Born in Scotland, Aymee Brace is practically a native Floridian, moving to the state when she was 3. The mother of three boys, she’s busy not only as a special events planner helping Orlando’s Puff ‘n Stuff Catering expand into the Tampa market, but also with her work with the National Association of Catering Executives. She says the event industry is in her blood. “My entire family is in the event industry so I basically grew up in the business.” In keeping with that tradition, her husband Paul also is in the industry. They own Brace Entertainment, where he DJs for weddings and other events. A go-getter, the 29-year-old says she enjoys a challenge and makes it her mission to prove naysayers wrong.
What is the secret to your family’s success?
We are constantly learning what is best for our family as it changes. Support is huge for us. My husband runs all over town after the kids when I have late appointments, tastings and so on. It’s really hard and we continuously work on keeping our schedule straight. We also have great neighbors, family and friends who step in when needed. Keeping the kids involved in sports, activities, playing outside and spending time together also helps. Then there’s hard work and the willingness to change and learn. I also try to have date night with each of the boys one on one. They dress up and take me out. It’s really cute and at the end of the day I remind my kids that I love them, they love their brothers and their family.
What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is the time I have with my children flying by too fast or losing one of them. If anything happened to one of them, I would be devastated. I just want to appreciate every moment. I couldn’t imagine not having one of my boys.
What advice would you give to other women?
If there is something you want to try or do in life, do it. I used to let other people control my destiny and my decisions and I started to have regrets. One day I just realized that life is so short and if there is something I want to do then I just do it. There are people involved in our lives but this also is your life. You only get one, so live it up.
What is your proudest moment?
My 9-year-old son got a solo in his school Christmas program this year. He was the finale singer and his part was pretty big. He stood up at the microphone in front of hundreds of people and he nailed the song. He was perfection. I couldn’t help but cry because I remember seeing myself do the same thing when I was younger. It’s really cool to see your kids excelling or loving the same things you did.
What is your biggest achievement?
In February 2010, I went into the hospital at 26 weeks pregnant with my third child to take a hospital tour with my husband. After feeling faint, I passed out during the tour and was rushed to an observation room. Long story short, we never left the hospital that day. I had preeclampsia and it was bad enough to keep me on hospital bed rest for the next six weeks. My husband slept in the bed next to me every night without fail. He rolled me downstairs on my 15-minute wheelchair outing each day. I barely saw my other two children, though they would visit me in the hospital.
On April 23, I started getting unbearable migraines and the doctor decided it was time to induce me. Who would know I would be allergic to Magnesium Sulfate. I became unconscious and was rushed into the operating room for an emergency cesarean. My husband wasn’t able to see our son being born and they thought I might have had a stroke. Kellan Ernest Brace was born at 31 weeks, weighing in at 5 pounds, 3 ounces. I’d say that’s my biggest achievement.
After that experience, our NACE Chapter got involved with the Child Abuse Council volunteering at Dimples Playland. The kids just want attention there and being away from my kids for so long I decided that attention is something I could easily give. The first time I went and volunteered, the kids swarmed us and it just made me melt. We now help with fall festivals, Easter egg hunts, whatever we can. Time is precious and if there is something I can do to help them and make a difference, that’s what I wanted to do.
What makes you happy?
So many things make me happy. On a me level, singing, stand-up comedy and laughing. I joke a lot. Life is a lot better when you are laughing. On a family level, it makes me happy to see my children succeeding at the things they do. On a work level, it makes me happy to see a client you’ve worked with from conception of their event. You stand there on their wedding day or at their event and watch everything you talked about come to life. There’s nothing better than getting a nice email, phone call or card about how perfect things were. I get emotional at almost every wedding we do.
How do you relax and take time for yourself?
It’s hard to relax with three kids, a husband and all my work obligations. When I’m alone in the car, I turn on the radio on and sing and my mood changes. That’s the time I take for me.
What else would you like to share with our readers? About being a mom, about work?
Balancing life is difficult with young kids and a more than full-time job, but being a mom is amazing. When my day is full of challenges and frustrations, I come home and my boys think I’m perfect. They don’t care if I did something wrong or right they just love me unconditionally.
How do you enjoy or draw information from the magazine?
With the little time I have to search for things to do with my boys, I read the magazine to find new, fun things to do on our days off. I also love the parenting tips such as teaching them about money and when to talk about certain situations. It’s very helpful.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids in Tampa Bay?
We love going to the Tampa Bay Lightning games. We always have a goal of getting on the Jumbotron every time. They love going and they love hockey period.
Who is your biggest inspiration or role model?
My dad is probably my biggest inspiration. He’s a very hard worker. I think that’s where I got my drive. Moving to a new country with young kids and a wife to have a new life was a challenge. Add in starting a wildly successful business and he’s amazing. He’s fun, he’s there for us, he’s got a magnetic personality and he will do anything for anyone. I respect him in every way and he really is one of a kind.