California is nice, but when you travel to the same two office buildings in the same two cities, 4 times a year, it starts to get a little boring. Same goes for the Seattle area. So, after 2.5 months without significant time on the road, I hoped to mix things up a little. I’m blessed to get to have interesting destinations as part of my job, and I’m enjoying slowly getting the kids into that concept of life. The first stop, then, was with the whole fam:
Great Wolf Lodge, Niagara Falls
Our first (of what will surely be many) road trip in our new van. We took the kids and their two favorite babysitters to the Falls, and then stayed the night at a hotel and indoor water park. It wasn’t particularly cheap, but it was close, and something we could pull off with my old man’s back and Nic very pregnant. The kids had a good time, the girls got manicures, Nic and I got massages, and we all managed to do something in the water. Ben and Abi were too short for most of the slides, but they were able to go down one “big kids” slide with Jamie and Larry, and were terrified/in love with it. There was a wave pool, a lazy river, and a bunch of little slides too.
It was just a long weekend get-away, and I did have to do a couple conference calls from the parking lot, but it was a fun family trip – and a much needed winter get-away. When we got back, Nic and the kids stayed with the girls while I re-painted the living room – a project we’d been wanting to do for awhile, but couldn’t with a pregnant lady in the house! Pics will be in the side-bar when someone gets around to it…
Same two stops as usual – although they’re not usually both in the same week. I visited one office, then drove my rental car across California to the other one. It was 6 hours of driving, which became 9 when I spontaneously decided to detour out to the cost and approach LA via the scenic route. It was a long, but beautiful drive, and I saw parts of California I never would have normally.
Home for the weekend, then off to Chicago. One of the campuses of the Willow Creek mega-church (Bill Hybel’s digs) hosts a “Gurus” conference for church technology people (audio, video, stage, and lighting) where they, and others, share what they’ve learned about creating a worship experience for the 21,000+ people who attend their services. I’d be surprised if major television networks could hold a candle to the kind of gear, people and expertise involved. It was positively jaw-dropping to tour their main campus, and so refreshing to see Biblical and Spiritual depth that rivaled the creativity.
There were 11 or so other folks from our home church in Canada going, so they picked me up at O’Hare and we all attended the conference together. We had a fun group – although it was a little odd sharing what felt like a business trip with a bunch of folks who clearly were not seasoned travelers (and who assaulted my ears with 80s music whenever we piled into the church’s over-sized van!)
I’m going to the TEDx conference in Waterloo, so I had to leave early, which gave me the chance to take a couple trains across part of Illinois to get to the airport and head home on my own.
I try to only head into the mothership when there’s a clear benefit to being there, and when I go I like to stack as many activities as possible. This trip I’ll be a guest speaker at a Services meeting on partnering with other internal teams, meeting with my new manager, sorting out budgets for the rest of the year, and opening a mailbox in town. We’ve kept a mailing address in New York, but its high time we move that to a location I actually go to regularly.
This trip involves only 24 hours in-town, and after that I should only have two more conferences to participate in, or host, before the baby arrives.
Once we’re all settled into that season of life, it’ll be time to start thinking about some more international destinations again…