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:
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.
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.