This is your cue to tell me I’m not crazy. (You may need to lie.)

Hallie and I just did something that is either going to be the best or worst idea we ever had. I’m leaning toward “best,” but I also kind of can’t believe we did it.

Before I go into all of that, a bit of backstory:

Last month I went to a birthday party for a mom friend of mine. It was an adults-(and nursing babies)-only event that took place in a private room of a hip restaurant, which made it very unusual. I don’t know if this is the case in other social circles, but one thing about Catholic culture is that all of our events are family friendly. Every occasion is set to the soundtrack of laughing and playing children, and it’s just part of life to socialize with herds of kids occasionally stampeding through the group. On the rare occasions that we adults see one another without the kids in tow, it’s for an event or conference that’s either centered on prayer or learning about the Faith.

This is all wonderful — I love this aspect of Catholic life. But as I chatted with friends at the restaurant birthday party, it struck me that there is some place for events like this. It’s not something any of us would be capable of doing every week or even every month, but there is a real need for us to occasionally gather as adults simply to have fun together. As I stood at the party, enjoying quality food and a well-made drink, it occurred to me that events like this one meet a very real need, especially for us mothers.

party This is your cue to tell me Im not crazy. (You may need to lie.)

I see many of these ladies regularly at our kids’ events, and have attended prayer groups and conferences with some of them, but we had never spent time together like this. It transformed our interactions to socialize in an environment that was optimized on relaxing and having fun. We laughed when we said hello because we hardly recognized one another in nice clothes and evening makeup. We bonded more in an hour than we normally did in a month since we were able to carry on conversations without anyone having to interrupt to shout “DO NOT LICK YOUR BROTHER’S ELBOW.” And, in the end, I walked out of the restaurant feeling energized, refreshed, and thinking what I’m sure a lot of other people were thinking as well: Hey, I have some really awesome friends!

When I told Hallie about this event, she exclaimed that she had recently had a similar experience and had made the same observations. We realized that there is a tremendous need — especially among moms — for us to be able to do things like:

  • Hang out with likeminded women in an environment that’s conducive to getting to know one another.
  • Have uninterrupted adult conversation.
  • Enjoy good food (that’s not prepared by us!)
  • Have an opportunity to wear fun dress clothes.
  • Have a day off — completely free of obligations — and simply relax.

I can’t remember who said it first, but one of us joked that we should do a conference. “We could have great speakers, but also plenty of time to enjoy one another’s company,” Hallie said. “Our top priority would simply be fun.”

“Our guests would leave feeling energized, just like I did after the party,” I added. “They’d have that wonderful experience of being reminded that you’re not alone in what you do every day, and that you genuinely like the company of the women who are in the trenches with you.”

And then we laughed at the absurdity of the idea. Sure, we both have event-planning experience from our former lives, and we both enjoyed it, but we each have six young children. I have a book coming out. Obviously, we cannot be putting on a conference right now.

“Just for fun, we should look up venues that would be good if someone were to theoretically host an event like this. Which we’re not,” we said.

And then we found the perfect location. For our non-conference. That wasn’t going to happen. Because that would be crazy.

And then Thursday happened. It was one of those days when I found myself slipping into Incredible Hulk mode and feared what would happen if there was another box of toys dumped out or one more sudden, ear-piercing scream. When baby food ended up on the ceiling, I ordered everyone into the car. I needed to drive, preferably somewhere far. So I arranged to get a tour of this venue we’d found.

When I drove up, it took my breath away.

venue1 This is your cue to tell me Im not crazy. (You may need to lie.)

I stepped out onto the wrap-around deck, and immediately I saw it filled with smiling women holding glasses of fresh-squeezed lemonade and white wine, the image in my mind as vivid as if they were there.

venue2 This is your cue to tell me Im not crazy. (You may need to lie.)

As I chased my crazy toddler across the grounds, I pictured a tent filled with the sounds of upbeat music and laughter — the kind of light, free laughter of someone who feels like a weight has just been removed from her shoulders.

venue4 This is your cue to tell me Im not crazy. (You may need to lie.)

In the outdoor pavilion, I could see friends who previously only knew one another through the online world gathered around a table, basking in the excitement of a long-awaited in-person connection.

venue3 This is your cue to tell me Im not crazy. (You may need to lie.)

I texted Hallie pictures, and her reaction was identical to mine. We both felt, on a visceral level, that our fellow moms need this. We need this.

The tour finished, and the property manager told me that they were hosting an open house the next day and expected most of their 2014 dates to go. If we had any interest in doing this within the next year, this was our last chance.

I called Hallie. She called her husband, Dan. I called Joe. Then I took a second to close my eyes and ask God to make it clear what we should do.

It was one of those moments when I received an answer loud and clear. I was filled with the kind of certainty that I only rarely experience, an absolutely peace that I had heard an answer from the Lord. When I circled back with Hallie, she had gotten the same answer:

DO IT.

(This story also wouldn’t be complete without telling you that when I opened my eyes after praying, I saw that my toddler had taken the opportunity to dash off to a fountain and get herself soaked.)

I discussed the list of available dates with Hallie, we chose one, and I put down the deposit.

On Friday I sent in a signed contract.

contract This is your cue to tell me Im not crazy. (You may need to lie.)

It was all so fast and surreal that I woke up yesterday morning and forgot what happened. When I remembered, I stopped with my coffee cup halfway to my lips and had to think for a moment about whether I just put down a deposit for a venue or if it was all a dream.

It turns out that it wasn’t, and I really am co-hosting a conference / gathering / party thing next year. We’ve already managed to rope Grace in, as well as a couple of other amazing women I’m sure you’re already familiar with. As utterly unlikely and surreal as all of this feels, it also feels really right.

It’ll be the weekend of July 26, 2014. Here in Austin. More details soon.

.

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Enter the Conversation...

185 Responses to “This is your cue to tell me I’m not crazy. (You may need to lie.)”
  1. Kendra says:

    How exciting! Everyone keeps saying we should do one of these. Good for you for actually doing it!
    Kendra recently posted..A Zombie Apocalypse Birthday Party (at which I don’t dress up, but my unborn baby does)

  2. Kitty says:

    I want to go to there. Are you saying this is an open event? We move to Texas in 4 months and I would love to take advantage of this! I find it overwhelmingly difficult to find girlfriends who are willing to hang out, just for fun, and feel rejuvenated in my faith afterwards.

  3. Valerie says:

    I got goosebumps reading this. I kept thinking, “I live in Texas, I live close to Austin, I could actually GO to this.” Please say this is an open event. I want an excuse to wear nice clothes and talk to people without scanning the area every ten seconds to make sure my kids are okay.
    Valerie recently posted..A Surprisingly Typical Day

  4. Yes, it is absolutely an open event! I really hope you all can make it! Oh my gosh, this is so exciting.

  5. Kira says:

    I would totally come from Denver. July 25 is my eldest son’s birthday, but pshhht. He’s turning 19. He can do that without his mommy.
    It sounds AMAZING.
    Kira recently posted..Wobble

  6. Carrie Wehmeyer says:

    What a great idea!

  7. katarina says:

    The perfect event. Smart and interesting Catholic women getting together. I only live in Europe.

  8. Catholic Grammie says:

    I would love to come – however, I’m much too old and my babies are all grown up! But the more that I think about it, this is perfect for two of my daughters – and I could certainly use some Grammie time! <3

  9. Erin says:

    Good for you! Haven’t organised conferences but have for the past 13 years organised hs family camps of 70+ people, if you’re needing any tips sing out.
    and I agree we do need adult time, friendships can grow deeper, quicker. for a couple of years our local hs group was meeting once a term (every three months) for a mother culture night, we’d have a theme, maybe stick with it. support one another, share, talk, eat chocolate. yep they were great times:)
    Erin recently posted..African Picture Books

  10. Jenny says:

    crazy AWESOME, is the correct turn of phrase, I believe. I’m mentally calculating the number of glasses of sangria I can squeeze in between nursing sessions … as this big, interior baby has me up for a midnight snack.

  11. Dianna says:

    Guess I’d better call Kathryn, just I case I decide to crash an Austin party.

    • Leanne says:

      I JUST told my husband a few weeks ago I really wanted to go to Austin. All of Kathryn’s posts make me want to visit, it sounds like such a neat place! I can’t wait to hear more details. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to swing this, but I definitely will try. Maybe we can catch a flight together, Dianna? :)
      Leanne recently posted..My Theme Song: Overcomer

  12. Maria says:

    Love, Love, Love. A very needed kind of event! I’m in Pittsburgh and I wish I could attend.

  13. I’ve had Mom’s Nights Out, but never a Mom’s Weekend Out! What a great idea! Now to start seeing how much it costs to fly to Austin… because I SO want to do this!
    Christine Johnson recently posted..Time Lords for Life: The Doctor and Pro-Life Sentiment

  14. Kathy says:

    Not crazy, I pray I get to go – I soooo need something like this! Great idea!

  15. Yes, yes you are crazy. You’re crazy if you don’t think you’ll have hundreds (or more) women chomping at the bit for this opportunity! Funny – I’d just been thinking about trying to pull together something similar (but much smaller) with all the Catholic women bloggers (or loggers as autocorrect would have it) in this area. There is such a need, but hey, maybe we will all jus hop a flight on down to Austin instead! It’ll give me an excuse to pull out my Aggie colors after so many years. :) Also, I have a bit o’ conference/event planning in my bag o’ tricks, so let me know if I can be of help from a distance!
    Rakhi @ The Pitter Patter Diaries recently posted..WIWS: All In For Jesus

  16. Wanda says:

    Oh I would love to be there! It is my grandson’s 5th birthday! What to do?

  17. Amy says:

    This is wonderful! I can’t wait to hear more about it. You’re definitely not crazy. (And I’m a psychologist, or was before having babies, so I KNOW crazy ;) )
    Amy recently posted..Treasure

  18. I am SO in on this and I can’t wait! Holy Moly!!! yaya!!! (That happens to be 15th anniversary weekend for the hubs and me…so perhaps we’ll make it a getaway…I’ve never been to Austin.

    Oh…and seriously, any guarantees on not having any scorpions show up? haha!!
    Michelle @ Endless Strength recently posted..7 Quick Takes – 67

  19. Christine says:

    I hope I can come from Canada! :) great idea !

  20. Oh, I hope that venue is big enough for me to come! And I hope I can get the same flight to finally have a complete adult conversation with Hallie. And I hope my husband is cool with this being my birthday/Christmas/anniversary gift. And I hope you’ll feel free to ask if you need anything…favors, centerpieces, decor…or some good South Carolina wine.

  21. Mary Beth says:

    Not crazy. We need this, I need this. I’m going to try like heck to get there from NC!

  22. I need this so desperately. I converted to Catholicism almost five years ago without my husband, who is “still discerning” (actually, he alternates between running away and asking questions) so I struggle with not being as plugged in with families in our parish – he’s reluctant to do things and I’m an introvert. :)

    Of course, before I made it all the way through the comments I was already thinking, “But, Andi, you only have two kids – you’ll never fit in with that group!” and “How are you going to afford a flight to Austin with two kids in therapy?”

    So, yeah…I need this. :)
    Andi at Bringing the Sunshine recently posted..Sun-Beams: November 10, 2013

  23. Cammie says:

    You are totally not crazy!

    Am I crazy for trying to figure out a way to swing going when I’m fairly certain this is within a week of my husband taking the bar? I have a feeling he is not going to be a fan of any suggestion involving me leaving him with the kids… which has me instantly wondering if my parents feel like baby sitting…
    Cammie recently posted..The “Sin” of the Week: On Missing Mass to Care for Children

  24. Kelly M. says:

    You better have picked a HUGE venue cause you are going to have women scaling the gates to get into this thing! And the local police should be alerted now to the heavy van traffic that will be congesting all roadways into Austin.
    Kelly M. recently posted..{SQT} Seven Pictures for the Uninitiated

  25. Andrea says:

    Yes!!! I’m in!!! You are not crazy, you’re inspired!! I can’t WAIT to hear more about this Jen. Praise God!
    Andrea recently posted..Five Favorites: Birds, Crazy Music, NFP and More

  26. mary says:

    I think it’s an excellent idea. I love me some conferences and I love me some community with like-minded people. AND, not gonna lie…I love me some kid free time :)

    I think pretty amazing things can happen from this movement of the Holy Spirit.

    Oh, but could you put it in the Detroit Metro Area instead? ;)

  27. Rachel says:

    I would totally go to that. I live a little south of San Antonio and on top of your awesome event, I am also always looking for an excuse to go to Ikea!

  28. Katrina says:

    I read this at 3am when I was up nursing, got so excited, and then fell asleep and dreamed about Chris agreeing that it would be awesome for me to go. So then when I woke up, I told Chris that he had already said yes ;)

    I must have driven from Texas to practice for this!

  29. Yes, yes, yes! You are absolutely positively not crazy, and I LOVE this idea! Now, I’m trying to rope all of my Catholic gal pals into coming, too. Don’t mind that I will have just moved to a new city with 3 children three and under…all the more reason to come, right?! Please keep sharing all of the fabulous details–especially the ones about how wives and mothers need this sort of thing so that our husbands are more inclined to think this is a fabulous idea. :) The thought of having several of my female Catholic writing heroes in one place has me all giddy like a schoolgirl!

  30. Martha says:

    I’M IN. I’M SO IN.

    I asked the husband, told the baby, and seriously, nearly bought a ticket. So excited WHEEEE
    Martha recently posted..Seven Seven Seven

  31. Christine says:

    Okay, Jen, make sure we know details, because now I’m all excited to go to Texas, even if it IS in July. ;)
    Christine recently posted..In Which I Have a Parallel Discussion with My Husband

  32. Erica Saint says:

    You are not crazy! It is a fantastic idea! I would love to be there, but I hate to fly. I hope you girls take notes and get lots of pictures because I will want to read about it.

  33. Heather says:

    I WANNA DO THIS!!!! I don’t know how in the world I would do this, BUT I REALLY REALLLLY WANT TO DO THIS!!!!!!

  34. Claudia Volkman says:

    Jen! What a fabulous idea and I can’t think of two more dynamic hostesses than you and Hallie! Just FYI – the Catholic Marketing Network is the following week: July 29-August 1st.

  35. Tammy says:

    Ohh I want to be a speaker and I know just what the title of my talk would be:

    “How to be a happy Catholic mom even when your husband dies and your middle kid changes his name to ‘Fig’ and moves to a Sufi Commune”
    Tammy recently posted..Be Not Afraid, Be Not Mean

  36. Julie says:

    I don’t care whether or not you’re crazy — that sounds like a fabulous idea! Now to convince my husband that it’s a good idea for me to fly cross-country with a three-month-old. (You will be allowing nursing babies, won’t you?) Thanks in advance for all the hard work you and Hallie (and others?) will be putting into this!
    Julie recently posted..A Tale of Two Soldiers, Revisited

  37. Amanda says:

    I would love to do this! I’ve been feeling so isolated–we moved to Houston in August with our first, my beautiful daughter now 4 months old. We left a great group of friends at the same stage in life as us as well as my entire family to move to place where we know no one. I’m an introvert but have been making a huge effort to get out and try and get to know people but it’s a struggle especially with just one who’s still so young–she’s not really old enough for playgroups, and she’s not old enough for me to feel comfortable leaving her for mom’s nights out sponsored by our church’s mom’s group (if such events are open to nursing babies it’s certainly not advertised that way; a lot of the moms have older kids). She’ll be a year by then and if she and my husband come to Austin (not that far a drive!) with me I could definitely swing this! It sounds wonderful!

    • MelanieB says:

      I felt that way with my first few kids and didn’t go out to things with a nursing baby. But with my most recent, baby #5, I started to realize that if I was going to wait until I no longer had a baby, it could be years before I could socialize with other women. So I just started showing up with her and you know people were fine with it or if they weren’t they weren’t rude enough to say anything. My vote is take the baby even if the event isn’t advertized for nursing moms. That’s what I’ve done. I no longer care if it might make other moms a bit uncomfortable. I need the community.
      MelanieB recently posted..Links: Prufrock in Pictures, Greek Songs, and Akkadian Verse

    • Meika says:

      I’ve found nursing infants to be an unspoken exception to “adults-only” events, especially when they’re small – and I don’t run in Catholic circles.
      Meika recently posted..We’re Not Even Trying

    • Erin says:

      I usually write to the organizer and say just what you just said- “I assume nursing babies are welcome?” Who’s going to say no if you put it that way? ;o)

      • Erin says:

        I definitely just mixed you up with another commenter, but the idea is still for you! :o)

        • Amanda says:

          Thanks all for the comments and suggestions! I should just work up the courage and ask/bring her to more “adults only” events! (and still super excited about this conference)

  38. Cathy says:

    Oh, I would so, so, so, very much like to come, but I already have a conference that weekend! :( Please make this an annual event!!!

  39. Monica says:

    Jennifer, you are THE BEST! No, you are not crazy, this sounds like it will be a huge sucess. I just got the OK from my husband-he said we can plan to fly to TX for this! We have family right next door in Houston so this is perfect. l am so excited!

  40. Jennifer says:

    YES!!! I’ll have a 3 month old, but I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to join!!! I’ll have to see where I am, as my family is planning on picking up and moving to TX next August, so it may just be too hectic of a time, but oh my, how I would LOVE to do this!

  41. Grace says:

    You are a bit crazy but if you need any help, just ask! There are many Austin Moms who love to lend a hand here and there for something so wonderful! Yes it will be hot, but think of all the “cool drink” options!

  42. Jen Morgan says:

    I’m there! We’re native Texans, active duty Coast Guard and just moved to St. Louis about a year and a half ago. I’ve made a friend but we’re not like minded and she just went back to work full time. Lonliness is definitely a struggle. Thank you for listening to the Holy Spirit!

    • Tammy says:

      Active duty Coast Guard in St Louis?… There has to be a good story to this since St Louis is without a coast last time I checked

  43. Michele Gill says:

    I would love to do this! Let us know the times when you can so that those of us flying in can figure out when to arrive. Thank you for taking the initiative to set this up!

    Michele
    http://www.readwave.com/love-letter-to-my-son_s16682

  44. Madeline says:

    Are you going to live stream some of the talks? Because you should for those of us who would like to go but just can’t make it work.

    I mean, I am going to try and make it work anyway but if I fail I’d love to hear some of the talks!! Ooh, you should make up shirts or a swag bag or something and then let people who are stuck at home order them too. Then they’d feel like they were there in spirit.

  45. Francine says:

    I wish words could express how much I want to go!! I never thought I’d have a desire to head to Texas in July, but stranger things have happened. Excited to hear more!

    P.S. I think the real reason it’s in Austin is because you don’t have to board a plane to get there… I’m just saying.
    Francine recently posted..Halloween + Wedding (But Not a Halloween Wedding)

  46. LPatter says:

    I hereby call for a simultaneous east coast conference with a live streamed /skyped toast/keynote from yourself!

    Or…keep me posted on cheap tktz to austin?
    Beautiful idea!

    • Amanda says:

      I ditto this! Someone above said something about being from Pittsburgh, I’m just east of Pittsburgh. Surely we could plan something in Virginia for the east coasters? Or I could totally host a conference here in Pennsylvania. I’m not even kidding!

      I never thought I’d be begging my husband to go to Austin in July, yet that’s exactly what I found myself doing just two minutes ago. Even odder, he seems game for it if I can work out the details :) Anybody from the north wanna carpool?

      • Couldn’t someone rent a bus that would start in PA, swing by to pick up the OH people, then come down here? Surely we can make this work. ;)

        • Amanda says:

          Actually my DH’s church has a 15 passenger van. Realistically I actually might be able to convince them to let us ‘rent’ it for a weekend. Of course it would be amusing to show up to a Catholic mom’s conference in a white van marked Zion Lutheran Church :)

          It does seem like we have an awful lot of Ohio people and a few of us western Pennsylvania people…
          Amanda recently posted..Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave, Part 2

  47. Mary says:

    How exciting! I’ve always wanted to visit Texas, especially Austin. My friends are mainly west coast dwellers but I’m going to try my best, round us up, and join you on that patio. I just hope we don’t get to starstruck, seeing you and Hallie and Grace in the flesh. :)
    Mary recently posted..Seven Quick Takes: Burn baby burn.

  48. melody says:

    I got so excited when reading this! And then my bottom lip started to quiver when I realized that I live in Ohio… with 7 children… and no extra cash for transportation. Offering up my disappointment for the success of your beautiful event! God bless you all!

  49. Caitlin E says:

    I’m in! I’m sure we could get a contingency from the PNW!
    Caitlin E recently posted..Home Sweet Home. Almost…

  50. Jan says:

    Praise and thanksgiving for your idea in bloom. And if you want a speaker on penance/confession ask:
    http://www.theologianmom.com. She’s amazing.

  51. MelanieB says:

    Crazy brilliant!

    And now I’m pondering. I know my parents will be delighted to babysit. The trick is finding the money to buy plane tickets for everyone. Though maybe with enough lead time we can find an amazing deal. (It would have to be really amazing to get me and five kids to Texas.) Maybe I can ask my parents to give me a trip to Austin as a birthday present?
    MelanieB recently posted..Links: Prufrock in Pictures, Greek Songs, and Akkadian Verse

  52. MelanieB says:

    Also, I’m not sure I would even bother with speakers or if you feel you must so that people feel they are getting their money’s worth, I’d do a very light schedule maybe one speaker in the morning and one in the afternoon. Whenever I go to a conference I never feel like there’s enough time to just sit and gab and I feel torn between wanting to see the speakers and wanting to just hang out. Dom and I have been talking about how we love the idea of the unconference, just an excuse for like minded people to hang out.
    MelanieB recently posted..Links: Prufrock in Pictures, Greek Songs, and Akkadian Verse

  53. I knew I moved to Houston for a reason. I am there.

  54. Stacy says:

    Totally NOT crazy!!! When I joined my homeschool group, I found out that we (moms and nursing babes only,) met monthly for an evening to discuss various homeschool subjects. Well, I quickly discovered that we’d talk about say, spelling curricula for 15 or, max. 30 minutes, and the rest of the time we just TALKED! Wonderful evenings of chatting and laughing. We also have a yearly dinner, mom’s only (and nursing babes.) I can’t tell you how recharged I felt after those evenings! Very necessary!!!

  55. I will never be able to go to Texas for an event. Those 4 children I need time away from are part of it. Finances are another. Wish there was something closer by. The Minnesota Homeschool conference is my annual “Mom’s day off”. But when the kids get a few years older, I just may start some sort of conference/retreat with Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network. We’ll see. Anyway, I hope the rest of you enjoy it, because I’m sure you deserve it!
    Connie Rossini recently posted..Contemplative Homeschool WordPress followers, please read this!

  56. kate says:

    Oh man… this is going to end up being one of those things that I am going to want to go to and totally won’t be able to do it. I’m already fighting off the green envy gremlins. I’m sure it will be wonderful!
    kate recently posted..why I didn’t teach my baby to sign

  57. Looking up flight prices now…
    Sarah O @ Two Os Plus More recently posted..Our Observances for All Souls + All Saints

  58. SOOOO not crazy! The only crazy thing is hosting it in Austin and breaking some Northern hearts, because this sounds amazing!!!
    Juli@teachinggoodeaters recently posted..Update: What’s for Breakfast? Two Years Since I Kicked Cereal to the Curb

  59. Lisa says:

    This is a wonderful idea. We moms need support and rest! As a mom with one foot in the homeschooling world and one in brick and mortar, I have been feeling a bit unsupported.
    Lisa recently posted..Autumn changes

  60. Oh, my heart. Oh, my evangelical/non-denom mom-to-many heart! A gathering in my favorite city on the planet hosted by a few of my favorite online people? Oh, Jen. This is not crazy. This is Divine.

    Is it unrealistic to plan to get the twins potty-trained by the time they are 16 months old? Because that’s probably the only way I’ll be able to come (hubby doesn’t do diaper duty). LOL. Oh well.

    But sister, this is not crazy. Women need this oh-so-much. SO SO MUCH. Godspeed as you plan! It will be lovely no matter what!
    Megan at SortaCrunchy recently posted..I live in the Bible Belt, and I’m a Jesus Feminist

  61. elizabethe says:

    now I’m jealous (but totally so happy for everyone who will get to attend). There’s almost no way I can swing this without direct divine intervention.

    Well, nothing is impossible for God, right? =)

  62. Oh my gosh, this is awesome! I totally home I can come! My birthday is around that time . . . possibly a birthday present? I hope so! Great idea, Jen and Hallie!
    Catholic Lawyer Mama recently posted..A Broken Child, My Despair, and a Prayer: Living as a Member of the Body of Christ

  63. Oh my gosh I’m dying. This would be the first conference I’ve ever wanted to go to. But I’m Ohio and you’re Texas and that means expenses I can’t even think about right now waaaaaa. But I’m still humoring my yearning for a Cathbloggymom Conference and waiting on pins and needles for the detayyyylz. What a beautiful idea, you two!
    Carolyn Svellinger recently posted..Dear Bumpy Bridge House: The Breakup.

  64. Mary Beth S says:

    Would so love to hang out and make some new friends, and am down I35 from Austin. On the off chance y’all are including any much older Moms, let me know!!! Course I’d hate to be a party crasher :(

  65. Betsy says:

    1. I’m coming out of 2 years of lurking to say
    2. This made me tear up a little. What a perfect gift.
    Betsy recently posted..Book Cover Folders

  66. Suzette says:

    SO we were going to plan a family vaca for after baby arrives in April…I’m thinking Seaworld and moms runs up north for a day, with new baby in tow. SO SOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!!!
    Suzette recently posted..Thinking on a Monday…Always a Not-Good Idea that Means Rambling!

  67. WB says:

    I haven’t been on a retreat since I got married, and I vowed that 2014 was the year I’d go. I’ve got the money earmarked for it, and that weekend is free. The youngest will be weaned by then. I’m so following this blog to see if I can sign up!

    • WB says:

      I just penciled it into my new calendar, so, if you’re crazy, I’m joining you in the institution–as long as there is wine:-)

  68. Abigail says:

    What a fabulous plan! So exciting!
    Abigail recently posted..Jerry, the Best Grilling Chef Ever!

  69. I’ll be there from Florida!

  70. BlogHer 14? No way. Austin, here I come.
    Jenna@Call Her Happy recently posted..7QT: Shoulda Been-a 5 Faves

  71. Smoochagator says:

    WOW. Wowwee wow wow. I really really REALLY hope that I’ll be able to come.
    Smoochagator recently posted..Seven Quick Takes

  72. Tacy says:

    Wow, sounds great,… I’m so glad the Holy Spirit is working to bring this about… that picture of the pavilion just made me cry a little bit.

  73. Monica says:

    I’d love to be there, but I have a baby coming in mid-June, and travel at 6 weeks postpartum is something I don’t do…even for an awesome party. I hope it’s great. I went to high tea over the weekend with a mom friend (and none of our kids) and noticed the same thing — talking! no interruptions! food! relaxation! revitalization!

    Have a great time!

  74. Jill says:

    You are crazy! And so am I. That is why I am putting this date on my calendar in ink. See you in July. God willing.

  75. LeAnn says:

    I want to come! Can I register now?

  76. Tina (from Illinois) says:

    Are we all invited? I really want to come.

    • Yes! Of course! We’d love for you all to be there! We may have some capacity issues since we had no idea what kind of response this event would get, but we’re working on that. :)

  77. Katherine says:

    What if you’re a Catholic school teacher and Newlywed who does not have kids (yet!!) besides her students :). Is this a moms only type of thing?! Would love to meet other awesome Catholic women!

    • Nancy says:

      I was just wondering the same thing – I’m all of a sudden feeling like I might get left out of the fun because I’m single… :/ (I lurk, but I still feel like I know a lot of you guys)

  78. Becky says:

    Hooray! I so want to come! I hope I can but at the moment it looks like we will be in the middle of moving…great idea though,hope there will be more in the future!!

  79. alison says:

    My parents live in Austin, so maybe I could swing our summer trip during this weekend! Will it be a full day event/night/or a weekend? Because clearly I need to know right this second :)

  80. ellen says:

    I’m sighing over how wonderful this sounds and scheming about which friend I would ask to go with me. I’m recently married and moved to a new town and missing my community. You paint such a compelling picture, Jen.

  81. Bonnieoo says:

    150 people???? With the level of response you’ve gotten from just your blog, looks like you’d need DOUBLE that!!! This is really a great idea. Really. I’d love to come, but I live far, far away. I’m gonna pray that the idea gels and the speakers fall into place and all the people God wants there are able to get there. Just for fun. God bless.
    P.S. Your new mantra should be delegate, delegate, delegate.

  82. Mary says:

    I am so in!! I do not care if I have to grow wings to get there, I shall!! So very excited. If you need any help, I have run events of all kinds. Happy to do my part. Great idea Jen!! No you are not crazy…

  83. Lisa says:

    Sounds absolutely amazing. You & Hallie are rock-stars for putting this together!

  84. Danielle says:

    What an absolutely fabulous idea!! Talk about taking an idea and running with it. I have to say, as a new mom and new blogger I really look up to you both. And as someone with event planning experience (and a passion for it!) I understand what you’re undertaking by doing this. Although I’m pretty sure we can’t afford a plane I let from Iowa to Texas right now, if you have repeat events maybe I’ll be able to join in the future!! Thanks for listening to what The Lord asks of you and answering–so many women will benefit from this “brain child” :)

  85. I am SO excited! Normally, there is no way I could ever make a conference unless it was free and in my backyard, but we are planning to drive home to see family over the summer and could probably plan to come back (and take a detour through TX) during that time! You know, Jen, you really are a terrible tease not giving any more details than that!
    Mandi @ Messy Wife, Blessed Life recently posted..Remembering My Pregnancy

  86. Gina says:

    That’s awesome, Jen! I’ll admit that I find most conferences a grind, but a conference where the top priority would be fun, for women who really need a break? Brilliant.
    Gina recently posted..‘Great Expectations’ at the box office

  87. Karen Bell says:

    Love it. If at all possible, I will be there.

  88. Viki says:

    This is so amazing!!! Thank you for saying yes. :)
    Can’t wait for more details.

  89. Laura Pearl says:

    I think it’s wonderful that you thought of this. I can’t even imagine how special it will be. That’s the weekend of my birthday, so hmmmm…might be a fun way to celebrate.

    Actually, I probably won’t be there, but I’ll enjoy seeing the photos and reading all the blog write-ups afterward!
    Laura Pearl recently posted..Happy Veterans Day (and a Movie Recommendation)

  90. Wow, that sounds awesome! I think I can jog down to TX for one as fantastic as this…:)

    Also, “jog” meant “fly” there. Why I even said that, I have no idea. You sure you’d want me to come?
    Paige Kellerman recently posted..Fanmail Friday: Don’t punch your kids

  91. Jenn says:

    This is brilliant! Will it only be for Catholic women (we’re Evangelicals)? It sounds wonderful…best of luck with all the details!

  92. Julie says:

    Oh my goodness, I want to come from Colorado. I just fear it will sell out faster than a U2 concert, considering how many have commented thus far.

  93. Gretchen says:

    This sounds wonderful. I want to come. I hope I can get in when you open it up!

  94. Incredible! Sounds like fun… and maybe bloggers in other states can throw a similar un-conference that same weekend for those of us with NO HOPE of making it to Austin?
    Monica Benninghoff recently posted..When the world is crazy, I eat chocolate.

  95. I am so excited about this event! I need this. I really, really need this. My only disappointment? It’s more than 6 months away! I am putting it on my calendar and arranging childcare. Austin or Bust!!!
    TheReluctantWidow recently posted..The Good Wife

  96. Jeni says:

    Going. I have to go. This is AMAZING.

    Like I’ve already lined up my mom to come all the way to TX to baby sit! This is SO awesome. Yey!
    Jeni recently posted..Why You Should Pray the Angelus

  97. I want to come! Hmmm… is it better to fly or drive from LA? Probably fly as that would be a long drive solo. I can’t imagine actually being able to meet you guys rather than just reading words on screen!

  98. I have been dreaming, dreaming, DREAMING of something like this. So that’s why I almost cried when I read the date. My grandma’s 90th birthday celebration is that weekend. I’m just bad enough of a granddaughter to wish it wasn’t, but not bad enough to actually skip it to attend what is sure to be an amazing event.

    I love this whole idea and I will pray for a successful “party” for you guys. And of course, a repeat soon!
    Micaela @ California to Korea recently posted..Thumbs Down: Theme Thursday in the Third Person

  99. CarrieC says:

    Oh I SO wish I lived closer so I could make it!!!!!!! You have no idea!!!
    CarrieC recently posted..It’s a…

  100. Susan says:

    I will wait tables or wash windows if I can come. Seriously, as the mother of 5 boys, I might be crying over the possibility right now. I can’t wait to hear more details!!
    Susan recently posted..Raising Boys: 10 Loving Lessons Just For Moms

  101. Claire in the UK says:

    There are so many of us wanting to come wouldn’t it be better to simply hire Las Vegas?
    It would be awful if there was no room at the inn!!

  102. You probably are crazy, and I’m SO SO glad!! I started reading this, and I allowed myself to hope as I’ve scarcely allowed myself before. I literally had a dream about something like this once. It’s already on my calendar. I’ll stop babbling. I cannot wait! Thank you for winning the coin toss, and having it in Texas (though I probably would’ve hopped on a plane for it anyway!)
    Kate @ The Rhodes Log recently posted..Five Favorites: Postpartum Edition

  103. Jamie says:

    I would just like to say that nobody on earth is as excited for this as I am right now. You might think you are, but trust me…you are not.
    Jamie recently posted..Convos with the kids Vol. II

  104. Caitlin says:

    Oh my gosh this is incredible, although I am due in June and therefore will be unable to make it. I live in Lubbock so it’s doable, but I’m in a complete fog until at least 3 months pp and therefore the event would be lost on me. :)

    But this is amazing and I hope it becomes “a thing.” I grew up in PA with a really strong Catholic community and it’s something I’m really missing. Does anyone live in Lubbock that wants to be my friend? :)

    • Claire in the UK says:

      I’m so curious as to where Lubbock is in the world I’ve googled it!!
      Hello Caitlin from Claire in Oxford UK !

  105. Lacey says:

    I live in California and will try SO HARD to come to this. I’ve always wanted to check out Austin (in July? Sure!)!
    Lacey recently posted..Toddlers are Weird

  106. Brad says:

    My wife Rachel asked me last night if I could get time off so she could attend this wonderful non-conference. While my work requires a “planned” vacation time request, I am confident that she and another friend or two will be driving down from central Oklahoma. She is excited, as I am for her. And all of you wonderful ladies. I know you will have a fantastic time and look forward to hearing about it.

  107. Christina says:

    My girlfriend and I already looking for flights (SW doesn’t post flights out that far, for anyone else who has considered looking!) and planning to start a blog so we will fit in. :o) I think we’ll call it, “Austin or Bust.” Seriously, lovely idea ladies. And if we can’t make it, we might just have to host one in STL and invite you out for it!

  108. Sydney says:

    Wow! This is so awesome! I am getting my sister in on it, too!

  109. Amy says:

    I think you need a satellite party in Chicago.

  110. Oh, I so, so, so, so want to go. I would love to be able to work it out…it would probably take a miracle for me, so I’d better start praying for it now. :)
    Amelia @ One Catholic Mama recently posted..5 Things Plus 2 Time Hacks = 7QTF

  111. Victoria says:

    My husband and I discussed it and we’re saving as of Now! Unless some amazing mission trip or Rome comes up, I’m there! I would so Love to meet all of you wonderful ladies!
    Victoria recently posted..Holiness of football.

  112. Jamie says:

    Are Lutherans who read Catholic blogs invited ;)

  113. Lisa says:

    Let me know when I need to send in my deposit. I’m there, Jen.
    Lisa recently posted..You’re kidding me, right?

  114. Arrgggh! I will be in Austin two weeks before that, speaking at the homeschooling conference. Bah, humbug.
    Karen Edmisten recently posted..Poetry Friday

  115. lisa says:

    I always say I need to find a mama conference! I’m ready!

  116. Rebecca says:

    Oh my gosh! This sounds like amazing fun! And I’m only three hours away :( y’all are so awesome.

  117. Debbie says:

    This event sounds like a perfect opportunity for my oldest daughter and I….we both live in Houston! She will have her first baby in June and it would be great fun to do together(of course with new grand baby!) I know when I tell her she will be very interested!!! Looking forward to hearing more details! Good luck with the plans…sounds lovely!
    Debbie England

  118. Independence says:

    You’re not crazy. That is amusing though and I am absolutely in love with that venue.

  119. Chelsey says:

    Yes! As a very recent convert and a long time blogger… I need this!! Can’t wait for more details!

  120. Jessica says:

    Please, please, please let there be enough room for me to come too!! There are awesome options for speakers from Arizona! I could bring them! It’ll be like my back stage pass! Such a good idea and I do totally believe you were called to lead this- you are the perfect person for it.

  121. Jennifer and Hallie,

    FUN!! You don’t know me (yet), but I’ll come and speak/sing/whatever you want me to (except organize a conference–not my gift :-). The Holy Spirit has been telling Kelly Wahlquist (http://kellywahlquist.com) and me (http://kittycleveland.com) the same thing, and we just did something similar for about 300 women in MN. Email me!

    Blessings,

    Kitty Cleveland
    kitty@kittycleveland.com
    New Orleans, LA

  122. Julia says:

    What an oasis of refreshment to look forward to in the midst of a desert-like Texan summer!!! I would love the opportunity to grow in my faith, in person, with such incredible women from all over the world! :) Can I bring dark chocolate to share? :)
    Thank you Jen and Hallie for not laughing too hard at the absurdity of the idea!!!!

  123. Amanda says:

    YES! I’ve been meaning to comment since you posted this! I would definitely love to be there and pretty sure, with enough planning, I can! I’m in the Dallas area and my little nursling will be about 17 months or so around this time. We have family in Austin too (if that’s where it is?). Regardless, I am in Texas and intend on making this happen. Would love to meet all you wonderful women and have fun momversation over drinks! The site looks so inviting and fun! Such a great idea! Ok, I’m rambling now. Point: I’m excited! You all are wonderful! The end :)
    Amanda recently posted..PHFR: Kind Hearts

  124. Kathleen says:

    Yes! I live in WA and would walk to TX for an event like this!!! How wonderful it would be to meet in person all the women that I pretend are my close personal friends… :) You ladies are so wonderful to even think of this. I don’t know if there is a venue large enough for as many of us who would come. Thank you for being my extended Catholic family. You do so much good through your writing, all of you! I hope I get to go! (Has anyone done an exclamation point count in these comments?!)

  125. Sara says:

    Amazing idea, Jen and Hallie! I assume there will be prayer going on, and if there is, PLEASE pray for my fiance and me because we’ll be getting married that weekend (July 26th!). God willing, (and assuming this is an annual thing) I’ll be able to join you in the next couple of years as a wife and a mom.

    Such a wonderful idea!

  126. If the comments are any indication, we really do need an event like this. You and Hallie are so wonderful to put this together. I’m on the west coast, but my birthday is in July, so maybe we can call this a birthday present?
    Jennifer @ Little Silly Goose recently posted..What happens after you quit

  127. Oh what a great idea! I would so love to come! It’s my birthday weekend (my Jesus year!) so I hope I can convince my husband to take the kiddos for the weekend! ;)

  128. Lori says:

    Wow- what a great idea! I love you and I love this site! Seeing as I might be like the 75th person to reply that I want to go, I hope there is still room. Live in NJ, with three, three and under as well as a stepmom of three teenagers, this just be what the doctor ordered for my 40th birthday this year! Dying to see Austin as well!