only had two finals left: Parenting, and Infant Development. How’s that for irony?! I remember nursing her, going to take one final, driving back, nursing her, and then going to take my last final (my mother was helping). Two days after that, Brandon and I walked across the stage and received our diplomas while my aunt watched our baby girl. It was a crazy week!
Since I became a stay-at-home mom right after graduating (fresh baby on hand!), my “career” has been mother. Before that, however, I’ve been a dental rover (worked in a dental office during high school), a studio accompanist (for a voice teacher at BYU), a Conference Assistant (living in the dorms and checking in EFY’s and Sports Camps), a Cub Leader (7 and 8 year olds) at Aspen Grove Family Camp for two years, and Office Manager (for Aspen Grove Family Camp). Since then, I’ve been a piano teacher, voice teacher, online marketing strategist for a high-end bridal couture company, editor for a non-profit website, elementary school choir accompanist and…mother. Mostly mother. In fact, I quit teaching piano and several other odd jobs because they were pushing into my time as a mom. I decided I needed to pursue my fulltime job full time!
Most recently, I put Brandon through two years of graduate school. He just graduated in May from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton MBA program. It was an executive program, and they have a west coast campus in San Francisco (our favorite city). So, Brandon worked full time, fulfilled two callings, and flew to San Francisco every-other-weekend for two years to graduate from the top business school in the world. Yes, I’m bragging, because it was hard work, man! He was gone a lot, a lot, a lot. But I couldn’t be prouder of him! He amazes me every day.
What’s your favorite part of motherhood?
Pregnancy. Giving birth. Nursing. Holding a sleeping baby. Smelling the sweet breath of a newborn. Wearing the baby in a moby wrap. Cuddling and reading stories. Laughing at silly jokes. Scratching my son’s back. Having a successful FHE at least once every few months. Hiking together. Hearing my daughter talk about what they did at Activity Days. Watching my older children play happily with my younger children. Watching my husband wrestle with the older kids. Chubby legs. Silly smiles. Watching Blue’s Clues over and over and over and over. Kisses. Seeing “first-experience” expressions on their faces (while watching fireworks, seeing different animals, watching it snow, hearing the thunder). Hearing “I love you, mom!”
What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could?
Laundry. Definitely laundry! It’s the bane of my existence. The bane, I tell you! THE. BANE. Wait. Is that how you spell bane? Or is it bain? Either way, laundry hates me, and I hate it. It’s quite mutual, you know.
Name 2 or 3 items on your “bucket list.” (Some things you’d like to do before you die.)
Publish a novel (or four or ten). Visit Thailand. And Australia. Frankly, visit the whole world! I love to travel. Love, love, love it. So far I’ve seen Mexico, the Caribbean, London, New York City, Hawaii, China (Beijing and Shanghai), Canada (of course), and most of the western USA.
Brag for a minute. Do it. What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?
Giving birth. No, I’m not kidding. I’ve been blessed with five low-risk pregnancies (where I don’t get sick) and since educating myself about childbirth, I’ve refused much medical intervention. This time, we’ll be giving birth at home. I haven’t had a “successful epidural” (long story) since my first, and I would never go back. My smallest baby was 8lbs 3 oz, and my biggest was 9lbs 11oz. I really view my ability to give birth so easily as a huge blessing, too, one that I don’t take for granted.
I’m good at relationships! I think. I love people, I love friends, and I try to stay in touch with as many people as I can. One friend from high school called me “the glue” that kept everyone in touch with each other. Although I’ve gotten worse at it lately, I still consider it a compliment! I just love people. I always have and probably always will.
I’m pretty good at listening (and talking. Mostly talking, but…). I still think I’d make a pretty good therapist one day!
Accompanying. Not every piano player can accompany well –the job of the accompanist is to make the person performing look good. The accompanist follows, enhances, helps. They don’t take over, they don’t lead. I honestly believe I’m a good accompanist. Now, solo performer? Not so much. J
Do you have a favorite scripture or quote? Why?
“When others speak ill of you, live so that nobody will believe them” by Plato. A friend (I can’t even remember which one) gave this to me in high school written on a recipe card. I still have it! It’s hanging in my kitchen.
Another favorite: “Behold, thou art (Cheryl), and I have spoken unto thee because of thy desires; therefore treasure up these words in thy heart. Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love.” Doctrine and Covenants 6:20.
One of my best friends (like a sister) showed me this verse when I was a Beehive and she was a Laurel. She told me to replace Oliver’s name with mine. I’ve loved it so much ever since!
What do you gravitate toward during your unscheduled time?
Reading. Mostly reading. It used to be writing, and since it’s not so much anymore, those novels probably will never get done. I also love to hike, camp, go walking, watch movies, play some sonatas, and frankly? Just sit still in silence. That is rare now-a-days!
Tell us some of your best mom-tricks (things you’ve figured out that work well for you).
*This summer has derailed me (I’m quite exhausted from the pregnancy), but I’ve been good about scheduled time. Chore time, “school” time (during the summer), bedtime, meal time, etc. They all have a “set” time (around the same hour each day) and it usually makes everything smoother. Especially during the school year!
*This one took me 10 years to figure out, but choose your battles! I let my kids get dirty now. Especially my boys. It’s okay to play with dirt and mud and rocks and sticks. Instead of getting angry about it, I just let it go. I’ve learned that being crazy-angry mom all the time is frustrating for everyone, and so some things, I’ve just learned to let go. Husband leaves his socks on the floor? Let it go. Children forgot to bring in the toys and now they are wet? Explain and let it go.
*Houses will always eventually get clean, but babies and children do not stay young. “Clean enough” is okay, especially when you are teaching a child how to clean it. I have never noticed another woman’s house (or if she shaved her legs, but that’s another story) and thought “this is not good enough!” Why would people be looking at mine? They don’t care about my house! They are thinking about their own, just like I am!
*Best advice I learned just this past month: If you are angry with a disobedient child, take their face in your hands, look at them intensely and say “Do you know how wonderful you are? Please be the good child I know you are!” I’ve tried it a few times and it works like magic!
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 don’t like drama, nor do I beat around the bush. Yes, I have manners (and usually have very good social reading cues, so I tend to save people from embarrassing situations), but I’m also very honest. I abhor hypocrisy and I usually tell it like it is!
I also like to share my opinions. My compassion for other people prevents me from usually getting into intense arguments, but I can’t stand discussing an issue with somebody who has no idea what they are talking about. Unfortunately, that can rub people the wrong way, especially when talking about childbirth, dietary habits, or religion. But see? I have to tell you this because of that dang honesty thing I have. Curses!
What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?
That God loves me. I’m not alone. Jesus Christ knows me and knows exactly how I’m feeling. Struggling with Depression gets harder when you feel alone (and is a symptom of it), and knowing that Christ suffered what I am suffering is incredibly comforting.
I also have incredible faith that the Gospel is true. I am not overly emotional spiritual-wise, nor do I find myself experiencing anything mind-blowing when I search for truth, but each time my testimony is strengthened, it’s through small and simple means. Very tiny threads of faith that have been woven together over the course of my lifetime have created an amazingly strong rope of faith that has been tested several times. I’m grateful it’s so strong. I’m grateful to Heavenly Father for helping me keep it strong.
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?
An unlimited supply of guacamole and chips, my kindle with an unlimited supply of books (I know, I’m cheating), and my husband. Seriously, we love the beach! It would be a lot more fun if he was there reading, eating guac, and swimming with me.
What homemaking job/task gives you the most satisfaction?
Cleaning the kitchen and living room. I love to do dishes, sweep floors, and vacuum. Honestly, I’m okay with it! I love how quickly it can change from dirty to clean, which is why I think I like it so much. Immediate results!
Give your best advice to a newlywed or expectant mom.
Newlywed: Communicate, communicate, communicate! About what? Everything! Especially about money, sex, in-laws, sex, education, sex, where to live, sex, children, and sex. You can’t read each other minds, you will never read each other’s minds, and so don’t expect to read each other’s minds! Communicate!
Expectant mom: Educate yourself! Don’t assume the doctors or your neighbor or your mom know everything there is to know about childbirth or raising kids. Women can give birth at home safely. They can! Women can give birth in hospitals without epidurals. They can! There are always options. If you plan for an unmedicated childbirth and end up having a c-section? That’s okay, too! Just learn as much as you can about what you are about to do because it will be YOU giving birth, not the doctor. It will be YOU nursing that child, not your neighbor. Education is power, man!
Tell us about your blog: My blog is Happy Meets Crazy and I’ve been blogging since January 2006. It’s a place where I rant, rave, explain, brain-vomit, and share my life. My tag line explains it all: “A mother’s attempt to blog her way out of stress and chaos by sharing the joy as well as the sorrow…” Stop by and leave a comment. If I don’t respond, please don’t take it personally! I’m kind of crazy busy with all these little kids running around my house… J
Thank you Cheryl! We need to go to lunch again. 🙂 …
Leave Cheryl a comment below to say hi or go visit her on her blog. Have a great weekend, everyone!