Sunday, September 28, 2014

Happy 5th birthday, Logan!

My nephew Logan turned 5 today. This means that my own daughter's 5th birthday is just 5 weeks away. I'd launch into some sort of monologue about how the time has flown, etc, but you already know that and I'm too depressed about it to complain anyway. They grow up so quickly! I'm pretty sure that I have to take her to her driver's test next month.
Anyway, we spent Friday and Saturday in Henderson for the festivities, and yesterday was his Paw Patrol themed birthday party at a park. The kids had a blast playing on two different playgrounds and of course we had cupcakes as well.
It was a long drive back home again, and I can happily say that as of right now, I have no trip on my schedule until February 2015. I'm kind of tired of traveling (I have been gone 11 days in September.) I may actually put my suitcase up in the closet for a change.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Go Lions! Go Kylie!

I came home from Austin yesterday...and this morning Kate and I drove to Henderson for the night. I didn't even unpack my toiletries yesterday - there was no point! We came down because Sunday is Logan's 5th birthday (no! stop it!) and his party is tomorrow. Kylie performed with the high school drill team tonight before the football game, so we decided to come today so we could attend both events.
Kate has never been to a high school football game. We don't really know anyone who plays well enough for us to want to go, so she was completely in awe of the majorettes and cheerleaders and band and mascot was just so much! She did continually cover her ears because we were sitting right next to the band section so it was loud, but I think she really enjoyed herself. She was singing "Go Lions!" when we got to the car. We didn't actually stay for the game, although Henderson scored a touchdown while we were walking to the car. We opted instead to get out of the muggy heat and hit up Dairy Queen for some ice cream.
Next stop, birthday fun.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

An end to the nerdiness

Wednesday in Austin I spent most of my day at the mall. I managed to buy a birthday gift and a few Christmas presents, so it was a productive trip. Wednesday was the official last day of the conference, so we had the wrap party to attend that evening but it turned out to be pretty lame, so we left and went to dinner with Art and Danielle, some friends from New York state. We had one last night in Austin before getting up on Thursday to pack and make our way home.

Since Nick nor A.J. either one had ever been inside the Capital, we decided to stop and take a short tour before we left town. We spent a little less than an hour, but it was long enough for them to see everything.

We started making our way home, stopped for burgers in Georgetown, and made it home to Saginaw around 3:45. We came home with so much extra stuff than we left with! Those vendors really love to shower you with swag.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Totally Awesome Day

Today was the first official day of conference sessions and things, so I had the day to do whatever I wanted while Nick was doing his thing. I slept in this morning before heading out to tour the Capital. It's about a mile from the hotel, so I got some good exercise in while walking down there. I love our Capital building - it's so beautiful! I took lots of pictures and toured parts of it I had never seen before.
After eating lunch, I did a little bit of shopping before time to head over to the convention center for the stuff I was allowed to come to.  Nick showed off the Spicy Award he won this year. which is a pretty huge deal considering they only give out 3 of them total. He had been wanting to win for a few years now, so he was honored and surprised. I'm proud! They had a happy hour for a little bit, so we mingled with people and had some fun in the photo booth.
After dropping off today's swag (we are coming home with a ton of techie crap), we changed into our 80's clothes and headed to the Spiceworld 80's party down at Austin Music Hall. They had a cover band called The Spazmatics, and they were pretty awesome. I knew every song, so I sang along, loudly, all night long! Eventually we got up and danced the night away, so my fitbit steps for today are over 22,000. We spent the evening hanging with several of our friends and some new friends we've made while at the conference.
So far this has been my favorite day!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Nerdy fun day!

Today was the day of the welcome party and badge pick up for the conference. After breakfast this morning, we walked over to the convention center so Nick could get his badge and my guest pass (which turned out to be an orange rubber bracelet) before Nick had to be at a dry run of a panel he is sitting on tomorrow. So I went for a walk downtown while he did that, and then I met up with Katie and Rich for lunch. (Rich was born in Brooklyn and lives in Long Island. I LOVE the way he talks.) We ate at a local place called Crave, and it was fancy and foodie and yummy. Nick eventually joined us so he could eat too. We parted ways after that, and Nick and I grabbed the car so we could go to the airport to pick up Joe.

I've spoken to Joe on the phone many times. He's from Michigan and has a great accent as well. His flight came in at 2:30, and we got to the airport a little early, which was good considering that my GPS decided to take us into the back service entrance to the airport and we had to drive back around to the front. Then I kept missing the pull off for parking so we circled the airport 3 times before I got us into the parking lot. On the way to the airport, Nick registered me as a Spiceworks user so he could register me for the free sponsor showcase so I could go with him to get some free swag and talk to vendors. (I just wanted the free stuff.)

We came back to the conference center again after Joe checked in to the hotel so we could get his badge and my badge. The nice lady also gave me a Spiceworld laptop bag full of swag like regular attendees received (I don't think she was supposed to) and I became a little more official.

We entered the sponsor showcase and the mingling and chit chat began. Nick mostly asked questions and genuinely wanted to learn about the products. I just smiled and acted cute and asked for free ink pens and stuff. I scored some t-shirts and other fun stuff. We hit up a couple of vendor photo booths and managed to speak to 22 vendors during the 2 hour window.
Then it was time to run our swag back to the hotel room so we could walk down to Banger Sausage House & Beer Garden for the welcome party. We had free food, which was not good. Well, the fried pickles were amazing, but I'm not really a fan of the bratwurst. I couldn't eat it, so I just stood around and talked to people as Nick introduced me. It was loud and over stimulating, but I enjoyed people watching and making a few acquaintances. I talked to Joe a lot too, which is fun to finally hang out with and meet someone in person that you've spoken to a lot over the phone.

Since we are old and boring, we skipped the after party mess that was heading to the bars and opted for the quiet retreat to our hotel instead. I managed over 14,000 steps today...I'm tired!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

It's Nerd Week!

This week Nick is attending his fourth Spiceworld conference, which is basically a big nerdfest for some software and community called Spiceworks. I don't really pay that much attention when he talks about it, but I do smile and nod my head. This year I decided I wanted to tag along to see what it was all about and meet some of his fellow Spiceheads that I've spoken to online, so here we are in Austin. Thankfully I don't have to attend the boring lecture stuff during the day time, but my guest pass allows me access to all the fun dinners and parties in the evenings. So I will be free all week during the day to do whatever I would like while he learns or whatever it is that they do all day.

We are staying at the Hampton Inn, located in downtown Austin. Nick literally walks out of the hotel and one block to the convention center, which is very handy. No waiting on shuttles to get him there and back for everything. We are on the 9th floor, so we have a pretty decent view of PF Changs and the convention center itself.
Nick is some sort of local Spiceworks leader that hosts meetings in the DFW area for other users, so tonight there was a welcome event for all the leaders and a guest to attend. We got to take a duck boat tour of Austin and Lake Austin before heading back to Uncle Julio's for free fajitas and the fixings. It wasn't my first time on a duck boat - I remember taking a duck boat ride somewhere on a family vacation when I was a kid but I'm not entirely sure where we were. I'm thinking somewhere in Arkansas, but that could be wrong. It was pretty fun, even though I felt like a total tourist dork while people were staring at us as we drove around town and especially when we drove into the lake itself. But how often do you see a giant truck drive into a lake...or a boat drive around town for that matter? I guess we were worth a few stares.
After dinner we took a walk for a bit to get some exercise, but that didn't last longer than 30 minutes or so because we didn't feel entirely safe and it kind of smells we came back to our hotel room at 9:15. I worked out and Nick worked. We are such party animals.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sandy Lake Amusement Park

Today was the annual Anchor Fabrication company picnic, and this year they decided to hold the event at a more central DFW location since Anchor now has 4 other sister companies to celebrate with, so we ended up at Sandy Lake Amusement Park in Carrollton. I had never been there before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. It felt sort of like stepping back in time a little bit. All of the carnival rides were the old school type that still travel to various parking lots of small town fairs. There were pony rides and an arcade and putt putt golf. They have a beautiful train that you can ride around the park. Lunch was included in the picnic, and we were given yellow wristbands that were good for unlimited games and rides from 2:00-5:00 pm. Of course we were welcome to buy tickets to ride outside of that time frame, but we opted to save our money and wait for 2, much to Kate's dismay.

She had a blast on the various rides and even tried a couple that I knew she was unsure of, but I really knew she would enjoy. I think she rode the carousel 4 or 5 times (they are her favorite) and she and Nick played a round of putt putt. Kate claims that she won.
The weather got a little bit warm but it wasn't completely unbearable, thanks to lots of shade trees, so we enjoyed our day a lot. Kate asked as soon as we got in the car when we could come back, so I guess that means she had a great time!