I was going to spend 30 minutes today writing a long blog post about my past week at the We Shine Unschooling Conference, but somehow my time has dwindled down to about seven minutes! I'm still catching up on laundry, housework, quality time with the kids, quality time with Diana, enjoying the early summer in my gorgeous yard, spending time in self care, and catching up on money earning.
Anyways, last week we did attend the fabulous We Shine conference for the fourth time. We started with a little side trip to visit our friends Bill and Rachel who were celebrating their seventh wedding anniversary with a house party. We hadn't seen them or their daughter Becca for a few years, and it was great to have a few hours to catch up.
Then we spent a night in a hotel in Latham. The hotel was full, and they bumped us up to an especially luxurious room, but there was a negative side. The room was noisy, over a bar. They don't usually rent it out. It wasn't too bad because most of the noise was dwindling off by the time we went to sleep, and we concentrated on the good things like extra room for sleeping and play, and the fact that because we were in a rarely used room they were easily able to extend our check out 2 hours to 1:00. Also, when we complained just a little bit at check out, they took some money off our bill which is always a help.
The drive down to Shine was on a road that is unfamiliar to me, and the view of the Catskills was comparable to the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains when you first catch a glimpse, traveling down I-81 in the middle of Virginia. Breathtaking! We stopped in Kingston to pick up enough food for dinner & breakfast and headed to the campground. I was so anxious when we got there. That first brush with a large group of people is really difficult for me, but I took a deep breath and concentrated on unpacking, and the adjustment was quickly over!
The RV was pretty great; we probably won't go back to the two room cabin. There was plenty of space. The bathroom was of course tiny, but it was adequate. The fridge almost inadequate for the needs of 6 people for a week, but we had some serendipitous luck in that area! Some of my pay that I was expecting on Friday did not transfer to our bank account on time. We only had $14 for groceries until Monday so we didn't buy a lot of things before seeing the RV. If we had bought a week's worth of groceries, we would have been hard pressed to store it all!
Monday was grocery shopping, swimming and the luau/birthday party for everyone who had a birthday that year! It was fun watching the limbo contest. Lia was one of the winners, and Esme was only out in the round before that. Ant was the most fun to watch though, him and the other taller guys! I was so impressed by how good they all were at it!
Tuesday was talks and chats and a huge rainstorm. The evening included delicious baked pasta made by me with my family, and a dessert buffet with the community. There were so many delicious cookies! We were able to reconnect with a few people but soon retired to bed. We did a really good job of getting enough sleep this year (Ant and Lia and Josie too!) Lia stayed in a friend's lodge for the week, but we had plenty of time to de-brief on a regular basis and many heartfelt conversations.
Wednesday was more talks and chats and family time, jumping on the jumping pillow, and the Shining Street Faire. Oh, and more time at the pool! Ant played some badminton and basketball, and JoAnn and Ant were both part of an epic Nerf battle. (JoAnn is happy her team won.)
Thursday, the last full day, came all too soon. I really relished in the talk and chat that day. I was feeling very comfortable with the community. We went swimming one last time, and I swam a few laps in the chilly pool. We also played a bit in the splash pool and had one last long hot tub soak. The dance was the highlight of the day. I wasn't completely feeling in a dancing mood though and thought we might only stay a little while. In the end, I chose to stay until the end, and it was definitely worth it. The last hour was the best part!
Friday I packed and packed and packed, went to an impromptu closing circle with a very shiny pizza cutter and a sacrificial baby, then packed and packed and packed some more. We had some really, really great good-bye conversations with people who stopped by our site while we were packing up. I am not sure how to hold onto connections during the year to come, but maybe you don't need to. (This is where I write something really deep comparing our relationships to quantum mechanics but really I don't because my time is short!)
Other noteworthy things I forgot to include: JoAnn connecting with an online friend for the first time in the outerweb, Ant playing Smash Brothers Brawl nearly every night with friends he hadn't seen in two years, lots of soaking in the hot tub for me, aquatic basketball for Ant, Jo, Es and Li all at the same time, meeting new people, Es spending almost a whole day drawing in the snack bar, the girls finally performing the Shy Boy dance and really nailing the synchronicity,