I guess I should post about my trip, because I keep thinking of things I want to post on and think, "No, you still need to post about the trip!"
I left early Friday morning and in a terrible mood. I had very mixed feelings about leaving all along, and suddenly late Thursday night I just didn't want to go anymore. I was completely anxious and unhappy about it, for no particular reason whatsoever except that I just knew that something terrible was going to happen to one of my babies while I was gone (sniff, sniff). But I had reserved an expensive hotel room, paid to pre-register at the conference, and made John take time off of work, so I was going regardless. I snapped at John all morning, especially when he decided just as I was walking out the door that he absolutely *had* to go check the tire pressure on my car,,,,the I tearfully apologized, cried on my 2 year old's head, and I was off. Once good and on the road, I was fine and wondered what the heck all that emotion was about!
My trip up was a bit complicated. I had a doctor's appointment on my way out of town. I don't know why I thought scheduling things that way was a good idea...I guess because it was a rare day that John was off of work and I could go to the doctor without three kids in tow! I also had Maria with me. She was invited to a friend's birthday slumber party that night and I was dropping her off on my way. John's tire check made me 10 minutes late for my appointment and they had already taken the next patient back, so my appointment took *forever*...by the time I finished that, dropped Maria off, stopped at Walmart for a couple of last minute purchases, etc., it was nearly 1pm by the time I really got on my way.
The drive up was uneventful and actually really relaxing. I realized that I'd never actually taken a long car trip without kids. Ever. I discovered that between here and Kansas City there is pretty much nothing at all....4 hours of tiny towns and flat roads. But there was an impressive selection of radio stations, especially as I got closer and closer to KC. At one point, I was scanning through the stations and kind of half-listening when something very vaguely familiar grabbed my attention....it was a rap song, which was odd. Not a big rap-listener here, although I do sport a token 10 year old Salt-N-Peppa cd in my collection (yes, really). I back-tracked and found the station...Vanilla Ice. Seriously. Someone was playing Ice Ice Baby on the radio. It cracked me up. And it cracked me up more to realize that I still know ALL THE WORDS. So, if you live in KC and spotted some crazy white girl in a Ford Taurus car dancing to Ice Ice Baby, that would have to be me. Sad but true.
When I arrived in KC, it was getting close to the first events of the conference. I'd hoped to check in and settle into my hotel room first, but I decided I'd better find the conference center first. The conference center was actually outside of KC and down a long road to nowhere. I found a large building with a cross but no sign...it was dark at this point...I wasn't sure if it was it or not, but since there was nothing else around I pulled into the parking lot to check it out. There were lots of minivans sporting pro-life bumper stickers...promising...but still, could just be a bunch of Baptists! I decided to park and walk around. Lo and behold, I began to notice rosaries hanging from probably 80% of the vehicles' rear view mirrors. Bingo! So I left my own rosary-wearing vehicle and found the front door.
I registered in time to get 15 minutes to browse the used curriculum sale and pick up a couple of things. I'd already bought my curriculum for the year, $400 worth, so I brought a set amount of cash to keep my spending under control. Then I found the room with the rosary and the two talks of the evening. I won't go into details on the talks here. They were all worth traveling for and a few of them have triggered some post topic ideas, so I'll come back to them later. By the time the talks were over and I found my hotel around the corner and checked in, it was after 10pm. So much for making much use of my hotel room! I'd looked forward to having some time to veg/read/watch cable tv which we don't have at home anymore, but no time. The conference started again early the next morning. I did spend about half an hour giving the TV a shot...a quick check at EWTN revealed again why my dh calls the station "All Mass, All Rosary, All the Time". I flipped through some channels and re-affirmed that we really weren't missing much at home without the cable. I ended up watching a Dharma and Greg episode...oh, that crazy, crunchy Dharma....
The next day was a long one. I attended a couple of talks, walked the vendor floor and quickly spent nearly every cent I'd brought with me, attended a wonderful mass with the KC Archbishop (anyone that doesn't think the Novus Ordo can be done respectfully and solemnly oughta have been there), had lunch, attended a couple more talks, one of which was given by the lovely and talented Cay Gibson...I finally got my copy of Catholic Mosaic and then made her autograph it like a big ole groupie. I even met a couple of her girls, which was very surreal because I've seen and read so much about them on her blog. By 4pm I was on the road back home. The drive back home was a bit more tiring than the drive up...I was beat. By the time I got home, all the kids were in bed, so I had to wait until morning to smooch on them all properly. It was totally worth it though. My favorite part was just the atmosphere, the huge collection of lovely homeschooling families, at least huge compared to our small Catholic homeschooling group back home, so many Moms that I had so much in common with, many with several children, many pregnant or with a little baby in arms, all with so much wisdom and support to share. So often I feel like such an odd duck in my world, and it was nice, for an evening and a day, to be surrounded by so many familiar souls.