Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Birthday Boy

Andy had a birthday last week during spring break. He turned 31 and although it was so much fun, it was pretty low-key (just the way he likes it). My parents were here and we had a fun day celebrating and went to Mt. Vernon for the day, but that's another post in itself!

I got up really early to go get fresh donuts at Paul's Bakery (where I also picked up his birthday cake-mine was from there and it was to die for). We had heard from many people that it is the best bakery in town and that their donuts are incredible. It was true. They were amazing! I made a little donut cake with 2 different kinds of donuts and donut holes, chocolate milk, and the kids and I woke Andy with our Happy Birthday song.

Yum yum.... the rest of the day was spent at Mt. Vernon and that evening my parents and my sisters and me and Andy went out to dinner at Sakura, our favorite Japanese grill and sushi bar. Delish.

Later we did cake and gifts:

The kids made their dad a candy bar poster

My parents and I went in together on a new iPod nano with a watch band for him. It is so cool. Andy's been wanting a new iPod ever since he lost his in our move over a year ago. He doesn't look it in this picture, but he was very excited and he likes to show it off to everyone :)

I love you Andy, Happy Birthday!

'Til We Meet Again

A few posts ago I mentioned how Andy's grandpa had passed away and Andy had flown out to California to go to his funeral. It was Andy's mother's father, Gordon Roth. He was an amazing man and I loved him like my own grandfather. It was quite a bit of a shock when he was diagnosed with Lukemia the end of March. They started chemo the next week and he slowly went into organ failure. Andy's mom called the morning of my triathlon and told us he was going downhill quickly, and that she was flying out that morning to be able to see her father one last time. He died a couple days later, only a week and 2 days after his diagnosis. Like I said, I would have loved to be able to go with Andy to the funeral, but we didn't have people to watch our kids, so I stayed and he went. I am so glad he got to go. He said it was so great to see his entire family (which is HUGE by the way) and they had a great big party the whole weekend which is just the way Grandpa Roth would have wanted it. He was all about having parties and making everything fun.... and he loved food! Leatherby's was his favorite place to eat and I think the whole family went there 3 times over the weekend. 6 of his grown grandsons and one uncle ordered the Daddy Dave sundae which is 2 TWO quarts of ice cream covered in 3 different sauces, nuts, whip cream, and a cherry. If you finish it, you get your picture on the Wall of Fame. Grandpa Roth is on there, of course. All 7 of them finished it and got their picture up there with their grandpa.

5 of the 6 men who finished the Daddy Dave (my husbands family are all giants. He is the shortest here at 6'3'' and the tallest grandson is 6'8")

Here is Andy's beautiful mama putting a flower on her daddy's casket

Andy said the funeral was amazing and he was a pallbearer along with all of his male cousins. It was a beautiful day and they had a delicious lunch afterwards. They did family pictures and all of grandpa's children and spouses, as well as 31 of Andy's 32 cousins were at the funeral (one of his cousins is currently serving a mission in Mexico). Only some spouses and great granchildren (like me and the kids along with some others) weren't able to make it. I know I can get copies of the pictures, I'll have to add them later. I'm glad everyone was able to make it to celebrate the life of a wonderful man. Goodbye grandpa.... 'til we meet again!

Fun at Preschool

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again. I adore Daphne's preschool. They have amazing teachers, great lessons, fun activites, and awesome fieldtrips nearly every month.

Back in March they had a Daddy and Me activity. Daph brought home a cute little invitation that looked like a tie inviting Andy to a fun-filled night at preschool just for Daddy's and their preschool child. I told Andy to take pictures, but guess what? He didn't. Claims he forgot. Suspicious.... He said her teacher got a picture, I just need to get a copy from her so I can add it here later :) Daph told me all about it and said they played games, decorated cookies, had a few contests, and she made him a tie. They had a blast together and Daphne talks about it all the time still.

A couple weeks ago Daphne brought home an invitation inviting me to a Mother's Tea. We went together and decorated sugar cookies, made bracelets, read stories, played games, she showed me the picture she made of me, and of course, we had tea. Mine was a delicious mint herbal tea and Daphne had green punch. It was so much fun and I just loved spending the time with Daphne. I sure do love this girl:

I know, I look extremely haggard. The Tea was the same day as Bear's birthday and it had been quite a crazy day to say the least. I was exhausted.

Here is Daphne's beautiful bracelet we made together

This is Daphne's drawing of yours truly. I thought it was pretty good! She told me, "I did brown AND blonde hair because sometimes yours is both!" HAHA! She's correct, it is right now.... time for some highlights! She even got it right down to my green eyes. On the bottom of the picture the teachers typed up a little questionaire they had asked the kids about their moms. It asked about their mom's age, favorite food, things they enjoy doing, what kind of tv shows they watch, and what they do while their child is at preschool. It was hilarious reading some of the other papers. One kid said his mom was 70, another said his mom was 8. Someone said their mom liked to eat octopus, another said she just worked on the computer all day long. It was great, I loved reading what Daphne said about me. And guess what? She got every question right. Can't pull one over on that girl, she remembers everything.

At the end, Daphne's cute teacher read us a book about mothers and all the kids passed out roses to their Mama's. It was such a fun night, and I loved spending it with my Daphne girl.

About a week and a half ago we went on a field trip to the fire station and learned all about fire safety. It was a lot of fun and Baron and Magnus was able to come too. The kids had a blast sitting in a fire truck, watching a movie on fire safety and watching a fire man get dressed up in all of his gear.

Daphne being the terrific big sissie that she is

Sitting in the fire truck

Mr. Fireman.... I loved how they did this and told the kids not to be afraid if they saw this man in their house because he was just trying to save them from a fire.

Daphne's cute little preschool class

Fun times at preschool, that's for sure!

Smarty Pants

As this school year comes to a close, I wanted to document my smarty pants kids and how well they've been doing in school this past year.

Jonah has improved in leaps and bounds since the beginning of the year. He is kind of a scatterbrained kid and has a hard time remembering instructions and following through, and he is one of the youngest and smallest in his class. At the start of the school year at his first Parent Teacher Conference, his teacher (who has a no nonsense attitude, which I think has been good for Jonah) told us that although he was a great kid, he had a lot of work to do and could use a lot of encouragement and could improve in plenty of areas. I was kind of offended at first until I took a step back and realized it was true, and that there was nothing wrong with that. His first report card was filled with S and S+'s (T is the worst, S is average and E is the best). I think he had 2 or 3 E's on that first report card. On his next one, there were even more E's and S+'s and less of just plain S's. And then on his last report card, he had improved so much, there were double the E's. I was so proud of him and all of his hard work and improvement. I was also proud of myself and all the work we had been doing at home. At his last parent teacher conference, his teacher told me that she was just amazed at his accomplishments and that she honestly didn't think he would turn into as great of a student as he had. She made sure to let me know that he was still a silly joker at times, but that he had started listening better and taking school more seriously. It really showed too, because he had gone from a kindergarten reading level at the beginning of the school year up to 2nd-3rd grade reading level in only 6 months.

Here's Jonah with his big school project. It was an animal project and they get to choose to study whatever animal they want. Well, if you know my kid at all, he is obsessed with all-things-yucky. He has been begging for a turtle, lizard, or snake (he lets me know that he's not picky, he'll take any one of those ;) for years. So, of course, he chose Gila Monsters to study. He read a book about them, wrote the report and chose (all by himself) to do a clay model in it's habitat. I bought the clay and set him to it. He had very little help and instruction from Andy and he came up with this:

I was amazed. Get this kid in some art classes!

I'm so proud of Jonah and all that he has improved in and accomplished this year. Oh, and he got 100% on his report plus some extra credit. Way to go Jo-Jo :)

And then we have the Teacher's Pet.... oh, I mean, Laylah :) I don't know where this girl gets her love of learning because I think I was more like Jonah back in my elementary school days. She will honestly cry if she has to miss a day of school because she is sick or something. She has a plethora of E's smothering her report card with only 2 or 3 S+'s. Her behavior portion is always perfect and her teacher has had nothing but good things to say about her. Her Parent Teacher Conferences always last about 2 minutes because her teacher tells me she is great and wonderful and shows me how well she's doing (she went from a second grade reading level at the beginning of the year and she is now at a fifth grade level) and then we have nothing else to talk about! She is a great student and I hope she stays like this always. Her big project this year was on a famous American of her choosing and she chose Helen Keller. She wrote the 2 page report herself (I typed it for her) and made her visual aid all by herself by finding pictures online, printing them, cutting them out and decorating the posterboard. She got 100% and extra credit as well.

I am definitely a proud Mama and so happy my kids enjoy school and love to learn. Way to go you two little scholars!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Happy Birthday Baron Dear!

Mister Bear turned 3 years old last week! His birthday was the 13th and we had such a fun day celebrating him and making it a special day. He wanted a Mario Brothers Party. Although he isn't very good at playing it on the Wii (yet), he loves all things Mario. That morning he had chosen sugar crepes, applesauce, bacon, and milk for his birthday breakfast.

I always let my kids open one gift that morning because they have to wait the whole, long, rest of the day to open all of their other gifts.

The day of Bear's birthday he had playgroup and he was so excited to bring cupcakes for everyone. We all sang Happy Birthday to him as well.

Later that day I decorated for his party and he just kept jumping around and laughing and clapping saying "It's a Mario party! It's my Mario party!"

The balloons

The place settings

The gifts

The Happy Birthday sign

The Invites. I had orderd a little Mario Party package online and they came with these invitations. I was just going to throw them away because we were just having a family party, but Andy helped Bear fill them out and put one on everyone's bed. They said "You must bring this invitation to get into the party" :) When it was time for the party to begin, all the kids went outside and rang the doorbell to come in to the party. Bear loved it and thought it was so great taking all of the kids to their seats at the table.

The cake. My super talented friend Emily made this cake. Isn't it amazing?! Baron was thrilled, of course.

Baron requested spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I didn't know why, until later I heard him telling Jonah that he wanted spaghetti because that is Mario's favorite food (we have the old Mario cartoons on Netflix and Baron loves to watch them). I thought that to be quite clever as well as hilarious. We also had garlic bread and fried zuchinni.

Happy Birthday to you!

Opening gifts...

Baron received a Leapster and 2 Leapster games, Toy Story 3 toys, a zhuzhu pet, an Imaginext toy (these are my boys' most favorite brand of toys ever, if you need a gift idea for a boy age 2-7 :) from Andy and me and the other kids. He received a Spongebob Mp3 player from my parents, new clothes from Andy's parents, and he also recieved lots of cards (with money in them!) from great grandparents and aunts and uncles. He had such a super birthday. He hasn't stopped playing with his Leapster or listening to his Mp3 player.

Baron at 3

Bear is a big 3 year old. He hasn't had his yearly exam, but I know he is around 43 pounds and 38-39 inches tall. He has always been around 95% in height and weight for his age and he doesn't show any signs of slowing down. He has surpassed Daphne in weight and is closing the gap on height. He loves to eat. He asks to eat all day long and isn't picky at all (just so you know, I don't actually let him eat all day long :). He loves everything. His favorites are bananas, pancakes, cheese, yogurt, turkey sandwiches, berries, and broccoli. He loves to play outside in the dirt, riding his scooter and trike, and jumping on the neighbors trampoline. He likes to run around with the big kids. He likes to think he's older, but he's always the one lagging behind when they're running around playing tag or some other game. He is one of the youngest of all of the neighbor kids, and I am so glad they let him play and participate and include him. He just loves it. He can be a stubborn little stinker and he has been known to throw some pretty crazy tantrums. He is also one of the biggest whiners I know. He loves to watch movies and TV and have help playing Wii and computer games. He loves his toys and will play for hours at a time in his room all alone. He has a huge imagination and makes up some pretty funny games. He loves to be read to and play games with me. His favorite games are Memory, Go Fish, and he's also pretty good at Bop-It. His favorite book is Maisy's Pirate Treasure Hunt. He asks me to sing him a song every night and one of his favorites is Tiny Turtle. He has just loved his playgroup and I've signed him up again for the fall. He can count to 20, he knows almost the entire alphabet (capital and lowercase), all of his shapes and colors, and he hasn't had an accident (potty-wise) since his birthday (I guess it was all just too exciting :) He is a sugar addict and loves fruit snacks, candy, chocolate, and any sweets you'll give him. He is absolutely hilarious and half of the time we are all shocked at the witty things that come out of his mouth. That being said, he is only himself around our little family. He is quite shy (I don't know why, maybe because he was 1 when we moved here and he's never spent a whole lot of time around big groups of people) and often hides his face and refuses to talk when he meets new people. He is such a big sweetheart and at least once a day I'll be cooking or doing dishes in the kitchen and I'll feel two little arms wrap around my legs and give me a squeeze and I'll hear a muffled "I love you mama." When I look down, there is Bear giving me a love and before I can even hug him back, he is off, running to a new adventure. We all absolutely adore our Baby Bear (as we call him) and I am so grateful I have the privilege of being his mother. Happy Birthday Bear!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lucky Me

I am usually not a fan of Mondays, but I am glad this one is here. This past weekend has been quite a challenge for me and I'm relieved it's over. Andy's grandfather died unexpectedly and rather suddenly last Monday. Andy flew out to California Thursday to go to the funeral and we tried every which way to get me there too, but we didn't feel great about me going because of several different activities going on with the kids so I stayed home. That's one of the things I hate about living away from family. No babysitters. Anyway, Daphne had a field trip on Friday that I went and helped with and afterwards I took her, Bear, and Magnus to McDonald's to have lunch and play. I nursed M while we were there and I had just finished and was holding him on my hip when Bear asked for help with something. I stood up and leaned over across the table to help him and *SNAP!* My back just went out..... pain, Pain, PAIN shooting through my back. I ended up practically dragging M out as I could barely lift him, as well as the carseat. I couldn't stand up completely straight, but I had to hunch over like a crippled, old granny (I'm getting more and more used to this position, unfortunately). I made it home and the only thing that made me comfortable was laying on my side on the couch. Laylah and Jonah got home shortly after that and we just watched movies all night. The kids started complaining of hunger around 7:30 and I was wondering if I should just order pizza, but Laylah searched the fridge and found hot dogs, green beans, and pineapple. She made dinner for all and then helped get everyone ready for bed. The next morning it was worse and I couldn't even get out of bed and when I tried I couldn't walk, so I crawled. Laylah made sure everyone had a healthy breakfast (cold cereal, milk, bananas, and toast) and helped me get the kids ready. Jonah and Daphne both had birthday parties to go to and Laylah brought me all the wrapping supplies to wrap the gifts. She also brought M to me when he woke up so I could feed him. Then she changed his diaper and got him all set up with toys. Around 9 my inspired visiting teacher called. I have talked about her often. She is an amazing lady and I like to refer to her as my "Virginia Mom". Anyway, Jean came over and then TOOK over. She took the kids to their parties (after she scolded me for not calling her in the first place... :). She came back and took care of everything. She did my laundry, did dishes and cleaned up my house (funny how a clean house can get messy in one evening when mom's layed up on the couch). She made lunch. She spent the entire day with me and ran errands for me. We talked and talked and she sympathized with me (I was really bummed that I wasn't in CA with Andy). Andy's cousin's wife, Meghan, also came over and brought us dinner, which was delish. Jean got my kids to bed and afterwards another friend, Emily, came over and she and Jean and I talked late into the night. It was so much fun. And of course, they made sure I was settled before they left. I had a couple of other wonderful friends (Ira and Mandy) take my kids to church for me the next morning and afterwards Jean took them over to her house to feed them and play with them. I was still miserable, although it wasn't as bad as it had been. I could actually walk on Sunday, albeit hunched over, I could walk :) I just wanted to remember this weekend. I wanted to remember the friends who gave selfless service at the drop of a hat. Besides the people that helped me this weekend, I had just as many call and offer to help. I have a dinner lined up for tonight and I had two other offers besides that one. It just amazes me how good people are. I want to always remember so I can be like that. I want to be willing and able to help anyone at anytime. I want the great attitude that all of the people who served me have:the pure love of Christ. It truly is, and it truly humbled me. Besides my friends, there's my kids. None of them complained this weekend and they were all gems (well, for the most part ;). Especially my little mama, Laylah. She gave me this note on Sunday and I believe I will keep it forever: I am grateful that despite the challenges I have and face daily, Heavenly Father sends me angels here on earth. I know He loves me and thinks of me and is always closest to me during my hardest times and biggest struggles. I might forget that once in awhile, especially when I am facing trials that seem never-ending and unfair, but after a humbling experience like this one, He reminds me he hasn't forgotten me, and He never will.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Smithfield Sprint Triathlon

Last Saturday was incredible. I completed my first sprint triathlon! This has been a goal over two years in the making and I did it! It feels so amazing. In VA it's hard to find a race that isn't on a Sunday. I am unwilling to race on Sunday, so I had very few choices of tri's to choose from. The one I chose was a perfect fit for me. Since it was my first, I was thrilled that this race started in an indoor pool. I think I would like to do an open water race, but not quite yet. Anyway, the town it was in is about 2 1/2 hours away from where we live. Andy and I got a hotel for Friday night so I would have plenty of time to get set-up, warmed up, and figure out the baby's feeding schedule so he wouldn't be starving in the middle of my race (because he currently refuses bottles.... perfect timing, right?) We ended up taking Bear with us too (since he was in the midst of potty-training... we didn't want to pass that onto anyone!) and we left the oldest 3 with my dear friend Ira (who also lent me her racing bike-she is great :) We headed out Friday afternoon and the drive was beautiful. I was a little nervous and kept repeating what I needed in my head and making sure I hadn't forgotten anything. I also kept checking the weather forecast at least once an hour because it was supposed to be about 50* and rainy and that is what I was most nervous about. I really didn't want to race in the rain. I just kept hoping those little raindrops on my weather app on my iphone would go away and instead it would be changed to lovely, sunny weather. I love driving in Virginia.... like I said, it is beautiful. We made it to Smithfield and I went to pick up my race packet. We headed to the town where our hotel was after that (it was about 20 miles away) and we had to cross a bridge that was over open water. It was called Hampton Roads Bay and it lets out into the ocean. I have never driven across open water on a bridge before. It was making me really nervous and I wasn't the only one. Bear kept saying "I want to go home!" and he had a death grip on his booster seat arm rests. Andy was laughing at both of us. One side of the bridge... And the other... And finally the drawbridge we drove over. I started to calm down after this. All of the boats in the bay.... beautiful. We went to Red Robin for dinner. It was so fun to just have our 2 little ones and get to have some one-on-one time with them. They sure are cute little guys :) After dinner we went to our hotel. Baron was mesmerized by the concept and said "We are going to sleep here?!" I realized that it had been over a year since he had stayed in a hotel (since our move to VA, in fact) and he didn't remember the experience. It took us awhile to get him settled, as well as Magnus, who has been sick yet again. He has another case of RSV and needed a breathing treatment. I was worried he would keep me up all night, but Andy assured me he would get up with him and keep him quiet so I could be sure and get good night sleep.Both M and Bear slept really well, but Magnus did get up around 4:30 AM to eat and then Andy took him for a breathing treatment while I got a little more sleep. We were up by about 6:30 to get all ready to go. Baron loved eating breakfast in the hotel. I was getting a little more nervous and didn't think I'd be able to eat, but I managed to get a small bowl of cheerios down as well as some orange juice and about 1/4 of a bagel. I took an apple for the road since my race didn't start until 10. As we left the hotel, Baron said "Bye hotel! See you next time!" I'm pretty sure he liked it..... ;) It was really cold and a little overcast, but the forecast had changed from rain to just cloudy. Yay! That brought my spirits right up. On the drive over to Smithfield, Andy asked me what my goal finish time was. I told him I didn't care-I just wanted to finish! He decided I needed something to work towards, so we set my goal to finish in under an hour and a half. I thought I could manage that.... we knew my best leg of the race would be the bike, so my goal was to go as fast as I could during that event and just keep a moderate, steady pace on the swim and the run. When we got there I became very intimidated. All of these people getting ready looked very professional and had incredibly expensive looking bikes and other gear. It was also freezing cold. All of these people had beanies and mittens and I was freaking out that I didn't come prepared enough. I tried to calm myself and remember someone's advice to just worry about myself and not anyone else. It worked very well and I calmed down right away. I got all my gear and went into the transition area to set up. I spoke to another lady, Barbara, (who said it was also her first tri) and we were able to reassure the other and help encourage each other.

Here I am next to my gear in the transition area. It was only about 40* and a little windy. I was freezing and very worried about being soaking wet in the cold after the swim. Andy was the calm one, of course, and kept telling me that I wouldn't even notice the cold.

I went over and picked up my racing chip and got my body marks and then it was basically the waiting game. I was number 360 out of about 500 people. They base the order on your swim time that you had to turn in about 3 weeks before the race.

See my name? I was super lucky and very excited about the fact that I was right before the 2 minute break that they did every 10 minutes. That meant I wouldn't have anyone breathing down my neck trying to pass me in the swim. I was super stoked about this. Andy was the one with the camera and throughout the whole day Bear kept on randomly saying "Okay, take a picture of me now!" I wasn't scheduled to swim until 11:13, so since the race started at 10, Andy and I went to watch the people who started off the race(you know, the "professionals" :) I was shocked at how fast they were. They would run out of the pool area soaking wet, throw their helmet on, grab their bike, and run out the shute. Their bike shoes would already be clipped into their pedals, and they would strap them on as they were already pedaling away down the road. Crazy. I guess that's why they're the pros! After watching for about 15 minutes, I fed Magnus around 10:30 and then went inside to warm up and stretch. I got some good luck hugs and kisses from my boys (aka my cheerleaders :) and then went to get in line to start my race! I was very surprised by how calm I felt. I got into the water when it was my turn and got ready and when the guy told me to go, I WENT! I know I have never swam as fast as I did. I started out with the front crawl. I passed a couple of people about half-way through and then switched to the breaststroke, which was slower, but easier.
I finished the swim and hopped out of the water and ran outside. The cold hit me, but after a second, I didn't notice it at all. I toweled off quickly, put on my socks and shoes and fleece pullover, my helmet and sunglasses, grabbed my bike, and ran out the bike shute.

There I go, a little wobbly at first. I was still a little shaky from the swim!

And there's my cute boy again, waiting for me!

We had driven the bike course the night before. I knew it would be an easy one for me. Unfortunately, the wind had really picked up and I was riding straight into it. I felt like I was hardly moving. I was getting a little frustrated, but I calmed myself down and started talking to myself. Okay, first of all-I do not talk to myself. Second of all-I do not encourage myself. I don't know why, I just never really have. But I had read an article that said to say encouraging things to yourself out loud. So I did. And it worked! I felt much better. I kept telling myself how awesome I was and that probably no one else in this race had 5 kids or a 5 month old baby (thanks for that one Lisa M!) I also started singing to myself. I felt totally weird at first, but it really did help me! And then I would start laughing because it just was so funny to me.

Everything was going great and then about halfway through the race during a huge uphill, my worst nightmare happened...

My chain came off my bike. I think I said a bad word.

I almost started freaking out, but I somehow stayed calm enough to get off the bike and I slowly walked along trying to fix it and get it lined up again. I kept checking my watch and the minutes were ticking by, as well as the people passing me. I was so annoyed when they would call out stuff like, "Oh shoot, that hill will really get ya!" I wanted to yell back at them, "My chain is off my bike you idiot, I'm not walking because I can't cycle up a hill!" But I refrained and just kept concentrating on my bike. I was honestly just praying over and over in my head. Finally after about 5 minutes when I thought I was going to have to walk 5 miles back and give up, I got back on and started pedaling and the chain just kind of snapped back into place and I took off again. I circled around the course and finally, the wind was with me! I passed several people on the way back and just went as hard as I could.

It was thrilling to see the transition area come back into view and know that I just had to run 3 miles and I would be done. I got to the end and hopped off my bike and my legs were like jelly. I had a hard time getting back to my spot to stow my bike, but I did it. I quickly changed my fleece to a lighter weight top with my bib number pinned on the front and took off, all the while hearing Andy and Baron cheering for me. I was so exhausted. Andy yelled to me "Don't stop running, just keep going! You can do it!"

My 2 baby boys waiting for me to finish the race

So after running out of the shute and getting on the road, I realized just how tired I was. I felt like I was running through mud up to my waist. My feet felt like they weighed 25 pounds each. I decided right then that this was the hardest thing I have ever done.... and I have had 5 kids! 4 of them being over 9 pounds! I kept thinking, "Now, WHY did I want to do this so badly?!?" I felt like I was punishing myself unnecessarily. But I couldn't stop. Andy had told me to not stop running, so I didn't. The song "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...." came into my head and I kept singing it over and over. I didn't realize that the course was marked at miles 1, 2, and 3. When I thought I was at least halfway done, I came to a sign that said "Mile 1" and I just about started crying right there. Seriously. I am not a runner and I knew this part was going to be hard for me, especially since it is last, but I was not prepared for how hard it really was. People were passing me left and right and I just focused on a lady in front of me who looked to be going about my pace and I just didn't lose sight of her. I stayed with her the entire 3 miles. When I was about 300 yards from the finish, there were people lining the street and cheering you on. I got emotional and almost started crying, but that made it much harder to breath, so I knocked that nonsense off real quick. I heard my name announced that I was coming to the finish and I heard Andy cheering. I tried to speed up, but I literally couldn't. A guy passed by me really fast (you can see him below-he is in the gray and I am next to him in the black. The lady at the front of the picture is the lady I followed the whole time :) and I was way annoyed. haha. Oh well.

And then, I crossed that finish line! And I felt so incredibly accomplished and amazing that I decided right then that I would do it over again in a heartbeat. And then I immediately thought "What's wrong with you?! You're crazy!" But I know I will do it again :) Hahahaha.
It was an amazing feeling. I loved doing it. And when I finished Andy said "Oh honey, great job!" and I felt so lucky to have his love and support the entire time. He is so great and I sure love him :) He had timed me and I had finished in 1 H 30 M 45 S. I was a little bummed that I didn't make it under my goal, but I realized that I would have if the chain mishap wouldn't have happened. Plus, it was my first race. There's always next time :)My total breakdown:

swim: 8 M 11 S

T1: 2 M 42 S

bike: 41 M 53 S

T2: 1 M 50 S

run: 36 M 11 S

I placed 368th out of around 500 and 136th out of the ladies. I am pretty darn proud of myself, and I do think that I am pretty awesome to boot ;)