Ragnar SoCal 2012 Recap

This weekend is Ragnar SoCal and I wish I was running, so I wanted to take a trip down memory lane to my first Ragnar experience! Here is my recap from April 2012:

I ran the SoCal Ragnar Relay! While nursing! It’s one of the most incredible things I have ever done. It is a 200-mile relay race from Huntington Beach to Coronado Island. You are on a team of 12, in two giant vans, and one member of your team is running at all times! You have 3 different legs, and my legs added up to a total of 14.5 miles.

I drove down to Santa Maria on Thursday to drop my girls off at my mom’s house. Thank you Mommy!! I was so stressed out by many things…I had a stress (ha) fracture on the top of my right foot that wasn’t completely healed, I had to pack all of my girls’ things to leave at my mom’s, then pack all of my things separately for the race to take down to Huntington Beach. Matt had just graduated and was in the middle of interviews and work so stayed up in Santa Cruz. I ended up with a stiff neck and am grateful for Rach and Tiana for rubbing it so I could run! I made granola bars and we had lots of good snacks for the road. We spent the night at one of Elise’s friend’s house…thank you friends!! Tiana, Rach, & I ended up sleeping in a closet converted into a bedroom with Bob Marley flags and a bong in it. It was comical :) I had to pump in the bathroom during the night and people kept asking, “What’s that noise?” haha  

Here is beautiful Tiana, ready to run her first leg. Our team name was Run Like an Egyptian, hence the flashy costumes. It was already really hot at this point in the morning!

Here is my gorgeous cousin Rach, who ran right before me. It was SO HOT here! We were resting up in the shade. She had a really rough time, and I was worried when she wasn’t at the exchange in the amount of time she told us she’d be there. There was a saint of a man who helped her along, and she finally made it through the 110 degree heat and to hand off the bracelet to me.

Game face on. Nobody recognized me without my smile :)


What happened during my run was the worst run of my entire life. It was 110 degrees out, in the middle of Corona, CA. There was a heat advisory, and I was running 5.65 miles straight up a canyon! I could feel the asphalt burning my skin. It felt like a giant griddle on high heat under my feet. See the CamelPak I’m wearing in the picture above? I ripped it off my back and gave it to my teammates around mile 2 because it was BOILING. I went for a sip and it was so hot I just spit it out.

The only thing that kept me going up that cursed canyon was knowing that I would see that big white van pulled over, with my team cheering me on. Bringing me water, pouring it down my face to have it dry seconds later, and offering words of encouragement. 

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Sisters, Friends, & Ballet

My mom is the best. She had the girls over for a sleepover and they were in heaven! When I dropped them off, I got these adorable pics of the girls. Sisters can make you laugh like nobody else!! 

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Matt and I went for a run along the beach and pier in Pismo, then had our favorite clam chowder at Splash Cafe. It’s so nice to go out to eat and not be interrupted :) 

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We came home and put the girls’ mosquito nets (just for looks – not really to protect them from bugs) and chandeliers up over their beds. When they saw them the next day, they were SO happy!

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Ada took a ballet class through Parks & Rec with my best friend’s daughter. It was so fun to see them all dressed up and all of the little girls running around in tutus. 

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She loved it :)

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Ava & Ada, taking ballet classes together just like their mommies did!

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My girls in their shades at Costco after a class.

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On the last day of class with a bow in her hair from Minnie’s playset and dress-up slippers because I could only find one of her ballet slippers. She didn’t mind one bit :)

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Next time, I won’t go through Parks & Rec. It was fine for a first time class, but she didn’t learn much. I think we’ll do Allan Hancock like I did growing up!  

Napa Ragnar 2013 Recap

In September, I ran my second Ragnar Relay and my very first as a Team Captain! We were the Wet Bandits and had a team made up of 12 awesome family members & friends. This was my 2nd with Rach, Jared had done at least one before, and I think it was everyone else’s first! I am SO proud of my team!!

Jared, Rachel, Lindsay, me, Matt, & Casey – Van 1 at the start line in Golden Gate Park, SF!

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I was runner 2 and was completely unprepared for how fast Lindsay was going to run! I was sitting in the van at 10 AM when she rounded the corner and had to scramble to get my stuff together. I was running and trying to pin my number on. haha She talked the whole time before about how slow she’d be and how she’d take forever…not the case! I am so proud of my little sis!! 

My first leg was just unreal! The scenery was breathtaking and the hills were killer. It was 5.84 miles with a total climb of 1,023 feet. 

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All through the Presidio, along Land’s End…

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On the beach where we had family pictures taken…that sand was deep and my ankles felt it afterward. Also what no make-up and no sleep plus 4 miles looks like! I am wearing lipgloss, but that’s it. Can’t run without it!

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Across the Golden Gate Bridge! I’ve now walked and run across this bridge.

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The fog made it look like the cables plugged into the clouds. It was so beautiful!

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After my first leg I handed off to Rachel! Whose then-boyfriend-now-husband Jared was very protective of and made sure we stopped exactly where she wanted us to :)

We borrowed my Aunt Liz’s megaphone and had way too much fun with that thing! A definite must for every future Ragnar!

Melissa, our 12th runner in van 2, handing off to Lindsay, runner 1! I love the intensity in this pic. Go Meliss!!!

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All lit up for my night run at 8:40 PM! Safety first. 

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This run was through Petaluma and stunk to high heaven (literally). I was running through cow farms, the road wasn’t lit at all, and when oncoming traffic came, their lights temporarily blinded me. Plus I only saw one other runner out there! Scary stuff. Bushes and random things snuck up on me because it was so dark and kept making me jump. One time when a car blinded me, I thought the white on the road was the shoulder line. Wrong – it was the dirt. So I rolled my left ankle and hobbled on. I got a little rain toward the end but nothing too bad. Needless to say, I was happy to be done with the 4.71 miles! I was really surprised by this because during Ragnar SoCal my night run at 3AM was my best and most favorite run.  

I sat in the van and iced my ankle, cheering on my teammates and trying to rest. Sometime after my run, during Casey’s leg, it started to torrentially rain! It was a downpour like I’ve only seen in the tropics! The forecast hadn’t called for rain, we were all expecting heat. Poor Matt was already soaked while waiting for Casey and was doing pushups to stay warm. It was freezing out there!

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The handoff from Casey to Matt. We passed Casey in a forest and he looked like a Cullen! The words machine, robot, and speed demon were all used as we passed him. He was flying through that  pouring rain!

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After Matt’s run we had a minor hiccup with the other van not being there in time and he was calling but his phone was so wet that we couldn’t hear him. So he waited at the exchange for a bit and he totally killed his mile time. Something about the rain at night made both of those guys fly! We took showers at the college and it was open-style…worse than Girls Camp! Good thing we can laugh about everything :) We tried our best to sleep, and most did. Thanks to Jared & Rach who found a spot to sleep outside so that the rest of us could stretch out on a bench! I barely slept because I was so paranoid about missing Melissa and sleeping through the text that she was almost there! 

The van 2 to van 1 handoff!  

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As I was getting ready for my longest run, I couldn’t find my hat. I went into panic mode because we saw a hat that looked exactly like mine in the showers the night before. After about 5 minutes of searching our filthy van, I finally found it at the bottom of my bag just in time to get the bracelet from Lindsay and go! 

At 7:41 AM I started my third and final leg. It was 8.41 miles with a total climb of 555 feet. I ran from just east of Sonoma to a bit south of Napa. Van 2 took this pic of me moving verrry slowly (my ankle was swollen & bruised but my compression socks helped)! I saw lots of roadkill on this one. 

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The vineyards were stunning! I took this picture right before the rain started. It rained. And hailed. And rained some more.

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I ended up on a freeway for a good portion of the run, and there was so much runoff coming down at me that I’d lose my footing a bit and water would wash over my feet! My shoes felt like big sponges and I was soaked to the core.

I decided about mile 4 that I was just going to go crazy and have fun amidst the cars and trucks splashing me with mud and water. So I danced/ran my little heart out to Van Halen’s “Jump” and every other song on my playlist and made every big rig honk as they drove by! Boy was I grateful for my hat and glasses with all of that rain coming down.

Finally made it, and we realized that our team name was literal. We were all SO WET!! Casey designed the awesome decals for our vans and Stacy made them out of vinyl! They looked so good and really helped while running because you could spot your team so easily.  People LOVED our name! Credit goes to Lindsay for the 2AM stroke of genius :) 

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We were all STARVING and hit up Napa’s In-n-Out. Casey was stoked:

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A burger and fries have never tasted so good!

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After eating, we passed through Napa and cheered Katie on and some of our other runners in Van 2. There were vineyards, fields of flowers, and Eric running barefoot! I was glad that the rain bypassed them for the most part. 

We then headed to the finish line and waited for our final runner!  

It was so fun to run across the finish line as a team! I cannot believe what a huge feat an event like this is and had such a blast. My first Ragnar was 110 degrees and my second was freezing rain. Talk about two extremes! Both times I have come away with such a sense of accomplishment. When and where will you get the opportunity to run with your friends and have them cheer you on in the night/rain/crazy terrain?! Not to mention how you realize what your body is capable of.  

Cousins/sisters :)

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Bandit with bling! I wish they’d give out the Gold Rush medal no matter what year you ran SoCal & Napa :)

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Got a massage that felt like heaven after all of that running!

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We drove our vans to church the next day :)

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Thank you to all of my awesome teammates: Lindsay, Rachel, Jared, Matt, Casey, Stacy, Maddy, Katie, Eric, Amy, & Melissa!!! You guys amazed me and it was so much fun to run with you! Also our incredible volunteer – Devon. He got soaked setting up and worked through the night for us so THANK YOU! And our driver, my dad. He got out of the van to meet Matt when the rest of us stayed in the van to stay dry, harassed us while running with the megaphone, and stayed up all through the night to drive! Not to mention the fact that our van was broken into in SF and his laptop and everything was stolen. It was a crazy ride! 

I’m ready for another one…who’s up for it? Or a Ragnar Trail? 

Ada’s Nutcracker Suite 4th Birthday Party & Sugar Plum Surprise Cupcakes

My first baby is 4 years old! She had a party with her Sunbeam class, cousins, & playgroup friends.

I was pretty proud of the invitation I put together on PicMonkey (I don’t do Photoshop)! I blurred out our address, that’s why it looks funny.

We decided on the theme because I’ve had these adorable cupcake toppers and liners for a couple of years and still hadn’t used them! We were watching the Nutcracker ballet on Netflix one day and Ada loved the dancing and everything so this idea was born and she loved it!

We had pomegranate lemonade and water to drink, chips, carrots, broccoli, & dip, orange slices, grapes, raspberries, and apples to eat. I love living near a Fresh & Easy again!! I made sure we had all finger food for little hands :)

I borrowed my best friend’s beautiful Nutcrackers to decorate with…they were perfect! Thanks T :)

We had Nutcracker magnets the kids colored (& left on my fridge…I brought them to church the next day to give to everyone).

Then we played pin the star on the stable with a wall-cling Nativity that a Secret Santa left for us. The kids were adorable while playing it and helped each other out so much. A couple of them (including the birthday girl) didn’t want to wear the blindfold. Kind of defeats the purpose of the game, but they were all still so tickled when someone put the star on top.

Then we sang Happy Birthday to Ada and she blew out her candle. Lovely see food :)

Ada requested pink and purple cupcakes with pink frosting just like the sugar plum fairy. Then I told the kids that if Ada was a good girl then the Nutcracker would show up at her birthday party!


Ada & Evelyn were both stoked on Mr. Nutcracker, the rest…not so much. It turned into beat up the Nutcracker!!

Everyone keeps telling me what a good sport Matt is, but the truth is that he loves it :) We both do!

We had the Nutcracker Ballet playing on TV; such beautiful music. Reminds me of being a snowflake and soldier when I was in it as a little girl!

In the party favor bags we had a Nutcracker sticker scene, assorted Nutcracker Christmas tree ornaments, and bouncy balls.

Thank you to all of you that came and showed Ada love on her birthday! She’s still talking about the time that all of her friends came over and played and ate cupcakes :)

Gray, Evelyn, Emma, Ada, Lola, Sephora, & Ava. Cole & Darby didn’t want to be in the group shots :)

Everyone just needs to look at Ava (white coat) in this picture!! bahaha

Happy Birthday Miss Ada! Love you and your independent, smart ways. Can’t believe you’re a big 4-year-old already! xoxo

The cupcakes were so much fun to make! I used the flavorings and food colorings that McCormick sent me, along with the OXO cupcake corer!

We had the Sugar Plum Fairy, Nutcracker, Christmas Tree, and Rat King. Ewww. Nobody wanted him!

Aren’t they pretty?

I flavored the batter and frosting with raspberry extract, then used the food colorings for dusty rose and purple.

And here’s the surprise! M&Ms tucked into the center of the cupcake :) It was so much fun to watch everyone get to the middle!

Sugar Plum Surprise Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: cupcake
Cuisine: dessert
Serves: 24
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 can cream cheese frosting
  • M&Ms candies
  • Food coloring
  • Raspberry extract
  1. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Add 1 Tablespoon raspberry extract and mix to incorporate flavor.
  2. Divide batter into two equal parts.
  3. To one half, add 12 drops red food coloring and 4 drops blue to make dusty rose.
  4. To the other half, add 24 drops red food coloring and 16 blue drops to make pretty purple.
  5. Line 24 cupcake tins with liners.
  6. Drop Tablespoons full of the pretty purple cake batter into the liners. Top with Tablespoons of the dusty rose cake batter.
  7. Bake cupcakes as directed, until a toothpick comes out cleanly.
  8. Let cool completely before coring and frosting.
  9. Once cupcakes are completely cooled, use your OXO cupcake corer to remove the centers of the cupcakes.
  10. Fill each cupcake with M&Ms candies (I found that 1 teaspoon was perfect).
  11. For the frosting, add 6 drops of red food coloring plus 2 drops of blue to make dusty rose. Add 1 teaspoon raspberry extract to flavor. Mix until the color is completely even throughout.
  12. Frost cupcakes starting in the center to cover the candies and work your way to the edge.
  13. Enjoy!