Saturday, July 28, 2007

Conference Notes

The conference was very enjoyable but ended up being a complicated affair. Their were lots of good points and a few not-so-good ones. Here's a run-down:

The best:
  • Chats with my roommate and with Leaders that I'd only previously met online.
  • The chance to eat some tasty food that I don't get often, like sushi!
  • Enjoyable sessions: I really enjoyed the sessions on newborn self-attachment (Kitty Franz) and simplicity parenting (Kim John Payne). The first was just amazing, and I look forward to sharing what I learned. The second reinforced things I already knew about my own children.
  • The awe-inspiring Parade of Nations and the chance to see the founders. Seeing all these Leaders from around the world was amazing. It showed me how we can all be so different and still be the same!
  • Great shopping! I'm still waiting for my husband to fall over when he sees how much I spent :) There were some great things and good deals there, although I would have liked to see more baby toys and nursing wear.
  • I got to visit with an old friend from college, whom I hadn't seen in years. We had a great time catching up!
Some not-so-good things (most of which could not be helped):
  • My dear Aunt Velma, who lived in Cleveland, passed away from cancer during the conference. Because of this, planned visits with my mother and sister, who live in Illinois, were cancelled.
  • Lily and I both ended up sick by the end of the conference.
  • I never got enough sleep!
  • All the blogs in my head that were lost to my faulty memory! I had expected the Wireless Internet to be free at the hotel so I could blog from my room after Lily was asleep, but it was far from free, so I had to wait until I got home!
  • And, of course, missing my husband and son A.J. It was so quiet without my little guy!

Ending

Lily and I really enjoyed the conference, which lasted until Monday night. After a semistressful lunch on Monday afternoon (young eater and grabby hands!), we skipped out on the Gala Dinner, and I picked up a Subway sandwich instead.

I was wondering if I let my sandwich sit too long because I was hoping Lily would go to sleep. When it became obvious she wouldn't be going to bed soon, I ate my sandwich and watched a little T.V. (for the first time since we'd arrived).

Later that night, with Lily sleeping, I lay tucked in the bed reading Harry Potter when I started to feel queasy. I thought it was either the sandwich or perhaps not enough sleep. However, when I got sick a bit later, I knew it was something more: either food poisoning or a stomach virus. It wasn't until I was home and catching up on emails on Thursday that I found out I wasn't the only one sick!

So, Tuesday, which was originally supposed to be a day for family visits, ended up being a day to hang out at the hotel, rest, pack for our Wednesday flight, and finish Harry Potter. Needless to say, I didn't eat much. It took me a few days to really get back on track.

Lily was also starting to seem a bit fussy at the conference, and by Thursday morning, she had a full-blown cold. She passed it on to A.J. by Friday. We're not getting too much sleep around here lately, but I'm sure it will pass soon.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Finding My Tribe


Sunday, July 22, 2007, 6:44 p.m.

Early Friday morning, eight-month-old DD, Lily, and I left to travel to the 50th anniversary LLL conference, my first LLLI conference. We flew via plane with a transfer in the middle. As I sat with her on one of these planes, filled with excitement and thinking about the upcoming conference and sessions, I realized that I was on my way to find my tribe. In almost any LLL setting, I have almost always felt right at home. Knowing that you share such a deep-seated passion with another woman and mother creates a wonderful, almost instant connection.

Later, upon arriving at the hotel, I admit, there was a brief moment of panic, since I didn't actually know many people, at least not by face. Was I here, lost and alone, at this huge gathering?

The feeling didn't last long, however. Soon, waiting to meet with other Ripplewood Scholarship recipients and with the arrival of my roommate (a friend and Leader from a nearby town), I began to feel right at home again. I have been able to put faces to a few names I have known only in the virtual world. I've also been able to meet some women from my very own VA/WV area, as we briefly met this morning to touch base and meet our new ACL.

The conference has been very exciting so far, even though I haven't even been able to sit through a full-session with Lily. I'm purchasing the conference library with some other Leaders, so I'll have plenty of time to continue “experiencing” the conference and its materials for months to come. The irreplaceable experiences are the smiles in the elevators, from mothers and babies, the chats in the hall, the one-on-one quiet time in my room with Miss Lily, and of course, the shopping ;)

It's been a great experience so far, and I'm so glad I came!

We're Home

We're home, but I'll probably be slow getting my thoughts down about the conference. Lily is sick right now and constantly latched on. I do have one post that I can cut and paste...I'll do that next.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Almost Time....

Less than a week to go, and I'm getting a little anxious because I don't know how I'll possibly be ready by Friday morning. DS (6 yo) is taking swim lessons (another adventure in itself) every evening this week and requires my presence (in the water). I have to pack and try to fit all my stuff in bags that I can haul around with DD. I'm also physically starting to miss DS already and wonder how I'll deal with 8 mo DD all by myself for almost a week! And will the guys want to pull each other's hair out (or whatever males do) by the time us gals return?

As for the conference itself, after reading another conference blog, I think I'll make myself a schedule for the conference time so I'll know what's going on when. Too much to do!

I hope it goes well, but I also hope it's over quickly (imagine that) so I can get back home to DD and DH! I miss them already!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Night Crawler

Oh, dear. One of the threads on the LLLIConf lists has been talking about ways to keep little ones from falling out of bed in the hotel room. I think I might have to take up one of the suggestions and throw the mattress on the floor if I can, even though I bought a portable bed rail for just that purpose.

The problem is DD has been crawling for a couple weeks now and in the past few days has gotten in the habit of starting to crawl somewhere as soon as she is awake if she's not in my lap. Here, our bed is on the floor, so the worst is a little bump onto the hardwood (tonight, I put blankets around the end of the bed in case she makes it all the way to the floor). Not so from a high hotel bed!

We'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Helpful Lists, Etc.

If you're a Leader and you haven't found them yet, there are some great discussions going on on the LLLI CN. I'm subscribed to a couple of them, keeping tabs on the conference in general, on the LLLIConf discussion (http://community.llli.org/group.htm?igid=14233) and the Harry Potter plans on the Harry Potter Party discussion (http://community.llli.org/profile.htm?mode=vp&pid=27812). I know there are more, including one discussing the World's Faire.

The LLLIConf discussion has covered everything from the airport shuttle to babysitting rates at the conference. It's definitely helping me to feel more prepared and to feel like I'm already connecting with other Leaders going to the conference.

As far as the Harry Potter discussion, I think it's so awesome that the Leaders have found a way for us addicts to get our HP fix without leaving the hotel! I doubt I'll have much time to read, but maybe if DD falls asleep on the plane on the way home, I can get started...I just have to resist the urge to turn to the last page early. I don't want Harry to die!!!

Oh, it also looks like I have a roommate for the conference days, Friday through Monday. A friend and Leader from a nearby town will probably share my room. That will be a great way to have some adult company (if we're ever in the room at the same time) and also a way to save a little money!

My mother and sister are coming up Monday from central Illinois to visit after the conference is officially over and will stay two nights with me. We're thinking about visiting the Shedd Aquarium Tuesday after the conference. I feel almost guilty for going without my 6 yo DS, but if it's really cool, maybe we'll plan a trip there sometime when we're visiting family in Illinois in the future.

I'm also making plans to visit with a friend who lives in Chicago. I haven't seen her in at least 7 years. We went to college together and were pretty close, so it's great to have this chance to see her again.

I can't believe it's only 2 1/2 more weeks to go! How will I ever get everything done!