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Saved by the Bell- make that, Saved by the BlogU

My husband travels infrequently for business. I would say a half dozen times a year. And probably 2 or 3 of those trips might be for a conference. When he comes home he’s always soooo tired. I mean, how hard is it? You sleep in a nice hotel, get meals out and stand around and talk to people. Big deal. And he complains how his feet hurt. But he’s a guy and he wears flat shoes. How can his feet hurt?

Hold the phone. I just came back from BlogU, a blogging conference. I’m exhausted. Instead of some convention center or hotel ballroom, our conference was at a college campus. The beautiful Notre Dame of Maryland. It’s such a small campus (I went to the University of Washington. That place is huge. Any campus after that seems small to me.) Talking to about 150 other blogger/writer/creative talent forces takes a lot from a person. It’s exhausting! Dancing at the #MiddleSchoolAwkward NickMom dance that Saturday night also is exhausting. And I WORE FLAT SHOES!

I came home and I was all, “McSweetie, I’m so sorry I never acknowledge your fatigue after a conference. Talking to people is tiring! Also, dancing 2 hours to 80s hits with a banana clip in my hair is exhausting too. I bet you don’t do that at your conferences.”  Nope. You can bet your Spanx, he does not.

Dancing in a banana clip? I will tell you more about that later. Trust me. It’s GOOD.

I’ve been blogging for about 4 years now. Sometimes that seems like an eternity. Sometimes I think how far I’ve come. Sometimes, I look at other people’s success and feel sorry that I haven’t come further. But you know what? That’s what is so cool about BlogU. The bloggers who attend BlogU come from all genres, social media reaches, and experience levels. Some have just begun. Some have had that VIRAL post, some are New York Times best selling authors, and some are media mogul powerhouses. What’s great about the community of writers that this weekend brings together, is everyone is accessible, everyone has a story, everyone has a purpose.

BlogU’s creator Stephanie of Binkies and Briefcases started this conference and builds this conference, literally from her garage! But what makes this so special? What makes it so awesome that folks like NickMom like sponsoring themed dances and Scary Mommy’s creator, Jill Smokler comes to give the keynote? The special sauce is in the people. And that there’s a spirit at BlogU. It’s going to sound corny as hell, but there is a spirit of trust and camaraderie at this conference unlike any other conference, that wants to see it’s attendees soar. That the next Jen Mann can be in the crowd.

But even writing that- ‘the next Jen Mann’ seems wrong. Because the individuality of each blogger is what makes them special. There’s only one Sass Mouth, or Real Life Parenting, or Quirky Chrissy. And they will get their success and blogger notoriety how they are meant to. Best selling author? Talk show host? Reality TV star? Who knows!

When you think of the endless sea of bloggers, you think how many more does there really need to be? And you even think about your own blog, ‘why bother?’ But then it only takes one person to say they read something of yours and it really related to them. Then you smack yourself in the forehead and say, “yep! That’s why I blog.”

It’s stories. And stories need to be told. Thanks BlogU for lighting that fire, or blowing on the coals to stoke them a little more. I have lots of stories to tell!

So I’m just gonna leave my #MiddleSchoolAwkward dance pics right here-

Left- photo booth sponsored by That's What She Said, Top R- Jen Mann, and Harmony Hobbs in the back! Bottom R- Kerry HouseTalkN and Nikki Moms Who Drink and Swear

Left- photo booth sponsored by That’s What She Said, Top R- Jen Mann, and Harmony Hobbs in the back! Bottom R- Kerry HouseTalkN and Nikki Moms Who Drink and Swear

 

 

Top right - Mommy Shorts, Bottom L- Nicole Shaw- Bottom R- Me- 2nd place WINNER #MiddleSchoolAwkward

Top right – Mommy Shorts, Bottom L- Nicole Shaw- Bottom R- Me- 2nd place WINNER #MiddleSchoolAwkward

Ellen, Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms, Susan, Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva, and ME

Ellen, Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms, Susan, Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva, and ME

Yep. This is how I dance. Elaine from Seinfeld just comes out. Notice the fanny pack, popped collar and sky high bangs?

Yep. This is how I dance. Elaine from Seinfeld just comes out. Notice the fanny pack, popped collar and sky high bangs?

 

Here it is. The best picture of all Middle School Awkward 80s themed shots. Taken by the fabulous Susan of Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva, it looks right out of a Nickelodeon TV show. Yes- I’m ‘you can’t touch this’.

Saved by the Bell at BlogU15

Saved by the Bell
at BlogU15

 

If that’s not enough- there’s this. I think I made my kids proud. Thank you Kim from Let Me Start By Saying, for being my dance soul sister. Thank you Anna Bardsley for capturing the video. Click on the date below and it will take you to awesomeness. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to rub ointment on my aching feet. Something I didn’t need to do in 1985.

Wildness

Posted by Anne Bardsley on Saturday, June 6, 2015

My Blog U recap, ovaries, and soy lattes

There’s two things you should know by now; I was part of the faculty for a blogging conference called BlogU in Maryland last week, and, Emma had surgery.

The surgery happened first. Emma has been suffering from ovarian cysts and some of the worst pain imaginable. After rounds and rounds with doctors, it was determined she would need surgery. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling of when you bring your child in to surgery and the anesthesiologist is going over risk factors with you. Blerg. But she was a trooper.

She told me that she had the nurses and doctors in giggles when she was ready to go under and asked if her ‘lady bits’ were showing. Classic Emma.

Basically they removed a cyst and some awful endometriosis tissue that was causing her pain and we found out she has a banana shaped ovary pretty much under her rib cage. It’s all so weird and well, weird. I will probably blog more about it. Because it’s kind of a big fucking deal. And also I think women problems need attention so stay tuned.

With that said- I had a lot on my mind these last few days.

So with Emma’s blessing, I hopped on a plane as planned, to Maryland for BlogU to meet up with the ladies of the Internet that live in my computer.

A couple things that I feel I need to elaborate on; 1) people look a lot different in real life than their thumbnails on a computer screen. I spent the majority of my time saying things like, “who are you? oh, you are shorter/taller than I thought you’d be”. 2) Friendships on the Internet are real.

BlogU faculty

The awesome in this picture makes me explode. From L to R, Naps Happen, Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms, HouseTalkN and Underachievers Guide to Being a Domestic Goddess.

 

We converged on the  lovely campus of Notre Dame of Maryland University, near downtown Baltimore. The weather was uncharacteristically NOT humid and pit sweaty for the East Coast this time of year.

I continued to get texts from Emma of the nature, “I feel so bloated, I want to fart.”

And me replying, “Are you taking your stool softeners and your pain meds?”

I owe the world to my mom and my friend Kristi who stopped by to check on Emma, make her food and basically check to see that the house was still standing and not piled high with dishes in the sink.

Arriving on campus that Friday was, let me tell you, SO MUCH FUN!

I got to see and hug my roomie Kathy from the blog Kissing the Frog.

Frugie and Kissing the Frog at #BlogU

She is just as sweet in person as she is in her words on the screen.

Then there’s getting to meet Janel of the blog, 649.133, Girls, the Care and Raising of.

She scoured the campus for a ‘pop’. (She’s from Michigan.) Soda, cola, soft drink. She couldn’t find any ‘pop’. Not sure why there wasn’t a vending machine handy. But with her efforts only slightly more successful than Geraldo revealing Al Capone’s vault, I was on the hunt for a soy latte. Well, folks, we’re not in Kansas anymore. And  espresso isn’t on every corner like at home in Seattle.

What the what? This was difficult for me. It rendered me less capable of being any help at all really. When I put the resident helper campus student on a hunt for lattes, it was clear I had a problem. I didn’t actually make her physically walk to find me a latte. I just had her make a few phone calls.

Frugie, Kissing the Frog and 649.133 Care and Keeping of Girls at #BlogU

Look how awesome we are as greeters. “Welcome to BlogU. We can’t find pop or lattes and we’re grumpy.”

Let’s take a moment for an incoming text from Emma, “Mom. I still haven’t pooped. This is awful. I need to poop.”

Me, “Have some prunes. Are you drinking the Miralax?”

Emma, “I’m not eating prunes, gross.”

Me, “…”

(a few hours later)

Emma, “Oh wait! I had a poop baby, it’s a boy!” (I will spare you the picture of the smallest turd that she sent me.)

Me, “That baby needs to be bigger. I’m hoping for triplets next time.”

Back to BlogU—-

Friday night the faculty arranged a book signing and an Open Mic session for bloggers to read their works. I have to say, seeing so many fine ladies I love in one room, was a SQUEE-worthy moment.

Here’s my pictures to prove it:

 

Snarkfest and Frugie #BlogU

The ‘riotous’ Teri from Snarkfest. She’s such a huge supporter of my blog and I couldn’t wait to meet her. Plus she’s damn funny and was in the Pee Alone book with me.

 

Frugie, Real Life Parenting and Dried on Milk #BlogU

It’s my friend Jen from Real Life Parenting. And that’s Stacia from Dried on Milk photo bombing us. Photo bombing is all over BlogU. Like, epidemic.

HouseTalkN, Mom of the Year and Frugie #BlogU

See what I mean? More photo bombing. That’s Kerry from HouseTalkN and look- it’s Meredith from Mom of the Year! She’s my boo for sure!

649.133, Frugie and Domestic Goddess #BlogU

Who are these people and how did they get in my picture? Just kidding! That’s Janel and Andrea! Aww.

I never slept in a dorm in college. I only had my own apartment with a real bed and box spring. I had never slept on a dorm mattress before. Not bad for the two nights I was there. Not great either. Although, I was so tired, I probably would have slept on the lawn.

 

This is me Saturday morning with the fabulous Kerry of HouseTalkN. I’m pretending to smile since I’ve not had a real cup of tea, or a soy latte. Life is hard people. The struggle is real.

HouseTalkN and Frugie #BlogU

Look how ‘fake’ happy we look.

The day was filled with fabulous sessions, smart people, funny and phenomenal women. But no soy lattes. No really. It’s okay. I’m fine.

I had to save all my strength for the NickMom Retro Prom. I knew I would be wearing acetate, scrunched hair and frosty eyeshadow while busting some serious moves to Milli Vanilli, Bananarama and Madonna.

Imagine your prom (mine was in the 80s, well make that 1990, but kinda sorta the 80s) and take away all the adolescent hang-ups and self conscious social barriers (at least for me anyway) and you have the best dance party of all time. I mean it. Retro dresses, big poofy lace and neon fingerless gloves, tiaras and suntan hose, ass bows and crimped hair. It was pure gold.

I will tell this part of the story in pictures.

 

Frugie ready for NickMomProm #BlogU

Here I am in all my scrunched, frosty 80s glory.

 

 

 

BlogU NickMomProm

Oh my goodness. How does this picture not be more awesome? Julianna from Rants from Mommyland. I was so proud to put in her Bump It for her. Nicole Leigh Shaw and Kim Bongiorno. Oh, look, who is that little photo bomber? It’s Jen from People I Want to Punch in the Throat!

 

BlogU faculty at NickMomProm

Almost all of the awesome BlogU faculty

 

Yeah that’s me shaking my thang with Suburban Snapshots in pink. I did not hold back with my dance moves.

That’s Tara from You Know It Happens At Your House and look at HouseTalkN next to us. Goodness knows what song this was. Clearly we aren’t having any fun.

I have fifty bajillion more photos from the dance floor that are grainy and of lots of sweaty shiny ladies having a ball. And for the record, I was stone cold sober. I was drinking tea! Yes, tea.

OH, wait. This text just in on Saturday night from Emma, “I POOOOOPED! Oh my GOD make it stop, now I have diarrhea.”

I learned so much at BlogU. From meeting friends, making new friends, getting a shit-ton of information for my blog, meeting Huffington Post and NickMom people. Oh boy.

If you missed it this year, don’t worry. A little birdy told me there’s already a date set for BlogU 15. See y’all in Maryland next June!