Friday, August 26, 2011

Swaddle Free

Maddox got part of his night swaddle free so he took advantage of the freedom.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Legoland Deutschland

We took Macen to Legoland and we were all amazed at the lego creations. The main attraction for Macen and James was the Star Wars area. It was a hot day so all the water activities were refreshing for the boys. Picture overload follows:

Fountain in Berlin

Munich airport

15,000 pieces and 143 hrs later you get the above result.

James and Macen at Pirate Island spraying innocent bystanders

The "instruments" played music when you stepped on the stones. Macen got a kick out of this.

To our surprise, Macen wanted to ride this and dad was more than willing to indulge him.

Macen tempting the water gods. He managed to play for a bit and barely got wet. Next we headed to a playground with lots of water playing. His shirt came off and his shorts were quickly soaked.

Macen liked riding the horses and even named them.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Star Wars Legos

It's a poorly kept secret that I'm a Star Wars Geek. I've been waiting several years until Macen was old enough for us to start putting together Star Wars Legos together. I finally decided to take the plunge in order to distract Macen after Maddox was born and I'd heard several guys on the street with boys Macen's age say they had started putting them together.

Macen helped me a little bit as I put together Darth Vader's Tie Advanced but I was pretty much on my own for the X-Wing.

The plan all along was for Dad to put together the regular size Star Wars Legos and then hang them from the ceiling in Macen's room. Macen wasn't supposed to play with the regular ones, instead he got Star Wars Mini Legos that he could play with. Well Dad didn't have fishing line in Germany, he must have left in the States with the rest of his hunting and fishing gear, so it took a little while to get some from Amazon. In the meantime Macen caused Dad to have several heart attacks by breaking both the X-Wing and Tie Fighter numerous times as he played with them. Luckily I was able to put them back together with only losing one small unimportant piece to the X-Wing (it's around here somewhere).

It's not quite the Episode IV chase scene (Shantel I need 2 regular  TIE Fighters for that) but I think it looks pretty darn good.

4 hours to put two both together; 60 minutes to hang them "just right".  All worth it to hear Macen say "That's cool, Dad!!!"

I wonder what he'll say tomorrow when we go to Legoland Germany.  I also wonder how many more kits I'll just have to have from there.

Monday, August 15, 2011

1 month old

Maddox waving hi to everyone

Hard to believe it's been a month already. I am going to keep asking for a pause button the next couple months because he is going to grow way too fast for me. Life has finally settled some for us and we aren't running here and there trying to get things squared away with Maddox. Where things are all done in the hospital in the states, we had to make numerous runs to offices/agencies here. And if you didn't already know, Europeans don't typically believe in circumcisions. So we ran into several roadblocks with that only to recently have it completed just before the cut off time (Maddox also had phimosis which added to our trouble with the procedure). Otherwise we would have had to wait until he was a year old and he would have had to go under anesthesia. So hopefully we get some down time from dr appts and such now.

Maddox has started cooing a little. We are getting under way with a bedtime routine and he does great with it - even giving me several 5 hr spells of sleep. While he has been a pretty good sleeper, he is a noisy one. He snorts, grunts and stretches A LOT in his sleep. It's more frequent the closer he gets to waking up but he has been known to be noisy for an hour and a half before waking up. I know this because he kept me on my toes in the middle of the night for that duration. Breastfeeding is hanging on by a thread, lol. We'll see where we end up with it. Macen is still so proud of his little brother and it's adorable to watch him with Maddox.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thank you

We received an aunt onesie and some monkey onesies for Maddox and wanted to say thank you to the gift giver. Both seem to come through Amazon but neither had anyone's info on them. They are adorable and we can't wait to get the little guy in them.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ironman Regensburg 2011

Well folks it's official, I'm an "Ironman" I completed Ironman Regensburg yesterday in 14hrs 57min 45secs, not as fast as I wanted but under the 16 hour cutoff. Before I get into the race day story let me give you a little background.

Most of you know that I redeployed from Afcrackistan on 27 May. I really ramped up my training once I returned and I was posting all about it. That all kind of went to hell around 13 July, that when, if you noticed, I stopped really posting about my training.

On July 13 Shantel and I welcomed our second son Maddox James, so that week's training was shot. I got back on track for the most part the next week only to have my Mom and Stepdad arrive for their visit the Friday before race. No issues there it was taper week anyway and I really enjoyed playing tour guide all around southern Germany and the Czech Republic for them.

So if you really look at I only had 10 weeks to prep, 1 of which was lost for the birth of our son, and the other was a taper week. That's 8 weeks of training to do 140.6 miles in under 16 hours. I don't want to hear any excuses from anyone about how hard an Ironman is to complete. It's not easy but if I can do it with only 8 weeks of real training than a normal person should be able to get off the couch, get a plan and finish one.

Now for the race day story:

Ready to go after a quick warm up swim!

Forcast for race day: 55-60 degrees with rain showers all day. I got my hopes up at 4:30am when it wasn't raining as we went out to the car to drive to the swim start. I was thinking that the forcasted rain today would be like the forcasted rain all week; just a figment of the meterologists imagination. My hopes were dashed as we were waiting for the shuttle bus to take us from the parking area to the swim start when it started pouring and kept pouring and kept pouring. It rained off and on all day until the run portion when there was still some scattered drizzling.

How did I fit 195-200lbs into that
neoprene suit?
The swim start went off right at 7am and it was asses and elbows as 2500+ particpants did one mass start into the lake and I was right in the middle of it. Things spread out eventually as all of the "fish" left me behind. I spent most of the swim with several other blue capped men and a couple of orange capped women and I just tried to keep up with them, keep a steady pace and not stray too far from the bouy line. I succeeded for the most part and came out of the swim with a time of 1hr 46 minutes. Faster than anything I'd done in training.

The bike was wet, wet, wet. I was wearing a a sleeveless tri jersey and I was wishing for some arm warmers or a long sleeve jersey. I drove on though and I really enjoyed the ride through the Bavarian countryside. Despite the weather the bike course was lined with Bavarians out having a good time cheering on the bikers, cooking out and of course, drinking beer. I couldn't believe it, but it's not like a Bavarian to turn down an excuse to party. I finished up the bike portion with a time of 7 hours and change. What do you know, I'm about 20 minutes ahead of the pace I wanted to keep.

I started the run with 7 hours to go until cutoff time. Piece of cake I thought. Yeah right. I'd had high hopes for the run since that was really the only event that I had trained for while in Afcrackistan putting in several 15+ mile runs and I'd had several good training runs in the weeks prior to the race. Well the first lap went pretty good with about a 12 minute a mile average and a couple under 12 minutes, but I was fading, not fast but I know me and I realized that any hopes of a sub 13 minute average was slipping. Lap 2 was decent with a couple of good miles but the monkey was on the horizon and he showed up for good on lap three where the average jumped from around 12:30 to almost 14 minutes. Lap 4 I decided to make my victory lap, the pace was a shuffle at around a 15 minute average, but I knew that at even that pace I was in no danger of missing the cutoff. Why push hard when I'm not in contention for a Kona slot and the only goals I had were to finish and not finish last in my age group? I crossed the finish line at 14hrs 57min 45secs. Not stellar but I accomplished my goals and I FINISHED!!! My run split was a 5hr 55min and change.
Overall the race experience was great. Great volunteers, Great spectators, Great racers. I chatted up racers from the US, Great Britain, Poland, Germany, Italy, and Canada, everyone was mutually supportive and made the race experience so much better.
Finishing strong!!

I feel good today, not great just good. This may have been my only Ironman distance race. I don't know. I know that my friend Andy will probably try and twist my arm into doing an Ironman race next summer, we'll just have to see. I'm really comfortable with the half Ironman races and I think that is where I will probably concentrate my efforts, you never know though, I may have to stretch my limits again.

I'd like to thank my Mom and Hugh for being my Ironman Support Crew. They were there for the start and for every transition and Hugh took plenty of pictures which I'll post later. They rang cow bells and kept me going. Thanks guys.

Finally I'd like to thank Shantel. This was the ony race she's missed since we've been together, she stayed home with Macen and Maddox,and she hated it but she was glued to watching my splits and tracking my progress at home. She was even worried when my last run split didn't get posted and was really relieved when I called to tell her that I was done. Thanks babe, I couldn't of done it without you letting me out of the house for those long rides and runs. I love you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


My Mother and Stepfather have been here since last Friday so we've been on the go ever since they got here.

We started out pretty light on Saturday just visiting the local area but we've been down to the Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles in Southern Germany, we moved on yesterday to the Seehof Palace and downtown Bamberg, Germany, a city with a unique beer brewing style that I talked about here, here, here and here. According to my European Daytrips guidebook Bamberg residents drink an average of 330 liters a person per year, a world record, but that's a story for another day and another blog.  Oh yeah besides the beer it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Bamberg we of course had some beer and we visited St Peter's Cathedral, the Prince Bishop's Rose Garden and New Residence.  Today we headed down to Kelheim and took a River Cruise on the Donau River to the Weltenburger Monastery, home to the World's Oldest Monastery Brewery, where we had a lunch and enjoyed an afternoon lounging in the biergarten, very relaxing.

Tomorrow and Thursday it's off to Munich and Prague.  Friday starts the Ironman Regensburg activities.  So there is still plenty of fun ahead.

Ok enough talk, here are the pictures.

Hohenschwangau Castle

The clouds rolling down the Alps to Neuschwanstein Castle

Macen, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa

A view of the waterfalls from the Marien Brucke just above Neuschwanstein Castle

A picture of Neuschwanstein from Marien Brucke

Hohenschwangau from Neuschwanstein

One very sleepy little boy

One very sleepy Grandma

Seehof Palace

The fountains go off every hour on the hour

Macen being silly with Grandpa's hat
St Peter's Cathedral, Bamberg

The Prince Bishop of Bamberg's New Residence 
The Rose Garden

Can you spot the crazy American 4 year old in the Rose Garden? Hint he's wearing blue.

St Peter's Cathedral on the right and St Michaels Monastary on the left.  We spent an hour trying to drive to St. Michaels only to be continously routed the wrong way down a one way street by the GPS.  We finally gave up.

Grandma and Grandpa on the River Cruise. 

Grandma with Maddox and Macen

Grandma, Dad, Macen and Maddox

Dad trying to teach Macen how to skip a rock