VOTE: Meet our 2014 Nom the Mom Finalists!

Nom the Mom 2014 VOTE (FB Size)Holy buckets, you guys! We asked for stories about fabulous moms and, ohhh boy, did you ever deliver! We were overjoyed by the response we got for our fourth annual Nom the Mom contest (want to see the pics of some of our nominees? Go here!).

You know how Oscar nominees always say “It’s an honor just to be nominated!” Well, I think that that is particularly true in this contest. What mom wouldn’t want to hear how amazing she is??? So thank you to everyone who shared their lovely moms with us! I wish that we could have selected ALL of those that were nominated! But *sigh* it just isn’t possible.

So once again, I asked for a volunteer committee of five Linn Area employees to each separately review each entry and then submit their top 5 moms to me. I complied their votes and the top 3 moms emerged to become your finalists in the Nom the Mom contest!

Now YOU have the toughest job of them all – CHOOSING the deserving mom who will win the Elevate Salon & Spa Pampering Prize Package worth $250 (info on HOW to vote is right after the three stories).

Here they are, in alphabetical order:

The Mom: Laura

Nominated by: Jill & Christine (her daughters)

Everyone claims their mom is the best. But mine really is. Of course she taught us those all important- and quite useful skills- of walking, talking, and potty training. (Thanks for those mom!) However, the things my mother have taught of the most importance, are things she taught by example. Through my school years she woke in the morning to make her pot of coffee and a batch of muffins before shuffling us out the door for school and then off to work her full time job. After work, she shuttled to and from our sports activities, made dinner, and helped with homework. She spent hours and hours proofing my papers- even through college. After getting us off to bed, she would then do house chores, pay bills, and her own homework (Yes, she even went to school!). When my father began his own business, she was his biggest supporter; she was also the only other employee. Now 14 years later, he has a fleet of eleven semi-trucks, and she still tackles this full-time office position daily.

But these don’t even scratch the surface of describing how wonderful she is. Four years ago on April 11, my brother was in a tragic motorcycle accident. He was taken by ambulance to St. Luke’s where his prognosis was grim. As they loaded him in the helicopter to life flight him to the U of I hospital, my parents were told to be prepared to say goodbye. With a few dozen miracles on his side, he hung in there. My mom stayed by his bedside every moment she was allowed those first days. She literally did not close her eyes for nearly three days, out of fear of missing any of the moments he might have left. He was in critical condition for days, in an induced coma for weeks, and in the hospital for a total of 174 days. His accident left him, a 19 year old, paralyzed from his chest down. It was just 4 days before his 20th birthday that he finally went home. Leaving the hospital was an exciting stage- but not nearly the end of the healing road. My mom tried to go back to work full-time, but was eventually laid off. Although rough, it enabled her to better manage my brother’s needs at the time. After leaving the hospital he still needed assistance with wound care, medications, and mobility. He still had several surgeries ahead. She shuttled him daily to physical therapy, group exercise, and appointments as far as Mayo Clinic.

Now, just past the four year anniversary, he has started driving lessons and gone back to school. I graduated college. My sister started college. I bought a house. She has devoted herself to making sure that we were all set up to succeed- regardless of the situation. She has always been the glue in our family and our biggest fans- and far too often received too little gratitude. She deserves to be pampered because she has always taken the time for everyone else but herself.  (Click here to vote now for Laura!)


The Mom: Jennifer

Nominated by: Amanda (her stepdaughter)

Jennifer, often called J.J by those of us closest to her does everything at 150%. Whether it’s baking cookies, cleaning house, having dance parties in her garage, or fighting the tumor in her brain…she simply doesn’t hold anything back. J.J. came into my life about 17 years ago when I was about 13. My younger sister Ashley and I were unsure at first about Dad’s new girlfriend and eventually fiancé as we are fortunate enough to have an amazing Mother ourselves.

The whole “Step Mom” persona was showing its ugly face and we just weren’t so sure we needed another Mom. But as it turns out, we hit the jackpot in gaining another Mother figure, and better yet friend in Jennifer. I still am not fond of the term “Step Mom”. Maybe I watched Cinderella too many times as a child, but that label makes me cringe. There’s nothing “step” about her. J.J. to me, was that very important woman in my life who I could turn to…a friend.

But one that, on top of my Mom and Dad, played a hand in shaping who I am. After our Dad and J.J. were married they welcomed our youngest sister Olivia into the world. Jen and Olivia had an immediate and special kind of bond. I’ve watched her publicly make a fool out of herself to make her laugh, encouraged her to love the skin she’s in, and created some of the best Halloween costumes and decorations for their favorite Holiday. I could list a million things that are alike about them, or that they’ve done together, or stories about how Jen has gone above and beyond for her mini me. But that wouldn’t be enough.

It’s impossible almost to put into 500 words what makes someone a magnificent Mother. It’s something you’re born with. Something that is just in you. For me, especially in my adult life, she has been a friend, a shoulder to cry on, someone to celebrate with, and someone to turn to. J.J. listens and empathizes and immediately starts to problem solve.

This past August when Jennifer was diagnosed with Glioblastoma we were devastated. But oddly enough, it was HER spirit and HER strength that lifted us all up. Jennifer is superwoman. No REALLY…I think she has a superwoman costume under her clothes and at night when we all go to sleep she is out saving people and fixing things. Between radiation and chemo, she still manages to take care of the people around her. But cancer is just a detail in a very amazing life. Jennifer….J.J… just good. Her spirit and her heart are gifts that aren’t often seen. Olivia, Ashley and I are lucky. Everyone who knows her is lucky. #FaasStrong (Click here to vote for Jennifer now!)


The Mom: Rachel

Nominated by: Matthew (her husband)

My wife Rachel is the most amazing mother I know. When it comes to our two sons Joey and Charlie, she is the most selfless and caring parent a kid could ask for. She is always there for them, whether it is to praise and cheer their achievements, or to console and give advice when things don’t go as planned. She has an undying love and patience with our kids that is both amazing and inspiring all at the same time. In any instance, she has that perfect “mom hug” that makes things feel even better – or lets them know everything is going to be okay.

Always a teacher at heart, she is always showing them how to do things around the house. She does this obviously so they learn responsibility and self-dependence, but in turn it is also helping make them more confident about themselves and their abilities. She also encourages their creative sides, and lets them know it is okay to express who they are and how they feel. She also helps stir their imagination by doing arts and crafts, or by sharing her love for reading and encouraging them to get lost in a good book.

One of the most important lessons she is trying to teach them is that you have to work hard to get what you want in life, and you should never give up. They have not only heard how important it is to get a good education and to make the best of what you have, they have also seen it with their own eyes. Rachel has showed them this first hand herself by going back to college to earn her B.A. degree in teaching. When she graduates in May of this year, Joey and Charlie will have witnessed four years of her hard work, sacrifice, the sleepless nights, the up’s and down’s, and even some of the tears that go with being a full-time student. In the end, they will see the reward when she accepts the diploma she earned and (hopefully) gets a position she wants in her career field. To top off this entire achievement, she has done this while continuing to be a full-time Mom and wife as well. Given the craziness of our household, this has certainly not been a small task.

Our sons are incredibly proud of their Mom, and feel very lucky to have her in their lives. The guidance and inspiration Joey and Charlie receive from her is something I wish all kids could experience in their lives. I know when she becomes a teacher, her students will feel the same as Joey and Charlie – and be that much better for having her in their lives. So because of this, on behalf of Joey and Charlie: I would like to nominate their awesome Mom (and my wife) Rachel for this award. She is very deserving and it would be a wonderful way to thank her for all that she does. (Click here now to vote for Rachel!)


How to vote!

To vote, click here! Anyone at all can vote – whether you have Facebook or not (we made sure of it!). Only one vote per person! We will be watching IP addresses and reserve the right to remove any votes we believe are not in compliance with our rules, so please play fair!

The knock-your-socks-off mom that gets the most votes by midnight on May 9th will win a Pampering Prize Package worth $250! So please go vote and help one deserving mom have the best Mother’s Day ever!