Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My birthday weekend of fun!

This  past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Empowered To Connect conference put on by Show Hope here in Nashville! It was AWESOME!

My weekend started on Thursday! Woohoo!

Around noon on Thursday, I got to meet - in person - one of the few women who knows me better than I know myself. I know, strange statement, right?

Almost two years ago, when we began the process to adopt our littles, I "met" Jamey - of Zehlahlum fame. I pounced on her on Facebook and we began "talking" via internet messages. She was there when we didn't pass committee for our babies. She was there when we did. She was there when I thought for sure our paperwork was NEVER going to make it to Ethiopia and when it finally did. She was there when I was scared of almost doubling the number of kids under this roof, and I was there when her life was changed and their daughter came home. I have prayed and prayed for this woman, her family, her sanity, her bank account, her children... and then I prayed for all those things some more. I've been that idiot with the cliche' platitudes, and I've tried my hardest to cheer her up on her bad days. I've mourned with her, and laughed so hard my stomach hurt. She's done all those things for me too... and then some. She's listened to me sob on the phone and she's brightened up more days than I can count.

And on this past Thursday... I finally got to hug her neck at the airport!

Yes, Mom, Melissa and Granny... there was a brief moment when I thought... "Uhm, Chrissy? Are you really about to go pick up a stranger at the airport and put her into your car with your precious little boys? What if she's an internet stalker and the past almost-2-years of our "friendship" she's just been gaining my trust so that she can fly here and harvest my internal organs?"

Then I realized, this is NOT a made for TV movie.

So... I drove up to the Arrivals section at the airport, immediately spotted her, threw my van into park, jumped out and ran around to give her a giant hug!
Then we got in the car and it was...
not weird.
And not awkward.
Sorry to disappoint.
It was like we had been hanging out all the time, like she lives next door and like I've known her for years.

Airport sign, in my kitchen.
A few of my kids call her Zoe. It's a dumb story but basically - they didn't understand what I said when I said I was talking to Jamey - thought I said Zoe.. then it just stuck.

We hung out at my house (I obsessively checked the time every 5 minutes waiting for 4pm when the littler kids get home so we could leave the big kids in charge while they waited for Dad to come home from work). I packed my bags (and still somehow didn't pack what I wanted to bring). We ate chips and cheese (which was a first for Jamey, weird - right?). We ate chocolate. We acted like we hang out all the time. I mean, I let her in my UPSTAIRS. Seriously. I never let anyone come upstairs in my house because they see the MESS!! She was at my house like 5 minutes and we were hanging out in my bedroom packing my suitcase.

Finalllllllllllllllllllllly 4pm came. The littler kids got home, I had a mini-family-meeting on the couch instructing them to be good, do chores, and maintain calm until Dad got home. Then... we left for our hotel!

Yes... I was as tired as I looked...thanks for asking.
This is me...finally leaving the driveway on our way!
We got checked in, went down two wrong hallways looking for our room, found our room, dropped our stuff, jumped on the beds, talked for a bit, and decided to go eat dinner before picking up Captain Murdock and her friend from the airport!

The 4 of us hung out that night, talked and talked and talked... then went to bed.

Friday morning was day 1 of the Empowered to Connect conference so we got dressed and went to Starbucks. Of course we did.

The conference was amazing, I learned SO much, I wrote till my hand cramped and tried to soak everything up like a sponge that I could wring out over my children's heads when I got home.
Stolen photo from my friend Amy, at With Fear and Great Joy

I met friends from online (Hi Erin and Mary Beth!) and made new friends too! 
I ran into my favorite social worker, Stephanie, and her fellow staff members!
We left for lunch and came back to soak up more.

That night a group of us met and hung out in the hotel atrium for awhile, then went to dinner. I totally messed up and forgot to let Mary Beth know that we were leaving the hotel and she showed up after we left. SO, so sorry MB!! We would have loved to have you with us! I just forgot! 

Saturday was much like Friday... more soaking up information, writing fervently, laughing at Jamey, elbowing each other at the good parts, etc. 

Oh... and it was my birthday. I turned Schmirtyschmive. We aren't talking about it.

Back at the hotel, my sweet hubby had delivered a birthday basket complete with balloons, awesome Happy Birthday tiaras and horns for all 4 of us! Aren't we adorable?

We went out to dinner, talked some more, heard each others' hearts, heard hope where there wasn't any, laughed a lot, and had enjoyed my free birthday cake for dessert! 

Saturday night was sad too... because Jamey was leaving early the next morning to go back home, far far away, back to her family. Sad. She needs to move here. 

Dear US Government... I know you want to start some sort of super awesome thingy here that needs someone with the exact skill set that only Jamey's hubby has... and soon. Right?? Let's get right on that, okay? 

We talked some more... stayed up late... said our goodbyes to the sleepy Captain Murdock and friend... and went to bed. Because 5am is early on a Sunday, y'all.

I drove Jamey to the airport, told her how thankful I am that she's not an axe murderer, and how thankful I am that she got to come for the conference in my town!! 

Then, I called my hubby to tell him I was coming home.

A couple of things I learned this weekend:
  • Empowered To Connect, Show Hope, Dr. Karyn Purvis and all... they are incredible. If you have the opportunity to go to this conference and you have a child or work with children... GO.
  • Jamey is hilarious, not an axe-murderer, and she's deathly afraid of turtles.
I rescued him from being hit by a car,
tried to give him to Jamey,
but she shrieked like a little girl.
Here he is in the floor board of the van.
She made me free him by the hotel.
I wanted to let him live in the garden atrium at the hotel.
He would have liked that more.
  • Captain Murdock is also very funny, wise beyond her years, and she could probably fit in your pocket.
  • Adoption people are like family. No matter if you've only ever "met" through email or a blog comment or two, we are all just kindred spirits. We just "know" each other.


  1. Sniff, sniff. :) A few comments...

    1. You are wonderful and I miss you.

    2. I guess by "fame" you mean that I went around stalking other people and no one knew me from my blog, which I'm totally cool with (that's not why I write), I'm just saying that I think fame may be the opposite word of what you're looking for. Obscurity, perhaps?

    3. I'm not deathly afraid of turtles. I am deathly afraid of cows. The "girly scream" was merely a SLIGHT exclamation of surprise to have a snapping turtle thrust into my hands when I was disinclined to contract salmonella during my weekend. I did save him from being churned up in your car engine, btw....

  2. If by "snapping turtle" you mean "harmless little baby box turtle", then I almost agree. ;)
    And yes, thank you for saving him from my engine!

    I miss you too, ya know.

  3. You make me laugh. I had such a good time this weekend.

    And, how shallow am I? I totally got more excited about your "she could probably fit into your pocket" complement more than "wise beyond her years" even if I know they are both total lies ;)

  4. A couple weeks ago, I flew to middle-no-where Kansas to meet blog people I had never actually spoken to. It was awesome. All that to say, I am pro-blog friends. :)

    I didn't realize you hadn't met Jamey before. By the amount that I've heard about her, I thought for certain she lived in Nashville. How funny!

  5. so you are all coming to hang out with me at the "Created for Care" retreat, right? THAT would be a HOOT!

  6. What a special time for the two of you!! I have a few "blog friends" who I'd loveeee to spend a weekend with!!


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