Tuesday, December 30, 2008

When we go to Grandma and Grandpa's house for Christmas, Grandma's table is filled with sweets. It's a real buffet of yummy-ness. I usually skimp on the meal and pig out on dessert. It's a little bit of heaven on earth.

So when I go, I don't like to go empty handed. I am, after all, going to eat my weight in wine cake, pecan pie, and cookies. I like to contribute.

This year I discovered these yummy little treats at my friend Chera's open house. One of the other ladies had made them and I couldn't stop eating them. They looked easy enough, so I thought I'd make them with the kids.

First you take square pretzels and lay them out on the cookie sheet. (Is it "lay" or "lie"? I'm sure my readers who have a better grasp of the English language will be happy to correct me...)

Anyway, the placing of the pretzels was extremely important to the Doodlebug. She wanted them to line up and make nice little rows. When the Nutty Papa came along and dumped pretzels on her cookie sheet, she let him have it. "That's not right!" I didn't know I had such a perfectionist on my hands.

Next you put these little candy discs on top of the pretzels. I searched all over for these little things. I finally found them in the Christmas aisle at Walmart. They had these and the little plastic molds. So I grabbed a bag of each color; red, white and green.

After all the pretzels have received their splash of color, you put them in the oven just long enough the soften the candy disc thing. We liked 5 minutes on 350. That was just enough. You have to be careful not to melt them threw though. That's a mess!
Once the candy is soft, you take them out of the oven and put peanut M&Ms in there. Why peanut? I don't know. That's how the lady at the party made them. I suppose you could make the regular ones. But I think the peanut adds to the salty part of the salty sweet flavor.

And here's the final product. You can see which ones are the Doodlebug's. She insisted on having her peanut stand straight up. It was cute. She wouldn't let her Daddy help either because he didn't "do it right".

Whew! Perfectionists!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas at Wolf Lodge

We celebrated Christmas early with my side of the family. My Mom wanted to take the kids somewhere fun, and she found this place called the Great Wolf Lodge. The kids love playing in the water and this place has an indoor water park. It was amazing! Everyone had a great time!

The lobby of the hotel was beautifully decorated for the holidays.

This was Chojuk's favorite spot. The big bucket dumped water on everyone every 5 minutes. It was so fun! The water almost knocked his suit off once! And it was a heated room so it was comfortable to play even though it was cold outside.

This was the Baby and Doodlebug's favorite spot. Lots of room to splash and play. Behind the wading area is a wave pool that everyone loved. The Snugglebug loved it all! He'd go wherever anyone else was and found fun. He even enjoyed the baby area. He found fun splashing the grown ups! No use staying dry in a pool, right?

At night, they had storytime. The kids would gather around a reader while they read stories. Luckily for us, Santa was the story teller. He read "The Night Before Christmas." See my little blondies there? It was fun!

When we weren't in the pool, we were playing a hotel game. You bought into a scavenger hunt of sorts. You bought a wand and with it you got a playing guide. The guide gave you clues to find. When you found the clues, a wave of the wand would direct you to the next clue. There were kids running all over the hotel looking for clues and waving wands. It was so fun!

If you found all the clues, and collected all the ancient runes, you got to battle a dragon. We didn't make it to the dragon, but we sure had fun trying!

We even encountered some mystical creatures along the way. It was a fun game!

Thank you for a wonderful vacation, Mimi! We're looking forward to going again next Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Santa Claus Came to Town

One night, a few weeks ago, we heard that Santa was going to be at my favorite coffee shop in town. So I thought it would be a great time to take the kids. It would be a quiet intimate place to visit and see Santa. With four little personalities, you never know what reactions you'll get to the big guy.

We were the only ones there when we arrived. As expected, the Doodlebug and the Snugglebug jumped right into his lap. Good thing Santa expects this behavior from children. Anyone else wouldn't have seen it coming.

The Baby wasn't too sure about him. He kept his distance and only offered a high five for a greeting. He quietly observed our jolly new friend for the rest of the evening, never getting any closer than required.

Chojuk has never been a big fan of Father Christmas. When he was smaller, we'd pass him at various locations around town and Chojuk would dare to look and possibly wave, but only at a distance. He's a cautious little guy.

The Doodlebug nearly talked his beard off. She told him all about life with 3 brothers and was happy to report that they were mostly naughty, and she was the nice one. And when she was asked what she wanted for Christmas, she simply said, "A new movie." I hope she's always this easy to please.

The Snugglebug was the first to reach Santa. He didn't bother to introduce himself or engage in small talk. He jumped right to the meat of the conversation. "My friend Mallory has Mario Kart and that's what I want for Christmas. Don't forget to bring me one, ok?"

After 30 minutes of chatting with Santa and trying to get a good picture of the whole family, as evidenced by the Christmas card you've hopefully received, we went into another room to eat dinner. We wanted to give other families the chance to speak to Santa if they wanted to. But for the duration of our visit, we were the only ones there.

After he finished eating, Chojuk went back in to see Santa. He had kept his distance earlier but I think his curiosity got the best of him and he wanted his chance to talk to Santa. He told Santa all about his favorite video games, how he lived on a farm, but didn't like to go outside, and what the true meaning of Christmas was. They visited for quite a while and the longer they talked the more comfortable Chojuk got. Santa and Mrs. Claus were extremely complimentary of him, and all the kids, and said it was due to our homeschooling. I cherish those compliments as they are so rare!

By the end of the evening, I'd say Chojuk had pretty much welcomed our jolly new friend into the family. It was fun to see him enjoy himself and have such a good time with Santa.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Irony at It's Best

The Nutty Papa has a pea sized bladder. Everyone knows this. When we make road trips, he is cut off from beverages. Otherwise, we're stopping every 45 minutes. It's annoying how often he pees.

There's always an exception to the rule.

The Nutty Papa called me this morning to tell me he had gone to the doctor for his "upset stomach" and was off to the emergency room. Turns out, his "upset stomach" was appendicitis. Yep. Merry Christmas.

So I pawned the kids off on one of the only people that can handle all 4 at a moments notice, thank you Michelle!, and head to the hospital. After waiting 4 hours, they get him in for a CAT scan. At this point, I had to make a childcare switch. So I'm off to pick up the kids and take them over to Aunt Deborah's for the rest of the night... thank you Aunt Deborah! Luckily, Aunt Tricia was there to step for me while I'm runnin the kids all across God's green earth. And as soon as I leave to pick up the kids, I get a call from the Nutty Papa... "It's Appendicitis. I'm going in for surgery." Great. I have been sitting in the ER all morning with him and the moment I leave, he's taken away for surgery.

Luckily nothing happens fast in a hospital. So I was able to pick up the kids from Michelle's, run them to Aunt Deborah's, and get back to the hospital before he went in. The nurse tells me it will be an hour surgery and an hour recovery. 30 minutes later, the doctor is walkin in to tell me it's over. It wasn't ruptured, just fat. It needed to come out. He tells me no heavy lifting and no work for 2 weeks. (The Nutty Papa was thrilled with this news since his work has basically closed down for the next two weeks. He gets a free pass from work and can't use it.)

So I sit in the waiting room and wait. And wait. And wait. 3 hours after he's finished with his surgery, they call me in. He's ready to go home. HOME?!? Great! But he has to pee first. No problem! He pees all the time. Wrong. There was a problem. That man couldn't pee. This is the guy who pees every 30 minutes. Couldn't do it. Give him something to drink, they say. He drank 6 Sprites, 3 Cokes, 4 bottles of water and had 3 bags of IV fluids. NOTHING! Finally 4 hours after his surgery, success. We can go home.

The Nutty Papa is home and crashed out. He says he feels much better with it out. Thanks to all those who helped and prayed. We appreciate it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cherish your Gifts this Holiday Season

This is what greeted me as I walked out the back door the other day...

When it gets cold, we get the dogs pillows to enjoy while napping. They love them. They fight over them. And apparently, they get so excited to have them, they tear them up.

I spent the next 45 minutes picking up pillow fluff from the yard. They obviously don't appreciate their gift. Silly puppies!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What is it they say about Apples...?

I have been dying to show these pictures to you since I took them at Thanksgiving. It brings to mind the amazing way genetics comes into play while creating children. Being an only child, I have often watched with wonder how siblings are so different and so alike. I have enjoyed the puzzle life puts forth as to whether the child resembles Mom or Dad. But I never realized the resemblance could go so deep.

Example #1: The Baby. Animal Lover. Like Brother. Like Father.

Example #2: The Snugglebug. Looks like Daddy. Loves animals like Daddy. Genetic wonder? Nature vs Nurture. Hmmmm...
And for those of you who wonder, here's Daddy:

He apparently spent lots of time outside with the animals. He especially enjoyed trying to tame the not so tamed cats.

Apparently he was successful at times. And the resemblance is more than just emotional. Check out that hair! The nose! Those eyes! It's like cloning!

And his love for animals always shines through. Like Father like Son? Yep.

Gettin' Her Wig Busted

The Doodlebug has never had her hair cut. People are starting to ask, "When are you going to get her hair cut?" It's not like it's too long. It's not like it's in her face. But it's ratty. And apparently, people think that if you cut ratty hair, it won't be ratty anymore. I'm tired of being pestered about it, so I decided since I was going to get my hair cut, she could too. Maybe that would get the monkeys off my back.

So yesterday, I made the call. In small towns, there's no need to wait. They are usually waitin' for ya with open arms. And they were. Belinda said, "Come on in!"

Here is the Doodlebug ready to get her haircut. It looks fine. A little runaway. But when you don't have much hair, there isn't much to cut.

She sat so still. I was so proud! She didn't wiggle or squirm like I expected her too. She loved it!

She even paused to give me the classic Doodlebug smile... it usually includes a wink. See?

She loved the attention and the pampering. I can tell she's going to be one of those girls I wasn't. The kind of girl who pays attention to fashion. The kind of girl who applies her makeup in just the right way. The kind of girl who always has her hair styled nicely. Not like her mother.

She was enjoying herself, however the woobie made it's appearance too. It was there to make sure she was 100% comfortable in the situation. To ease her nerves. To make it a really GREAT experience. Because that's what woobies do.

When it was all over, she was thrilled. You can hardly tell she got a cut. But the experience was divine. Let your inner diva shine, Doodlebug!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Baby Teeth

The other day, while snuggling with my Snugglebug, I got to looking at his little teeth. I was telling him that since he's 5 going on 6, he'll probably start loosing his teeth pretty soon. He got his teeth really early. His first two little biters arrived when he was 3 month old! So, if the theory is correct, since he got them early, he'll lose them early.

Losing your teeth is a milestone for kids. When our friends Miles and Davis lost their teeth, their faces all of a sudden looked more grown up. It made them lose the baby face I was so used to. When Chojuk lost his first tooth, I wasn't prepared for it. It happened on accident and it surprised me. He is still losing his teeth really slowly. So his face isn't morphing quite as fast as our friends did, but I still miss that little baby toothed smile.

Not wanting to forget how much I loved those little baby teeth, I decided to snap a picture to cherish the moment.

Look at those teeny tiny teeth. It's the little things about being a Mom that I love so much!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh, Yeah... Thanksgiving!

I knew I was forgetting something. In all the hustle and bustle, I forgot to tell you about our Thanksgiving. It annoys me to no end when the stores skip Thanksgiving and jump straight into Christmas after Halloween. None of that here!

Our Thanksgiving plans had been to go to my Mom's house. Unfortunately, she got sick. So we invited ourselves down to my in-laws Thanksgiving. It's always fun for the kids there... cousins! The boys get to play with their boy cousins and talk Pokemon and video games. And the Doodlebug gets a good dose of what life would be like surrounded by sisters. Girlie stuff everywhere! And she has a ball!

After our delicious Thanksgiving meal, Aunt Nancy gathered all the kids at the dinner table to teach them a new game... Spoons! It was a great game! The kids all get 7 cards. The dealer passes the cards around the table with the goal of getting 4 of a kind. Whoever gets 4 of a kind first is supposed to sneak a spoon off the table. As the other players begin to notice a spoon is missing, they grab one themselves. A spoon grabbing frenzy soon begins and someone is left without a spoon. That person is the loser.

Needless to say, there were some tears shed... no one likes to lose after all. But it was a lot of fun! Trying to keep up with the passing of the cards, watching what you have in your hand, and watching the spoons was quite a lesson in multitasking!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Little Angel Update

Remember the little miracle baby? Matthew , the little miracle baby born to my friends Beth and Tony. He's 5 months old now. He's getting so big! His Daddy likes him to wear hats. It's adorable!

They came to the Nutty Forest to visit during our "We shake 'em, you take 'em" Fall extravaganza. It was a blast! You should plan on coming next year! ... shameless plug... I'll stop at nothing to drum up business...

Anyway, he's doing great! His Mommy and Daddy are so good with him and he's an easy baby...

And he is oh, so cute!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We Start 'em Young 'Round Here

Video Games. They are a completely different animal than when I was growing up. When I was growing up, playing video games was done in an arcade. Games like PacMan, Mrs. PacMan, Donkey Kong, Galaga. To see those games now, the graphics are pitiful. But we loved them. Then came Atari and we got to play Pong! Ugh! I hated pong. I didn't have the patience for it. I could never get that little bar to go where I wanted it to go as fast or as slow as I wanted it to get there. And then I remember sitting for hours watching my high school boyfriend play Zelda. That must have been the beginning of story games... puzzle games. Figure it all out. But again, you had to read the clues. They didn't speak to you.

Video Games have become part of my children's culture. It's what they talk about. It's what they LIVE to do. In our house, it's the carrot. "Get your school work done and you can play video games." "Do your chores and you can play video games." "Help Daddy in the barn, and you can play video games."
Saturdays and Sundays they each get a free hour of video time. No Chores. Just fun. When the Nutty Papa and I were kids, we enjoyed Saturday morning cartoons. So that's what this reminds us of. Just free time to do what you want. They love it! They count down the days until Saturday and Sunday.

Lately, the Baby has been wanting to join his big brothers. This has been a long standing dilemma in our house. First it was Chojuk. He wanted to play with Daddy. Then it was the Snugglebug. He wanted to play with Chojuk. Now, it's the Baby. So I've taught the boys to do with him what we did with them...

Give him a "dummy" remote and let him play along. They're happy because he's not in their way, screaming for a remote. And he's happy because as far as he's concerned, he's the one playing. Ah, peace. If only it could be attained this easily all over the world...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Problem with Watching too Many Movies

So Friday, we made a trip to the city. I took the kids to town for a little culture. We watched a ballet... Cinderella. I was the most surprised by Chojuk's interest. He sat quietly the entire 2 hours and watched. He enjoyed the sets and analyzing the difference between this ballet and the Disney version we've watched a hundred times. I think I need to read him the real version. Anyway, the Doodlebug enjoyed it too. And after the show, she enjoyed meeting the cast... especially the Prince and Cinderella. I was surprised to hear that the Prince was Russian. The Doodlebug walked right up to him and shook his hand. The Snugglebug and Chojuk followed right behind her. I was so proud of them for walking right up to that prince, shaking his hand, and introducing themselves.

After the ballet, we zipped across town to meet a new homeschool group. They are Catholic and do things on a weekly basis to support each other and their community. Sounded like a good place for us, and they just happen to be meeting the day we were in town. When we arrived, I was expecting lively songs and music. I was disappointed to learn we were there for an hour of adoration... which means quiet reflection and prayer. I was tempted to turn around and leave, but the group leader said that it was geared for children and that my kids wouldn't be any more disruptive than any of the other kids there that day... they don't know my kids... So reluctantly, I stayed. I'm glad I did. It was a very interactive experience with the Deacon asking the kids questions and teaching lots of things from church symbols to parts of the mass.

After about 30 minutes, the Snugglebug announces he has to go potty. And not wanting to miss out on an opportunity to escape, the Doodlebug says she has to go too. Luckily the bathrooms were right outside the door to the chapel. So I told Chojuk I was going to run everyone to the bathroom and that he should stay and listen. And out the door I went. Once we got to the bathroom, I realize they aren't planning on making this a quick trip... if you get my drift... so I tell the Doodlebug and the Snugglebug that I'm going to go check on Chojuk. So I leave them in the bathroom to finish their business and the Baby and I head back into the chapel to check on Chojuk.

When I walk into the chapel, Chojuk is sitting in the pew with his hand raised. Fear rushes to my brain. I get all flushed. Obviously the Deacon has asked a question. What if he doesn't get it right? What if he is just going to start talking about his favorite video game and isn't going to say anything about what's happening here? I hold my breath...

"OK.. so I'm going to do my first confession. I'm ready for that. I know what I'm going to say. I'm a little worried about telling the priest everything I've done wrong. But Mama says it'll be OK. And then I get to take my first communion.... and there's the bread... I know bread... it tastes good... I'll like that. But the wine... I'm a little worried about the wine. What is it going to taste like? I don't know if I'll like it.. and Mama says if you drink too much wine you'll get marinated."

Marinated?!? All the adults in the room stifle their laughter. Then they look for the "proud" mother of this child. There I was standing the in the back of the room red as a beat thinking, "I've never said 'marinated'!" But the Deacon handled it beautifully...

"Well, when you drink the wine, you don't take a big drink of it. You just take a little sip. So you'll be OK when you drink the wine. But your Mama is right... if you drink too much wine, you can get marinated."

At that moment, I remembered I had two children still in the bathroom. So I left the chapel to get the other two. We returned to finish the adoration and as some of the adults left, they'd quietly pat my shoulder in a knowing way with a gentle smile on their face. Everyone had been there before and knew how I felt. And I felt support. It was the right place to be.

For those of you wondering, I later learned the source of Chojuk's concern with being marinated...Aristocats! Thanks for solving the mystery, Amy .

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Go!

The Nutty Papa ran his first marathon today. And I cheered for my first marathon today. It was so much fun! I can see why people want to run them. The energy is contagious! Everyone is cheering. People are happy! It's fun!

The Nutty Papa started his day at a bus stop at 6:30am. He waited in line for a shuttle to take him to the starting line for 30 minutes in 40 degree temperatures. I'm sure the cold didn't help his nerves. But he was surrounded by folks feeling the same anxiety... so I'm sure that helped.

He joined his corral, #18, and his friend from work. They were going to motivate each other. When #18 lined up, the guy at the starting line had them cheering. They did the wave. They were ready to go. I wish I could have seen that. But I was on the road with a car full of kids, ready to spend the day with their friends. There are few friends in life who are willing to take your four kids for the day. We are so blessed to have such a friend in Ms. Michelle and Mr. Tim. The kids had a ball and I was confident that my kids were having fun and being loved so I didn't think about them at all. I could focus on my Knight.

The Nutty Papa's sister, Tricia, and I made it to mile 13 at 9:30am. According to my calculations, The Nutty Papa should have arrived at approximately 9:50. So I found a spot and started watching for him, while Tricia started passing out energy drinks. I was so thankful to have her with me on so many levels today. But at that moment, I was thankful to have someone who had it together enough to offer the runners support. I stood on the side of the road on the verge of tears for the first 30 minutes. I couldn't believe how many people where there. How many were willing to push their bodies in such a way... to strive for such a goal. It moved me.

Luckily for me, The Nutty Papa didn't make it at his designated time. Apparently they got a late start and he was 10 minutes late. I needed that extra 10 minutes to pull myself together. Thankfully I wasn't standing on the side of the road bawling my eyes out. But I certainly couldn't yell for anyone.

The Nutty Papa planned on wearing his yellow shirt. He imagined that there would be few yellow shirts on the run. And he was right. The yellow stood out in a crowd. There were yellow shirts... but only a few. So every yellow shirt caught my attention. But only for a moment. I knew his pace. I knew his stride. I'd recognize him immediately.

It was interesting to me the different approaches all the runners took. Some were very serious about it. They were weighted down with energy drinks. Some popped ibuprofen. Some carried carb filled snacks. Some stopped to stretch. Others were walking. Then there were the guys who knew what they were doing. These were the guys who took time to make it entertaining for the others. Take "Jim" here. Turkey head. He ran past me right past the 4:15 sign with a smile on his face and a turkey on his head. What a great attitude. I saw ZZ Top, Santa, beauty pageant winners, and super heroes. One guy was even in a full face mask. How he could run with that face mask over his mouth and nose, I couldn't imagine. But he did. I saw him at every stop.

Finally, my eye found a yellow shirted runner with a long stride. I knew it was him. I held up my sign and started yellin', "Go, Daddy, GO!" He saw me from quite a ways back and started smiling. He made his way over to me on the side of the road and wanted a hug and kiss. He was so happy to see me. It made it worth the wait out in the cold.
As soon as I saw him, I started yellin', "Tricia! Tricia!!" I wanted her to be ready with energy drink for him. And she was.

How cool is it to be greeted by your sister at mile 13 when your needin' a drink? She made sure to get him the energy drinks that were well mixed and full. And she stood there while he drank up 3 or 4 cups of the stuff.

He had done lots of studying about how to prepare your body for the race. He hadn't prepared his body for his big 20 mile run during training and he lost it. So he got some information from a nutritionist who gave him exact amounts of carbs to eat Thursday, Friday and Saturday before the race. Then she also gave him tips on fueling his body during the race. He was much better prepared for his marathon experience than any other run he had made. When we saw him at mile 13, he said he was feeling great. He was breathing well and looking fabulous. I knew he would be doing well. After all, I fed him his carbs on Saturday... and I have the extra pounds to prove it!

After The Nutty Papa passed us, I was ready to run to the next marker. I wanted to make it to as many as I could. I wanted to be the little push he needed, if he needed it. Tricia got called by the Drill Sergeant of the water table and was ordered to clean up the street. There was only one rake, but I tried to help by kicking the cups off the road. It was useless... the more I kicked, the more cups appeared. Tricia is such a considerate person, she would have stayed there all afternoon if I hadn't been jumping around yellin' for her to come drive me to the next stop. She was very patient with me and finally found a break in her street raking duties to come drive me to mile 15. As we were driving, we got a call from the Eye Doctor and his family. They had just seen the Nutty Papa and were excited to have yelled for him. What great friends!! I later learned that the Nutty Papa was so excited to see someone yelling for him that he kissed them all! The Nutty Papa... nothin' but love!

Mile 15 and mile 19 were right beside each other so I asked Tricia to drop me off at mile 19. The Drill Sergeant had recruited her to buy some toilet paper. So she went and got toilet paper while I waited and watched some more.

One again, I was amazed at the endurance and drive of the runners. And of course, the level of seriousness they had. One guy ran by in a big purple tutu and purple tulle cape. It was funny! And he was having a good time.

Another thing I noticed was the different running styles everyone had. Some ran really heavy on their feet. Some bounced a lot. Some were so smooth, their heads didn't bob up and down at all. Some were knock kneed and swung their legs around a lot. Others had limp hands and when they ran, their hands would flick like they were trying to get water off of them. But all of them were cussin' this hill. There was an extremely enthusiastic group of cheerers at the bottom of this hill. They were jumpin' up and down and hollerin' trying to get everyone ramped up to take the hill. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn't. I'd say a good half of the folks just walked up the hill. At mile 19, I would have crawled. That's when I started wondering what was happening with the Nutty Papa. Where was he?

Wait a minute. What's that? Is it a yellow shirt? Tricia decided to wait at the bottom of that hill and run up the hill with him to offer him a little encouragement. Could that be them?

I do believe I see a yellow shirt runnin' along beside my sister-in-law. I started waving my other sign. This one said, "We Love Daddy!" I put that picture of the Nutty Papa kissin' the Doodlebug after a run on there and wrote, "I wish I were running with you Daddy!" Tricia pointed it out to him, but he didn't see it. He was focused on me, he said.

He ran up that hill. He was doing GREAT! He wasn't one of the ones that let that hill get him! I was so proud of him! I put down my sign and ran with him for a few steps. He introduced me to his friend from work. She was running for her brother in Iraq. I bet he's proud!

Then he was gone. Off to tackle more marathon. And I was back to bugging Tricia. "Can we go to another stop?" She was skeptical. I wanted to get to the stop that might be his "wall". I wanted to be there to tell him he could do it. To show him I believed in him. Turns out he didn't need it.

I managed to persuade Tricia to stop at mile 24. It was on the way to the finish line. We stopped and before long, here comes the Nutty Papa. This time he was running with another running buddy. He introduced me and said, "I gotta run! She and I are going to run the rest of the way together." He said he was doing great and feeling fine. He looked it too!

The next time I saw him, it was as he crossed the finish line.


My biggest complaint was that I couldn't see him cross the finish line. They had it so blocked off, I couldn't get in there. I couldn't yell for him. I couldn't snap that picture. But you can bet someone did. And they'll be charging me an arm and a leg for that monumental photo. And it'll be worth it!

I am so proud of him. He finished at 4 hours and 42 minutes. This time was better than he hoped for. And he never hit that wall. He was comfortable and well juiced the whole way. It couldn't have been a better first marathon!

Way to go, Nutty Papa! We're so proud of you!