Last weekend Heather and I made our first ever trip to Texas, and I was stoked to go because everything there is larger than life: The Alamo! Buddy Holly! Longhorns! Rick Perry!

“You better bring your “A” game,” I warned Heather. “I’m going big this weekend. Gonna play some high school football, win first prize at a rodeo, go hunting with ‘W’ –.”

“I’m pretty sure none of those things are going to happen,” she interrupted with an eye roll.

Okay, fine. So none of those things happened, but some pretty big things happened nonetheless – I took a “Man Vs. Food” challenge, spoke at the first ever Dad Blogging conference, and even (somehow) ended up discussing the finer points of parent blogging with a homeless man!

The Dad 2.0 conference was in Austin, Texas, which meant I was in the vicinity of a restaurant, “Juan In A Million,” that I’d seen featured on “Man Vs. Food.” As no stranger to food challenges, I was set on visiting this place because it has a doozy of challenge.  It involves an amazing breakfast taco – over one pound of egg, cheese, bacon, and potato – and to beat the record you have to eat EIGHT! in one sitting. Even “Man vs. Food” host Adam Richman only got through four.

photo 1.JPG
Get a load of this thing!

Pretty big, aye? I’m ashamed to say that, upon finishing this behemoth, I couldn’t even start a second. I blame the mounds of brisket I’d eaten the night before… that and the pound of pecans I’d bought at the pecan farm down the road from the hotel. Did I mention they sell FULL SIZED PECAN PIES IN VENDING MACHINES?!

photo 3.JPG
Check out the bottom row… full pies! Just $20!

I was feeling less full and ready to talk when it came time for my panel. We discussed how dad bloggers could appeal to both a male and female readership, and the conversation was pretty interesting.  Here’s my awesome panel:

The chair in the front listened very attentively.

It was great to be part of Dad 2.0. The Dad blogging world is not as close knit or established as that of the mom bloggers, so it was a joy to meet other men who write about what it is like to be a 21st century Dad.

After the closing keynote speech everyone headed off to downtown Austin where there was a party at an outdoor concert venue. Some local bands played, and, in addition to the Dad 2.0 crowd, a bunch of Austin-ites showed up. At one point a dude with a scruffy beard, dirty clothes, and wild eyes staggered over to me.

“So, man,” he drawled. “What did you speak about?”

I was thoroughly confused until I realized I was still wearing my speaker badge.

“Dad Blogging,” I told the crazy homeless dude.

“Right on, brother. I’ve been thinking about starting a mommy blog myself.”

“You should. You could call it ‘Bearded Mama’ dot com. Probably be a hit.”

“Stranger things have happened, my brother.”

“That’s true. Like this conversation.”

The crazy homeless guy laughed, then shook my hand and proclaimed, “Keep blogging, my man! Peace!” As he walked away Heather hurried over.

“What the heck was that about?”

“Believe it or not I was discussing blogging with that homeless dude.”

“I don’t think he’s homeless, babe,” Heather said with a smirk. “I think he’s just an Austin hipster.”

Well, whatever he was, I predict he will soon challenge The Pioneer Woman for biggest Mommy blogger in the world.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend, but the best part was returning home to Annie and having her run up to me at the airport.  Getting a hug, and then another after giving her a little stuffed Longhorn we’d brought back, was about as sweet a moment as there can be.