En route to Washington D.C. Lucy and I went to St. George for the first official Power of Moms Motherhood Retreat.

Lucy was so darn good on the airplane I wanted to cry. I was carrying my regular stuff: camera, purse, computer and suitcase plus Lucy’s suitcase, backpack, and car seat so I was crossing my fingers she wouldn’t throw a fit and sprawl out on the floor until I picked her up (you never know with Miss Lu).But since she was as good as gold, we had a fun trip, including renting a car and driving the two hours from Las Vegas to St. George (Lucy had help being good thanks to the trusty iPod).

My nephew Ashton took care of Lucy while we were all at the retreat (with a little help from his Dad) and man oh man, Lucy got spoiled even more than she already is. That Ashton is one heck of a babysitter (Thanks, Ashie!).
Ok, so on to the retreat.

Those two days were filled to the brim with inspiration. My sister Saren and her awesome friend April did SO much to make those days meaningful for all of us thirty-three Mothers in attendance.

Their friend Allyson (on the left below) also helped a ton to put things together and did a really great presentation on “Being Enough.”There were so many committed, strong women in attendance.
We were all well-fed not only from the support from one-another (everyone contributed so much in comments and discussions), but also from the healthy food at the Red Mountain Spa.
My Mom, sister and I did a little presentation on “Family Systems” one of the mornings. (We talked about having a family economy, family traditions, and a family legal system…I’ll have to do a blog post about this soon.)
Oh man I love those two women.

One great surprise of the trip was that my very, very best friend from elementary school showed up (on the far right below). We “broke up” for some crazy reason in fifth grade and went our separate ways and I’m SO glad the retreat (and her friend in the middle below, now mine too…thanks Valerie!) got us reunited after all those years.
Plus my two cousins-who-are-really-Dave’s-cousins-but-I-claim-them-for-my-own, Heather and Kara were there too.

Like I said back here at the other Motherhood Retreat I attended, there’s no “instruction manual” for mothers. We just have to figure it out as we go. And sometimes that is tough. Sometimes it’s overwhelming. Sometimes it makes you just want to cry. And there is something so comforting about having other mothers who are also “in the trenches” offer ideas and support.

One of my favorite quotes from the retreat was this new quote I hadn’t heard before that someone gave from my favorite Anna Quindlen: “The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”

Love that.

And April did an awesome job explaining the “Mind Organization for Moms” concept, and I’ve started implementing it more this week:
Saren did an excellent job of orienting interested mothers to do their own Motherhood Retreats where they live…so many people were wanting to do this and it made me so excited to think of the ripple effect this will have to inspire mothers all over the place. (If you’re interested in learning how to do your own, click here.)

And I have to say that three of the moms who have started their own Learning Circles gave such powerful testimonials about how this simple thing has literally changed their lives. (Learning Circles are kind of like book clubs but with a thought-provoking article about Motherhood as the discussion topic instead of a book.)

Thank you, thank you, Saren and April for such a great weekend.

We bid goodbye to Saren’s family who Lucy had had SO much fun with:

And Lucy and my dear Mom headed up to Northern Utah where Lucy stayed the next week while the rest of my family and I were traipsing around D.C. (my parents are my heroes even more than ever because they insisted on taking her claiming she’d slow us down in D.C…and boy howdy were they ever right. Although we all missed her like crazy, there were about 56 times where the thought ran through my mind “I’m SO glad Lucy isn’t here right now!”).

I drove back to Las Vegas to catch my red-eye flight to meet my family in D.C. and could hardly stand how pretty the drive was.

I know it’s barren, but it takes my breath away how the mountains in this canyon almost fold into the road.
I’m in awe every time I drive it.
And then there’s the sunset shimmering on the telephone wires…for some reason I just love that.

Needless to say it was a beautiful drive. And it provided me with a chance to reflect on the new things I want to implement in my home, and to call most of my siblings I hadn’t talked to forever. It seems that I never get the chance to just talk and it felt so good to get semi-caught up with most of them. (When you have eight siblings that’s not an easy task.)

With that, I was on my way to D.C. for some grand adventures…

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  1. I LOVE that pictures of Lucy working the Ipod! (You can tell she has older siblings!)
    I can't wait to go to the next retreat.
    And please post the family systems/economy post soon…I need some new ideas around here.
    Glad you had a great time.

  2. Yay for Ipods!
    Looks like you had fun at the retreat. look forward to your economy post soon 🙂
    I love the photos of the canyon and the sunset.

  3. Oh, Shawni!

    I loved every second of being there with all those amazing moms. I came home so excited to get some things rolling. (We had our first Family Law Mtg on Monday – pretty hilarious.)

    I've kept in touch with several of the mom's and we all agree – we need an annual reunion! 🙂 Amazing how connected you feel after only a few days together.

    I have already thanked Saren, April, & Allyson – and I want to thank you too. You inspire me to be the mom I always wanted to be.
    Thank you so much.

  4. While looking at all these great pictures, I kept thinking..I should have been there!! Next time. I ordered the M.O.M…a few weeks ago and need to get going with that. Beautiful photos…

  5. Man we had so much fun!!!those women were amazing! Such great ideas came them and it was such a bonding experience!

    We LOVED having Lucy! What a delight! She is amazing!

    Hope you didn't take all those fabulous pictures WHILE you were driving but I think you were. I love that drive almost more than anywhere in the world too. Such a feast for the eyes!

    Love you!

  6. gorgeous pictures!
    I love how close your family is!
    it's awesome! I have 6 siblings myself, but 5 of them are brothers, so they don't care to talk on the phone all that much! LOL!

  7. wow what great photos – big question when are you coming down under to your workshop down here! Just kidding but gosh that is something I need as our family grows faster than I can keep up with!

    well done on a great weekend and I love the photos on your drive! how amazing is it all!


  8. Thanks for all those great pictures, Shawni! You added so much to the Retreat. It was wonderful to have you there. I've been writing letters all over my children's fingers, doing secret handshakes, and coming up with new, creative ways to deal with the chaos. You're an inspiration!

  9. Hi Shawni! I just started following your blog and I love it!

    I have 3 girls of my own: 5, 4, and 18 months. I was curious about where you get clothes for your older girls. My 5 year old is super tall and the only clothes that fit her are the ones whose sizes go up to those for 13 or 14 year olds. I don't want her looking like a 5 year old teenager. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  10. Hi,
    I just started following your blog. I've read your mom's book "A Joyful Mother of Children" and plan to read your and her book "A Mother's Book of Secrets" shortly. I'm so bummed I just missed this retreat, this is something I would eat up! And I live just outside of Vegas. Are these retreats yearly? I would love to go to one!!! You don't know how sad I am that I missed it!

  11. I accessed this blog from your mom and dad's Deseret News blog about Amy Chua's article. Very interesting. You are right on with our kids needing the balance. And your Anna Quindlen quote gave me chills. It is going up on my email signature today! Oh and totally agree on your drive back to Vegas. Reminds me of my drive to Hurricane from Salt Lake. I had flown in to SLC with my daughter and driven her up to BYUI for her freshman college year. Drove back to SLC, stayed over with a friend at Thanksgiving Point and then drove to my sister's in Hurricane. Great time to be with myself, ponder, pray, whatever on that great desert drive. Love the desert! Trying to take pictures while driving, not so fun and too blurry in spots but still got a few good ones. Then after a short visit, drove back to SLC and flew back to green North Carolina. Thanks Shawni!

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