Tuesday, May 29, 2012

American Mothers/Power of Moms Recap

Okay, so this is not going to be easy but I'm going to attempt to catch up a little bit here and post about a few events I went to that were dedicated to motherhood this past month. I am going to apologize in advance for the poor quality of pictures (as well as the lack of pictures of some things). There was this really nice man at the National American Mothers Convention who followed us around and snapped tons of photos of everything, so I have been waiting on access to those pictures to write about my experience, but since I still don't know how to get to them, I'm forging ahead without great pictures. You may have to use your imagination a little. Lol.

Four weeks ago (yikes--has it really been that long?), my husband and his mother and I boarded an airplane and headed to Washington D.C. for the American Mothers National Convention. Here is a less-than-wonderful recap of our experience there.

Wednesday: Arrived! Somehow managed to hop on the right trains in the Metro, even if it did take us a while to figure it out. Checked into our luxurious hotel, the Mayflower Renaissance (don't know what happened to my picture of it--but doesn't the name sound so romantic and historical? Definitely more upscale than we are used to). Walked around the neighborhood searching for food. Finally decided on a little Italian number and enjoyed a quiet, kid-free dinner--again, not something we are used to. Crashed early due to jet lag and two-hour time difference.

Thursday: Toured the White House (my favorite room was the "Green Room". Met President Obama's dog, Bo (he's quite the dog, let me assure you). I only got in trouble once for sitting briefly on a chair in one of the rooms (apparently they aren't for sitting) when my back started throbbing. Visited the White House Visitors Center (I absolutely loved the photos of the past Presidents and their families--so cool). Tried to buy some postcards but the power went out unexpectedly and they couldn't get the computers up and running, so they gave them to us for free. Saved at least $2.25! Ate the most delicious breakfast at Ebbett's Grill--I am not kidding--amazing! Attended Orientation meeting and met the other Young Mothers of the Year from around the country. There were 13 of us in all. Met last year's National Young Mother of the Year, Shawni Pothier, which was a great privilege. She is definitely worth knowing (see if you want a little taste of some wonderful reading). Visited the Capitol Building and ate hors deurves (felt very important--Lol!)Attended a Pampering Party for honored guests, where I got a free manicure, a 15-minute massage, and some yummy treats. It was so fun!

Me, Shawni Pothier, Darcy Ure (California's current YMOY), and last year's California YMOY (darn--not remembering her name right now but a wonderful woman!

In front of the White House.

At the Capitol Building. Shawni was so sweet. She got down on the floor to take this charming picture of us with the amazing done above us.

This darling girl gave me a manicure, and behind her was where the massages took place.
Friday: Enjoyed a delicious breakfast, then listened to all of the Young Mothers give their speeches. The topic was "Inspired. Empowered. Raising the Next Generation." Maybe I will post mine some day. Because I was from Utah, and they placed us in alphabetical order, I was the last one to give my 3-minute speech (talk about pressure--they told us we would be escorted off-stage if our speech went over three minutes). I absolutely loved hearing from these other young mothers. They were wonderful! I truly felt inspired and privileged to be among them. That afternoon, we listened to the more seasoned Mothers of the Year from around the country. There were 21 in all--amazing women. So much to be learned. That night, Daniel and I decided to skip out on the tour of D.C. and attend a Nationals baseball game instead (you can guess whose idea this was). I have a bad habit of wanting desperately to skip out on ball games after about six innings, but I was determined to see this one out. I made it nine whole innings this time! Unfortunately, the game went into extra innings, so my poor husband still didn't get to see the exciting end, as I flashed him my puppy dog eyes during the ninth, and he had mercy on me, agreeing to catch the end on television. What a guy!
Look at these wonderful women! They represented young mothers from the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Texas, and of course Utah.

Me giving my speech. No, I didn't really have demon-eyes, thank goodness!

My sweet husband, Daniel, me, and my dear mother-in-law. I felt so blessed to have such tremendous support.

At the ballgame (btw, Nationals won!, so we found out later:)
Saturday: Attended "Mom to Mom" Conference. Listened to Aundray Collins, then Ree Drummond (TV host on the Food Network and Pioneer Woman blogger). Ree was pretty entertaining as she shared her journey from being a housewife in the middle of nowhere to her success in blogging and hosting a food show. Allison Sweeney was the guest speaker at the luncheon. Her husband and little boy were there as well. Darling family. She talked a bit about juggling her career and taking care of herself, also her passion for what she does on the Biggest Loser. Heard wonderful messages from Shawni Pothier (she talked about Habits of a Dragon Mother--so awesome) and Ernestine Allen (last year's National MOY), listened to a panel on violence against pregnant women, then enjoyed hearing Rick Grandinetti speak about how to create successful relationships. He said you either contribute or contaminate--be a contributor. Also our new family motto: "You cannot fail if you never give up." Saturday evening we finished up the event by attending a formal American Mothers Gala. It was something else. Everyone dressed up in fancy clothes, eating fancy food. That's where the new National YMOY and MOY were announced. And the winners were . . . (drum roll): Carrie Leonard from Oklahoma (darling woman), and Ruby Cheves from Georgia.
Me with Ree Drummond.

Alison Sweeney at lunch with her husband and son.

All the Utah women got their picture taken with Alison Sweeney. She was very gracious.

Shawni Pothier, me, and Janny Gibson (Hawaii's YMOY) at Gala
I have to admit by this time, my experience was turning a little bittersweet. Saturday was my sweet baby's first birthday (yes, I missed it!), and although she never knew I missed her birthday (we celebrated when we got back), I knew it, and it was a bit painful. Also, my 10-year-old son hit his first out-of-the-park home run, and I wasn't there to see it. Man, I was missing my kids! My sweet mother had been at my home taking care of them while we were gone, bless her heart. I was definitely ready to head back home by this time.

Sunday: Attended the National Cathedral for services. It was an amazing building with many worshipers. Very different from the LDS services I am accustomed to. I appreciated all the people who took time on Sunday to come to worship and strengthen their faith, but I have to admit, my heart was wishing I was at fast and testimony meeting in my own ward back home. It's always good to miss something and gain even deeper appreciation for it, and I'd say that's how I felt. We boarded our plane and headed back home Sunday evening. I cried when our plane touched down in Salt Lake City and I saw the beautiful, majestic mountains once more. Then again when I felt my children's arms around my neck again. There's just no place like home!

In front of the Cathedral

Inside the Cathedral. This picture doesn't do it justice. It was huge.
And so . . . I came home so grateful for all I had, grateful to miss my normal life, grateful to have so much to come home to.

And then the following weekend, I attended yet another conference on motherhood, this one much closer to home, thank goodness. I had the privilege of attending a day of the Power of Moms Mother's Day Retreat in Park City, Utah at Richard and Linda Eyre's home (yes, it was absolutely a fabulous home and I had to keep pinching myself that I was there).

This retreat was a 2-day deal where 85 women met together to get inspired, encouraged, educated and uplifted in the cause of motherhood. It was truly wonderful! I highly recommend this opportunity to any woman who feels they need a boost in the area of motherhood. It was well worth the time and resources spent to be there. The co-founders of Power of Moms are Saren Loosli (who just happens to be Shawni Pothier's sister and the Eyre's daughter) and April Perry. I am amazed at what these two women have started and how hard they work to encourage deliberate mothering. It was such an honor to meet them.
Saren, Me, April
And then, if that wasn't awesome enough, they actually allowed me to participate! First, I was in a panel discussion with none other than Linda Eyre herself (I was shaking so hard sitting next to her--it was kind of surreal. She and her husband are the sources of tons of parenting wisdom) and Macy Robison (singer and presenter at Time-Out for Women). I felt so honored and so out of my league, but it was truly a wonderful experience. Then, I gave a presentation entitled, "I'm Not a Perfect Mother, and That's OK!" I truly feel passionate about this topic and was thrilled to be with a large group of amazing women, all trying to become better mothers, and share a few thoughts on this topic.
Linda Eyre and me. She is so darling and sweet, I'm telling you.
As the day wore on we heard uplifting music from Macy Robison, learned how to be deliberate mothers, how to use parenting partnerships, how to set up family legal systems and family economies.We talked about being a "benevolent dictator" and building a strong family culture, plus so much more! We shared a delicious lunch and some wonderful small-group discussions as well. All in all, it was a fabulous day! I went home feeling so uplifted and inspired. If you haven't heard of Power of Moms, check it out ( They are doing wonderful things! I am eager to become more involved and feel so strongly about their focus.

Whew! I am exhausted just recapping all of this. No wonder it has taken me 3-4 weeks to get it all down! I will end now by saying this. By far, the greatest blessing that has come into my life through being named Utah's YMOY is the women I have had the privilege of meeting and associating with. I have been humbled, uplifted and wowed by the many different women I have been able to rub shoulders with. They have taught me and inspired me to be better. They have reinforced my own feelings of the value and importance of motherhood and they have helped me realize even more how powerful a mother's influence in the home really is.

I've definitely experienced a month full of wonderful experiences speaking about and listening to presentations on motherhood. Now comes the hard part--implementing all I've learned!