Wednesday, September 22, 2010

California Power of Moms Retreat--The Report

Uploading these photos from our Dana Point "Get Organized" Retreat for The Power of Moms has been a bit of an emotional experience.  It seems like only a few months ago, I was creating a pretend homepage with AutoShapes:

Funny+Initial+Website+Design.bmp.jpg


And now I get to attend Retreats with women who put motherhood at the top of their priority list...right where it belongs.  I always get a little tickled when I see "official" Power of Moms signs (I hope this excitement never wears off).


Saren, Susan, Sarah, and I arrived a bit early to set up our room and greet the moms as they arrived to the hotel.  (Sarah and Susan were at our St. George Retreat, and now they're Power of Moms Trainers--it's nothing short of heartwarming to watch them in action.)


(See those cute brown sacks in the background?  Those are homemade treats we got to eat that evening.  I was in HEAVEN.)


We had "speed friend-shipping" in the lobby of the hotel, where each mom has a half-sheet of paper with questions to ask the other moms.  We pair up for five minutes each and get to know a bit about each other.   Here are Erin, Ann, and Melissa (with cute Benjamin):


 Saren loves to pose for me...(kidding), but I couldn't resist this shot of the elevator.  There's a beautiful window where you can admire the palm trees and harbor view. Have I mentioned that I wouldn't mind living in Dana Point?


I'm pretty sure I squealed when we walked into our hotel room.  You see, I NEVER stay in places like this.  Our family generally camps, stays with friends, or finds the least expensive hotel room available if we're traveling long distances.  But I must say, staying in a beautiful room--complete with an ocean view and a private balcony--did something unique for my spirits.  I loved every minute of it.


After our first sessions, "Taking Care of the Person Inside the Mom," (by me and Saren) and "Making the Time," (by Sarah...which was fabulous!), we all took a little walk to the shore to eat dinner at an incredible restaurant called Mahe's.  The stairs weren't exactly stroller-friendly, but we had lots of extra hands to help out.   



At dinner, we had four table topics--Family Traditions, Finding Joy in Motherhood, Tips and Tricks to Run the Home (and get the family to help), and Capturing Teaching Moments.  Two trainers sat at each table, and then our Retreat participants chose which topics they'd like to discuss.  We had some great discussions.

I think we were all so giddy to be out to dinner without high chairs, sippy cups, or diaper bags.  The waitress came by and asked if we needed more time to order, and we all started laughing because we had all decided within about 30 seconds. Moms don't sit around looking over menu details.  We act fast...before someone has a meltdown or needs a potty run.

We found a cute family sitting in the park when we were walking back to our hotel, and they consented to take a photo of our group.  



And then someone had this great idea of doing an "Eyre Jumping Picture," but after three tries, our cute friends still couldn't get the picture to take while we were up in the air.  (So I have a lot of "laughing" pictures.)



I snapped this picture of Kelly and Jill as we approached our hotel (is that not a beautiful building?).  They each came on their own--Kelly from Washington, Jill from California--and I thought it was great to see them talking, relaxing, and enjoying some time away to get rejuvenated.  We get lots of moms asking if it's okay (weird?) if they come alone.  Our answer?  Absolutely not...we're all best friends after the first few hours.



Okay, this picture needs some explaining.  A few months ago, I noticed that some of our celery was wilted in the fridge.  I put it in a glass of water, and it perked right up.  Then I said to my husband, "Sometimes moms feel a little 'wilted' when they've been taking care of their families for a long time without much rest.  Going to a Power of Moms Retreat is like putting celery in a cup of water."  My husband gave me a very odd look, but then he suggested that we make a "celery" pose at our next Retreat when we were in the hot tub.  So here it is:


Can't you see it?


Our evening session Friday night was a "Picking Your Priorities Panel."  Susan, Kelly, and Sarah Chapman are in the middle.  Kelly is the mother of thirteen children, and she is full of incredible wisdom.  Susan and Sarah are two of her daughters-in-law.  We were thrilled to have all of them with us.  

During this session, we talked about focusing on the relationships in our lives--that's what's most important, after all.  

Here are a few pictures from our breakfast buffet at the Vue restaurant located on the bottom floor of the hotel.  I absolutely loved it.












And here's a close-up of Benjamin.  I asked to hold him as often as possible.  
SO sweet!


Saren did an outstanding job with her Family Systems session.  I took copious notes, and I can't wait to more fully implement her ideas for a family legal system, economy, and culture.  The Eyre family has beautiful traditions, and I'm anxious to develop more within my own family.  I also realized that our family rules aren't clearly defined or posted anywhere in the home.  Gotta get on that....



Susan conducted a beautiful session regarding family love languages.  I'd heard of the book, but I never took the time to identify each family member's preferred way to receive love (Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Quality Time, Physical Touch, or Acts of Service).  Here Susan is showing us a board she made to help her focus on each of her family members' needs.



Here's our lunch set-up on the front lawn of the hotel.  They had weddings out here each day, and the weather couldn't have been more perfect.

And again, since I was a little out of my element, I had to laugh when they brought us Grey Poupon.  Susan volunteered to pose for a photo op.



Because we've had such a great response to Mind Organization for Moms, we decided to hire professional videographers to record that session of the Retreat.  This is Sally from One Productions (an INCREDIBLE company) fitting me with a microphone.  I've never had that done before...can you see how excited I am in this photo?  


Here are the four Power of Moms Trainers after we finished up the Saturday sessions.


And guess what!  We have three NEW trainers now who stayed after the Retreat for a "Train the Trainer" session.  Tiffany, Melissa, and Ashley are three incredible women who are going to help us take The Power of Moms out to the world.


Once our evening came to an end, I packed up my bags, drove an hour to get home, and was greeted with this beautiful sight:


My husband is really the one who makes it possible for me to do these Retreats.  He spent the whole weekend with the children--taking them hiking, making them treats, setting up a tent in the living room, and spending quality time together.  

As much as I loved the time I spent in Dana Point, and as much as I love working on The Power of Moms, my REAL joy is right here.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sweetness

I just got home from the Power of Moms California Retreat last night (which was an incredible experience...more on that later), and I was SO excited to see my family. 

This morning after breakfast, my girls asked if they could show me a video on Webkinz (an online world that works with their stuffed animals).  At first I thought it was going to be kind of silly, but they said, "Mom, it reminds us of you and Dad.  And there are little kitty cats who are just like us, and it's so sweet.  You HAVE to watch it!"  So I agreed.

For the next three minutes, I cried and cried.  Whoever created this video did an amazing job.  It absolutely did remind me of my husband and family. 

Sometimes family life seems exhausting.  Most of the time it's messy.  My children bicker, my three-year-old dumps milk on the counter, and occasionally I wonder if I am qualified enough to do this well.  But when I watch a video like this, I know it's all worth it.

Enjoy!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

I'd Love to Meet You

Sometimes I wish my blog could accurately reflect all the exciting things going on behind the scenes with The Power of Moms.  I also wish it could reflect the fun, crazy, sweet, and sometimes frustrating moments that go on within my own family.  Things are moving so fast around here, but I'm taking lots of notes, and someday, when my children are grown, I can write and write and write all about it.

Until then, I'll just do the best I can.

However, I REALLY like to meet our "Power of Moms" Moms, so if any of you are looking for inspiration in running a business and planning to be in Utah on September 24th, I'll be attending Startup Princess's TouchPoint conference, and I'd love to see you there.

Check out this link for a promo code worth $50 and more information about the event.

(We're also still accepting late sign-ups for our California Retreat next weekend...come if you can!)

And now it's time to clean my house....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This TWO Shall Pass

I've been brainstorming an article over the last few months called "This Two Shall Pass."  Spencer, my two-year-old, is a doll, but he is SO two.  He dumps buckets of cars and army men all over the living room, screams when Ethan won't let him hold the red light saber, wakes up the whole family at 5:30 a.m., and wants to do everything "all by myself."   

The point of the article (which won't actually get written until Spencer is three) is that even though two-year-olds are incredibly challenging, the age is going to pass, and I'm going to miss the everyday fun of living with Spencer.

For example, when I'm working on my laptop, he'll slide a blanket into the kitchen, lay down on it, and say, "Pull me, Mommy!  Pull me!" 


And every time I turn around, it seems he's grown another inch...and learned 18 new words...and discovered how to stack cups higher than his head.  I can literally see him getting taller, smarter and more skilled each day.


Then when I'm at the kitchen sink, scraping pizza remnants off the plates and trying desperately to get the hardened eggs off the forks, I look up and see this:


And then I just want to hug him and kiss him and make him promise to stay two forever.  I know someday I'll be washing the dishes, and I'll look out the window, and I'll wish that there was somebody pressing his nose against the window--hoping I'll smile or pat the glass or make a silly face right back.  

I can hardly stand the thought of my children leaving, but at the same time, I can hardly wait to sleep in once in awhile, go to the store without diapers in my purse, and rest by the side of a swimming pool without keeping my eye on someone.   I keep reminding myself that those days are going to come.  Two, five, fifteen, and eighteen will all pass.  I just can't get too frustrated with today.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Unexpected Makes Me Laugh

I was running around the house, getting things ready for a family day trip while Alia and Grace helped me with Spencer.  I had no idea what they were doing, but later, I looked at my camera and found these:









Alia posed Spencer, and he LOVED it.  I do wish I could freeze time.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Blooming

I have had a continually expanding, messy binder full of random recipes stuffed into my cupboard for the last 10 years.  I could never find my favorite California Pizza Kitchen recipe when I wanted it, I felt embarrassed whenever a friend caught a glimpse of my disorganization, and the appearance of the binder itself discouraged me from even TRYING to cook.

Then I started playing "Bloom."

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about this game at first.  I think of myself as a very driven, goal-oriented person, and I didn't think a goal-setting game would do that much for me, but it did.

The first week I played, I entered "Organize my recipe binder" as a goal in the "For My Family" section (You set one goal each week: for you, for your family, and beyond).  I've had that goal written on my list since I got married, but somehow, knowing that I'd "committed" myself to The Power of Moms made a big difference.

I printed off my goal sheet, and that week, Alia and I were sitting in the kitchen, sorting through my recipe-binder-monster, and I said, "I set a goal to get this organized, but I've got too much going on this week."  Alia said, "Mom, let me do it!"

So while I made dinner and answered emails, Alia got out a brand new (bigger) binder, made a cute cover sheet, created dividers, and sorted the recipes by asking me which ones I wanted to keep, toss, etc.   I then went through the whole thing, created a monthly shopping list, and brainstormed new meal ideas.  I LOVE it.

We're still refining the Bloom Game and learning what works/doesn't work for our players, and it might not be the best solution for everyone, but we've got lots of fun plans in store:

Here's a bloom book and journal that I found while I was out shopping with my children.  I got a bunch of them that we're going to start giving out as prizes.  They're so cute!


Alia gets really excited about helping me with projects, and when I told her I needed to take some photographs of these books, she begged me to let her print out some pretty backgrounds.  I think she did a great job!


We're also going to be putting together a monthly Bloom tele-seminar, where moms can call in and participate in a fun discussion/Q&A about different motherhood topics.

I've just learned about these recently, but there's software available that allows hundreds of moms to be on a call at once, and if you have a question you want to ask, you can be "un-muted" or you can submit your question through an Instant Messaging service.   Make sure you're on our newsletter list so you can join us for these phone calls.  I'd love to get the chance to talk with you!

And finally, we're working on making the Bloom points equal to "Power of Moms dollars."  That way, when you earn points from goal-setting (5 or 8 per week), you can come to our store and buy programs, eBooks, a Power of Moms t-shirt, etc.

If you have any other ideas for us, please email me or let me know in the Comments section here.  We want this game to be a simple, fun way for moms to reach their goals.  I love this concept of all of us "blooming" together.
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