My BlogHer12 Goals

If two weeks leading up to BlogHer reminds me of Bid Day 94 at Auburn, up to and including the shrill squeals and OHMAHGAHs and jumping up and down, then I’m going to be honest — Mama’s gonna need cocktail hour to start around noon!

There’s an absolute blizzard flurry of excitement about BlogHer 2012. It starts on August 3 in New York and (woohoo) I’m going!

VOTY Honoree  I wasn’t going until one hot summer night in St. Simons when I checked my email to find out that my post was chosen as a Voice of the Year Honoree. And then Jason pretty much forced me to get a ticket and go. No, I don’t get to read or anything at the VOTY Keynote, but my name is on that list. And by God, that’s all I needed to validate the fact that I CAN write and that I should definitely go.

So I’m going. I’m flying before the sun comes up on Wednesday August 1st and will have all day Wednesday and Thursday to do whatever I want before the conference even starts! Then on Sunday, I’ll have most of the day to goof off.

I have a list in my head a 5k long of people I want to meet. Maybe I’ll meet them all, maybe not.

I’m not losing sleep over what to wear. Yes, I’ll grab a few new things, but that’s simply because my closet is, well, an embarrassment to the female species. It’s so bad, my girl card is one hole punch from being revoked.

I’m excited about swag. I’m sure there’ll be some great stuff. But I plan to be kinda picky about what I actually take and bring home with me. They should all just give out gift cards. That would rock, now, wouldn’t it?

There are a few goals that I have for the long weekend. I know you’re dying to know what they are, right?

  • Go for a jog in Central Park.
  • Have a Frrrrozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity 3.
  • Hit a good number of sessions.
  • Go to all the official parties, at least for a little while. BlogHer has worked extremely hard and the sponsors are so generous with their time and investment. It would be insulting not to go. Also, I don’t want to traipse all over town just to go to another party. Anyway…
  • Rest when I feel like it and not allow myself to be overwhelmed.
  • Buy this ring at Tiffany.

Simple enough?


Are you going?


Camp Packing 101

Camp Packing 101

My almost 8 year old is off to camp. This is his first time, but I’m not new to this whole camp-packing-thing. I started going to camp at 8 and went until I was 15 or 16. Some years I went for a week, some years I went for two.

My memories of camp are all very special. But the part I always loved most? PACKING!

The two week camp allowed us to bring trunks and oh, how I wish that Henry’s camp had allowed that. But once I saw the size of the cabins, I realized this was NOT a possibility.

Needless to say, when I got the packing list for camp I was in a bit of packing heaven! So I thought, of course I should share my packing tips with all of you.

This is packing for a 7 year old boy for 1 week of sleep-away camp.

Step 1: Find a bag that’s right for camp.

This means one that you will not cry when it gets ruined, isn’t extremely heavy when you try to carry it (possibly up a hill in 105° weather) and is durable.

Jason and Henry went to the Army surplus store to get bags. They came back with a “small duffel” according to the Army and a dopp kit type bag.

Rolling duffels are great and so are regular suitcases. They will most likely have to go under the bunk bed so think about the size.

bags for camp

Step 2: Organize your clothing.

This is easy. Especially for little boys who would likely wear the same thing all 6 days.

Put an outfit together for each day. T-shirt, shorts, underwear and socks. (Shoutout to @aboutone and their squirrely t-shirt that my kid loves!)

Label everything! Or at the very least, only send stuff that you’re perfectly fine with not coming home.

Gallon zipper bags are your new BFF. Label a bag with the day and slip the clothing right in. The kid knows it’s Tuesday and wears whatever’s in Tuesday’s bag!

Extra clothes I simply put in bags together. Shorts, shirts, underwear, socks. They each get a bag labelled EXTRA!

Each night, this camp has a special theme. Each night had a separate bag as well.

pack in zipper bags

Step 3: Group all the other junk together.

Things that go in the dopp kit? Throw them in a bag and in the kit.

Things that will be used in and around the bunks? Throw them in a bag.

packing in zipper bags

Step 3: A bunk bag.

I gave Henry a messenger bag that I got at Type A. He calls it his bachelor bag for some strange reason. (Don’t ask!)

It’s the perfect size for him to keep in his bunk with his journal, markers, notecards (that I’m sure he didn’t write) and his stuffed animal.

man bag for camp

Step 4: Pack it up!

Throw all that goodness in the bag.

pack for camp

Make sure you remember a fan, towels, sheets, washcloths and extra shoes. They’ll need a rain jacket, water bottle, swimsuits (give them a plastic bag) and a mesh laundry bag. Expect that every article of clothing may or may not have to be trashed when it gets home.

Put the sheets and fan at the top so you can have those immediately when you get there.

Step 5: Take a deep breath, relax and send them on their way for an adventure of a lifetime!

henry ready for camp

Teach A Man To Fish…

Teach A Man To Fish…

Written last Sunday morning.

I’m sitting on the porch, listening to the wind chimes go tink-tink-tink.

Jason’s out in the boat, somewhere on the other side of the lake.

My son is standing confidently on the dock with his rod and reel, casting like a professional angler.

All 52” of him is invested in every tiny aspect of what he’s doing. His arms, legs, face, mouth, legs, brain. I can see it all working together in perfect unison.

He’s got his own rhythm to casting and reeling it in – one, two, three, four, five, six, puuuuuullllll, one, two, three, four, five, six, puuuuuuuullllll. Over and over again.

He gets caught on something. He calls me thinking he’s got a fish. Then he says, “nevermind, it’s just a tree.” Not with a voice of disappointment, either. That’s just what happens when you’re fishing.

He brings the line in, with a little squishy and stinky plastic worm on the end. He’s inspecting it like it’s a precious gem. Something isn’t right, I guess. He carefully lays the rod down on the dock, walks to the end and sits down by the worm. He wiggles and fiddles, apparently adjusting it to be just right on the hook. The real, sharp, pointy, adult-type hook.

He knows what to do.

He stands with authority. His brain is quiet. He is patient.

He does just what his Daddy has taught him.

Time. Words. Actions.

That’s how fishing is taught. It isn’t something you learn in a classroom. You can’t. It’s something you learn over time.

It’s learned by watching the actions of others and having the desire to do this activity together, just the two of you.

With a patient instructor, an eager student, a body of water and time, the special skill of fishing is passed from one generation to another.

Just like Jason’s father taught him, he is teaching Henry.

Two of the biggest lessons that fishing is instilling in our son are ones that will last a lifetime.

Fishing isn’t all about the fish. It’s about being in the quiet, just you and the world surrounding you. Once you learn it, it can never be taken away, only shared.

What’s that saying?

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. ~Chinese Proverb

And you also learn that sometimes you win, and sometimes you don’t. There are a lot more opportunities in a morning on the water to catch nothing than to catch something.

But when you do catch something, it’s totally ok to say it was twice as big as it really was!

Shark: It’s What’s For Dinner

Shark: It’s What’s For Dinner

I briefly mentioned the fishing trip my boys took while we were at St. Simons last week in my post on Monday.

They went out with Captain Tim of Coastal Georgia Inshore Charters last Wednesday for a 4 hour trip. To say they had a great time is an understatement. They fished the Hampton River at the north end of Sea Island using a baitcaster reel and they found a treasure trove of fish. Sharks, in particular.

That’s what Henry they went for, and that’s what they got!

Tim wrote more about their trip on his blog, including their score (shoutout Capt. Donut)!

After they got back to the marina, Capt. Tim expertly filleted three of the sharp-nosed sharks for us to take home. I may have gagged a little thinking about eating shark, but whatever. Henry was all, “I’m gonna eat shark” and coming from my kid who eats very little meat (my kid) this was huge.

So I talked to Tim about what to do to it to make it delicious. He promised me that we would love it.

We got home and I took the fabulous knife out that I won on Adam’s site from Ree and first of all, you ALL need this knife. It’s the best thing to slice bread since sliced bread.

I cut the shark meat into small bites for Henry and smallish pieces for us.

Still… skeptical. I mean, it looks like white fish but it’s shark.

Jason picked up a Fish Fry breading from the Farmer’s Market and I thought it was a little flimsy so I added some panko crumbs to it. I would say it was half and half.

In oil, I fried them up. It smelled like a good ole catfish joint up in here, y’all!

Look how crispy they fried up.

But still? Skeptical.

I plated them up with some fresh Silver Queen corn we got at Poppell Farms on our way back from St. Simons. (Followed a Georgia AgriTourism sign off Hwy. 341 around Odum.) I also made some roasted cabbage and I knew it would be delicious.

So if all else failed, we had some edible food.

But the verdict was:

SIX THUMBS UP. Two thumbs from each of us, obviously.

We’ve had shark three nights since we got home. It’s been fabulous each time, and I have to tell you… I’m kinda sad that there are only 4 more pieces in the freezer.

Henry has devoured it. And asked for more. I’m not sure if it’s the novelty of catching it and eating it or if he really just loves it, but you can be sure I’m going to be calling a lot more stuff “shark.”

Thanks, Capt. Tim, for a great day and for fixing us up with some good eats!


The Most Magical Week

The Most Magical Week

Unlike most other times we’ve gone to the Georgia coast, this one was drama-free and downright magical. Also, there were no plane crashes or celebrity deaths (that I’m aware of).

There are so many things that happened this past week while we were in St. Simons that rendered the two of us speechless. Signs and confirmations that we’re doing what we’re supposed to do and we are where we should be were hiding around every corner.

We drove straight into Tropical Storm (or whatever they were calling it) Beryl knowing that our first two days would be full of rain but didn’t care one bit. In spite of my horrible fear of bad weather and knowing that Jim Cantore was on the Island with his “oh shit” crew and jacket, the peace we all felt driving over the causeway was the precursor to a wonderful week.

Staying at The King and Prince brings back so many memories of my childhood, staying there with my grandparents when the hotel was simply the Historic Hotel part. None of the villas or oceanfront rooms were there. It was small, simple, yet grand. And even with all the additions, it still is.

On Memorial Day, I took myself out into terrible weather to get a glimpse of the hottie extreme-weather-chaser and succeeded.

Later that night, Henry called us out onto the patio to see the most amazing double rainbow I’ve ever witnessed.

The week continued to get better.

From the perfect sand dollar we found when we walked out onto the beach, to the family portrait we took in the spot where Jason and I got married almost 14 years ago…

To the fabulous yellow bag and angel I bought from my friend Marti at Two Friends and the sweet potato ice cream from Moo Cow…

and to the fishing trip Jason and HL took with the singular goal of catching a shark, that ended with Henry having caught three sharks by himself and three being filleted to bring home with us, the week just got better and better.

We were having such a great time, we added a night.

We enjoyed two meals at Bennie’s Red Barn… the first one was so good we had to go back for more (per Henry’s demands). Chip, from Alfonza’s Supper Club where we had our rehearsal dinner, sings in Bennie’s now. The first night we were there, he sang “Butterbean” to another table and tears welled up in our eyes. The second night, I talked to him and told him he sang at our rehearsal dinner forever ago. He gave me a big hug and said he’d had another table request “Butterbean” so we got to hear it again!

The last night, we surprised Henry with putt-putt. On the way from Bennie’s to The Village, I got an email saying I had been chosen for BlogHer’s Voice of the Year. To say I was floored is an understatement. I may or may not have squealed and cried a little. We celebrated with drinks from the bar at the King and Prince when we got back to the hotel. (My hand has been forced by Jason and I’m now going to BlogHer in NYC in August.) Here’s the post if you want to read it!

And as always, when I’m on the Island, I’m reminded of what an amazing experience it was being a nanny for two summers for an amazing family. They are my Island Family and we always jump at the chance to see them. If only Haley weren’t on the other side of the country, we could ALL lunch together. Instead, we had to just talk about her at lunch and wish she was with us!

We’re home now. Summer vacation is in full force. There will be camps and Bible Schools and two blog conferences and fun. But we’re all refreshed and ready to take on the summer with a renewed sense of purpose.

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