January 12, 2013

Announcing Charlotte Shackleford as the 2012 Jennifer Lisman Bunich Smarty Mom of the Year!

The votes are in and we have a winner! A big Smarty congrats goes out to Charlotte Shackleford, our 2012 Jennifer Lisman Bunich Smarty Mom of the Year! Charlotte beautifully represents what we look for in our Smarty Moms each week and we’re honored to feature her as our Smarty Mom of the Year! CSP {hearts} Smarty Charlotte (hmmm, we’ve heard that phrase before:-)!

We love each and every one of our Smarty Moms/Dads/Tweens, all of them are such an amazing asset to our community. If you have a Smarty nomination, please email us. We’d love to hear from you!

Here’s Charlotte’s Smarty Mom profile!

Photocredit: Dawn Freeland Photography

Smarties, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Charlotte Shackleford! We recently got to know Charlotte with her passion for the Isabella Santos Foundation. Charlotte is a champion for this organization and we support her every step of the way.

Charlotte recently took on the role of Director of Mouzon United Methodist Weekday School. Her dedication for children is evident in all aspects of her work.

We’re honored to feature Charlotte Shackleford as Smarty Mom this Thanksgiving Saturday. Let’s get to know Charlotte!

Charlotte’s Smarty Mom Stats

Mom of: Walker (6) & Hudson (2)
Married to: Taylor for 10 years
Years in Charlotte: 11
Hood: Surburbia in South Charlotte!
Hometown: I was born in England, but grew up in Charlotte. I consider myself a native Charlottean, or as close as you can get:-)
Occupation: Preschool Director at Mouzon United Methodist Church

Tell us how you landed in your role as Director at Mouzon.

Before having children, I taught elementary school in CMS and worked as the Director of Education for Sylvan Learning Center. I have always been passionate about working with children and education, and could never work somewhere that didn’t combine them both. I love working at Mouzon because we are a smaller preschool and feel more like extended family. Nestled in the heart of Myers Park, we are convenient to everything and have the best teachers and families that anyone could ask for!

What is your favorite thing about working with children?

Every day is different! Children have a happiness and innocence about them that we lose in adulthood. Their minds are constantly working and I love watching them learn new things. Working with children is truly my “happy place.”

What is your best tip for new moms considering preschool for the very first time?

Follow your gut! Walking into a preschool for the first time can be so telling! Always bring your child with you and watch for their reaction as well… do they want to play or do they seem stressed? Each child is different and it’s important to find a preschool that makes you both comfortable.

What about the best lunch you’ve ever seen – we as moms all run out of ideas, bring us your fave!

The best lunches are fresh and colorful! As moms we get stuck in “the lunch rut” and it becomes hard to be creative. The best lunches include a protein, a carbohydrate, a fruit and a vegetable (notice I didn’t mention dessert?). As parents, we have to keep in mind that some foods have to be introduced 20-30 times before children willingly accept them. Sending these foods to preschool are a win-win…children are more willing to try new things away from home, and parents don’t have to sit through a whiny dinner.

What are your favorite preschool website resources?

I LOVE Pinterest! I used to go through a variety of websites to get ideas, but found that pinterest has it all! Some of my favorite resources come from preschool blogs that I’ve found on pinterest!

You are very involved with the Isabella Santos Foundation? Tell us how you got started and what your vision is with it moving forward.

Erin (Isabella’s mom) is my best friend. We met before our kids were born, and I remember the exact moment that I learned of Isabella’s diagnosis. I can tell you where I was sitting, what I was wearing, what the room smelt like, etc. It was the most painful moment of my life. Isabella’s parents started the Isabella Santos Foundation later that year to raise awareness of neuroblastoma cancer and help fund research that is still so desperately needed. The dark truth is that rare pediatric cancers don’t get the funding that other cancers do, so the survival rate is much, much lower. We lost Isabella on June 28th of this year after 5 years of fighting. Every fall, we have a 5k to raise money for the Foundation. This year we had roughly 1600 participants and raised almost $200,000! It is an incredible testament to how many lives Isabella touched in her short 7 years with us. The Isabella Santos Foundation supports the Make a Wish Foundation, the Ronald McDonald House, and funds clinical trials to help find a cure. The Foundation is also able to provide financial assistance to local families dealing with the diagnosis of pediatric cancer. We are always looking for volunteers for our events, if you are interested check out our website at www.isabellasantosfoundation.com :-)

Moving on to the mom stuff…

What is your favorite thing to do with your family over the holidays?

I love Christmas! We decorate inside and out (we are slowly aiming to hit Griswald status!) and all family comes to our house. Last year we had 26 people for dinner and late night festivities went into the wee hours of the morning.

What is the last meal you cooked?

Hhhmm…I really don’t remember! I despise cooking (not to mention I’m terrible at it), but fortunately my husband loves to cook! When he travels, he will prebake casseroles and put them in the fridge for the boys and I to eat. He jokes that if he didn’t we would die from scurvy after eating cereal 3 times a day.;-)

If you wrote a parenting manual, the title would be?

“Lay your baby down AWAKE” It is the best advice I got from a good girlfriend of mine before my oldest was born. Phew, did it same me from years of restless nights.

Behavioral trait you hope your kids don’t inherit from you.

Perfectionism. I can definitely be more ‘Type A’ than I would like at times. I am a very ‘All or Nothing’ person, and sometimes I wish I could just relax and enjoy things a bit more.

The phrase you’ve said to your kids more than any other at home is…

Use your manners! I am a true believer that being respectful to others (regardless of the circumstances) is one of the most important traits we can teach our children.

Favorite kids movie?

Finding Nemo

Favorite kids phone app?

Netflix. I know it’s not very exciting, but having the ability to pull up a quick Curious George episode has saved me many times.

Funniest thing your kids have ever said to you?

“What color cow does chocolate milk come from?”

All I want for Christmas is…

Quality, stress free time with my family.

Guilty pleasure?

Chocolate and red wine!

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