Well, for me- what happens in Vegas is my Five for Friday! Thank you, Kacey, for hosting!
Of course, it's me. I wasn't the lady being escorted by a different man holding her up under each arm on the elevator at 4:30 AM when we left on Wednesday... so my trip was pretty G rated, don't worry. It's fine. It's better than fine. It was amazing, and I will remember the details forever. I'll try to condense it - plus I was only there for two days, so I should be able to make it short and sweet.
My wonderful husband Jeff went with me on the trip even though he had a big conference this week, and missed three days of that conference - because 1. He knew I wouldn't go alone. (which was confirmed time and time again as I kept saying, "See, I'd never do this alone. See, trying to get a cab- I'd never do this alone." And so on...) and 2. I talked about this conference and meeting my friends forEVER and 3. He got to play some Black Jack (We set a limit. We won't discuss the outcome. It wasn't as pretty as we hoped.) and read and relax. 4. He loves me. Thank GOODNESS
First of all, the flight. Perfect. We drove to Philadelphia and left from there since that was a straight flight to Las Vegas. I felt like I was scanning for kindergarten teachers the entire trip... I didn't see any in Philadelphia. We did buy some water and a magazine. It was $10.30, and I gave the girl $10, a quarter, and a Canadian nickel, to which she replied, "Honey, that ain't no nickel."
Apparently, "that ain't no nickel." Sorry, Susanna...
The Hotel, The Food
Again- perfect. I sound like I am straight out of Green Acres, but 3 flat screen TVs in the room. Come ON. Well, two in the room, one in the bathroom, excuse me. Everything was gorgeous and elegant and special. Even the bottles of $6 water. It's funny how worth it those $6 bottles of water seem when you have none! Although, Jeff poured some into the iron to iron a shirt, and it was like he was pouring pure gold into that iron. I
The Venetian and Palazzo have about 7000 rooms together. I think the Venetian is "smaller" with about 3000. It felt cozy like that. Luckily, there are signs in the lobby/casino/conference area all over telling you where to go. That's where "Reading for Information" really comes into play, kids. Otherwise, you could wander miles.
Side note... Speaking of "Reading for Information," I MAY have accidentally signed myself up for the huge Martial Arts Super Show that was also going on at the same time. The sweet lady signing me in was nice as could be. She could not find my name (DUH- cause I was supposed to be at the SDE Conference ) but she made me a badge anyway. I probably do look like some sort of black belt, I am thinking. Finally, after I was probably a little too much or she looked at me more closely and saw how not karate-like I was, she said, "Are you a teacher?"
I did take karate for 6 weeks with my kids when they were small. The instructor told me to get down lower in a squat- and I was pretty much done. I just wanted to say, "No, you can't tell me what to do," and then I realized that I was not good at taking direction.
My nephew,Tim, is AWESOME and has his own karate school in Naples, Florida. He would have been proud of me for trying to crash that conference. (That's Tim below, not me...)
We did go to the pool which was huge- surprise, surprise. We finally found two chairs because this sweet couple was leaving. It was a gift they gave us as we walked by. We laid out, and I loved feeling that Las Vegas sunshine just soaking in. It was like 110 degrees, but Jeff and I must have said, "Yeah, but it's a dry heat," a hundred times because we thought we were funny. You know
After we had all we could take of the heat, we saw a sweet dad and his two daughters walking by, so we could give them our seats (there was one more by us), and he said we had a special place in heaven for doing that. I literally could have done that all day- had seats and then given them to people to make them happy. It was packed by the pool, needless to say. This isn't my picture but it is the actual pool.
Well I did get a fish sandwich from B&B twice- because it was so fabulous I needed it again. (My friend, Amy, most likely expected me to get a fish sandwich every meal, but I branched out, Amy.)
It was like Mario was saying, "Come on, get fish again..." (He wasn't really there- and he didn't really say that. I just like fish sandwiches and am trying to justify it.)
I ate classy food, too. My favorite restaurant was The Grand Lux Cafe. I liked it because it was nice, but comfortable, and we had great seats- and great food.
I don't know how people take the time to take pictures of food because I was so hungry I didn't even think of it. We split a brownie sundae that was delicious. I found a picture of it online, of course (Thank you, Google...) I think ours was bigger.
I knew I was only going to be at the conference for two days so I had to
To begin with, I was by myself for the conference. It sounds lonely and sad, I know. BUT there were 6600 teachers there, so, if you are lonely and sad, that's on you.
Being an introvert, though, I do have to say that when I went into the first session and Jayne Gammons said, "Be sure you have a partner!" I wanted to turn around and walk out. I pretended I didn't hear it. Then she said it again. A sweet, sweet, girl named Kari turned around and was my new friend/partner. She teaches in Washington state and BAM- our kids are now penpals!
I got to hug Deedee Wills finally. She told the people behind us that I was her "tribe" and that made my day. She makes me laugh and is just awesome. Her sessions were great, as you would expect. Since I have gotten home, she has also shared her hair product tips with me, so I can buy what she uses because her hair was so pretty ... Next year, she should have a session on that.
I knew it would be hard to find Heidi Butkus, but I kept
The best part was that we actually got to talk for a while. Now when we sing her songs, like we do ALL the time, and I say she is my friend, I can really know I finally met her in real, live person!
Susanna pointed out that it does, indeed, say "asses" over our heads. Heidi will tell you we were chatting at ESGI and it says "assessments" made easy. I may need photography lessons on placement.
I also got to meet Melinda from ESGI. We have emailed and facebooked for so long, and she is just so adorable and wonderful in real life.
My heart was beating, beating, beating, as I went to the 5th floor to see the vendors and to see my Sandy. Sandy Welch, Susanna Westby, and I all met started blogging the same time about two years ago, and just knew we were meant to be together, except for some reason, Sandy lives in California, Susanna in British Columbia, and I am in NY.
The vendors hadn't set up yet, but as I went to go to the bathroom, I saw a vision- and it was SANDY! That explains the picture by the bathroom. It was the moment I needed to remember! I didn't care where it was.
Her booth was packed. She's a star. No one- NO ONE- deserves it more. I was telling her that at sessions I went to, they did giveaways with her apron, and just referred to her as "Sandy." She's like Oprah, Beyonce, Cher, or Celine... she only needs one name.
I got to meet her wonderful husband, too, who was selling those aprons like a boss! Because Sandy and I are not THEE most techy people in the world, I
I also got to meet Fran Kramer who was helping Sandy at the time (cause Sandy was busy, busy, busy!)- and Fran was just darling! SO energetic and happy, and sweet and kind. I could have listened to her all day long. She's so full of life.
Right next to Sandy's booth was Greg Smedley, so that was perfect. I got to go chat with him for a while! He's adorable, too, as you know. Jason was right there ringing up the goods for everyone.
Then, on Tuesday, it was the perfect trifecta- and even better, a quadfecta (that's a real thing I made up.) Susanna was GOING to arrive on Wednesday- but God knew I needed to meet her- so He changed her plans, and she got to come on Tuesday for me. Phew! We met at Sandy's booth, because that was the place to be. AHHHH! It was fabulous! I also got to meet Susanna's husband. Now we are pretty much all family.
Fran, Susanna (and her great husband!), and I went to get coffee. This was my very favorite session of the trip. Luckily, it wasn't on the list- or it would have been sold out/packed/ very expensive to take. Ever since I met Susanna, she has been disgusted that I use Word to make things (which I don't do well) an don't know PowerPoint. I don't. She has sent me tutorials... because she's great like that- but I need someone to SHOW me. So, she gave me a PowerPoint lesson right then and there.
My very own lesson from Susanna Westby. Heavenly. I'm putting it on my resume for the rest of my life. Fran was giving pointers, too, and was schooling us both on life lessons. She is the one you want in your corner teaching you how to be brave and smart.
I think here Susanna is probably threatening me if I EVER try to use Word again...
Then, after our session, Sandy came which made it even more PERFECT. This was my moment.
Sessions and Shopping
Oh yeah, I was there for a conference. Only kidding- the sessions were great. SDE can put on a conference, that's for sure. It was so well organized. I cannot imagine the work that went into all of it. I learned so much from the presenters I saw. Of course there were always about three at the same time I somehow wanted to see. I did get to see Jayne Gammons, Kim Jordano, Kim Adsit, Deedee Wills, and Lynn Ecenbarger. I am busy making some activities to go with what I learned that I will share here next Friday!
The presenters were all fabulous. I have stacks of handouts and pages of great ideas to use this year. I can't wait!
This is one of the floors the conference was on. Hallways go off in both directions.
Since our suitcase was 5 lbs heavy on the way out, I told myself it was a good thing because I wouldn't buy anything... oops. Jeff didn't have a carry on bag, so he went home carrying a Kindergarten Conference bag full of goodies. I love him.
Seeing Dr. Jean's and my book on the first display as we went into the book room made my day again and again.
Once when I was
I finally got to meet Tom, my editor, and Kim and Debbie, whom I also got to work with on the book. Everyone at SDE is so genuine and kind. I am so beyond thrilled to be a tiny part of working with them.
Our book sold out by Tuesday night! WOOT! WOOT! It was just amazing.
Thank you for sharing my trip with me. I hope you all can come next year if you want! It's such a fabulous experience that I will remember forever.