A week ago last Friday, Christine, Jack, Grayson and I got on a Southwest plane headed from Austin to Orlando. The plan was the hang out with Jodie and Hayes’ family for a few days, then head to my trade show for a few days, then go to Denver for another trade show and to see Joan, Ted, Lydia and Leo for a few days before heading home. Call it “mixing business and pleasure”, if you will.

In Florida, we stayed with Jodie and Hayes for a few days, and hung out with them at their house for most of the day on Friday (after the boys napped all the way from the airport to their house, and a late lunch at McDonald’s that is). Hayes cooked some of the best burgers I’ve ever had that night, and the kids got hot dogs.

On Saturday morning, we’d planned to wake up and watch the Space Shuttle launch from their backyard, but it was scrubbed due to leaking Hydrogen or something… So, instead I slept in, and then we went to the beach, where we had a blast with them at Ponce Inlet.

We all got a little sunburned, and a lot worn out… the sun and the sand can sure take it out of you. After a day at the beach, we ate at a Chili’s with the extended family (pretty much all of Jodie’s family and most of Hayes’ lives there in Florida).

On Sunday, we got up, and headed to the Orlando Science Center, where the kids had a lot of fun. Our original plan was to hit the beach again, but we decided to save the kids from another sunburn filled day… We saw dinosaur bones, and learned about electricity… had lunch, and then picked oranges. Afterwards, we headed to Downtown Disney and the Lego Store before dinner at T-Rex (which is like a Rainforest Cafe with dinosaurs instead of monkeys).

We checked into the Marriot that night, and settled in. I went to a business thing, and the kids and Christine got to sleep pretty late.

On Monday, I did “work” things, while Christine and the boys met Jodie and her beautiful kids, Emma and Morgan, and spent the morning in the pool at the Marriot… which happens to be the biggest pool in the world or something.

Christine had her hands full with the kids all day… I was working… then on Tuesday, she took the kids out while I worked from the room and the lobby of the hotel, and then we headed to the airport around noon. We were lucky we’d left so early, because we ended up having to walk all the way across the Orlando airport after turning in the rental car, before waiting about an hour to check our bags (all 7 of them) with Southwest. The Orlando airport is a zoo. We boarded the airplane, all a little frazzled. The boys wouldn’t sleep, and couldn’t get comfortable, and Christine and I were tired too.

We rented a car in Denver (we weren’t sure if we were going to until we landed) and drove a little out of our way to get to the hotel… and checked in around 9:30 p.m. or so. The staff at the downtown Sheraton were awesome though, and got us into our room quickly, and brought up a crib and fridge quickly too. We got the kids to bed, and I stayed up late catching up on work from the day that I’d not had time to do.

On Wednesday, I worked in the morning, while the kids explored downtown Denver. They hit the public library, the Museum of Art, and the Capitol grounds, before we all went to lunch together. I headed to the lobby to work while the kids took naps (Christine did too). We then met Joan, Leo and Lydia out on the Denver Mall for dinner.

I took Grayson home from dinner early, because he just wasn’t feeling well. We watched Madagascar 2, and all of us went to bed late.

On Thursday, I got up and headed to another trade show, while Christine took the boys, and loaded up the car, and drove out to Arvada, Colorado (the pinnacle of Denver suburbia) to stay with Joan and Ted for the remainder of our trip. Grayson was so exhausted that he finally just laid down in the middle of the living room and crashed. While he napped, the rest of the kids headed to the pool and playground.

On Friday, I quickly hit the trade show, then checked out of the hotel early, and waited for the family to pick me up. Meanwhile, they hit Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Dinosaur Ridge. Talk about some cool stuff! Jack told me all about all of the dinosaur footprints and bones they found on the ride back to the Wagner’s house. That night, Ted cooked filet mignon on the grill, and we all caught up a little after the kids went to bed.

We were treated to this sunset from the front porch of the Wagner’s new house:

Gorgeous.

On Saturday, we got up and headed to Boulder, taking the scenic route through the mountains. We stopped at the Barker Dam for a few photos…

Our goal was to hike to Boulder Falls, but they were closed due to fallen rocks, which was just as well, as the kids were hungry. After lunch at a brewpub in Boulder, we left Joan and Ted, Leo and Lydia in Boulder and headed to the Denver airport. Turning in the car was easier there, but the bag check line at Southwest was just as bad as Orlando.

We got to our gate about 15 minutes before we started boarding (even though we were at the airport a good two hours before our flight), and got on the plane with some tired kids.

Grayson slept all the way home, and Jack and Christine played games together. It was a great flight, and we were glad to be home.

Seven days on the road, in two cities, with me having to actually work 5 of those days, makes for a very tired family, and we’re enjoying catching up on our rest today. We loved seeing our friends, but I don’t think we’ll mix business and pleasure again until the kids are old enough to buy their own tickets and get their own hotel rooms. Or until I can afford to just not work, if I don’t want to. 😉

You can see all of the photos here:

Ponce Inlet Beach Photos
Orlando Photos
Denver Photos

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