I was having so much fun meeting fellow bloggers and old and new homeschooling friends at the ARCH conference that I got NO pictures! Bummer. I had a beautiful evening with Danielle Bean (blogger, author, and editorial director of Faith & Family). After picking her up from the airport, she got checked in to her overnight location and we went on to have a great Texas fajita dinner at Pappasito's. Meeting Catholic homeschooling moms is like meeting long-lost friends. We all have so much in common and it's great to learn about their families and their hometowns and homeschooling choices and the like! I got back home pretty late and crawled into bed, anticipating another busy day ahead.
Yesterday started with an unwilling ballerina. I think she was too excited about spending the day with her cousins, and was not happy about her exam rehearsal (her studio requires the children take exams at the end of each year, and the preceding month boasts Saturday morning exam rehearsals). She cried that she didn't like ballet anymore and it was too hard. After some discussions about the financial investment we've made for the rest of the year, and the consequences of her not attending, she finally got dressed and we made it to class (only 20 minutes late!). She seemed to enjoy herself fine; we'll see if yesterday was just a stunt or if she is really tiring of ballet.
After ballet, I dropped the kids at their cousins' house without even a tear from the toddler (sometimes he gets upset when I leave, while other times like yesterday he could care less that I left!) and I was off to the conference in time to make the last 10 minutes of Danielle's talk. Afterwards I spotted Jen and got to visit with her, then Danielle, and some other bloggers for a bit. Everyone split up for lunch and I rushed over to Daily Mass (missing all the readings). I thought I had better take advantage of a Mass without kids!
I checked out the cafeteria a few times, but the choices were slim. There was breakfast food still hanging out, and about 20 people in line for a fresh hamburger. I decided to sneak away for a quick lunch down the street. The conference was held at the University of St. Thomas which is in a bustling area of Houston, so I figured the lunch choices would be many. The next block over is Montrose and I drove down for a few blocks, passing a few fast food joints, but remembering a really good Greek restaurant a little ways further. Traffic was heavy and the Greek restaurant parking lot was totally full. I waited for a few minutes before finding a spot and rushed in to make a quick to-go order and head back to the conference. Needless to say, after waiting in line about 10 minutes and making my order, I was told it would be 30 minutes until my food would be ready!
I opted to go elsewhere, figuring I could easily find food and get back to the conference in half an hour! At this point I was starting to get shaky (it was about 1:30 and breakfast had been at 9am), and managed to find a little bag of Skittles from Easter in my purse. Score! I thought I remembered a LaMadeleine restaurant (one of my favorites) nearby, so I drove a few minutes through the traffic, before finally putting it into my phone and realizing I'd already gone way past it. Turnarounds on one-way roads, many with no left turns, is frustrating. But I was determined to get my Chicken Caesar Salad before much longer.
My phone was telling me I'd arrived, but there was no LaMadeleine to be seen. Back and forth, down little alleyways and through the shopping centers I drove, before finally finding it at the first corner of the large intersection (I'd been looking at the other side of the street). I parked and went in to find a line of just a few people. But of course they didn't know what they wanted to order and I was getting restless. As I approached the front of the line, I reached into my purse to retrieve my wallet, only to realize I had left it in the car!
So I forfeited my spot in line, walked back to scour the car for my wallet, then went back inside to find four new patrons, who also were oblivious to what exactly they might like to eat! Ahhh! Finally my time arrived and I got to sit down with my salad, bread and butter, and water with lemon for a peaceful lunch.
As I was driving back to the conference I was starting to really feel my lack of sleep. Realizing that it was after 2pm, I thought maybe I could find a nearby Sonic restaurant for a cheap, sugary "Happy Hour" slush to perk me up. This was another wild goose chase with my phone. I couldn't for the life of me find the Sonic it was showing on the screen, so I conceded and tiredly drove back to UST.
My lunch outing had taken just over an hour, but felt like an eternity, and I was disappointed that I didn't get to say goodbye to some of my new friends. I spent some time exploring the vendor booths, meeting another blogger, Colleen, who was hilariously funny and had us all in stitches. I listened to a sweet elderly Sister speak about some Montessori reading materials, which was a bit monotonous. If any of us moms were struggling with reading 3-letter words, we got a 45-minute review from Sister who sounded out all her flashcards and showed us how to spell dozens of words with wooden letters. She was so kind, though, answering our questions, and giving away packets outlining the Montessori techniques used at her school.
I ran into a few other friends from college, and after visiting for a few minutes, we were told it was time to leave and I was off to pick up my happy kiddos who were waiting for pizza which their uncle was picking up. We spent the evening visiting with family and playing (and bathing) with cousins, Daddy arriving over from work in time to hang out a little while, before the long drive back home.
I got my first good night's sleep in several days and am now just about recovered and ready for a laid-back Sunday. Yesterday was my aunt's birthday and so we're planning to spend the day visiting with her and my parents. I've got a crying toddler who wants to play with a permanent marker (Bic, Shannon!), so I better get moving on the day. Hope you all have a blessed Sunday!