November 12, 2011

Flat Kelly's Adventures at Relevant '11

A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of meeting Kelly at Blissdom. It was a crazy trip - a huge hotel - and there wasn't enough time to get to spend with her in person. I always hoped to see her again IRL because she lives in Texas! #Yeehaw! Unfortunately, Texas is a REAL big state, and Kelly and I live many hours away from each other. When I heard she was coming to Relevant this year I was thrilled. She had a ticket... but life got in the way of her going, and at the very last minute, she sold her ticket and decided to stay home.


The above picture is Kelly with me and the Viking when he was about the same age as my tiny Gladiator. It was taken in the Gaylord Opryland {#swoon} at Blissdom 2010. The photo below is at the SavvyBlogging Dinner with Kimberly of Raising Olives. {I love homeschool mamas.}


I was bummed out when I found out Kelly wouldn't be coming to #Relevant11. I cooked up a plan to take her with me - and Kelly had a friend print out a flat version of herself to travel to Harrisburg and meet me at the conference. She caught someone else's flight to Pennsylvania and caught up with me on day 2 of the conference. We spent the rest of the trip hangin' together in 2D. It wasn't quite the same as having her around in person... but I hope she'll enjoy these fun photos and see that she was able to rub shoulders with a few of her favorite bloggers even while still home in Texas... and know she was missed by all of us!


There might be some flat Kelly shots in the Relevant stream which aren't pictured here (the one above is by Darcy - who was the official conference photographer)... so follow the link and see how many other flat people you can find. I know there were at least 4 or 5 flatties networking at Relevant. It's hard when you want to be there and have to stay behind... but traveling by flat isn't all that bad. I did Blissdom 2011 as a flat person traveling with Dawn last February.

Here are Kelly's adventures after we hooked up:

Katey's (@MamaKautz) "I am sooo blogging this" T-shirt caught Kelly's eye. She wanted to get a snapshot of it while we were in the Dayspring (In)Courage Lounge...


We hung out at the Mercy House booth with Kristen and Kelly had a hard time picking her favorite necklace. Did you know that these were made by African women and girls who are learning skills to help them support their babies - and that they made them out of rolled newspaper? What a wonderful GREEN product! It would make a lovely Christmas gift! There were so many AWESOME sponsors at Relevant.


Kelly wanted to get her picture taken with The Nester and Emily P (who hates her P, but I love it - and who also has a new book out called "Grace for the Good Girl"). Kelly was kind of hoping she could take home a copy of the book that Emily wrote, but they weren't giving them out to flat people. {It would have been way to heavy for Kelly to carry around anyway.} Maybe she can put it on her holiday wish list?


Money Saving Mom had a little chat with flat Kelly about budgeting and couponing so that she would have more money to spend on her family this December. Kelly remarked on how great of a babysitter Crystal was. My little guy and this little guy enjoyed a few slobbery glances as they wondered where in the world they were, what the meaning of life was... and why people were afraid of the elevators.


Jolanthe and Kelly enjoyed chatting in the hallway after helping Jenn print some affiliate cards for Bright Ideas Press. Jenn told me that Jolanthe was "hard core" {geek} because she took a printer along to the blog conference. You might not need a printer, but if you're SMART, you'll take along your own mobile hotspot and an extension cord. The hotel had horrible internet service (every hotel I have ever been to has been the same).

Jolanthe and Flat Kelly

Amy Bayliss and Lisa Boyd sat next to me at dinner. I took most of my photos with my iPhone while I had the baby on me... and somehow my 12 year old "babysitter" ended up working for Dayspring instead of me... so the baby was with me a lot and photos became few and far between. Kelly kicked me in the shin under the table to remind me to get a good picture with Amy since she knew how much I had been anticipating meeting her IRL - FINALLY. Amy is one of my blog friends that goes back to ancient blog days! Of course, I could hardly feel Kelly's kick since she was made of paper; therefore, I'm stuck with just this sorry iPhone 3G shot. [The iPhone 4s didn't come until the day after I got home from Relevant - go figure.]

blurry flat kelly iphone pic

Kelly attended a few of the break-out sessions with me after we ate (I have no idea how she was able to stay so paper thin eating all that BEEF).

I have to be honest - it's hard to listen and take notes when you don't have free hands and you are worried about keeping an almost 9 month old baby busy and quiet. I learned a lot more at Relevant 2010 - because my whole family came with me and stayed at a friend's house (I was pregnant with the tiny dude then and the bigger one was already weaned, so he didn't come to the hotel with me and I was able to SOAK in the messages and really BE present with the people).

If you have to take a baby to a blog conference, be sure you get with the speakers and ask for their notes. Or if you have a babysitter at a blog conference, make sure they are not a teenager (going on 26) with a serious fettish for swag and coffee. Take your mother - grandmas make the perfect travel companions for blog babies... and they don't charge for babysitting. Win - win!

These are some of the other bloggers - and I know I should know their names (I'm horrible with names - and the stack of business cards I collected at Relevant will be useless to help me unless each card has a photo of the person it belongs to, I'm afraid)...

Update - 30 minutes later after asking Twitter:
According to my Twitter genie @DeniseBlooms... "@sprittibee Here are their blog links (Giving Up on Perfect) and (Domestic Serenity - holy cow her header is so hypnotizing! Love!) #Relevant11"


Below is a shot of the lobby centerpiece that reminded me of Beth. I stayed at her house last year when I was at Relevant 2010. She's another person that should have gone to Relevant in 2D this year with me (oops)... and I'm sure Kelly kicked me under the table about that, too... but again... she was such a light-weight and I was a bit preoccupied. Hindsight is 20/20. Next year, Beth - start saving up!


Kelly thought it was really funny that she was smaller than the Halloween contest entries and really took a liking to the Tin Man pumpkin. I let her cast a vote for him, but we have no idea which pumpkin won.

Hotel staff were helpful during the conference. Our favorite employees were the restaurant owner/manager, the awesome night waitress who brought us eggs and bacon even though it wasn't on the menu - at nearly midnight, and the wonderfully witty Scottish guy. {We were all suckers for that accent - could have listened to it all day.}


Right before we checked out of the hotel, Ann Voskamp got to visit with Kelly. Ann is an introvert, so she pretty much stays in her room unless she's speaking. We adore her - and are so glad the Farmer made her come to deliver the ending keynote. I always wished there were more time to spend with Ann... but I know she gets claustrophobic in crowds. How could she feel any other way with all those miles of Canadian wheat, open skies, forests, and with leading the quiet life of a busy farm wife? Maybe one day I'll happen to pass by her farm and she'll invite me to sit down and drink tea? Nice thought... but Texas and Canada are oh, so far from each other. I can't imagine what would ever take me back that way. 


There was a lovely pink sweatshirt that Kelly had her eye on in the Sheraton Gift Shop. I had to remind Kelly that they didn't have a size which would fit her flat mini-self. I thought they were a little pricey, too. We settled for an iPhone picture instead. Maybe next year she can save up her pennies and get herself a Hershey Chocolate Souvenir when she's in town for Relevant 2012? I hear Relevant won't be at the Sheraton next year. We'll miss them.


Unfortunately, though she tried, Kelly was not much help with the luggage when it was time to load up.

Flat Kelly helping with Relevant luggage

We caught up with Myra in the lobby as we were waiting on everyone to scrape the ice and snow off of their windshields and car tops. This Texas girl really enjoyed seeing snow so thick and white... but was VERY glad that it didn't deter driving or flying for the trip home. I took Kelly outside and let her "chill out" in the snow for a picture, but the iPhone just couldn't do the moment justice.

It was so sad seeing everyone load up and leave. That's the awful thing about being with friends for a whirlwind conference weekend... there are only so many things you can cram in to such a short time... and so many people you adore... that you often feel like you failed and left things undone when everyone parts ways. [Speaking of failing, I only wrote in a few of the prayer journals because it was so hard to get in there with a noisy baby and my big stroller.] That's what makes blog conferences so addictive: you always want MORE of being around "your people" (who understand you and encourage and inspire you to be good at what you do).


After saying good-bye to Myra, Kelly visited with Maggie Hogan of Bright Ideas Press (who was my airline sponsor for the conference). Pretty soon, we said good-bye to Harrisburg and headed to Baltimore through the snow. Maggie and Stacy with BIP drove me to the airport (Kelly rode in the darkness of my laptop bag - that I still don't know how Stacy fit in to the back of the vehicle). Kelly was pretty quiet for the rest of the trip to Texas.

We gave Kelly the tour of our house after finding her smashed in the luggage she helped us get unpacked. Remember that "If I can homeschool, ANYONE can" bookcase post? Kelly got to be the first blog friend to see my new book cases (in rare form: right after the 2 year old scribbled all over the white painted doors).

Kelly was in her element with all those homeschooling books and curriculum, and in fact, she hasn't wanted to come down from the shelf on home-making, parenting, and organizing. We homeschoolers enjoy looking through each other's book shelves. Don't worry, Kelly - I'm letting you spend a lot of time up there on the shelves reading to your heart's content. You let me know when you want to go home... or I can stick you in an envelope and send you on another flat Kelly adventure!

Or... maybe I'll just bring you to the MomHeart Conference in February? Is that a plan? I'd much rather hug you in 3D.


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The Sisters' Hood said...

Just love this post of yours! I have yet to write anything about Relevant ... must sit and work, must sit and work!
Was so glad that i was able to meet you, having enjoyed your blog prior to meeting you, now i hear your voice and catch that humor in your words!

Denise In Bloom said...

This post is so funny! I had to come read after you asked for those blog names. I sure wish we could have hung out because you are so funny, and I love funny people! Well maybe next time. Thanks for introducing us to Kelley and I am so sorry I didn't get my picture taken with her.


Amy said...


You totally forgot to mention losing her in the SUV. Thank goodness she was flat or else being stuck in the visor would have been a problem. ;)

I am so glad we finally got to meet although it was sort of weird because it seemed like I've known you IRL forever. I was happy to be able to hug you in person. It is a lot better than typing this all the time: (((BIG hug))).

I hope I get to see you again soon.. like in Louisiana. ;) We will have to get a picture together next time.

miss you already.

Shannon Kosub said...

Toooo funny and very cute!!!!

Shannon Kosub said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristin Weber said...

That's hilarious and clever! =)

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Leslie said...

What a small world! Kelly is the person who sold me her ticket to Relevant this year! What a neat connection that I got to meet you and spend some time with Morgan! (Who I am glad to hear is doing well from your most recent post! Oral surgury can be rather traumatizing...) God has an amazing way of connecting people to one another!



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