We went to Anaheim to attend our first Juvenile Arthritis Conference.
It's was awesome in so many ways. We hung out with one of my favorite people, Tanya, who happens to live down the street and around the corner from our hotel. We went to Disneyland, twice. I met face-to-face with amazing fellow JA moms who have lifted me and supported me online for the past two years. Barry connected with other dads. (For me, that was the most worthwhile part of our whole conference experience.) We connected with new JA families. We slept on comfortable beds.
The experience was less than ideal in many ways also. Liam had wicked diarrhea the entire time, which led to many disgusting messes, including a particularly memorable experience at Disneyland. We kept Liam with us during the conference sessions instead of leaving him in the childcare program where he could potentially infect other people's babies. Therefore, Barry and I paid less attention to the presenters and material, so I think we learned less than all of the parents who were attending without a wiggly, almost one year old to deal with. Said child also slept poorly, which meant we slept poorly. Also, we didn't have enough free time to just hang out and talk with the people we were meeting.
Almost all of the "negatives" have to do with Liam. Let me be clear: I AM MADLY IN LOVE WITH MY SON! However, we will not be attending another JA Conference until he is a little bit older and more adaptable. (And hopefully diarrhea-free.) I want to go again in a few years so my kids can connect with other kids who live this and "get it." I don't want Miss Emma or Sir Liam to feel alone, and I know that the conference is a great blessing for kids with Juvenile Arthritis, for their siblings, and for their parents!
Behold! The Photos!
I hope all my JA friends who want to go are able to make it to Keystone, CO for next year's conference. Maybe we'll meet up with you in 2015?