Friday, April 30, 2010

Vegas Strip and Buffets Galore

Today, we walked the strip and took the Duece bus to see sights. We checked out the Mandelay Bay, Excalibar, Luxor, New York, New York, MGM, Planet Hollywood, Paris, Flamingo, Venetian, and more! It was a lot of walking, but it was really fun. We also sampled pretzel M&M's as they were new at the M&M store.

The Harrah's resorts had a deal going that was as much as you wanted to eat in 24 hours at the 7 Harrah's buffet's for $34.99. We ate at the Harrah's breakfast buffet, the Planet Hollywood lunch, and Caesar's for dinner. Planet Hollywood was the best, and Caesar's was by far the absolute rock bottom worst. Pitiful buffet. Also, they were the only place we ate all weekend that required 18% upfront for us to sit together. Silly. Tony loved it though - joke. :)

There was an amazing band, Mr and Mrs Smith, playing at the Harrah's Carnaval (yes it is spelled that way) Court. It was loud, but they were really good. We played a little blackjack and craps before calling it a night.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Tonight, I left for Vegas. FINALLY! It seems like forever ago that we started planning this trip, but it is finally here. It is almost like I didn't believe i would really be able to go, but it worked out! I was scheduled for a training class in Atlanta that wasn't going to end until late in the day, so I had scheduled a trip to leave in the evening. The rest of the crew got there around noon. I was a bit bummed to not get there at the beginning, but I didn't really mind because i was getting to go. THANKS TO GRAMS AND PAPA for coming to Tampa to keep Miss Morgan. She had a great time, and it was really nice to get some time with Mike and friends.

We went to the Shadow bar at Caesar's, wandered around the strip, gambled a little, and called it a night. Fun!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

St. Anthony's Meek and Mighty

Pictures can be found here

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Daytona - Last Cheer Competition!

Pictures can be found here

This weekend, Morgan competed in her last cheer competition of the year - and possibly her last one ever. She thinks she wants to take a break, so as of now, we are out of the cheer world. She does want to try out for the school team, and she says she might want to do it again in the fall after a break. We will see. :)

We drove over on Friday afternoon and got to the beach before dark. We had a nice time hanging out with our cheer friends, and we went to dinner with a lot of them at the WingHouse. It was good. We especially enjoyed the drinks. :)

Saturday, the competition was great, and the weather was fantastic. Morgan's teams both won!!!!! They both did a fantastic job, and it was so great to have them finish on such a high note. As is tradition, they went into the ocean in the uniforms after they won.

Sunday, we hung out for a bit and then headed home to get ready for another week of work and school!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday at HOME

Today, we actually didn't have to be anywhere! AMAZING! Chris, Katie, and Michael were with us, and we had a great time. We swam at the Y so that they could prepare for the Meek and Mighty triathlon. The kids did a great job swimming. It was a beautiful day, but the water wasn't warm enough (according to Morgan). We went shopping for some camping gear and bike stuff. We ate at "Konichiwa" otherwise known as the Super Buffet. Then, the kids made ice cream using a ball that you roll around. They had a great time. It was LOUD, but I survived. :)

Fort Desoto Sprint Triathlon

I have now officially completed my second sprint triathlon!!!!!! The crazy part is that I got second in my division! I was first in the swim, fourth in the bike (I suck at the bike), and third in the run.

I got up at 3:30am (yes, that is 3:30 - I don't think I have ever willfully gotten up at 3:30 although I have seen it from the other direction quite a few times). I drove to Jennifer's to ride with or follow them to the race. I decided to drive so that I could have my car no matter what. Mike was going to get the kids in Brandon after the race, so I needed a car to get Morgan and I home. I followed them (thankfully as I was so brain dead at that hour). We arrived about 5:30 which was PERFECT. I was on the fourth rack in the transition area. Of course, I got yelled at twice before I ever even got into the transition. The packet had a wrist band, but I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do with it (e.g. right arm, left arm, etc). They also wanted my chip ON when I got there. I had it all in a nice little envelope in my bag. I got marked with my age and number (I really hate that they make your age go up to what it WILL be at the end of the year and I will really hate that next year). I love that they write it on you. It feels so cool. :) I got into trouble for not having my wrist band on AND for not having the chip on. Geez...take it easy. It is 5:30 and I am still new at this! :)

I tried to put my bike on the rack, and it collapsed. Oops. A girl tried to help me, but it was falling down. I went to find someone, and of course, I could only find the man who yelled at me about the wrist band. Lovely. I put on my sweetest face and kindly asked him if he could help me with my rack. He asks if my wrist band is on, and I was SO glad that I could say yes. He helps me get it fixed, and then the nice girl who tried to help before tells me that I am hanging my bike wrong. She is very nice and smiling and tells me that my seat has a hook. So that is what it is for! :)

I look to my left and see that Carmen is across the aisle! FATE! :) She tells me that we are soon to be tbff's (triathlon best friends forever) as we were rbff's (running bff's) for the half marathon. I am nervous, but I know it is Carmen's first tri all together so I try to be good. We go to the restroom, and I go back to the car to get some cough drops. I am coughing a lot. I set out my things in the order I think I will use them. I mentally prepare as if i am coming back from the swim. Then, I think of coming back from the bike. I was pretty happy with it, but I definitely need to get a tri bag. That must be my next purchase. :)

I really need to pee and possibly some other form of restroom activity, so I am nervous. The port-a-potty line was VERY long. i abandoned it when they said that we had 3 minutes before transition closed for the race and there were 10 people in front of me.

We walked down to the beach. I got into the water, and I was surprised that it wasn't too cold. We put on our swim caps and wetsuits. I was a pink swim cap. Carmen was also a pink. :) We waited together. I thought Mike and Morgan must be there by now, but I didn't see them. I left my shoes and shirt on the beach, and I asked Sean to tell Mike if he saw him.

When we were waiting, a man was talking to a lady and pointng out how people were drifting out on the outbound leg of the swim which made it farther from the green buoy. Good point I thought as I watched. I decided to go out on the inside. I didn't go in front, but instead I hung at the back as I was pretty nervous about the ocean swim. I didn't get to practice before the race, so I was afraid of waves, people banging into me, etc.

I should have gone in the front as I had a really hard time breaking away. I got kicked a few times, and I was elbowed a few times. I finally found a track and made some way. Then, I ran into someone else. I elbowed one girl in the head. Oops. I finally got over my nice side and just swam. I didn't care if I hit people, got hit, was kicked, etc. I just kept going no matter what. i was SHOCKED to see the green buoy. ALREADY? WOW! I so should have swam a bit harder, but it was a nice swim. As we came in, I saw a LOT of people standing up and walking out very early. I kept swimming until I couldn't any longer as I know it is much easier to swim than to walk in water.

Then, we had to go across the lagoon. YUCK. It was nasty feeling on your feet and it STUNK. ICK. I saw Mike and Morgan yelling for me as I came out. I was so happy to see their smiling faces. I can do this!

I started pulling off my wetsuit. Then, I remembered that I wore a bra top with nothing over it as I don't have a tri top I felt good about wearing yet. So, I couldn't pull it all down because then I would be walking around in a bra top. That might scare everyone, so i just kept it over my boobs but unzipped and out of my arms.

It was a pretty long job to the transition. My feet were killing me by the time I finished running over the litle rocks and shells on the path. I was SO happy to put on SHOES!

I got into transition, and I took my sham wow to my feet. YUCK. They had nasty lagoon stuff on them. I pulled off the wetsuit thinking about how much I stink at taking it off. I need to practice that. I got my socks and shoes on. I got my helmet on (without trouble this time), and I put my watch on. I grabbed my sunglasses and I was off! That felt prety good. I was third in transition time in my division, but there were only 5 seconds between 2nd and 3rd. The fastest time was over a minute less! Until I can run faster, especially with no shoes, I don't think that transition will get better for a while unless it is a shorter distance from swim to bike.

I started out on the bike trying to figure out how fast to go. Man, that wind is NOT FUN. WOW!!!!! Around mile 3 I am wondering why I do this. Around mile 4, I am so thankful that I am about to turn around. My bike is leaning SIDEWAYS with the wind. I did get into my aero bars and that helped a lot. Next thing I know, well before mile 5, we are turning! WOO HOO! It was SO great to have that wind at my back for a while. I loved the next 4 miles. AWESOME and fun. Then, it got windy again for the last 2. I knew the end was near though, so it was ok. I got into my transition, pulled off the helmet, took a sip of water, put on my visor, grabbed a gu, and I was off!

I planned to run the first mile and then take a walk break. However, I felt so good at a mile, I decided to go for another half mile. At one and a half, I felt so good that I decided to just keep going until I needed a walk. Then, the stairs came. Lovely. The top stair was brutal, but they weren't as bad as I expected. Going down them was fun. Then, we ran on the beach. It was beautiful, and the day was perfect. The wind felt good since I was getting hot, but the sand and wind made it harder to run. I still hadn't seen anyone from my group on the run. I had seen Monica and Brian at transition, so I thought they would be right beind and would pass me. Around mile 3, I saw Holly. Then, I saw Jen coming the other way. It was fun to see them, and I was excited to be nearing the end. At one point, I asked the girl next to me where she was from. She said Atlanta. I told her that the company I worked for was based there at Ravinia. She said it was right near her. At that moment, this 66 year old man who was PASSING us said, "Girls, if you can talk you aren't running hard enough. " I thought that was very funny but probably true. I was really enjoying it though and didn't want to push too hard too fast.

The last half mile I pushed a bit harder. It was so great to hear the crowds. Then, I saw Mike and Morgan cheering for me. It felt SO great to go across the finish. I did feel like I might puke for a brief second after I crossed, but it was quick. I don't know why I get that at the end of runs, but I almost always get it.

I cheered in Monica, Brian, and my tbff, Carmen. It was so good to see everyone finish and to celebrate. The crew wanted to go to some bagel place to eat, so we went. Morgan realizes she has lost her phone. Mike thought it was at home. Morgan said itwasn't. We tried AT&T, but the lady on the phone was worthless and didn't have a clue about the services they have. Finally, they told me that it would take 24 hours to activate the service that can help find the phone. We went back to the race area, but they said that they didn't have a cell but we could check with race director later.

On the way home, Morgan looks up the results on my phone. She says, "Mommy, you got 2nd place!" I was SHOCKED. I didn't even get my trophy with all of the phone hunting! I hope they will send it.

Thankfully, the next day, the race director responded to my email that he had her phone. I picked it up and saved having to buy a new one. WHEW!

I totally loved the race. I had a great day with my tri buddies. I definitely want to do it again next year. Loved it!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Heather and Sean's Wedding

After the race, we hurried home from the beach to take a shower. Less than 2 hours at home before we turned around and went to the beach again for Heather and Sean's wedding. Traffic was AWFUL, and it took us 2 hours to get there. We almost missed the beginning of the ceremony, but just in time we made it.

A heart was on the beach written in the sand, and the ceremony was around the heart. It was a very nice ceremony, and I teared up a few times. Very sweet. It made Mike and I think about our wedding almost 6 years ago on the beach in Hilton Head.

We all got a shell (a shell girl instead of a flower girl was a cute touch), and we gave them good wishes and threw them into the ocean. It was fun!

The reception was on a boat, and we had dinner, drinks, and dancing to the sunset. It was really fun to meet some of Heather's family and friends. We got home late, and poor Mike had to drive ALLLL the way home with me sound asleep. I was WORN OUT!!!!!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Home Again

We flew home to Tampa today. We were plenty early to the airport, had the best type of flight you can have (uneventful), and arrived in Tampa around 2. We went to pick up my packet for the Fort Desoto triathlon, and then drove back to our house. We got home around 4:30, and Morgan had cheer practice at 7:30. Wow, that time went quickly. We got home around 10:30. I have to get up at 3:30 in the morning tomorrow, so I tried to go to sleep. I think I am ready!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursday in Nashville

Today was game day at Grams and Papa's house. We played battleship, kings in the corner, aggravation, candyland (yes, Morgan is 11 but she wanted to play Candyland), and Sorry. I lost in battleship, won in kings in the corner, won at aggravation, and got last in candyland and sorry. :)

We went back to Chico's to pick up the clothes I put on hold the day before. Of course, we happened to find yet another top I "had to have." Danger, Danger. :)

We saw the movie, "The Last Song" with Miley Cyrus. I had read the book, so I was prepared to not like it that much. However, I thought Miley did a great job in her first "adult" role.

We ate at Bonefish Grill for dinner where Papa and I had sea bass oscar style. YUM. Morgan had salmon, and Grams had the pecan trout. I discovered that my parents have never seen the Blind Side - the best movie of last year in my opinion. Apparently, there are too many lies and such about Ole Miss so they can't see it. Interesting...:) The funny thing was that our waiter was from Mississippi and he though the same thing!

I can't believe that this is our last day. It has been so nice being home. It always seems like it doesn't work out with my work travel, my parents fun travel, and cheer/school schedules. However, I know I will be back in July, so at least it is only a few months. :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday in Nashville

I started today with a 7 mile run around cool springs. I kept thinking about how all of that land was pasture when I was in high school. It is simply unbelievable how that area of Cool Springs has grown. Neighborhoods, a mall, a gazillion stores, restaurants, fast food, car dealers. Unbelievable.

Morgan and Grams made rice crispy treats. It had been a long time since I had eaten those. They are so good.

Mom and I went shopping at Chico's and Macy's. We found some great tops and white capri pants. I also got 3 pairs of shoes - two sandles and one slip on black shoe for the airport. We had a good time chatting and shopping. I miss seeing my parents, and it was so nice to have a relaxing time with them.

For dinner, Papa made Salmon for them, and I had leftover brisket. It was SO good. I must make it. Supposedly, it is easy to make. :) We worked on Grams book some. It was such a great day.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday in Nashville

Today, we hung out at Grams and Papa's for a lot of the day. We had a good time working on the picture book, playing games, and chatting.

We went to the Cool Springs Mall, and we shopped at Justice and the Mac Authority store. Man, tha ipad is cool. I want one. Love it. It really seems like a great tool.

I went swimming at the Y in the afternoon. Grams and Papa had a dinner party that night, so we stayed and got to say hi to their guests. One of them was a chaperone on a choir trip I went on to New Orleans, and one was my German and English teach in high school. Too funny.

We went to dinner with Heather, Ashley, and Brittney at the Logan's Steakhouse. We had a great time catching up, swapping stories, and giggling at old times. :)

We watched Biggest Loser after dinner, and it was so good. We loved that Melissa went home again. WHEW. She was SOOOOOOO annoying!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Trip to Nashville

Today, we went to Nashville to visit my parents for spring break. The silly school systems here divide up spring breaks in the area so that they are not at the same time. Obviously, they didn't come from a blended family. So, Morgan has spring break this week, and Chris, Katie, and Michael have it NEXT week.

So, to be fair, I took Morgan to Nsahville, and Mike is taking the kids camping. That way everyone got to do something fun for the break.

I got up early and went for a 9 mile run. We had plenty of time, and we got to the airport VERY early. Morgan has told me 5 times that her stomach hurts, but her stomach always hurts. I didn't really think anything about it. As we are in the security line, she has the international I am going to throw up sign. She has her hand over her mouth with a look of terror in her eyes. I ask if she is going to be sick. She nods. Lovely. I see no bathroom on this side of security. I see a trash can and point Morgan to it. JUST IN TIME! She hurls right into the trash can. I think I will always remember the look of horror on the other passengers faces. She is a trooper though and makes it through security. She says she feels better and says she wants some gum to get the tast out of her mouth.

We make it onto the plane. We haven't even taken off, and she pukes again. Thank goodness for barf bags. The poor man sitting next to us was probably wondering WHY he picked that seat next to us since it was Southwest and he could sit wherever he wanted. There was a fantastic flight attendant who was great at helping us. She took the puke bag, gave napkins, and handed a trash bag. She offered a wet rag and was very nice. Morgan happened to have an extra shirt in her backpack. I provided a shield while she changed. Whew, thank goodnesss!

We arrived in Nashville in one piece. Morgan slept for most of the flight thankfully. Papa had a phenergan pill, and we gave Morgan half of it. She slept most of the afternoon while we ate Chick Fil A (LOVE that chargrilled and fruit salad) and worked on Mom's picture book of their cruise.

It was so great to be home, and it was nice after dinner when Morgan felt better. We had Sonic for dinner, and Morgan had some light food for dinner. Of course, the Sonic forgot Papa's chicken nuggets. Grams was good and went back to get them.

We watched the final NCAA game, and we were all pulling for Butler simply because it was such an amazing journey. Of course, the lost at the last minute, but I thought they did an amazing job against all odds. I like Duke though, so I wasn't disappointed.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Great Customer Service Again!

In a world that seems to have so much bad customer service or at least lacking spectacular service, I seem to have hit the jackpot this week.

I had purchased a wetsuit here in Tampa at a store that only sells wetsuits with sleeves. I generally really like this store, and they were very helpful. I had asked them about ones without sleeves, but they assured me that sleeves were what I needed.

Holly and Jen, the greatest tri coaches on the planet, were mortified when I told them that I got sleeves. They have taken me from someone who couldn't run at all and gotten me to do a half marathon and a triathlon so far, so I trust them a lot. So far, their advice has been right on target. So, when they said that the sleeves would be a pain in Florida because the water isnt usually that cold and that they feel restricted in the sleeves and have actually cut them off before, I listened. I returned the sleeved ones. However, we are doing a practice run this weekend in Holly's lake, and I really wanted to have my wetsuit to try it out.

So, I went online to a site that Holly sent out for Xterra wetsuits. I usually do a lot of research before I buy things like this, but for wetsuits the research seems a bit mixed. It seems to say that as long as you buy the best one you can afford that there isn't a lot of difference between the brands other than preference.

So, the other thing is that the Xterra site says that you can actually TRY the wetsuit in the water and you can return or exchange for up to 30 days. The store here in Tampa and the other online places I found said that you couldn't exhange if you wore it. I really liked that idea, so I decided to buy the more expensive one that didn't have sleeves. Due to the amazing discounts, it didn't turn out to be too bad. I got 2 day shipping. Whew. it would be here for the dry run. I rush off for my business trip not worrying about it.

Bing, I get an email. GRRRRRR....the wetsuit is on back order. Now, it is 9pm, and I have no wetsuit for the weekend. Worse, my computer is broken, so I am stuck using my phone.
The next dayI get an email from the Xterra person again saying that they do have a different model that she can overnight to me at no charge due to the inconvenience. She shipped it and it made it today. As I tried it on, I am still not sure what it will be like in the water, so I am very thankful that they let you try it. If I like it, I am keeping it due to the amazing service. She even emailed and called today to make sure that the credit was applied to my credit card as this model was cheaper.

As I was in a panic, I did order a Zoot from Amazon as well. i did get it also today, so my Amazon service level just keeps kicking butt too. It is more expensive though, and I am not sure I like the fit of it as much as the Xterra. Plus, if i wear it in the water, I am done. Cheers to Xterra for the service and the ablity to TRY the wetsuit in the water.