Our Valentine’s Day Adventure

We had such a great Valentine’s Day! It was gorgeous & sunny outside, so Ryan & I decided to soak that up and spend sometime outdoors as a family. I packed up a picnic filled with pepperoni and mozzarella roll ups, sesame crackers, hummus, dried fruit, pita chips, girl scout cookies and nuts (YUM) and we headed to the Mineola Nature Trail to explore, hike and enjoy the sunshine! If you live in East Texas and haven’t been there, you should go! It’s fabulous out there. Beautiful and very peaceful. We love taking our girls on adventures that we like to call “memory makers.” Can’t think of a better way to spend a day celebrating LOVE with the people I love the most! That night, Ryan & I put the girls to bed and had a date night at home. He grilled steaks, we opened some wine from our favorite winery and chilled outside on the patio laughing and enjoying the Spring like Winter night! My favorite kind of date night. I am one blessed wife & momma. Here are some pics from our day.

IMG_3793

IMG_3777

IMG_3780

IMG_3781

IMG_3787

IMG_3789

IMG_3796

IMG_3790

 

 

Christmas, New Years & 21 Miles.

I love the holidays and all they entail. Starting with Thanksgiving through the New Year, I love all of it so much! Celebrating all we have to be thankful for to celebrating our Savior’s birth to celebrating a brand spanking new year, what’s not to love?! The holidays are much fun. Family traditions, no school, hot chocolate, parties, Christmas music, feasts, gifts, memories, lights, pie, movies, late nights, game nights, naps, and the list goes on and on. It has been a great two weeks.

And then…today arrives. The day that seemed so far away a couple of weeks ago but has somehow snuck up on us. School day. Oh boy, you would have thought we were causing Addi physical pain this morning as we drug her out the door and took her to school. The girl was not at all excited. She didn’t like getting up out of bed early. She didn’t like not being able to watch an entire movie while eating her breakfast slowly. She didn’t want to actually put on clothes and fix her hair. She didn’t want to go to computer lab. Poor baby was not a happy camper! But, I feel pretty certain that come 3 o’clock when I pick her up, she will be all smiles and in love with school again. But it is hard getting back in the groove of our normal routine!

A quick update on running. We are less than 2 weeks out from our marathon. We ran our last long training run this past Friday – 21 miles. TWENTY ONE MILES. Oh my word, it was tough. So hard. 16 wasn’t bad. 18 was even manageable. But 21 was very challenging. We did have some factors going into it that worked against us though. Lack of sleep the night before, lots of excess holiday eating, and running the same route as the previous long runs but adding in an extra mile here & there to meet our distance goal was a mental roadblock. This was honestly the first run during our training that I really wasn’t sure if I was going to make it the entire way. But we did it! I’m thankful for Ryan & our friend Christy – I couldn’t have done it without them. But here’s the good news. We have two weeks of easy running (a.k.a. tapering). We gladly welcome that and hope to be reminded during these 3 & 5 milers of the reasons why we love to run. Also, Houston is FLAT while Tyler is NOT. Training here hopefully has better prepared us to run 26.2 with a bit more ease. All in all, I feel ready.

I’ll leave you with some random shots from the holidays. Happy 2012 friends! I’m excited about another great year together. Much love!

Traci

Simple Christmas.

As Christmas approaches, school is winding down, and some major life changes are headed are way, things have been on the brink of nutso around the Dixon casa to say the least. Add into that bowl of craziness: training for our marathon (that is in just over a month), my acquiring another client starting in January (yay!) and leading our Community Group this semester…wow, we’ve been slammed. I told Kam yesterday, while we were out and about running errands, that mommy needed a vacation. She agreed and so I asked her where should we go, to which she replied, “the park!” Not really the kind of vacation I was thinking, but I love how easy she is to please!

Don’t get me wrong, I am SO not complaining – all of the above has been great stuff. Ryan and I have felt so humbled lately by God’s goodness amongst all the appointments, meetings, long runs, homework, and shopping. He has truly blessed us and we are incredibly thankful. In awe really. Through the good times and the bad, God is consistently there loving us and providing for our needs. His love is overwhelming and His grace and mercy abounds.

During this season, my prayer is that my family and I can take a “vacation.” Not go anywhere or do anything, but simply escape the craziness for a few days and center our full attention on Him and each other. Uninterrupted, quality time. No schedules or places to be. Just really enjoy Christmas for what it’s supposed to be. Spend time together as a family as we celebrate our Savior. I also pray that we can teach our children about generosity – and how giving can be even more fun than receiving.

Here’s is a video that I recently saw on Facebook and wanted to share. Such a sweet reminder. Much love, dear friends. Merry (Simple) Christmas to you all!

Simple Christmas

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!

The Last 2 Weeks.

My 2 week Christmas break is officially over and man has it been great. Not due to any fabulous vacation or life changing events but just because. The time I’ve had to just chill and read and tickle and love have been fantastic. I look forward to this time of year and huge benefit to working in education since last years break. It always seems to go so fast. Fortunately I still have the weekend before Monday’s return to the workforce.

The first week flew by with mostly loafing. I really can’t remember anything significant about the week other than some great loafing. Then a trip to Georgetown for Christmas with my bro-in-law and his kind family last Thursday thru Sunday. The girls had a blast spending time with their cousin Kendrick and are still enjoying the fruits of giving friends and family. Christmas was great as usual minus the giant vacant spot at this years festivities. Makes me feel more mortal and family like.

This week has been different than the previous. My miles have picked back up and soreness has returned to my legs. Reading has taken a huge emphasis this week. I am about to finish a book that I started last Friday. More on this in future posts. We have cleaned house and rearranged. Early Spring cleaning? I have had a list of self declared projects that I have been wanting to accomplish during this year’s break. On the list were: leaves, oil change, replace bathroom cabinet door hinges and replace garage security light. Of these, all of them were accomplished. I’ve been working on the vast and overwhelming leaf removal project for about 2 months now. My West Texas friends have no idea what this even means. Man it feels great scratching even the littlest tasks off a to-do list. Makes me feel more handy and man like.

Most of all though, the time with my little family has been priceless. It really is amazing how the consecutive days with this much interaction with them makes me want to be around them even more. I am so blessed with this gift. Sure there are days when bed time cannot come any quicker but for the most part it was a great as my mom-in-law’s chocolate cake. The hugs and giggles are golden as I try to pause the moments in hope of somehow slowing down time. Time that’s quickly escaping like an opening handful of dry sand. A few nights this week at the close of our night time routine, Addi has asked with her eyebrows slightly raised in her face’s expression of excitement, “Daddy, is tomorrow another family day?” With much joy my answer has been a pause-less “YES!”. Questions of, “Can you tickle me?”, “Can we dance?” have been answered likewise. Moments like this make the whole break of great value. Makes me feel more fulfilled and daddy like.

It’s neat to see how they are developing physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. Traci and I are really working on leading our precious girls by example. Teaching as we go and acting how we are wanting our kids to act. Fortunately we are about to start a parenting series in our Grace Community group as we could use so much help on aisle 10. We have began implementing a small “for girls” devotional with a story, verses, application and some questions. Still yet to see if it’s doing much at this age but really it’s about establishing a good habit/routine. One thing I want to impress on my family this upcoming year is to be more philanthropic. More giving of time and resources. More on this in future posts. Really when life comes down to final weight of worth, that’s what it’s all about. Adding value to others. Extending the grace that’s been so freely given to me. Fulfilling purpose. Makes me feel more humble and servant like.

His First Christmas in Heaven

Christmas 2009

There is obviously a HUGE hole this year in our family Christmas. A big void in our family. The void that was once filled by the man who made us all laugh while opening presents. The guy who woke up earlier than everyone else and while trying to be “quiet” at 5 a.m. made all kinds of clanking and banging noises in the kitchen. The man that waited until Christmas Eve and went shopping to buy us all special gifts just “from Dad.”

I miss my Dad terribly. Especially during this holiday season. But here is what I’m clinging to…he’s spending Christmas with Jesus this year! As we are here celebrating the birth of our Savior, Dad is there WITH our Savior seeing him face to face. A dear friend of mine (who also lost her father a few years ago) gave me this poem along with a sweet Christmas card. I shared it with my family. Thanks Robyn. It made me bawl like a baby, but also made me smile. This poem meant a lot to me and gives me hope and peace. I’m trying to remind myself of the words to this poem through the sadness…and I thought I would share it with you.

Much love,

Traci

My First Christmas in Heaven

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below
With tiny lights like heaven’s stars reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular please wipe away that tear
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear
But the sounds of music can’t compare with the Christmas choir up here.

I have no words to tell you of the joy their voices bring
For it is beyond description to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart

But I am not so far away, we really aren’t apart.
So be happy for me, dear ones, you now I hold you dear
And be glad I’m spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I sent you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above.

I sent you each a memory of my undying love.
After all, love is a gift more precious than pure gold
It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do
For I can’t count the blessings or love he has for each of you

So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear
Remember, I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

One of our Christmas Traditions

We started this tradition last year and the girls absolutely love it. Its simple, its free, and quite enjoyable!

We all put on our pajamas (even Mommy & Daddy), make hot cocoa in to-go cups, and load up into the minivan. Turn up the Christmas music and we’re off to drive around looking at Christmas lights around town! The girls are completely enthralled the entire time, “Look at that!” or “Wow, so beautiful!” or “Kamryn, move your head. I can’t see.” You get the picture. We end the night downtown on the square where there is a huge Christmas tree. Much fun!

Tonight as we drove around, the girls sang “Fa la la la la” over and over and over and over and over…we tried (desperately) to teach them the rest of the words to the song, but they wouldn’t have anything to do with decking the halls. “Fa la la la la” was enough for them!

The smiles and laughter from our punkins make this tradition very worth it and something Ryan & I have fun doing. Great night! Memory maker.