Thanks to my oh-so-talented friend Gabrielle Blair for all the photos in this post. You can visit her blog, Design Mom, and her flickr account for more Gabrielle inspiration.
Trust Hallmark to even make their Mom Blogger event a memory-making moment for families!
Lately, I have found myself on too many airplanes — traveling and missing my kids!
I hate to be away from my kids, so I am very careful about what trips I choose and how often I have to leave my beloved babies. (Susan and I even just passed on a free luxury trip to Mexico and sent Shera, one of our hard working editors, instead of leaving our kids again! When I say I don’t like to leave my kids, I REALLY mean it!)
So, when the reps for Hallmark wrote asking me to come to their Mom Blogger Event, I will confess that the deciding factor in my decision was that they said I could bring my kids along!
How cool is that?!? They covered the costs and provided childcare! Yes, Hallmark — you know the way into a mother’s heart!
Since it was a short trip and Olivia would be much happier at home with her nanny than with babysitters she didn’t know, I decided to just take my seven year old son Jackson.
They had a special day planned for school aged kids at Hallmark’s “imagination creation station” called Kaleidoscope. I just knew Jackson would love it!
As well, there would be other mom bloggers’ kids there as well. Jackson is attached to many of my online friends’ kids, praying for them and talking about them all the time. So, I wanted to give him the chance to meet some bloggy kids IRL.
(In Jackson’s age group, there was Olive, Gabrielle Blair‘s daughter, and Samantha, Mommy Mandy’s daughter. But he also loved meeting Ivy, my dear friend and managing editor at 5 Minutes for Parenting, Stephanie Precourt’s baby, almost as much as I did. Jackson loves babies! And I couldn’t wait to see Steph again too!)
And MOST OF ALL, I wanted to do a mother/son trip! Last year, Olivia was nursing still and I brought her to the Sony Mom Blogger event and to BlogHer. So I wanted Jackson to have a chance to come on a business trip with me.
So, Jackson and I headed off on our first trip just to the two of us. We tweeted along the way, capturing TwitPics with my iPhone, (hashtag #hallmarkevent) and had a wonderful time.
I like to see the world through my children’s eyes. Everything is far more interesting when I get down and look from their perspective.
Touring Hallmark was a fascinating history lesson told through Hallmark’s line. I smiled at cards and pieces from the different eras that reminded me of my Nana and her tiny handwriting with which she filled up every inch of open space on a card and my Mother and all her Christmas cards and tags.
The biggest hit with the kids was the machine that made bows and popped them out for the kids to take as souvenirs. The kids collected as many as they could before we pulled them away.
After the kids left the tour for Kaleidoscope and Crayola Cafe, we moms got down to business with a behind the scenes look at Hallmark. We got to see where and how the creative teams work to produce Hallmark’s cards and products.
I mean Casey really LOVES Hallmark!
I was shocked that the entire creative process happens on site. There are no freelance designers and writers. Hallmark believes in the collaborative benefits of working as a team, live and in person.
I appreciate that commitment to their art and their staff — they seem to work like a well oiled machine, with a deep sense of camaraderie and dedication to the company.
If I weren’t sitting here typing at my kitchen table, with my baby girl napping in the next room, I would be wishing and praying I could work at Hallmark.
And next time I go to purchase a card, I will feel a little warm fuzzy when I reach for Hallmark, a company as heartfelt as their cards.