Saturday, October 3, 2015

Autumn Apple Crisp

I'd tell you this would make a fabulous dessert paired with some vanilla bean ice cream; however, I just ate this for breakfast {no ice cream!} and it. was. wonderful!

You will need for the topping:
  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • Dash of salt
  • 3 tbsp. of unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
You will need for the apple mixture:
  • 4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced 
  • 3 tbsp. of unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp. of all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. of lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. of buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • Dash of salt
1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the topping. Refrigerate.

3. Peel and slice your Granny Smith apples. It should resemble this:

4. In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the apple mixture {except for the apples!}. It should resemble this:

5. In a large bowl, toss the sliced apples with the apple mixture.

6. In a lightly-greased 8X8 dish, spread the apples out evenly. Top with prepared topping. It should resemble this:

7. Bake at 375 for c. 35 minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

This And That

Baking banana blueberry buttermilk bread

Early morning snuggles. Who needs an alarm clock when you have these cuties?

Discussing inertia. Or adhesion. Or friction.

So. much. love. for this sweet boy.

At the volunteer appreciation dinner at church:

These sweet boys, in their shirts that BeeGee made

Mommy picked up Halloween socks at Target.

Cards with BeeGee

"Can you count my eight legs?"

Halloween costumes arrived in the mail.

More early morning snuggles.

A walk around Virginia Tech's campus. (These photos were taken about 50 seconds before Jack FELL into the koi pond. Soaked. Head to toe.)

Snuggled up with my babies.

Jack was finally the leader at school! He brought his Skipper airplane for show and tell, and he brought Curious George gummies for snack.

Nathan read his very first book! So proud of this boy!

My sweet Jack, snuggled up and napping. The boys are sharing a room and it LITERALLY could not be going better. Yippee!

Friday, September 25, 2015

My Half Marathon And My Mixed Feelings

I've been putting off blogging about this, and here's why: I've got mixed feelings, people.

And if you know me at all, you know that it takes me longer than most to untangle my feelings.

So, my half marathon. Here goes.

I am a runner. I have been a runner for one year and seven months. Three times a week for the past nineteen months, I have run. And what's more? I love running. I absolutely, positively love it. I feel so alive, so healthy, so focused when I'm running. That "runner's high?" It's a real thing. Sure, I've had some bad runs here and there. What runner hasn't? But way, way, way more often that not, here's the truth: I enjoy every single sweaty mile.

My race was in Blacksburg, VA--about an hour's drive from my house.

Unforeseen problem #1: I get sciatica when I'm driving for more than about thirty minutes. I hadn't considered that I'd be driving there and back (2 hours) the day before the race to pick up my race packet and bib. I then had to drive an hour there the next morning for the actual race.

I got there at 6:30, having left the house an hour earlier.

Problem #2: I got up at 2:30 AM, and I absolutely couldn't go back to sleep.

The only positive on the sleep end was that I had been going to bed early intentionally for a week and a half prior to the race. So, my sleep bank was "full enough."

Problem #3: [TMI warning] I didn't think I needed to go pee until about three minutes INTO THE RACE.

Problem #4: I totally forgot to take Advil that morning. I always, always take Advil before a long run. Why? Because long runs generally make your body hurt a little.

So, the race. The start. We lined up. All 1,200 of us.

The gun went off. And do you know what? I cried a little. Here I was, at the culmination of nineteen months of running and fourteen weeks of intense half marathon training. I was accomplishing something that I never, ever thought I'd accomplish. I will cross that damn finish line. That was what I was thinking.

The entire first mile I was psychologically freaked out. I don't know why. This is my fourth race, so I'm no newbie to the racing jitters. I felt pretty overwhelmed at the beginning.

And then the most disappointing thing happened. I'm sad just typing it. I didn't enjoy a single mile of the entire dadgum race.

Here's why that's sad to me: I love running. I LOVE RUNNING! I love sweating. I love panting. I love powering up hills. I love checking my pace. I love my running gear. I love racing. I love everything about the sport of running.

And here I was: jogging through some of most beautiful scenery in America, and I was miserable. Overwhelmed. Disappointed. I was even beating my targets for my miles! I think it was very mentally difficult for me to get passed by hundreds of people. That was tough--tougher than I was expecting. I also wasn't used to running with so.many.people. It was hard just running--I was always zigging in and out of runners. I've never had to do that before.

At 8.5 miles, my knees gave out. It makes me so angry to type that. I've run long distances lots of times, and I've never, ever, ever had a single issue with my knees. Here I was: on track for beating my half marathon PR, with 4.6 miles left to go, and suddenly I was in intense physical pain. I mean, every single step for almost five miles was agony. AGONY.

So, what happened? I slapped an additional fifteen minutes onto my time (that's BIG, non runner folks). I felt so angry and confused and just totally not how I was expecting to feel on this momentous day.

And finally, after what felt like an agonizing eternity, I saw the finish line. Better than that: I saw my sons holding up bright pink signs cheering me on. I let out a sob. I cried as I crossed the finish line, with my arms up in the air. I was proud of myself. I was grateful to Jesus for the ability to run and for carrying me across the finish line. I had accomplished my goal.

So, here I am five days out from the race. I'm happy and I'm bummed. I'm proud of myself, and I'm disappointed in my run. See, people? Mixed feelings.

I went to go pick up the boys from school the other day, when my friend Emily (who runs marathons practically every month with INSANE times--basically she's my running hero) asked me how my half had gone. I told her an abbreviated version of what happened. She said, "You should be proud of yourself for finishing. You never know what will happen on race day." She congratulated me, and I could see on her face that she was genuinely happy for me.

Um, that made me feel better than anything else had.

This is not my last long race. My ultimate goal is to be a marathoner. But, I'm taking things slow for now. I want to learn from my mistakes, and I need to figure out what is going on with my right knee. I'm still limping, and it still hurts with every step. I'm thinking a trip to the doctor might be in order.

I wrote "God's grace" in sharpie on the front of my Sauconys on race day. God's grace to go before every step I took. And it does, doesn't it? God's grace has gone before me every step. From moving away from family. From living fourteen hours away from "home." From losing 30 pounds. From going from someone who could "sort of jog" to running a half marathon. I owe IT ALL to God and his unending, unwavering, unfailing grace.

Whew. I ran a half marathon, y'all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Going Colonial

Well, the Ryans hit Williamsburg, VA this week for a super short, two-day vacay! As Williamsburg is only a four hour drive from Roanoke, it was easy to do!

The weather was a bit chillier than I thought it was going to be. We were all shivering! Hello, fall!

Williamsburg is so beautiful, and full of charm and character. I hadn't been to Williamsburg since I was about fifteen years old, and it was just as quaint and picturesque as I remembered it being.

I definitely wanted to get a picture of the boys in the stocks! Ha-ha!

We went to the coolest place for dinner--Chowning's Tavern! I highly recommend it! It was very rustic and so, so very colonial. Um, and the food was seriously delish! {And nothing makes a two year old and a five year old HUSH like live music!}

We took the boys to the Jamestown settlement. Their favorite part was definitely the ships. Mommy only got on one ship, and quickly realized her mistake and got off of the ship about five minutes later. {Severe vertigo.}

Did we have a great time!? I think this face says it all: