by JAMES RADA, JR. photography by KELLY HECK

Ten years can be a lifetime in mom years. Kids can go from infancy to Instagram, or from middle school to marriage. When Carroll Magazine wrote about some of the county’s Top Moms back in 2005, none of them were grandmothers and all of them still had children in school. But time has passed. We caught up with three of the four 2005 Top Moms to see how their views on family, life, and motherhood have changed in a decade.

In 2005, Joan Mason of Hampstead was very busy mother as she managed eight children ranging in age from 6 to 17. Amid this sometimes-chaotic world, she honed her management skills and kept her sense of humor. Carroll Magazine tried to catch up with Mason again for this article, but our calls were not returned.

In 2005, Carol Yocum of Mount Airy had ministered to Calvary United Methodist Church with her husband, Dennis, for 19 years. The church was her second family, and juggling it with her first family could be difficult at times. But, with effort, she managed.

Not only is Yocum still a mother of three daughters, but she is also a grandmother to her daughter Julianne’s three children.

“It’s wonderful,” Yocum said. “I love being a grandmother.”

Daughters Julianne and Karalee have moved away and have started families of their own. A third daughter, Elizabeth, still lives at home.

Julianne is music director for a church in Centerville, while Karalee is a teacher in Frederick County. As luck would have it, it’s the daughter who lives the farthest away who has the children.

“I haven’t been able to see my grandkids as much as I would like,” Yocum said. “I’m really just starting to feel involved in their lives.”

It isn’t just the distance that has kept Yocum from her grandchildren — life events have intervened, as well. In 2009, Yocum’s increasingly frail mother came to live with her. Meanwhile, Yocum learned she had breast cancer. She underwent two surgeries, eight rounds of chemotherapy and 33 radiation treatments.

Retiring from her ministerial work in 2011 helped free up a bit of her time, but the cancer treatments left her tired. Her mother died last year.

But now, with her cancer treatments over, Yocum says she is beginning to enjoy the good things in her life. She is pursuing hobbies and volunteering. Her husband retired last summer, and the two of them are making plans to travel.
“Life is good, and I’m fortunate,” she said. ❖
In 2005, Jeannie Nichols of Sykesville was a city councilwoman and very active in community causes and events. Her home-based business allowed her to stay home with her children. The fact that the family didn’t have cable TV or video games helped minimize wasted time in front of the television, so her family interacted more with each other.

The youngest of her four children, Christopher, was 9 years old in 2005. He graduated from high school in 2014, so her home is now emptier.

“We’re thinking of downsizing our home,” Nichols said. “We have rooms we don’t use anymore.”

With her children growing into adults and venturing out on their own, she has seen her relationship with them change.

“It was fun to watch the children grow into adults, but now it’s different how I interact with them,” Nichols said. “I think I finally just realized that I can’t direct my children’s lives anymore.”

She is still working from home, but she sold her former business in order to slow down a bit and pursue others interests. She has been certified as a dog trainer. She is also a painter and is selling her work.

“I got to go back to what I love, and I’m enjoying the pace of life,” she said.

She has also cut back on her community and volunteer work. Her main volunteering nowadays is with the Maryland SPCA.

She is also enjoying the time with her husband, Bill, who still works full time. ❖


In 2005, Jeannie Vogel of Westminster worked three nights a week as a labor and delivery nurse at Mercy Hospital. It was a career chosen more for its schedule than for her passion for the work.

Ten years later, Vogel might just be hitting her stride. Her youngest child, Audrey, is now a sophomore in college.

Before becoming a mother, Vogel had worked as a pastry chef. While raising her children, she worked nights as a nurse so she could be home with them during the day when her husband, Bernie, was working.

As her children grew up and did not require as much attention, she started baking again, but on her own terms. In 2010, she started selling baked goods at farmers’ markets. Then, last year, she expanded her business to a permanent location in Westminster.

“I waited until the kids were gone before I bought the bakery,” Vogel said. “I didn’t want to be raising kids and working long weekends.”

The JeannieBird Baking Company opened on West Main Street last May at the site of the former Heinz Bakery. Vogel continues selling her goods at the farmers’ market.

Vogel said she waited to pursue her business dreams because she takes parenting seriously. “It’s really hard work and a massive responsibility, not to be taken lightly,” she said. “It’s important to raise your kids to be contributing members of society.” ❖