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Erin's LLLI Conference Blog

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Wednesday July 6 (Happy Birthday Joshua!!!)

My baby turns 7 today - I love you Joshua!!

Late last night we did a run down to the car with a bunch of my stuff - I must admit I did purchase quite a bit! We snaffooed a luggage rack from the parking level and smuggled it into our room to make our departure in the morning easier - nearly caught by a porter though. We are such rebels!!!

Woke up at 6:30 and got ready, packed the rest up and loaded the car. We were out of the hotel by 7:50 and decided to do one last visit to the core as I really wanted to see the Lincoln Memorial up close. We parked along the Potomac and walked over, passing by the Korean War Veterans Memorial. The Lincoln Memoral is beautiful. I was in awe. I remember that one of my favorite movies had this memorial in it - "Logan's Run", and also the re-make of the "Planet of the Apes" had this in it instead of the Statue of Liberty like the original at the end. So this was cool to me. I took lots of pictures, and the Reflection Pool was beautiful with the Washington Monument reflection in it. This is where "Forrest Gump" was filmed. We drove around the City a bit and then we were off for our long drive back home.

I got very tired in the afternoon and Deborah drove for a few hours. I actually fell asleep for a bit. We took a different route back home then coming there, so a change of scenery was nice. We drove through the Alleghany Mountains. We had a lovely lunch at an Italian restaurant. Deborah and I had a good time on our drive... we talked and talked, listened to and sang to music, and enjoyed the views. Going back over the border into Canada was easier then crossing into the USA. We arrived home around 9 pm... exhausted but happy, and we both were greeted by our family members (that were home).

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Tuesday July 5th

OK, ok... I have come to the realization that I prefer sleep to exercise... so my grand thoughts of attending the early morning walks or the pool aerobics classes never came to fruition... oh well... it IS a comfy bed with FOUR pillows!!!! I did get up at 6:45 this morning as Elizabeth (the lovely voice hosting the podcasts) asked if I would like to do a podcast with her... I agreed and we met at 7:30 this morning so that I could attend the first session. Actually, the podcast was quite a neat experience... the technology astounds me, and Elizabeth is very pleasent and easy to talk to (so check it out ya'll!!).

The first session this morning was Gordon Neufield - I have always wanted to hear him and his topic was great, "Hold Onto Your Kids: Why Parents Matter". Then it was onto another great presentation, Jeanne Driscoli speaking on "Women's Moods: What Every Woman Must Know about Hormones, the Brain, and Emotional Health"... I enjoyed this one very much and even went to the bookstore and purchased her book. Did you know that women have 15% more blood flow to their brains - no wonder we are better at multi-tasking!!!!

The luncheon speaker was Audrey Naylor who spoke on "Breastfeeding - Modern Miracle: A physician takes a look at the health benefits of human milk". She had lots of slides to show of breastfeeding around the world.

I popped into the Alum Rejuvenation room and had a Mary Kay facial/make-up (which was a great thing as I did not bring any make-up with me, not that I wear a lot to begin with, but with the gala just a few hours away it was nice to do).

My afternoon session was "How to Be Cherished: A guide to having the love you desire" presented by Marilyn Granman. Things said were things I know and/or am working on in my relationship. I will state that I do disagree with her advice to have a 2 hour date night once a week with you partner - now, no, I do not disagree with this idea, but if you have very young babies I think getting a babysitter and going out "alone" is not necessarily the right thing to do at this point in your parenting... I feel there are lots you can do at home or out with the baby as a couple. Just my thoughts... what do you think?

I wanted to mention that the past two days we have been entertained at meal times with the "Chance to Dance" and "Chance to Cheer" participants - these youngsters appear to have worked very hard and did an excellent job at entertaining us with their new skills.

This evening is our last meal together. It is the "Gala"... everyone dressed lovely for this... there was a reception which ended up being all over the hotel as people walked around and spoke to friends old and new. Dinner was very nice and the teens "Chance to Dance" performed for us - great job all! The final general session was presented by Lu Hanessian - "Let the Baby Drive: Navigating the Road of New Motherhood". This was my first knowledge of Lu, and she is a great speaker... she ended the evening with performing two songs from her CD (which I bought and she signed for me!!) and then the conference was closed by Fred Scheff.

What a wonderful time - wonderful presentations, nice people, gorgeous babies - I am sure 2007 in Chicago will be just as special!

Monday - Happy July 4th!!!!

Well, yet again I over-slept! Funny how the whole week leading up to the conference I barely slept, and now I am exhausted at the end of the day and sleeping more then I should!! My first session this morning was "Today's Youth: Facing new challenges in the modern world" presented by Joyce Bermes, Mimi de Maza, Harriet Smiley and Marsha Pettinger (who I met last night - she help sort quilt squares and is a lovely human being). They shared some very personal crisis that they endured in their families... I was touched, weepy eyed at several points even. It was good to hear that others have stories similar to what I have gone through in my life. Then it was onto "Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids: Practical ways to create a calm and happy home" presented by Naomi Drew. She has a book that goes along with her presentation, and believe it or not, as I sit here typing this she is recording a podcast with Elizabeth one table over that will be on the LLLI website. She went over a number of great ideas - a few we are already implementing in our home. Please check out her podcast to hear all about it!!! Luncheon was lovely once again, and Donna Cookson Martin did a great job as mistress of ceremonies. I met with several others from the CN Autism group, and the Leaders with kids with Special Needs list. Our speaker was Rita Emmett who spoke on "Mastering the Art of Doing It Now"... she was quite delightful to watch and listen to, and has a great way of "taking the STING out of feeling overwhelmed": Select one task you've been putting off; Time yourself - give the task one full hour; Ignore everything else you have to do; No breaks allowed; and Give yourself a reward when the task is done. I have skipped my afternoon session as I am sitting here blogging and I lost all track of time!!! So, guess I am off to pay a second visit to the exhibit hall... I will be back later!!!
OK, I am back!!! We decided to purchase some absolutely beautiful breastfeeding calendars as a fundraiser for our Group... they are simply gorgeous!! Also, I purchased a beautiful print of a mom and her baby - it is my splurge and I love it!!!

At 5:15 everyone gathered for the "Founder's Tea"... it was very touching - each LLLady chose her favorite lullaby / song from her family - she introduced it and then sung it along with another singer - it was quite lovely to see and hear, and no, they were not all "real" lullabyes... "I want to Hold Your Hand" and "Eldeweiss" were two - lots of fun! We each received a lovely remembrance gift, and the tables were adorned with beautiful teapots that one lucky gaLLL at each table got to bring home. What a lovely touch this was.

Now - in my own little world a slight emergency happened - I had gone up to our room to drop off my purchases from earlier and I noticed that Deborah had left her room key on the desk, so thinking I would be running into her soon at the Tea, I took it with me. Of course, in the meantime Deborah realized she had left her room key, so she went through the task of having the room opened by hotel staff - but of course the key was not there! And then due to the "trauma" she forgot the Tea was at 5:15, so unfourtuneatly she missed the light meal... but, she was not alone as she bumped into another wonderful lady, Elaine, who missed out as well... so, they came down to the ballroom, I saw them and the three of us decided to skip out on the rest of the Tea and go out for dinner... it would be a long night without them eating, and, well, me - I am a big eater, lol! We went to a lovely little Chinese restaurant near the hotel. We returned in time for the "Gallery of Gatherings" and there I was able to distribute most of the bags of quilt squares (I still have 3 bags beside me as I type this). By 9:15 I was getting hot, the room was loud and we wanted to "get out", so the three of us decided to go for a swim in the hotel pool... well, we were there in time to see the fireworks down on the Mall... how cool is that, huh?, in the pool watching a beautiful (and long) presentation of fireworks over the Nation's Capitol!!!!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Sunday July 3

I did not drag myself out of bed in time for the early morning walk today - probably a good thing as my legs are still achy from all the walking yesterday!!! I want to talk bathrooms for a sec... I love the shower water pressure here, really gets the shampoo out... but the placement of the toilets has a lot to be desired - does anyone agree with me???

The first session this morning was a general session... it began with the Founders, Board Members, Pizzaz team and others passing a "baby" arm to arm in a "performance arts piece", while "The Circle of Life" was playing (from Disney's "The Lion King")... quite lovely to see. Our speaker this morning was Ros Escott who reminded us "Head to Toe: Breastfeeding Does Make a Difference" (or rather, NOT breastfeeding does make a difference) - a very informative presentation.

Unfortuneatly I ended up missing the presentation I was next scheduled for, but I did manage to view the poster sessions, visit the exhibit hall (where I purchased items for family, friends and myself) and the bookstore - lots of great conference souvenirs and deals for our group library. I also became a LLLI Alumni member.

At lunch I met up with other Canadian Leaders... the meal was lovely, especially the sherbert for dessert!! Our luncheon speaker was E. Stephen Buescher who did a very scientific talk "Human Milk: It's More Than Just Food". I will admit I did duck out and paid a visit to the local grocery and a few other shops in the area... but I did pre-purchase the MP3/CD featuring the conference speakers - so I will catch what I missed soon.

The afternoon session I attended was "Raising Resilient Children: A look at parenting skills that can help children adapt to strees or change" presented by Teresa Pitman, Executive Director of LLLC. I am very glad to personally know Teresa, she shares her wisom and expereinces in such a wonderful manner... my own children have proven to me how resilient children can be - they amaze me everyday!!

The late afternoon was spent gathering up the Canadian items for the World Faire... the table looked lovely with all the great freebies, notecards, flags etc. Thank you to all the Canadian Leaders who helped by bringing items for the table and helping to "woman" the table. It was a lovely evening and I met a lot of people between going table to table and seeing all who visited our table. I think a big success!!

I also collected the squares for the quilt square shop at the table, and after the World Faire a number of great crafty woman came back to our room to help me sort out all the lovely purple fabrics. Thank you to you all (I do not have my list in front, of me, and I do not want to leave anyone out - but you know who you are and your patience and help is very greatly appreciated!!!)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Saturday, July 2

The Hilton is a lovely hotel - very clean and the air conditioning works (thank goodness - with the humidity here I can barely take it)... we woke fairly early and set out to find the local grocery store, which we did not find but later found out we missed it by just one block - so hopefully will get there at another time.

We decided since we were nearly down to Dupont Circle that we would just carry on, so we had a nice breakfast at a local bistro and then proceeded to the Metro (subway) to do a little sightseeing and a visit to the Holocaust Museum (one of the Smithsonian Museums). I could not believe how far down you go to reach the trains - I felt like a miner going on a dig - there are just escalators to go up and down, it is that steep and such a long way down. We decided to go to Union Station as I wanted to see it... it is larger but very similar to the Union Station in Toronto. There are lots of beautiful, ornate buildings everywhere - I took lots of pictures. My tiredness must have caught up with me as I ended up zigging instead of zagging and we wound up in the wrong place (that is my story and I am sticking to it!). We got back on track and made it to the Capitol Building... very impressive in real life. I then zigged when I should of zagged once again and we ended up at the Shakespeare Museum. A kind lady from this fair city set us back on rack and we landed back at the Capitol Building, then walked by the Botanical Garden and to the start of The Mall.

We decided we still had a long walk ahead of us and since our legs and feet were starting to ache I hailed us a cab (and nearly fell off the curb which I did not see) so we took a ride to the Holocaust Museum. It was about noon, and thank goodness we did this as within the hour the timed passes for the permanent exhibit were gone for the day. We went through the exhibit geared towards children, which we found to be very well done. We had a nice lunch at the cafe and then at 1:15 our tour began. It is unbelievable the amount of artifacts, video footage and photos that are there. It would take you a full day to hear and see everything here. It was very impressive and very thought provoking.

We left about 4:00 and made our way back to the Metro station, on the way finding a great deal on t-shirts for our family back home. We made it back to the hotel right at 5, in time for my Alum Volunteer meeting. I got my instructions (I am selling Donation Drawing tickets) and then had a quick shower and grabbed supper in the hotel restuarant. Then it was time for the meet and greet prior to the Opening Ceremonies.

The Parade of Nations was surprising - seemed like the opening to the Olympics!!! It was wonderful to look around the large ball room and see the wonderful LLLadies, supportive partners and LLL children. Another highlight was seeing the Board Members, Founders and the group that worked so hard on this conference in real life.

And just when you think that can't be topped, Barbara Coloroso shared her wit and wisdom with a great talk "Just Because It's Not Wrong Doesn't Make It Right: From toddlers to teens - teaching kids to think and act ethically". She inspires me so - think I'll buy her new book and get her to sign it for me!!! What a great night and wonderful opening for the next three days!!

Friday July 1 (Happy Canada Day!!)

I attended the "Now This" dinner/show and monument bus tour on Friday evening... buffet style dinner - the rolls were the best ever; and the show was comedy improv... very well done and geared towards us LLL people... they even managed to poke a little fun at the recent Barbara Walters public nursing comment - what fun!!! I met the only Leader in Iceland, Adda; the Hickeys (lovely couple who, if you can believe it, were at the very first LLLI coonference) it was wonderful to hear their tales; and a LA, Crystal, and her gorgeous son Aoedon (oops, not sure if I spelt this correctly - sorry Crystal). We did not manage to leave the bus during the tour, but we had a tour guide on board and she gave some great info as we drove around downtown. I could not believe how busy it was there at that time of night - people everywhere. And I must mention again - I think the motorists in DC are crazy - I drove bus for 9 years and I sure would not have liked to have been our coach driver!!!

Friday, July 01, 2005

I am here!!!

Including the time waiting to get through customs and all the construction... we drove from 5:30 until 11:30 last night and then another 4.5 hours today - after dealing with crazy traffic entering the city and the two circles where I thought "this is it"... my car is safely tucked under the hotel, we checked in at 3, cooled down, cleaned up, registered at the conference and, well, here I am!!! We are off to the "Now This!" dinner/show/tour soon... will blog more later!!!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

I'm so excited! We check into the hotel in DC tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to meeting many of you that I've just "seen" online. If you see me at the Conference, please say Hello - look for me - I will be a loud and annoying person as I am selling drawing tickets on behalf of the alum, also looking for chocolate and bead swappers... so I am sure you will not miss me, lol!!!!

I am leaving this afternoon... see you all soon!


Monday, June 27, 2005

Almost here...

We leave in 3 days!!! I still have so much to do, but I am really getting excited!!! I need to work in my itinerary a bit more... and figure out clothes to bring... and a million things to get settled re my kids too... But I sure am looking forward to DC...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Oh My Gosh - Just one week to go!!!

I leave in one week!!!! ARGH!!! Last night I started getting caught up on the laundry, figured I need to start thinking about what all personal I need to bring... I did go and get extras on my prescriptions just in case something weird happens... suppose just in case I should remember to bring my second pair of glasses too. I need to find two pairs of comfy shoes, runers and black sandals (I wrecked mine last weekend). I have my quilt squares, chocolate, beads and Canada freebies gathered already, as well as paperwork, US $ and ID. So, guess I am not so bad. My car is running well (knock on wood). hehe, I need to color my hair and get my nails done too! So much to do, so little time... See you soon!!!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Thought I'd post which of the concurrent sessions I am scheduled to attend:

Breastfeeding: Ancient Art
Raising Resilient Children
Today's Youth : Facing Challenges
Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids
Breastfeeing in Challenging Situations
Women's Moods
How to be Cherished

As you can see, quite the mish-mash... our kids are 7,7 and 11, and of course I want things to help in my LLL work, and a few just for me, too!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Conference tips...

a few great ones that I have gotten from my co-Leader and the email lists...

- they usually keep conference rooms in hotels cold. If they don't, the rooms get really stuffy and hot very quickly, with all those bodies, and everyone goes to sleep! They often mention in the conference info that the rooms can be chilly, bring sweaters, and they mean it!

- tip for your badge holder: each morning of the conference, place your tickets for the events/meals of the day in the holder. They are handy (no rummaging thorough a bag) and you don't have to have the entire lot of them with you every day.

- use address labels to fill in cards at vendor tables for more info or draws


Tuesday, June 07, 2005


I am driving down with my co-leader and good friend Deborah (she has been to at least 3 other conferences, so I am getting great tips from her!!). We are leaving about 5pm on June 30th... which happens to be the last day of school for my kids... they have an early dismissal, so I have booked this day off work to get ready.. and silly me, I booked a denist appointment too! I am dropping the boys to their dad's work for 5 then picking up Deborah and we will be on our way. We plan to drive to Williamsport, PA (have booked a motel already) and then Friday, July 1st (CANADA DAY) carry onto DC... hoping to be there for noon... I registered very early, so I will be attending the Friday night social activity "Now Hear This!" - I can't wait!!!

I must add that on July 6th, when the whole thing is over and we are heading home, I will be very excited as well as July 6th is Joshua's 7th birthday... I am hoping to get all sorts of neat things at the World's Faire to give him!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Getting ready...

ok, I have started a pile of things to bring... beads and quilt squares to swap (still have to get the chocolates), I have Canadian pins and stickers, address labels for draw info cards, lots of prints outs (directions, registration booklet, confirmation of everything, I got a "new" suitcase, new tires on my car and just had it in for a "piece of mind" look-see which turned into a full-blown tune up plus a new drive belt and weatherstripping *sigh* but at least I know my car should be just fine for the drive...

I have had a suggestion for Canadian pennies as a souvenir from Canada - does anyone have any other ideas???

My pic is in my bio... click on my name to the right...

It is me and my youngest, Johsua, in 1998... although he certainly has changed a lot, I have not, lol!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A bit about me...

Hi aLLL...

My name is Erin. I live, work and play in BEAUTIFUL Burlington, Ontario, Canada. I have two gorgeous boys who were exclusivley breastfed until somewhere in the second half of their first year (the younger one later then the older one)... Mitchell is now 11 (he nursed until he was 3 yrs and 10 months) and Joshua will be turning 7 on the day I leave the conference (he nursed until he was 4 .5 years old).

I am originally from the United States but have lived in Canada for the past 27 years. I am thrilled to be in Washington DC over the 4th of July! I became a member of LLL 11 years ago, I was accredited as a Leader just about five years ago and currently co-lead a Group and also answer online Help Forms. I was a DA for 3 years.

I will be helping to "man" the Canadian table at the World Faire, and I am organizing the quilt square exchange. I am looking forward to meeting my online friends and putting names to faces, making new friendships, reuniting with old friends, and being surrounded by hundreds of LLL people who support the parenting choices I have made. Oh yeah, and the chocolate -- and of course, getting my baby-fix!!

I am pleased to say that I am one of the Canadian affiliates who received a scholarship to attend the Conference... thank you very much!!