What a weekend I had!
I took off Friday morning for Spokane to do a Retreat there with my cousin Taunie. We drove all day on Friday, slept that night at a very nice total stranger's home and presented a Retreat all day Saturday (love how friends-of-friends and even complete strangers are always so willing to step up and host trainers and invite us to hold Retreats in their lovely homes). The woman who originally volunteered her home for the Retreat had a last-minute emergency but a friend with a house nearby volunteered her home as a replacement and everything worked out perfectly. It always does. I always get stressed out but out of 17 Retreats, we've had 17 Retreats work out beautifully.
The 11-hour drive each way didn't seem all that long given that I had great company and we traded off driving. I went with my cousin Taunie (she lives quite near me and is one of our Power of Moms trainers) and her daughter and Taunie's sister, Carley. I loved the chance to talk so much with moms who are ahead of me in their mothering (Taunie has teenagers and Carley's two girls are in college). We shared great stories and ideas pretty much the whole way there and back. It was a perfect pre-Retreat and post-Retreat session.
Plus the scenery with all the changing colors of fall was truly spectacular (and my phone didn't really do the scenery justice as I snapped photos from the window of a car going 70 miles per hour).
It probably sounds weird to say "Taunie's sister" rather than my other cousin but Taunie's sister Carley isn't my cousin. Taunie was adopted and I only found out about Taunie a few years ago - my aunt had her and gave her up for adoption back when everything was very hush-hush with adoption. We all found out about Taunie a few years back and how grateful we are to have this amazing cousin added to our family! I loved the chance to get to know the sister Taunie grew up with during our long drive, get to know her cute daughter better, and meet a lot more of Taunie's adoptive family while we were in Spokane (where Taunie grew up). Her adoptive parents had ten children but felt strongly they were meant to have another child. So they adopted Taunie. They are wonderful people and it was great to see the house and farm where Taunie grew up, the schools she attended, and a little slice of her earlier life.
So it was all great but wow, I'm tired. 22 hours of driving in a 3-day period plus 8 hours of presenting plus not getting much sleep at all because that's just how it goes the night before each Retreat when my brain won't turn off. But i'll catch up on sleep here soon. Taunie did a fabulous job as my co-presenter. One of our new trainers, Daisy, did a wonderful job with the food. Another excellent trainer and Power of Moms Board member, Chantol, helped with food and did a great job leading discussions. And as always, we had a truly great group of women there and it was really a great day. The house where we held it worked out great. i love my kids more than ever after being gone for a few days (love that about coming home from each Retreat). My house is dirty and the fridge is pretty empty but I'm feeling re-energized about motherhood and so glad to have had the chance to share ideas and learn from so many wonderful moms at the Retreat. Life is good.
One thing I resolved to do at the Retreat was to come home and do the "Love Languages Test" with each of the kids. At the Retreat, we talked about how important it is to set up an environment in your home where your kids are more likely to WANT to behave. We talked about really listening to our kids more, giving them lots of praise for the good stuff they do, and minimizing the criticizing (I talked about this a bit in my post about the Idaho Falls Retreat here - and developed a new mantra). And one essential ingredient in helping our kids get the attention they need and really feel loved is understanding what their love language is. I've been meaning to do this forever, but with my Retreat resolve in hand, we talked about Love Languages last night at Family Home Evening and the kids got really excited about taking this little Love Languages Test. Being more in tune with the different ways we give and hope to receive love will really help the environment in our home I think.
I'll post Retreat photos and more info when I gather photos from those who actually took them!