When I become a blogger I was looking for mentors in my industry and over and over again everyone was telling me about the “awesome valley mom” and that I had to meet her. I was fortunate enough to book a phone conversation with her and quickly learned what everyone was talking about!

Sure, she runs an awesome blog and shares great resources for local families, but that’s not the only reason I chose her as an inspirational woman this month. What really inspires me about Kristyl is her ability to be “real.” To share photos of her before her professional photo shoot, and have grumpy days when life isn’t going the way we planned. She’s a real valley mom, one we can relate to who is willing to share her story, including all of the honest details that writers sometimes tend to leave out.

I also love her passion for community. Whether it’s sharing off all the things that make life in the valley awesome or cheering on other local moms to help them succeed, she really is defining what being a Valley mom is all about. Collaboration, support, empowerment, honesty, trust, compassion. She’s a fantastic role model to her children and we’re lucky to have her as a leader in our community.

So please let me introduce Valley Mom, Kristyl Clark!

Kristyl shares her life in the Valley on her popular blog www.valleymom.ca

Kristyl shares her life in the Valley on her popular blog www.valleymom.ca


Jami: What are your Accolades and Accomplishments?

Kristyl quickly ducked out on this question… what a turkey (although I’m not surprised!) She was recently voted one of Vancouver’s top 30 Mom Bloggers and has a long list of accomplishments that she wouldn’t share with me. She’s pretty awesome though… if only there was an award for that. Check out her answer to the question, it’s proof that she’s pretty fantastic:

Kristyl: Hmm… this is a tough one. Of course, I’m so proud of my two young daughters, Molly, 5, and Zoe, 3. I look at them and think, wow, they came out of me???? However, I can’t really take credit for amazing they are. That’s all them, their handsome daddy’s genes and Mother Nature.

But to be truthful, it’s my marriage that is my biggest accomplishment. This August will be our 10th wedding anniversary, which just blows my mind. It still feels like yesterday that I picked him up at a karaoke bar over a shot of Tequila.

“Cheers, you’re hot!” I told him as we clinked glasses.

Jason was only supposed to be a week-long distraction until I left for Journalism school in Kamloops, but we ended up falling, hard, after two weeks.

He put a ring on my finger after just four months of dating. Isn’t that crazy?

We were so young by today’s standards. I’m pretty sure everyone thought I was pregnant, which was why we were in such a rush to tie the knot. But no, just two crazy kids head-over-heels in love.

The first couple of years were tough, many days –impossible, but we powered through them. Even now, it’s not always easy, but we fight tooth and nail to make it work. I look forward to being grandparents with him one day… hopefully not anytime soon though.

Adventure Awaits-6

Jami, “What do you do when you’re not writing your blog?”

Kristyl, “Writing blog posts for other people! You see, I’m a professional ghost. Boo!

Actually, it’s really not all that scary being a ghostwriter, but sometimes the topics assigned my way can be a little eerie. I once wrote a 1,000- word post on how to survive a Zombie Apocalypse using wood pallets.

When I’m not glued to my seat with a coffee in hand, I love to be active. Whether it’s chasing the ball around with the kids at the park or going for a run — exercise is the only thing that gets me out of my head… well, that and scary movies. Love them all!”

Jami, “Okay so tell us about your blog!”

Kristyl, “ValleyMom.ca (formerly known as She’s a Valley Mom) started two years ago as a hobby, and as an online portfolio of my work. I had left my full -time reporting job after my second daughter, Zoe, was born and was really missing writing. I also couldn’t find a job anywhere and was beginning to feel pretty down and sorry for myself.

Other than work at a newspaper again– and trust me, there are rarely job openings in that field– I felt like I didn’t have anything to offer the world.

So, I started blogging about our adventures in the Fraser Valley. I’ve always had friends asking me for tips and ideas of things they should do, whether it’s for a date night or with their kids, so the theme seemed like a natural fit.

I also wanted to connect moms, dads and grandparents with all the resources, hidden gems, hot spots and events in their own backyard, proving that you don’t have to leave the Fraser Valley for fun and adventure.

Within a couple of weeks of launching the ‘blogazine,’ I already had a strong team of talented contributors, was featured in ‘a handful of newspapers, including The Province’ and had sold my first ad.

The past two years have been a complete world wind of adventures. From spending an evening in a haunted location with the Vancouver Paranormal Team to taking and river rafting to a romantic helicopter ride over the’ valley with Jason, I have had more excitement since publishing the blog than in the past 33 combined.”

Kristyl Clark Valleymom (3)

Jami, “What is your favorite inspirational quote?”

Kristyl, “”Why fit in when you were born to standout” ~ Dr. Seuss.

It would take me until my 30’s to figure this one out, but I think I’ve finally got it down pat. Even as a young child, I never truly felt ‘normal.’ This was probably due to the fact I was born with a very rare nerve disorder called Markus Gunn Jaw Winking Syndrome that causes my left eye to dance whenever I move my jaw. Imagine being six-years-old and having the entire playground watch as you bite into granola bar. Nowadays, it’s fun ice breaker at parties.”

Not scared to stand out anymore!!!

Not scared to stand out anymore!!!

Jami, “Can you tell us about a time that you were scared? OR What’s a lesson you learnt from a time where you “failed”

Kristyl, “I never made it past my three-month probation for my first full-time reporting gig and I was devastated. I can still vividly recall packing a cardboard box with my belongings as ugly tears streamed down my face. To be truthful, I saw it coming a mile away, but there’s no way to prepare for that kind of sting. It hurts!

I took a couple of weeks to have a big pity party and then got off the couch and found myself an even better job that was more of a fit for my personality.  It also didn’t hurt that it was closer to home and offered a better salary.

As for the lesson, I realized that everybody fails from time to time, but it doesn’t make you a weak person. Honestly, it’s nothing to be embarrassed of. Just own it, learn from it and move on.”

 

Jami, “Who inspires you? Why?”

Kristyl, “This is an easy one — my mom! She raised my brother and me by herself on a cashier’s budget. The only assistance she received was $33 a month from the government, which doesn’t go very far.

We lived in a little illegal basement suite just off Scott Road in Surrey that had only a hot plate instead of a stove.  However, we never felt like we were ‘poor’ by any means.

What we didn’t realize was that my mom often went without. She rarely bought herself clothes, didn’t eat out or go on vacations. She was pretty thrifty. Imagine hosting a turkey dinner using just a hot plate and little convectional oven? I have no clue how she did it all without losing her mind.

I also watch now as she takes care of my 93-year-old grandpa. She does everything for everyone around her, without any help. She has such a generous, giving spirit.

I love that I’m able to take my mom on blogging events with me. She deserves to be spoiled and pampered!”

Who inspires you? "That's easy, my Mom!"

Who inspires you? “That’s easy, my Mom!”

Jami, “One song that always makes you get up and dance…”

Kristyl, “Just one? That’s a tough one. I do love the ‘Milkshake Song,’ but it hasn’t brought any boys to my yard yet.”

Kristyl Clark Valleymom (8)

Jami, “ I think it’s important for children to connect with nature because…”

Kristyl, “Nowadays, there are so many bloody screens everywhere. It’s so hard to pry their little eyes away. When we’re outdoors, they can use their imaginations, inhale fresh air and get some exercise.”

Jami, “Finish this sentence: My favorite local FAMILY adventure is____”

Kristyl, “Camping! As much as I love the comforts of home, I love tenting with my family. Our new family tradition is camping at Sunnyside in Cultus. Nothing beats the smell or taste of bacon crackling on the frying pan, hearing the birds sing and playing board games at a picnic table under a shady tree. When the sun goes down, we snuggle by the fire (if there’s no ban), laugh, tell stories and roast marshmallows.”

 

Kirstyl Clark Camping

Jami, “Finish this sentence: My favorite local SOLO adventure is____”

Kristyl, “I absolutely love spending half a day by myself in Fort Langley — it rarely happens, but it’s the ultimate indulgence.  We’re so lucky to live less than 10 minutes away from this gem here in ‘the Valley.’ I usually start off with a cappuccino on the patio at the Lelem Arts & Cultral Cafe (they’re the best in town), followed by a walk on the Fort-to-Fort trail. It’s so quiet, serene and ethereal — you can’t help but feel like you’re on a holiday.

If I have time, I’ll pop into a few of the shops on the main strip – the antique stores are always at the top of my list.”

Jami, “Girl Guide Cookie Talk: Do you like the chocolate or vanilla ones best?”

Kristyl, “Hmm… that’s a tough call. I’ve been known to make my own hybrid version: half chocolate and half vanilla. Of course, I have to dunk it in a milky-sweet cuppa tea, so it usually turns to mush before I get to take a bite.”