5 Minutes with a D-Mom: Lori Gladden

lori gladden

Name: Lori Gladden

Children’s names and ages: Maddison age 7, Tristin age 5

What’s one movie you could watch over and over? Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Tell us about some traditions you’ve started with your kids? Every Christmas Eve we make homemade pizzas and open presents at my parents house.

Where does your family love to play in NWA? We love going to Devil’s Den and walking the trails.

What’s something your friends might not know about you? I have always dreamed of starting an orphanage.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this summer, where would it be? I would love to travel Europe.

What are your favorite hobbies? Hiking and swimming

What’s something you have always wanted to learn? Sign Language

Which three things do you always have with you? Tea/Coffee, my phone and snacks.

Tell us about what it’s like to have a child with Type 1 diabetes: 

I have thought about this questions for a few days. For us, Type 1 diabetes is just a part of our life we have to manage and has been since Maddie was 20 months old. As a mom of a young child living with Type 1 diabetes, I am always on the go checking blood sugars, counting carbs, dispensing insulin while balancing our everyday living needs.

I am So thankful I have a wonderful husband. At the end of the day I am just a mom doing what it takes to ensure my family is taken care of.

For more information about living with Type 1 diabetes check out this video we made with Maddie:

What’s something you’d like other people to know about T1D?

Maddie is a child first who happens to live with Type 1 diabetes. She is able to eat and do everything any other child can, we just have to plan ahead for it.

How do you wind down at the end of the day? Hot tea and catch up on my shows.

One word to sum me up … I would pick determined. I asked my husband and he said Spunky.

5 Minutes with a Mom: Katie Dunn

Katie Dunn

Name: Katie Dunn

Kid’s names and ages:

I have 2 daughters.  Avery is 5 and Sydney is 4.

When someone says to count your blessings, what are some things that come to mind?

My husband, our girls and my friends. I had 2 rough pregnancies and I am so blessed to be a mom. We’ve only lived here for 2 years and the friends I have are like family. I’m so thankful.

Tell us about a day in your life:  

I get up at 6 and have my quiet time/Bible study until I get the girls up at 6:45/7. We get ready for school, eat breakfast and head out the door around 7:30. I drop Avery off at kindergarten and if it’s a Tu/Th I drop Sydney at preschool.

If it’s not a school day for Sydney we usually go to the gym and then we have a fun activity with friends from Moms Club. I volunteer in Avery’s class every Tuesday morning while Sydney is in school. After school we either have tennis, activities with friends or time to relax at home. Then we do dinner as a family and the girls are in bed by 7.

What has been one of the most surprising things about motherhood?

I’m surprised how every day is an adventure. I love every minute of it. You never know what will happen with kids. Even tough moments can turn into amazing positive memories. Meltdowns can end in extra snuggles etc.  Before I had kids I never realized how much I would truly love being a mom.

What are your favorite hobbies?

I love to play tennis, read and travel.

What was the last thing you really laughed out loud about?

The crazy things my girls say. Sydney thinks she knows Spanish from watching Dora and doesn’t always get the pronunciations right. It’s so cute.

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

Selfishly I’d love to go see the French Open tennis tournament in Paris. One of my goals is to see all 4 grand slams and the French and Australian Open are the 2 I have yet to see.  Otherwise I’d love to take a family vacation to Bora Bora or somewhere like that.

Which meal do you find yourself making over and over?

Over the past 6 months my friends and I have made 10-20 Pampered Chef freezer meals in an afternoon. It’s been such a fun way to have some quick go-to dinners  and spend time with friends. I use those meals on a busy day.

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

I’d love to learn how to use essential oils to help illness/allergies/migraines.

How do you relax at the end of the day?

I try to turn off electronics and be present. I can get easily distracted by my phone or iPad.

What’s one thing you’d want people to remember about you?  

My love for my faith, my family and friends.

One word to sum me up:


5 Minutes with a Mom: Jerri Dwyer

Jerri Dwyer Family

Name: Jerri Dwyer

Kid’s names and ages:

Elizabeth, 6

Kaytlin, 11

Kaleb, 16

My nephew, Kaleb, moved in with us after his mom passed away last year. He has been such a fun addition to our household.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions or do you avoid those? 

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions because I tend to find them difficult to follow for the long term if I label them as a resolution. However, I have committed to lowering sugar and processed foods in my family’s diet.

Tell us about a day in your life:

Like most moms, my typical day is busy. As a homeschool mom, my daily routine revolves around my kid’s school schedules. Except for weekends, my days look something like this:

I wake up at 5:30 am and get my nephew ready for his early bus ride. On most mornings, while I am energizing myself with my morning coffee, we have a visit from a young man in our neighborhood who waits with us for his bus, occasionally, he will bring his electric guitar which really livens the house up early. When the weather is good, my family treats our pug to a mile walk in the neighborhood, while I stay home getting ready for the day. By seven o’clock, my husband and I enjoy our green smoothies and he is off to work.

Then, the house becomes full of energy and life, while the girls practice their Irish Dance. During their workouts, I am usually motivated enough to get some of my own therapy exercises done.

By 8:30, we are in full swing for homeschool. The girls have eaten breakfast and are crafting, while I read aloud a living history book. Right now we are studying Early American History and have enjoyed some great books like Amos Fortune: Free Man, The Witch of BlackBird Pond, and Johnny Tremain.  Throughout the school day, both my Kindergartner and sixth grader complete courses in Bible, Writing, Botany, English, Math, Reading and Spelling.

My oldest makes lunch for her and her sister, while my husband and I enjoy another green smoothie. After lunch, my 6th grader completes her day with Latin and Typing. With the exception of Friday, homeschool is completed by 2pm. Fridays are designed to be lighter school days leaving time for field trips and trying new recipes out at home.

Most afternoons, we are cleaning house and completing chores followed by running around somewhere. On Tuesday afternoon, my girls attend Ecclesia Prep where they enjoy class time with peers. Tuesday nights, we attend Bible Study Fellowship and an additional three nights a week, we have Irish Dance practice. As we all know, being a mom is living a life full with activities and love. Such is my blessed life!

What’s the best part about being a mom?

For me, being a mom was a dream come true. We struggled with miscarriages, adoption waiting lists, and failed adoptions for ten years. Then God blessed our family through adoption. I try to enjoy every aspect of motherhood, but some of my favorites are the hugs, kisses, snuggles, and laughs.

Tell us about some traditions you’ve started with your kids:

Touring and taking photos at the Fayetteville square during Christmas. Going to the Christmas festival at Silver Dollar City. Making a gingerbread house at Christmas. Making tie-dye t-shirts before the end of each summer. Collecting ornaments from every place that we travel.

What has been one of the most surprising things about motherhood?

The amount of grace that my kids display to me. I could make a long list of all the things that I regret saying or a reaction in a given situation. It seems that I remember these more than my kids, they forgive me and keep on going.

What are your favorite hobbies?

Fishing, taking the kids to the park, watching movies, reading books, hanging out as a family.

What was the last thing you really laughed out loud about?

My kid’s impersonations of different family members. They have an interesting view of each other!

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this winter where would it be?


Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?

Drew Barrymore

What would the movie be titled?

“Team Jerri: Winning the Spirit Award”

God knew my life would be a wonderful adventure, yet would also include some struggles, so he surrounded me with His LOVE. Love expressed in all the family, friends, and strangers – beautiful faces – cheering me across the finish line.

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

Scuba Diving

How do you relax at the end of the day?

Watching a Netflix show and enjoying a cup of hot tea

What’s one thing you’d want people to remember about you?

That I lived a life trusting in God and encouraging others

One word to sum me up:


5 Minutes with a Mom: Jessica Pierson

Jessica Pierson, use

Name: Jessica Pierson

Kids’ names and ages?

Stephen (13) and Scott (11)

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

We’ve lived here 1-1/2 years and moved from Ohio due to my husband’s new job and because we’ve heard wonderful things about living in Fayetteville.

What’s something you did recently to make your kids laugh (and were glad nobody else was around to see it)?

I turned up the volume on some 1980s music, specifically something a little more “rock-n-roll” than what I’m known to enjoy, and I danced in a goofy way, played air guitar, and even finished by sliding across the kitchen floor (at least a 5-foot span) in some slick socks.  These are the kinds of things a mom must do to impress kids this age.  Afterward, I had to rest, but it was worth it for such approval.

Tell us about a day in your life:

I’ve learned it’s necessary to rise before the two young teen drill sergeants awaken so I can get breakfast and sack lunches rolling.  Some hot tea propels me in the right direction, and before I know it, I’ve hugged my kids and husband and they’re off to do daily business.  My work shift seems long and leaves me forgetting to eat, but when it’s a leftover-dinner night, that allows me an extra hour to assemble some healthy afterschool snacks (and on the rare occasion, a dessert!).  Carrots and dip, or some apple slices and cheddar…those are the kinds of snacks that cheer everyone up and give that little end-of-day lift we all need.  Amazing how much better I feel after that one small effort!

If you went back to college what would you study?

I’d want to study the language and culture of a country or region abroad where I’d like to live and work someday, even if just for a few years of adventure.

What are three things you always have with you?

Cell phone, keys, and kids’ inhalers.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

I plan to make better use of this upcoming spring for getting out on some of Fayetteville’s awesome trails and for walking in general, for both physical fitness and the tranquility one finds on a walk.

Your favorite places to hang out with your family in NWA?

The Square downtown has a stunning light display—perfect for hot cocoa and a walk together.  My kids seem to find something new in the display each time we go, and we’re sure to pass through their even in the car on the way home from a late errand.  We also have a favorite restaurant down that direction, so in getting there, we find that a “bonus” opportunity for a walk on the Square allows us to see up close what the various shops offer.

What’s something cool that happened to you recently?

A lifelong friend of mine, who’s been living and working in New Zealand for nearly 10 years, came to visit for the Christmas holiday break.  Together, we explored more of NWA—so many things I didn’t even know were here, from restaurants to an art gallery to some cool spots that make Fayetteville funky!  We found several pigs around town from the Pigshibition collection too!  Even though I’d previously been to Crystal Bridges Art Museum a couple of times, we were able to slow down this time to see more of that as well, including learning the intricacies of the architecture and outdoor sculptures.

Your favorite hobbies?

Reading, trying out new recipes, and writing.

One word to sum me up


Five Minutes with a {teacher} Mom: Jenna Donnell

Jenna Donnell & family

Name: Jenna Donnell

Son’s name and age? Jake, 7

What’s something funny Jake did recently? He was excited about shooting off a model rocket with his dad and said, “It will be just like the fireworks for April 5th!”  Of course he meant July 4th – it was cute.

How long have you lived in NWA and what brought you here?  I have lived in NWA for 20 years now (feels like 10). My family moved to NWA when I was 16 years old. We moved here from our busy life in Southern California to my Nana’s little farm in West Fork.

Being the outdoorsy adventurous type, it was easy to fall in love with the area.

Tell us about a day in your life: I wake up with coffee in hand, pack lunches for Jake and myself, and head out the door by 7 a.m.

We pass in the halls of Shaw Elementary at least once a day as I drop my other 27 4th grade children off at their specialty class. We make it home in time to eat dinner and hopefully play outside before it gets dark.

Depending on the day of the week, I might go to the nearby gym, take Jake to practice, or teach a 1st grade Bible class at church. As we settle down and get Jake in bed after reading a good book, my husband and I talk about our day and what favorite shows are on that night.

In my jammies, I grade papers, type lesson plans, or do a little online Christmas shopping.  Finally, I make myself go to bed… with house hunters on, of course. There is something calming about that show.

What’s been the most unexpected thing about motherhood for you? How 1 little person can bring so much stuff into a house!

What’s a piece of advice you received when your son was born that share with other new moms? To cherish every moment even if you don’t feel like it.

If you went back to college what would you study? If I went back I might study sports medicine or some type physical therapy. I originally started out with this but switched majors so I could work more closely with children.

What are three things you always have with you? My phone… I pack light!

Do you have any fun winter plans? The Liberty Bowl and playing in the snow!

Your favorite places to hang out with your family in NWA? Devil’s Den State Park, Farmers Market, Razorback games, local restaurants

If someone wrote a book about your life right now, what would the title be? Enjoy the Little Things

What’s something cool that happened to you recently? Friends of mine at school found out that a boy in my class was saving his own money for a pair of boots from Wal-Mart. Within an hour of finding this out, we had the boots bought and paid for by the efforts of 3 sweet teachers.

I have witnessed this many times from my colleagues. These random acts of kindness are my favorite moments.

What are your favorite hobbies? camping, snow skiing, exercise, mud runs, watching movies, painting, and shopping

One word to sum me up …  Hopeful