Friday, September 30, 2011

What’s your special occasion?

I had the opportunity this past week to attend a blogging event sponsored by Hallmark. It’s a tour where mom bloggers are invited and are able to take part in creative exercises. It was held at Uncommon Ground in Wrigleyville right near one of my favorite places on earth – Wrigley Field. It was a great experience.

The workshop went along with their new marketing campaign of “Life is a Special Occasion.” Some of the bloggers sent in pictures and home video of their families in advance with stories about what some of the special moments in their lives have been. They were made into a video with accompanying music that got many of us moms emotional. Lots of tissue was passed around the room as we watched.

Following was a neat photo assignment given by one of Hallmark’s photographers. He had each of us pair up and take photos of someone, but to work it so that it was non-gender specific. It was harder than you’d think, but also left room for creativity. My partner, Stephanie, pointed out that her boots looked like they could be worn by either sex. I shot some photos of the bottom of her legs against the worn wood and tile floor and the distressed wood against the bar. It made for some really cool photos that I never would have thought to take on my own.

Another exercise was led by one of the company’s writers who gave us envelopes with random words. We were to pull three or four and in about five minutes come up with a blog posting that incorporated those words. It was quite fun and again the tissues were pulled out during the sentimental stories.

My favorite part of the day was when we were given t-shirts that read “_______ is a special occasion.” We were given Sharpies to write in everyday moments that were special occasions to us. I didn’t have to think long.

Others shared theirs. One mom wrote “giving birth to twins” and explained about her difficult pregnancies and labors giving birth to twin girls and later twin boys. Another wrote “peeking in on my kids one last time before going to sleep” and described how looking at their innocent sleeping faces washed away the stresses of earlier in the day. The male photographer had us all in tears saying that his was “7:10 a.m.” That was the time of day when his special needs son gave him a hug and kiss before boarding the bus for school.

Here's a picture of me with my shirt...and my red nose and eyes from all the crying. :)

Mine read “Svengoolie Night.” Since many from the company were from Kansas City, I had to explain who he is. Svengoolie is a character who hosts a Saturday night show featuring mostly black and white B-movies such as “The Blob” and those with Dracula or Frankenstein. It airs on WCIU at 9 p.m. each Saturday.

I picked it because that’s the one time during the week when we all stop what we’re doing and gather in the living room. With five kids, it’s often hard to get everyone in the same place at the same time. We eat cookies and popcorn and sometimes order a late night pizza. We all snuggle up with blankets and enjoy the time together. It reminds me of my Saturday nights as a kid watching “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island” as we'd pull out the sleeper sofa and cover up with mom's hand made quilts. It was a Saturday night tradition. Svengoolie is our Saturday night tradition and my most special occasion. What’s yours?

Here's video of me at the event explaining our "Svengoolie Night."

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