5 Minutes with a Mom: Tracy Triplett

5 Minutes with a Mom logo 2017, FNBNWA 525

A big thanks to First National Bank of NWA for sponsoring one of our longest-running features on nwaMotherlode, 5 Minutes with a Mom. We love interviewing local moms and reading their answers. We’re all more alike than we’re different, especially when it comes to how much we love our kids.

Tracy Triplett picMeet our latest interviewee, Tracy:

Name: Tracy Triplett

Kids’ names and ages: Raymond (10) and Rylee (7)

How long have you lived in NWA and what brought you here?

I’ve lived here since 2011 when I came back to work for Walmart after leaving the US Attorney’s Office.

Tell us about your job:

Well, the most important job I have is as a mother. But when I’m not being a mother, I’m also an attorney (a former federal prosecutor) and a market manager for Walmart.

As a market manager, I have responsibility a market of 10 supercenter stores in Springfield, Missouri. I really wanted to get back into the stores but I didn’t want to move my kids and I away from NWA.

Thankfully, I work for a company that values their people and understands the importance of family so they made it possible for me to do both.

What does a typical day in your hardworking single mom life look like?

I usually get up around 5:30am to get ready for my day. I wake my kids up around 6am to get them dressed and fed some breakfast. I get them on the school bus at around 6:35am and I get on the road to Springfield, which is just under two hours away.

My work day consists of visits to my stores. I’ll generally tour one or two stores a day, walking with the managers and visiting with my associates. Lunch is usually a sandwich in between stores.

By around 4-4:30pm, I’m wrapping up in my stores and headed two hours home to see my kiddos, who ride the bus home to our babysitter. If it’s not a sports or activity night, I’ll go home, cook dinner and the kids and I will just spend time together. We love to watch movies, play board games and jump on the trampoline, when the weather allows. If we have activities, I’ll usually walk in the door and load them up to rush to grab something “fast” to eat and head wherever we have to be.

The kids go to bed around 8:30pm and I’ll lay with them until they fall asleep. We have some of our very best conversations in the bed! Then I’ll usually clean up the kitchen, respond to some work emails, and indulge in some social media before getting in bed around 10pm to read for an hour or so before I fall asleep.

Tell us about your community involvement:

I’ve always been very involved in my community and in my children’s schools. Prior to taking this new job, I served on the PTO and as a Homeroom Mom each year.

This year, I’ve had to be a little more selective about how I spend my time. I’m serving on the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Council for Arkansas, which has allowed me to play a part in deciding which worthwhile organizations receive millions of dollars of Walmart grants awarded in the state each year. I’ve been on the Leadership Council for Sheepdog Impact Assistance and I’m serving on the Board of Directors for the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of NWA and the Springfield Police Foundation, which is a nonprofit with a mission to support their police department.

I was honored to be selected for both NWA’s and Arkansas’ Business Insider 40 under 40 this year and I’m currently participating in Leadership Arkansas, which has been such an amazing experience.

What’s playing on your iPod right now?

My iPod has very eclectic taste so you might find some Blake Shelton, U2, The Beatles, Bon Jovi, Twenty One Pilots or some 90′s gansta rap playing at any given time, depending on my mood!

What’s the best part of motherhood for you?

Tracy Triplett small picIt’s so awesome to watch my babies grow up and become little people. They make me so proud and make me want to be a better person every day. I love being able to help shape them and their priorities. When I see them worried about others, or wanting to help others in need, it makes my heart explode.

What has been the most surprising?

I knew parenting would be hard but I didn’t know it would be this hard!

I feel like my heart is walking around outside my body, which can be pretty scary, and it’s just exhausting at times. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder whether I’m doing it right or just screwing them up!

What meal do you prepare over and over for your family?

My kids love my chicken and noodles with mashed potatoes and ask for it all the time!

Where does your family like to play in NWA?

We like to ride our bikes on the trails near Crystal Bridges, play at Horsebarn Park, and visit the Amazeum and HighRise.

If you and the kids could vacation anywhere in the world this summer where would it be?

We took our entire family to Atlantis Bahamas last year and it was the most amazing vacation ever. Having the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins along, made the trip so special! So if we could go anywhere this summer, we would take them all with us again, this time on a Disney Cruise. We’ll have to save up for a few years for that one. :)

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn?

I’ve always wanted to learn Spanish. I took it in high school but didn’t absorb much of it.

What three things do you always have with you?

My cell phone, my debit card and a tube of chapstick or lip gloss.

What’s one of your favorite guilty pleasures? Raw cookie dough

One word to sum me up … Passionate

Click here to visit the First National Bank of NWA website or follow them here on Facebook. FNBNWA is a full-service bank and has multiple branches, including:

  • fnb small logo801 N Dixieland Road, Rogers, 479-621-6800
  • 3706 Pinnacle Hills Pkwy, Rogers, 479-464-9060
  • E. Pleasant Grove Rd., Lowell, 479-659-7100
  • 350 E. Centerton Blvd., (Hwy 102), Centerton, 479-795-4200
  • 2638 E Joyce, Suite 1 Fayetteville, 479-856-7800

5 Minutes with a NWA Mom: An interview with Megan Cuddy

megan-cuddy-cropped

5 Minutes with a Mom logo 2017, FNBNWA 525

First National Bank of NWA is the brand new sponsor of our 5 Minutes with a Mom category, which has been one of our most popular since the beginning when nwaMotherlode launched nearly nine years ago. Who doesn’t love reading about other local moms and how they do things?

We think Northwest Arkansas moms are fascinating! Thanks FNBNWA for agreeing with us!

Name: Megan Cuddy

Son’s name and age: Hudson, 5

Where are your favorite places to play in NWA? We love to be outside! We enjoy Naturals games, backyard barbecues, local parks, and golf cart rides.

Tell us about a “regular” day in your life:

After I get Hudson off to school, I typically head to my office at Economic Opportunity Agency (EOA) in Springdale. My work varies each day, but the mission remains. As the Director of Advancement, I strive to move the organization forward through fund development, marketing, communications, and community relations.

A regular workday could include securing donations, tours of EOA Children’s House, meeting with donors, writing a grant, managing social media for the organization, composing the newsletter, or planning an event. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, my typical day could also include some time spent fulfilling the obligations as board treasurer.

After my workday, evenings vary greatly from taking Hudson to one of his activities, a Junior League of Northwest Arkansas board meeting or general meeting, dinner out with my Diva Dinner Group, vegging at home on the couch with my family, or a combo of several of those activities.

How do you celebrate great things that happen in your life? Dinner and wine with friends.

laughWhat was the last thing you laughed out loud about? Probably something my 5 year old said, he is quite the comedian!

When you think of your home, what immediately comes to mind? My family

What’s something your friends might not know about you? I think most of my friends know pretty much all about me, I am a pretty open person.  If they don’t know it, then I probably don’t want it in this article :)

What’s something you’re looking forward to? We purchased land almost a year ago with the intention of building a house. We’ve had a few set-backs, but we are back on track. I am looking forward to establishing our new family home in Elm Springs.

What’s your favorite restaurant in this area? I have several – Pesto Café, Meiji, Guido’s Pizza, Crabby’s, MJ’s Pizza, The Steam, Iron Horse…I could keep going, there are so many great places to eat in NWA.

What makes you happy? Spending time with my friends and family….and naps, I love naps!

If your life was a movie, what would the title be? Organized Chaos

If you received a large sum of money and never needed to work again, what would you do? Donate to my favorite causes, make sure my close friends and family are taken care of, and then slow down, relax, and enjoy!

One word to sum me up: Inclusive

Click here to visit the First National Bank of NWA website or follow them here on Facebook. FNBNWA is a full-service bank and has multiple branches, including:

  • fnb small logo801 N Dixieland Road, Rogers, 479-621-6800
  • 3706 Pinnacle Hills Pkwy, Rogers, 479-464-9060
  • E. Pleasant Grove Rd., Lowell, 479-659-7100
  • 350 E. Centerton Blvd., (Hwy 102), Centerton, 479-795-4200
  • 2638 E Joyce, Suite 1 Fayetteville, 479-856-7800

5 Minutes with a NWA Mom: An interview with a mama of 5, Kristen Hargett

kristen-hargettName: Kristen Hargett

Kid’s names and ages:  

I have five kids – Matt is 13, Drew is 10, Bekah is 8, Jonathan is 2 and Nate is 3 months

Tell us about your newest addition!

Nate is our newest arrival and was born at the end of July.  He is such a trooper and the day after he came home from the hospital was hanging out at swim meets cheering on his brothers and sister as they swam in the Tristate Championships.  He was pretty popular at the meet being two days old ;).

He was my smallest kiddo – one pound smaller than his sister and over two pounds smaller than Matt!

What’s the best part of having a big family?

Haha all the birthday cake!

In all seriousness we love our family and love the memories we create together.  The kids are pretty close with each other and love having each other in their lives.

What’s the most stressful thing?

LaundryLaundry!  It’s never-ending!

What’s your favorite movie?

I’m not sure if I have a favorite but I enjoy suspense/thrillers but not popcorn flicks.

What did you want to “be” when you grew up?

My plan had been to go to law school.  I graduated high school a year early, came to JBU and was a pre-law/Political Science major, did a semester in Washington, DC interning for Congress and then kinda adjusted my plan along the way.  I went to grad school and completed the Master of Science Business Leadership & Ethics degree at JBU then went on to do a bulk of the Counseling program before deciding to stay home full time with the kids for this season of life.

What was the last thing you laughed out loud about?

Our two year old has gotten really into watching the Cubs play (my husband and I are from the Chicago area) and one morning woke up and instead of cartoons he pointed to the tv and asked for “bay-ball”

If you could master one skill you don’t have right now, what would it be?

I am LOVING watching the Chip & Joanna show on Netflix and seeing the way they completely redo a space — and on a budget.  I would so love to have that kind of talent.

What’s something your friends might not know about you?

That I struggle with insecurity.  I second guess a lot of what I do, write, say, what I wear, the whole shebang.

What would be your “perfect” day?

House clean (and stays that way the ENTIRE day!), spending time with my family — maybe even sleeping in! And someone else cooked and cleaned for all the meals.

If you were gifted with a large sum of money, how would you spend it?

sea-shellMaybe on a dream vacation.  We’ve always talked about renting a cottage on a beach (think “Beaches”) and spending time with my family there.  Most of our trips end up being going “home” to see family in the Chicago area.

Where’s your happy place?

Growing up my family would spend summers and getaways in Door County, Wisconsin.  Remembering our trips makes me happy.

What do you most want people to remember about you? 

That I try to show people that I appreciate them.  I am the crazy mom that brings cookies to the hospital for the nurses and staff when I’m in labor ;)

You did what???

:) I gave them to everyone – the front desk registration clerk, my ob, anesthesiologist, nurses, janitors – everyone who was taking care of me — and had the keys to the medicine cabinets. I was induced at 39 weeks so I could make plans.  I decided to make my own hospital gown for this one, too ;)

kristen-hargetts-cookies

You made your own hospital gown?? 

Haha yeah totally did!

kristen-h-homemade-hospital-gownOne word to sum me up: 

I’m not good with one word things… I hope it would be kind.  That’s what I try to teach my kids to be.

5 Minutes with a NWA Mom: An interview with widow Robin Smith

robin-smith-and-her-late-husband-croppedName: Robin Smith

Kid’s names and ages: Trinity 36, India 24, Taylor 19

What are your favorite spots to visit in NWA? 

I love to try new eateries…I used to do a lot of camping with my family and riding trails with friends, not so much these days…I also loved to entertain and cook for people I love.  I love being with my family.  WAC plays, Crystal Bridges…

We know your husband recently passed last year. What advice would you give another grieving wife?

Keep breathing.  Don’t let anyone try to tell you when and how you should grieve.  Accept help.  Trust God, even though you have no clue why this had to happen.  Keep talking to God even if you are mad.  Keep breathing, again.  Try visiting with a grief group.  Hospice in our area has 6 week grief classes often.  I found them helpful.  I have attended two sessions since my loss March 2015.  I speak with clergy.  I speak with a counselor friend.

I have found that I can cry anywhere without shame…the grocery store..a restaurant.  It is what it is.  Talk to your physician.  My physician has been a great help.  Keep breathing.  Your grief is your grief.  Do the best that you can.  There is no time limit.

How have you been able to keep going? 

My kids…I want to spend as much time with them as possible before it is my time.  Faith in God.  If it weren’t for those two things, I’m not sure I would survive.

What do you most want people to remember about you? 

robin-headshot

Robin Smith

That I tried.  That I had the best of intentions.  That I loved.  That I tried to be selfless.  That I loved God and prayed for others.

What’s something your friends might not know about you? 

I am hard on myself.  More than they know.

What’s a sure-fire way for you to wind down when you’re just exhausted? 

In grief, just peaceful quiet.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this winter, where would you go?

Somewhere beautiful and peaceful.  Hot or cold.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn?

To play the piano is one thing.  So I had my kids in piano for 8 years living vicariously through them.

What’s something that you would enjoy teaching others?

To be authentic.  Teaching myself this also.

What’s the last thing you took a picture of? 

My sister and two people that she thinks a lot of.

What’s been the happiest moment in your life so far? 

Marrying my best friend and him telling me often through our marriage that he has had a happy life with me… and becoming pregnant with my two bio children…I had to go through fertility…I ovulated twice and have two children to show for the efforts and God’s grace.

One word to sum me up:

Redeemed.

K.C. Pummill & Julie Smith: The sisters behind the NWA Boutique Show

k-c-and-julie-close-up

It’s no secret that we LOVE the NWA Boutique Show. We’ve been a media sponsor for years at the show and always have a booth there with a fun giveaway.

This year the show is on Nov. 11-12 and we’d love for everyone reading this to stop by and see us while they shop the show. There are over 150 unique boutiques represented and it’s just a beautiful event. The merchants pull out all the stops to decorate their booths and to offer awesome, quality items.

We also love two of the main mamas behind the show, K.C. Pummill and Julie Smith (pictured above, L to R). These two women are kind, considerate, organized and FUN, even when things are stressful leading up to the event weekend. K.C. is the mom of three children — two daughters and a son. Julie has three daughters — with a fourth baby girl on the way! Congrats, Julie! :)

We asked them a few questions about how the show got started — and what it takes to pull off such a massive event. Here, we pull back the curtain so you can see a little of the magic behind the Boutique Show!

A Q&A with (sisters) K.C. and Julie:

Sisters being silly

Sisters being silly

Q: We were surprised to find out a few years ago that you two are sisters! Are lots of people surprised by that fact?

A: We get it both ways! Some people get us confused for one another because we look alike, but some people have known us for years and didn’t even realize!

It’s always funny when a long-time merchant or business partner has that moment of realization.

Q: Did you two start out working together to bring the show to NWA?

A: Julie: K.C. started the show in 2006 with a small group of like-minded merchants (she was actually a merchant for the first several years of the show, while also heading it up!)

The show and its needs grew over the years..but it wasn’t until our mom “prayed me back from Texas” that I joined K.C. as the social media coordinator.

Q: What’s it like to work with your sister?

A: Julie: Ha! K.C. says she pays me to hang out with her! We love working together! Sometimes we get just about nothing done because we have so many other things to catch up on, but it is an awesome opportunity. We say our train of thought is more like a Ferris wheel… it takes a long time to get back around to business, but it’s pretty fun!

Q: Do you have lots of help?

A: K.C.: Oh yes! We have been fortunate to have a solid group of other mamas that enjoy coordinating the various aspects of the show. We’ve got some amazing ladies: Cathleen Hood, Kathy Wetsell, Vanessa Miller, Melanie Reeh, and Tiffany Haas. Plus our adorable, hard-working interns: Jordan Ragan, Hannah Gibson, and Emily Weech. It’s really like a close knit little family! We love getting to have an excuse to be around each other!

Q: How long has the show been running?

A: K.C.: Since 2006 we’ve done 12 shows. So we’ve been at it for 10 years!

Q: Why do you think so many people LOVE this show?

A: KC: We work really hard to cultivate a collection of incredible, quality merchants that will bring unique items to Northwest Arkansas. There’s a fun vibe, lots of energy, and it’s a great kick off to the holiday season! We’ve got festive music, decor, and food….there’s just a lot of energy in the place.

People are like, “Are you pumping oxygen in this place?! It’s like Vegas in here!”  

We have hundreds of applications and we sort through them meticulously during merchant jury to select exactly the right mix for our audience. We stay really focused on our target audience.

The NWA Boutique Show team

The NWA Boutique Show team

Q: And we couldn’t help but notice you’ve helped lots of charities and merchants along the way, right?

A: Yes, we’ve been able to give tens of thousands of dollars away to local charities! We have a heart for small business and for our community. We support the projects of the Junior League of NWA , Fayetteville Junior Civic League, Salvation Army of Northwest Arkansas, The Women’s Auxiliary of NWA, Northwest Arkansas Arts Foundation, local schools and churches, CASA… and dozens more over the years!!!

We built this show essentially during a recession to help small business owners stay afloat when many couldn’t afford to have brick and mortars (physical stores).

For many merchants, this is their main source of revenue for the year!

boutique-show-logoQ: Tell us about the process of deciding which businesses get to be in the boutique show. How do they make the cut?

A: Returning merchants have first right of refusal each year. Then we look for merchants that bring something unique to the show or round out the mix. We look carefully at what they’re planning to bring –  limiting overlap is important to us, so shoppers get the most variety possible and merchants have less competition!

Q: Can you tell us about a few of the unique boutique newcomers this year?

A: Julie: We’re excited to have a few new booths geared toward kids, like Kindness and Joy Toys! In the stationary department, Paperwerk is bringing some fresh new designs for cards, journals, and invitations!

Locals will be happy to know that Hill City Popcorn will be joining us this year as one of the food vendors. Believe it or not, there are some NWA residents who haven’t gotten to experience this yumminess yet, so this will be a great treat for everyone!

presentGarden Living will be bringing some gorgeous, unique outdoor decor, so that’s fun and new!

We’ve really upped our fashion game over the last couple of years. This year, Hazel’s Haven, out of Fort Smith, will join us with some pieces that shoppers will LOVE!

Also just have to mention Bubble and Fizz Shop – this will be a perfect booth to grab some fun stocking stuffers for kids, tweens, and family members of all ages!

Q: If someone is on the fence about going to the show, what would you tell them?

A: K.C.:  You have more boutiques under one roof than both the NWA malls combined! Seriously – you could knock out your holiday shopping in one day!

Get a taste of 150 boutiques that would take you weeks to explore if you were going around town. So save gas money, come to the show, and finish up your Christmas list!

CLICK HERE to visit the NWA Boutique Show Facebook page and stay up to date on contests, details and fun posts leading up to the show! Just one week to go!