I only took 2 photos at the retreat, so most of these photos are swiped from other blogs (they said it was okay, I promise).
Here's the whole group! I believe there were about 45 of us there. Aren't these some lovely ladies? I attended this totally on my own, not knowing a single person. It appeared that a lot of women knew at least one other person in the room and there were a few groups that made a girls' road-trip out of it (from AZ or UT). I was pretty proud of myself for doing this solo! The nerves started to hit me a little as I left on Saturday evening, but I soon discovered that there was no reason to worry. Everyone was so friendly and open and ready to share.
The retreat was held at a beautiful home on North Las Vegas (and I have a story that goes along with that . . . keep reading). I was dying over the cuteness of the neighborhood as I drove through. Get this . . . about half of the houses had wood siding. WOOD! That simply does not exist in Las Vegas. We are the land of stucco and rock. Mostly stucco. Anyways, it made me smile SO BIG because it reminded me of Oregon. Oh, Craftsman, how I love you.
The retreat started with a shin-dig on Saturday night. We gathered for a little instruction, and dessert, and then broke into groups to discuss our "dreams" -- safe dreams and daring dreams, dreams that are on the back-burner, motherhood dreams, etc.. Initially I was a little thrown off by the idea of "dreams" because I feel like I'm living my dream right now. But I decided that for me, goals and dreams go hand in hand, and you know how much I love a good goal!
There's me on the front row!
These two ladies were the heart of the retreat. April Perry (co-founder of The Power of Moms) and Tiffany Sowby (she plans and directs the retreats). Such great women and mothers and I loved all the real-life stories and ideas that they shared with us. Tiffany has a great little write-up on her blog.
One of April's fun ideas . . . . the angry hat. Don't you just love her cute modeling?
She gave this great lesson titled, "Mommy is a PERSON" which was all about teaching respect to our children as well as acknowledging that we (moms) are people who have basic rights and it's okay to have feelings. Like getting grumpy. She said that sometimes when she is feeling grumpy she will go get the "angry hat" and put it on in front of her kids so they KNOW to watch out. And in a mock "angry" voice she'll walk around the house saying, "I am so angry! This is a mess!" It helps give her perspective on her mood. It's about giving ourselves permission to say we are human, but not to take it out on the kids.
Oh, boy. On Friday night Tiffany asked me to participate in a panel the following day on Social experiences and how that plays a part in my life. Eeee. But I figure I talk a lot about my social life here, so I could probably answer a few questions on a panel. Be brave.
When it came time for panel-ing they called us up. Here comes the hostess, 2 ladies who helped organize the retreat, and little ol' me. I actually heard someone in the group ask, "Who is that?" and someone else responded "Shannon Brown." Whew - I'm glad someone knew my name!
While several of the women talked about having to scale back in their social lives (I understand, I've been in that place before too), I am in the unique situation of trying to grow my social experiences. I shared some of the things that I am doing now -- inviting people over to our house (brownie sundaes!), going to every activity, etc.. With Anna in 1st grade full-day I've lost my ticket to playgroups (previously, that is where many of my interactions began and then grew into other activities and great friendships) -- with that ticket gone I've had to be more creative and put forth more effort.
We discussed when you have to say no, how important it is to find the groups and friendships where you can have deep, meaningful relationships, and occasionally Tiffany would bring it back to me to point out my unique situation. I just HOPE that I didn't come off as needy or desperate or a charity case. Because really, I'm doing okay -- I'm finding people -- I know that it just takes time. But . . . if you love blogging, crafting, project life-ing, or snow cones and want to be my friend, let's talk.
Okay, here's my story about the home where the retreat was held. Stay with me, because it's a little wonky.
So you know my awesome friend Jenn? I had told her about my plans to attend the Power of Moms retreat way back when I registered. She was also gearing up for an out-of-the-blue reunion weekend trip on the Oregon coast with one of her best friends from high school. This best friend lives in Vegas, they haven't seen each other in 8 years. La, da, da . . . time goes on. Then I get a phone call from Jenn one day. You'll never believe this! That power of moms retreat you're going to? . . . it's going to be held at my friend, Dyana's house. The friend who is coming to see me in Oregon!!" And here's where we enter the Twilight Zone, people. What are the chances of such a coincidence happening? Zero. What a happy little miracle. So Dyana and I got to meet and gush about our mutual love for Jenn. So cool. (Dyana has signs in her house that say Happy Kitchen and Happy Bathroom - reminders to keep things clean so they can have a happy home!)
Back to the retreat . . . This is pretty much what the retreat looked like -
Great event. Wonderful inspiration. Good, positive energy from everyone. It was a place of learning, encouragement, sharing, and growing. I love what Cheryl said on her blog so I'm quoting her (hope she doesn't mind!): "When you have women who are already phenomenal mothers and are wanting to be better you can't help but have an amazing experience."
This reminds me of something Anna told me on Friday. She was hanging out in the bathroom with me as I did my hair and make-up. She asked me where I was going. I replied, "I'm going to a meeting with a bunch of ladies and they are going to teach us how to be better moms." She said, "Well, why do you have to go?"
That is priceless. And that is just one of the reasons why I love my kids. They think I am the perfect mom despite MY melt-downs, frantic-ness, and grumpy days.
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