Sunday, February 1, 2015

St. Jude Marathon weekend

I've mentioned before my visits to Memphis to see my friend Julie and her boys. The first weekend in December is the St. Jude marathon in Memphis and a friend, her husband and her brother were all running to support Ryan, Julie's son, and St. Jude. They ended up raising I think over $3,000! I got back from Europe on Tuesday, and on Friday, my friend Melinda and I started the drive from Peoria to Memphis. We were headed to support the runners and visit with Julie and the boys.

We arrived Friday and Melinda and the runners did a tour of St. Jude. Since I did a tour on my last visit, I visited some of the marathon booths, got some pom-poms and bells for cheering and walked around Memphis. It was off and on rain, so my pictures turned out pretty dismal :). We all headed to a pasta place for dinner and the runners headed back to the hotel to rest up. Back at Julie's, we had some serious cheerleading signs to make :). Apparently, it's custom to make funny signs for the runners to enjoy while they are at mile 18 or so. So we spent a lot of time trying to be funny. For a group of accountants, we did get some smiles but Google was very helpful.  

Unfortunately 3 and 5 year olds don't move very fast, so we missed the start. But we did catch up with everyone later on...even if our cameras weren't as fast. Here's Jolene coming in for the home stretch of her half marathon - she did great! Since we were in town and her two kids had come along as well, she opted to do the half instead of full marathon so that her body was still functioning after race time.

The race course was not ideally set up for fans to watch and be able to move between mile markers. So after our first sighting, Julie went to get the van while Melinda and I occupied these little monsters :). My main goal was to keep them out of the street and we succeeded! 

Then we hopped in the van and headed out to mile 19/20 to catch Jolene's husband and brother. It was crazy to see all the people running.

At one point I put our signs up in the windows. I think the windshield has the sign saying "go this way" with an arrow pointing left into traffic. That seemed to get a few smiles. I think the other window was "where are you going?"

We finally caught Brett, Jolene's husband, just as he was chasing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

For dinner we headed to a well known BBQ place and wouldn't you know, Santa was there cooking on the grill!

We had a great dinner with everyone. The runners did such a great job!

On our way home the light show was open and had no line, so we drove through. I was very impressed. There was one hill where balls of lights rolled down the hill, hitting a tree and making it light up. The animation was pretty fun.

Melinda and I were staying until Monday, so Sunday was family fun day, Christmas style. The boys and mom made some cookie batter in the morning.

Then we headed out to find a Christmas tree. The you-cuts were not too impressive so we went with a pre-cut shipped in from somewhere else. Loaded it up and headed home. 

Melinda reading the boys a book before nap time.

We got to work on rolling, cutting, baking and frosting those sugar cookies.

The boys got up and they helped decorate the tree. Then it was movie time, Frozen. It was a great day of just hanging out. 

Monday morning we left and started our drive. We did stop at a restaurant in Missouri, off 55 I think. I don't remember the name but it's known for thrown rolls, so I'm sure you can find it if you google it. They have awesome warm rolls that, yes, they throw at you. It was pretty fun. I think they have sorghum and molasses as a couple options for roll spreads. I got a pot pie and sweet potatoes that were both really good. Definitely recommend if you find yourself on that road.

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