Where do I even begin to tell you about the amazing-ness that was MOPS International Convention 2011!? Seriously, people....it was THAT awesome!
The short version: ummm....there is no short version unless "it was super!" would be enough for you. If it is then great! I suppose you can stop reading but if you want to relive some of my favorite moments and memories than grab your coffee and get comfortable.
Lets start with the fact that I have not been away from my children overnight since the last MOPS convention. It was then that I snuck away in hopes to wean my then 1.5 year old from her not-so-nessesary nightly nursings. It worked! Woo Hoo! (Don't get me wrong people, nursing is fantastic but come 1.5 years old and I'm ready to say farewell to it!) This trip was overdue!
So Wednesday night after my husband prayed for us we loaded up in my friend Jennifer's mini-van and pulled out of my driveway around 10:30 pm. I thought for sure we would all sleep (minus the driver and her mandatory must-stay-awake front seater) but I was wrong. We talked and laughed and ate all sorts of junk food for the entire drive. I have seriously never laughed so hard in my life and I cannot recall the last time I pulled an all-nighter that didn't include rocking/nursing/changing a baby.
I think we were in GA here...
These faces look pretty good for pullling that all-nighter...Finally at Cracker Barrel for a warm breakfast.
At last! Sitting on the comfy bed at the Gaylord
We were exhausted but so happy to finally be there! We got checked in, unloaded our belongings, sat down for about 15 minutes and decided we should check out the pool. When else can a momma go swimming or lay out without having to worry about someone drowning!? After our little swim I took a 45 minute power nap with Brittany who is also pregnant and due 2 weeks before me...oh and Amy is pregnant, too... and then it was time to get ready for our first session.
We clean up rather nicely...ha ha ha
My first breakout session was called "The Husband Project. Making Marriage Fun Again" and the speaker was Kathi Lipp. Insert more of that gut-wrenching laughter here. This woman is hilarious. Not only did she keep me laughing (sometimes at myself) but she taught me how to intentionally love my man and strengthen our marriage. She was REAL, funny, and REALLY FUNNY and she was one of the best parts of Convention. If anyone reading this needs a speaker for a women's event look no further. Kathi is your gal! I bought her book "The Husband Project" and can't wait to get started on it next week. You should buy it, too! (and incase you're wondering, I am not getting paid to say this) Visit Kathi's website for more information about who she is, what she does and while you're there order that book! Your marriage will thank you! ;-)
We had a dinner break and then it was time for Story Board: Make The Most of Your Mothering. I have to be honest and say it was at this time that I, or my body, realized I was no longer 15 and pulling an all-nighter was probably not the best idea. (I would totally do it again, though!) The room was buzzing with excitement. It was so amazing to be in a room full of other MOPS from all over the country! During Story Board there was more laughter and lessons with Kathi Lipp and we were blessed with a concert by one of my all time favorites, Sara Groves. She sang her sweet songs and like she often does, shared stories from her own life to bring encouragement to us. Our whole group cried like babies as she sang "You Cannot Lose My Love". It was the ugly cry for me. I'm 27 weeks pregnant. What do you expect!?
This is the part where you all are going to hate me. After laughing with Kathi and crying with Sara, this pregnant lady needed to sleep. I stayed for about 5 minutes of Max Lucado but then succumbed to the weariness of the drive and snuck out of the room. I know, I know....how could I skip out on him!? I had to follow my body's begging and sleep was fantastic! (Although I'm sure Max would have been MORE fantastic!) Amy was the only one from our group who made it through the whole night. Amy-blog about Max so we can share with our lovely readers ;-)
...and that, my friends, wraps up MOPS Convention Day 1. Tomorrow I will share stories from day 2. If I met you at Convention leave a comment! I'd love to stay in touch!