Ryan’s Bday Weekend Celebrations.

Ryan turned 32 last week. I tell him all the time, he just keeps getting more & more handsome every year! I love my man and love sharing life with him. I’m certainly happy to celebrate the day he was birthed! And we don’t just do birthday celebrations around here. Oh no, we do birthWEEK celebrations. So since last week was Ryan’s birthday week, we did lots of fun stuff!

Starting on Thursday, his actual birthday, with blueberry pancakes for breakfast. {Yes, no shocker, a lot of our celebrating includes food!} He received some gifts in the mail, cards, and of course FB messages throughout the day. That evening for dinner, we went to one of his favorite Thursday night spots – BWW (a.k.a. Buffalo Wild Wings). Some Caribbean jerk wings, potato wedges and BlueMoon seasonal for celebration dinner #1. Followed by a pumpkin cake back at home…

Friday, Ryan took the day off in honor of himself and his birth. I think everyone should do this! After we took Addi to school {poor thing felt a bit left out hence one of the reasons we decided to do this}, Ryan, Kam & I went to Einstein’s for a pumpkin bagel & coffee. Kam calls it “Little Einstein’s” which is so cute, we obviously don’t correct her. Then, we went for a 5 mile run at the trails. It was a lovely, cool morning which resulted in a very enjoyable family run. Then, we took Addi her lunch at school and then went to do a little birthday shopping with birthday $ – fun! Lunch at McAlisters {shout out to our friend, Stephen!} for their awesome sandwiches & 99 cent kid’s meals. Then, back home for some chill time.

That evening, it just so happened to be our Date Night Co-op night which was a bonus for us – perfect timing! So, Ryan & I got to go out on a date. We went to BJ’s Brewhouse for dinner & shared a delicious deep dish pizza. Then on to the mall to walk off some calories from our cheesy, meat-filled, greasy dinner. Ending at a bookstore to peruse before going to pick up the kids. It was a great, relaxing night. Here we are looking rather cool {ha!} on our way out.

When we arrived to pick up our kids at Date Night Co-op, little did Ryan know that me & my friend Robyn had planned a mini-surprise party for him! Some of our friends stuck around after “Date Night” to enjoy some cake &  celebrate with us. I know I’ve said it before, but I will say it again…we are so, so thankful for the friends the Lord has blessed us with here in Tyler!

Saturday, the celebration continued. We took our girls up to Quitman to stay the night with Grandma & headed to Longview for the Switchfoot/Anberlin concert! We love both of these bands and the fact they were going to be playing on the same night in the same venue was amazing. We left a bit early so we could stop for dinner before the concert. Chowed down on some yummy fajitas & then headed to the Belcher Center at LeTourneau University for a rockin’ good show. Our seats were perfect – not far from the front, in the center, right in front of the sound board. Awesome. After we left, we came home totally pumped & ready to go out & change the world…adrenaline & motivation after hearing Switchfoot is crazy. We sat out on our back patio with a glass of wine until well after midnight enjoying deep conversation & relishing in the Ranger’s victory!

You might be thinking, surely that’s it….but no! There’s more! Sunday, after a 10 mile run together, we headed back to Quitman for birthday lunch that my Mom made. For everyone’s bday, she asks what you want her to cook and you can put in your request. Here was Ryan’s request: chicken fried steak, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, and chocolate cake. And Mom’s cooking, as usual, did not disappoint! It was SOOO good. Gotta love homemade southern cooking, especially after a long run!

And that my friends is how you celebrate a birthday, don’t you think?! Such a great few days.

Happy birthday, Ryan Marc Dixon!

Last night’s simple “date” with Addi.

I tend to be a softy for cheesy daddy/daughter stuff.

I decided a couple years ago that I was going to keep a journal for both Addison and Kamryn that I would one day give them. I have been journaling life updates, messages to them about this and that and just my thoughts about them in general. With the speed of life increasing at the pace it does when you arrive in this phase, I figured it’d allow me to hold onto these precious moments longer. The pause button in a sense. A snapshot of the season of life. Sometimes months go by without me writing anything and I end up playing catchup with sketchy details. I really do need to do better at this.

I wanted to share todays entry; just a simple recap of a little journey to Lowes we had last night. My intent is to encourage other dads of precious girls to date their daughters. You do realize that the daddy is the most influential adult in their life right? You do want her to grow up and fall in love with a man better than you were when you met her mommy, right? We need to take them out, treat them tenderly, show them love, talk sincerely about life and let her know that she is worth our time and efforts. It has been a goal for me to try to do this daddy thing as best as possible. I really do need to do better at this.

10.12.11

You are a doll. The other day at school you were awarded a “prize” for being responsible. It was a card for a free sundae from Dairy Queen. You were thrilled about this award and I told you that I would take you to get your treat. You seemed very excited for another “daddy and Addi” event. I had some things that I needed to pickup from Lowes and figured that we could do that, then head to get your treat from DQ.

In preparation for the adventure you decided that you wanted to wear a dress. I asked why and you answered with sass, “Daddy! For our date!”. You even had mommy give you two braids. Such a beautiful little girl. We left the house, hopped in Poppy’s truck, I buckled you in your seat and we headed down the road. Your face displayed a slight shyness as I could tell you were excited for our “date“. The way your cute cheeks ball up when you smile makes me giddy. I adore these moments. They really do make me feel more complete as a daddy.

One of may favorite things we do when it’s just me and you is to talk about life. Life for you now is mostly school and friends and so that’s the focus of our conversations. We chatted about the test you had yesterday, how you ”oopsed“ an answer and what you did in class that day. I love it. You are quite the chitter chatterer when you get going. The only time this seems to be a problem is at dinner.

We pulled into the parking lot of Lowes, got out and held hands as we walked across the parking lot. We asked our questions to the helpers there, got what we needed and headed for the check out. On the way to the front we did find a few minutes to do some hand in hand twirls and play chase in the appliance section. You’ll never catch me!

We loaded back up and headed to our next destination. Your coupon was for Dairy Queen. I however had a better place in mind and I selfishly proceeded to Andy’s Frozen Custard. They have a pumpkin pie concrete that daddy loves. I showed the boy at the window the picture of the sundae on your DQ card and asked if they could make something that looked like that one.

We got our ”ice cream“ and sat outside on the gray concrete wall, right where you wanted us to. You were so excited as was I. We then enjoyed our frozen treat and chatted more. I asked about the lunch situation at school, who you sat with, do your friends bring their lunches to school, does the school food look tasty, etc. After you finished you asked if you could take off your shoes and run through the green grass patch there in front of the store. ”Sure baby”, I replied as you were already taking them off. You then ran around with abandon feeling the grass blades on your tiny toes, dancing and skipping with an occasional whirl to make your dress “spin”. We played “boo”behind the enormous sign base and giggled as the sky lost it’s light.

On the way home I couldn’t help but hold your tiny hand again. I love this. I am so proud to have you sitting beside me as we drive here and there. You said that you really wanted to play charades when we got home and were concerned that it was too dark outside. You wanted to play this silly guessing game outside like we’ve been doing some since it’s been cooling off in the evenings. As usual I said, “we’ll see”.

As we pulled in the driveway and you climbed across the seat to my side of the truck and I lifted you down. For me, the tall drop off from out of the truck is just another excuse for a hug really. I love spending time with you and told you this directly with, “I love spending time with you Addi“. I really do. As simple as running a couple errands with you is, I always enjoy the one on one company. Oh and by the way, we did play charades on the back porch after your bath.

I really hope that some of these simple moments like these will resonate in you as you grow older. You are precious and deserve the best. I love you. You are a doll.

Truck full.

Thoughts of my Dad are with me daily. Memories are cherished and not a day goes by that I don’t miss him. I imagine it will be like this until I join him in heaven. Sometimes it’s consuming. Sometimes it makes me cry. Sometimes it makes me smile. Last night was a time that made me smile.

Ryan and I went on a date. We met some friends to check out the new BJ’s Brewhouse for dinner and had a fabulous time. Great food and great conversation, it was a good night. When Ryan and I left the house to go out, we loaded up in my Dad’s old truck. We are borrowing it for a while as we are trying to sell our car and attack some old business debt. As we got in, I was overcome with emotion and a huge smile covered my face. This was the first time I’ve ridden in it since June 4th. The truck smelled like Dad. Saw dust formed a thin layer on the seat and in the floor boards crevices. Memories flooded my mind of riding in an even older blue truck with my Dad when I was a little girl. He used to take me “deer hunting” on the old country back roads in Quitman. We would sing songs like “Doe a deer, a female deer. Ray, a drop of golden sun…” and see how many deer we could see. We would just count them, not kill them. That was our deer hunting. We’d get back home and report to Mom how many deer were found. Silly, but fun for a little girl. Even then, making memories was important in our house.

I loved being in the truck last night. My Dad would have liked that we were driving it as we went on a date and making new memories. He loved Ryan like a son – and this fills my heart and makes me even more thankful for my husband. It’s amazing how something like a truck can be filled with so much.

How to NOT make a good first impression.

Thanks to Uncle Jeff babysitting for us, Ryan and I got to go out on a date last night. Since we’ve only lived here in Tyler for less than two years & don’t eat out all that often because we love to cook, there are still many restaurants on our list of places we want to try. Well, last night we were excited to try one of those places. Because I am a planner (or as some would call it – OCD), I went online, made reservations, emailed Ryan the list of beers, looked over the menu and even had picked out a few dishes and appetizers that sounded good. Do you do this too, or am I really weird?

Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out like we had hoped.

Below are the two interactions we had while at this particular restaurant that made us decide to wait and come back another night. We walked in (to a nearly empty restaurant) and up to the hostess stand and here’s how it went down…

Conversation #1:

Hostess, “Hello. Table for 2?”

Me, “Yes, please.”

Hostess, “Sorry, we don’t have our regular menu tonight, we only have this special Valentine’s menu…I hope that’s OK.”

Me & Ryan, “OK, thanks.”

Hostess, “I don’t know what to recommend because I don’t like food.”

Ryan, “You don’t like food?”

Hostess, “I mean, I like food. I’m just a picky eater. So I probably wouldn’t like any of that.”

Me & Ryan, “Um, OK”

Great sale there hostess. We continue to our table and sit down, only to be greeted by our server:

Conversation #2:

Server, “Hi. (hugh sigh) Whew, tonight’s already been that kind of a night. Sorry.”

Me, “Ah oh, sorry to hear that. So, this Valentine’s menu is all that is offered tonight, we can’t order off the regular menu?”

Server, “No, sorry. That’s all we have. I’ll give you a few minutes to look over the menu. What would you like to drink?”

Me & Ryan: “Water for now.”

Server walks away and Ryan and I take a look at this one page Valentine’s Menu that everyone seems so excited about. Everything was marked up. There was only about 1/3 of their regular menu items and nothing that I had picked out online was on there. [side note: see, case & point of why I am a planner!] Sea bass for $35 was not really what we had in mind. We both looked at each other laughing and said, “Let’s go somewhere else!”

We tossed the “trying something new” for the evening and headed to one of our local faves and had a fabulous meal and an even better date. Have I told you lately how much I love my husband and how thankful I am for him? How cute is he? He even wore a tie! When he walked out of our room after getting ready for the night, the girls asked him, “Daddy, what is that on your neck?” HA!

Love him.

The perfect date.

My hair was in a messy ponytail and makeup mostly sweated off. We were both in our running clothes still from our jaunt through the South Tyler trails earlier that evening. We were at home with the sounds of girls chatting and giggling in their bedroom. And we had the best date ever.

To celebrate our 8 year anniversary, we cooked and enjoyed a quiet dinner together right at home. Since we just went out on New Year’s Eve, we decided this sounded very appealing. After enjoying some quality time with our precious daughters, we put them to bed at their normal 8:00 bedtime. Poured a glass of wine, put on some relaxing tunes and started cooking one of our favorite meals: spinach & pork pot stickers with veggie fried rice. Delish. We cooked away, talking, and even stopping for a little slow dance while the smell of ginger filled the room. Gosh, I love my man.

We sat down to eat at our candlelit pub table decorated with the beautiful flowers Ryan bought me (& the girls) earlier that day. As we prayed together, tears filled my eyes and my heart was overflowing. Ryan gave me a card that he made and wrote. His creativity and way with words always astounds me. I absolutely adore his cards and his thoughtfulness. We enjoyed our tasty meal while talking about the past 8 years and our goals for our future. It was special.

The perfect date, if you ask me. I could not ask for a better person to share this life with. I love you, Ryan! More and more with every year that passes.

This weekend…

Busy weekend coming up! Tonight is our Date Night Co-op. On Ryan & I’s agenda for a date tonight? Run 5 miles at the trails, cook chicken lettuce wraps, then end the night at Andy’s for a pumpkin pie concrete…delish! Sounds like a perfect night to me.

Tomorrow is the Grand Opening event at Brown’s Landing, so I’ll be working there. Excited about this new venture! It’s been a great first week, by the way. Loving my new job and the girls are loving their new school! Back to Saturday…Ryan has a studio mix session that afternoon with a band he recorded live recently. Tomorrow night, we are looking forward to hanging out with the Blalock’s! Alison is coming all the way from Lubbock to run in the FULL marathon this weekend. We are going to Joe’s to get carb-loaded before the race with them.

Sunday is race day! This will be the first of three half marathons Ryan & I are registered this Fall. We went this afternoon to pick up our race packets. So exciting. Have I told you how much I love running?!

Night away in the big D.

Ryan & I left the kids and escaped away to Dallas this weekend! My friend Loretta was getting married Saturday night, so we decided to go see her & enjoy a night away. We headed out and drove straight to Chuy’s for lunch. Obviously we couldn’t focus on getting anything else done in Dallas without going there first and consuming massive amounts of creamy jalapeno dip. YUM. I couldn’t be more excited that we are getting one here in Tyler!!! That rumor better be true or else I will be highly upset.

Anyways, after lunch we went to the Apple store to check out the new shuffles, which are very cool. Didn’t get one, don’t need one…just went to admire. Then, we headed over to Luke’s Locker. Such a cool place. There is something inspiring about going to running stores! Got some shoe recommendations and Ryan got a flashy light to wear when he runs in the dark. Next on the list…Central Market. The grocery store of all grocery stores. This place amazes me. The produce aisle is unbelievable. They also have a great wine selection. And a whole aisle dedicated to granola, are you kidding me? Are we weird that we love going to grocery stores while out of town? We are foodie dweebs.

Saturday night was the wedding and it was much fun. It was at the Biblical Museum of Art, which was interesting. Great to see Loretta and meet her man! We stayed the night with my cousin Danny & his wife Kelly at their new place in Las Colinas. Always good to see them…I love my cousins!

Then, Sunday morning, Ryan and I got up and ran at White Rock Lake. My Dad always tried to go run ten miles around White Rock every year for his birthday. Since his birthday is this coming Thursday, we decided we’d run around the lake while we were there in his honor. Perfect weather for our run. It was overcast and cool, with a slight breeze. When we started the run, I looked across the beautiful lake as the sun was rising and my emotions overcame me. I burst into tears. I so longed for Dad to be running his birthday run with us. I miss him so bad. I thought of him the entire time. I prayed that my life would be meaningful, like his was. I prayed that I would make a difference and make my life count, like he did. I imagined God calling Dad over and saying, “Kip, I want you to see something” as he pushed back a cloud to show him us running. That made me smile to think of Dad watching me. It was a great run physically, but tough emotionally. We finished with a high five to the sky and a few more tears.

We headed back, stinky & sweaty, for our normal Sunday lunch in Quitman and to pick up our babies. Great night away with my love!

Date Night Co-op

Have I told you all about our Date Night Co-op? I can’t remember if I’ve ever blogged about it. Here goes anyways…

Ryan and I are firm believers that dating your spouse is a must. It’s not an option really, but a requirement. We feel that setting aside time specifically to be alone is so important and just plain good for a marriage. So, we try to plan dates often. Get away from everyone, including kids, and just go somewhere and talk, laugh & have fun together as a couple. Just one on one, quality time. Thankfully we live close enough to my Mom and she is our all-time favorite babysitter. And bonus…Grandma’s don’t charge! On occasion, we’ve had to hire a sitter, but not very often.

About six months ago, we started a date night co-op with some friends from our community group (idea stolen from Jamie). Here’s how it works. We got three other families that live pretty close to us to go in on it. We picked a night that worked well for everyone and set up a rotation schedule. Our date nights are the second Friday of every month and each couple takes a turn in hosting it. For example, last night, Ryan & I babysat all of the kids at our house. Next month, another couple will host and so on. So, you end up babysitting once every four months and the other three months, you get a free date night! Its also great for the kids, because they love getting together with their little friends to play at each other’s houses. Its neat to babysit for your friends, because you know you are contributing in some small way to keeping their marriage healthy! It’s really a blessing & works out well for everyone involved. Ryan & I LOVE it!

So I would encourage you to 1. always, always, always date your spouse and 2. start a date night co-op with some close friends! It’s so easy and well worth it.