Monday, May 23, 2011

Congrats Ragains! Princess Lydia is here.

Princess Lydia is here! My sis, Jessie, had baby Lydia last Thursday. Lydia weighed 7lbs, 7 0z. Her full name is Lydia Jane  Ragain. This is the 12th grandchild! Blessings Ragains!

Sandidge family

Sarah and I with Diesel (10 weeks). Sarah and I were suitemates in college with Ann. 

Such a cutie

The girls had a little tea with dinner. 

Lula, Sophia and Ava. First time meeting little Lula - what a doll! 

Jay, Sarah and Diesel before they left for Maryland.

Ava asked Jay to read a book.  

Sarah and Diesel.

The Sandidges stopped by for dinner with us while they were on the road to Maryland. We had an awesome time reconnecting after four, long years! Sarah and I were friends in college along with Ann.
And we were all in each other weddings!

The cool thing about seeing the Sandidges was that it was just like we have been seeing each other this whole time. We just picked up where we left off. I love that. Life happens but friendships still remain!

We are traveling (hopefully) back to college this October for homecoming. We don't usually go, but I wanted to travel there this year to see everyone!

Friday, May 20, 2011


Happy Eight Year Anniversary hun!

After our dinner we took a walk in German Village. 

We loved sitting outside eating. It was def. fun people watching. 
We got the Lindey's Post Mortem for free for our anniversary. It was amazing. 

Love the black urns with the greenery and the brick.

German Village gardening gets me excited to go home and plant!

Brandon didn't want to do a "senior photo session" like below. This was his "session." 
This was our "senior picture" session with missing leg. Ha.
For our anniversary Brandon and I went to Lindey's in German Village. We go there pretty much every year and enjoy the atmosphere. It's like a European cafe with marble tables outside and white umbrellas. The food is always classic and really fresh. 

Brandon's tuna tartare was so good. I was a little nervous to try it, but it was amazing. We started with the calamari and shrimp fritto misto that had a remoulade and lobster bisque for Brandon. He loved the bisque and said he would have licked the bowl clean. 

I ordered a chopped salad for dinner since I was still feeling a little queasy after the stomach virus. It was perfect. Brandon got the tuna tartare with a ginger sauce he loved it. 

The weather was around 80 and it was nice to have a light dinner. We ordered beer (b) and sangria (me) to start. Brandon liked his beer and the sangria was okay. It's pretty hard to compete with the Kelly's Island Winery sangria. After you taste that, you never want any other sangria. 

I ordered a prosecco after that and Brandon and I really enjoyed that. It was a steal at 7 and the bubbly on a warm night was so refreshing. 

We finished with the Lindey's Post Mortem, a sinful chocolate brownie with chocolate and coffee ice cream. That was amazing. We also had coffee and tea. Our total bill was only around $60, which was a steal! If you want a great date night, you don't have to break the bank. 

For our next foodie night date, we want to have a food tour. Apps at one restaurant, entree at another and dessert at the last! 

Any restaurants that you go to celebrate special occasions? 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A slumber party and a visit to a greenhouse

The girls and I visited my mom and dad since Brandon was camping with the guys in Wet and Wild West Virginia (funny story there - Brandon thought that was WV's state slogan). My mom invited us over for a slumber party since our air conditioning was on the fritz. It was around 85 in our house. It was nice to have time with my parents and to be with the girls there. They love visiting Momma and Poppa. Ava said her favorite part was Poppa reading to them at night.

The next morning we woke up and went to Yutzy's and then we visited Cooley's in Plain City. We got soil, potting mix and some flowers and herbs. If you haven't been there--go! It's owned by friends from high school and has some beautiful flowers and pottery. Mom got these amazing outdoor lights with eco-friendly burning oil. 

Petal, a local brand owned by Carrie, also sells some cute items. And Cooley's are on Groupon for one more day with a great deal.

Mom and Sophia gardening, or flowering? 

Ava dancing on the porch.

Dad's best Mr Wilson impression. 

How cute is this? 

Sophia and I before Mom and Ava got there at Cooley's greenhouse. 

Planting flowers with the girls. We brought home purple and white wavy petunias. 

Girls plus water always equals fun. 

Ava staking out the distance between our edibles. 

The popsicle sticks were nice to gauge distances between veggie seeds. It also made it easier for Ava to put the seeds in under the sticks. 

Our completed veggie bed with peas, beans, kale, lettuce, and tom. 

We got our dirt and potting mix from Cooley's. 

I really hope my heirloom beefsteak tom. grow! 

Ava planted this by herself (and a little help). She really did a great job! She even loosened the roots on the bottom and put the flowers in by herself.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Running. Getting started.

I first started getting back into running in the summer of 2010. I had just gotten back from Colorado climbing Grey's Peak and seen a girl running to the top of the mountain, despite it being a 14er. Fourteeners are dubbed so because they are 14,000 feet or more. I also had seen two elite runners running up as well. Or ultra-runners. Those guys are just a different breed. This gave me a running bug that started off my love of running.

Why do I love running? 
Well, I have always been active in life. Before my 2003 wedding I ran, but no more than two miles and did pilates. I love to mix it up and do bootcamp, spinning or yoga. Running is a great activity for busy moms who don't have a lot of time or money. All you need is a great pair of running shoes and a dry-wick shirt. And running shorts--I have to have them.

Well, I started with just a mile or two on the trail behind my house. I remember how much my hips hurt at mile three or four and how it took a little while to get that distance under my feet. The first time I did eight miles it was so mind blowing--I thought I could do anything.

Here are some tips to help you conquer your "I can't do it" mentality:

  • Get a running role model. Talk to someone who has the same goal you have and has done it before. Ask them loads of questions. The best advice I got was to not do all of my training on a treadmill (thanks Jess!) There are loads of fun running blogs as well. Skinny Runner, Runners Rambles, Cake and Carrots are just a few. Also try Runner's World
  • Pace. Pace is this cool idea that you don't start out in a sprint and end in gasping agony. Ideally, you will start out a littler slower and have negative splits for your run (finishing at a lower time at the second half than the first half of your run). If you have an Iphone, Runkeeper is an awesome app that lets you know your pace while you run.  
  • Next, sign up for a race that's maybe 2-3 months away. It's such a great way to stay motivated and keep a schedule of days logged running. A 5K or 10K is a great starting race. Start telling people you are going to do it and talk it up. Get excited! Pony up the money and show up. I did not want to show up for my first couple of races. I kept telling Brandon I would be the last person crossing the finish line--not quite. 
  • Be disciplined. Most runners are a little type A. They love data. For my first 10K I had my training log from the Emerald City 10K in Dublin, Ohio and crossed off everyday that I ran. You can't make someone run so be a self-starter! 
  • Make it a priority. You wouldn't miss a hair appointment would you? When Brandon and I were both training for our half marathon, we would go through our calendars and make running appointments. We got babysitters for our long runs on Saturdays at the beginning of the week so we couldn't back out. If Brandon had to work late, I had to get my run in the morning or go to the rec center. 
  • Rest! If you are doing a half marathon, chances are you are going to be exhausted on 30-mile plus mileage weeks. Even more so if you are running a marathon. This is the time to ease up on social things and just relax and recoup. 
  • Fuel. Fun part. I literally can eat pretty anything I want to when I run. I love chips because they are full of salt. A good rule of thumb is anything reasonably made from whole foods is good. And I splurge every so often when I want. On long run days I would burn 1,200-1,500 calories. Guys burn 800-1,000 more calories than women depending on their weight. This means you need to fuel up! Smoothies are amazing after a run when your stomach is a little sensitive from running for a while.

PWs Mocha Brownies

Start with your ingredients: I love to use Valrhona Coco powder. Although it's pricy, a little goes a long way. Mine has lasted about six months. It's uber chocolatey! 

Sophia watching the mixer. When baking, I always try to use room temp eggs. Speed up the process by putting the eggs in warm water. The butter should be room temp as well -- left out about 45 minutes. 

Sophia cooking with her paci. I found her paci one time after looking everywhere in the house in the mixing bowl. 
I love baking on Sunday afternoons. It's this calm, free thing that is so relaxing. The coffee is brewed, the house is quiet with little nappers and I have a couple of hours to myself. We made the Pioneer Woman's brownies one Sunday afternoon and they were delicious! The brownies are more cakey than gooey. Sophia loved helping me lick the bowl.

This is Ava

At four, Ava is fearless while timid at times. She loves to help out and to run! She is always making up skits or dances and loves to be a "cool girl," Her fav. colors are red and gray. Give her some candy and she will have it an hour later. She loves to save it. She has a heart of gold. 

This is Sophia

Me! (Sophia said while looking at this photo)
This is Sophia. She is 2 and loves to nurse her babies, call herself Sopie, and pet dogs and cats. Ask her who her fav. buddy is and she will say, "Ava!" She is a lover and a charmer and can have you in her hands with a little pout of her lip. She has a tender heart and is very ornery! 

Love the view from our front porch

Mother's Day

Ethan pointing out the duck eggs. 

Ava, love this. 

Best buddies-Charlotte and Sophia

Bffs Ava and Ethan

We had a great Mother's Day this year. My mom made a huge spread. We had turtle soup (dad), rib roast,  potatoes, amazing bread and homemade butterscotch pudding (mom found the recipe in Edible Columbus), frittata (me) and champaign! So nice to celebrate with both my mom and Sharon, Brandon's mom. We had a great time with Sharon and Creston and Mom and Dad. And the weather was so beautiful (love that pic of Ava). The girls did some sun napping while the guys did the dishes.

Earlier, Brandon brought me coffee in bed and went to get donuts from our local donut shop. The girls were fighting over my donut, which was chocolate with sprinkles. Mmm! And the girls got me a yellow basket of gerber daisy flowers. I can't wait to plant them! 

Saturday, May 14, 2011


This Thursday I told Brandon I was going to try to "bank" some miles since he was going to be gone until Sunday. So, although it was around 80-plus, I ran more than 6.5 miles. I had wanted to try to get seven in, but whew, I was dying. I felt like I was running in a shower I was so soaked with sweat.

Little did I know that heat plus humidity equals higher temps. Yes, yes. Smart girl here. :)

So I thought I was running in 85 degree weather when really according to the National Weather Service it was 97 degrees with humidity. Which makes me want to either get up at the crack of dawn (ugh) or try to hit a gym up during the summer.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Why God gives us mountains...

Have you ever wondered why it seems like your life is a constant run of valleys and mountains? I mean, one day you are having a wonderful day, your kids are amazing or you are really connecting with your hubby and the next week your kids are melting down in the store.

I wish I could live on the mountain where everything is great, life is easy and no one ever has a sick day or a grumpy day. But, that's just not how life works.

The Valleys are there for us to draw close to God and to become desperately in need of him. Have you ever been desperately in need of Him? So desperate that it felt like you had to hear from Him.

So desperate for other people to know Jesus you stopped preaching and just lived a daily life of drudgery or duty as Chambers encourages where the little things we do mean more than storming and taking a city (Prov. 16)?

Do we pray and believe it will move mountains?

In our world, a lot of people will tell you, go out and preach, preach the gospel. But, aren't we missing a key element when we don't bend our knees and first pray. For it's only through the Holy Spirit that people will acknowledge Jesus as Lord.

I love Chamber's book, My Utmost for His Highest, because it repeatedly comes against the misconceptions even well-meaning Christians can make.

You see doing "a work" for God isn't the point. The point is through that work, we have a deeper understanding of Christ.

"Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is." 
 Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for Everyday)