It is Labor Day and I’m off with the kids while Lauren labors away at work. The kids PLEADED to go to Indigo Play, an indoor playground. It seems like it will be fun, but it’s always a dud. The kids play around for like 20 minutes before they start begging for treats or saying they’re tired and want to go home. Considering it costs $19.99 per kid to get in, 20 minutes of play ain’t gonna cut it. Anyway, I caved and we’re here. At least they sell beer now. I made them promise on video they will play as hard as possible for one entire hour at a minimum, they do not ask for treats from the snack bar, and they do not ask me to get on the equipment with them. We’re at the halfway point and two rules have been broken with John sobbing to me to come play the soccer game with him and Edie on her death bed with hunger for some damn sticky sucker. Anyway… I figured I finally had the motivation to write a little bit about recent happenings.

1. 40 – Part 1

I turned 40 August 23 and celebrated the weekend prior with a giant party at the house, the likes of which we hadn’t seen since possibly the 2013 Halloween party or maybe even the 2012 housewarming party. I estimated 50-60 guests made their way over to our house between 4-8pm that Saturday. Highlights included a bounce house and sno-cone machine for the kids, 6 trays of fajitas from Chuy’s, tours of the shed, Lauren’s rum punch, and my selfie project where I collected photos with as many of the guests as possible before they left. On my actual birthday my boss at work devoted a meeting to doing Ryan birthday trivia which was really cool, and at night we went out to a teppanyaki place.

Me with two random party guests!

2. 40 – Part 2

The other part of my birthday celebration is scheduled for later this month with a trip to Los Angeles to see a Chargers home game in-person for the first time in my life. Thanks to childhood friend Dusty who has since become friends with a family member of the Chargers’ owner, it sounds like we’ll be treated to some special access! I chose the Chargers’ week 3 game vs the Jaguars because it seemed like the most winnable early season game on the schedule. I’ll fly out Friday and meet the gang and come back Monday. There should be time to check out a Dodgers game too. Who knows what else we’ll get into.

3. Kid Pitch

The fall baseball season is upon us, and John has moved up to kid pitch after two years of coach pitch. I had been his coach for the past two seasons, and had vowed to sit out this season so I could learn the ropes of baseball at this level. Alas, they needed the help, and so here I am, managing his team anyway! This year we’re the Mighty Mussels. The league decided to use minor league team names for the fall, and they were the only Twins affiliate available to pick from.

We’re playing Pony rules, which for most intents and purposes is the same rules as MLB—kids can steal bases to their hearts’ content. It should be more fun to manage a team at this level with some actual strategy involved. John is one of the younger kids on the team, if not the youngest in the entire league, as he beat the cutoff by two days with a late August birthday. They go by what your birthday is on August 31, 2023, at which point John will in fact be 9, despite having just turned 8 several days ago. Our first game is this Saturday morning at 9am.

Practicing baseball in the Texas heat. John gets his turn to try pitching.

4. San Francisco

This week I am off to the Bay Area for the Iterable Activate conference. Iterable is the software we use for our email marketing program at work. I have been named a Marketing Master by Iterable, so I got a free pass, and I think I can actually learn some things there that can help the business. I’ll fly out Wednesday morning and arrive early enough to where I think I can hop on the BART and go catch a few innings of the Oakland A’s game and check off another stadium. The rest of the time I’ll be staying in downtown San Francisco. Strangely, every time I’ve ever purposefully traveled to California, it has been to San Francisco, and this will be like my seventh time there. Of course, that all changes in a couple weeks with the LA trip.

5. John Turns 8

Aside from my own milestone birthday, John also had his eighth birthday last week, which was spent at school and baseball practice. But like me, we celebrated on the weekend. John invited five of his good friends to a movie at the Drafthouse which wound up being a pretty fun time for them. They saw DC League of Super Pets and I ordered them all the pop and candy and popcorn they wanted. After, some of the friends met up at the Novaks’ who graciously opened their pool to the group. John got a lot of presents from family and friends including a few Nerf guns. I got John my friend Bart’s used Oculus Quest which has been a big hit so far.

Birthday party guests at the Alamo Drafthouse.