December Favorites - Holiday Goodies

Aaack!  Christmas is less than 2 weeks away!
I was just did that happen?!
Here are my December Favorites - Holiday Goodies Edition (La-tee-da)
There is still a lot of stuff out there, but I wanted to share these before it was too late!
More December Favorites (non-Holiday) at the end of the month!

 Isabella and Max Rooms - Printable Gift Tag - Cute and FREE printable gift tag for wine bottles or otherwise.

The Lettered Cottage The Lettered Cottage - Holiday Tablescapes - A bunch of nifty, neat-o, creative ideas, all linked in one place!

 A Cup of Jo - Gift Guide for Dad - Some interesting and cool gift ideas for Dad.

 The Pioneer Woman - Cookbooks for Christmas - Strangely although I love books and I love to cook I don't have an obsession with cookbooks.  I find most of my goodies on-line.  This sort of makes me feel like I should start an obsession though....a whole list of cookbooks for Christmas.  Plus, the last book suggestion is hilarious.  Love it.

Chex Mix meets the Holidays with pumpkin seeds, pistachio nuts and a few dried cherries thrown in for color. Namely Marley - Holiday Snack Mix - Who doesn't love snack mix?  This can be vegan too.

 Two Peas & Their Pod - Chocolate Chip Peppermint Crunch Cookies - A Candy Cane cookie for the Holiday Season!

 Two Peas & Their Pod - Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies - Another cookie from Two Peas & Thier Pod.  These would make a festive cookie tray!

homemade limoncello Shutterbean - Homemade Limoncello - A great idea to give as a gift or serve as a fancy party cocktail, and pretty too!

 i am baker - Tangled Christmas Lights Cupcakes - Too cute not to share.

 A Cup of Jo - Holiday Gift Guide for Sister - Some cute and quirky gift ideas for your sissy.

 Simply Scratch - Eggnog French Toast Sticks with Brown Butter Syrup - I have nothing to say about this other than YUM.  Breakfast perfection.  The Cyclist would love me forever if I made this for him.

 Shutterbean Homemade Amaretto - Oops, Shutterbean did it again!  Another tasty cocktail or gift.

 A Cup of Jo - How drunk can you get at your office party? - The chart was too awesome not to share.  Click the link for the large version.

Free holiday gift tag printables on Family Fresh Family Fresh Cooking - "Vintage Stitches" Holiday Gift Tags Printables - More free printable gift tags!

 Dessert for Two - Mini Gingerbread Loaf - This would be a tasty addition to a gift basket!

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Ironman Arizona 2011 & my IronMom

It started with a surprise.
Which was awesome because my mom really had no idea.

I call my mom IronMom on this blog for a reason.
She truly is an Ironman.

Ironman Arizona was her fourth Ironman event.
That is:
2.4 mile swim
112 mile bike
26.2 mile (marathon) run
All in one day.

If you have not spectated an Ironman event, please do so if you ever have the chance.
It's an amazing and emotional thing.
Especially when your mom is racing.

I arrived the day before race day,
the special needs bags were ready.

The snack bar was set up.

(In case you were wondering that's Oatmea   l.  Stupid app.)

Here is what Ironpeople consume on race day:  

After dinner we crashed early.
And awoke at the patootie-crack of dawn...

IronMom & IronNick were ready to race!

Transition was dark and crowded....

The body markers were busy....

We headed to the bridge to try and get positioned for the swim start....

Look at all those spectators lining the other bridge...

The paddleboarders were ready to go...

And the Pro's started jumping in.

Correction here.  
The actual start line was under the bridge I was standing on when I was taking these photos.
This was not a typicle Ironman swim start.
This was considered a deep water start, so the athletes had to jump in and swim to the start line.
This is because Tempe Town Lake is kind of like a giant dough-boy pool.
Usually all of the athletes run off of the beach or shore and into the water when the gun goes off.
Here, they had to get in first....more on that in a minute.

Swimming to the start line...

Safety First...

Here are all of the age-groupers getting in the water....
They had to climb over a barrier and jump off this dock...

Now, check out all of the athletes just waiting to get in....

Here is video...
This waiting would be so nerve-wracking!!

Others opted to walk along the wall until they couldn't anymore...

I loved this sign...
"Because you can"
That's why.

And the swimmers just kept coming...

 and coming...

Even this guy, without a wetsuit...

...and Santa...
(Didn't you know he does Ironman too?)

...and this guy who spotted me on the bridge and asked for a feature.

One of my better shots of the day I think....

Now, I'm sorry I couldn't bring you the actual start.
But here is what it looks like when 2,700 people start swimming all at once...

Spectators on the bridge we were on....

This guy was in the very back of the swim...

..and all of these people cheered him on the whole way...

Before we knew it the Pro's were on their way back...

...and out of the water...

...and the age-groupers were coming in...

IronMom is a rad swimmer.  She did the swim in 1:19...
Here is some bad video...

And then we were on the bike!!

She's even smiling!
She could be a race poster!

Pro (I think)...

IronMom bike video...she's telling us it was windy on the way back...

She's still smiling!!

Remember Nick?  He was racing too.
Wait, there he goes!

That's really his wheel too.

And bike finish for IronMom...

By the way, as this ↑ was happening, the winner finished.
That's 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run.
In 7 hours 59 minutes.

IronMike (step-dad) was my co-spectator for the day.
This is how most of the day went.
I walk.  I realize he's gone.
I turn around and there he is.
Way far behind me...

That's OK though.  
He earned the name IronMike for completing 9 Ironman events of his own.
This was to be #10, but alas, a back injury kept him from running...and racing.
Thankfully I got him for the day.  I would have been lost without him!

Back to the race!
Swim - check.
Bike - check.
Run started.

As IronMom started her run,
the 2nd place woman was on her way in...

Remember Nick?

He didn't mind.
He even stopped to chat with us...

This was a weird plaque by the lake...

OK.  Whatever you say plaque.

We saw IronMom one more time on the run...

and then we went and had dinner.

Before we knew it it was dark again...

...and the finish line was looming...

...and my IronMom came in strong!

Awesome, wonderful, inspiring job IronMom!

It was a great day...and it wasn't over for my mom.

But before we get to that, let me just mention that spectating, it is a sport within itself!
Here is a short summary of our day spectating....

Ironman Arizona - Spectating
by: thecyclistswife

No really, it was just like that!

Oh in case you were wondering, this is "blue guy"...
Photo: Triathlon Competitor

Now, I said the day wasn't over.
We had to return in the morning for something important....
...the awards banquet...

YouTube Video

That's Right!
IronMom got herself on the podium!!

Along with these other fine ladies...

Wow Mom.  You Rock.

A great surprise.  A long and wonderful day.
I am so proud of my IronMom.
For reals.
Someday I hope I can be like her.

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