This week’s Smarty Mom is my dear friend, Katherine Sykes. She is one of the most amazing women I have met here in Charlotte. My favorite thing about her, she is true to her personality. She is the real deal of a good friend. We all need more people like Katherine in our lives. I find her honesty very refreshing. I value it. When I am with her, we have the best conversations. She is a listener and that is rare. In this interview, she talks about love, marriage, kids, food, the importance of self-care and her passion for painting.
I feel lucky to have her in my life. If you are friends with Katherine, you know exactly what I am talking about… If you have never met Katherine, here is a glimpse into the mind of my beautiful friend…
Smarty Mom Stats:
Hometown: Vero Beach
Alma Mater: Wingate University
Husband and Kids: Jason, Max 16, Charlie 14, Evy 11
Pet: Lola, my black labradoodle
Get to know Katherine:
If you could tell your younger self something what would you say?
Your value isn’t measured in your good grades, if you think you are pretty or not, if you are popular or not, or by the many mistakes you’ve made.
If you could have lunch with ANYONE (dead or alive), who would it be?
I’d have lunch with grandfathers. Sorry there were two. One I never knew, Grandpa Max Froehlich. He was an immigrant from Germany. I think my dad is a lot like him and I’d love to have known him. My other grandfather I grew up with, Delbert Goss. He was such a huge influence in our lives. A true gentleman, a great encourager, a lover of education, and he just loved me well. I still miss him and I’d love for him to know the “adult” Katherine and meet my family. He used to write me long hand-written letters when I was away at summer camp. He included so many details of daily life. I still have those and will treasure them forever.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I’d live in the South – definitely on the coast. Perhaps the sugar sand beaches of the FL panhandle. Or somewhere in southern Italy or France on the Mediterranean Sea.
What would be your dream vacation?
Last time you laughed really hard …
I don’t know when my last belly laugh was, but our daughter Evy makes me giggle most every day.
New Year’s Resolution…
I don’t make any New Year’s resolutions.
Last book you read…
I’m in a book club. Honestly, I can’t remember the name of our last book but I rarely finish them! Intentions are good.
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you..” Matthew 7:12
Love and Marriage
How did you meet your husband, Jason?
I met Jason when we both sang for the Charlotte Symphony’s volunteer choir, Oratorio.
How did Jason propose to you?
Jason has a beautiful baritone voice and was part of a men’s a cappella group. He said we were meeting friends for dessert to celebrate their birthday in uptown Charlotte. Well, it was late, nobody was at this restaurant, just the bar had patrons and I was tired and pissy that these friends hadn’t shown up. He went to go call them, not many cell phones back then, and he came back with all the guys from the choir. They sang an old jazz tune “My Romance” and he proposed. It was beautiful.
One of my favorite dates with Jason was the Salud Cooking school at Whole Foods. It was so much fun. And the meal we made was amazing.
Worst date, I abhor paying high dollar for terrible food. We were at Bald Head Island and the restaurants are very limited there. I ordered the boiled shrimp. It was rubbery, over cooked, the shells were sticking to the meat and shrimp were floating in fake butter.
What do you love most about your husband, Jason?
I love Jason’s integrity and his singing voice.
Always date your spouse. Marriage comes first, kids come second. I’m a better mother and wife because we carve time out to be a couple.
Tell us about your kids:
Max, 16. Max was our preemie born at 29 weeks gestation. Now he’s just over 6 feet! He’s a gentle giant that loves gaming and anything sci-fi related. Life hasn’t always been easy for Max but his trials will become his strengths one day.
Charlie, 14 is our engineer. He’s been building things from the recycle bin since he was a preschooler. He’s a self-taught magician and is quite good. He plays ukulele, bass, guitar and banjo. Charlie such a kind kid and bakes incredible cookies!
Evy, 11 my girl. Evy marches to the beat of her own drum. She’s smiley, cheerful and can carry a great conversation with any adult. She loves playing the trombone and keeps us laughing.
My favorite moment as a mom is when other adults have told us what great conversations they had with our kids and that they made good eye contact and shook their hands and had good manners. Sometimes you wonder if all of your nagging and training is getting through and then you get that affirmation.
Dancing in the kitchen as I cook and embarrassing them.
Most embarrassing moment.
Forgetting their date of birth. After having my third, I had a hard time keeping those dates straight.
Survival tips for a new mom.
Sleep when that baby sleeps, let your doctor know if you have post-partum blues, it’s very common. And if someone offers to bring you a meal, don’t dare say no.
All-time favorite food?
Preference – baking or cooking?
Cooking all the way…baking is too precise.
I love a good ice cream. I prefer a creamy vanilla, not overly sweet with a dollop of lemon curd and a crumbling of shortbread cookie.
Garlic! Garlic and more garlic
Favorite place to eat in Charlotte?
Charlotte has such a great dining scene now. Very hard to narrow it down. Cow fish is a family favorite. Vintner Wine Market, Char Bar, and Thai Taste.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee with only half & half
Wine or Cocktails?
Both, wine and cocktails!
Share one of your favorite recipes.
Toscano Soup, find it on Pinterest. So good for these winter nights.
Tips for moms with picky eaters…
Don’t be a personal chef to each child. If they don’t like what you’ve prepared, then they don’t have to eat or always have one bland option they can have instead. Keep it the same every time. Like an apple with peanut butter so they are able to go to sleep.
Mind, Body and Health
What is your self-care routine? How do you take care of your mind, body and health?
I’m so high maintenance in the self-care department. I was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease this past year which explained a lot of my past 5 years of pain and fatigue. So I have to take care of my body. I exercise regularly. I’ve done group exercise for years. I own a far-infrared sauna and sit in that a few times a week to help with pain. Every now and then I need a neuromuscular massage. I also make time to nurture my female friendships. Most importantly is growing in my walk with the Lord. I’m part of a women’s small group bible study and I also meet weekly with some mom’s, Mom’s In Prayer group, from my daughter’s school to pray for our children and school. Those last two things remind me I’m not alone in this journey. And lastly my painting, straight up therapy.
Save the best topic for last! Katherine is a gifted artist. She inspires me. She was not afraid to pick up that paintbrush and start painting. I see her paintings as self-portraits of the beautiful person that she is … filled with beautiful color, perfectly composed with touches of gold. She truly has a natural talent. Her use of color — Her composition— remarkable!
What is your current medium?
Where can we find your art?
You can find my art by following me on Instagram @@KSdesingsandpaintings
How would you define your style?
My style…hmm… it’s mostly abstract, trendy, bright coastal colors, with a pop of gold foil sometimes. I’m still inventing myself as an artist. But that’s life, always trying different things.
What made you pull out that paintbrush and start painting?
I just started painting this past summer. I’m raising 2 teens and one tween. It’s hard raising kids in this world today. I say we parent the child and we parent the child’s digital world. It’s like two for one! I need a creative outlet. I’ve always dabbled on the creative side from sewing to making jewelry and now art. I took a few art courses in college but wasn’t taught abstract painting, just still life. Abstract is so freeing, so out of the box and individual. I got on You Tube, found a few old brushes, bought some paints and canvases, and followed some tutorials to get the juices flowing. Some other mom friends of mine are painting too and inspired me.
Color is so important in art. What is your favorite color?
Favorite color: Turquoise or colors of the sea
Who is your favorite artist?
What are your goals as an artist?
My goals for KS Designs and Paintings is to continue to learn and fine tune my skill. I bought an online class that I will work on and I’d love to take an art course at a studio as time permits. My main goal is to provide affordable trendy, original art for your home or office. Instead of buying at the big box stores, buy something that no one else has up on their wall but is still in line with what’s popular in-home decor. I’m available for commissioned pieces too. When a customer sends me a picture of my artwork in their home, it blesses me greatly.