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Monday, July 28, 2014

The Mini BlogHer '14 Recap.

I'm still in California.

This past week -- I don't really have words. I came to BlogHer expecting to be a mess. Instead, I was so far away from that it was almost shocking. I felt absolutely in the right place, with the right people, making the right choices about my life. These people, my friends, are more than that. They're more than my tribe or my peers or my mentors.

They're my family.

And coming home to them was exactly what I needed in every arena -- blogging, friendship, community, life, all of it.

Today, I'm going to spend time with my family out here before I red-eye it on home where I will fiercely hug my children and tell them how very much I love them. 

And then, I will sit back down at my desk and I will get to work. Because I am strong and I am capable and these words, my words (and I suppose these photos) have value, just as I do.

Okay, I'll probably sleep a good deal first, but you know what I mean.

This trip, I think, will be the defining moment of my life at this stage. And I cannot possibly thank everyone who made it that way enough. Every single smile and hug and high five and selfie (MY GOD, THE SELFIES) and the heartfelt talks over coffees and meals and the silly jokes and the dancing and just EVERYTHING, each instance gave me life and brought me back to myself in a way I haven't felt in years, if ever.

I have never felt so right with myself and my goals and my heart and my soul and I have all of you to thank for that.

Thank you.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tread Gently: The Obligatory Pre-BlogHer '14 Post.

My first BlogHer, in 2012, was a tumultuous time in New York City. I cried throughout most of it, overwhelmed both positively and negatively by the experience. I was still reeling from discovering the first affair, hating being away from home because that's when the worst things happened, when I was plane rides away from my home and my children and everything I held to be sacred.

By the grace of women I now call my friends, I survived.

I returned to BlogHer the next summer primarily because I try to give everything a second chance ... but it was a lot easier to make that decision as the conference was in Chicago, my heart's home. I truly felt like I shined at the conference, as never before in my blogging career had I felt so confident, so pulled together, so on top of my game. I had found my tribe. In some ways, I found my family.

I wouldn't trade that experience for the world, even knowing that while I was away from home, missing my family and wanting them with me, to share this experience with me and see me in a way I wasn't sure they'd -- he'd -- ever seen me before, there was a new stranger in my bed, underneath the room where my children lay sleeping.

I am aware that this BlogHer, in San Jose, will be another crying year.

I have said this enough in person -- because that's the new safe way, new secret way now, to not leave any digital trace of your thoughts or your intentions for anyone to archive or redistribute -- but it is something I have kept from this space with tremendous and painful effort. So in a way, it doesn't feel like it bears repeating because those who are closest to me already know, but there will be many people I meet that don't know me or know me that well who may not understand why I may not be the person I was last year.

My marriage is ending.

The logistics haven't been fully worked out yet, but we are separating at the end of the summer.

I have all the words to say on this, but I can save those for another time. What I hope to do now, is to ask for your grace if you see me in San Jose. I will be trying my hardest to enjoy myself and this wonderful experience that I'm so lucky and grateful to have. I will relish those hot two seconds I'll be on stage as part of the #VOTY and #PhOTY honors. And I hope to be inspired and rejuvenated by being in the presence of you all.

But if you see me, and you hug me, know that I might sob a little. Because kindness and empathy are hard for me to accept sometimes, even when I desperately need them. And if I don't see you walk by me or hear you call my name, it's not because I'm ignoring you. Please try again. Your company will be welcome, as long as you aren't put off by the tears that may be forming in my eyes. I just may not hear you over myself.

I ask you to tread gently with me this year. I am broken and I know I won't always be like this but this hurt and this defeat are very fresh and very raw and I guess I'd rather have you know than not.

So. See you in San Jose.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dragons: Defenders Of Berk Part 2 {A Tabulous Review!}

Full disclosure: I was supposed to write this a couple of months ago. Life, man.

Anyway, we were very excited to receive a copy of Dragons: Defenders of Berk Part 2 right before the big How To Train Your Dragon 2 release.

Because, as you may recall, Kiedis is a HUGE HTTYD fan. And now Tova's pretty into it, too. She keeps saying she's Astrid. Except because speech delays both kids keep putting a B before her name and ... well, I'll just let you figure that one out.

So this DVD is fantastic at picking up mid-season where Part 1 left off and continuing the stories of Hiccup, Astrid, Toothless, and all the other residents of Berk as they deal with invaders, dragon drama, and learn lessons about friendship, responsibility, and standing up for what you believe in all while tying up some loose ends before segueing into the big HTTYD2 release.

Which, of course, we also saw. At the drive in because it's cheaper, but I've heard great things about it being in IMAX 3D, so if that's still a possibility for you to check out, I'd suggest it. We just didn't think the kids would be able to quite deal with that just yet.

The whole Dragons of Berk TV series has been excellent to have in our Dragon-loving home. I feel like it's on par with the movies (in a TV show kind of way) and I've really enjoyed the lessons the show demonstrates.

And there's something about my kids running around during a thunderstorm joyously yelling about a Skrill coming (instead of being freaked out by the thunder) or watching them pretend to ride dragons (on the arms of the couch) that reassures me that even if it's fantasy, it's one they're actively engaging their imaginations in and learning from.

So if you have a How To Train Your Dragon fan in your home, I'd highly suggest you nab these DVDs when you can. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Many thanks to DreamWorks for facilitating this family's need for all things Hiccup and Toothless and Astrid and Stormfly!

I received a copy of this DVD gratis but all opinions within this review are my own. Also this post contains some affiliate links.