On the weekend of October 8 some of the amazing women and men who work hard to make Natural Parents Network the wonderful community and resource that it is got together for a meet-up at two locations across the U.S. — the Midwest and the Northwest. This was the first time that many of the volunteers have met in person after a year of collaborating on this amazing website. Please scroll to the bottom of this post for a list of links so that you can read what some of the other volunteers had to say about this incredible First Annual Natural Parents Network Team Get-Together!
I traveled across the country with Daniel to visit Dionna from Code Name: Mama, and at the end of the week was the much-anticipated Natural Parents Network volunteers' gathering. Of approximately 60 volunteers, 21 of us (plus some partners and kids) were able to attend either of two gatherings, one in Missouri and one in Washington. Some of the people who weren't able to travel to either of the gatherings were able to join in on a video chat with the two larger groups on Sunday afternoon. I ended up getting to attend both gatherings, which was super lucky, so I got to meet everyone!
|(The stripey green one on the far left is the one I made.)|
We had a delicious brunch and used freezer paper stencils to decorate clothing. The kiddos played together in the yard (except Daniel, who slept in the Boba on my back...too much excitement) while the parents visited. It was really lovely!
|My henna a couple of days |
ago...still very vibrant!
Dionna put together goodie bags for the attendees of the gathering, filled with generous donations from "green" and baby friendly companies. I'd like to personally thank the following companies for their contributions to the Natural Parents Network volunteers (and please show them some love, too!):
- Earth Mama Angel Baby donated an awesome gift bag that included samples of Angel Baby Lotion, Calm & Clean Hand to Toe Wash, Angel Baby Bottom Balm, Natural Nipple Butter, and Organic Milkmaid Tea (Like Earth Mama Angel Baby on Facebook)
- Lunapads donated beautiful pantyliners (for the women) and organic handkerchiefs (for the men) (Like Lunapads on Facebook)
- Beauty Without Cruelty donated samples of Rosemary Mint Tea Tree Shampoo and Conditioner (Like Beauty Without Cruelty on Facebook)
- The Natural Newborn donated samples of Peppermint Lip Balm and Unscented Hand and Body Lotion (Like The Natural Newborn on Facebook)
- Tom's of Maine donated tubes of Wicked Fresh Cool Peppermint Toothpaste and Children's Fluoride-Free Silly Strawberry Toothpaste (Like Tom's of Maine on Facebook)
- ChildOrganics donated samples of Baby Bottom Better and gave our volunteers a coupon code (Like ChildOrganics on Facebook)
- Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children donated handmade reusable produce bags to put everything in
- Hyvee donated a $25 gift card to offset expenses (Like this Hyvee on Facebook)
- Heirloom Wooden Toys offered our volunteers a coupon code (Like Heirloom Wooden Toys on Facebook)
- Natural Pure Essentials offered our volunteers a coupon code (Like Natural Pure Essentials on Facebook)
|Here we are! (Most of us, anyway.)|
|I loved this photo of Jaymz playing |
with Daniel, Mikko, and Alrik!
After having dinner on the road, we arrived at Lauren from Hobo Mama's house around 8PM, and we chatted for a while. Sam picked up Arpita (of Up, Down & Natural) from her ferry and we all got to visit for a while before bed. (This is where I should tell you again that Lauren has the most comfortable sofa bed I've ever slept on. It was lovely!)
On Sunday, Sam prepared us a delicious breakfast and we lounged around the house, visiting and playing with the kiddos. I really enjoyed chatting with Arpita and spending time with Lauren.
After a low-key day at home, it was time to go over to Moorea's (of MamaLady) house for the afternoon gathering of the Pacific Northwest folks. Moorea's home is gorgeous, and there was a beautiful and delicious spread of (very allergy friendly) wholesome foods contributed by everyone who attended.
Along with Moorea and her wife and daughter, I got to meet Kristin of Intrepid Murmurings (who came sans her three kids), Shannon from Pineapples and Artichokes and her husband and little one, Stefanie of Very, Very Fine and her partner and son, and Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy and her husband and sons.
|Lauren multitasking! (I can totally relate to this...even now.)|
A couple other photos of me/us from the Northwest gathering:
|I was cuddling with Alrik, |
and Daniel wanted to get in on the action
|Lauren took this lovely family photo. Thanks!|
We all eventually went our separate ways, after taking a group photograph:
|Bloggers and babies!|
In any case, I had a great time at both gatherings, and it was lovely to get to meet everyone who could be there (in person or via video chat). I feel even more connected to all the wonderful people who help keep Natural Parents Network running smoothly each day, and I look forward to getting to know you all even better.
I feel truly privileged to have met each of you.
To learn more about all the members of the Natural Parents Network team, visit our about page. To become a volunteer for NPN, first please check out what we're in need of, then contact us if you're interested in helping out. Here's information about some of our lovely volunteers, including all of those who are writing about the gathering today:
In The First Annual Natural Parents Network Cross-Country Get Together, Natural Parents Network thanks the many volunteers who made our first annual get-together a success, and the awesome companies who donated to fill "welcome bags" for the Midwest group.
Northwest Gathering Attendees:
Arpita at Up, Down & Natural writes Me And My Ladies ~ First Annual NPN Team Gathering. Also find Arpita on Twitter and Facebook.
Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings writes Seattle Bloggy Meetup & Gluten-free Shortbread! Also find Kristin on Twitter and Facebook!
Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy writes Meeting Those People.... Also find Jennifer on Twitter.
Moorea at MamaLady: Adventures in Lesbian Parenting writes The Natural Parents Are Coming! Hide the Stroller!
Midwest Gathering Attendees:
Dionna at Code Name: Mama writes Wanted: More NPN Volunteers in Kansas City! Also find Dionna on Twitter and Facebook!
Amy at Peace 4 Parents writes The Value of Parent-to-Parent Support, Truth, Love, and Healing. Also find Amy on Twitter and Facebook.
Joni Rae at Tales of Kitchen Witch writes The One Where I Go to the NPN Gathering. Also find Joni Rae on Twitter and Facebook.
Fabulous NPN Volunteers who were unable to attend:
Melissa at The New Mommy Files writes Building a Modern Day Village. Find Melissa on Twitter and Facebook.
Luschka at Diary of a First Child writes Dear Screen Name, Are You Really My Friend? Find Luschka on Twitter and Facebook.
Darcel at The Mahogany Way writes The Natural Parents Network Gathering I Couldn't Attend. Find Darcel on Twitter and Facebook.