My Professional Background - Once upon a time, I wanted to be a motivational speaker. Actually, I was a professional motivational speaker for about 5 years.:
Smelling the Roses

Last week I shared our house hunting adventures in Birmingham, Alabama, but I failed to mention that we’re already here in a corporate apartment close to Brian’s new office. We “moved out” (most of our junk is still there) of my in-laws’ place at the lake in Georgia and decided to live on top of each other in a two bedroom apartment until we close on our house. And thanks to our very nice but very close quarters, I have a whole new appreciation for parents whose children share a bedroom. Seriously, how do y’all do that?

Bedtime around here resembles feeding time in the chimpanzee cage at the zoo. 

And I’m not talking about the cute, cuddly chimpanzees who will hug you and pick bugs out of your hair for you. Because those are some helpful, well-trained chimps. I’m talking about the crazy ones who plot against the zookeepers and help each other escape.

Bedtime is like a code red lockdown at the zoo. 

And while we’re on the subject of sleep, let’s just go ahead and add a time change into the mix. Oh, and how about changing time zones on the same day? And why don’t we live on the very edge of the time zone in an apartment with no blackout curtains where the sun rises at 6 a.m., and . . . you get where I’m going with this.

I’m exhausted. 

Oh, and I’m pregnant. So, that trumps everything else since my bladder wakes me up no less than 14 times a night.

[I didn’t need to know that.]

I wasn’t sure I would get through last week unscathed because on top of everything else (the moving, the apartment, the wild chimpanzees, and the lack of sleep), Brian went back into a full-time routine for the first time in a LONG time. Even in his last Air Force job, Brian was much more available and flexible in his schedule. So, last week was basically a firm kick back into stay-at-home mom reality.

And it. was. ugly.

I’m pretty sure we watched 40 hours of television. We ate out approximately every meal of the entire week. And I spent every night staring blankly at the ceiling wondering if maybe I should go back to work and let Brian be a stay-at-home dad while I do my corporate thing.

I can’t remember a week where I felt more defeated as a stay-at-home mom. 

Brian could sense my frustration with myself (you know, because I’m so unexpressive and all), and he volunteered to take over for the weekend to give me time to regroup. With the exception of our family outing to church on Sunday, I spent the entire weekend alone. I took a bath without having to listen for screams. I ate whatever I wanted without having to share it. I got a manicure. I went to the grocery store and sang along with the songs they played on the loudspeaker. I wandered around T.J. Maxx just talking to myself. I went to Target a few dozen times. I encouraged the Target/Starbucks employee who has a crush on the wine guy to just approach him and see if he’d like a cup of coffee.

I was like single Katy — only without the fear that no one would ever want to marry someone who talks to herself in public.

By Sunday evening I was refreshed and ready to approach the week with a newfound energy. Monday morning came as early as the others had, but I was certain we would have a great week — thanks in part to the excitement of our home inspection yesterday (photos and stories on that this Thursday) and Brian’s day off today for Veterans Day.

After our home inspection, lunch and naps, I decided we had to leave the apartment. If there’s one thing I learned during our time in England and Kansas it is that NO beautiful day should pass without spending some time outside. Thankfully, those days are MUCH more common here in Alabama.

Despite the kids’ insistence that we should go to the zoo (this is where the chimpanzee analogy comes full circle), I chose to take them to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens instead. We are actually going to the zoo today because veterans and their families get in for free.

I was pleasantly surprised by the kids’ reaction to the the botanical gardens. I had no idea they could have so much fun chasing squirrels, smelling roses, gathering leaves to show their daddy, and attempting to roll down a grassy hill.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens Rolling "down" the hill

I use the word attempting very purposefully. 

Rolling "down" the hill Rolling "down" the hill

I’ve never seen two kids have such reckless disregard for the Law of Gravity. They were determined to roll UP the hill and ACROSS the hill rather than DOWN the hill. If I wasn’t hugely pregnant I totally would have demonstrated for them.

[No she wouldn’t have.]

I probably wouldn’t have done that.

What I did consciously try to do yesterday was to follow their lead and just enjoy the time we had together outside. We ran through the rose garden at least four times because JJ was enthralled with the different paths.

Running through the rose garden

We (they) ran down the hill as fast as their little feet — and Averi’s doggy purse full of rocks and acorns — would let them.

Running down the hill at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens

We sat on every swing and bench we could find.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

I did ask for a few posed photos because I’m a blogger, and that’s what we do.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

I also asked the kids to find the prettiest rose in the garden so I could take a photo of it.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

As I positioned myself to capture this beautiful rose, the kids came into the frame of my iPhone and posed themselves.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

And that’s when I captured one of my favorite photos of them I’ve ever taken.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens - Smelling the Roses

My eyes nearly welled up with tears as I stepped back to look at the beautiful moment I had just captured. And then again when I read the placard and realized that the roses in the photo were planted in honor of our nation’s veterans. All of this on the eve of our first Veterans Day as a non-military family.

Talk about activating a pregnant girl’s hormones. 

It was a beautiful moment with the three of us running through the garden like an episode of Little House on the Prairie. It was almost too much for my pregnant emotions to handle.


We happened upon a violinist and a cellist who were there to play for a surprise engagement. I felt like we were living in a reality show with all this well-timed family togetherness and romantic music.

[She obviously doesn’t watch much reality TV.]

We listened and watched through the bushes until we saw a young man in a suit with his beautiful girlfriend head toward the center of the rose garden.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

I decided we shouldn’t eavesdrop on their romantic moment, so we headed back to the car while I explained to the kids what it means to be married.

On the drive back to our tiny corporate apartment, I received the kind of confirmation every mother loves to receive. It’s the mark of a successful day of parenting.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Days like we had yesterday make all the other monkey business worthwhile.

I’ll just need y’all to remind me of that the next time we’re all climbing the walls.

Parents, how do you get through those days that feel like a code red lockdown at the zoo?


Comments to "Smelling the Roses"

  1. Dona

    November 11, 2014

    I just love you and your family! I love how you can take the stress and make it funny. I love how you appreciate your hubby and kids. And I LOVE the pic of them with the fall colored tree in the back ground! The cactus in AZ don’t turn colors. The pic with the rose? I misted up, too. Sympathy misting, similar to sympathy pains, you know. Anyway, you are the greatest! Thanks for uplifting my day! Dona

  2. kathleen leach

    November 11, 2014

    Katy, sorry for the hard week you had recently. How wonderful you had such a lovely time at the botanical gardens. You are right, that pict of the children and the rose – priceless, perfect.

    I know these are big days of transition. Praying for you all, remembering you with joy in our heart. Love and hugs.

  3. Heather Schmitt

    November 12, 2014

    What a wonderful story, and a great day. I love the picture of the kids behind the rose. It’s just so … sweet! Maybe Ellie and I can meet you at the Gardens one weekend … 🙂

  4. MaryLou

    November 13, 2014

    Beautiful children, beautiful story. I love reading your blog. We also moved several times when the kids were little, it is a challenge!

  5. Pingback: Bat out of Birmingham - (Nobody Puts) Katy in a Corner


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