Once Upon a Storybook - In the News:
Orange County Register: "In Tustin, Old African tales get a new lease" 12/27/15
Susie's interview with OC Mom Magazine
Meet Susie Alexander ■Featured OC Mom■The Latest by Mom Magazine - Jul 27, 2015
How many kids: 4 What ages: 25, 24, 23 (all boys), 19 (girl)
What city do you live in: Anaheim Hills
What is your favorite thing about being a mom: I love watching my kids grow up, develop thoughts, live out experiences, become responsible adults who contribute to society. Although I loved the sweetness of babies, the curiosity of preschoolers, and the inquisitiveness of school-age kids, I really appreciated them the most when they were teens and now young adults.
What is your least favorite thing about being a mom: We had a number of significant challenges with academic, emotional, and behavioral needs of our kids, which was truly exhausting. My least favorite thing in all of that was watching my kids make bad choices and having to see them live with the consequences.
Motherhood is full of surprises, what is one thing that has surprised you the most about being a mom: Every kid is different. I was one of those moms who believed that if I did certain things (had a great marriage, took my kids to church, was involved in their lives), that they would be the perfect kids! I have learned that every child is radically different from the next and makes his/her own choices. There is no magic formula that will turn them into compliant, responsible children.
Do you have a career: I own a children’s bookstore, Once Upon a Storybook, in Tustin!
If so, any advice you can share on balancing the work/family life: Life is all about seasons. When my kids were younger, I was very fortunate to work at home with a very flexible work schedule. I homeschooled for 18 yrs during that time. After my youngest got in to high school, I started working outside the home. The past six years has been a real lesson in delegation, prioritizing, and creating margin in my life. I haven’t mastered it yet. Because I work about 60 hrs a week at my business, my husband does almost everything at home. I’m still in the process of discovering routines that will help our family be more organized. So what I am saying is, life changes constantly, and you have to roll with it—you will never be perfect at everything, so enjoy the journey and learn along the way.
Give us your “inner Yoda” advice. What is that one thing you want to share with other moms: Life is a journey. When you start out with your husband, you have no idea what your life is going to look like 5, 10, 25 yrs from now. When I said, “I do,” I didn’t know that my husband would be 19 months without a job or that I would spend one Mother’s Day visiting my son in juvenile hall or that we would experience infertility and a failed adoption before having our full family of four kids. I’m glad I didn’t know—I would have run the other way screaming. But I wouldn’t change it—it’s the story God has written for my life, my marriage, my family. And He has been faithful to sustain through all of the trying times and rejoice with us through all of the successful times. I’m never afraid to try new things or for my husband to take a job that might take us to a new place—it’s all part of the journey!
When not with your kids, what do you like to spend time doing: Seriously, there’s nothing I like better than a good nap. I like to read (of course—I DO own a children’s bookstore!) and I’m a mean Candy Crush player.
Date night: Any great finds or places you like on date night: My husband and I love to walk The Circle in Orange. Living with a retail schedule means we do more date breakfasts than dinners (it’s all about seasons!).
What’s for dinner? Anything that can be grilled (because it’s yummy, healthy, and easy!) and a salad.
Five year plan. Where do you see yourself five years from now: Of course, as I said, I have no idea where my life will be in 5 yrs—I’m just living the journey, but, if I had my way . . . .My bookstore will be financially successful and have a wonderful reputation of serving the community. Because all of our children will be out of the house, my husband and I will live in a condo with a view that I will have learned how to keep clean and organized!
I am fortunate enough to be able to say I am living my dream. I am married to the greatest man in the world. I got to stay home with my kids, teach them at home, and work part time out of my home. Now, I am an entrepreneur, building a business I dreamed about for years, and it is making a difference to a number of families. God has given me opportunities to encourage other women as wives and mothers, and my children are growing and learning what it’s like to be adults. It’s a good life.