The Florida Aquarium

Another rainy day in Florida. We had to get out of the house and decided on some indoor fun. Giant stingray outside the aquarium. Lauren and the fishes. I think I saw some of those fish when snorkeling in Hawaii.
Giant yellow eel
Sea Turtle or Honu
The best part of the day was when they brought two penguins out in a red wagon and then let them walk around on a square of carpet.
I was sitting on the edge of the carpet with all the other kids.
Sometimes they came really close. No touchy.
These were penguins from South Africa (I think).
They were SO cute.
Rear view.
That's me! Loved those penguins.
Maybe I'm a crustacean and not a penguin. No, that can't be right!

Happy 60th Dad!

My Dad turned 60 this year. We planned a big party in Austin and he got a few surprises. My sister flew in from New York to surprise my dad for the weekend.
Once the whole family reunited, we of course went out for Mexican food.
Dad, Sandra, Aunt Martha and myself.
This was my Dad's other big birthday surprise, a NEW car!
We are heading to the party site.
We had a BBQ party at The Salt Lick.
It was Alyson and my responsibility to get Dad to the party.
Mom and Gale had the party room ready to go.
It's the birthday boy!
The food was great! The company was even better. It was great to visit with everyone.
Me and sister looking cute!


Florida State Fair

Lauren and I made a trip to the Florida State Fair. Closest thing I've found to the Texas State Fair. I had to have a corn dog because that's what I do at the fair. We enjoyed some pig races.
Rode a few rides. We took this picture just before the ride shot straight up without any warning. Scared us more than the drop.
And we ended the night with an Elvis Impersonator contest. It was the finals of the competition. This is Gary above. He was the only young Elvis. He was my favorite.
An older bejeweled Elvis.
And a Vegas Elvis with lots of tassels, also another favorite of mine.



I'm happy to say that the Nascar races have once again crossed my path. Meaning I got a chance to visit with my friends Allison and Ryan. This picture above is right before we drove through the tunnel into the infield.
Lauren and I drove over Friday evening to spend the day at the track on Saturday. We got to stay in Danica Patrick's parent's hotel room that they ended up not using. Nice view of the beach even though it was COLD. The stands full of race fans.
We started the afternoon off by attending the driver's meeting. This meeting has required attendance by all driver's and their crew chief. They introduce all the important people and go over the rules for the race. In the picture above you can see Jim Belushi and Bruce Jenner.
Pushing the cars out of the garage.
Me standing in front of the haulers. Did I mention it was very cold?
Lauren posing with some tires. It was her first time at the race track.
Hanging out in the garage with Ryan before the race. We were really just trying to stay out of the wind. My friend, Allison, currently works for Jr. Motor Sports. The Daytona Race was the first race Danica Patrick was racing for Nascar. She was on Danica duty. It was crazy. Before the race we spent half our time in the #16 hauler (Ryan's team) and the other half in the #7 hauler. People were waiting to get autographs outside the hauler even though Danica wasn't inside. They were always disappointed to see us and tried to get us to have things signed for them. Oh...those crazy race fans.
Danica getting interviewed by ESPN before the race. She is a super tiny lady.
Casey Cain
Carl Edwards
Dale Jr. with his mountain man beard.
Danica's car on the track for the National Anthem. We were standing with the media photographers.
Danica on the track.
Ryan's car #16
Ryan and his teammates waiting for their car to drive by.
Tires in the pit waiting to have their turn around the track.
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Ryan on the right getting ready for a pit stop. He is the car cheif and changes rear tires.
Another celebrity siting...the Captain of the Time Bandit from The Deadliest Catch.
On the phone finding out I got into UT grad school!
Here we are on pit road. The sun finally came out. We had a great time and really enjoyed showing Lauren around Nascar for the day.


Happy Birthday Lauren!
We started Lauren's birthday off with Munchkins and OJ.
Then I surprised her with a day at the spa. We had a great time getting pampered and playing in the steam room and hot tub. Just what the day called for!