5 Minutes with a Mom + Nana: Sheila Fitts

sheila fitts 3

5 Minutes with a Mom logo 2017, FNBNWA 525Name:

Sheila Fitts

Grandchildren’s names and ages:

Only one granddaughter: Ashtyn and she is 10!

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

I was born in Kansas but my parents moved to Fayetteville when I was only a few months old and I’ve lived in NWA ever since!

Can you tell us how being a grandmother is different from being a mom?

I have more time to enjoy my granddaughter. I love being able to share stories about her mother’s childhood!  I definitely feel I am much wiser now and try to take time to enjoy taking a bike ride, playing a game, cooking or reading with her. I do not feel the same pressures as a grandmother that I felt as a mother.

sheila fitts 2What does your granddaughter call you?

Nana

Do you have any “pet” names for her?

“Baby Teddy”, “Lou Lou”, “sunshine”, “princess”…

What was the last thing you laughed out loud about?

Ashtyn telling a story about her dad.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

I think being able to fly on my own would be pretty handy and so helpful to reduce my travel time. However, I’d probably prefer to be able to help everyone and bring out the best in others.

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

I think I’d like to go to Costa Rica!

How would your best friends describe you?

Sensitive, caring, a bit goofy.

What’s your favorite movie and why?

Only one? I don’t have a favorite, rather, favorites! I prefer a feel good movie or a comedy. Miss Congeniality, A Walk To Remember, Good Will Hunting, Beaches, It’s A Wonderful Life …

When you need a pick-me-up, what do you do?

Take a walk, go shopping with a friend, or spend some time with Ashtyn.

Which hobby would you like to pick up again?

Playing the piano-but I’d need lessons (again!).

What do you most want people to remember about you?

That I love the Lord and want to share His love with others.

One word to sum me up:

Compassionate.

sheila fitts

Our many thanks to First National Bank of NWA for sponsoring this feature, which celebrates all the unique moms here in Northwest Arkansas! CLICK HERE to visit the FNBNWA 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 Mom: Sara Wittenberg

Sara Wittenberg family

5 Minutes with a Mom logo 2017, FNBNWA 525

Name: Sara Wittenberg

Kids’ names and ages:

Charley (6) and Reed (3)

What brought you to NWA?

My husband and I met in grad school at the U of A; after a five and a half year stint at two of the most remote National Wildlife Refuges in the country, we returned to NWA for him to take a job as headmaster of the Bentonville campus of Haas Hall Academy.

What are your family’s favorite things to do together here:

blue jayPre-kids, when we lived in Fayetteville, I was an avid birder, and my husband, who studied timber rattlesnakes for his PhD, was always looking for snakes, so we frequented places like Lake Fayetteville, Wilson Lake, and Lake Wedington.

These days, it’s my husband who dons the binoculars (though his life bird list is still shorter than mine ), while I accompany the kids who are collecting treasures and writing in their own nature notebooks.  At least we all love to be outdoors!

Where’s your favorite place to hike with the kids?

We love the trails at Hobbs State Park and Pea Ridge National Military Park.  We also frequent the Eagle Watch in Gentry, and Charlie Craig State Fish Hatchery in Centerton, because it’s five minutes from our house.

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

My daughter has decided we need to go to Alaska, so that’s definitely on our bucket list.  However, my number one top spot would be Africa.  I would love to see the mountain gorillas of Virunga, Africa’s oldest national park.  And elephants!

Do you have “pet” names for your kids? Any funny stories behind the names?

Wow, we’ve had a rotating door of names for them since birth!  Some have stuck, some I cannot even remember (but thankfully I recorded some in their journals!).

One time the adults in the car were having a serious discussion regarding Chechen rebels, and suddenly my daughter burst into tears.  When asked what was wrong, she said “Don’t call me chochachi!”  Why she thought that was directed at her is anyone’s guess, but now we lovingly call her chochachi – that one was too good to let go!  For the longest time, Reed called his big sis “Chagy”, as it was the best he could do for Charley, so now we call her “Chag”.

My husband often calls our son “Reedo Burrito”.

What’s something you’d love to learn?

sewingI would love to learn manual photography.  I have a nice camera, but go fully automatic and trust the machine! I’d also really like to learn how to sew.  Like, good. :) I have a sewing machine, but whatever I make on it looks worse than what my 6 year old could probably pull off :)

What’s been the most rewarding thing about motherhood?

Watching these two small people grow and become unique individuals.  They are definitely both strong-willed and have their own ideas and opinions about things!  Yet I’m still the one they want to share their discoveries with, the one they cannot wait to tell (whatever) to, the one who has their trust above all else, and I don’t take that lightly.  I didn’t know I was capable of loving like I love these two!

What’s something that’s almost guaranteed to relax you at the end of a hard day?

Ha, I’ve yet to figure that one out!  My three year old has never slept through the night yet.  My day never really ends, as bedtime involves me sitting with him until he falls asleep, which may take over an hour.  Sometimes he’s up again an hour later, when we retire to my bed together, and his little eyes pop open more times than not when my alarm goes off in the morning, so I may or may not get a shower alone before we start all over again!

One word to sum me up:

Oh geez…  passionate?  Ambitious?  I have a hard time picking a “favorite” anything, because it’s always hard for me to choose just one thing – like one word!

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 Mom: Stephanie Hardy

Stephanie Hardy 2017

5 Minutes with a Mom logo 2017, FNBNWA 525

Name: Stephanie Hardy

Kids’ names and ages:

Brylee age 10, Madelyn age 8, Emily age 6

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

I was born and raised here in NWA! I did travel a lot after high school when I joined the United States Army and served for 6 years. But this is my hometown and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Tell us about a day in your mom life:

kids lunchOh boy, where do I begin?! We wake up at 6 am and get ready for work  (I am a teacher) and they get ready for school. We prepare the night before getting clothes laid out, lunches made and shoes found…because I have learned that preparing the night before saves us about a hour worth of headaches, looking for socks and that other missing shoe.

I love that I am able to drop my kiddos off at school…I still yell out the window, “I love you and have a great day!” I will do that every time even if it embarrasses them!

After work and school my kids are active in the Boys and Girls Club! They have such a amazing program and have been a huge blessing for us. They train there 2x a week for 5ks and even take cooking classes. The programs are absolutely amazing and my kids love it!

I love dinner time and dinner time is always a special time because it’s a home cooked meal and we sit together around the table and talk about everything and anything. It’s bonding time for us and I enjoy it so much!

What was the last thing you laughed out loud about?

My daughter who is 6 is always so full of surprises with what she says…they other day she came up with this and I laughed out loud for hours….I told her that she needed to get  along with her sisters and she came back with, “I just cant help it Mom, I was just born this way!”

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

Definitely to be able to clone myself…Oh, the things I could get done!! To be cleaning, working, gymnastics practice, sport events,  well you get it…all of those places at once….whew that would be amazing!

What’s your favorite “me time” spot?

i love coffeeEarly in the morning I like to make a cup of coffee and just sit on my back porch and relax…its so peaceful.

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

I would love to travel route 66 and see all those incredible places along the way!

How would your best friends describe you?

Fun, outgoing and crafty!

What’s your favorite music and why?

I love the 80s music…Its just so fun!! It gets me moving and dancing, especially when cleaning!

When you’re feeling low, what’s your go-to activity?

Gardening! Who doesn’t smile when they are in a flower bed?

Do you have any plans for the summer?

This year we’ll be spending time outdoors…lots of fishing, camping and s’mores!

Which hobby would you like to pick up again?

Flea marketing!

What do you most want people to remember about you?

That I was a great Mother and even through hard times I still smiled and have gave it my all!

One word to sum me up:

Loving!

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 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