Faith and Family Mom's Day Away!!!

Can I just sum it up by saying...*Deep Breath*..."AAAAHHhhhhhhhhhhh"

What a weekend!!!  Up until the plane actually took off, I was almost positive I would turn around and run back to hug the kids and apologize profusely for leaving them.  By the time my plane landed on Sunday morning, I wanted to turn around and run back to Boston to spend one more day laughing so hard I might pee my pants with Colleen!!!

It took just as long for me to actually arrive at my destination north of Boston as it does to drive to Boston - 8 hours.  I spent them like this...

I'm fairly certain Colleen thought I was absolutely wasted when I texted her, "Arriving at 6:10!  I forgot about the hour change!  You guys are an hour ahead!  I hope that's not too late?"

I got this in response:  "That's perfect.  I will pick you up after work.  And there is no time change :-P" 

I had such a relaxing and awesome time traveling that I assumed I lost an hour.  Time literally flew out the window as I traveled in complete calm and peace.  Before I knew it, I was at her house!  I even took some awesome pictures while I was traveling on the bus.  Don't be jealous of the abilities of my awesome camera...

Boston city (which is surprisingly small and compact!)

The Boston Globe 

And I was beyond excited when I spotted:

Waitwaitwait...lemme try it again!

I was pumped when my eyes landed on.... 

Oh shoops - stupid cars in every shot! Here: One more try!! 

WATER!!!  I would LOVE to live in a coastal town.  But not the beach.  Sun and my pasty white skin don't get along...nor do bathing suits, lounging and sand.  I love the cold and the north....and I love the accents of Bostonians!  By the end, I had almost completely copied Colleen's Massachusetts accent (maybe that's a little Single White Female of me, but I couldn't help myself!!)

I was completely fascinated with this little gem:
This is a 7-Eleven nestled on a corner of water.  As you pump gas, your view is of the water. 
How cool is that?? 

I was lucky enough to be invited to stay at Colleen's house for the weekend so we could attend Faith and Family Live's Mom's Day Away together.  She and her husband Phil can apparently be bribed with cookies.  But not just any cookie.  This cookie:

In exchange for the cookies, I received a door-to-door driver, hot food, a colorful bedroom with princess pictures for inspiration as I got ready each morning, and Colleen laughed hysterically at all my jokes.  The best part about hanging out with new friends is that I can recycle all my old jokes!!!  I truly did not want to leave their house.  (Okay now I'm reaaaaally treading a fine line between complimentary and grab your torch and pitchfork creepy...I need to stop talking.)

Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early and headed out with another friend Annabella to the retreat at the beautiful Saint Patrick's Parish in Stoneham, MA.  The church and parish hall were beautiful!!! 

There were three talks by 3 amazing women.  We started off with an hilarious talk by Danielle Bean (who is surprisingly petite and so cute!!)  Danielle is a witty author and ingenious mom of 8.
Me, Kate Wicker, Danielle Bean and Colleen!  (I stole this pic from Colleen)

(And yes - Colleen and I called each other before we got ready...Or I'm still channeling Single White Female...Creeeeeeepy!!!)

The next talk was by Jennifer Fulwiler of Conversion Diary - a former atheist who converted to Catholicism with her husband a few years ago!
(Stole this from Colleen too!)

After an amazing lunch, Eucharistic Adoration and a spiritual Rosary (all completely UNINTERRUPTED by children!!!) we had one more talk by Rachel Balducci of Testosterhome.

In addition to the talks, we were able to chat with the wonderful ladies at our table: Rebecca Teti, a mother and writer for Faith and Family Live.  Mary Grace, a mother of 8 children (the last pregnancy was twins!!!!).  Annabella, Colleens' friend, a mom of 3 and teacher.  Colleen - a mom of soon to be 5 and blogger extraordinaire!!  (Did you know she's famous too???)  And a fellow blogger and mom of 5 with the most rockin' pair of shoes EVER: Cari Donaldson of Clan Donaldson

Conversations with these women were equal parts inspiring, hilarious, humbling and entertaining.  It was like tapping into a goldmine of knowledge and experience!! 

Cari and Me
Rebecca and Mary Grace

Colleen and me

Colleen and Hallie Lord's baby!
(Proof positive that Hallie's baby DID slobber on Colleen's nametag - which she may never throw away).

Speaking of Colleen, I was seriously considering making her a little autograph book, similar to the Disney autograph book, with a picture of each of her Faith and Family heroes and a signature line.  I never had time to complete it, but after seeing her with her heroes I wish I had.  I think she actually would have used it!!!

Here is the parish hall.  Isn't it beautiful?? 

The entire retreat, from start to finish was awesome.  To have the chance to sit with women and share stories and experiences within the context of our Christian faith was refreshing.  Everyone was there to hopefully gain some sort of insight or wisdom that they could then apply to their life to become a better person.  And we were nourished in mind, body and spirit between the talks, the phenomenal food and the prayer.  If you have the chance to come out for next years conference, I urge you to splurge on a ticket!!  But I call dibs on Colleen's house...unless she reads this blogpost and decides that she's going to take out a restraining order against me......

I spent the rest of the weekend in a state of complete relaxation and comfort.  I even had the chance to Gmail chat with Jason and the babies...
Despite what this picture shows, they actually had a fantastic time without me ;)

Isn't the Boston area cool?

Here are a few links to some reviews of the Faith and Family Live Mom's Day Away:

ETA:  I forgot to mention that the company, Bible Toys, sponsored our retreat!  They gave each and every attendee a toy to bring home.  Jesus and the Apostles on a boat!  Each of them has their name etched into their back so we can tell them apart!

Unfortunately for the rest of the disciples, Leo only put back Simon the Zealot, Andrew, Jude Thaddeus and a Fire Truck just in case!

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