Thursday, September 30, 2010

Type A Mom Conference

I just returned from the incredible Type A Mom conference in Asheville, NC.  Those of you who know me IRL (in real life) you can stop your laughing now.  The irony is that I am nowhere close to being a type A mom.  Fortunately there was a great mix of women of all different parenting and blogging styles, there were even some brave dads.  There are so many things to say about the conference but I want to devote my first to one of my favorite subjects, community.

Kelby Carr is the founder of the Type A Mom conference and she "gets" community in a way that so many others don't.  It's easy to say that you want everyone to be comfortable, it's quite another to actually make that happen.  In the weeks leading up to the conference, Kelby had time for everyone.  She replied and retweeted on twitter and did what she could to ease everyone's anxiety.  When the inevitable discussions about what to wear happened, Kelby didn't just say "It's comfortable" she said "Wear what you're comfortable in."  There's a big difference.  Some of us are most comfortable in jeans and flip flops  ( I did bring my fancy sparkly flips) but others are most comfortable in dresses, or khakis, or leggings.  I'm guessing that her philosophy worked because I barely remember what people were wearing, but I do remember their faces and their stories! 

You see, community is about how we interact with each other.  Kelby set the tone by communicating openly with everyone.  At every conference you see little groups of people talking and laughing, heading off to wherever (dinner, parties, etc.) but at Type A it was different.  The groups were not closed off.  Everyone was encouraged to pull up a chair or join in for dinner.  Introductions were made and insightful questions were asked.  The hotel had groupings of couches and chairs outside of the main meeting rooms.  These couches were actually comfortable and filled for the entire conference.  There was no rhyme or reason to the groups that formed in those seats.  It was whoever needed to recharge their computer or check their email or just get off their feet for a second.  Great conversations happened around those couches and they were completely organic.  They came about because people were willing to engage with each other. 

There is more to say about the conference, but I was so grateful for the community I had to write this first.  What's the lesson I learned?  Be open.  Be the one who takes a chance and walks up to a group.  Be the one who tweets out about dinner plans.  Be the one who always invites in.  Be the one who welcomes.  If you do these things you will find your community. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Disney Souvenirs ~ Dreaming of Disney Mom's Panel

If you don't like Disney World, you might want to tune out over the next few weeks because I am going to be all Disney, all the time.  I have applied to serve on the Walt Disney World Mom's Panel for 2011.  It is a DREAM of mine to serve on this panel.  It is a group of moms that answer Disney trip planning questions on a forum on their website.  All of this thinking about Disney made me think about all of the fun souvenirs from our trips.  I shared a few before, but today's are my oldest and my most unique Disney souvenirs.  Hope you enjoy it, and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Droid X Verizon Review

I hate cell phone contracts.  It never fails that six months into my contract a great new phone comes out and I want it.  It makes me crazy to see the ads for the new and pretty phones on television so I turn the channel.  I still have another YEAR to go before I can upgrade my phone.  Therefore, I was delighted when I was offered a Droid X to play with for a couple of weeks to review.  The only hitch would be trying to disappear with the phone when the review was over instead of shipping it back. 

The Droid X is the one of the latest offerings from Motorola that uses the Android platform.  My current phone is the original Motorola Droid so I was at least familiar with the system.  One of the great things about all Android phones is the number of applications that are available.  The Android system is open source so anyone with the technological know-how can develop applications for the phones.  Some of my favorites are a Blockbuster application that lets you watch movies on your phone, a task killer that saves your battery life, and Tweetdeck, a social media application.  The phone also has several home screens to make it easier to access your applications.

The Droid X is lighter and sleeker than the original Droid.  One reason it's lighter is it does not have a separate keyboard, it uses a touch screen.  This was the only downfall for me, and it is more of an issue with me than with the phone.  Most phones are moving to the touch screen keyboard, I am just clinging to the old ways!  My husband uses the touch screen much quicker than I can.  One of the cool new features of the Droid X is "swipe."  This technology allows you to put your finger on the first letter of the word you want to type, and then you drag your finger to the other letters in order(without lifting up) and it continues to type as you drag.  It makes the touch screen very fast to use.  I think you can swipe faster than I could type on my laptop. 

Speaking of laptops, have you ever been stuck without an internet connection and really needed to use your computer and not your phone?  With the Droid X, that problem is solved.  With the press of a button the Droid X becomes a 3G hotspot.  I used it with my laptop and the speed was incredible.  I have been on the go so much lately that this would seriously come in handy.  I also thought about all of my friends who spend time at athletic fields waiting for their children to finish practice.  The Droid X would help you get a lot of work done while waiting.  (or a lot of reading celebrity news!)

I also have to mention that the Droid X is available through Verizon.  We switched to Verizon service in our area a few years ago because they have the best coverage for us.  We used to lose calls anytime we got near our house!  We have traveled quite a bit and found Verizon coverage to be very reliable.  I do love the new stuff so I was very tempted to leave Verizon when the Iphones started coming out.  We decided to go with the Droid phones because you can do just as much with them (sometimes more) and you just cannot beat the Verizon service in our area.  As much as I enjoyed the Droid X, I think I might choose the Droid 2 as my next phone because it does have a keyboard.  My husband however, was trying to figure out a way to keep the Droid X because he would love to have it! 

Here is a short video about the Droid X and the "swipe" feature

I was provided a Motorola Droid X with service from Verizon to review.  The opinions expressed here will always be my own,  for more information please see my disclosure page.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Philly Cheesesteaks ~ Wordless Wednesday

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend Bloggy Boot Camp in Philadelphia, PA.  It was a long drive for a short weekend, but the monotony was broken up by riding with Fadra from Raleigh, NC to Philly.  There is so much to say about the weekend, but today I am giving you the closing shot of our weekend.  On our way out of town we stopped by Pat's and enjoyed an amazing cheesesteak.   It was a cool morning with a little bit of drizzly rain around.  The breeze was chilly and that hot cheesesteak was oh, so good!   There are two very passionate camps about Philly cheesesteaks.  Pat's and Geno's are directly across from one another if you want to make a scientific comparison, however, I am completely satisfied with our choice!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Father Figures

I don't think it's any secret that I am a "Daddy's girl."  I have a great relationship with both of my parents but my mom and I really had to struggle through the adolescent years to come through with this wonderful relationship.  My dad was always the one that played games and read books with me.  My brother and sister were older than me and when they didn't want to be annoyed by me any longer, my dad would step in and play the five millionth round of Candy Land! 
Even though my relationship with my dad was strong, I was always thankful for the other "father figures" in my life.  Whether it was our youth minister or the dad of a friend, there was no shortage of strong, caring male role models around.   My husband, John, was lucky enough to have these, too.  He had one in particular.  Mr. Bryan.  Mr. Bryan was the father of John's best friend growing up in Dallas.   My husband and his friend were up to all kinds of mischief in their neighborhood, some of it we have on videotape.  John had a great relationship with his own father.  His father loved him well and taught him so much about love and life and business.  I am so thankful for John's parents because they raised this wonderful man that is my partner in every way.  Mr. Bryan, well Mr. Bryan invited John to church.

When John and I got married almost fifteen years ago we had our engagement portrait at our reception for all of our friends to sign.  There are some very touching things written and some very funny things, (thanks Tyler and Bradley!) On the left side, two-thirds of the way down is this quote.

Sorry this is so blurry, but it says "Hi John, come to church w/Kevin and us this weekend-Lee Bryan 1979."  My husband went to church with them.  He wound up joining that church at the age of 17 and becoming very involved in the youth ministry program.  John found his calling there.  He graduated from college with a business degree, but his heart was called to youth ministry.  He graduated from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education at Union Seminary in Richmond, Virginia and went on to have a very successful twenty-something year career before "retiring" from professional youth ministry last year.  The roots of John's faith came from the family he was born into, and the Bryans provided the opportunity for his faith to grow. 

Why am I thinking about all of this today?  Mr. Bryan passed away last week.  He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year and fought valiantly until it was time to stop fighting.  Last Saturday we were able to go and be there for his memorial service and spend a little time with the family.  They are so full of love and faith.  Even in the midst of such a sad occasion, they were a joy to be with.  And to Mr. Bryan, thank you.  Thank you for loving and caring so well for your own family and for the others that crossed your path.  Thank you for sharing your faith. 

               Lee and Susan Bryan at our wedding November 11, 1995

And for the rest of us, you do not know the lifelong impact your words and interactions might have.  Whenever possible, speak and reach out in love!  And whenever you can, in any way you can, fight cancer!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday 9/8/10 Walt Disney World

The Walt Disney World Mom's Panel will begin accepting applications for the 2011 panel on Monday, September 13th.  That's five days from now.  FIVE!  I have Disney on the brain.  I even saw a Mickey Mouse in the clouds today.  When I saw Resourceful Mommy's adorable Wordless Wednesday I thought I would put up a picture from one of my favorite trips to Walt Disney World.  This was in February of 2006 at Animal Kingdom and my parents are surrounded by all of their grandchildren.  

 If you have posted your own Wordless Wednesday, go to Resourceful Mommy and link up!  If you are applying to be on the Mom's Panel, good luck! Maybe we'll be on the panel together, after all, "a dream is a wish your heart makes!"