It’s Smarty Mom Saturday – woohoo! This is so fun for us to interview so many fabulous moms in Charlotte. Today I introduce Jessica Walsh of Waxhaw. In her previous life, aka, pre-kids, Jessica was an advertising account executive. Now she is a stay-at-home mom to Jack (7), William (4) and Cameron (1). Jessica embodies a stay-at-home-mom beautifully. You just don’t get more passionate about mommyhood than Jes:-)
What do you think prepared you most for becoming a mommy?
Oh, I thought I was sooo prepared to be a mommy. Everyone said I would be such a great mommy! But it rocked my world! In advertising, it’s all about schedules, organization, etc. Once I left the advertising world for mommyhood, I figured I’d be “in control” of this situation too! Not so! But a new-mommy friend and previous ad executive said that after one month I’d be coming out of the fog, at two months I’d see the light at the end of the tunnel and at three months I’d have a hang of things! I appreciated her honesty about how hard it can be because it was true for me too! I have shared this perspective with many a new mommy in hopes that they wouldn’t beat themselves up too badly for having a rough start!
What is the biggest difference in having boys versus having a girl?
For me, it has made it all new again! Nursing, changing diapers, the first smile, her crawling style! Every experience seems like a first because she is a girl! Cameron came 5 weeks early so even the delivery process was quite a change from the boy, who both came after their due date of course! Oh, and decorating her nursery was a blast! I did it in “cherries” — crisp white fabric embroidered with cherries and red gingham and a touch of green. It’s so girly! Which reminds me, I have gone way overboard with buying girly clothes! I never saw it in me! I’d always seen myself as a mom of boys! But, now, I like pink too!
What is a “typical” day like in the Walsh household?
Routine, routine, routine in the morning, after school and at night. All the in-between time allows for spontaneity, which Kirk is a lot better at than I am!
What was it like when your oldest went to kindergarten?
It seems so long ago and I am about to have another going off to kindergarten in the Fall! So I am gearing up for that emotional blast! But, Jack seemed ready. He willingly got up every morning without complaint. He was fine with riding the bus. We really liked his teacher. So, I took his lead. If he was OK, I’d be OK. But, the best time of the day was, and still is, 2:30 PM when I met him at the bus stop and brought him home!
What is your favorite activity with your kids?
I have to give full credit to Kirk for inspiring us to do creative things. As a family, we have always loved to hike. We have sought out many of the great hiking trails/parks in Meck. and Union counties. Kirk’s latest toy is a Garmin GPS device that we use to “Geocache”. Basically it’s like a treasure hunt in the woods. There are caches (treasure boxes) hidden all over the world by people who geocache. There are websites where you can download the location of these caches and then set out to find them. The device leads you within so many feet of the cache. I see us doing this as a family for years to come! Check it out at www.geocaching.com.
What is your favorite restaurant with kids?
Marino’s in Waxhaw is very kid-friendly. They have awesome Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches for the adults and great pizza for the kids. Or, if we are uptown, we head to our favorite cheeseburger joint, Providence Road Sundries. Brixx is always good too!
What is your favorite date-night spot?
I love date night! One of our favorite places is Cantina 1511 in Dilworth (it’s a better setting than the new one in Stonecrest) or our old stand-by, PF Changs. Occasionally we will do Capital Grille uptown. For lunch dates, which we do pretty frequently (with Cami in tow), we often go to 131 Main. Oh, and I have to mention Sterlings at the Fountains off of Audrey Kell. We had some great meals there over the holidays! Try the guacamole appetizer! It’s amazing!
What is your favorite children’s boutique?
I wondered if you’d ask me this question! Even with a girl, I barely shop boutiques! And I rarely buy things full price! So, I love Concord Mills and Gymboree sales. I have gotten into the habit of buying during GymBucks and that gets Cameron and the boys covered two seasons in advance. Then, I pick up the “must haves” I see along the way. I am a sucker for anything with cherries on it…those I will buy full price!!!
What is your favorite weekend escape?
I think we are in the minority because we prefer going up to the NC mountains over doing beach trips, even in the summer. Our favorite escape is to Valle Crucis, near Boone, NC. We rent cabins via Valle Crucis Log Cabin Rentals & Sales and have been going up there since we moved to NC in 1999. They know us by name now! Maybe we should consider buying and renting out a cabin at this point! There is tons of hiking & fishing, the Blue Ridge Parkway to drive, shopping in nearby Blowing Rock and more.
In Union County, we frequent Andrew Jackson State Park, Landsford State Park and Cane Creek Park – www.southcarolinaparks.com. We most recently found three caches (i.e. treasure boxes) at Andrew Jackson State Park. That was a thrill! We also like to take the kids up to Freedom Park.
Best birthday party venue?
I have yet host a party anywhere other than at home. The boys or I choose a theme for the party and then I get busy planning! I took a Wilton cake decorating class at Michaels back when Jack was an infant, inspired by my Aunt Judy who always made cakes for our family’s special occasions. So now I always make the kids’ birthday cakes and plan games/activities to keep them busy. Kirk is a big help with keeping the kids engaged with whatever I dream up!
Minivan or SUV? (I love this debate!)
I still have the twin to your Toyota Sequoia, Jen! And I love it!
Best thing about raising a family in Charlotte?
I’d have to say the great weather. We moved here from Ohio and I think we have a great appreciation for the mild climate in Charlotte! We are active outside year-round.
I could not live without my…
My women’s LIFE Group through Weddington Church. It’s my weekly “therapy” to get me back on track with a good attitude, a clear mind and the right focus!
I wish someone had told me sooner about…
Two things…Mary Kay TimeWise skin care and make-up…my friend sells it and I am converted! I use to use Clinique when I was in school, but I am so much happier with the results of the MK products! Also, Charlotte Swim Academy…after years of YMCA swimming lessons and no progress, I took another mom’s suggestion and signed my boys up at Charlotte Swim Academy. They did wonders with the boys! I am in awe of their progress and comfort in the water now!
Best kept secret in Charlotte?
One of our great finds is What’s Your Beef in Waxhaw. It’s an incredible butcher where we buy our filets, ribs and ground sirloin for burgers. Kirk is excellent with the grill and now we have a superb meat supplier right down the road.
Thanks, Jessica! Oh so smarty answers – I’m off to buy a GPS so we can Geocache!