Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens

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This year for Mother’s Day I made it very clear that I was not feeling up to going to any restaurants or brunches of any kind. I don’t know how anyone enjoys going out to eat on large event days like that. The wait is always longer, food is never right, kids get cranky and all I want to do is go home, put my feet up and watch sappy movies with snacks and wine. I really just enjoy spending the day chillin with my kids. I know that sounds unusual but I’m an unusual chick. I’m the mom that gets sad when school starts because I genuinely miss them. They drive me beyond nuts and I would bet money that the funny farm has a room waiting for me but they really are

great kids. Every parent says that but you’re wrong, mine are the greatest.

They surprised me with a trip to Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. They’be all been so supportive of my 52 place challenge this year and they figured I could do the things that I love. I had planned on going to the botanical gardens later this year so this was an all around win. I had read that the first 250 moms would receive a plant. Sadly, we were not part of that first group of moms and in a way I’m glad because none of us would have wanted to carry around a plant for hours. Knowing us, we’d end up putting it down somewhere and spend the rest of the day looking for it.

When we first arrived, I noticed a lot of cars but for as many cars as we saw, the crowd wasn’t that bad. We had to wait in line but even that went quickly. The building is gorgeous. The boys made a b-line to the gift shop to “show me stuff” which was very sweet but I really didn’t want to buy anything. The majority of the events were taking place on the lawn area with stations for the kids to play games and make crafts. We made bird houses (skipping the birdseed). While they were doing that, I took a few photos of the long covered pergola walkway. I love light and shadows.

Next, we went inside the greenhouse. There, I was that annoying photographer that takes pictures of everything and holds up a line. I was courteous enough to sit on the stone benches and let people pass while I was setting up for my next shot though so I wasn’t terribly annoying. It is difficult though to take pictures when you don’t want anyone in them and I rarely use Photoshop. I saw a lot of interesting plants. Everyone inside was talking about the Orchids. My oldest walked a little further and found a chocolate plant.

Back outside, the boys wanted to make their way to the children’s garden. They played and ran around with other kids, found a dark cave thing that had some drawings and paintings in it then spun around on the merry go round. Live music and another play area was near the pond. Everything was going great until my youngest spotted a kid with a Five Nights of Freddy shirt on and it was game over for him. I don’t know what that show is about but it scares the crap out of him. He wants nothing to do with it, or its merchandise in stores. Its so bad that he is literally frozen with fear. I hate it but everyone is afraid of something and this happens to be his thing. We left and went around to the second fountain.

This fountain had a long pool of fish sculptures leading up to the main fountain. The artwork around the grounds is beautiful. I took a few photos of the fish up close. I tried my best to get all of them but it seemed to be a popular selfie spot. The heat was starting to get to everyone so we made our way over to the food trucks to see what (if anything) we could eat. Sadly, none of it between food allergies and intolerances. We did find an Italian ice stand called Junior Scoop that was safe for the boys to eat. Being a food allergy family is difficult because eating out is more often than not a chore. We have to have so many conversations with food service personnel about manufacturing processes, label reading, cross contamination that we mostly don’t even go down that road. When we saw that the Junior Scoop didn’t contain any of the allergens we need to be mindful of and best of all the lady’s son had almost identical allergens to my son, I wanted to hug her. She gets it and very few do, sadly most of our family doesn’t get it as well. I could write a book about our experiences with food allergies and while some are lucky enough to grow out of some things, sadly most do not and it is a way of life for the duration of their life for most. If you’re in Charlotte and see Junior’s Scoop out, please support them and give their Italian Ice a try. The boys LOVED the ones they had.

After a sugar boost, they played on the lawn some more while I ventured off to take photos. Looking back it might seem like we prioritized the kids having fun but not really. We were there to have fun and relax as a family. I was happy that they were happy and when Mom is happy, especially on Mother’s Day, then it’s a good day. Back at home, I opened presents. One of which I’m using to write this blog post. My husband surprised me with a new laptop (YAY), my oldest got me a candle that reminded him of my perfume and my youngest got me a pillow with one of my favorite emojis.  They are all so very thoughtful and I’m so lucky and blessed to have them in my life. I’m honored that I’m their mom and hopefully I don’t embarrass them too much 🙂

Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place and I highly recommend you add it to your “Charlotte To-Do” list if you’re ever in this area. I can’t believe I’ve lived here for almost 10 years and this was my first visit. Definitely won’t be my last! I found several programs that they have that I’ll be checking out. When I do, I’ll let you know how it was.

What did you all do for Mother’s Day?

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