I was blown away by the response to the first feature of the Moms of Bismarck|Mandan series. Totally blown away! Watching the praise and beautiful comments that Angela received for days after it was posted, made me fill up with pride and gratitude. I was proud to see the moms of our community come together to support one of our own, and so grateful that you all took the time to read it, share it, and send words of encouragement. I’ve said it several times before, and I’m going to keep repeating it…when we take the time to really, truly get to know someone, it can change our perspective on how we see others and ourselves.
I hope that this series is something that you will look forward to each month. If you’d like to receive updates via email, you can subscribe using the button in the upper left corner. PLEASE leave some encouragement and/or your thoughts in the comments. It is a lot to ask for someone to open up their mind and their heart and share it with us so graciously.
If you are not familiar with the background of this project or if you’d like to nominate an inspiring Bismarck|Mandan mom that you know, PLEASE GO READ THE ORIGINAL POST (or click the icon on the right).
I am thrilled to share with you the February featured mom, Tammy Czapiewski! When I received this nomination, I knew right away this was a woman that I needed to meet. She has experienced something that is a mother’s worst nightmare, but from her pain she has worked incredibly hard to create something positive from it. Her strength is incredible, and she is extraordinarily inspiring in so many ways. And the timing could not be better because the Czapiewskis just added a new little family member! Tammy was nominated by her friend Sarah Grendahl, and this is and excerpt of what Sarah had to say:
I don’t know this mom well, but I am blessed to call her my friend. Her name is Tammy Czapiewski. Tammy always has a smile on her face. Always. But I could always see sadness in her eyes. I later realized that she also had a daughter, Addison, who passed away when she was at her first week of daycare. My heart breaks for her whenever she posts a picture of Addison. I know she must be going through so much pain, but she continues to smile at everyone she meets. She has this great, kind, gentle and fun spirit, and she’s a wonderful mom. She doesn’t see herself as strong, but she is stronger than she knows.
She is fighting through her pain and trying to make something positive in her grief by passing Addison’s Law. She is also due to have another baby in just two weeks. She’s a strong and inspiring mother, and I only wish her and her family the best.
1. Tell us your story!
My name is Tammy Czapiewski. My home town is Devils Lake, ND. My parents are Paul and Alice Winnegge. I have one brother, Paul, who lives in Devils Lake, and a sister, Kim, who lives in MA. I graduated from Lake Region State College in 2003, obtaining my Associate degrees from the Office Management and Administrative Assistant programs. I have been working at the Bismarck Police Department for ten years and am happy to call Bismarck home.
2. Tell me about your family.
I met my husband, Pete, in 2001 when I was a senior in high school. We met at Pizza Hut. He was a cook and I was a server. We both attended college together and got married in 2004. We have called Bismarck our home for ten years. My husband is an officer with the Mandan Police Department. We have three children; Dylan, Addison, and Jordyn. Dylan is 7 years old and is a phenomenal boy. He is smart, funny, loves sports, and has such a kind heart. Addison would have been 3 years old but passed away at 6 months old. She had the most beautiful brown eyes and her smile lit up the room. She had the most infectious giggle and was such a sweet girl. Jordyn is five weeks old. She has so many facial expressions and loves cuddling. She is starting to smile and coo and I love watching her change and grow each day.
3. What is a typical day like for you?
Right now, I’m still on maternity leave so a typical day consists of waking up at 0600 with my son and getting him ready for school. We leave the house for school at 0800 and then I come home and spend the day with my newborn. After school, we go to Dylan’s activities. On the nights where nothing is scheduled, we spend the night together as a family and enjoy movie nights and game nights. Right now, my son’s favorite game is Monopoly so we spend many evenings playing that. When my maternity leave ends, my new routine will include returning to work with my baby. I’m so blessed to be able to bring Jordyn to work with me for a few months and look forward to having more mommy/daughter time together before she starts daycare later this summer. We end our day with our nightly routine of books and prayers.
4. What is one thing that you wish to accomplish, but haven’t yet.
One thing I wish to accomplish would be for Addison’s Law to pass this year. This is something I’ve worked on for a long time and is very important to me. This law would ensure that safe sleep standards are being met in licensed daycares. Recently, the bill for Addison’s Law passed in the House and will now be going to the Senate in March to be voted on. I am very hopeful that this bill becomes a law this year.
5. What is an everyday moment that you’ve had with your family that you cherish?
An everyday moment with my family that I cherish is when we are all together at the end of the day. Every day is different…sometimes we have family game nights, sometimes we have movie nights, and sometimes the guys are being loud and crazy while Jordyn and I are cuddling on the rocking chair. I love all of our moments together but simply being together in the evening is my favorite time of day.
6. What is one life event that really shaped who you are today?
Becoming a mommy shaped me into the person I am today. It is a blessing to be a mom to my three kids and is hands down the most amazing gift I’ve been given.
7. Share a story about someone in your life who has made a significant impact on you.
When my daughter, Addison passed away in 2012, my life changed forever. She passed away at daycare and she is the reason I am advocating for Addison’s Law to be passed. Addison was laid down for a nap while she was fussy and awake and was not checked on for 45 minutes. Additionally, there was no monitor in the room that she was sleeping in. Addison’s Law would require all licensed daycare providers to have annual training regarding safe sleep practices and SIDS training. My daughter passed away on her third day of daycare at just six months old. It is my hope that this law will save other parents from having to endure the unthinkable tragedy of burying their baby. One day, I will share Addison’s story with my son and daughter and I know they will be proud of Addison.
8. If you could share one piece of wisdom to all mothers, what would it be?
Slow down and enjoy all of life’s moments with your kids. They change so much every day and it is so important to make memories with them rather than always rushing through life. Your kids are only little once…everything else can wait.
9. What are you most proud of and why?
I am most proud of my family. They are my everything and bring me so much happiness each day. I am blessed to have such an amazing husband and kids. Watching my son become the incredible boy that he is brings me so much joy and I’m so proud of him. He has such a huge heart and is an outstanding son and big brother. I am so proud that our family is so strong and loving and I know we can get through anything together.
10. What do you love most about your husband?
My husband and I have been together for 14 years and married for 10 years. I love his sense of humor and how he can brighten my day with his smile. He is a phenomenal husband and dad. Watching him interact with my son and daughter melts my heart and I fall in love with him more and more each day. He is my rock and my best friend and I am so blessed to have him as my husband.
11. What photos are you most grateful to have?
I am most grateful to have some amazing pictures from our last vacation with Addison. It is so great to have those moments in time captured forever of my then 4 year old son and 6 month old daughter. I look forward to taking more pictures of my kids as they grow and hope to start scrapbooking some day when life slows down a bit.
12. What do you wish you had more photos of?
I wish I had more family photos. It seems like the majority of the pictures that I have are pictures that I have taken so it would be nice to have more pictures of all of us together as a family.
13. What is the best piece of parenting advice that you have ever received?
Simply to just do the best that I can. There will be days when dishes are in the sink and the never-ending laundry pile is getting larger. Spending quality time with my kids is the most important priority of mine. At the end of the day, if my kids are healthy and happy, I have succeeded.
14. What is something that causes you fear or anxiety?
I worry that my kids will never know how much I love them.
15. What is your favorite quote or verse and what does it mean to you?
Cherish yesterday, dream tomorrow, live today. I love this saying because it really puts everything into perspective.
16. What do you feel is your most admirable trait?
I feel my most admirable trait is that I am a very loving person. I hope that is something that I pass down to my children as they grow up.
17. What would you like to change about yourself?
I would like to learn to relax more and not plan things so much. Life is so much more fun when I’m not constantly focused on what is next on my to-do list.
18. What is something about you that would surprise even the people who know you well?
That I’m very strong-willed. If there is an issue I feel strongly about I will put everything I have into it to make a difference. When it comes to my children, I will always be their biggest advocate.
19. What is the most important thing that you hope to leave your children with?
I hope they know that I will always be there for them and that they know that I loved them with my entire being. I hope they know they can do anything they set their minds to and that I will be there for them every step of the way. Most of all, I hope they realize that they are my most treasured blessings.
20. What is something that your children have taught you?
My children have taught me how precious time is.
And a few favorites, just for fun!
Favorite book? The Notebook
Favorite meal? Steak, grilled potatoes and corn on the cob
Favorite Holiday? Christmas
Favorite color? Pink
Favorite TV show? Modern Family
Favorite household chore? Laundry
Favorite song on the radio right now? Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
Favorite Disney Movie? Wreck it Ralph. I love watching that movie with my son.
Do you know a Bismarck | Mandan mom who you feel is incredibly inspiring? It can be anyone who inspires you in any extraordinary way, the only criteria is that they must be a mother and live in the Bismarck | Mandan area. Please send me a note telling me a bit about this mom and how they inspire you! Email to: EVERYDAYARTPHOTO@GMAIL.COM