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We Made Our Own Blogging Convention!

It started as a non-joke joke.

You know the type. It’s when you say something you really mean but maybe you think it’s too far-fetched, offensive or vulgar, so you pose it as a joke. Then if the person/people on the other side of the non-joke joke take the bait, well, you were half serious all along!

I’m really glad that Ilene and Michelle (and eventually Stephanie) took the bait.

The blogging connections I have made since early 2013 are pretty much priceless. I have a lot more joy in my life than I ever thought possible from the simple act of joining a blogging community, and then being introduced to many overlapping and blogging friends of blogging friends, and so on. I love the way it is right now, and I love knowing that there are more of you out there that I’ll “meet” through blogging, and still others more that I will inevitably meet in real life. Last week’s idea started as a daydream, to be honest.

Michelle from A Dish of Daily Life lives in southern New England like I do. Ilene from The Fierce Diva Guide To Life could get to us, before a major life change is about to happen for her. As a surprise, Stephanie from So, I’ve Been Thinking.. isn’t so far either.

And suddenly, we found ourselves with a plan, and then a beautiful reality:

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(photo by Michelle’s daughter using Michelle’s camera) Clockwise from top left: Stephanie, Me, Des, Michelle, Ilene.

I did not bring Scarlet to this. In some ways I wish I had, but she was sick and having a blast with her Grandma.

I talk often, whether here or in person, about the power of adult friendships. I was stunned by the experience of making friends through having babies at the same time at my Beyond Birth group at the hospital. It’s such a time of life. You may or may not see your friends’ boobs on the first play date. You may or may not be un-showered or in sweats or struggling or heavier (in pounds) than ever. You may be asking for help, right off the bat. And I’m not talking about borrowing a cup of sugar. Really powerful stuff.

Then the babies get older, and some of the friendships drift away. You keep the ones you want to hang out with when your kids hang out. You keep the ones you trust. With your kids. With yourself. The number gets lower than originally, but a steady amount stay.

New ones form inevitably with school. Without a “normal” workplace for me, I wondered if I’d make new friends through something other than my kids. I just never knew how it could come from blogging, of all things. Kids are involved, sure, but we were here first.

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I know what it is, I think. And I’m ok not having all of the answers too. Why question a good thing? I may not see many of you in person, but I can see your hearts. We all meet from the inside out. Weakness shows, when we allow it. Overwhelming beauty, wonder and wisdom does too. We may laugh and cry with each other on any given day. This is where we choose to be.

And I choose you. Yes, you. (and you, and you, and you!)

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I could tell you all about it. How I drove up to Michelle’s (lovely) house and how I didn’t know I was at the right place at first. And then she answered the door and I knew right away, although she was prettier than in gravatars (who knew?!) and had a different voice than I imagined. I met her wonderful kids – who are unfortunately not in my photos. I could tell you that standing in the kitchen of a blogger who I’ve never missed a post from was like standing in a book. Everyone became real as unknown puzzle pieces fit together.

And then there was calling Ilene a “babe.” I was really embarrassed about it and I hoped she had forgotten about it, but no, you don’t forget that, do you? No matter how many photos you see of a person, or how many posts you read, you’re not fully prepared. Since I had no idea what her voice sounded like, I was surprised that she sounded like my old friend, Jana. Jana is someone that people always look at it and say, “She’s a babe.” It’s NOT a word I ever use but I blurted out, “Oh, you’re a babe like my friend, Jana!

Hopelessly, tragically uncool. It’s totally not how I talk. I meant it, but, you don’t just meet someone and call them a babe, do you?

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(Des thought so too.)

I could say so much more. About meeting Stephanie as a surprise after I had just read a post of hers that really resonated with me. I could talk about the kids meeting, or the adults meeting the kids, or the good luck of a ladybug by the pool, or a million other things..

..but I think I’ll let the photos take this story home.

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(Des is the lucky, but unshown Peek-a-boo receiver)

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I trust this nine-year-old with Des more than I trust many adults I know…

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What’s it been like for you, to meet bloggers in real life? If you ever meet me in real life, will you let me take a zillion photos?

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  1. I call everyone babe and sweetie and honey. I am completely out of control πŸ™‚ I agree, Michelle is way prettier in person! I am so happy you guys got to meet like this, I just love when bloggy connections become real life connections!!

    1. haha – that’s not out of control at all! It probably comes naturally to you. From me, it sounds really funny. I almost felt sleazy or something, which is funny because I’m really not!! Especially not while holding Des. Can’t wait until we meet you at the next NYC type thing.

  2. I'm tearing up over here. You are SO RIGHT. "It's because we see each other's hearts. We meet from the inside out" I cannot tell you how much I love that. I want it on a sampler (or at least a t-shirt). It's perfect. That's it, in a nutshell. Oh, I just love this post…and you, Tamara…and all of you guys!! I love these pictures and I adore that you all met and that you got to see each other's children, too!! (And next time I totally want to crash the party!!) Thanks for this smile and warm feeling that I know will last all day!! I need that for a Monday!! –Lisa

    1. I want to make you a sampler now! All about blogging. Maybe a bumper sticker in the least.

      We are definitely having an NC blogging convention. And we are making it ourselves. This is happening!

  3. Oh so jealous and would have love to have met you in real life. If you do, please feel free to take as many pictures as you would like, because you certainly have mad camera skills. But seriously, looked like an awesome time and so glad you all got to meet up!! πŸ™‚

    1. I feel the same, Janine! We'd talk each other's ears off about July-born four-year-olds and Sweet Valley books. I'll be joining the convention circuit this year or next. You?

  4. I haven't met any bloggers in real life but that could be because I live in CO where there aren't much people. πŸ™‚ I'm so jealous of your meeting and I so wish I could have been there but Mass is on my bucket list because we have to meet and yes you have to take a zillion photos of us. Love the photos and Des looks like he was surely having a lot of fun being spoilt by the ladies. Hope you're having a more much fun day today! I so love saying that. πŸ™‚

    1. Well I just don't know where it would be more fun to meet you! MA is on your bucket list and CO is on mine! I got so close when we traveled to nearly the end of Utah but we had places to be that weren't CO so we had to hurry in the other direction. I did see some wonderful elk on the side of the road near the border!Can't wait to meet you one day. Both of you.

  5. I love this SO much!!And I'm only slightly (read that: HUGELY, overwhelmingly, with great measure) jealous.I have met a few bloggers in real life, and it was a lot of fun. It is special, because as bloggers, we know each other in ways you don't normally know someone you have just met. If we ever meet, I would love for you to take a zillion picutres.

    1. Aw, I got so jealous seeing pictures from BlogHer and other such places. I figured it was my turn. I agree that we all know each other in our own powerful ways. I love my in person friendships and I love my non in-person friendships and it's so nice when those two things overlap. A bit surreal..

  6. I met Melissa from The Estes Family blog once. We met online about 10-11 years ago. A few years later we finally met up. She has been my closest friend since that first night we talked on the phone. I'm glad you had fun and those pictures are amazing!

  7. I have been trying to wrap my brain around yours and Michelle's posts all morning. Having been a part of this meetup, I almost feel as if I can't come up with anything to say that's worthy of the day itself, or of these posts summarizing it, for that matter. I'm so glad that the joke wasn't really a joke and that you and Michelle and Steph are now IRL friends. And Des! I can't forget Des! Please know I choose you all right back. And no, I'll never get tired of being called a babe, especially by you. xo

    1. It's funny because we're all writers and we're expressing ourselves three different ways, and of course we want to comment on each other's blogs and of course I wanted it to be perfect. I am officially fried for the day. This comment is perfect, though.IRL is my favorite new abbreviation.

  8. I loved that you guys inserted me into the tweet. I was writing my post into the wee hours of the night, because how do you describe how online friends were in real life friends before you even met? And yet, that really was the case. But it was wonderful being able to actually get together. I feel very lucky. And I still have a smile on my face!

  9. What a wonderful impromptu blogging convention! I think it is so amazing that you all got to meet and hang out – because like you say, we sort of already know fellow bloggers with whom we connect before we meet. Well, at least I can totally see how it would be like that – I haven't met any blogging friends in real life yet. I would love to meet you all one day – and for sure, I would love for you to take lots of photos! (I'll probably ask you a zillion questions about photography, though. Hope that's OK. πŸ™‚ )

    1. Always, ok!! There are a few bloggers I read up by you, as well as you, of course. It was very impromptu and pretty darn awesome. I'm almost without words to describe it at this point. Ilene and Michelle? Well they're exactly what you'd think, and then multiply that by 100.

  10. I love all of these pictures! I wish I lived nearby so I could meet you ladies! Michelle, you look soooo much different with darker hair! I LOVE it!

  11. Oh, what a wonderful thing- to get to meet other bloggers in such a personal setting like that! I've met Ilene- she is a babe. πŸ˜‰

  12. Such beautiful pictures. Love that you all got together for this impromptu meeting. It's amazing how many wonderful friends I have made through this blogging thing. Real friendships! And I agree. Ilene is a total babe.

  13. To answer your question first, YES, I will let you take a zillion photos when (not if!) we meet! I loved seeing this awesome day through your camera lens! I'm so happy that you got the chance to get together. Looks like a fabulous day! And, yes, Ilene is stunning!! A total babe! Actually, that's one group of hot mama bloggers!!

  14. I love that you were all able to get together and meet up! I am super jealous! I look forward to meeting a few bloggers when I go to BBC in November in Dallas. Your pictures are AWESOME by the way, and Des was obviously the big hit at the "convention". πŸ™‚

  15. I love that you were all able to meet and get together like that! It's such a sureal feeling when you meet someone in person for the first time and they turn out to be even more lovely than they are behind the screen. I've met Ilene before and I agree, she IS a babe! πŸ˜‰

  16. It is so amazing, awesome, and incredible that you all got to meet! And I'm so glad you took all those pictures to capture the moments – what a stunning group of girls you all are – and of course, the little man. I am totally jealous that some of my all time fave bloggers were all together. I think you need a bit of Canadian inserted though, eh? Some Moose Chips, Smarties, Coffee Crisp… one day, one day. Until then, I'm glad you have shared this with us all! xo

    1. Yes!! I'd be even more excited to meet YOU than to eat the candy, but both would be awesome. Thanks for your words – I wish we all were closer, or if not that, that air travel was quicker, easier and worlds cheaper.

  17. The joy, the joy, of bloggy friends being just as cool in person—or cooler—as they are online! Happy for you all, and it looks like the kiddos hit it off too. The happiness just leaps off the page, Tamara. Beautifully done!

  18. how amazing! that you all got to meet!i haven't met any fellow blogger so far, but i'd love to. some day! who knows.. i totally enjoyed your gorgeous photos! you did capture those adorable expressions on everyone's face . loved seeing your cute little one, too.big hugs!have a great week ahead~

  19. Of course I would! I would love to do a day in the life post with photography by Tamara! You are so talented. I enjoyed a double dose of this little convention after just leaving Michelle's blog. It is just that warming and speaks to the awesomeness of having blog friends!

    1. I knew you'd get it! I used you as an example when I pitched the idea of us all doing posts the same day. I said, "I can't wait to hear Joi's awesome comments!"Next meet-up will be closer to you – maybe NC.

  20. I am so glad you guys met up! I got to meet Ilene and Michelle very briefly in Charlotte at Bloggy Boot Camp. I so wish I could have hung out with you guys! What a wonderful great group of women…and what beautiful photos. It's so awesome to meet people from online..especially when they are even more awesome in person!

  21. I've never met a blogger in "real-life" and I really want to meet a bunch of them!!! When I read Michelle's post this morning I was just the tiniest bit jealous that I don't live closer to some of y'all!!! The other night we were over at some friend's house and I said something about one of my friends – I was actually talking about one of my blog friends who I have never even met. Most of the people I know think that is a little weird but I truly think of many of y'all as my friends!

  22. How neat! I have not met any of my blogging friends online and sad to find that a lot of my friends from a couple of years ago are not blogging anymore (though what can I really say since I did not blog for those 2 years either!). Glad your half serious idea became reality πŸ˜‰

  23. Such joy in these photos! Friendships, connections, such blessings. I hope to one day meet some dear blogging friends in person. Where are all the California bloggers?!

  24. So much fun!! There is a blogger that goes to my church. I had actually read quite a few of her posts before I realized why that lady three pews over looked familiar!! It was fun getting to actually speak to her and see the kids she tells stories about. I have a bunch of other bloggy friends I would love to meet in real life!

    1. That is SO cool, Rabia. That reminds me when Scarlet started talking to a little girl in the supermarket and then her mother came over and I recognized her from twitter.

  25. So very jealous right now! You guys are so wonderful on your blogs, and I can only imagine how much fun you had “in real life”! I would gladly have jumped on a plane to attend this one. πŸ™‚

  26. I cannot believe you all really got together in the flesh and made this happen!!! Wow! I feel like I will forever be a virtual “bloggy friend” until I move back home and have a chance to meet Catherine of Dear Vixen. You all are something else for putting this together. Good to see you all make this happen! #jelly

    1. Well your potential future meet-up sounds fun too! I was shocked at the speed it came together. Or maybe just pleasantly surprised that I wasn't alone in my thoughts about really wanting it to happen. The actions of those two said it all.

  27. How cool!! I think it's neat how many friends have been made through blogging. I connected back up with a high school friend from blogging. It's such a wonderful thing, blogging is.

    1. That is very cool! I have definitely connected with a lot of old friends through Facebook. Between the old and the new, if not for social media, I'd still have great local friends, but that's about it!

  28. I haven’t been brave enough to meet up with other bloggers yet. Though this post certainly makes me want to! All of you – kids included – look like you were having a great time. I bet if we met, I’d be begging for all your photos…because they’re so amazing!

  29. Just saw this on Michelle's blog and I'm so jealous! I have not met any other bloggers in person, but I hope to very soon! I love the way you stated that we met each other from the inside out – that's just beautiful!

  30. Michelle was the very first person I met at BBC Charlotte. She was so sweet. We had been tweeting in a group with her, Ilene, and the Dose Girls about BBCChar, and we were like school kids being reunited! And then, Ilene. You're right, she is a babe! I love that you all had this time together. Because you are so correct: "It's because we see each other's hearts. We meet from the inside out" xoxo Alexa

  31. This is so awesome! I haven't met any bloggers. I do ha IRL friend that also blogs, but I haven't gotten the chance to meet any. A year ago I had a blog that was years old, but I stopped blogging. Sure I could've picked back up with that one, but it was my old life, most of those posts were about the hell I lived with my ex husband. I wanted a fresh start, so I started a fresh blog. I know one day I will want to meet many in the blogging world because its an awesome community!

  32. Awww! Tamara, this is so amazing! I've been meeting a lot of bloggers that are so wonderful. I hope one day I would get to meet up with some of them! I'm so glad I met you and Michele through blogging. Such extraordinary women, such wonderful posts! πŸ™‚

  33. Wow! You guys had a blast. I, too, want to meet up with bloggers who live in the DMV. I need to be more intentional about it, Tamara! Thanks for the push in that direction.

  34. Looks like a wicked cool time. Haven't really formerly met any – except at the Busch Garden thing I went to this summer – but didn't really get a change to connect = this looks fabulous! πŸ™‚

  35. I love reading all of your posts! It's so fun to hear the day described by each of you with your own flair and style. All the kids are so cute and everyone looks like old friends in the photos. Lovely!

  36. I'm going to try and do this again. I continue to be amazed by the connections I have made through blogging. Friends, real friends online that I can't wait to have in real life. Count me in for the NC because I cannot wait to give you a big giant hug! I love that I was a part of that tweet!

  37. I would most definitely let you take a zillion photos if we ever met- you're so talented! All of these images are lovely and you can tell you all really had a wonderful time together. Haven't met any bloggers in real life yet, but I have a feeling I won't be able to keep saying that for long πŸ™‚

  38. yes, yes a million times yes, take as many as you like. Your photos have joy jumping out of every one of them!I have never met any of my bloggy friends in person but would be thrilled to xo

  39. Well… you know I LOVE THIS!!! Meeting blogging friend is one of THE most wonderful things. It's so amazing to hug and talk in person. I am SO glad you did this. I hope we get to meet next hear at BlogHer. And bring all these other girls too, k? xoxo

  40. I am so far away, so I haven't met any of my bloggy friends yet. I hope to next year. A conference maybe. Or just a trip to see everyone. I'm so glad you made it happen for you, Michelle, Ilene and Stephanie.

  41. This is so awesome!! I would love to meet some of my bloggy friends – unfortunately I have not been able to but if the opportunity ever comes up, it is something that I will definitely try. And yes, if you met me, you could take as many pictures as you want. Just be careful because if Baby Girl is with is, she's a camera hog and would just want to steal the show!

  42. Tamara, I can't tell you how much I loved this post! I have felt like I've met some genuine and wonderful people online and would love to meet them someday, somehow. I got to live through your experience and that was amazing. Thanks for sharing this great moment!

  43. I really, really love this story! And I think it's so awesome that the 4 of you were able to meet up. I haven't met any of my blogging buddies yet, but I really hope the opportunity presents itself one day.The one thing I'm most curious about is how they sound. I have an idea in my head of how everyone's voice sounds, but I'm sure it's no where close to the real thing. Do they have accents? Are they high-pitched? Lower? I'm quite curious!

    1. Kristen, TOTALLY! That's always my biggest thing. Unless someone posts videos of themselves, voices are mysteries. Michelle has a lower voice – very mellow sounding. Ilene sounds just like my friend, Jana! And since you have no idea what that means… I can actually hear them both in my head right now. Ilene has a higher voice – no Jersey accent at all. She sounds melodic.

  44. I have a few friends over the internet that I met in a birth group on Facebook. There are 4 of us total, and we talk in a private message group EVERY DAY. We're spread out across the U.S. and I always wonder what it would be like to meet them in person. To know SO much about someone I've never met face to face. Isn't it so weird to finally hear the voice of someone you've communicated with online for so long?!

  45. So glad you had a great time meeting one another and it was just like old friends getting together. Des is adorable staring at the tractor in the background while you are all facing forward. And so great the kids got along. Of course I’d let you take lots of pictures if we meet :).

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