This past Saturday marked my 3rd anniversary of blogging in this space. That includes over 730 posts, and more amazingly, over 8,500 comments from all of you (including my responses to people). I am not exaggerating when I say that every single day I think about how much everyone here has done for me – how much support you have so freely given, and how much empathy you have supported me with during my lowest times.

Thankfully, you’ve also been here for the great times, and I’m especially lucky that once a year, I’ve been able to make it to blog meetups of one sort or another in order to meet a few of you ladies in “real life.”

  • BBS (Blogger Beer Summit): 6 women – September 2010
  • Blogorado: 6 women – October 2011
    • A girls’ weekend in Breckenridge, CO (this time with some awesome ALI lady friends of mine, a few of whom I’ve been privileged to hang out with on multiple occasions since).
  • ChiBLOGo: 9 women + 9 babies + 7 husbands – November 2012
    • An entire ALI kids & family weekend in Chicago, IL.

Honestly, last weekend was SO MUCH FUN. It was totally spur of the moment – all planned and executed in under a month, and I ended up booking my ticket just one week in advance.  I am incredibly thankful that I made it work, because it was so great to get to actually meet everyone’s kids and almost everyone’s significant others (my husband and SRB’s husband couldn’t make it because of work). Midwest Mama was kind enough to open up her home to me from Thursday-Sunday, so I got to spend a ton of time with her and her son L and husband C. We spent Friday day hanging out in a cloth diaper store (OMG – LOVE) and at an arboretum with a children’s garden (huge hit with the kids) and on Friday night, Steph and her husband JJ and daughter Chloe came over for dinner. On Saturday we all met up at the Lincoln Park Zoo in downtown Chicago for lunch and to walk around the zoo, and then after a quick afternoon break for nap times, 20 of the 25 of us were able to meet up again for dinner at a brewery. Arch Mama and her family stayed at Midwest Mama’s house on Friday and Saturday night, and I’m so thankful for that extra time to just sit around and talk in the late nights and early mornings while the kiddos were asleep. I wish I could have had more one-on-one conversations with everyone, but I guess it just means we need to all get together again! 🙂 I had a hard time only choosing a few pictures from the hundreds I took over the course of the weekend, so here are (quite a few) of my favorites!

Stella preparing for Flight #10 (she completed #9-12 on this trip – that’s 12 flights in just over 11 months of life!).

Looking like a big girl, just hanging out with her drink watching the planes. 🙂

She LOVES pounding on the window and squealing in excitement before takeoff. At least she wasn’t crying I guess!

Stella and L played SO well together all weekend!

Stella was NOT stoked about this tunnel at the arboretum. LOL

Swinging their legs and hanging out on the front porch like Ma and Pa. 🙂

Little kids in pants just kill me. She does NOT look like a baby here anymore – just hanging out with L!

These flowers at the arboretum were so cool!

My wonderful host and tour guide (Mellow Midwest Mama) with her son, L.

This picture just cracks me up. 🙂

Check out those teeth! Happy girl.

Hanging out and playing after dinner on Friday night. Stella, L, and Chloe (the daughter of Steph from Blawnde’s Blawg)

The 3 kids in orange on Saturday morning before the meetup. L, Arlo (son of Arch Mama), and Stella.

L wanted to hold hands with Stella on the way to the meetup, even though she was sleeping. Heart Melted.

The SCENE as we walked up to the meeting spot. There were 25 of us in all!!

A quick group shot of the Moms and babies on the bridge with the Chicago Skyline in the background. Thanks goodness we did this first, because it started raining after this and things got scattered for a bit! I wish we’d have gotten a picture with the husbands as well. 🙁

No Baby Ruth & Sofia / Josey & Stella / slese1014 & Raegan / Stephanie & Chloe / Courtney & Matthew / SRB & HGB / missohkay & Miss E / Mellow Midwest Mama & L / Rhianna & Arlo

My awesome traveling companion and favorite daughter. 😉 xoxo

Playing in the changing station pod with HGB (son of SRB).

Sitting with my PAIL Bloggers co-contributor, SRB (Sarah) at dinner that night. SO fun to finally meet her IRL!

Stella and Chloe had a grand ole’ time playing together at dinner.

The last morning on Stella’s 11th flight (from Chicago to Denver), we were squashed in an inside seat next to a very large man. Thank goodness he was super sweet and not freaked out by me breastfeeding next to him! On the final flight though, I somehow got upgraded and got a TON of leg room and an extra seat next to me. Stella loved it!

Almost home!

Passed out asleep face down on me. She slept 1h45 of the 2h30 min first flight (and played / ate lunch the final 45m), and then slept the entire 45m of the last flight as well. Not bad!

The final drive home was NOT fun. It’s 100 miles from the airport to my front door (not the closest airport, but fares were much cheaper for this trip so I did it). The drive down to the airport was fine on Thursday b/c the roads were dry, but on Saturday they got a ton of snow, so the roads were icy and snowpacked on Sunday driving home. By the top of the 3rd mountain pass, it was down to 4 degrees F. SO FREAKING COLD, and the roads were scary as shit. It took me a LONG time to do that drive, and it didn’t help that Stella cried the whole way down the final mountain pass (usually takes about 15 minutes but easily took me almost 45). Talk about nerve wracking.

This is almost to the bottom of the last pass (where I pulled over to taker a breather and compose myself for the final stint!). The air finally cleared, and though the roads were still icy, it was so much easier to see, and that definitely helped. Home sweet home.

The whole trip was yet another wonderful experience of meeting up with “internet friends” who have become such wonderful REAL friends to me. I love that we were all immediately so comfortable with each other. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it feels like I’ve already known these ladies forever (though we did notice a few funny things, like mispronouncing names – FYI – it’s RhiANNE-A, not like Rhianna the singer *grin*).

If any of you get the chance to do a blog meet-up – DO IT! I’ve met up with 18 of you now, and it’s so wonderful to put voices and faces to names and writing styles. You ladies are truly amazing, and I’m so thankful to this blogging world for the friendships is has allowed me to form with so many of you. ((HUGS))


  1. Looks like such fun! Hopefully someday I will have the chance to attend a blog meet-up. Love the picture of L holding Stella’s hand – SO sweet!!

  2. It was an amazing experience….Your pictures are great! I wish I had known you were going to the arboretum…my parents live like a mile from there and we’re all members….I would have totally joined you…

    I know the last part of your trip was super scary, but those pictures are absolutely gorgeous….And I agree about jumping at a chance for a meet up…this was my first meet up and I am so glad I did it…I’m so looking forward to my next one…

    1. PS Happy belated Blogaversary!

  3. elizabethkbaker · · Reply

    So fun! I hope I get to do a blog meet up some day. Glad you had such an amazing weekend and made it home safely!

  4. I’m so glad you had a fantastic meet-up!

    Also, I cannot believe how big Stella is getting! She’s such a little lady!!

  5. So many fantastic photos of your trip!!! It looks like a blast and must be so nice to put faces/voices to all the words! 🙂 Stella looks like such a big girl in all of these. And how wonderful that she is such a good traveller. Let me know when/where the next meet up takes place and I will try my best to be there as it would be so amazing to meet all these amazing ladies in person. Alidia would love to meet some of her blog buddies too of course! 😉

  6. That picture of us is hilarious…what is up with the kids’ faces? And where was the wind machine?!

    Really great to see you, Jos. You know, not on a screen!

    1. Also, “HGB, son of SRB” is how I’m going to teach him to say his name. Like a boss.

  7. Wow – what a nervous drive home. I would have cried.

    Stella is a wonderful traveller – holy smokes! It looks like she was in such a good mood the entire trip!

    And that picture of the two of you is fabulous! I just love it!

  8. I heart the title of this post.

  9. Great photos! What a whirlwind, awesome, amazing, exhausting weekend! I’m so glad you came out to visit and you were able to make it work. It was great to meet you, spend late nights chatting with you and Rhi, see our kids play together, all of it! hope we can meet up again soon 🙂

  10. Some of my besties now were originally Internet friends. It’s amazing how immediately comfortable you are. The drive home sounded super scary!! Molly was touching Stella I the screen then! V cute!

  11. HOW FUN! 🙂

  12. Love those pictures! It looks like you had a BLAST! Honestly, the blog meetups I have had have brought me some of my closest friends – amazing what doors this world can open up! And it’s funny, because I am nearing my 3 year blog-o-versary as well. Just a few weeks away now, we started at just about the same time!

  13. Makes me tear up seeing this and reading about it. I’m so glad you have been able to meet up with so many of these bloggy friends throughout the years JJ. I’m grateful they were there for you when they were the only ones who’d understand <3 Kisses to Stella!!!!

  14. I do appreciate you mountain-dwellers’ stunning pictures… so I can stay away where it is flat-ish and there are few cliffs. Snow=all right. Icy mountain roads= not for me, thanks. Glad you all had so much fun! Yay!

  15. Such great pics! Love the one of L holding Stella’s hand and of HGB and Stella!

  16. Looks like a great time! I hate those passes in the winter!

  17. So amazing! I wish so much that I could have been there! I hope Stells is beginning to recover from her ear infection. Booooo!

  18. Fantastic pictures! That mountain pass may be harrowing but goodness it’s beautiful!

  19. It looks like you had so much fun! There seemed to be a few blogger meet ups last weekend 🙂 I’d like to do one at some point. I could spend ALL.DAY in our local cloth diapers store 🙂

  20. This is so great and the pics of the babes are so friggin cute! I would never be able to handle that drive! Glad you are home safe and sound.

  21. Ok. I think a west coast meet-up is def in order!!! So jealous!!!

  22. So fun! I’ve started meeting fellow bloggers in Dallas and it’s weird when internet/real life intersect but so great to make this all feel less like dungeons and dragons.

    We used to live right across the street from the zoo – I ran through it dozens of times. That area is the best spot in Chicago!

  23. […] November – I started of November feeling pretty down about my dog dying in RIP, but at least there were plenty of fun memories to be made in my blogger meet-up post, ChiBLOGo! […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: