2010 Recap Through Pictures

I am VERY excited about 2011. A brand new year. A fresh start with renewed motivation.

This past year has been a whirlwind to say the least. Over the past few days, I’ve been reflecting back on 2010 and everything that happened. By far, the hardest year of my life. The hardest year in my family’s lives. Looking back on 2010 for the rest of my life, I know it will always be known as “the year Dad passed”…however, I also know that some great things happened this year and some awesome memories were made. I started looking back through pictures reminiscing on the good things and thought I’d scrapbook in one post a recap of the year. I am thankful for the blessings of 2010. Even through the tragedy and darkness, the Lord provided rays of sunshine to give us hope and make us smile. A little over a month before my Dad died he sent me this email. I re-read his emails often and have shared some on this blog. But this one, although short & simple, means so much to me and I think of it often…

2010 was definitely hard, but I WILL keep smiling! I have so much to be thankful for. And even though 2011 will no doubt bring its own set of hardships, I know that THIS WORLD IS NOT MY HOME! The joy that only comes from the Lord is my strength.

I’m hoping to jam pack a bunch of new memories for the Dixon clan in 2011 and live life to the fullest. Cheers to making each day count!

Us at Kiepersol Winery on New Year's Eve.

With love,

Traci

2010 Recap Through Pictures

January

Ryan & I celebrated 7 years of marriage & went to Shreveport for a little getaway.

I hosted a Recipe Exchange party at our house.
Read this book with our community book and it knocked our socks off. Good stuff.

February

It snowed! The girls got to build their first snowman.

Went to the Extreme Home Makeover Kickoff here in East Texas!

Some friends gave us a jogging stroller and have used it non-stop ever since.

Got to see Singing in the Rain at TJC – Ryan ran sound for the show.

March

The weather turned beautiful and we started playing outside again!
We ran in the Azalea 10k right here in Tyler.

April

We started a Date Night Co-op with some friends.

Went to see Switchfoot at TJC!
Hunted easter eggs with cousins.
Ran in the Capitol 10k in Austin.
Went to a Texas Rangers game with Poppy & Grandma & Uncle Jeff!

May

We walked the Tyler Race for the Cure 5k with Poppy. This was the girls very first race to participate in!
We celebrated Mother's Day in Quitman with Grandma.
We had our family pictures made at one of our favorite places in Tyler - the trails.
Had a blast celebrating my 30th birthday!

June

Aunt Debbie came to visit from New Hampshire.
June 4th. My dear Dad passed away suddenly after his morning run. Now he is running and living it up in Heaven!

We enjoyed swimming in the evenings at our friends' pool.

Aunt Jen treated the girls to the Tumble Bus!

July

Addi played in her very first t-ball game at school.
We escaped for a family vacation to Fairfield Bay, Arkansas.

August

Addi started Pre-K. Kindergarten days will be here before we know it, oh my!
Addi turned 4!
Kamryn had a blast at Jumping Jacks.

September

We made a trip to Lubbock to visit old friends.
We "adopted an Apache" through the TJC Tennis program.
Ryan did a live recording at KE Cellars.
We had a night away in Dallas to see a friend get married.
Got together with friends to give Robyn a baby shower. Mayleigh was born in November!

October

Got a new job working for Brown's Landing as their Marketing Director!
The girls started a new school on Tues/Thurs.
Went to Georgetown for Kelly's ordination service.
Started going to Story Time at the public library regularly with friends.
Ran in the inaugural Tyler Rose Half Marathon.
Ross came to visit from Minnesota and we went camping in Beavers Bend.
Andy's brought back Pumpkin Pie concrete for the season!

November

We flew to Boston to run in the New Hampshire Half Marathon in honor of my Dad. High five to the sky!
Ryan built our fire pit.
Another baby shower! Brunch with friends to celebrate Jennifer's baby boy on the way. He'll be arriving in the next few weeks!
I ran in the Bambi 5k Run while Ryan was at home sick.
Ran in the Dallas Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning.
My mom cooked a feast for our Thanksgiving meal and Ryan carved the turkey.

December

Went on a Caribbean Cruise with cousins & made new friends.
Ran in the White Rock Half Marathon in Dallas. 3 halfs in 3 months achieved!
Kamryn turned 3! And I made my first decorative birthday cake.
We celebrated Christmas in Georgetown with family.

HAPPY NEW YEAR FRIENDS!

en-cour-age


I’m feeling good. Not too hot, gentle breeze, endorphins pumping…it’s race day. My iPod is filled with a wide array of awesome tunes courtesy of my husband working on the “ultimate running mix” for hours the night before. I had an awesome pasta dinner and a great night’s sleep. I was sporting my Garmin watch, my favorite shorts, my Saucony’s, and my Dad’s yellow “Livestrong” bracelet that he wore at races (see below). Things are looking good for these 13.1 miles I was about to log. I was ready.

As I made my way along the course of the Tyler Rose Half, I was pleasantly surprised to hear “Go Traci!” a few times and see some familiar faces along the side of the roads waving and cheering us on. At about mile 8, a point where my legs usually start feeling tired, there were two cute little girls standing outside of their house on the curb giving out high fives to those who ran by, so I gladly took them up on their offer. They looked to be about my girls’ age, and I needed that sweet encouragement at the time! It’s amazing how much of an impact the smiles and cheers from the spectators makes on runners. It’s most definitely appreciated! Then, as I turned the final corner downtown and headed towards the finish line, I see my cute husband standing there smiling at me. I love, love, love this part of the run. Knowing he’s there waiting for me always pushes me to finish strong! Of course, I ended the run with a huge high five to the sky – my Dad’s life will always be an encouragement to me.

Ever since this race, I’ve been pondering on the word, encouragement. It’s so simple really. Webster defines encourage as follows:

The spectators along the course were an encouragement to me that day. My race was definitely made better because of them! My family and friends are an encouragement to me every day. I feel truly blessed to have people in my life who spur me on. They inspire me with courage and for that, I am so grateful.

On the course of life, it’s made so much easier & definitely more motivating to continue on when you have people like that around you. People who will cheer you on when you are down. People who will attempt to persuade you to stay on course. People who will walk beside you to help give you hope. Jesus was the ultimate example of this. We should strive to encourage those around us daily, we are a team after all. And there are so many ways you can do this! I genuinely hope that you have people that surround you that provide this source of strength for you! Again, it’s so very simple – but so very important.

I’ve set a goal, starting this week, to do something intentional to encourage someone else at least once each day. Whether it be my husband, my children, a friend, or a stranger. Because you just never know who might be ready to give up, and just a simple smile and a wave might be just the encouragement they need to keep going. Will you join me in this?

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.

Our trip to Lubbock.

We went to the good ole L-B-K for Labor Day weekend and had such a great time! Its been a while since we’ve been back to visit friends, so it was time. We also felt it would be good as part of our healing process, to see people who knew and loved my Dad. He loved Lubbock and the people there.

We got in late Thursday night or actually, extremely early Friday morning. A 7 1/2 hour drive turned into a 9 hour drive somehow. I’m guessing a 2 and 4 year old had something to do with that. Oh and as a side note, never exit off the Interstate in Abilene…just saying. It was so neat driving in late because we got to see a lightning storm in the huge skies of West Texas. It was beautiful. There may not be trees and it may be flat, but the skies are abundant and the stars are gorgeous!

The first two nights, we stayed with our friends Tim & Christy. We love these two dearly and appreciate their friendship. Addi & Kam love them too! It was adorable because they would choose to hold their hands, instead of mine & Ryan’s when we would go out places. I think it gave Tim & Christy a taste of having their own kids!

Friday, we went by to say hi to some people around town – old places of work, church, drove by Tech (wreck ’em!), etc. Stopped by for lunch at West Crust Pizza, which was quite tasty I must say. We also stopped by the Veterans Memorial, so I could see my Dad’s brick. Just when I thought I could not be any prouder of him, I am reminded of yet another reason to add to the list that is still growing, even though he’s gone. Special. Then, Friday evening we met up with our old youth group for dinner & had a fabulous time. We are so very proud of our Fusion kids & the grown-ups they have become! This night was good for my soul. And Julie Patterson – YOU impacted MY life dear.

Saturday, after yummy homemade blueberry muffins made by Christy herself, we met up with my friend/college roommate Amanda for coffee. So great seeing her & catching up! Come run the Turkey Trot in Dallas with us Amanda!

Then, we headed out to Levelland for lunch with the Pace’s (Christy’s parents). These people mean so much to us and my family. When my Dad passed away, they loaded up their car, along with their son Jason and Tim & Christy and drove all the way to Quitman just to be there for us and hug us. It meant the world to me. I love all of you guys so much!

Saturday afternoon, we headed over to Danny & Ashley’s for the remainder of the weekend. Oh my word, we laughed so much! We had so much fun just doing absolutely nothing but hanging out. Their daughter Grace is so adorable, Addi & Kam had a great time with her. Baths, dress up time, watching movies, swimming, etc.When we got in the car to drive home, Kam said, “That was so fun!” and Addi has been saying, “I’m sad…I want to go back to Grace’s house.” One night while we were there, Ashley arranged for a babysitter so we could go out for some adult time. We went up to Stella’s, where she sings on occassion and got to hear her sing a set.  I got to meet Alison, a friend I have gotten to know through blogs and Facebook. She’s a runner too & is actually coming to Tyler next month to run the Tyler Rose Marathon. Fun night!

Monday morning, we loaded up, drove through & got a Josie’s burrito and headed back East. The girls were sooooo good and well behaved. Thank you Lord! It was a fun trip and a great Labor Day weekend. We miss all of our West Texas friends already. Now its your turn to come to Tyler!