Annual Meeting Fun

Author: Tiffany Intal

Hello again, friends! Please forgive my extended absence from the blogging world. I’ve been immensely busy these past few months and it has been difficult to set aside time to write. The good news is I’m back, and I’ve resolved to be better about maintaining this blog. There is so much that I want to update you on, but I think the best place to start is where I last connected with everyone – NHF’s Annual Meeting.

Tiffany's children at the Annual MeetingThe boys couldn’t accompany us to Chicago because they had full schedules with school, basketball games, and church. They were less than enthused about being left behind for yet another conference, but they got over it quickly after we promised them they’d get to go to the Annual Meeting in Orlando this year. John, the girls, and I had the luxury of flying in a day early because I had a meeting to attend that day. Thankfully, the extra day gave the girls ample time to adjust to the new time zone. They’re cranky little divas when they don’t get enough beauty rest.

Our trip to the Windy City looked promising before we even stepped foot on our flight, starting when I received the information packet in the mail. I’ve been a member of the Victory for Women task force since early 2011, so you can imagine my excitement when I saw the number of sessions dedicated to women with bleeding disorders. I may be wrong, but I do believe this year had the most sessions dedicated to women’s issues. I was also thrilled to find out that the session on intimacy would be led by a sex therapist. I’m a certified sex educator, so attending this particular session was at the top of my list.

The day before we flew to Chicago, I found out through Twitter that my blog won the Silver Pearl Award for Best Blog from the Custom Content Council. I was floored. Naturally, I was ecstatic when I learned the news, but the most rewarding thing that comes from blogging for HemAware has been the new friendships I’ve formed. After lots of e-mailing, Tweeting, and Facebooking, I was really looking forward to meeting some of my new friends at the conference.

We arrived in Chicago on Wednesday afternoon. John stayed in the hotel with the girls while I rushed to make it to my task force meeting on time. I still consider myself to be a fledgling member of the community, so I was nervous about attending my very first task force meeting. Honestly, I was downright intimidated! But my anxiety immediately eased as soon as I met everyone and witnessed the task force’s vibrant energy. I had participated in several telephone conferences, but meeting face to face was a totally different experience. I’m very proud to be a member of this group. There is a lot to look forward to with the Victory for Women initiative.  Stay tuned!

After the task force meeting was over, I lounged in the hotel room with John and the girls. We eventually decided to brave the blustery Chicago night air to warm our bellies with our first Chicago-style pizza experience.  Words can’t begin to describe the lovely food coma that followed that glorious meal. The pizza was to die for!  I woke up the next day feeling rejuvenated and ready for the conference.

During the meeting, I ran into lots of old friends, met new ones, and I finally got to hug my fellow HemAware blogger, Ryan!  I also handed out Victory for Women pins that I received at the task force meeting the day before. It felt good seeing the smile on women’s’ faces when I handed them pins. It’s amazing how that tiny trinket sent such a powerful message for the duration of the conference. I spotted so many women wearing the pins! That evening, I had more time to catch up with friends both old and new in a more intimate setting at the Victory for Women reception.  As always, John was a good sport and proved to be a phenomenal photographer and babysitter while I socialized and had "girl time" with some of my favorite women.

We capped off our first day at the Annual Meeting partaking in family fun at the exhibit hall. Niki thoroughly enjoyed playing in the elaborate booths, while Noie hung out with me in her baby carrier. (I may or may not have slipped her lots of sweet and yummy snacks when John wasn’t looking.) 

John also got an autographed Miss Swan photo from Alex Borenstein, and he channeled his inner child by making LEGO characters at the Novo Nordisk booth.

What was the highlight of my Exhibit Hall experience, you ask?  Using Niki as a ruse to con John into waiting for me as I lined up to meet C.J. Wilson. My home team may have beaten the Rangers in the 2010 World Series, but I’m still a huge fan of anyone who supports hemophilia. (And, I might add, he’s also gorgeous!) I still slightly swoon when I see his autographed baseball on my mantle.