Monday, January 16, 2012

Guess Who Came to Dinner?

I just came back from the California Kindergarten Conference where I had the best time ever. Friday night my daughter came to pick me up from the airport and we spent the day together shopping, drinking coffee, and laughing. It was pretty fabulous. Yup I even got a new pair of boots on sale.
Saturday morning I woke up ready to check out the conference, vendors, and see if anyone looked familiar from Blogland. I really did not want to wait until 5PM to meet my BFF Cindy. I headed over to the vendors and Heidi's booth was mobbed. She was so busy she never looked up. But I went behind the crazies (kinder teachers needing her stuff) and grabbed her arm. We bonded but only for a second because teachers needed her attention! When I looked up Cindy was standing in front of me. I knew it was her- instantly! We smiled and grabbed each other for a hug! Okay this sounds like a soap opera but she has been leaving the nicest comments on my blog since DAY #1. We talked and talked and I loved her even more in person! It was the best part of my weekend and I hope you check out her blog when you can. She is an accomplished teacher with great ideas.
So then we bump into ... hold on now, Dr. Jean. When do you ever see Dr. Jean without six billion people around her? We told her our story and she loved the idea of a blogger pic! We chatted but eventually class started and we had to add that into the mix.

Cindy and I met up for lunch and chatted like crazy (or at least I talked her ear off). We agreed to meet in the lobby and try to find the others who said they were coming for dinner. Camille and her friend Stacy came by and we grabbed them. She had her Pete name tag on and Stacy told me she was a total blog stalker. Naturally we all loved her for this. Dr. Jean spent time with us and loved the idea of this meet-up but had another obligation. After more pictures we let her go...Finally Kat came by and Jennifer and our group was complete. We headed for dinner right in the hotel. We NEVER stopped talking, hugging, and sharing about our classrooms. We were probably too loud for the restaurant but we didn't care. The waiter took a BILLION pictures and was adorable.

Here is the whole group at dinner for you to check out. There were the nicest, warmest women I have met in a long time.
Cindy: I bonded with her immediately and loved her personality, warmth, and positive outlook. She is full of wonderful teaching strategies and has actually presented at this conference. She was the very best part of my weekend! Thanks Cindy! Click here for her blog.
Stacy: She is an official blog stalker and works with Camille at the same school. She is so funny and adorable. She has been teaching kindergarten for a long time and still loves it. Stacy took Dr. Jean to the airport after a visit to her school. Yup, you heard me.
Kat: When you look into Kat's eyes they actually sparkle, especially when she talks about her horse. She lives in a rural community but is on top of her game when it comes to kindergarten kids. I really liked being with her. Click here for her blog.
Jennifer: This young woman was so sweet and smart. She teaches in a Catholic school and shared so much about her experiences. We even spent more time together on Sunday in a class. I loved her and her passion for kindergarten.
Camille: It was so nice to meet this wonderful teacher. Camille is full of wisdom and unlike me she thinks before she speaks. I can only imagine what a fine teacher she is. Click here for her blog.
Heidi: She was exhausted from working all day but came anyway. What an amazing person she is. She is a classroom teacher, presenter across the country, and is running a business too. She is full of enthusiasm and loves what she does.Of course you know this amazing blog but click here just in case. 
So there you go... It was such a wonderful experience for me. We all talked for hours. I made so many new friends who I hope to see next year since I might be presenting... Will you come next year?


Camille said...

I LOVED meeting you and everyone else in our blogging group! What fun! I truly love the blogging community because it has explanded my network of teaching partners and I come away a much better teaching after sitting at the feet of so many wonderful teachers. But an unexpected benefit was to come away with so many friends. Thank you for arranging our meet-up!!!
An Open Door
P.S. YES, do present next year! What if you gave a presentation on the blogging community? Just think of the teachers at the kinder conference who knew nothing about our community and were stunned to know there was this amazing place that they could turn to for more ideas! PLEASE do it! I will help!
P.P.S. Thank you for saying I am wise. I always think of myself as a slow processor because I take so long to think things through. But I like the "wise" label. :)

Mrs. Mody said...

I tried to come this year, but with travel, hotel etc. from San Diego, my principal said we couldn't swing it. I will try for another year!!

Andi said...

That looked so COOL! Thanks for sharing! :) I love hearing about these meetings. Can all of y'all come to Florida, please!

Tonia said...

Oh, I wish I could go to a fun conference! I loved hearing about all the gals and would love to hear more about the classes you took.
Oh, I signed up for the Virtual Expo! I can't wait to hear your session.

Simone said...

Fran - it looks like you had a great trip! I have truly enjoyed reading your blog. You inspire me and your experience is a true testament to how much you love to teach! Thanks for that! You and so many other teacher bloggers have inspired me to start my own! Thanks so much for you inspiration! Come check out my new blog!


Kristin said...

Hmmmm. Is it weird to say that I'm feeling jealous of your blogger meet-up part 2? And I'm worried you're going to forget about me? :)
I love Camille - she always leaves me the sweetest comments. :)
A Teeny Tiny Teacher

Fran Kramer said...

Nothing could match meeting you but this has been one heck of a wild and wonderful ride!

Tamara L. Chilver said...

Oh Fran, it looks like you ladies had a blast! You all are so inspirational. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall (hey, that's better than in your food, right?)Love ya!

Jess said...

This is so amazing that you all got to meet up! Oh my word meeting Dr. Jean would be amazing! I've been a fan of hers since college! I smiled reading through your entire post because it sounded like you were meeting up with old friends. I hope I can experience this one day with other bloggers! Thanks for sharing your experience!
Rambling About Reading

Heidi Butkus said...

Hey, Fran!
It was such fun to meet you in person! You have such a neat personality and are such a fun person to spend the evening with! Thanks so much for organizing this event! Yes, I was certainly exhausted, but I have a feeling that most of were. Despite that, I also felt an instant "teacher bond" with most everyone as well! And everyone was so gracious and sweet!
I really can't remember having such a special and more rewarding weekend. I was treated like a mini-celebrity and continually felt validated for all of my hard work by the wonderful comments from so many wonderful people! I always come home from CKA, thinking: "Everyone should have a weekend like that just once in their life!"

Kreative in Kinder said...

Fran! I am so jealous, I mean excited for you! Are you going to Frog Street Press this summer or Blogher? We must meet...I have decided! HAHA!

<>< Crystal

Kelly Young said...

Feeling sad & left out that California is so far away from Tennessee! However, I also got to meet Dr. Jean at the TN kindergarten conference in November. She even asked to call our principal and sang him a song to thank him for letting us take 2 (personal/sick) days off to go to the conference!!! We couldn't believe he didn't squeal with delight like we did! Probably because he has to do the Tooty Ta with our kinders at the beginning of every school year at our first PTA meeting.

Fran Kramer said...

I would adore meeting you Crystal. You always make me laugh about the teenage children. I do not do much traveling but if I got an offer from someone I might...hummm.
I would like to meet all the bloggers that I follow! It is such an amazing opportunity. We have so much in common and I love the time we spend together.

Freckleteacher said...

Hi Fran! What a wonderful post about our amazing meet-up! Thank you so much for the positively glowing words you said about me. It sure made me feel great! I too had a wonderful time meeting you and all of the other bloggers and of course I LOVED meeting Dr. Jean and Heidi. Thanks for spending so much time talking with me and inspiring me to keep up with this wonderful world of blogging. You have been my mentor and inspiration from the beginning and meeting you was definitely the highlight of the weekend! I also think a workshop on blogging is definitely a great idea. They need some new ideas and some "Fun from Fran" to get more people to attend! I

Hey Kristin, don't worry! Fran said wonderful things about you and in the words of Fran "you are a crackerjack teacher and a doll!" I would love to meet you someday!

Jennifer said...

Hello Fran,
I LOVE your post! I have shared it with my family and friends. I can't believe my picture is on your blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was fantastic to meet you after reading your blog for so long. You are funny and kind, and I had a great time with you and our other blogger friends this weekend. Thank you for the kind words you said about me. I really appreciate it!
It would be wonderful if you presented a workshop at the CKA conference. I would love to help you! As I mentioned Sunday, I have considered presenting but I am nervous about it. Anyway, I am here to help if necessary.
Thank you for organizing the meet-up!
Have a great week with your students. I can't wait to get back to school tomorrow and tell everyone about my weekend!
take care,

Fran Kramer said...

You need to come to southern CA and spend some time in a sunny climate-right? I would love to meet you and do not be jealous. I hope we have a chance to meet. Who knows!

Kat said...

Wow! Thanks to you I now have 23 followers and counting... what a blessing to have met you, you have truly changed my professional life. Looking forward to lots more laughs..

Kimberly said...

This is so cool! Makes me wish I didn't live on the east coast! :)
I love your blog and all of your wonderful ideas. We are unintentional "blog twins!"
Kimberly :)