I might be a little late to the party but I'm finally getting a chance to share my TPT conference experience with you! I know I'm almost 2 weeks late but I have a good excuse...I'm 8 months pregnant! I know that's my excuse for everything these days but lets be honest...its true! When I returned from Vegas, I had 4 days to get laundry done and repack my bags to head to my parents
(5 1/2 hours away) for my last baby shower. The past month as been crazy to say the least. I'm now officially on "no travel" and have the time to actually just sit down.
I LOVE Vegas. I have been several times and each trip I fall more and more in love with the city. I enjoy everything from shopping on the strip to the nightly shows, the FOOD, and the blackjack table! Before I get started I want to share that this experience was completely different from last year. You can read about my trip last year here. I'll be the first to admit that I over did it. While I had an AMAZING experience and the best time connecting with some wonderful ladies, I was TIRED. I'm not even sure if tired is the right word. Being 7 months pregnant then and spending a week in Vegas honestly probably wasn't the best idea but I'm glad I did it. I was completely exhausted at the end of each day. According to my FitBit, I was walking TRIPLE the distance I normally do each day. My poor feet were just done. There were times when I wanted to go walk the strip with friends or stand up the entire time at meet ups and mingle around visiting with others but I just couldn't. My body told me when enough was enough. There were times I just had to sit down and get off of my feet. Thank you Mandy Gregory for getting me a chair at the final meet up (Thank you Cara Carroll for letting her take it)! I wasn't as energetic as I normally am. By the last day of sessions, I was done. The few conversations I had with people, I'm so sorry! I was so worn out, it was hard to focus. So thank you to those who stuck with me throughout the week. The ladies I'm going to talk about below were LIFE SAVERS ya'll! You have no idea. They were kind, patient and helped me get through the week. They offered to get me water when I needed it or slowed down to walk with me when I was waddling to and from places. I'm going to share with you the connections I made rather than the conference experience. I'm forever grateful for the ladies I mention below.
So let's get started with the fun stuff!
I flew into Vegas on Sunday to present at the iTeach2nd conference. You can read all about that experience here. I stayed at the Venetian hotel where the conferences were being held. Isn't it beautiful?
I presented on Monday and was stayed through Saturday for the rest of iTeach2nd and the TPT conference that started that Thursday. iTeach2nd was AMAZING! I highly recommend going if you are able too. There I met some amazing ladies that I've followed for ever in real life! We met up during our first session and stuck together throughout the week. I'm so thankful that I got a chance to know them.
Allison (Stuckey in Second), Me, Stephanie (Midnight in 2nd Grade)
Stephanie, Abbie, Allison and I attended several of the same sessions at iTeach2nd. We got to balance ideas off of each other and share some great laughs!
Me, Stephanie (Midnight in 2nd), Abbie (Tales from the First Grade Teacher), and Allison (Stuckey in Second)
We learned how to be teacher rock stars from THE Hope King at Elementary Shenanigans. Hope teaches at the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta. I dream of visiting her classroom one day.
Hope even said great things about MY session earlier in the week and I thought I was going to faint! #notkidding
After the sessions we went to a meet and greet where I got to visit with some of my favorites.
Elizabeth (Kickin It in Kindergarten) and I are bump buddies! We chatted all things mommy and about how our feet were killing us! I just LOVE her to pieces!
Lisa and Amy from All Ya'll Need are the sweetest ladies! I always love catching up with my favorite Texas girls!
Lisa (All Ya'll Need), Abbie (Tales from the First Grade Teacher), Allison (Stuckey in Second), Linda and Michelle (Kinderbrations), Stephanie (Midnight in 2nd Grade), Amy (All Ya'll Need), Me
On Tuesday, I worked in the GoNoodle booth with FRECKLES! I had the best time Pop See Koing with complete strangers!
On Wednesday my roomie arrived and I could not have been more EXCITED to meet this girl! Angela from Hippo Hooray for Second Grade is my bloggy bestie! We have talked every day for the past year and I was slightly giddy when I met her in person!
We dropped Angela's bags off at the room and headed to lunch with the Real Housewives of TPT! This is a GREAT group of ladies who have been an excellent support group since I found out I was pregnant. We had the best time and I learned some tips and tricks on how to balance TPT full time while transitioning into becoming a new mom.
On Wednesday night was the big TPT meet up. I was so HAPPY to see that there were tables and chairs this year! Over 1,000 teacher bloggers gathered together to meet up, connect and collaborate with one another. Relationships were built and friendships were made. When you get 1,000 teachers in one room, you can only image the conversations we had!
Allyson (Going Strong in 2nd) and Shelley (Smiling and Shining in 2nd) sat at the same table as Allison, Angela and I and it was so great to get to visit and get to know them. I can't wait to get to know them more in the future.
Allyson (Going Strong in 2nd), Shelley (Smiling and Shining in 2nd), Allison (Stuckey in Second), Angela (Hippo Hooray for Second Grade), and me.
I got to visit with my girl Aris (Sailing into Second)! Aris and I met last year and have worked together a lot since then. Her products rock and if you haven't checked her out yet, then you need to go and do that right now!
Aris (Sailing into Second), me, Angela (Hippo Hooray for Second Grade)
This girl here needs no introduction. Amy (Step into Second Grade) is the amazing eyes behind the first teacher blog I ever started to follow and one of the main inspirations that brought me to where I am today. Amy and I have met several times at various Texas meet ups and it was so good to get to reconnect and say hello.
me, Amy (Step into Second Grade)
I was finally able to meet my swister girls! Only they will understand what that means. These ladies are my rock and a part of my support team. Meeting them in person only made me love them more. If you don't follow any of them, GO...DO...IT...NOW! You will be amazed at the wonderful ideas and creativity that these ladies bring. You might be thinking...who are they? Well, let me introduce them for you!
Leigh (Applicious Teacher), Tamara (Mrs.Russell's Room), me, Angela (Hippo Hooray for Second Grade) and Amanda (Mrs.Richardson's Class)
After the meet up that night, I was on a high from seeing everyone but I was EXHAUSTED too! Angela and I made our way over the food court where I ate not one but two GIANT slices of pizza (#noshame). She kept saying that we had to go upstairs to meet some people she had promised she'd grabbed ice cream with. I wasn't completely on board with this plan at the time. I wanted to go to the room and go to sleep! LOL Well it turns out that miss Angela had a secret plan all along. She planned a surprise baby shower with all my favorite girls and I had no idea about it!
We make it upstairs and I see a table and chair covered in pink balloons and I knew something was up! My sweet Madison was given some of the CUTEST bows and other goodies!
Angela MADE her this little cowgirl hat and boots! Seriously, is she not talented or what?!? I absolutely LOVE them and so did my husband. :) Thanks girl!
My girls from All Ya'll Need gave Madison the CUTEST outfit and I'm pretty sure I need a matching one!
All of these ladies came to Madison's shower and it could not have made my day more better. I might have shed a tear or two in the process. Bloggy friends are the best ya'll! Thanks ladies for everything and thank you Angela for putting it all together.
Allison (Stuckey in Second), Vera (The Tutu Teacher), Jamie (Bright Concepts for Teachers), Aimee (Primarily Speaking), Amanda (Mrs.Richardson's Class), Tamara (Mrs.Russell's Room), Angela (Hippo Hooray for Second Grade), me, and Leigh (Applicicous Teacher)
Thursday morning, Madison and I were ready to take on the TPT conference. She was there with me every step of the way.
Before the conference started, we went to a social hour and chatted with friends before the conference started.
I got to meet my fellow baby mama Melissa from First Grade Smiles. We are in a TPT/mommy group together and are only 2 weeks apart. We were big supporters of each other throughout the week.
Thursday night I ventured out for dinner and a show with all the ladies you see below! We ate The Fix in the Bellagio and it was DELICIOUS!
Noelle (Maneuvering The Middle), Angela (Hippo Hooray for Second Grade), Abigail (Third Grade Bookworm), Natalie (Teachery Tidbits), Tamara (Mrs.Russell's Room), me, Leigh (Applicious Teacher), and Amanda (Mrs.Richardson's Class)
Tamara and I
We laughed and chatted for a few hours before we caught the show "O". If you have not seen O, I HIGHLY recommend it! This Cirque show is at the Bellagio and those actors had me saying "oh my gosh" in a good way more than a handful of times! I was a hard core gymnast growing up and these people had moves that blew me away. Seriously, go see it! You won't be regret it!
Abigail (Third Grade Bookworm), Leigh (Applicious Teacher), me, Angela (Hippo Hooray for Second Grade), Natalie (Teachery Tidbits), and Tamara (Mrs.Russell's Room)
Angela and I
Friday was the last day of the conference and it was full of all kinds of emotions. Everyone was on a high from what they were learning and creative juices were flowing through everyone including myself even though I was tired.
Catching up with my fellow baby mamas between sessions!
My Baby Mamas! One of the best support groups ever!
Saying goodbye to friends you'd made along the way was hard.
But waking up at 3:00 am to catch your flight home was even harder...I am not a morning person at all.
By the time my plane landed in TX, I was ready to see that husband of mine and get off my feet. As tired as I was the entire trip, I wouldn't trade it for anything. The friends made and memories shared are priceless and that is something that I'll cherish forever. The laughs, the conversations, the collaboration and bonds that were formed are the best part of this "job" for me. Its these relationships that make me a better person and a better teacher. I'll see you next year Vegas for year 3!