Well, I'm home. Jules is not, in fact, a crazy serial killer. Shalee is not, in fact, a middle-aged bald man in a wife-beater t-shirt. The entire group was a bunch of amazing, funny, courageous women who have left me challenged, encouraged, and laughing so hard that my cheeks have only just now begun to stop hurting.
First, here's who all was there, in no particular order...
Chilihead at Don’t Try This at Home
Jules at Everyday Mommy
Shalee at Shalee’s Diner
Janna at Bread Crumbs
Susan, a self-proclaimed lurker
Jamie at Surviving the Chaos
Michelle at This One’s For the Girls
Tina at Antique Mommy
Sarah at Sarah’s Other Blog
Mary at Aunt Murry
Kristi at Basketballs and Babydolls
Addie at Life With Little Women
Beckah at Happy Mom
Lammyann at Lammyann Life
Michelle at Love to Chat
KPJara at Can You Hear Me Now?
(Did I leave anyone out? If I did, PLEASE e-mail your URL and remind me. I'm operating on very little sleep!)
Now for the details.
Chilihead and I left our fair city at the crack of dawn Saturday morning. It was an easy drive to Kansas City, and we arrived a few minutes early for lunch. As each blogger arrived at the restaurant, it was like greeting old friends, not meeting strangers. Even those of us who hadn't yet read each other's blogs found ourselves drawn together by this strange and funny blog world. Here are some pictures.
Here is Sarah, Shalee, Antique Mommy and Michelle:
Here is Kristi, Addie and Beckah:
Here's an awful picture of me looking strangely excited about my barbecue (mostly I just wanted you to see the nametags we improvised--napkins tucked into our shirts!):
Here is Jamie, Jules, and the always be-spectacled Chilihead:
Two lovely sisters, Michelle and KPJara:
Here is Shalee sniffing the Antique Mommy's oh-so-famous Cole Haans. This makes more sense if you've read this post by Antique Mommy, and if you've witnessed first-hand the spunky Shalee's tendency to do or say just about anything:
Shalee and Lammyann:
After lunch, about half the crew headed to Jules' house for lots and lots and lots of talking. And laughing. And crying. And praying. And more laughing. Then Shalee and her husband graciously hosted Chilihead and me in their home for dinner:
Because any gathering in which I'm involved will always include dessert, we adjourned to Cold Stone Creamery. We laughed so hard that it took great effort not to squirt ice cream out of our noses. Very strange looks were shot our way by people at surrounding tables!
I'm sure it's no surprise that after the dessert, we headed back to Jules for a lot more talking, a lot more laughing, and a little bit of wine. Jules' home is just like Jules--full of life! It's the type of home where every corner invites exploring, examining her husband's artistic creations and her impressive antique collection.
After a bit of sleep, we shuffled around Jules' house some more, talking with her delightful husband and her sweet son (who, by the way, calls me "The Shannon". I have a "the"!). We all headed to breakfast and said our goodbyes, and Chilihead and I hit the road. We used the opportunity to stop at the interesting little flea markets/antique stores along the way, like this one...
...and this one:
Be sure and ask Chilihead about the gorgeous table she bought for thirty dollars. THIRTY DOLLARS!
This weekend surpassed my best expectations, which were set very high. I continue to marvel at the type of women I meet at every turn in the blog world--women of such substance and intelligence, who are making courageous choices every day for their family, who manage it all with such humor and grace. Go check out their blogs in the list above--you're in for a treat. A special thanks, again, to Shalee and Jules for planning and hostessing this bunch. You two are great!
Counting down the days to the next big blogging get-together in Dallas, in October...