Where are you from and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to the area?

I grew up in Hawthorn Woods and attended Lake Zurich High School. I married my husband, Steve, in 2011. We lived in Palatine at the time, then moved to Long Grove for a few years. Next up was Vernon Hills, and finally as of this past November we’ve landed in Libertyville. We’ve been on a move every 3 years cycle, but I promised Steve Libertyville will be our long term home. (I’ll never truly commit to a forever home!) We fell in love with Libertyville over the past 6 years while our daughter has been coming to her nanny’s house and attending Village Green Montessori. When the opportunity presented itself to sell our Vernon Hills home and buy in Libertyville and be walkable to all downtown had to offer we went for it!

Do you have child(ren)? Age(s)

We have one 6 year old daughter, Tatum. (And 3 furry kids, Cali, Riley and Willa)

Photo Credit: Sophie Baron Photography

What are your favorite things to do in the area with and without your kids? Family friendly restaurant? Date night?

In the past few years we’ve really gotten into bike riding as a family so we enjoy hopping on the trails and going to explore for awhile. Usually we can convince Tatum to go for a long ride with us if it involves stopping at a park or two along the way. We’re excited to explore the Libertyville bike trails now that we’re here. We enjoy walking our dogs often and plan to take advantage of being able to walk them to some of the dog friendly restaurants downtown. O’Toole’s is one of our family favorites- our daughter has food allergies and they are great making sure she can eat safely. Casa Bonita is another favorite of ours. Anywhere we can walk to on nice days is a great bonus! Silo in Lake Bluff is another recent favorite of ours for the best pizza! As far as date nights- when those happen we usually find ourselves going out for Asian (usually Shakou) since it’s meal that we can’t easily navigate with our daughter’s allergies.

Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor or in the corporate world? Please share!

I am a full time working mom! My family owns a local pest control company called Aerex Pest Control. We’ve been in business for over 72 years, and my dad is the current owner. As he nears retirement in the next couple of years my brother and I have generally taken over the every day operations. I suppose I grew up knowing one day I’d follow his footsteps and join the business, but only after earning a college degree. I spent my high school and college summers working in the office for him and upon graduating from UW-Whitewater with a business marketing degree in 2007, I joined the family business. Pest control is certainly not the most glamorous business, but I truly take pride in our company. I think we have some of the best, most hard working employees working for us, and of course I know we provide the best service to our customers!

How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?

Having both my husband and I working full time we really rely on help for our daughter. Somehow as luck would have it we were introduced to the most amazing woman when I was pregnant with Tatum and looking for care for her. We decided to give it a go and have her watch Tatum in her home when I went back to work when Tatum was 7 weeks old. 6 years later that same woman still watches her every day and she’s been instrumental in helping us raise an amazing little human. We can never repay “Mama T” for all she’s done for our family. Before we moved to Libertyville and would come hang out on weekends we’d run into people who had no idea who we were, but knew Tatum just from our nanny taking her everywhere around town. She’s visited every park within a 3 mile radius, hit up every farmers market, parade, activity, library event, etc. This community became a second home for our daughter and now we’re lucky enough to call it our full-time home. Any working parent can tell you having people you trust to watch your child while you’re at work is an absolute necessity. We found that here not only in Mama T, but Tatum’s years at a Village Green as well. It takes a village to raise a child and we’re so lucky to have found ours.

Photo Credit: Sophie Baron Photography

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

That’s a tough one! Maybe that I make Steve kill most creepy crawlies. Just because my family owns a pest control company doesn’t mean I want to take care of the bugs! Or maybe that in college I volunteered with a ski program teaching special needs and disabled kids and adults how to ski. It started as an opportunity to get my necessary volunteer hours for my business degree, but I ended up continuing even after graduating and moving back home because it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. I took quite a few years off from skiing when life and marriage and a baby happened, but this past ski season we finally got Tatum on skis and she loved it so I hope to get back into skiing with her.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another Mom?

My own Mom’s favorite saying is “It is what it is” She says it often, and I rely on this mantra. There are so many things beyond our control, especially these days. I try to take things as they are, change what I’m able to, and not sweat the things I cannot. Also, try to enjoy every stage. I remember Tatum’s very young days being exhausted and wishing those new milestone would come like her sleeping, or talking to tell me what she wants. Now she’s 6 and those feel like they were a lifetime away. The days are long, but the years are short. I try to embrace and cherish every stage my daughter goes through, both the fun and not so fun.

What are your favorite places to travel near and far and why?

We’re definitely a cruise family. I grew up cruising and have continued to enjoy them into my adult life. Last year we took our daughter on a Disney Cruise and it’s been my favorite trip to date. Everything about it was magical. We especially appreciated how well they handled our daughter’s food allergies- never once did we worry she may be put in danger. I also completed my first 5K on that trip. I am not a runner by any means but somehow the Disney island motivated me to bring out my inner athlete. I look forward to going on another one soon! For a lot closer to home we enjoy trips to Kenosha in the summer for their awesome farmer’s market on Saturdays!

Tell me about your favorite book/s. I love receiving fiction and non-fiction recommendations!

I used to read quite a bit before I had my daughter. I often joke she caused me to lose my ability to focus so I haven’t read as many books as I’d like as of recently. Some of my recent favorites are as follows: Where’d you go, Bernadette (Maria Semple), I Found You (Lisa Jewell), The Last Child (John Hart)

What is next for you?

I hope what’s next is for the world to return to some normalcy! I truly believe this period of time in our life has made us all slow down and maybe appreciate some calm instead of the constant go. I can’t wait to get back to being able to freely see friends and family though, support local restaurants in person again, and see our own business get back to normal function. I hope the other side of this pandemic finds everyone more appreciative and kinder to one another. I’ve been incredibly impressed with the local community between small acts of kindness to grand gestures it proves we’re all in this together. I hope what’s next for me is to continue this trend and enjoy life as we used to know just a little bit more! As far as the business goes it’s always our goal to make sure people know our name and realize we’re a local family here to help.

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