What I learned when I took my kids to BlogHer

I did something a little crazy.  I took both of my kids to the BlogHer conference in San Jose. 

I attended the conference to reach out to bloggers as a part of my job at AARP and I attended as a leader of the Special Needs Birds of a Feather Mini-Conference.  Both of those reasons meant I needed to juggle childcare and fun activities and I think I made it work.  Here are some of the lessons I learned.

A special pre-conference adventure is a great way to start things off

The kids and I were hosted by Life 360 with a tour of San Francisco where we got to visit the Golden Gate Bridge, ride a cable car and eat some really yummy food.  It was a great way to settle into the time change and share a really cool city with Cameron and Jordan.

We also had a little extra time to see an old friend of mine and spend time with her super sweet kids.

Finding opportunities to meet long-time Born Just Right readers is amazing

A family in the San Jose area met up with us for dinner the first night we got into town.  (It was our second city on a four-city tour of California.) What happened was pretty remarkable.  The kids were awesome together.  Their mom has commented on this blog almost since it first started.  She and I have an ongoing friendship that had never taken place in person...  But when we saw each other, it felt like our friendship was always in person.  That's pretty darn special.  (I blogged about it last week.)

Finding separate activities for warring sibling is key

I couldn't watch the kids during the days of the conference so the BlogHer program offered childcare through Wondersitter.  We had a great sitter named Sella who spent most of Friday with both kids at San Jose's Tech Museum of Innovation.  Luckily, Jordan had a chance to sleepover with a friend Friday night and play most of the day Saturday.  That gave Cam time to play for another day at the museum on his own with Sella.  A little time apart makes a big difference for the kids.

Creating meetups in large, busy places is crazy but worth it

We had an incredible gathering of limb difference families and adults meet up with us at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.  We spent more time talking and checking out super cool e-NABLE 3D printed hands than riding rides while we spent time together.  But it's so awesome for all of us to chat and hang out.  Plus, we enjoyed some ice cream and even time to play in the sand.

We had a smaller group gathering the next day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  It's so cool there.

Reconnecting with old friends means my kids get to make new friends

I met up with an old college friend and her kids in San Francisco.  Jordan and Cameron got along with them so well, we snuck in a total of three gatherings while we were in California for a week.  We ate dinner and played in a San Francisco park, hiked Muir Woods and enjoyed a breakfast before we flew home.

I also met up with a good friend who I met three years ago but haven't seen in person since.  She met up with the kids and I at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk along with her niece just before our limb difference meet up ended.  We had great conversations and the kids had so much fun.

When I don't let the kids fighting bother me, hanging out with them is more fun

I spent a lot of time with the two kids.  Moderating their battles is exhausting.  But when I let some of it slide and focused on being present in the adventures we were having, the trip was a lot more enjoyable.  I'm extra lucky to have friends like Kate and Sara who helped back me up in.  And my friend Jen who took this picture: