Tag Archive | "BlogHer"

What BlogHer ’12 Really Looked Like: Crowds, Sights, Parties, and Friends

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This year I decided I would push myself to film video footage of my time in NYC at BlogHer.  I’m learning more and more about video editing and wanted the excuse to edit a video not related to cloth diapering.  NYC has all the excitement and views a videographer could want.  Add to that the mega-conference known as BlogHer and the parties and friends…..  I knew I would leave with some good footage.

In no particular order you will see in this film:

Jenny from Conscientious Confusion
Real Posh Mom
Punky and the City
Calley and hubby from The Eco Chic
Julie from The Cloth Diaper Geek
Diana from Onya Baby
Mona from Eco Nuts
The President of the United States
Martha Stewart
Amanda from Eco Friendly Family
Giant Banana
Giant Bowling Pin
Handome Booth “Babe” beckoning me
Amalah (eating the unicorn butt)

My first day in town I was studious and filmed every few minutes.  The next day I was hungover…. and the next…. and the next….  each day was filmed a little less.  I didn’t even film my last day in town when my roomie Julie (Cloth Diaper Geek) and I wandered about NYC sightseeing.  We visited the WTC Memorial, a  random part of town when he got lost and wound up under a Kmart from the subway (no joke), the American Indian Museum, Battery Park, SoHo, Canal Street, Chinatown, Little Italy, Broadway, and Times Square.  I also didn’t film during any of the sessions, during most of the parties I attended (how can one hold a video camera, a wine glass, a purse, and grope strangers all at the same time?), and during many keynotes and lunches/dinners.

I’m sad that there isn’t a shred of evidence that we hung out with Anna and Jen from Hahas for HooHas.  I bet you don’t even believe me but we did hang out and I did fold a napkin into the Jo Fold.  Or that there is no footage of the late night bar hangout after Queerosphere with Amanda from Eco Friendly Family, Annie from PhD in Parenting, Diana from Onya Baby, and @Palinode.  I am glad there is no evidence that I danced or that I kept rubbing Jamie from The Grumble‘s dress and telling her how much she looked like a mermaid.  The camera missed me ooooing and awwwing over photos of Think Feminist‘s adorable daughter and ogling the TDF shoulders of Jenny from Conscientious Confusion.  I really saw so many people and regret that I didn’t have a camera crew around to follow me so that I could remember them all.

The shots I do have will show you, I think, that BlogHer is more than sessions and Geek Bars.  It is more than special celebrity speakers and swag.  To me BlogHer is the only place where you can feel at home with people just like you.  These are MY people!  They know what I mean when I say “Google Juice” and they know how important what I do is to me because what they do is that important to them.  Being that much of my social life involves the internet it is nice to feel normal once a year.

If you are a blogger thinking of attending BlogHer and you haven’t yet I would urge you to go at least once.  See what the fuss is all about.  Forget about scheduling and swag and private events.  I had more fun while wandering the hotel and bumping into old friends and meeting new ones.  Grabbing an unexpected dinner and chatting for hours, crying my eyes out with friends about how much our lives used to suck and then laughing together, and searching for water at 2:30 am because THERE WAS NO WATER IN THE HILTON IT WAS LIKE THE SAHARA.  I still don’t know if I will go back next year but after watching my own video I kind of want to go back right now!

My trip wouldn’t have been possible without my sponsor- Rockin’ Green Soap.  If you are still trying to find that perfect detergent to wash your cloth diapers you should give them a try!   Especially because they have a formula for every water type!

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The Curse of Blogher 2012- #BlogHerTarmac

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Boarding my plane mere hours ago I was suffering from that American Mentality of “It can’t happen to me.”  The previous day dozens of departing BlogHer 2012 attendees all simulaneously participated in what was coined #BlogHerTarmac due to so many planes being delayed or grounded.  That day while I hoofed it all over NYC sight seeing I checked every few hours on the chaos via Twitter and the #BlogHerTarmac hasthtag and was sympathetic but also grateful that by staying an extra day I avoided that nightmare.

Several bloggers began a second leg of BlogHer with sessions on “How To Tweet from Grounded Plane Like a Boss” a panel moderated by @Schmutzie.  Other invaluable events included a Q&A with @HowtobeaDad and a #swagcandy fest where lucky attendees raided their conference bags and swag bags for anything edible.  Others huddled together for warmth around crowded electrical outlets in the airports to charge their gadgets according to @AureliaCotta.

“Thank God that won’t happen to me” was the sentence uttered in my head while I happily handed over my ticket to be scanned by a JetBlue employee at JFK this afternoon at 2 PM.  The skies were clear and blue.  I had already downed four advil- two this morning and two right before taking off- because a wisdom tooth has decided to come out and play.

I slept for the first hour on and off and once I woke up I pulled out my fresh new copy of “Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and You Can Too” by Beth Terry.  I was thoroughly enjoying the useful information I was reading about plastics in our lives.  Then it started.  Turbulence.  The seatbelt sign beeped and the pilot delivered the news.  Read it to yourself as Quagmire:

“Ummmmmm….. This is your captain speaking.  We are encountering a bit of weather and have been instructed to ummmm…. go into a holding pattern for half an hour or so until a storm over Tampa passes.  Ummm…. we’ll keep you updated as we learn more.”

I imagined my babies and husband waiting for me at the airport and their frustration as my plane doesn’t land on time.  But 30 minutes wasn’t too bad.

“Ummmm.  We are going to have to land in our back up airport in West Palm Beach.  We can’t cirle any longer and need to re-fuel.”  And so we journeyed about 30 minutes farther by plane from Tampa skies to West Palm Beach.  The turbelence was pretty frightening and I was white knuckling my seat and holding in a lot of pee.  Then we landed.

Ummm…….. “We won’t know when we can get back in the air for another 30-45 minutes.  Umm…… seat belt fasten sign has been turned off.”

Soon enough they did allow us to de-plane and I called my husband with the bad news.  No one had informed them of our re-route, only that we were waiting for the skies to clear.

My "stuck in the airport" sad face.

As I sit in the West Palm Beach airport and contemplate hand expressing breastmilk before the pain gets much worse and what kind of food I can eat because my tooth makes it hard to open my mouth/paintful to chew all the while my husband is playing it by ear and entertaining my two boys in Tampa who are currently trotting around the Tampa Airtport waiting for mommy I’m holding back my tears and wondering why BlogHer 12 was cursed.  {This is your run on sentence for the day.  You are welcome.}

Little food or water.  Ill prepared accomodations in the Session Halls and eating areas.  And then dozens of people were either stranded on planes on the tarmac living off of free Expo Hall Swag for sustenance or seeking food in airports.  Some bloggers had to leave the airports and stay in hotels another night.  I was so sad to hear of moms with babies stuck in airports or moms missing their babies at home while playing the waiting game.

I’m so ready to hug my boys I can’t stand it.  My husband is sending me photos of my smiling boys who should be in my arms right now and that makes it that much harder.

 

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BlogHer 2012. It all goes back to diapers.

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My title isn’t great but forgive me because I am starved and exhausted.  In case you haven’t been following along- I spent the last few days in NYC attending the largest women’s blogging conference in. the. world.  There were around 5,000 women and only 5 muffins at BlogHer.  I kid.  Sort of.

Rockin Green Soap Love in NYC!

I am still in NYC so I haven’t even returned home to process the experience.  Let’s just write a few blurbs about the whole weekend and I’ll add more on the entire estrogen fest later.  I wouldn’t have been able to attend if it weren’t for Rockin’ Green Soap.  My trip rocked and so does their cloth diaper detergent!

Women everywhere!  Familiar faces, famous faces, nervous faces, angry faces, tired faces, and even sad faces.

Hugs.  Lots of them.  I hugged more people than I can count.  Calley from The Eco Chic, Julie from The Cloth Diaper Geek, Amanda from Eco Friendly Family, Jenny from Conscientious Confusion, Jenna from MommaWords, Jill from Baby Rabies, Gina from The Feminist Breeder, Suzanne from Behbehblog, Diana from Onya Baby, and so many more that I tired of typing.  All of the hugs were important so if your name wasn’t mentioned don’t be offended!

BlogHerpartiesandpeople

Top left: @EFFBLog, Middle Left: @OnyaBaby, Bottom Left: @ClothDiaperGeek, Right: Beth Terry

Diet.  I’m pretty sure I lost 15 pounds while attending.  The conference had a food shortage.  Last year they were shoving food down our throats but this year the food was few and far between.  When I did locate food someone came to chat and I forgot to eat.  Between walking around NYC and sweating in the humidity and the heat I know I lost weight.

Nice people.  Despite the fear that the “swag” crazy bloggers would trample me down I actually connected with dozens of amazing bloggers from many categories.  The conversation flowed faster than the alcohol.

Swag.  I didn’t bring much home so I either did it wrong or did it right.  The best swag I got included 3 eye masks (I can only sleep while wearing them) and chocolate.

Sessions?  This year I focused more on the networking aspect of BlogHer.  I attended Geek Bars, Keynotes, and Panels.  Just talking with other bloggers about the technical stuff in small groups and individually taught me so much!  This year BlogHer oversold the tickets because everything I attended was packed to the gills and had to be closed up.

Pain.  My back, my feet, and throat are sore and my tooth is throbbing!  My wisdom teeth have been threatening me for a while but I wanted to try and keep them.  I’ve either been nursing or pregnant for so long that I have avoided the issue.  Right now I can hardly open my mouth to eat and I get to meet with a dentist tomorrow to hear what will happen.  I’m afraid of the news and what this might mean for continuing to breastfeed since my 5 day absence is already going to be an issue as is.

Laughs.  Like- pee in my pants kind of laughing.  Between the hilarious posts that were read outloud during the Voices of the Year keynote (a major highlight for me), meeting hilarious women who are as funy in person as they are online (HaHas for HooHas, visit them now please and laugh your butt off), and just being goofy with the many friends in attendance I probably laughed harder than I have in years.

Cloth Diapers!  It all goes full circle to diapers.  After seeing my blog name or my “I Love Cloth Diapers” button I was able to have real conversations with real people about my passion.  I spent half an hour laying on an adjustable bed in the Expo Hall talking to two handsome men with pregnant wives about why they should switch.  As always I calculated my approach since one man came out of the gate declaring a “never ever ever” but he is looking into GroVia Hybrids now at least.  Another evening I was out to dinner with Cloth Diaper Geek and our new friends Jen and Anna from HaHas for HooHas and we talked diapers, homebirth, breastfeeding, vaccines, and more diapers.  My party trick is always to fold a cloth napkin into a diaper.  Every conversation ended up going to diapers and it was usually not even my suggestion.  But hey…. I’m totally cool with it!

The networking was by far the best part of my experience and I am walking away knowing so many people I want to build a connection with for the blog and beyond.  The parties, the sight seeing, the sessions, the celebrities, the swag…..  these don’t even compare to having real world interactions with people you admire.  At times you can start to doubt yourself when you are in the company of such intelligent and influential women (I’m looking at you Annie from PhD in Parenting and Gina from The Feminist Breeder) but BlogHer has inspired me to sit down and take a hard look at what DDL will become when my life moves out of the diaper phase.  And no, I’m not just going to have another baby to keep reviewing diapers!

I’ll have many more topics coming soon from BlogHer because I’m filled with people, ideas, products, stories, and photos I need to share.  Did you know Dirty Diaper Laundry is mentioned in another book?  Yeah!  I met with the author and got a signed copy!  I’m going to start reading Plastic-Free by Beth Terry on the plane home.  I’m hoping when we get settled I’ll be back to more consistent blogging and reviews so please, if you are waiting on reviews or cloth diaper information subscribe to me by email and be notified right when I post!

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BlogHer ’12 and NYC- I’m Almost Ready {Not Really}

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Imagine that the internet came to life and all of your favorite bloggers and Twitter personalities jumped from your screen and into your living room.  Multiply that by a few thousand.  Add in some free stuff, alcohol, big name speakers, a few celebrities, and a tourist town.  What you get is BlogHer 2012- a blogging conference that will house over 4,500 mostly women bloggers.  There will be informative sessions and panels, guest speakers such as Katie Couric and Martha Stewart- even Obama is addressing us via live video, an Expo Hall where you will find reps handing you sausage and post-it notes, and when the lights go out the bloggers come out to play at official and private parties in the hotel and all over NYC.

I’ll be there {hyperventilates a little.} I attended BlogHer last year when it was in San Diego and it was really a remarkable experience if only for the beautiful location.  I was able to meet so many of my Internet friends and learn from and be inspired by the sessions and speeches.  I even met and hugged Ricki Lake, a birth idol advocate, and got to have drinks at a bar with her and other bloggers!  That doesn’t even seem real!  Me!

BlogHer can bring out the best and worst in people.  I’m determined to go there with no other agenda than to absorb what I need to and repel the ugly that might be there.  I want to meet new people, say hi to the bloggers I admire, attend sessions, see the sights in NYC, have fun with my roomate Julie Clark from Cloth Diaper Geek, and let loose a little bit.

I just moved into a new home so the timing could be better.  I’m still looking for a pair of shoes I had planned to wear and I can’t find my beloved Pumpease anywhere!  Packing for a trip when many of your belongings are still boxed up is truly frustrating.  I’ve also submerged myself in a few home projects and eschewed the Internet in favor of home renovations.  I have a one-track mind and BlogHer has been cast off in favor of decorating my Golden Girls Guest Bedroom (more information on this soon) but it dawned on my that I leave in just one day.  Cue panic mode!

Here is my suitcase to give you an idea of what I’m packing.  I’m not even finished yet and I leave in the morning!

Some things of note: 

-Rockin’ Green Shirt (they are sponsoring me for this trip!)

-My own “Cloth Rocks” shirt

-Non Nursing Bras (no baby for 5 days)

-Hygeia Enjoye Pump (no baby for 5 days but I still have milk!)

-Sparkly Shoes

-”I Love Cloth Diapers” buttons to give out

I’m not leaving a lot of room for swag  because I have enough stuff in my house.  I’ll receive some but whatever is completely unnecessary or won’t fit will be left in the swag exchange room for someone else.  I’ll keep a few toys for the kids if any come my way.  I prefer the edible kind of swag anyways (I’m looking at you Hershey’s!) and that won’t make it long enough to get packed.

 

I’d love to meet you if you will be attending BlogHer!  I’ll be the one with the “I Love Cloth Diapers” button on my badge and the short blonde hair.  In case you need a reminder here I am on the beach with my two little guys.  I think a full body photo is in order since I’ll be there as a whole person and not just as a head.  I’ll even still have the crooked knees as shown.

I’m two parts excited about going to BlogHer and making my first trip to NYC (despite living in NY State for 5 years, doh) and one part terrified of leaving my boys behind.  My husband will do great, he always does, but I wouldn’t be the mother I am if I didn’t worry about how many times their teeth will be brushed, what they will have for lunch, and how they are sleeping at night without mommy.

And of course another huge shout out to Rockin’ Green Soap for sending me to BlogHer!  They have been my cloth diaper detergent of choice for many, many years.  They also make several other products such as Femme Rock (for Mama Cloth) and Funk Rock (to soak your funky diapers).  Rockin’ Green makes washing diapers easy -choosing a scent is the hardest part!

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Announcing my Rockin’ BlogHer 2012 Sponsor- Rockin’ Green!

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This girl is going to BlogHer 2012 in NYC and representing Rockin’ Green!

So what exactly is BlogHer and who is Rockin’ Green, you are probably asking yourself.

BlogHer is the largest conference for women (and even some men!) bloggers that happens every year.  There are several informative sessions each day.  I’m especially looking forward to the “Dress for your Blog” session with a stellar panel including The Feminist Breeder, Baby Rabies, and How to be a Dad.  I attended last year in San Diego and was able to learn a lot (especially about videos and YouTube) and meet some long time blog friends.  This year the conference will be held in NYC.

Rockin’ Green is the brand behind my very favorite cloth diaper detergent.  I can STILL remember when Kim, creator of RnG, announced during a Twitter party one fateful Monday that she was working on something cool that would revolutionize cloth diaper laundry.  Several years later I can say without a doubt that she was right!  Kim has formulated an award winning cloth diaper detergent with specific formulas for Soft, Hard, or even Normal water (not to mention Femme Rock for Mama Cloth, Dog House Rock for pet beds, and Funk Rock for soaking diapers and getting rid of the barnyard smell and ammonia).  Add to this that their detergents are environmentally friendly with no dyes, enzymes, brighteners, and phosphate free you can feel good about using it on your diapers and even clothes.

From the beginning I’ve been cheering RnG on from the sidelines and watched the business grow from a small soap company being run out of the home, to a small warehouse with a few employees, to a larger warehouse with more employees and retailers all over the world!  I even had the pleasure of visiting the small warehouse a few years ago- Did you know Rockin’ Green is made in San Antonio?  

Being sponsored for BlogHer means that I’ll be representing Rockin’ Green for the next 3 months.  You’ll notice a new ad in the sidebar and posts on behalf of RnG.  Representing Rockin’ Green isn’t a chore at all because frankly I recommend RnG to my own personal friends and DDL readers if it fits the bill.  Rockin’ Green has solved all of the repelling issues I used to have in my early days of cloth diapering and Kim and the gang have always been available to help with my laundry questions.  I’ve tried several brands of detergent and always come back to Rockin’ Green!

I want to extend a huge thank you to Rockin’ Green for making BlogHer 2012 a reality.  Dirty Diaper Laundry is my pride and joy and I welcome any and all opportunities to make it the best blog and cloth diaper resource it can be.  I know BlogHer is the place to learn and network and I am looking forward to another amazing experience in August!

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Am I crazy? #NaBloPoMo

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NaBloPoMo 2011

For some reason I decided to join #NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month).  In November.   The same month that includes a major holiday and a 1.5 week trip to North Carolina for our family.  I’ve been filming cloth diaper reviews for weeks to stock up so that while I’m out of town and celebrating Christmas I won’t have to film.

Why then would I decide to blog every day for a month?

One reason I took the challenge was because I would like to blog more about my family.  Sometimes weeks will go by without a post about my kids except maybe a Wordless Wednesday.  I like having this written record and being prompted to write more often means I HAVE to write about them.  I can’t talk cloth diapers 24/7.

I also happen to like being challenged.  So there was that.

Today I was supposed to film and post my answers to reader questions but my son has a terrible ear infection and he has been stuck to me like glue for 2.5 days.  My dishes are in a huge pile in my sink because it is the only chore I can’t do while holding him.  I tried putting him on my back in the Boba and he protested.

Since I have to post today I thought it was a good time to explain why I am doing it.

If you have any topics you want me to write about, leave them in the comments.  I might need some inspiration for the rest of the month!  And since I am posting daily make sure you come back every day to see what I am up to!  I normally take Saturday and Sunday off but I’ll be posting those days too.

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What’s on Your Fridge?

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It occured to me a few days ago that my refrigerator was telling on me.  How is that?  Refrigerators can’t talk!

They can’t, but they can sure call me out in many ways.  On the outside my refrigerator is a window into my family, my temperament, my habits, and more.  The disorganized photos, coupons, random magnets, and outdated calendar all tell a story.

Admit it: you go to a playdate/barbeque/dinner/party and find yourself looking at your friend’s refrigerator.  Intentionally or not you are learning more about that person than you might after weeks of conversations.  Lots of dental appointments probably mean their teeth are jacked up.  Drug problem?  Or maybe not.. let’s not jump to conclusions.  An organized family calendar full of soccer practice, church choir, recitals, etc is just a sign of a Mom who is far more in control of her life than I am.  We are looking at others through our own filters and comparing ourselves, but who doesn’t?

You can’t trust a person with nothing on their fridge. -Me

 

I would invite you all in to look at my fridge but I only know a few of you who live close enough!  Instead, I grabbed my camera and snapped a photo, resisting the urge to straighten up or remove anything incriminating.

A. Everett with his “1″ Pumpkin.
B. Random photo of my In-Laws’ neighbors
C. Fletcher with his Uncle in San Antonio
D. Suzanne from Bebehblog.com and I in the photo booth at BlogHer ’11.
E. My SIL and Future BIL at Disney
F. My SIL and Future BIL.  Great picture of them!
G.Fletcher last November for his “2″ Leaf photo.
H. Fletcher about 6 months old.
I. Fletcher and Everett in a brothers hugging pose.
J. Julie the “Cloth Diaper Geek” and I at BlogHer ’11
K. Everett at 11 months old.  I love his outfit in this one.
L.  Fletcher’s 3rd Birthday Party Invite
M. The boys with Santa LAST YEAR (photo has been up all year)
N. Our Family Portrait taken when Fletcher was 11 months old.  We were just a family of 3 then.
O. Fletcher and his Great-Grandmother 1 month before she passed away.  He was about 18 months old.

A. Snowflake Chip belonging to item K. to mark days until X-Mas.
B. 2 Food related ceramic magnets I got for X-Mas from my Aunt Tit. (Not her real name.)
C. Obligatory Pediatrician Magnet with contact numbers
D. Lion Butt and Lion Head.  Belongs to a set of heads and butts that are mostly lost.
E. GEN-Y “Save the World Cloth Diaper”
F. Orlando magnet from hubby’s work trip.
G. Savannah GA magnet from vacation when I was 7 months pregnant with Fletcher.  Ankles were tree trunks, it was summer.
H. “Happy Birthday” photo frame magnet.
I.  Fort Pulaski magnet.  Same Savannah, GA trip.  I almost passed out touring that place.  I was HOT.
J.  ”Aloha”
K.  “Countdown to Christmas”  At some point this will make sense.  It took up a massive amount of real estate but never made it to the Xmas stuff box in the basement.  Dec 1. is right around the corner.
L.  ”Kissed on Both Cheeks” magnet from my MIL
M. San Diego Magnet from the hotel gift shop when I went for BlogHer ’11
N. LeapFrog Fridge Farm with all of ONE magnet left.  ”purple purple purple cow.” You know what I’m talking about…
O.  Pumpease Breastmilk Storage Guidelines.  AWESOME and handy.
P. Gently Borne Midwifery contact numbers for my homebirth midwife
Q. Tampa Zoo from a vacation there when Fletcher was about 6 months old.
R. Shape of NC, my home state.  The front peeled off but I can’t seem to throw it away.
S. Cool Spiderman Magnet.  Fletcher loves it.
T. OCCRA letter opener
U. 4 Animal Shapes meant for a magnadoodle thingy but it sucked so I threw it away.
V. Another Orlando Magnet?  hmmm..
W. Green Baby Shoppe, semi local cloth diaper store
X. 3 Mario Bros themed magnets custom ordered from Etsy to be cupcake toppers at Fletcher’s 1st Bday Party
Y. 4 month old Fletcher made into a magnet.

a. Babysitter’s number/name on a Post -it.
b. Artwork by Everett.  Underneath are more works of art by Fletcher.
c. Painting by Fletcher that reminds me of an anatomical heart.
d. August calendar from Paper Coterie…. it is November
e. Sticker remains of a Pediatrician appt of yore
f. Fletcher’s artwork.  It was the first time he traced a shape (an ice cream cone)
g. BEST POSTCARD EVER.  A woman holding farm fresh chicken eggs, nude, with her bearded partner.  It’s an ad for my midwife.  Totally reminds me of the Yert SNL Homebirth Sketch.

So there ya have it.  It is obvious by my fridge that I:

have kids.
have been to various gift shops and paid an arm and a leg for a souvenier magnet.
am not good at cleaning my fridge off.
do not use paper calendars.

If only I were brave enough to show you the INSIDE of my fridge…

What’s on YOUR Fridge?


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BlogHer ’11- The Highlight Reel

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If you are tired of reading about BlogHer posts then I have good and bad news.

Bad news: this post is about BlogHer ’11.

Good news: this is my last Blogher ’11 post.

Now, get ready for Stream of Consciousness writing with no timeline.  Forget the rules of good blogging, grammar, spelling, and sense.

People:

A lot of our Tweeps in one place!

I was fortunate to meet some really amazing women (and men) at BlogHer.  One way that I got to meet (almost) everyone on my list was by attending the Haute Green Social Hour Party on Thursday.  I also happened to be a co-host.  I was able to hug @KatiesPickles, @TheEcoChic, @ClothDiaperGeek, @KellyWels, @HauteMommyBlog, @HygeiaSylvia, @MamaPearDesigns, @EcoNuts, @PhDinParenting, @BabyRabies, @DagmarBleasedale, and so many more it isn’t funny.  These are my TWEEPS!  I love them and I loved meeting them for the first time.  I met many more new people too, which is kinda the point, yes?

My friend came to visit me who is local to San Diego.  Unfortunately it was short but at least I got to hug her neck.  She is hoping for a Homebirth any day now and I am wishing her the best of luck and can’t wait to hear about it.  Thanks Lyndsey!

At the conference I also met @TwoPretzels and @TheGrumbles.  I think I want to run away with both of them.  We were at the same table for the Saturday Night Keynote.  Ricki Lake spoke about women in the media and about her little movie, you know, The Business of Being Born.  I was a wreck about being late for this one so my roomie and I took a PediCab for a 20 minute walk.  It was fun, and 20$ well spent.

That's me and Ricki Lake, Ya'll!

I mentioned before that I was hoping to meet Ricki Lake. I have been tweeting at her and her new show’s Twitter Handle @TheRickiLakeShow for a few weeks now.  Not in a stalkery way, I hope.  I was asked to meet up with Ricki and other bloggers after the speech at the Tequila Bar by the pool of our hotel.  Margaritas were dispensed and I felt positively minute in the company of some amazing women.  I knew that Amy Lupold (@ResourcefulMom) would be there as well so I took the opportunity earlier that day to introduce myself after her session on Professional Blogging.  This was a great decision.  I saw a friendly face in the crowd.  Later on others I knew made it, including Annie of PhDinParenting.  I was able to chat with Ricki Lake, have a photo taken (SQUEE), and then talk to folks from the show.  I may have talked the ear of of a producer for almost 30 minutes about cloth diapers.  He may have sounded very interested in them.  And I may be crossing my fingers that they decide to talk about them on her new show coming in September 2012.

Other Highlights:

In the PediCab with Julie

Watching my roomie, Julie AKA the Cloth Diaper Geek, dance the night away at Sparklecorn.  Eating part of a Unicorn’s butt.  Decorating a few adult toys with googly eyes.  Hopping in a Photobooth with @BebehBlog and making silly faces.  Getting tattooed and having an invitation to “Lick me” written on the back of my neck at Aiming Low.  Eating cheeseburgers taken from silverdomed servingware.  Being filmed eating sausage on a stick.  Taking a Pedicab with Julie (@ClothDiaperGeek).  Joining a Pumping Party.  And of course being a part of the 300 oz+ breastmilk donation.

If it weren’t for Twitter I would have missed the Queen Bee Market, anadorable suite at the Hilton, full of handmade goods.  It was seriously like Etsy threw up in a room.  I could have spent hours and hours there, and hundreds of dollars.  Luckily I only had 10 minutes to spare so I bought a flower for my hair and a ring for my finger.

The Swag:

If you have heard of BlogHer you mostly hear about the swag.  I was either doing it wrong, or doing it right.  I came home with a suitcase full of a few samples and coupons, that is it.  Toothpaste, detergent, 2 bracelets, a DVD, some *ahem* toys, a water bottle, a sponge, stationary, Angry Bird Keychain, and a neti pot.  I didn’t win anything, I didn’t party hop to procure swag, I didn’t run through the Expo Hall grabbing stuff, and I stayed true to myself.  I’m going to be honest and say that I was a tad jealous of the cool stuff I saw, but it is a lot of work to swag it up.  The people with the most swag are either really famous and had it coming at them hand over fist, or good at party hopping.  They also probably missed most of the official stuff in order to swag hop.

More Photos:

At SparkleCorn with Molly

Yumm. I had a million Twizzlers

I would love to bore you with what I LEARNED at BlogHer but my kids won’t sit still long enough for me to make it coherent.

Next year BlogHer is back in New York City.  I am 2 parts excited, and 1 part nervous.  I have never been and I am terrified of traveling there alone.  San Diego is nothing compared to NYC.  Yes, I live 4 hours away from NYC and never go there.  Sad, yes?  See you next year BlogHer!

Thanks again to Swaddlebees and Boba for their generous sponsorship that got me to BlogHer and to the other companies that made my boobies weigh lesslook perkier, and be more productive!

Posted in Blog Life, Personal PostComments (2)

Pumping at BlogHer ’11 Part 2: Group Breast Milk Donation to EoF

This post may contain affiliate links.

Wasting breast milk should be a crime punishable by the Iron Maiden.  Breast Milk is the most amazing liquid on the planet.  It hydrates, it nourishes, it heals, it comforts, it is pure awesomesauce.

So when I decided to leave my son with his father while I attended BlogHer ’11 in San Diego I was immediately hit with the prospect of pumping milk for 4 days.  My first thought would be to bring it home with me because simply dumping it was out of the question!  Then I realized what an ordeal that would be.  Even if I somehow procured Dry Ice to pack it into a cooler for the 8+ hour trip home I would face the TSA.  Would I get an educated agent who understood how to handle breastmilk?  Or an agent who demanded I taste my milk or scan it in an X Ray machine?

Then it hit me: Donate it!  Yes! I would find a mother local to San Diego who had a baby in need of breast milk.  Even if I only had 50 ounces isn’t that something?  Of course it is!  And lightning struck again when I decided to blog about my donation plans to enlist other lactating mothers!  It was brilliant (in my humble opinion.)

For any of you unaware, there are various ways a person can donate breast milk.

One would be donating to a Milk Bank. A Milk Bank would screen the donor through blood tests and the milk is then pasterurized or otherwise turned into other forms of milk for babies.  Even though donors are not getting paid for the milk the banks do charge a (hefty) price for human milk.  A great read regarding Milk Banks and the human milk business is on JWOC {Swindled: The Ugly Side of Milk Donation} I would recommend reading this if you are considering donating to a Milk Bank in order to be informed about what happens to your milk in many cases.

Peer Milk Sharing involves direct person to person donations.  Utilizing online or in person connections women can donate milk to one another for various reasons.  It is really up to the donor and recipient to be honest and up front regarding health concerns or medications being taken. Reasons for peer milk donations range from intolerance to formula, adoptive parents, and help for cancer patients.

 

 

BlogHer Milk Recipient. CUTE!

I knew a Peer to Peer Milk Share would be the best in my situation. I was staying at a hotel so I would need to the recipient to pick up the milk.  I chose Eats on Feets and after a quick search, found their Facebook Page for Southern California.  After posting my plans on the page I quickly got an email from a mother who needed the milk.  Her son had been tongue tied and he was clipped but she pumped and was having supply issues.  The baby wasn’t doing well on formula and tolerated breast milk much better.

I responded that I would at least have my own milk but potentially the milk from a few other moms.

Word spread through the internet about my plan. I had comments on my blog post, tweets from other attendees, and emails asking to be involved.  Another mom created a Facebook Group for moms pumping at BlogHer (regardless of donating) and we kept in touch in this way.

At BlogHer I found even more moms!  Purely by coincidence I chatted with a mother at a party who was pumping and boy am I glad I did!  Molly of Milwaukee Mamas.com turned out to be our biggest “producer” and needs an award for her amazing supply!  Her milk was a large percentage of the total we donated!  Other attendees also spread the word in person.

I want to send a HUGE THANK YOU to all of the moms who donated. We had 1 time pumpers who were away from older nurslings and others like myself who had babies under a year old and lots of milk was still flowing!  1 oz or 100 ounces, these women took time to save their milk instead of the easy path of dumping it down the drain.  They have my gratitude!

In no particular order here are the moms I know who donated:

Jen of LifewithLevi.com

Kristen of CoolMomPicks.com

Jill of BabyRabies.com

Suzanne of Bebehblog.com

Elizabeth of MeasaMommy.com

Christa of LittleBCBG.com

Molly of MilwaukeeMamas.com

Jessica of MomEinstein.com

And One Employee of the Convention Center handed me a bag too (and was asked of any meds/etc first of course)

That is a grand total of 14 (including myself)

All I can say is Wow. I have tears in my eyes just typing out the list of Moms involved.  I am so amazed at the hugeness of this donation, the willingness of so many women to donate, and the overall positive outcome.  Most people don’t even know that breast milk donation is an option, so to have so many involved is truly amazing and such a testament to the caliber of women who attend BlogHer!

Just 1 of 2 Bags

In order to collect every possible drop of breastmilk I was able to wrangle Jill (Baby Rabies) to meet up with our milk recipient on Sunday morning.  I had to leave our hotel at 4:15 am so having anyone meet that early would have been crazy.  Instead, I collected as much milk as possible the night before (and ran back and forth from the North and South Towers of the hotel about 5 times!) then dropped it off to Jill at 12:30 am (after I pumped for the last time) where her fridge was already stocked with milk.  I have a feeling our baby recipient is going to gain a few pounds- let’s just say that Jill and Suzanne both make milk with extra cream!  It resembled yogurt- no lie!  And in case you are curious, we all wrote our names on our own bags of milk.  If Sam shows any sort of negative reaction to the milk hopefully it will be possible to trace to one mother and they can discontinue using those bags.

Jill met with Jen (Life with Levi) in the morning for her milk and the milk we pumped at the party.  They delivered the milk to our mom (I hate that I couldn’t be there myself but getting more milk was more important!) on Sunday morning and it all went smoothly.  I am so relieved!

In total we had 70 bags of milk.  Most had 4 ounces (or more) in each bag.  My guess is we had 350 ounces at least but to be safe let’s say 300 ounces were donated.

300 Ounces.

Suddenly, the inconvenience of pumping was replaced with a warm fuzzy feeling.  Sam, our little donor baby, has been drinking the breastmilk and Mom says his tummy is already acting better compared to the formula.  Luckily they had lots of room in the freezer!

Blissed out and in a Breastmilk Coma.

So next year, New York City, if you are going to be pumping at BlogHer ’12, just let me know!  We’ll be doing the same through Eats on Feets in August 2012.  I may not be breastfeeding by then (who knows) but I will be happy to coordinate another BlogHer Breast Milk Donation.

Anyone can donate breastmilk at any time!  If you have a freezer overflowing with milk, or have an oversupply, or just want to donate, locate an Eats on Feets or Human Milk for Human Babies Chapter in your area!

Posted in BreastfeedingComments (26)

Pumping at BlogHer ’11 Part 1: Logistics and Reflections

This post may contain affiliate links.

I returned home Sunday evening from attending BlogHer ’11, the largest female blogging conference around.  My goal was to learn new things at the numerous sessions that were held by leading bloggers and to network with/ get fan-girly over the many bloggers I follow or converse with.

I was able to do all of those things (and more) but this post has nothing to do with that and everything to do with the thing that hung over my trip like a {leaking} black cloud: My Lactating Boobs.

I chose to leave both of my children, including the nursing one, at home with their dad.  I pumped every day for a month and saved 140 ounces of breastmilk for him (my original goal was 100).  Then I had to leave him.  Unfortunately there is no such thing as a temporary “Shut Off”  valve for boobs.  They are on until the baby is finished.

I have said it before: I despise pumping. There is never a convenient time to pump.  At home it required the attendance of my husband to watch the kids so they didn’t get into trouble or the voo-doo magic of television.  Without kids, pumping is quite a bit easier in many ways but at a hectic and overbooked conference who wants to run to a hotel room and sit stationary while being milked?

I didn’t want to but that is what I did.

The journey began on Thursday.  I left for the airport at 3:30 am for a 5:40 am flight.  I made sure to nurse my son on both sides when he woke up at about 2:40 am.  I packed my Hygeia Enjoye in a purse along with clear plastic bags for parts, bags for milk, and the bottles and flanges in another bag.

Luckily the Hygeia Enjoye, when charged, can be used without being plugged in!

My first flight was only 45 minutes and by the time it was over I was so ready to pump!  The problem was that I only had half an hour between flights.  My next flight was in another terminal and required being shuttled over.  I rushed to the gate and it had just started boarding.  I had an important decision to make: Skip pumping and risk exploding all over the plane and/or trying to either hand express or pump in an airplane bathroom, or, pump in a small window of 20 minutes and risk missing my flight!

I made a rash decision and bumped my way to the gate attendants.

“Hi….. umm…..  I am on this flight.”

“Ok.”

So I need to pump.” I whispered to both attendants but made eye contact with the female.

“Ma’am I can’t hear you, speak louder.” Of course.

“I NEED TO PUMP OUT BREAST MILK BEFORE THIS 5 HOUR FLIGHT!”

The male gate attendant was the one who spoke up.

“Alright.  You better do it now.  I’m not kidding.  I’ll hold the flight for you but you HAVE to do it RIGHT NOW.  Go.”

“Thank you Thank You THANK YOU!” I said and ran away after he got my name and seat number.

A quick glance of the airport let me know that it was too busy to attempt pumping in a secluded corner so I went to the bathroom.  I have only nursed in a bathroom once in my life but pumping is not as discreet.

I packed myself, a rolling suitcase, and a giant purse into the stall and set about trying to screw in bottles, insert tubing, put on my Hands Free Nursing Bra from Pumpease, and keep the pump balanced on my suitcase.  I turned the dial to ON and relied on the quiet pump coupled with the busting bathroom to disguise what was going on.

That experience turned me into a permanent believer in, and cheerleader of, the Pumpease.  I actually stood there and was pumped while Tweeting and taking photos of myself since I wanted to share the hilarity.

Right as I began squeezing Lefty to get the rest out since he is a bad pumper I heard the intercom announce that everyone on flight blah blah needed to be on board bound for San Diego.  Shit.

I put my parts back in the bags, threw myself back together, washed my hands and ran!  The male attendant and I smiled at one another and the next leg of travel began.

I strongly considered trying to pump on the plane since my seatmate was snoozing and I had a pleasant position in the bulkhead but I held off until landing.

Once on the ground I booked it to the nearest bathroom to relieve myself.  This time I saved my milk since freshly expressed breastmilk can stay out before being refrigerated/frozen for 4 hours.

The rest of the weekend and conference I had the luxury of pumping in my hotel room.  I even took my pump to another attendee’s room (Jenn of Life With Levi) who held a Pumping Party in her room.  many of the participants also donated their breast milk along with me (more on this tomorrow, but read more about my initial plans here).  I will admit to missing out on quite a few things due to the pumping.  I don’t regret it but it is part of the package.

Admittedly, I was a bad pumper.  On my busiest days I only pumped 4 times when I should have gotten to it at least 5 times.  The first full day and night in San Diego I woke at 5 am totally engorged since my son nurses at night.  I hand expressed in the bathroom enough to let me go back to sleep until a more reasonable hour to pump!

The biggest lessons I learned from being an EP (Exclusively Pumping) Mom for 4 days:

  • Breastfeeding is Way Easier.
  • Pumping takes more Prep Time and Clean-up time.
  • Working Moms who Pump have a ton of logistical challenges, especially when faced with nowhere to pump.
  • Traveling and Flying Moms who pump have it even harder.  There is no telling where your layover will be and what facilities you will have to pump in.
  • To avoid washing parts all of the time store them in a freezer bag in your fridge between sessions (reader tip)
  • Hand compressing your breast while pumping is helpful if you have a stubborn boob that doesn’t want to drain.
  • A great Double Electric Pump is needed and a battery powered one is worth every penny.
  • A hands free nursing bra will save your life.
  • Keep a dribble cloth handy.

Pumping is HARD work when you consider the alternative of either breastfeeding a baby directly, or bottle feeding a baby formula.  In the earliest days of my first son’s life a pediatrician told me that it was OK to give up, some babies just don’t ever latch properly.  I could do as his wife did and just pump and bottle feed.  (Yes, a Pediatrician actually told me this!)

I thought hard about his statement.  My baby would still be geting breastmilk afterall, and I could skip the torturous nursing sessions that were leaving me shaking and crying from the pain.  Instead, I decided I would work with the Lactation Consultant and use a Nipple Shield until we had this thing figured out.

Even though I was about to breastfeed successfully there are certainly warranted cases of mothers who need to pump full time, and those who pump while working or away.  I already knew how admirable that was (seriously, pumpin’ mamas get my respect) but after experiencing EP first hand for 4 days I admire them even more!  Pumping gives the baby the benefit of breastmilk but requires so much more work.  It also made me understand a little more why some mothers end up switching to formula after they return to work.  I am so lucky to get to stay home with my boys and that makes breastfeeding so easy.  I honestly don’t know what would happen if I had to work for it.

Tomorrow’s Post will be about the 300+ Ounces of Breastmilk collected from over 10 moms at BlogHer to be donated.  Rock on.

Even though I’m being sponsored by these companies in some way I am telling the truth when I say that I love them!  Thanks again to Swaddlebees and Boba for their generous sponsorship that got me to BlogHer and to the other companies that made my boobies weigh lesslook perkier, and be more productive!

Posted in BreastfeedingComments (9)


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