Friday, February 24, 2017

7 Reasons You Should Be at the CWBN Midwest Conference

We're planning a blogging conference for Catholic Women Bloggers, and if you're a Catholic woman and you blog, you must be there. If you don't blog, but your interested in blogging, then you should also be there. Also ok if you're a non-Catholic blogger, but you're interested in Catholicism. But you do have to be a lady. NO BOYS ALLOWED! 

I've been planning this conference with some of my friends for the past several months, and now it's finally almost here. One month to go until conference time, and only two weeks left to register. And just in case there's some of you still on the fence about whether or not to attend, I thought I'd give a few really great reasons to be there. 


Amazing Speakers. Haley Stewart, Laura Kelly Fanucci, and Nell Alt are all super cool bloggers, great writers, and exceptionally wonderful human beings. 

Nell lives just a few miles from my house and has brought me meals more times than I can count. The Fountains of Carrots podcast recently declared her the "cheerleader of the internet" and it's so true. She lifts up everyone she knows, in real life or online. Her talents are vast and varied, from writing to editing to sewing to crunchy living, she does it all and does it well.  She's a great friend to have on your team. 

I have met Laura many times at local blogging gatherings, and Blessed is She gatherings. She is so sweet, incredibly knowledgeable and super fun to hang with. She is a published author and has been one of my favorite writers since before I met her. If you read her blog you know what a beautiful writer she is and you also know how open and fearless she is about sharing what the Lord lays on her heart. I'm inspired every time I read her words. 

I got to meet Haley last fall when she passed through the Twin Cities on her family's epic cross-country road trip, but I've had a friend crush on her long before that. And I'm sure I'm not the only one. Who doesn't love hearing what she and her super-hip farming family are up to? Whether it's geeking out about Anne and Green Gables or Harry Potter, exploring tenets of the faith, or talking about fashion, I'm on board. Haley is a convert to Catholicism, just like me, and I love how accessible her writing about the Catholic Faith is. I have found it so helpful in my own faith life and have no hesitation sharing her posts with those who are not Catholic. 

You guys! This line-up is the bee's knees. 


Meet other bloggers. It's a very special thing when an online friendship becomes an in-real-life friendship. The first few minutes may be a little awkward, as you come face to face with people you've seen everyday via Instagram, but never in the flesh. You may be surprised by how tall or short people actually are, and what their voices sound like. But all that falls by the wayside quite quickly. You realize you have tons to talk about because you already know so much about each other. Come meet all your friends! And come make some new friends! 

Photo from the last Midwest conference - two years ago! 

If you think one day is not enough time to socialize with all your faves, fear not! There is going to be a Friday night happy hour (as happy as you choose to get during Lent) hosted by the Minnesota contingency for those who are arriving Friday, and a Sunday morning brunch at a local restaurant (pay your own way) for those who don't need to hurry back home. 


Get some practical help. We will be offering two workshops at our conference. One is a writing workshop. Bring a post you have been working on and get feedback on style, voice, readability, and content from one of our amazing speakers, plus of couple of other ladies in attendance who write professionally.  The other is a blog layout workshop. We will have a couple of computer whizzes in the house to help you figure out specific computer related problems, like making a header for your blog, or social media buttons, or other techy problems you may have. You can participate in one, or both of these workshops, or none if you'd rather just hang out with your new blogging buddies.


Swag and prizes. I love giving people gifts, so putting together the swag bags for this event has been such a treat for me. When you come to the CWBN Midwest Conference you will get a bag of some special treats and nifty gifties, because we think you're special and that you deserve it. We will also have some special prizes that we will be giving away, and by registering for the conference you are automatically entered to win. All of these are made possible by a growing list of amazing sponsors who have agreed to partner with us. Check them out and show them some love! 


A shared faith experience. Not only will we be talking about sharing our faith through our blogging, we will be sharing in our faith with one another by going to Mass together. There will also be an opportunity to go to confession. It's true that we are a blogging community, but more than that we are a Catholic community and we seek to build up the faith while we build our blogs. When was the last time you went to Mass along side 30 other women who share your love the the Lord and His church? It's a beautiful experience. 


Beautiful March weather in St. Paul. This is kind of a joke. St. Paul, while being a greatest city in the world,  is actually kind of brown and ugly in March. But there's still great things to do!! Come see our beautiful Cathedral, drive by F. Scott Fitzgerald's house, go to Uptown for some good Hipster sightings, go to my favorite bar, or my favorite restaurant, check out Garrison Keillor's bookstore, and then walk around the corner to see the bakery where Alex and I met and fell in love. I realize that as a lifelong resident I may be a little biased, but St. Paul really is a great city. 


Re-energize your blogging. I went to the CWBN Midwest conference that Bonnie and Katrina put together at Notre Dame two years ago. I went mostly because I wanted to meet other bloggers and have a fun weekend. But I was surprised by how much I learned and how much of it I was able to apply to my blogging. 

You may be wanting to turn your blog into a business, grow readership, or maybe improve your writing, or just set some personal goals. Whatever the case may be I am sure that you will acquire a plethora of helpful tips, tricks, and advice.  So what are you waiting for? Come join us!

linking up with Kelly for some Quick Takes. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

7 quick takes vol. 31: things I want to remember from now

It's been one of those weeks were everything seems way too long. Winter is long, the days are long, Alex's hours on rotations are long. Nap time, on the other hand, has been far too short, leaving me with tired and crabby kids at the witching hour waiting for Alex to get home, scrambling to get the dinner on the table. Trixie has been sleeping terribly, she's teething, still. She's super clingy during the day. Johnny is pushing all the boundaries that a three and half year old can think to push. And he is starting to assert himself as the older brother and delights in pushing Trixie over, grabbing her toys and making her life hard in general, which makes her even more clingy. Both Alex and I are feeling just plain exhausted, with no opportunity to catch up on rest in sight. 

When I'm exhausted it's easy to go very negative very quickly, leading to pity parties and yelling needlessly. And so at the end of a very exhausting week I've decided to go positive, because even though it's so hard to parent little people, it's also really great. There are so many sweet things that happen everyday and I find myself thinking, "I really want to remember this, the way this feels right now." So here are a few of those things.


When Trixie nurses she likes to hold my hand. Sometimes she wraps her hand around my thumb, or one of my other fingers. Sometimes I lace her tiny fingers between my big ones. She's getting so big, but compared to my hands, hers are still so small. When she's not holding my hand she's often sticking her hand up the sleeve of my sweeter. That's usual how she falls asleep, with her warm little hand up my sleeve. When it hurts every bone in my body to get up and nurse her in the middle of night feeling her little hand up my sleeve is one small silver lining. 


There are two times in the day where Johnny and Trixie give each other kisses. One is when Johnny leaves for school in the morning, the other is when they're going to bed. It breaks my heart every time. Sometimes they miss each other and the kisses end up on arms and foreheads and bellies. But sometimes Johnny bends down and Trixie lifts up her chin and they give each other the sweetest little puckered-lip kiss. This is something that I know will not last forever, so I am going to bask in the warmth of their brotherly and sisterly affection as long as I can. 


Sometimes they are not fighting with each other. Sometimes they are playing nicely together. There's a game they like to play in the kitchen, usually while I'm in there cooking something. Trixie spins around in a circle and Johnny runs circles around her. They think it's hilarious, they giggle and squeal and get dizzy and fall down, and then they start back up again. It's not everyday. But when it does happen it makes me really excited for a couple years from now, when they will be old enough to really understand how to play together. 


Johnny has been able to go to bed on his own for quite a while now. But he is going through a phase where he likes someone to lay down with him while he falls asleep. And how can we say no, since we know that in the blink of an eye he will want nothing to do with either of us. Mostly he wants me to lay down with him.  "Mama lay down." He says over and over until I'm in his bed. Then he says "glasses off." And I take my glasses off and share his pillow with him. If I try to leave before he falls asleep he pushes my head had back down onto the pillow as hard as he can entreating me with "Mama lay down" a few more times. And then he leaves his hand on my cheek to make sure I don't go anywhere. 


Trixie is talking so much! Maybe this is normal for a 15 month old girl, but after having a hearing impaired child first, she seems freakish. She mimics Johnny's counting, pointing at things and reciting "'wah, two, wee, wah, ses, sezen, eee, mah,". She knows many different animal names. Doggy, kitty cat, elephant, horsey, and piggy. She has a very cute inflection to her speech right now. All of her words go up and then end, so that everything sounds like a question. "Mama?" "Doggy?" "Poo-poo?" "Apple?" 

Johnny is really into naming letters. He can identify almost every letter in the alphabet. I'm not sure how he learned this! Probably in part at school. Maybe from watching Super Why? If that's the case that will make me feel less guilty about screen time. We were in the grocery store yesterday and Johnny was either shouting of the names of the foods he saw, or the letters he saw on all the signs. I found myself torn between trying to keep him quiet in a public place, and being a super proud mama.


As I alluded to before, Johnny has been giving Trixie some grief. The other day Johnny knocked Trixie over by running into her with a Tonka Truck. She was crying and upset and Johnny was sent to his room for a time out.  Even though he beats up on her all day long, Johnny is still Trixie's favorite person. When we put him in time out she just started crying harder and ran over to his door trying to get in. I hope they can always be friends. 

P.S. these are some of our beautiful family photos taken by our good friends at Bast Photography. 

P.P.S. Find more quick takes at This Ain't the Lyceum

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