Awesome Moms of Huntsville: The Nature Adventurer
Zenovia Stephens has the absolute BEST Instagram. If you’re not following her yet, run – don’t walk – over to @BlackAdventureCrew to live vicariously through her family’s explorations through the North Alabama greenspaces. Yes, her social media skills pack a big punch, but the work she’s doing through it is even more important. Let’s learn more about Zenovia and why we think she’s an Amazing Mom of Huntsville!
I’ve always been a person to encourage my friends to try new or different things, but it wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized it’s actually my passion. This passion has spilled over into many aspects of my life. Most recently, it has propelled me to create “Black Kids Adventures, Inc.” my non-profit organization aimed at exposing, educating and empowering Black and Brown families to occupy space in nature through outdoor adventure activities.
I love what I’m doing because it not only allows me to work in a lane I’m naturally in and most comfortable in with regards to activism, but it also gives me the opportunity to reach people that want and need to be reached.
Zenovia’s Motherhood Journey (So Far)
My journey as a mom has been one completely unwritten by me. From being laid off during my first pregnancy to unexpectedly getting pregnant with baby #3, I have truly learned how to adapt to whatever life gives me and thrive in it. My journey in motherhood has taken me from being a working outside the house mom, to a stay at home mom, and now, a working from home mom. While this journey through the many hats of motherhood have all presented many challenges, each chapter has prepared me for the current one. They’ve given me an opportunity to learn and create the journey that best fits my family!
Her Quest for Balance
Late nights are my best friend! Thankfully I’m in a position to be flexible with how I work because I get most things accomplished after my boys are in bed. As a mom to three active little humans, it’s difficult to find large chunks of hours to myself in the middle of the day. I’ve learned acceptance and to truly be ok with getting things done in a non-traditional time.
My approach to balance is “fit it in where it fits”; this simply means there is no one perfect way for everyone’s home, but there is a perfect way for mine. Learning to create our “fit” and be ok with what works takes the pressure of societies norms away and leaves our home feeling peaceful and complete. To get work done and meet deadlines, my key to success is prioritizing my “must”. My “must” items go on the list of the days “most important things” and everything else has to wait in line.
Simply put, we keep it simple in the Stephens household; with three active boys and a full-time working spouse out of the home, there’s no need to complicate an already complex life.
Her Rocket City Favorites
My perfect weekend is always with my family. When I read this question, I closed my eyes and imagined what it could truly look like. As I did this, it occurred to me that we have actually experienced many perfect weekends. I’ll share with you one that will always stay in my treasured memory.
My perfect weekend starts with my family sleeping in past 7:00 AM and waking up to a fresh cup of coffee in bed. We then have a nice laid back brunch at home before heading out to one of our favorite local trails such as Wildflower Trail. With a picnic packed, we head out on our adventure of hiking and splashing in the creek. The kicker…the boys are full of energy and excitement so, with sleepy fussiness or sibling bickering, we continue on to Ditto Landing for paddle boarding, rock skipping and watching the sunset. Our long day journey leads us to top it off at The Camp Or The Stovehouse for a laid back family dinner.
Bed time is the best in our household because we get to relive the experience by sharing our favorite moments of the day as we lay in bed. Bright and early on Sunday, worship gets our day started off on the right track. On our ride to church, we chat about our plan for the day. It’s not abnormal for my oldest to make family plans for the day or for my middle child to request a trip to the Huntsville Botanical Garden. But I remind them that on this day we get to experience an adventure in our minds. After church, we enjoy breakfast at Another Broken Egg and decide what bookstore to enjoy our mind adventure on this day. Barnes and Noble wins the vote. With coffee for myself and my husband, and hot chocolate for my three little crew members, we chat while checking out the new book releases. The baby of our crew, I think, especially enjoys the last part of our day as he often ends up with reminders of our exploits on all of his clothing and face; Ice cream sundaes!
After this wonderful day as a family, and tucking the three little adventurers asleep, it’s the perfect time for the two big adventurers to wrap up such a perfect evening; a sushi dinner and walk in Big Spring Park. My perfect weekend ends as we converse about our plans for the next weekend and, well, of course, some cuddling under the stars.
Funniest Parenting Moment
I still laugh as I recall the look on my family face when this one particular moment occurred. I call it “The last year of Happy New Year at the Stephens Home.” It happened about four years ago; my sister and her family travelled from Louisville, Kentucky to spend New Years Eve with us in Huntsville. We thought this would be a wonderful idea. It had been quite some time since we spent nights chatting and sharing space so I planned for them to stay in our 4-bedroom, ranch style home for the entirety of the trip. I mean, I thought, why not? At the time, we only had the two of my three boys and it should be no problem fitting my sister family of four right in with us; as long as everyone was quiet in the house by 7:30 PM. Yes, I had finally gotten my two boys to submit to bedtime routine of 7:00 PM quiet time and lights out at 17:30 PM. Unbeknownst to my sister, this included the holidays.
Upon their arrival, I announced proudly that we would be bringing in the New Years with a riveting whispered countdown and the volume on the tv on mute. The looks were one of disbelief and confusion. No one believed me. But on December 31, 2016, at about a quarter to 7, it became reality. I remember my sister and my niece and nephew laughing as I put the boys to sleep and started dimming the lights and decreasing the volume on the tv. I brought out the plastic flutes and poured our cider to toast Happy New Years with the boys before it was off to bed. My family waited patiently to see if I was joking. At 11:59pm, they came to realize I was serious. As the countdown started on the tv at 10 seconds, so did we; quietly whispering our countdown, and whisper “Happy New Year!” My boys stayed asleep as we laughed hysterically, whispering of course, of how we softly brought in the New Year.
Zenovia’s Shares Her Top Parenting Tip
Parenting is not an easy journey. Parenting three boys all under the age of 10 can be even more challenging. The best advice I can give another parent is to simply get comfortable with doing things your own way and not feeling the need to explain. Your journey will not look like mine or anyone else so you can’t expect what has worked for me, to work for you. Live your journey loud and proud! However that may look…
The Super Power She Wishes She Had
The super power I would choose is having a force field. The character that has this power is the Invisible Woman. She has the ability to shield herself from forces attempting to hurt or harm her and in turn, she can create barriers around other people. With that power, I would have the ability to fully and completely protect my children from any harm, foul play, negativity or ill will.
Simply put, it’s no secret that it’s scary raising young Black boys in our current climate. To know that my cute, fun loving, energetic, sweet boys will grow into young men that views them as a threat brings me so much sadness. The unknown future of how they could one day be treated based on their skin color creates a tremendous amount of anxiety and fear for me. With this super power, I could eliminate these anxieties for good.
Zenovia’s Parenting Book Recommendation
I am a true reader. My personal library overflows with varies books ranging from romantic comedies to personal development books. I have found that I don’t look for books specifically on parenting. What I am drawn to is stories told of passion and life’s journey. Within these stories is how I have learned to become a better partner, friend, and parent.
My most recent read, I believe, that has made a lasting impact is Michelle Obama’s Becoming. Through the pages of this book, I walked away realizing how important living and experiencing moments truly are to who we become. As I meditated on her story, I have found that in my own life, each experience I have lived has been the catalyst for the next. This book allowed me to fully accept all aspects of my life journey and realize the importance every experience has played in me becoming who I am called to be.
Name the song you think of when you need to:
- Get your Gameface on: Koryn Hawthorne “Won’t He Do It”
- Energize yourself: Nerd and Rihanna “Lemon”
- Let loose and have fun with your friends: Anything by Beyoncé
Do you know a local mom you think we should feature as an Amazing Rocket City Mom? We want to hear from you about her – send us your ideas and we’ll get in touch!
Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.