Firstly we took a 'test' trip to Virginia. My friends who I grew up with were all getting together for a little reunion (we all turn 30 starting this year - I'm the 'baby' so I turn 30 next July). All but two of our close knit group could make it, so I was determined to get down there to see everyone. (PS: we are not from VA, but Angela hosted and that's where she lives now.) Stopping in NYC to drop off the dog and break up the driving, we managed to get to Richmond in one piece, with not too much protesting from Lochlan (who hates the car). A whirlwind long weekend, we headed back home where we stayed just 5 days before leaving for our next excursion.
We started driving to Chicago - a 16 to 18 hour drive when we used to drive straight through, but with the baby (and in reality even the last couple trips out), we stop in Erie, PA for the night to break it up. Our wonderful friends, Paul and Katie, host us when we come - which makes a big difference when you are going to be on the road for so long (a kitchen and good friends always make a trip better). During our 7 days in the Chicagoland area, we had more than 7 families and friends to try and see. We managed to "cram" everyone in, and it felt like we spent most of the time in the car going from one place to another - double booking more times than I would like to admit. I am determined not to cram so much into so little time next time we are out there.
From there we stopped for a meeting with a potential sales rep in Indiana. We stayed the night and headed down to Louisville, KY to the APHON conference. This is a conference we have been looking forward to for over a year. We missed last year's by just a few weeks, and this was the first on our list for ones we had to make in 2013 (and we will be going in 2014 for sure!). This was a great conference. Short, just 2 exhibit days, it is and intense show. We seemed to be quite a popular booth, and found so many nurses wanting more information to bring to their hospitals. As an added bonus, we saw a few of Saoirse's nurses from Children's and they were excited to meet Lochlan. He was a hit of the show, and (when he wasn't sleeping) flirted with all the nurses.
From there we headed down to Nashville and a meeting with a distributor who is interested in our products. The first day Mike went to the AVA conference as a day guest, and spoke to a few people there. We had considered doing that show, but it was quite expensive, and we weren't sure if it would be worth it. I think the day pass was the right choice for this trip. We wandered around Nashville some, which was quite a trip (we saw someone almost get run over, and then pull a spoiler off a car, and we saw about ten thousand teen and tween girls wandering around before the Taylor Swift concert!). We decided to escape the main strip crazies, and headed up to find an art gallery. We found a great one - and we bought a painting! I love finding art when we travel and this one has a great story - it is from a group of paintings that are done by people in a community program for the disabled. They are mostly in wheelchairs, and have limited use of their hands. They paint either with their mouth, or they give signals to another person to where they want the paint and colors to go on the canvas. When you purchase the paintings, the money goes back to the program so they can continue to create! I love that the gallery is giving back to these people and helping them express themselves through art (this gallery also coordinates a program for local kids to do art after school when they might otherwise be left alone at home or out on the streets).
After Nashville, we went back to Kentucky, this time to Lexington. We did an inservice at the University of Kentucky Children's hospital. One of the nurse managers had met us at APHON, and she wanted us to present our products to her staff. It was great to be able to go in and present the products and show how much they will be able to help the patients.
From Kentucky, our goal was to get back to NYC for a few days. It's a long drive, so we decided to crash for the night back in Richmond. My friends were shocked at how big Lochlan had gotten in just 4 weeks. (He's growing like a weed!) Then we went up to NYC and tried to relax a little. Staying with friends always helps - especially when it means we get a home cooked meal after too much eating out.
The driving took its toll on all of us. By the time we got to NYC, Lochlan was so off in sleeping, it took hours to get him to sleep at night. We managed to get him to nap during the day most of the time, but just short ones (which is a current trend even at home now because of all the "rocking" in the car). We were sick of the cramped quarters too, and were ready to get home.
Once we got home, we weren't here for long. We had to make two trips right away - one to Vermont to meet a potential distributor, and one to Pittsburgh to do a children's hospital presentation. So more driving and more cramped quarters and interrupted sleeping. But now, hopefully (knock on all kinds of wood!) we will be home for a while and can just be settled (and stretched out).
Things are moving like crazy - I have 3 events I'm trying to plan for the foundation, and things keep getting pushed off some, but we are making some headway. Now all I need is to find a few more board members and a grant writer, and maybe a free personal assistant (never hurts to wish).
"Things I do now...."
teething (yup, for real - yes he's really young!)
sitting up in the corner of the couch
chewing on my hands when I can get them
watching mommy do laundry