Monday, March 18, 2013

A Magical Birthday!

I spent the last week in Orlando for a work conference, and we had a great time interviewing 55 candidates from across the nation for our Hall Director positions.  We met some really great people, reconnected with old friends who now work at different insitutions, and wore a lot orange. 
Teddi and Jerry at one of our UT interview  tables - we saw over 50 candidates for our one job posting.

Holly and I at the second table.  You can't see the million orange pom poms we had hung up on the curtains behind us - it was intense.

TPE, The Placement Exchange, is huge.  There were over 1000 candidates and almost 400 schools interviewing for various positions.  It was fun to be a part of the madness.

BUT, the absolute best part of the trip was a birthday surprise!  My friend Emily works for Disney and she got us into the parks FOR FREE!!  What?  Yeah, I said it.  For Free.  Me, Teddi, Holly, and Emily = four gals hitting up the Disney Parks for free!

Ok, so Friday night we met up with our former-UT-now-at-Baylor pal Jasmine and went to Downtown Disney (which is free anyway) and we went to a Dine-In Movie at the AMC Theatre.  We saw Oz the Great and Poweful and ate dinner during the movie.  And it was 3D.  Fun times. Silly movie, eating food in the dark, lots of giggles.
Em and I in our 3D glasses

Teddi, Holly, and Jasmine in the theatre/restaurant

Everyone was celebrating St. Jeannie Day with their green apparel.  Even this living statue guy. 

Saturday evening we were heading to dinner when Emily surprised us with the free park passes, so we scratched our plans for a dinner at a chain and went to Epcot for a dinner with Princesses in Norway.  Naturally.  (I would like to note that I would have dressed much cuter and not worn glasses had I known I what I would be doing that evening)
Emily is amazing.  Love free Disney.

Epcot was amazing, and I got a brithday button!  All the Disney cast members told me Happy Birthday when they saw me.  I am super special and 12 years old.
Holly and I decided everyone is a kid at heart, so my birthday button was not pathetic - just fun!

We rode Spaceship Earth and got this awesome postcard of our future as insane scuba divers.
Anyway, we ate in Norway, and met Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, and Sleeping Beauty.  They gave me a birthday card, a cupcake, and lots of yummy Norweigan food.  At one point as we watched the little girls in their princess dresses hug Cinderella, Holly turned to me and asked if I felt like I was cheating on Violet by being there. 
Teddi, me and Holly at dinner in Norway

Ariel -she was hilariously trying to figure out all of the utensils, furniture, etc.  Very in character.

She was super nice and funny, but I don't think she looks like Aurora much.

She was by far the most popular with the little kids.  She was cute.

Snow White gave Holly princess lessons.

I think I am better at it than Holly.

My birthday card signed by all the princesses

My cupcake - complete with Mickey-shaped sprinkles!
After dinner, Epcot was closing, so we simply used our free Park Hopper passes to jump on over to the Magic Kingdom (oh, and Emily gets free super close parking, so no monorail or ferry required).  We saw the fireworks, the light parade, and as all the exhausted parents were leaving we were stepping right onto the rides with no wait!  It was great.
M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!!

My camera sucks when in motion, but this is me and Teddi on the It's a Small World ride
The photo below was taken right about midnight just as the park was closing.  I officially turned 32 in the most magical of Magic Kingdoms.  Happiness.

And then, after hours of traveling on airplanes (which I HATE), this greeted me in the airport.  Adorable babies, a bouquet or roses, and a green balloon.  Brian even had a pot of homemade New England Clam Chowder on the stove, along with a homemade chocolate cake.
Best homecoming ever. 
Jeremy loved the Cars toys I brought him, and Princess Violet is official now and her Sleeping Beauty dress was a MAJOR hit. 
Jeremy and his new Cars cars

Princess Violet - she threw a massive fit when I tried to take that dress off at bedtime
I had a great time in Orlando, but when this is what I have to come home to, I am more than happy to never leave again!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lessons Learned from 2 Weeks of NASCAR

I love my son.  I love my son.  I love my son. (Sometimes, I need to pump myself up)

I have spent the last two weekends preparing for, watching, and reinacting the Daytona 500 and the Subway Fresh Fit 500.  Yep, those are NASCAR races.  Apparently, the racing season has begun, and we are now avid fans. 

One of the gals I used to work with (who is amazing and I miss her) is a big NASCAR fan and sent me a few documents to help me figure out this new, and confusing, world of professional stock car racing.  How adorable is this stuff?  She used to make bulletin boards and door decs for her halls (yes, I work in Housing and it affects everything I do).  Thanks, Amanda!  (click on these to learn some fun facts!)

So, I have compiled a list of the top observations I had while taking in the race experience with Jeremy:
  • Race tracks are huge.  People camp out there.  I bet that would be fun - like overnight tailgating!
  • Lots of beer commercials.  Jeremy just said, "When I grow up, I am gonna drink Budweiser."
  • Kevin Harvick lets his infant son pretend to drive his card before each race.  That is adorable.
  • Why does that guy say "Boogedy Boogedy, let's go racers!" at the start of each race?  Is he a big fan of Mr. Boogedy?  'Cause I sure am.
  • Jeremy watches every single lap, but a crash brings him leaping off the couch in excitment.  Is that morbid?  I guess no worse than a big hit in a football game that also makes people cheer.
  • My son knows the names of all 43 drivers and constantly yells out their positions.  Constantly.
  • Danica Patrick is a girl.  Who drives a race car.  A girl.  Have you heard?  Every. Five. Seconds.  I get it. 
  • There are mysterious words like "pole/poll", "shoot out", "tandem", "draft", "free pass", etc that mean something seemingly important in this world.  Must check Amanda's glossary.
  • Jeremy is very concerned that Danica's car number changed from 7 to 10.  Now his toy version is inaccurate.  Why did the number change?  Are they on teams?  What does that mean if they are?
  • NASCAR drivers are in some really bad commercials.
  • There seems to be a lot of wheeling and dealing by pit crews. What are they doing?  Do some cars give way to others?  Does this have to do with the mysterious teams?  I am confused.
  • Jimmie Johnson does donuts on the grass when he wins.  Carl Edwards does a back flip off his car.  Do they all have a cute winning thing?
  • Are there bad guys in racing?  Like, why is Brad Keselowski called "Bad Brad?"  Is he mean?  How are you a mean driver?  Do you hit people on purpose?  Surely that is not allowed.
  • That damn Clydesdale commercial still makes me cry. 
So many questions.  So many more races to go to figure it all out.  Oh, the joys of a child's obsession!
Jeremy said they were playing "Princess versus Race Car"

100s of these cars.  Seriously.

My little man.
Happy Racing Season to you all!