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.:
A Weird Way to Wake Up

Let’s step back to nearly a MONTH ago when the four of us went to my in-laws’ farmhouse in Indiana. When my fashionable, Chinese friend and her husband spent their honeymoon with us. Before I had THREE children in my house asking 3 million questions an hour and eating 3 million pounds of peanut butter. I would like to finally tell you the rest of that story before I forget all of it and that space in my brain is replaced with VeggieTales lyrics.

“If it doesn’t have a tail, it’s not a monkey.
Even if it has a monkey-kind-of shape.
If it doesn’t have a tail, it’s not a monkey. If it doesn’t have a tail, it’s not a monkey. It’s an ape!”

Too late.

Our fairly-impromptu trip to Indiana began with an email from my dear friend Genii. She informed me that she and her husband were coming from China for a brief visit—her first ever to America. When she asked if there was a place between Chicago and our home in Kansas where we could meet, I immediately thought of my in-laws’ place in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Not only would it save us on hotel costs and a loooooong drive to Chicago, but it would let Genii experience the American Heartland. Don’t get me wrong, I love both Chicago and New York City. But they don’t give the full picture of what makes our country so great.

My in-laws generously agreed to host us and our international friends. They even offered up the invitation to my parents if they were so inclined to drive up from Georgia. I mentioned this to my mom, and she immediately seemed interested. I’ve never met someone who is so willing to drive, fly, or swim cross-country to see her grandchildren.

[Explain to me exactly how a person might SWIM cross-country.]

But as the time for our trip drew near, mom seemed more and more uninterested. She had lots of reasons why the trip wasn’t a good idea:

“Your dad doesn’t want to drive that far.” (She totally threw you under the bus, daddy.)
“I’d have to miss Bible study.”
“We’d have to miss small group.”
“I’d have to miss garden club.”
“I’d have to miss the $5 lunch deal at Mellow Mushroom.”

I didn’t say they were very good excuses. 

I was disappointed that my mom (a.k.a. Precious) and JJ wouldn’t get to spend their birthdays together again this year. Their birthdays are two days apart, and mom has always willingly shared the spotlight (or conceded it altogether) in order to be there with her grandson.

I was surprised she was willing to give up the opportunity to share another birthday with us all. But I also understood that $5 pizza and salad deals don’t come along every day. Or maybe they do. I’m not sure. Honestly, I was a bit too preoccupied to press the issue.

I even talked to my mom on her birthday (April 17th) and got to hear all about how my dad decided to surprise her with a birthday “adventure.” That should have been my first clue. My dad doesn’t eat lunch without consulting my mom first.

“Pam, should I eat a hot dog or . . . a hot dog with chili?”

And if my dad wants to surprise my mom, he NEVER does it without consulting me first. Like the time he wanted me to go with him to Sears to buy mom a table saw. Because he didn’t know what one was.

Not even kidding.

Still, I didn’t think twice about mom and dad’s “adventure.” As a matter of fact, I was seriously impressed that my dad managed to make a birthday gift decision without my help. (Not that I didn’t send him a very good suggestion.) I wished them well on their adventure and never imagined what happened the following morning:

What a weird way to wake up.

My parents left late on April 17th and didn’t arrive until after midnight on the 18th. So, my in-laws (who were obviously in on the surprise) told my parents they would leave the garage door unlocked for them. And they did.

They did.

But I didn’t.

And that’s strange because I don’t normally lock the doors at someone else’s house, but I suppose it’s just a habit of mine now that I live near so many prisons.

Prisons change a woman. 

[That joke was in poor taste.]

And speaking of prisons, my mom was able to find an “alternate means” of gaining entry to the house. (I’m pretty sure my in-laws have since invested in more Pam-proof security measures.) My mom and dad spent the first night there without Brian, me, or the kids ever knowing about it. How sneaky are they? Don’t be surprised if you wake up one morning, and my parents are asleep in your basement.

Wearing your pajamas.

[This just got creepy.]

So, that finally explains how my in-laws, my parents, and my Chinese friends managed to all hang out together in Crawfordsville, Indiana nearly a month ago now. It does not, however, explain why it took me a month to tell this story. You can read more about that here.

I’m so grateful to my in-laws for allowing us to turn their house into Party Central. It almost felt like that time in high school when we threw a wild party while my parents were out of town. Complete with the part where they woke me up by standing over my face. I’m just kidding, y’all. That never happened.

They never found out about the party.

We made ourselves right at home for the week. We celebrated JJ’s 4th birthday.

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We played outside all day.

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And stayed by the fire pit all night.

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We skillfully played some B-ball.

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Well, some of us did.


We visited with our dear friends.

Honeymooners and Hoosiers

We practiced our most professional child modeling poses.

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Brian’s a natural.

JJ and Averi could use some work.

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That’s better.

We celebrated Resurrection Sunday at church with Brian’s wonderful Aunt Barb. I’m sick that I got ZERO photos from that day, but I will forever have the mental picture of our two children at the front of the church during the children’s message. JJ, in his khaki shorts and his blue blazer, picked his nose the ENTIRE time. And Averi, in her canary yellow, eyelet dress, flashed the entire congregation. Also, I forgot her bloomers that day.

It’s probably best there are no pictures. 

After church we hunted Easter eggs.

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We played at the pond and skipped rocks.

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Or, in Averi’s case, cow pies.


We helped Papa change a flat tire on the Ranger.


(Not my fault, by the way. Not like the time I crashed his jet ski into the dock. I wish that was a joke.)

My mom and I don’t make it into many photos because we’re always behind the camera. I’m pretty sure she took some of these photos. I just can’t remember which ones. Sorry, mama!

Here’s one of my favorites, though.


And poor Robyn (Brian’s stepmom) never gets in the photos because she’s always busy making sure everyone else has a good time. Sorry, Robyn!

And did we ever have a wonderful time!


These are the days I’ll look back on another month from now . . . another year from now . . . another 20 years from now and say, “I really should have re-thought my haircut.”



I’ll say, “If I could have hand-picked my family members, I would have chosen them.”

Well, most of them. 

[Just can’t help herself, can she?]


Comments to "A Weird Way to Wake Up (with Video!)"

  1. Dona

    May 15, 2014

    Sweet, funny, wonderful. I see where you and your kids get their beautiful eyes!!! Thanks for sharing!

    • Katy in a Corner

      May 15, 2014

      Awwwwww, thanks Dona! My mama has gorgeous eyes for sure. We jokingly say that the whole family looks like a bunch of Pekingese dogs. Like, don’t brush our hair too hard or our eyes will pop out.

  2. Karmen

    May 15, 2014

    Beautiful pictures! I’m partial to Indiana since I grew up there. Just lovely scenery and people. So neat your parents surprised you!! Love that!
    Karmen recently posted…Write OnMy Profile

    • Katy in a Corner

      May 15, 2014

      I remember your recent post about Indiana, Karmen! Which is remarkable since I can’t remember where I put my daughter’s favorite stuffed animal. Seriously, someone needs to come help me look.

  3. G-Man

    May 15, 2014

    Great post and wonderful pictures. We really had a great time and have to admit that surprising you and Brian was the coup de grace of it all. John and Robyn played along beautifully.

    As for me not knowing what a table saw is (which might have been a slight stretch) I would have to say that is why I married a handy woman! And aren’t you and I glad that I did. 🙂

    • Katy in a Corner

      May 15, 2014

      Oh, Daddy. Sweet, daddy. We all know the truth about the table saw. And so does anyone who has ever met you. 😉 Love you!

  4. Robyn

    May 15, 2014

    Note to self … get in front of the camera once in a while. Loved the photos, thank you for sharing them!


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