I know it must get redundant how I RAVE about all of the amazing women I get to interview each week, but it’s true!! They are all so incredible in such different ways. There is nothing “Stepford” about this group of ladies! Kimberly Fearing of Chicago had me rolling on the floor with her wit and humor. Loving her for her warmth and candor. Wanting to be her friend so I could feel that “oh my gosh, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much!” What a beauty this one is. I hope you enjoy getting to know Miss Kimberly and her world as much as I did.
Q: Tell us about yourself. Just the basics.
A: My hubby Ben and I have lived in Chicago for almost 10 years now. Wow. I didn’t even realize it had been that long, but yeah we moved here a year after we were married when he decided to get his doctorate at a university here. That’ll shake things up as newlyweds to move to a state where you don’t know a single person. We have a spunky and hilarious almost 5-year old daughter Emilyn and a sweet lil’ momma’s boy Greyson, who just turned two. His wife is just gonna looooove me for that one day. We’re actually both from Texas so we’ve got some good Southern roots in us but that thank you card gene sadly just did not stick. Both of our families are all still in Texas, including all four – almost five – nephews. Ben and I actually met the summer before I went away to A&M (then TCU, then Baylor!) but that’s a whole other interview.
Q: What do you love most about having a family?
A: You’re not kiddin’ around with these questions. The kids aren’t old enough yet to say I love having them around so they can clean the house for me…
I love the security it brings. There’s a sweet peace about knowing I have this man and these little nuggets who love me no matter what. Oh man, I sure do hope they love me no matter what because I haven’t even begun to embarrass them yet once they hit junior high.
Q: What do you wish most for your children?
A: Not to throw a tantrum while stripping all her clothes off in the middle of a crowded public place with seemingly millions of compliant children and onlooking moms. I’m still a bit scarred from that day.
If they became God following adults with a heart for servant leadership, I could happily overlook the knots on my head from banging it against the wall. Those two are gonna move mountains one day, and I pray it’s with humility and with a joy to serve everyone around them while doing it.
Q: What is the best part about being a mother?
A: That there is no right or wrong way to do the job. Well I suppose there are a lot of legally wrong ways but you get to just be you parenting in your own unique way. I find that invigorating. It took me a while to embrace that and not critique myself against whatever the “norm” supposedly was in my head. To be able to have a confidence in what you’re doing because you can only mess them up so much, right?! We’ve all had those low days, but the highs…nothing in this world can get you there in that way. As a girl who likes to overlook the rules, I sure do love that we can break all of them and just do it our way. When you get to that place, you can’t help but have fun and of course look like a total idiot while doing it.
Q: What is the worst part?
A: Poop. Vomit. Screaming. Whining. Bedtimes. Picky eaters. Public humiliation. Not being able to wear white. Being a referee. Having some silent alarm that goes off in their brains as soon as you get on the phone telling them INTERRUPT! INTERRUPT!
But the worst worst part? The GUILT! Those end of the day final thoughts lying in bed and replaying all the “I wish I didn’t…” and “I wish I did…” moments. That list fills up fast doesn’t it?! Desperately trying to remember in those weak hours the grace and mercy that comes from my faith in Christ and accepting it. That’s been the hardest thing for me to reconcile. We beat ourselves and each other up a lot as moms and oh so quick to judge before really learning each other’s stories. Being a mom is harder than any other job I’ve ever had, and I had a lot of super whiny clients in my law firm days. It doesn’t just start with getting them to school and end with dragging them to bed. Every second of every day the knowledge that you are the very person they are watching, hearing, following, idolizing, can feel overwhelming. Yeah we’re gonna mess that up so there has to be room for grace. A budget for their future therapy wouldn’t hurt either.
Q: If you could pick up your family and move anywhere, where would you go and why?
A: Do you really have to ask this when we already have family that think we’re too far away now?
But this is easy. London. I went there with Ben a few years ago and I kind of fell in love. He says it’s because of the shopping, which I deny (but ok have you been into Accessorize and Top Shop?? ‘cause I think I went into about 10 of each while there). I just loved every minute of the culture, the people, the hustle, the history, the Indian food. Yes, terrific Indian food. Who knew?
Oh man. I would pack my bags and pay any baggage overage fees in a heartbeat.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: Haaa. I don’t even know where I see myself in 5 minutes. This is impossible for me because I am just not a planner. Every morning I act shocked that we’re going to be late for school as if it’s a surprise we even had school that day.
I don’t know. I truly don’t know. I do still see us doing life in Chicago. We feel a peace about living here and that we are in the midst of God’s work here. Beyond that, I have no idea and quite honestly, it’s my favorite part about my life. It’s always an adventure when you don’t anticipate what happens next!
Q: What made you fall in love with your husband?
A: His miming ability. Hehe. We did meet on a mission trip where he broke his thumb twice doing a miming skit, and how can you not fall in love with someone for that kind of commitment to miming?
His wit. He is on a short list of people who can make me pee my pants from laughing so hard. Probably good it’s a short list! He’s absolutely hilarious. He can match my sarcasm and pranks without skipping a beat. I always know I’m in for an adventure when I’m with him and that’s why I love him even more 11 years later.
But there’s another amazing thing about him. He overflows with abundant grace. Being married to me for almost 11 years is a testament to that. Poor guy. But he never ceases to amaze me with how he loves me for all my crazy.
Q: What is one thing about him that makes you “crazy?”
A: Now you’re just trying to start a fight so I have to say something like oh he’s just too nice. (I’ll write my real answer below in size 6 font.)
He has to travel 4-5 days a week with his consulting job. Booo. We’ve gotten into a little routine with it as much as we can, but I just miss having him around. There are moments when I wish he was there just to laugh together at the ridiculous tantrum going down in front of me because she couldn’t have Oreos for breakfast. It’s like having your best friend move away and missing them in your everyday world. But he impacts people’s lives on a daily basis with his job and loves what he does and that’s exactly what I would want. Just wish I got to rest in his arms more at the end of the day.
And I have to throw this in. He always manages to shave his beard within minutes after I’ve cleaned the bathroom sink. Every time. Minutes…
Q: What would he say if I asked him the same question about you?
A: Don’t even bother asking him. My relentless spontaneity. I’m the person that’s like “Hey we have nowhere to be tomorrow so lets’ go on a road trip 5 hours away. I have no idea where we’re staying or what we’ll do when we get there but doesn’t it sound fun?!” I can see him rolling his eyes at me while packing up the car.
I’m the person who invites people over all the time for holidays and events and will forget to tell him until he asks me what our plans are the next day.
“Oops, did I not tell you we’re hosting Thanksgiving and 10 people you’ve never met are coming? Surrrpriiiise!”
Yet he’s also that guy who will drive to Honey Baked Ham for me an hour before they close because I just invited everyone over without actually thinking about what we’d eat, what time we’ll start, blah, blah, blah. The details. I’m not in the details. Just in the moment. It drives him a bit nutty because he can’t keep up.
Q: If you could have any talent, what would it be and why?
A: For sure you will all think I’m nuts after answering this one, but I would kind of love to speak with an accent. My best friend Jules is from Northern Ireland and everything with an accent just sounds so much cooler. Something as simple as “I had a plain bologna sandwich for lunch” makes people go WOW, doesn’t that sound like the most appetizing and delicious entree. “I actually liked your hair better before you got it cut.” Oh my goodness, did you hear? She LOVED my hair.
Try it. It works.
Q: How did you become a Trunk Keeper? Tell us your story.
A: One of my dear friends Amanda had a trunk show in Chicago when Emi was just 6 months old. Emi needed EVERYTHING but Ben seemed to think she needed nothing. So her Trunk Keeper Cindy Tokoly did a show for me at my house so I could in fact get everything for a lot less. If you’ve ever met Cindy, you can’t help but adore her and just want to emulate her…hoping maybe she’ll invite me on her next trip to China for that ;)… so she sparked my interest in this whole Trunk Keeper thing. We would chat about me being a TK every season when she’d do a show for me but it never seemed like quite the right time. I didn’t even have these grandiose shows but she would drive over an hour to my house every time and never have anything but a smile and joyful heart. I was working in a job that really wasn’t the right fit for me so this job was a huge leap of faith for our family when I went for it, and it has been the biggest blessing in my life. In our lives.
Q: What do you love most about being a TK?
A: Working with Matilda Jane has become such an integral part of my story now of God’s faithfulness in my life. It has allowed me the incredible opportunity to meet women that I don’t see how I would have ever met – to build relationships with them and hopefully be an encouragement to some who so desperately are seeking it. I know it might sound overly dramatic to some, but it has allowed me opportunities to be invested in these amazing women’s lives. You would stand in awe at some of the women I meet and what they’ve done, goals they’ve achieved, challenges they’ve overcome. Truly inspiring stories.
But there’s something else that makes me so happy that sometimes I have to fight back the tears so I don’t embarrass myself… When I hear moms tell me or even better I see those sweet girls’ faces in person when they try on Matilda Jane and feel pretty, it just sends chills through me. Those tweens feeling beautiful in these clothes and telling me they get compliments at such an awkward and insecure phase of life is my absolute FAVE! It’s what I wish for every single one of them.
Q: If you could live in one article of clothing, what would that be?
A: Well let’s be honest. I do live in one article of clothing most days.
**If someone ever came to a trunk show two days in a row with me, they might be a bit sickened by seeing me in the very same outfit from the day before- with perfume of course.**
But my favorite piece of clothing is the Stillwater Dress. I have no idea what it’s made of besides indestructible goodness because it doesn’t wrinkle when thrown on the bathroom floor and stepped on over and over. It always looks adorable. Matches everything. If one of my kids ever gets a permanent marker on that thing, the unconditional love might come to a screeching halt.
Q: If you could eliminate one bad habit you have, what would it be?
A: Wellllll I truly hate to admit it, but I’m late. And that’s the worst kind of bad habit because you can’t hide it!! Nothing like admitting you’re late to your employer right now. Surprisingly I’m actually on time to shows. No really, really I am!! But otherwise, I totally keep plumbers hours. Meeting for a playdate at a park at 10 in the morning for me means I’ll see you between 10-2 that day. Spontaneous I told you. I just don’t do well with making plans ahead of time. And if you know me real well, you start telling me to meet you 30 minutes before you plan to get there.
Q: In your free time, what is your favorite thing to do?
A: I love the ease of hanging out with my girlfriends. Sitting around and laughing at ourselves. Being a goofball and not caring to interpret the looks we’re getting from that booth over there. I cherish those friendships since we’re so far from family. So whether we’re at a fancy dinner, on a road trip or just sitting in my living room with takeout, I wouldn’t want to do life without any of them.
One day I hope my answer is ohhh, I just love working out.
Q: What is one food you don’t ever want to live without?
A: Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Thin Pretzles. Those things are the best breakfast, lunch, appetizer, I’ve had a bad day food. I’ll have to organize a picket if they ever take them away.
Q: Favorite blogs or websites?
A: I know this will shock some and confirm for others I’m a loon, but I actually don’t read blogs. I know I know. Who am I? Does she even have a smart phone? Does she know that tweeting is not what birds do?
After Facebook, texting and email, I don’t need another distraction from hitting the 6 hour mark and realizing I never changed Grey’s diaper from the morning.
But my friend Christina turned me on to this blog written by a dad and he’s really funny. Jasongood.net
Q: If you could change one thing is this world to make it a better place for your children, what would it be?
A: Since I don’t have the power to remove all sin and temptation they’re going to encounter, I suppose that we would be a people filled with compassion and joy for life no matter the curve balls. If we could get back to more talking and less texting, so that we could really hear people, I think we’d start learning people’s stories and knowing how to love them best. We all deserve a little dose of that.
If you asked this question to Emilyn and Greyson, they might tell you something like having TV’s and DVD’s with voice commands so they can watch endless quantities of Wild Kratts and Elmo.
I want to give credit to haley b Photography in Frisco, TX and Leigh Wilcoxson Photography in Lexington, KY (and my hubby). Thanks for your amazing job of photographing and editing us 😉