Attending a Blog Conference with a Baby — Haven 2014

Last month, we attended the third year of Haven Conference. For those, non-DIY bloggers, Haven is a 2-day Home Decor & DIY Blog Conference. Bloggers from all over the United States attend this conference that is held in Atlanta, Georgia. Last year, at Haven I was 7 weeks pregnant and oh-so sick. But I hid it as well as one could, and just about no one caught on that I was pregnant! So it was nice to attend this year without having to hide anything. Instead I was showing off the little bundle of joy that I hid in 2013!

Traveling with a baby can be challenging, but conferencing with one is even more the challenge. Conferences are tiring. Taking care of a baby 24-7 is tiring so mix the two together and it’s 100% exhaustion. Going into Haven I reminded myself to take it easy. Not to sweat the small stuff and to do what I could do and nothing more. No need to over extend this already exhausted mama. It didn’t help that I came down with a horrible migraine the night before and Ryder decided he wanted to wake up every hour… so this mama got NO SLEEP. As in not even 30 minutes.

Ryder in Car

We drove to Atlanta like we do every year. I wasn’t sure how Ryder would do in the car. Prior to Atlanta he hated even a 10 minute car drive. I was dreading the 7.5 hour car drive. I went out and purchased a light-up singing mirror and I think it helped. We strapped on dangling colorful toys, but the ticket was having me sit in the back seat for all 7.5 hours. We also timed our trip around Ryder’s sleep schedule. We were out of the house by 5:30 a.m. and arrived to Atlanta by 2:30pm. Since I know Ryder does most sleeping in the morning time I figured this would work great. We actually just put him in the car in his pajamas. He did start to wake-up when we initially put him in the car seat so I “topped” him off with milk, a fresh diaper, and out we went. He was up during the first hour of our car ride. This photo was taken around 6:30 a.m. Hence its dark and grainy.

sleeping babyAnd then he was out for a good 2+ hours. We actually had to stop for us to go to the bathroom and we both took turns and did the mad dash to the bathroom. He never woke up–instead woke up around the Georgia boarder and that’s when we stopped to have breakfast around 9am.

breakfast with RyderBy the way, note to others, never stop at the Denny’s right outside the Florida/Georgia line. It was at a truck stop and attached to a gas station. Right there should have been a red flag to us. But we figured a Denny’s how could we go wrong? Ummm a Waffle House would have been 100 times better than the crappy Denny’s we ate at. Ryder’s face explains it all.

sleepers

We pushed through and got to the hotel by 2:30. We checked in and just missed the crazy rush of people and instead went and ate a late lunch, then came back to the room and took a family nap. Seriously, the 2 hours we slept was not nearly enough.  I think in a 28 hour time span I had maybe 4 hours of sleep. My head was feeling better but I desperately needed more sleep.

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I ran down stairs to the cocktail hour while Jon and the baby got ready for dinner. I got to see some of my dearest blog friends like Ann Marie from White House Black Shutters and Kelly from The Lily Pad Cottage. This was the only photo I took the entire cocktail hour. Probably because I was running on such little sleep. Plus I just wanted to chat and enjoy the moment.

The Woodsy Family

The next morning we were up bright and early. Sporting our Sew Woodsy branded shirts and I even made a little Baby Woodsy one for Ryder. He hung out with us all day on Friday. Jon and I just took turns taking care of him.

Sew Woodsy + Chip Wade

Ryder met his first DIY celebrity, Chip Wade and interior designer Cristi Holcombe.

After that, we sat in on Mike Holmes, as in the “Holmes on Homes” television star’s session.

March blog babies!

We grabbed a quick bite to eat and ran in to our other fellow March babies, Jamie & Max from C.R.A.F.T and Rachel and Oliver from Lines Across. The three boys were born on March 20, 24, and 29!

Then it was back to our room to go over our presentation.

We presented about Creating Video Content for Brands, Television, and YouTube with Jennifer Stagg from With Heart. We presented both days and thank the lord our good friend Stacy from Not Just A Housewife was able to help us out on Friday. She watched Ryder for us while we presented. On Saturday, my cousin who lives in Atlanta watched Ryder all day for us. I just started rolling out all the tidbits we shared during our session. You can view the post here.


After our session we walked around the vendor area and snapped a few fun photos like this one at the Waterpik booth!

Daddy is babywearingI caught Jon kneeling down to vote for his favorite Buddy Rhodes concrete piece. Ryder looks like he just got in trouble for doing something he shouldn’t have! lol. I’m so glad Jon likes to baby wear!

We stopped into the cocktail mixer that night for a few minutes while my cousin had Ryder. No pictures–just enjoyed a few minutes away from the baby.

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The next day, my cousin watched Ryder while we spent time learning new stuff and presenting to others. We decided to make signs for veteran’s with The Home Depot during our last session of the day. We got to spend quality time with our dear friend, Gail from My Repurposed Life.

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And my local (and real life) blog friend, Sarah from While They Snooze.

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Jon’s sign turned out great!

IMG_3903After the closing session we grabbed a quick bite to eat in the hotel and got to hang out with more of our blog friends. Pictured above, Sarah, Ann Marie, Me, and Pamela.

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And then it was back to the room because someone was tired. He was asleep by the time we were ready to leave for the RYOBI/Home Depot closing party. So we scooped him up as is and placed him in his stroller and brought him down. I felt like we were the worst parents ever brining him to a noisy party–but it’s life and we didn’t want to miss out. Plus, once Ryder woke up he was the life of the party!

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Us + Leslie from RYOBI!

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Us + Kim from 3M.

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A really blurry photo of Ryder and Sandra from Sawdust Girl

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Me, Stacy from Not Just a Housewife and Randi from Dukes and Dutchess!

And the party would not be complete without us taking a photo in the photo booth. I swear when we got up to take our photo the room went silent and then the awes started.

IMG_3920And one more cute photo. I swear he looks like a little baby doll in this photo! This was taken right after we got back in the room from the party. He was wide awake and ready to party–yet very cranky and ready for bed. The next morning we were on the road by 7 and home by 4. The drive wasn’t bad at all–we all survived and were so happy to see our beds again.

So you can attend a conference with a baby. Just be practical and know that you won’t have the energy or time to do half the amount of things you normally would want to do. Jon and I already know what we are pitching to teach for next year. Fingers crossed it gets accepted–we will give you a hint. It’s a hands-on DIY class. And we also know that Haven will most likely be our first trip without baby! 🙂

Comments

  1. what a great post Katie!

    It was so great to see you and Jon and hang out and catch up! Ryder cracks me up… he is the most expressive little guy. 🙂
    You’re right, he does look like a baby doll in that last picture.

    gail

  2. I was so excited to find your post! I am going to Haven this year and I am going back and forth on whether or not I should take my one-year-old. I was lucky enough to be invited to be a guest of a sponsor so I wasn’t planning on the trip. My son is still nursing and a HUGE momma’s boy so I’m worried about how he’ll do without me for four days. What do I do?!?!

    • Hi Amanda! I’ve been every year. I actually just bought a last minute ticket and am going without my 15 month old. I’ve never been away from him over night so 3 nights and 4 days is going to be rough but so very needed for this mama! I think it’s doable with a newborn but I could never ever bring him to a conference now. I would never get to sit and listen to sessions or talk with friends/sponsors. It’s a very hard decision to make! Good luck and hopefully we will get to meet at Haven!

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