Tag Archives: downtown Austin

My Baby ran her first half-marathon!

My Baby {right} & her friend Lindsay stop for a picture at Mile 3

That’s right. My daughter is a rock star! After running a handful of 5Ks and one 10K, our daughter took on her first half-marathon and not only finished, but did it with a big smile on her face. Seriously… who runs 13.1 miles and still has a smile on her face? That’s right – My Baby!

TCP & the grandbabies bundled up

The Complete Package & I took Jonah Bear and Lilly Bug to the race so they could see Mommy run. Getting them up and dressed at 5:30am was not their idea of fun, but once we were out on the course staking a claim on a great vantage point (& unpacking breakfast snacks), they started to get more excited. It was freezing cold, or at least felt like it, but it was important to us to be there cheering from the sidelines and documenting her first half-marathon experience. It was so worth the cold and wind when the kids saw Mommy running up the street at Mile 3. I have to admit, I got excited, too. Once that first runner and his escort passed, it was a blur of runners for a good solid hour.

Here are a few snaps of the runners we cheered for until My Baby and her friend Lindsay ran past. I was amazed at the diversity of runners.

I don't know this girl, but she gets my vote for "Best Dressed in a Tutu"

This "Beer Run" sign was wildly popular with runners.

Oh, wait…. here they come! Here they come!

Coming into view at Mile 3 - all smiles and pure awesomeness

Hi, girls! We're all so proud of you two! Whoo Whoo!

This is where they stopped to have their picture taken (that first photo above). We were at the bell tower on Cesar Chavez near City Hall. It was a perfect vantage point for the early part of the race, and it was just far enough from the start line that they could shed their outer layer of clothing and leave it with us.

Once they were past us, we gathered up the kids, hit the port-o-potties (TCP has a special place in heaven now for taking 2 toddlers into portable toilets on a race course), took a stroll around downtown Austin, and made our way to the First Street bridge, where we saw the girls cross the river at Mile 8 – still smiling.

Matching hot pink shirts & black headbands made them easy to spot.

I snapped of a few quick shots of them coming across the river at Mile 8 before they spotted our son-in-law and his friend Marcus directly across the street from us. They rode their bikes to the race, and pretty much trailed the girls along the course. It turned out to be a perfect way for them to cheer the girls on, but also mule all the gel packs and energy bars they might need along the route.

My Baby stops for a gel break with her hubs {left} & their friend Marcus

It was right after this point that the kids hit the wall. Jonah Bear was tired and Lilly Bug was frozen like a popsicle. Her little hands were like ice. We agreed to meet the kids later for a post-race lunch and we headed home to give the babies a break and let them thaw out. At lunch, the girls celebrated with giant beers and a platter of carbs. They laughed at the looks they got walking into Pluckers in their full running gear and medals, but who cares? They had an awesome time, and met their goal – to finish together in under 3 hours. Their final time as they crossed the finish line side by side was 2:39:37.

Smile, ladies. You're about to win your 13.1 badge of honor.

I’m no expert, but I think that’s pretty awesome for a first half-marathon, and we couldn’t be more proud. As we celebrated over lunch, we asked our daughter if she would ever shoot for the full marathon. She immediately said, “Oh, no way! I can’t even imagine it!” Then I reminded her that she said the same thing about moving up from a 5K to a 10K, and from a 10K to the half-marathon. Her response? “Good point, Mom!”

So it’s settled. 2013 = 26.2. You might as well dream big.

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“You’re the BEST PAPI EVER!”

This summer, The Complete Package participated in the Republic of Texas motorcycle rally in Austin, Texas. One of the best events during the rally is a motorcycle parade that runs from the fairgrounds to Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. For this event, Congress Avenue from the state capital building to the river is closed. Motorcycles leave the fairground in the early evening and create an 11 mile-long motorcycle parade into downtown, past the capital, and onto Congress Avenue. That’s 11 solid miles of motorcycles, riding 2 across, involving thousands of bikes. It’s an incredible sight to behold.

This year, My Baby and I took the kids to Congress Avenue to see the bikes and watch their Papi ride in. We cheered, we bought big sparkly light-up wands for the kids, and we waved at all the riders. As the bikes filled Congress Avenue, the riders parked, got off their bikes and walked around. Bikers swapped stories, families visited friends, and grown-ups and kids alike walked around looking at motorcycles, ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over their favorites. This year, Jonah’s favorite bike involved custom LED lights that flashed and changed colors. He thought it was the coolest bike, and the gentleman that owned it was kind enough to let him sit on it and have his picture taken. He loved that.

Fast forward to this August when TCP decided to install LED lights on his new motorcycle. Lights that flash and change colors and do all kinds of cool things. So when Jonah Bear came for his week-long summer visit (Jonahpalooza), TCP waited until nightfall to take him out to the garage for a little surprise. As Jonah and I watched, TCP turned off the overhead light and with the push of a few buttons on a hand-held remote, he blew Jonah Bear’s mind. It started with “Whoa!” and morphed into “Cool!” and ended with a giant bear hug and a booming “You’re the BEST PAPI EVER!” For me, it was ‘cue the waterworks’ but for Jonah Bear it was ‘cue the rock-n-roll music’ as he launched into a spontaneous air guitar performance the likes of which I have never seen.

Have I mentioned lately that I love this kid to pieces?

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Musings on Austin, Motorcycles, Grandkids & Sleep Deprivation

Well, it’s Tuesday and I’ve just wrapped up 10 action-packed days with the grandbabies, Jonah Bear and Lilly Bug. I thought I would feel bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after a recuperative night’s sleep, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I was up until 3:00am, and I’m feeling totally wiped out. So instead of crafting a dazzling literary recap, I’m opting for a random run-down of what transpired. I apologize in advance for taking the lazy way out. Forgive me. I beg of you.

1. Our adventure started June 10th when The Complete Package saddled up the motorcycle and Ziggy and I manned the “support vehicle” for our trip to Austin. It was our annual pilgrimage for the Republic of Texas motorcycle rally. TCP attends the bike rally; Ziggy and I spend the weekend with the kids. The ROT Rally is said to be the largest in Texas and one of the biggest in the US. Approximately 200,000 participants were expected. This year, TCP entered his new motorcycle in an open division contest and took second place in the Metric Custom category. Got a trophy and everything. My Baby and I took the kids downtown to watch the motorcycles parade past the state capitol and down Congress Avenue on Friday evening. Have you ever seen a motorcycle parade that runs for 11 uninterrupted miles and takes more than 30 minutes to pass? It’s pretty awesome, even if you’re not that into motorcycles. The kids were enthralled, and seeing their Papi ride by in the parade was a highlight. In their minds, Papi (TCP) is now a rock star. You go with your bad self, Papi. Here’s a shot of his bike, or as I like to refer to it – “the other woman”.

2. Bama Boy, our son-in-law, introduced us to his favorite meat market. It’s called Johnny G’s and it’s located in Manchaca, just south of Austin. It is best described as a small, family run meat palace. We bought two hand-cut ribeye steaks for Bama Boy and TCP (about 1.5″ thick) and two smaller steaks for My Baby and I. Then we snagged some smoked jalapeno cheese sausage and some spices. It’s a great little Mom & Pop shop, and those ribeyes were Uh-May-Zing.

3. Turns out Peter Pan is alive and well and recruiting Lost Boys in the Austin area. Who knew? If I could bottle Jonah Bear’s energy, I’d be a guhzillionaire.

4. If you take two kids and two adult women, put them in a car in the dark of night with a multi-colored flashing disco ball light stick and a cool blue light saber, add vintage rock music and park them at a Sonic Drive-In, you’re bound to draw attention. It may or may not have been a coincidence that a police cruiser pulled in just as we were leaving. Look, kids! It’s the Fuzz!

5. There’s no such thing as “too many pancakes” or “enough donuts.”

6. Behold the power of cheese! (Remember those commercials?) Hi, Lilly Bug.

7. After spending 6 days in Austin, I brought the kids back to Houston to spend the weekend at our place. My Baby and Bama Boy were celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary, so a kid-free weekend seemed like an appropriate gift. It was a total win-win for all of us. We wore those kids out. Wore ’em out good!

8. This weekend, Jonah Bear and TCP made homemade cherry pecan ice cream and lasagna. There’s nothing better than men who cook, except for men who cook and then do their own dishes. At 4 years old, Jonah is really getting into the cooking part. We’ll work on washing dishes another time. As for TCP, the man can scour a pan. And no, you can’t have him. And no, he doesn’t have a brother.

9. If I’ve seen Disney’s Tangled once, I’ve seen it a millions times. Jonah Bear usually pretends to be the hero. Lilly is the leading lady. I’m usually the villain (totally against type, I know) and Ziggy is the sidekick. This time, Jonah decided the bad guys were cooler, so he played the roll of the Stabbington brothers (twins). That’s right. Just when you think one bad guy’s enough, Disney produces twins. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a really cute movie. My favorite character – the little old cupid dude at the very end. Makes me laugh every single time.

10. Jonah Bear cried when it was time to head home. I cried when he started crying. Then TCP started crying. I’m telling you, we were one hot mess. Everything you’ve heard about being a grandparent is true. There is such joy in watching your babies grow up and have babies of their own. There is such freedom in enjoying your grandbabies without the stress and anxiety you felt with your own children. You really do learn a lot with age, and there’s a great sense of peace that comes with knowing you didn’t screw it up. Our daughter is amazing. Our son-in-law is a blessing. Their children are the greatest gift ever, and in all seriousness, we couldn’t love them more. Life is good. Really good.

Now if you’ll excuse us, Ziggy and I could really use a nap. A really long nap.

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