Chicago's west suburban communities have countless fabulous families, all making a difference in the world around them in their own unique way. Each month we feature a few of them. Here are this month's featured fabulous families.
The Paulson Family
KANELAND – Not only is she the executive director of the Kaneland Arts Initiative (KAI) and the auditorium manager for Kaneland High School, she’s also an educational writer for a music software company…and a wife and mother. Maria Dripps-Paulson is one busy lady!
She and husband Tim, who is a project manager at Engineering Enterprises, Inc. (EEI), moved to Sugar Grove in 1999 because she was offered the job as band director at Kaneland and Tim started his career at EEI. “Because the district was so large, we wanted to live inside it, due to long band director hours,” says Maria. “We absolutely love our location!”
Shortly after moving here, Maria and Tim decided to start a family and had Philip, who is now 12 years old and a 7th grader at Harter Middle School. Four years later, the Paulsons added to their family (in a big way!) and had triplets, Clara, Zoe and Naomi, who are 3rd graders at Blackberry Creek Elementary.
In their bustling home, it’s not surprising Maria has a motto of “Practice how you perform” and “Everything you do must make it better.” And in true Paulson family style, Philip, Clara, Zoe and Naomi are active kids involved in everything from church choir to running. “The Fox Valley Children’s Marathon had each child run 1 mile at a time this summer until they reach 25 miles,” explains Maria. “The last 1.2 miles was a group run event in St. Charles on marathon day. As you can expect, Tim and I made great chauffeurs.” -Tiffany Schultz
Favorite Local Establishment: Alice’s in Elburn is a family favorite – the kids are attempting to work their way through all of their ice cream offerings.
Best Family Vacation: Every summer we create a summer bucket list for our “stay-cation.” We include such fun things as: joining the Sugar Grove Library summer reading program, indulging in a Raging Waves day and last but not least, a pajamas day where we stay in our pj’s all day and just relax!
On Sunday Night You’ll Find Us: At Village Bible Church in our AWANA club (for us girls) and youth group for Philip.
Our Family is Very Passionate about: Our faith, the arts and learning!
Our Favorite Thing About Our Neighborhood: Is that we never stop discovering great places to explore! We love to be out and about at our library, our church, or participating in community events. The Kaneland community is so unique in that regard – so many opportunities to be had.
The McLachlan Family
DOWNERS GROVE – Nine years ago, Colleen and Brian McLachlan left successful careers in L.A. to move to Chicago’s western suburbs to open Doggie Depot Daycare in Downers Grove. Their inspiration was their golden retriever Sadie whom they bought a week after their honeymoon. Brian explained they both worked long hours and had to take Sadie to daycare “because she was nuts. That’s what started us down this path.”
Although they both had what they originally thought would be their “forever jobs,” Brian said, they soon realized that they weren’t doing what they would want to be doing for the next 30 years. “We decided to look into starting our own doggie day care,” Brian said. “It took us 2½ years to get up the courage to sell our house, quit our jobs and do it.” They have found themselves in the enviable position of being able to expand Doggie Depot twice.
They’ve also expanded their family. They have two sons: Rory (1) and Parker (5). Furthermore, in addition to Sadie, they have Callie and Mack, who are also golden retrievers.
With their popular business comes a certain degree of fame. Brian said that they are frequently recognized around town. “We live and work and play right here in town and see a lot of people. I love seeing people out and about. It’s the type of business we’re in. We’re not taking care of people’s dry cleaning. We’re taking care of a beloved family member.” -Wendy Foster
Favorite Local Restaurant:? Berto’s Deli and Pasta Shoppe.
On a Sunday Night You’ll Find Us: Playing in our backyard.
Best Family Vacation: It will be in 2016 when there will be 21 McLachlans renting a villa together in Costa Rica.
The Hurd Family
NAPERVILLE – Naperville has always been home to Janet Hurd – she grew up here, later moved to England, but came back to Naperville to be near family. She and her husband, Dave, have made Naperville their home for the past 17 years and are raising their three children, Vicki (15), Michael (13), and Zach (9) in their beautiful newly built home by McKeown Classic Homes, Inc. in the Green Acres subdivision. “We've been planning and building for 2 years, so we're very excited to be moving in now,” Janet shares.
When the family is not busy volunteering at Naperville Central High School; or on the St. Thomas the Apostle care pantry and gardening committee; or with the All Saints Catholic Academy education committee; or in the school library; or coaching Naperville Park District soccer teams, they can be found sideline, cheering the kids as they play soccer for Galaxy soccer club and the park district.
Back home, the Hurds are thoroughly enjoying the unique features of their new home, including the built-in aquarium and the large sliding service window and serving ledge which make entertaining in the rear covered veranda very convenient; plus the kids love showing off their smoothie bar! Janet worked closely with the design team at Liam Brex and may likely win Kitchen Gal of the Year with her own personal “mom cave,” perfectly situated behind a wood and wrought iron wine cellar door leading to the pantry, conveniently connected on the other side to her private space; thus, keeping her home organized and clutter free.
Janet loves raising her family in the town she grew up in and plans on creating hometown traditions for years to come. –Kristen Kucharski
Our Family Motto Is: If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing right.
A Famous Family We are Most Like: The Incredibles -Vicki can be Violet, Michael can be Dash and Zach can be JackJack.
Most Memorable Family Vacation: We just took an RV trip this summer out west to the Rockies with some good friends from England. 9 people, 1 RV, definitely memorable!
On a Sunday Night, You'll Find Us: Frantically finishing homework so we can watch a movie; Sunday night has always been movie night in our house.
Do the Cubs or Sox Rule in Your House? Cubs 4, Sox 1
The Totsch Family
OSWEGO – Married for 24 years, Jim and Bev Totsch, who in their first ten years together moved nine times, are used to being movers and shakers. So when asked why they settled on Oswego and have stayed for over 13 years, Bev cites soccer and friendliness of the community.
“Jim was helping to run a Naperville-based club soccer program,” says Bev, “and in helping to plan a tournament, he got to know several really great people from the Oswego club. So when we decided to sell our house in Naperville, Oswego quickly jumped to the top of the list!”
And after living in Oswego for a year, the Totsches continued to lay down roots by starting their own business, Tranquility Builders, a general contractor specializing in home improvement projects, with a focus on customer service and good business practices.
Over the years, the Totsches have also maintained their commitment to community soccer clubs, and as a result two of their four children have chosen soccer-related professions.
Elliot (who is the only Totsch child still at home) is the assistant varsity soccer coach for Oswego High School and son Sean, who currently lives in Rochester, NY, plays professional soccer for the Rochester Rhinos. They have another son, Ryan, who is a junior at Olivet Nazarene University as well as one daughter, Jen, who lives in Beecher with her husband, Zach.
The biggest key to their success? Bev says they have always felt like a team because everyone has always had to pitch in and help around the house and with the business. “We are and always have been a very close family.” -Tiffany Schultz
Favorite Local Establishment: Benny’s for brunch!
Most Memorable Family Vacation: My (Bev) family’s lake house on Lake Upsilon near the Canadian border outside of St. Johns, North Dakota - it’s hands down our favorite place to get away.
On Sunday Night You’ll Find Us: Usually sitting at the table on our deck, getting prepared and organized for the week to come.
A Famous Family We are Most Like: We are more like every other family, than any famous family. We are really involved with our kids and we love our business, our clients and our community.
Why We Love Our Neighbors: Because we work such long hours and one or both of us are usually at some sort of soccer event, our neighbors have really looked out for us…and they are always asking about the kids. Great people, just like so many Oswego families we have the privilege of knowing.
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